The Knicks almost completed an amazing comeback win — down 27 in the second quarter they came all the way back to lead by two points with less than 20 seconds to play. One basket probably seals the win but DeMarcus Cousins reads the Knicks play — Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler run a pick-and-roll and Kidd thinks he has room for the alley-oop lob but Cousins sees it and goes up and grabs the pass then outlets to initiate a break.
There is no set play for the Kings, out of the initial fast break Isaiah Thomas shows he is no Tim Duncan and misses the 8-foot bank shot from the wing.
Then the James Johnson show begins. First Johnson tips the loose ball rebound back out (announcer Mike Breen credits Cousins but it was Johnson), Thomas chases it down, starts to drive the paint, draws the defense and kicks it to John Salmons in the corner but the defense rotates so Salmons passes to Johnson who has moved out to the top of the arc and he takes the three and drains it.
Heartbreaking loss for the Knicks, who were again without Carmelo Anthony as well as Raynond Felton (and Amar’e Stoudemire) but outscored the Kings 55-35 in the second half. While they got 28 points from J.R. Smith he took 25 shots to get it.
Johnson finished with 17 for the Kings and you just saw his only three of the night.
Rumor: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope demanding more than $20 million annually to sign contract extension with Pistons
There was gossip over the summer that it would take a deal worth north of $20 million per year to get Caldwell-Pope’s signature.
That’s not an unreasonable demand. It’s up to Caldwell-Pope whether he’d accept less in exchange for more security, but I think he’d get even more as a restricted free agent next summer – maybe even a max contract, which projects to start at more than $24 million.
Caldwell-Pope is a good shooting guard in a league with a dearth of quality wings and a greater need for them as teams go smaller. He’ll be just 24 next offseason, so his next deal should last through his prime.
His preseason didn’t foreshadow a breakout year. He remains a good defender and streaky 3-point shooter. But it’s possible Caldwell-Pope steadies his outside stroke and/or becomes an even more impactful defender. He could also improve his off-the-dribble skills, though his bread is buttered as a 3-and-D player.
Still, it won’t take massive improvements for Caldwell-Pope to hold value. To some degree, the Pistons could view every dollar under the max on a Caldwell-Pope extension as savings.
If his demands remain high, the Pistons could always take another year to evaluate the fourth-year guard. With matching rights, they can always re-sign him in the offseason.
NBA sets record with 113 international players, a plurality from Canada, on opening-night rosters
But Dallas didn’t make a stronger push to keep Parsons due to his knees. We could look back on this and chastise the Grizzlies for signing someone to a max contract who wasn’t even ready to play in the first place. They have big plans for Parsons, but he must play for those to work.