Category → Notes
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are talking about signing with the same team this summer, and Kevin Pelton ranked the teams most likely to land both. The Pistons ranked third (!):
The Pistons are the distant wild card in these proceedings. If Detroit waives Rodney Stuckey, whose contract is guaranteed for $4 million next season, and uses the amnesty provision on Charlie Villanueva, the Pistons would not have anyone making more than $5 million on the roster next season. They’d need to cut about $6 million in salary, which they could accomplish by packaging Brandon Knight with forward Jonas Jerebko (two years left on his deal at $4.5 million apiece) to a team under the cap or with a trade exception. Alternatively, Detroit could trade the No. 8 pick and convince Paul and Howard to take a couple hundred thousand less than the max apiece.
By doing so, Paul and Howard would join a Pistons team that still has quality young talent.Greg Monroe could work next to Howard If he develops a midrange game, and Detroit would have promising second-year center Andre Drummond as either part of the world’s most talented center rotation or trade bait to improve the wings. Nonetheless, it’s hard to see Detroit, hardly a destination for NBA players, forming the next superteam. Their sights are set much lower in free agency.
It will never happen, but wow, how awesome would that me? I don’t want to bother explaining all the reasons this would be nearly impossible. I just want to enjoy the thought.
I’m off to imagine this team winning the championship next year. Have a great weekend, everyone.
36-year-old Marvin Cheeks, an older brother of the former Sixers star, was shot to death in Chicago Saturday night, the victim of an apparent robbery.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Marvin Cheeks had been at a bar and was supposed to have been en route to his girlfriend’s home. He was found 12 miles away from his destination, in the Hyde Park neighborhood, having been shot in the head and neck. He was outside his car, an Isuzu Amigo, that had been set on fire. The family told the Tribune that the Isuzu had been stolen twice.
The police apparently became aware of the situation when somebody noticed the burning vehicle and called to report it.
"His truck was burned up beyond recognition," said his father, Moses Cheeks. Moses Cheeks has offered a reward of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party or parties.
Maurice Cheeks, contacted last night by the Daily News, did not want to discuss the situation. Earlier, he told the Tribune that "We were very close.
Families that grow up in the projects tend to be very close."
Maurice Cheeks stayed in his room at the team`s downtown hotel all day before the Bulls played the Atlanta Hawks this week in Chicago. That`s not unusual for most NBA players. But it is for Cheeks, a Du Sable High School graduate and Chicago native, when he`s back home.
“I have a difficult time staying (at his family`s home) these days,“
Cheeks said. “Whenever we came to Chicago, I always stayed there. But (now) I go into his room and his things are there, and it`s difficult seeing a lot of those things.“
Difficult for the battle-hardened veteran of 14 NBA seasons because those things are the possessions of Cheeks` late brother, Marvin, a Chicago firefighter who was murdered in a robbery last fall.
Cheeks had just been traded from the Knicks to the Hawks. Marvin Cheeks and his girlfriend had just spent a few days with Cheeks at his Philadelphia home. In fact, it was Marvin who had called to inform his brother of the trade.
“He saw it on TV and called me,“ Cheeks recalled in an even, almost emotionless voice, his eyes usually cast down. “I`d just talked to him, and a day later he was gone. It changed my whole outlook on life.“
A SOUTH Side Chicago man was convicted Monday of abducting an off-duty Chicago firefighter, robbing him and killing him before setting fire to the firefighter’s car on the West Side. Darryl Clemons, 20, of 4734 S. Woodlawn Ave., was convicted by a jury in the courtroom of Cook County Circuit Judge Shelvin Singer in the fatal shooting of Marvin Cheeks, 36, a Navy veteran who had been a firefighter for 11 years. Cheeks was the brother of basketball player Maurice Cheeks, who played last season with the New Jersey Nets. Last month, James Munson, 20, was convicted and found eligible for the death penalty in Cheeks’ murder.
How tragic. I can only imagine what Cheeks went through, and I’m sure his brother’s death affects him to this day.
I have no context, and I doubt any would matter anyway:
It was all planned out to, nothing serious just a joke!
I love that. Drummond is so caring, he’s worried people would think it would reflect poorly on Chris Brown.
Maurice Cheeks, a former 76ers All-Star player, should appeal to the Pistons players who want a coach who is a competitor, open and honest. By all accounts, Cheeks is very likable as a person because he possesses all those traits and that should make playing for him enjoyable.
But this seems to have extended to a belief that all his players have respected him and played hard for him at all times. This is simply not the case.
Wells also “verbally abused” Cheeks twice during games before 2003, once earning a third-quarter benching and once receiving no punishment.
Bonzi Wells was suspended for one game in March 2003 for cussing at Cheeks during a practice.
The Portland Trail Blazers suspended guard Bonzi Wells for two games without pay and stripped him of his title as co-captain Tuesday after he cursed at coach Maurice Cheeks during a game the night before.
"It just gets old. I’m sick of it," Cheeks said at the Blazers’ Tualatin practice facility. "I’m sick of always saying he didn’t mean it and all that. Players have to be accountable for what they do and what they say."
Wells swore at Cheeks on his way back to the bench and stood on the sideline and continued a profanity-laced tirade. Wells sat out the final 16:17 of the game, and the Blazers quickly lost the lead. The Mavericks went on to win 105-98.
Cheeks, who signed a one-year contract extension last week, was still visibly angry Tuesday over the incident, just the latest for the embattled team.
"Disrespect is disrespect," he said.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Cheeks is contemplating resigning as a result of the incident. Cheeks has been frustrated all season by Miles’ frequent tardiness and other behavioral problems, Smith reported.
"He blew up in the film session," said Cheeks, who characterized Miles’ comments as inappropriate.
According to The (Portland) Oregonian newspaper, Miles repeatedly called Cheeks a racial epithet.
Allen Iverson said today that he probably wouldn’t have been traded to the Denver Nuggets if Philadelphia 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks had managed personnel better and listened to his input. Iverson said he received no response after telling Cheeks that Andre Iguodala wasn’t a good fit at point guard. He said he wanted Philadelphia to trade him after he realized “what I was saying didn’t matter to the organization and to the coaching staff.”
Asked if he could have prevented his relationship with Cheeks from souring, Iverson said, “Maybe if I didn’t complain about losing. Maybe if I would have continued to feel like it was OK to lose basketball games. Maybe if I didn’t have any pride. Maybe if I didn’t have any competitiveness in me. Maybe if I didn’t have any heart, I wouldn’t have said anything about it. “You lose 12 out of 14, 18 out of 20 basketball games, something needs to be done. Something needs to be said. You’ve got to look at something else besides Allen Iverson.”
On top of all this, the players are tuning out the coach’s advice. Next time you’re at a game, watch the huddle closely during a time-out: More often than not, the Sixers are glancing at the Jumbotron and leaning back in their chairs instead of focusing on their coach and his clipboard. It’s not that the guys don’t like Cheeks — they do — it’s that he’s become a fun uncle to them, someone they like but don’t see as a source of wisdom. The team continues to play hard, but effort only means so much when your opponent knows their plays and you don’t.
Update: Matt Barnes also had issues with Cheeks (beginning at 4:09):
Bonzi Wells, Darius Miles and Allen Iverson can be difficult on a head coach. But so can Iverson, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, and that didn’t stop Michael Curry, John Kuester and Lawrence Frank from being criticized for the disharmony that came with dealing with those Pistons.
Some of the details of players’ incidents with Cheeks – Wells repeatedly abusing him before being punished, considering re-signing because of Miles’ poor professionalism – also seem troubling. That doesn’t strike me as a coach who was capable of nipping these types of issues in the bud, but hopefully it won’t come to that.
Cheeks very well could connect with this group of Pistons and never have any personal problems with them, but to assume he will is to ignore history.
Maurice Cheeks has gout, and he did an interview to explain the conditions he faces and give people an opportunity to better understand the disorder. Matt Schneiderman of Everyday Health (hat tip: Bill Shea of Crain’s Detroit Business):
He was suffering from an acute attack of gout, a type of arthritis. Gout is caused by an accumulation of sodium urate crystals in the joints that occurs when there is an abnormally high level of uric acid in the body. Long associated with status and wealth — the condition used to be called “the disease of kings” — gout is actually the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men over 40. Though it typically affects the large joint of the big toe, gout can also strike the instep, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows, resulting in sudden and sharp pain, tenderness, redness, stiffness, and swelling. The pain can be excruciating: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most painful, most gout patients rate an attack as at least a 9 — on a par with childbirth or a long bone fracture. Often linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, gout can be managed with diet and lifestyle adjustments and controlled with medications. Monitoring and treatment diminish the chances of painful attacks and long-term joint damage.
EverydayHealth: And you experienced more attacks?
Maurice Cheeks: When I left Portland for Philadelphia I had another bout, but it wasn’t as severe as the first. But earlier this year, I had another attack. The swelling was so severe that I couldn’t get my shoe on, so I was coaching from the sidelines wearing just one shoe. I put on quite a show, coaching the next five games without a shoe on!
EverydayHealth: What did you tell your players who asked you about it?
Maurice Cheeks: The players thought I got hurt playing, and I had no time to explain gout to them. They didn’t know the severity of my condition because I had never told them about it.
EverydayHealth: Did you face any misperceptions coming from them or from reporters?
Maurice Cheeks: I was asked about it a lot. There’s a humorous aspect to gout, and there was an assumption that I had brought it on myself. A lot of people laughed, seeing me on the sidelines without my shoe on. But it’s not a laughing matter. It’s a very serious problem with long-term effects. And it is very, very painful. I cannot adequately express the pain.
Good for Cheeks for sharing his story, no doubt informative and inspiring to those who are dealing with similar issues.
Allen Iverson and Chris Webber had been playing through injuries as Cheeks’ 76ers chased a playoff berth late in the 2005-06 season, but Philadelphia was eliminated before its penultimate game.
Picking up at Cheeks’ pregame news conference for that game, Associated Press:
Maurice Cheeks had just finished calling Allen Iverson the ultimate gamer, somene who always played hard and always gave his full effort for his teammates and fans.
That was before the Sixers coach was informed by a reporter about 55 minutes before Tuesday night’s tipoff against New Jersey that Philadelphia’s franchise player was not yet at the arena, and neither was Chris Webber.
So Cheeks left for the locker room, saw for himself the jerseys hanging in the locker, and returned to tell reporters the two were “not going to play tonight,” against New Jersey.
Cheeks didn’t bring up the subject with reporters until a TV reporter asked him, roughly an hour before game time, if he was aware that neither was in the building.
“You are expecting them to play tonight? You didn’t give them the night off or anything like that?” Cheeks was asked.
“I didn’t give them the night off, no,” answered Cheeks, who then left his office for almost two minutes to check into the situation.
“No, Allen and Chris are not going to play tonight,” Cheeks said upon his return, explaining their medical situation.
Asked if he made that decision because they weren’t there, Cheeks said “You know what? In practice today I didn’t know whether or not they were gonna play, and I assumed that they were gonna play, so I just made the decision they weren’t going to play.”
[76ers president Billy] King said he knew at Tuesday morning’s shootaround that Iverson and Webber would be given the home finale off because of injuries. But King did expect the duo to be at the game. Iverson was to miss the game with an ankle injury, and Webber had a sore back.
“I’d like them to be here, hell yeah,” an agitated King said on the court about 45 minutes before tip. “They’re not and I’m going to take care of it.”
With reporters staked out awaiting the duo’s arrival, King walked by the horde minutes before tip and let loose with a profanity-laced rant when pressed again about their absence.
coach Maurice Cheeks looked like a fool.
Then again, that was hard to do since neither King nor Cheeks ever talked to their stars to get an answer. Neither player spoke to the media.
“It makes me look like I’m not in control, which I am, but it makes me look like that,” Cheeks said. “I feel bad, not only for myself, but for our organization. It will be addressed and it will not happen again.”
Cheeks said he’d probably been “lax” this season in enforcing the time players needed to show up and that would be “cleaned up” next season. He also apologized to the fans.
“It’s unacceptable that they got here a little late,” Cheeks said.
Cheeks never said Iverson or Webber was not going to play for the 20 minutes he talked to reporters before he was told they had not arrived at the Wachovia Center. He looked dejected when he returned and slumped in his seat, looking much like he did 11 days ago when he remained at the postgame press conference podium, ice bottle on his head, with the lights turned out.
When asked if he was disappointed in the duo, Cheeks said, “I’m done, man.”
The way Celeste Whittaker tells it, first Cheeks didn’t know they weren’t there. Then he didn’t know how he was supposed to handle it. Then he pretended that it was his idea they wouldn’t play.
What a mess.
Even more troubling Tuesday was that the 76ers, coached by Maurice Cheeks, a Brown protégé, were running the same plays that Brown had been teaching the Knicks for two weeks.
"We even call it the same thing," Brown said. "And we practice against it, we talk about how to defend it. And then I watched last night, we didn’t defend any of that stuff. Maybe we’re not executing it ourselves, so that when we play against it, we’re not prepared to stop it."
Granted, this was a preseason game, and it’s possible Maurice Cheeks wasn’t using his full playbook. But this preceded his first season in Philadelphia, so if that were the case, I’d wonder why he wasn’t more aggressively teaching his schemes to his new team.
Cheeks has a reputation as a mediocre-at-best Xs-and-Os coach, and examples like these contribute to it. The Thunder while Cheeks worked for Scott Brooks didn’t excel in that area, either, but it’s unclear what role Cheeks played there.
Is this reputation fair? Tough to say from a distance. The 76ers in the season of this example posted their best offensive rating under Cheeks, but they still ranked just 13th.
Well, I’ve covered the NBA since the days when Jack Ramsay was roaming the Blazer sidelines in paisley pants. And I don’t think since that time I’ve seen a coach as poorly informed, as casual about his duties and as lazy as Cheeks. NBA head coach? He should have been charged with identity theft. This is a guy who… :
- … sometimes within an hour of game time couldn’t tell you the starting lineup of the team he’d be facing on a given night.
- … after a game one night famously (I used to play the tape of this on my radio show) needed prompting to understand how standings worked — you know that complicated thing where if two teams have the same number of wins but one team has fewer losses? Yeah, there was a problem with that.
- … didn’t listen to assistant coaches who knew way more about the game than he did.
- … spent a large portion of the game yukking it up with fans behind the bench rather than paying attention to the game.
- … got outcoached on a nightly basis, especially at the defensive end.
Brian will NOT be back
John Loyer, a Pistons assistant under Lawrence Frank, worked for Maurice Cheeks in both Portland and Philadelphia. I suppose Loyer will help the team transition to the new staff. His specialty under Frank was offense, and he also worked with wings and stretch fours.
Brian Hill was a holdover from the John Kuester staff, and under Frank, he specialized in defense. Hill also had a disastrous stint as acting head coach last season when Frank returned to New Jersey to attend to his sick wife, though few assistants could succeed in that position.
As far as the potential new blood, Aaron McKie is a Philadelphia institution who played high school, college (Temple) and professional basketball there. He began as a 76ers assistant coach under Cheeks and remained on staff under Tony DiLeo, Eddie Jordan and Doug Collins. Philadelphia has a new general manager hired from Houston, so McKie might have lost his lifetime pass to work for the 76ers. Locally, his name was at least mentioned by reporters speculating on head-coaching candidates, and his professionalism and on-court smarts as a player always seemed high. Though his positives seem to overlap with Cheeks’ and therefore might provide diminishing returns, McKie has the profile of a good assistant coach. It doesn’t matter to me here, but he also played for the Pistons.
The Detroit Pistons have scheduled an 11 a.m. Thursday press conference to introduce Maurice Cheeks as their head coach.
The event will be streamed live from The Palace of Auburn Hills on Pistons.com
I definitely look forward to watching.