Report: Knicks in talks with reserve big man Ivan Johnson

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The Knicks are trying to round out the end of their roster, the guys who will rarely get off the bench but can provide a little something when they do.

We told you they are in talks with Jannero Pargo, a point guard who has bounced around but never stuck in the league.

Now comes the report they also are in talks with former Hawks reserve big man Ivan Johnson, according to Jared Zwerling at ESPNNewYork.com. It just seems to be a matter of money.

The 29-year-old Johnson, who became an NBA player in 2011 and has played for the Hawks, was initially campaigning for a mini mid-level contract. But with remaining attractive free agents like DeJuan Blair and Antawn Jamison in the veteran’s minimum financial ballpark — Blair signed with the Mavericks for that amount — the free-agent market is quickly changing….

The source said, “I think it would be a great fit for Ivan to get big minutes [in New York] and further prove he can play in this league.”

The Knicks have 12 guys on their roster and could bring in a couple guys before the season starts.

While Johnson, a 6’8” traditional power forward, would be buried on the depth chart when you consider the injury history of the rest of the Knicks front line — Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani — it is likely he would get some quality minutes.

When he’s gotten minutes Johnson has looked pretty good. Last season with the Hawks Johnson played in 69 games, averaged 15 minutes with 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

Johnson plays a physical game Knicks fans would love (he likes to be almost an enforcer), and with that he brings a lot of energy and good defense, he’s a strong rebounder and he can finish with authority around the rim. When he just does those things he’s good, but he can take some ill-advised shots and in setting up those shots he can turn the ball over too much. When he plays within himself he’s a quality role player, he just gets outside that role sometimes.

That said, at the minimum this would be a quality pick up for the Knicks bench.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.