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NBA Roundup: Spurs GM named NBA Executive of Year for first time

The SportsXchange

San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has been named NBA Executive of the Year, the league announced Wednesday.

Buford assembled a roster this season that featured six players averaging double figures in scoring and eight players averaging 20 or more minutes. The Spurs clinched homecourt advantage for the 2014 postseason by virtue of having posted the league's best record at 62-20 (.756).

San Antonio was the only team to record 30-plus wins both at home (32-9, .780) and on the road (30-11, .732), and the 2013-14 campaign marked the 15th consecutive season that the Spurs posted 50-plus wins -- an NBA record.

The longstanding trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker has been fortified in recent years with the additions of Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills (third seasons with the team), as well as Danny Green and Tiago Splitter (fourth seasons with the team). Buford added Marco Belinelli this past offseason, who fit seamlessly into the rotation, with averages of 11.4 points per game.

Buford becomes the third Spurs executive to win the award, joining Angelo Drossos (1977-78 season) and Bob Bass (1989-90 season).

In his 23rd year with the franchise, Buford has previously held the positions of assistant coach, head scout, director of scouting and vice president/assistant general manager before being tabbed with his current title as Spurs general manager in July 2002.

Buford totaled 58 points and received nine first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team basketball executives throughout the NBA. The Phoenix Suns' Ryan McDonough finished second with 47 points (five first-place votes) votes and the Portland Trail Blazers' Neil Olshey finished third with 34 points (five first-place votes).

---Already a leading candidate to become head coach of the New York Knicks, Steve Kerr is expected to be courted by the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors.

Kerr could be the most widely coveted coaching candidate who has never been a coach at any level.

Kerr is currently working as TNT's lead NBA basketball game analyst. He worked as general manager of the Phoenix Suns after retiring from the NBA but has no coaching experience.

Kerr lives in San Diego and would prefer to stay on the West Coast. However, his former college coach at Arizona, Lute Olson, said this week that going to New York is not an issue for Kerr because his children are in college and his wife already gave her blessing.

Kerr helped the Chicago Bulls win three NBA titles in the 1990s as a player when current Knicks president Phil Jackson was coach. He also won two NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 and 2003.

He met with Jackson over a two-day visit to New York last month and is expected to decide whether to replace Mike Woodson as Knicks head coach soon.

---Mark Jackson, fired Tuesday after a 51-win season with the Golden State Warriors, said not playing the game on the business side might have been his downfall.

The former head coach said it was not fair to him if he was fired for what is being portrayed by team officials as a personality rift.

Had he not been fired during a meeting with management, Jackson said he would have demanded changes or offered his resignation.

Jackson said he was not contacted by the New York Knicks and isn't sure what to expect the rest of the offseason.

---The Indiana Pacers announced that injured center Andrew Bynum will not only miss the remainder of the NBA playoffs, but will not return to the team even after he heals.

"We want to thank Andrew and our medical staff for trying to get the issues with his knee resolved," Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement. "We wish him the best in the future."

Bynum was signed as a free agent Feb. 1, and played in just two games with averages of 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.

---The NBA advisory/finance committee met Wednesday regarding the Los Angeles Clippers, but made no final decision in the search for the team's new CEO.

The committee will meet again next week, according to a statement by Mike Bass, executive vice president of communications:

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million on April 29 by commissioner Adam Silver for racist remarks he made.

The NBA also announced last week that it will appoint a CEO to oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

In the fallout from the Sterling ban, the NBA announced Tuesday that Clippers president Andy Roeser was taking an indefinite leave of absence.
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