Author: Kurt Helin

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

New York Times trolls Knicks with “wanted” ad in paper


This appeared in Tuesday’s New York Times:


That’s quite a dig.

With their loss Monday night, combined with a Philadelphia win over Cleveland, the Knicks took over as the team with the worst record in the NBA. And I think we can all agree, if you love the game of basketball then the Knicks are not easy to watch.

However, that was a bit of a cheep shot by the Times.

As noted by Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie (among others), the life of Knicks beat writer for the Times Scott Cacciola is not that bad. Yes, he has to sit through some tough games and the travel can be daunting, but he gets to cover sports for a living, working for the greatest American newspaper. Things could be a whole lot worse. We in the NBA media will have complaints about or jobs now and again, like everyone else, but at the end of the day we’re fortunate. I’m a basketball junkie who is lucky to have this outlet, this platform and this team of writers at PBT. I don’t want to take a moment of it for granted. I don’t know Cacciola, but I bet he feels much the same way.

That said, the Knicks do suck this season.

Nick Young prefers playing for Lakers over Clippers because of “atmosphere of winning”

Nick Young

The Lakers are 11-24 and on pace for a franchise worst record this season. The Clippers are 23-12. If you’ve been paying even vague attention for the past few years we are clearly in a swing of the pendulum when the Clippers are one of the NBA’s better franchises and the Lakers are… rebuilding. To put it kindly.

Nick Young doesn’t see it that way.

He was with the Clippers for 22 games back in 2011-12, a year the Clippers made the second round of the playoffs. Young has spent the last two seasons with the Lakers, not coming close to the playoffs.

But he said this in comparing the franchises, with the two teams are set to meet Wednesday night, as reported by Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (hat tip to Eye on Basketball).

“Being a Laker, there’s nothing like it,” Young said. “I think I learn more just being here and being around an atmosphere of winning, toughness and learning how to play under a great player like Kobe (Bryant).”

Atmosphere of winning?

We listed the numbers above, right? The Lakers are 38-79 since Young joined the squad.

Lakers fans will jump into the comments below spouting their Lakers exceptionalism — the brand is about winning the Buss family is about winning, Kobe Bryant is all about winning, look at the banners, yada yada yada. That is what the Lakers have sold for years. I will grant you that Dr. Jerry Buss was an exceptional owner who built a culture of winning, one of professionalism throughout the organization. Jim and Jeanie Buss are trying to carry on that legacy, how things are going is up for debate (I think it’s far too early to judge them).

The problem for the Lakers is that the moves to flatten out the NBA talent base in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement were essentially aimed right at them, trying to cut them off at the knees. The methods they used to rebuild and restock in the past will be much more difficult to execute now — nobody is giving an NBA Championship team the No. 1 overall pick the next year so they can snap up James Worthy again. The Lakers can’t just outbid teams for the top free agents because they have the money.

It’s going to take far more crafty, far more patient ownership to rebuild the team this time around. Los Angeles is still a draw, the Lakers brand and fan base are still draws, but the market has changed. The question we will see the answer to over the next few years is have the Lakers adapted to the new reality?

As for the Clippers, well, Young was there during the Donald Sterling era. It’s far too early to judge what kind of an owner Steve Ballmer will be, but I will guarantee he’s better than Sterling.

Carmelo Anthony: “I’m all right, I’m not shutting it down for the season yet”

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Clippers

The Knicks’ front office may want him to, but Carmelo Anthony isn’t shutting it down yet.

He also wants fans to be patient with the Knicks and the plan to rebuild.

He talked about those things in a diary-style video on the Uninterrupted page on Bleacher Report. After saying it’s been a roller coaster of a season, Anthony said this about where he is physically and with the team.

“I’m all right, I’m not shutting it down for the season yet, just trying to take some time to get it right. I know there’s a lot of fans out there that are kinda upset, kinda down on the team, kinda down on the players right now, kinda down on the situation, but I will say it will be greater later. Just be patient with the team, with the organization, with the journey, with the plan, with what we’re trying to create, what we’re trying to accomplish. Greatness don’t happen overnight, but that’s what we’re trying to build here.

“As far as me, I’m rehabbing. I’m around the clock getting treatment, therapy, trying to do what I got to do so I can be at my greatest.”

I’ve said before that clearly he wants to prove he’s worthy of the massive five-year, $124 million contract he signed last summer. That’s something you want in a player. There also is speculation he is concerned about having knee surgery — as he should be, surgery is no small step, it’s not to be taken lightly.

But shutting it down — and getting surgery on the knee if it is required — would be the best thing for him and the Knicks.

Just my guess, he guts it out through the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden, where he will be voted in a starter representing the Knicks. After that, he’ll shut it down.

Knicks waive Samuel Dalembert; Heat waived players to avoid guaranteed deals

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

On Jan. 10, if a guy on an NBA roster has a non-guaranteed contract, it becomes fully guaranteed for the year.

To allow for time for a player to clear waivers before that happens, players on non-guaranteed deals being cut loose on Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be others, the deadline is 5 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The first wave of that has started and the biggest name out there is the Knicks center, Samuel Dalembert. This was expected but has been confirmed by Marc Stein of ESPN.

Dalembert is a shadow of himself as a defensive presence in the paint, but it is very possible some team will take a run at picking him up and seeing if he can help a little.

Davies is the former BYU star who had been a member of the Nets this season.

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel had some interesting thoughts on the guys Miami cut loose.

PBT Extra: Did anyone really win big in three-team Dion Waiters trade?

Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA’s trade season got off to an interesting start with a three-team deal on Monday, which sent Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland, and the Knicks will get a lot of cap space.

So who did well? That’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in the latest PBT Extra. I think the Cavaliers did fairly well, the Knicks got what they wanted, and the Thunder…. well, they didn’t really give up much on this roll of the dice on Waiters.