A whole lot of this, and some of that
And the coaching carousel keeps turning and churning.
We’ve got Monty Williams in New Orleans (the official announcement landed in the in-box last night) and there are myriad reports that Tom Izzo has been offered an astronomical $6 million a year to coach Cleveland.
Izzo’s the interesting one to me.
I don’t know about this one, from either side.
Why would Izzo, a legend in the college ranks, want to take over Cleveland, a franchise in flux, to say the least. No idea about LeBron, not a very good supporting cast without him, a rather meddling owner who just got rid of a GM and more uncertainty than you can possibly imagine.
Sure, the money’s stupid but, trust me, Izzo makes about $3 million at Michigan State, you know they’ll kick him up a bit if he turns down the Cavs to stay and there are ways – clinics, camps, speaking engagements – to make up any huge difference.
The challenge? Yeah, that might be the only reason and I’m not sure it’s good enough; maybe Izzo should do what he’s doing, which is making almost annual trips to the Final Four, which means he’ll be thought to be smarter and, eventually, an NBA challenge that’s less, um, challenging will present itself.
Now, I have no idea what the wacky Cavs are thinking, to tell you the truth.
Why don’t I think it works from that side?
Mike Montgomery, Leonard Hamilton, Tim Floyd, Lon Kruger, John Calipari, Jerry Tarkanian and, here’s one you might want to look up, Roy Rubin.
Yes, I left Rick Pitino off that list of failures, simply by dint of his New York years, which preceded the mess he made in Boston.
College coaches do not historically work out.
Monty Williams? I’ll tell you who’ll be over-the-moon happy with that one.
That’s Jarrett Jack.
If Williams had a bigger cheerleader last season than Jack, I sure didn’t meet him.
Anyway, I’ll say this for that hiring: Unlike Chicago, which has so much riding on the next couple of seasons and a very good chance to move up in its conference, New Orleans is probably a better place for a guy to cut his coaching teeth.
Low expectations, a roster that’s pretty much set and no one expected them to make a huge splash with the new coach.
As you know, I’m in Boston, which is in New England and what’s the first thing you think of when you think of New England?
No, not Suzanne Pleshette, silly.
(Now, there’s one for you. Esoteric enough?)
You think of Matt Bonner, and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats t-shirt that’s along on the trip only hammers it home.
What’s up with Matt, you ask? Well, I’m told his application for a Canadian passport, which will allow him to play for Canada at the world basketball championships in August, is moving along at the expected pace but it’s not done yet.
No telling if it will be although Canada Basketball folks told me last week that they remain hopeful. But, as we know, sometimes our government agencies move at a pace that’s somewhat slower than the speed of light.
Again, though, I will caution you. Matt Bonner or no Matt Bonner, a realistic goal for Canada is to simply get out of its first round group at the worlds and build from there.
I’ve said all along, and will continue to say until the sojourn to Turkey is over, this tournament is all about gaining experience for the next six or eight years.
How good is a city when you can have a Sam Adams summer beer, walk out for some fresh air and see his grave?
And this is cool, very cool.
Tomorrow is Global Village Basketball day and you should click here to get all the details. And if you get a chance, you really should take part.
The premise is simple, play your regular game with your regular girls or guys, record the score and know that you’re somehow connected to players all over the world.
Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to feel connected to other players all over world, if only through the wonders of the interweb? Kind of interesting to know that the game can bring like-minded people from around the world together, isn’t it?
And I’ll see if I can get Doc and Phil to sign up this afternoon.
Yes, we will be here tonight just before 9 for the traditional in-game blog thingy. You should show up, it’s fun.
But I warn you, I’m going to have to have a game story ready for the paper and the web right at the buzzer so my attention may be divided.
(Remember those?) As I was sitting and sipping last night, I was trying to come up with the five best NBA Finals games I’ve seen in person. Now, I’m not nearly the veteran of it as many are but I’ve seen a few and figured this would be my top five.
Game 6, Chicago at Utah, 1998
Jordan’s last game (well, the last one that really mattered; his Willie Mays Goes Back To New York years shouldn’t count) and, yeah, he pushed off on Bryon Russell but what the heck, he’s Michael Freaking Jordan.
Game 7, Pistons at Spurs, 2005
There’ve only been 16 Game 7s ever, it was pretty cool to be at one. Memorable moment, that came out later: Last minutes, tight game, timeout just about over, Larry Brown to team as they break huddle: “I love you guys.”
Game 2, Magic at Lakers, 2009
Less than a second to go, game tied, Magic ball. Stan Van Gundy draws up an excellent play for an unexpected lob to Courtney Lee, who is open, gets his hands on the ball but can’t finish at the rim. Great play, great execution until the finish and Lakers go on to win in OT and go up 2-0 in the series.
The guy who threw the near-perfect pass?
Dude named Turkoglu.
Game 4, Celtics at Lakers, 2008
Greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. Celtics are down 24 in the second quarter and 20 in the third and rally to win. It gives them a 3-1 series lead and all that all of us can hope for is a Boston win in Game 5 to bring a merciful end to a series that was all but over.
But, noooooo. Lakers win Game 5 at home and the circus spends a couple of extra days on the road.
Game 6, Mavericks at Heat, 2006
Nothing to truly remember but, I tell ya, just to see the joy on Alonzo Mourning’s face when his long journey to a championship was complete still brings a tear to my eye.
(I keed, I keed; just wanted to see if you were still paying attention)
Oh yeah, for the dude who said I had to mention the Raptors every time?
Hey, how about that!
The national senior women’s team is going to play games on home soil, out in Vancouver against Chile and Sweden.
Yes, the men are out there, too, as we all knew but the chance to see the women is rare and should be taken advantage of.
Like the men, I think a successful world championships for the women will be getting out of the first round group (they’re with Australia, China and Belarus) but this is a group of young women worth watching closely.
It’s probably the best group Canada’s had in some years and, if it stays together and develops, very good things can happen.