New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks

Knicks, Rockets talking swap for Anthony Randolph, first-rounder

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So the Knicks could be getting back their first round pick which they traded to Houston for Tracy McGrady in order to get more cap space to try and sign LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh. Instead they signed Amar’e Stoudemire and traded David Lee to Golden State (sign-and-trade) for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and Kelenna Azubuike. With Randolph unable to work his way into the rotation again, proving that it wasn’t all Don Nelson’s fault, the Knicks now have an opportunity to trade Randolph for a first round pick back in order to help them trade it to get Carmelo Anthony.

Got it?

The New York Daily News reports that an offer is on the table to send Anthony Randolph to Houston for a New York first-round pick. The Knicks have been shut out of any trade conversations with the Nuggets about Anthony because they don’t have their pick to send.  Getting a pick back might go a long way in talking the Nuggets (who are considering Melo… again), and would give the Knicks the superstar combo they’ve been pursuing since this summer. The Rockets own the Knicks 2012 first rounder, and it’s not known at this time whether it would be Houston’s 2011 first rounder (which they can swap with the Knicks -which seems unlikely given how their seasons have gone), or the Knicks’ 2012 pick.

For Randolph, it’s a shame he’s never been able to put together his considerable skillset with the necessary basketball IQ to stay on the floor. His athleticism is off the charts and he’s still young, but his lack of composure and floor knowledge makes him a liability too often. He’s turnover prone and gets lost on the defensive end, two things which coaches absolutely hate. But Rick Adelman has helped make Jordan Hill into a serviceable NBA player, and they’ve had luck with lost projects. Taking on Randolph might be worth the pick to the Rockets.

The Knicks simply will not give up on the prospect of adding a high-usage, moderate-efficiency scorer with poor defensive principles who will take shots from the underrated All-Star that’s helped lead them to a seven game win-streak. Sounds about right.

Report: Age minimum still on table in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  The full draft board of the first 30 pics of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft is seen at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.

Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.

Or not?

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.

The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.

Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.

But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.

Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.

76ers increase Joel Embiid’s minute limit to 28

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, tries to get around Cleveland Cavaliers' DeAndre Liggins, center, and Kevin Love during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Take comfort, chairs and staffers.

The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.

Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.

The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.

This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.

James Johnson dunks on Rudy Gobert in crunch time (video)

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Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.

But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.

Nicolas Batum bounces assist through Dwight Powell’s legs (video)

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The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.

Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.