Steve Clifford Rumors
Zach Lowe: What [did Kemba Walker] wanna know about [potentially getting traded after the Adrian Wojnarowski report came out]? Steve Clifford: I think I was more proactive with him, just explaining to him that A) there’s no untradeable player. Go back through NBA history, and player could be traded. But B) I told him it would be very difficult to find a scenario where he could be traded. And the fact that there were rumors, which is gonna happen, is because he’s such a good player making less money than he’s worth by a lot. So of course, there were gonna be calls.
Steve Clifford: That was the first part of it. Then I know after shootaround, by the time we had gotten back to the arena that night, Michael Jordan had called him and spoke to him, and explained to him that we weren’t looking to trade him. And basically we went through the whole thing. Kemba said that Michael was very forthcoming and said, ‘Listen. If there is an unbelievable trade with Player A and Player B, and it would make our team a lot better, of course, anybody could be traded.’ But then I explained to him, ‘Look, you’re not gonna be traded. You’re gonna be here. You’re the face of our franchise.’ And I thought Kemba handled it great.
Ian Begley: Steve Clifford on Jeff Hornacek: “He’s a very good coach. He’s done a good job. You can’t lose (Kristaps) Porzingis and then, to me, start judging the coach.” I understand Clifford’s point re: injuries & think NYK will take that into account when evaluating Hornacek at year’s end
Marc STEIN: The status of Charlotte Coach Steve Clifford was not addressed above in our preview of potential coaching changes this offseason, but it seems safe to assume that every aspect of Charlotte’s basketball operations will be under the microscope once the Hornets have their replacement for Rich Cho after a highly disappointing season in which they were expected to make a much more credible playoff push.
Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said Hernangomez has some work to do to make the regular rotation. Before Saturday’s game, he had played only 44 minutes in nine games with the Hornets. He had nine points in 12 minutes Saturday night in the Hornets’ 124-101 loss to the Knicks. “If you were one place and you didn’t play much, I think that you would want to play more in the next place,” Clifford, a former Knicks assistant under Jeff Van Gundy and Don Chaney, told reporters at the morning shootaround. “I would work harder, do more, kill myself, that’s the way I would see it. “Unfortunately, in the world the players live in, they don’t hear that. It’s the organization, it’s the coach, the assistant isn’t working with him right . . . No, come on. The reality is this: He wasn’t playing here for a reason. You know, he’s going to have to change things.”
“He tells you the things that’s going on, the things that he wants to do and wants to improve, the things you have to do if you want to play,” Hernangomez said. “It’s very clear. I really like Steve and he’s a way different [kind] of coach. “Here everybody follows rules — defense, offense, everybody helping each other. It’s not like, maybe in New York it was a little bit free — defense, offense. Here everybody follows rules, everybody helps each other. I was really surprised when I came here to see the difference.”
Ian Begley: Interesting point from Hornets coach Steve Clifford about the potential challenge to playing younger players so the organization can evaluate them, something the Knicks are doing now: “People talk about development or being able to see guys for next year. If you can’t be organized when somebody’s on the floor, one you can’t evaluate them and two, they’re hurting the ability of the other guys to play…younger players have to be able to play in a way on the floor where the team can function. Because otherwise you can say you’re evaluating them but you’re screwing the other four guys up and you can’t evaluate them.”