Knicks withheld Lin knee injury until after playoff ticket money was due

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Technically the decision to have surgery on his knee fell to Jeremy Lin himself — and he made it official when he decided Saturday to have the procedure that will keep him out six weeks, until the start of the playoffs (at best).

But everyone in the Knicks organization had known what the ultimate outcome of his injury would be — they had known he had a torn meniscus for days. They just wanted to sit on that information until after season ticket holders had paid all their playoff ticket money, reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News.

As is the practice with all teams, people purchase a package for every playoff game through the NBA finals, then get their money returned when the team falls by the wayside. However, in the interim, teams make interest on the money sent them.

The Knicks used Lin to sell the playoff tickets knowing full well he might not be there to play, according to the report. However, the Knicks went even further to cover up the seriousness of Lin’s injury for a few days.

That was a crucial day inside the club’s executive offices at Two Penn Plaza because March 28 represented the deadline for season- ticket holders to purchase all four rounds of the playoffs.

In fact, in the email sent to subscribers, there is a picture of Lin leaping in celebration. Yet, it was two days before the deadline when Lin and the Knicks’ medical staff learned that the second-year point guard/cash cow was suffering from a torn meniscus in his left knee and that he wouldn’t be jumping for joy anytime soon….

On Friday in Atlanta, Woodson told reporters that he didn’t know “when” or “if” Lin would return to the lineup. Within one hour, the Knicks’ media relations staff released a statement to select media outlets contradicting Woodson.

Suddenly, the Knicks’ position was that there was a chance Lin could play either Tuesday in Indiana or Thursday in Orlando. In theory, they weren’t wrong. Lin had yet to decide whether to go ahead with surgery. However, Lin was leaning that way and the fact remains that the club had yet to announce the results of an MRI taken four days earlier. Lin’s knee wasn’t just sore. It is damaged.

The Knicks have left themselves plausible deniability here — they can say “Lin had not decided what to do yet.” But that’s clear they were trying to keep this out of the eye of the public as long as they could to protect their financial interests. Basically, they are saying they don’t trust their fans to be there for them if Lin isn’t. Kind of sad, they are back to their secretive ways. The team on the court may be better, but the Knicks are still the Knicks.

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.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.