Storyline: Nurkic-Stotts Dynamic

4 rumors in this storyline

Stotts has been particularly tough on Nurkic. In practice he gets after him, players say, and he’s not shy about bluntly answering reporter’s questions about a subpar Nurkic effort. To his credit, Nurkic has embraced it, praising Stotts for the trust he has shown in him and declaring that improving “is what it’s all about.” “Terry deserves a lot of credit for finding what pushes his buttons,” Olshey said. “Some guys you got to hug, some guys you got to kick in the butt a little bit and he’s found a really good balance of when Nurkic needs the support and when Nurkic needs to be held accountable and called out for the inconsistency. Everyone forgets, [Nurkic] is a young guy. It’s his first year as a full time starter. I think what happened is that everybody on the outside looks at Nurkic as this established veteran guy, but in here he’s a guy on a rookie scale. So you’re not going to treat him any differently than you would treat Zach Collins or Caleb Swanigan or Meyers Leonard or anybody else because he hasn’t totally earned the right to have the ebbs and flows without being called out on it yet.”

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In each of the Portland Trail Blazers’ last two games, backup center Ed Davis has earned the fourth quarter minutes over Nurkic, finishing out close losses to Memphis and Brooklyn. Nurkic said he spoke with Blazers coach Terry Stotts and there is no brewing conflict between Portland’s young center and the head coach. “I respect coach’s decision,” said Nurkic, who scored 21 points against Brooklyn despite only playing for 53 seconds in the fourth quarter. “And to be honest, I never have a better coach than Stotts. So, there’s (not) anything wrong.”
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June 21, 2018 | 11:39 am EDT Update
Two days ahead of the NBA Draft, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich finally got a meeting with disgruntled star forward Kawhi Leonard in Southern California, hoping to open a line of communication that will lead to Leonard backing off the trade demand he lodged with the team last week. That drama figures to overshadow Thursday’s draft. But executives around the league say it’s near impossible that the Spurs and Leonard can work out their differences in time for the draft, which would leave San Antonio — which owns the No. 18 pick — in limbo as the team makes its selection. Ideally, the Spurs would have a clear view on Leonard’s future so that they could acquire more picks in this draft.
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Trade?
That complication is going to make trade talks extremely difficult for the Spurs before Thursday’s draft. “They are not going to want to rush something like that,” one general manager told Sporting News. “The teams they’re dealing with are looking at too much uncertainty, and that’s got to drive down the price they’re willing to pay. The Spurs will have a hard time getting fair value for him, but you’d rather get quarters on the dollar than pennies on the dollar.”
After being a member of the Milwaukee Bucks since 2014, where he arrived from the Nets together with coach Jason Kidd (photo) Sean Sweeney is leaving for the Detroit Pistons. According to sources close to the negotiations, Sweeney has a multiyear deal with Detroit in order to become a member of newly hired coach Dwane Casey’s staff.
June 21, 2018 | 11:00 am EDT Update