Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical

  • If Phil Jackson doesn't want to coach the Knicks, he ought to let someone else

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    NEW YORK – As a young NBA coach, the fastest path to losing a locker room comes this way: Behave like a player. To fly to California and visit a girlfriend in the middle of the New York Knicks' training camp – engaging Matt Barnes in a Tom-and-Jerry tussle-and-chase – cost Derek Fisher dearly. Fisher lost the moral high ground inside Madison Square Garden, lost a measure of gravitas as a leader of men.

    The embarrassment of his unfilmed "Real Housewives" episode didn't cost Fisher his job as Knicks coach, but it did start him on a slippery slope toward his firing on Monday. That October weekend odyssey was Fisher's choice, and the blame for it all – including the failure to return to New York in time to conduct a Knicks practice – belongs to him.

    Still, sometimes culture influences behavior inside organizations. Think Fisher never saw Phil Jackson bolting town to see Jeanie Buss? As one member of the Knicks organization wondered, "Where would [Fisher] get the idea that it was OK to fly to California on an off day to see your girlfriend?"

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  • Sources: Kings strongly weighing the firing of coach George Karl

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac were so livid about a blowout defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night – the franchise’s sixth loss in seven games – they were strongly weighing the firing of coach George Karl, league sources told The Vertical.

    “An overreaction to the loss” was how one league source involved in the conversations on Karl’s job status described the organization’s response late Friday night.

    As hours passed following the 128-119 loss to the Nets, there were indications that Karl could be spared long enough to coach the Kings on Sunday in Boston. Nevertheless, Karl has rapidly lost support in management and some parts of the locker room, league sources told The Vertical.

    The loss to Brooklyn – one of the league’s worst teams at 13-38 – fostered further dissatisfaction with the Kings’ defensive performance under Karl this season. Karl, one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, was hired in mid-February a year ago, replacing interim coach Tyrone Corbin. The revolving door of Kings coaches has contributed to the franchise’s instability.

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  • The Woj Report: Blake Griffin's future

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Griffin, who is sidelined with a broken hand following a fight with a Clippers staff member, is likely destined for trade talks this summer if the Clippers fail to make a significant run in the Western Conference playoffs, Woj reports.

    The Clippers have significant interest in luring Oklahoma City Thunder free agent Kevin Durant – and that alone would precipitate the unloading of Griffin via trade, Woj reports.


  • Sources: 76ers promote exec to new position

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    The Philadelphia 76ers promoted executive Brandon  Williams to the newly created position of chief of staff, reporting to general manager Sam Hinkie, league sources told The Vertical.

    In Williams' new role, he’ll have broader oversight on matters that include player development, agent relations and recruiting.

    Sixers chairman Jerry Colangelo has to sign off on organizational moves involving basketball operations.

    Williams, 40, had been general manager of the Sixers’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. He has performed the duties of an assistant general manager under Hinkie, working on player personnel, trade calls and scouting. Hinkie hired Williams in 2013, shortly after he took over the organization. Williams will continue to oversee the D-League affiliate.

    Williams worked eight years in the league office, including a stint as the associate vice president of basketball operations. He played parts of three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks in the NBA from 1997-2003 and played several years overseas. Williams played basketball at Davidson and earned a law degree at Rutgers.

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  • Sources: Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s return date set

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. is set to make his season debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, league sources told The Vertical.

    The plan for Dunleavy to play on Saturday is dependent on him not suffering any physical setbacks between now and then. Dunleavy will travel with the Bulls to Denver for Friday's game against the Nuggets.

    After undergoing back surgery and a setback during the in-season rehab process, Dunleavy recently returned to full-contact practices and workouts. He spent two days practicing with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League and flew to meet the Bulls in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday.

    The Bulls are desperate for Dunleavy, 35, to make an impact, especially with injuries to Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls are 26-21, holding onto fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

    Dunleavy was a significant part of the Bulls' success last season, averaging 10.9 points, four rebounds and 2.6 assists in the Bulls' 12 postseason games.

    Dunleavy has averaged 11.7 points in 13 NBA seasons with Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana and Golden State.

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  • The Vertical Podcast with Woj: Brian Scalabrine

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Brian Scalabrine visits with Adrian Wojnarowski in the New York studio for the The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

    With a lot of laughs, Scalabrine discusses the details around former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson dismissing him as an assistant, thinking he was going to die on a D-League road trip, the great Alonzo Mourning-Kenyon Martin practice fracas with the Nets and how former Nets executive Rod Thorn responded to Scal’s $15 million free-agent offer from the Boston Celtics.

    In The Vertical Insider Segment, The Vertical contributor Nick DePaula – the preeminent sneaker reporter in the industry – joins Woj in studio to discuss the impact of the shoe industry on NBA transactions. DePaula also discusses the signature shoe deals of Kobe Bryant, James Harden and several league stars.

    Click here to download the podcast on iTunes, or listen here or on Yahoo Sports.

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  • Chris Duhon vows to make 'lifestyle changes' after return from suspension

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    After completing a two-month suspension for a drunken driving charge, Marshall University assistant coach Chris Duhon – a nine-year NBA veteran – insists he's returned far more serious to the coaching craft and committed to living a less cluttered post-playing life.

    "After having something you love taken away from you like this, you have to really sit back and be honest with yourself, and understand there are lifestyle changes that you need to make," Duhon told The Vertical recently.

    After a November arrest, Duhon was charged with a single count of DUI after he had been found slumped at his steering wheel in a parked car in Huntington, W.Va. Duhon's blood alcohol level was more than twice the state's legal limit.

    After Duhon was unable to get an NBA playing job for what would've been his 10th NBA season, he accepted a job on Dan D'Antoni's coaching staff at Marshall for the 2014-15 season.

    Duhon says it has become clear to him that his playing career is complete – and his full focus has to be on pursuing a coaching career. He returns to the Marshall season on Thursday night.

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  • Sources: Suns’ T.J. Warren to miss rest of season with broken foot

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren will miss the rest of the season with a broken right foot, league sources told The Vertical.

    It is immediately unclear if Warren will need surgery, but he’s expected to make a full recovery, a league source said.

    He had an MRI on Monday in Phoenix after returning from the team's trip to Dallas and a fracture was found in his foot, league sources said.

    He played 20 minutes in a loss to the New York Knicks on Friday.

    The Suns, losers of 19 of 21 games, have been besieged with injuries, including the loss of guard Eric Bledsoe for the season to meniscus surgery.

    Warren, 22, had moved into the Suns’ starting lineup, averaging 11 points on 50.1 percent shooting this season. He’s been one of the franchise’s promising young players amid what’s dissolved into a lost season. Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was fired on Monday morning, replaced by interim coach Earl Watson.

    Warren was the 14th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of North Carolina State. He had averaged 22.8 minutes this season in 47 games.

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  • Sources: Warriors serious threat to sign Kevin Durant

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    The Warriors already have everything and yet they’re threatening to take more now. Steph Curry. Klay Thompson. Draymond Green. Committed ownership. Bob Myers, the executive of the year. Steve Kerr, a championship coach. Yes, Golden State has everything, including the ability to create the salary-cap spaceand a belief that Durant’s persona could fit seamlessly – even onto a potential two-time defending champion.

    Make no mistake: Durant isn’t close to gone in Oklahoma City – no decision, no leaning, sources said – but the real threats on the summer market are beginning to reveal themselves. Durant is determined to win – to be an immediate championship contender at 27 years old – and that keeps bringing him back to the Warriors should he make the decision to leave Oklahoma City.

    Outside of a Thunder championship closing down the process before July 1, there’s a strong expectation that Durant will hit the road, tour campuses and become a recruit again.

    This limits his choices, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers with little, if any, chance.

    Think we’re unbeatable now?

    Just wait.

  • Sources: Bob Hill to join Suns staff

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    Bob Hill is joining the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach, league sources told The Vertical.

    Hill, an NBA head coach with New York, Indiana, San Antonio and Seattle, will join interim coach Earl Watson’s staff.

    In his most recent NBA job, Hill was fired as Seattle’s head coach in 2007. Watson played point guard for the Sonics under Hill.

    The Suns fired coach Jeff Hornacek on Sunday night.

    In late December, the Suns fired experienced assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting.

    Watson has a brief coaching résumé, including one year in the NBA Development League and part of a season behind the bench on the Suns staff.