Five Things to Watch: San Antonio Spurs

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Kawhi Leonard

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We all remember Game 6 of the NBA Finals, correct?

And we all remember Game 7, and the way Tim Duncan looked afterward — like he was at a funeral. The Big Fundamental had been spoiled, winning every previous time he had advanced to the Finals.

So the question to ask going into 2013-14 — will this be Spurs Motivation 2.0?

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SH Blog: Doc to the Clippers is really, truly dead (apparently); Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard are text buddies

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Doc_RiversThe NBA landscape over the last week has been dominated by two things: the Finals, obviously, and the Doc Rivers trade talks (do they have a name yet? Doc-umentary?). But now it’s time to abruptly shift gears, from a thrilling final series to a wide-open draft class. In Joe Kotoch’s latest mock, it seems the Cavs have locked in on one candidate for the #1 pick — Alex Len, and can obtain Shawn Marion in a trade that would give Mark Cuban his cap space and allow the Cavs to gain a second lottery pick.

Thursday night should be a lot of fun.

As for the Doc situation, there doesn’t appear to be much life left in those negotiations, so what remains to be seen is whether Rivers returns to coach the Celtics or retires to go back to TV. If he goes to TV, it will have a lot to do with Rivers’ strained relationship Rajon Rondo, according to Chris Sheridan.

That Rivers news kicks off our daily roundup of the latest NBA news:

  • The Doc Rivers to the Clippers talks are dead, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “Ainge had wanted a first-round draft pick from the Clippers to let Rivers out of his contract, but the Clippers offered only a future second-round pick, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Within the NBA, there had been growing doubt that owner Donald Sterling wanted to pay the five-year, $35 million contract he had negotiated with Rivers, nor give up any first-round picks in the deal. Free-agent star Chris Paul pushed the Clippers to hire Rivers as coach, but will have to settle for Lionel Hollins, Brian Shaw or Byron Scott if he plans to re-sign with Los Angeles in July. Paul is unhappy with the fallout over the failed deal, sources told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night. Rivers plans to have a decision on Monday. He is choosing between staying with Boston for his 10th season or leaving for television. If Rivers does leave the job, the Celtics will still require compensation before he can accept a job elsewhere in the NBA.”
  • Further corroboration comes from Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “In the wake of a collapse in talks between the Celtics and Clippers over the release of Doc Rivers from his contract, a source has told the Herald that discussions between the teams for Kevin Garnett are “probably” dead as well. A long proposed swap of Garnett for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had been given second priority during the Rivers discussions. But Garnett, who has veto power over any trade, may not have many other locations he will approve. The Clippers made sense to the 37-year-old center because of his home in Malibu, and the chance to continue playing for Rivers. Asked if this could mean a Garnett return to the Celtics for next season, the source said, “KG in Boston is a very good option.” The source stressed that none of Danny Ainge’s deliberations are linked. As such, Paul Pierce’s future as a Celtic remains uncertain. The team can buy out the Celtics captain for $5 million on or before June 30, and record $10 million in cap savings. Asked about assertions from the Clippers that talks for Rivers are still alive, the source laughed and said, “No, it’s dead.” “

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Podcast: More Popovich bashing

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Seems like all I am doing with my Friday is interview after interview bashing Gregg Popovich.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Pop. I’ve covered him with the Spurs and Team USA since 2002.

When he is chippy with the media, he is never directing that chippiness at me (you have to know HOW to ask a proper question, or you are dead meat).

But he is open to some serious second-guessing, and that’s what I did in this interview on NBCSports AM1060 in Phoenix.

Listen to internet radio with Sheridan Hoops Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Podcast: Bashing Gregg Popovich

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You do not leave your best offensive player on the bench for the most important offensive play of Game 6 and Game 7.

You do not leave your best defensive player on the bench for the most critical rebounding opportunity of Game 6.

Congratulations, Gregg Popovich. You deserved to lose the NBA Finals.

More on that, plus a Nixon v. McGovern reference, in this interview from Friday with Bob Valvano of ESPN680 The Zone in Louisville.

NBA Finals Autopsy: Gregg Popovich Was No Genius

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dunce1The next time someone refers to Gregg Popovich as a “genius” they should include the qualifier “part-time.”

The haters can feel free to use the word “idiot” — although in my opinion that’s taking it a little too far.