Salmons has some decisions to make

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The reason the Bucks are the team nobody wants to face in the first round of the playoffs is John Salmons.

Well, Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings are a couple other reasons, but Salmons completes them — Milwaukee needed another guy who could create his own shot on the perimeter, who could get to the rim on offense and play good defense. Most importantly they needed a veteran, calming influence on the court. That has been John Salmons.

It leaves him with a serious question about next year, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

Salmons, 30, is playing so well now that he is putting himself in good position for the off-season. He has a $5.8 million player option for next season but may choose to test the free-agent market, and the Bucks clearly would like to have him back.

Would the Bucks, or another team, spend more than $5.8 million on Salmons next year? It depends on what Salmons you get.

Not if it was not Salmons the first half of this season with Chicago, who was a pedestrian player. The Milwaukee Salmons is shooting better, getting more assists per game and playing better defense. To sum it up in one tidy little number, the Chicago Salmons had a PER of 12.8, the Milwaukee one has a PER of 17.2 (the league average is 15).

Salmons was good in the 08-09 season, but below average the two years before that.

For Salmons the $5.8 million may not be the key, length of contract could be big. If he is a free agent this summer he can get multiple years under the current CBA, if he waits until 2011 who knows what the market and structure of the deal will be. But he risks making less money — owners are not throwing around money for mid-level guys right now. Does risk less for longer-term security? Or is he playing well enough to get both?

Salmons has no easy decision to make.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.