Dan Feldman

Golden State Warrior, reportedly: ‘We’ve got problems and it ain’t basketball’

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Stephen Curry insists there’s no panic among the Warriors, who lost three straight before salvaging a two-point home win over the 76ers last night.

On the other hand…

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN on the TrueHoop Podcast, as transcribed by RealGM:

There’s one guy in particular on the team that keeps saying the same thing to me, and I can’t say who he is, but he keeps saying ‘We’ve got problems and it ain’t basketball.’

Wow! This is so juicy! It could mean anything, and it’s fun to speculate.

But a reality check: Golden State is still an NBA-best 53-14. Kevin Durant could still return in the regular season. The Warriors are still favored to win the championship.

On the other hand, if Golden State is blowing up overstated or benign problems, they become significant.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek: Triangle could attract free agents

carmelo anthony
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose have fallen from their peak levels, but they still provide a star’s perspective. And, falling short of outright rebellion, they’ve made it as clear as possible they loathe the triangle offense.

Yet, the Knicks have re-embraced it anyway.

And maybe that’s OK. Kristaps Porzingis touts the triangle. Rose might not be long for New York, and if Knicks president Phil Jackson gets his reported way, neither is Anthony. The triangle could help New York rebuild around Porzingis, prompting Anthony to waive his no-trade clause. The triangle could even improve the Knicks’ lousy defense by better positioning players to get back on D.

But a drawback to the triangle is how few current players embrace the slow-down scheme. That’s a major issue in New York, which has the market to attract major stars.

Again, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff if it gets Anthony to approve a trade. Porzingis should be the Knicks’ priority.

But, in a franchise where denial runs deep, the Knicks aren’t even acknowledging the tradeoff.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek believes the team’s triangle offense can be a potential draw for free agents this summer.

“There might be players that think [the triangle offense is a deterrent], but there are also probably players out there that say ‘Oh man, I’d like to run something like that,'” Hornacek said Wednesday. “There are guys that may not necessarily like to run around and in [screen] staggers and all that stuff. It’s still an offense where guys, if they’re knowledgeable about the game, should like.”

“It’s a strategy that, almost every time down the court if you’re a player, you’re watching things develop. When you look at it that way, it’s actually fun to run,” he said.

Sure, there might be a good player itching to play in the triangle. But that list, already short, shrunk as Jackson tried to push out Anthony. Jackson’s championship luster has faded considerably.

Speaking of Jackson, did Hornacek have a problem with the president instructing the team’s guards on the triangle on the practice court? Hornacek, via Begley:

“No. We talk about stuff all the time,” Hornacek said of Jackson. “So when he comes out and demonstrates for the guys, he’s so used to being out on the court it’s probably fun for him to do. And the guys get another look at it from a guy who has run it for years and years, so it’s good.”

Everything Hornacek said here, on the triangle’s appeal and Jackson’s involvement, can be seen through the same lens: Hornacek works for Jackson and wants to keep his job. Will he? It’s no guarantee, but Hornacek gives himself the best shot by repeatedly publicly backing his boss.

At least Hornacek gets to speak regularly with Jackson. Not everyone gets that opportunity.

Brandon Jennings: ‘#LavarBallSays Bucks in 6’

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The father of potential No. 1 pick Lonzo Ball has said some audacious things. Among LaVar Ball’s claims: He would’ve beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one, his son will be better than Stephen Curry, his son is better than Stephen Curry, his son will play only for the Lakers, his sons are demanding a $1 billion shoe deal.

My favorite part of LaVar Ball’s media tour? Brandon Jennings’ participation in the hashtag it sparked:

Jennings, of course, infamously predicted “Bucks in 6” when Milwaukee (38-44) faced the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh Heat in the 2013 first round. Miami swept the Bucks.

But at least Jennings can laugh at himself, and we can partake.

For what it’s worth, I think LaVar Ball can also handle being the butt of jokes – as long as he’s getting attention. And on that last note, ditto with Jennings.

Report: Lakers shutting down Luol Deng, too

Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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The Lakers are reportedly shutting down Timofey Mozgov for the rest of the season.

The unsurprising next shoe to drop: Luol Deng.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Los Angeles Lakers have effectively shut down healthy veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov for the rest of the season to give the majority of playing time over the final 15 games to the team’s younger players, sources told ESPN.

Rather than play sporadically, sources told ESPN that Deng and Mozgov were comfortable with the decision to shut it down for the rest of the season after meeting individually with coach Luke Walton over the past few weeks.

While sources said the Lakers could revisit the situation with either player before the end of the season, the plan right now is for both to remain inactive.

When the Lakers wanted to win earlier the season, Deng and Mozgov contributed little. Now the Lakers want to lose, Deng and Mozgov have no place on the active roster.

Will Deng and Mozgov ever actually help the Lakers achieve the team’s active objectives?

Eventually, the Lakers will shift from tanking into trying to win. But, by then, Mozgov (30) and Deng (31) could have aged past reasonable production – generously granting that they haven’t already.

And that’s ignoring the opportunity cost of Deng (three years and $54 million left on his contract after this season) and Mozgov (three years and $48 million). The Lakers could have surely spent that money better.

At this point, a reasonable hope is that Deng or Mozgov help even a moderate amount at any point.

Larry Sanders made Cavaliers debut due to ball-boy relayed permission, lack of suit

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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The Cavaliers signed Larry Sanders with the intent of him playing the D-League and hopefully being ready for the playoffs.

But thanks to him being ill-prepared for the NBA’s dress code and Cleveland crushing the Pistons, Sanders played in his first NBA game since 2014 last night.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

He was going to sit on the bench Tuesday and Thursday for Cleveland’s home games in uniform, Lue said, because Sanders didn’t have a suit jacket with him.

Tyronn Lue sent a ball boy into the stands to go find general manager David Griffin and ask him Sanders could play at the end of a blowout.

“I had to get permission,” Lue explained. “I really just wanted to introduce him to the crowd and have him get in, give him a chance to have a standing ovation. I thought it was good for him. When you go through what he’s went through, and you have a chance to get back in the NBA on a pretty good team, I thought it was cool.”

Considering everything Sanders has been through, such a zany debut with the Cavs is only fitting.