The Maine Red Claws of the NBA Developmental League are courting ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl for its head coaching job, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Maine president and general manager Jon Jennings recently made contact with Pearl to express an interest in hiring him, and the two are expected to talk further about the job in the near future, sources said.
Pearl has privately expressed a preference for his next move to be in television or as an NBA assistant coach, but he’s open to hearing out Maine’s pitch, a source with knowledge of his thinking said. After six seasons at the University of Tennessee, Pearl was fired at the end of the 2010-11 season after lying to NCAA investigators during an inquiry. Pearl has been anxious to find out whether the NCAA will impose restrictions on his immediate return to college coaching.
Nick Nurse and the Iowa Energy won the 2011 NBA D-League championship over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers with a 119-111 victory on Friday night to win Game 3 of the three-game series. The Energy outscored the Vipers 38-23 in the fourth quarter to claim the first championship in team history behind 31 points from guard Stefhon Hannah following D-League MVP Curtis Stinson’s first half injury. The Energy were also missing Othyus Jeffers, Marqus Blakely, Chris Lofton and Courtney Sims, all of which were missing either due to NBA call-ups or overseas opportunities that offered higher salaries.
Developers who have ownership in the Maine Red Claws basketball team are proposing a $100-million development in Portland that would include a hotel, a music theater, offices and a sports arena that would double as a convention center. The Forefront at Thompson’s Point would be located in an area near the train station that is now an assortment of light industrial uses. The development group includes Jon Jennings, the Red Claws’ president, and William Ryan Jr., one of the owners of the NBA Development League team.
With the 2011 NBA Draft just two months away, the Nets are already game-planning their approach to a pair of picks (No. 27 and 35 or 36, depending on the Lottery). Whether that means selecting players or acquiring other assets, they’ll have an eye on all available talent because, beginning May 1, the Nets assume control of basketball operations for the NBA D-League’s Springfield Armor. “The one thing is, when we started this process, it was something that we were excited about,” said Nets general manager Billy King, in a conference call. “Now that’s it’s about to come to fruition on May 1, we’re even more excited. I had a conversation this morning to talk with (Armor owner) Mike (Savit) about our excitement, and our goals and trying to get to where we want to get to in putting a good product on the floor: a team that can help develop players for us at the NBA level and also put a team out there that Springfield can be proud of.”
The two franchises are entering into a “hybrid affiliation,” one that marks the Nets’ as the Armor’s sole NBA affiliate and follows an example set by the Houston Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2009. While four other NBA teams have partnered with D-League teams, each owns the minor league franchise. The hybrid model most closely mirrors that of Minor League Baseball: local ownership runs all business operations, including arena management, but leaves basketball personnel, roster and operations decisions to the NBA team.