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Knicks’ owner James Dolan says he doesn’t want to sell Knicks, won’t rule it out either

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Five billion dollars is a lot of money.

Enough money to have James Dolan keeping the door open to something he doesn’t want to do — sell the New York Knicks. While Forbes estimated the Knicks’ value at $3.6 billion, there have been rumors of some possible interest at more than $5 billion.

That is a ray of hope for a beleaguered Knicks fan base has called for James Dolan‘s head on a pike to sell the team for years now. That sale has never seemed likely. It still doesn’t, although some parties have at least put out “feelers.” Because of the massive amount of money involved, Dolan told Ian O’Connor of ESPN (in a must-read piece) a sale can’t be ruled out entirely.

“No one has come through with a bona fide offer. You hear numbers all the time. … I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued. Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it’s like a stock price. It’s only important if you’re going to buy or sell.”

The Knicks (and NHL’s Rangers, and MSG Network) are owned by the Madison Square Garden Company, which is a publicly traded company that Dolan heads. (It was formed in 2010 when Cablevision spun off the Knicks, Rangers, and MSG Network.) While the company is publicly traded, the majority of stock rests in the hands of Dolan and his family (his father and five siblings). And if they don’t want to sell…

“I love the Knicks and Rangers, right, but you still have a responsibility to your shareholders. They’re not there because they’re fans. You don’t invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a stock because you’re a fan. You do it because you think that the business is going to increase in value, that the stock price is going to go up….

“I could never say that I wouldn’t consider selling the Knicks. Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote. … As a majority owner, I don’t want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can’t say you can’t sell, because then you’re telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won’t invest with you if you do that.”

All of which is to say, don’t bet on a sale anytime soon unless there is a shareholder revolt. And that revolt would need someone (or someones) inside the palace to help out, or it goes nowhere. If the Dolans don’t want to sell, nothing gets sold.

For now, the status quo holds.

In recent years, Dolan has stayed away from basketball decisions more and more. He let Phil Jackson do things his way until it was obvious that was a mistake. Now the current power structure — Steve Mills, Scott Perry, David Fizdale — has been given a lot of room to build a new culture and identity. That takes time, it’s far too early to judge that process. Let’s just hope Dolan continues to give the professionals room and time to do their job.

Since, apparently, he’s not going to be selling anytime soon.

Adam Silver uses phone to change name and number on futuristic jersey (video)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has opened the annual All-Star Technology Summit by touting the “smart jersey of the future.”

Silver used an app on a phone to change the number and name on the back of a jersey that was displayed on the side of the stage where he spoke, flipping it from a Kemba Walker model to a Stephen Curry model to a Michael Jordan model. Silver laid out what a fully customizable fan experience may look like in the NBA in 2038, right down to changing the name on the jersey those fans wear to games.

Silver’s address opened the summit, a platform for discussions about basketball’s future and the role of evolving technology.

The tech summit is in 20th year and draws hundreds of top league executives. Panels are scheduled on sports betting, disruptive technology, the relationship between athletes and technology, and ways to attract fans of the so-called Gen Z – the 2.5 billion people worldwide born between 1997 and 2010.

Chris Webber, Ben Wallace headline Hall of Fame finalists announcement

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CHARLOTTE — Chris Webber — a four-time All-NBA player, five-time All-Star, and part of the Fab Five at Michigan who helped change the game of college basketball — is back on the doorstep of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

This time he is joined by the defensive force that was Ben Wallace, as well as Bucks and UCLA legend Marques Johnson.

The finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame were announced Friday at a ceremony in Charlotte, home of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. Who gets in will be announced in Minneapolis at the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Here are this year’s list of Finalists with NBA ties:

CHRIS WEBBER — It’s his turn to get in. Webber has the resume: Four-time All-NBA player, five-time NBA All-Star, 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year, he averaged more than 20 points per game for nine seasons, and he led the NBA in rebounds per game in the 1998-1999 season. And that’s just in the NBA — remember this is the “Basketball Hall of Fame” so being a key part of the “Fab Five” at Michigan that went to two Final Fours, and more importantly revolutionized the college game, counts as well. He deserves to make the cut, hopefully, this time the voters put him in.

BEN WALLACE — A rock on the defensive end, he is a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, doing so in a five-year span — and the one year he didn’t win it he helped lead the Pistons to an NBA title (2004). He made the NBA All-Defensive team eight times (five times first team), three times made the All-NBA team, and was a four-time NBA All-Star. He also led the league in rebounding twice. If we’re going to talk about defense being half the game, then Wallas has to be considered.

MARQUES JOHNSON — The Milwaukee Bucks legend is a first-time nominee. He averaged 20.1 points and 7 rebounds per game in his 11-year career and was five-time NBA All-Star plus made the All-NBA team once. In college, he helped legendary coach John Wooden win his final NCAA title at UCLA, and in 1977 was named the National Collegiate Player of the Year.

BOBBY JONES — A legend in Philadelphia who helped the Sixers to their last NBA title back in 1983. Jones was a lock-down defender who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight straight years, plus he was a four-time All-Star and in 1983 won the Sixth Man of the Year award. Jones started his career in Denver when the Nuggets were in the ABA and he made the ABA All-Star team, All-Rookie Team,  and two times was on the league’s All-Defensive Team. He also has a silver medal from the disputed 1972 Olympics.

SIDNEY MONCRIEF — Playing for the Bucks and Hawks, Moncrief was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, made an All-NBA team, is a five-time All-Star and four times made the All-Defensive Team.

JACK SIKMA — An icon of the Seattle Supersonics, he helped lead that team to a title in 1979. Sikma is a seven-time All-Star is the only center in NBA history to lead the league in single-season free throw percentage at .922 (1987-88).

PAUL WESTPHAL — Westphal won a ring with the Boston Celtics in 1974, and in his career was a three-time All-NBA player and a five-time All-Star. He is a member of the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor.

HUGH EVANS — A legendary referee, Evans officiated nearly 2,000 regular season NBA games, 170 NBA Playoff games, 35 NBA Finals games and four NBA All-Star games.

BILL FITCH [Coach] – Fitch coached in the NBA for 25 seasons, twice being named Coach of the Year. He led the Boston Celtics to a title in 1981 and still holds the highest winning percentage of any coach in Celtics history (.738).

Also nominated for the Hall of Fame.

• College coaching legend Eddie Sutton.

• Leta Andrews coached high school basketball for over fifty years and is the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female.

• Barbara Stevens is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins, doing so over a 40-year career at the Division II level.

• Teresa Weatherspoon is a WNBA legend: Five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She was the first player to rack up 1,000 points and 1,000 assists in the WNBA. She also has an Olympic gold medal.

• Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein and legendary Los Angeles Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler are the 2019 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

• Del Harris, who has spent 50 years coaching and teaching the game, and Harry Glickman — the “father” of professional sports in Oregon — will be honored with lifetime achievement awards.

All-Star Weekend betting odds: All-Star Game MVP, Dunk Contest, more

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It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Luka Doncic is the favorite to win the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night.

Nor should it be a shock that Stephen Curry is the odds-on favorite to win the Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night. Or that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are at the front of the line to win the All-Star MVP on Sunday.

But are there some value bets in there that could pay off? Maybe. Let’s look at the odds for the weekend events, starting with All-Star Game MVP on Sunday, then moving into Friday night’s rising stars (you should have money on this if you’re going to sit through the dunk fest from young players). These odds are courtesy BetOnline.ag.

2019 NBA All-Star Game MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo 6/1
Kevin Durant 6/1
LeBron James 13/2
Stephen Curry 7/1
Kemba Walker 15/2
Joel Embiid 17/2
Paul George 17/2
Kyrie Irving 9/1
Anthony Davis 10/1
James Harden 10/1
Russell Westbrook 12/1
Kawhi Leonard 14/1
Dwyane Wade 20/1
Blake Griffin 33/1
Ben Simmons 33/1
Bradley Beal 40/1
Damian Lillard 40/1
Klay Thompson 40/1
Karl-Anthony Towns 40/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 50/1
Dirk Nowitzki 50/1
Kyle Lowry 66/1
Nikola Jokic 66/1
Khris Middleton 80/1
D'Angelo Russell 100/1
Nikola Vucevic 100/1

How is Jokic longer odds to win MVP than Nowitzki? Has anyone watched those two play this season? The challenge here is that anyone good enough to be in this game is capable of putting up MVP stats for a night, the question is which guy wakes up in the morning and says “I want to win MVP tonight” and goes out and takes over. Hometown hero Kemba Walker at 15/2 could be that guy.

2019 NBA All-Star Rising Stars MVP

Luka Doncic (DAL) 4/1
Ben Simmons (PHI) 4/1
Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 8/1
Jayson Tatum (BOS) 9/1
Deandre Ayton (PHX) 10/1
Kyle Kuzma (LAK) 10/1
Trae Young (ATL) 10/1
OG Anunoby (TOR) 12/1
Bogdan Bogdanovic (SAC) 12/1
De'Aaron Fox (SAC) 12/1
Lauri Markkanen 12/1
Marvin Bagley III (SAC) 20/1
John Collins (ATL) 20/1
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC) 20/1
Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) 20/1
Kevin Knox (NYK) 20/1

This could go a lot of directions, but Kuzma at 10/1 is tempting — the guy is an elite scorer, he could put up massive numbers. Tatum and Mitchell also could decide to take over and win it. As a side note, Team USA is -3 in this game over Team World. I have no idea why. Home team advantage because the game is in the United States?

2019 NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest Winner

Stephen Curry (GSW) 2/1
Devin Booker (PHX) 9/2
Seth Curry (POR) 5/1
Buddy Hield (SAC) 6/1
Joe Harris (BKN) 13/2
Damien Lillard (POR) 8/1
Danny Green (TOR) 10/1
Khris Middleton (MIL) 10/1
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 12/1
Kemba Walker (CHA) 12/1

Brooklyn’s Harris might be the second best pure shooter of the group (Stephen Curry is maybe the best all time, so he’s on top), and at 13/2 there’s some value play there.

2019 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest Winner

Dennis Smith Jr. (NYK) 3/2
John Collins (ATL) 5/2
Miles Bridges (CHA) 5/2
Hamidou Diallo (OKC) 3/1

Miles Bridges is the hometown guy, but outside that I’ve got nothing for you.

2019 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge Winner

De’Aaron Fox (SAC) 3/1
Luka Doncic (DAL) 4/1
Trae Young (ATL) 4/1
Mike Conley (MEM) 11/2
Nikola Jokic (DEN) 6/1
Jayson Tatum (BOS) 13/2
Kyle Kuzma (LAK) 7/1
Nikola Vucevic (ORL) 8/1

It takes a combination of speed and three-point accuracy on pull-ups to win this game. Fox makes sense as a favorite, but Conley and Tatum maybe could be surprise threats if their shots fall.

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma: ‘I’d rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about’

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Kyle Kuzma gained acclaim last season because he played well and played for the Lakers, the NBA’s most prominent franchise. Then, LeBron James went to Los Angeles and brought even more attention to the Lakers.

SiriusXM NBA Radio:

Kuzma:

I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want people to talk about me, good or bad. Because if they’re not, you’re not doing something right. I’d rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about.”

It’s great Kuzma has this mentality while playing in Los Angeles. The glitz of a large market can sidetrack some players. He has acclimated well. Few players would admit it so bluntly, but if this is the lifestyle Kuzma wants, good for him.

However, the Lakers will likely try to trade for Anthony Davis this offseason. That could mean sending Kuzma to small-market New Orleans. Trying to win a title during LeBron’s prime, the Lakers could also deal the young Kuzma for a different older, better player.

At least it probably won’t be to Orlando. The Magic don’t have a star worth trading Kuzma for.