For the Golden State Warriors, a team with a plentiful collection of talent, is in no rush to select their next leader.
After surprising the NBA world last season by taking the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs to six games in the conference semi’s, the Warriors fell short of their own lofty expectations this season. Excuses aside, they failed to make it out of the first round, losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in a hard fought seven game series.
Fair or not, this cost Mark Jackson his job.
But this we know.
What we don’t know is who the Warriors will bring in to take them to the next level. Several names have surfaced: Steve Kerr, Stan Van Gundy and now, current Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Here’s more from Rusty Simmons of the SF Chronicle:
The team has contacted top candidates Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy in hopes of setting up two of as many as a dozen potential interviews to pinpoint a replacement for Mark Jackson, who was fired Tuesday.
“We’re going to take our time in this process,” Lacob said. “We’re going to interview a number of people. We have a very good idea of what we’re interested in. But, to be sure and to do the appropriate job in looking for a coach, we will interview multiple people and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
The Warriors are expected to contact the Chicago Bulls to explore the availability of their head coach, defensive whiz Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant in Boston when Lacob was a minority owner of the 2008 champion Celtics.
Any of these three coaches would be an excellent hire for the Warriors, Kerr being the only one of which without any head coaching experience. Kerr has displayed his brilliant basketball mind as a player, GM and analyst, and seems like the perfect fit to connect with a young and talented roster. Like Thibodeau, Stan Van Gundy brings an excellent ability to maximize the talent on his roster and put together some of the best defensive schemes in the league.
His teams have always played top-notch defense (some of that credit can be attributed to Dwight Howard) and shot the lights out.
But these aren’t the only names on Golden State’s short list.
They’re also believed to be considering the merits of former NBA head coaches Lionel Hollins, Mike D’Antoni, George Karl and Jerry Sloan, and college head coaches Fred Hoiberg and Kevin Ollie, and are waiting for assistants David Fizdale, Alvin Gentry andNate McMillan, the latter two former head coaches, to complete playoff runs.
But the process starts with Kerr and Van Gundy.
Whoever the Warriors do select, one thing is for certain: they will be walking into a team with high expectations.
Continuing on the subject of head coaching searches, the Los Angeles Lakers job is available.
While that sounds great, at the same time, a candidate may have to impress more than just Mitch Kupchak and the Buss family. They will have to win over Kobe Bryant. Here’s more from ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin:
“On the last two they didn’t,” Bryant said, referring to Mike Brown and D’Antoni, who both failed to endure the length of the initial contracts they signed with the Lakers before parting ways. “On the third one, I’m hoping they do.”
While this is far from a vigorous demand from Bryant, who has been known to make those in the past, it is clear that he would like to be involved in the process.
“Jimmy and Jeanie both, they’re just really determined and excited about the possibilities of next season and rebuilding this and building on their father’s legacy and everything that he’s accomplished,” Bryant said. “And they’re taking the challenge extremely, extremely seriously. They’re both on the same page and they want nothing but excellence here, so I have no doubt that we’ll make it happen.”
Bryant did not identify any specific candidates he would like the Lakers to hire but said there is an “open-door policy” in place between him and Lakers management as the process plays out.
“We talk back and forth,” Bryant said. “We’ll text or I’ll sit down with [them].”
Kobe turns 36 in the fall and is preparing for his 19th NBA season. He’s got two years remaining on his contract and clearly wants to maximize what he’s got left. There is no doubt he will want the Lakers to bring in a strong candidate that he feels can lead this team back into contention, but he did make one thing clear: liking somebody and winning do not go hand and hand.
“Honestly, it’s not really about whether the players like the coach or not,” Bryant said. “It’s really about getting results. Liking somebody and those results don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.
“Sometimes when a coach is driving you, you don’t necessarily like it, but it’s a part of the process, and then once you win, everybody is buddy-buddy after that.”
In another fabulous piece by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Doc Rivers is quoted sending a message to Shelly Sterling: stay away.
Rivers makes it clear that this situation will become increasingly difficult if she fights to keep the team in the Sterling name. Here’s more:
Doc Rivers said Thursday that “it would be a very hard situation” if Shelly Sterling, the wife of deposed owner Donald Sterling, remained as owner of the team as she has publicly expressed a desire to do in the wake of the scandal around her estranged husband’s racist comments that were published by TMZ.
“I don’t even want to comment on it because I don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “I think it would be a very hard situation, I’ll say that much. I think it would be very difficult. I guarantee you every person wouldn’t be on board with it. Whether I would or not, I’m not going to say, I just know that would be a very difficult situation for everybody.”
Asked to elaborate why it would be so difficult, Rivers, who is consulting with the NBA in its search for a new CEO of the franchise, said that “because of the relationship” she’s had with her husband it would be difficult for her to continue on as owner “because we wouldn’t know who was really in charge.”
From the outside, it is obvious to all that the Sterling name needs to be completely disparaged from the Clippers. For the franchise to move forward in any new light, this has to happen. But it looks as if it will be more complicated then originally anticipated when new NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life.
In the meantime, Dick Parsons has been named the new CEO of the Clippers and will handle business operations for the franchise:
“I believe the hiring of Dick Parsons will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization,” Silver said. “Dick’s credentials as a proven chief executive speak for themselves and I am extremely grateful he accepted this responsibility.”
Parsons is a senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners and sits on the board of directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates.
“Like most Americans, I have been deeply troubled by the pain the Clippers’ team, fans and partners have endured,” said Parsons, who is black. “A lifelong fan of the NBA, I am firmly committed to the values and principles it is defending, and I completely support Adam’s leadership in navigating the challenges facing the team and the league.
“The Clippers are a resilient organization with a brilliant coach and equally talented and dedicated athletes and staff who have demonstrated great strength of character during a time of adversity. I am honored to be asked to work with them, build on their values and accomplishments, and help them open a new, inspiring era for their team.”