Report: If not ‘Melo, Knicks to target Marc Gasol this summer

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Target number one for the New York Knicks remains Carmelo Anthony. He is their one true love, but with the tide of events pushing Anthony into the arms of the Nets, the Knicks are going to need an ending like The Graduate to kill this marriage (“It’s too late.” “Not for me.”)

But if the Knicks don’t steal the girl out of the church, then what?

How about a big, burly Spaniard like Marc Gasol? That is who the Knicks will target this summer if they can’t spend all their money on Anthony, according to the New York Post (via CBS Facts & Rumors).

If the Nets pull off the blockbuster multi-team trade and Anthony accepts a contract extension, the Knicks are expected to change the focus of this offseason to restricted free agent 7-foot-1 center Marc Gasol. The younger brother of the Lakers’ Pau, Gasol is the type of burly big man the roster lacks and team president Donnie Walsh covets.

Gasol would be a good fit in the Knicks’ system — he is very good on the pick-and-roll because he can pop out for the midrange or roll to the hoop (he is shooting 62.8 percent as the roll man this season in Memphis, they should use him more that way). He can defend the rim and rebound, but would not drag down the running game.

The Grizzlies have a $4.5 million qualifying offer in for Gasol, so he will be a restricted free agent (unless the new Collective Bargaining Agreement changes everything) so the Grizzlies would have the right to match any offer.

Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley has said he wants to keep this core of players together in Memphis. Add to that Zach Randolph being an unrestricted free agent — Memphis may well lose that big to the market — and the Grizzlies have some motivation to keep Gasol and spend a little to do so.

Meaning the Knicks would need to overpay to get Gasol. But that hasn’t stood in the franchise’s way in the past.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.