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NBA notes: Steve Kerr spurns Knicks, agrees to coach Warriors
2014-05-16

The Warriors won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr on Wednesday, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Golden State, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.
The Warriors confirmed the agreement Wednesday night and said they will introduce Kerr at a news conference after the contract is complete.

Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Kerr, 48, also spent three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns before stepping down in June 2010. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances mostly due to a sour relationship between him and team management.

Kerr said last month that he has wanted to coach since going back to his job at TNT. And while the lure of building a contender with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.

The Warriors job is certainly a far more attractive one than when owner Joe Lacob hired Jackson away from the ESPN/ABC broadcast table in June 2011. The Warriors are coming off a 51-win season and consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years, and theyve surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented young core.

Kerr became the hottest coaching candidate on the market after Phil Jackson started courting him to the Knicks two months ago. Kerr also has close ties to Lacob, his son, assistant GM Kirk Lacob, and Warriors President Rick Welts, who worked in Phoenixs front office during Kerrs time as Suns general manager.

Given the disagreements that occurred between Jackson and Warriors management last season and the back-and-forth that played out between them in the media after Jackson was dismissed having an established relationship with Kerr was a big reason Lacob wanted him as coach.

Last week, Lacob lauded Kerr as a candidate and defended the decision to change coaches which has been debated at great lengths in the basketball-united Bay Area. He compared the decision to how he built his fortune as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
Lacob said theres a different person to lead a business at different stages of development, and the Warriors have gone from a "startup" company to an organization looking to maximize its output.

"Or in this case win an NBA championship," he said. "And we just felt overall we needed a different person to go forward and get to the next level."

And while Kerr has no coaching experience, he played 15 seasons and also similar to Mark Jackson he has been around some of the most successful sideline leaders.

Kerr has credited Phil Jackson and Tex Winter for most of his basketball knowledge. Winter taught the triangle offense and was a longtime assistant for Jackson, who used the system to win an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Golden State also spoke with former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy during its search. Van Gundy agreed to a deal with Detroit on Tuesday after the Pistons gave him control of basketball operations something the Warriors wouldnt do with general manager Bob Myers and Kirk Lacob in place.

The Warriors met with Kerr again on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, where Kerr was calling the Thunder-Clippers game. And they apparently made a big enough impression and contract offer to land the man they wanted all along.

Around the league

Pistons The Detroit Pistons are counting on Stan Van Gundy to bring some much-needed stability to a struggling franchise.

Theyre certainly giving him plenty of authority.

The Pistons officially announced Van Gundys hiring Wednesday as their new coach and president of basketball operations. The team will introduce Van Gundy at a news conference Thursday. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.




March Madness Bracket
2015-02-15

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PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (20-12) at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (18-15)
2012-02-21

Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. ET

Line: Philadelphia -1, Total: 180½


The struggling 76ers look to change their fortunes in Memphis when they take on a Grizzlies team playing its last game before the All-Star break.

After feasting on an easy schedule for the good part of the year, the 76ers are reeling, going 2-5 (1-6 ATS) in their past seven games. They have lost four straight (SU and ATS) to West teams, scoring just 83.3 PPG on 40% FG in these four defeats. The Grizzlies have had their way with Eastern Conference teams (6-2 SU and ATS) and are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings with Philly. The pick here is MEMPHIS to win on its home floor.

Philly’s defense leads the NBA with 87.3 PPG allowed, and it has held five of its past six opponents to 41% FG or less. The 76ers also take care of the basketball better than anyone, with a league-best 10.0 turnovers per game. The reason the team is struggling is because of an inefficient offense averaging just 88.1 PPG on 41% FG in the past seven contests. Six players score at least 10 PPG for Philadelphia, led by reserve PG Lou Williams (15.9 PPG). He has played better away from home this year, averaging 17.6 PPG on 46% FG in 13 road contests. PG Jrue Holiday (13.6 PPG, 4.6 APG) had a team-high 20 points in Sunday’s 92-91 loss in Minnesota. Andre Iguodala is fourth on the team in scoring (12.4 PPG), but he is the most valuable 76ers player with 6.5 RPG, 5.3 APG and 1.8 SPG. C Spencer Hawes (10.5 PPG) remains out with a strained Achilles’ and won’t return until after the All-Star break. His absence has certainly contributed to his team’s recent slide.

Memphis is 12-5 SU at home this year, allowing just 92.8 PPG and forcing a league-high 17.0 turnovers per game on its home floor. The Grizzlies swept the season series from Philly last year, as Mike Conley (13.3 PPG, 6.7 APG) scored all 22 of his points in the second half of last February’s meeting in Memphis to propel his team to a 102-91 win. Conley has been playing great basketball as of late with 16.8 PPG on 50% FG, 40% threes and 96% FT (23-of-24) in his past six games. With Zach Randolph still out with a knee injury, PF Marreese Speights has really stepped up his game, averaging a double-double (12.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG) in his past eight contests. Leading scorer Rudy Gay (19.0 PPG) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury the last time he faced the 76ers, but he has been remarkably consistent this month. Gay has scored between 18 and 25 points in each of his past 13 games, making 41% of his threes during this stretch.



NBA Free Agency: Dwyane Wade
2010-07-07

As free agency is upon us, the most settled superstar appears to be Dwyane Wade. By all accounts, he is satisfied in Miami and is looking to cement his legacy there. Unlike some of the other stars on the market, he has already won a title with his current team. Nevertheless, he is perhaps just as important as any individual involved in free agency. With the impending free-for-all, he is looking to leverage his superstar status and team’s success to help Miami acquire players who can return them to the glory of their 2006 NBA title. The possibilities abound and anything can happen in this most unpredictable of periods.

Perhaps the juiciest scenario is that Wade would corral the other two top free agents. It has been confirmed that Wade met with Chris Bosh and LeBron James in Miami about potentially joining forces. This would create a preponderance of talent the likes of which is hard to fathom or find comparison. In Wade’s favor is the fact that these three have already demonstrated that they can play together and not let their egos get in the way. As teammates on the 2008 American Olympic team, Wade willingly came off the bench and the team won the gold medal. Also, James and Bosh both come from comparatively small markets and Miami is the type of glitzy market where their marketing opportunities and brands could grow. However, external sources have some concerns that the three could coexist throughout the duration of an entire NBA season. Wade and James have similar styles that are predicated on penetration and getting to the basket. Considering Wade willed his team to a championship before and has been with Miami for the duration of his career, the other two may be concerned that he’ll be the one getting the ball in clutch situations.

However, the Heat has perhaps the one coach who could help diffuse this situation: Pat Riley. Although Riley is currently in the team’s front office, it’s believed that he’d return to the bench for a chance to coach James and Bosh. Riley’s coached multiple championship teams in the past and has had to deal with outsized personalities before: most recently with Wade and Shaquille O’Neal in 2006, which was a great year for NBA betting on the Heat.

Riley would also need to figure out how to surround the big three with role players. In an attempt to create enough salary cap room for three maximum free agents, the Heat have jettisoned all but two of their players, a dicey proposition. Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley are good players but if everything went right and James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami, they’d still have a roster to fill without significant money.

Also, there is the very distinct possibility that one or both of these players won’t want to sign with Miami. James seems to be driving all the decisions in this year’s free agency and there will be a domino effect no matter what he decides. Some believe that James and Bosh are a package deal so if James decides to go to a team like Chicago, Bosh may follow him. In that case, Miami would have to look at the next tier of players.

Fortunately for Wade and the Heat, that next tier is laced with all-star caliber talent. A possibility that seems to be gaining steam is that Miami would pursue Amar’e Stoudemire if neither James nor Bosh work out. Stoudemire is a perennial all-star at center, and he would create a dymanic inside-outside duo with Wade. If this were to happen, the Heat would need to decide if they’d pursue another high-end free agent like Carlos Boozer or Joe Johnson, or try to use the rest of their cap room to build around Wade and Stoudemire. Considering that players like Boozer or Johnson may not actually be worth the max contracts they’ll likely command, the latter option seems more prudent.

It’s really difficult to decipher how this will all turn out. In the end, it seems that everything will likely be predicated on James; right now, his three most likely destinations appear to be Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami, with a seemingly different frontrunner every day. No matter what, Heat fans can be thankful that Wade will likely stay and continue to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come.

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