The Knicks are probably going to be bad again next season.
They’re the NBA’s oldest non-playoff team, and they don’t have much flexibility to improve. They don’t have their 2014 first-round pick (or second-round pick or 2015 second-round pick or 2016 first-round pick for that matter). They’re short on other tradable assets, with only Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert carrying much value. Their best player, Carmelo Anthony, is a free agent, and if he leaves, they won’t have cap room.
It’s a dire situation not even Phil Jackson can repair in a year.
“I definitely don’t want to waste another season,’’ Chandler said before the Knicks faced the Nets Tuesday at Barclays Center. “I don’t want to waste this season. I’m not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one. I’m not into wasting seasons.’’
Asked if the Jackson’s plan was more about the future than present: “I’ll cross that bridge when it gets to that point. I hope it’s not that situation.
“That’s decision isn’t going to be in my hands,’’ Chandler added.
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Perhaps, Chandler would be useful in a trade. His expiring contract and ability to play at a high level should make him intriguing to several teams around the league.
If the Knicks can find an available star before 2015 free agency, they could use Chandler’s expiring deal to facilitate a trade. Often teams trading stars want the fresh start Chandler’s ending contract would provide.
Or maybe the Knicks could trade Chandler for a lesser player on an expiring contract plus a sweetener (like a draft pick or solid young player). That wouldn’t cut, at least much, into the Knicks 2015 cap room.
Most likely, the Knicks will keep Chandler and let his contract expire. I understand why he wants a better situation – as he said, careers are short – but he might not have the option. That’s the exchange he made when signing a four-year, $47 million contract.
Three Things to Know: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s friendship changed the NBA
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s friendship changed the NBA. Monday night at Staples Center was the final time LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will share the court together.
It was a bittersweet moment appreciated by the Lakers fans (people new to LeBron fandom), who gave Wade a standing ovation when he entered the game.
Then those fans got to watch the old friends duel on the court like old times. (The pair came into this game 15-15 in head-to-head meetings, but LeBron now finishes with those bragging rights.)
Then, after Wade missed a desperation shot to tie the game late, the two men embraced and exchanged jerseys.
It was a fitting and emotional end to two Hall of Fame careers — ones that forever altered the league.
LeBron and Wade, along with Chris Bosh, fundamentally changed the NBA — they were the players that decided “we’re getting together and forming a super team.” Those players took charge of their destiny, they were not leaving it up to the white guys in suits to decide what they should do (although Pat Riley deserves credit for creating the space to give all three a landing spot). Then they went out and won rings (plural). Other superstars took note, and it’s not just Kevin Durant to the Warriors, it’s the shape of the NBA that is changing because these players owned their power.
Wade and LeBron formed a legendary Heat team that went to four straight Finals, winning two, and providing us with some of the greatest moments and memories in Finals history.
In a few years, they will be sitting on the back deck of Wade’s house in Miami, sharing a bottle of wine that you and I can’t afford, and reminiscing about those days and what they did. They earned that moment. And players who come after them should thank them for showing just how much leverage the players really have.
2) Celtics starting to figure it out, won sixth in a row while their fans dreamed of Anthony Davis. A couple of weeks ago, one of the hot discussion topics around the NBA was “what is wrong with the Boston Celtics?” They were 10-10 and struggling to score enough buckets to win.
Nobody is asking anymore. The Celtics have won six in a row, outscoring teams by a ridiculous 25.6 points per 100 possessions in that stretch.
Monday night — shorthanded without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford — they knocked off Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, 113-100. It was the kind of team win we have come to expect from the Celtics, with elite defense and someone stepping up on offense. This time it was Marcus Morris with 31 points.
That said, Anthony Davis had Celtics fans dreaming of what could be, scoring 41 and looking like the MVP candidate he is. Celtics fans cheered his introduction, and the Davis to Boston rumors will not die, even though Davis is not and will not be available for trade during this season (and Boston can’t trade for him during the season without sacrificing Irving due to CBA rules anyway).
While Davis was the best player on the court, the play everyone is talking out of this is Boston rookie Robert Williams blocking Davis.
The Celtics are racking up these wins through a soft part of their schedule, and that continues for a while (Wizards, Haws, the suddenly struggling Pistons, and the Suns make up their next four).
3) The Warriors are healthy and all back on the court together. Monday night Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green all took the court together for the first time since Nov. 5 — the Warriors are back.
Predictably, that was bad news for the visiting Timberwolves, who fell 116-108. Curry was doing Curry things again and had 38 points.
The Warriors have won four in a row. More telling, however, is how we have talked about Green’s and Curry’s injuries, tried to psychoanalyze the relationship between Green and Durant, and talked about their “problems” and yet here they are, 19-9 and just percentage points out of first in the West, and just starting to come together. Their “problems” have been overblown, and the league is now about to watch them get their legs under them again and go on a run.
Never doubt this is the best team in the NBA and if your team is dreaming of the Larry O’Brien trophy you’re going to have to pry it out of the Warriors’ hands.
BONUS THING TO KNOW: Boban Marjanovic‘s shot can be blocked? Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton is filling up the box score as a rookie, but his defense has a long, long way to go. That said, he had what many thought was the impossible blocked shot on Monday night, shutting down 7’3” Boban Marjanovic.
LOS ANGELES (AP) —LeBron James scored 28 points and the Los Angeles Lakers survived Dwyane Wade‘s 15-point performance in the second half of the superstars’ probable final on-court meeting for a 108-105 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday night.
The game appropriately ended with James guarding Wade, who missed a difficult 3-point attempt in the waning seconds. After the buzzer sounded, and they shared a hug and a chat to close perhaps the final joint chapter of two careers that have intersected repeatedly since they entered the NBA together in 2003.
Wade and James teamed up with the Heat in 2010 to win two championships while reaching four consecutive NBA Finals, and they spent half of last season together in Cleveland.
Wade intends to retire after this season, and Staples Center sent him out of Los Angeles in style with multiple standing ovations and a tribute video in the first quarter.
James and Wade both missed big shots down the stretch, but James hit two free throws with 22.5 seconds left to stretch the Lakers’ lead to three points.
Kyle Kuzma scored 33 points for the Lakers, who have won 13 of 17 overall and five straight at home.
Justise Winslow scored a career-high 28 points for Miami, hitting six 3-pointers in the third stop on the Heat’s six-game road trip.
Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union, was among the fans at courtside as the high-scoring guard played 32 minutes. Wade went 0 for 5 in a scoreless first half, but still had six assists.
He got rolling in the third quarter with eight points in a flurry that recalled his heyday, and he kept up the pressure in the fourth while finishing with 10 assists and five rebounds.
Marcus Morris scores 31, leads depleted Celtics past Pelicans 113-100
With four of their regulars relegated to cheerleaders, the Celtics got a season-high 31 points from Morris and another 21 from Tatum to beat New Orleans 113-100 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.
“The first thing was be a leader,” Morris said. “We had a lot of guys down … and keep trying to play the right way with the guys out there.”
Anthony Davis scored 41 points and Julius Randle had 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which was playing back-to-back games after beating the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday. But Davis also had two shots blocked by Celtics rookie Robert Williams III.
“He had 41,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think everybody has gotten their shot blocked at one time or another.”
Jaylen Brown scored 19 for Boston, which was also without Gordon Hayward and Aron Baynes. Williams, in the longest appearance of his career, had career highs of seven points and 11 rebounds, while picking up three blocked shots – two on Davis.
“Well, he held him to 41,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens joked. “I thought Robert did a lot of good things. When you’re shooting jumpers and Robert’s in the vicinity, you feel him.”
The Celtics scored nine straight points in the last four minutes of the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish. They led 59-53 at the half before Morris hit three 3s – one from the left corner, one from the right wing and one from the top of the key – to make it 68-55.
New Orleans never got closer than nine points after that.
Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation; check out L.A. tribute video