Archive for April 13th, 2018

Some Lakers offseason targets

The Lakers are loaded with young talent. Will some well-established veteran stars be added to the mix? Should they be? Here’s the OC Register (via the LA Daily News website) reporting on some of LA’s likely top free agency targets this summer:

These days, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are a bit more coy about their plans to rebuild the Lakers – funny the effect half a million dollars in tampering fines can have – but the team’s top executives remain no less certain of their ability to land superstars who can lead the Lakers back to the top of the NBA.

“We are going to find success one way or another,” Pelinka said Friday. “It is not going to be contingent on any specific decision of another player.”

The Lakers have long been expected to chase the top two free agents in this summer’s class, LeBron James and Paul George. After clearing salary cap space by trading Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson in February, Johnson and Pelinka massaged those expectations, saying their cap flexibility allowed them to add two maximum-level free agents from the classes of 2018 and ’19, and not both necessarily this year.

“We’re not going to give money away just to say we signed somebody,” Johnson said.

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Nets have not had an All-Star for years

In the NBA, players that make the All-Star team tend to be scorers above all. Or great point guards. But usually, regardless of position, it’s a player who can put points on the board. Which is pretty important. The Nets have gone years without an All-Star. For more on that, here’s the NY Post:

The Nets have not had an All-Star in four years, and it has been far longer since they had a young franchise player to build around. They’re convinced D’Angelo Russell can be that, but only if he buys in and gets more consistent.

“Nobody in this arena will question his talent. You just want him to do it consistently,” said DeMarre Carroll, 31, who has been tasked with taking Russell under his wing. “D’Angelo’s probably the closest thing we have to an All-Star on our team if he did it consistently. Me, being his big brother, being a leader, I just challenge him to come in and hit it hard every day…

The Nets haven’t had an All-Star since 32-year-old Joe Johnson in 2013-14. That might be unrealistic, but they have bet high on the 22-year-old Russell, who dealt with a knee surgery that cost him 32 straight games.

“We’ve got a long way to go, me and him,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “But he’s headed in the right direction. With each game I compare it to a rookie quarterback, second, third-year quarterback not forcing it into tight areas. His shot selection’s improving, defensively he’s getting after it. I’m just pleased. There’s a serenity to him now.”

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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.

Here’s the New York Post with the latest on Nets guard Jeremy Lin, who is coming off of serious injury and aims to be a key Brooklyn Net in 2018-19:

Jeremy Lin aims to start for Nets next season

Jeremy Lin endured hamstring injuries his first year with the Nets and ruptured his patella tendon in this season’s opener.

But after having to actually change the way he moves — undoing 29 years of muscle memory isn’t exactly like wiping a hard drive — his marathon rehab is finally in the home stretch.

As the Nets wrap up this season, Lin said when they tip off the next he expects to resume his role as a starter and leader — even in a crowded backcourt that includes D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.

“I came here having the same role. I don’t expect it to change,” Lin said. “If it does, it’ll be something we communicate over. But I’m not even thinking that far in advance. I’m thinking about my health, about moving properly. And I have full confidence if I’m doing that, everything will be [OK]. Everything will make up for lost time, and we’ll see what I’d envisioned my time in Brooklyn being.”

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No Joel Embiid in Sixers vs Heat Game 1

The Playoffs begin Saturday. The Sixers enter the postseason on a 16-game winning streak. But the health status of Joel Embiid continues to be a confounding issue. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

The Sixers will start the playoffs Saturday night without starting center Joel Embiid.

“[Embiid] will not play in Game 1,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday morning. “He will not play in Game 1 and from that point going forward, we’ll figure some stuff out. Unless something remarkable happens, Dan, I don’t plan on him playing in Game 1.”

The Sixers officially ruled out Embiid for Game 1 on Friday afternoon.

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And here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Embiid has missed the past eight games after sustaining the injury and a concussion in a March 28 game against the New York Knicks.

Journeyman big man Amir Johnson has been starting in place of Embiid, with the 76ers undefeated in the interim, with Philadelphia ending the regular season on a 16-game winning streak.

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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.”

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