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NBA PM: Clippers Closing In On Head Coach?
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On June 5, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
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Clippers Down To Three: The Los Angeles Clippers head coaching search is moving along swiftly after deciding not to re-sign previous head coach Vinny Del Negro after his contract expired. They have narrowed their search down to three, according to Marc Heisler: Lionel Hollins, Byron Scott and Brian Shaw. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Shaw is the leading candidate.
First and foremost, all three are very qualified and have to be looked at as upgrades for the Clippers. They all have championship experience as players and resumes overall that would immediately gain them the respect of the Clippers’ locker room, something Del Negro struggled to maintain throughout his time as head coach.
While the Clippers really can’t go wrong with any of the three, Hollins’ stock is currently the highest. He’s coming off of an incredible run with the Memphis Grizzlies, leading them all the way to the Western Conference Finals after a midseason shakeup that easily could have led to the downfall of the team. Hollins helped turn the Grizzlies into an old school, defense-oriented squad that can compete against anybody, but the work he did may be going a little bit underappreciated in Memphis.
The Grizzlies have yet to officially part ways with Hollins, in fact he’s still involved with the organization in some capacity, but the writing is on the wall as they let him negotiate with other teams like the Clippers and Brooklyn Nets. Technically they could still bring him back, but it’s looking more like Hollins is on his way out because if the Grizzlies don’t want him, the Nets and Clippers certainly do.
The Nets are also very interested in Shaw, who they were just recently granted permission to speak with because the Indiana Pacers did not want to let Shaw interview and negotiate while they were competing for a spot in the NBA Finals. Shaw has also been linked to openings in Philadelphia and Detroit, though, so like Hollins the Clippers may have to be a part of a bidding war if they really want to land his services.
Scott on the other hand does not have as many potential suitors courting him despite having over 400 career wins and two NBA Finals appearances as a head coach. Being four years removed from his last winning season is certainly one of the reasons why, but that was also the last time Scott was really in a winning situation. In 2009-10, the Hornets let him go nine games into the regular season and the following season he took over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who almost immediately after his hiring lost LeBron James in free agency to the Miami HEAT – a move that would set them on a multi-year rebuilding process that they didn’t see Scott fit to finish out.
Still, Scott has proven to be a very capable coach when put in the right position. He has a strong history with All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who the Clippers hope to sign to a long-term max contract this offseason, and the Clippers wouldn’t have to worry about outbidding other teams for him. While the Clippers may be the only interested team right now, next season as coaching changes occur Scott’s name will be right at the top of the list, so he won’t be out of the league long if the Clippers opt to go with Shaw or Hollins instead.
This is going to be a very pivotal offseason for the Clippers that determines whether they are contenders for the next several years. They have a chance to be relevant for a longer period than they ever have before, and the first matter of business is hiring the right head coach. Between Shaw, Scott and Hollins they can’t go wrong, but they’re going to need to make their decision quickly if they want to have their choice of the three, because other teams in the league looking for head coaches have a short list that looks very similar to the Clippers’.
Spurs, HEAT Have Great Respect For Each Other: On the eve of the start of the NBA Finals, the Miami HEAT and San Antonio Spurs had nothing but positive things to say about each other. There’s no animosity, bad blood or anything like that, just mutual respect.
“Yeah, they are just as good as it gets, from the standpoint of IQ basketball,” HEAT guard Dwyane Wade said to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports. “They seem like they know where each other are without looking. They play total team basketball, obviously. And we feel that in a different style, different form we feel we play total team basketball, and we are high IQ. So in a sense we have similarities with a lot of differences as well. So we’ll see how it collides when the series starts.”
“I just think the one thing that you kind of always seen, no matter what, they’ve always shared the ball and played as a team,” LeBron James added. “That’s winning basketball. That’s something I’ve always kind of been taught throughout my whole life, especially when I was a kid, moving the ball, and everybody feeling important. If you move the defense from side to side, something is going to open up for you. You always see the Spurs doing that.”
The last time the Spurs were in the Finals was 2007, when the swept James’ Cavaliers. That was James’ fourth year in the league, though, and since then he has gone on to become the most dominant player in the game today who is now in search of his second-straight championship.
“He’s definitely evolved,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “He’s a much better shooter than he was back then. I think his confidence level is obviously definitely much higher. And he’s got a different cast around him, with Wade and Bosh and (Udonis) Haslem and the rest of those guys. I think he’s got a bit of a better cast around him.”
While it may be all pleasantries now, expect everything to change once the ball is in the air for the opening tip of Game 1. Both teams will be too caught up in trying to win a championship to compliment each other then.
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