FIVE QUICK HOOPS THOUGHTS
1. LEBRON JAMES (Heat): Totally agree with his stance to take a little family vacation and get away from the noise and reflect on what his next step should be in his career. Also allows Heat president Pat Riley to assess his roster and the prospects for improving his club. I'm sure the two will have another in-depth conversation when he returns to set the stage for the next 'Decision'. As we all know, too often we're so busy that we don't take enough time to truly size up where we're at in our lives and careers and get swept up in the busy nature of our daily existence. James has lots to think about. Five Finals appearances with the Cavs and Heat and two NBA titles. Not a bad run so far. The next step will be a huge one to say the least.
2. SAM MITCHELL (T'Wolves): Hired as an assistant coach by his longtime coach when he played there, Flip Saunders. Great move by Saunders. Love this hire for their team. Sam will have his back and do a terrific job for him. Sidney Lowe is another top notch hire for Saunders. Flip is a terrific coach, yet isn't the most domineering personality and needs strong assistants to "put out fires" on occasion. Mitchell and Lowe are excellent and both have head coaching experience, which really helps. Obviously, mixed emotions on my part - had a lot of fun working with Sam the past few years at TSN and in the years he was the Raptors head coach. Will miss him yet I'm thrilled for him - he's an outstanding coach and leader and I'm happy for his sake that he's back where he wants to be - on the sidelines.
3. KAWHI LEONARD (Spurs): MVP of the NBA Finals getting lots of attention in the past few days and deservedly so. He's got an outstanding future ahead of him and by all accounts is a big time worker who is very coachable. Those are wonderful traits to have. No surprise coming from a Spur. They do a really nice job sizing up guys and their character. He's in the right environment to grow considerably as a player in the years to come. Moments like these usually cause a player to take that next step and give them a true sense of what they can accomplish. Sometimes as a coach, you see it in them and they don't. I think he realizes now what he can/can't do and will develop further. I'd sure love to have his future.
4. LIONEL HOLLINS: Only the Cavs and Lakers still have head coaching openings and we'll see if he's lucky enough to get one of them. If not, there are rumours that folks would like him to serve as an assistant coach. I'm sure this is a tough time for him after doing such a great job in Memphis to still not be able to land a head coaching job. Very humbling business for such a proud man to deal with this. He'll get through it. I have no doubt that somewhere down the road a very smart GM will give him another chance that he both deserves and will thrive in.
5. NBA DRAFT and FREE AGENCY: I laugh so much this time of year with all of the lies and misinformation that both agents and teams put out there to steer folks in the wrong direction. I'd love for someone to track what ends up being fact and fiction in the next 15-17 days. I assure you most of what we hear and read ends up being planted nonsense and other times it's some media member's thoughts and opinions that end up taking on a life of its own and becoming fact until it ends up being pure speculation. Fun time of year.