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Report: Knicks say they didn’t trade for Anthony Davis because he didn’t fit their long-term plan

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When he requested a trade from the Pelicans, Anthony Davis was reportedly equally interested in the Lakers and Knicks.

Los Angeles obviously traded for him. There was only minimal chatter about Davis to New York.

Why weren’t the Knicks – run by president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry – more interested in Davis?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Unlike other major stars recently, Davis had expressed interest in playing for the Knicks. But Mills and Perry told people they were turned off by the Pelicans’ high asking price of multiple first-round picks plus multiple young players, even though the Knicks had that type of package thanks to their Porzingis trade. They said it would have undercut their long-range plan of building through the draft and developing picks into stars.

It’s reasonable the Knicks didn’t trade for Davis. Los Angeles gave up a ton for him. Beating that offer would’ve really depleted New York beyond Davis.

Davis can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. How good would the Knicks have been this season with him? Enough to guarantee he wouldn’t leave in the offseason? The Lakers had the advantage of already having LeBron James. They could be more confident Davis would enjoy his season in Los Angeles before free agency.

Plus, the Knicks seemingly had a chance to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Why give up assets for a star when you can just sign a star directly?

But I’m struck by the ever-shifting plans in New York.

Steve Mills took over the Knicks in 2017 by stating a commitment to rebuilding around young players. He listed the cornerstones: Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez.

Yet, the Knicks have already traded three of those four players. Only Ntilikina remains, and it’s wasn’t clear New York would exercise his fourth-year option until doing so last month. He’s not entrenched.

The Knicks dealt Porzingis and Hardaway to clear cap space. Last March, Knicks owner James Dolan boasted about his team’s likelihood of landing big free agents. Everyone assumed he meant Durant and Irving.

Then, somewhere during the Davis trade saga, Perry and Mills were apparently back onto the young-player-development track?

To be fair, circumstances change, and plans should be flexible. Teams shouldn’t stick with a doomed plan just because it was the plan. Adjusting on the fly, when necessary, is important.

But so is identifying and implementing plans that will work. Some circumstance changes are foreseeable.

It’s also convenient that Mills and Perry are supporting the plan that will take the longest to execute. That’ll keep them in their prestigious jobs longer. The Knicks stink on the court, but Mills and Perry can sell that as the cost of prioritizing young players and getting another high draft pick. The executives don’t want to be judged on their won-loss record. They want to shift focus to a more-difficult-to-nail down, long-term vision. That might not work, but it’s worth a shot.

It definitely wouldn’t have worked if they traded for Davis, who would’ve significantly raised expectations for a team that would’ve still had a hard time meeting them.

Love from former teammates, players pours in as LeBron James passes Kobe

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With a running layup across the lane Saturday night, LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant, moving up to third on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list.

After that, the love started to pour in for LeBron.

First it came from his teammates, then from the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, smart basketball fans who appreciate greatness when they see it.

Next Kobe Bryant Tweeted his congratulations.

Then the love flowed in from across the spectrum, including former teammates and other players. Here is just a taste.

LeBron trails only Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the scoring list, with LeBron 4,733 points back of Kareem. The scoring champ was on SiriusXM NBA Radio this past week and he also showed his appreciation for LeBron — and added LeBron could pass him.

“I think it is up to LeBron. If he wants to do it, he’ll do it. He has the talent. He has the opportunity. So it’s just up to him as to how he wants to end his career. I certainly cannot be upset about it. The reason that they keep these records is so that we learn how we are improving. And we learn how to teach the game, taking note of the accomplishments of the great players. So, hey, it’s a natural progression. I don’t have any problem with it.”

Rumor: J.R. Smith to get workout with Los Angeles Lakers

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This is probably nothing.

The Lakers head into the trade deadline — where they have limited players and picks to make a move — and the buyout market looking for a secondary playmaker to come off the bench, plus some more shooting.

J.R. Smith doesn’t fit either of those needs at this point in his career, but he is going to get a workout with the Lakers, reports Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson at Heavy.com.

According to a Lakers source close to the situation, Smith will get a workout with the Los Angeles Lakers next week.

“There are no guarantees,” said the source. “They want to see what he can do and if it is a fit, we’ll take it from there.”

Smith and LeBron James have a history together going back to AAU ball, and Smith was on LeBron’s 2016 title team in Cleveland. Smith also made the blunder in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals that cost the Cavaliers any hope in that series.

However, if the Lakers wanted Smith, they could have signed him at any point this summer. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Smith evolved into a gunner off the bench, a high volume shooter and scorer who creates shots for himself, which won his Sixth Man of the Year back in 2013 but does not fit what the Lakers are looking for right now.

Also, Smith’s skills have been in decline. Last season, Smith, 34, played just 11 games for the Cavaliers — none after November — and struggled with his shot, hitting 30.8 percent from three and he had a dreadful true shooting percentage of 44.4 (he is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three). Smith did not want to be part of a rebuild in Cleveland and asked to be traded, but the team could not find a taker that wanted Smith’s contract and would send a pick back for him. Cleveland waived Smith in July and, while he met with the Bucks, he has been without a contract since.

Don’t read much into Smith getting a workout, there could be a lot of reasons for this. Maybe this gets him on another team’s radar, but it’s hard to see how he helps the Lakers take a step forward right now.

Once again Zach LaVine has huge game against Cavaliers, scores 44 in win (VIDEO)

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 44 points for another dominating performance against Cleveland and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cavaliers 118-106 on Saturday night.

LaVine made 16 of 30 shots and had 27 points at halftime. The 6-foot-5 guard also finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists, falling just short of his first career triple-double.

It was LaVine’s second big game against Cleveland in eight days. He scored 42 points on Jan. 20, including 21 in the fourth quarter when the Bulls rallied from a 15-point deficit to win.

Cleveland, which has lost seven straight and 12 of 14, had no better success stopping LaVine this time. He drove past his defender for clear looks at the basket, scored when he was double teamed in the lane, hit five 3-pointers and was 7 of 8 from the line.

LaVine was held to 16 points when the Cavaliers beat the Bulls in Cleveland on Oct. 30. The teams play for the fourth and final time this season in Chicago on March 10.

Tomas Satoransky had 19 points for the Bulls, who were coming off a home loss to Sacramento on Friday and arrived in around 1:30 a.m.

Kevin Love scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds for Cleveland. Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman each had 18 points.

The game was tied at 69 midway through the third quarter before the Bulls went on a 30-7 run to go ahead 99-76. Chicago outscored Cleveland 40-19 in the period.

Cleveland cut a 24-point deficit to 112-103 with two minutes to play, but got no closer. The Cavaliers had lopsided home losses to New York and Washington this week.

Chicago didn’t play like a team that’s been plagued by injuries. Forward Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, will miss four to six weeks because of an injured right hip. The 7-footer had an MRI on Thursday after experiencing soreness in the hip for about a week.

 

Watch Kyrie Irving drop 45 points, lead Nets past Pistons in OT

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DETROIT (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 45 points in the third quarter to overcome a double-digit deficit and the Brooklyn Nets went on to beat the Detroit Pistons 121-111 in overtime Saturday night.

The franchises are among many sub-.500 teams in the Eastern Conference, likely vying for the last two spots in the playoffs.

Irving made free throws early in the extra period to put Brooklyn ahead and end a five-game losing streak.

The Nets went ahead 106-104 with 38.4 seconds left in regulation when Andre Drummond was called for goaltending. Derrick Rose had an unforced turnover on the ensuing possession, then made up for it with a tying layup with 1.9 seconds left.

Irving missed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, sending it to overtime.

Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Rose had 27 points for Detroit, scoring more than 20 for the 12th straight game to extend his career high.

Drummond had a double-double in the first quarter and finished with 20 points and 21 rebounds. He has an NBA-high eight games with 20 or more points and rebounds and 40 in his career, tying Bob Lanier’s franchise record.

Drummond had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter, which ended with the Nets ahead 26-25.

Irving took over in the third quarter, scoring eight consecutive points in the game and a total of 12 points in 2:02. His scoring surge helped the Nets go into the fourth quarter with an 80-77 lead.