Knicks "Plan B" of Johnson/Stoudemire fast becoming "Plan A"

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Thumbnail image for stoudemire.pngThe Knicks will be in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, making their pitch to LeBron James — you can be the biggest star on the biggest stage. We can bring in another star with you. There is nothing like winning in New York.

But hours before they do that, they will be pitching Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire on reuniting with Mike D’Antoni in New York, according to Alan Hahn at Newsday.

They will meet with Johnson and Stoudemire on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, just minutes after the free agency period begins, then fly overnight to Cleveland, he reports.

For years, LeBron has been the Plan A in New York. Problem is, if winning really matters to James, it’s a long shot. The Knicks have admirably cleared the decks of an endless stream of bad contracts and are ready to rebuild. But other teams are a lot closer to a title. A lot.

The Knicks realize this, and they are hedging their bets.

The Johnson/Stoudemire Plan B is not LeBron but it is not bad either. It would be the most talented Knicks team in a decade instantly. They would win some games, be entertaining, be respected and show the ship is turning around.

One little fly in the ointment — in Phoenix there was Steve Nash. He fed Stoudemire rolling to the rim and Johnson spotted up at the arc. New York doesn’t have Steve Nash or even a bad facsimile of him. The Knicks would need to find or trade for a free agent point guard who can run the show.

The other little problem — Stoudemire and Johnson could both stay where they are. Stoudemire and Suns owner Robert Sarver will meet this week, although Amare is largely expected to test the market. Johnson and the Hawks ownership will meet and if, as rumored, they offer him a maximum extension, that would be hard to turn down.

But the Knicks can’t focus on that, because they don’t want to go to Plan C.

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.