Keith Smart Rumors

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Former Golden State and Sacramento coach Keith Smart has emerged as a strong candidate to join the Miami Heat’s revamped assistant coaching staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports. In the wake of a shakeup that resulted in the reassignments of Bob McAdoo and Ron Rothstein, Smart, 49, and Miami are discussing a role on head coach Erik Spoelstra’s bench, sources said. David Fizdale will continue as Spoelstra’s top assistant, and ex-Heat player Juwan Howard will move up to an assistant coaching job after a season working in player development, sources said.
Smart is confident he’ll be a part of the NBA landscape somewhere next season. He noted how the Maloof family that sold the team to Ranadive was “very good to (him),” and raved about the Kings fans for whom he rooted when the city was fighting to keep its team from moving to Seattle. He’s happy for them, even if he won’t take part in the turnaround they’re all hoping for. “When I came in, I said, ‘it’s going to take about three years to get this thing moving in a certain direction,” Smart said. “That’s the tough part.”
“A good friend of mine called me, he lives in Miami and is a lawyer, and he said, ‘Man, I’ve got to tell you, what you’ve done every place you’ve gone is you’ve increased the value of the franchise. It’s unfortunate you don’t get to watch the program grow, but you definitely increased the franchise value,'” Smart told USA TODAY Sports with a laugh. “I was in Cleveland (as an assistant coach from 2000 to 2003), near the draft and they get LeBron (James the following summer). I was a couple steps away from coaching LeBron, but I didn’t get a chance at that. And then you had the same scenario in Golden State.”
There were several moments, though, that were definitely cringe-worthy, such as Kurt Thomas’ 3-point attempt with a 110-60 lead. Smith performed a windmill dance after one of his successful threes. Anthony and Steve Novak mimed pseudo-gun gestures, right in front of several Newtown families sitting in the front row. Keith Smart insisted the Kings did not mind the rejoicing. “I don’t feel that way,” the Sacramento coach said. “We’re all big boys. Guys don’t get a chance to play much, they want to shoot and keep playing. You can’t tell them not to shoot. Take your lumps and move on.”
Jim Buss is going to fire Mike D’Antoni only if the Lakers experience a locker room mutiny, which is practically unimaginable. In that case, the lone alternative would be to replace D’Antoni with Phil Jackson, and Buss has made it clear that he doesn’t want to go in that direction. The Kings have nothing to gain by firing Keith Smart as long as the franchise appears to be headed for Seattle next season. Why would the Maloofs pay extra money to a new coach if the team is about to become the responsibility of potential owner Chris Hansen in a short time? P.J. Carlesimo (Nets) and Jim Boylan (Bucks) are a couple of interim coaches who appear to be safe for the rest of the year. The Bucks have performed better than expected this season, while the Nets have turned hot (see below) since Carlesimo replaced Johnson.
“For us coaches our daily job is to refocus our players and get him ready to play that game, get him ready to practice that day,” Smart said. “That’s what we do. I don’t hold anything personally. You have to move on. Holding something personally eats away at you, so I quickly move on and get things behind me as fast as I can. I try to share that with my team because that is how the game is played. You have to forget about a foul, a bad shot, a turnover and get to the next play. “We had our issues with some things on the floor this year and some suspensions happened that way, but we put it behind us and I try to get [Cousins] to understand that you put a game behind you as quick as you can and you put a moment or event behind you as quick as you can. Myself and the staff will continue to do our job once again to try and get the young man to understand how to grow and be a pro, not just for this year, but for the rest of his basketball career because that will also help him with his normal civilian life when he can’t run up and down the floor anymore.”
Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart called DeMarcus Cousins “the guy who makes it all work for us.” Friday night’s performance was the perfect example of that. Cousins scored a season-high 31 points and matched his career high with 20 rebounds, John Salmons scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings topped the Toronto Raptors 105-96. “He had the right energy to start the game, he had the right mindset of not trying to score 50 but trying to let his teammates play,” Smart said of Cousins. “He’s in a good spot as a basketball player right now and he’s only going to get better.”
When Paul Westphal could no longer handle the young center, the Kings showed him the door and promoted long-time NBA assistant Keith Smart, known for his success in handling players with baggage. They also brought highly regarded big man coach Clifford Ray to assist in the task at hand, but neither has had the desired effect. “What is the support system that’s not in place?” Smart asked when posed the question of what the Kings haven’t done to help Cousins grow. “What is it? I’m trying to figure out what is it that we are supposed to have – that every team is supposed to have? Let us know, so we can find out what it is. And then we can let you know if we do have that.”
Not trying to pile on the young man, who is still just 22. Lord knows I hadn’t finished maturing at that age, and some would no doubt say that process is still ongoing a quarter-century later. But Cousins’s numerous confrontations with members of the Kings’ organization, often sullen disposition and inability to control his temper have worn just about everyone in Sacramento raw, and the Kings, sources say, are finally ready to seriously consider moving the third-year center for a package of less talented, perhaps, but more emotionally grounded players. “If this last thing doesn’t work, I don’t know what to do,” a member of the organization said, referring to the suspension of Cousins by the team after he engaged in a profanity-laden shouting match with Coach Keith Smart at halftime of the Kings’ game with the Clippers Dec. 21. The suspension was initially labeled indefinite by the team, but it was reduced to one game, though Smart kept Cousins inactive for a second game last week.
One significant problem, according to sources, is that Cousins has refused the Kings’ entreaties to undergo any type of counseling to deal with his anger issues, which were at the heart of many NBA teams’ reluctance to take Cousins high in the 2010 Draft. The push has been especially strong recently, “but that’s going nowhere,” says a source familiar with Cousins’ thinking, citing Cousins’ unwillingness to even discuss the subject.
The team was surprised when Cousins showed up for practice on Christmas Eve, thinking the suspension was indefinite. Upon his arrival, “the Christmas spirit was gone,” said the league source who is familiar with the Kings. And there was not much sympathy for him afterward when Cousins tried to apologize. “When he apologized to the team, two players stood up and said ‘we’ve heard this bull(bleep) before,'” the source said. “‘You’re either going to be with us, or you’re not. We don’t want to hear any more excuses.'”
Thomas scored 27 points in his second start in the past six weeks and made one of Sacramento’s two four-point plays in the second half as the Kings handed the Boston Celtics their third straight lopsided loss on a California road swing, 118-96 on Sunday night. “That guy has an infectious personality,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. “He has that magnetism that brings players and people around to him. He brought that energy to start the game off right with him in the starting lineup. All our guards do a great job, but what he’s been able to do is kind of give us a little injection of the steam that we need. He’s done that, plus he’s making his shots.”
Will DeMarcus Cousins play Friday when the Sacramento Kings host the visiting New York Knicks? The final say is up to Keith Smart, who has apparently made a decision. But in typical Smart fashion, he wouldn’t offer any further details. “I won’t share it right now,” Smart said following Thursday practice. “Because that’s my prerogative to keep it where I want to keep it right now.”
Smart made progress in building a relationship with Cousins after the center’s strained relationship with Paul Westphal. Once Cousins didn’t trust Westphal, it didn’t matter what the coach said, he’d lost Cousins. So Smart did all he could to build a bond. He visited Cousins at home. Got to know him on a personal level and tried to get to know Cousins as a person, not just a player. Smart has to be wary of the same situation Westphal dealt with. Not that he’ll be fired, as Westphal was after his final spat with Cousins. But with the Kings at 9-19 the locker room is already on edge after every loss. Add an important and angry player to that, the mix could be toxic.