Report: Knicks “progressing toward” opening contract talks with David Griffin about GM job

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There is a long way to go and many questions to be answered, but the Knicks are on the path to doing something smart:

Hiring David Griffin as their new general manager.

From the moment Phil Jackson was let go by Knicks’ owner James Dolan — just a couple of days before the start of free agency — it seemed the smart move was for the Knicks to call up Griffin and talk. Griffin is available because Dan Gilbert didn’t want to pay the going rate and saw the direction of the team differently, that despite Griffin playing a key role in putting together the team that brought Cleveland its first NBA title ever (and Gilbert pissed off LeBron James in the process). Griffin is smart and well respected around the league, the smart thing was for the Knicks to call him up and talk.

Of course, this is the Knicks, so the question is would they do the smart thing? Yes, they did. The sides are at least talking, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

After several conversations and a dinner meeting with franchise executive Steve Mills on Friday, the New York Knicks are progressing toward opening contract negotiations with David Griffin to become the team’s next general manager, league sources told ESPN…

Griffin is also expected to meet with owner James Dolan in the near future, league sources said….

One potential stumbling block to the Knicks’ pursuit of Griffin, league sources said: the willingness of the organization to allow Griffin to bring his own front office and staff into Madison Square Garden. Much of the Knicks’ front office has survived several unsuccessful regimes, and the organization has been hesitant to make sweeping changes to the group, league sources said.

Mills, who was Jackson’s GM and has been Dolan’s trusted man in the front office since 2003, is expected to be the new team president. He was the guy behind New York overpaying for Tim Hardaway Jr. Still, Hardaway fits with the Knicks’ plan to build a young, athletic team around Kristaps Porzingis. Griffin could do that better and faster.

This should be simple, the Knicks should make sweeping changes to the front office. They should hire Griffin and give him nearly unfettered power to make basketball decisions — and let him bring in his loyal staff. The basketball staff the Knicks have had for years has not done the job it’s time for a change (and to keep Dolan out of the basketball side of the building). Griffin would be a quality hire.

It’s the smart thing to do. The question is, will the Knicks do it?

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.