New York Knicks guard Kidd looks down during their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah

Wednesday And-1 links: The Knicks expect Jason Kidd back

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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.

• Knicks GM Glen Grunwald says after his exit meeting with Jason Kidd, he expects the veteran guard back for another year. I understand the groans, Knicks fans, but decision belongs to Kidd, he is under contract for next year.

• Carmelo Anthony wants to see free agent J.R. Smith back with the Knicks.

• In case you missed it, Harvy Araton at the New York Times threw the blame for the Knicks troubles this season where it really belongs — at the feet of James Dolan.

• If you read one thing today, it should be this fantastic oral history of the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 between the Hawks and Celtics, between Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird.

• There were some rather silly Eric Gordon trade rumors running around twitter the other day. We’re not going to repeat them because they are not going to happen.

• The Suns are starting the external candidate portion of their head coaching interview process with Rockets’ assistant J.B. Bickerstaff and Lakers assistant Steve Clifford. Don’t expect a quick process.

• Remember we told you Terrence Williams was arrested the other day on a gun charge related to a domestic disturbance with the mother of his child. Williams tweeted this about the incident.

Here’s a book review from a Lakers blogger of Phil Jackson’s 11 rings.

Of the teams that are left, who are the ABC/ESPN network suits rooting for? Miami and San Antonio.

• Carl Bennett, one of the guys who helped make the NBA a reality, has passed away.

• The math of why it will be hard for the Nets to keep Andray Blatche.

• Bradley Beal says he is still weeks away from basketball related activities. No rush, he’s got all summer.

• Look at two of the four teams left in the NBA playoffs — Memphis and Indiana — and you realize it may be more practical for a small market team to build a winner around defense. And more affordable.

Should the Bulls consider trading Luol Deng?

• Does the way the NBA Draft Lottery is structured right now still encourage too much tanking?

• Mario Chalmers’ father is being sued by a business partner.

• Chris Hansen congratulated Sacramento on keeping the Kings. Let’s just say some of the reactions out of Sacramento were not exactly those of graceful winners.

• DeAndre Jordan posterizes an unsuspecting ESPN anchor.

• Finally, all 272 three pointers Stephen Curry made this regular season. Enjoy going down that rabbit hole.

J.B. Bickerstaff calls Rockets ‘broken team,’ ‘fragmented bunch’

Houston Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff rubs his head in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Houston. The Wizards won 123-122. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been unafraid to sharply assess his team.

But after last night’s loss to the Trail Blazers – Houston’s third straight defeat and sixth in eight games – Bickerstaff kicked up the rhetoric even further.

Bickerstaff, via Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

“We’re broken,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s that simple. We’re a broken team, and we all need to use this break to figure out how we’re going to impact change. If we don’t want to impact change, then we need to be made aware of that, too, and we’ll go in a different direction.

“We can’t continue to go out and play this way. It’s easy to see it’s a fragmented bunch. You can’t win that way.”

This is why Dwight Howard is on the trade block. The Rockets are so incohesive, there’s no simple solution in sight. This increasingly looks like a lost season for Houston, which should emphasize future planning – like dealing Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent at age 30 this summer.

Yet, the Rockets are just a half game from playoff position. They obviously dreamed much bigger when the season began, but at this point, merely making the postseason should qualify as a success.

It’s Bickerstaff’s job to get them there, no matter how unlikely. He has certainly shown little fear in trying, whether it’s giving these quotes or pulling all five starters simultaneously shortly into a game. He’s trying to put his mark on this team.

The players just aren’t responding, not more than periodically, at least. From James Harden down, nobody plays with the requisite focus and energy.

Nothing in Bickerstaff’s assessment is surprising. It’s just surprising he said it so bluntly publicly.

Then again, that’s nothing compared to what veteran Houston guard Jason Terry said. Eric Ringering of 750 The Game:

https://twitter.com/ringering45/status/697664478993756164

Devin Booker to replace Nerlens Noel in Rising Stars at All-Star Weeekend

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts after hitting a 3-point shot against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Sixers big man Nerlens Noel — who has looked much improved this season once Ish Smith was feeding him the rock on offense — sat out the Sixers game Wednesday night due to tendonitis in his right knee. After he missed his rookie season with knee issues, you can understand why the Sixers want him to be cautious.

Noel is going to sit out All-Star Weekend as well — he had been scheduled to play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, but he is going to sit that out and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns will take his place, the league has announced (Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic broke that story).

Booker has been one of the few bright spots for the Suns this season, averaging 10.6 points a game and shooting 40.3 percent from three.

He will play for the USA in the World vs. USA format of the Rising Stars Challenge (the former rookie/sophomore game, featuring first and second year players).

With Emmanuel Mudiay replacing Patrick Beverley, NBA reveals Skills Challenge bracket

Houston Rockets' Patrick Beverley (2) knocks the ball away from Denver Nuggets' Emmanuel Mudiay (0) in the first half of a NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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Out: Defending champion Patrick Beverley.

In: Emmanuel Mudiay Emmanuel Mudiay.

The NBA confirmed the Rockets guard would miss the Skills Challenge and that Mudiay would replace him. The league also release the bracket:

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My picks:

Quarterfinals

Semifinals

  • Isaiah Thomas over C.J. McCollum
  • Anthony Davis over Draymond Green

Final

  • Isaiah Thomas over Anthony Davis

NBA suspends Hassan Whiteside for elbowing Boban Marjanovic’s head

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Hassan Whiteside lost his cool and elbowed Boban Marjanovic in the head Tuesday.

The Heat center received a flagrant 2 and an ejection, and now he’s getting the rest of his punishment.

NBA release:

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and making contact with the head of San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Whiteside was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 119-101 win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on Feb. 9.

Whiteside will serve his suspension when Miami plays the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 19 at Philips Arena.

The suspension will cost Whiteside $8,921. As a result, the Heat – in line to become the first team in NBA history to pay the repeater luxury-tax rate – trim their impending tax bill by $24,534.

More importantly for Whiteside, this will be a strike against him for teams considering offering him a big contract in free agency this summer.