Nuggets GM: Melvin Hunt ‘will be one of the candidates’ as team conducts offseason search for head coach


Once the Nuggets fired Brian Shaw midway through his second year as the team was wallowing in a stretch of losing 19 of 21 games, they turned to Melvin Hunt, who had been an assistant in Denver for the past five seasons.

So far, it’s been a phenomenal decision.

Hunt has had the Nuggets playing inspired basketball, and was able to turn things around immediately by winning six of his first eight games before the front office temporarily took away three of his best players.

But despite the job he’s done so far, Hunt isn’t guaranteed to get the position on a full-time basis.

From Ben Hochman of The Denver Post:

“As an organization, we have all been impressed with the job Melvin has done thus far,” general manager Tim Connelly said by phone Monday. “When the season concludes, he will be one of the candidates as we begin an exhaustive search to find a head coach.”

The hesitation, of course, is understandable.

Denver was just burned by handing the job to someone who had never held the position previously, and wants to be somewhat cautious about remaking the very same mistake with consecutive coaching hires.

And, it makes sense to see who might be available in terms of guys who have been successful in the past. Mike D’Antoni has been linked to the job as a person of interest, but had rough stints in his most recent positions in both New York and Los Angeles.

Hunt is a known quantity within the organization, and in addition to his initial success on the sidelines, he was able to toe the company line recently during a difficult situation. He’s certainly well-positioned to get a long look, but the front office has been all over the place in terms of its decision-making the past few years, so it’s difficult to forecast how this will all shake out.

Nike unveils Easter collection of shoes for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James (PHOTOS)


Nike Basketball has unveiled its Easter collection of sneakers for its signature athletes, and once again pastels are prominently featured along with some interesting patterns.


Kobe Bryant’s 10th signature shoe gets a “hot lava and artisan teal” colorway, which was inspired by the shade of a robin’s egg.




This LeBron James model gets a floral print on the “sunset glow-colored” upper, while the black on the outer portion provides a nice level of contrast.




Kyrie Irving’s first signature shoe goes with a primary purple color covering the upper, which is meant to let the shoe’s more interesting design features stand out.




Kevin Durant’s model gets perhaps the boldest treatment of the quartet, with “liquid lime, vapor green and sunset glow” colors along with a “micro camo” pattern to add to the daring design.



The entire collection will release globally on April 2.


Nike unveils Elite Series shoes for Kobe, LeBron and Kevin Durant

Training like the pros: Recapping a month-long Nike Basketball workout experience

Report: Warriors ‘going to match whatever’ offer Draymond Green receives as restricted free agent


Draymond Green has been an incredible two-way player for the Warriors, with his contributions on the defensive end of the floor speaking volumes in terms of the impact he’s had for his team this season.

Golden State leads the league in defensive efficiency, and the only Warriors player that affects his team’s level of production more than Green is Stephen Curry. With Green out of the lineup, Golden State’s net rating drops 13.4 points per 100 possessions.

Green is going to draw significant attention on the free agent market this summer, but with his restricted status, the Warriors can match any offer he receives. And that’s the plan at the moment, according to at least one well-connected source.

From Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group:

Mychal Thompson: Draymond worth $15 mil/yr. “I’ve talked to some ppl in GSW org. They said they’re going to match whatever..Doesn’t matter.”

Mychal, of course, is the father of Klay Thompson.

The $15 million number comes from what a max contract would start at for Green, whether it comes from the Warriors or someone else. Green has been linked to the Pistons as a potential destination in free agency, but the fact that he’s restricted can complicate that process for other teams somewhat significantly.

With free agency in the NBA often times being a frenzy, teams are reluctant to sign players to an offer sheet, because it ties up their cap space for three days as the team with the player’s rights contemplates whether or not to match.

It’s smart for the Warriors to put it out there that they will in fact match any offer Green receives (whether it’s true or it isn’t) because it makes it less appealing for another team to sign him, and more difficult for Green to obtain an offer above what Golden State may be willing to give. We saw this play out with both Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe last summer; it ended up working out for Bledsoe, but Monroe was forced to sign a one-year qualifying offer after being unable to secure one in the range he desired.

The Warriors may very well offer Green a full five-year max deal, because once the salary cap spikes the following summer, max contracts will similarly increase — and Green’s deal may, at that point, seem like a bargain by comparison.

But either way, letting it be known that they’ll match a max-level offer sheet is how the game is played.

MORE: CSN Bay Area subscriber? Watch Warriors-Hawks Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET

Gregg Popovich rips Spurs after overtime loss to Knicks


The Knicks picked up an historic win over the defending champion Spurs on Tuesday — the same Knicks who are at the bottom of the league-wide standings with just 14 wins on the season.

These were also the same Spurs that had looked better as of late, seemingly hitting their stride by coming into this one winning seven of their last eight games.

But something was amiss for San Antonio, who had its full complement of players available, and wasn’t resting any of its stars. Not surprisingly, Gregg Popovich was less than pleased, and ripped his team afterward.

From Ohm Youngmisuk of

“We didn’t respect the game, we didn’t respect our opponent,” said Popovich, whose Spurs led by as much as 13 in the third quarter. “It was a pathetic performance and I hope that every player is embarrassed. Not because ‘we are supposed to win the game’ but it is about how you play the game.” …

“I thought their movement and unselfishness was great,” Popovich said of the Knicks. “Their juice and competitiveness was better than ours. They respected the game. They got rewarded for it. So I am happy for them. It will help them get through the rest of the year.

“Not much else to say,” Popovich added. “It’s been a joy, have a good night.”

This win was actually more damaging to the Knicks than it was to the Spurs in the grand scheme of things, and may end up costing New York in terms of ending up with the best odds of landing the top pick in this summer’s draft via the league’s lottery process.

And, games like this can help the Spurs, because it gives Popovich a point of reference when trying to motivate his guys to finish with consistency for the remainder of the season.

But in the moment, Popovich was absolutely right.

Zach Randolph livid after Grizzlies play ‘soft’ in loss to Pistons


The Pistons came into Tuesday night’s contest against the Grizzlies having lost 10 straight, and it looked as though they were on their way to 11 as Memphis built a second-quarter lead of as many as 17 points.

But Detroit came out strong in the second half, shooting 61 percent from the field and outscoring the Grizzlies by 25 points over the final two periods to come away with a 10-point victory over the team sitting at second place in the Western Conference standings.

Predictably, none of the Grizzlies were pleased afterward. But Zach Randolph was especially upset by his team’s performance.

From Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal:

Zach Randolph stomped around the visitors’ locker room, wearing a scowl and delivering a twofold rant about the Grizzlies’ latest debacle.

“Ten in a row?” the veteran power forward said. “Ten in a row?” …

“We’ve got to get tough,” Randolph said before nearly pushing the locker room door off its hinges upon his exit. “It’s not just one thing. It’s a lot. We were soft, and we didn’t stick to what we were doing. It’s a disappointing loss, especially with what we’re talking about doing. We’ve got to do something to fix this.”

The Grizzlies are just 8-7 since the All-Star break, and despite their position in the standings, there will be no easy outs in the West once the playoffs get started.

If the postseason began today, Memphis would face the defending champion Spurs in the first round. But really, any of the teams in the two-through-seven spots could change places before then, as they’re all only separated by a total of three-and-a-half games.

There are problems in Memphis that go well beyond this one game — which is why Randolph was so expressive.