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Agent: D'Antoni, Lakers agree to four-year deal

Agent: D'Antoni, Lakers agree to four-year deal | NBA news and analysis | Scoop.it

The Los Angeles Lakers, in a surprising move, announced Monday morning that they have signed former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni to replace Mike Brown as head coach.

 

A league source said D'Antoni gets a three-year deal worth $12 million with a club option in the fourth year. D'Antoni's agent Warren LeGarie confirmed the deal late Sunday night, several hours after the Lakers beat Sacramento 103-90 for their second straight win under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

 

The Lakers said they plan to hold a news conference most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. In a statement released by the team, Lakers spokesperson John Black said team owner Jerry Buss, executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak were "unanimous that D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time."

 

"I love PJ but I'm very excited about D'Antoni," Kobe Bryant told ESPN early Monday.

 

Sources told ESPN that Jackson's triangle offense was seen as a benefit to Bryant and Pau Gasol but not as conducive to the rest of the players on the roster -- namely point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard. Another strike against the triangle was the fact that this Lakers team struggled mightily to pick up the similarly complicated Princeton-style offense being instituted by Brown.

 

A league source indicated late Sunday night that Jackson was "stunned" when the Lakers called to inform him they had chosen D'Antoni. He had been prepared to accept the job Monday if negotiations between his agent and the Lakers went well. Jackson's agent Todd Musberger had been scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Monday.

 

Jackson and the Lakers had never spoken about a salary, the source said, "but he knew coaches don't make what he used to make anymore." Despite reports to the contrary, Jackson, the source said, also never intended to miss any more road games than he had in his previous years with the Lakers.

 

"Phil would come back only to win and skipping games doesn't lead to winning," the source said.

 

D'Antoni had knee surgery at the beginning of November and hasn't yet been cleared to travel, according to sources. "It'll be a couple of days before he comes in, but he's further along than people believe," a source said.

 

Another source said D'Antoni must receive clearance from his knee specialist to fly and also to limit his medication. He is expected to arrive in L.A. on Wednesday at the earliest and Thursday at the latest. It's doubtful, though possible, he coaches Friday's game, the source said.

 

There is a possibility that Bickerstaff will remain interim head coach even after D'Antoni's introductory news conference, according to a source, if D'Antoni isn't feeling physically able to coach games just yet.

 

Part of the current crop of leftovers from Brown's staff are expected to be retained by D'Antoni, and he will bring in "one or two" new coaches, according to a source. Two candidates to join D'Antoni are his older brother and longtime assistant, Dan D'Antoni, as well Phil Weber, another longtime aide.

 

D'Antoni spent five seasons coaching Nash in Phoenix. Nash won two MVP awards while running D'Antoni's signature up-tempo offense, and they won at least 54 games in each of D'Antoni's last four seasons.

 

D'Antoni then coached New York for the past four seasons, resigning last March after a largely unsuccessful tenure featuring just one playoff appearance and no postseason victories.

 

Nash and Bryant expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of playing for D'Antoni, although Bryant eagerly campaigned for a third stint for Jackson on the Lakers' bench. Bryant idolized D'Antoni while growing up in Italy, where D'Antoni was a star player in the Italian league.

 

"Obviously I think everyone knows how much I love Mike," Nash said Sunday night prior to the hiring. "If (D'Antoni) were to coach, it would be seamless and terrific for me, and I think the team as well."

The Lakers have improved to 3-4 after following up their winless preseason with four losses in their first five regular-season games, the club's worst start since 1993.

 

Brown was fired after the Lakers stumbled badly out of the gate, struggling to learn his Princeton-inflected offense and playing mediocre defense. D'Antoni has a reputation as an offensive-minded coach.

 

The Lakers' next game is Tuesday night against San Antonio. Phoenix visits Staples Center on Friday.

 

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and Arash Markazi, ESPN.com's J.A. Adande, and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Curry gets four-year extension from Warriors

Curry gets four-year extension from Warriors | NBA news and analysis | Scoop.it

News:

 

The Golden State Warriors and star guard Stephen Curry have reached terms on a contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

 

The Warriors and Curry's camp have finalized a four-year deal worth $11 million annually, according to the Contra Costa Times, that will take effect starting next season.

 

Golden State was keen to secure Curry long-term as one of its two cornerstones, alongside center Andrew Bogut, despite Curry's ongoing struggles with ankle problems.

 

My Analysis:

 

Curry's ankle his history has always concerned me. It seems that everytime i watch ESPN, I see the scroll at the bottom flash another curry injury.

 

Golden State hasn't been much of a threat, and trading away Monta Ellis last season sent away their biggest star. Curry has always had potential, especially with defense and sharpshooting abilities, but how long can GS bank of that potential? At what point do you notice that his ankles just aren't strong enough to withstand the strain of a 82 game season?

 

This extension seems to be one of fear. I guess $11M is a fair offer, but if were general manager I'd sign him to a shorter deal and continue to evaluate his health. Golden State can't afford to have this turn into a Brandon Roy situation

 

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Mavericks' Nowitzki has surgery, out six weeks

Mavericks' Nowitzki has surgery, out six weeks | NBA news and analysis | Scoop.it

News:

 

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery on his bothersome right knee Friday.

 

The Mavericks announced that Nowitzki, 34, is expected to resume on-court activities within approximately six weeks, which means he will miss the beginning of the regular season.

 

The Mavericks' medical staff drained the knee twice this month, and the swelling returned within days both times. Nowitzki's knee did not respond as hoped to a program of rest, icing and low-impact conditioning work this week, leading to the decision to get the knee scoped.

 

The Mavs have 13 regular-season games scheduled during that six-week window.

 

The Mavs open the season on the road Oct. 30 against the Los Angeles Lakers, and six of their next eight opponents were lottery teams last season.

 

My Analysis:

 

This leaves big D in a quite a predicament to start the season. Dallas was one of the most aggressive teams in free agency this offseason, and Nowitzki's absence will limit the growth of team chemistry. Darren Collision, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand are all new to the team and were brought in to support Dirk. It'll be extremely hard to win without him, especially since the new acquisitions don't have clearly defined roles yet. Tough break.

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Lakers fire Brown after 1-4 start to season

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown has been fired after a disappointing 1-4 start to the season, the team announced on Friday.

 

"I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers' storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me," Brown said in a statement. "I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward."

 

Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will take over as interim coach for Friday night's home game against the Warriors.

 

The Lakers have not decided yet whether to hire a more established head coach or continue on with Bickerstaff. A source indicated that this decision was more about Brown's performance than an eagerness to pursue one of the veteran coaches who are currently available, such as Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan or Jerry Sloan. However it is unlikely Bickerstaff would be the long-term option.

 

Earlier Friday, sources had told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the team was using its upcoming six-game homestand to evaluate Brown, but after numerous discussions over the past 48 hours, Lakers management came to a unanimous decision that the team clearly wasn't heading in the right direction and it was best to fire him now.

 

The decision is in keeping with the Lakers "win now" mentality after acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in blockbuster trades this summer. Relieving Brown of his duties now also comes at a substantial cost, as he was in just the second year of a four-year, $18 million deal. The final year of that contract was only partially guaranteed.

 

The Lakers have had a healthy Nash in the lineup for only 1½ of their five games so far thanks to a leg injury, while Howard has acknowledged that he's still recovering from the back surgery that brought a premature end to his 2011-12 campaign and knocked him out of the London Olympics. Kobe Bryant has also been playing through a foot ailment.


The Lakers are off to the worst start in the Western Conference despite carrying the league's largest payroll at just over $100 million, which would trigger an estimated luxury-tax bill at season's end of nearly $30 million.

 

The team has also been trying to institute a form of the Princeton offense, a system that relies on reads and ball sharing in order to take some of the offensive load off Bryant. But the talented Lakers went 0-8 during the preseason for the first time in franchise history before stumbling into the regular season with an 0-3 start. After finally winning last Sunday, the Lakers looked listless again in a loss at Utah on Wednesday.

 

ESPN's Kurt Rambis gives his thoughts on why Mike Brown was unsuccessful in LA, breaks down the type of system which would work with the Lakers and more.

 

Brown was among three finalists to interview for the job when Jackson retired. Rick Adelman and former assistant coach Brian Shaw were the others. Adelman is currently in Minnesota, while Shaw is an assistant in Indiana. The Lakers would need to request permission from Indiana to speak with Shaw, who would be a popular choice with their players. According to sources, they have not done so.

 

The Lakers plan to speak with "four or five" coaches, a source with knowledge of the front office's thinking told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin.

 

"It's not going to be a long process, that's for damn sure," the source told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "But they're going to do their due diligence."

 

Lakers legend Magic Johnson reacted to Brown's firing on Twitter.

 

"Feel bad for Coach Mike Brown, who's a great guy, but don't think he was the right guy for the job in the first place," he tweeted.

 

As for possible replacements, Johnson tweeted: "I'd love to see Phil Jackson or Brian Shaw. Wish Pat Riley was available."

 

Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Sources: Harden, Rockets agree to $80M deal

Sources: Harden, Rockets agree to $80M deal | NBA news and analysis | Scoop.it

News:

 

The Houston Rockets agreed with guard James Harden on a five-year, $80 million contract Wednesday, league sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.

 

The deal comes four days after the Rockets pulled off a stunning trade to acquire Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Houston sent shooting guard Kevin Martin and 2012 first-round draft pick Jeremy Lamb to Oklahoma City, along with future draft choices

.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called Harden a "foundational player" on Monday, stating that the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is "a player we can build around."

 

The Rockets, who also signed point guard Jeremy Lin this offseason, visit the Detroit Pistons in their regular-season opener Wednesday.

 

My Analysis:

 

All those years of playing the sixth man role for the Thunder has finally payed off for James Harden. Coming down the stretch of last season it became clear that it would be tough for OKC to retain Harden's services.

 

The first problem arose from the financial state of the organization. After signing Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka to big money deals, there wasnt enough cap room left to offer Harden a max deal. Unlike other teams, the Thunder, who still reside in a small market, cant bear excessive luxury taxes.

 

The second problem arose from Harden's role on the team. Both Harden and fans knew he could start on any other team in the legue, but OKC's best chance to win came with Harden as the sixth man. Nobody wants to come off the bench, especially when you have the intangibles to build a bigger brand on another team.

 

I don't know if Harden is worth $80M, but i do know that the Rockets' young guard combination is no slouch.

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NBA establishes new anti-flopping penalties

NBA establishes new anti-flopping penalties | NBA news and analysis | Scoop.it

News:

 

The NBA officially adopted an anti-flopping policy Wednesday, announcing a new rule that will that will fine repeat offenders this season.

 

Any player who flops during a regular-season game will be subject to a series of penalties, beginning with a warning for first-time violators. After the warning, players will be fined in increments of $5,000 for each additional flop over the course of the season. The fines increase to $30,000 for a fifth offense.

 

The NBA stated it would consider suspending any player who violates the anti-flopping rule more than five times in the regular season. The league said it will announce at a later date a separate set of penalties for flopping during the postseason
.
Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should -- after a warning -- be given an automatic penalty."

 

The league defined flopping as "any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player" in an official release.

 

My Analysis:

 

I commend the NBA on attempting to limit flopping, but exactly how can they enforce this? Answer - a video review. Really? The block-charge easily takes the cake as the most difficult call to officiate. If a flop fools an official during crunch time and a team loses on game-winning free throws what should happen? We know the answer to this. The league will issue some weak PR statement about how it was a bad call and absolutely nothing else will happen.

 

The NBA is on the right track to keep integrity and sportsmanship as key principles of the game, but they may have bitten off more than they can chew with this one. Burdening the league office with hours of block-charge calls isnt the solution, but I guess it's a start. Time is the only measuring stick for if this will work. In the meantime, I completely agree with Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

 

"I think it needs to be addressed. I think the steps they're taking right now, I think will benefit the game. I do. It remains to be seen if it truly has an impact. But I think it's a step in the right direction," Spoelstra said.

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