Adrian Wojnarowski

  • Stephen Curry is on a collision course with LeBron James to determine NBA supremacy

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 13 hrs ago

    HOUSTON – The shots kept falling, those long, gorgeous arcing balls that scrape the sky and destroy the wills of men. Stephen Curry had immersed himself in a ferocious flurry, the greatest shooter the sport's ever seen turning these Western Conference finals into the sublime. Out of nowhere, out of so much doubt, Curry has become the most improbable superstar in the sport.

    "I don't think we've ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does," Warriors coach Steve Kerr marveled.

    And so on Saturday night, something more washed over Curry on his way to 40 points, something seldom witnessed out of one of the most polite, obliging MVPs in the NBA's modern history. He stopped ignoring the taunts of courtside Houston Rockets fans and started giving it back to them. Another 3-pointer dropped, and he stood in the corner, preening, his scrawny chest puffed out, telling one befuddled fan to, "Sit down."

    "If they want to talk," Curry said late Saturday, "hopefully they can take some back."

  • Sources: Scott Skiles the frontrunner to become Magic's next coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Scott Skiles has emerged as the strong frontrunner to become head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Magic general manager Rob Hennigan has discussed the opening with several possible candidates, but Skiles has clearly separated himself in the process, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Although Orlando has thus far shown no inclination to rush into a hiring, discussions could soon advance into contract negotiations, league sources said.

    Skiles, 51, has been the preferred choice of Orlando ownership, which has been fond of him since his playing days with the Magic in the 1990s. Skiles fits the candidate profile that Hennigan privately outlined for the coaching search: a successful head-coaching résumé that includes strong emphasis on upgrading Orlando’s defense and accountability.

    In head-coaching stops in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee, Skiles developed a reputation for turning bad teams into competitive ones, and tightening porous defensive units. Nevertheless, Skiles also built a reputation for burning out teams and wearing out a path to his exit.

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  • Sources: Scott Brooks passing on interviews, likely sitting out next season

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks plans to pass on interview chances with the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans and appears inclined to sit out the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Brooks, 49, wants to coach again but plans to take the year to look at television opportunities and reconnect with his family living in California, sources said.

    Brooks has a 338-207 (.620) career coaching record, including three trips to the Western Conference finals and an appearance in the 2012 NBA Finals. Brooks was voted the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year. He has a player development track record with the Thunder that’ll contribute to his value on the coaching market next year. Under Brooks, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka grew into marquee talents.

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  • Sources: Patrick Beverley abandons hope of playing in West finals

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    After trying a second time on the eve of Game 1, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley couldn’t find the strength and mobility in his left wrist to believe there exists a chance that he can return in the Western Conference finals, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    “It’s a no-go for the series,” a league source told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “He’s done trying.”

    Beverley worked out twice Monday in the Bay Area, but a second trip to the gym Monday night convinced him to abandon hope for this series, which begins Tuesday night.

    Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale has been adamant that Beverley won’t return against the Golden State Warriors, but his guard’s determination kept Beverley searching for a way until late Monday night, sources said.

    Beverley still has a pin in his hand from surgery to repair a torn ligament, and the reaction times necessary to catch, pass and dribble are nowhere near the level needed for him to return in the near future, sources said.

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  • Sources: Pelicans meeting with Warriors' Alvin Gentry about coaching job

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    New Orleans Pelicans president Mickey Loomis and general manager Dell Demps are meeting with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry on Monday night in San Francisco, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Golden State granted permission for Gentry, the associate head coach, to interview for the head-coaching vacancy between playoff series, sources said.

    The Warriors play the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday in Oakland.

    Gentry is selling the idea of bringing an offensive system to New Orleans that would benefit star Anthony Davis, in part the way he did for NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry under Steve Kerr with the Warriors, league sources said.

    Gentry was 140-131 in three-plus years as the Phoenix Suns head coach, including a trip to the Western Conference finals. He was fired in 2013 after the Suns gutted the team in a rebuild.

    New Orleans has an interest in Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, but that intrigue belongs more with Loomis than Demps, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Thibodeau is waiting for the Bulls to initiate conversations about his future with the franchise, sources said. He has two years left on his contract.

  • After a colossal collapse against the Rockets, the Clippers are back on the brink

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    HOUSTON – One by one, the Los Angeles Clippers trudged off the Toyota Center floor and through a concrete corridor toward the losing locker room. From eyes empty to eyes enraged, a colossal collapse had conspired for a collision of confusion and contempt. Doc Rivers marched out dropping F-bombs. Chris Paul stared straight, silent. Steve Ballmer, gaunt and speechless.

    Off one of its great victories and onto one of its greatest humiliations, this franchise found itself on familiar footing: back on the defensive, back on the brink.

    "We took too long to get over the intoxication of beating the Spurs," Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports late Sunday afternoon. "I never thought we gave Houston the same focus that we gave the Spurs. Even though we were up 3-1, I never felt that way.

    "We stepped back instead of going forward."

    This was on Rivers, too, and he knew it. This was on the general manager and the coach, the way it was on the superstars Paul and Blake Griffin. Everyone has to own this one. In professional sports, victory can be fleeting, but failures fester.

    "… They got a little confident and then obviously we had the Game 6 debacle."

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  • Sources: Thunder coach Billy Donovan targeting Monty Williams, top assistants for staff

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    After locking in three members of his new coaching staff, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan is pursuing an ambitious list of ex-NBA head coaches and assistant coaches for the two most prominent roles on his bench, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Donovan has a targeted interest in several potential candidates, including ex-New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Chicago Bulls assistant Andy Greer and Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, league sources said.

    Another possibility could be the return of New York Knicks assistant Brian Keefe, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Keefe left ex-Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ Thunder staff to join Derek Fisher in New York a year ago. Keefe is well-regarded among Thunder management and players. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are among the players partial to Keefe.

    Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown passed on a chance to discuss joining Donovan’s staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Brown will be an assistant coach for Mark Few on USA Basketball’s entry in the Pan-Am Games in July.

     

  • Sources: Pelicans fire coach Monty Williams

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    After delivering the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons, coach Monty Williams was fired on Tuesday morning, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    General manager Dell Demps had been wrestling for greater control of the franchise and pushed out Williams. Around Williams’ staff this season, there was a sense of decreasing management support and unnecessary obstacles, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Williams, who had one year left on his contract and a team option for a second, had a scheduled meeting with management Tuesday morning, where there was an expectation that the franchise would pick up the 2016-17 option on his deal, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Instead, New Orleans president Mickey Loomis let Williams go.

    Williams, 43, led the Pelicans to the playoffs in the 2010-11 and 2014-15 seasons.

    On the final night of the regular season, New Orleans beat the San Antonio Spurs to qualify for the playoffs. As it turned out, it was a must-win for both teams.

    New Orleans is the third franchise to emerge with a head coaching opening, including Denver and Orlando. The presence of Davis makes the Pelicans the most appealing to prospective candidates.

  • Steve Kerr delivered Steph Curry a message before Game 4: Stop trying to do it yourself

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    Resist trying to do it yourself, Steph. Give the ball up, get it back and watch how the rhythm of it all transforms those misses into makes again.

    "I never worry about his confidence," Kerr told Yahoo Sports late Monday. "I don't worry about anything with him. I just feel like there are times that he wants so badly to win, he tries to do too much.

    "He's still learning. That sounds crazy, because he's the MVP of the league. But he's still learning how to develop that rhythm, how to be patient and just move the ball, makes the easy pass – instead of trying to do it himself. That way, he's much more likely to get hot in the game."

    This is why Kerr could be seen clenching his fist in telltale moments at FedEx Forum on Monday, watching the basketball move again, watching Curry get his shots in the flow of that gorgeous Golden State offense. No more air balls, no more wayward jumpers that had suddenly made everything feel so vulnerable about the NBA's best team.

    This series promises to be vital for the growth of this Golden State franchise, a resolved and relentless Grizzlies core challenging the Warriors to be tougher and together.

  • How LeBron James dictated terms in Game 2, and dictates them every day in Cleveland

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    CLEVELAND – On his walk out of the news conference and back to his office on Wednesday night, one of the senior management team's teenage kids stopped to ask David Blatt: Did they ask you why LeBron wore the headband again?

    So, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers stood in a corridor of Quicken Loans Arena, smiled and said that, yes, someone did make mention of that to him.

    "To be honest, I hadn't realized he was wearing it," Blatt said.

    Yes, this was the revelatory discovery of the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 2 revival on Wednesday night, a staged storyline of a headband that included a Jumbotron spoof on the discarded ornament. This is the surreal nature of life with the planet's best player and Northeast Ohio's prodigal son, odes to the mystical forces of a terry cloth crown atop King James that is treated as a legitimate factor for his success.

    Finally, Blatt sighed and shrugged. Here was the guy who had won the playoff game on Wednesday night.