Dan Feldman

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Report: David Griffin wanted to remove Allan Houston as Knicks assistant GM

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Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin withdrew from the Knicks’ search for a new front-office leader, in part, because they reportedly wouldn’t let him hire his own staff.

New York has many holdovers from previous (failed) regimes, including assistant general manager Allan Houston.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

A source told the Daily News that one of Griffin’s requests was to remove Houston, who has been with the Knicks as a player or an executive for the majority of the last 20 years. With Dolan’s support as one of the owner’s all-time favorite players (remember that $100 million contract extension), Houston rapidly ascended in New York’s front office and many believe he’s being groomed as the next GM under Mills.

Is Houston the new Isiah Thomas, an executive Knicks owner James Dolan is inexplicably fiercely loyal to?

Houston becoming the Knicks’ general manager is a longstanding rumor, and he remains in the pipeline.

At this point, the Knicks just ought to promote him to run the front office. Insisting an outside hire keep (and implicitly train?) Houston would only contribute to a ruptured organization with little accountability. If Houston is the priority, give him the responsibility.

Report: Pistons offered Kentavious Caldwell-Pope five-year, $80 million contract

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Entering the offseason, the Pistons were reportedly prepared to match a max offer sheet for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Instead, they renounced him and let him hit unrestricted free agency.

Obviously, Detroit drafting Luke Kennard, signing Langston Galloway then – most importantly – trading for Avery Bradley influenced the reversal on Caldwell-Pope. Whether because of Caldwell-Pope’s demands or their fondness for the players they acquired or both, the Pistons are at least set now at shooting guard.

But Caldwell-Pope is suddenly the best unrestricted free agent available late in the process, and he has no clear future. What’s his market like?

The Pistons’ offer at least informs our understanding.

Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

Caldwell-Pope’s max is $106,524,975 over four years. That’s obviously quite a gap.

He’s not worth the max based on previous production, but Caldwell-Pope is very good – a high-end perimeter defender, good 3-point shooter and excellent transition threat – and just 24. Whomever signs him will get an immediate contributor who can get better.

But there are limited apparent suitors with him becoming unrestricted so late in the process. One possibility, the Nets, used a bunch of cap space to extract draft picks in the DeMarre Carroll salary dump even after knowing Caldwell-Pope had been renounced. Could the Hawks sign him? Would he take a one-year deal with the Lakers? Will another team clear cap space to get in the running?

I believe Caldwell-Pope would have gotten a better offer than Detroit’s if he were unrestricted earlier in free agency. But by now, so many teams have used their cap space. It’s much trickier for him at this point.

Four more excellent summer-league dunks (video)

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Jaylen Brown had the best dunk of summer league, but that wasn’t the only fantastic slam in Las Vegas yesterday.

The other standouts:

Report: Steve Mills not scheduled to attend Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. press conference

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
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The Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million contract.

More accurately, Steve Mills signed Hardaway to a four-year, $71 million contract.

Mills – who’s running the Knicks’ front office as they seek Phil Jackson’s long-term replacement – reportedly shocked some within the organization on Hardaway’s contract. Not only was it a massive payday, temporary decision-makers like Mills rarely have the authority to make moves with such long-lasting ramifications.

And it appears Mills won’t even explain himself publicly.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Not only does this unfairly put Jeff Hornacek in the crosshairs, it also unfairly places the burden on Hardaway to defend his deal. Hardaway did nothing wrong, taking the money that was offered to him. But he’ll become the target of backlash.

Mills dodging the press conference would completely fit the culture of no accountability that persists in James Dolan’s Knicks. Maybe Mills is the perfect candidate for the permanent job.

Report: Suns re-signing Alan Williams to three-year, $17 million contract

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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Not long ago, restricted free agent Alex Len was the Suns’ center of the future.

But Phoenix’s first order of business this summer (beyond a two-way contract for Mike James) wasn’t the former No. 5 pick.

It was undrafted Alan Williams.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The 6-foot-8 Williams is relatively undersized and unathletic. But through excellent determination and positioning, he’s a darned good rebounder. He can finish inside and even protects the rim a bit.

His physical limitations might prevent him from assuming more than a reserve role, but this is a fine price for someone so effective in his role. And there’s always a chance the 24-year-old would hold up against better opposition or in more minutes. He has gotten in better shape since turning pro.

The Suns, who have Tyson Chandler locked up as their most expensive center, must figure out how to handle Len. They’re headed toward a logjam.

But they’re better off with Williams in it than playing elsewhere.