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.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.