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January 22, 2015 Updates

Q. You moved from the WNBA to the NBA, do you have a new perspective on the difference in salaries between the two? A. It’s interesting, you know, because a pick and roll is a pick and roll. And a good leader is a good leader, whether female or male. There are some huge salary discrepancies, and there’s a huge area for growth on the women’s side. That won’t come, though, if people don’t get out and support it. The biggest thing for me is just changing the cultural idea that women can’t be entertaining as professional athletes. A guy like LeBron James can come up to me and say, “I appreciate the way you play the game.” The guys in the NBA watch the WNBA all the time. But that appreciation for the hard work that women have been putting in needs to start paying off, so that the discrepancies become less and less. It’s a big difference, and it’s very shocking. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the basketball itself—that’s the funny thing. Washington Post

Q. What’s been the toughest challenge in your career, one that taught you some personal lesson? A. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to play for Russia in the Olympics. It was always my dream, obviously, to play in the Olympics for the USA. But even coming off my best year in the WNBA, I didn’t get a chance to be on USA basketball. I knew I would be judged very harshly for playing for Russia, and I went through all that turmoil—wrestling to do it, not to do it—hoping the USA squad would come back around and give me a legitimate chance to make the team. All these things were swirling inside me. Washington Post

Becky Hammon: The biggest thing I love about basketball is something that I still carry with me, since being a child, and it’s just the ability to dream. Michael Jordan was probably the first basketball player that I can remember made me want to dream. The excitement, the passion that he played with—I felt I had that fire in me, too. I’ve loved basketball my entire life and it’s loved me back very well, so it’s been a good relationship. Washington Post

Gores said Wednesday the poor start never made him wonder if he had put the future of his franchise in the hands of the wrong man after giving Van Gundy $35 million over five years to serve as the Pistons' head coach and team president. "Never," Gores said at halftime of the Pistons' 128-118 victory over Orlando at The Palace. "Never. You got that on the record? Never. We have an amazing guy. I'm so, so proud that we got him here to Detroit. "There was no trepidation at all." Booth Newspapers

Gores said he gave Smith the golden parachute because he believes in his coach. "Even before Stan came on, we talked about the future and building the future," Gores said. "Stan didn't just call me one day and say, 'This is what we have to do.' We had been talking for a few months about how we were going to get this team into the future. "Josh is a great talent but we had so many other great talents on the team that we really needed the ball being in more hands. So as much as a lot of people think this decision was made overnight, really it was made over a good month and a half. "We weren't delivering. We weren't winning. It was a process." Booth Newspapers

January 21, 2015 Updates

Even Karl admits he's not sure how to read all the tea leaves when it comes to all those prior relationships and how they affect his chances at the Kings job, but he's still hopeful that Sacramento might be the next coaching stop. As for the Kings' plans, a person with knowledge of their situation told USA TODAY Sports that – barring an unexpected playoff push by Corbin — Karl is likely to be among the candidates who receive consideration this summer. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the coaching search process. USA Today Sports

"You know, there's too many guys in Sacramento who I know (to not have spoken about their situation)," said Karl, whose son, Coby, was represented by Cousins' primary agent, Dan Fegan, for years and who once had Cousins' day-to-day agent, Jarrin Akana, reassigned from Nuggets assistant coach to Nuggets scout when he took over for coach Jeff Bzdelik in 2005. "There's obviously been communication. But have they ever talked to me about being the head coach? We've talked around it, but we've probably never talked about that situation. Do I feel I'm on their list? Yes, but I think they made it very clear when they made the decision to give Corbin the opportunity to coach that that was what they were going to do." USA Today Sports

His history with Mullin is ancient, to be sure, but still part of this picture that even Karl isn't quite sure what to make of. And as Mullin's title (advisor to the chairman) clearly indicates, he is known to have serious sway with second-year Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadive and D'Alessandro. Mullin, who some believe is interested in coaching the team next season, played under Karl early in his career for the Golden State Warriors when both men were going through a tough time in their respective lives. They got off to a good start, with Golden State making the playoffs for the first time in a decade in the 1986-87 campaign that Karl's first with the Warriors and Mullin's second in the NBA. But it all fell apart in the following season, as Mullin was out for a month as he went through an alcohol rehabilitation program and the then-35-year-old Karl resigned when a flurry of trades and Mullin's absence led to the Warriors losing 48 of 64 games. USA Today Sports

There could be unexpected candidates who become available, too, coaches like Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City) and Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls) who could find themselves on the hot seat this season and who would certainly be of interest to the Kings. Alvin Gentry — the Golden State Warriors associate head coach who has been a head coach for the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns — is also expected to be a candidate. Coincidentally, Gentry interviewed for the Kings' lead assistant job under Malone last summer before ultimately deciding to join the Warriors and partner with head coach Steve Kerr. Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been discussed internally as well, and even had an informal visit with Mullin, D'Alessandro and Cousins at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 17 that lasted nearly two hours, but his chances at the job appear to be minimal. USA Today Sports

Thibodeau wasted very little time – or words – dwelling on the “hot seat’’ topic following the Wednesday practice, saying “Could care less, I could,’’ when asked for a reaction of the rumors. His front office was equally dismissive. “No,’’ general manager Gar Forman said in a text, when asked if there had been discussions about Thibodeau’s job security. “It’s not a story.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

As far as this idea that Thibodeau was losing the locker room or the players were tired of his grind-it-out mentality, that seemed to be an idea very lost on Gasol. “That was not a concern,’’ Gasol said. “To me, honestly, I don’t think Tom is that hardcore. I don’t think we practice that hard. We do what we need to do, and he tries his best with us just like we try our best. We have to get on the same page, not really pointing fingers but being positive with each other.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

But why, after the Bulls rattled off 13 wins in 15 games last month, would things suddenly take such a turn for the worse? Why would a team that usually plays so hard start rolling over and not fighting back for long stretches? Why would a team defined by intensity go long stretches without showing any? "That's a great question," Thibodeau said. "We're going to continue to look at it. [We have] a lot of moving parts, hard to build continuity. We have to find some continuity. Maybe we look at different people. I'm going to think about it, study the film, and try to come up with some answers." ESPN.com

"It comes from within," Gibson said. "There's nothing more you can say. It's all about how much heart you have and how determined you're going to be. Like Thibs said before, we got to practice harder. We can't take days off. "Like Thibs said, everybody's got to put a little bit more into the jar." ESPN.com

And as Cleveland fans worry that Blatt isn't using his roster properly, Israelis are proudly sticking behind him. Boston-born Blatt, 55, remains one of the country's most beloved figures, thanks to his winning history as a coach in his adopted homeland and national pride in his making it big time. "It means a lot from two perspectives: Number one, I can do something for the people in Israel, and number two, I can do something about bringing seven million new fans to the Cavaliers," Blatt said Monday night after a third straight win put the Cavaliers at 22-20. "I've been very fortunate, we had a great deal of success in Israel the last several years, so people are positive about this and about me and I've got Bron and Kevin and Kyrie and they love the NBA over there so it's a natural tie-in, and it's great." NBA.com

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