Scott Skiles has emerged as the strong frontrunner to become head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
January 24, 2018 | 5:32 am EST Update
Sam Amick on LeBron James’ future: “I don’t know where he goes, but with the mood of the moment – for a lot of obvious reasons – I’m leaning toward him leaving. I understand people who say that the [best way] to stay in the Finals every year is staying in Cleveland because of the East, but Boston and Toronto are legit so I think that narrative is a little outdated at this point. If he stays in Cleveland, I don’t think there’s any guarantee whatsoever that he’s getting back to the Finals. The days of surrounding LeBron with some halfway-capable players and he’ll take them to the Finals are gone. I think the relationship stuff is also a major factor. I talked about Dan Gilbert a bit earlier and the reality that doesn’t get talked about enough is that, from my understanding, LeBron and Dan mended fences enough to get to this point where they won a title and have been to the Finals multiple years in a row. But it’s not like they had a Kumbaya moment and became best friends
Sam Amick on LeBron to Houston: “I wrote about [LeBron going to] Houston earlier this year and heard some really, really interesting stuff on that front, so I’m a little bit of a sucker for that idea. I know people say, ‘Don’t go West! Why would you get into the ring with the Warriors and the Spurs and this new-look Thunder team if they can figure it out?’ But, for one, the Rockets showed us just a few nights ago that they can beat the Warriors. They have his best friend Chris Paul. And I’m not trying to make too much of a friendship, but those guys would play wonderfully together along with James Harden, who I think is the MVP right now.
On Sam hearing that LeBron looking at a school in LA was a huge misunderstanding. Sam Amick: “Someone I really trust told me that the school subplot – that LeBron and his wife were already looking for a school in Los Angeles for their kids – was a complete misunderstanding. Maybe it’s not the case. But they said that he was shooting a commercial near that school and said, ‘I want to take a breather and get some shots in. Where is there a court near here?’ And he wound up shooting hoops at the school and then afterward, they were just poking around before going back to the commercial shoot. But they said he was shooting a commercial right nearby and that’s the only reason he was in the neighborhood. But who knows?”
Sam Amick on the rift between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs: “Kawhi and the way he’s wired is just very different from most people… Over time, I feel like that’s created a dynamic with the Spurs where there are some communication breakdowns in general. And then when you have a frustrating situation like this health-wise, where the guy thinks he’s going to be ready to roll at a certain time and they come to terms on a plan – in terms of rehab and in terms of treatment – and then, unfortunately, it doesn’t work the way everyone hoped, the frustration level rises.
“The other part of this is that Kawhi and his group, early on, were 100 percent on-board with the way that the Spurs operated and their culture and everything that comes with being a Spur. I think that part, over time, [changed]. They’re not always on the same page with those things. So there are a lot of layers to this. Hopefully the guy can get healthy relatively soon and if he does, I think the hard feelings go away. But this has been a really challenging time for all of them. You can only imagine how frustrating this is for Kawhi and his group. He was on his way to being a short-list MVP candidate this season.”
Is there any chance that Kawhi could be traded since he has only one guaranteed year left on his contract before he can opt out: Sam Amick: “Earlier in my NBA writing days, I may have said you’re crazy, but the longer you do this, you realize [anything can happen]. I have a never say never rule of law now. I will say two things: I have no reason to believe that Kawhi is even remotely available, based on intel and conversations. But with your logic, the way you’re painting the picture and analyzing the landscape [with his contract situation], it makes a lot of sense. If you’re the Spurs, there are a lot of layers to what’s going on with them. How long is Gregg Popovich going to coach? I saw video the other day that I thought was good, informative and entertaining by a buddy of mine, Chris Broussard, who’s now over at Fox. Chris did a top-five list of destinations for LeBron James. Granted, he qualified it by saying it’s a combination of intel and insight, but he had San Antonio No. 1 on his list.