Look for Knicks to go after Dalembert, not Marc Gasol

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The Knicks need a center. There will be a few interesting ones out there on the free agent market.

But while Marc Gasol is one of the biggest name and the one that gets mentioned a lot in conjunction with the Knicks, that is not what they are looking for, tweets Chris Manix of Sports Illustrated.

Been told the Knicks aren’t overly interested in Marc Gasol. Not the type of center they’re looking for. Dalembert, Chandler more their type

Gasol may be tough to get anyway, he likely will be a restricted free agent under whatever the new Collective Bargaining Agreement looks like. Meaning that Memphis can match any offer for him. And the Knicks will not be able to offer much after picking up the extension on Chauncey Billups for next season. Whatever the Knicks can offer, the Grizzlies likely would match.

Who else the Knicks can get will be determined by what the new CBA looks like and allows.

Tyson Chandler, as he is proving right now with Dallas, is the best pure defensive center in the game (Dwight Howard is there too, but Howard brings more offense). And it is easy to see how Chandler’s ability to finish lobs would fit well in the Mike D’Antoni offense. But again, the Knicks will be limited in what they can offer most likely and Dallas would be able to offer that and more to keep their own player (a feature likely to stick around in the new CBA).

Samuel Dalembert makes the most sense. He is a long, defensive minded center with some athleticism but who likely will take a steep paycut from the $13.4 million he made last season. The question is what kind of effort the Kings will make to keep him, they say he is a priority but there are plenty of big picture questions about what the Kings will spend. They theoretically can spend to keep him, whether they really have the will is the question.

The former Sixer is not a perfect fit for the Knicks but he’s better than anyone they have and he can work well if he stays healthy. He could help the Knicks.

It’s all a little murky, but don’t expect Marc Gasol to be a Knick is the bottom line.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

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.