Billy Donovan coaches Thunder vs. Pacers
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Report: Pacers interview former Thunder coach Billy Donovan

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The Pacers were reportedly expected to hire Mike D’Antoni as coach.

But if set on the former Rockets coach, Indiana isn’t acting like it.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Former Thunder coach Billy Donovan interviewed for the Pacers last week, sources said. The Pacers are expected to interview a pool of around 12 candidates, trim the candidates approximately in half, and conduct in-person interviews.

Donovan joins a list of known candidates that’s already way longer than 12:

  • Former Thunder coach Billy Donovan
  • Former Kings and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
  • Former Pistons and Nuggets star Chauncey Billups
  • Warriors assistant and former Cavaliers and Lakers coach Mike Brown
  • Nets assistant and former Magic coach Jacque Vaughn
  • Spurs assistant Becky Hammon
  • Spurs assistant Will Hardy
  • Heat assistant Dan Craig
  • Heat assistant Chris Quinn
  • Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley
  • Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas
  • Bucks assistant Darvin Ham
  • Bucks assistant Charles Lee
  • Magic assistant Pat Delany
  • Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool
  • 76ers assistant Ime Udoka
  • Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts

Leaving the potentially rebuilding Thunder, Donovan clearly expected to land on his feet. The Pacers are equipped to win now, but maybe only moderately.

Donovan has shown impressive adaptability to his roster. That’d come in handy if Indiana is set on continuing the talented but challenging Domantas SabonisMyles Turner pairing.

Mike Brown reportedly on list of Indiana coach interviews

Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown
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The buzz for a while has been the Indiana coaching job is Mike D’Antoni’s to lose — the Pacers want to update their offense, and no one is more qualified to do it.

But other names are circulating and people being interviewed: Dave Joerger, the Spurs’ Becky Hammon, Miami’s Dan Craig, Dallas’ Stephen Silas, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, Minnesota’s David Vanterpool, Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka, Brooklyn’s Jacque Vaughn, Portland’s Nate Tibbetts, and don’t forget Chauncey Billups.

Now add veteran coach Mike Brown to the list, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Brown was the head coach of both the Cavaliers and Lakers, leading the Cavaliers to the Finals in 2007 and being named Coach of the Year two years later. Brown has been the lead assistant under Steve Kerr for a few years now and has undoubtedly soaked up knowledge on setting up a modern NBA offense.

Whoever fills Nate McMillan’s shoes in Indiana has a tough job. Expectations may be high from ownership, but McMillan’s Pacers’ teams played hard and defended, making them difficult to play against. Their offense also was old school, which is why McMillan was fired after the Heat swept the Pacers in the first round, but it wasn’t terrible. How big a leap this team makes may rely less on the style of play and more on if Victor Oladipo has returned to his All-NBA form.

PBT Podcast: Denver vs. Lakers, Miami vs. Boston, and what happened to the Clippers?

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What happened to a Clippers team that played like it was entitled to a trip to the Finals?

Does the gritty, surprising Denver team that came back on Utah and the Clippers have a chance against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers? Maybe. First, seriously, what happened to the Clippers?

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports discuss all of that as the bounce around the news of the NBA, plus get into the start of the Boston and Miami series in the East, what Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets might do, and also, what the heck happened to the Clippers?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Report: 76ers want to hire Mike D’Antoni as coach

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The Pacers were reportedly expected to hire Mike D’Antoni as coach.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

But sources are saying he backed away from the Pacers gig because the Sixers’ interest is real.

a league source said the job could be D’Antoni’s to lose. The source said the 69-year-old would have to bomb his interview with the Sixers owners not to be offered the job, and said D’Antoni is the candidate they want. A team source denied that, saying the ownership won’t know who it wants until candidates are interviewed.

It’s getting difficult to find the true story amid all the smoke.

D’Antoni was on the outs with the Rockets since last year. Brett Brown also spent all season on the hot seat, and speculation especially intensified in the bubble. How did the Philadelphia 76ers‘ interest catch D’Antoni off guard?

Likewise, Philadelphia would’ve known for a while if D’Antoni were its prime candidate. He used to be a 76ers assistant coach. People in the organization know him well.

So was the Indiana rumor the smokescreen? Or is this? Everyone is trying to gain leverage with Tyronn Lue also on the market. Philadelphia doesn’t want to alienate other candidates, including former Thunder coach Billy Donovan, until finalizing a deal.

D’Antoni is an excellent coach when he has players who fit his system and a poor coach otherwise. He requires players who create space and pressure through speed (not necessarily in terms of pace, but also with active movement and crisp passing within sets).

Maybe D’Antoni would succeed with Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. But probably not both. And Philadelphia plans to build around both.

Al Horford adds to the big-man logjam. Even Tobias Harris, who could thrive at power forward in a D’Antoni system, could just be an ill-fitting small forward because of the rest of the roster. With Horford and Harris on expensive contracts, it will be difficult to retool.

Maybe D’Antoni has some creative ideas to get the 76ers to a higher level. He has proven capable of innovation, and it makes sense to interview him.

It’s tougher to justify being smitten with him before even hearing his plan for this roster.

Former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa retires

Former Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa
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Leandro Barbosa grew up in rough conditions in Brazil. So, when he toured the Suns’ arena after going No. 28 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Barbosa was smitten. He slept on the floor of the locker room that night.

Barbosa spent the next 14 years savoring his NBA experience.

Now, Barbosa – who won 2007 Sixth Man of the Year a championship ring in 2015 – is retiring.

Barbosa:

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Não sei dizer o momento exato que o basquete entrou na minha trajetória, mas há mais de 20 anos minha vida gira em torno da bola laranja. Qualquer atleta de alto rendimento sabe do que estou falando, mas para a grande maioria das pessoas é importante explicar que isso significa abrir mão de muita coisa por muito tempo, escolhas difíceis, sacrifícios… um preço salgado que é pago pelo gosto doce da vitória. Me considero um vencedor.  Saí da periferia para fazer 850 jogos na maior liga de basquete do planeta e mais de 100 jogos* defendendo o meu país. Quatro Copas do Mundo, dois Jogos Olímpicos, tenho um anel de Campeão da NBA, fui o primeiro brasileiro a receber um prêmio individual na NBA, fui Campeão Brasileiro… Caramba!  Não tem como não me orgulhar. Acredito que consegui jogar em alto nível durante todos esses anos, tanto que me despeço como maior pontuador do último NBB. Estou pronto para um novo começo, uma nova caminhada, de novo com a bola laranja nas mãos. A transição será rápida, como sempre foi.  É uma enorme alegria anunciar meu retorno ao Golden State Warriors, como Player Mentor Coach.Tenho certeza que me sentirei em casa, afinal, foi assim como jogador e tem sido assim desde então. Não poderia estar mais motivado, sei que estarei rodeado de profissionais brilhantes e farei tudo que estiver ao meu alcance para colaborar com o desenvolvimento de jogadores e toda a organização.  Agradeço pelo convite e pela confiança no trabalho que posso desempenhar. For English version in comments..

A post shared by Leandrinho Barbosa (@theblurbarbosa) on

Barbosa:

Farewell statement

I couldn’t tell exactly when basketball first crossed my path, but for over 20 years my life has revolved around the orange ball. Any high-performance athlete knows what I’m talking about, but for the vast majority of people it is never enough to stress that this means giving up a lot and doing so for a very long time, difficult decisions and sacrifices must be made along the way. At first, it all seems a hefty price, but it is soon replaced by the sweet taste of both achievement and victory.

I consider myself a winner. I left a rough neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil, to play 850 games in the largest basketball league on the planet and more than 100 games defending my home country in four FIBA Basketball World Cups, and two Olympic Games. I have also earned a NBA Champion ring. I was the first Brazilian to have ever received an individual award in the NBA, in addition to being a Brazilian Champion. … Oh boy! I can’t help but be proud of my trajectory. I believe I managed to have played at a high level for all these years, so much that I bid farewell as the highest scorer of the last NBB (the New Brazilian Basketball league).

I guess I am ready for a new beginning, a new road, nevertheless I will continue with the good old orange ball. The transition will be quick, as it always has been to me. It is a great joy to announce my return to the Golden State Warriors as a PLAYER MENTOR COACH. I have no doubts I will feel right at home, after all, it was always like that as a player and it has been that way ever since.

I couldn’t be more motivated and engaged. I know that I will be surrounded by brilliant professionals and I will do everything in my power to collaborate with the development of players and with the entire organization.

I am very grateful for the invitation and mainly for the confidence they have placed in the work that I can do.

Barbosa had some very productive years in Phoenix. The guard finished seventh, first, second and 10th in Sixth Man of the Year voting in a four-year span.

Nicknamed “The Brazilian Blur” for his quickness and “Leandrinho” for his small size, Barbosa both attacked the rim aggressively and shot well from outside.

His limitations as a defender and playmaker prevented him from ever becoming a starter. He became a journeyman, playing for the Raptors, Pacers, Suns again, Celtics, Warriors and Suns yet again. Barbosa last played in the NBA in 2017. He had since been playing in Brazil (where he tested positive for coronavirus in April).

Outside Phoenix, Barbosa made his biggest mark in Golden State. He played his best basketball in years in 2015, and his “we gonna be championship” statement proved prophetic.

In his career, Barbosa showed how to focus amid wavering confidence, work hard and develop as a player. His attitude earned him plenty of friends around the league. He could help the Warriors in his new coaching role.