It may be playoff season for 16 teams right now – well, 13 now that three teams have been eliminated – but it’s the offseason for other teams around the league, as they try to figure out the best course of action for next season.
The biggest news come in the way of hiring and firing of management positions, and we start with the biggest surprise – the hiring of Phil Jackson by the Detroit Pistons, from Vince Ellis of USA Today:
What started as casual conversations between friends has turned into an eye-opening move for the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons announced Thursday night that coaching great Phil Jackson has agreed to advise president of basketball operations Joe Dumars during the Pistons’ coaching search.
And Platinum Equity spokesman Mark Barnhill told the Detroit Free Press that the agreement is short-term and the result of Pistons owner Tom Gores’ friendship with Jackson.
The news is pretty surprising, given the mess of a situation that has been the state of Detroit for quite some years. Like Michael Jordan once did, Jackson will now have a chance to help build something from the bottom. Hopefully, he will show more capability than Jordan did with the Washington Wizards.
The other big news, and most saw this one coming, was the Minnesota Timberwolves’ decision to not bring back the terrible David Kahn. They are now finalizing a deal with the team’s former head coach Flip Saunders, from Zach Harper of CBSSports:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has declined to exercise the one-year option in David Kahn’s contract for the 2013-14 NBA season, and as a result, he will not return as President of Basketball Operations. Kahn was originally hired by the Timberwolves on May 22, 2009.
“We want to thank David for all of his efforts the past four years with our basketball team,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “These are always difficult decisions, but at this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our organization to make a change. We wish David all the best in the future.”
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed that the move is a precursor to the team finalizing a deal to bring in Flip Saunders as the president of basketball operations to replace Kahn.
Here are some updates on teams preparing to interview certain candidates for a coaching job:
Mike Malone and Jeff Hornacek will be interviewed by 76ers for a coaching job, according to Adrian Wojnarowski: “The Philadelphia 76ers have received permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone and Utah Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek for the franchise’s head-coaching vacancy, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Sixers are considering several candidates to replace Doug Collins, and are expected to start the interview process next week, sources said. Malone is considered a serious candidate for the Sixers job. The Sixers have been doing a great deal of research on Malone and getting excellent feedback, sources said. Hornacek played two seasons (1992-94) with the Sixers in his 14-year NBA playing career. He’s been an assistant with the Jazz for two seasons now. He could be considered a candidate with the Phoenix Suns, where he played the first six years of his NBA career and still keeps a home. Phoenix won’t start its coaching search until it hires a general manager.
The Bobcats are also interviewing for coaching candidates, from NBA.com: “The Charlotte Bobcats will interview former Suns head coach Alvin Gentry next week for their vacant head coach job, according to league sources. The Bobcats will also interview longtime assistant coach Elston Turner, who was Gentry’s assistant in Phoenix before Gentry was fired early this season. Gentry, a North Carolina native who played collegiately at Appalachian State, had expressed interest in the Bobcats’ job last week. The Bobcats are looking for yet another head coach after firing Mike Dunlap following a single season… Turner hoped to be considered for the job after Gentry was fired, but he was passed over in favor of the Suns’ player development coach, Lindsey Hunter, who coached the rest of the season. The Suns, who also dismissed former general manager Lance Blanks after the season, have already given Hunter permission to interview with Detroit for its vacant head coaching job.”
Onto other news from around the league:
- Steve Kerr was critical of the behavior of New York Knicks, from Al Iannazzone of Newsday: “This game has shown the immaturity of the Knicks team…the inexperience, maybe, in this situation,” Kerr said. “The playoffs are always a process and you have to learn as you go. They have learned something here. “You have to approach things in the playoffs in a very professional manner…you had the elbow from J.R. Smith that lead to the suspension; a lot of trash talking the last couple of days; the shenanigans with wearing black…this is about executing and playing as a team and playing hard and this is part of the process.”