Rumor: Knicks may make $50 million offer to Phil Jackson

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Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire may want Mike Woodson back — especially ‘Melo — but that likely is not what Knicks ownership is thinking in terms of who coaches the Knicks next year.

Check out this rumor from the Journal Times in Racine.

If the New York Knicks don’t advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, I’m hearing they’ll make a major — repeat, major — push to lure legendary coach Phil Jackson out of retirement. With money being no object, the scuttlebutt is the Knicks brass may offer the “Zen Master” a four-year, $50 million deal.

First off, while that is major money, it’s not really more than he made at his peak during his second stint with the Lakers, when he pulled $12 million a year. (At the request of owner Jerry Buss Jackson took a pay cut his last season.)

There is a buzz around the idea of Phil Jackson to the Knicks — owner James Dolan wants to win and wants to make a splash and this would be the biggest splash there is. Jackson was a player on the last Knicks team to win a title in 1973 and has long had an affinity for the city. He brings 11 rings. Of course, also he brings an offensive system that is a questionable fit for the roster (especially if they go after Steve Nash).

But I still think that the physical grind on Jackson was too much last time around. Just watching him that last season with the Lakers, I don’t think he wants to come back and be a head coach anymore. His health and ability to enjoy all that money he already has earned matters to him and I think wins out in the end.

The Knicks may flirt with others — John Calipari, maybe — but may well end up back at Woodson. Who has done a good job getting the Knicks to play defense. He has earned another crack at this. And he comes in at a better price than Jackson.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.