Author: Dan Feldman

Joe Dumars Introduces Josh Smith
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Rumor: Joe Dumars could take over Pelicans’ front office

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Dell Demps is still general manager of the Pelicans, who are a disappointing 12-26 (though injuries certainly contribute). Mickey Loomis – the New Orleans Saints’ general manager – is overseeing Demps.

If that sounds untenable, you’re not alone.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Saints GM Mickey Loomis has taken on a greater personnel role above GM Dell Demps, but rival execs understand that move is only temporary. “Mickey is a football guy, not a basketball guy,” one exec said. And at the D-League Showcase, the buzz was getting louder that it’s only a matter of time before former Pistons executive Joe Dumars — who has a close relationship with Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson — returns to his native Louisiana to assume control.

This isn’t the first time Dumars has been connected to the Pelicans.

The former Pistons general manager has a mixed record. He astutely and meticulously built Detroit into a team that won a championship and reached six straight conference finals. He also tore apart that group, choosing the wrong players to keep and selling too low on the ones he dumped. Then, he threw good money after bad with a series of poor free agent signings.

If Dumars has learned from his mistakes, if he’s more willing to embrace modern methods, he’d be a strong hire for New Orleans.

But if Dumars insists his previous ways will still work – especially if ownership is pressing him to build an instant winner – it becomes a much dicier proposition.

Rumor: Derek Fisher’s job not safe with Knicks

New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher reacts during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. The Knicks defeated the Celtics 120-114. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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The Knicks (20-21) have already won more games than last season.

Young players players like Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant have healthy roles. Veterans like Carmelo Anthony, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are fitting together.

New York’s offense is far more cohesive, and its defense has leaped to tolerable.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher has done a nice job.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll keep his job, according to Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Windhorst:

I’m going to wave a yellow flag on Derek Fisher, as well.

Just hearing some rumbling that there isn’t a lot of – it’s not all rainbows and lollypops there. Just a yellow flag, not a red flag.

Lowe:

I agree with you that there’s some rumblings. I haven’t heard them maybe like you have.

I was unconvinced on keeping Fisher after last season’s disaster. He looked to be in way over his head.

But once Phil Jackson retained Fisher, what more could the Knicks president want this season? Fisher has exceeded reasonable expectations.

He’s in just his second year of coaching, let alone as a head coach. He seems to be improving.

It’s not all rosy. Players have reportedly questioned his grasp of X-and-Os. But credit Fisher for delegating to assistants and motivating the team. Diagramming plays needn’t be his specialty – especially if he works well within his limitations.

Like other areas of his coaching, Fisher has grown as a strategist. It’s logical he continues to progress.

Fast enough for the Knicks?

Fisher is in the second season of a reported five-year, $25 million contract – though it reportedly contains multiple team options. New York could afford to pay him and a replacement coach.

I just don’t understand why the Knicks would. I was far from sold on Fisher in the first place, but they believed enough in him to hire him. They also believed in him enough to bring him back this season.

What could have changed since where they might not give him a third year?

Nerlens Noel, set to start, runs off court just before tipoff (video)

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Nerlens Noel was a late scratch from the starting lineup – as late as can be.

The 76ers big man went to take the tipoff against the Bulls yesterday. Then, suddenly he left for the locker room. Bathroom break?

Noel entered the game a few minutes later.

Kyle Lowry: DeMar DeRozan stopped Raptors from making black and gold main colors

Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan, left, drives past Philadelphia 76ers' Robert Covington during first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
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A couple years ago, the Raptors were considering changing their colors to black and gold.

As we know now, they kept red as a primary color. They just created a Drake-inspired black-and-gold alternate jersey to go with home whites and road reds.

Why didn’t the Raptors go full Drake?

Apparently, DeMar DeRozan.

Kyle Lowry on The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe:

We was supposed to change everything. We was supposed to go to black and gold everything.

And DeMar was like, he didn’t want to do that, because he’s been here with the red and the white – and they’re Canadian colors.

Listen, our colors are red and white. This is what it is. Let’s leave it how it is. We’re Canada’s team.

It’s very cool how the Raptors have embraced being Canada’s team. It wasn’t long ago players like Steve Francis and Vince Carter seemed to loathe it up there.

Now, it’s a place some – including DeRozan – want to be.

We The North has been a brilliant marketing scheme, as it really reflects how fans feel.

Keeping maple-leaf read in the color scheme only helps form that identity.

Matt Barnes says he won’t talk to Derek Fisher during game, because ‘he’ll run and tell’

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Matt Barnes‘ Grizzlies host Derek Fisher’s Knicks tomorrow.

Just don’t expect Barnes – who was suspended two games for fighting Fisher in a domestic-violence incident – to roll out a welcome mat.

Or speak with Fisher at all.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I don’t talk to snakes,” Barnes told the Daily News.

“I know I got to keep my mouth shut because then he’ll run and tell,” Barnes said. “So we’re focused on playing that team (the Knicks). And when I’m retired, him and I will cross paths again.”

Barnes apparently continues to blame Fisher for telling. As if reporting violent behavior, not the violent behavior itself, is the problem.

It might not be for a good reason, but at least Barnes not talking to Fisher is a step toward handling this better.