Pablo Prigioni fractures toe, out two weeks

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The Knicks recently elevated Pablo Prigioni’s role, and they were better for it.

In the three games prior to Monday’s contest against Washington, Prigioni played 31, 39 and 31 minutes – his first 30-minute games since a season-opening win over the Bucks. And he produced: 16 assists, one turnover and eight steals in the three games. The Knicks’ offensive rating with Prigioni on the court in that span (110.7) was better than the the Trail Blazers’ league-leading mark. And the Knicks’ defensive rating with Prigioni (97.1) would trail only the Spurs and Pacers over a full season.

He keeps the ball moving and puts effort into defense. It’s not that Prigioni is a great player, but his skills fill some of New York’s biggest holes.

Er, filled.

Prigioni left the Knicks’ loss to the Wizards on Monday, and the prognosis is not good.

This seems relatively minor, but Prigioni is 36, and any injuries to someone that age can be very serious. New York can hope Prigioni returns soon, but it’s difficult to say with certainty he’ll return to full health quickly.

In the meantime, the Knicks don’t have many options. Raymond Felton is already injured, leaving Beno Udrih and Toure’ Murry as New York’s only healthy point guards.

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Ian Begley for ESPNNewYork.com:

Coach Mike Woodson said shooting guard Iman Shumpert might fill in at point guard and that the Knicks might call up Chris Smith, J.R. Smith’s brother, from the team’s D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

Those options aren’t exactly inspiring, either. Shumpert is a fine wing player, but he doesn’t have the playmaking skills to run point regularly. And Chris Smith’s flawed resume is well-documented.

Better get Masai Ujiri back on the phone.

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.