NBA Notes: Nets hire Kidd as head coach

slideshow-061213-nets-kidd-uspresswire.jpg

NBA Notes: Nets hire Kidd as head coach

Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday turned 23 years old on Wednesday and was invited to the U.S. national team's minicamp next month in Las Vegas (see story).

Now let's look at some other news from around the NBA.

Nets: Kidd hired as head coach
The Brooklyn Nets have hired Jason Kidd as their coach, bringing the former star back to the franchise.

Kidd just retired after his 19th NBA season and the Nets decided to hire him despite his lack of coaching experience.

The move reunites Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002-03, when they played in New Jersey.

"Welcome home, Jason," owner Mikhail Prokhorov says Wednesday in a statement (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Spurs: Parker hopes to play in Game 4
SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is scheduled to have an MRI on a tight hamstring on Wednesday, leaving his availability for Game 4 of the NBA Finals very much up in the air.

Parker was injured early in the second half of Game 3 against Miami on Tuesday night. He tried to play through it, but left the game early in the fourth quarter with the Spurs pulling away to an eventual 113-77 victory.

Parker had just six points and eight assists in 27 minutes, and now Spurs fans will have to hold their breath to see if their star point guard will be ready for the next game on Thursday.

"Hopefully it's nothing big and it's just cramping or got tight on me," Parker said after his Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "I don't know. It was just a weird feeling" (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Heat: LeBron vows to be better
SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James slung his practice jersey over his head, letting the piece of mesh fabric sway down his back much in the way that a cape would.

Fitting. In Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, he might need a hero's effort to save the Miami Heat.

James and the Heat were still steaming Wednesday from their 113-77 loss in Game 3 of the finals to the San Antonio Spurs, who lead the series 2-1 and can move one win away from ending Miami's reign atop the league with a victory in Game 4.

James was 7 of 21 from the field in Game 3 and didn't even get to the foul line. He says, "I'll be better. I'll be much better," in Game 4 (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

The Sixers on Monday acquired controlling stake in Team Dignitas and Team Apex, two eSport companies.

The companies will be combining under the Team Dignitas banner. The Sixers become the first North American sports franchise to acquire an eSports team and intend to manage the day-to-day operations of Team Dignitas.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games," Sixers managing general partner Josh Harris said in a statement. "We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.”

Team Dignitas and Team Apex have created games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Smite.

5 lingering questions as Sixers training camp begins

5 lingering questions as Sixers training camp begins

Sixers training camp begins on Tuesday and there are plenty of questions as they enter a new chapter following a 10-win season and three tumultuous years of losing.

Here are five things to keep an eye on during camp as the Sixers prepare for the 2016-17 season.

How much will Joel Embiid play?
Embiid will begin the season under restrictions. What those parameters are remain to be determined. The Sixers will continue to proceed with caution for Embiid's NBA debut after two foot surgeries in as many years. It is unlikely he will play in back-to-backs to begin the season, and minutes will be allocated as the team assesses him during camp. The restrictions will create playing opportunities for other bigs in the meantime.

Who will start?
The Sixers have to set a starting five within an unbalanced roster. The team is loaded in the frontcourt and there are only so many positions to go around. Brett Brown said Jerryd Bayless would be the starting point guard if the season began today, and Gerald Henderson appears to be the lock at two-guard. Ben Simmons is the only certainty in the frontcourt, filling the four-spot. The Sixers will have to select a small forward and a center from the plethora of bigs. Expect the starting five to change throughout the season, especially as Embiid gets more games under his belt.

How will the team be different?
The improvement in the wins and losses column is a given. Now, the team is implementing changes off the court intended to have significant effects this season. They expect the new 125,000-square-foot training complex to provide a one-stop shop for all the players' daily needs. The facility was designed so players and staff could spend most of their time there and foster relationships with one another, focus on basketball and create an environment in which they know they can improve. There is also an emphasis on what Brown described as career-best fitness. The team is looking to play uptempo, and players will be pushed to amp up their health, strength and conditioning to compete within that system.

What will Simmons' role be?
Simmons has the unique versatility to be a point-forward. At 6-foot-10, he has the size of a frontcourt player as well as the ball handling skills and court vision of a point guard. There will be times when Simmons is tasked with running the floor. However, Brown has said point guard is the most challenging position and he does not want to throw Simmons into that right away. The Sixers bolstered their depth by adding Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez. Simmons will manage the floor at times, but it won't be his main responsibility.

How will the Noel situation play out?
There are too many bigs. That was the case last season with Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor and the issue still remains, only now Simmons, Embiid and Dario Saric are also in the mix. Noel expressed his uneasiness of the situation to the Philadelphia Inquirer (see story). There is a lingering logjam that has to be sorted out with a trade this season. Who is moved remains to be seen.

For more hot topics, check out the CSNPhilly.com Give and Go series.