Author: Brett Pollakoff

Phil Jackson, James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company

Report: Knicks would be ‘very open’ to trading their first-round pick if it falls outside the top two


Phil Jackson has said on more than one occasion that he’d consider trading the Knicks’ first-round pick in advance of this summer’s NBA Draft.

That’s the smart position to take — it doesn’t mean Jackson is shopping the pick, or that he wants to trade it, necessarily. It only means that he’s open to the possibilities, and won’t be afraid to accept an offer that may be too good to pass up.

But it’s no secret that Jackson and the Knicks desire to rebuild quickly, so if the pick falls out of the top two when the draft lottery results are announced on May 19, the likelihood of trading it may increase exponentially.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Phil Jackson has said he will likely keep the pick if it falls within the top four, but will consider dealing the pick if it falls to No. 5. Of course, Jackson could change his thinking between now and draft night. League sources with knowledge of the Knicks’ thinking said last month that the team would be very open to trading the pick if it falls outside the top two.

Jackson has said he’s looking for a strong defender in the draft, so it makes sense that the Knicks would rate Towns over Okafor. Towns is widely believed to be the stronger defender of the two at this stage of their careers, while Okafor is viewed by many talent evaluators as a stronger offensive player who is also more NBA-ready. But many scouts believe Towns can develop into a better all-around threat.

Most teams, at this point, seem to rate Karl-Anthony Towns ahead of Jahlil Okafor on their internal draft boards.

The lottery will be critical for plenty of teams, perhaps this year more than most. The Lakers, for example, are desperate for an influx of young talent, but will lose their pick should it fall outside the top five.

The Knicks are in the same boat — not in terms of losing their pick, but they will need a solid player on a rookie-scale deal to jumpstart the rebuilding process. If there are no perceived sure things available at the top couple of slots, it makes sense to listen to offers if they’ll include pieces that would get New York immediately closer to playoff contention.

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected after tackling Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers

The Bucks were in the process of being eliminated by the Bulls in humiliating fashion, and Giannis Antetokounmpo evidently decided that he wasn’t interested in sticking around to see the final result.

Late in the second quarter with his team trailing by 30 points, Antetokounmpo tackled Mike Dunleavy long after he launched a three-point shot that splashed home, and was ejected as a result of his inappropriate actions.

It’s unclear if Dunleavy did anything in this particular game to earn such violence, or if his play throughout the series had gotten under Antetokounmpo’s skin.

Either way, the Bucks are on their way to a long summer vacation, and the young Antetokounmpo decided to head out a little bit earlier than the rest of his teammates.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge: Kevin Love saying Kelly Olynyk injured him on purpose was ‘a little bit over the top’


Kevin Love is going to miss the rest of the playoffs due to a separated shoulder injury he suffered at the hands of Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, and shortly after it occurred, Love wasn’t shy in saying he believed Olynyk did it on purpose.

“I thought it was a bush-league play,” Love said. “… I have no doubt in my mind that he did it on purpose.”

It’s clear from watching the video that Olynyk did something on purpose, but as far as having an intent to injure, only he knows whether or not that was the case.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge defended his player, and also believes that Olynyk didn’t have any malicious intent. But he also downplayed Love’s accusatory comments.

From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:

“I think that that’s a little bit over the top,” Ainge said of Love’s comments. “It’s understandable in the heat of the battle. I feel bad for Kevin Love because he’s waited a long time to get where their team is right now, and now he doesn’t get a chance to play. But I certainly don’t think that Kelly did it on purpose.” …

“I don’t even think that that play would have been reviewed more than a foul had Kevin not gotten hurt,” Ainge said. “But because Kevin did get hurt, the league does evaluate those situations, and I understand a little bit why they did it.

“There was a lot of pressure on Cleveland. They were losing J.R. Smith in the first couple of games of the next round, and they have Kevin out for the playoffs now. So I’m sure there was a lot of frustration in Cleveland and they wanted some justice, and they scrutinized it and felt like Kelly gave a little bit too much at the very end of that arm tangling.

“When someone gets hurt, you’re just under a little bit more scrutiny. But I thought it was just a foul — two guys going for a loose ball.”

My personal opinion is that this is a ridiculous statement by Ainge, and one that’s borderline offensive.

Only Love and Olynyk know exactly what went down on that play, no matter how many times we see it replayed. There was certainly an extra tug by Olynyk that caused Love’s injury, and the only thing even remotely up for debate is whether or not that extra pull by Olynyk was intentional.

It’s likely that it was — maybe not as an attempt to injure Love, but certainly to keep him from getting to the loose ball in that situation.

Love is out for the remainder of the playoffs, during a season where the Cavaliers had (and might still have) a legitimate shot of making it to the Finals. He has a right to be upset, and discounting his remarks from afar as being overly-dramatic is not a good look for an opposing team’s front office.

adidas releases limited Rookie of the Year edition shoes for Andrew Wiggins (PHOTOS)

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins took home Rookie of the Year honors in somewhat of a landslide by receiving 110 of the 130 first-place votes, and adidas congratulated him by releasing a limited edition colorway of the Crazylight Boost 2015 in his honor.

The shoe features repeating maple leaves to pay homage to his home country, Canada, and combines the colors of his high school, the Kansas Jayhawks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It’s available now from, and will be released more widely on May 1 at Foot Locker in the Mall of America in Minneapolis as well as at and Eastbay.





Hawks win Game 5, take 3-2 series lead over Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks- Game Five

After losing two straight games in Brooklyn and looking very vulnerable against the Nets, the top-seeded Hawks largely returned to form in Game 5, and took a 3-2 lead in the series by securing a 107-97 home victory.

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

Atlanta opened the game like the desperate team that it was. The energy was there from the very start, and the Hawks got out to a first quarter lead of as many as 17 points.

Brooklyn began to chip away in the second, behind a huge 14-point quarter from Alan Anderson. Deron Williams, who destroyed the Hawks with 35 points in Game 4, returned to his ineffective ways in this one, finishing with just five points — which made Anderson’s outburst that much more critical, especially when the rest of the Nets combined to shoot just 10-of-31 from the field over the first two periods.

While Anderson kept the Nets in it, DeMarre Carroll was the one doing the damage for the Hawks. Carroll finished with 19 first-half points against Anderson’s 16, and Atlanta led comfortably by nine at the intermission.

Kyle Korver got going in the third, and hit three three-pointers as the Hawks got back up by 14 points. The Nets went small to start the fourth, however, and quickly put together an 11-0 run to get within three points with just over nine minutes to play. The game was a battle the rest of the way, with Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson taking over the scoring for the Nets, and Jeff Teague and Al Horford making big plays for the Hawks, especially down the stretch.

The Nets were once again within two points with 2:20 to play, after Johnson hit back-to-back threes. But the Hawks closed the game on a 10-2 run, when the shots stopped falling for the Nets and they made some costly turnovers after essentially running out of gas.

The Hawks looked like the Hawks at times in this one, just as they had during the second and third quarters of their Game 4 loss. But this is the fourth consecutive game in the series where Brooklyn has been able to go on huge runs to make things competitive, and put itself in position to have a chance to win it in the final few minutes.

That’ll be something for the Hawks to think about as the scene shifts back to Brooklyn for Game 6 on Friday.