HoopsHype Coaching rumors

January 27, 2015 Updates

Ainge is in his 12th season as president of basketball operations, and the summer before last he commenced a major roster reconstruction with the trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. The frequency of transactions has accelerated in recent weeks as the Celts gather draft picks and shed salary. “I feel like I love what we’re doing,” Ainge told the Herald. “I think that we have a big task and a real challenge ahead of us, and I love the challenge. I’m ready for the long haul, and we’re prepared to do it as quickly as we can. But I’m also ready to do it the long way of developing players into a good team. From my standpoint, I’m enjoying it. “I love what I do. I love the people I work with, and I think we just all take it a year at a time. But right now I’m looking at it as a phase. I plan on being here for a while, and I plan on Brad (Stevens) being our coach for a while, and I plan on us turning this thing around.” Boston Herald

January 26, 2015 Updates

In fact, a pair of recent reports have cast doubt on whether Hollins and Johnson will still be with the team when the snow subsides. The Nets’ brass is prepared to “evaluate” Hollins, according to a report from ESPN. Johnson, meanwhile, was being discussed in trade talks with the Charlotte Hornets, who were offering a package including Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson, swingman Gerald Henderson and forward Marvin Williams, according to a report from Yahoo Sports. But according to a source with knowledge of the Nets’ thinking, the report about Hollins was untrue and the trade talks with the Hornets had ended. Still, the two teams could reignite negotiations closer to the Feb. 19 trade deadline. In fact, the Hornets have discussed sending Stephenson to Brooklyn no fewer than three times since signing him to a three-year, $27 million deal last summer, according to the source. Wall Street Journal

The Brooklyn Nets, increasingly worried about the team's recent lack of competitiveness, have launched an in-season evaluation of various facets of the team, including new coach Lionel Hollins, according to league sources. ‎The Nets lost consecutive road games last week to the Los Angeles Clippers ‎and Utah Jazz by 39 and 35 points, respect‎ively, sparking concern within the organization about whether Hollins' message is getting through. It's just the fifth time in NBA history that a team has lost back-to-back games by 35 points or more. ESPN.com

Nets ownership, sources said, is monitoring the situation closely, with Brooklyn having just fallen out of the East's top eight thanks to a 2-10 slide that coincides with ‎the franchise being up for sale. ESPN.com

Sources say locker-room tensions between the outspoken coach and some of his players are rising as the Nets continue to falter, with sources telling ESPNNY.com's Mike Mazzeo that Hollins' public criticism of various players this season -- such as Lopez and fellow big man Mason Plumlee -- has rankled ownership. ESPN.com

As brilliant an analyst as Jeff Van Gundy is, there's little question he has a pro-coach agenda. While criticism towards players and executives is common in his commentary during TV and radio broadcasts, you rarely ever hear him say anything negative about coaching staffs. This pattern has been clear when discussing the Bulls' management dealings with the team's last two head coaches - Vinny Del Negro and Tom Thibodeau. HoopsHype

As far as I know, the only media member to suggest the hot seat theory in writing was Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com, a national NBA site. Van Gundy seems to believe Bulls management promoted this idea behind the scenes, but let's let JVG speak for himself. “He has done such a good job here," Van Gundy said during the broadcast. "First two years had the best record in the league. Unfortunately, these last three playoffs have been disrupted by injury. But he came to the Bulls at a time where mediocrity reigned. They had struggled for a long time, they were basically a .500 team. Along with the emergence of some players, he's taken it to elite status. “I think right now, it's almost criminal … what he's having to endure with some of the fringe media – attacking his job status, attacking his personality. This isn't new to Chicago Bulls basketball, all the way back to Phil Jackson. The team has publicly supported their coach while privately, often times, undermining that same person. You saw it with Vinny Del Negro, Scott Skiles. Think about it, they ran out Phil Jackson out after winning all those championships. “I think it's wrong. It's wrong for the town, wrong for the team and it certainly has not been fair to Tom Thibodeau." Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Van Gundy went on to spread his criticism to the Chicago media. “Listen, I read every Chicago story and there is no doubt that the Bulls organization has the media, with a few exceptions, in their hip pocket," he said. "And for whatever reason, they have taken their sights on Thibodeau when all he's done is deliver greatness here in his five years." Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Asked if he feels he has management's support, Thibodeau said: "I'm fine. I don't get wrapped up in that stuff. That's (Van Gundy's) opinion. He's paid to give opinions. He has to do his job. I try to do my job. I'm just trying to work here. ... My job is to coach the team. That's what I worry about. (Van Gundy) doesn't speak for me. I don't speak for him." Chicago Tribune

Look, Thibodeau is a workaholic when it comes to preparation and effort and he expects his players to do the same -- wait, no, he believes in that as the surest way to success. Every player in uniform is at his disposal, which might make some linger a little longer now in street clothes when they've been hurting. Management's imposed limits on minutes, for Derrick Rose and Noah in particular, has led to the coach straining some at the leash. He and his bosses have had frictions in the past, though GM Gar Forman dismissed this week's drama as any sort of story. NBA.com

Besides, the idea that, merely halfway through a season begun with championship hopes, the locker room would be on the verge of mutiny vs. Thibodeau -- who'd be snatched up in 48 hours to steer some other contenders' defense toward the Finals, if he wanted that -- was silly. At best, if the "insiders say" stuff were true, it would reveal an immaturity and lack of seriousness within the ranks. NBA.com

"This don't have anything to do with Thibs at all," Rose said. " The way we've been playing don't have anything to do with Thibs. He's preparing us right. Everything he's doing, everything he did, everything possible to prepare us as a coach. It's up to the players to give the effort." NBA.com

January 25, 2015 Updates

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