Former NBA head coach and 1992 “Dream Team” assistant P.J. Carlesimo served as BAL combine director. “This is historic. The NBA just really wants to help develop basketball in Africa. They want to help basketball worldwide, and Africa is the place to do it,” Carlesimo said. “This is not just another league in another country. This is a partnership with the NBA. I can’t tell you how many times I went out of the country to watch one guy play. Now they (scouts) have everyone right here (at the combine). This is a win for the agents, a win for the players, a win for the league.”
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The facts of NBA life, as explained by Nelson and other former coaches Bleacher Report interviewed, may be universally accepted, but Fizdale’s assertion that Gregg Popovich’s pedigree gives his team an unfair advantage over a team with a first-year coach is dangerous, according to P.J. Carlesimo. The former head coach, and Popovich’s top assistant from 2002-07, cautioned Fizdale about making his complaint seem personal. “‘Fiz’ is treading on very, very thin ice,” Carlesimo said. “To even imply that the officials ref the Spurs differently, or Kawhi differently, is not a good place to go. I don’t know what he intended, but if he is implying the officials are not being fair because it’s Kawhi vs. Zach [Randolph] or David Fizdale vs. Gregg Popovich, that’s not something you want to be even hinting at.”
Anyone who expects a dramatic reversal of officiating fortunes in Thursday’s Game 3 at FedEx Forum may want to lower expectations. “It will have zero effect on officiating,” Carlesimo said. “Every crew, even in the first round, will have officials who have worked hundreds of playoff games, and the chance of their being swayed by a coach’s comments or what is written in the press is zero. They are above it. It’s the way it should be. The league has their back, and they could care less what is said.
Martin claiming that he almost did what Latrell Sprewell did years before is a pretty incredible statement. Sprewell famously went after P.J. Carlesimo when both were with the Golden State Warriors during the 1997-1998 season. Sprewell choked Carlesimo and had to be pulled off the head coach by his teammates. The volatile guard had his contract with the Warriors voided as a result of the assault (though that was later overturned after arbitration). Martin was calm and collected while recalling the incident, so he has a clear head about what was clearly an emotional moment. But he also claimed that Karl wasn’t worth it and still wasn’t worth it.
The SuperSonics hired San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo as head coach after the team selected Durant, and he was somewhat familiar with his young star because Texas games were among the few college basketball contests he watched. Carlesimo later spoke with Barnes, who raved about what made Durant a quality person and player – traits that were quickly confirmed. “First practice after you worked with him, you didn’t have to be real perceptive to understand what a special talent he was,” Carlesimo said. “I know a number of times we’d come back, after a game or we’d be scouting or whatever, if I was in my office and heard a ball bouncing at night, it was usually Kevin. … He works at his game. He’s always had great pride in it and he’s always been highly motivated, not to be good, to be the best.”
Officially, Lopez has played for Nets coaches Lawrence Frank, Avery Johnson, Lionel Hollins and Kidd, as well as interim coaches Tom Barrise, Kiki Vandeweghe, P.J. Carlesimo and Tony Brown. Asked recently to go through his mental Rolodex of coaches, Lopez struggled. “L-Frank,” he began, attempting to name them sequentially. “T.B., Kiki, Avery, J-Kidd… No?”