New York Knicks forward Stoudemire shares a laugh with teammate and guard Smith after he entered their NBA game with the Portland Trail Blazers during the second quarter in New York

Amare Stoudemire not expected to play in first round


This doesn’t really change anything for the Knicks — they have been without him for most of the season. But they could have used him.

Don’t expect to see Amare Stoudemire in the first round of the playoffs.

That word comes from Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who didn’t sound very optimistic, as reported by

“I think he’s going to be out,” Woodson said Thursday. “That’s my gut.”

Stoudemire was on the floor during practice but hasn’t started running yet. The veteran power forward underwent surgery March 11 to clean up debris in his right knee.

My gut says if you haven’t started the running part of your rehab yet you are not going to be playing basketball in the next couple weeks

This is not some kind of big loss for the Knicks — they closed the season 17-6 and all of that was without Stoudemire in the lineup. That said they could use his size and depth along the front line against Boston, however.

The guy the Knicks really need to have playing at full speed along the front line for this series is center Tyson Chandler. They need his defense in the paint. And it sounds like he’ll be ready to go.

“It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Chandler said. “It actually was a blessing in disguise that I was able to get that time off because now I’ll have fresh legs throughout the playoffs and I’m excited for this long run we’re about to endure.”

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.