By the end of his rookie season, it was pretty obvious that the Knicks needed to move on from the Carmelo Anthony era and embrace a rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis.
Unless you are Phil Jackson. Unless your goal is to leave the Knicks as a legacy to the brilliance of the Triangle offense above all else.
After Porzingis blew off his end-of-season meeting with Jackson there was serious talk about trading him, reports Ian Begley of ESPN. However, we start this bit of an excerpt from earlier in his story about 2017 and the Knicks with the idea that most wanted to build around Porzingis.
Some members of the Knicks organization became convinced in the summer of 2015 that the club was better off trading Anthony and building around Kristaps Porzingis. A little more than 12 months later, that feeling was shared by nearly all of the Knicks’ decision-makers. “Everybody was on board to try and get rid of Carmelo,” is how one source familiar with the matter described the sentiment. “The feeling in meetings was almost unanimous…
Young star Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with Jackson and then general manager Steve Mills over what team sources described as frustration with the drama and dysfunction surrounding the franchise. Jackson and the Knicks then discussed potential trades of Porzingis with several teams in the days and weeks leading up to the NBA draft. Those conversations were painted in some corners as Jackson teaching Porzingis a lesson after the skipped exit meeting, but multiple sources familiar with the matter say that there were members of the organization in favor of trading Porzingis at the time.
It is not uncommon for different people within a front office to disagree about a course of action (to use a well-known example, there was a lot of debate among the Warriors a few years back about trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love, but in retrospect, GM Bob Myers made the right call).
However, what was going on with the Knicks feels different. The majority of the front office was ready to move on from Anthony, and Jackson certainly had his issues with ‘Melo, but things got personal with Porzingis and almost set the franchise way, way back. If Jackson had gotten close to a Porzingis trade around the draft, would owner James Dolan have stepped in earlier than he did and make a change? Fortunately, Jackson is gone and the new management has a plan — build around KP — that is showing progress.
But somewhere in an alternate universe….
Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.
Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.
The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.
That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.
Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.
Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.
The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.
The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.