Author: Brett Pollakoff

Orlando Magic Media Day

Suns owner, Channing Frye have different recollections about how their separation took place


Channing Frye was a big part of the success the Suns experienced last season.

While posting averages of 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per contest as a member of the team’s starting lineup for all 82 regular season games, Frye’s ability to space the floor and be a big screener for his guards on the perimeter was a critical part of the 48-win season that Phoenix put together a season ago, and now seems light years away.

Frye was a free agent last summer, and signed a four-year deal with the Magic worth $32 million which was believed by many to be a slight overpay on Orlando’s part. It was also assumed that the Suns felt the same way, since they didn’t bother trying to match — but the team’s owner says they never really got the chance.

From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Sarver also said Frye didn’t give the Suns an opportunity to match Orlando’s four-year contract offer.

“To be honest with you, we didn’t really even have a chance,” Sarver told the radio station. “He had mentioned he was interested in coming back, and then when he was talking to Orlando, he just called and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got three minutes to match this offer.’

“And we just let him go. To be honest with you, Channing was a good piece of what we did, but I think we’re better off now without him because it allows these younger guys to play.”

Frye, however, said that wasn’t exactly the case.

“I think we have to take what that front office says with a grain of salt,” Frye told reporters on Tuesday. “I think right now they need to focus on their own team. I think we had many negotiations between [us and] the Suns.”

This is worth pointing out because it’s the second time in the last couple of weeks that a member of the Suns has gotten into a public disagreement with one of the team’s former players.

Goran Dragic came out publicly and said he didn’t trust the front office anymore, and wouldn’t re-sign in Phoenix as a free agent this summer — which forced the team to trade him before the deadline passed. The Suns front office fired back at him, essentially saying he was selfish for putting his own needs ahead of the team’s.

All of this seems unnecessary on the Suns part. While the access that ownership and the front office provide is great for fans interested in the team’s thought process behind personnel decisions, taking the high road instead of slamming former players would seem like a better way to go, especially as free agents look at the organization as a whole before deciding where to play next.

Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points

Derek Fisher

The Sacramento Kings are not a good basketball team. But compared to the group the New York Knicks are rolling out these days, this Kings squad looked capable of competing for the NBA title.

The Kings are just 21-37 on the season, which is a win-loss record better than just six other of the league’s teams. But they crushed New York by 38 on Tuesday, in a game where at one point they led by as many as 44 points.

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was less than pleased with the lopsided result, and was disappointed in his team’s inability to compete, even for small stretches.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“It was definitely not the level of character and integrity this group has been showing in recent weeks,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “That was the most disappointing part. It’s not necessarily losing the game but just the way as a group, we couldn’t find a way to compete.’’

There’s some of that in a loss this big, but honestly, the team New York is putting on the floor isn’t really capable of much else.

The Knicks starting five in this one featured Lou Amundson, Cleanthony Early, Andrea Bargnani, Langston Galloway and Tim Hardaway, Jr. No one in the group scored more than seven points, and combined for 24 in total on 8-of-29 shooting.

That’s not to say this wasn’t the plan, especially once the team jettisoned Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith in a trade for literally no one in return, and Carmelo Anthony shut it down for the remainder of the season once his All-Star weekend responsibilities were finished.

All the losing will result in more ping pong balls for the draft lottery, so there is a small bright side to enduring what’s going on. But calling out the players — most of whom won’t even be back next season — seems like a waste of energy.

Utah’s Rudy Gobert grabs a career-high 24 rebounds in win over Grizzlies (VIDEO)

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets

Rudy Gobert is in just his second NBA season, but he’s already showing signs of developing into one of the game’s more dominant big men — especially on the defensive end of the floor.

Since becoming a regular part of the starting lineup for Utah’s last six games, Gobert has been on a tear, and the Jazz are 5-1 in those contests — which includes a big road victory in Memphis on Tuesday, where Gobert hauled down a career-high 24 rebounds.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $1,000,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $100,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Utah has the league’s best defense since Feb. 1, and Gobert’s improvement is one of the main reasons why.

LeBron James moves into 21st on NBA’s all-time scoring list (VIDEO)

Miami Heat practice

With a fast break layup midway through the quarter of Cleveland’s blowout win over Boston on Tuesday, LeBron James moved into 21st place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $1,000,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $100,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

James passed Ray Allen to achieve his latest milestone, and with 20 games left in the regular season, he should pass Patrick Ewing to move into 20th place on the list, considering that Ewing currently sits just 307 points ahead.

Kyrie Irving a gametime decision for Cavaliers vs. Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers

source: Getty Images

From Dave McMenamin of

Kyrie Irving participated in shootaround. He’ll be a game-time decision for the Boston game.

Irving suffered a shoulder strain in Cleveland’s win over the Warriors last week that’s forced him to miss two consecutive contests, both of which were losses.

The one in Indiana on Friday came on a night LeBron James also was out simply to rest, but the one in Houston on Sunday showed just how much the Cavaliers struggle when Irving misses time. The late-game offense devolved into LeBron in isolation over and over again, and while he made it work on more than one possession because he’s the game’s best player, it ultimately resulted in a loss, and was fairly excruciating to watch.

Irving is averaging 21.7 points and 5.2 assists in 37.3 minutes per game this season. As Kurt Helin noted in a prior injury update, the Cavaliers’ offense drops 12.8 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court.

MORE: CSNNE subscriber? Watch Celtics-Cavaliers Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET