Tag:Jim O'Brien
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 12:31 pm

NBA rumor updates: Carmelo, Warkentien, Lakers

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger provides the latest updates on Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, whether the Los Angeles Lakers will make a move, why the New York Knicks hired former Denver Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien and who is in the mix to be the next head coach of the Indiana Pacers. Posted by Ben Golliver.

In a pair of CBSSports.com videos this week, NBA writer Ken Berger broke down the latest on some of the major trade rumors and personnel changes around the NBA with host Lauren Shehadi. 

Always first on the docket: Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, who now has just three weeks to be moved prior to the trade deadline. "Sources are telling me that there is some indecision within the Knicks organization, some disagreement, even, as to how hard they should push for a trade bringing Carmelo to New York," Berger reports. "Those against the move view Anthony strictly as a scorer and the Knicks have plenty of scoring. They think he would be a good option as a free agent but not if major assets have to be given up in a trade when the team has so many other pressing needs."

Speaking of the Knicks, Berger investigates why the team hired a former NBA GM with ties to Anthony as a consultant. "What exactly is the Knicks' motivation for hiring former Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien as a consultant? Sources that have known Warkentien and Knicks President Donnie Walsh for years say this is a Walsh-driven move and bodes well for his future with the organization. Walsh has a contract extension that he's discussing and an option that has to be picked up by April. Several rival executives, however, are telling me this looks more like an effort on the part of ownership to appease CAA, who represents both Warkentien and, guess who, Carmelo Anthony."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their yearly mid-season turmoil. Berger suggests that the Lakers pretty much have their hands tied when it comes to swinging a deal prior to the deadline. "The Lakers are not happy with how they are playing right now and would like to do a minor deal to kind of tweak things," Berger reports. "The problem they have: they are pretty much locked in with their core players, many of whom are over 30 and have money coming to them for several years down the road. They don't really have any attractive trade pieces that teams would be willing to give them a complementary player. Like, for example, the Wizard and Kirk Hinrich. The Lakers have long been high on Hinrich but they don't have anything the Wizards would want. A team like that would want expiring contracts and cost savings and the Lakers just don't have that. L.A. is going to have to figure this out from within. I just don't see anything more than a minor deal presenting itself between now and the deadline."

You can watch the video below.

In this week's NBA Drive, Berger also laid out the latest on the Indiana Pacers, who fired coach Jim O'Brien last week and could be in for a management shuffle this summer, as all their key pieces have contracts that expire at the end of this season. "Owner Herb Simon came out this week and backed Larry Bird, said he wants him back next season," Berger said. "So that should be a strong indication that Larry and general manager David Morway will be back. Their contracts are both up. With the vote of confidence from Herb Simon, who, by all indications, is happy with the direction if not the results. I think as long as Larry wants to be back, he will be."

Berger continued, saying the Pacers will also be re-assessing their coaching position this off-season. "The first order of business will be hiring a new coach, who may very well be interim coach Frank Vogel. There's some other interesting names on the Pacers list though. Former Cavs coach Mike Brown, former Pacer Mark Jackson, and Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin. Those three names are going to be in the mix, as well as a darkhorse, Hawks assistant Lester Conner, a little-known name around the league, but he was on the Pacers bench last season, and I think he's going to get some consideration."

You can watch this week's edition of NBA Drive with Lauren Shehadi, featuring a guest appearance from NBA Blogger Matt Moore, below.

Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 11:47 pm

Pacers loosen up after O'Brien firing, beat Raps

Pacers win first game under Frank Vogel, show signs of legitimate life against terrible Raps team. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Sometimes, a change can do wonders.  In their first game after Jim O'Brien was fired, the Pacers looked wholly different than they have for the past two months. Much of that is attributable to playing the Raptors, who are truly terrible. But there were a series of positive signs that under Frank Vogel, things might improve for the Pacers. 

First and foremost was Roy Hibbert. Hibbert looked like an All-Star candidate early this season, then tailed off to the point that he as consulting a sports psychologist . Hibbert's regression had been a focal point of the scrutiny on O'Brien. For a night, at least, progress seemed to have been made. Hibbert went off for 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against the Raptors' puny interior defense. It wasn't just a good night against a bad team, though. Hibbert seemed to respond to Vogel's encouragement. The result was more and more focus from Hibbert, who looked to have new life. And he wasn't the only one. 

Tyler Hansbrough apparently unleashed a "rant" about O'Brien after the game, following his 14-point, 6-rebound performance in just 15 minutes. Rookie Paul George had 16 points, when his season average is only 7. More importantly, the team won. Even with Danny Granger having a tough night, and the opposition so bad (the Raptors have lost 12 straight), there was enough to feel good about this win for Pacers fans, just as a monster ice storm settled into the area, keeping attendance to just over 10,000 officially and far less unofficially.  The effort was there, a spark was there, and sometimes that's more important than precision, system, or cohesion, all of which are areas the Pacers still need help with.

Getting started on the right foot is important in a situation like that. Indiana's just two games out of the seventh seed in the East, and has the talent to get there. Maybe a move towards a younger coach is just what they needed. It's just one game and things could fall apart just as quickly, but at least for a night, the Pacers looked to have new life under the new coach.
Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2011 2:36 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

The Indiana Pacers have reportedly fired coach Jim O'Brien. Posted by Ben Golliver. jim-obrien

A little more than a week ago, we noted some rumblings that changes were in store for the Indiana Pacers, as coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway were likely going to be replaced at the end of the season, with President Larry Bird's future up in the air as well.

O'Brien was said to be safe through the rest of the season, as no one on his staff was seen as head coach material. On Sunday, though, that story changed in a big way: Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pacers have fired O'Brien. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has confirmed the decision, citing multiple sources.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Pacers assistant Frank Vogel is "expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season." According to his NBA.com bio, Vogel is just 37-years-old and in his eighth season as an assistant coach. Once tabbed, Vogel will surpass New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams as the youngest head coach in the NBA.

Berger reports that "a person with knowledge of the team's plans confirmed to CBSSports.com that Vogel was the likely choice to take over for O'Brien on an interim basis. Also under discussion internally, according to the source, was team president Larry Bird coming down to the bench for the rest of the season. If the choice is Vogel, as expected, it is an indication that Bird didn't want to coach."

Yahoo! Sports names former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and Utah Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin as two possible candidates to replace O'Brien on a "long-term basis."

Pacers fans had been frustrated with O'Brien and the team's progress for some time. The decision to fire O'Brien now rather than wait until the end of the season likely boils down to two factors: expectations and rotations. 

The Pacers got off to a 9-7 start, and have enough talent on the roster to be a lower-level playoff team in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. But the Pacers are currently 17-37 on the season, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference, could lead to the thinking that the season is at a crossroads. Salvaging a playoff seed out of this season would be huge, but perhaps O'Brien wasn't seen as someone able to reach the players and right the ship. 

The other regular criticism of O'Brien has been his inconsistent rotations. Coaches of losing teams get that a lot, as they juggle the pieces looking for something that will work. The problem: O'Brien didn't have a solid argument to hang his hat on. Star forward Danny Granger has seen his numbers regress from last year, center Roy Hibbert started strong but then tailed off in a big way, point guard Darren Collison often struggled with his efficiency, and none of the other periphery parts have developed into anything substantial.

The firing comes one day after the Pacers lost to the Chicago Bulls, 110-89, on Saturday night. IndyCornrows.com notes that O'Brien was ejected from last night's game.

O'Brien was hired by Indiana before the 2007-2008 NBA season. His record with the team was 121-169, and he never won more than 36 games in a season. His career coaching record stands at 303-327.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 1:31 pm

O'Brien safe for the season in Indiana?

Posted by Royce Young

Recently, reports started bubbling up that Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien might be a dead man walking. And on top of that, general manager David Morway could be seeing his last days.

Over the weekend, a report from ESPN.com said, "Indiana Pacers brass is not pleased with the performance of head coach Jim O'Brien, according to several league sources" But while the Pacers aren't pleased -- and why would they be with the team at 16-25 and losers of five straight -- they aren't looking to can O'Brien before the season is over, according to the Indy Star.
"Barring a sudden change of thought, the Pacers have no intention of replacing O'Brien, who is in the final year of his contract," wrote Wells. "They wouldn't move any of the assistants up and there's no point in bringing in somebody from the outside because the players would have to learn the new coach's system on the fly over the final 41 games of the season."
The reason O'Brien might be safe for the rest of this year isn't because Larry Bird and the Pacers want to give him a shot to correct the team's problems and get on track. It's just because they don't feel like a proper interim candidate is on the bench. His assistants are Dan Burke, Frank Vogel, Jay DeFruscio, Vitaly Potapenko and Walter McCarty and none, according to reports, are viewed as a suitable replacement.

In other words, awesome Indiana. Even your assistants stink.

The big complaint with O'Brian, other than the losing of course, is how he manages his team. Danny Granger may be regressing, minutes and rotations are jacked up and he's handled point guard Darren Collison in an extremely odd way. O'Brien wants to win with defense, but the team hasn't played that well on that end the last month. O'Brien is kind of Larry Brown-ish, except without all the wins and success on his resume.

The Pacers will definitely be looking at change this offseason, but by all appearances, it's at least 41 more games of more of the same in Indiana. O'Brien has a shot to turn things around, but by the sound of it, the bell is tolling for him.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:57 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 12:12 am

Report: Pacers coach, GM are dead men walking?

Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway are reportedly in hot water when their contracts are up this season. Posted by Ben Golliver. jim-obrien

The Indiana Pacers got off to a promising start this year, but it's been back to mediocre over the last month or so, as the team has fallen to 16-23, well below .500. 

ESPN.com reports that another losing season could be the last for Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway.
Indiana Pacers brass is not pleased with the performance of head coach Jim O'Brien, according to several league sources. 
That said, O'Brien, who is in the last year of his contract, is likely to remain as coach the rest of the season. Part of the reason is that no one on O'Brien's staff -- Dan Burke, Frank Vogel, Jay DeFruscio, Vitaly Potapenko Walter McCarty -- is viewed as a suitable replacement. 

GM David Morway could also be in trouble after the season, and league scuttlebutt has former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard as a likely replacement.
On Thursday, the Indianapolis Star noted that Pritchard, who is not currently employed in any capacity by the team, was travelling with Pacers president Larry Bird on the team's road trip.
Pacers president Larry Bird invited Pritchard, who was fired by Portland about an hour before last summer's NBA draft, on the trip. Their friendship goes back to when the two were teammates with the Boston Celtics during the 1991-92 season. Bird likes to pick the brains of people who have held front office positions. Golden State's former executive of basketball operations, Chris Mullin, also a former Pacers player, might hang around the team later in the season.
"There's a lot of guys around the league I talk to," Bird said. "I've always done that."
Bird, the paper also noted recently, is in the final year of his contract as well, and hasn't yet reached a decision about whether or not he'll be back.

The Pacers didn't have a great offseason, drafting as-yet-unproductive forward Paul George and guard Lance Stephenson, who immediately made national headlines after getting involved in a domestic violence incident and was asked to remain away from the team. Indiana did net promising young point guard Darren Collison in a trade that dumped Troy Murphy to New Jersey, but it hasn't been enough to turn them into a solid playoff team. 

Earlier this month, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger outlined the uphill battle the Pacers were facing as a small-market team attempting to compete against the league's deep-pocketed, big-market teams.

A Moneyball-style GM like Pritchard would make a ton of sense in Indiana, as his understanding of advanced statistics, analytics and cap management is generally seen as the surest way for a small-market team to get the maximum bang for their buck and narrow the gap between the LA's and New York's of the world. Pritchard's name will likely generate a lot of interest this summer, as he and TNT commentator Steve Kerr are the two biggest names among former GMs that are not currently employed in that capacity. 
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:15 am

Shootaround 10.28.10: Manic Panic

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The NBA Draft is headed to... New Jersey? The League announced Wednesday that Newark's Prudential Center, home of the Nets this season, will also host the 2011 NBA Draft while Madison Square Garden is being renovated. Considering that many of the top players are unlikely to come out due to the NBA's potential lockout next season, Newark seems like an appropriate choice. Kidding, Newark! We love you!
  • Pacers coach Jim O'Brien is not really happy with the league's suspension process for drug violations. The team was without Brandon Rush last night when the Spurs wiped them off the map likea  coke line at Courtney Love's house in the mid-90's. O'Brien doesn't like the fact that the team isn't notified when a player has his first or second positive test, only being notified when the player is benched. On the one hand, his desire to help his players deal with their problems is admirable. On the other, you have to have some level of privacy for players with these issues (while monotoring the problems). It's a complicated issue, really.
  • So... Celtics fans aren't all brushing off that loss to the Cavs last night. Yikes. Some aren't as worried . I tend to side with the latter group. It's a road game on a back to back against an emotional team with an emotional crowd and you have a team of hyper-confident veterans that would look past a game like this. Just needs salt for a perfect disaster recipe.

Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 9:50 pm

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Which coach has the hottest seat going into the season?

Scott Brooks.

No kidding, you have to put Scott Brooks on this list. Even though he's been instrumental in taking a team with nothing but young players and turning them into a playoff team that looks every bit ready to challenge for a Western Conference title, Brooks has to be on this list. Why? Because he was so good last year he won the career death sentence: the Coach of the Year award. Let's take a look at the previous winners, shall we?

Mike Brown: canned.

Byron Scott: deleted.

Sam Mitchell: terminated.

Avery Johnson: gonezo.

Yeesh. Watch your back, Scottie.

Okay, besides the superstition, who's actually in danger of losing their gig this year? Here are four candidates.

Jay Triano: It's been stunning how Triano has managed to avoid harsh criticism for his squad's performance which helped lead to Chris Bosh's departure without so much as a consideration for staying in Toronto. Brian Colangelo takes all the blame for constructing a spineless defensive team with too many inconsistencies offensively, despite acquiring Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans and being willing to spend for Hedo Turkoglu (who despite all his problems, was a legit quality free agent last summer). Yet Triano's team wound up with the worst defensive marks in the league, falling out of the playoffs down the stretch, and he walked away largely unscathed. Now the Raptors are suffering with a significant lack of talent, and often, guys who underperformed with talent end up getting removed when they actually have good reasons for underperforming... much like Triano faces this season.

John Kuester: The offensive wiz of a team now considered to be one of the greater disappointments of the last decade had a rough opening season. Injuries and subpar play from their big free agents (which most people saw coming outside of the Pistons, though not to the degree) played a part, but this is a cold hearted business that very rarely provides reasonable responses to legitimate causes for losing. If Kuester can't get the Pistons turned around with that payroll, his reputation may not spare him from the axe of Joe Dumars.

Flip Saunders: If anyone in the entire league has an excuse for struggling through two seasons, it's got to be Saunders. Saunders was at the helm for one of the most disastrous seasons in league history last year, and had to preside over the meltdown, grin, and bear it as all his talent was shipped out in a rebuilding plan. John Wall was a Godsend, but Saunders has to deal with re-integrating Gilbert Arenas, containing the combustible Andray Blatche, and trying to move the franchise forward with John Wall. Throw in new majority ownership from Ted Leonsis, and Saunders may have too much stacked against him to survive a poor start, fair or not.

Jim O'Brien: Larry Bird has committed to O'Brien, has stayed by his side, and recently gave him a vote of confidence. But he's in the last year of his deal, which makes letting him go much easier to swallow. On top of that, the questions about talent are no longer going to valid this year. The Pacers now feature a legit center in Roy Hibbert, a legit star forward in Danny Granger, and a star point guard in Darren Collison. If O'Brien can't make this team work in a thin Eastern Conference, with at least some improvement, Bird may run out of patience for him.

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