FIZDALE’S SEAT GETTING TOASTY: On Sunday, the New York Knicks dropped their eighth game in 10 tries, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-87 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final scoreline would indicate. Things got interesting after the contest, when two of the team’s top decision makers, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry, held an awkward impromptu press conference where they declared their displeasure with New York’s progress this season while maintaining their faith in the plan they put together and in their head coach, David Fizdale. Really, though, it felt like the two executives said a whole lot of nothing, making the entire exercise rather pointless.
Regardless, it goes without saying that if the Knicks continue going down the porous path they currently find themselves on, Fizdale, who feels the pressure, will be gone. At the same time, is that really going to change anything? The team’s management had a terrible offseason, no matter how the Knicks try to spin it, one where they failed to land a marquee free agent despite having loads of cap space, and responded by signing multiple middling power forwards and no point guards. Basically, years and years of poor decision-making out of New York’s front office continued in the summer of 2019.
And what’s the common thread that all of those poor Knicks offseasons have? They have pretty much all occurred over the last 20 years, when James Dolan became the team’s owner. It’s pretty clear what New York’s principal problem is, and until that problem is no longer there, the team won’t escape this purgatory they’ve been in for multiple decades.
David Fizdale is now 19-73 as Knicks head coach.
ON AAU AND LOAD MANAGEMENT: HoopsHype spoke to various NBA players to find out their thoughts on whether young athletes getting overworked during their AAU days is leading to a need for load management when they get older. Some very interesting comments here from Zach LaVine, Myles Turner and others.
ANOTHER OFF-COURT WAITERS INCIDENT: Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters suffered a panic attack on Thursday during the team’s flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles. The cause of the panic attack? A weed gummy given to him by a teammate.
🤦 It’s far from Waiters’ first issue this season, giving Miami little choice but to suspend the mercurial 2-guard for 10 games without pay. This is Waiters’ second suspension of the young season. Waiters never playing another minute for the Heat is quickly becoming a very real possibility.
SUPERMAN BACK IN THE DUNK CONTEST? Dwight Howard is playing the most impactful basketball he’s played in years. We broke down his game here. Howard is feeling so good, in fact, that he told TMZ he’s thought about doing the dunk contest this season. Howard has one dunk contest victory to his name, which came back in 2008.
LUKA MVP CAMPAIGN: Based on his play so far, there’s a very good chance Mavs guard Luka Doncic receives MVP votes at the end of the season. He would be the youngest international player ever to achieve that, beating Hakeem Olajuwon.
CURRY RETURN: Brandon Payne, Stephen Curry’s personal trainer, spoke to NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh and told him that Curry wants to return this season, but it’ll depend on how his rehab goes.
HAYWARD GOES DOWN… AGAIN: Celtics swingman Gordon Hayward, who was playing the best basketball he has since his brutal leg injury, got hurt again this weekend, fracturing his left hand against the Spurs. A doctor who spoke to the Boston Sports Journal says he could be out for at least four weeks depending on whether he has surgery or not.
RONDO’S SEASON DEBUT POSTPONED: Rajon Rondo was supposed to make his return against the Raptors on Sunday, but had his season debut postponed yet again. Once he does return, one has to wonder how much playing time he gets. Head coach Frank Vogel will have to determine how much he values Rondo’s defense and ability to run the offense versus his poor three-point shooting.
STAR SET TO RETURN: Pistons forward Blake Griffin has been listed as probable for Detroit’s game against the Timberwolves on Monday. It would be his first game action since April 22.
POTENTIAL TOP PICK INELIGIBLE: On Friday, the NCAA announced 2020 potential No. 1 pick James Wiseman has been deemed ineligible. If he doesn’t play again this season, it’ll be interesting to note how much that affects his draft stock.
GETTING PAPER: According to a report, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a new five-year contract with the company, one that will pay him $8 million per year. That’s more than all but 150 NBA players, and as much as Lou Williams makes on his Clippers deal.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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