Bouncin' Around: With This Schedule, Magic Won't Need Lewis To Start
There is a good reason the Orlando Magic don't seem too concerned over losing Rashard Lewis for the first 10 games of the regular season because of his suspension for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug Agreement.
They won't need him.
Of those 10 games, only two will be against teams with a record last season that was better than .500. Yes, it would have been great to have your best shooter in the lineup for that one ESPN game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they could beat New Jersey and Oklahoma City with Dwight Howard and four Summer League players.
Another interesting note in their schedule is that they are on national television 32 times in an 82-game regular season. Yet they were scheduled for national TV just once in those first 10, which makes you think the television decision makers were warned ahead of time that the suspension was coming last week.
The Magic obviously won't be as good with either Brandon Bass or Matt Barnes starting in place of Lewis, but they still should win at least seven of the first 10, leaving them near the top with the Celtics and Cavs, the only other serious contenders in the East.
Next Lakers Coach?
The fact that Kurt Rambis was willing to leave Los Angeles for Minnesota, to go from heaven to hell both on the court and off, tells you that Lakers owner Jerry Buss made it clear to him that he would not be succeeding Phil Jackson as Lakers coach.
Jackson, 63, likely is going into his final season, and Rambis was his top assistant and expected successor. There even was talk a month ago about Rambis coaching the team on the road because Jackson's health issues might restrict his travel.
If he had any indication he could get the job the following season, Rambis would have stayed as Jackson's assistant rather than go knock his head against the wall as the head coach in Minnesota, where he surely will get fired after two or three losing seasons.
With Rambis out of the picture and Kobe Bryant sure to push the issue, don't be surprised to hear the Mike Krzyzewski rumors soon start to swirl again. The Duke coach still would be perfect for the job.
Doesn't matter how many times he says he will retire at Duke, or how adamantly Krzyzewski denies any interest, the fact is that big money changes minds. And the Blue Devils haven't been in the NCAA Final Four in five years.
He turned down the Lakers job and a $40 million contract in 2004, but with the Olympic gold medal from 2008, his price tag could reach $50 million. There won't be anyone else out there who could make half the splash that Krzyzewski could.
Iverson unwanted in Philly?
The 76ers management has made it clear they have no interest in bringing back Allen Iverson, but there is a fan base there that still believes it would be a good idea. It's hard to disagree with those fans.
After all the thrills Iverson provided Philly for 10 years -- including a season where he took them almost single-handedly to the NBA Finals -- it's a little surprising the Sixers won't take him back. For all the disruptions he caused, he also taught teammates how to put their hearts into the game.
"We don't see him in our plans with the age of our kids,'' Sixers GM Ed Stefanski told reporters recently. "We're going to go with youth at the point guard position.''
Instead of Iverson, the Sixers will start the season with a group of guards that still can't hold a candle to him. It's just hard to get too excited about a guard rotation that will include Lou Williams, Willie Green, Royal Ivey and rookie Jrue Holiday.
Iverson must be chuckling.
Brian Hill in Detroit
The hiring of assistant coach Brian Hill in Detroit this week is a good example of just how tight the fraternity of coaches really is in the NBA. After being fired as the head coach in Orlando after the 2006-07 season, Hill worked as an assistant in New Jersey under Lawrence Frank and now will work in Detroit under head coach John Kuester. Frank once worked for Hill when he was head coach in Vancouver and Kuester worked for Hill when he was head coach in Orlando. Both guys, in their first year as head coaches, wanted Hill by their side for experience.