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NBA Rumors: Mark Jackson Meets Kings First

Mark Jackson met with the Kings’ power wielders last night and looks to be in the mix to be their next coach.

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Mark Jackson gets first informal interview for Kings’ job?

Yet late Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena, after the Kings fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-92, another possible candidate emerged in the most convenient of ways: former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson. After calling the game courtside for ESPN, Jackson had a lengthy meeting with Mullin, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro and franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins inside the “Chairman’s Lounge” where they had requested that arena workers and others give them some privacy.

Jackson, Mullin, and Cousins entered the room at approximately 10:20 p.m. Pacific time, with Cousins sporting a black suit as he continues to recover from his bout with viral meningitis that has kept him out of action since Nov. 26. D’Alessandro joined them approximately 20 minutes into the meeting, and the group finally exited just before midnight, long after the room had been cleared so that they could have a moment to discuss, well, connect the dots yourself.

via Sam Amick of USA Today Sports

It’s hard to interpret whether this means that Jackson is the top head coaching candidate in Sacramento, or if he just got the first crack at lobbying for the job thanks to the convenience of being in the same place as the Kings’ power wielders days after Malone was fired. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have Chris Mullin, who Kings ownership trusts enough to be the next head coach if he desired (which he apparently doesn’t at this moment), in his corner. However, the Kings are likely going to do their due diligence and talk to several other candidates before making a final decision.

George Karl is largely thought of as the favorite for the position and has general manager Pete D’Alessandro in his corner. His resume trumps Jackson’s by miles, but Jackson does have youth on his side as he’s significantly younger than Karl and could be viewed as the better long-term fit for this young Kings team. Oddly enough, though, both coaches have a history of clashing with their owners. It’s why they’re out of the game after 50+ win seasons their last time at the helm. Given how hands on Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the potential for conflict seems high with Jackson and Karl, but both play the kind of style the Kings covet. Outside of Ty Corbin just blowing the front office away and earning the job beyond any shadow of a doubt, it’s a safe bet that the Kings’ next head coach is either Karl or Jackson.

Rookie of the Year leader Jabari Parker out for the season

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is expected to miss the rest of his rookie season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced Tuesday night.

Parker, 19, will have surgery after suffering a complete tear — not a sprain, as was initially diagnosed — in the third quarter of the Bucks’ dramatic 96-94 win Monday night in Phoenix.
Parker’s knee buckled on a drive to the basket, after which he collided with the Suns’ P.J. Tucker.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

This is a devastating turn of events for the Bucks, who are 13-12 with a legitimate shot to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season. The original hope was that Parker just sprained his knee and would miss a few weeks, but now he will lose his entire rookie season, becoming the third top 10 pick from the heralded 2014 draft class to suffer a season-ending injury, joining Joel Embiid (who hasn’t been officially ruled out yet but is almost certainly going to be at some point after the New Year) of the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle.

Parker was averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, but showed flashes of being capable of contributing much more. The Bucks’ overall improvements under new head coach Jason Kidd made it to where they could ease Parker into a featured role, not overload him early on.

Parker, a Chicago native and huge Derrick Rose fan, will likely look to the Bulls star for guidance and advice during this time. Although he’s suffered an unrelated setback the following season after tearing his ACL, Rose is back to playing at an All-Star level right now.

Parker’s injury also clears the way for someone else to win the Rookie of the Year award. The rest of the class has been underwhelming to date, but Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves and K.J. McDaniels of the Philadelphia 76ers become the new frontrunners in his absence.

Cavaliers like Wes Matthews, but he’s unavailable
The idyllic fit for the Cavaliers to fill their void for toughness, shooting and defensive tenacity resides in the Pacific Northwest: Wesley Matthews of Portland Trail Blazers. Cleveland has adored Matthews for quite some time and its quest of him has been repeatedly vetoed, league sources told Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Portland, at 19-6, is one of the best young teams in the league and is off to its best start in 15 years. Breaking up a sturdy nucleus entrenched in a winning culture isn’t in the team’s plans.
Barring an unexpected plummet, the Trail Blazers are dismissing all overtures for Matthews. He is a free agent at the end of the season and they have every intention of re-signing him next summer, a league source said.
Via Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group

For Matthews, it has to feel good to be wanted by a championship contending team like the Cavaliers. However, it has to feel even better that the team he’s on values him too much to entertain offers from them or anyone else for him.

This comes at an ideal time for Matthews, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The former undrafted free agent has developed into one of the more underrated two-way shooting guards in the league. He’s having a career year, averaging 16.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists a game this season. Due to his unselfishness and defensive ability, he’d be a perfect fit at the shooting guard position for the Cavs – providing everything they wish they could get from Dion Waiters.

Matthews is actually extension eligible and could avoid free agency all together if he can come to terms with the Blazers before June 30. However, by hitting the open market, he becomes eligible for a four/five-year deal, whereas if he were to sign an extension, he’d be limited to just having three additional years tacked on.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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