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The Knicks need a new head coach. They also need help in the roster department, but let’s not focus on that right now. Here’s ESPN NY with the latest on the coach interview front:

Knicks reportedly will interview Juwan Howard for coaching job

Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard will interview with the New York Knicks for their coaching vacancy, league sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The interview is expected to take place on Saturday, per sources.

Team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry are looking for the club’s next head coach after they fired Jeff Hornacek following the Knicks’ 29-win regular season.

Mills and Perry also interviewed former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt in Europe earlier this week, per league sources.

Full article

And here’s the Palm Beach Post with more:

The list of candidates since Jeff Hornacek was fired after compiling a 60-104 record in two seasons is long. President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry reportedly have spoken with former Cavs coach David Blatt, Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, former Heat assistant and Memphis coach David Fizdale, G League coach Jerry Stackhouse, former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, former Hawks and Knicks coach Mike Woodson, analyst Kenny Smith and analyst and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson. And they plan to meet with Spurs assistant James Borrego.

Full article

Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga acknowledged Thursday that he interviewed with the Knicks for their coaching vacancy last week.

Larranaga, who is Brad Stevens’ lead assistant, said the interview with the Knicks took place in Milwaukee between Games 3 and 4 of the Celtics’ first-round series with the Bucks.

“They’re in the middle of their process. We’re in the middle of our process,” Larranaga told reporters at the morning shootaround in Milwaukee before Thursday night’s Game 6.

NY Newsday

“Obviously they’re in the middle of their process,’’ Larranaga said. “We’re in the middle of our process. I appreciated them coming out here. Obviously all my focus is on the Milwaukee Bucks.’’

Boston.com

Mason Plumlee undergoes surgery

Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee has undergone a surgical repair of a core muscle injury this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.

The Nuggets say that Plumlee will resume basketball-related activities this summer and should be at full-strength when the team opens training camp for the new season.

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic had a post season MRI at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento that revealed a slight tear of the medial meniscus in the left knee.

Today, he will undergo a minimally invasive meniscus debridement procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. The arthroscopic procedure will be performed by Dr. Riley Williams.

The Kings expect he will make a full recovery and an update will be provided when it is available.

The Raptors were an excellent team almost all regular season, winning 59 games (second most in the entire league) and clearly played at a higher level than in the past. And started strong in the playoffs, winning their first two at home against Washington. But the Wizards did what was needed and defended homecourt in DC, tying the series 2-2. We have a battle on our hands. Here’s the Toronto Star with more:

Maybe Casey’s team will respond more favourably in the friendly environs of the Air Canada Centre. As it was, the Raptors capped a forgettable trip to the U.S. capital with a second straight loss, 106-98, to leave their best-of-seven series deadlocked at 2-2. For the second straight game the Raptors saw an early lead undone by careless turnovers and unforced mistakes. For the second straight game, the Wizards got a big performance from Bradley Beal to vault themselves back into the series. Even after Beal fouled out with 4:58 to play — after he scored 31 points on 19 field-goal attempts — the Wizards got it over the finish line. John Wall inserted a dagger, making one of his floating mid-range jump shots to put the Wizards up 102-96 with 58 seconds to play. Wall, for whom the Raptors have yet to find an antidote, finished with 25 points and 14 assists.

Yet again, Toronto’s vaunted depth failed to show itself, leaving all-stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry to carry far more of the load than they did en route to 59 regular-season wins. DeRozan responded to a steady diet of single coverage with a big game, scoring 35 points and getting to the free-throw line 18 times. Lowry, meanwhile, scored 19 points, going 4-for-6 from three-point range. But Toronto’s other starters were less effective. And Toronto’s bench, which averaged 42 points a game during the regular season, contributed just 22 points. C.J. Miles was 0-for-3 from three-point range. Delon Wright had just seven points on seven shots.

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Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow has been fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct for intentionally stepping on and attempting to damage the facemask of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which took place after Embiid’s facemask had fallen onto the playing court, occurred with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter of the 76ers’ 128-108 win over the Heat on Thursday, April 19 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Warriors are handling their first round opponent, the Spurs, quite handily so far, taking a 3-0 series lead while playing without guard Stephen Curry. Here’s the SF Chronicle with the latest on Steph:

Warriors guard Stephen Curry has officially been ruled out another week, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Curry, who had his Grade 2 left MCL sprain re-evaluated Friday, is set to be re-evaluated again on April 27. That would conceivably put his earliest possible return at a potential Game 7 of the first round.

Such an extended series appears unlikely, given that Golden State enters Game 4 against the Spurs on Sunday with a 3-0 lead.

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Kroenke Sports & Entertainment today announced the promotion of Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke to Vice Chairman of KSE and KSE UK.

“This appointment is a well-deserved and long overdue recognition of Josh’s many contributions to not only the Avalanche and Nuggets organizations but also his role in the overall global growth of KSE and our sister companies,” said Jim Martin, KSE CEO and President. “Josh has evolved into a respected leader and innovator in sports business, and is already leading many of our organization’s investments in forward-thinking multimedia platforms and emerging technologies.”

Kroenke, 37, serves on the Board of Governors of the NHL and NBA. He is also a member of the NBA’s influential Planning Committee. In addition to his NBA and NHL responsibilities, he is an Alternate Governor for the Colorado Rapids (MLS), and sits on the board of Arsenal Football Club of the English Premier League.

“While the business of sport has transformed in recent years, we are still just getting started,” Kroenke said. “Our current management structure won’t change, and Joe Sakic of the Avalanche and Tim Connelly of the Nuggets will continue reporting directly to me. This new position allows me the opportunity and flexibility to work closer with employees, fans, sponsors and community leaders to strategize and celebrate the power of sports and entertainment.”

Kroenke’s first role at KSE was with the Nuggets in 2007, where he began learning the organization from the ground up working with departments ranging from scouting to marketing and sales. He was promoted to President of the Nuggets and Governor of the Avalanche in 2010, before assuming the additional title of President with the Avalanche in 2013.

Kroenke has held numerous leadership positions for the Nuggets and Avalanche, playing a pivotal role in hiring Coach of the Year recipients in the NBA and NHL as well as multiple NBA Executive of the Year honorees. As Alternate Governor of the Colorado Rapids, Kroenke helped bring the MLS All-Star Game to Denver in 2015 and helped the Rapids acquire U.S. World Cup goalie Tim Howard in 2016.

Hornets fire coach Steve Clifford

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has relieved Steve Clifford of his head coaching duties.

“I want to thank Coach Clifford for his contributions to the Hornets,” said Kupchak. “I know he has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the organization and we wish him the best moving forward. The search for a new coach will begin immediately.”

Clifford was named Charlotte head coach on May 29, 2013. He finished with a regular-season record of 196-214 (.478 winning percentage). Charlotte qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 2013 and 2016. The Hornets finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 36-46 record.

Per the Charlotte Observer, “Clifford acknowledged Wednesday that this season’s Hornets failed to improve over the course of the season, as his previous teams did, and that the group lacked the “spirit” of previous teams on his watch. Clifford said he had a say in every player acquisition that assembled this roster, so he took responsibility for its failure.”

More from the Observer: “Clifford’s job performance was complicated this season by a health crisis: He missed 5 ½ weeks of the season treating severe headaches related to sleep deprivation. Working with a neurologist, Clifford has retrained himself to sleep at least 6 ½ hours a night; previously he wasn’t getting more than five hours of sleep.”

Knicks President Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry announced today that Jeff Hornacek has been relieved of his head coaching duties.

Mills and Perry stated: “Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons. We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In addition, Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Mills and Perry continued: “Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both an associate head coach and interim head coach. We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”

Per the New York Post, “Hornacek had one season left on his contract and the writing was on the wall — with the president stone silent virtually the entire season regarding his head coach. Mills and Perry now will embark on finding the Knicks their 11th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in 2001. Mills is expected to meet the media Thursday afternoon to discuss the firing. Sources indicate the Knicks are expected to interview, among others, Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Kidd and David Blatt. Doc Rivers will be a candidate if he doesn’t return to the Clippers.”

Hornacek joined the Knicks as the 28th head coach in franchise history on June 2, 2016 and posted an overall 60-104 (.366) record over two seasons.

Per the New York Daily News, “Before Wednesday’s game, Hornacek made a pitch to return for the final year of his three-year contract, expressing belief that the foundation he helped build will soon “blossom.” Knicks brass evidently did not agree, as Hornacek, who was hired by Mills and Phil Jackson in the summer of 2016, helmed the team to his second straight disappointing season.”

Orlando Magic fire coach Frank Vogel

Orlando Magic fire coach Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel has been dismissed as head coach of the Orlando Magic, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

“We would like to thank Frank for his contributions to the Orlando Magic,” said Weltman. “We appreciate the sacrifices he made as head coach and certainly wish him and his family well going forward.”

Vogel was named the Magic’s 13th head coach on May 20, 2016. During his two seasons in Orlando, the Magic compiled a record of 54-110 (.329 win pct.). The Magic finished the 2017-18 season with a 25-57 record.

Prior to joining the Orlando Magic, Vogel served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 2011-16 and has a career NBA regular season record of 304-291 (.511 win pct.).

Per the Orlando Sentinel, “Buoyed by far above-average shooting, the Magic opened their 2017-18 season with an 8-4 record. But the team struggled once its schedule toughened and it faced a staggering array of injuries to key players. From Nov. 11 through Jan. 12, Orlando posted a 4-27 record, and its playoff hopes evaporated.”

More from the Sentinel: “Vogel and his supporters can make a case that the roster he inherited upon his arrival in 2016 wasn’t good enough to contend for a playoff spot. Also, few substantial changes were made following the 2016-17 season. Making matters worse, during the 2017-18 season, Magic players combined to miss a total of 227 games due to injuries or illnesses.”

Wizards sign Ty lawson

Wizards sign Ty lawson

The Washington Wizards have signed free agent guard Ty Lawson.

“Ty’s experience and ability will give us extra depth in the backcourt during the playoffs,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He’s a veteran player who can score and distribute while bringing additional postseason experience.”

Lawson has averaged 12.7 points (.460 FG%, .359 3FGt%, .770 FT%), 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 29.2 minutes per game in 551 contests (345 starts) over his eight NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets (2009-15) Houston Rockets (2016), Indiana Pacers (2016) and Sacramento Kings (2016-17). During his time with the Nuggets, Lawson appeared in 416 contests (307 starts) over six seasons, averaging 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He also averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 assists during the 2012 NBA Playoffs and 21.3 points and 8.0 assists in the 2013 NBA Playoffs (and helped the team reach the playoffs in his first five seasons).

His best overall season with the Nuggets came in 2013-14 when he averaged 17.6 points, 8.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 62 games. Lawson averaged a career-high 9.6 assists per game in 75 games for the Nuggets during the 2014-15 season. He was originally selected with the 18th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft before being traded to the Nuggets on draft night.

A native of nearby Clinton, MD, Lawson most recently played this year with the Shandong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), where he averaged 25.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 46 games. He scored 55 points for the Lions on February 12.

The Nuggets and Timberwolves play in Minnesota tonight. The winner makes the NBA playoffs. The loser has to go home and stare at a wall. Or they can watch TV. Maybe eat something. Or hop on a plane and fly to an exotic overseas beach destination. Which sounds cool. But making the playoffs is better. Beaches can wait.

The Western conference playoff seeding situation is complicated. Regarding these two teams, here are the possibilities:

If the Nuggets win tonight, they will either be the 6 or 7 West seed.

If the Timberwolves win, they’ll be the 6, 7 or 8 West seed.

Why? Because a big stack of West playoff teams have almost identical records, and therefore tiebreaker rules come into effect.

Here’s what’s set in the West through Tuesday:
Rockets are the 1-seed.
Warriors are the 2-seed.
Blazers or Jazz are the 3-seed.
The rest will be determined tonight.

InsideHoops.com will turn things things up for the 2018 playoffs. Roll with us daily.

The Toronto Raptors have converted guard Lorenzo Brown to a standard NBA contract. Brown, who signed a two-way contract July 25, 2017, is now eligible to participate for the Raptors in the playoffs.

Brown has appeared in 14 games with the Raptors this season. Averaging 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 9.8 minutes. He scored a season-high 11 points Apr. 9 at Detroit and recorded a season-best five assists Jan. 11 vs. Cleveland.

Brown was selected as the 2017-18 MVP of the NBA G League on Apr. 10 after averaging team highs of 18.8 points, 8.9 assists and 1.78 steals in 32 games (all starts) for Raptors 905. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds and shot .468 from the field. Raptors 905 (31-19) went 25-7 with Brown in the lineup.

The best thing teams who have clinched playoff spots can do in the final week of the regular season is stay healthy. Second best is to win or lose in order to best help themselves in regard to possible first round playoff opponents. But that first thing is most important. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on a key Sixer:

Dario Saric had a game-ending injury on the first play of Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The 76ers power forward suffered a cut upper lip and a chipped left central incisor (big tooth) when he collided with Hawks power forward John Collins 13 seconds into the game. After falling to the court, Saric got up and immediately jogged to the locker room.

This was Saric’s third game back after missing the previous three with cellulitis in his right elbow.

Full article

Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan announced today that the team has named Mitch Kupchak President of Basketball Operations & General Manager.

Kupchak, who brings more than 30 years of NBA front office experience to Charlotte, including 17 seasons as an NBA General Manager, will be responsible for leading the organization’s day-to-day basketball operations.

“In every role and in every stop during his tenure in the NBA, Mitch Kupchak has brought the highest levels of success to his teams. He’s a proven winner,” Jordan said. “Having won championships as both a player and an executive, we have confidence that Mitch is the right person to lead our basketball operations, build a winning culture and bring sustained success to our organization, for our fans and for the city of Charlotte.”

“I’m excited to join the Hornets organization and I want to thank Michael for this opportunity,” said Kupchak. “I am well aware of the passion for basketball in Charlotte and throughout the entire state of North Carolina‎, and I am confident that we can build the Hornets into a successful team that our great fans can be proud of.”

Kupchak joins the Hornets after a very distinguished and successful career as a front office executive and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He began working in the team’s front office in 1986 under two NBA Hall-of-Famers: legendary NBA executive Jerry West and Bill Sharman, the first person to win a championship as a player, coach and executive. Kupchak was named general manager in 2000, serving in that capacity for 17 seasons. During Kupchak’s tenure as general manager, the Lakers won four NBA Championships and six Western Conference Championships, posting a 747-607 (.552) regular-season record and winning 63 percent (111-66) of their postseason contests.

Warriors waive Omri casspi

The Golden State Warriors have waived forward Omri Casspi.

According to multiple reports, the Warriors plan to sign Quinn Cook, and needed the roster spot.

Casspi appeared in 53 games (seven starts) this season, averaging 5.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 14.0 minutes per game.

Cavaliers sign Okaro White

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Okaro White to a contract for the remainder of the season, which ends next week.

White (6-8, 204) signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers on March 18. He has played in six games (four starts) with the Miami Heat this season, averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game. The second-year forward from Florida State has appeared in 41 career games (four starts) with the Heat, holding averages of 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes.

Prior to his stint with Miami, White was a NBA G League All-Star in 2016-17 after averaging 18.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 33.0 minutes over his 23 appearances with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He also played professionally with Aris B.C. of the Greek Basketball League where he was the Greek Basketball Player of the Year in 2015-16 and was a member of Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna in Italy in 2014-15.

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard MarShon Brooks to a multi-year contract.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “Brooks will sign for the remainder of the season and return to the Grizzlies for the 2018-19 campaign with a fully guaranteed deal, Yahoo Sports reported.”

Brooks signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on March 27.

Brooks (6-5, 200) has appeared in three games as a reserve for the Grizzlies and has averaged 23.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.67 steals in 25.3 minutes while shooting 57.1 percent from the field, 64.7 percent from three-point range and 84.6 percent from the free throw line. Brooks has recorded the most points (70) in franchise history of any player in his first three games with the team and is just the second Grizzlies player to average at least 20 points per game in his first three contests (Lorenzen Wright in 2001-02).

The 29-year-old led Memphis with 21 points in 21 minutes in his season debut on March 27, a 108-103 victory over Portland, his first NBA game in nearly four years (April 16, 2014). He then scored 24 points in 18 minutes on March 30 at Utah and a season-high 25 points in 36 minutes on April 4 at New Orleans. Brooks is the first player in franchise history to score at least 20 points in his first three games with the club; no other Grizzlies player had scored at least 20 points in his first two games with the team.

Before signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, Brooks starred for three seasons with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he appeared in 36 games (28 starts) during the 2017-18 season and averaged 36.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.00 steals in 37.6 minutes while leading the team to a 26-12 regular season record.

Selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Providence, Brooks has appeared in 167 regular season games (49 starts) during his three-year NBA career and has averaged 8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 17.7 minutes for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. He was named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Team with the Nets. The Long Branch, New Jersey native also has played in the NBA G League for the Maine Red Claws and Santa Cruz Warriors and has competed internationally for Emporio Armani Milano in the Italian Lega Basket Serie A.

Celtics sign Jonathan Gibson

The Boston Celtics signed guard Jonathan Gibson today.

Gibson’s lone NBA experience came last season in 2016-17, when he averaged 6.2 points (36.8% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 72.4% FT), 1.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 13.6 minutes played in 17 games with the Dallas Mavericks.

Gibson (6-2, 185 lbs.) comes to the Celtics after having spent this basketball season competing internationally with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 33.7 points on 44.6% shooting (37.4% 3-PT, 82.8% FT) to go along with 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 38 games (27 starts). The California native ranked fourth in the CBA in scoring, while his 3.9 three-point field goals per game ranked sixth.

The Celtics were able to sign Gibson after the league granted the team a hardship roster spot, following injuries to other Celtics players.

A four-year New Mexico State University product from 2006-07 to 2009-10, Gibson will wear No. 60 for the Celtics.

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