From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: During his introductory presser, Mike Brown acknowledged European coach Ettore Messina — who most recently coached for Real Madrid and won Euroleague titles with Virtus Bologna and CSKA Moscow — would be among those considered for his coaching staff. Well, according to ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher, Messina has been tabbed to join next season’s staff, though while he’ll be listed as an assistant coach, Messina’s job will be more of a consultant. Whether his duties are similar to Tex Winter’s former role with the Lakers or the responsibilities are more expansive remains to be seen. Also, nothing is official yet, thus a Laker spokesperson when asked didn’t confirm the report. Either way, Lakers Nation has its collective eye on Messina, so I reached out to Os Davis from BallinEurope.com (TrueHoop network), who was kind enough to answer some questions. As luck would have it, Davis is equally familiar with the current incarnation of the Lakers as he is Messina’s career overseas, making his perspective that much more valuable. Here’s what Davis had to say about Messina.
From John Krolic, Basketball Talk: According to the ultra-reliable Marc Stein of ESPN.com, former Cleveland assistant coach and current New Orleans assistant coach Mike Malone was scheduled to meet with new Lakers head coach Mike Brown today. According to Stein, Brown also wants the recently fired Jon Kuester to join his staff as an assistant coach. When the Cavaliers won 66 games in the 2008-09 season, Brown was the head coach, Kuester was the “offensive coordinator,” and Malone was known as the “defensive coordinator,” although Brown already had a reputation as a defensive wizard himself. The Cavalier offense improved by leaps and bounds in 08-09, and while that probably had more to do with new personnel around LeBron James than it did with Kuester’s offensive genius, the Cavaliers’ newfound offensive success was enough to get Kuester a head coaching job with the Detroit Pistons, which turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
From Dave Murphy, Searching for Slava: The post-season isn’t yet over but to some it feels like an orphanage. Please sir, we want some more. Laker fans and media have been mixed on the rash of moves since Phil hobbled away. The rumbles begin and swell from the epicenter. Jim Buss wants to run the asylum, he wants to do his father proud. Welcome to the show – it will grow and feed and it will consume you. Give us the information. Is it so much about hiring Mike Brown? Not really. Not unless he shows some sign of system failure, unless he blinks. Then we will swarm. We are Jack and Piggy, we are wildebeests and pac-men, fueled by an uncertain disconnect. It is their post-season now, not ours. It can hit you, it can hurt you. It might have been 15 years ago, I don’t quite recall. I was in a jury selection room, somewhere on the no-man’s stretch of Hollywood Blvd in the heat of summer. Doing my civic duty. Prospective jurors were brought forth. What is your name, your occupation, do you worship heathen gods? An old man took his place in the box. Gray hair, good posture, dead eyes. They asked his profession and he stared straight ahead and answered flatly, “I’m a dancer”. He was excused immediately.
From David Aldridge, NBA.com: The Big Man opened up his home last week for one last get-together, in the city he never really left — though, of course, he famously did. Shaquille O’Neal officially retired on Friday, making the announcement from his suburban Orlando home, offering explanations, reflections and some contrition for all that transpired in his 19 NBA seasons, when he may have been the most popular player in the game, confidant to (most) teammates and a force that hadn’t been seen in the game since the early days of Wilt Chamberlain. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was strong, but he was silent; Shaq was loud and boistrous and profane more than a little, sucking people into his celebrity like wind currents through a jet engine. Yes, it’s The Finals, and the hope is not to take away from the battle between the Heat and Mavs, which has been terrific so far. And you wonder if the timing of Shaq’s retirement announcement last week on Twitter wasn’t a coincidence, as the big man calls attention to himself one last time during The Finals that he once dominated. But even if that’s so, it’s worth it to take a few minutes to recognize the NBA life and times of the man who was a crucial conduit between the age of Michael Jordan and the age of LeBron James.
From NBA.com: Mark Jackson’s leadership skills as a player more than outweighed his lack of coaching experience when it came time for the Golden State Warriors to hire their coach. The Warriors hired Jackson to replace Keith Smart on Monday, giving the former point guard and television analyst his first chance to be a head coach on the game’s biggest stage. TNT analyst David Aldridge confirmed that the deal is for three years, with a fourth-year team option. According to Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the deal, Jackson’s total deal will be for $6 million. “He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons and we think that characteristic — and many other positive traits — will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team,” owner Joe Lacob said in a statement. “He was a leader and a winner both on and off the floor in this league and we’re convinced that he is the right person to guide this team into the future and help us achieve the success that we are striving for as an organization.”
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa have formed a new foundation to help youth and families in need. The non-profit organization will focus on first on fighting homelessness in the Los Angeles area, and Kobe will hold a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the foundation and its first initiative. (I’m guessing there might be a few questions about Mike Brown there, too.) The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation plans to raise awareness and funds to support existing homeless organizations, create permanent house and provide resources for education and career development.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Follow Ron Artest with a video camera anytime and something funny is bound to happen. So it wasn’t a matter of if, but when he would get a reality television show. There had been a few false starts, such as during the 2009-2010 season and last summer, but Artest confirmed Monday via Twitter that he’ll be the star of an upcoming show. “Check out my new reality helping ex cons and paroles rehabilitate and get a second shot at life,” Artest tweeted. In other words, this isn’t going to exactly be a sequel to “Khloe & Lamar,” which featured such substantive subjects as Odom arguing with his better half over being overprotective or Khloe battling self-esteem issues. Instead, Artest’s upcoming show seems to be an extension of his mental-health advocacy, which earned him the 2010-2011 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. It wouldn’t be a stretch to believe Plaxico Burress might make an appearance. Anything can happen in Ron’s World.