Brandon Roy searches for his inner Kobe

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nba_roy_250.jpgLarry Bird, killer. Michael Jordan, killer. Kobe Bryant, killer.

Brandon Roy… meh.

At least it was that way, until Roy took a hard look at himself after a recent Portland loss to Denver and told Yahoo’s Mark Spears things had to change.

I look back at [Michael] Jordan, and Kobe recently. Those guys try to dominate. You look at big men like Shaq, they dominate,” Roy said. “It was an edge. I got to get that edge. Even when I play against Carmelo and those guys, they play with that edge. They want to bury you. I’m thinking, ‘I got to get that edge.’ “

Roy has averaged 27 points on 57 percent shooting in the four games since the Blazers fell to Denver. The Blazers won all four games.

Lessons are learned the hard way in an unforgiving NBA. This was the season the Trail Blazers were supposed to vault into the NBA elite, to threaten the hated Lakers (an few places hate them like Portland), to take the next step. But due to injuries and more, the Blazers have taken a step back.

A lot of teams never recover from that step back, the players fold (or management panics and makes ill-advised trades). Roy is not letting that happen in Portland. Or at least starting to, consistency is the challenge. Kobe brings it every night. Roy has help, the front office brought in Marcus Camby to fill in for the host of injured centers. Roy has tried to put this team on his back.

And it is working. Right now, you can be sure the Lakers want no part of Killer Roy and his team in the first round.

Report: Clippers hiring ex-Cavaliers executive Trent Redden

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The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.

Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.

Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).

But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.

Warriors’ Steve Kerr: I expect to coach all season and for many years ahead

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.

Could those issues derail his career?

Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”

On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.

But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.