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.”

Report: Dwight Howard gave back $2.6 million in buyout with Memphis, what he will make in L.A.

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Dwight Howard will get his money, the full $5.6 million he opted into this summer. The man is getting paid.

The checks are just coming from two different teams.

To facilitate a move to the Lakers, Howard is giving back $2.6 million in a buyout with the Grizzlies — exactly how much he makes on a minimum contract with Los Angeles. From Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN:

My guess is the Grizzlies will just take the cap hit this season to get Howard off the books.

This is exactly how this was expected to go down financially if Howard came to Los Angeles. The risk for Howard is he will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers — they can waive him for whatever reason, pay a small buyout fee, and Howard loses out on the $2.6 million.

That’s motivation for him to follow through on what he promised the team.

 

Former NBA, ABA coach Tom Nissalke dead at 87

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Tom Nissalke, who won coach of the year honors in the NBA and ABA, has died. He was 87.

Nissalke passed away at his home in Salt Lake City on Thursday after facing a “series of health-related problems” in recent years, according to the Deseret News.

He was the first coach of the Utah Jazz after the franchise relocated from New Orleans in 1979.

Nissalke was also an NBA head coach in Seattle, Houston, and Cleveland.

Nissalke got his start in the pro ranks as an assistant with Milwaukee and helped guide a team featuring Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to an NBA title in 1971. His work with the Bucks landed him a head coaching gig with the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals. He led them to a 42-42 record in his first season and was named the league’s top coach.

He was hired the next season in Seattle but was fired after a 13-32 start. Nissalke then coached the Utah Stars and San Antonio before returning to the NBA with the Rockets. He won 124 games in three seasons with Houston, twice taking the team to the playoffs and the 1977 Eastern Conference finals.

Nissalke was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year after going 49-33 in 1976-77.

After retiring, he was active with the YMCA and worked as a radio analyst.

Nissalke is survived by a daughter, Holly, son Thomas Jr, and two grandchildren. His wife, Nancy, died in 2006.

 

How Dwight Howard convinced the Lakers to take a chance on him

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Laker fans Friday sounded like your friends after an ugly relationship and breakup, when you suddenly consider taking that person back. Laker nation took to Twitter screaming “ARE YOU SERIOUS? What are you thinking? Are you even thinking?”

The Lakers, however, are entering a second relationship with Dwight Howard with their eyes wide open — he will sign a non-guaranteed contract to be the team’s center (sharing duties with Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee). Howard will have to prove himself, on and off the court. The Lakers have leverage and can waive Howard and move on to Joakim Noah or someone else quickly if things do not pan out.

But how did it even get to this point? How did Howard — who did his annual summer media tour saying “I have changed, I am taking the game and my conditioning seriously, I just want a chance” and league observers shrugged because they have heard the same thing for years — convince the Lakers to roll the dice on him again? Shams Charania of The Athletic laid it all out.

Howard’s message to [Laker assistant coach Jason] Kidd and the Lakers was the same one he delivered to The Athletic in July from NBA summer league: He’s learned from the past several seasons, learned that, at age 33, he is simply one of the guys now. Howard believes he can contribute at a high level for any NBA team, but the eight-time All-Star also understands he has to focus on rebounding, defense, blocking shots, finishing around the rim and simply playing whenever he is asked… Kidd became convinced about Howard’s newfound awakening…

The Lakers then began setting workouts for free agents, and Howard traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Wednesday. His meeting and workout with the Lakers was set for Thursday, but Howard went to the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon for his own training session. The Lakers were surprised to see him, sources said, and many key decision makers were in attendance…

League sources said Howard had a convincing and emotional meeting with the players and Lakers officials, explaining how he had reached rock bottom a season ago and needed to find a new mindset in his life. On and off the floor. He was not the teammate he needed to be in playing for three teams in the past three years. He did not take the game seriously enough, he did not understand what was needed to turn the corner.

Howard has said all that before. Multiple times. To multiple teams and teammates. Maybe this time he has genuinely figured things out, but whatever he did and said was enough to convince the Lakers to buy in…

To a point.

One could argue — and I would make the case — that Noah would be a better fit on the court for the Lakers’ needs in terms of passing and defense, but he comes with plenty of risks as well (health, getting along with LeBron James, and how much he liked the nightlife as a Knick in New York and what that would mean in L.A.). At least with Howard, the Lakers mitigated that risk with the non-guaranteed contract. If Howard will not accept his role and is disruptive (as he has been in recent stops), if he is still eating candy like a bingeing 10-year-old on Halloween night, if he can’t stay healthy, the Lakers can waive Howard and move on. If the Lakers brought in Noah, they would have been smart to have the same non-guaranteed contract (if Noah would have signed that kind of deal).

For now the Lakers have their man, but he’s basically on probation. Howard has to prove in deeds everything he has said in words.

Report: Dwight Howard agrees to buyout with Grizzlies, will join Lakers on non-guaranteed deal

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Once again, the Lakers are betting that Dwight Howard and his back are healthy. However, this time the Lakers have hedged that bet.

After a workout this week in front of Lakers’ coaches and front office staff, Howard’s agent has worked out a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies, and Howard will sign with Los Angeles, filling the role that had belonged to DeMarcus Cousins before he tore his ACL this summer. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN added vital details.

There’s a segment of Lakers’ fans — a large, vocal segment — that is going to hate this move because of the history. The Lakers get that, but the coaches and staff also know this: If he’s healthy, and if he’s willing to accept a role on the court, if he’s willing to adapt how he is in the locker room and with the staff and front office (there are reasons Howard has bounced from team to team to team in recent years), Howard is the best fit for the Lakers on the court.

Last time Howard was a Laker back issues limited him on the court, and his not taking the game or his conditioning very seriously (Howard has a legendary candy-eating habit) rubbed Kobe Bryant the wrong way. To put it mildly. LeBron James is going to bring that same work ethic and attitude, but now the Lakers have some leverage on Howard with the non-guaranteed contract.

The Lakers had planned to lean heavily on Cousins this season. The Lakers have arguably the best center in the game today in Anthony Davis, but he does he want to play 30+ minutes a night banging away down in the post (nor is he physically built for that). Cousins was going to be the center much of the game, with Davis sliding over to the five for key stretches. But Cousins is almost certainly lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Howard was the best potential fit to replace Cousins on the court, or at least do so in combination with JaVale McGee (it’s going to take both of them to soak up all the minutes at the five the Lakers need). For three seasons, from 2015-16 to 2017-18, Howard averaged 13+ points and 12 rebounds a night, was a big body on defense, and played at least 71 games in averaging 30 minutes a night. Exactly the kind of player the Lakers could use. The problem was Howard was never happy just playing that role and doing those things, which led to disruptions as he pushed for a larger role.

There are two key concerns bringing in Howard. Health is one, Howard played just nine games for the Wizards last season following another back surgery and some hamstring issues. The other is Will Howard accept the role he is given, play hard, and not be a distraction?

If Howard doesn’t fit, the Lakers also worked out Joakim Noah — who impressed a lot of people around the league with his solid 41 games for Memphis the second half of last season — and Mo Speights. They will have other options.

But for now, the Lakers are betting on Howard.