Dan Feldman

Jason Kidd
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Report: Jason Kidd ‘on shaky ground’ with Bucks

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Some of the Bucks owners reportedly aren’t sold on Jason Kidd.

How’s that going for the coach/de facto general manager?

Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times:

I’m told Kidd, who was brought to Milwaukee by one of the team’s tri-majority owners and close friend, Marc Lasry, hasn’t endeared himself to the rest of the Bucks’ ownership group. Some think Kidd’s arrogant, some think his heart isn’t into coaching and are miffed he took off a portion of the season for hip surgery when he could have done it in the offseason. Some, most importantly, question his coaching acumen and his player personal decision-making.

I’ve also been told by people close to the Bucks’ situation that Kidd, once the golden boy of the organization, is now on shaky ground.

several NBA sources contend Hammond will soon be relocating to another zip code — either being fired or leaving on his own volition.

Talk among some league officials is Hammond will end up in perhaps a similar position with New Orleans.

It’s unsurprising the Bucks are considering such a major shakeup. They fell from 41-41 last season to 33-48 this year, their defense – an aggressive, trapping scheme engineered by Kidd – falling off a cliff. The step back is understandable, considering the team dumped reliable veterans to get younger players with more upside. But it doesn’t seem they internally understood the tradeoff they were making, which would indicate a flawed process. Kidd has been chasing experience on the floor all season.

If his personality or hip surgery grated owners, Kidd put his job in jeopardy by his performance.

He put together much of this team – trading for poor-shooting Michael Carter-Williams, signing ill-fitting Greg Monroe and dumping veterans like Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova. If ownership isn’t sold on Kidd, now could be time to make a change – especially if he wants to move officially into the front office.

Actual general manager John Hammond is reportedly under contract through next season. If ousted, he could work under Joe Dumars with the Pelicans. Hammond served in Dumars’ Pistons front office before leaving to run Milwaukee.

Keeping Hammond could allow Kidd more time to prove himself as a coach. But if Hammond is also headed out, it makes it harder simply to reduce Kidd’s responsibilities.

Wholesale change becomes more logical.

The Bucks have plenty of talent in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton and even Monroe and Carter-Williams. Whomever is in charge next season has a nice base.

The big question: Will it be Kidd?

2016 PBT Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) tangles with San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard (2) and Kevin Martin during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 87-79. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
AP Photo/Darren Abate
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The end of the NBA season is here, and if we at NBC’s ProBasketballTalk had ballots in front of us, here is how we’d vote for NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Kurt Helin

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. DeAndre Jordan

Kawhi Leonard won the award last year and the only question was “did he play enough games.” That’s not a debate this year. He is locking guys down on the perimeter and is key to the best defense in the NBA. Draymond Green and his versatility earns second place. Third is DeAndre Jordan, who became a much better defender within the team system this season and is finally living up to the hype Doc Rivers has been selling for a couple seasons.

Sean Highkin

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. DeAndre Jordan

Dan Feldman

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. Rudy Gobert

The final spot was the only tough call, and it came down to Gobert, Tim Duncan, Andrew Bogut and DeAndre Jordan. Duncan and Bogut are the best defenders of the four, but they also played the least – meaning they impacted the fewest defensive possessions. Jordan, a greatly improved defender, deserves credit for taking such a large load. Gobert, who missed significant time due to injury is a better defender than Jordan on a per-possession basis, is the middle-ground choice. Pick any of the four, and I wouldn’t object.

The next problem: Because they’re all centers, I’ll have to parse the other three again for the All-Defensive second team.

Former 76ers owner Ed Snider dies at 83

FILE - In this March 14, 2007, file photo, Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor and the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers sports franchises, watches the action from court side during the 76ers basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Philadelphia. Ed Snider, the Philadelphia Flyers founder whose "Broad Street Bullies" became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, died Monday, April 11, 2016 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 83. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek, File)
AP Photo/Tom Mihale
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ed Snider was weakened by cancer, the disease that kept him from his beloved Philadelphia Flyers.

General manager Ron Hextall went to Snider’s home in California in December before a scouting trip, watching what would be their last Flyers game together on TV.

The St. Louis Blues led 3-0 in the second period, souring the mood.

“He looked at me 3-zip and said, `We didn’t plan this,”‘ Hextall said, smiling.

Snider high-fived Hextall, though, when the Flyers scored one goal, then two and three.

Once the Flyers scored the winner, Snider showed as much fight as one of his old Broad Street Bullies.

“He was in pain, a lot of pain,” Hextall said. “But when we scored that fourth goal, he got right out of his seat. I couldn’t believe it.”

Snider, the Philadelphia Flyers founder whose Bullies became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, died Monday after a two-year battle with bladder cancer. He was 83.

“Our dad was loved and admired for his big heart, generosity of spirit, and dedication to his family. Despite his considerable business achievements and public profile, he was first and foremost a family man,” the Snider family said in a statement. “Unrivaled, however, was his love for the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey Club, the team he created 50 years ago and to which he remained fiercely devoted through his final days.”

With Snider ailing, the Flyers clinched a playoff spot Saturday and dedicated the playoff push to him. Philadelphia plays Washington in the first round.

Snider watched Lauren Hart sing “God Bless America” on FaceTime as the team’s longtime anthem singer held out her phone during her performance. She blew kisses after the song.

“He is the Philadelphia Flyers,” captain Claude Giroux said Monday.

Snider was arguably the most influential executive in Philadelphia sports. He was chairman of the 76ers, was once a part-owner of the Eagles and had a hand in founding both Comcast’s local sports channel and the city’s largest sports-talk radio station.

Snider, chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

“Ed Snider was the soul and the spirit of the Flyers, who have reflected his competitiveness, his passion for hockey and his love for the fans from the moment he brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1967,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Snider built his fortune with a record company and arrived in Philadelphia in 1964 as a part owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, serving as the team’s treasurer.

Upon hearing that the National Hockey League was going to expand from its original six teams to 12, Snider was awarded an expansion club in 1966. The Flyers played their first game in October 1967 in front of 7,800 people.

Snider was confident hockey would be a hit in blue-collar Philadelphia.

After being swept out of the playoffs in the first round in 1969, Snider directed his general manager to acquire bigger, tougher players.

Five seasons later, the Broad Street Bullies beat the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup. The Flyers repeated as champions in 1975 – the team’s last title.

“We were the best thing that happened to the National Hockey League,” former Flyers enforcer Dave “The Hammer” Schultz said. “Some might disagree. But we created a lot of excitement in the franchises that were existing then.”

Snider assumed control of the Spectrum, the now-demolished home arena for the Flyers and Sixers, in 1971. Three years later, he established Spectacor, a management company that controlled the Flyers and Spectrum, where the team had enjoyed its most success.

“When the officials made a bad call in my mind, everybody would look back and I’d be standing up screaming, so they’d all be standing up and screaming,” Snider said. “I had a great connection with the fans and I miss that tremendously.”

Spectacor went on to establish or buy other businesses, including Philadelphia-area cable channel Prism and WIP-AM. Snider’s company picked up the radio station around the time it was one of the first in the country to transition to an all-sports format.

He also developed what is now the Wells Fargo Center, which opened as the new home of the Flyers and Sixers in 1996. That same year, Snider merged Spectacor with Comcast Corp., bringing together the Flyers, Sixers, Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League, the Wachovia Center and Spectrum.

The company joined with the Philadelphia Phillies to form the regional sports channel Comcast SportsNet, and now runs arenas and stadiums around the country.

“Our business partnership lasted more than 20 years, which seemed improbable at the time, and ultimately transcended into a cherished and special friendship,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said.

Under Snider, the Sixers drafted Allen Iverson and the team reached the NBA Finals in 2001. Comcast-Spectacor sold the team in 2011.

“I’ve adopted the Sixers and I love the Sixers. I really do,” Snider said when he owned the Sixers. “But in hockey, I started from scratch. We named it, we created it. It didn’t exist. Now it’s a worldwide emblem recognized everywhere. It’s my baby.”

Born in Washington, D.C., Snider grew up working with his father in the family’s grocery store. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Snider became a partner in the record company Edge Ltd. before joining the group who bought the Philadelphia Eagles. He sold his stake in 1967.

Snider started the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in 2005. The foundation promotes life skills and hockey through after-school, recreational, and other educational activities. Snider hockey programs are provided at no cost, focus on underserved Philadelphia boys and girls who otherwise would not have the opportunity to play.

“I really want it to be my legacy,” he said.

He is survived by his wife Lin and daughters Lindy, Tina and Sarena, sons Craig, Jay and Samuel, and several grandchildren. He was married three other times.

Knicks’ biggest issue: Reconciling Carmelo Anthony-Kristaps Porzingis age gap

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) gets a high five from forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in New York.  The Knicks won 102-94. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Carmelo Anthony doesn’t avoid the question.

He snickers at it.

Is he concerned his prime and Kristaps Porzingis‘ prime won’t overlap?

“Well, obviously,” Melo said, breaking into laughter.

This – not whether Porzingis plays again this season, not whether Kurt Rambis will remain coach, not whether Phil Jackson has one foot out the door – is the Knicks’ fundamental issue. Their two most important players differ wildly in age, which creates major dilemmas in team-building.

Porzingis is just a 20-year-old rookie still learning the NBA. Melo, 31, sees the last of his best years passing him by.

That’s why it was believable when a report emerged last summer that Melo felt “betrayed” by Jackson drafting Porzingis No. 4 overall. Melo denied it, and Porzingis said the anonymously sourced report didn’t bother him.

“I didn’t take it seriously,” Porzingis said. “Somebody could’ve said that. Whenever I met Melo, that’s the impression I had of him, and I think that’s the impression he had of me.”

Whatever the initial impression, it must be much easier for Melo to appreciate Porzingis now.

Porzingis isn’t nearly the project many predicted. He has been the second- or third-best rookie (depending what you think of Nikola Jokic) behind only Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s having a historically good first year.

Not only is Porzingis productive, he fits well with Melo. Porzingis spaces the floor, giving Melo room to operate in the paint and mid-range. Porzingis’ offensive rebounding becomes more valuable with Melo, who gets up shots (sometimes bad ones) rather than committing turnovers. And Porzingis’ rim protection covers for Melo’s defensive deficiencies. Plus, Melo’s ability to carry the offensive load allows Porzingis to be patient with his shot selection and keep his confidence up.

New York, outscored by 2.7 points per 100 possessions overall, has topped opponents by 0.9 points per 100 possessions with Melo and Porzingis on the court. Great? No. But it’s a start for a team that badly needs one.

Porzingis has three years remaining on his rookie-scale contract, and then he’ll become a restricted free agent (if he hasn’t signed a contract extension first). Melo has three more seasons on his deal, a no-trade clause and a trade kicker that gives him financial incentive to get dealt. The Knicks have their two most important pieces locked up – at least if Melo doesn’t get antsy. And even then, New York retains control on a trade.

The Knicks can meander forward and ignore the age issue, keeping both Melo and Porzingis. But that’d be a disservice to both. They should confront the big questions:

Can they get good enough to win with Melo and Porzingis before Melo declines? And can they do it without sabotaging a post-Melo future with Porzingis? If forced to choose on direction, which will they pick?

First, they must recognize their unusual position.

Among teach team’s three win-share leaders this season, none faces a wider age* range than New York, which features a top three of Melo, Robin Lopez and Porzingis.

*Using a player’s age on Feb. 1

Here’s the spread for each team’s top three:

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Team Oldest Middle Youngest Age range (years)
NYK Carmelo Anthony (31) Robin Lopez (27) Kristaps Porzingis (20) 11
PHI Carl Landry (32) Jerami Grant (21) Nerlens Noel (21) 11
DAL Dirk Nowitzki (37) Zaza Pachulia (31) Chandler Parsons (27) 10
CHI Pau Gasol (35) Taj Gibson (30) Jimmy Butler (26) 9
SAS Tony Parker (33) LaMarcus Aldridge (30) Kawhi Leonard (24) 9
WAS Marcin Gortat (31) John Wall (25) Otto Porter (22) 9
CLE LeBron James (31) Kevin Love (27) Tristan Thompson (24) 7
DEN Danilo Gallinari (27) Kenneth Faried (26) Nikola Jokic (20) 7
LAL Brandon Bass (30) Lou Williams (29) Larry Nance Jr. (23) 7
CHA Marvin Williams (29) Kemba Walker (25) Cody Zeller (23) 6
MEM Zach Randolph (34) Marc Gasol (31) Mike Conley (28) 6
MIN Gorgui Dieng (26) Ricky Rubio (25) Karl-Anthony Towns (20) 6
TOR Kyle Lowry (29) DeMar DeRozan (26) Jonas Valanciunas (23) 6
MIA Chris Bosh (31) Luol Deng (30) Hassan Whiteside (26) 5
NOP Ryan Anderson (27) Jrue Holiday (25) Anthony Davis (22) 5
ORL Nikola Vucevic (25) Evan Fournier (23) Aaron Gordon (20) 5
DET Marcus Morris (26) Reggie Jackson (25) Andre Drummond (22) 4
HOU Trevor Ariza (30) Dwight Howard (30) James Harden (26) 4
IND George Hill (29) Ian Mahinmi (29) Paul George (25) 4
LAC J.J. Redick (31) Chris Paul (30) DeAndre Jordan (27) 4
MIL Greg Monroe (25) Khris Middleton (24) Giannis Antetokounmpo (21) 4
OKC Kevin Durant (27) Russell Westbrook (27) Enes Kanter (23) 4
SAC Rajon Rondo (29) Darren Collison (28) DeMarcus Cousins (25) 4
ATL Paul Millsap (30) Al Horford (29) Jeff Teague (27) 3
BOS Amir Johnson (28) Isaiah Thomas (26) Jae Crowder (25) 3
PHO Tyson Chandler (33) P.J. Tucker (30) Mirza Teletovic (30) 3
GSW Stephen Curry (27) Klay Thompson (25) Draymond Green (25) 2
UTA Gordon Hayward (25) Derrick Favors (24) Rudy Gobert (23) 2
BRK Donald Sloan (28) Brook Lopez (27) Thaddeus Young (27) 1
POR Ed Davis (26) Mason Plumlee (25) Damian Lillard (25) 1

Porzingis spent much of the season second to Melo on the Knicks in win shares, but a late-season slump allowed Lopez to pass him. Over the rookie wall next season (and maybe over Rambis), Porzingis figures to be even better next year.

Plus, Porzingis projects as a center long-term, and Melo has thrived at power forward. If the Knicks are committed to those two, Lopez could be moved.

That all adds up to the likelihood of Melo and Porzingis ranking 1-2 on the team in win shares.

Here are the other teams in the previous 10 years with a top two in win shares who are at least 10 years apart in age:

image

Team Older Younger Age range (years)
2016 NYK? Carmelo Anthony (32) Kristaps Porzingis (21) 11
2015 SAS Tim Duncan (38) Kawhi Leonard (23) 15
2014 SAS Tim Duncan (37) Kawhi Leonard (22) 15
2014 IND David West (33) Paul George (23) 10
2013 DAL Vince Carter (36) Darren Collison (25) 11
2012 PHO Steve Nash (37) Marcin Gortat (27) 10
2012 CLE Antawn Jamison (35) Kyrie Irving (19) 16
2011 PHO Steve Nash (36) Jared Dudley (25) 11
2011 CLE Antawn Jamison (34) Ramon Sessions (24) 10
2010 DET Ben Wallace (35) Jonas Jerebko (22) 13
2009 LAC Marcus Camby (34) Eric Gordon (20) 14
2007 ORL Grant Hill (34) Dwight Howard (21) 13
2007 DEN Marcus Camby (32) Carmelo Anthony (22) 10

History is not on the side of Porzingis and Melo lasting together.

Of the above pairings, just two lasted more than one additional season together: Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard (who are still going) and Ben Wallace and Jonas Jerebko (who played two more seasons with the Pistons).

The Knicks don’t want to emulate that directionless Detroit era, and they probably can’t copy the Spurs. Duncan is historic in his longevity, just as Leonard is in his development.

For now, Melo and Porzingis have mostly said the right things about their potentially awkward partnership.

“He’s been like a big brother to me,” Porzingis said. “…Learning from him and having him at my side – what better situation can you ask for as a rookie?”

But is this the situation Melo seeks as a veteran? Teaching a youngster who’s not ready to play a prominent role on a contender?

Porzingis won’t talk about how quickly he can reach that level, and Melo is loathe to discuss how much longer he can produce like a star.

“If my prime would overlap with him, I would love that,” Melo said. “But…”

Melo trails off, no clear answer to this difficult question.

Grizzlies sign Bryce Cotton for rest of season

Bryce Cotton
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Bryce Cotton for the rest of the regular season under the NBA’s hardship roster rules.

The Grizzlies announced the move Monday. They have two more games before beginning the playoffs.

Cotton has made three appearances for Memphis since signing a 10-day contract April 1. He has played a total of six games and 34 minutes with the Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns this season.

Cotton played 15 games for the Utah Jazz last season. He played in college at Providence and spent time in the NBA D-League and Chinese Basketball Association.