Beno Udrih downplays asking to be traded from Knicks

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Beno Udrih has been barely serviceable with the Knicks this season, but due to injuries and a lack of other point guard talent available on the roster, the team hasn’t had a choice but to give him 12 starts, and 30 appearances in total where he’s averaged 19.2 minutes per contest.

It isn’t always the numbers that are bad when Udrih is on the floor, but his decision-making when running the offense and his overall court vision are below average by NBA point guard standards.

None of that means, of course, that Udrih has deserved to be the one so often singled out for his miscues by Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, and that, along with a whole host of other drama surrounding New York this season was the likely cause of his reported trade request made earlier this week.

Udrih downplayed that report a couple of days later, saying that remaining with the Knicks is now his preferred option.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“Yeah, that’s my first option,’’ Udrih said. “There’s a lot of options out there for everybody. I’m a Knick. I want to be here. I think the team has more than enough talent to succeed. We just got to get it together and do our job.’’

The Post reported Udrih would be content if nothing happened on the trade front despite a previous report of a trade request.

“I’m a Knick,’’ said Udrih, who won two titles with San Antonio. “I’ve always been professional. I’m going to stay professional. Whatever happens outside the basketball court, it’s not in my power. If something happens, it happens. But right now, I’m a Knick, wearing a Knick uniform, staying in shape.’’

It’s true Udrih has received an unfair share of the blame, but it’s also true he hasn’t been sharp in running the offense when given the chance. The minutes he received in Wednesday’s loss to the Sixers with Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton both available reflected this — that number was zero.

It’s also possible that Udrih received a wakeup call from his agent or from someone in the Knicks front office explaining the cold reality that there is no trade market for him at the moment, given his substandard play. The change in tone may have come from the realization that for better or worse, Udrih is likely stuck in New York for the remainder of the season.

PBT Extra: Rockets, with Chris Paul trade, show fearlessness in face of Warriors’ dominance

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The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.

Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.

Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.

PBT Extra: With Phil Jackson discarded, Knicks face next challenge

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The Knicks did well to part ways with Phil Jackson, but where does New York go from here?

Masai Ujiri? David Griffin? Someone else?

Kurt Helin breaks down Jim Dolan’s options – and the approach the Knicks owner should take.

Report: Kings to sign Bogdan Bogdanovic to three-year, $36 million contract

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The Kings have a decent crop of low-paid young players: Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson.

Soon, Sacramento will add a highly paid young player to the group: Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose rights the Kings acquired when trading down from No. 8 with the Suns in last year’s draft.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

Because Bogdanovic was drafted three years ago (No. 27 by Phoenix in 2014), the Kings can exceed the rookie scale to sign him.

Bogdanovic is a talented 24-year-old, but this deal removes much of the value usually tied to rookies on cost-controlled scale contracts. It’s hard to see Bogdanovic’s production exceeding his salary over the next four years.

Still, what else was Sacramento supposed to do with its cap space? Just getting Bogdanovic to jump from Europe might be worth it. The Kings already have more cap flexibility than they know what to do with – especially after letting Ben McLemore become an unrestricted free agent.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Sacramento took McLemore No. 7 in the 2013 draft then spent the next four years watching his value depreciate.

Teams will line up to take a flier on him. Will someone pay him as if he’ll pan out even a little? That question will drive his unrestricted free agency.

Report: In wake of Chris Paul trade, Clippers focus on re-signing Blake Griffin

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Chris Paul is on his way to Houston in an attempt to form a superteam to challenge Golden State.

Now what for the Clippers?

They have two options: One, tear it all the way down and rebuild.

The other: Re-sign Blake Griffin, run the offense through him and put his underrated passing skills to the test while surrounded by shooters.

The Clippers are opting for door No. 2, at least for now, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The fundamental question is: Does Griffin want to stay? The Clippers can offer more money and a larger contract, five -years starting just shy of $30 million a year. However, he will have good teams from the East calling. Miami is interested, and they have a strong point guard in Goran Dragic, a good wing defender in Justise Winslow, and a guy inside who can defend, rebound, and finish dunks in Hassan Whiteside. Plus, no state taxes on all that new money. Also, Boston (if they strike out with Gordon Hayward) and other teams will come calling. Griffin will have options.

If Griffin does stay, this could be interesting if the team is built right. Griffin is an underrated passer and playmaker — he averaged more than five assists per game last season, and that was with Chris Paul on the team. The Clippers would need to use him sort of like Denver uses Nikola Jokic, running the offense through him out high where he is a threat to score from with a midrange jumper, put the ball on the floor, or make a pass. Griffin would need to be surrounded by shooters and guys willing to work off the ball, such as J.J. Redick. Who is almost certainly gone.

If Griffin leaves, the Clippers don’t have much a choice and will have to start shopping DeAndre Jordan around and rebuilding the team (they got a fairly good haul for CP3 for that, considering the situation, Sam Decker and Montrezl Harrell are good young players who can be part of a rotation). Then Los Angeles will have two rebuilding teams, and that always makes for a great rivalry.