Tag: Orlando Magic

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson says Knicks need to be competitive before big-name free agents will consider them as a destination


The Knicks didn’t make any splashes this offseason in free agency, at least in terms of adding a big-name talent to the roster.

But the moves they did make are the kind that can build a foundation.

This summer was Phil Jackson’s first chance to make a real impact in re-shaping the New York roster, a process that begun at last season’s trade deadline when he jettisoned multiple players and essentially tanked the remainder of the season to get a high lottery pick in this summer’s draft.

In free agency, the Knicks focused on adding lesser pieces, rather than chasing guys who would be unlikely to sign. And as Phil Jackson explained, that was the necessary path to take when looking to rebuild almost from scratch.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com:

Team president Phil Jackson believes the New York Knicks must prove they can be a winning franchise before they can be considered a destination for the NBA’s premier free agents.

“We need to win, be a competitive team,” Jackson said Monday at the Las Vegas Summer League in his first public comments since the Knicks signed center Robin Lopez, shooting guard Arron Afflalo, and forwards Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn in free agency. “I think we showed agents and players around the league a serious nature of what we’re trying to accomplish. People who know basketball will recognize that, and we’ll have people who want to come here.” …

“We made a defensive attempt in free agency to really kind of solidify our team and give ourselves a basis from which we can work from,” Jackson said. “I think everything went according to how we thought it would go. There were some long shots out there that we took, but the reality was, we wanted what we got.

The Lakers might want to pay attention here.

The reality in today’s NBA is that All-Star caliber players are no longer willing to sign up to play in large markets like New York or Los Angeles simply because they’re desirable cities in which to live. Winning matters, especially when the money can be similar at so many different destinations.

This will become even more true in advance of the 2016-17 season, when the salary cap will spike upwards of 30 percent, and literally every team will have money to spend.

Jackson has done a good job making the necessary moves that can provide a significant increase to the team’s win total from last season. And if things go as expected, that will go a long way in making New York an exciting place for free agents to realistically consider — possibly as soon as next summer.

Report: Blazers acquire Magic forward Moe Harkless for future second-rounder

New York Knicks v Orlando Magic

Since the offseason began, the Blazers have been collecting young players on cheap rookie deals from other teams: first Noah Vonleh, then Mason Plumlee, and now Moe Harkless, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

After a promising first two seasons in the league (including a 2013-14 season in which he shot 38.3 percent from three-point range), Harkless largely fell out of the rotation in Orlando last season. He had a down season statistically last year, and it’s clear the Magic don’t have much use for him going forward after bringing back Tobias Harris on a max deal and investing a No. 4 pick in Aaron Gordon last year. But he’s only 22 and still has upside at both ends of the floor. As the Blazers enter their rebuild without LaMarcus Aldridge, they could do a lot worse than to take fliers on young players like Harkless and hope some of them pan out.

Nominees for first ever NBPA “Players Awards” are out

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association  (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.

Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).

The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.

Here they are:

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?

Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.

I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.