Friday And-1 links: Linsanity now includes Kardashian rumor

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

I’m willing to bet there is absolutely nothing to the rumor Kim Kardashian is going on a date with Jeremy Lin, but it’s out there. And the Kardashian effect could explain a few things… nah. Not happening.

The U.S. Secretary of Education is a huge Jeremy Lin fan.

So is Monta Ellis. And Monta Ellis knows the man.

A good look at what the Knicks are doing on offense with Jeremy Lin. Oh, and the Knicks defense is better with him on the court, too.

Would you pay $40,000 for a Jeremy Lin jersey?

You need more proof Linsanity is going well? Check out Google.

How Jeremy Lin ended up with a small-time agent out of San Antonio. Who has to be one happy guy right about now.

Jeremy Lin’s grandmother watches his games on delay in Taiwan. It’s a great story.

I have no idea whatsoever how one goes about getting a date with Jeremy Lin, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.

Mike Tyson came out to see Lin and the Knicks at the Garden Wednesday night. MSG decided to interview him live during the game. That went about as well as you think it would.

LaMarcus Aldridge expects to be back from his sprained ankle in time to play in his first All-Star Game.

Without Aldridge, the Trail Blazers offense struggles. A lot.

Pau Gasol still seems convinced the Lakers might trade him the first time a decent offer comes along. He might be right.

Celtics fans: Before you get pissed that Ray Allen isn’t in the All-Star Three-Point Shootout, know that he turned it down.

Besides, Allen has been slumping with his shot of late. Not that he’s going to stop shooting (nor should he).

Doc Rivers thinks Tom Thibodeau will have fun coaching the All-Star Game… but he’s going to coach to win.

The differences between an NBA elitist and the casual fan — and how we can get them talking again.

The Nets All-Decade Team, from a little more than a decade (1976-89).

A Q&A with Penny Hardaway.

Matt Barnes is not a Mo Cheeks fan. In the least.

Jason Collins is a long way from returning to the Hawks lineup, his elbow is not healed.

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

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New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

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Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.

Likely top-10 pick Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State declares for draft

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This had long been expected, but now it is official.

North Carolina State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has declared for the NBA Draft. He made the announcement on ESPN saying playing in the NBA is his dream, reports the News & Observer.

“It was definitely an obtainable dream for me,” said in an interview on SportsCenter. “I knew I would chase it with all of my might.”

Smith is considered a top-10 pick (DraftExpress.com has him going seventh currently).

Smith had missed his senior year of high school ball with an ACL injury, but was named ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging 18.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He had two triple-doubles as a freshman. He was also inconsistent. Smith had brilliant games and ones where he looked disinterested.

Smith is unquestionably explosive and athletic, and that makes him a threat both in the open court and getting to the rim off a pick-and-roll. He’s got good handles, he knows how to draw fouls, and you can see his potential to get buckets at the next level. His jump shot needs to be far more consistent to thrive at the next level, however. The questions about Smith are more about his ability to make good decisions and be a floor general. He knows how to survey the floor and create for himself, but can he figure out when to pass to set up teammates? Can he defend consistently? He needs smooth out the rough edges of his game, but the potential to be very good is there.