— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) January 4, 2016
Jeff Teague thought Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t looking.
Porzingis was looking.
Josh Hart‘s play since coming to the Knicks has made him a lot of money.
Already a darling of many front offices, Hart has been a seamless fit in New York, averaging 11.1 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Tom Thibodeau, playing quality defense, and being the kind of plug-and-play wing every team can use. He’s quickly become a fan favorite in New York, but the Knicks will have to pay up to keep him. Hart has a player option for $12.9 million next season that he is widely expected to decline — there’s a lot more money and years available to him on the open market.
Hart told Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape he wants to find a home, and he hopes that it is in New York.
“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” Hart said. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York and hopefully the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”
That is the polite way of saying, “I like it here but you’re not getting a discount.”
While Hart will have made a tidy $33 million in his career when this season ends, his next four-year contract will be worth more than double that amount — this is the deal that sets up generational wealth for Hart’s family. This is a business and he has to make the decision best for him, as much as he may love the Knicks.
Expect the Knicks to pay up, especially as long as Thibodeau is around. This is a deal that should come together.
But first, Hart and the Knicks are headed to the playoffs, and Madison Square Garden will be rocking. It’s going to be the kind of experience that makes a guy want to stay with a team.
Willis Reed, the legendary Knicks’ center whose dramatic entrance onto the Madison Square Garden floor minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals sparked the team to its first title, has died at the age of 80.
The National Basketball Retired Players Association announced Reed’s passing. While no cause of death was announced, it was known Reed had been in poor health for some time.
“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s. He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.
“As a league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP and member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, Willis was a decorated player who took great pride in his consistency. Following his playing career, Willis mentored the next generation as a coach, team executive and proud HBCU alumnus. We send our deepest condolences to Willis’ wife, Gale, his family, and many friends and fans.”
Reed had an amazing career — highlighted by the two NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards, plus being a seven-time All-Star — but he is best remembered for a legendary 1969-70 season. That year he became the first player to sweep the regular season, All-Star Game and NBA Finals MVP awards.
However, it was him walking out on the court for Game 7 of the Finals in 1970 — after he suffered a thigh injury in Game 5 and had to miss Game 6 of the series, and the Knicks had no answer for the Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain without him — that became the moment of legend. Reed scored four early points that game, and while he was limited the rest of the way he sparked the team to its first title (Walt Frazier’s 36 points and 19 assists had something to do with the win, too).
Our Captain. pic.twitter.com/2Bg1ro4y37
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 21, 2023
Reed was born in 1942 in Hico, Louisiana, and stayed in the state through college, leading Grambling State to the 1961 NAIA title. Considered an undersized center at 6’9 “, teams quickly learned he played much bigger than that as he went on to win the 1965 Rookie of the Year award.
Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds a season over the course of his career, and he had his No.19 retired by the Knicks. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.
The Timberwolves could finally get their roster whole this week — just in time for a final postseason push — with the return of both Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards.
That could happen as soon as Wednesday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
There is optimism that Minnesota Timberwolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards (ankle) could return as soon as Wednesday vs. Atlanta Hawks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Towns, sidelined since Nov. 28 with Grade 3 calf strain, is on the cusp of a major return.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 21, 2023
Facing the Hawks and their bottom-10 defense could be a soft landing spot to bring Towns and Edwards back.
Towns suffered a strained calf in November that was expected to keep him out for 4-6 weeks. However, he had a setback in January, reports Jon Krawczynski at The Athletic, and it has taken until now to get back. Towns averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game this season before the injury, but his efficiency was down (32.8% from 3), and his fit with Rudy Gobert and Edwards was clunky. The trio needed more time to sort everything out, but the injury robbed them of that.
Edwards rolled his ankle last week and it looked much more severe at the time, but he was listed as day-to-day and has bounced back quickly. Edwards is a player who prides himself on playing nightly and pushing through nagging injuries.
The return has come at a critical time for the Timberwolves, who sit as the No.8 seed as of this writing (tied for 8-10, officially) in a West where 1.5 games separate the No. 7 and 12 seeds. The Timberwolves need wins and getting their two best offensive players back should be a boost.
However, the fit of this Timberwolves roster — radically overhauled last offseason — was rough in the season’s opening month before Towns was injured. Now the players are being thrown back together for the first time since then. Having a real floor general and pass-first point guard in Mike Conley now should smooth the transition, but the Timberwolves don’t have a lot of season left to work out the kinks, and they need wins now to ensure they make the postseason (ideally as a No.7-8 seed to have an easier path out of the play-in).
Dillon Brooks sat out the Grizzlies’ March 5 loss to the Clippers after reaching 16 technical fouls this season — hit that number and the league gives a player an automatic one-game suspension. After that, with every two more technicals a player earns another suspension.
Brooks had gotten another and was up to 17 heading into a critical game Monday night against Dallas, when he did this:
Dillon Brooks received his 18TH TECH of the season for taunting Mavs bench after this dunk 😨
He could be suspended Wednesday if not rescinded pic.twitter.com/puo16oYPbp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2023
Brooks will likely be suspended by the league Wednesday against Houston, the game where it appears Ja Morant will return to the court. Don’t look for the Grizzlies to appeal and try to get this technical rescinded, as coach Taylor Jenkins said, via Joe Varden of The Athletic.
“At this point, I don’t think we even try anymore,” Brooks said.
What was Brooks doing? Telling Theo Pinson he was a cheerleader.
I got some real estate I see..😂 https://t.co/V81QyWfxbf
— Theo pinson (@tpinsonn) March 21, 2023
Brooks’ rough night included him trying to do a jersey swap with Kyrie Irving after the game, but Irving not accepting Brook’s jersey (Brooks stepped on Irving’s foot during the game, aggravating an injury and had Irving leaving the building in a walking boot). After the game, Brooks admitted he needs to rein things in a little.
“I’ve got to tone it down and get back to my mindfulness practice and find ways to channel it better,” Brooks said.
Brooks needs to do this for the sake of his pocketbook — this is two game checks lost to suspension, and that doesn’t even include the $35,000 fine for shoving a cameraman.
Brooks plays with an edge, it’s part of what makes him effective — he’s the guy that gets under the other team’s skin. However, it’s one thing to walk the line and another to step over it constantly. Brooks needs to do better at knowing where that line is.
The good news for the Grizzlies and Brooks is the technical count gets wiped out for the playoffs and starts over (with suspensions starting at seven).