Don Nelson Rumors
Tom Orsborn: Interviewed Don Nelson for piece I’m doing on Pop. Nellie laughed out loud when told some say Pop’s in for rough time w/out Duncan. Don Nelson: “Pop’s an intelligent guy and he will adjust to anything… (Plus), Tim Duncan will always be a part of the Spurs. I’ve been around a lot of leaders in my life, but I’ve never been around a better leader than him.” #Spurs
Larry Riley was still the GM, he was the initiator of these talks (remember, he used to work in Milwaukee and had strong ties with the front office) and was justly proud of the decision to draft Curry in 2009. “Larry would’ve never traded Steph–that was his guy, his pick,” one NBA source who knows Riley well said recently. I’ve been tough on Riley over the years, but full credit (along with Don Nelson) for the Curry selection; Riley didn’t trade him during the 2009 draft and wasn’t going to trade him later.
Stephen Jackson in late February guaranteed that his “Warriors team would beat today’s Warriors team,” but Nelson, smoking a cigar on his Maui back porch before heading off to King Kamehameha Golf Club, disagreed. “I don’t think that we were close to the caliber that you guys have,” Nelson said. “Just talk about the center position, in and of itself, the new Warriors are way better at that position. You got Curry, the best point guard in the league. We didn’t really have Curry when we played Dallas that year. So you’d certainly get the nod there.
The Mavericks’ 103-93 win over the Lakers and the Raptors’ 106-87 win over the Bucks last night gave a couple coaches franchise milestones. Rick Carlisle passed Don Nelson for most coaching wins in Dallas history, 340. Dwane Casey took the Toronto record from Sam Mitchell with his 157th win.
Another thing working in Carlisle’s favor: communication. He and Cuban, as well as Nelson and the players, talk constantly. Rare is the moment when the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. “Obviously, he’s easy to get along with,” Don Nelson said with a laugh. “He must be to stay this long.”
These days, Nelson has retired to the shores of Hawaii, where he is unplugged from the NBA transactions wire and unburdened by old beefs with former players. Still, his bouts with Ellis are well known. Nelson inherited Ellis in his second year in the league and coached him until the 2009-10 season. “Well, the first thing that pops into my head is that he’s …” Nelson starts, and you’re expecting to hear a sort of basketball pejorative: selfish scorer, one-dimensional ball hog. And yet, Nelson makes a surprising declaration. “…a terrific player,” he finishes.