A few nuggets for everyone on this Thursday afternoon.
We’ll start with more news on top lieutenant Lawrence Frank and his prospects for a new head coaching gig. Ken Berger of CBSSports is reporting that in addition to Houston, Golden State is taking a look at Frank for their top spot.
Mike Brown, who was fired after last season despite averaging 54 wins over five seasons in Cleveland, has yet to formally interview with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, sources said. Also in the mix to replace Keith Smart as Warriors coach are Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, and Hornets assistant Michael Malone, according to sources. The search is expected to gain momentum in the coming days.
Frank also is one of three finalists for the Rockets’ head coaching position, along with Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and former Timberwolves coach and GM Kevin McHale. All three are having second interviews this week, sources said, the Rockets officials are in the evaluation process. Two high-level coaching sources said Casey appears to be the favorite for the Houston job.
Appears to be a lot of competition out there for these spots. For Frank, I feel like this could be another Tom Thibodeau situation, where Boston gets to reap the benefits of a top assistant for an extra year, as the rest of the NBA overlooks them in favor of other candidates. And as much as I would want to wish Frank well in his future endeavors, he did a fantastic job this year with the D, given the resources he had to work with. Boston could desperately use him for one more year in their final push for a title.
* Speaking of coaches, Forbes Magazine’s annual look at the top-paid coaches is out, and with Phil Jackson out of the running, Doc Rivers is now the highest paid coach in the league according to the magazine. Rivers will pull in a cool 7 million dollars for the next 5 years. Only Bill Belichick tops Rivers out of all pro coaches, with an annual payday of 7.5 million.
Finally, the New Orleans Times Picayune caught up with Shaquille O’Neal’s mother of all people, who commented that Shaq might return next season:
“He went there to help them win a championship, and they didn’t do that this year,’’ Lucille said. “It bothered him so much that he could not play. He felt like he let the Boston team down and the community down, so I could believe he’s going back to Boston. He’s not in a place to be traded or anything like that.’’
Lucille added O’Neal hasn’t indicated to her what he plans to do.
“I don’t know because Shaquille has got such passion for the game,’’ Lucille said. “(Retirement) we’ve always told him that’s up to him. Whatever decision he makes, we’re still going to be behind him 100 percent.’’
Count me in the camp that things Shaq will be back for one last go-around. The team signed him to a two-year deal in the offseason (second year-player option) at the minimum. There are currently 10 slots to fill on the Celtic roster, (9 if Jermaine O’Neal returns) and the free agent market for mid-level centers is thin at best.
Would I count on Shaq being able to contribute much? Absolutely not. However, if the team holds him out until the second half of the year (a la P.J. Brown) they could potentially try to nurse him to the finish line, while taking advantage of his still more than serviceable offensive and rebounding resources. It’s a big if, but given the way he went out this year, you can count on Shaq giving it one more shot if his body allows it.