Report: Knicks owner promises he won’t rehire Isiah Thomas

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If at one time a statement can be no-brainer true and completely moot, this next sentence is it:

Knicks owner James Dolan has promised team president Donnie Walsh he will not rehire Isiah Thomas to work for the Knicks, according to the New York Post. The report says that Dolan has become disillusioned with Thomas and wants to rebut the idea Thomas still has influence within the organization.

It’s disturbing that it might have taken Dolan this long to become disillusioned with Thomas, but that’s another issue entirely.

The real question is if he is really disillusioned, or whether he is still talking and consulting with Thomas. Dolan says no, but so many voices around the Knicks still say Thomas has influence. It was that influence that prompted Dolan to jump in and spearhead the Carmelo Anthony deal for Walsh.

I’d explain why that is a bad idea, but the brilliant Kelly Dwyer hit that nail on the head at Ball Don’t Lie:

Also remember that “spearheading the Anthony deal” isn’t the best thing. The Knicks were going to get Anthony as a free agent whenever the lockout ended, and they didn’t need to send numerous assets and draft picks Denver’s way for the privilege of signing Anthony to a contract extension that will be out-moded and cap-killing once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is hammered out. In a move that reeked of Isiah’s trade for Stephon Marbury, the Knicks got the guy but lost the team, and it’s hard to see this group improving any from here on out.

Yes, the Knicks will have only four players under contract in the summer of 2012, but those four players (thanks to Anthony’s massive, old school extension) might make up the entirety of the 2012-13 salary cap with their contracts.

So saying you will not hire Thomas is an obvious and simple move. And moot if you are still listening to him.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.