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Celtics’ Jayson Tatum: ‘Trade rumors don’t bother me’

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Jayson Tatum was one of the young Celtics who struggled to find his space this season with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back in the mix. Tatum wasn’t shooting the three as well, was taking more long twos, and just seemed to plateau from last season rather than take the leap forward that was expected.

Playoff Tatum has looked more like what we expected, 19.8 points per game, 58 percent shooting from three, and impressive shot creation. That, of course, has rekindled the “are they going to trade him for Anthony Davis” talk. To which Tatum just shrugs, speaking to the New York Times.

“Trade rumors don’t bother me,” he said in his deep monotone. “They’re talking about trading me for guys like Anthony Davis. So, I mean, I must be doing something pretty well.” When pressed on whether this bothered him, he didn’t budge: “I love the game of basketball. Being traded is part of the game. I’ll play for whomever. It’s something I can’t control.”

That echoes what Tatum has said all year. This wasn’t the Laker locker room (which was a different circumstance), Tatum was unphased by the rumors that swirled around him and felt management would be upfront with him.

New Pelicans head man David Griffin has said in the past what he would look for in a Davis trade is one young All-Star player, other good young players or picks, and a veteran role player or two to stabilize the locker room. Tatum would be the young likely future All-Star. The guy who did this to LeBron James just a year ago.

Whether Tatum is traded or not depends on a lot of things — what direction Pelicans’ ownership wants to go with the trade, whether Kyrie Irving remains in Boston this summer, what other surprise offers for Davis or other stars come in — and none of it is within Tatum’s control. So he’s going to do his thing.

In the playoffs, that thing has been impressive.

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka reportedly meets with Tyronn Lue as coaching search continues

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Rob Pelinka seems to have all the front office power in Los Angeles — whether that is wise is another conversation entirely — and he is continuing full speed ahead with the search for the next Lakers’ coach.

Pelinka reportedly has already been in Philadelphia and met with Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who is still busy coaching a playoff team. Miami assistant coach Juwan Howard also reportedly in the mix and is supposed to meet with Pelinka next week.

Friday came the report Pelinka was about to meet with former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This has been expected.

Lue and Williams are considered the frontrunners, and both have a relationship with LeBron James that would net a thumbs up from the Lakers’ star. Lue coached LeBron to a championship in Cleveland, and while a lot of casual fans like to rip his coaching by the end of his time with the Cavaliers he was running some pretty creative stuff and getting players into good matchups and positions.

Williams is a former Pelicans’ head coach who also has a strong relationship with Anthony Davis (not that the hiring of a coach would have any impact on where Davis is traded, however, if he leaves where he is traded as a free agent in 2020 the coach could be a factor). Williams has spent time in the Spurs front office and on the coaching bench for the Sixers and Thunder. Williams’ strength is the perception he is not LeBron’s guy, unlike Lue.

Wojnarowski also said that Lue is pushing back on the idea he is LeBron’s coach, saying he would be coaching the Lakers not just one player. In Cleveland, Lue had the trust of LeBron and that allowed the coach to challenge his star at points.

LeBron James named one of TIME’s 100 most-influential people

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LeBron James couldn’t even influence the Lakers into the playoffs.

But as a businessman and philanthropist, his reach is only growing.

LeBron remains the NBA’s biggest star. He’s still an elite player (when healthy), and his name resonates with casual fans and even non-fans. Add his off-court interests – more accessible to him in Los Angeles – and his importance can’t be denied.

That’s why LeBron made TIME’s 2019 list of 100 most-influential

Warren Buffett wrote about LeBron:

I’ve been impressed with his leadership skills, his sharp mind and his ability to stay grounded. People in LeBron’s position get tugged in different directions and have a lot of chances to make bad decisions. He’s kept his head, and that’s not easy.

There is so much on LeBron’s plate – production, acting, his school, even basketball. His ability to handle it all is incredible.

Having such varied interests might not lend itself to LeBron dominating on the court. But it makes him even more deserving of this list.

Luke Walton disagrees with idea that any random joe can coach Warriors to wins (VIDEO)

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Luke Walton is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings. It only took a couple days after he was fired by the Los Angeles Lakers for Sacramento to swoop him up.

That’s due to Walton’s record as a developmental coach with the Lakers before the arrival of LeBron James, and as a member of the Golden State Warriors and their championship runs.

Walton was known for being one of the best assistants with the Warriors, a squad that he had to coach when Steve Kerr was out for a large portion of the 2015-16 NBA season.

The of the stars on the Warriors aren’t easy to manage, but sometimes the talent on the floor for Golden State led people to believe that anybody could have helmed the team during that span.

Of course, Walton disagrees.

Via Twitter:

If you know anything about Draymond Green, you know he can be a tough guy to wrangle. Throw in any kind of behind-the-scenes things we don’t know about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and that is a genuine crash course in management.

You or I or some Joe off the street couldn’t have just let the Warriors cruise to 73 wins that year. That takes a touch that, apparently, Walton has and the Kings covet.

It’ll be interesting to see what Walton does moving forward with Sacramento. They were a surprising team this season and they have a lot of young talent on their roster ready to be molded.

Luke Walton lands on his feet historically quickly considering record with Lakers

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Luke Walton coached the Lakers to a 37-45 record this season. Meanwhile, Dave Joerger coached the Kings to a 39-43 record.

Yet, Sacramento just fired Joerger to hire Walton. That hiring became official on Monday.

The Kings didn’t necessarily make a mistake. Wins and losses are an extremely limited way to judge a coach. Joerger had other issues in Sacramento. Walton was caught in a difficult situation between Magic Johnson, LeBron James and everything else in Los Angeles.

But Walton is getting treatment usually reserved for far more accomplished coaches.

In the last 30 years, five teams have fired their coach to hire someone who had a who spent the entire prior season coaching another team to a worse record:

Year Team W L Fired For From W L
2019 SAC 39 43 Dave Joerger Luke Walton LAL 37 45
2018 MIL 44 38 Jason Kidd/Joe Prunty Mike Budenholzer ATL 24 58
2013 LAC 56 26 Vinny Del Negro Doc Rivers BOS 41 40
2003 DET 50 32 Rick Carlisle Larry Brown PHI 48 34
2000 TOR 45 37 Butch Carter Lenny Wilkens ATL 28 54

Budenholzer, Rivers, Brown and Wilkens were widely regarded as among the best coaches in the league at the time. All four had already won Coach of the Year. Brown and Wilkens were already in the Hall of Fame!

Wilkens guided Toronto to the franchise’s first playoff victory. Brown coached Detroit to a championships. Rivers brought the Clippers newfound credibility. Budenholzer is favored to win another Coach of the Year this season, and he has Milwaukee dominating.

Those are big shoes for Walton to fill.

And it’s not as if this season were an aberration. This was the Lakers’ best record in three years under Walton. He went 35-47 and 26-56 the prior two seasons.

Yet, as Magic Johnson (kind of) pledged in November, the Lakers didn’t fire Walton during the season. That’s no small thing considering LeBron’s camp reportedly wanted Walton fired.

Then, as soon as the Lakers parted ways with Walton last week, the Kings were there to scoop him up.

It rarely works this way.

Walton’s win percentage with the Lakers (39.8%) is the fourth-worst ever for a coach in a tenure that ended with him immediately getting a job elsewhere.

Here are the worst coaching tenures by coaches who completed a season then got another job that offseason:

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Why all this special treatment for Walton?

He turned heads by guiding the Warriors to a 39-4 start as acting head coach in 2015-16 while Steve Kerr was out with medical issues. That’s not the same as being a head coach. Kerr was still involved. Walton didn’t have full autonomy. But it’s an experience that should absolutely count in Walton’s favor for future jobs.

However, Walton’s time in Golden State and Los Angeles leaves an impression true of many coaches: He wins with good players and loses with bad players.

Good luck comparing last year’s Lakers and Kings, though. At one point, it would have been hard to believe the team with LeBron had a weaker roster. But injuries and poor fits make it debatable.

Maybe this is just a product of personal connections lining up just right. Walton is a former teammate of Kings general manager Vlade Divac. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, who previously owned a share of the Warriors, is reportedly obsessed with imitating Golden State.

Walton is also well-liked throughout the league. He’s the son of Bill Walton, an all-time great player who is also well-liked. Walton might have had inroads outside Sacramento, too.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Walton is white. These are the kinds of second chances black coaches rarely get.

Again, the Kings hiring Walton isn’t necessarily a mistake. The Celtics (Red Auerbach from the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1950), 76ers (Alex Hannum from the San Francisco Warriors in 1966), Trail Blazers (Jack Ramsay from the Buffalo Braves in 1976) and Celtics (Bill Fitch from the Cavaliers in 1979) all hired coaches coming off losing tenures then won a championship with that coach. Hannum and Ramsay won titles in their first years with their new teams.

But we can acknowledge how far outside the norm Sacramento stepping to hire Walton. This is a big bet by Divac – on his roster and on Walton.