Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks

Report: Knicks, Sixers discussing possible Amare Stoudemire deal. Don’t bet on it.

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Because the Sixers have room under the salary cap and therefor can absorb bad contracts, they have become everyone’s favorite dumping ground for bad contracts. By everyone I mean people at home playing on the trade machine and real GMs looking for options alike.

Enter the Knicks and Amare Stoudemire.

Stoudemire will make $23.4 million this season, the last year of the max deal that brought him to New York (to pair with Mike D’Antoni… that’s a memory Knicks fans would like to repress). That contract, combined with Andrea Bargnani’s $11 million and in theory a max contract for Carmelo Anthony (the cap hold is there now) ties the hands of what Phil Jackson could do. However, if he could dump Stoudemire’s deal…

Enter the Sixers and rumors, ones that first went big with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN and now picked up by the New York Post.

Knicks president Phil Jackson is still trying to clear this year’s payroll and has looked at avenues to try to trade Amar’e Stoudemire’s expiring contract, already having contacted the obvious team, the 76ers.

The Sixers have $30 million in cap space and have made it known they’d be willing to accept an undesirable expiring contract if a pawn is thrown in. That extra pawn likely would be Iman Shumpert — something the Knicks prefer not to do.

The idea is, at the least, to reduce payroll so the Knicks can make a sign-and-trade to obtain a free agent and be able to wield the full mid-level exception of $5 million instead of mini-mid-level $3.27 million. Currently, the Knicks are above the luxury-tax apron and are forbidden to obtain a free agent through a sign-and-trade or use the full mid-level to try to lure free agent Pau Gasol.

This is unlikely. To put it kindly. I see it as a Knicks fan fantasy — Jackson I’m sure did make the call, he should at least try — but not one the Sixers likely pull the trigger on without more in return.

The Knicks have shopped Shumpert around since the last trade deadline so the idea that Jackson is hesitant to move him now is borderline laughable.

The better question is would the Sixers do all this just to get Shumpert? Hard to see that, they will want more. Problem is the Knicks don’t have more and the Sixers will have other offers to fill up their cap space that could land them picks or better young players (a proposed Jeremy Lin deal from the Rockets, for one).

This trade makes a lot of sense for the Knicks, who if Carmelo Anthony returns would love to add Pau Gasol at a reasonable price to the mix. Of course, the Thunder and Spurs have offered Gasol that exact same financial deal and those teams are legit title contenders next season, and the Bulls are expected to go hard at Gasol (and could make a larger offer) if/when Anthony chooses another destination. Which is to say Gasol to the Knicks is not likely at all.

I could go on, but you get the idea. This is out there, Phil Jackson might love to make it happen, but the quick fix is not coming to New York. This is going to be a process, it’s a deep hole to climb out of.

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 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 condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.