Author: Kurt Helin

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Report: Nuggets wanted two first round picks for Ty Lawson at trade deadline


At the time of the trade deadline rumors are flying everywhere. Separating teams that are genuinely looking to make a move from teams just looking for a steal can be hard to determine.

Case in point, the Denver Nuggets. They wanted to make some moves at the trade deadline — Timofey Mozgov was sent to Cleveland — but there were rumors they also were shopping Ty Lawson around. They were, but Zach Lowe at Grantland notes they were in the “looking for a steal not a deal” mode with him.

The Nuggets discussed Lawson deals at the deadline, and sources at the time said Denver wanted multiple first-round picks.

They were never going to get that. Lawson’s good but the market is too deep with quality point guards to sacrifice that much to land him.

Lowe discusses this in the context of would Lawson fit with the Jazz as they look to make a leap. He’d be an upgrade at the point for them, but I think there are better fits out there (Avery Bradley or someone similar is a better fit in my mind).

What will be interesting with the Nuggets is to see what direction they try to go this summer. They built an uptempo running team for George Karl that won 57 games, then decided they needed a defensive coach and direction — but they never changed the players around to fit that new style. Shaw’s desire to do it his way and the Nuggets not giving him the pieces for that system cost him his job. This summer the front office needs to first just pick a direction for the Nuggets, and then get a coach and make player moves from there.

Lawson may or may not be a part of that.

Phil Jackson says Knicks will be thinking defense first in draft, free agency

Phil Jackson

Whatever system the Knicks are running next season, what they need more than anything else is better talent on the roster.

However, in selecting that talent look for the Knicks to think defense first. That’s what team president Phil Jackson told season ticket holders at an event Thursday, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.

“Gotta have a defender,” Jackson said. “… That’s a good starting point — a guy like Tyson Chandler (whom the Knicks traded over the summer) is the defensive backup that we have to have. In this day and age in our game, there are so many screen and rolls, so many 3-point shooters, so many things that a player of size has to (do). Not only cover the paint and protect the basket but he has to be able to step out defensively and play a guard. And do some defensive work on the extreme part of the floor so it’s very important that that player have defensive capabilities.”

That answer came in relation to a question about the draft. It suggests that should the Knicks land the top pick; they are among the growing number of teams leaning toward Kentucky’s Karl Towns over Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Towns is the better defender (and the better free throw shooter).

Of course, Jackson was peddling hope for the future to these season ticket holders — yes this season sucked but with the worst record they are guaranteed a top four pick. But he and Knicks GM Steve Mills also talked free agency plans, at least in broad strokes.

“It’s a different approach than in the past — we won’t go after the biggest name out there, we’ll go after players who fit in system and style,” Mills said. “It may in fact be a big-name player but it’s going to be who fits system-wise.”


That system may be a little less triangle, but there needs to be a system.

The Knicks are expected to have $25 million or more to spend, and if they could land Marc Gasol with that they would. But he’s not leaving Memphis for NYC. What Mills is suggesting is the right course of action — New York doesn’t need a home run this summer, it needs some solid singles and maybe a double or two. Get quality players in, build a foundation that can win some with Carmelo Anthony, one that shows hope for the future.

That’s how you draw a big name free agent to come in 2016 (or 2017) — you can’t just sell the brand and the city, you have to have some substance on the court.

Dwyane Wade tweaks knee Thursday, leaves game not to return, could miss time

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade has been carrying the Heat into the playoffs in recent weeks — he’s averaging 21.9 points a game over his last 10 and shooting 38.9 percent from three.

But the knee issues which caused him so much trouble the past couple seasons are still there, which is why this was scary Thursday night.

Wade did not return to the game after this. Officially, the Heat are calling it a bruised knee. The team is not practicing on Friday, so it is likely Saturday before we get a sense of just how serious this was. But it’s not good — Wade hinted he would miss some time in this Instagram after the game.

Miami is already without Chris Bosh (lungs) and Josh McRoberts, to lose Wade too would be devastating. Hopefully, it is not that serious.

The Heat are currently tied with Boston for the final playoff spot in the East, half a game back of Brooklyn. One of those three teams will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs start in a couple weeks.