NBA Notes: Nets hire Kidd as head coach


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

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

CAMDEN, N.J. — The irony of Nik Stauskas’ reputation as a three-point shooter is that he doesn’t view himself that way.

Stauskas was drafted eighth overall by the Kings in 2014 after shooting 44.1 percent from three over two years at Michigan. But that’s not how he envisioned himself being in the pros.

“It’s crazy,” Stauskas said after practice Thursday. “I know I was a great shooter coming out of Michigan, but I don’t consider myself a shooter. I consider myself a gamer. I don’t think I’m an effective NBA player when I just stand and spot up and shoot threes. That’s really not my game.”

Stauskas has struggled to find offensive consistency in the NBA. The third-year two-guard averaged 32.4 percent from long range in his first two seasons. He wasn’t reliable as a knockdown shooter and bounced in and out of the starting lineup last season.

Rather than being a finesse player, Brett Brown encouraged Stauskas to get aggressive. Brown wanted to a see an edge from Stauskas and not hold back at the basket.

Stauskas displayed that side to his game on opening night against the Thunder. In 23 minutes off the bench, he scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. His only miss came on a three-point attempt. His 83.3 shooting percentage was a single-game career high.

“He was cocky,” Brown said. “He was in attack mode. He was not afraid to put it to the floor and get to the rim. I feel like he’s got a real chance to have a breakout year. We need him to have a breakout year.”

The Sixers picked up the options on Stauskas, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on Thursday.

“I think the statement the club made on his contract lets him probably have a little bit more comfort on what we think of him,” Brown said. “I was really happy with his swagger last night.”

Stauskas is figuring out his role on the Sixers this season. It is one that can change often given injuries. A key to being successful, whether he is on the perimeter or at the rim, is feeling confident and in a rhythm on the floor.

“I had fun out there,” Stauskas said. “More than anything, I think yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve really enjoyed myself out there and had a smile on my face.”

Sixers players 'thrown off' by anthem ordeal, figuring out how to respond

Sixers players 'thrown off' by anthem ordeal, figuring out how to respond

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers held a team meeting on Thursday to address the situation surrounding the national anthem performance on opening night. 

Sevyn Streeter was slated to sing the anthem Wednesday. She said she was replaced that night for wearing a shirt that said "We Matter.” On Thursday, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo brought in a representative from the organization to meet with the team for around 40 minutes. 

“I think right now everybody’s learning what’s gone on, trying to gather information,” Brett Brown, who heard of the news Thursday morning, said. “Clearly our players are concerned and we hear them. We’re with them. I’m with them. I think how it’s handled going forward, how we share an inclusive sort of decision on how we deal with this moving forward will be discussed later. But right now it has been brought to the players’ attention and my attention.”

CBS3 reported Thursday that Streeter had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance.

Brown was asked by a reporter if he would like amends to be made to Streeter.

“I think all that is on the table,” Brown said. “I think how we handle it as a group is going to be thoroughly discussed. We understand the situation and we respect the social issue involved. We completely get it. As a group, we will try to find a way to deal with this.”

The team is considering numerous options, Nik Stauskas said. He recounted there was a sense of disappointment among the players that Streeter was not able to sing. 

“I think the team, not only do we want to speak up on the matter that happened yesterday, but I feel like we’re now starting to push, like it’s not just about saying something, it’s about making a difference,” he said. “It’s about going out there and doing something. So we don’t really know what we’re going to do yet, but I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another.”

Robert Covington said many of the players were “kind of thrown off” when finding out what transpired. 

“Collectively, we talked about it, everybody expressed their emotions about it,” Covington said. “We know that we want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things. That’s one thing that, as a team, we’re very aware of now that the whole incident’s happened. It’s not something we’re going to look over. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Sixers have not set a timeline of when they will decide on a next step. Their next game is Saturday afternoon at home against the Hawks.