Report: Greg Monroe to meet with Knicks, Lakers, Bucks, Blazers to start free agency

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This is what Greg Monroe wanted, what he took a big gamble to get. He wanted out of Detroit, where he did not feel wanted in the least. He walked away from an offer in the four-year, $50 million range to play for $5.4 million last season, just to get out of Detroit.

That time has come, free agency is hours from starting and Monroe is a restricted free agent.

While he has been linked to the Knicks since about the minute he turned down that Pistons offer last summer (if not much earlier) the center will meet with four teams, reports Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers are on Monroe’s list on day one of free agency, and there is a possibility he meets with other teams, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

Another factor in the Monroe negotiations: Monroe is interested in a three-year deal with the ability to opt out after the 2016-17 season and hit free agency in the summer of 2017 and take advantage of a salary cap that is projected to hit $108 million.

Monroe is going to get max offers, although at first teams may balk at that two-year opt out. However, with multiple teams in the bidding, someone will offer it to him.

Monroe is a good offensive player whose game may have room to breathe not being paired with Andre Drummond, plus Monroe is a beast on the boards — he averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a game last season.

Monroe would be a strong player at one corner of the Knicks triangle — and let’s be honest, the Knicks need talent upgrades everywhere, and Monroe is a borderline All-Star player. Monroe paired with Julius Randle up front in Los Angeles with D’Angelo Russell feeding them the rock has offensive potential (defense might be an issue). Same in Milwaukee, where they have a nice young team and Monroe with Jabari Parker would be a force up front. Portland is likely to lose LaMarcus Aldridge, and Monroe could step right in that slot.

They are all interesting options. Which is exactly what Monroe wanted.

Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

AP
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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

Associated Press
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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.