New Jersey Nets v New York Knicks

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


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

“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.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.