The Detroit Pistons Need A Coach & Lawrence Frank Is The Right Choice

~ The word at the rumor mill is that the Detroit Pistons are very close to naming Lawrence Frank as their next head coach. If this is indeed the case, the Pistons can then close the revolving door that has become their head coaching position. Frank would bring the one thing that has been missing from Detroit since their playoff-team days and that is stability.

Frank is coming off a successful one year stop in Boston as Doc Rivers lead assistant coach. I’ve followed Frank’s progression since his time in New Jersey as Byron Scott’s assistant and eventual successor as head coach when Scott was fired. Frank isn’t a high profile name, that isn’t what has secured him the respect of his coaching peers. What Frank brings to the table is a work ethic that would fit right in with the blue collar mentality of the city of Detroit. He is a defense-first coach who pays very close attention to detail.

 When the Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship, they were a scrappy team that played as a unit. They worked hard for everything they accomplished on the court. The Pistons were about defense, work ethic, and team chemistry. Joe Dumars has struggled since then as general manager to maintain the formula that helped Detroit be a dominate team in the Eastern Conference.

 The Pistons went from Larry Brown to Flip Sanders and then from Michael Curry to John Kuester in hopes of keeping their team in the winning direction. However the idenity of the team was lost and now that the team is in a rebuilding phase, it strongly needs a coach who can provide stability on the court and in the locker room. Frank can be that guy.

 The New Jersey Nets didn’t win big with Frank as their head coach. His consistent work ethic was well respected by his players and the fans. Frank didn’t inherit the Jason Kidd who led the Nets to back to back Finals appearances under Scott. Kidd was banged up and had one foot out the door by the time Frank took over the job.

 Frank pulled the most he could out of a Nets team that much like the Pistons after their championship season in 04′, struggled to maintain a consistent roster.

 Yes, the Nets did go 0-16 in Frank’s final stretch with the Nets. The Nets by then though were not really any good and were barely watchable on television. Frank was the fall guy for that record and it should actually be viewed as a favor by the team for letting him get away from that mess.

How many coaches would go from being fired from a team that opened a season with 16 straight losses to eventually a lead assistant coach spot on a big time team like the Celtics?  It only goes to show the respect that Frank has gained throughout the league. He deserves another coaching spot to prove himself.

 The Pistons are in need of a coach that help them take the next step back to respectability. They tried the new face route with Curry and then tried to give a chance to Kuester that almost imploded their team. Lawrence Frank is not going to lose the locker room.

 Detroit also will have a revamped roster heading into their next season. They have 5 free agents and it’s safe to assume that 4 of them most likely will be elsewhere. Dumars will have to decide what to do with the 5th free agent, Tayshawn Prince. Rip Hamilton is still a prime canidate to be moved. Hamilton and Prince are the last remaining pieces from that 04′ championship team along with Ben Wallace who is on the backend of his career.

 It’s a great deal of decisions that need to be made and the Pistons have to start with the head coach. They must avoid a repeat of what happened with Kuester. Hiring Lawrence Frank would be a step in the right direction.

NBA > NJ Nets Deron Williams Could Play Overseas If Lockout Continues

 ~ The NBA lockout of 2011 is full of sub-plots that could eventually steer the league towards a conclusion sooner or much later than the players, owners, and fans anticipate. Recently the option for the players to take their talents overseas during this lockout has come to the front of the line. Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is reportedly very close to a deal to play in Turkey if a settlement has not been reached in the NBA Lockout by this fall.

 The option to go overseas to play should now begin to be looked as a serious threat now for both the owners and the union of the players. The possibility of this move could put pressure on the owners to reach a deal sooner than they want to. The league is already apparently losing major amounts of money as it is.

 As for the players, this could also work against them as well. It’s kind of hard to justify a united front at the bargaining table when some of the players are picking to go play (and get paid) elsewhere until it’s alright for them to resume making their money here.

 Williams isn’t the only player strongly considering the move. Kobe Bryant has been reported to be considering a similar move to play overseas.

This wouldn’t be a permanent relocation. Williams would almost certainly have a clause in his reported 1 year $5 million dollar contract to have an opt out as soon as the lockout ends.

 The risk Williams or any other NBA player would take with them is the chance of getting injured. Williams has guranteed money coming his way from New Jersey that would not be protected if he is injured overseas. In the case of Williams, he is headed into a potential contract year due to him being able to opt out of his deal in the summer of 2012. He’s also coming off a wrist injury that shut down his 2011 season.

 The bottom line out of all of this is that the players are looking to make sure they have cash flow coming in this fall in case the season does not start on time. At the end of the day, money talks. This could be the beginning of a whole new topic that impacts just how quickly this lockout finds a resolution.

Nets Drop Out Of Carmelo Trade Talks

 

~ It’s back to the drawing board for the New Jersey Nets as they have reportedly scratched Carmelo Anthony off of the wish list. In a press conference, 1st year team owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he has decided to withdraw his Nets from the recent trade talks involving the Denver Nuggets superstar.

 “There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal. Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now, It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players … and I believe it has cost us several games.” … Mikhail Prokhorov, New Jersey Nets Owner

Okay, so here is the bottom line with this. The Nets basically sat down and reached the conclusion that after all the back & forth, all the players who were mentioned as trade bait (14 names), even with Jay-Z involved in the picture, it still wasn’t enough to overcome one glaring hurdle … Carmelo never confirmed to anyone he would want to play for them in the first place. In order for any of the trade possibilities to become a reality, Anthony would have to agree to signing a 3 year extension on his contract. The only teams that Anthony has reportedly expressed serious interest in are New York & Chicago. Don’t get me wrong here, the Nets did what they were supposed to do in this if you’re looking to build a winning team and winning enviroment. They went aggressively at one of the best players in the league and for awhile were willing to try and sell him on staying with them long term. Sometimes it just does not work out and it was getting more and more clear as the days turned into weeks and soon to be months, that Carmelo Anthony does not appear ready to make that kind of commitment to a team such as the New Jersey Nets.

Prokhorov showed me in that press conference why he’s a successful business man. Not a lot of people in his position as a team owner would have so aggresively went after someone who never really expressed interest in coming to play for them. Those same people in his position also would not have so aggressively withdrew from a potential deal such as the one for Anthony. Prokhorov knew the longer these talks were going to continue, the more of a strain it would have on his franchise. What they don’t get in Carmelo Anthony, they do get in more time to come up with a eqaul or even better solution in the long term. The Nets have a lot of room on the salary cap and five 1st round picks over the next 2 years. As poorly as they are playing right now, those draft picks are going to be high.

Where does this leave Carmelo Anthony now? My guess is either a surprise deal to Chicago or New York by the All Star Break or playing the season out and looking to come to the Knicks as a Free Agent. Only he really knows though and at least he now gets to concentrate a little bit on basketball. New Jersey fans should not feel too bad about this deal falling through though. They now have a owner who clearly is focused on looking to put a winning product on the court without being over aggresive and knows win to walk away from a bad deal. That’s something sports fans in the tri-state area are simply just not used to seeing around here with it’s basketball teams.

New Jersey Continue To Pursue Carmelo & This Time Maybe Billiups

 

~ The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes continues to be one of the storylines of the 2010-2011 NBA season. When Anthony left  a $65 milion dollar extension deal from his Denver Nuggets on the table last summer, it set the wheels in motion for a season full of trade rumors and possibilities. The latest rumor reportedly involves a three-team deal involving the Nuggets, the New Jersey Nets, and the Detroit Pistons.

According to a report from ESPN the 3 team deal proposed would be:

  • Anthony & Chauncey Billiups of Denver goes to New Jersey along with Rip Hamilton of Detroit.
  • Johan Petro & Troy Murphy (& his expiring contract) of New Jersey would go to Detroit.
  • Detroit would also surrender a 1st round pick in the deal.
  • New Jersey would send Rookie Derrick Favors, Former All Star Devin Harris & at least 2 1st round picks to Denver.

The deal as most like most proposed deals involving Anthony looks alright on paper, however it has a few kinks in it. Billiups has made it known through his agent that he does not want to play in New Jersey and would request a buyout of his contract. The other kink is a big one … the Pistons are up for sale and are currently working under restrictions as far as roster changes.  Then of course is the obvious kink, the deal (or any other deal proposed) does not work unless Anthony agrees to sign the $65 million extension for three years with the team he is traded too, which in this case would be New Jersey. Anthony has reportedly told Denver the only team he will sign an extension with if traded is the New York Knicks. Apparently, the Nets either didn’t get the memo or they know something nobody else knows. They really are the one team that can offer Denver the most in a deal and they do have a Billionaire owner with a lot of money he’s itching to invest. It also helps that Jay-Z is a minority owner and he would obviously play a large role in selling Anthony on the idea of playing in New Jersey and then long term in Brooklyn when the Nets make there move.

Until Anthony comes out and says exactly what he wants to do, the rumors will continue, the Nets will continue looking for a third team to fit into a trade for him, and the team that might benefit the most from this is the Knicks. New York is playing it’s best basketball in years and even though they’d love to have Anthony on it’s team, the panic button does not have to be pressed right now. The two biggest trade pieces the Knicks have are Wilson Chandler & Danilo Gallinari, both are playing well and New York isn’t exactly in a hurry to move them. Best case scenario right now is the Knicks continue to play well and Anthony becomes a free agent this summer. That’s of course unless Anthony knows something that we all don’t know.

%d bloggers like this: