NEW YORK — Andrew Bynum ended up signing with the Pacers on Saturday, after several teams reportedly had an initial interest in his services, including the defending champs.
Miami ultimately didn’t pursue Bynum, and he landed on the team that figures to be the biggest obstacle to the Heat returning to the Finals for a fourth straight season.
Before facing the Knicks on Saturday, however, the Heat didn’t seem all that concerned with Indiana’s latest roster addition.
“I don’t know what their perspective is,” Erik Spoelstra said, when I asked him for his thoughts on the signing. “We’re just focused on us right now. I’m sure out there it makes for compelling storylines. He fits their style in terms of being big and physical in the paint, but from our standpoint that doesn’t affect us.”
The part about Bynum fitting Indiana’s style is key, and likely the reason Miami passed. The Heat need active bigs who can defend on the perimeter, either in blowing up pick and rolls or simply in rotating as a part of their defensive scheme. Bynum may have been interesting on the surface, but a big like Greg Oden who’s already in place is much more well-suited to what the Heat have historically done defensively.
That may have been at least part of the reason that LeBron James similarly didn’t seem affected by the Heat’s strongest competition adding what may or may not be a player that will ultimately fortify the roster.
“We didn’t have much of a reaction at all,” James said. “We talked about it [Saturday] morning — guys said they’d seen it and that’s it. We didn’t have a conversation about it.”
LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”
Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.
There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.
Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.
LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.
Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.
Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.
The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.
Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.
During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.
We now know that’s not true.
According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.
Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.
Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.
Trust. The. Process.
The saga between the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah has been ongoing for sometime, with the latest story being that there was some kind of verbal altercation between the former All-Star big man and head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Noah has not played for the team since Jan. 23, and he is now separated from the Knicks as they try to find a solution to shed him from their roster.
We now have a better idea of what kind of urgency New York has to make that move.
A report from the New York Daily News has given us more information about the confrontation between Noah and Hornacek. The latest addition to the story is that it was not just words between the Knicks coach and Noah, and that Hornacek actually pushed Noah first during the confrontation.
The two then had to be separated.
Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.
While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.
In our last update on this story, Dan outlined how that could be made possible. No team is going to trade for Noah at this juncture in his career, so the only real option for New York is to waive him.
Here’s how that looks, according to our own Dan Feldman:
If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:
Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision
It just keeps getting weirder and weirder during a lost season in the Big Apple.