Report: Knicks in talks to make Scott Perry team’s new GM

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After the Orlando Magic had let him go right after the season, the Sacramento Kings swooped in and picked up Scott Perry to serve as an assistant GM. It was a move applauded around the league as Perry is widely respected, and the Kings then went on to have their best off-season in a long time (Perry alone is not responsible for that, but in Las Vegas a lot of other teams thought Perry had a huge influence on the Kings’ moves).

Now the Knicks are talking about bringing Perry in to become their general manager, working under team president Steve Mills, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley of ESPN.

Good on the Kings for letting him look at a promotion.

Perry would report to James Dolan’s right-hand-man Mills, the man who gave Tim Hardaway Jr. $71 million, plus Perry still would have in place Knicks front office staff that has been in place for several regimes — don’t assume that hiring Perry changes the Knicks culture. It doesn’t. (There’s a reason David Griffin walked away.)

Nonetheless, Perry would still be a quality hire. It essentially would put a smart adult in the room.

The Knicks have an opening because Doland let Phil Jackson go (a good thing) just days before the start of free agency without a Plan B (a very Dolan thing).

Perry is available because when Rob Hennigan was fired as the man in charge of the Orlando Magic, Perry — his assistant GM — was shown the door as well. That surprised people around the league. While the Magic saw Perry as part of the problem in creating too soft a culture in Orlando, outside the organization people saw Perry as the bright mind too often ignored (for example, Perry wanted to pull the trigger on a potential DeMarcus Cousins trade, it was Hennigan who did not).

The Knicks are rebuilding around a young core led by Kristaps Prozingis, and they are trying to trade Carmelo Anthony (likely to Houston. but when is unclear). Perry will help with that if they give him real power and a good staff.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.