NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Wizards Keeping Wittman?

Will the Wizards keep Randy Wittman as their head coach going forward? … LeBron James open to mentoring Paul George … Kings sign Royce White

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Will Wizards Keep Wittman?

Coach Randy Wittman appears to be on the verge of guiding the Washington Wizards to the playoffs. And if the Wizards get there for the first time in six seasons, Wittman undoubtedly will receive praise. He’d rather receive a new contract.

Wittman’s current one expires after the season.

For the Wizards, the first step was to become a playoff contender. The next one is to have success in the playoffs. The continued development of the team will determine whether the transition occurs. Wittman could have a key role in the process.

via Jason Reid of The Washington Post

As long as the Wizards continue to develop and trend in the right direction, Wittman’s job should be safe. The only way they would go in a different direction this summer is if the season with Wittman ended on an awful note or if the team had a chance to make a splashy head coaching hire this offseason and couldn’t resist.

With that said, Wittman’s players speak highly of him and he has done a good job returning Washington to respectability so it’s hard to imagine the Wizards letting go of him now when they’re just about to end their postseason drought. Early on, Wittman had plenty of critics around the league who didn’t feel like he was worthy of a head coaching job, but he has done a solid job in Washington.

As the article states, the next step for the Wizards is making some noise in the playoffs. If Wittman isn’t able to help this team advance and realize their full potential in the years to come, that’s when the front office could decide that it’s time for a new coach to come in who could push the team further.

James Open to Mentoring George

James’ Miami Heat and George’s Pacers have faced off in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and currently are in a heated race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. James has worked out with rivals during past summers, notably the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.

“Pick [my brain] like Hannibal Lector?” James said jokingly. “You know me, I don’t mind it at all. I don’t mind giving guys [advice], whatever he wants to ask. Guys know I have an open door/phone policy.”

via Brian Windhorst of ESPN

In response to this Basketball Insiders’ article by Jessica Camerato, James said that he would be open to mentoring George as the Pacers forward continues to develop.

James and Durant have a similar relationship, in that they are rivals on the court but friendly off the court – talking and even training together during the offseason. George would like to join that exclusive club of NBA greats, and he seems to be on his way.

For now though, George’s Pacers and James’ HEAT are locked into an intense battle for the Eastern Conference crown. Indiana currently leads Miami by two games, and it seems inevitable that these two teams will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kings Sign Royce White

Royce White, the 16th overall selection from the 2012 NBA Draft, will sign a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, and then be assigned to their Developmental League affiliate in Reno, according to two sources.

via Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV

It sounds like White will spend a large portion of this 10-day contract in Reno with the Bighorns while the Kings are on a seven-game road trip. Sacramento will evaluate his progress in the D-League and then decide if they want to sign him to a second 10-day contract or ink him for the remainder of the season.

As the article states, White was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, but he never appeared in a game for the team. He played in a number of D-League games, but that’s all we’ve seen from White since he starred at Iowa State and led the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

White butted heads with the Rockets over how they handled his anxiety disorder, and made it clear that he didn’t feel a proper support system was in place for him to succeed in Houston.

The 22-year-old has been given a chance to salvage his career, so we’ll see what he does with it.

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