Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your little chocolate doughnuts.

Phil Jasner, Phildephia News: "The end of Eddie Jordan's brief tenure as coach of the 76ers appears to be imminent, possibly as soon as tomorrow, the day after the final game of the NBA regular season. At the same time, former Sixers coach Larry Brown told the Daily News that he intends to continue coaching the Charlotte Bobcats and that he is not interested in coaching anywhere else. Jordan's time with the Sixers is expected to be over, despite his having 2 years remaining on his 3-year contract. It will end because the season has been a disappointment from the very start; the Sixers go into tonight's game with a record of 27-54, their first 50-loss season since 1997-98, when Brown began a 6-year run with the team. But despite a report in the New York Post that Brown had received approval from new Bobcats owner Michael Jordan to return to Philadelphia 'to take control of the 76ers from top to bottom,' Brown insisted that was old news. 'I can't speculate on what the Sixers will do, but I'm not coaching anywhere else,' said Brown, who has been with the Bobcats for two seasons and has two years remaining on his contract. 'I love Michael Jordan. He gave me a chance even after the [bad] experience I had in New York. I've been happy. My goal is for us to do well in these playoffs. It's been great for us. We've never been to the playoffs.' He said he would not coach anywhere but Charlotte, 'even if Michael gave me his blessing.' "

Ric Bucher, "The Los Angeles Clippers will not challenge the Philadelphia 76ers in attempting to lure Bobcats coach Larry Brown away from Charlotte, a league source said Tuesday. Clippers owner Donald Sterling entertained the idea of bringing Brown back to L.A., where he coached the Clippers to consecutive playoff appearances in the '90s, after Brown inquired through intermediaries about succeeding fired GM/coach Mike Dunleavy, multiple sources confirmed. There is private speculation among league executives that Brown fanned the Clippers' interest simply to motivate the 76ers. Much has been made of Brown supposedly wanting to return to L.A., but he sold his home in Malibu more than a year ago and has no other remaining ties to the area. His wife and kids are all based in Philadelphia."

Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald: "It is quite possible Doc Rivers is nearing the end of his run as coach of the Celtics. Sources have told the Herald that he is leaning toward leaving the bench after this season, but Rivers insisted yesterday no final decision has been made. There has been similar speculation in the past, but this time the planets seem better aligned for a move. One of Rivers' sons, Jeremiah, will be a senior next season on the Indiana University hoop team and daughter Callie, a volleyball star, will be in her final year at the University of Florida. Another son, Austin, is a top basketball prospect who will be finishing high school. Even in the midst of a brutal NBA schedule, Rivers makes several detours to watch his kids play, and it is no secret he would like to be there for them on a more consistent basis. There also is the fact the Celtics appear headed for some major offseason issues. While the club still is hoping for a strong playoff run, there will have to be some measure of reconstruction this summer." "Don Nelson will be back on the Golden State bench next season. Nelson reiterated before Tuesday night's final home game against the Jazz he would return next season to fulfill the final year of his contract for the Warriors, and general manager Larry Riley said that would be the case barring any unforeseen circumstances. Last week in Minnesota, Nelson earned his 1,333rd victory to move him past Lenny Wilkens for the top spot on the NBA's wins list. So, why come back at all for one more year? Nelson, who turns 70 on May 15, likes his young players and wants to keep helping them develop."

Bill Ruthhart, Indianapolis Star: "The Indiana Pacers would consider all options — including moving the NBA franchise to a new city — if the city doesn't agree to cover the cost to run Conseco Fieldhouse. Since the 18,345-seat venue opened 11 years ago, the Pacers' lease with the city has required the organization to pay for the building's general operating costs, estimated at $15 million per year. But since March 2009, owner Herb Simon and the Pacers' top brass have insisted the economics of operating a small-market NBA franchise make it fiscally impossible to also pay to keep the arena running. The Pacers signed their current 20-year lease with the city in 1999, but a clause in that contract allows the team to renegotiate its terms with the city's Capital Improvement Board after 10 years. The Pacers, members of the CIB and Mayor Greg Ballard's administration have held behind-closed-doors negotiations on that lease, which have centered on the team's push to have the CIB pick up the $15 million operating tab. Those negotiations now, however, have reached a critical stage. On Tuesday, Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris said if a deal isn't inked by June 30, Simon would have to start searching for other solutions, and nothing would be off the table. 'We've been having conversations with the Ballard administration for two years,' Morris said, 'and we're now at the point where we need to wrap this up in the next 30, 40 days.' If that doesn't happen, he said, 'Herb would have to look at all of his options.' Including moving the team? 'Herb would look at all of his options,' Morris repeated."

Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post: "They call this town 'Planet Orange,' but for a day, Denver will be its sister city, er, celestial body. After the Nuggets were obliterated Tuesday by Phoenix, 123-101, the only way Denver can avoid the scorching Suns in the first round is if Phoenix wins tonight at Utah. So pony up on a Steve Nash(notes) jersey or put on a Gorilla mask, because it's time to root, root, root for those reviled Suns. 'We don't have any choice. Whoever we play, we've got to play,' Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin(notes) said. 'We're not ducking nobody, trust me. We're not ducking nobody.' "

Michael Lee, Washington Post: "Although the [Washington Wizards] had a nearly $78 million payroll and was going to pay the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax for the first time, Robert Pollin — son of the late Wizards patriarch Abe Pollin — told Grunfeld that finances were not a concern. The family did not want to pressure Grunfeld into making cost-cutting moves if he believed that a team built around Arenas, Caron Butler(notes) and Antawn Jamison(notes) could still be competitive the following season. 'Ernie said the opposite,' Robert Pollin recalled in a telephone interview. 'He was really saying, "It's not going to happen with this group. It's time to start fresh." I said. "Do you really feel this?" He said, "It's really the right thing to do." There really wasn't any disagreement.' It took Grunfeld less than a week to trade away Butler, Jamison, Brendan Haywood(notes), DeShawn Stevenson(notes) and Dominic McGuire(notes) in moves that got the Wizards below the luxury tax line this season — and created a situation in which the team has nearly $18.7 million in salary cap space to become a major player in free agency this summer. The Wizards will play their final game of the season Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers at Verizon Center, but the organization has been focused on next season ever since Grunfeld detonated the roster at the trade deadline. What happens after Wednesday will be based largely on the direction the franchise takes once it transfers from the Pollin family to prospective owner Ted Leonsis. But whether or not the Wizards decide to use their available money to pursue a big-money free agent such as Atlanta's Joe Johnson(notes), Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire or Memphis's Rudy Gay(notes); retain any of their own 11 free agents; or save the money for next summer — when Carmelo Anthony(notes) could potentially become available — Grunfeld likes to remind people, 'We have options.' "

Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee: "The hoopla of 20-5-5 meant little Tuesday night in Staples Center. Because in a moment, Tyreke Evans'(notes) rookie season ended with referee Derek Richardson sending Evans to the locker room early. Rookies usually don't get leeway from officials. And apparently being arguably the best rookie in your class doesn't matter. Evans was ejected after being assessed two technical fouls by Richardson with 8:04 left in the third quarter after making a layup. Afterward, Evans said he'd grown frustrated with contact the officials weren't recognizing. 'I came down and thought I got fouled three times straight, and he kept saying there wasn't contact,' Evans said. 'The last time, I made it known, and I said some words, and that was it.' Evans said it was the first ejection in his basketball career and hoped it was the last time he'd be sent to the locker room early."

Howard Beck, New York Times: "The rookie of the year race between Stephen Curry(notes) of the Golden State Warriors and Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings could come down to a single vote, but on Tuesday, the NBA pulled the ballot from Dell Curry, a Charlotte Bobcats broadcaster and Stephen's father. 'Dell Curry should not have received a vote for rookie of the year,' said Brian McIntyre, the NBA senior vice president for basketball communications. 'We don't want to put Dell in such a position.' Ballots for rookie of the year, most valuable player and other awards were sent to 125 members of the news media about two weeks ago. Each team receives three sets, which are distributed to local reporters and broadcasters. (The remaining 35 ballots are distributed to national news media members.) Teams submit their lists of local voters to the NBA, which can step in and reassign ballots if necessary — although it rarely does. Ballots are due Thursday."

Frank Isola, New York Daily News: "Despite not being physically fit for most of the season, Wilson Chandler(notes) quietly — he knows no other way — performed above expectations. A painful groin injury eventually knocked him out for good in March, and now it appears that his surgically repaired left ankle also hampered the Knicks' shooting guard/small forward. According to a team source, Chandler might need surgery to remove scar tissue from his ankle. Last June, Chandler had surgery to remove bone spurs. No decision on Chandler will be made until after Tuesday night's season finale against Toronto. If surgery is required, the procedure will not keep Chandler sidelined for an extended period of time."

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