Kevin Garnett demanded Nets not trade Reggie Evans

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Remember back in July how during the surprisingly public discussions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce getting traded to Brooklyn, Reggie Evans was in the deal and headed to Boston then suddenly he wasn’t? It seemed an odd sticking point at the time.

Now we know what happened — Kevin Garnett demanded the Nets keep Evans.

Seriously. That’s what he said before the two teams face off in a preseason game in Brooklyn Tuesday, as reported by Newsday.

“I won’t go into specific details of what I was wanting and dislikes and everything else when it came to building the business of basketball,” Garnett said before the Nets beat the 76ers, 127-97, in Monday night’s preseason game at Wachovia Center. “But I will say this: One of the key things for me was not only Paul (Pierce) and ‘Jet’ (Jason Terry) coming here with me to make it comfortable, but Reggie Evans had to be on the roster. That was a huge key for me coming here.”

Evans is the kind of player KG can respect — he busts it hard every time down the court and he does the little things. He sets mean picks, he crashes the board and he gets under the other team’s skin.

“Me and KG, we’re just clicking,” Evans said. “We are just taking advantage of this moment, and taking advantage of it is winning a championship. Sometimes you’ve got to do the little stuff, always talking to each other, communicating with each other and stuff like that. Everything is a process and we are slowly getting to know each other on the court and off the court. Dapping each other up, all that stuff is coming natural. Ain’t nothing fake about it. It’s all just natural, which is good.”

There are a lot of interesting pieces in Brooklyn, the question is how to fit them together — and can first-time coach Jason Kidd figure out how to make the puzzle work?

While in theory Evans backs up Garnett at the four with Brook Lopez then Andray Blatche at the center spot, a smaller KG/Evans frontcourt could be a good matchup against certain teams that go small and space the floor (Andrei Kirilenko can be a help there, too).

Kidd has a lot of options at his disposal, the question is will he know what to do with them?

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.