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NBA Rumors for Friday, April 18
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Nets coach Jason Kidd will go into his first playoff series with a familiar face on the opposite end of the court. Raptors coach Dwane Casey was an assistant on the 2011 Mavericks team that Kidd helped lead to the title, taking the head job with the Raptors that summer. Kidd had plenty of praise for Casey. “He’s a competitor,” Kidd said. “He loves the competition. He’s a great teacher. He’s as good as they come, on and off the court. I could sit here all day and tell you how great he is. He was a part of that championship team in Dallas, so he’ll have his guys ready to go and well-prepared.” NY Post
The Hawks, therefore, have no chance. Not with the worst record (38-44) among the playoff qualifiers. Not in this league, which tends to weed out the sort of surprises you see in the one-and-done NCAA tournament — where a No. 7 seed (Connecticut) beats a No. 8 seed (Kentucky) for the championship. Or in the NFL, where a team getting hot at the right time can spring a major surprise on the right day. Then NBA is best-of-seven through four grueling rounds; but, then again, so is the NHL, which also requires 16 playoff wins to take the championship. Baseball, for that matter, has the same format for its league championship series and World Series. Why, then, do those leagues produce far more surprise champions than the NBA? AP
MAIN MORNING NBA RUMORS STORIES
Karl's successor, Brian Shaw, needed Gallinari this season. Without him, the Nuggets often didn't have enough scoring firepower and finished 36-46. Shaw is going to get his man starting next season. Indications are that Gallinari will be ready for training camp. He sat out this season after needing a second ACL surgery in January. But he's running now. And jumping. And dunking. "It felt great just to grab that rim," Gallinari said, smiling. Denver Post
Gallinari's summer schedule is set. He will be in Denver until June, then will go to Italy to continue his rehabilitation program. Nuggets strength coach Steve Hess will make the trip to Italy to work with him and Wilson Chandler, who is spending part of his summer there. Gallinari will bounce back and forth between Denver and Italy most of the summer. He's not sure whether he will practice with the Italian national team. Doctors would like him to do that to help him prepare for Denver's training camp. Denver Post
Meanwhile, center JaVale McGee (stress fracture) is a few weeks from being cleared to play again. And guard Nate Robinson (ACL) is on schedule to be ready in October. Denver Post
Ricky Rubio’s representatives and Flip Saunders, the Wolves president of basketball operations, can begin July 1 discussions on a contract extension of the rookie deal he signed in May 2011. The two sides have until the end of October to reach an agreement, otherwise Rubio will play next season under his current contract and become a restricted free agent in July 2015. That’s the same time teammate Kevin Love will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. Minneapolis Star Tribune
Expect Rubio’s side to push for a contract closer to a maximum salary than the four-year, $44 million extension Golden State’s Stephen Curry received, which the Wolves just might view as beyond their limits. “No, it’s something I’m not worried about,” Rubio said Wednesday. “It’s something my agent is going to talk with Flip. It’s something I don’t have to be worried. I just worry about playing. I just want to have it being on a team that’s winning and I think this team is growing up and we can do it and I want to play in a playoff, you know?” Minneapolis Star Tribune
Thursday came and went without official word that Wolves coach Rick Adelman will retire after 23 NBA seasons. Both Rubio and Love spoke of Adelman after Wednesday’s game as if they have played their last game for him. “It has been unbelievable,” Love said. “He has a great family. He’s a tremendous human being. I just feel bad we haven’t been able to take him as far as some other teams he has coached.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
Adelman and the Wolves each have the option to void the final season next year on a four-year contract he signed in September 2011, if, either side does it within two weeks of this season’s end. There’s a provision in Adelman’s contract for him to remain on in a consultant’s role if he so chooses. Minneapolis Star Tribune
The quick-shooting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for Golden State are as dangerous a scoring tandem as the league has ever seen. They combined to make 484 3-pointers this season — eclipsing their NBA record of 483 set last season — and showed in the playoffs a year ago how tough they are to cover when they get going. "The greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history," Warriors coach Mark Jackson has repeatedly labeled them. What both coaches believe separates their teams — and often gets lost in the shoot-first-and-shoot-often approach they employ on offense — is the importance they place on defense. AP
Thaddeus Young got left behind on the trade deadline, and the tanking plan still hit its stride. "We were all being shopped," Young said. "I think it's a big thing they kept me, of course, even though it was one of those situations where you feel a little left out." Philadelphia Inquirer
Other teams noticed who was left behind, too, and even though some of Young's overall averages improved this season, his numbers were a wavering reflection of the frantic pace of the games. His shooting percentage was the lowest of his pro career, and his rebounding average fell from 7.5 to 6.0 per game. Some of that was due to Brown's encouragement for Young to expand his range and try more three-point shots, but Young's two-point shooting percentage fell below 50 percent for only the second time in his career and the first time since 2009-2010. Aside from dunks, layups, and other shots within three feet of the basket, his shooting was pretty awful. (Young's success on shots 3 to 10 feet from the basket was 37 percent.) Philadelphia Inquirer
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