Bernucca: Jackson’s Resume Alone Not Nearly Enough To Fix Knicks

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220px-Isiah_ThomasPhil Jackson won’t be awful as president of the New York Knicks. He certainly won’t be as bad as Isiah Thomas was in running the club. And he will almost certainly be better than David Kahn, Bryan Colangelo, Joe Dumars, Otis Smith and Geoff Petrie have been in recent years.

But Phil Jackson isn’t Isiah Thomas, or David Kahn, or Bryan Colangelo. He’s Phil Jackson, with a reputation of all things basketball that he touches turning to gold.

And that’s exactly what Knicks fans – now with three generations of folks waiting for another NBA title – will expect from Jackson.

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Suns begin rebuilding at top, hire Ryan McDonough as GM

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oldsunslogoThe Phoenix Suns have a huge rebuilding project on their hands. However, they have the tools to do it. And now they believe they have the right man to use those tools.

Two weeks after firing Lance Blanks, Suns president Lon Babby on Tuesday hired Ryan McDonough as the team’s new general manager.

The hiring puts interim coach Lindsey Hunter’s status in immediate jeopardy. Hunter was working in player development when he was installed by Blanks after Alvin Gentry was fired. Assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner, believing they were bypassed, resigned their positions.

Hunter has not been retained or relieved. However, McDonough is almost certain to handpick his own coach as part of the rebuilding process. The Suns were 25-57 this season, the worst record in the Western Conference and second-worst in franchise history.

McDonough, 33, is another young, new-age NBA executive cut from the same cloth as Daryl Morey, Sam Presti and Rob Hennigan. He has spent virtually his entire career in various roles of player evaluation and relies strongly on advanced metrics and stat analysis.

McDonough had been with the Boston Celtics since 2003, starting as a special assistant to basketball operations and ascending to director of amateur scouting, director of international scouting, director or player personnel and assistant general manager, a position he held the last three seasons.

As assistant GM, McDonough’s primary responsibility was the evaluation of draft-eligible players from college and overseas. That experience should serve well for both McDonough and the Suns, who have 10 draft picks over the next three years, including six first-round picks.

If form holds in the lottery, the Suns would have the fourth pick and 30th pick in this year’s draft. In addition to their own picks, they also have the first-round picks of Minnesota in 2014 and the LA Lakers in 2015.

Phoenix’s notable free agents this summer are swingman Wesley Johnson and veteran forward Jermaine O’Neal. The Suns don’t figure to have significant room under the salary Michael Beasleycap until the summer of 2015.

While their highest-paid player is Goran Dragic at the relative bargain price of $7.5 million, Dragic and Jared Dudley are signed through 2016 (with player options), Channing Frye, Luis Scola and Michael Beasley are signed through 2015 and Kendall Marshall and Marcus and Markieff Morris are on their rookie contracts.

While Majerle would be a possible coaching candidate given his popularity in the Valley, more experienced options such as Stan Van Gundy and Nate McMillan are available.

McDonough comes from a family that has been around sports for generations. His late father, Will, was a longtime writer for the Boston Globe. Brother Sean is a broadcaster for ESPN and brother Terry is an NFL executive.

 

SH Blog: Varejao to miss the rest of season, Pau Gasol to come off bench for good

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A forgettable season for Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao somehow got worse on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Varejao, who has been out with a leg injury, will reportedly miss the rest of the season after developing blood clot in his lower right lung, from NBA.com:

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Suns name Lindsey Hunter interim head coach

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PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns have named former NBA player and Suns Player Development Coordinator Lindsey Hunter the club’s interim head coach, the team announced Sunday.