Storyline: Jay Wright to the NBA?

21 rumors in this storyline

Jay Wright will stay longer at another Catholic institution — he’ll start his 18th season at Villanova after rebuffing requests from NBA teams to talk to him about coaching vacancies. The 56-year-old Wright has long been one of the hottest names attached to marquee-program or NBA openings but has never really considered leaving the Wildcats. “Depending on who the guy is, I’ll say, ‘I’m honored, I’m humbled, I’d love to work with you, but I love my job,’” Wright said. “It’s always that simple.”

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Mike Vorkunov: As for Jay Wright, here’s what he told @DanaONeilWriter this week about jumping to the NBA. O’Neil: Before we move on to how those decisions could impact your team, what about you? Do you have any interest in moving on to the NBA? Jay Wright: I’m staying. I love it here. I love what we’re doing. I’m just really happy. I said when I was at Hofstra and I didn’t take other jobs, I used that old Jim Valvano line, Don’t mess with happy. That seemed appropriate at Hofstra until this job opened. It’s still really appropriate. I’m very happy here. I don’t need another challenge. I like happy better than a new challenge. The NBA does intrigue me. That challenge is appealing, but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.

Peter Vecsey: Rivers is guaranteed to go, it says here. A revamped roster in mid-February dictates a demand for a new voice with new ideas with a new image. Owner Steve Ballmer, who inherited Rivers when he purchased the Clippers and gave him lots of leeway, has had plenty of time to figure out Doc is a stone phony. He took away one title (president) from him prior to this season. The time has come to relieve him of his coaching duties, pay him the $10M owed for next season, and offer Villanova’s Jay Wright a blank check. GM Lawrence Franks’ second choice, I’m told, is Jeff Van Gundy.

If Wright has NBA aspirations, he should make the move soon. He is 56 years old, he’s got the energy, and an NBA team worth going to will close to double his current $2.6 million salary (money does always matter). Wright is going to have teams reaching out this summer, but he’s also in a position to be a bit picky — he doesn’t have to take the first offer to come his way if he doesn’t trust management and ownership. Which is what he’s done in the past, he’s gotten calls and brushed them aside. Most publicly, thee Suns reportedly reached out in 2016 (after Villanova’s previous NCAA title) and he turned them down.

In that moment, it was apparent why it will not be easy — or cheap — for an NBA team to attempt to pry Wright away from Villanova. Wright is truly happy living 30 miles from where he grew up, working for administrators he respects and admires and above all else building meaningful relationships with the players he coaches. “I have the best job in the country,” Wright said. “I just love going to work every day. Our guys graduate. You see these kids are great to coach. As a coach, there’s just nothing better.”

Wright told ESPN.com that despite speculation to the contrary, he has not been offered any other jobs and if he were, his plan would be to turn them down. He did, however, leave the door at least ajar. “I can say right now that in my mind I plan to stay at Villanova,” he said. “But I also don’t want to be a liar. I want to stay. I know I want to stay, but I just say I hope I can stay because I’ve learned from the past how crazy things can be. I hope I can stay at Villanova because this is where I want to be.”

Probably not. After all, the perfume is everywhere. It is on the wind that circles him now as he is rumored to be a candidate for NBA coaching jobs again, rumored to be in line for this or that, if he only chooses to turn his head. For the moment, he says he is looking straight ahead. “I would like to do this again,” Wright said. “But you understand you might not get that chance. In sports, you might not. We just have to define success the same way we did this year. If we’re the best team we can possibly be at the end of the year, then we’ve done everything we can do.”

Cataldi asked the Churville, PA native one more time: You wouldn’t even listen? “I hope not,” Wright reiterated. “I said that in ’09 and they came at you with stuff and you’re like, ‘Woah!’ You gotta stop for a second. I don’t want too — you hope they don’t offer you, that’s what it is. ‘Cause I love my job. I love it here. I’m very happy here, I’m well taken care of at Villanova, I love living in Philly — my family is from here. I feel so — you know in college basketball you never get to coach where you live.

“If you yell at Kobe Bryant, tell him to dive on the ball, I’m not too sure if he would go down for the ball,” junior guard Josh Hart said. “It’s hard with the NBA because you have so many egos, but for the right teams, he’d be good. You see Brad Stevens and what he’s been doing with the Celtics. They’re a young group of guys, kind of like a college team, just going out and playing as hard as they can, helping each other out, stepping up for each other.”
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November 14, 2019 | 9:47 pm UTC Update
The Knicks had four coaches during Porzingis’ tenure, former president Phil Jackson strongly considered trading him, and he received pushback for working with his physiotherapist, Manolo Valdivieso. New York also traded his best friend, Willy Hernangomez, and did not renew the contract of former assistant coach Josh Longstaff, who was close with Porzingis. The writing was on the wall when Porzingis had previously skipped his exit meeting in April 2017. A few months later, after New York hired Perry as general manager, the tension between Knicks management and Janis and Kristaps remained, and there was little hope of salvaging the damaged relationship, according to sources.
With the threat of Porzingis signing a one-year qualifying offer to enter unrestricted free agency the following summer and a list of preferred trade destinations, the Knicks acted hastily. After Kristaps and Janis walked out of the brief meeting, the Knicks called Dallas to finalize the trade. According to league sources, Porzingis’ camp had no idea the Mavericks were in the mix to acquire the Latvian forward, and Dallas was not one of his preferred destinations at the time.
November 14, 2019 | 7:30 pm UTC Update
November 14, 2019 | 6:17 pm UTC Update
November 14, 2019 | 5:45 pm UTC Update
In other words, Porzingis was onto something. Last spring as Kyrie Irving was falling out of favor with the Boston Celtics and telling confidants that he wanted to move closer to his hometown of West Orange, N.J. he was also letting it be known that he too had the same concerns Porzingis once had. “When it came down to the Nets and Knicks he was concerned about the management of the Knicks,” said a person familiar with Irving’s thinking. “It’s really as simple as that.”
Warning: the shot is still coming around. “He just went to work on it,” said Nurse. “His mechanics are great now. He’s still a little bit away … there’s still a little more time to groove that stroke. He’s going to be a really, really good shooter because his mechanics are so good.” The former non-shooter now casually dribbles into pull-up 3s like the one he hit over Kent Bazemore in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. I mean, look at this. He’s backing up to halfcourt now like he’s LeBron freaking James and just launching flamethrowers.
So far, the Magic have certainly scored more effectively, though not exactly well, with Fultz on the floor. With him in the game, Orlando is putting up 104.1 points compared to 92.8 when he’s on the bench. Exactly why is a little tougher to parse out. Obviously, the team is making more shots with Fultz in the game, (30.6 percent 3FG% when he’s in the game compared to 26.0 percent when he’s not) while turning the ball over slightly less frequently (12.3 TO/100 compared to 14.1/100).
Moving on from lack of shooting ability, the Magic also don’t generate a ton of easy points. They sit 28th in free-throw attempt rate, a familiar position as the team has finished in the bottom 10 in this metric every season since 2012-13. Drawing fouls is a repeatable skill, which, unfortunately for the Magic, no one on the roster really possesses. Of the team’s high rotation players last season, Aaron Gordon got to the line most frequently with 4.6 FTA/100 possessions played, 176th of 299 players appearing in at least 50 games last year.
Thybulle quickly responded to Beth Curley and by 3 p.m. the next day he was on his way to meet Freddy Curley at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. When the NBA player showed up, he immediately flipped Freddy’s mood just a day after finding out his diagnosis and going through a blood transfusion and a week of chemotherapy. “That’s what I told Matisse,” Beth Curley told CBS Philadelphia. “This is what you did — you took this day that we were so fearful of and you turned it into this day that we never wanna forget now. And it was an amazing thing to have done for us.
Today, Adidas has officially unveiled Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard’s latest signature basketball sneaker—the Dame 6. The upper is built with a webbed lacing system for fit and lateral support that’s paired with a Lightstrike midsole—a first for Dame’s line—which is a cushioning platform created to enhance on-court responsiveness with minimal weight. Additional features include a translucent outsole boasting a new traction pattern as well as a dynamic heel with rounded edges that have been revamped for better traction and multidirectional movements.
November 14, 2019 | 4:40 pm UTC Update
At least three different Blazers players — including All-Star Damian Lillard — downplayed their discouraging early-season funk and insisted a team that entered with championship aspirations would eventually find its mojo. “I don’t really get concerned,” Lillard said, following a 114-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors. “It’s not a great feeling, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re up against it. This is a tough position to be in, especially when your expectations were much higher. But like I said before, its’ a lot of games to be played … and I think, especially for us, we always find a way to turn it around.”
Though both open and contested 3s have risen as a proportion of overall shots over time, so far this season, we have seen a somewhat sizable increase in contested 3-point attempts while for the first time there has been a decline in uncontested attempts, at least as a proportion of shots. So what gives? Given the continued rise in 3-point attempts (entering Wednesday’s games, 37.3% of all shots had been 3s, up from the all-time record of 35.8% in 2018-19), increased aggressiveness on the part of shooters almost has to be a major component, though the degree to which defenses are more effectively closing out to shooters is less clear.
More interesting is looking at shooting propensities early in the shot clock. While with the clock running down we could more easily ascribe a rise in contested shots to more effective closeouts as offensive players dealt with teammates dealing them “live grenades” at the end of the 24. With the element of shooter choice removed, or at least reduced by the need to get an attempt up, that’s a plausible story. However, late clock contested 3s have held steady at around 4% of all shot attempts since 2013-14. However, contested 3s earlier in the shot clock have risen sharply.
However, maintains Fergus Connolly, a sports science expert and author of “Game Changer: The Art of Sports Science,” using load to assess injury risk has challenges. “The first challenge is that it’s hard to accurately define load,” Connolly says. “Is it a number defined by the previous game, or is it the chronic level for a season?” Connolly adds that it’s impossible to assess load by one simple number, formula or metric. The calculus of load is not only different for each player but also is a moving target that varies by time of season, age and even by opponent. Kawhi Leonard’s load tolerance today is surely different than it was five years ago, in ways that are difficult to understand. “It’s like painting by numbers when you don’t have all of the numbers,” says Connolly, who has served as a performance director in the NFL, “And trying to fill in those gaps with incomplete data.”
Storyline: Load Management
Says Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach for the Lakers: “Even if we can come up with a number that measures on-the-court load or stress, we don’t know what might be contributing to load off the court — lifestyle stressors like travel, sleep or family problems.” When looking at injuries, in any sport, there’s the idea that a range of injury exists, from “not preventable” at one end, to “preventable” at the other end. Some injuries — Aron Baynes falling on Stephen Curry’s hand, for instance – are difficult to foresee and impossible to prevent. Those injuries have little to do with load and a lot to do with luck.
Without that constructive stress, muscles, tendons and ligaments might not be ready to take the demands of running, jumping and cutting for 82 games. Players coming off the bench, thrust into a starting role, might actually be at greater risk of injury than starters, at least if they haven’t been regularly hitting high intensities in practice. “For me, load management is more about what a player does to prep for the load of the season,” emphasizes DiFrancesco, “and sitting on the couch and resting might actually leave a player less prepared to handle load. Because of that, it’s likely, when a player sits out a game, he might have instead done a focused workout that day.”
A coach with no choice but to tolerate the messes made by a roster heavy on youth and thinned by a slew of injuries. “We’ve had anywhere from eight to 10 guys available each night,” Kerr said before a 120-94 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “There are nights where I would love to take someone out based on a mistake they made. But I can’t take them out. “We don’t have that hammer, as a coaching staff, to be able to reward guys with playing time or penalize them by taking playing time away.”
“Defensively, we never really had any traction,” Kerr said afterward. “We had some spells where we made some good things happen offensively, maybe got a stop or two. But every time it felt like we were right there, we just couldn’t get a stop. “It’s almost impossible to win in this league when you can’t count on getting three stops in a row at some point.”
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has received the October NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his outstanding efforts to raise awareness, resources and support for mental health, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. In honor of World Mental Health Awareness Day on Oct. 10, Love hosted a discussion and Q&A session focused on mental wellness and reducing the stigma around depression and anxiety for more than 500 Cavs and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse employees.
The NBA 2K League announced on Thursday the NBA 2K League European Invitational, the league’s first European qualifying event. Set to take place Dec. 13-14, the tournament will allow European players to be eligible for the 2020 draft. Twenty players from seven countries will compete in scrimmages and a double-elimination tournament, with the latter being streamed on Twitch and YouTube. Players will also participate in interviews with teams and league reps.
6 hours ago via ESPN
Storyline: NBA 2K League
November 14, 2019 | 3:31 pm UTC Update
Several minutes earlier, Beverley expressed displeasure with the officiating. He was particularly perturbed about his sixth foul — a call made when he bumped chests with Harden away from the ball and about 30 feet from the basket — and a technical foul he received from the bench with 1:31 remaining. “I got a technical foul because I looked at the ref, I guess, too long, and I guess you can’t look at people in this league now,” Beverley said. “I don’t know. I don’t feel like that’s fair. As a unit, we work too hard — coaches work too hard, players work too hard, staff work too hard — to prepare for each game, and to let a game come down to referees and free throws I don’t think is fair. I think we deserved better, I think fans deserved better, and the people who paid their hard-earned money to watch us play, both teams, I think they deserved better also.”
Storyline: Officiating Complaints
James is averaging a league-leading 11.1 assists, hitting double digits in eight of Los Angeles’ first 11 games. Should he maintain his lead, it would be the first assist title of James’ career. Can he keep it up? “I don’t know,” James said recently. “That’s never been a goal of mine. … The assist has always been my favorite because it gives my teammates an opportunity to score. And that’s what’s always mattered to me.”
If James keeps dishing dimes at this rate, he would obliterate the record of the best assist average for a player in his 17th season or later (John Stockton currently holds the mark with 8.7 assists per game in 2000-01). “He’s going to make the right play every time and he delivers the ball on time, on target everywhere or just about everywhere he throws it — to the 3-point line or lobs at the rim or back cuts or whatever,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s just one of the best passers I’ve been around.”
“It’s a drop in a bucket, for sure,” said Hayward, meeting with reporters before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “Like I said, happy that it shouldn’t be that long. Obviously frustrated — it sucks watching and not being able to go out there and play, especially with the start that we’ve had. I think this time around, I’ll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I’m very thrilled about and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good.”
Storyline: Gordon Hayward Injury
Hayward said surgeons inserted both a pin and a plate at the fracture to both stabilize and expedite the recovery process. He will not travel at the start of Boston’s upcoming five-game trip out west and will have a follow-up with the hand surgeon in New York while waiting for clearance to travel. Hayward appeared in good spirits despite the injury. His splint is already covered in drawings from his two oldest daughters, Charlotte and Bernadette. Despite his advice on color choices, he maintained a “Daddy’s Always Happy” face when detailing what his daughters sketched.
“[Jenkins] has the overall knowledge of everything that it takes to be a head coach. It always starts with a high basketball acumen […] but you also need an understanding of what’s happening in the [NBA] landscape,” Budenholzer said. “How are you building culture, how are you building your team, can you work with a front office, can you collaborate—things like that. [That’s the] next step of being a head coach. There’s just a lot more that comes with it.”
Morant, the team’s young focal point, is taking only 1.8 3s per game. What Jenkins has done is speed up the tempo to take advantage of the quickness and playmaking ability of his rookie point guard and allow him to play in space. The days of Grit and Grind are over: The Grizzlies have gone from dead last in the NBA in pace last season to no. 6. “It’s brother-brother, son-father, player-coach,” Morant said about his relationship with Jenkins. “He’s very open with all the players, especially me. It’s just an honor to get the freedom to go out and play. Coach Jenkins allows me to play freely and trusts me enough to make plays. And that’s what every point guard wants.”
Alas, the home came without all of the previous tenants, the five-ton fish tank empty and Whiteside’s beloved koi shipped to Oregon. “There’s actually not fish in it,” Leonard said of the oversized tank that at one point had 50 inhabitants, including six Heniochus Butterflyfish, simply because Whiteside thought they resembled referees. “But it’s pretty cool. I mean, why not? I guess it was a unique piece of the house.” Similarly, the koi pond remains, sans koi. “He actually since has shipped every one of them to Portland. Every one of them,” Leonard said. “No fish now.”