Executives say Sixers have brighter future than Knicks

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It’s rough for the Knicks right now. They have lost nine in a row and 18 of 20. Players are infighting — Carmelo Anthony reportedly threatened to punch Tim Hardaway Jr. — and apparently none of them like the triangle offense. Derek Fisher is fumbling around as first year coaches often do. Phil Jackson said the players are resisting the culture change needed in the organization. On top of all that it appears ‘Melo’s knee could need surgery.

What could be worse?

How about hearing most executives around the league would rather be in the Sixers’ shoes long term than the Knicks?

That’s what a couple front office people told Adam Zagoria of The Knicks Blog.

“If [Joel] Embiid is [Hakeem] Olajuwon instead of [Greg] Oden, the answer is Philly,” one NBA executive told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog. “The Knicks have one first-round pick in the next two years, zero second-round picks and zero worthwhile International rights guys. Philly has two first-round picks this year, four second-round picks in the next two and the rights to [Dario] Saric and [Vasilije] Micic. Melo is better than any current 76er but Philly has a far better coach and more talented young players.”

A former NBA GM chimed in with similar thoughts on who has a brighter future.

“The Sixers, long term,” he said. “They have young talent and multiple draft picks.”

The Sixers have been naked and unabashed in their “going bad to get good” plan, to the chagrin of other owners. The thing is, it might work. We’ll have to see how the players they have and will draft pan out — how good is Joel Embiid going to be? Nerlens Noel? Michael Carter-Williams? And on down the line, like can they keep K.J. McDaniels as a role player?

The Knicks have Anthony, Hardaway and… free agents they hope to land. They, like the Lakers, are taking the Adam Dunn/Jim Thome/Reggie Jackson approach at the plate and swinging for the fences with every free agent out there this summer — Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo and on down the line. New York has the lure of the Knicks brand, of Madison Square Garden, of the city of New York, and of Phil Jackson running the show.

It’s almost certainly going to be another strikeout this summer. Love isn’t stupid, he’s staying put with LeBron. Gasol would be a perfect triangle big man but he’s in a good spot with a team and city he likes in Memphis and isn’t expected to move on. Same with Aldridge in Portland. As for Rondo, go look at the history of point guards who can’t shoot in the triangle offense and tell me why he’d want to go there. The Knicks challenge is players are forcing their way to be with other players — Love is the prime example — and right now the Knicks don’t really have a good way to get those first young players to start the trend.

The Sixers… they may already have those guys. Come 2018 we may all think Sam Hinkie is brilliant.

And who knows what Knicks fans will think of Phil Jackson then.

Chris Paul on 2020 Olympics: My wife wants to go to Tokyo

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.

So great, he might even take on extra workload.

Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:

I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.

We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.

Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.

If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:

Chris Paul

Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament

Did John Beilein’s methods lead to Dylan Windler’s season-ending injury?

Former Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Dylan Windler
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John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.

Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?

Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.

There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.

Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.

But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.

Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.

Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.

The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.

But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.

Bucks’ minor-league coach suspended two games for rant (video)

Bucks minor-league coach Chase Buford
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Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

G League release:

Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.

I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.

I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.

In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.

Watch entire Kobe Bryant memorial service (video)

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:

But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.