Amar’e Stoudemire has ‘no doubt’ he can play alongside Carmelo Anthony

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The Knicks sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a mark of 18-6, and have been every bit as formidable as their record would suggest.

If there’s a problem in New York, besides the question of whether or not the team’s torrid three-point shooting is sustainable, it’s that the early-season success has come with Amar’e Stoudemire out of the lineup for every one of those 24 games.

Normally, getting a player of Stoudemire’s caliber back in the lineup would only be a positive. But history has shown that the Knicks struggle when both he and Carmelo Anthony are on the floor at the same time.

Stoudemire isn’t worried about it, though, and believes he can make it work playing alongside Anthony once he returns to action.

From Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com:

“Without a doubt. I have no doubt in my mind about that,” Stoudemire said when asked about things working out with he and Anthony on the court.

New York is 30-33 in regular season games started by both Stoudemire and Anthony. Both players like to operate between the mid post and elbow and Stoudemire thrives in an up-tempo system while Anthony excels in isolation.

“Our team was pretty good last season and we’ve been pretty good this season, so I don’t see Amar’e being a problem and disrupting what we do,” Woodson said. “It just makes us a deeper team. That’s kind of how I look at it.”

Personnel around the two has changed a bit since they last shared the basketball court, and with head coach Mike Woodson firmly in place since training camp and his system similarly in place, he’s feeling more confident about his chances of making it work, as well.

One way to do that is by bringing Stoudemire off the bench, thus limiting the minutes he and Anthony would be playing at the same time. Woodson says he hasn’t yet decided if that’s the way he’ll go, while Stoudemire has said he’d be willing to fill that role if that is in fact what’s decided.

Questions will likely persist on the topic until we see a decent sampling of Anthony and Stoudemire playing together this season. And, they’ll only stop if the Knicks continue to win once Stoudemire is back.

Jared Dudley: Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced mean mugging in locker room

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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.

Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.

The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.

Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:

This is the inside info we need.

Report: Knicks are Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer’s top choice for job

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Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.

“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’

“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’

Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.

But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.

When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.

The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.

The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.

Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia

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Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.

So he is going home.

Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.

Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).

At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.