Knicks' Smith shoots during their win over the Heat in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in New York

Report: J.R. Smith is “broke,” father pushing him to stay in New York

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J.R. Smith has choices to make, and like most NBA players the decision will really be about the money. He just may be more naked about it.

Smith has a one-year option with the Knicks for next year at just a shade under $2.5 million. Conventional wisdom is that Smith would opt out of that deal because he could make more and get a longer-term deal, either with the Knicks (who can give him a 20 percent raise off that deal) or elsewhere.

But ESPN is reporting Smith’s father is pushing him to stay in New York because Smith has some serious financial issues, reports ESPNNewYork.com (via IamaGM).

A source told ESPN New York that Smith’s father, Earl, is going to make a strong case for his son to stay in New York, but “it’s very clear that the money is the biggest factor with him.”

In fact, when Smith chose the Knicks over the Clippers in mid-February after coming back from China, a source said the Knicks’ higher offer ($2.443 million to the Clippers’ $1.4 million veteran’s minimum) was the deciding factor because he was financially broke. Therefore, Smith will likely opt out and ask for the 20 percent raise. At that point, the ball will be in the Knicks’ court to re-sign Smith, who’s already said publicly that he wants to return next season.

Smith has earned $25.7 million in salary over his eight year NBA career, plus picked up a reported $3 million playing in China during the lockout.

I imagine we will hear a denial to the report soon, but it would explain the decision to play for guaranteed money during the lockout when the NBA was no sure thing.

This also means you can bet Smith opts out and if another team steps forward with $3 million a year or more they can get him. Smith runs a bit hot and cold on the court, but at that price is still a bargain. Either way, expect him to opt out.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.