Steve Kerr may stick around in Phoenix

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Steve Kerr’s first couple months on the job in Phoenix in 2008 really can only be called an unmitigated disaster — the Shaquille O’Neal trade, sending Mike D’Antoni away and trying to take a team that was a title contender and change it on the fly. Bad idea jeans.

But things are better now — the Suns likely will win more than 50 games, the team is running and gunning with Alvin Gentry, and there are some nice young players like Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez in the fold. The team is fun to watch again. Things are not as good as some Suns fans think — they are getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Jazz, Nuggets for Mavericks — but they are not bad.

And that means Kerr may get a contract extension and stick around, according to the Arizona Republic.

Near the end of his three-year contract with the Suns, Kerr’s image is on the mend, his popularity on the rise. Inside the organization, many believe the Suns general manager will sign a new deal and remain in power, a stunning change to those who believed he would walk away once this season is over.

“(Suns owner) Robert (Sarver) and I have talked about it, and I feel good about the situation,” Kerr said. “We’re going to figure out everything at the end of the season.”

Here’s the real question for Sarver — does he want Kerr to be the one to rebuild this team?

Steve Nash is still playing great ball, but his body is basically held together with that magic spray they use in soccer matches on injured players. Amare Stoudemire is likely to opt out of his contract this summer and may well land in Miami or with another contender. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I think Grant Hill has been playing in the league since George Mikan was a star.

In the coming next couple of years, the Suns will have a roster overhaul and be rebuilt. Kerr is starting to look comfortable as a GM, but the only question that matters becomes: Is Sarver comfortable with Kerr as the one to rebuild the Suns? If so, he should get Kerr and extension.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.