Free agent priority No. 1 for the Knicks — maintain projected cap space for next summer so they can try to bring in one more star player (cough* Chris Paul *cough).
Priority No. 2: find a big defensive minded center, but one will take a one-year deal as not to screw up priority No. 1.
That leaves a pretty unimpressive list. One filled with names like Kwame Brown. Yes Knick fans, Kwame. You’re not going to like it but that’s what you’ll get, according to a list suggested by Marc Berman at the New York Post.
The lockout began July 1 and ended at 3:30 a.m. yesterday with the Knicks having the same grave need for a big, defensive center. With one-year deals at their disposal, it makes their center wish list — as first reported by The Post — rather modest, including veterans Kurt Thomas, Kwame Brown, Tony Battie, Theo Ratliff and Aaron Gray.
Thing is, of that list Brown may be the best choice.
Brown can defend opposing big men one-on-one pretty well. He’s got a big body and can use it when given focused tasks. He’ll be handy against Dwight Howard. If you want good help rotations against the slashing LeBron James or Derrick Rose, or if you want offense, Kwame is not your guy.
If I were the Knicks, I’d make a run at longtime Pacer Jeff Foster. Much better fit on a one-year deal.
But if the choice is Kwame or Theo Ratliff… well, that just doesn’t bode all that well for the Knicks season.
Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple game–winners this season.
But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.
The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.
A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?
Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.
Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:
Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.
But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.
LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.
How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?
LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”
LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.
If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.
So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.
Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul – the banana-boat buddies – comprise the NBA’s most famous friendship group.
With Anthony nearing his end with the Rockets, that puts Houston teammate Paul in an awkward place. But Wade and LeBron are speaking up. So are the Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner and Damian Lillard.
It’s unclear whether Wade is scolding the Rockets or fans/media. That comment is far more loaded if he’s referring directly to the organization. I wonder what he sees at the “real problem” in Houston.
A struggling team waiving a minimum-salary player is rarely viewed as making that player the scapegoat. But Anthony has an outsized reputation due to his long, star-level career. With that in mind, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried to defend Anthony.
But Anthony is a part of Houston’s problems. He’s awful defensively and shooting poorly. There is mounting evidence he’s washed up. Downgrading his role, whether or not that includes waiving him, is a step in the right direction for the Rockets.
It won’t solve everything, and Anthony – after all that he has done in the NBA – should be treated with respect. But there’s no way around his substandard current level of play.