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?

Report: Otis Smith withdraws from Kings’ job search

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The Kings need to replace Scott Perry – an important vacancy in what has been a clownish front office run by Vlade Divac and overseen by Vivek Ranadive.

Sacramento won’t be hiring Otis Smith, the former Magic general manager who met with the Kings.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

https://twitter.com/BA_Turner/status/891002351594622976

I wouldn’t beat up the Kings about this. They quite possibly chose not to hire Smith and allowed it be framed this way as a favor to him – a fairly common courtesy.

But that the Kings were even considering Smith, despite all his failings in Orlando, doesn’t bode well for their search.

Kevin Durant breaks Guinness world record in India

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NEW DELHI (AP) Kevin Durant is in India to help the NBA make inroads in a nation of 1.3 billion.

Durant took part in a camp in New Delhi, where the Golden State Warriors star helped set a Guinness world record Friday for the largest basketball lesson – 3,459 participants across multiple venues. The NBA Finals MVP met young players at the NBA Academy, with hundreds more joining by satellite from four other cities across the country.

Durant’s first trip to India is the latest move by the league to grow the game there, much as it is doing in China.

The academy opened in May to train some of the country’s top talents. Since 2008, the NBA has staged more than 1,500 events in 30 Indian cities.

Clippers sound like they’re pulling out of Kyrie Irving trade pursuit

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The six teams – Spurs, Clippers, Suns, Timberwolves, Knicks, Heat – that have reportedly proposed trades to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving are falling by the wayside, one by one.

The Heat denied making an offer. And it sounds as if the Clippers’ offer is leading them out of the chase.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Clippers:

The Clippers have DeAndre Jordan, who has made All-NBA teams in the last three years. They also have Patrick Beverley whose dogged defense and quality spot-up 3-point shooting would fit well with LeBron James, and Beverley would be a lower-paid replacement for Irving at point guard. Their only player on a rookie-scale contract is Brice Johnson, who has disappointed. But they can still trade their 2022 and 2024 first-rounders, theoretically one to Cleveland and one to get a rookie-scale player already in the league.

Jordan would be a bad fit in a frontcourt that already includes Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and LeBron. But it seems a three-team trade could work.

Alas, if the Clippers have resigned themselves to not finding a three-team trade, that matters much more than whether one is plausible.

Kyrie Irving confidant, reportedly: "He’s saying he’s not about to let LeBron ‘SON’ him"

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In the wake of Kyrie Irving‘s trade request – clearly a reaction to LeBron James – I’ve often thought about the above video.

A reporter asked Irving how LeBron has been like a father to him. A clearly flabbergasted Irving responds: “He’s been a great leader for us. I wouldn’t – I have one father. That’s my dad, Drederick Irving.”

LeBron never called himself Irving’s father. LeBron didn’t direct the reporter to ask Irving that question.

But LeBron’s presence, his leadership, how he presents his leadership all led the reporter down that road. Even if LeBron, like the rest of us, would’ve cringed at the question, the mere fact that he plays on the same team as Irving made it so Irving was put into that awkward position.

So, there may or may not be personal animosity between Irving and LeBron. There could still be a disconnect between the Cavaliers’ biggest stars.

Stephen A. Smith of The Undefeated:

“Kyrie isn’t saying he’s better than LeBron and should be seen that way,” a close confidant of Irving’s told me. “He’s saying he’s not about to let LeBron ‘SON’ him … treating him like he’s the child and LeBron’s the father or big brother he’s supposed to look up to.

“Kyrie knows he’s a franchise-caliber talent. He wants to be treated like it. And he’s tired of hearing about what LeBron needs, and he’s damn sure tired of hearing LeBron sound like he always needs more. As if the crew they have isn’t enough.”

Is this about LeBron repeatedly saying the Cavs needed another point guard last season? He was clearly talking about a backup for Irving, not replacing Irving. Perhaps, Irving or someone close to him took it differently?

Or maybe LeBron makes even more noise behind the scenes about needing more.

He doesn’t have enough – not to have a reasonable chance of beating these Warriors. Irving and Kevin Love lead a strong supporting cast, but Golden State is one of the greatest teams of all time. For LeBron to win another title, he needs more. I don’t blame LeBron for pushing for it.

I also understand that – and so much else of what LeBron naturally invites – wearing on Irving.