Posted November 14, 2012

Court Vision: Lakers GM Kupchak gives his version of Jackson saga

Ben Golliver, Court Vision, Keyon Dooling, Kobe Bryant, Minnesota Timberwolves, Mitch Kupchak
mitch-kupchak-lakers

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak gave his side of the Phil Jackson saga on Tuesday. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

• Phil Jackson, his agent and former assistant coach Kurt Rambis have said that Jackson was led to believe that the Lakers were giving him more time to make up his mind about coming back to coach the team. They also were upset that the Lakers had called him in the middle of the night to inform him that Mike D’Antoni was getting the job instead. The Point Forward reacted to all of that here on Tuesday.

• On Tuesday, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak gives his side of this weekend’s insanity to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, saying that he made it clear to Jackson that the Lakers were going to pursue other candidates and that he thought it would be better to call Jackson in the middle of the night to inform him of D’Antoni’s hire rather than have him find out from other sources in the morning. Kupchak also said the Lakers didn’t believe they had extended a timeline to Jackson to let him make up his mind about whether he wanted to take the job or not.

After clarifying that Jackson would call him directly, Kupchak said he gave the Lakers’ Hall of Fame coach forewarning. “Phil, I have a job to do and I’m going to have to continue my search and interview candidates,” Kupchak recalled saying. “He nodded that he understood.”

“Our feeling was there was no agreement to wait for your response on Monday,” he said. “(Phil) told us that’s when he’d get back to us. I can see where he might interpret that as you guys will wait for me. But I thought when I said I had to go on and interview other candidates that it was clear we had a job to do.”

• Paul Flannery at SB Nation documents the trials and tribulations of former Celtics guard Keyon Dooling, who opened up to Katie Couric about being molested as a child.

• Someone brought a “Dwight Power” sign with Dwight Howard’s image on it to a counter-protest to a KKK rally.

• Kobe Bryant is ditching the long twos for lay-ups so far this season, helping his offensive efficiency, writes Beckley Mason.

HoopData reports that Bryant is attempting just 2.6 long 2-pointers per game, down from a staggering 7.7 just last season. Those gorgeous jumpers that go in about 40 percent of the time have been replaced by something mundane and utterly effective: layups.

Bryant is making 4.6 layups per game — twice as many as he made over the course of last season and second this season only to James Harden among guards. That 4.6 number would have led the league last season.

• Steve Aschburner of NBA.com feels very strongly that the Timberwolves should be referred to as the “Wolves” and not the “T-Wolves.”

When folks refer to the Portland NBA team in conversation in a shorthand manner, they say “Blazers,” right? Not “T-Blazers.”

Same thing when talk turns to that franchise Seattle used to have. They were the “Sonics,” not the “S-Sonics.”

So why in the name of Felton Spencer do people seem compelled to go all cutesy and clumsy – “T-Wolves” – when referring casually to the Minnesota Timberwolves?

It’s unnecessary. It sounds and reads vaguely patronizing and diminutive. It makes those who use it sound more like rubes than insiders. And it doesn’t even pass the brevity test, settling for two syllables where one would do.

• Don’t look now, but the Kings are meeting with officials in Virginia again. Tom Ziller at SacTown Royalty isn’t happy about it.

• The Knicks won again on Tuesday and Seth at Posting and Toasting is less stoked than you would expect and a little frustrated with Rasheed Wallace.

Rasheed Wallace was terrible. With Marcus Camby only playing four minutes (and doing nothing in those four minutes) and Kurt Thomas still stuck to the bench for some reason, Sheed was the one Woodson called upon when Tyson Chandler got into foul trouble. It didn’t pan out. He buckled against such fearsome post presences as Andrew Nicholson and routinely turned his back on penetrating guards. Wallace also insisted on stopping the ball to heave threes even when Steve Novak was on the floor and ended up 0-5 from behind the arc. They weren’t awful attempts, but I’d let Novak shoot a three double-teamed and drunk on fermented fruit punch before I’d let Wallace take an open one. Those shots will fall some nights, and it’s not like he was the only one failing to rotate on the interior, but those 14 minutes were pretty uniformly awful.

Jeff Goodman at CBSSports.com writes that Shabazz Muhammad, expected to be a top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, can’t get cleared to play at UCLA and is very unhappy with the NCAA.

The NCAA deemed UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad ineligible just hours prior to the Bruins season-opener on Friday night and now the family has released a statement regarding its displeasure and frustration with the organization:

“Shabazz’s family is very distressed by the NCAA’s recent decision and the manner in which it was announced. Shabazz and his family have been cooperating with the NCAA for well over a year. Earlier this year, the NCAA asked Shabazz and his family not to reveal to each other or to the press facts related to the NCAA investigation. Despite the many untrue rumors which were circulating on the Internet, Shabazz and his family dutifully did what they were told. In order to entice Shabazz’s family and others to cooperate, the NCAA repeatedly gave assurances that it would keep details of the investigation strictly confidential. As recently as November 2012, the NCAA promised that it would not issue a Press Release.

“Last Friday, the NCAA released a Press Release which not only was wrong in its conclusions but which also inaccurately portrayed the investigation process in this case.

• Grizzlies GM Kenny “Eggman” Williamson has passed away.

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