Oakland Raiders

Leading Off: Will the Raiders bring back Gruden as coach?

Reading time, two minutes ...

• As the Raiders prepare for Sunday’s season finale against the Broncos, the Internet continues to buzz with reports that Jon Gruden might come back as coach next season. And why not? Gruden is close to owner Mark Davis and John Madden, who still has strong ties to the organization, and he coached them to their only success in the past 20 years (yes, we know he didn’t coach them in their 2002 Super Bowl season, but it was his team). With likely back-to-back 4-12 seasons, we don’t see any reason to bring Dennis Allen back. Another appeal for Gruden: The Raiders will have about $70 million in salary-cap space.

• Speaking of Allen and the Raiders, we can only scratch our heads at Monday’s announcement that Terrelle Pryor will start at quarterback against Denver instead of Matt McGloin. Is it a desperation move by a beleaguered coach, whose team has lost five games in a row and is trying to keep his job? Was Allen ordered to play Pryor, who is 3-5 as the starter this season? Or is it what Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley, told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday, that Allen wants Pryor to fail to justify starting McGloin over Pryor (“I think that’s what’s going on, I do, and it’s ridiculous.”) To us, Stanley sounds ridiculous.

• Kings fans will not forget Tyreke Evans’ Rookie of the Year season, when he averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He showed an announced sellout crowd of 17,317 on Monday night at Sleep Train Arena just how good he can be when he had 25 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 113-100 victory over the Kings. Or did he? He was, after all, playing the Kings, so it’s no surprise he had season bests for points and assists. Game after game, opposing guards are lighting up the Kings. Bet Heat guard Dwyane Wade can’t wait for Friday night.

– Tom Couzens


What to watch

NBA, L.A. Clippers at Portland, 7:30 p.m., TNT: There’s no NFL tonight, which makes this battle between Western Conference division leaders easily tonight’s best thing on TV.

Today’s poll

Who should coach the Raiders next season ?

• Dennis Allen

• Jon Gruden

• Other

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday’s results

Should the NFL force team owner Dan Snyder to change the name of Washington’s mascot ?

• Yes, it’s offensive to Native Americans: 21%

• No, the NFL has no rights: 79%

Total votes: 165