The big question: How does Knicks front office shakeup impact Carmelo?

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In the end, everything that happens to the Knicks for the next nine months will be viewed through the prism of Carmelo Anthony.

Carmelo Anthony can and is expected to opt out of his contract this summer with the Knicks — that doesn’t automatically mean he’s leaving New York, he can get more money and five years security if he stays. In fact it’s expected he will stay (after how hard he fought to get there out of Denver).

But he COULD leave. So everything that happens will be about the Knicks moves to keep him happy.

That brings us to the surprising Thursday news that the Knicks were kicking Glen Grunwald to the curb and bringing in Steve Mills to replace him. Mills is a well-connected former Knicks executive, but not someone qualified for the GM job (he’s never been in that role before). Mills was the guy who helped give New York the Isiah Thomas era, why bring him back?

This all swings back around to Carmelo Anthony. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report tells the tale.

As one rival team executive said of Thursday’s moves: “It was all to keep Carmelo….

Anthony is said to be agitating for change, for help on the court, for reassurance that the Knicks are capable of acquiring elite talent. If he elects to stay next summer, it will have to be with the confidence that the Knicks can land another star in 2015, when they are expected to have millions in cap room.

The idea is that Grunwald may be the better overall exec but Mills is the guy who can bring in the star in 2015.

“I like Glen,” said the rival executive. “But Glen’s not going to get a free agent to come. Steve has a relationship with players.”

It’s not really about money with Anthony — while he would make a little more with the Knicks he has already made $113 .5 million in his career with more on the way.

It’s about winning and securing his legacy.

LeBron James will make the same decision in Miami, but there he has won two rings and the question he asks himself is if he trusts Pat Riley to be able to recruit quality players to Miami with me? Can Pat Riley sell the idea of living in Miami, competing for titles and not having to pay state tax to potential free agents? Things can change, but I have a good idea about the answer for that question.

If ‘Melo asks himself the same basic question — can the Knicks recruit another star to play with me in New York in 2015 — the answer doesn’t seem as clear.

We’ll see if Mills can change that perception. He has great ties to CAA (Anthony’s agency), but the question is still up in the air.

And the Knicks are trying to answer it to Anthony’s satisfaction.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.