A person with direct knowledge of the agreement says Luke Walton will become coach of the Sacramento Kings, just a day after parting ways with the Los Angeles Lakers following three losing seasons. The 39-year-old Walton was dismissed by the Lakers on Friday after Los Angeles went 37-45. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Walton’s next step hadn’t been finalized. A formal announcement is expected in the next couple of days.
Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned shorter games or a shorter season as ways the NBA could make its future product better for players and fans. Silver again talked Friday about the possibility of altering the 82-game schedule, either as a way to cut down on players sitting out games, or to introduce new types of competition. He said the addition of midseason or end-of-season tournaments could be one option, as could trimming the games from 48 minutes to 40.
Three people familiar with the situation say the Pelicans have reached an agreement to make former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin New Orleans’ new executive vice president of basketball operations. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made. Griffin will take over for former Pelicans general manger Dell Demps. He was fired a few weeks after All-Star Anthony Davis’ trade request in late January.
Thunder All-Star forward Paul George could miss Sunday’s playoff opener at Portland with right shoulder soreness. Coach Billy Donovan says George is considered day-to-day. George finished second in the league with 28 points per game this season, and he led the league with 2.2 steals per contest.
Luke Walton is out as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after three losing seasons. The former Lakers forward went 98-148 in his first permanent head coaching job. Walton was let go just three days after the Lakers ended their 37-45 season with the abrupt resignation of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey says star forward Blake Griffin is still day to day heading into the postseason. Detroit opens its series at top-seeded Milwaukee on Sunday night. Griffin, who has been dealing with a troublesome left knee, did not play in the regular-season finale Wednesday when Detroit wrapped up a playoff spot by winning at New York.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman says he’s planning a thorough, open-minded search to find the next coach. The Cavs are looking for their fifth coach since 2013 after parting with Larry Drew, who guided Cleveland through to 63-loss season after replacing Tyronn Lue in October. Altman says he’s committed to hiring “a cultural driver” to rebuild a team that has fallen from one of the NBA’s elite to out of the playoffs without LeBron James.
Here are some nuggets going into the NBA playoffs: Golden State is trying to reach its fifth straight NBA Finals, which would put the Warriors in a select club. Milwaukee’s penchant for blowouts is a good omen for the Bucks. James Harden has a shot at becoming the 10th player to score 3,000 points in a season. Kawhi Leonard is back in the playoffs, looking to recreate past magic. Stephen Curry is on the brink of a 3-point record. And the playoff teams are vying for a share of nearly $22 million.
The Golden State Warriors are set to begin their quest for a third straight title, and this time it’s up to someone else to try to stop them.
For the second straight season the Portland Trail Blazers earned the third seed in the West and home-court for the playoffs. This year, they’re hoping for a better outcome than last year when they were surprisingly swept in the opening round by New Orleans. It won’t be easy. The Trail Blazers take on Oklahoma City, a team that swept Portland in all four regular-season games this season.
The Denver Nuggets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13. They’re not just sneaking into the postseason party, either. They’re the No. 2 seed behind the Golden State Warriors and will open the playoffs this weekend against the seasoned San Antonio Spurs, who are making their 22nd consecutive playoff appearance.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for a new coach. The team is not bringing back Larry Drew for a second season after winning just 19 games this year. Drew took over when Tyronn Lue was fired Oct. 28 and led the team through an injury-riddled season. General manager Koby Altman said the sides agreed to part mutually. He now begins searching for the team’s fifth coach since 2013.
The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach J.B. Bickerstaff as part of a front-office shake-up in which general manager Chris Wallace was demoted to a scout. The Grizzlies announced the moves only hours after both Bickerstaff and Wallace spoke to reporters, with the GM saying the coach would stay after doing a “terrific job.” After a 12-5 start, Memphis plummeted and finished at 33-49, tied with New Orleans and Dallas.
Derrick White is coming off a breakout year at point guard for the San Antonio Spurs. His first postseason start comes Saturday in his native Colorado as the seventh-seeded Spurs take on the second-seeded Nuggets in Denver. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.2 steals and only one turnover as the Spurs split their four-game season series against the Nuggets.
The Sacramento Kings have fired coach Dave Joerger after three losing seasons. The team announced the decision one day after finishing its 13th straight losing season – the NBA’s longest active playoff drought. General manager Vlade Divac says the organization needs to “move in a different direction” to reach the playoffs. The dismissal comes hours after the Kings extended Divac’s contract through the 2022-23 season.
The Sacramento Kings have extended general manager Vlade Divac’s contract through the 2022-23 season. The team announced the decision one day after finishing its 13th straight losing season. Owner Vivek Ranadive called Divac vital to the rebuilding jobs. Divac became GM at the start of the 2015-16 season but has not been able to end the longest active playoff drought in the NBA at 13 seasons.
The Boston Celtics say guard Marcus Smart will be sidelined 4 to 6 weeks after being diagnosed with a partial tear to his left oblique abdominal muscle. The injury was revealed in an MRI scan. He sustained the injury during the third quarter of Boston’s home loss to Orlando. The timetable for Smart’s return means he will be sidelined for Boston’s first-round series and the second round, as well, should the Celtics advance.
The NBA sold out a record 760 games in 2018-19, including a Nets crowd that included LeBron James on the final night of the season. The league says the final attendance of 21,964,447 was its fourth highest. The sellout total surpassed the previous record of 741 sellouts last season.
The last spot in the NBA playoffs went to the Detroit Pistons. Their reward: A series against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The drama of the regular season went all the way to the very end of the regular season, with seven of the eight first-round playoff matchups not being clinched until the final night was in the books – the last three of them, out West, going down to literally the final moments.
Luke Kennard scored 27 points, Reggie Jackson had 21 and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 18 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons locked up the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with a 115-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
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