Samuel Dalembert

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.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.