Report: Knicks make late push for Andrew Bynum, still looking for another big man

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For a team that has had its success this season playing small ball, the Knicks have a lot of guys in their frontcourt. They start Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony but behind them are Kenyon Martin, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich.

The challenge has been keeping all those banged-up bodies healthy and contributing.

So the Knicks seem to be looking to add another frontcourt body — and that effort started with trying to land Andrew Bynum.

The Knicks made a late run at Bynum, reports the New York Post.

Knicks personnel director Mark Warkentien tried to arrange a meeting with Bynum and the Knicks staff, but it never materialized.

“The Knicks were very aggressive in the end,” his New York-based agent David Lee told The Post. “In the end, they did everything they could.”

Bynum signed with the Pacers. The issue with the Knicks was money — Bynum wanted more than the minimum ($550,000 for the rest of the season) and the capped-out Knicks couldn’t offer it. The Pacers, who had their mid-level exception left, could and spent $1 million to lock up Bynum for the season.

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This move signals the Knicks are still targeting a big to go with their rotation, reports the Post.

The Knicks, who face the moribund Bucks Monday at Bradley Center, are still concerned with their big-man depth and durability. Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin returned for Saturday’s 106-91 loss to the Heat and Metta World Peace is allegedly healthy too after platelet rich plasma therapy. But all three are major injury risks with chronic issues.

If you’re asking yourself “why would the Knicks add a big man so Mike Woodson can keep going with big lineups?” you’d be asking a smart question. The Knicks have had their run of success with a Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith starting lineup and some depth behind them (rather than trading Iman Shumpert for another big) would seem to make more sense.

The Knicks have 15 guys on the roster so to add anyone would require either a trade or to waive a player such as Toure Murry or Aldrich. At this point in the season those guys would still get paid for the full year.

Report: Celtics focused on adding All-Star-caliber frontcourt player

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Isaiah Thomas said he he’d happily forgo a renegotiation-and-extension if the Celtics use their cap space to upgrade their roster.

Where are they looking?

A. Sherrod Blakey of CSN New England:

Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.

In the last three years, 22 frontcourt players have been All-Stars. Boston already has one: Al Horford. Could the Celtics land any of the other 22?

Almost certainly unavailable

Free agency

Trade

Free agency or trade

  • Pau Gasol (Though Gasol said he’d opt in, San Antonio might try pushing him out to pursue Paul. If Gasol opts in, the Spurs could also trade him to clear space for Paul.)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (The Mavericks have a $25 million team option on Nowitzki for next season. Nowitzki going to Boston, via trade or free agency, would probably require a mutual agreement between Dallas and him that pursuing a title elsewhere is the right way for him to end his career.)

Report: Spurs exploring Chris Paul pursuit

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The Clippers are taking the Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumors seriously.

And apparently so are the Spurs.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The San Antonio Spurs are exploring the feasibility of making a free-agent run at All-Star point guard Chris Paul, league sources told ESPN.

San Antonio must complete three difficult objectives to land Paul:

  • Clear cap space. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to dump two of them to clear max room. Can they convince Gasol to reverse course and opt out, maybe re-signing at a major discount? Would they trade Parker, who has meant so much to the franchise? Would they deal Aldridge or Green, players who would make major contributions to a Leonard/Paul-led team?
  • Convince Paul to accept a projected max of $152 million over four years rather than the projected $205 million he could get over five years from the Clippers. Although the annual difference is just $3 million and Paul could sign another deal in four years, it’s unlikely he recoups that at age 36.
  • Convince Paul to leave big-market L.A. for small-market San Antonio. Remember, Paul forced his way from small-market New Orleans then ascended into one of the NBA’s biggest endorsement stars.

The Spurs boast a fantastic basketball culture, and Leonard and Popovich make great partners in a championship chase. There are reasons San Antonio is gaining traction with Paul.

But there’s still a lot for the Spurs to overcome. Will they? At least they’re trying rather than just dismissing the plot as unfeasible.

Cleveland GM David Griffin: “I hope everybody says we have no chance”

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The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA title. According to bovda.lv, bet $100 on the Warriors to win the title and you get $41.7 dollars. Bet $100 on the Cavaliers and you get $200. And that number is likely to get worse for Warriors fans.

The Cavaliers are okay with that. They like being the underdogs. Look at what GM David Griffin said in a televised interview after they eliminated the Celtics in Game 5, via Cleveland.com.

“I hope everybody says we have no chance,” General Manager David Griffin said during a TV interview following the Cavaliers’ 135-102 win Thursday night against the Boston Celtics, clinching a third straight NBA Finals appearance.

“Obviously the team we’re playing is as good as you can possibly put together, it’s going to be an unbelievable battle for us, but I think [the Cavs] love battling together. The greater the odds, the better we seem to play together. We really do rally around each other in that sense.”

There is some truth to that.

There’s also a difference between that truth and slowing Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. How the Cavaliers are going to do that will be the interesting part of these playoffs.

Detroit’s Van Gundy honored for cooperation with media, fans

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced the winner Friday. Van Gundy was one of five finalists for the award. The others were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.

Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors won the award last season.