NEW YORK — The players selected with the first three picks of the NBA Draft were the ones expected, even if D’Angelo Russell overtook Jahlil Okafor, and ended up going to the Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick.
Karl-Anthony Towns went one to the Timberwolves, which meant that with the early lack of surprises, the Knicks should have had a pretty solid plan as to which way they’d go with the fourth overall selection already in place.
But things remain fluid on draft night, so New York listened to offers to trade down.
Phil Jackson told reporters that he had conversations with other teams, but that any potential offers were contingent on how the first three picks played out.
Since nothing concrete transpired, the Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis at four — and despite the fact that more than one scout has projected him to be the best player in this draft class once all is said and done, the Knicks fans in attendance at Barclays Center were, somewhat predictably, less than pleased.
“I mean, a lot of fans weren’t happy that they drafted me,” Porzingis said afterward. “But I have to do everything that’s in my hands to turn those booing fans into clapping fans.
“There’s nothing I can do,” he continued. “I was happy about it. I want to be a part of this organization, and I know the fans are a little harsh sometimes, but that’s how they are here in New York, and I’m ready for it.”
Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson fired by Knicks because ‘people close to you will take the knife and put it in your back’
Jeanie had learned from Jackson’s mistakes in New York, where he took that job as the head of the Knicks front office in March of 2014 and was fired three years later after, as she saw it, he fell prey to the internal politics that have plagued that franchise for decades.
“He should’ve made sure (to control) who was surrounding him, because the people close to you will take the knife and put it in your back,” she continued.
Buss doesn’t name Mills or anyone. But it’s hard not to jump to man who was both Jackson’s predecessor and successor. After regaining control, Mills said he tried to steer Jackson in other directions (which, hopefully).
This reflects poorly on Dolan, whose poor leadership has cast a shadow over the organization for years. There is a toxic culture within the Knicks, from the top down.
But it’s not as if Jackson were simply a victim of that culture. With the notable exception of drafting Kristaps Porzingis, Jackson failed miserably in roster-building. He contributed to the malaise with acomedyofincompetence.
Maybe Mills stabbed Jackson in the back. But Jackson was his own problem, anyway.
Report: Knicks, Lakers, Clippers will pursue Kevin Durant in free agency
The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will take a run at the back-to-back Finals MVP, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Of course, every team wants Durant. But not every team will actually pursue him. Many teams believe they have no chance of signing him and won;t waste their time.
It’s probably not coincidental this early list of suitors includes only the very biggest markets. Durant already plays for the best team in a desirable location. How do you differentiate yourself from Golden State? Maybe by being in an even bigger market.
The Lakers are definitely looking to get LeBron James a star teammate, and Durant’s name has at least come up. But Durant is already dogged by the perception he’s just riding the Warriors’ coattails. He wouldn’t change the narrative by joining LeBron.
The Knicks don’t even project to have max cap space, though they’d rush to move Courtney Lee or someone else to get Durant. But this is already the worst team on the list. New York is going to further deplete its assets while remaining appealing to Durant? Hey, it could happen.
Or maybe Durant will look at these teams and see has it pretty good in Golden State.
It could also go the other way. If Durant gives even the slightest indication he’s interested teams not yet planning to pursue him, they’d jump to get into the race. So, don’t assume Warriors, Knicks, Lakers and Clippers is anything more than the preliminary pool of vying teams.
All game long Miami owned the glass — the Heat grabbed the offensive rebound on 42.9 percent of their missed shots on Thursday night. That led to 16 more shot attempts and nine more free throws by the Heat than the Wizards on the night.
And it led to this, the game-winning putback from Kelly Olynyk with 0.2 seconds left.