Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 6 hrs ago
Scott Skiles is continuing discussions with the Orlando Magic, inching closer to a partnership to become the franchise's head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Magic officials are convinced that Skiles is the best choice to deliver a young roster into playoff contention and have moved to the cusp of contract negotiations, league sources said.
Conversations between the Magic and Skiles will continue on Thursday in Orlando, league sources said.
Skiles 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 general manager Rob Hennigan outlined for the search: a successful head-coaching résumé that includes strong emphasis on upgrading Orlando's defense and accountability.
Before turning full attention back to Skiles, Hennigan met with Los Angeles Clippers assistant Mike Woodson in Southern California over the weekend, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Woodson built a young, lottery-ridden Atlanta Hawks roster into a consistent playoff team. Atlanta reached the Eastern Conference playoffs three times, including two trips to the East semifinals.
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 12 hrs ago
The New Orleans Pelicans’ coaching search is gathering momentum, a process that included a formal interview Tuesday with Jeff Van Gundy, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Van Gundy, one of the NBA’s top available coaches, and New Orleans officials met in the Bay Area to discuss the opening. The sides had spoken over the phone, but this was the first face-to-face meeting, league sources said.
For now, New Orleans officials and Van Gundy are beginning the process of getting to know each other. Van Gundy had traveled to the Bay Area for his role as a television analyst for the Western Conference finals.
New Orleans general manager Dell Demps met with another candidate, Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry, in the Bay Area prior to the start of the Western Conference finals.
It is possible Demps will meet with Gentry a second time in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Golden State officials will only allow interviews between playoff series.
New Orleans officials have been active in making calls on Van Gundy, researching his successful seasons as head coach of the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks.
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Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
HOUSTON – One by one, these Golden State powerbrokers left courtside seats and started a solemn walk through the concrete corridors of the Toyota Center. Soon, Joe Lacob gathered speed, pushing faster and faster. Behind him, his Warriors co-owner, Peter Gruber, simply started to run. Steph Curry had gone down hard, been hustled into the locker room and suddenly everything about this championship chase hung in the air – hung the way that the NBA's Most Valuable Player had in those terrifying moments before crashing down onto his head.
The Warriors had come for a Western Conference coronation on Monday night, and now Curry lay flat on the floor, face down. He had flipped over a Houston Rocket, lost his balance and his bearings, and slammed into the court. Dazed, Curry had been unsure of how badly he had hurt himself. He made a surreal, sluggish walk to undergo the NBA's concussion protocol. Every step of the way, a part of Curry wondered whether they'd let him back onto the floor again.
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days 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."
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days 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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Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 7 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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Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 8 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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Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 9 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.
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 10 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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Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 11 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.