Tag:Jeff Van Gundy
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:36 pm
 

Brown finds Warriors job 'intriguing'

CHICAGO – Mike Brown finds the Warriors head coaching job “intriguing,” according to a person who said Wednesday the former Cavaliers coach has had conversations with Golden State officials about the opening.

Brown, who was fired after last season despite averaging 54 wins over five seasons in Cleveland, has yet to formally interview with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, sources said. Also in the mix to replace Keith Smart as Warriors coach are Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, and Hornets assistant Michael Malone, according to sources. The search is expected to gain momentum in the coming days.

Frank also is one of three finalists for the Rockets’ head coaching position, along with Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and former Timberwolves coach and GM Kevin McHale. All three are having second interviews this week, sources said, the Rockets officials are in the evaluation process. Two high-level coaching sources said Casey appears to be the favorite for the Houston job.

While Brown would bring playoff experience and a defensive foundation to a Warriors team that needs both, Malone – Brown’s former assistant in Cleveland – is a creative and especially intriguing candidate. Like reigning coach of the year Tom Thibodeau, Malone, 39, was mentored by former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and is known as a defensive guru. He transitioned to coaching the offense in Cleveland after John Kuester left the Cavs for the head job in Detroit.

Malone, the son of Magic assistant and longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone, has coached in the playoffs seven times, including two appearances in the conference finals and one in the NBA Finals. He was hired last year as Monty Williams’ lead assistant in New Orleans.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 6:42 pm
 

Four options for Riley

So there's trouble in paradise, but what happens next? Here's a look at Pat Riley's options as he tries to turn his Super Team into a team that can actually function:

* Fire Erik Spoelstra and take his job: As Phil Jackson said, it's SVG 2.0. The problem is, sources say Riley would only come downstairs as a last resort because A) he really doesn't want to coach anymore, and B) he knows that the same roster flaws that are sabotaging Spoelstra would do the same to him. Also, this isn't exactly Dwyane Wade's idea of a solution; Wade and Riley butted heads in the past. Personally, I think it would be eye-opening for LeBron James to be coached by someone with experience and championship rings -- someone who could put him in his place.

* Fire Spoelstra and hire someone else: This would be the ultimate sign of how wing-heavy and flawed this supposed dynasty really is: Riley fires Spoelstra, his handpicked protégé, and hands the job to ... Ron Rothstein? Well, that's not going to happen. But really, who's out there? Mike Brown? LeBron's been down that road in Cleveland, and the road ends in a spectacular, five-car pileup in the playoffs. Mike Woodson? For what, to run an even less creative offense? CBSSports.com's Matt Moore mentions two intriguing coaches who are currently unemployed: one credible (Jeff Van Gundy) and one straight out of Frankenstein (Don Nelson). I believe JVG is done coaching; he has a much easier and better job making fun of Mike Breen on TV. Plus, I can't imagine him doing that to his brother, Stan, in Orlando. Nellie? If someone could get him out of his hammock in Maui, they should make this happen tomorrow. Why? Not because it makes sense or the Heat would finally figure out how to play together and win a championship. Who cares about that? It should happen because the Earth would shift, the island would move, blinding lights and screeching noises would overwhelm us ... yes, it would be the basketball version of "Lost." Nellie, the connoisseur of ill-fitting basketball parts, chowing down on this disjointed beast of a team in Miami? It would be delicious on so many levels. If the Heat hired Nellie, I might move to Miami just so I wouldn't miss a minute of the hilarity.

* Stick with Spoelstra for the season and then score a coaching free-agent coup: Sadly, this is the most realistic of the options so far. If Riley really wants no part of this, then he could make it right with another offseason of roster tweaks and a chance to make a run at two very good coaches whose contracts will be up: Nate McMillan and Doc Rivers. McMillan is a fine coach, but I don't think he's the right fit for LeBron and Wade for the same reasons Spoelstra isn't the right fit: too upright and too averse to up-tempo offensive basketball. Speaking of which, Mike D'Antoni always seems to be a three-game losing streak away from being on the hot seat, even though he's spent the majority of his Knicks tenure coaching a D-League team. So if James Dolan ever has the urge to fire D'Antoni, I'd hire him in Miami in about three seconds. For one thing, D'Antoni would get to coach the two players he thought he'd be coaching in New York, only in a warmer climate. For another, I bet he'd enjoy paying no state income tax and saying good-bye to $7,000-a-month real estate tax bills in Westchester County. And finally, D'Antoni was the right coach for LeBron and Wade all along. He'd loosen the reins, let LeBron run the point and be Magic Johnson, and outscore everybody 130-117. But the most intriguing coach in this scenario, by far, is Rivers, who has the patience, presence, and pedigree to give LeBron and Wade just enough leeway while also commanding their respect. Plus, Florida is home for him, and any time you can trade an old Big Three for a younger version and cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time, I'd say that would be a pretty good career move.

* Tell LeBron and Wade to quit whining, look in the mirror and figure it out: Of all the intriguing options, I like this one the best. To be fair, it isn't just the players who have to adjust; Spoelstra will have to change, too, by putting the ball in LeBron's hands and getting him in transition and in the open floor to create -- for Wade, for Eddie House and Mike Miller (once healthy). LeBron holds the key to this approach. He's the one player on the roster -- perhaps the only one in the league -- with the breadth of talents to adjust his game and make it fit with an elite scorer like Wade. I don't think Wade is built that way. He scores; that's what he does. LeBron can do it all, and he can do so much more than what he's doing now if he'd check his ego and if Spoelstra would be willing to give up some control. It's a slippery slope, but more promising than the one the Heat are currently sliding down.
Posted on: April 27, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Brown has Sixers in limbo

On the first day the Sixers could reach out to Larry Brown to discuss his interest in returning to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals, all was quiet on the Next Town front. The Sixers, according to sources, were busy little worker bees on Tuesday -- making a list of coaching candidates, checking it twice, doing background checks and the like.

But make no mistake. The Sixers' world as we know it is in the hands of Brown, who continues to artfully dodge the notion that he is angling to return to the city where his wife and children live.

After the Bobcats were swept by the defending conference champion Magic, Brown reiterated Monday night, "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," and,"I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan." These statements were part sincere and part lawyerly. Coaching is one thing. Being in charge of the whole shebang is quite another.

So while the Sixers' basketball staff, led by team president Ed Stefanski, is finalizing its list of coaching candidates to reach out to by the end of the week, sources familiar with the situation say no one's quite sure who will actually be hiring the coach. That's because it's understood that Stefanski is conducting the preliminary search with the understanding that he won't be around if Brown, 70, decides to return to his adopted home as the head of basketball operations.

"It all depends on Larry Brown," a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Sixers chairman Ed Snider fought the good fight Tuesday, blasting a report by Yahoo! Sports that detailed Brown's interest, right down to the coach (Atlanta's Mike Woodson) and GM (Wizards front office man Milt Newton) he wanted to bring with him. But Snider never specified which part of the report he was disagreeing with, saying only that the team hadn't reached out to Brown -- which, technically was true.

Of course, in Brown's case, the idea of contact -- who initiates it, and when -- is largely irrelevant. He has become the Bill Parcells of the NBA -- always denying the obvious. Everybody knows where to find Brown when it's time to do business.

In the meantime, the Sixers have formulated a wide-ranging list of former NBA head coaches, current assistants and current college coaches. Once it's pared down, the team is expected to begin contacting candidates for interviews toward the end of the week. The list includes Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins among the former head coaches -- though there's little indication Van Gundy wants to return to the sideline. (Plus, why would any of the above interview for a job that could be decided by somebody else, namely Brown?)

Among the current assistants on the Sixers' list are Tom Thibodeau (Celtics), Dwane Casey (Dallas), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Monty Williams (Spurs), and Elston Turner (Rockets). The college coaches that have been discussed internally include all the usual suspects: Tom Izzo (Michigan State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Rick Barnes (Texas).

But it really only comes down to one name if you're the Sixers. What can Brown do for you?



Posted on: December 25, 2009 4:27 pm
 

Have patience: Wade on his way back

NEW YORK – If you were expecting to see a memorable performance from Dwyane Wade on Christmas Day, you came to the wrong place. What you got instead was something that Wade, coach Erik Spoelstra, and lord knows Pat Riley prefer.

It was a pick-your-spots effort from Wade on the offensive end and another stellar defensive game for Miami. Was it a tedious, boring way for the NBA to kick off its slate of five nationally televised games on Friday? Yawn. But if Wade and the Heat look back after the season and wonder when they found their rhythm, their identity, the 10-day stretch culminating with Friday’s 93-87 victory over the Knicks will stand out.

It wasn’t exactly Riley’s Heat vs. Jeff Van Gundy’s Knicks in this, the Knicks’ first Christmas Day since appearance since 2001 after 38 straight from 1950-87. But it was the type of grind-fest that the Heat are going to have to become adept at winning if they’re going anywhere in what could be Wade’s last season in Miami.

“The alternative just was not working for us,” Spoelstra said.

After enjoying eight of their first 10 games at home with a 7-3 record, the Heat fell into some bad habits with a road trip that began Nov. 18 against last season’s playoff opponent, the Hawks. They went 4-8 over the next 12 games, allowing the opponent to score at least 100 points in nine of them. They’ve allowed 100 points only once in the last five games, and it happened to come in their only loss – 102-95 against Portland.

“Going into training camp, that’s what Coach wanted us to be,” Wade said. “Have the ability to score the ball, but don’t rely on it, because scoring the ball is inconsistent.”

This, Wade knows. He entered Friday’s game shooting a career-low 43 percent, prompting Riley to publicly question his conditioning. This season, he’s averaging 1.26 points per field goal attempt, a significant decline from the 1.37 points per field goal attempt he averaged last season while winning the scoring title.

An NBA front office executive who has watched Wade closely this season said he seems to be trying to raise his production lately by deferring to his teammates for long stretches instead of shouldering the majority of the scoring load from start to finish. That approach was on full display Friday, with only eight of Wade’s 21 field goal attempts coming in the first half.

“I was picking my spots early in the game,” Wade said. “At the end, I just had that ‘take us home’ mentality.”

After the Knicks cut the deficit to single digits midway through the fourth, Wade pushed it back to 10 points three times – with two 21-foot jumpers and then a ferocious dunk that made it 81-71 with 3:29 left.

“What changed?” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s name’s Dwyane Wade.”

Wade was 11-for-21 from the field for 30 points, a far cry from some of his inefficient performances that coincided with Miami’s attempt to win 100-point slugfests. In the past five games, Wade is 54-for-116 from the field (.466).

The burst that he showed on that dunk with 3:29 remaining was something that had been missing. After his legs felt unusually heavy early in the season, Wade said personal trainer Tim Grover joined him in Miami for a crash course in core strength to get him jump-started again. At the same time, he’s tried to slow down his offense and speed up his patience.

“I pride myself on playing an overall game,” Wade said, “not just scoring.”

That formula is working for him now, and for his team, too.
Posted on: March 5, 2009 11:43 am
 

All-timer from an old-timer

Shaq isn't going quietly.

Good for him.

Better for us.

You must understand something. I've been doing this sports writing thing for some time now, and rants like this come around once in a lifetime.

This is what we call an all-timer.

I stand in awe of Shaq's eternal gifts. This must be recorded for posterity, which is why I will set it up and give you the full transcript (minus the expletives), courtesy of the Arizona Republic, a fine news organization which also recognized the historic nature of Shaq's performance. This was Paul Bunyan picking up and ax and cutting down every tree in sight. With one mighty swing, Shaq chopped down Stan Van Gundy, his brother Jeff, Dwight Howard, AND Patrick Ewing.

I'm not worthy.

Here we go: After O'Neal fell down in an attempt to draw a charge from Howard Tuesday night, Stan Van Gundy pulled a wrinkled Coaching 101 handbook from his back pocket and said: “I was shocked, seriously, shocked. And very disappointed, because he knows what it’s like. Let's stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight.”

Nice try, Stan.

Before the Suns played the Heat in Miami Wednesday night -- Shaq's first return since he was traded to the desert 13 months ago -- he was asked if he had any reaction to Van Gundy's comments. Never has a soft ball been tossed so perfectly.

 Shaq's response, as reported by Paul Coro of the Republic:

 "(Howard) came with the same old, stale Patrick Ewing move, so I tried to stand there and take the charge. The new rules say if you come through, you fall. But as I fell, I realized that it was a flop and it reminded me of Coach Van Gundy’s whole coaching career. The one thing I despise is a frontrunner. First of all, none of his players like him. When it gets tough, he will become the master of panic like he did before and he will quit like he did before. The one thing I despise is frontrunners. Yeah, he’s got a young team playing good, but don’t be a frontrunner. Him and his brother and even the legend on the bench ain’t done what I’ve done in my whole career. So flopping would be the wrong choice of words.

"I just tried to take a charge. The ___ rules say you can’t stand there and get hit. You’ve got to fall. The ____ got the same old stinking move that Patrick Ewing has been doing his whole career. I went down, got up and didn’t complain. I see him and Stan complaining the whole game because they’ve got to. Remember, I’ve done more than him, his brother, and Patrick Ewing.

"Stan Van Gundy reminds me of a broke navigational system. He knows everything about everything but ain’t never been nowhere. Think about that. If I’m right here and I type in the address of where you’re going, I know where it’s at but I’m not going there.

"When a bum says some ___ about it and I respond, you can ___ cancel that because I know how he is in real life. We’ll see when the playoffs start and he ___ panics and quits like he did when he was here (in Miami). And you ___ print it just like that. Do I look soft to you like you can say something and I’m not going to say something?

"Notice they didn’t play me straight up. We’ll see how far they go because I know Stan. I said this a long time ago, but I was actually talking about him: 'When the general panics, the troops will panic.' Like in business, when the head panics and takes out all his stock, what happens?

"All the players hate him. The players don’t even like him. I hate frontrunners. I really do. I don’t like any frontrunners. There’s a pecking order involved. I’ve been there six times.

"I ain’t going to let no bum like him rip me and not say anything back. You can cancel that ___ all the way. Usually, I let ___ go. Not that. Not him. Hell no.

"The rules say when a guy goes through your chest you’ve got to fall to get the call. It was a flop. You’ve watched me play for 17 years. I don’t play like that.

"I’m not going to sit around and let nobodies take a shot at me and he is a nobody to me. And if he thinks he can get in a little press conference and take shots at me like I’m not going to (say) something back, he’s got another thing coming."

Ladies and gentlemen, Shaquille O'Neal. Enjoy him while he's still here.

The Shaq farewell tour has kicked it up a notch. When the Suns visited the Knicks in January, I asked Shaq if Howard was the closest thing he's seen to the Next Shaq. "No," he said ."He's a good player, but everything he's done, I've invented. So I'm not impressed."

Then came the clowning around at All-Star weekend, the pre-game dance ritual, the reflective comments -- Shaq soaking it all in, recognizing this was probably his final All-Star Game.

Since the All-Star break, he's averaging 22.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in a single-handed attempt to raise the Suns from the dead. He might just do it. After Shaq led the Suns to a victory over Kobe Bryant's Lakers on Sunday with 33 points and seven rebounds, he said, "It's what I do. I've been doing this since 1992. If you don't believe it, Google me."

Shaq turns 37 Friday. Happy birthday, big fella. Glad you're still here.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com