76ers

Sixers coaching candidate: Larry Drew

slideshow-051113-sixers-drew-uspresswire.jpg

Sixers coaching candidate: Larry Drew

Larry Drew

College: Missouri

Playing career: Kansas City/Sacramento, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers (1980-1991)

Coaching career: Assistant with Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit, Washington, New Jersey and Atlanta. Current head coach with Atlanta.

Résumé: Under new general manager Danny Ferry, the Hawks went through a house cleaning last summer. Some expect that Drew, who guided the Hawks to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach, will be part of the second phase of the house cleaning.

Potential fit with Sixers

John Finger: Drew is still the coach of the Hawks … for now. However, there was a report that he would be interested in coaching the Sixers if asked. The Sixers could do worse than Drew, who led the Hawks to the playoffs in each of his three years as head coach.

John Gonzalez: Drew is a guy who values good shot selection, and when he doesn’t see it, he makes his displeasure known. So, yeah, not sure he’d fit with the Sixers -- a team full of dreadful decision makers who are known to be overly sensitive when criticized. I’m all for telling it like it is, but I’m not sure these players feel the same way.

Dei Lynam: Drew is under contract until July 1 with the Hawks. Will they extend him? It seems unlikely but Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has not released him, either. It would appear Ferry, who when hired last summer by the Hawks inherited Drew, is seeking a splashier name. If Drew is allowed to speak with the Sixers (Atlanta would have to give permission) the Sixers should seriously consider his abilities. Through injuries and a roster that many see flawed, Drew guided the Hawks to the playoffs, his third such accomplishment in three seasons as the head coach. He played 10 years in the NBA and served as an assistant coach from 1992 until 2010, when the Hawks hired him to be Mike Woodson’s successor.

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

usa-earl-watson-suns-fired.jpg
USA Today Images

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have fired coach Earl Watson just three games in to the NBA season.

The Suns announced the firing Sunday night after hours of meetings at the team's headquarters.

Assistant coach Jay Triano, a former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was named interim coach. Triano was an assistant at Portland before coming to Phoenix last year.

Watson was promoted from assistant to interim coach of the Suns after Jeff Hornacek was fired Feb. 1, 2016. The interim tag was removed on April 19 of that year. With an extremely young team, the Suns struggled under Watson. He compiled a 33-85 record. Watson's only full season was 2016-17, when the team went 24-58.

The 38-year-old Watson played collegiately at UCLA and in the NBA for 10 seasons. He often spoke of his long talks with John Wooden, emphasized togetherness and a family atmosphere to nurture the young squad but wins were hard to come by.

And owner Robert Sarver apparently didn't like what he saw. Phoenix is 0-3 and two of the losses were especially ugly. The Suns were blown out 124-76 by the Portland in their season opener Wednesday night, the most one-sided loss in franchise history and the most one-sided season opener for any NBA team.

Phoenix was routed by the Clippers in Los Angeles 130-88 on Saturday night.

"I Dont wanna be here," point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted Sunday, just as the news of Watson's firing surfaced in an ESPN report. The tweet by Bledsoe, a former Clipper, was followed by one from the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan saying "Come back home bro."

Bledsoe has been rumored in possible trades for months.

Watson's dismissal is the first NBA coaching change in well over a year. Hornacek's hiring by the New York Knicks, which was finalized in June 2016, had been the most recent change -- and the irony there is that Watson got the job in Phoenix with 33 games left in the 2015-16 season, after the Suns fired Hornacek.

Watson was the league's second-youngest active coach behind the Lakers' Luke Walton, and the Suns were tied with the Chicago Bulls as having the youngest opening-night roster in the NBA this season.

"I'd like to see the fight be a little bit more," Watson said after the blowout loss to the Clippers. "Or a lot more, until you know they're just fatigued."

The Suns came into this season with only four losses by 40 or more points in franchise history. They've had two in the first three games of this season. Phoenix has not made the playoffs in seven years, the longest drought in the franchise's 49-year history.

Watson was the 17th Suns coach in the franchise's history.

This was the first NBA season where every coach who started one year had the same job to begin the next.

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

ap-kyrie-irving-celtics-sixers.jpg
AP Images

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.