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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.
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.
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.
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