Report: Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels to declare for NBA draft

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The NCAA’s draft-declaration deadline was April 16, but that mostly meaningless date serves only to limit players’ ability to gain information about their futures.

Players can declare for the draft until the NBA early entry deadline of April 27. In doing so, they’d lose their college eligibility, but if they’re going pro, that doesn’t matter anyway.

So, we’re not done with players entering the draft.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Clemson junior K.J. McDaniels plans to announce this week that he is entering the 2014 NBA draft, a source told Yahoo Sports.

McDaniels, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound small forward, is likely to be picked in the first round (DraftExpress has him No. 20), though it is possible he could slip. He averaged averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.2 steals per game and won Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season.

He’s one of the favorites in this draft of PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld. McDaniels may be the best wing athlete in this draft not named Wiggins, Isaacson told PBT, yet he was a bit of an unknown coming out of high school. He’s not anymore as he has shown huge improvements in his game between his freshman and junior years — with a lot more room to improve, Isaacson adds.

His athleticism helps him contribute offensively and he can get to the rim with the best of them, even if his jumper hasn’t yet developed and needs to be more consistent. He shot just 30.4 percent on 3-points last year, but considering he took only 25 3s as a freshman (making just seven), that’s progress. A bigger indication of progress: McDaniels made 84.2 percent of his free throws after shooting 57.9 and 68.4 percent from the line his first two seasons.

At minimum, McDaniels should be a capable NBA defender and maybe more — he’s a great shot blocker for a guy 6’6″. With quality teams in the late first round looking for role players, he might make sense.

This seems like a smart time for McDaniels to turn pro. He’s already 21. Had he stayed in school another year, scouts would have been declaring him too old – at least more than they have already.

Report: Knicks won’t consider Isiah Thomas to run front office

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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A couple years ago, Knicks owner James Dolan said there was no scenario Isiah Thomas would return to the Knicks.

But Dolan also said a few months ago he’d keep Phil Jackson for the duration of Jackson’s five-year contract.

With Dolan effectively firing Jackson today, could Thomas become the Knicks’ next president?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Post also learned Liberty president Isiah Thomas would not be considered for Jackson’s successor.

It’s sad that this needs to be reported. It’s even sadder that, even if this the Knicks’ plans right now, there are no assurances Dolan holds steady.

Dumping Jackson is a reason to celebrate. But as long as Dolan owns the team, it must be a reserved celebration.

At least the Knicks’ next step won’t include Thomas. Probably.

Raptors promote Bobby Webster to general manager

Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images
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TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.

Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.

A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.

He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.

Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.

Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.

The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.

Jason Williams out 6-8 months after injury in Big3 debut

Al Bello/Getty Images
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NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.

Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.

The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.

Report: Mutual interest between Knicks, Jeff Teague with Phil Jackson gone

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Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.

No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.

The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.

Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.

The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.