Kurt Helin

Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets

Report: Emmanuel Mudiay happy to have avoided Knicks triangle in draft


The triangle offense (at least as Phil Jackson runs it) does not require a strong, traditional, ball-in-his-hands point guard. Guys who are high IQ players and knock-down shooters can thrive in that role — Steve Kerr, Derek Fisher, etc. — but players like Gary Payton chaffed in the system.

Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay has been one of the breakout stars of Summer League. He’s a pass-first point guard who has shown an ability to get into the lane and then find open players. He’s already got an NBA body and knows how to use that physicality. Most importantly, he plays under control and the game doesn’t move too fast for him — he looks like an NBA veteran out there.

Before the draft there was a lot of talk about Mudiay being Phil Jackson’s choice for the Knicks at the No. 4 pick, then they would plug him into the triangle. Mudiay is happy that is not the case, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay told confidants after the draft he was, in retrospect, happy the Knicks passed on him at No. 4, as he was unsure he would have been a good fit for the triangle. Despite public comments to the contrary that he felt team president Phil Jackson could “make me a star,’’ Mudiay said he felt he was a better match in a more freewheeling Denver offense, according to sources.

This shouldn’t be a huge shock. Point guards like freedom and the ball in their hands and that is what Denver intentionally gave Mudiay at Summer League.

“The first thing you see is he is a true point guard…” Denver Nuggets Summer League coach Micah Nori told PBT. “Guys are going to love to play with him, they are going to continue to run for him because he is a pass-first point guard…. We’ve put the ball in his hands and given him a lot of freedom, and there’s good reason for that.”

What’s more, with the trade of Ty Lawson to Houston, Denver is going to give Mudiay the ball and a lot of freedom come the regular season, too. That will mean some hard lessons (and plenty of losses) in Denver, but Mudiay will grow quickly from it.

Knicks fans should be happy, however, with what Jackson chose to do in the draft.

Big man Kristaps Porzingis impressed — he looked like he can be just as talented and impactful as Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor in a few years. Porzingis is a project and he needs to put on weight to start, but you can see a smooth, high IQ game. He can score or pass to carve up a defense, plus he has shooting range out to the arc but can play inside as well.

Plus, the Knicks drafted Jerian Grant out of Notre Dame, and he has been one of the great surprises out of Summer League, a fantastic passer and floor general. He can step in this season and play some point for the Knicks in the triangle.

“We really enjoy having his playmaking out there, his vision, his comfort level with handling the basketball,” Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said of Grant’s performance in Las Vegas. “That’s one of the things that really excited us when we drafted him at the number we did (No. 19, a trade with the Wizards) because of that ability. To play the guard in our system, both guards need to be able to make plays, and Jerian gives us a little versatility that way, where he and Langston (Galloway) can play together, he can play with Jose (Calderon), a lot of different combinations we can put out there.”


Danilo Gallinari confirms he is in extension talks with Nuggets

Danilo Gallinari

We knew the Nuggets had interest in trying to extend the contract of scoring forward Danilo Gallinari but was the interest mutual?

Apparently so. At the Italian national team media day, Gallinari confirmed that he and his agent are talking contract extension with the Nuggets, reports Sportando.

Gallinari is finally healthy after some rough times following a botched surgery and is entering the final year of his contract, worth $11.5 million.

Gallinari averaged 12.4 points a game and shot 35.5 percent from three last season. He is a versatile scorer who also has some handles and can get a few boards. He had a PER of 16.4, a little above the league average. He would be someone coach Mike Malone could lean on to provide points on the court (something that may be a challenge for Denver at times).

In theory, the Nuggets could offer up to three years and $40 million, but an option to keep an eye on is a two-year extension, maybe in the financial range he is right now. The advantage to the two-year deal for the Nuggets is that they can trade him right away (that three-year deal means for six months he stays). We know the Nuggets have already explored some trade talks about Gallinari as they look to reshape their roster and franchise. Him not being a free agent after this season makes him a more attractive trade piece.

The issue for Gallinari is to balance the security of what the Nuggets are offering now — he has had injury problems in the past — versus trying to cash in when the salary cap spikes next summer and he can be a free agent. It likely comes down to how many dollars the Nuggets are putting on the table.

Chris Paul on DeAndre Jordan: “He’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize”

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers

By the time the Clippers get to training camp, they are going to be spinning how they all sat around before games last season and sang “Kumbayah.” Problems? What problems.

Chris Paul and a number of other Clippers were at the NBA Players’ Awards — the new awards voted on by the players, broadcast on BET Tuesday at 8 p.m. — and before the ceremony he was asked about the wild off-season with the Clippers and the reported issues he had with DeAndre Jordan.

He did everything but sing Kumbayah. From a video posted by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

“DeAndre, he’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize. It doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is we brought in Paul (Pierce), who I’m probably the happiest about because of his championship pedigree, being that voice in our locker room. We brought in Lance (Stephenson), Wes Johnson, brought Austin (Rivers) back, Josh Smith. Big summer for us.”

It was no doubt a big summer for the Clippers and GM Doc Rivers, who made his job as coach a lot easier by adding real depth to the roster.

Paul Pierce was there too and talked about clearing the air for the Clippers at Jordan’s house in Houston.

“I wasn’t there last year with that team, so I kind of sat in and voiced what I thought but I was on the outside looking in,” Pierce said. “I think guys cleared the air if there was any tension, but I think a lot of the media made it more than it was.”

Pierce is coming home to Los Angeles to finish his career, and he answered that question for one of the first of roughly 12 million times he will be asked about it this season.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce said. “I grew up a Laker fan but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams . . . there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”


Suns’ Devin Booker, Pelicans’ Bryce Dejean-Jones put on a scoring show in Vegas (VIDEO)


In Sumer League, Devin Booker has looked like a guy the Suns can use come the regular season. He’s scored 16.2 a game and shooting 37 percent from three. There are things to work on for sure, but Booker may well get some run from coach Jeff Hornacek.

He and the Pelicans’ Bryce Dejean-Jones — who has averaged 12.8 points a game and shot 50 percent from three — put on a scoring exhibition Sunday night in Las Vegas. Dejean-Jones finished with 25, but Booker finished with 31 and the Suns got the victory.

Phoenix will take on San Antonio for the Summer League title Monday night (9 p.m. ET on NBA TV).

Report: Joel Embiid rebroke the navicular bone in his right foot. Ugh.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers

I’m not a doctor, but this sounds like trouble.

The Sixers drafted Joel Embiid at No. 3 a year ago despite foot a foot injury, one which led to a surgery that put two screws in his navicular bone. That bone is on the inside of the foot near the top and helps connect the ankle bone to the rest of the foot. The Sixers were patient with Embiid’s recovery, not pushing him to return.

Then this summer he re-injured his foot. The Philadelphia Inquirer now reports he rebroke the same bone.

Of course, there is the impending surgery on Joel Embiid’s right foot, which should be any day. Sources have confirmed to the Daily News that the navicular bone in his right foot was rebroken.


Again, I’m no doctor but a bone breaking that has a couple screws in it already is not good news.

Embiid is again expected to miss the entire NBA season recovering. It’s fair to start wondering if this is all career threatening.