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Carmelo Anthony says Phil Jackson makes Knicks more attractive, he would adapt style of play

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“At the end of the day that’s my first priority, to stay. That’s my first priority. My priority is to figure it out, let’s figure it out together… That’s why at the end of the season everything needs to be laid out on the table. From both parties. If that’s something we can grow with, we can build on, we can compete with at the highest level, then we’re rolling. If that’s not the plan that they have, then we got to talk about something else.”
—Carmelo Anthony, speaking All-Star weekend

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The question was never if Carmelo Anthony wanted to stay with the New York Knicks, he fought to hard to get there to just up and walk away. He wants to retire a Knick, but he also wants a ring (or rings). The question was could the Knicks convince him they would have a plan, a realistic chance to chase a title while he was in New York.

Enter Phil Jackson.

It’s as splashy a hire to take over the team’s basketball operations as could have been made and Anthony again told the New York Post the hiring will be a factor in attracting free agents (including himself).

“The big picture, absolutely, for the big picture this is definitely more attractive,” Anthony said after practice Monday.

One of the first changes Jackson is expected to make after the season is to let go of coach Mike Woodson and bring in a new coach, a new system — if not the full on triangle at least some aspects of it. Which should fit Anthony’s style well.

Is Anthony willing to adapt at this point in his career? He said yes, as reported by ESPNNewYork.com.

“I’m willing to do whatever,” Anthony said after practice Monday. “As long as it’s gonna put me in a position to win, I’m willing to do whatever. I’m not sold or stuck on my play.”

“What I’ve been able to do these past 10-11 years has gotten me at where I am right now,” Anthony continued. “If Phil wants to come in and change that this late in my career, if it’s going to help me win a championship, I’m with it.”

It sounds like the Knicks chances of keeping Anthony in the fold are increasing. The question will be at what price, and how that price impacts the ability of the Knicks to bring in other talent around him over the next couple years.

TNT to cover NBA games with only former players, no traditional play-by-play men

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns looks to move the ball as Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends in the first quarter of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.

The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.

Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.

Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.

Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.

James Harden presents fan with game ball on her 100th birthday (video)

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HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.

Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.

Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.

The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.

Paul George dunks on DeMarcus Cousins while getting whacked in the face (video)

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Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.

But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.

Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.