NBA Exec Has Strong Words for Ex-Warriors Coach’s Big Prize

Mike Brown, right, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Getty Mike Brown, right, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Unlike many of the visitors to Las Vegas who arrive with hope and leave town with debt, Mike Brown departed summer league with a smile and more in his basketball wallet than many suspected was there prior.

And those who thought Brown wasn’t wise to exit his comfortable NBA assistant coaching job with Golden State to take over the top position with Sacramento are having to maybe think again.

The main reason for that on the UNLV courts was first-round draft pick Keegan Murray, who looked like a rotation-ready complement to the talent already on hand in the California capital. The 6-8 forward, taken at No. 4, averaged 23.3 points and shot 50 percent from the floor (40 percent on 3-pointers) while earning the league’s MVP award.

And if that 23.3 number seems familiar, Murray averaged 23.5 points for Iowa last season.

“I mean, the best player was (Paolo) Banchero,” one league personnel exec said of the No. 1 overall pick to Orlando. “I think there’s no surprise there. He’s just f***ing good. I mean, size, strength, ability to handle the ball, feel — the whole thing is there.

“But Keegan Murray was probably the second best. I don’t think people knew how well he could shoot the ball. He’s a tremendous shooter. That still has to translate to the real games, but I think he opened some people’s eyes. The Kings could be really interesting if Mike (Brown) can get those guys to realize what they can do. It’s been a long time since Sacramento was any good, and these guys obviously weren’t there for all of it, but sometimes it can be hard for a team to take that first big step.”

The Kings haven’t been in the playoffs since the Bush administration. But on the positive side, it was George W. Bush, not his dad.

Patience Is a Virtue for Nets

New sources, new perspective … same story.

While it’s certainly true that Brooklyn could receive satisfactory offers for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at any time — operators are standing by — and commence perhaps the most noteworthy reconstruction project in the borough, there remains a growing belief this could take a while.

“My sense is that that stuff’s not going to play out any time soon,” one front office person told Monday. “The reason I say that is history — looking back on some situations that were similar. Everyone thinks that because these are big names and big talents that there’s a rush to snatch them up. But it doesn’t work that way. We were talking about it in our office after we got back from Vegas, and other names got brought up.

“If you remember, Jimmy Butler made his trade request right around summer league, and he didn’t get traded until the middle of November. (James) Harden asked to be traded sometime after summer league in 2020, and he didn’t get traded (from Houston) to Brooklyn until the middle of January.”

Reports of Butler wanting out of Minnesota didn’t come out until September of 2018, but whether or not the request was formally made sooner, the Timberwolves knew the score when he turned down a max contract extension in July. The season had already begun when Butler was moved to Philadelphia, and less than a year later he was on his way to Miami.

Said another league source, “I really think Sean (Marks, the Nets’ GM) wants this over with, but it’d be really interesting if those two guys were on the roster and playing for them to start the season. Who knows what happens if Ben (Simmons) is healthy and playing well, and KD and Kyrie start to really like that situation? Stranger things have happened.”

He then laughed and added, “And a lot of the strange things that have happened in this league the last few years have happened right there.”


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