Timberwolves now frontrunner to land Greg Stiemsma

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The Celtics wanted to keep restricted free agent center Greg Stiemsma, who gave the team quality minutes during the playoffs. But that play drove up his price tag high enough that the Celtics read the writing on the wall and decided to go another direction by bringing back Chris Wilcox.

So where will Stiemsma land?

His agent is saying Minnesota, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. However, that offer is on hold until the Blazers officially match the $46 million offer for Nicolas Batum that the T-Wolves already have out there.

“Until that’s worked out, a lot of players like Greg will just have to wait which is fine,” his agent Mike Naiditch, told CSNNE.com on Tuesday. “We understand that this is a process and will take time. We’re not in any kind of rush.”

The Celtics cannot offer Stiemsma any more than their bi-annual exception, which is worth $1.95 million. The offer sheet from the Timberwolves is expected to be for at least $1 million more than that per season.

A team could come out of nowhere, and the Wolves could go after someone like Jordan Hill instead, but smart money says Stiemsma takes over the Darko role in Minny. At a better price.

Jason Williams out 6-8 months after injury in Big3 debut

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.

Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.

The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.

Report: Mutual interest between Knicks, Jeff Teague with Phil Jackson gone

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Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.

No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.

The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.

Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.

The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.

PBT Extra: Rockets, with Chris Paul trade, show fearlessness in face of Warriors’ dominance

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The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.

Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.

Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.

PBT Extra: With Phil Jackson discarded, Knicks face next challenge

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The Knicks did well to part ways with Phil Jackson, but where does New York go from here?

Masai Ujiri? David Griffin? Someone else?

Kurt Helin breaks down Jim Dolan’s options – and the approach the Knicks owner should take.