The first round of the playoffs has turned out to be as tense as could have been hoped, with six of the eight series going six games and at least one going the full seven.
Meanwhile, the other 14 NBA teams are getting ready for next season, and for quite a few, that means new coaches, or possibly new management. While the Raptors continue to court Phil Jackson, Jackson himself is signing on with the Pistons in what is described as a favor to his friend, Pistons owner Tom Gores, to aid in the franchise’s search for a new coach.
The Timberwolves also made a GM switch, bringing back Flip Saunders back in a front office role, a change from his last tenure in Minnesota, when he was the coach. There’s more on the Wolves in today’s blog, so start reading the latest NBA news right now.
- With the Warriors becoming the first team to score an upset in this year’s playoffs, it’s time to take a look at some news from Golden State. Here’s a note on sixth man Jarrett Jack from Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group: “According to multiple team sources, the Warriors initiated extension talks with guard Jarrett Jack back in January. But Jack shut down such talks before they got rolling, looking to focus on the season and wanting to experience free agency. Jack, who drew interest from multiple teams during the trade deadline, is in the last year of his contract paying him $5 million this season. He is expected to be a fairly well sought after this offseason, especially with the postseason he’s having, as multiple teams are looking for a point guard. Multiple teams are looking for point guards — including Utah, Charlotte, Toronto and possibly Milwaukee (since Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent). Plus, Jack has proven to be a difference-maker off the bench, which has intrigued multiple teams that already have a point guard, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.”
- Some more Warriors news, this time from Sam Amick of USA Today on center Andrew Bogut, who grabbed 21 boards in last night’s series-clinching win over the Nuggets: “Limited to just 32 games this season after his left ankle surgery in late April 2012 that was only supposed to sideline him through October, Bogut was a forceful presence on the defensive end and a key part of the Warriors offense that needed someone to counter the Nuggets team that is so proficient on the offensive glass. Yet while speaking to just two reporters in a hallway inside the arena afterward, Bogut revealed that he nearly missed out on Game 6 altogether because of pain in the ankle that persists but took a pain-killing injection for the first time in his eight-year career that saved his day. “I almost didn’t play today, to be honest with you,” Bogut said. “I took a shot before the game, the first one I’ve taken all year, that I’ve ever taken in my career. It got me over the line, thankfully. I’m very, very, good now, but I’m not looking forward to waking up in the morning.” Bogut, the Australian who has never been shy about his penchant for pub hopping, said he abstained from drinking this season because beer would cause his ankle to swell. As the Warriors headed out to celebrate their win, he planned on joining them without joining in. “A couple of the guys are going out, but I just don’t want to risk (drinking) and wake up in the morning and then have an issue,” he said. “I’ll stick to my sparkling water with lemon.”
- Let’s go back to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group for another Warriors note: “Oracle Arena went nuts when forward David Lee came off the bench and walked to the scorer’s table midway through the first quarter, ready for his Willis Reed moment. The celebration was tempered when Nuggets coach George Karl called a timeout. But a few minutes later, at the 2:23 mark, fans got to finish the job when he officially checked in. DLee was back. How exactly he could do this was unclear. He was supposed to be out for the season with a complete tear of his right hip flexor muscle in Game 1. But minutes before tipoff of Game 6, word got out that Lee was cleared to play. According to a team source, Lee was told he couldn’t do further damage to his hip flexor, so he could play if he could handle the pain.”
- With the Nuggets now out of the playoffs, they’re joining the group of teams turning their attention to the offseason. Here’s Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post to get that started: “Forward Andre Iguodala is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract, forgoing $16 million next season in search of a long-term deal even if the money wouldn’t rise to the same level on a per-year basis. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent, but the Nuggets have a chance at retaining his services as long as the price is right. The Nuggets have $51 million in guaranteed salary already tied up for next season. The salary cap was $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season. The luxury tax is $70.307 million. Neither of those numbers will go down next season, meaning even with contract decisions to be made on Iguodala and unrestricted free agent Corey Brewer, the Nuggets, who were well under the luxury tax, are in good financial shape. Iguodala, who struggled offensively during the regular season and much of the postseason, has taken the temperature of the organization and where it is headed all season long. He wants to be with a winner and with a franchise headed in a contending direction. Despite a first-round exit, both of those things exist in Denver, along with the ability to get a fifth contract year on a new extension with the Nuggets, something he could not get with any other team under the new collective bargaining agreement.”
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