Dan Feldman

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Report: Knicks signing Wily Hernangomez, Mindaugas Kuzminskas


Say whatever else you want about Phil Jackson as an executive, but he has shown a willingness to scour the globe for talent.

The big prize: Kristaps Porzingis, whom the Knicks drafted No. 4 last year.

But the Knicks will also look overseas to fill out the roster.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ian Begley of ESPN:

David Pick:

The Knicks acquired Hernangomez, the No. 35 pick, on draft night last year. He played with Porzingis in Spain. Hernangomez is a 6-foot-11, 21-year-old center with a solid all-around skill set, though his athleticism is limited.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas is a 6-foot-9 26-year-old small forward who could get some minutes behind Carmelo Anthony.

Report: Frustration with Westbrook contributed to Durant leaving Thunder


LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat somehow didn’t prepare people for Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors.

LeBron’s best teammate in Cleveland in 2010 was either Mo Williams or Anderson Varejao. Durant had Russell Westbrook.

How could Durant leave Westbrook?

But maybe Durant left in part because of Westbrook.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Their partnership produced four conference finals appearances, and one trip to the Finals, in the last six years. It also produced a simmering frustration that, in essence, paved the way for his exit.

Durant wanted an offense that kept the ball moving and provided him easier scoring chances. The Thunder fired coach Scott Brooks, brought in Billy Donovan, and still the offense stalled out at key moments, often with Westbrook dribbling into oblivion. The Thunder led the NBA in blown fourth-quarter leads last season, despite their firepower.

“Ultimately he got frustrated and felt that they had plateaued,” said a person with insight into Durant’s thought process. “[Donovan] came in,and he still had the same issues that he had with Russ under Scotty. The offense didn’t change much. He still had to take a ton of contested shots every game; and that’s when he had the ball at all.”

I believe Durant and Westbrook are close friends. Their bond was evident.

But so were their frequent frustrations with each other on the court.

That’s not an indictment of either. Durant’s passivity contributed to Westbrook’s ball-dominance, not that Westbrook needed much provoking. There’s always compromise necessary when multiple great scorers partner. The successful teams just find the appropriate balance.

The Thunder didn’t, though they came close, and I think they still could’ve gotten there. All the way until their playoff run ended against Golden State, Durant and Westbrook continued to develop better chemistry.

But nothing was guaranteed, and at minimum, Durant didn’t like the odds. (Saying Oklahoma City plateaued seems like hyperbole from someone trying to frame Durant’s decision a certain way.)

Likewise, nothing is guaranteed with the Warriors. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson jack quick shots all the time. Draymond Green handles the ball a lot as a primary playmaker. Rather than sharing the ball with one other star, Durant will deal with three.

Golden State emphasizes ball movement culturally, and Durant will get plenty of touches. But there will be an adjustment period. If he’s expecting basketball nirvana instantly now that he’s away from Westbrook, Durant will be in for a rude awakening.

That said, the Warriors definitely present a better chance than playing with Westbrook would’ve of an equilibrium that pleases Durant.

Report: Magic trading Shabazz Napier to Trail Blazers

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 01:  Shabazz Napier #13 of the Orlando Magic during the first half at American Airlines Center on March 1, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

LeBron James got Shabazz Napier to the Heat.

Since, the former Connecticut point guard has had a hard time sticking.

Miami traded him to the Magic for a top-55-protected second-round pick that never conveyed. Now, Orlando is dealing him to the Trail Blazers for another minimal return.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Napier hasn’t made a dent in two seasons. The 6-foot-1 guard has looked hopeless finishing at the rim, and his lack of strength has been too much to overcome defensively.

Still, he’s just 24. The last time the Magic dumped a young untested player on Portland, the Trail Blazers got a steal in Maurice Harkless.

Report: Wade, upset with Heat prioritizing Whiteside and Durant, wants $50M over two years — so not Cavaliers

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reaches to save the ball from going out of bounds in the fourth quarter against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 104-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Heat’s stated top offseason priority was Hassan Whiteside. Their reported top offseason priority was Kevin Durant.

And then there’s Dwyane Wade.

With Whiteside locked up on a max deal and Durant headed to the Warriors, Miami is still haggling with Wade.

The Heat reportedly offered Wade a two-year, $40 million contract. He wants more.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade’s representatives have told teams that the All-Star is seeking a deal around $50 million over two years, currently leaving the salary cap-strapped Miami Heat short, sources told ESPN.com.

Wade, who was upset with the Heat prioritizing free agents Hassan Whiteside and Kevin Durant, has pushed the Heat to increase their $20 million per season offer, sources said.

Though there have been rumors of Wade having talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is no traction between the parties, sources said.

I don’t blame Wade for pushing for more money. The greatest player in Heat history, he has taken discounts for years. There always seemed to be an implicit promise of a bigger payday down the road, and it hasn’t come. How much longer should the 34-year-old with bad knees wait?

The Heat can’t offer Wade $50 million over two years right now, but they have a simple route to accommodating him: Trade Josh McRoberts. Clearing McRoberts’ salary from the books would allow Miami to give Wade a two-year, $50,117,407 contract — and match Tyler Johnson‘s offer sheet from the Nets.

McRoberts’ injury issues might make him a negative asset, but the Heat can attach a draft pick to move him. They’ve already traded so many, but at a certain point, they have to find a way to pay Wade.

It might not be the Cavs or Bucks, but Wade will find a team to pay him if Miami won’t.

Report: Other teams still inquiring about LeBron James, but agent insists he’ll return to Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 22:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers attends the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

With Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors, who’s the best free agent who hasn’t agreed to terms? The same player it was prior to Durant’s announcement:

LeBron James.

Despite opting out, LeBron strongly indicated he’d return to the Cavaliers.

Then again, LeBron appeared likely to stay with the Heat in 2014 before returning to Cleveland. So, other teams want to see whether there’s an opening this year.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Doesn’t hurt to try.

Why hasn’t LeBron signed yet? He can’t until the moratorium officially ends Thursday.

Moreover, he must decide whether to take a two-year contract or a lower salary on a one-year deal.