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Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:23 am

Phil Jackson talks about decision to return

Phil Jackson decided to return after winning the title last June, but that won't influence his decision after this year. 
Posted by Matt Moore

After the Lakers won their second NBA championship last summer, Phil Jackson took his sweet time deciding to come back. He mosied on over to Montana, and spent some time reflecting upon lake waters, communing with geese, or whatever it is that Zen Masters do when they're contemplating whether to deal with Ron Artest for another season. In the end, Jackson elected to return. And in an interview with reporters Tuesday, Jackson admitted that winning the title was a big propulsion to bring him back

So if winning was enough to bring him back last year, the same thing could happen after this season should the Lakers once again hoist the trophy, right? 
"No," said Jackson with a wry smile, sticking to his "last stand" stance for this year. "Theres no such thing as four-peats."
via Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson says winning title fueled return - ESPN Los Angeles.

Jackson is right to end the talk now, to say unequivocably he won't be back. It provides extra motivation for the players, to ensure that he goes out on top. And that's as it should be. It's fitting that Jackson end his stellar career by finishing off the fourth three-peat, and then riding off into the sunset. Anything else would leave open the possibility of holding on too long. 

Now all the Lakers have to do is get through the Mavericks, Spurs, Thunder, and the Celtics/Bulls. But really, the hard part's just the decision. Okay, not really. 
Posted on: March 16, 2011 2:11 am

Stan Van Gundy voted most annoying coach

Stan Van Gundy voted "Most Annoying Coach" by NBA players in regards to sideline behavior. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The Sports Illustrated annual players' poll is released on newsstands Wednesday, but they elected to leak one notable, and slightly hilarious result. Stan Van Gundy trounced all comers in being voted the most annoying coach in the NBA, according to the players. From Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post: 
Sports Illustrated polled 138 NBA players for its latest issue, on newsstands tomorrow, and asked which head coach is the most annoying during games. The Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy, with 65 percent of the vote, "won" in a landslide; Phil Jackson of the L.A. Lakers and Scott Skiles of the Milwaukee Bucks tied for second place, receiving seven percent of the votes apiece.

Van Gundy, in his fourth season leading the Magic, is among the most outspoken coaches in all of sports, as his recent feud with NBA Commissioner David Stern demonstrates. He's also taken on targets as big as the Miami Heat and Shaquille O'Neal during his Magic tenure. But this poll asked players to only consider the coaches' attitude during games. It's easy to understand why they may not take kindly to Van Gundy, with his high-pitched shouting and histrionics.
via SI Player Poll: Stan Van Gundy the NBA's "Most Annoying" Head Coach - Orlando Pinstriped Post.

The perception is that essentially, Van Gundy is on a fuse, and when the fuse runs out, he'll be jettisoned for a "player's coach," someone who won't scream, won't yell, and looks more the part of an NBA coach. He's been called a "master of panic" by Shaquille O'Neal, despite having one of the better track records for drawing up intelligent playcalls in key situations as opposed to the oh so popular "give to the best perimeter player in ISO and help no one doubles" tactic that so many coaches opt for (and Scott Brooks has tattoed backwards on his forehead for easy reading in a mirror). 

This vote just reinforces the belief that Van Gundy is not a guy players want to play for. Yet there he is, winning games and contending for a title on a team that just three years ago was considered an afterthought in the playoffs. Van Gundy's performance record places him the past two seasons behind only Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers in terms of team sucess. That's not bad for a guy who apparently most of the league finds annoying. Van Gundy likely doesn't mind the characterization as long as his teams keep getting the message and playing to his demands. 

It's also interesting that all three coaches on this list have career records greater than .500. 
Posted on: March 8, 2011 5:07 pm

Phil Jackson talks about the next Lakers coach

Phil Jackson discusses the future of the Lakers' head coaching situation.
Posted by Matt Moore

One way or another, next season will be one of considerable change for the Los Angeles Lakers. Phil Jackson is retiring, win or lose, and the organization will have to sort through the drastically different world under the next CBA for exactly where they want to go with their franchise and who will lead it. On Tuesday, Jackson spoke to reporters about the process of selecting a new head coach for the Lakers and what his role will be in that. For starters, he makes it clear that it's the gents upstairs that will have to make that decision once and for all: 
Jackson said he expected to be consulted by the Lakers' front office for his opinion on who the next coach should be when the opportunity presents itself, but said the decision will ultimately be general manager Mitch Kupchak's and owner Dr. Jerry Buss' to make.

"I'm sure we're going to talk about it at some level, but that's got to be a fit," Jackson said. "It has to be someone that Mitch is comfortable with; it has to be something that Dr. Buss sees as the program ahead."
via Phil Jackson: GM, owner will pick next Los Angeles Lakers coach - ESPN Los Angeles.

It's surprising that Brian Shaw, who was a candidate for the Cavaliers job this summer (talk about dodging a bullet) isn't the assumed heir to the chair, as it were, with Kurt Rambis in Minnesota. Shaw has long thought to be the guy going forward, but it does go to show how things could dramtically change for the Lakers in a new CBA. If their ability to keep all their high-priced-but-discounted-for-L.A.
stars is impacted, or if the core proves to be unable to sustain their success in the playoffs at their age, it's possible, though unlikely, that the Lakers could opt for a full-scale blow-up in preparation for the summer of 2012. 

The most likely scenario, however, is a 12th coaching title for Jackson, who walks away on top, and the Lakers pushing forward under Brian Shaw, who has the respect of the veterans on the team and who would continue the use of Jackson's triangle.  It may not be a seamless transition, but it's as close as they're going to get. You can bet that Jackson will have a signficant influence on the decision, however, not only as the former coach but as the partner of Buss' daughter. Jackson's fingerprints will be on the Lakers for years to come, which is in no way a bad thing.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:13 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 9:18 pm

Ewing may be in talks for Bobcats coaching gig

Patrick Ewing hints at talks for Bobcats coaching gig.
Posted by Matt Moore

Patrick Ewing has hinted at discussions with Bobcats chairman and CEO Michael Jordan regarding the head coaching job. Interim coach Paul Silas is 2-0 since taking over the job, but there's an "interim" tag firmly attached to his title. Meanwhile, the New York Post asked Ewing if he had talked to Jordan about the gig.

Asked if Charlotte had called him, Ewing smiled and said, "They might have."
When pressed, Ewing said, "He might have been. I talk to Michael all the time. There definitely was a phone call. It depends on what we talked about."
via Ewing in mix to be Bobcats head coach - .

Ewing has interviewed for several gigs but has never gotten far. There are a number of questions, not the least of which is why he has been unable to coach Dwight Howard into having the kind of post-game befitting a superstar of his stature.  Ewing's relationship with Jordan (the two are close friends despite the hurting Jordan routinely put on the Big Fella in the playoffs) may be what he needs to get a foot in the door. 

If I'm Ewing however, I'm thinking more about trying to aim for a gig that isn't loaded with huge longterm contracts on declining players, a poor history of drafting, no discernible superstar and a limited budget due to market restraints. But then I'm picky like that. 
Posted on: November 4, 2010 12:21 pm

Welcome to the hot seat, John Kuester

Detroit coach may be on the hot seat. Posted by Matt Moore

It takes a while for coaches to make their mark on their team. Even in the ridiculously knee-jerk NBA, you've got some sort of window for getting your point across and bringing the team together.

That sound you hear is John Kuester's window shutting while somoene behind him packs his bags.

It's not just the 0-5 start. Or the -9.2 scoring differential (third worst in the league). It's not the discomobulation, the wins per dollar amount, the defensive breakdowns, or the lack of cohesion. It's all of the above and more. The latest example?

Rodney Stuckey, the promising young point guard of the future who's stock has plummeted like BP the past year, refusing to acknowledge his coach and getting benched (Via the Detroit Free Press ). This after Tayshaun Prince responded to Kuester's criticism of the team's leadership by questioning the same element from the coaching staff . Yikes.

Here's the thing. Once you lose a locker room? That's pretty much it. Your locker room can stray, it can meander, it can roam the countryside and graze among distant pastures of distraction. But once you've lost it, when it's out of sight? That's usually it. You never get it back. Scott Skiles has lost multiple locker rooms despite being a tremendous coach. Kuester, from all accounts, never seems to have had this one to begin with.

If we're looking at odds for first coach fired before Christmas? Kuester's just run to the top of the list and rung the bell.

The Pistons are on the books for over $65 million this season, which is just a ridiculously high salary for the kind of production they're seeing. What's even more baffling is their reluctance to move Tayshaun Pirnce or Rip Hamilton. They have young talent they're not investing in, and the veterans are not responding to Kuester's prodding. It's a steamy soup of badness in Detroit, and eventually, Joe Dumars may have to dump the pot out and start over.

(HT: PBT )
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2010 1:45 pm

McMillan going without extension

Blazers coach flying without extension net this season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Almost everyone wants job security. You want to be know where you'll be next year, two years from now, four years from now. It's best for you and for your family. But apparently Nate McMillan is totally okay with being out on the ledge without a vine. The Portland Tribune had a discussion with McMillan about his contract expiring after this year and found something surprising. McMillan is totally fine with it. The Blazers exercised their option for this season on McMillan last year. But McMillan himself is the one who decided to go ahead and let his contract expire at the end of this season.

Get this. He says the team should be able to judge his performance after this season and decide if they want him to continue coaching in Portland.
“I believe the organization should be in a position to look at where this team is going and make that decision. Me not talking about an extension, please don’t read into it that it’s a sign I don’t want to be here. I do.”
Does. Not. Compute.

So McMillan wants to stay in Portland, but wants to give the Blazers the year to evaluate his job and see if they want to retain him. That's nuts.
“My agent (Lonnie Cooper) asks the same thing,” McMillan says, grinning slightly. “He says, ‘You talk crazy.'"
While it's certainly a noble enterprise McMillan has taken on, you also have to wonder if the removal of former general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn have anything to do with McMillan's approach. There's a lot of instability in an organization that looked rock solid just a few years ago, and it's not hard to imagine McMillan wanting to prove to owner Paul Allen and Vulcan that he's worth the money, without question.

McMillan is definitely focused on this season, and as good as he was last year, navigating injury and chemistry concerns, it's possible he could outdo himself with a fully healthy roster (fingers crossed!). That would settle him in Portland for the long-run. On the other hand, he's leaving himself open to the possibility if things do fall apart that the Blazers have an easy out to ditch him. Gotta love NBA coaching gigs.
Posted on: June 29, 2010 12:16 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 9:18 pm

Report: Shaw hired as Cavs head coach

UPDATE 2: A person involved in the process told's Ken Berger that Shaw and the Cavs have entered the negotiation phase, but that no deal has been reached.

UPDATE: Byron Scott's agent has issued a congratulatory email to Shaw and written to FanHouse concerning Scott's role in the search. This one appears to be a done deal, but has not been formally announced.

Sam Amick of NBA FanHouse is reporting that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is finalizing a deal to become the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The report states that while a deal isn't finalized, talks have not advanced with the Cavs' other lead candidate, Byron Scott, who will now start sending Phil Jackson books on the perks of retirement. If the report is indeed true, it means a considerable shift in the Cavaliers' philosophy. Shaw has no head coaching experience and is more offensively minded. It's likely that if he were to take the position that the triangle offense may be installed, an offense which has not succeeded without Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant spearheading it, nor without Phil Jackson himself coaching it, in the last twenty years.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson is off in Montana recuperating from the season and deciding whether or not to return to pursue a 14th championship ring (his 12th as a head coach). There's no way to predict how this development could impact Jackson. On the one hand, he's losing his other key advisor after Kurt Rambis headed to Minnesota last year, and with Jackson refusing to travel were he to return, this would mean turning the keys of a championship team over to someone he may not trust as much. On the other, he may see this as his team needing another year with a steady hand at the wheel.

Either way, you know the question everyone's going to ask. What's LeBron think?

We'll keep you posted on this story throughout the day.

-Matt Moore

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