Kurt Helin

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Report: Knicks free agency plan to get free agents who fit triangle offense

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Get the best talent and design the system around them? Or, pick a system and get the best players you can to fit that system? It’s a long-standing debate not just in the NBA but throughout sports. Th

The Knicks are going with option No. 2. They are sticking with the triangle and getting players who can fit it.

That’s what Kurt Rambis — who will be with the Knicks in one capacity or another next season — said, as reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“It shouldn’t be a balance (between finding players to fit a system and building a system around the players). It’s whatever decision you want to make,” Kurt Rambis said. “The decision with management is to get players who fit into the system. Neither way is wrong. It’s about your mindset and what you want to do. And I think the whole process has been to get players who we feel will fit into the system. No team stays pat except the exceptional teams. Everybody is trying to improve and find ways to get better. Naturally, we’ll be one of those teams.”

The Knicks seem committed to the triangle (which certainly impacts the coaching search, but that’s another discussion).

Triangle-friendly players are high IQ players who are good passers and can drain shots from the outside. Or, put another way, the kinds of players every smart team is looking for. Demand for those players will be high, and the market will be flush with cash this summer thanks to the new television deal kicking in (and the salary cap jumping by $23 million or so), which will make finding value a challenge.

There are rumors the Knicks have Memphis’ Mike Conley high on their target list as they need a point guard (although elite point guards have not loved the triangle). He’s a good get, but likely a max or near max guy. Certainly the Knicks will make a run at other top players (Kevin Durant fits in any system) but whether they can get those players to really listen is another issue.

It’s up for debate how well the triangle will work under modern NBA defensive rules that allow a zone, but put that argument aside right now — what the Knicks need is talent. More, younger talent. Athletes. The best guys they can get. Notice how teams such as the Spurs have adapted their system multiple times over the years to accommodate the best players they can get and highlight them? Just a thought I’m throwing out there.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in New York.

 

 

If you want to see history — Kobe’s finale or Warriors history — it’s going to cost you. A lot.

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This is America, where money can buy you anything you want.

However, if what you want is a seat in the building for NBA history — either Kobe Bryant‘s final game at Staples Center or the chance to watch the Golden State Warriors win their 73rd game — it’s going to cost you.

A lot.

I looked around on secondary ticket markets StubHub and SeatGeek for both games, and… damn you better have a lot of disposable income if you want in the building.

The least expensive ticket for Kobe Bryant’s final game Wednesday was high up in the corner of Staples Center, and it is selling for $740 per ticket. Good middle of the court seats in the upper bowl — which at Staples often feels like an afterthought — start at $991 a seat.

The lower bowl for Kobe’s farewell starts at $1,050 and goes up quickly, with most of the seats north of $2,000 each. And if you have way, way too much disposable income there are courtside seats available for a mere $17,000 a seat.

If you, like ESPN, prefer to see the Warriors at Oracle Arena go for historic win number 73 (and likely get it, that is one banged up Memphis team they face) it’s a less expensive than seeing Kobe’s farewell, but it’s not cheap.

The least expensive seats in Oracle — upper bowl, behind the baskets — start at $340 a seat. If you want good, center seats in that upper part of the arena you can get them for $425 or so a chair.

Seats in the lower bowl at Oracle (or, within Stephen Curry‘s shooting range) start at $560 and go up to $1,200 to $2,000 a pop for the good seats. Courtside seats are a mere $3,900 each.

If you’re someone who has enough disposable income and are going to attend one of these games, congratulations. And the next round is on you because you can certainly afford it.

Michigan State freshman big man Deyonta Davis declares for draft

EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY  28: Deyonta Davis #23 of the Michigan State Spartans dunks the ball during in the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Breslin Center on February 28, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
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Deyonta Davis is the classic case of a player where if you just saw his raw numbers — 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds a game in less than 19 minutes a night for Michigan State this season — you’d look right past him as an NBA prospect.

But scouts watched his game and saw impressive potential, which is why he’s a late lottery pick on a lot of draft boards right now and likely will climb higher (as bigs often do) as we get nearer the draft.

Tuesday Davis, a freshman, declared for the NBA Draft, and said he plans to hire an agent (which would end his college eligibility — he’s fully committed).

“I asked coach (Tom) Izzo and (Muskegon High School) coach (Keith) Guy to do research for me,” Davis said in a released statement. “The information that came back made me decide to enter the draft. It was a tough decision, but after talking to my family and coaches, I felt it was the right decision and one I’m fully committed to.”

This is a smart move for Davis, who will get paid to develop his game on the next level.

In a draft that’s not considered particularly deep and will have teams reaching for prospects, Davis looks like a future NBA rotation player. He’s got the size at 6’10” with a 7’1″ wingspan to play the four (where he was mostly in college) or the five. What really grabbed people’s attention was his defensive ability — Izzo switched pick-and-rolls with him, particularly late in games, and he could stay in front of guards and make plays.

PBT’s NBA Draft expert — and Rotoworld writer — Ed Isaacson broke down Davis’ game for us before the tournament and liked what he saw.

A long, athletic freshman, Davis became a major piece for the Spartans as the season went on. He has been effective in the low post, using his good footwork and length to create some easy looks around the rim. Davis is also great working along the baseline, cutting to the rim off of penetration and using his reach to get the ball and finish up around the basket. He has a nice feel for hitting the offensive boards. Defensively, Davis has been solid defending in the post, but he has been very good as a rim protector, again showing a nice feel for being able to get into position quickly and extend to get at the shot.

Stan Van Gundy rips North Carolina “bathroom law,” says league should move 2017 All-Star Game

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 06:  Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons looks on during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 6, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Pistons defeat the Celtics 99-94. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Stan Van Gundy isn’t afraid to say what he’s thinking.

In an era when the Stephen Curry is soft-pedaling his response to the controversial new “bathroom law” in his native North Carolina, Detroit Pistons head coach Van Gundy will step right into the fray and tell you he thinks it’s crap. He’ll say what the NBA itself vaguely threatened to do, which is it should move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.

Here is what Van Gundy said, as reported by David Mayo at MLive.com.

“We went through this. People had their rationale for discriminating against blacks back in segregation,” Van Gundy, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations and head coach, said Monday. “I don’t care, religious liberty and all of that — look, that’s the same stuff that people brought up during the civil-rights movement. They’ll try to justify it with anything they have.

“We shouldn’t have the right in our country to discriminate against anybody and especially in this situation. And I think the league should take a stand.”

Good on Van Gundy.

North Carolina’s rushed law restricts transgender bathroom use (you have to use the bathroom for the gender with which you were born) and preempted anti-discrimination ordinances put in by Charlotte and other North Carolina cities that tried to block discrimination against gays and lesbians. This was passed despite zero evidence of attacks nationwide by transgendered people in bathrooms. This law in North Carolina (and other Southern States) is a pretty naked political move to motivate non-Trump parts of the conservative Republican base in an election year, particularly in North Carolina where it was feared some down ticket races could go to Democrats.

There has been a backlash against North Carolina from business interests — PayPal killed plans for a 400-person global operations center in the state, Deutsche Bank halted plans to add 250 new jobs in what is generally a banking friendly state, other businesses have pulled back, and even Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert in the state.

The NBA moving the All-Star Game would be another blow along those lines. Whether it happens remains to be seen, even if Adam Silver wants it to happen the logistics of moving the massive undertaking that is the All-Star Game — and finding a city with an unbooked arena/convention space/hotel rooms — within a year is difficult.

We’ll see if the NBA — or even other players and coaches — will take the kind of stand Van Gundy was willing to. They should be for inclusion, but maybe they are concerned and want to make sure Republicans buy Under Armour shoes too.

 

Marv Albert to call Olympic hoops for NBC for first time since 1996

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Marv Albert will call Olympic basketball this summer for the first time since 1996.

He is set to be joined in Rio de Janeiro by analyst Doug Collins and reporter Craig Sager for the U.S. team’s games, NBC announced Tuesday.

Albert was the voice of the “Dream Team” run to gold during the 1992 Olympics. He also worked boxing for NBC at the 1988, 1996 and 2000 Games. The lead NBA play-by-play announcer for TNT since 1999, Albert started calling boxing matches again for NBC last year.

Albert “ranks in the pantheon of all-time play-by-play voices,” said Jim Bell, NBC Olympics’ executive producer.

This will be the fifth straight Olympics for both Collins, the former NBA All-Star and coach who now works as a studio analyst for ESPN, and Sager. Sager, the popular TNT sideline reporter, has continued to work as he battles a recurrence of cancer.

Hall of Famer Ann Meyers will also be calling her fifth straight Olympics when she serves as the analyst for women’s basketball. She will be joined by two first-timers: play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff, the voice of the Philadelphia 76ers, and reporter Ros Gold-Onwude, a former Stanford player who now works Golden State Warriors games.

Zumoff’s and Gold-Onwude’s regular jobs are both at Comcast SportsNet regional channels that are part of NBC Sports.