Posted on: August 6, 2009 11:30 am
Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis has traveled to Minnesota to meet for a third time with Timberwolves officials about the team's long-vacant head coaching job. A person with direct knowledge of the talks confirmed that Rambis has emerged as the favorite to succeed Kevin McHale and is awaiting a formal contract proposal.
The T-Wolves, led by new GM David Kahn, have undertaken a thorough and painstaking process to name a replacement for McHale, who left the organization amid disagreements with Kahn about how to remake the roster. Kahn interviewed a laundry list of current assistant coaches for the job, illustrating the T-Wolves' unsurprising efforts to minimize the cost of a head coaching hire. The list was recently narrowed to three candidates: Rambis, ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson, and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.
Minnesota's coaching search has been sidetracked this summer by Kahn's efforts to broker a buyout with No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio's Spanish team, DKV Joventut. Kahn and T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor met with Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, last month at Las Vegas Summer League, and Kahn also traveled to Spain in an effort to broker a deal. While Fegan attempts to secure endorsement deals for Rubio that would help fund his buyout -- the T-Wolves can contribute only $500,000 under NBA rules -- Joventut reportedly is weighing whether to accept a buyout or sell his contract to another European team, which could be more lucrative.
Rambis, who helped coach the Lakers to their 15th NBA title in June, has emerged as the favorite partly due to Fegan's fondness for him -- the theory being that hiring a coach Rubio finds acceptable would enhance the chances of the 18-year-old point guard reporting to Minnesota rather than continuing to play overseas.
Rambis going to Minnesota would essentially clear a path for Lakers assistant Brian Shaw to become Phil Jackson's right-hand man on the Lakers' bench and eventually succeed Jackson when he retires.
Posted on: December 16, 2008 10:52 am
* In a sign that his sense of self importance knows no boundaries, Stephon Marbury is planning to attend Tuesday night's Knicks-Lakers game at Staples Center. How, you ask? Hasn't he been banished from the team? Why yes, loyal BergerSphere reader, he has. But that $22 million he's getting paid is good for something, like buying a courtside ticket. This is strange, and sad. Where does strangeness and sadness end and stalking begin? The Knicks could become the first team in NBA history to take out a restraining order against one of their players.
* Strange but true: All six coaches fired this season share the same agent, Lonnie Cooper. If I were Jim O'Brien, also a Cooper client, I'd be sweating profusely. Just for grins, guess which infamous basketball figure also is/was represented by Cooper? You got it, Isiah Thomas. A proposed position paper for any and all aspring sports agents out there: Did Isiah Thomas ruin Lonnie Cooper's career? Discuss.
* Dime starts a good debate about which NBA team has the best local TV announcers. If you live in the NYC area, gotta love Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier, as long as you are experienced at reading between the lines of their Cablevision-filtered commentary. I have to admit, Clyde's fluidity, his shakin' 'n bakin' 'n percolatin' have grown on me. If you're a Lakers fan, you can't do better than Joel Myers on play-by-play. I would add a wrinkle to Dime's unofficial poll: Which team has the worst local TV announcers?
* Empty The Bench names six double-double machines who aren't household names.
* Mark Jackson struck out in his bid to become the Knicks' coach this past summer. But with at least six teams in the market for a new coach next summer, Jax's chances of landing a job are off the charts. I'd quibble with his approach in this one respect: Maybe he would've been better served to pursue an assistant's job so that he could parlay that experience into his pursuit of a head coaching job in '09.
* When TrueHoop pointed out an ad for a "Derrick Coleman Estate Sale," it was only natural to wonder if DC had squandered the more than $90 million he earned in his NBA career and needed to sell stuff to raise money. Not so, Coleman insists.
* My favorite stat lines from Monday night's games were in the losing teams' box scores: Miami's Mario Chalmers had 20 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds in a 98-83 loss to the Bucks, and Paul Millsap had 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 100-91 loss to the Celtics.
* Breakin' Down The Game takes you around the NBA link-o-sphere, including an item on Bonzi Wells signing with a team in China for $40K? How could that be?