Jun 30, 2003 9:21 AM EDT
Alvin Gentry will join the Hornets' coaching staff today, becoming the fourth and final assistant under head coach Tim Floyd.
Gentry will be introduced at a 10 a.m. press conference at the Alario Center, sources said.
Gentry, 48, has been an NBA head coach for parts or all of seven seasons, compiling an overall record of 177-226 with the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers. His most recent stint was with the Clippers and ended March 3, when he was fired as the Clippers struggled to a 19-39 record amid expectations that the young, talented team might challenge for a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Gentry's first head coaching job was with the Heat, when he replaced Kevin Loughery during the 1994-95 season and posted a 15-21 record. Next was a three-year stretch with the Pistons; he replaced Doug Collins and led Detroit to a 16-21 record in 1997-98, went to the playoffs after a 29-21 record in the lockout-shortened season of 1998-99 and was fired after 58 games and a 28-30 record the next season.
The Clippers selected him as head coach before the 2000-01 season and won 31 and 39 games before floundering this past season. Gentry was replaced by Dennis Johnson.
Jun 30, 2003 7:45 AM EDT
He never should have framed this as a financial decision.
Fans don't respond well to such talk, particularly when a player has had the luxury of decisions concerning $60 million earned, pre-tax, for three years of relative athletic inactivity.
If Alonzo Mourning had said from the start that he wanted to pursue a championship before his career ends, and viewed other teams as better positioned than the Heat, the reasonable among us would have understood.
Truth is, Mourning, who becomes a free agent Tuesday, shouldn't return to Miami if a contender like the Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks or Kings calls.
He has long spoken about a title; understandably it's no longer everything, but it must still appeal in some way. He can't accomplish that in Denver or New York, which is why signing in some such place would rankle South Floridians.
Jun 30, 2003 7:40 AM EDT
He was supposed to be a top 10 lock, perhaps going as high as No. 5 to the Heat.
He was supposed to be the next coming of Dirk Nowitzki, and surely no general manager in his right mind would let that slip through his hands.
He was supposed to shake David Stern's hand on the stage at Madison Square Garden.
Instead, Polish forward Maciej Lampe wound up shaking Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik's hand Thursday night after the Knicks picked him with the first pick in the second round on the NBA draft.
Now, the player many believed the Heat would select is going to find it difficult just to play in the NBA next season.
Lampe, a 7-0 forward with unlimited shooting range, fell in the draft in part because teams were afraid it would be difficult for him to get out of his contract with Real Madrid, which runs through 2008.
Jun 29, 2003 8:16 AM EDT
Pressure is the lump in the throat caused by carrying an $18 million wad of somebody else's money in your pocket. Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe better not blow it. To fix the worst team in the NBA, he gets one chance and no excuses.
"We only get one swing at this," said Vandeweghe, given a rich allowance by franchise owner Stan Kroenke to splurge on free-agent players expected to turn the Nuggets from a league-wide joke to a serious contender. "A general manager gets to spend $18 million ineffectively only once in his career. So we've got to do it right."
So where do the Nuggets start? The answer might surprise you.
The No. 1 candidate on the list of Denver free agents should be a true NBA giant who owns an Olympic gold medal, has been honored as an all-star seven times and did not play a single second of basketball last season.
On the first minute of the first day of July, at the first instant Tuesday when Vandeweghe can woo free agents, the first place he needs to be is face-to-face with Alonzo Mourning, the 33-year-old center of the Miami Heat.
Jun 29, 2003 8:16 AM EDT
All? Or nothing?
Now? Or later?
When the NBA's free-agent negotiation period opens Tuesday, the Heat not only will have to decide which players to pursue, but also what approach to take.
If the Heat opts to take an "all-in" attitude, it can sweep about $7 million to the center of the table to a bid on a single player, perhaps Warriors point guard Gilbert Arenas or Clippers center Michael Olowokandi.
Such a gambit by Pat Riley would mean filling out a roster with minimal contracts, beyond those of center Brian Grant, forward Caron Butler, guards Eddie Jones and Anthony Carter, first-round pick Dwyane Wade and second-round pick Jerome Beasley.
If the Heat uses that tack, it would relinquish its right to utilize its $4.8 million mid-level salary-cap exception as well as its $1.5 million lower-level exception.
Based on where such a hell-bent approach previously has landed the franchise, with the bloated contracts of Grant and Jones standing as albatrosses the past few years, the Heat already has lived its own cautionary tale.
Jun 29, 2003 8:03 AM EDT
Free agent negotiations in the NBA begin Tuesday, and expect the Heat to be involved in several discussions.
But that might not necessarily translate into major deals for the Heat by July 16, the first day free agents can sign.
That's because the Heat, which likely will have in the neighborhood of $7 million to spend on free agents, is taking a cautious approach. Coach and president Pat Riley said he will not throw the team's money around just because it has some to spend.
After Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan and Jermaine O'Neal, the list of unrestricted free agents is not that impressive. Michael Olowokandi, Juwan Howard, Brad Miller, P.J. Brown and Karl Malone headline the list of free agents who will fall into the Heat's price range, but none is considered a franchise player worth a lucrative multi-year deal.
So it is possible the Heat will only sign players to one-year deals and wait until next year, when it could have more money to spend, to make a serious run at big-name free agents.
Riley, though, is not looking past this summer, when he will consider several possibilities, including sign-and-trade scenarios.
''We're going to approach it very aggressively,'' Riley said. ``Now, aggressively doesn't mean that I'm just going to go out and sign people to multiple-year contracts that might not reap the winning reward and strap us for the future. So we have to be aggressively cautious and go out looking at what our [salary cap] room can do for us and how it relates to our roster, looking at all kinds of sign-and-trade scenarios, which I think there will be a lot of, looking at whether we use our room or sign our free agents back and look to the exceptions.
``And if I can't do something that is really perfect for the team right now, then, yeah, we will [wait] and make sure that we have a lot of room in the future to be able to do those things.''
Jun 28, 2003 8:18 AM EDT
Former University of Tennessee basketball standout Ron Slay signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Heat yesterday, agent Shedrick Howard said.
Slay, a graduate of Pearl-Cohn High School, was not selected in the NBA draft on Thursday, but Howard said there were six teams that expressed interest in signing his client immediately following the draft. Yesterday, Howard said that number grew to 10.
''He's very excited,'' Howard said. ''He will report on Monday, and will continue working out and preparing.''
When asked if the contract contained any guaranteed money, Howard said it didn't ''at the present time.''
Miami chose Marquette shooting guard Dwyane Wade (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) with its first-round pick and selected power forward Jerome Beasley (6-10, 242) of North Dakota with its second-round pick.
Jun 28, 2003 8:12 AM EDT
Before coach Pat Riley proudly introduced guard Dwyane Wade, the player the Heat selected with the fifth pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, he planted a seed.
Only he called it "something phenomenal that happened in my life 20 years ago."
Then he shared his thoughts.
"When I was coaching the Lakers, we had an opportunity to draft a player by the name of Magic Johnson," Riley began. "And he teamed up with Michael Cooper and Byron Scott, and they were together for (seven) years as a back court, as a spirit, as a part of a team that absolutely achieved greatness."
Riley immediately added he wasn't comparing Wade, the former Marquette standout, to Magic Johnson.
But the (style) point was well taken.
For the time being, Riley wants the long-armed Wade at 6-foot-4, second-year forward Caron Butler at 6-7 and veteran guard Eddie Jones at 6-6 to be his Magic, Scott and Cooper.
Jun 27, 2003 9:12 AM EDT
Amid all the pre-draft bluster offered by the Heat (wasn't Polish forward Maciej Lampe supposed to be on the way?), coach Pat Riley apparently was speaking with sincerity when he mentioned getting bigger with his backcourt.
In that respect, perhaps the Heat did select a point guard, after all, with its No. 5 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft.
Although Dwyane Wade played his two seasons at Marquette as an undersized shooting guard, he played his best while guiding the offense.
"I feel more comfortable with the ball in my hands, making plays for my teammates and for myself," the 6-foot-4 guard said from Madison Square Garden. "I'm the kind of player that they say might be a little too unselfish.
"But I like to get my teammates involved."
Jun 26, 2003 9:42 AM EDT
With the top prospects sequestered in New York for tonight's draft, several offered insight at Wednesday's interview session into their interactions with the Heat.
Polish forward Maciej Lampe, for example, addressed the black eye that came out of his workout Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"I got that in Miami," he said. "I didn't even know the guy's name, but I had to quit in the middle of it, because they thought it might be fractured."
The 7-foot jump shooter was just poked in the eye, but the Heat erred on the side of caution, despite its being Lampe's lone visit to South Florida.
"I didn't really go through the whole workout there," he acknowledged.
Kansas point guard Kirk Hinrich said he left Monday's Miami workout uncertain of the impression he left behind.
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