Knicks Media Day Basketball

Tuesday And-1 links: Felton starts but does Kidd close for Knicks?

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Here is our regular 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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like old people love In The Heat of the Night.

• Raymond Felton will start games at point for the New York Knicks, but don’t be shocked if Jason Kidd closes them.

• Every time some player says “I don’t care about my next contract” I think they are lying, but Manu Ginobili may be the exception to that rule.

• Watch Kevin Love go yard while taking batting practice before a Twins game.

• Rockets camp is getting off to a tough start, and the next three posts show why. First, Jon Brockman has an eye injury severe enough to keep him out of practice all week.

• Royce White has not been at the first two days of Rockets training camp as he deals with ongoing anxiety disorder issues, something that was a concern of some teams during the draft.

• Chase Budinger sat out some drills at Rockets practice due to a tweaked left hamstring.

• Zach Randolph says his knee is just fine, thanks for asking.

• Zaza Pachulia was held out of some drills at Hawks camp due to knee concerns Tuesday.

• There is plenty of buzz around the league that Monta Ellis will opt out of his deal in Milwaukee after this season and test the free agent market.

• The Nets are going to use Andray Blatche as a backup five, not so much at the four.

Another story about how James Harden is confident he will work out a contract extension with the Thunder. Everyone says that but at this point I’ll believe it when I see it.

• Magic Johnson says the Miami Heat are the team to beat for the NBA title. Like a broken clock that is still right twice a day, Magic is correct here.

• The Mavericks waived center D.J. Mbenga Tuesday, and that made me a little sad.

• Little shake up in the agent ranks — following LeBron James leaving CAA, four other players have filed to do the same according to ESPN: Denver’s Ty Lawson, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe and the San Antonio’s Cory Joseph.

• A nice recap of Denver Nuggets media day. They are my early favorite for “most fun team to watch” this season.

• New Yorkers, you can hang out in one of the Jay-Z designed Vault Suites at the New Barclay Center — oh, and get to watch a Brooklyn Nets and meet Deron Williams — by submitting a short video “demonstrating their commitment as the ultimate fan of sports, music or entertainment” to this site at American Express.

• Mark Cuban dancing Gangnam style at a bar in Indiana. Just because we can.

Jarrius Robertson hits layup at Celebrity Game, hangs with Draymond Green (VIDEO)

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It’s likely you’ve seen Jarrius “J.J” Robertson before. The 14-year-old came into public view as a New Orleans Saints superfan that deals with a liver disease called biliary atresia. Robertson has shown up at NBA All-Star Weekend this year, and he’s been a big hit.

On Friday, J.J. showed up and played a spot in the 2017 NBA Celebrity Game. He even dropped a layup during gameplay.

Via Twitter:

But he’s not just been around the court. Robertson has been just about everywhere thus far, hanging out with NBA athletes, meeting Charles Barkley, and telling Russell Westbrook that the Oklahoma City Thunder need more shooters.

J.J. even hung with Draymond Green courtside, where the Golden State Warriors forward tried to trade his watch for J.J.’s chain.

Should have made the trade dude! But I’m glad he’s got run of the place.

Glenn Robinson III does his best to salvage Dunk Contest, gets victory in process

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NEW ORLEANS — This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.

It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.

Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments — which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.

The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition — dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.

“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”

Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea — a drone dunk — but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.

Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest — interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).

If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.

DeAndre Jordan was okay, but without Chris Paul throwing him lobs it didn’t quite feel the same. Jordan can dunk with such power in game, but we didn’t see that Saturday.

In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.

“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”

Glenn Robinson III wins underwhelming dunk contest on over-people, below-rim dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.

It would’ve rated as the event’s best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.

But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.

NBA stars shoot threes to raise $500,000 for Sager Strong Foundation in touching moment

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NEW ORLEANS — The spirit of Craig Sager is strong during All-Star weekend in The Big Easy and he’s going to get a spot in the Hall of Fame, deservedly so.

After Eric Gordon won the Three-Point Contest, he and the other finalists Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker stayed on the court to shoot threes to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation — they would shoot threes for a minute and for each make the foundation would get $10,000. Then they brought out help — Reggie Miller, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, DJ Khaled, and others to knock down shots. That raised $130,000.

Stephen Curry tried to push that to $500,000, but it was Sager’s son that actually did it (with an assist from Shaquille O’Neal).

It was a touching moment for a great cause.