Kyle Korver is on his way to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Atlanta Hawks are shipping him to Ohio in a package rumored to contain Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy, and a protected pick. Korver was given the news as he was warming up for Thursday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, and wound up sitting out the game.
After the Hawks put the Pelicans away, 99-94, Korver took media availability and talked about the trade, his experience in Georgia, and how difficult it would be to move on from the Hawks organization.
The whole video is worth watching, but among Korver’s main points were how well he thought he would fit in Cleveland from a basketball perspective, how attached he was to the team in Atlanta, and how incredible the recent run of success had been for the team.
Korver, 35, had been in Atlanta since 2012 and was a crucial part of the 2014-15 team that won 60 games, good enough for first in the Eastern Conference.
That was also the year that the entire Hawks starting lineup was made player of the month in January.
It’s got to be disappointing for Hawks fans to lose such a great player, both statistically and emotionally. Rumors have Paul Millsap also on the trading block, with a new era in Atlanta basketball about to begin as the team tries to refresh things.
Meanwhile, Korver is sure to pack a punch for a Cavaliers squad that is already second in the league in both 3-pointers made per-game and 3-point percentage.
Korver is shooting 41 percent from deep on the year on 2.7 attempts per-game.
It’s not discussed much, but Giannis Antetokounmpo has a chronically sore knee that has been an issue since last summer. It’s not debilitating, it doesn’t require surgery, but it’s something Antetokounmpo and the Bucks need to actively manage.
Hence, Antetokounmpo is sitting out the next couple of games. From Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Milwaukee Bucks all-star Giannis Antetokounmpo will sit out Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers as well as Monday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns as the team actively manages the health of Antetokounmpo’s sore right knee….
Antetokounmpo’s injury, which is not considered to be tendinitis, is regarded as something that is always going to bother him to some extent, according to a league source. There will be days where the discomfort is higher and some when it’s lower, and the team’s goal is to manage that on a daily basis to keep the injury from becoming severe or significant — something it is not considered to be at this point.
Antetokounmpo is going to get eight days of rest this way, which is the smart long-term move for the Bucks.
The challenge is the Bucks may be sixth in the East as you read this, but they are just one game up on the nine seed Pistons. They need to get wins without Antetokounmpo, which is hard because they have been outscored by 10.6 points per 100 possessions. However, they could be without him a lot longer if Antetokounmpo’s knee isn’t managed now.
When picking the East All-Star starters, two of the three frontcourt choices were obvious: LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For the third slot there were a few players who could make a case. The fans chose Joel Embiid third, Kristaps Porzingis fourth, and Kevin Love fifth. The media also had Embiid third and Porzingis fourth, but Al Horford fifth. That was enough to earn Embiid the starting nod.
The players voted Porzingis third, Embiid fourth, and Andre Drummond fifth. Needless to say, Porzingis thinks the players got it right, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“Players know,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
If one were cynical, one would note the players also voted for Tyler Cavanaugh and Tyler Zeller, so how much do we trust their vote? Fortunately, we’re above such crass things.
Porzingis is a lock to make his first All-Star Game this year as a reserve (picked by the coaches).
What separated the two? Embiid has been a little more efficient this season, he’s stronger on the boards and had been a bigger defensive presence. Also, the Sixers have a better record than the Knicks, who have stumbled of late. Or, maybe the fans just like Embiid’s big personality more — he’s blowing off Rihanna.
Both of these guys should have a lot of All-Star starts in their future. This year it goes to Embiid.
Jordan Clarkson‘s free throw rattled around the rim before falling out late in the first quarter. The Los Angeles crowd groaned. The Lakers missed their first five free throws, and the visiting Pacers led by seven.
It appeared to be one of those nights.
And it was. The Lakers shot just 2-for-14 (14%) on free throws Friday. But they still won, 99-86.
That’s the worst free-throw percentage with at least eight attempts by any team and the worst free-throw percentage regardless of attempts by a winning team in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to 1963-64.
Here’s the “leaderboard,” winners in purple and losers in gold:
The Lakers are shooting an NBA-worst 69% on free throws, but last night took the cake. The offenders:
We saw this pattern earlier this season with the Lakers. Young team gets off to a better-than-expected start, shows real promise, but as things move toward the middle of the season they take a step back. As happens with young, developing teams, they are up and down. However, major market media and an impatient fan base wants to blame someone, so the coach is suddenly discussed as having “lost the locker room” and that his job was in jeopardy (a coach not hired by the current GM). Even though in Luke Walton’s case, it wasn’t (and isn’t).
Now that same pattern has come to New York and the Knicks with Jeff Hornacek. The Knicks started 17-14 and had fans prematurely thinking playoffs thanks to a home-heavy schedule. Reality has hit them the past month.
Hornacek tried to brush off questions about his job security in New York, speaking to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.
Hornacek also believes he has the backing of GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills, despite being inherited by them as Phil Jackson’s hire.
“We were talking about rebuilding and we got off to a good start because we had a lot of home games,” Hornacek said. “Scott and Steve, everybody’s still on the same page of trying to get our young guys opportunities. We’re still trying to win games. We still want to establish an identity where defensively we’re going to get after it all the time and we’re building toward that. It’s great to have their support…
“I think the expectations come from the players where all of a sudden you hear them talking about, ‘Oh we can make the playoffs.’ We never said that,” Hornacek said. “We said we want to get better and we want to grow. Part of our talk was you can’t worry about the results. You just got to go out there and if you do your best and try to improve the results will come. When you start thinking about win or lose all of a sudden your mentality becomes different. We got to get back to that.”
Is Hornacek the long-term answer in New York? I don’t know. However, finally unchained from the pseudo-triangle disaster Phil Jackson imposed, he has done a solid job this season, putting Kristaps Porzingis in better spots to lead this roster. The Knicks are projected to win around 38 games at this point (according to Cleaning the Glass), and they have about a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs still (according to fivethiryeight.com). Heading into the season, that would have been about anyone’s best-case scenario for this team.
Not that it matters when you’re coach of the Knicks — job security speculation comes with every paycheck. It just isn’t deserved in this case.