John Nash Rumors
The Knicks should have roughly $30 million in salary-cap space to spend on free agents this summer, but the fate of their first draft pick may be more integral to the track Jackson is referring to. Bringing along a potential star would mark a major shift for a franchise that isn’t known for patience or continuity. “The Knicks have always had the money to spend. But because they saw that as their advantage, it might have also become a reason to put off being patient with a rebuild,” said John Nash, a former general manager for the Nets, 76ers and Washington Bullets. “They may have felt they didn’t have the time to truly develop young players.”
A radio report that 76ers CEO Adam Aron was no longer part of the basketball operations wasn’t exactly on the mark. During an interview with former Sixers general manager John Nash, Nash said that Aron had been ‘extracted’ from the basketball operations department. Aron is still very much a part of the organization, said a source, and he’s still involved in basketball operations. However, he has never really been a major contributor in that department anyway. According to the source, Aron’s role with the team ‘has not changed since Josh Harris purchased the team. He’s still very much involved.
The Trail Blazers hired Chris McGowan as president on Monday. He replaces Larry Miller, who replaced Steve Patterson, who replaced Bob Whitsitt. Also, McGowan will work alongside general manager Neil Olshey, who replaced Rich Cho, who replaced Kevin Pritchard, who replaced Patterson, who replaced John Nash, who replaced Whitsitt. Point is, it hasn’t felt easy to explain around here since Whitsitt left, has it? The hope here isn’t that McGowan will walk on water, or help a basketball team that feels headed to another NBA Draft Lottery find a miracle way out of this mess. Rather, the hope is that McGowan can work closely enough with Olshey to end the convoluted decade of madness and again make the basketball, not the business (or some gobbled combination) feel like it’s driving the bus again.
Trouble is, Olshey is a client of agent Warren LeGarie. Remember, LeGarie also represented former Blazers GMs John Nash and Kevin Pritchard as well as ex-assistant general manager Tom Penn. You’d think Allen wouldn’t want to eat at that restaurant again.
“Kobe’s representative called me. Even though Arn Tellem had been excited to know we were going to select his client, he now claimed Kobe did not want to be in Jersey and might not sign. I knew he was bluffing about signing. He had already renounced his collegiate eligibility by hiring an agent and Europe was no longer paying big money. “At the same time, Kobe placed a call to Calipari and basically said the same thing,” Nash continued. “Why the sudden change of heart? I told John I believed someone behind us was angling to get Kobe. West previously offered us Vlade for No. 8. In the meantime, David Falk, who represented Kittles, had become aware of the situation and he called Calipari and pressured him to select his client. “Calipari was concerned Falk would hold a grudge if we passed over Kittles. By 6 p.m., I had learned a deal had been arranged between L.A. and Charlotte involving Vlade and Kobe. I still lobbied hard to stay the course, but the combination of Joe Taub, Kobe, Falk and Tellem had worn away Calipari’s resolve. It was a tough spot for a rookie coach and top decision maker.”
The draft that year was at the Meadowlands, and on the night before, Nash and Calipari had dinner with Joe and Pam Bryant. “John asked Joe what he expected for his son,” Nash said. “He said he thought Kobe would start as a rookie and be an All Star in his second season.”
During Bryant’s senior year, Nash scouted Kerry Kittles at Villanova practices and then watched Kobe play about five miles away. At the end of the season, Nash was let go by Washington, but then hired by John Calipari, who had just joined the Nets as coach and president. “I started there about two weeks before the ’96 draft and Kobe had already worked out for them twice,” Nash said. “I was delighted to learn Calipari really liked him. I echoed John’s feelings and we arranged to bring him in a third time, which sealed the deal.”