Storyline: Knicks Coaching Search

85 rumors in this storyline

Jamahl Mosley, a Knicks coaching candidate, is in his sixth season on Rick Carlisle’s Mavericks staff. The 41-year-old has emerged as one of the league’s top young assistants destined to take the next step. However, it was legendary coach George Karl — not Carlisle — who gave Mosley his first job in the NBA, hiring him to work out Nuggets players in 2006 for the paltry salary of $25,000. Mosley, a 6-foot-8 star power forward at the University of Colorado, was with Karl from 2006-10, going from player developmental coach to bench assistant coach in their last two seasons together. “I thought he had a great connection with today’s player,’’ the retired Karl told The Post from his home in Denver. “He was hungry. He was big in player development, then toward the end of his time, we gave him scouting reports, game-plan responsibilities. He was really good with basketball intellect and really good with players. That’s the combo you need in today’s world and changing attitudes of the young players.”

More Rumors in this Storyline

What does it mean to you to coach in New York? Mike Woodson: “It means everything to me. Think about it: I was a young kid who had a big-time college career, and the organization thought enough of me to draft me with their No. 1 draft pick back in 1980. And then they think enough of you to bring you back as a coach. When I came back, I was an assistant coach and was asked to take over once Mike D’Antoni stepped down. It was like a dream come true for me. I had come full circle.”

What’s it like to coach a winning team in New York? Mike Woodson: “I’ve played and coached for a number of teams and there’s nothing like winning in New York. There’s just nothing like it, especially in terms of the fans. The beauty about the fans in New York and people that love Knick basketball: you can’t trick them. They sniff that out right away. I knew that when I took over. We went 18-6 to end the regular season (outscoring opponents by a combined 211 points), made the playoffs and set the tone for next year. And then we got a bunch of guys in our first offseason to buy into our system. And I thought it worked out pretty well (the Knicks won 54 games in Woodson’s first full season, 2012-13).”

The Knicks plan to interview the future Hall of Famer in Kidd during their head-coaching search, league sources confirm. SNY first reported last week that Kidd was receiving strong internal consideration to be interviewed by New York. Kidd played one season for the Knicks, filling a pivotal role on a team that won 54 games in 2012-13. The 47-year-old thoroughly enjoyed his time as a Knick, and one source familiar with Kidd’s tenure says he’d welcome the opportunity to return to the Big Apple.

New York is expected to have brief introductory interviews with some candidates this week, per SNY sources. Those introductory interviews, which will be conducted via video conference, will be followed by longer, more formal interviews, sources say. The Knicks’ search is expected to last several weeks and to conclude by the end of July, when the NBA is scheduled to resume regular-season play in Orlando. It is unclear who else the Knicks may interview for the opening. Spurs assistant Becky Hammon was described by a source as a name to keep an eye on for a potential interview, as Newsday first reported.

“One, he showed me professionalism, really how to be a student of the game; studying the playbook, studying players…it’s like knowing your enemy better than it knows itself and being prepared. He’s always prepared. He always has a plan A,B,C,D,E,F and G so, that’s one thing that they’re going to get out of Coach Thibbs. Also he expects every player to practice, every player bring their A game and he preaches with defense first; if you play defense you will get offense. So if you want play offense, you got to play defense. I loved that about him and he’s just a hardnosed coach.”

Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.

In raving about Thibodeau in general, Van Gundy touted him as more than a defensive master. The former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach was on Van Gundy’s staffs previously with the Knicks and Rockets. “Tom Thibodeau is a great, great basketball coach – like, great,’’ Van Gundy said on SiriusXM radio. “And I think unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally. Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball. He loves NBA basketball and he works at it and he is elite in his profession.”

With the Rockets, Nets and 76ers occupied until late August with the season restart, the Knicks don’t even have competition. “I hope he gets another opportunity to be a head coach because if you look at his body of work he certainly deserves it and any team that may interview him or hire him would be very fortunate to have him as a head coach.,’’ Van Gundy said. “He gets thought of as a defensive coach but if you look at his best teams in Chicago and in Minnesota they were very high level statistically speaking offensive teams and I think it’s been overlooked when people try to evaluate Tom from the outside.”

Thibodeau, 62, last coached during the 2018-19 season in Minnesota but got fired after having trouble reaching the young players. Van Gundy believes his inability to relate to millennials is another myth. “Tremendous well-balanced, good player development – he’s gotten young players much, much better,’’ Van Gundy said. “So not speaking about the Knicks job, but speaking in general, Tom Thibodeau is one of the best coaches in the world and I hope to see him get another head job.”

With that in mind, we reached out to one current NBA coach and one former NBA coach to gauge their thoughts on some Knicks candidates. Below are their thoughts on how Tom Thibodeau would fit in New York… SCHEMES… “He’s an elite defensive coach. There’s no question. Those guys will be playing hard for him and, if they follow his scheme, they’ll defend the pick-and-roll well. They’ll take away drives and control the paint. His schemes are excellent, but as we saw in Minnesota, the schemes alone can’t offset lack of effort from players or subpar defenders. I think RJ Barrett has the frame and athleticism to be a talented defender. Mitchell Robinson has a ton of upside on that end as a shot-blocker. Tom should be able to get the best out of those two and whoever else they put on the court.”

The Knicks’ coaching search won’t officially start until they get binding word that they will not be among the teams invited to Central Florida. Such confirmation, of course, could come as soon as Thursday, when the league’s Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on Silver’s preferred proposal. The expectation in league coaching circles is that the Knicks will move with reasonable swiftness from there, since Tom Thibodeau is regarded as such an overwhelming favorite to replace the interim coach Mike Miller. Leon Rose, the Knicks’ new team president, has a close relationship with Thibodeau from their lengthy stints as agent and client with Creative Artists Agency. Word is that the Knicks, for good measure, have already begun background work on their top target.

Moving forward to the Leon Rose era can’t begin in earnest until he hired his coach. To that end, sources say Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite to land the job. Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.

Knicks interested in Kenny Atkinson

Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likely will also receive an interview, sources said. Atkinson and the Nets parted ways in March with the team at 28-34 and on the way to the postseason during a difficult fourth season at the helm. Atkinson helped turn the franchise around during his tenure, taking it from a 20-win team in 2016-17 to a playoff team last season and one that proved to be an attractive destination for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. He was a Knicks assistant for four seasons under head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Knicks coaching search: Thibodeau the top candidate

The New York Knicks and president of basketball operations Leon Rose will soon embark on the search process for a new head coach and Tom Thibodeau is atop the list of targets, sources told The Athletic. The Knicks are believed to be targeting a decision in the next few weeks, sources said. Interim coach Mike Miller has left a strong impression throughout the franchise, including in his time since Rose assumed control of the front office. Miller is expected to receive an interview when the Knicks do start formally talking to prospective head coaches, according to league sources, after stabilizing the team following a 4-18 start that led to David Fizdale’s firing.

“The way everyone’s managing with load management and where your team is, sports scientists, so it’s different. And if your team is young and you’re in a rebuild, you’re probably practicing more than an older veteran team,” Thibodeau said. “In some cases where the team is mixed, there’s almost two practices going on in one, where your young guys are getting the work they need, and the older vets are in the weight room getting strength and conditioning.”

If you follow the NBA, you know that one of the criticisms of Tom Thibodeau is something like this: his intensity and his approach to practices/playing time wear players out. Whether that’s true or not depends on who you talk to and what their perspective is on the matter. Thibodeau, a strong candidate for the Knicks’ head coaching job if interim head coach Mike Miller isn’t retained, addressed those criticisms in an interview on ESPN’s First Take earlier this week.

Here’s what he said: “I think we all have questions to answer as coaches. The big thing is oftentimes there’s things that are being said where there’s no validity to them, they’re being painted by people that have never even been around you,” Thibodeau said when asked by Max Kellerman about the criticism that his players are fatigued in the playoffs. “And then I would say to all those people, the facts are what the facts are. To look into the facts, to do your research, to look into the numbers and to also talk to former players, the guys who have played for me. I think if you did that, you would find what the truth is. There are certain things that I do believe in. But as we all know, our league is always changing. It never stays the same and it never has, nor will it ever. So you have to keep adapting as time goes on.

During the First Take interview this week, Thibodeau essentially declined to comment on the reports stating other teams are interested in hiring him. “They’re just rumors an that’s what it is. And this time of year, everything is on hold,” he said. “Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren’t any openings. So you don’t want to speculate on what jobs could open. That’s what you have an agent for. He’ll certainly, at some point, look at if there is an opportunity, whether it be a good match or not. I’m still under contract with Minnesota so I feel like I’m in a position where I can be patient.”

During an appearance earlier this week on the “Knicks Fan TV” podcast, in which he said Dolan is “scared” of him, Oakley was asked if he thought Van Gundy would be a good selection as the next Knicks head coach. “With these guys, a Jeff-type coach?,’’ Oakley said. “If I know Jeff correctly — and I played for him and know how he coached — I think it would be tough to come back and coach young guys. What he believes in for his offense and defense in this day and age, it’s totally different.’’

Oakley doesn’t think Van Gundy would have the patience for the millennial NBAer. “You can make three, four turnovers and miss four free throws in the first few minutes and take bad shots,’’ Oakley said. “You look at these teams. Out of 80 shots, 30 shots are bad. “Basketball has changed. You’re not getting the 1990s back. The game has a totally different atmosphere. You got to build a team with leadership and players willing to sacrifice. These kids don’t care about basketball. All they care about is getting the check, playing video games and the social media.”

“I don’t make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game — everything.,” Randle said. “We’ve responded really well to him and he’s done a great job.” Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7’s 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller’s tweaks.

“I think, just knowing him and his personality, he doesn’t pay attention to it — he’s focused on us every day, preparing us the best way he can and I really think that’s, honestly, his focus,” Randle said of the possibility that the Knicks replace Miller. “I know, for me, as a competitor and as a player, we deal with it in a different aspect of free agency and trade rumors and all that type of stuff and I don’t focus on it, man. Just focus on the task at hand and NBA is kind of one of those things — you just go with the flow and when something happens, you adjust to it. But he’s been amazing every day, just as far as his focus and what he’s doing.”

As the Knicks (17-38) get back into the swing of things with the 2019-20 season’s second half set to begin in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game against the Indiana Pacers (32-23) at Madison Square Garden, Randle opened up on Miller’s impact Wednesday. “I don’t make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game — everything.,” Randle said. “We’ve responded really well to him and he’s done a great job.”

Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7’s 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller’s tweaks. Randle averaged 16.5 points on 44.2-percent shooting with 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 31.9 minutes in his first 22 games under Fizdale. Since Miller took over Dec. 7, Randle has 21.1 points on 46.2-percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 33.5 minutes in the past 33 games. “He just made some adjustments, so what he feels is best, as far as playing to guys’ strengths and stuff like that,” Randle said. “It’s just the adjustments and all that type of stuff. So he’s done a great job.”

Knicks eyeing Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau

Interim coach Mike Miller has won his share of Knicks’ fans by stabilizing the Knicks defense. He’s posted a three-game winning streak and a four-game winning streak that ended Sunday when the Knicks blew an eight-point overtime lead in Atlanta. Miller carries a 13-19 record entering the final game before the All-Star break Wednesday versus Orlando. If team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were coming back next season, Miller had a shot to return if his record got to be around .500. But Mills is gone, Perry may be demoted or fired and incoming president Leon Rose is prepared to make a flashy coaching hire after the season.

LaVar says he not only stands by his decisions to take LaMelo Ball out of high school in the United States (he went to Lithuania and Australia) … but says he’s convinced Melo will be the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball says his dream would be for the NY Knicks to hire Mark Jackson as the next head coach — who would then take Melo with their first pick. In fact, Ball says he sees a world in which all 3 of his sons sign with the Knicks and play in Madison Square Garden. He thinks his fam can save the franchise.

The Knicks want interim head coach Mike Miller to finish the season in the position, but I’m told they have a short list of potential in-season candidates, including Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Tom Thibodeau, should the team’s faltering season necessitate another move. Miller was informed upon taking the job that it is an interim position, and that the Knicks would keep an open mind for a possible permanent hire throughout the remainder of the season.
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 5, 2020 | 7:20 pm EDT Update
Fox, a 22-year-old point guard who will soon be eligible for a massive contract extension, intends to lead the Kings for years to come. Fox made that clear in a series of previously unpublished interviews with The Sacramento Bee before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. He reaffirmed those feelings Wednesday in a Zoom call with reporters from Golden 1 Center, where the Kings are preparing to resume their season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. “It’s all the same,” Fox said. “… I see myself being here. I want to be here.”
Storyline: De'Aaron Fox Extension
“I want to be here,” Fox said. “Obviously, I want to win, but I want to do it here. It’s been, what — 13, 14 years since the last time the Kings made the playoffs? I want to be a part of the first one. “Obviously, we all want to win. There are some things we know we need to work on as a team, and I’m here for that. Every team has gone through it, probably not as long as the Kings have, but I want to be a part of that. I want to be able to get to the playoffs with this team, and, hopefully, when I’m a veteran in this league, be able to be a (championship) contender.”
Revenue losses stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and the NBA’s frayed relationship with China could result in a significant reduction in the salary cap. Max contracts are calculated based on the salary cap, so any reduction in the cap would cause a corresponding decline in max contract figures. As a result, the Kings might end up saving money on Fox’s new deal, but league executives and agents say there is too much uncertainty to project how much a cap hit might impact the team’s books or Fox’s future earnings. “It’s just way too premature to predict what’s going to happen,” Priority Sports and Entertainment CEO Mark Bartelstein said. “There’s just so much to play out in the next few months.”
After receiving the results of a Friday round of testing for the coronavirus, the Milwaukee Bucks shut down the team’s practice facility for workouts until the team departs for Orlando, Florida, this week, sources told ESPN. It was not immediately clear if there was more than one positive test, but the team plans to keep the facility closed for workouts until the team’s traveling party departs for the league’s restart in Orlando on Thursday, sources said.
Storyline: Coronavirus
July 5, 2020 | 6:47 pm EDT Update
The Rockets plan to travel to Orlando later this week and will play their first of eight “seeding” games on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets are assured of one of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference and are tied for fifth place with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the Mavericks 1½ games behind. “The team that catches a rhythm first, kind of has an advantage overall,” Covington said of his expectations for the abbreviated sprint to the NBA’s finish line this season.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
He recalled that he and his cousin and two other youths were playing football in the street and occasionally running into a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor told the children to stay out of his yard, and Covington said he and his cousin obliged. The other two kids did not, and the man called the police. The officers began to detain all four of the youths, even though the neighbor told police Covington and his cousin had done nothing wrong. “The cop didn’t care; he arrested all of us,” Covington said. “He put is in the back of the car and took us down to the station. I got stuck in the car – I was too tall and my foot was wedged in between (the front seats). I told the officer I couldn’t get out. He said if you don’t get out of this car, I’m going to break your leg to get you out.”
July 5, 2020 | 2:38 pm EDT Update
July 5, 2020 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
As for next month’s challenge, Marlowe is confident that he and his color analyst, Scott Hastings, can interpret and call the games from afar. “It’s certainly a technique on how to do it,” he said. “You can’t always see clearly or hear clearly an official’s decision. You can’t interpret it because you’re not right there, so it takes a little bit of imagination.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:10 pm EDT Update
For the most part, the players are feeling pretty comfortable with the health and safety precautions that the NBA has put in place, and believe that the league is doing every thing within their power to mitigate risk related to the coronavirus. It all looks good in theory and on paper, but how it will all work once the players are actually there is another thing entirely. “I’m sure there will be some changes once we get down there, and they see that some things worked and some things didn’t,” Georges Niang said on Thursday.
As far as the actual games go, the players aren’t worried about playing without fans or how the schedule was decided on. They’re just excited to get to play again. “We miss playing the game of basketball,” Niang said. “We miss our day jobs so I think for the most part we’re excited to get down there and use our platform for social issues and be safe while doing that. The NBA has set up an environment that’s given us the right safety protocols to move in the right direction to be able to play.”
The insinuation was that players would not be able to be away from their sexual partners for such a long time. “Forget three months, they’re gonna struggle with three weeks,” Smith yelled. Do the Jazz think that players will break the rules of the bubble? “If they do, that’s them,” O’Neale said, dismissing the notion. “I’m single, I’m by myself, I ain’t got nothing to worry about. Quarantine life was kind of easy for me. I just played video games and hung out with my dog, so I think it’ll kind of be the same thing. Just without my dog. I’ll be alright.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:00 pm EDT Update
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the one to throw the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s name in the mix, but there’s been no word about the idea since. Not until Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked about the possibility on WFAN’s Joe & Evan on Friday: Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
When he gets back to the head coaching search, Marks intends to talk to Brooklyn’s “key players” about who will run the show next. And he specifically mentioned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when addressing the matter on WFAN: It would be probably, you know, not incredibly smart of us if we did not involve some of these key players in this decision. That only goes to Kevin, I think it’s — you know, Kevin and Kyrie, we’re gonna pick their brains on what they are looking for in a leader, what they want in a coach, what they need. I think these guys have been brutally honest so far.
Storyline: Nets Coaching Job
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
July 5, 2020 | 12:42 pm EDT Update

Jared Sullinger wants back in the NBA

On Saturday, The Basketball Tournament kicked off and Jared Sullinger was on the sideline for Carmen’s Crew. He was the coach of the team filled mostly with Ohio State alumni. It’s a role he relishes. Yet it’s not a role he wants to assume permanently. Sullinger, the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2012 who enjoyed four solid seasons with the club, still has aspirations of returning to the NBA. He’s only 28 but hasn’t played in the league in three years. His post-Celtic career lasted just 11 games with the Raptors, and then Sullinger learned about the harsh reality of being injured and considered damaged goods.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 75 more rumors
He has recovered fully. Sullinger is married and the father of twins. He reflects on his Celtics years fondly but hopes he’s not done gobbling up rebounds with his burly frame. “I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again.”
Smith aspires to be a general manager, but the NBA has had issues in recent years with diversity in front offices. He hopes that recent events will cause the NBA power structure to closely examine hiring. “To think people don’t gravitate toward people who are like them, look like them, or are like-minded, then you don’t understand the basis of stereotypes and racism, which is two different things,” he said. “If I make my decisions based on race and not having the ability to have the opportunity, then I’m a racist. It’s a simple process. White America is like how do I figure it out? You’re making the decision and you’re taking into account that it will hinder someone based on their race. That’s a racist act, period.”
What bothers Smith and many other former players is that front office candidates who did not play the game but are astute analytically are somehow seen as more qualified than former players. “You mean to tell me LeBron James couldn’t put a team together? He puts it together now. You’re telling me his production and consumption of information is not more valuable than someone who’s never played the game? It’s impossible. It’s an awareness.”
Though Marlowe said he would’ve preferred the NBA scrap the regular-season games and jump straight to the playoffs, he did find an advantage for the Nuggets. Their grueling schedule, featuring games against both Los Angeles teams, the Raptors and the Thunder, is a perfect primer for the postseason, he said. The Nuggets were 15-11 against teams that were .500 or better throughout the season, which was a better record than all but three teams in the NBA. In addition, as Marlowe pointed out, seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no homecourt advantage. “I think the eight play-in games are interesting because I believe six of the last eight for the Nuggets were going to be played away from Pepsi Center, so the Nuggets don’t have to do that,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think winning is the preeminent goal in these (seeding) games. I don’t think it really matters to the Nuggets to finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth. I think the key is, can coach Malone and the rest of the coaches get this team playing at its zenith in these eight games and going into the playoffs?”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Meanwhile, high atop the Chicago skyline, Bosh was in a conference room receiving a pitch from the Heat — a meeting punctuated by Pat Riley unfurling a small velvet carpet onto the table, followed by the presentation of a small velvet bag. “Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.” “Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh. “I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”
A generation ago, it was tough to find any Warriors fans outside of the Bay Area, let alone at some desolate outpost in Southeast Europe. But by now, such encounters no longer count as shocking. After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, with a roster that features some of the game’s most marketable players, and after a concerted effort to raise their profile abroad, the Warriors emerged as a certifiable global brand. According to the team’s internal tracking, the majority of the Warriors’ social media followers reside outside the United States — that’s 80 percent of their followers on Facebook, 70 percent on Instagram, 52 percent on Twitter.
He recalled over the phone last week that in the late ’80s, growing the NBA meant Stern handing a baffled TV executive from Italy a stack of videocassette recordings in hopes the exec would air them when he got back home. “The victories were getting a game that was played 10 days ago aired at a terrible time on Italian television,’’ Welts said. “That’s the kind of thing we considered a victory back then.” Around that time, league officials also attended an international market show in Cannes. “With pretty much a cardboard table and a bunch of business cards,’’ Welts said. “We just tried to grab any television programmer who was there to try to explain to them what the NBA was and why it would be such a great property for their company to air on television.”