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“I had a very good conversation with Kyle, and rumours are rumours, to be honest,” Ujiri said after joking that the media corps was looking pretty tired after waiting all day for the NBA to make the trades official. “I see no issues, honestly, with him. Zero. We’re good, and I think his mind is focused on this run. Obviously he had little battles with his back and he’s trying to get back to where he was before, and I think maybe we should take time and acknowledge that from when we came here, and this is all credit to him,” he said.
The vibes out of Toronto over the past six weeks have been just a little off. The relationship between Kyle Lowry and Masai Ujiri is clearly not hunky-dory. It never has been. Lowry misses DeMar DeRozan. I’m not sure any of that bleeds onto the floor. Lowry will play his game when it matters. But back injuries and Leonard’s load management have short-circuited Toronto’s chances to build chemistry. Marc Gasol is an undeniable upgrade, but he further unsettles their rotation.
The comments were taken as a shot at head coach Dwane Casey, who Lowry butted heads with earlier in their Toronto tenures. Tom Sterner, an assistant coach under Casey in both Toronto and Minnesota, told TSN Radio 1050: “I think he’s pointing the comments at Casey.” Not so fast, Lowry said after a spirited practice on Monday. “No, they were not directed at anyone, they were in general. “They were in general and they were moreso for me saying, ‘OK we’ve got to change things and myself get better and hold the guys accountable more,’” Lowry said. “That’s from me. I don’t do anything but play basketball. I don’t make management decisions, I don’t make coaching decisions, I say what I feel from my heart. That’s how I felt. Changes do need to be made. We need to find ways to win some damn games.”
“We are all frustrated. I take that as frustration,” Casey said. “Kyle and I, we have a husband-and-wife relationship. It’s good and bad. We go at each other. But we know at the end of the day, we are in the foxhole together. “I didn’t take that one way whatsoever as a slight, as a negative. We’re all frustrated, I’m frustrated, his teammates are all frustrated. I didn’t take that as a personal slight or throwing me under the bus.”
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May 25, 2019 | 5:10 am EDT Update
Mike D’Antoni said negotiations are taking place that he is hopeful will keep him in Houston beyond next season. D’Antoni has one year left on his Rockets deal. “We’ve been in contract discussions and we still are about the extension,” D’Antoni said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “I think I can go two or three more years at the level I want to be at and everything will play out in the near future.”
D’Antoni said a lot of work has already been done toward completing a contract extension. “It’s a good ways (into it). I don’t do it. That’s my agent. He takes care of that stuff. They’ve been discussing it for a long time now. It just hasn’t been a couple weeks. It’s been awhile that they’ve been talking. So they’ll figure it out. “Everybody likes security. It’s just a matter of okay this is the direction the organization wants to go. I want to be a part of it. It’s just normal business and we just got to take care of business.”
The overhaul of the Rockets coaching staff took several additional deep cuts on Friday, with the Rockets letting four more staff members know they would not be back next season. Rockets assistant coach Roy Rogers will not receive a new contract for next season, his agent Warren LeGarie said on Friday, making Rogers the second top assistant on Mike D’Antoni’s staff for the past three seasons that will not be offered a new contract. Rockets assistant Mitch Vanya, video coordinator John Cho were also told they would not be brought back, a person with knowledge of the decision said. Rockets player development assistant Irv Roland said on Friday that he was also told he would not be back.
Irving apologized to James for the way things ended between them in Cleveland, and the All-Star guard reportedly “has had discussions” about joining the Lakers this summer. A James-Irving reunion might seem far-fetched, but the two stars hung out together Thursday in Los Angeles, and then James liked a photoshopped picture of Irving in a Lakers jersey.
Even though the Lakers talk is the hot rumor, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan poured some cold water on it Friday on the latest Hoop Collective podcast. “I did a little digging around and my feeling is very strongly that while LeBron and Kyrie have kissed and made up, that Kyrie is not going there,” she said. “He’s just not. I just don’t believe it. And I think people close to him just don’t believe it either.”