Sources: 'Strong' possibility Jackson would accept Lakers offer

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Sources: 'Strong' possibility Jackson would accept Lakers offer

There is a scenario in which former Lakers coach Phil Jackson would consider returning for a third stint with the team, sources said late Friday, but it will require executive VP Jim Buss once again relinquishing the organizational reins and this time handing them to Jackson, rather than back to GM Mitch Kupchak.One source described the possibility of Jackson returning, should a suitable offer be made, as strong.The Lakers are in need of a new head coach after firing Mike Brown Friday morning, the timing of which, if not the decision itself, completely blindsided Brown, a source said. The abruptness and timing of the decision five games into Browns first full season was credited by one source to Lakers legend and former part-owner Magic Johnson finally winning a turf war with the younger Buss and convincing Lakers patriarch, Jerry Buss, that Brown must go. Johnson, the source said, would like to see former Laker and current Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw succeed Brown.Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, has been repeatedly critical of Brown and last year announced that Brown would be fired if the Lakers failed to get past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, 4-1, but Kupchak dismissed any validity to Johnsons remarks.A source close to Johnson, meanwhile, said talk of him being involved in Browns ouster now was categorically untrue.Jackson, while romantically involved with Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, has long had a strained relationship with her brother Jim. When Jacksons last contract with the team expired following the 2010-11 season, Jim was granted authority over the teams basketball operations by his father, Jerry, and seemed committed to shifting away from the teams methodology under Jackson, including his Triangle offense.That offense almost assuredly would return if Jackson were granted authority andor Shaw, a long-time assistant coach of Jackson during his Lakers tenure, were hired. Sources say there is a scenario in which both Jackson and Shaw would be hired, with Shaw as the head coach mentored by Jackson.Jackson proposed a similar arrangement to the Portland Trail Blazers at one point last summer, sources say, with former assistant Kurt Rambis as his head-coach proteg and Jackson overseeing basketball operations, but the Blazers declined.Former Knicks coach Mike DAntoni, former Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy, who has coached both the Lakers and Clippers, are among the Lakers list of candidates, a source said. DAntoni just had knee replacement surgery last week and the recovery time has been projected as six weeks, but a source close to DAntoni said that an accelerated rehabilitation program could potentially cut that time in half.DAntoni, of course, would be reunited with point guard Steve Nash, who became a two-time league MVP with the Phoenix Suns in DAntonis up-tempo system and Nash, a source said, would welcome playing for him again.The challenge in returning to Jacksons Triangle offense is that it would not suit Nash nearly as well as DAntonis pick-and-roll heavy system and it often takes a full season for a team to master it. Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace and Devin Ebanks are the only hold-overs from the last time Jackson coached the team, and neither Blake nor Peace were particularly effective in it.

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.