New Knicks GM Mills says he won’t be bringing back Isiah Thomas

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The conventional thinking surrounding the Knicks surprising front office shakeup just days before the start of training camp was that it was done to ensure the proper person was in place who could make the moves necessary to make sure Carmelo Anthony doesn’t choose to leave in free agency next summer.

Whether or not new GM Steve Mills is up to the task remains to be seen, but what is odd about the situation is his return to power in the organization considering the way his messy separation from the Knicks occurred five years ago.

Frank Isola of the New York Post gave us some of the details:

It really wasn’t that long ago when Steve Mills returned from vacation and suddenly had the sinking feeling that his job as the president of Madison Square Garden was in jeopardy.

There were two not-so-subtle signs that Mills’ days were numbered; Hank Ratner, his immediate superior, had moved into his office at 2 Penn Plaza, and Mills’ parking spot had been taken away.

The ugly divorce, which began when the Garden was found liable in a highly publicized sexual harassment case, was near its completion.

That harassment case also involved Isiah Thomas, who had an unsuccessful run with the team (to put it mildly) from 2003-2008 as president of basketball operations.

Thomas remains close with Knicks owner James Dolan, and is viewed by many as having a role of an unpaid adviser. The return of Mills sparked speculation that Thomas might be brought back in a more official capacity, but Mills said in a radio interview this week that he has no intention of doing so.

From Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News:

Though conspiracy theorists abound, new Knicks president and GM Steve Mills did his best to quell speculation that he will be bringing back Isiah Thomas to the Knicks, suggesting that Thomas would make a fine executive director of the NBA Players’ Association instead.

“No, Isiah will not be coming back to the Knicks,” Mills said. “I’ve known Isiah for a long time. I think he has a lot of good things going on in his life. . . . He’s probably an excellent candidate for the executive director’s job at the NBA players’ association.”

That sound you heard was the team’s fan base breathing a collective sigh of relief.

The internal workings of the Knicks are a mystery to many, but even an organization that’s had more than its share of issues couldn’t possibly bring back Thomas, given the damage he did to the brand during his brief stint in charge.

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.