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Knicks undergo wildly unproductive regime change

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The Knicks spent the offseason shooting wildly, sometimes hitting something – including their own feet.

They opted into the final two years of Phil Jackson’s contract in the spring then fired him in late June – but not before allowing him to alienate Kristaps Porzingis and use the No. 8 pick on Frank Ntilikina. After Jackson, New York turned over power to former team preisdent Steve Mills, who asserted himself by signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a ridiculous four-year, $71 million offer sheet. Like Jackson, Mills went out of his way to alienate Carmelo Anthony – without actually trading him.

Amid all the chaos, the Knicks just backslid further.

No. 8 pick Ntilikina was a defensible choice – maybe even the right one. But it’s just too likely Jackson selected the big point guard due to his fit in the triangle, a scheme New York will gladly never hear another word about. Three players at least a tier ahead of Ntilikina (No. 11 on my board) – Dennis Smith Jr. (No. 4), Malik Monk (No. 7), Zach Collins (No. 10) – were still available. Passing on Smith, a pick-and-roll lead guard who doesn’t fit the triangle, looks particularly regrettable. Again, maybe Mills or some average decision-maker would have picked Ntilikina. But you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone Ntilikina’s triangle fit didn’t play an outsized factor in his selection.

Splurging on Hardaway could cost the Knicks for years to come. Even Mills’ stated logic for the signing is lacking. The Knicks president said Hardaway’s $17,737,500 average salary was the going rate for a starting shooting guard and that Hardaway is one – two questionable claims. But say Mills is right. Hardaway merely qualifying as a starting shooting guard (No. 30) doesn’t mean he should be paid like an average one (No. 15 or so).

Hardaway’s contract was so bad, it overshadowed New York giving Ron Baker the full room exception (two years, $8,872,400 – with a player option!). Baker was a restricted free agent. Did the Knicks really have to make such a high opening bid? It probably won’t pay off, anyway.

With such little experience between Ntilikina and Baker at point guard , Ramon Sessions was New York’s most important minimum signing. Michael Beasley was the better one. He could become a discount version of Anthony as a scoring forward.

Of course, the Knicks would have to trade Anthony first. He didn’t make it any easier on them by refusing to accept a trade anywhere but Houston. It appears increasingly likely Anthony will return for another season in New York.

That just promises more drama.

Firing Jackson was supposed to reduce the tumult, but the primary source of dysfunction remains. Mills, Jackson and Mills again running the front office – these are still James Dolan’s Knicks. Now, they’re locked into a triangle point guard and expensive middling-at-best shooting guard.

Offseason grade: D+

Report: Cavaliers signing Kendrick Perkins

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Kendrick Perkins spent fewer than four months with the Cavaliers, including the 2015 playoffs. But nearly a year later after Cleveland let Perkins walk in free agency, LeBron James was still bemoaning Perkins’ absence.

Are the Cavs righting a wrong?

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Kendrick Perkins joined the Cavaliers at LeBron James’ minicamp in Santa Barbara, Calif., and will come to training camp next week, sources told cleveland.com.

The Cavs now have 18 players with standard contracts, and 15 – the regular-season limit – have guaranteed salaries. I doubt Cleveland wants to waive the two without guaranteed salaries, Kay Felder and Edy Tavares, either.

In other words, Perkins is a longshot to stick into the regular season.

Perkins was washed up when with the Cavaliers two years ago. The 32-year-old who sat out last season hasn’t produced on the court in several years. He’s tough and well-liked in the locker room, which might give him a chance of sneaking onto the regular-season roster.

But the Cavs should focus on developing toughness and chemistry among their rotation players. Perkins is just a crutch, most likely one who’ll be yanked away by cut-down day a few weeks from now.

Report: Lakers sell jersey ad for $36M-$42M over three years

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The Lakers are a financial behemoth, though that’s tied to a local-TV deal signed when they were still good.

How do current conditions value their brand?

John Lombardo and Terry Lefton of SportsBusiness Daily

The Lakers have signed a jersey patch deal with S.F.-based e-commerce company Wish. The three-year agreement, according to a source, is between $12-14M annually

That’s the second-richest known jersey-ad deal – behind only the Warriors ($20 million annually) and ahead of the Cavaliers ($10 million annually).

It clearly pays to be Los Angeles, though don’t discount the role of the Lakers’ fantastic history and intriguing future.

Rumor: Carmelo Anthony to accept trade to Trail Blazers if Knicks and Rockets don’t strike deal

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Carmelo Anthony trade talks between the Knicks and Rockets appear to be going nowhere.

Yet, Anthony’s camp is reportedly cautiously optimistic he’ll get dealt by Monday.

This might explain why.

Jason McIntyre of Fox Sports:

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have recruited Anthony to Portland. The Trail Blazers have plenty of expendable players who could be aggregated to matching Anthony’s salary – Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis – plus lower-paid players to give New York value. This certainly looks plausible.

It’d make sense for Anthony to hold out as long as possible for Houston, his ideal destination. He can use his no-trade clause to force the Knicks to deal with only the Rockets.

But what if that fails?

I’m skeptical New York, Portland and Anthony all agree to a deal. There are just too many sides to please.

The Knicks will need more than just bad contracts to move Anthony, and the Trail Blazers don’t need more scoring enough to relinquish significant assets. Anthony would also have to approve, and as miserable as the Knicks have been, the New York market still matters.

Again, this is plausible, but I’m doubtful. Either way, we should know soon with training camp around the corner.

LeBron James reportedly “invested” in helping Derrick Rose get next big contract

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Reality smacked Derrick Rose across the face last summer.

Last season, the former MVP made $21.3 million in the final year of a five-year rookie contract extension, and while injuries had slowed his game he was playing better. Combine that with seeing the drunken sailor spending spree the previous summer, and he was hoping for — if not a max contract — still a healthy eight digit one. Instead, he signed a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, $2.1 million, to play for the Cavaliers.

LeBron James wants to see his man Rose get paid again, Dave McMenamin of ESPN said on The Jump.

“I’ve heard that for the first couple of days, Derrick Rose has been ‘killing it.’ I’ve also heard that LeBron is invested in Derrick Rose’s career so that he can get that next contract.”

The first part of that, the “killing it” part, you can just throw out. Maybe Rose looks great at the mini-camp LeBron is hosting for the Cavs in Santa Barbara, I hope he is, but preseason everybody is “killing it” or “has lost/gained 15 pounds and is in the best shape of his life” or “has worked hard and now has an impressive jump shot.” Rose probably does look great in Cavaliers camp against Jose Calderon, let’s see how he looks once he has to go up against real NBA players.

Rose’s next contract will be interesting. Maybe LeBron can set him up to look better this season, but it’s going to be on Rose mostly. Once healthy (whenever that is), Isaiah Thomas will be the starting point guard in Cleveland, plus as always LeBron James will have the ball in his hands a lot. (Which he should, he’s the best player on the planet.) But that means Rose needs to learn to work off the ball with LeBron more, and when LeBron (and eventually Thomas) sit, Rose needs to take over and show he can get a team buckets for a 5-7 minute stretch. Do that and he has a role that will get him some money. I’m not sold Rose can do much more than that at this point in his career.

How much money Rose will get is another issue. It’s going to be a tight market next year where only a few teams have much money to spend, and Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Cory Joseph, and maybe Rajon Rondo (depending on how he does in New Orleans) will be higher on team’s boards than Rose.

But if LeBron is “invested” that could help Rose make a little more green next season.