Knicks "Plan B" of Johnson/Stoudemire fast becoming "Plan A"

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Thumbnail image for stoudemire.pngThe Knicks will be in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, making their pitch to LeBron James — you can be the biggest star on the biggest stage. We can bring in another star with you. There is nothing like winning in New York.

But hours before they do that, they will be pitching Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire on reuniting with Mike D’Antoni in New York, according to Alan Hahn at Newsday.

They will meet with Johnson and Stoudemire on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, just minutes after the free agency period begins, then fly overnight to Cleveland, he reports.

For years, LeBron has been the Plan A in New York. Problem is, if winning really matters to James, it’s a long shot. The Knicks have admirably cleared the decks of an endless stream of bad contracts and are ready to rebuild. But other teams are a lot closer to a title. A lot.

The Knicks realize this, and they are hedging their bets.

The Johnson/Stoudemire Plan B is not LeBron but it is not bad either. It would be the most talented Knicks team in a decade instantly. They would win some games, be entertaining, be respected and show the ship is turning around.

One little fly in the ointment — in Phoenix there was Steve Nash. He fed Stoudemire rolling to the rim and Johnson spotted up at the arc. New York doesn’t have Steve Nash or even a bad facsimile of him. The Knicks would need to find or trade for a free agent point guard who can run the show.

The other little problem — Stoudemire and Johnson could both stay where they are. Stoudemire and Suns owner Robert Sarver will meet this week, although Amare is largely expected to test the market. Johnson and the Hawks ownership will meet and if, as rumored, they offer him a maximum extension, that would be hard to turn down.

But the Knicks can’t focus on that, because they don’t want to go to Plan C.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.

Report: Other small-market teams championing Pacers’ tampering allegation against Lakers

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The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR

In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”

Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.

The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.

I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.

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

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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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.