Kurt Helin

DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, six All-Stars to play in NBA Africa Game

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NEW YORK (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks will play for Team World in the NBA Africa Game.

Dirk Nowitzki and Kemba Walker had already been chosen as captains for Team World. The squad includes Portland’s CJ McCollum, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Denver’s Wilson Chandler, New York’s Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa, who most recently played with Phoenix.

The rosters were announced Thursday for the second game featuring players born in Africa and second-generation African players against a team from the rest of the world. It will be played Aug. 5 in Johannesburg.

Team Africa, captained by Luol Deng and Thabo Sefolosha, will be rounded out by Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder, Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, Houston’s Clint Capela, Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng, Toronto’s Serge Ibaka, Luc Mbah a Moute, most recently with the Clippers, Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay and Dallas’ Salah Mejri. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, from Cameroon, is on the roster but won’t play because he is recovering from injury.

The game will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.

Report: Knicks reach deal to hire Scott Perry as team’s new GM; Kings seeking compensation


The Knicks are about to make a smart hire in the front office.

Whether they give him the real power to help build a young team around Kristaps Prozingis remains to be seen — he’s still got people loyal to James Dolan all around him, including his boss — but this is a good hire.

The Knicks have reached a deal with former Orlando and current Sacramento front office person Scott Perry to be their GM. Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com was first with the news.

However, the deal is not finalized because New York and Sacramento are still figuring out how much cash to send back to California to get Perry out of his deal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This is going to get done and is a smart hire.

Perry worked the past few seasons in Sacramento, but when Rob Hennigan was fired as the man in charge of the Orlando Magic, Perry — his assistant GM — was let go as well. That surprised people around the league, and the Kings swooped in and made him Vlade Divac’s No. 2 — then the Kings had their best off-season in a long time. Perry will not get all the credit for that, but plenty of other executives at Summer League in Las Vegas see him as being a strong influence in Sacramento’s decisions.

How much power Perry actually has in New York remains to be seen. He still reports to James Dolan’s right-hand-man Steve Mills — the team president who gave Tim Hardaway Jr. $71 million — and a lot of the rest of the front office remains in place. Perry may not be able to change the Knicks culture. (There’s a reason David Griffin walked away.)

Still, this an upgrade over the Phil Jackson regime. Perry will do things differently, such as work to have a good relationship with Porzingis. Maybe he can push the Carmelo Anthony trade across the goal line.

The Knicks have with Porzingis the hardest part to get in rebuilding — a franchise cornerstone player. Now comes getting the right pieces around him, being patient with the process, and resisting the urge to bring in guys just to chase the eight seed (we’re looking at you, Dolan). If Perry can have real power, the Knicks are in good hands.

Report: Knicks seeking veteran point guard, talking to Suns about Eric Bledsoe

eric bledsoe

At point guard next season, the Knicks have promising rookie Frank Ntilikina and the just-re-signed Ron Baker. They could use a veteran presence running the show if they have dreams of fighting for one of the bottom couple of playoff seeds in the East (not likely, but not a wildly unrealistic dream considering the weakness in the bottom half of that conference).

The Knicks have considered bringing back Derrick Rose or signing Rajon Rondo, but with the Baker signing they don’t have the money for either. Man in charge Steve Mills also is looking at bigger fish such as trading for the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.

According to a source, the Knicks are among a multitude of teams that have inquired about 31-year-old Ramon Sessions, who played for the Hornets last season….

A source told The Post the Knicks inquired about Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, whom Jeff Hornacek coached in Phoenix. Bledsoe is 27 with two years and $29 million left on his pact. The Knicks don’t have many trade chips except a future first-round pick and starting shooting guard Courtney Lee.

“Don’t have many trade chips” is a kind way of putting things. The Suns are rebuilding and Bledsoe is their best trade chip, so they will want good young players and picks back, things the Knicks just don’t have. That said, there are other teams who may be willing to deal a point guard for Lee, who could be a “3&D” wing off the bench on a quality team.

The Knicks want to focus on developing their young core — Kristaps Porzingis, Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Willy Hernangomez — but they could use a veteran to both be a mentor off the court and a guy who organizes the offense on it. They will need to find one via trade, find someone willing to sign for basically the minimum, or start Baker. Trade makes the most sense, if they can find a dance partner.

Paul George says Warriors, Pacers talked about trade, but Indiana reportedly wanted Klay Thompson


Golden State adding Paul George to it’s stacked roster?

That was always the longest of long shots from actually happening. However, if you’re a smart general manager — and both Kevin Pritchard in Indiana and Golden State’s Bob Myers are smart — you at least pick up the phone and start a conversation. Because you never know what might develop.

George was interviewed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski for both SportCenter and his podcast, and George talked about possibly going to the Warriors. Indiana called Golden State but asked for Klay Thompson, but that’s as far as things got because the Warriors are not moving one of their top four players. Fred Katz has the transcription at the Norman Transcript from the podcast.

And as the Pacers shopped their best player, they put a call into Golden State, offering George for Splash Brother Klay Thompson, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on a recent podcast he recorded with George.

“Yeah, I think that would’ve been the Chris Paul-to-L.A. situation where they denied that trade,” George laughed. “Yeah, I was aware of it. I would’ve looked forward to it, of just being in a good situation and a chance to compete for a championship. But it didn’t happen. It’s still fun to team up with a special talent and have a chance to compete against that team.”

George was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a move he did not see coming.

Would the Warriors be better with George instead of Thompson? Thompson is a slightly better three-point shooter, George a slightly better defender against larger players (such as LeBron), but the two are close to even. However, it makes no sense for the Warriors to consider this deal — they would need to max out George next summer when he is a free agent, as opposed to two years away for Thompson.

Just let this be a reminder pretty much every player wants to go to the Warriors.


Report: Knicks in talks to make Scott Perry team’s new GM


After the Orlando Magic had let him go right after the season, the Sacramento Kings swooped in and picked up Scott Perry to serve as an assistant GM. It was a move applauded around the league as Perry is widely respected, and the Kings then went on to have their best off-season in a long time (Perry alone is not responsible for that, but in Las Vegas a lot of other teams thought Perry had a huge influence on the Kings’ moves).

Now the Knicks are talking about bringing Perry in to become their general manager, working under team president Steve Mills, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley of ESPN.

Good on the Kings for letting him look at a promotion.

Perry would report to James Dolan’s right-hand-man Mills, the man who gave Tim Hardaway Jr. $71 million, plus Perry still would have in place Knicks front office staff that has been in place for several regimes — don’t assume that hiring Perry changes the Knicks culture. It doesn’t. (There’s a reason David Griffin walked away.)

Nonetheless, Perry would still be a quality hire. It essentially would put a smart adult in the room.

The Knicks have an opening because Doland let Phil Jackson go (a good thing) just days before the start of free agency without a Plan B (a very Dolan thing).

Perry is available because when Rob Hennigan was fired as the man in charge of the Orlando Magic, Perry — his assistant GM — was shown the door as well. That surprised people around the league. While the Magic saw Perry as part of the problem in creating too soft a culture in Orlando, outside the organization people saw Perry as the bright mind too often ignored (for example, Perry wanted to pull the trigger on a potential DeMarcus Cousins trade, it was Hennigan who did not).

The Knicks are rebuilding around a young core led by Kristaps Prozingis, and they are trying to trade Carmelo Anthony (likely to Houston. but when is unclear). Perry will help with that if they give him real power and a good staff.