Tagged in: stay

Mike D’Antoni tells Houston Rockets he won’t return as coach

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has informed the franchise that he’s becoming a coaching free agent and won’t return to the Rockets next campaign, D’Antoni told ESPN on Sunday.

“It’s with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we’ll be moving to a new chapter,” D’Antoni told ESPN in a statement.

D’Antoni, whose contract expired with the end of Houston’s season in the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday, turned down extension offers prior to the season. He will be considered among a group of candidates for the Philadelphia 76ers coaching opening, sources tell ESPN.

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D’Antoni was 217-102 in his four campaigns as Rockets coach, advancing once to the Western Conference finals and three times to the conference semifinals.

D’Antoni, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, led the Rockets to the highest winning percentage in the Western Conference over the last four years (.682), trailing only the Toronto Raptors (.695) in the entire league.

Only the Golden State Warriors (46), Boston Celtics (33), and Raptors (31) have more playoff triumphs than the Rockets (28) in D’Antoni’s four-year run in Houston.

The Athletic reported Sunday morning D’Antoni had not “completely ruled out the possibility of a return.” None of these answers or reports were definitive and the reports all season were that D’Antoni wasn’t likely to stay in Houston.

For the Rockets, it will be difficult to find a replacement that is on par with the impact that Mike D’Antoni provides. He has been key in James Harden emerging as a superstar and that’s why the former MVP expressed he wanted D’Antoni to be brought back.

It’s early in the process but the Rockets have been linked to Jeff Van Gundy as a potential candidate. He has been in the broadcast booth for years as he last coached in the NBA in 2007 when he was in Houston. There should be plenty of other candidates to enter the mix, too.

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Hamilton wants three more years in F1

Lewis Hamilton expects to stay in Formula One for at least three more years, revealing he is motivated to stay in the sport by its lack of diversity and his desire to prove he deserves a space on the grid.

The six-time world champion is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of 2020 but is expected to negotiate a renewal with the team over the upcoming months.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, he revealed that he is targeting a minimum of three more years in the sport but confessed that nothing was concrete.

“I think you still have to earn the right to be here in terms of how you perform and continue to deliver,” he said. “So my goal is to continue to deliver as long as I can. I do see myself going for at least another three years.”

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Hamilton made his F1 debut in 2007 with McLaren, won his first title in 2008 and moved to Mercedes in 2013.

Since then he has added five more titles and looks set for a record-equaling seventh this year if he can fend off Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton said the delayed start to the season due to the coronavirus pandemic may have inadvertently extended his career by giving him time to rest and reflect.

“The COVID lockdown meant the first part of the season was cancelled, and while that was a negative in many, many ways, in some ways it gave a lot of life and energy to focus on some other things and that bit of time off was really a bit of breathing space. It has kind of giving me a renewed bit of energy to perhaps go longer.

“Ultimately I want to be able to perform at the level I am performing at now forever, but obviously there is a point at which physicality and the mental side can tail off. I don’t know when that’s going to be, but I don’t see that happening in a particular short term in the next two or three years, so I am definitely going to be here for the foreseeable future.”

Speaking about his motivation to stay in the sport, Hamilton cited the lack of drivers from his background in junior categories.

The 35-year-old is F1’s only Black driver and has taken the lead in campaigning for greater diversity in the sport.

Speaking about his motivation to stay in the sport, Hamilton cited the lack of drivers from his background in junior categories. The 35-year-old is F1’s only Black driver and has taken the lead in campaigning for greater diversity in the sport.

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Andre Drummond to pick up option to stay with Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond has ended his silence about his future, saying Tuesday that he plans to pick up his player option that will keep him in Cleveland for another year.

Drummond, acquired by the Cavaliers in February for Brandon Knight, John Henson and a future second-round pick, has a $28.7 million option for the 2020-21 campaign that he needs to officially accept or decline in writing by Oct. 17, the day before free agency is scheduled to begin.

“Yeah, that’s going to be pretty hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said during a light-hearted, laugh-filled interview on the ESPN podcast Le Batard & Friends — STUpodity. “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”

Multiple sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs have not been informed of any decision at this point and don’t expect to receive the formal paperwork from Drummond until October. However, both sides have been giving off the impression that they are interested in continuing the partnership, which was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on March 11.

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Drummond played eight matches with the Cavs before the league froze.

They went 4-4 with him in the lineup. He averaged 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in 28.1 minutes. Because of the Cavs’ record — 19-46 — and their place in the Eastern Conference standings, they weren’t one of 22 teams invited to participate in the NBA’s Disney restart in late July. Still, it was enough to give Drummond a taste of the future.

“I enjoy being in Cleveland,” Drummond said. “I think the people there are outstanding. The fan base is super dope. The gym is dope. I love playing there. The coaching staff is good. The team is young, so it’s good to work with.”

At the time of the stunning blockbuster deal, general manager Koby Altman was unsure of Drummond’s plans beyond this campaign. Neither Drummond nor agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love, gave any indication. But Altman was always fine with either outcome.

Drummond’s decision to opt in allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021 — unless the Cavs and Drummond work out a long-term contract extension. According to sources, the Cavs have internally discussed that possibility. Based on the new offseason calendar, Drummond can technically sign an extension beginning on Oct. 23.

With Drummond making his commitment public, the Cavs can proceed with other offseason plans. Sources say Drummond’s decision doesn’t guarantee Tristan Thompson’s departure. Thompson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will weigh all of his options. But the fallout from COVID-19 — and the anticipated drop in in the salary cap — has caused plenty of uncertainty, especially for free agents.

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Renault confirms it will stay in F1

Hot on the heels of Formula 1 and the FIA revealing a raft of rule changes – including the reduction of the revolutionary new budget cap from $175 million to $145 million for 2021 – Renault have confirmed that they plan to stay in the sport for the foreseeable future.

The team, which returned to Formula 1 in a works capacity in 2016, have suffered setbacks in recent times, losing star driver Daniel Ricciardo to McLaren for 2021 after a 2019 campaign which saw them fall from fourth to fifth in the constructors’ standings – while McLaren will also switch to Mercedes power units from next season, leaving Renault without a customer team to supply.

The Renault parent company have also recently declared nearly 15,000 job cuts worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a €2bn cost-cutting plan.

Despite that, the company’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Clotilde Delbos revealed in an online presentation with the media that Formula 1 was still where Renault – who first entered the sport back in 1977 – wanted to be.

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“We have said publicly, and we confirm, that we intend to stay in Formula 1,” said Delbos.

“Actually the news about new regulations, a new cap in terms of investment, is very good for us because we had less investment in this area than some of our competitors, who were spending a lot of money. So F1, we’re here and we’ll stay.”

Renault’s restating of their commitment to Formula 1 could be seen as a boost to the team’s probabilities of luring Fernando Alonso out of retirement, as sources have indicated the Spaniard has had talks about a potential return to the squad with which he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006. But with the team believed to have paid top dollar to secure the services of Ricciardo in 2019, it’s unclear in the current financial climate whether they’d be prepared to commit to the high salary demands that would likely come with the signing of Alonso.

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Buccaneers bring back veteran DL Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh will sign a one-year, $8 million deal to stay with the Buccaneers. The veteran defensive lineman’s desire to remain in Tampa Bay was partly due to his desire to continue playing for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. 

The second overall pick in the 2010 draft, Suh, who turned 33 in January, tallied 41 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and a league-high two fumble recoveries returned for touchdowns in 2019, his first campaign with the Buccaneers. A model of durability, Suh played in all 16 games last season for the ninth time in his 10-year career. 

A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Suh spent his first five NFL seasons with the Lions before spending three seasons with the Dolphins, helping Miami clinch a playoff berth in 2016.

He spent one season alongside Aaron Donald in Los Angeles, helping the Rams capture the NFC title during 2018. Suh showed no signs of slowing down last season, as he played a major role in Tampa Bay boasting the league’s best run defense last season.

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Along with the signing of Suh and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, the Buccaneers have also franchise tagged edge rusher Shaquil Barrett.

Tampa Bay has also signed pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul to a two-year deal. The team has also signed former Colts offensive tackle Joe Haeg, whose main mission in Tampa Bay will be providing sterling protection for Brady, who will turn 43 before the start of the 2020 season.

While Suh had drawn significant criticism for penalties earlier in his career, he was flagged just five times in 2019.

In 2015, Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract, with $60 million guaranteed, with the Miami Dolphins to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at that time.

In three seasons with the Dolphins, Suh recorded 15.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He then played one season with the Rams before joining the Buccaneers.

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