Links: News Round-Up

by Lang Whitaker

Hello darkness my old friend…that’s right, the dominant noise around the SLAM Dome today is the sound of silence. We’ve been neck deep in work the last seven consecutive weeks, editing and shipping SLAM 109, SLAM presents Streetball and then SLAM 110, back to back to back. Not fun. Well, I guess it is kind of fun, because it’s better than like doing construction work or digging a ditch or something. But after almost two months of chasing NBA players down via Sidekick and cell phone and then reading and writing all day long, we can all use a break.

We’re going to post the SLAM presents Streetball cover tomorrow and have an amazing article about the cover story from that issue. And then in a week or so we’ll debut SLAM 110, which has a really cool cover and concept. I did the cover story for 110 and spent some time with a couple of guys who gave me a very unique perspective on…well, you’ll have to wait and see. Coming soon, I promise.

In the meantime, guess what? We actually have NBA news happening again! Are you kidding me? Let’s get at it…

• A couple of weeks ago I wrote…

The more I watch Brian Hill coach, the more I think Orlando needs a new coach. Hill just seems so stodgy and stiff, and the Magic have a lot of young, athletic players.

It appears the Magic front office agreed. Brian Hill was “re-assigned” late yesterday, meaning they basically told him they don’t want him coaching the team any longer.

So who’s taking over? Well, Billy Donovan is being mentioned, although his latent interest in the gig might just be a way to get more money out of Florida and AD Jeremy Foley. (For what it’s worth, I don’t trust grown men named “Jeremy.”) Other than that, the usual suspects are having their names thrown around, from Marc Iavaroni to PJ Carlesimo. And then there’s…

• Stan Van Jeremy, anyone? He was allegedly offered the Pacers job but turned it down because he didn’t want to uproot his family, which lives in South Florida. Orlando’s not that far away, is it? And it would set up a nice little rivalry between the Magic and the Heat.

• And still nobody’s talking about Mark Jackson, which is surprising to me. He says he took himself out of the running for the Pacers job.

• The BETcats have a new coach: Sam Vincent. Really surprised to see someone who has a history with Michael Jordan get the job. Vincent’s introductory press conference will be simulcast tonight on “106 & Park.”

• Someone from the Blazers is already leaking info that they’d be interested in going after Mike Conley and Greg Oden, and that they’d be willing to trade Zach Randolph to Atlanta for the third pick. Er, they know Atlanta needs a point guard does not need a power forward, right? Meanwhile, the Portland media rolled up on Greg Oden at the airport, where he was in town to meet with Nike. GO says he was excited to see a mountain with snow on the top.

• We had a little bit of an argument here yesterday about the Sonics. I still think they’re going to leave Seattle, Durant or not, because from what I’ve read the city government seems completely unwilling to work with them. And then today we read that owner Clay Bennett is talking about moving to Kansas City, adding that thinks in Seattle seem really bleak.

• Here’s a surprise: Billy Knight has no idea what he wants to do with the third pick in the Draft.

• I suspected this and mentioned it here at the office yesterday, but here’s confirmation: There was no NBA game last night because the finale of “American Idol” was on. I’m also curious about what the NBA will do during the Finals, because the last few years they’ve played games on Sunday nights. This year Sunday night games would have to go head-to-head against the final two episodes of “The Sopranos.” Stern vs. Tony!

• I saw a headline about former American Idol-er Kellie Pickler dating an NHL player, and I thought it was really unfortunate that her last name is Pickler. Then I saw that she’s dating someone named Tootoo.

• And finally, catching up with Keon Clark, who was last seen riding around on a motor scooter.