Undrafted Langston Galloway making mark with Knicks, has sights set even higher

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BOSTON – Langston Galloway considered returning home to his native Louisiana during the All-Star break, but he figured he wouldn’t have enough time to properly visit with everyone in his large and supportive family.

Besides, he had an opportunity of a lifetime in New York.

The Knicks rookie leaned on teammates to secure tickets to All-Star festivities in Madison Square Garden and Barclays Centers. In a highlight of his young NBA career, Galloway watched three days of events, particularly enjoying the actual game Sunday.

“Just looking at it as, hey, maybe one day I can get there,” Galloway said.

Galloway was on hand for the Rising Stars Challenge, too. Asked about the possibility of making that game next season, he lights up.

“Definitely, yeah,” Galloway said. “Shooting for anything and everything possible.”

At this point, anything and everything seems possible for the 23-year-old.

Despite going undrafted, Galloway ranks third among rookies in points per game (11.0) behind only No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins (15.9) and No. 2 pick Jabari Parker (12.3).

Galloway didn’t get called up from the D-League until January, but he has quickly shown:

A clutch streak, making 6-of-9 3-pointers in the final five minutes of a five-point game, including these:

An opportunistic sense for making thrilling plays:

“He just showed a level of composure and poise for a first-year player that was pretty special,”  Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “Didn’t seem to get sped up by competition. Even sometimes the guy’s better than him, he still seems to play at a pace that’s comfortable for him. He’s not afraid to take and make shots when he’s open. Doesn’t pass up on opportunities. And he’s not afraid to guard any guy out there.”

Galloway, who has started 20 of his 24 games with the Knicks, has a real shot at making an All-Rookie team. If he does, he’d become just the 11th undrafted player to do so* and just fourth to do it in the season immediately after going undrafted.**

*Gary Neal, Jamario Moon, Walter Herrmann, Jorge Garbajosa, Marquis Daniels, Udonis Haslem, J.R. Bremer, Chucky Atkins, Matt Maloney, Larry Stewart

**Daniels, Bremer, Stewart

Galloway’s chances are certainly helped by playing in New York. His success in league’s largest market has already boosted his profile.

But how good is Galloway actually?

The main reason he has an All-Rookie chance despite playing a max of 45 games is the underwhelming output – due to injury or otherwise – of this draft class.

And the Knicks have been starved for a young player of his caliber. Sure, his 11 points per game are nice, but they’re hardly historic – at least for teams outside New York.

Channing Frye, the No. 8 pick in 2005, is the only Knicks rookie to average so many points per game in the previous 25 years. Just the Jazz (Trey Burke) and Pacers (nobody) have had so few rookies hit that mark in that span.

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Galloway gets his points in a variety of ways, which is a bit surprising. He shot 39.2, 46.6, 39.4 and 44.7 percent on 3-pointers in four seasons at Saint Joseph’s. Outside shooting appeared to be his only NBA-caliber skill, but Galloway also gets into the lane consistently, and he rebounds well for a guard. It’s hardly a strength yet, but the 6-foot-2 Galloway has also improved as a point guard after primarily playing off guard in college.

If you want to extend it further, he plays with an infectious joy on a team headed for its worst record in franchise history.

“Just going out there each day and having fun, that’s the main thing,” Galloway said. “It’s not a job to me. It’s just like out there having fun like I’ve been playing since I’ve been four years old.”

Not every day of this journey has been fun, though.

Galloway recalls the disappointment of draft night, hearing 60 names – though not his own – called. He took the following day off, his first relaxing day in months. Since Saint Joseph’s lost to Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament, Galloway had been working out daily to prepare for the draft.

On June 27, he just laid in bed and played video games.

“You’d rather be going to another city or wherever you’re playing at,” Galloway said. “But at the same time, just to spend time with my family, they definitely helped me get through that whole day off and then moved onto the next day to start getting back in the gym.”

The Knicks signed him for training camp, waived him and assigned him to their D-League affiliate in Westchester. When New York signed him to an NBA contract, Galloway was ready thanks to his parents.

“They’ve always told me never be scared of anything,” Galloway said. “And just my confidence in myself, knowing I can go out there and compete against anybody in this world.”

It’s a message his extended family, including his uncles, has reinforced.

Appreciative, Galloway is looking forwarding to doing this summer what he didn’t have time to do during the All-Star break – going home and celebrating his success with everyone.

“Eat some crawfish and some bad food that people wouldn’t understand around here,” Galloway said. “But just catch up and eat some Cajun food.”

Jazz center Rudy Gobert hits super-max criteria for extension projected to be worth $250 million over five years

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Anthony Davis signed a max rookie-scale contract extension in 2015, between his third and fourth seasons. Based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement at the time, the extension called for him to earn a higher salary if he was twice voted an All-Star starter or made two All-NBA teams during his first four seasons. Davis was voted an All-Star starter and made the All-NBA first team in his third season.

Unfortunately for Davis, he missed both honors his fourth year. The All-NBA and All-Star-starter tracks ran independently. Davis couldn’t qualify for a higher max salary by earning one of each.

That cost him $19,683,908 over the four pre-player-option seasons of his extension, which will end next year.

The current CBA’s more significant adjustments to super-max eligibility – changing the years for qualification, using Defensive Player of the Year instead of All-Star starter – obscured a minor tweak. The tracks now run together. A player can qualify with one Defensive Player of the Year and one All-NBA selection. He needn’t achieve two of one category.

So, Jazz center Rudy Gobert – who won won Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and made All-NBA this year – quietly became eligible to sign a super-max extension in the 2020 offseason. The extension’s highest-allowable value projects to be $250 million over five years. The first four years would follow the structure of the super-max Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are set to sign.

Newsflash: Gobert isn’t Lillard.

Gobert is elite defensively and underrated offensively. But paying him $50 million per year from ages 30-34 in a league overflowing with good centers? That’s a recipe for disaster for Utah.

But Gobert earned eligibility. That makes it harder for the Jazz to tell him they don’t deem him worthy. That tension is an unintended consequence of the super-max rules.

There is room for negotiation. In this case, Gobert’s designated-veteran-player extension must be for five seasons and have a starting salary between 30% and 35% of the 2021-22 salary cap. But his salary can increase or decrease annually by up to 8% of his first-year salary. The deal can be partially guaranteed.

Still, the lowest possible designated-veteran-player extension for Gobert projects to be $155 million over five years. If fully guaranteed, that’d be expensive for a player of his age. If not fully guaranteed, the Jazz would get savings only by waiving him, and that’d mean dropping the cheaper latter years.

Because he doesn’t have enough experience to qualify, Gobert can’t sign a super-max extension until the 2020 offseason. He met the award criteria, but a player must have seven or eight years of experience. Gobert just finished his sixth year. He’s also under contract for two more seasons – locked into salaries of $24,758,427 next season and $26,275,281 the following year.

So, there’s time to figure this out.

But this is the most uneasy super-max situation so far – unless Gobert just doesn’t insist on the money. Good luck with that.

Rumor: Wizards interested in Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey

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The Wizards struck out on luring Nuggets president Tim Connelly.

Washington’s next choice?

Ben Standig of NBC Washington:

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations

Olshey has done a good job in Portland. He drafted Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum then built a winner around those two after LaMarcus Aldridge left. Trading for and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic to a reasonable contract looks great. Olshey also overpaid Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe and Festus Ezeli, but many teams spent wildly in 2016. It was a weird summer.

The Wizards would do well to hire such a proven executive.

Would Olshey leave the Trail Blazers? Their ownership situation remains uncertain following the death of Paul Allen in October. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has demonstrated extreme loyalty to his executives.

Portland will also reportedly sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension – a move that practically must be made, but one that carries massive downside risk. However, if he goes to Washington, Olshey would be trading uncertainty in Damian Lillard’s value on the super-max for certain negative value with John Wall on his super-max extension.

A couple years ago, Olshey signed his own extension through 2021. Maybe he’s ready to move on.

Or maybe he’s ready to use the Wizards as leverage for a raise.

Rumor: Lakers hired Jason Kidd to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo

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New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.

Steve Popper of Newsday:

the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.

Things I believe:

1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?

2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.

3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.

Drake says Raptors ‘are like a college sports team’ (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors are just one win away from their first ever NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard helped Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 105-99, on Thursday night in game 5. That gave the Raptors a 3-2 Series lead over the Bucs as they head back to Canada on Saturday.

Meanwhile, rapper Drake and a bunch of fans watched the victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Jurassic Park outside of Scotiabank Arena. Elated with the win, Drake of course made statements to local television and to the crowd itself, saying the Raptors were “like a college team”.

Via Twitter:

Game 6 is on Saturday in Ontario at 5:30 p.m. PST.