The minds behind Ball Don’t Lie are going to preview each of the parings in the third round, with Kelly Dwyer going against character for a more genial take, Dan Devine bringing his inimitable mixture of both order and bedlam, along with Eric Freeman’s legendary look inside the reputations of some of the series’ key fixtures. We begin with the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. Which team do you think will win the series, and in how many games? Vote here to let us know what you think.
On Saturday morning Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors were hot to trot for Denver Nuggets personnel chief Masai Ujiri , which is a smart trot to be hot for, considering that Ujiri once worked for the Raptors, and the reigning NBA Executive of the Year. Prior to that news, though, the team was leaning on stranger outfits to guide their search. The Toronto Raptors had been rumored to be hot on Phil Jackson’s trail , not as a head coach, but for a job running the team’s front office. They’re also trying to figure out the direction of the franchise after yet another year lost to the middling depths of the low lottery, while sussing out a payroll that currently is set to send them into luxury tax territory next season. They also have until Monday, because of a contract deadline, to determine whether or not current general manager Bryan Colangelo will be the man to lead them out of the mess that, um, Bryan Colangelo just made. It’s clear that Tim Leiweke (the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) needs some help in figuring out what to do with the team his company owns, and any outside help is appreciated. Instead of going with a basketball mind, someone who has been there before or someone who is willing to think in hoop-related terms while minding this mess, MLSE has gone elsewhere. They’ve hired a head-hunting firm, weirdly. From the great Doug Smith at the Toronto Star : While not officially on the job yet, Leiweke has been given all responsibility to determine Colangelo’s fate. The two men have met and discussed plans for the Raptors future but neither has spoken publicly about their feelings.
Phil Jackson went on Jay Leno’s late night television show on Thursday to promote his book "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success," speaking on record at the peak of the NBA’s coach-grabbing season . Though Jackson has spent most of the spring talking up his potential as a front office fixture , Leno couldn’t resist asking Jackson if a return to the sidelines was probable for the 67-year old 13-time (counting his playing career) NBA champion, along with other various tawdry subjects, and the inevitable comparison between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant . Jay Leno, who is no stranger to openly musing about taking someone’s job while that person still actually has the job, also asked if Jackson would consider returning to the Los Angeles Lakers as head coach should Mike D’Antoni be asked to move the Tonight Show to midnight be fired in the offseason. Jackson, at around the two-minute mark of this video, was tactful in his response. Watch:
|Adrian Wojnarowski||Los Angelesin 7||The 2-3-2 format is such an advantage to the home team. Just don't see a way Kobe doesn't close out in a Game 6 or 7 at Staples. Chance for epic series between these two teams full of great players and great winners.|
|Marc J. Spears||Los Angelesin 7||The Lakers have no one to slow down Rajon Rondo, but Kobe Bryant is playing on a higher level offensively than anyone in the postseason.|
|Johnny Ludden||Los Angelesin 7||For all the injuries he's dealt with, Kobe looks remarkably fresh. He'll need to trust his teammates more than he did in '08, but they'll also give him more of a reason to do so.|
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