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Rumor: Knicks to fire David Fizdale ‘soon’

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Just how thin the ice is under David Fizdale’s feet at Madison Square Garden has been a topic of conjecture around the league. Nobody thinks he’s safe — when the owner forces the president and GM to do a press conference 10 games into the season you know things are bad — but considering Fizdale is getting paid for this season and the next one, a mid-season coaching change would only happen if things looked dire.

Is a seven-game losing streak capped by 44-point blowout loss to the Bucks dire enough?

Try to predict the moves of James Dolan and company at your own risk, but at least some in the organization think things may bubble over sooner rather than later. From Ian Begley of SNY.TV:

We don’t have a definitive answer, but one member of the organization said late last month that he expected management to fire Fizdale soon, per SNY sources. The person who expressed the thought isn’t someone who would make the decision to fire Fizdale. But the idea that a member of the Knicks believes a coaching change is coming says a lot about the level of uncertainty in New York right now.

“Soon” is an incredibly vague term, so take this report with a grain of salt. Or 10.

One of the challenges with firing Fizdale mid-season is the organization reportedly was not high on the idea of promoting one of his assistants — Jud Buechler, Keith Smart, or Kaleb Canales — to the big chair. Frank Isola of The Athletic throws a couple more names into the mix of potential replacements.

According to a league source, if the Knicks make an in-season coaching move, one of two assistants – Mike Miller or Pat Sullivan – would likely be promoted.Miller coached the Knicks G League affiliate. Coincidentally, assistant coaches Keith Smart and Kaleb Canales each have head coaching experience.

There are a couple of good reasons to make an in-season coaching change. One is that the team knows it’s going to fire the coach and the person it wants as long-term in the big chair is available right now. Looking at the list of potential interim coaches for New York, that does not apply here.

The other reason to make a mid-season move is that the situation in the locker room and around the team is so bad, so toxic, that it could poison the team into future seasons. The Knicks are certainly losing, and their effort on a nightly basis is unimpressive, but is it really poisonous?

This still feels like Knicks management — president Steve Mill and GM Scott Perry in particular — oversold the Knicks offseason and unrealistically hyped expectations this season. They hyped it to Dolan, who was on board, and the front office itself seemed to buy into the idea this very flawed roster could make the playoffs. When they stunk out of the gate, there has been a letdown. There are now rumors about a management change coming next summer, too, not just a coaching change.

But again, predict what Dolan will do next at your own peril.

Mark Cuban backs off belief NBA season could resume in mid-May

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has backed off his belief that the NBA season could resume in mid-May. In appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Cuban said, “I have no idea” when the NBA could resume the 2019-20 season.

Last month Cuban said he thought a return to play could happen as soon as mid-May. That timeline likely included the NBA Finals being played in late-July, after the two-month suspension of play.

Cuban’s Mavericks were on the verge of making the NBA playoffs. That would have been the Mavs first postseason appearance after a three-year absence. Dallas hasn’t advanced out of the first round since winning the NBA championship in 2011.

Cuban also added about returning to play: “I mean, I haven’t had any conversations where anybody discusses an actual date.”

The NBA season has been suspended since Wednesday, March 11. That night games in Oklahoma City and Sacramento were postponed after players and officials were tested for coronavirus. The league was already prepared to play games without fans present, but suspended operations after positive COVID-19 tests.

Four Nets players who tested positive for COVID-19 showing no symptoms

Kevin Durant
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On a conference call with the media Wednesday morning, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks shared some good news. The four Nets players who had tested positive for coronavirus are no longer showing symptoms.

Kevin Durant was one of the four Nets to come forward and say he had tested positive for COVID-19. Durant said at the time that he was feeling fine, but this report clarifies that he’s now clear of symptoms. Durant has been out for the entirety of the 2019-20 season as he rehabs from the torn Achilles’ he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals.

Over a dozen NBA players tested positive for coronavirus since mid-March. About half of those players have been identified. Multiple reports have surfaced over the last two weeks of players being cleared of symptoms.

Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics was recently cleared of COVID-19 after a positive test. Reports are that he plans to donate his blood plasma to National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project for research on the blood of those recovered from coronavirus.

Watch Kevin Love talk mental health in time of coronavirus on “The Daily Show”

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Since coming forward with his own anxiety issues, Kevin Love has become a person at the forefront of a more public discussion of mental health in society.

Wednesday, he went on the social isolation edition of Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show” and talked about how the isolation and loneliness caused by social distancing can be “devastating” at this time for people battling depression and anxiety.

“I think continuing to create community at this time, that’s a huge thing… speaking of social isolation, it has made navigating this time very, very different,” Love said. (See his full comments in the video above.)

Noah also asked Love about the return of the NBA — Love said he had no idea but thinks this makes it even more open to any team getting the title — and about the Cleveland forward becoming one of the first players to donate money toward a fund to help arena workers who have no job to go to right now.

“I thought it was important to take care of people who had taken care of me so long,” Love said of his donation.

Watch the video above. You get a real sense of how Love is trying to adapt to a new reality, just like the rest of us.

This Date in NBA History: James Harden goes off for then career-high 51 vs. Kings (VIDEO)

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The 2014-15 season is one of several years where James Harden feels he should have been MVP but was robbed by voters. It’s become almost an annual tradition.

Stephen Curry won the award that year — he was bombing threes on his way to 23.8 points and 7.7 assists a game, leading the 67-win Warriors to an NBA title — but Harden put up raw numbers that were right there, 27.4 points and seven assists a game.

Harden made his case for the award on Feb. 1, 2015, with a 51-point outburst against Sacramento that was, at the time, his highest-scoring game ever. He shot 16-of-25 from the field overall, a ridiculous 8-of-9 from three, and he got to the line 13 times. Sacramento had no answer.

Harden has scored more points since — he’s had 60+ point games each of the last three seasons — but this was his first 50+ point game, and to this day remains one of his signature games.