ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Brian Windhorst on Thursday’s episode of The Jump if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was using the Lakers’ offer as leverage to gain more assets from the Celtics, and Windhorst said he believed that to be the case: “I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers. But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They’ve preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers’ offers haven’t changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don’t really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would’ve already made the Lakers deal.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Pelicans and Celtics are involved in a stare-down, and he thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are being used to drive up the price for his star. “I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the number four pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics.”
Brian Windhorst: “They’ve preferred a deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the GM. The Lakers offers haven’t changed that much... if he wanted to make the Lakers deal, and if he really wanted the draft pick, he would have already made the Lakers deal.”
Marc Stein: The Lakers, thus far, are sticking to their no-Kuzma trade posture ... but let’s see if they maintain it with the draft only a week away now. L.A. knows it likely needs to land Anthony Davis before June 30 to become a factor in chasing a prime free agent to join a LeBron/AD duo
Bobby Marks: Keep in mind that Anthony Davis has a 15% trade kicker worth $4M after July 1. Not altering the bonus would have big financial implications on what Boston would have to send out and toward what type of flexibility Los Angeles could have.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in separate trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans in pursuit of All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The Lakers and Celtics are negotiating competing trade packages to acquire Davis, whom New Orleans EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin seems intent on trading prior to the NBA draft on June 20, league sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
Among the current young Lakers, New Orleans covets Kuzma the most. According to people familiar with the Lakers’ thinking, Kuzma has ingratiated himself with the organization both on the court and off, and management does not want to trade the forward, who is entering his third season. The Lakers might have an opportunity to keep their No. 4 pick should they agree to part with Kuzma.
Marc Stein: The Lakers' ability to seal a deal for Anthony Davis likely hinges on what the No. 4 pick can fetch. If the No. 4 pick can land a player to excite New Orleans, on top of Ingram and Ball, then the teams are headed for an agreement in principle before draft night next Thursday
Marc Stein: My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides
Tania Ganguli: One player that the Lakers’ trade discussions with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis could hinge on? Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers do not want to trade him, but the Pelicans want him as part of a package, sources tell me and @Brad Turner.
Marc Stein: The Lakers have made Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the June 20 draft available in trade talks with the Pelicans, league sources say. New Orleans has made it known it hope to assemble a three-teams-or-more deal before surrendering Anthony Davis
Adrian Wojnarowski: To be clear, of course: The Celtics and Lakers are trying to negotiate independent deals with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. There's no spirit of cooperation here. The Lakers No. 4 pick would be used to acquire Davis in a multi-team deal that does NOT include Boston.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Celtics and Lakers are engaged in trade talks with New Orleans on All-NBA star Anthony Davis, league sources tell me, @Zach Lowe, @Ramona Shelburne and @Brian Windhorst. Lakers No. 4 pick has been discussed as trade chip to help Pels acquire high-level player in multi-team deals.
The Lakers, who have been interested in acquiring Davis since he asked for a trade in January, "remain aggressive," Wojnarowski said during a Tuesday appearance on SportsCenter.
Davis submitted a four-team preferred destinations list to the Pelicans in February [...] but it is believed that list has been narrowed in focus. Davis is now focused on the Lakers and Knicks as the two desired long-term destinations, league sources told The Athletic. Davis has not given Griffin or the Pelicans a new formal list. He will be a free agent in 2020.
The Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick in the draft, have been motivated to pursue Davis sooner rather than later. The Lakers still have their young core of players intact, such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and the No. 4 pick. There is intrigue to see how the Lakers handle these trade talks, after providing less-than-appealing offers to the Pelicans during the trade deadline in February. For the Knicks, securing Davis would be a step to try to begin attracting talent around Davis with a significant upcoming free-agent crop in Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, a lot of people inside of New Orleans' organization wouldn't have to reconsider anything. They were high on the Lakers' offer from the start. Speaking on The Sedano Show, here's what's McMenamin had to say: I spoke to several people within the Pelicans' organization in the past several months that have a really high opinion of Brandon Ingram, and beyond just Brandon Ingram, have a really high opinion of the trade package that was on the table that was ultimately rejected.
New Orleans could have eager trade suitors -- the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks -- should Griffin engage trade talks, but so far that hasn't happened, sources said. Griffin has been determined to make a case to Davis over time.
Fletcher Mackel: Per the “over my dead body” reports out there regarding Gayle Benson, the Lakers and Anthony Davis. I have spoken to Gayle. She laughed at the report and called it “totally absurd,” and “completely untrue.” @wdsu @basketballtalk @Rachel__Nichols
But Pelicans owner Gayle Benson fired Demps and said the new lead executive would report directly to her, not to Loomis. So, will anyone left in New Orleans stop a trade of Davis to the Lakers? Jackie MacMullan of ESPN: We have been told, I think, through channels – most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt – that Gayle Benson has basically told him, “To the Lakers, over my dead body.”
The Los Angeles Lakers seemed like they might have the inside track on acquiring Davis after the two teams’ reported trade discussions earlier this season. However, the Pelicans came away from that debacle unhappy with how business was done. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on “The Russillo Show” podcast that he thinks the Pelicans are still ticked about that and won’t make a deal with the Lakers, especially after New Orleans landed the No. 1 pick. “I don’t think the Pelicans want to make a deal with the Lakers — when I say I don’t think, I know that’s how they feel,” Windhorst told Ryen Russillo. “Had the Lakers won the lottery and had Zion and had an opportunity to offer something like that, it would have been so overwhelming that I think it might have removed that impediment. There’s a lot of animosity and scar tissue built up between these two organizations. I feel very strongly that New Orleans does not want to make a deal with LA.”
Since it would not be surprising for the Lakers to reignite discussions around the 2019 NBA Draft, some within the Pelicans organization made an interesting admission, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN: “I’ve spoken to people within the Pelicans organization and they admitted that that package was pretty attractive. But they also admitted it looks a lot different now when considering Ingram than it did back then.”
Nick Friedell: Gentry said the fallout from the Davis trade discussions for the both the Lakers and the Pelicans was the most ‘toxic’ situation he’s seen in 31 years in the league.
Ryan Ward: Magic Johnson on if Anthony Davis situation played into resignation: "No. That had nothing to do with it. We want to improve the team. That's what my job is to do, and then you guys made it like, 'Oh, the young guys..."
The Lakers will now turn their attention to an offseason in which they are expected to revisit trade options for Davis, while also chasing top targets in free agency – as unlikely as it is that Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will come, according to a league source who believes the Lakers will be second or third on those players’ lists. The fear that the Lakers could strike out with their top targets has already led to some message massaging. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James told The Athletic. The Lakers could build a team of complementary pieces better suited for James, like Boston’s Marcus Morris or Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, and fare better than they did this season. But it would run counter to Johnson’s stated philosophy. After all, on a World Series broadcast last fall, Johnson declared, “I’m going to get another superstar next summer!”
Do they go back to the well with AD again given Ingram’s health situation? Brian Windhorst: I think it’s only responsible if they do. This is one thing I don’t quite understand. When Jeanie Buss called it fake news or whatever, I understand that it caused some problems in the chemistry of the team.
Brian Windhorst: Do I love their chances? I do not. Because the prime asset they could offer is Brandon Ingram and Ingram has had a very unfortunate thing happen and there’s just a lot of uncertainty there. I don’t like their chances of pulling it off but they’ve got to go back to the Well.
"Not many of these wings or point guards are going to want to partner with LeBron," said an assistant GM. "LeBron's best chance at getting another star with him is going to be Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, the bigs."
Do you think the Anthony Davis situation misled the franchise and the players? Kobe Bryant: “I say no. [Kyle] Kuzma, Lonzo [Ball], [Brandon] Ingram… are the three of them better than Anthony Davis? No! Ciao! Bye! Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not currently, in history. What are we talking about? If you can trade for Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, alright. We have three players who are very young and work hard. They’re smart and they have to develop. But if you can trade for Anthony Davis… yes!”
They still have Davis and will look to trade him this summer. He’ll become a free agent in 2020, but they control where he’ll spend next season. Marc J. Spears on ESPN, filming in Los Angeles: "I have been told that there’s no way Anthony Davis is coming here, through the Pelicans." ... "They’re just not going to do it."
Michael Wilbon confirmed he heard the same. Maybe the Pelicans really believe they’ll keep Davis from Los Angeles no matter what. And maybe they’ll be that stubborn. But a lot will change before New Orleans trades Davis.
Here is what we do know. The Lakers made several aggressive offers to New Orleans involving all of their core young players of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. The Pelicans had no intent to trade Davis before the offseason, however, especially not to the Lakers, league sources said. The NBA is a business, however, and these conversations involving the Lakers’ talented young core was warranted, whether they were taken personally or not.
It is possible Buss was not made aware of every aspect of the play-by-play as trade talks developed. Throughout the two-week saga stemming from Davis’ trade request, the Pelicans became frustrated about how public the Lakers-initiated discussions had become. “We get off the phone with (the Lakers), and a minute later, offers are out there,” one Pelicans source with direct knowledge of discussions told The Athletic.
Yet, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the real root of the comments was much more nuanced it might have appeared. From Jeanie on down, there is a growing belief that rival teams like New Orleans have gone to great lengths to do the kind of subversive damage that is nearly impossible to prove. Johnson himself has said that he doesn’t believe the Pelicans negotiated in good faith, and it certainly was unique to see trade packages with remarkable specificity being reported throughout the process.
Chris Haynes on where Anthony Davis will be to start the 2019-20 season: "I'm going to go with the Lakers. That's my prediction: I think he starts next season with the Lakers… If he maintains the stance that he's not doing Boston [long-term] – and that's with or without Kyrie [Irving] – I think LA has the best package. We may have to wait and see about New York because if they get the No. 1 overall pick, they could be in the game as well. But I think, at the end of the day, he'll end up in LA.”
In Barkley’s view, though, the Lakers, who reportedly offered a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks, have no reason to hang their heads about their inability to consummate a deal. "At some point Anthony Davis is going to be with the Lakers,” Barkley predicted. “The fix is in. I actually got a call from Rich Paul. I said, ‘Dude, the fix is in, you know he’s going to the Lakers.’ Once [Davis] signed with Klutch, the fix was in.”
Is this Davis’s fault? The decision to take his trade request public backfired, putting the Pelicans in this position. That Davis took this tact is puzzling. Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers, sources familiar with the situation told The Crossover. But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to LA, coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by Rich Paul, who also represents Davis, had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.
The communication between the Pelicans and Lakers was almost nonexistent leading up to the trade deadline. Saying there were negotiations might not even be accurate. By all accounts it was a one-way conversation, with the Lakers opening up their wallet and the Pelicans turning up their nose.
The Lakers, however, were unable to persuade the Pelicans to surrender Davis during the exclusive negotiating window they had to pursue him in the wake of Davis’s Jan. 28 request to be traded. The front offices of Los Angeles and New Orleans had no discussions about Davis on deadline day, according to two people familiar with the talks, after negotiations broke down Tuesday over what the Lakers deemed to be exorbitant demands from New Orleans.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Nearly 3 hours away from the NBA's trade deadline and ... the Lakers-Pelicans talks on Anthony Davis are dormant, league sources tell ESPN. No communication, nor an expectation that they'll even speak today. Pelicans seem content to run out the clock.
Even if Davis has shown the Celtics no love so far, Boston has the right hand to push in its chips. The front office has some confidence that the Lakers, with LeBron James already at age 34, won’t want to punt cap space until the summer of 2020, when Davis will hit free agency, league sources have said. A trade could be the Lakers’ only realistic chance of acquiring Davis.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The New Orleans Pelicans still haven't responded on the Los Angeles Lakers' most recent trade proposal for Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. Pelicans have yet to engage L.A. on trade talks. Deadline is nearly 24 hours away.
The Lakers have “pulled out” of any more conversations in trying to acquire New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis because of the Pelican’s “outrageous” trade requests, according to a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly.
Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps Tuesday morning that Los Angeles had made its best offer that the Pelicans had wanted, but that the Lakers were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, a person said. The Lakers were not going to give the Pelicans the six to eight draft picks they wanted for Davis, the person said, knowing that the four first-round picks and second-round picks were more than the Lakers would offer.
Late Monday night, the Lakers changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people said. The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said. The Lakers were also winning to also send the Pelicans two first-round draft picks.
“They wanted more and more and more,” said one person. “There was no more to give. They had cap-relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted the more it because outrageous and unrealistic.” One person said the Pelicans are hopeful that if Davis isn’t traded by the NBA’s Thursday noon (Pacific Time) deadline, that he’ll want to stay and play for the Pelicans going forward. “But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”
The Lakers have been adamant that they will not get into a bidding war for Davis this summer with the Boston Celtics, who are another team that has been associated with Davis, according to one person. The Lakers have even said if the Pelicans revisit the trade during the summer that Los Angeles’ offer will be less than what it is now.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pels are waiting on Lakers to overwhelm them w/ an historic haul of picks. To Nola, that means Lakers offering 4 first-round and second-round picks as part of a Davis package. Pels want to be compensated - perhaps even overcompensated - to even consider a deal with LA now.
The New Orleans Pelicans are engaging with the Los Angeles Lakers in talks on a trade for All-NBA star Anthony Davis, but president Magic Johnson must still overcome significant support within the Pelicans organization to let Thursday's deadline expire with Davis remaining on the roster, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had hoped to find a landing spot for the sixth-year guard before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, but he has not been part of the discussions to acquire for Davis. Caldwell-Pope has veto power over any trade he might be involved in, and one person familiar with his situation who was not authorized to speak publicly said it is unlikely Caldwell-Pope will be traded before the deadline.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.
Upon learning of that offer, Ball’s camp expressesd concern about the 6-6 point guard winding up in New Orleans if traded. One team with which there was mutual interest was the Phoenix Suns, according to two people unauthorized to speak publicly. Phoenix is a team filled with young players that is desperate for a point guard, but the Suns could only make that work if it were added to the deal as a third team.
Brad Turner: Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Lakers have offered a new package to New Orleans that includes multiple young players, multiple draft picks and Pelicans salary cap relief for Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. The offer appears to move closer to the objectives that the Pelicans are pursuing in a deal.
This turn of events could be an opening to help spur the Pelicans to find a deal for Davis prior to Thursday's trade deadline, league sources said. The Knicks don't have the assets to make a trade for Davis now, and the Lakers and Pelicans have yet to gain traction in talks. This appears to be an effort on the part of Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, to facilitate a deal prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, and spare a prolonged stay into the offseason for Davis with the franchise.
Marc Stein: "At this point, it's a one-team race [for Anthony Davis]. If anything is going to happen before the deadline, it's pretty much Lakers only. If you forced me right now to lodge a prediction, I would still say a trade is unlikely but by virtue of the fact the Lakers are the only ones in the game right now, or at least that's the impression you get, I guess we gotta give them a chance and maybe New Orleans gets worn down by Thursday with the circus this has become."
With the NBA’s trade deadline approaching, the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have yet to discuss the offers the Lakers made for six-time All-Star forward Anthony Davis, but that conversation is expected to take place next week.
The Lakers sent five offers to the Pelicans on Wednesday. One of the options offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick, multiple sources said. The Pelicans have not responded to the Lakers’ initial offers.
The Knicks’ surprising blockbuster trade of Porzingis to the Mavericks essentially wiped clean New York’s payroll, putting them in prime position to sign two superstars, with Kevin Durant and Irving as the primary targets. Thursday evening’s rumor mill suggested that Davis believes Irving will sign with the Knicks. Don’t put too much stock in that, however. For one thing, front-office sources around the league believe that’s a smokescreen scare tactic as Davis’ agent tries to push him to the Lakers. Uncertainty about what the Celtics might offer works heavily in the Lakers' favor.
Currently, the Pelicans don't intend to trade Davis to the Lakers, sources told ESPN, and they rejected a Knicks offer of a package centered on Porzingis before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. It seems New Orleans might be content to wait on Boston to be able to make an offer, but that offer wouldn't have to wait until summer if Irving was moved.
Three NBA team executives told USA TODAY Sports they are operating under the premise that the Los Angeles Lakers are Anthony Davis’ preferred destination and that any other team that acquires him from New Orleans will be getting a short-term rental until Davis can become a free agent in 2020.
Tania Ganguli: After learning of the Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans, Lonzo Ball’s camp maintains that New Orleans isn’t the desired destination. Phoenix makes the most basketball sense if Ball were to be traded and according to two sources there is mutual interest.
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers let Demps know one of trade scenarios would include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, No. 1 pick, per source. Eric Pincus: Trying to parse BT's language - if Lakers have discussed multiple scenarios that include all of the listed players - doesn't mean one specific scenario includes all of the players. Tania Ganguli: actually, no. this is one of the options. all together.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers and Pelicans executives have connected on the phone concerning Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. They're expected to talk again prior to next week's trade deadline.
Ramona Shelburne: Regarding the Lakers and Pelicans conversations today, I’m told it’s “common sense to assume no one but LeBron James would be untouchable”
Brad Turner: Lakrs president Magic Johnson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps spoke on the phone Tuesday about to proceed with a deal regarding Anthony Davis, who has requested a trade, per sources
Brad Turner: Lakers president Magic Johnson and the Lakers then presented five different trade scenarios to Demps on Wednesday and are waiting to hear back from Demps about which interest him the most, per sources.
December 3, 2021 | 8:18 am EST Update
And Wall’s remaining money is significantly more than Walker’s was. For a Wall buyout to make any sense for the Rockets, Wall would likely have to give up even more than Walker did to the Thunder — and there’s next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal. At any rate, that hasn’t been seriously discussed by either side as a possibility. “It’s hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn’t equal what your production is,” a sympathetic front office person from another team said Wednesday. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for a lot of guys.”
But executives around the league believe Wall as an unrestricted free agent would have suitors he’d never see if his current deal remains in place. One general manager volunteered the Kyrie Irving-less Nets, in a reserve role behind James Harden, or the Bucks as viable destinations. That is, if Wall were playing for the minimum. “He’s still really good,” another GM with no current need at point guard texted. “Just not at the number he currently makes.”
Execs don’t think Wall would make much sense on young squads. That obviously includes Houston, whose future is tied up in Green, the second pick in this year’s draft, and Porter Jr. But how many teams with guard needs are actually contenders? The number is less than 10, maybe less than five. But it’s not zero.
New Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups questioned his team’s effort after a 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. The Blazers were without All-Star guard Damian Lillard but still put up little fight against a Spurs team which came into the contest six games below .500. “My biggest concern, I think, at the moment, is I want us to compete harder, man. I want us to compete harder,” Billups said. “I want us to be competitive in every game. And I don’t feel like every night we do that. We don’t. And it concerns me. And I’ve felt that way in a lot of our wins. This is not just after a loss, me saying this.”
“I’m still puzzled,” Wilkins said of his snub. “I remember Shaq telling me, ‘I didn’t deserve to be on this team before you. I was only in the league for a few years. I shouldn’t have been on it.’ I thought that was big of him to say that. I look at guys I competed with, and they know what I brought to the game. The biggest thing was guys like Shaq, Dr. J (Julius Erving), Jordan, Magic (Johnson) all said that it couldn’t be a 50 greatest list without me on it. That meant more to me than someone even selecting me because my peers knew what I brought. “I talked with Clyde Drexler recently, and he said, ‘Nique, you know how pissed we were when you weren’t on there? We knew what you did. You were a one-man wrecking crew and never had a great player to play with. All of us had other players.’ To hear stuff like that from great players, what more can I ask for?”
What gets lost in that story is despite Jordan going off for 61 points, the Hawks won. In the final seconds, Wilkins drained a jumper over Jordan to give the Hawks a lead. The Bulls had a chance to tie or go ahead on the final possession, but Wilkins stopped Jordan on the other end. “Last time I saw Mike I said, ‘Do you remember that happening?’ He goes, ‘I don’t recall it happening.’ I said, ‘Bullshit. Bullshit,’” Wilkins laughed. “Mike and I are good friends. We always respected each other. We lived to compete against each other. I played against a lot of great players, but one guy bought the most out of me, and that was playing against Michael. He’s going to bring it to you, and if you’re not ready to give it back, you already lost. “It was entertainment at the highest level. You’re playing against a killer who wants to win at any cost. Mike was a killer. He wanted to take your heart, but I had the same mentality. I wanted to take the heart of whoever was guarding me.”
Kemba Walker getting benched isn’t his problem, it’s his coach’s … so says Kenny “The Jet” Smith, who tells TMZ Sports the guard is a Ferrari and Tom Thibodeau doesn’t know how to drive it. The 31-year-old hooper was removed from the Knicks rotation earlier this week … as he’s been averaging career lows in almost every major category this season. Once backup Alec Burks came in and balled out with 23 points against the Hawks on Saturday, Thibs decided to pull Walker out of the starting lineup AND the rotation altogether.