The extension deadline for players on rookie-scale contracts came and went on Friday, with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio receiving a sizable four-year deal worth roughly $55 million.
The Golden State Warriors ponied up a four-year maximum extension for shooting guard Klay Thompson, which could exceed $70 million once the salary cap is set in July of 2015.
With the NBA’s new television deal kicking in for the 2016-17 season, it’s difficult to say with certainty if Rubio and Thompson were overpaid or even underpaid — as the salary cap is expected to climb as the league’s yearly income jumps by almost a billion dollars a year.
A number of players will let the market decide their future next summer. The San Antonio Spurs didn’t extend NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson also didn’t lock in a deal.
Klay Thompson — Golden State Warriors — four-years at the maximum (TBD) — Grade A
If Thompson was not worth giving up for Kevin Love, when the Warriors were negotiating with the Minnesota Timberwolves, then he’s a max player. Whether he is or isn’t is subjective, but clearly to the organization Thompson is a franchise player.
With Stephen Curry and Thompson in the backcourt, Golden State will be a force in the Western Conference. Klay isn’t as prolific a scorer as Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden (also making the max), but he’s a much better defender — and Thompson can both shoot and score.
Thompson was going to get max offers in free agency, so why should the Warriors wait? Cap room wasn’t going to be a factor for the franchise, so getting a deal done early made sense for all concerned.
Golden State may face a payroll crunch with eight-figure salaries going to five players (David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, Curry and Thompson), but with the salary cap and luxury tax threshold climbing in coming years — the Warriors will either bite the bullet and pay tax, or look to move out from other salary (presumably Lee).
Regardless, the Warriors have invested in a core they believe in. Now Thompson, Curry and the Warriors need to deliver in the playoffs.
Ricky Rubio — Minnesota Timberwolves — four years, ~$55 million — Grade C+
Rubio is a creative passer. He’s capable defensively with his length, and generates steals at a high rate. His glaring weakness is shooting. Additionally, the Wolves got nowhere with the Kevin Love/Rubio combination. The point guard isn’t being compensated for what he has done on the floor, but what Minnesota hopes he will do.
Looking back over recent years, “good” point guards have earned roughly $8 million a season (Jeff Teague, George Hill, Brandon Jennings, etc.). Ty Lawson set the price last year for the next tier of point guards at $12 million a year, which is what Kyle Lowry got this summer.
Eric Bledsoe set the market for the next range, signing for five years, $70 million, or $14 million a season.
The Timberwolves are paying Rubio like Bledsoe, when he may not be Lowry/Lawson — but rather in the $8 million tier. A compromise might have been $10 million but the Wolves are probably overpaying by $6-8 million a season for Rubio.
That said, the salary cap is climbing and with the uncertainty surrounding the new television deal, perhaps $12 million is the new $8 million — and $14 million the new $12 million.
Kemba Walker — Charlotte Hornets — four years, $48 million — Grade B+
Is Walker on par with Teague or Lowry? The Hornets say Lowry, and they may be right.
Charlotte has been a lottery-bound franchise for years but last season the squad made the playoffs — and this year, has hopes of being a force in the Eastern Conference.
Walker will be a major part of any success the Hornets have in reaching that goal.
Alec Burks — Utah Jazz — four years, $42 million — Grade C+
Burks looks primed to have a fantastic season. The better he plays, the stronger the grade for the Jazz — who invested early on a player, perhaps above his market value.
Has Burks shown enough to get an average of $10.5 million a season? Not yet.
Burks is in the DeMar DeRozan range ($10.1 million this season) of pay but may be closer to Wesley Matthews ($7.2 million).
Both DeRozan and Matthews helped their squads to the playoffs last season (Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively).
Matthews, in the final year of his deal, will presumably get a pay hike next summer.
Burks is an important piece on the Jazz, but Utah was a lottery team last season.
The Jazz could have waited for restricted free agency, like they did with Gordon Hayward, but the team brought back Burks on their terms — which may not be a bad thing — if he really breaks out this year.
Nikola Vucevic — Orlando Magic — four years, $48 million — Grade A
While Vucevic was inked well before the deadline, he’s part of the same rookie class.
The Magic are paying a talented young big man who can score, rebound and block shots $12 million a season — on par with Utah’s Derrick Favors.
Both will look like good deals long-term as the salary cap continues to jump.
Kenneth Faried — Denver Nuggets — four-years, $50 million — Grade A
As long as Faried continues to blossom as he did over the summer as a crucial part of Team USA, the Nuggets will get their money’s worth from the athletic forward.
At $12.5 million a season, Faried will make slightly more than Vucevic and Favors, but not enough to bring down his grade.
Kyrie Irving — Cleveland Cavaliers — five-years at the max, possibly Rose-rule max — Grade A
The first step toward getting the LeBron James-train rolling was locking in Irving.
He was the first of his class to sign, just minutes into the eligibility period in July. Irving currently projects to make $90 million over five seasons but that could grow to over $102 million if he’s voted in again as an All-Star starter (via the Rose rule).
Whatever the price, it was the right move for the Cavaliers.
Markieff Morris — Phoenix Suns — four-years, $32 million — Grade A
Morris took a relatively light $8 million a season, to stay long-term with his brother Marcus.
The young forward can play both inside and out, and yet is getting as much per season as veteran Channing Frye (Magic).
If Morris can continue to improve as a player, he’ll become increasingly underpaid as the cap climbs in coming years.
Marcus Morris — Phoenix Suns — four-years, $20 million — Grade B+
Morris is probably a $5 million a year player, but he still needs to find consistency.
In a package deal with the twins, the Suns did well, locking in important parts of what the team is trying to do now and into the future.
If Marcus, who plays small forward while Markieff plays the four, can become a more reliable scorer, he too may prove to be underpaid over the coming seasons.
Note: Anderson Varejao signed a three-year, partially-guaranteed $30 million extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers — but the deal was independent of the deadline for rookie-scale players. Cleveland could have waited until the end of June to extend Varejao.
Extension Deadline Passes with No Deals
Kawhi Leonard did not get an extension from the Spurs, but he likely will over the summer.
He’ll be looking for a maximum salary, which could pay in the neighborhood of $17 million — almost $10 million more than his $7.7 million cap hold.
The Spurs will have more spending power this summer by virtue of waiting on Leonard, who will likely get his desired salary when the time comes.
San Antonio’s Cory Joseph also wasn’t extended, but has yet to make his mark in the team’s rotation.
Chicago Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler has blossomed into a strong two-way player. He’ll be looking for max money if he can get it — and while that might be a bit high, he’ll get more than Alec Burks received from the Jazz. Butler could end up paid in the $11-12 million range.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are still adjusting to the influx of stars (LeBron James and Kevin Love). How the group fits together may determine if Tristan Thompson has a long-term future in Cleveland. Thompson is a strong rebounder, who has shown flashes as a rim-protecting shot-blocker. If he can near a double-double this season, he could end up getting paid $11 million or even up to $14 million per season.
Tobias Harris is a high-scoring forward who can rebound, but the Orlando Magic chose to wait for the summer before giving him an extension. Given Harris takes up just $6 million in cap space, waiting makes sense for the Magic. Harris could earn in the DeMar DeRozan/Burks range of $9-11 million a season.
Guards Brandon Knight (Milwaukee Bucks) and Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City Thunder) need to prove they’re $12 million a year point guards, and not the $8 million per variety.
The Utah Jazz weren’t ready to commit to Enes Kanter, who could end getting Jordan Hill money ($9-10 million).
It’s difficult to gauge the market next summer for an offensively-challenged shot-blocker like Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Hornets). If he can make an impact on the floor this season, Biyombo might be able to find a deal in the $5-7 million range.
Norris Cole should have the opportunity to prove his worth this season. Expect Miami to make him restricted next summer, and possibly re-sign the young point guard. Cole may not climb to the $8 million range but he could get a deal on par with teammate Mario Chalmers (approximately $4 million).
A number of teams have interest in the defensive-minded Iman Shumpert. The Knicks are prioritizing cap space, and may pass on giving him a $3.7 million qualifying offer, with its corresponding $6.5 million cap hold. Best case for Shumpert may be a deal close to Minnesota Timberwolves’ swingman Corey Brewer ($4-5 million).
Derrick Williams has shown flashes but the Sacramento Kings forward has yet to break through. A solid year could put him in the $5 million range.
Both Joel Freeland and Victor Claver of the Portland Trail Blazers still need to prove they can be consistent contributors.
In addition to the extension deadline, teams needed to decide on third- and fourth-year options for first-round picks by Friday.
While most options were taken — some were not.
The New York Knicks passed on Shane Larkin‘s third-year option at $2.6 million, looking to maximize cap room next summer.
The Golden State Warriors haven’t seen enough from Nemanja Nedovic to pick up his third-year option at $1.2 million.
The New Orleans Pelicans chose not to take Austin Rivers‘ fourth-year option ($3.1 million), while the Portland Trail Blazers passed on Thomas Robinson‘s ($4.7 million) and the Atlanta Hawks said no to John Jenkins.
Both Arnett Moultrie (New York Knicks) and Marquis Teague (Philadelphia 76ers) were cut outright with guaranteed salary, making their options for the 2015-16 non-existent.
NBA Daily: A New Beginning Or The Beginning Of The End?
The Toronto Raptors made some bold moves this off-season, but will those moves be the beginning of something new or the beginning of the end of Raptors run in the East?
A New Beginning Or The Beginning Of The End?
The Toronto Raptors were clearly at a crossroads after being swept unceremoniously by the Cleveland Cavaliers in May. It was a microcosm of their situation – good enough to win the East in the regular season, but not good enough to win in big playoff games.
The Raptors went on to fire Dwane Casey as head coach, despite him ultimately being named Coach of The Year. The idea behind the firing wasn’t an emotional reaction to the swept; it was the acceptance of the reality that Casey wasn’t going to evolve as a coach, at least not the way management had hoped.
Casey’s ouster wasn’t the only change; the Raptors also traded away franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan in a “dare to be great” trade with San Antonio for forward Kawhi Leonard.
From a pure talent standpoint, Leonard is an upgrade in almost every way to DeRozan, a multi-time All-Star in his own right. The problem with Leonard isn’t what he is as a player, its what he’s become as a person. No one saw the divorce in San Antonio coming, nor the lengths his camp would go to force an exit and leave countless millions on the table for a new start.
The problem for Toronto is the new start Leonard was seeking never included them. So, much like the Oklahoma City Thunder did a year ago with Paul George, the Raptors are hopeful that a long and successful courtship of Leonard could win him over and into a new long-term deal. If that sounds like a pipe dream, it probably is.
Let’s be real about a few things.
Toronto is a beautiful and passionate basketball city, but is that enough to sway a kid from Southern California to stay? The Raptor faithful will point to DeRozan as an example of yes; he did exactly that when he signed his current deal. But is the situation ideal for Leonard, again the answer might be yes, especially if he is fully recovered from the quad injury that sidelined him for most of last season.
There is no doubting that the Raptors are built to win right now. They won 59 games with arguably the same roster and will enter an Eastern Conference that no longer has LeBron James in Cleveland.
Sure, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are formidable challengers for supremacy in the East and let’s not forget about the Indiana Pacers, who could be in that same pack of teams vying for the top spot. But are any of them far and away better than the Raptors in terms of proven in their prime players?
The script seems to be written for the Raptors to either explode and cement themselves at the top of the East or implode on their own decisions.
New Raptors coach Nick Nurse is as a good as they come from the assistant ranks. He is a bright basketball mind, and he knows his players and has relationships with most of them. The question is will he be as good as advertised? If he not, this dance could be over before it starts.
Leonard has so much to prove after orchestrating his exit from San Antonio. If he gets back to MVP form in Toronto how can the Raptors not be considered the front-runner for the East? Yes, Boston is going to be really good too, but if you were betting on two players – MVP version of Kyrie Irving or MVP version of Leonard, who are you taking?
The problem for the Raptors is what if Leonard isn’t that guy again? What if all the negativity becomes too much? What if not being coddled and sheltered by the Spurs is a problem? No, Leonard isn’t a baby that needs mothering, but if you have followed anything about Leonard, he’s not this rock of a person that can handle anything. It’s a real question only he can answer with his play on the floor.
Equally, what if the quad isn’t fully healed or he goes Isaiah Thomas and tries to come back on to make it worse and needs surgery?
These are not easy questions to answer.
If the Raptors come out on top of most of these decisions – Nurse and Leonard are what people hope them to be — then things could swing in a very interesting direction for the Raptor franchise.
That’s what makes the “dare to be great” move interesting.
Thunder GM Sam Presti made news when he was quoted in Paul George’s ESPN docu-series, saying one of his favorite Lyrics was from Tribe Called Quest – “Scared money don’t make none” — in rationalizing his all-in approach to George.
It seems like Raptor president Masai Ujiri may have stolen a play from the Thunder playbook, because the franchise is now all the way in on the make or break moves of this off-season.
This could be the beginning of a new chapter for the Raptors, or it could end being the moves that cratered something special.
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NBA Daily: Why Teams Should Think Twice Before Tanking
Making up for the loss of a superstar is not a cut and dry, writes Spencer Davies.
Making up for the loss of a superstar is not a cut and dry affair.
If it happens, ownership and management have to choose between two options.
1) Attempt to stay competitive
2) Blow everything up and go for a high draft pick
The second choice seems to be the favorite path for executives to take as of late. After all, just look at the job the Philadelphia 76ers have done with perfecting the art of the aptly named process, “tanking.”
Former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s three ultra-quotable words have turned NBA fans on to see the bigger picture. Who cares if a team has to suffer through multiple seasons of losing? If it takes a couple of years, so be it. In the end, we’ll reset with younger talent to build around. Trust The Process.
Philadelphia lost a lot of games between the 2013 and 2017 seasons. It was flat out brutal to watch. With that said, it did give the organization the opportunity to draft the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and acquire a young international talent like Dario Saric.
They were extremely patient throughout this whole operation. Brett Brown remained the head coach through thick and thin. Players swore on buying into what was being preached.
Last season was a breakthrough for the Sixers. They won 52 games and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. Two of the guys they drafted turned into recognizable names with their play and have sky-high potential to break through in this upcoming season.
But is this really what it takes to achieve relevancy and perpetual competition in the NBA now? Do you really have to wipe the slate clean entirely and put out an unacceptable product year-in and year-out for half a decade so that there’s a possibility of one day becoming a winning franchise?
It’s obvious that Philadelphia did its homework, but who’s to say that other front offices can function like that? The Sacramento Kings have been in the doldrums for 12 years. The Orlando Magic have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons and the New York Knicks haven’t made an appearance in five.
What it comes down to is hitting on draft picks, plain and simple. You don’t hear often about the missteps of the process. Nerlens Noel was supposed to be a key piece of the Sixers core, as was Jahlil Okafor. Both of those players were top six selections in their respective drafts.
In order to acquire Noel (along with New Orleans’ 2014 first-round pick), Philadelphia sent Jrue Holiday, Pierre Jackson and the 42nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft to the newly branded New Orleans Pelicans.
In hindsight, this was an awful move—no bones about it. Holiday had been coming off an All-Star season. He stood a head above the rest on a roster mixed with veterans and middle-of-their-career players. Most impressive of all, it was only his third year in the league.
The Sixers picked a gamble that did not return the results they were hoping for. Michael Carter-Williams won Rookie of the Year and Noel had his moments, but there’s no way it was worth losing a player the caliber of Holiday. But they had to abide by the process by any means necessary, right?
Philadelphia hasn’t won a championship, yet they’re heading in the right direction. They were able to overcome those bumps in the road. The three teams in Sacramento, Orlando and New York to this point have not.
Tanking may not be the wrong answer. It’s not always the right one, though. It all depends on timing. Take a different approach of re-tooling in lieu of rebuilding.
A prime example of this viewpoint is the Utah Jazz last season. After Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics, many pundits stuck a dead duck label on the Utah Jazz. Those people said that in spite of the fact that the organization was on the rise with a brilliant head coach and an up-and-coming center bordering on best defensive player in the league status.
General manager Dennis Lindsey made a few moves here or there, but did not even think about giving up on the overall progress the Jazz had attained. He kept Quin Snyder and Rudy Gobert, drafted Donovan Mitchell and began a new chapter in the same book instead of writing a different novel.
Utah opened a ton of eyes last season, not only making the playoffs—competing until the very end. And even that was fluky when injuries came into the picture.
They never had to go into the gutter. In the four straight years the Jazz missed the playoffs, it wasn’t because of a set strategy to take a nosedive. They had the wrong coach the first two and were learning how to play winning basketball under the right leader the next two.
It seems as if the Cleveland Cavaliers are taking that route instead of the usual cry to “blow it up.” This isn’t comparing the impact of losing Hayward to LeBron James. That would be irresponsible. But they’ve clearly formed a strategy for all of this and were much more prepared the second time around.
Their true plans were revealed on July 24 when Kevin Love signed a four-year, $120 million extension to stick around with the wine and gold. Confusion surfaced all around. Nearly everybody in the NBA world expected general manager Koby Altman to trade him and stock up on future assets. After all, the Cavaliers’ first-round draft pick next season only conveys if they finish as a bottom 10 team in the league. If they do not, the selection goes to the Atlanta Hawks.
While that’s a true statement, nothing is guaranteed. Anything that happens in a season can be unpredictable. Anything that goes on in a draft is unpredictable.
In one timeline, Cleveland could be as bad of a team as some are predicting with Love. In another, they could make the playoffs and shock their doubters.
We don’t know what Collin Sexton will be in this league yet. We do know that experience is irreplaceable. Why not surround the young man with talent for him to breed confidence in himself and others? It’s better than losing a ton of games because the front office is waiting for the next guy to pair him with, right?
The Cavaliers are keeping their head coach. They’re acquiring players aching for an opportunity. They’re altering their direction, but keeping the same focus.
With LeBron James, Cleveland made four straight NBA Finals. In doing so, they’ve set a standard for the organization. Even with The King going west, why would it make any sense to change that message?
Considering the talent this league already has and the “super teams” that are being built among them, there is a difference between a ball club that wins 20 games and one that wins 35. They both miss out on the postseason and have a lottery pick, however, Team A silently creates losing habits while Team B tries to instill a culture of winning.
There is no perfect method for filling a void left by losing a superstar player. Nobody is a psychic.
Maybe it’s naïve to criticize “The Process” for not wanting to be in NBA purgatory—usually somewhere stuck between a seven seed in the playoffs and the 10th team in the conference standings—but tanking is a tricky game. Precision is necessary to pull it off. If it isn’t there, you’ll be in a world of hurt.
At least when you’re in NBA purgatory, you can add to what you have or try a different coach. Championship or bust is a dangerous mentality in the current landscape of sports.
Of course, that’s always the goal, but very few understand what it takes to get to that point. It all starts with a winning attitude, a quality of most teams that have tanked do not possess.
NBA Daily: The Summer’s Most Impactful Coaching Hires
There have been a lot of coaching swaps this offseason, but there are only a select few that should impact what happens next year.
Building a successful team is like cooking a meal. The players serve as the ingredients, while the coach serves as the cook who stirs the ingredients. A championship team requires the right ingredients just as much as it requires an adept cook.
Take the Warriors for example. Mark Jackson played an important role in putting Golden State back on the map in 2013. However, after it was clear that he wasn’t capable of pushing them much further the following year, they replaced him with Steve Kerr.
That made all the difference. The Dubs went from pseudo-contender to legitimate contender, thanks to their new coach revolutionizing the team’s offense. The team went from the league’s 12th-ranked offense in the league the previous season (107.5 points per 100 possessions) to its second (111.6). Stephen Curry’s evolution into a basketball supernova led the way of course, but it was Kerr’s revisions to the team that pushed them to another level.
It all started with how he handled his rotation. Making Draymond Green a full-time starter while also transitioning Andre Iguodala into the sixth man made the Dubs all the more lethal as a team. The final touch was forming the “Death Lineup”, which consisted of Curry, Green, Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes, that made Golden State nearly impossible to stop.
Golden State had a roster built for a title. All they needed was a coach who could get them the best results. Kerr was the man for the job.
That goes to show how vital a coach is to a franchise that has high aspirations.
Because of success stories like Golden State, we saw quite a few coaching changes this summer from teams hoping to have a Hollywood ending much like the Warriors.
Milwaukee Bucks – Mike Budenholzer
Poor Coach Bud. It’s not his fault that the Hawks team that he guided to 60 wins in 2015 slowly disintegrated over the last three years. Luckily he got out of there to avoid having to take on a rebuild. So now, he gets a fresh start in Wisconsin.
Budenholzer’s stock has gone down considerably since winning the Coach of the Year three years ago. That being said, he’s shown that when he has lemons, he can make lemonade. Now that he is running the show in Milwaukee, he is coaching one of the more unique situations in the league. Coach Bud now has a superstar at his arsenal in Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is something he never had in Atlanta.
It’s true that Milwaukee has been one of the league’s frequent underachievers since they kicked the tires of the Greek Freek era, but their talent cannot be understated. Remember that Coach Bud once made the likes of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver All-Stars, statuses that they’ve never come close to regaining since. If he can do that with guys like Teague and Korver, imagine what he can do with Giannis and Co.
Milwaukee has also done a solid job building a team that fits Budenholzer’s emphasis on floor stretching. Adding Brook Lopez and bringing back Ersan Ilyasova should give a team that ranked 21st in three-point percentage more spacing. That’s quite impressive since Milwaukee had the ninth-best offensive rating in the league (109.8).
Milwaukee’s been trying to find their big break for a while now. They may have found theirs in Coach Bud.
Detroit Pistons – Dwane Casey
Nobody had a harder spring than Casey. Usually, winning Coach of the Year would be a moment worth treasuring, but in Casey’s case, it was far from it. Leading up to getting the award, Casey and the Raptors were swept by the Cavs for the second consecutive time, then he got fired shortly afterward. Casey getting Coach of the Year this season was pretty much like Dirk Nowitzki getting the MVP in 2007 after getting upset by the Warriors in the first round.
Thankfully, Casey’s illustrious resume was good enough for him to land on his feet just about anywhere. That anywhere happens to be Motown, where he’s replacing Stan Van Gundy as head coach. Detroit also has not had the most success since they’ve turned to Andre Drummond. That could be attributed to the unfortunate injuries that they’ve had to deal with in the last two years.
Despite having the persistent monkey on his back come playoff time, Casey has improved his craft in response to his failures. The Raptors saw improvement every year when Casey ran the show, and now Casey has the chance to show he can do the same in Detroit.
It will be an interesting transition going from the Raptors to the Pistons. Though not as talented as Toronto’s, Detroit’s strength should primarily come from their frontcourt. Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond should be one of the league’s best frontcourt pairings on paper. Casey has a reputation for making things work, so now that they will have a full season together, they may shine more than they did last season.
One particular question that should be answered is if Toronto’s problem was Casey or his roster. That may be answered by how Detroit does this season. Oh hey, speaking of Toronto…
Toronto Raptors – Nick Nurse
There seems to be a fair amount of optimism surrounding Nurse. Supposedly, he was the reason why the Raptors’ offense improved so much last season. Casey executed it to perfection, but Nurse was the one who designed it. Now, he’s at the forefront on a team that is desperate for success now more than ever.
This is Nurse’s first gig as a head coach, and the pressure is going to be on. It’s not just that Toronto’s been trying to get past its playoff demons. Now that they have Kawhi Leonard, they have to do everything in their power to keep him around — tall order given he seems hellbent on going to L.A.
Still, Leonard is an upgrade over DeMar DeRozan. Acquiring him, along with promoting Nurse, shows that the Raptors aren’t playing around. Being the head coach for one of the league’s powerhouses is a big break for Nurse. This may be his only to chance to prove he deserves a spot in this league.
James Borrego – Charlotte Hornets
Another Popovich protegee moving up through the ranks! Borrego has had some head coaching experience, though it was with the Orlando Magic, who were not going anywhere, three years ago. Now he’s going to Charlotte, a team that’s in a pretty tough situation right now.
Right now, Charlotte is hard-capped on a roster that does not have much room for improvement. The team has not made the playoffs in two years, and it’s hard to imagine how they improve from where they currently are. However, that might be why they hired Borrego.
Instead of going for a known name like Stan Van Gundy or Jeff Hornacek, they went with a guy who has learned under the NBA’s best coach for several years. Coach Bud became a great coach after learning from Pop, so perhaps Borrego may follow in his footsteps. This is a pivotal year for Charlotte since Kemba Walker’s bargain contract is expiring. If Borrego can help Charlotte return to the playoffs, then that could do wonders for them.
Note that David Fizdale, Lloyd Pierce, and Igor Kokoskov weren’t named. It isn’t fair to include them because the teams they are running are currently in the rebuilding phase with little expectation. They could be very impactful hires down the line. Just don’t expect a lot from them right away.
Same goes for J.B. Bickerstaff, but that’s because he already was the Grizzlies’ head coach. Now he’s full-time instead of interim. Call it cheating if you want to.
As for those who have been named, these hires should have a significant impact on what happens in the Eastern Conference playoff race this season. One of these hires could very well put their team in the finals, while another could put them in the NBA lottery.