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David Fizdale reportedly to Marc Gasol: ‘I get it, you want Gregg Popovich, and I want LeBron James’

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How did David Fizdale build such strong relationships with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while a Heat assistant have such a falling out with Marc Gasol while coaching the Grizzlies?

That question has received closer inspection with the Knicks hiring Fizdale as their coach.

Apparently, Gasol’s criticism of Memphis for losing Zach Randolph and Tony Allen – who, with Gasol and Mike Conley, formed the successful Grit & Grind core – wasn’t directed at just the front office.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

The “Grit n Grind” Grizzlies had become a brand in Memphis, and Fizdale’s objective was to blow it up.

“He wanted his own locker room,” a Grizzlies source told the Daily News. “And he basically convinced management to get rid of Zach (Randolph), to get rid of Tony Allen.”

Trying to morph the Grizzlies was always going to strain a relationship with Gasol, and the toxicity reached a pivotal moment when, according to a source, Fizdale confronted the team about its lack of desire following a defeat. The coach went around the locker room asking each player if he believed he could win a championship. If they lacked belief, they didn’t belong on the Grizzlies.

The younger players went along. Gasol, however, answered, “No.” Then when asked for an explanation, Gasol replied, “We don’t have the right leader.”

Fizdale had a solid comeback, but it couldn’t have helped his future with Gasol.

“I get it, you want Gregg Popovich, and I want LeBron James,” the coach told his star player, according to a source.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

According to a person familiar with the situation, a key source of the unrest was that Fizdale diminished Gasol’s Euroleague accomplishments.

“He literally said to Marc Gasol, ‘I know what real championships are, not that fake stuff in Europe,'” the person said. “‘That Euro championship stuff doesn’t cut it.'”

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a source close to the situation, some of their problems started when Fizdale dismissed Gasol’s success on the international stage. He also reminded Gasol that he, Fizdale, won two championships and that Gasol had zero. The general feeling among the Grizzlies was that Fizdale’s two championships as an assistant coach in Miami were because of LeBron James.

Fizdale is incredibly confident in his methods, and he’s aiming no lower than a championship. The Grizzlies peaked at the conference finals, and they were declining with age.

But that’s not Gasol’s fault. He was trying help the team be as good as possible, even if the result would be less than title contention. I can see how frequently hearing about LeBron would grow tiresome.

Gasol’s international accomplishments are impressive. So are Fizdale’s two titles as a Heat assistant. How impressive? It’s debatable, and if these two were continuously engaged in that debate, that was problematic. Clearly, nearly believed in the other other enough.

Whose fault is that? Blame probably belongs on both sides. Fizdale wasn’t the only coach to have issues with Gasol.

Some of this will solve itself naturally in New York. No Knicks have experienced as much success, in the NBA or internationally, as Gasol. Fizdale’s worldview won’t necessarily ruffle feathers the same way in New York.

And this single case doesn’t make Fizdale a poor coaching choice. Not even close. Many players appreciate Fizdale’s candor. His career shouldn’t be defined by Gasol.

But his feud with Gasol shows Fizdale had room to improve in his communication with players. The Knicks are giving him an opportunity to do that.

Pistons fire Stan Van Gundy

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Pistons owner Tom Gores promised changes to the organization. Pistons president-coach Stan Van Gundy reportedly resisted Gores’ specific ideas.

Something had to give, and apparently it was Van Gundy’s job.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Stan Van Gundy will not return as the team’s President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. The search process for new basketball leadership, including a new head of Basketball Operations and a new Head Coach, will start immediately.

“We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.  “This was a very difficult decision and we did not come to it lightly. I am grateful to Stan for everything he’s done for the Pistons and for the City of Detroit. He rebuilt the culture of our basketball team, re-instilled a winning attitude and work ethic, and took us to the playoffs two years ago. He went all-in from day one to positively impact this franchise and this community.

“But over the past two seasons our team has not progressed, and we decided that a change is necessary to regain our momentum,” Mr. Gores said, emphasizing that Mr. Van Gundy, who has a year remaining on his contract, wanted to return.

“Stan is a competitor and he wanted to finish the job,” Mr. Gores said. “He retooled a roster that we think can be very competitive in the East. I know he’s disappointed, and that he cares deeply about his players, his staff, this organization and this city.  He’s also a professional who will make sure this is a seamless transition, and someone I hope will be a friend and adviser to me long after this transition is completed.

“I have nothing but respect and love for Stan. I think he is a great coach and a great man, and his presence and leadership helped move this franchise forward,” Mr. Gores said. “Although we did not get the success both of us wanted, his efforts and leadership have put the franchise in better shape today than when he came on board.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Van Gundy joins Doc Rivers (Clippers) and Mike Budenholzer (Hawks) as coaches who recently lost front-office power, but unlike those two, Van Gundy also lost his coaching job at the same time.

After a highly successful tenure with the Magic, Van Gundy waited three years for the right job. Detroit created it by offering dual roles. Van Gundy has made clear through the years he doesn’t fear getting fired. He wants to work on his terms. It’s unsurprising he never gave in to Gores’ preferred revamped structure.

The Pistons are definitely justified to move on. They went 152-176 in his four seasons in Detroit, making the playoffs only once and never winning a single postseason game. To achieve that mediocrity, Van Gundy capped out the team for years to come and traded its 2018 first-round pick.

But it’s less clear whether this is about punishing someone for the Pistons’ struggles or setting them up for future success. Gores’ problem wasn’t the Blake Griffin trade. The owner already declared that a victory, not something he needed to see play out. Gores admitted Detroit’s biggest problem this season was Reggie Jackson missing 37 games due to injury. If Jackson stayed healthy, perhaps Van Gundy would still be in charge.

It seems silly to tie Van Gundy’s job to a point guard’s health. Either Van Gundy was best for the job or he wasn’t.

With Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, the Pistons could easily make the playoffs next season. That might hinge on the upcoming coaching hire.

But reaching a higher upside with this capped-out roster? Van Gundy’s successor in the front office will have his hands full.

Reporter who took Warriors security manager’s jacket resigns

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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While covering the Warriors’ first-round series against the Spurs for ABC7, former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Mike Shumann took a jacket belonging to Warriors security manager Ralph Walker.

Because Shumann’s company has a TV contract with the NBA, the Golden State organization tried to move past the incident. But Warriors players felt there was a double standard because Shumann white.

It became a full-blown thing.

Perhaps, this is the conclusion.

ABC7:

Mike Shumann, ABC7 sports anchor and reporter, has announced his resignation from the company.
Two weeks ago, Shumann admitted to taking a jacket belonging to an employee of the Golden State Warriors while on assignment in San Antonio.
Shumann released the following statement:
“It is with sadness that I announce that ABC7 news and I have decided to amicably part ways after 24 years together.
I regret any embarrassment I have caused the station. My recent actions do not reflect the high standard of conduct expected at KGO. Nor do they represent the integrity with which I have conducted my professional sports and broadcast careers.

This was such an odd saga, and we still don’t know why Shumann took the jacket. But this ought to help the Warriors move past any internal disagreement about the handling of it.

Jaylen Brown on Celtics’ 3-0 lead over 76ers: ‘I was never taught to play with our food’

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The 76ers dropped confetti, but the Celtics took a 3-0 lead in their second-round series.

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, via NBC Sports Boston:

I’ve seen crazier things. It happens. This win, this win was the confetti for us. We’ll take it like that.

We shouldn’t get caught up. We’ve got to finish the drill. I’m not one – I was never taught to play with our food. When it comes down to it, we’ve got to finish it. It’s four. It’s first to four. We have to take care of business.

Brown is not only playing hurt, he’s giving great quotes hurt.

No NBA team has ever blown a 3-0 series lead. Philadelphia is favored in Game 4 at home tonight. The 76ers have played Boston close twice, and the teams still seem somewhat evenly matched. But it’s extremely tough to see Philadelphia winning four straight, including two in Boston – especially if the Celtics don’t let up.

Stephen Curry: If I apologized like Charles Barkley did to Draymond Green, my mom would’ve slapped me

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Charles Barkley said he wanted to punch Draymond Green. The Warriors forward dared Barkley to do it. Barkley apologized but made sure to add that he meant what he said.

Stephen Curry, via Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“When I was growing up, and I said something where I was in the wrong, my mom wanted me to apologize. If I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I still meant it,’ I would’ve gotten slapped in the face. … When it comes to people with microphones, you can’t take that stuff too seriously.”

Say whatever else you want about them, the Warriors unite quickly when attacked by TNT.