Tag:Nate McMillan
Posted on: December 30, 2010 2:27 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 9:43 pm
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Sources: Blazers, Roy weigh ending his season

The Trail Blazers are involved in ongoing discussions aimed at determining how much longer Brandon Roy will have to rest his ailing knees. Among several options under consideration is shutting Roy down for the rest of the season in hopes he can restored to his previous All-Star status, two people with knowledge of the team's thinking told CBSSports.com. 

UPDATE: The Blazers are in limbo, both with their .500 record and their posture in trade discussions, until they reach some definitive conclusions on how serious and long-term Roy's knee woes really are. Roy, who has missed the past seven games while being re-evaluated on a daily basis, was put on what the team described as "indefinite rest" Thursday. 

“Unfortunately, Brandon Roy’s condition has not significantly improved and we’ve decided to hold him out indefinitely,” GM Rich Cho said in a statement. “In the short term, we’re going to proceed with an extended period of rest. Beyond that, we’re looking at all available treatment options to help better determine a course of action.”


As for how long Roy could be out, a person with knowledge of the team's decision-making process said, "There are multiple options here. At the end of the day, it's got to be a decision the player is comfortable with." Roy said Thursday that surgery was under consideration and confirmed that sitting out the rest of the season was a possibility.

Roy, along with his agent, Bob Myers, and the Portland medical staff, had been weighing the merits of a game-to-game decision-making process on when Roy will be able to play. But there is consensus among some of Portland’s decision-makers and Roy’s camp that having him bounce in and out of the lineup indefinitely may not be in anyone’s best interests. Uncertainty surrounding his status would hinder coach Nate McMillan's ability to prepare for games and also become a distraction to teammates. 

Putting Roy on a minute-limit seems unlikely, since he tried that after missing three games in November and decided it wasn't helping. Another course of action would be extending Roy's rest indefinitely, in the hopes that his knees would respond. But also on the table is shutting him down at some point through the remainder of the season, sources said. Along with the latest season-ending injury to 2007 first-round pick Greg Oden, such a move would be another blow to a franchise that felt it was on the cusp of championship contention. 

"It would not surprise me to see him try to play again," one of the sources familiar with the team's strategy said. "It would not surprise me to see him set a date when he wants to try to play. And it would not surprise me if he doesn't play again this season. ... At this point, anything is a possibility. The doctors and Brandon are ultimately going to make that decision." 

Trading Roy, who signed a five-year, $82 million extension in August 2009, won't be an option until potential suitors gain some clarity about whether Roy will ever return to his previous form. Sources have told CBSSports.com that Roy has a separate, outside insurance policy on his knees that could protect the Blazers -- or his new team -- depending on the timing and extent of any disability. 

After he repeatedly had his knees drained early in the season, Roy revealed in November that there is no meniscus left in either knee. The bone-on-bone condition is something Roy, 26, said he would have to "deal with for the rest of my career."
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: November 29, 2010 12:12 am
 

With Roy hurting, Blazers have decision to make

NEWARK, N.J. – The Trail Blazers had one of those players-only meetings Sunday night, which is what playoff teams do when they’ve lost three straight games, fallen to .500, and shown a startling in ability to close out games – at home and on the road.

The culprit? Lack of execution, according to coach Nate McMillan. Lack of rhythm, added Brandon Roy. Effort, said Wesley Matthews. All good answers. But not the answer – not the problem that looks like it’s going to haunt the Blazers for months, if not longer.

It was the lowest point of the season, everyone in the visiting locker room agreed after Portland turned in another lackluster fourth quarter and lost to the Nets 98-96. What’s scary about the Blazers, the team with by far the worst injury luck in the NBA, is that calling it the lowest point was optimistic. It may very well not be.

When it rains on the Trail Blazers, it pours with a ferocity rarely seen. Greg Oden is recovering from his second microfracture surgery. Joel Przybilla was supposed to play his first game in almost a year Friday night against New Orleans and got sick. Sean Marks, signed as a stopgap to play 8-10 minutes again under the basket, is shelved with an ankle injury. And yet somehow, those aren’t the biggest concerns for a team whose future was once so bright. Roy, Portland’s superstar and closer, clearly isn’t physically able to perform either of those roles – and it’s not even December yet. His left knee is something all the players-only meetings in the world won’t fix.

“I’m fine,” Roy said “I’m playing. I don’t have any excuses.”

Nor would you expect any from a guy who came back about a week after arthroscopic knee surgery and played – or tried to – in a playoff series against Phoenix last spring. Now Roy has played two games since sitting out three when his left knee started barking at him again. The numbers say he’s thriving – 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field against the Nets after scoring 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting in a 97-78 home loss to the Hornets Friday night. The visual evidence says otherwise.

A little less wincing and limping was evident after both were on hideous display in the New Orleans game, but the fact remains that Roy is 26 years old and has no meniscus in either knee. And it shows. Instead of closing out a winnable game, Roy settled into the role of decoy. As a result, the Blazers’ offense stagnated in the fourth quarter again. After producing only 13 points in the fourth against New Orleans, the Blazers went into the fourth with a five-point lead over the Nets and got outscored 25-18.

Their poor excuse for execution, though, is the least of their problems. Roy, a player built to attack off the dribble and get to the rim, has been mostly relegated to the role of innocuous spot-up shooter. The explosiveness isn’t there, and neither is the confidence to finish at the basket. And so the Blazers head to Philadelphia for the first set of back-to-back games since Roy returned not knowing if he’ll be able to play the back end in Boston Wednesday night.

“We’ll see how he goes against Philly,” McMillan said. “If he feels OK, he’ll play the back-to-back. And if not, then we’ll sit him.”

And that is where the Blazers are – a .500 team on a three-game losing streak with their star and closer working on a 30-35 minute limit and unsure when, or if his knee will be strong enough to play back-to-backs. It’s a game-to-game predicament for Roy and the Blazers, making it exceedingly difficult for them to form an identity down the stretch of games.

“For me, it’s frustrating,” said Roy, who had four points and two turnovers in the fourth quarter – dribbling the ball off his foot and falling awkwardly out of bounds while trying to drive on Travis Outlaw for one of the miscues. “I’ve always been pretty good late in games. Right now, I’m trying to get my rhythm back, my timing back late in the game.”

The Blazers are a team without rhythm or timing, and the prospects look grim for them to be a team with a healthy Roy for the long haul. It’s a young season, they kept saying. But it gets older by the day as Roy’s struggles become more difficult to watch.

With free-agent shooting guard Wesley Matthews eager for a bigger role and capable of justifying his five-year, $32 million contract, it makes you wonder if it might be best for everyone involved to shut Roy down indefinitely so he has a chance to be a factor come playoff time. McMillan sent Matthews out with the starters at the beginning of the third quarter, in place of Nicolas Batum, and the reasons he gave were eye-opening. Accurate, but eye-opening.

McMillan said he was looking for some “scrappiness” and “fire,” and turned to Matthews to supply it. These are things that Roy brings on a nightly basis, except now, when he can’t.

The only problem with my solution is that there’s a good chance it might not help. Privately, Blazers officials are optimistic that the training staff, Roy and McMillan will be able to find a way to manage his injury and keep him effective enough – often enough – to carry them where they need to go. But that isn’t working so far, and it’s worth wondering if the alternative would work better. Let your superstar get better – or at least try – and figure out how to close games with Matthews doing what Roy used to do.

“We’re at a tough point right now, but it’s a young season,” Roy said. “We’ve lost three games in a row and we’re .500, so yeah, it’s a difficult time. We’ve got to stick together and find out what we’re made of.”
Posted on: June 10, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Hawks closing in on coach; signs point to Casey


BOSTON -- The Hawks are close to making an offer for their head coaching position, with strong indications that Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey will be the choice, sources told CBSSports.com Thursday. But one of the sources cautioned that some members of the organization remain undecided among the candidates Atlanta has interviewed who are still available: Casey, Mark Jackson and assistant coach Larry Drew.

A decision is expected by the end of the weekend, with the Hawks scheduled to host pre-draft workouts on Monday, sources said. One person involved in the process said that all signs pointed to the Hawks moving forward with an offer to Casey as of mid-day Thursday. But later in the day, another person familiar with the situation said there was no final decision.

The team has yet to extend a formal offer, and the negotiation with Casey could take longer than expected given that his agent, Warren LeGarie, is traveling to the West Coast from Europe. The process has been delayed due to Jackson's broadcast schedule during the NBA Finals and the travel schedules of key members of the Hawks' ownership group. The indecision is the latest example of how difficult the decision-making process is for the Hawks, whose diverse ownership group is scattered among Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Casey has been the favorite to replace Mike Woodson from the beginning of the Hawks' search, given his working relationship with GM Rick Sund dating to their days together in Seattle, when Casey was associate head coach under Nate McMillan and Sund was the GM. CBSSports.com reported May 20 that it was Casey's job to lose.

Drew, a loyal member of Woodson's staff, has emerged as a strong in-house option in the past two weeks. If the Hawks decide to enter negotiations with Casey, it is believed that Drew would be amenable to staying with the Hawks as Casey's top assistant. His relationship with the existing players, especially headstrong forward Josh Smith, would make him a valuable asset to Casey during the transition period.

In addition to Casey, Jackson and Drew, the Hawks also interviewed Portland assistant Dean Demopoulos and former Mavs coach Avery Johnson, who was named coach of the Nets Thursday.




 
 
 
 
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