Jeremy Lin Knicks

League scrambling to fit Jeremy Lin into All-Star Weekend


The NBA had named the All-Star team, had named the players for the Rising Stars Challenge (what you and I call the rookie/sophomore game) and had basically everything in place for All-Star Weekend Feb. 24-26 in Orlando.

Then Jeremy Lin and Linsanity came along.

Now the league is scrambling to fit their hottest star into their biggest weekend. But they seem to be ignoring the obvious and best way.

For sure, Lin will be lobbing balls to fellow Knick Iman Shumpert as part of the Dunk Contest on Saturday night.

Also that night is the tedious “Shooting Stars” competition where three people (a current player, former player and WNBA player) from one city compete against trios from other cities in a shooting contest. The Daily News says it looks like Lin will be part of that.

According to a source, the NBA is hoping to add Lin to its All-Star lineup by having him participate in the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. The competition features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one TNT on-air talent and legend on each team.

Let’s be clear, Lin has not earned his way into the All-Star Game itself yet, not in seven games. And while he surprised everyone with a dunk against the Wizards, the Dunk Contest is not his forte. He’s knocked down some but he’s no three point specialist, either. The Shooting Stars thing is nice. Not thrilling, but nice.

What the league should do is bend the rules and add him (and another player) to the Friday night Rising Stars game. The format of this has been changed this year, with a pool of players — already selected — being chosen playground style by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Lin is certainly the likely replacement if one player from this game is injured and can’t go, but what really should happen is Lin and another player get added to the pool so he is definitely in.

Why not? Is the league afraid of messing with the integrity of the rookie/sophomore game? Really?

At this point for the league, the more Lin the better. Let the man play.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.