Cindy Westphal: At 4am I woke up with a splitting heada…

Cindy Westphal: At 4am I woke up with a splitting headache. I’ve never met Monty Williams before but found myself texting him at 5:15am to cancel his visit with Paul today. He immediately responded with “no worries.” All I could think was….oh great, I just woke up Coach Williams. I got back to him at 8am to say my horrible headache is gone and I’m feeling fine again….had no other symptoms….that it was more like a transient stress headache than a migraine, so if he still wants to visit this afternoon, come on by.

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Marc Stein: Warmest wishes to one of the game’s greats and a even kinder man: Paul Westphal, inducted into the @Hoophall last September, has been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to his close pal @MikeLupica. Best to Westy ... HoF player, highly successful coach and a true SoCal ledge
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May 6, 2021 | 10:01 am EDT Update

Knicks, Julius Randle to discuss extension in offseason

The Knicks can add up to four years to Randle’s contract, and both sides intend to talk over the summer to see if they can come to an agreement, sources said. But salary-cap rules limit the raise in Randle’s salary to a max of 20%. It would begin with New York fully guaranteeing Randle’s contract for next season. Currently, just $4 million of Randle’s $19.8 million deal for next year is guaranteed, a reminder of the Knicks’ hedge when signing him back in 2019. After that, the Knicks could add up to $106 million in guaranteed money. Including incentives, that could leave Randle with five years and nearly $140 million.
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If Randle produces at an All-Star level again next season, the difference between an extension in 2021 and a max contract he could demand in 2022 could approach $100 million. That’s a lot of numbers and projections. It doesn’t take into account the scenario of Randle opting for a short extension, locking in stability now while giving the Knicks some maneuverability to continue star hunting if his salary is locked in for 2022 and beyond. This might be the most likely scenario come August. What it might come down to, sources said, is just how much Randle wants to remain a Knick. And right now, that desire is strong.
“They have a lot of guys who can knock down shots, but not just 3-point shots,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Bogdanovic and Trae are two guys who can get into the paint and make shots creating off the dribble. Capela has been huge for them. He generates offense diving and gets extra possessions. His defense covers up a lot of the mistakes that the guards can make. Gallinari is a versatile scorer. They’re deep. They look like a playoff team. They look like they’re getting into playoff shape. I don’t think many teams want to play them if they’re going to continue to shoot the ball like that.” It’s going to be fascinating to see how teams defensively scheme against the Hawks in a seven-game series because the five guys they can start, if Hunter is healthy, are all dynamic scorers in their own way. Even if Hunter can’t play, Snell is shooting 57.5 percent from 3, so an opposing team doesn’t even get a break there with one fewer option to worry about.
What was it like being in the room with Glen Taylor and making your presentation? Arron Afflalo: I’ll tell you one thing: Mr. Taylor is really sharp. For 80 years old, he’s really sharp. He’s had over 80 businesses throughout his career. And he understands people. … As a person, I learned a lot from him. I was most thankful because he continuously gave me an opportunity when I came with failed investors, or failed opportunities. He literally worked with me hand in hand for nine months. He was as accessible as I needed him to be. And so, he was a normal guy. I didn’t feel pressure that I was speaking to the owner of a team. The first time we spoke, he said, ‘look, Arron – I don’t know you. I know of you. Your fighting spirit is unbelievable. And if you need anything from me when speaking to investors, please call me.’ He was very accommodating.
Storyline: Minnesota Timberwolves Sale?
Why did you make a run at the Timberwolves? Arron Afflalo: That answer’s pretty easy. If this were any other team, I don’t think I would have had the equal fighting spirit. Knowing Ryan Saunders and knowing Flip Saunders very well, along with the George Floyd situation. … And then when you combine that with the space I was in with the hotel stuff, dealing with billionaire companies and billionaire people, it just created a natural synergy for Minnesota. I just felt that I could help, and be inspirational at the same time. I want to give a lot of credit to Ryan Saunders and Flip Saunders, and all that that city has been through, and Mr. Taylor, for that matter, recognizing that.
May 6, 2021 | 7:06 am EDT Update

Nate Bjorkgren takes blame for any communication issues

One day after ESPN reported coach Nate Bjorkgren faces an uncertain future with Indiana, the new coach blamed himself for any communication problems with players and those in the organization. “You know I don’t make excuses for things,” he told reporters before the game. “I’m a young coach. I’m learning, I’m growing and I’m trying to be better. This is on me. I’m the head coach and fingers should be pointed at me. I love coaching this team and the relationships with these coaches and players, I’ve just got to keep getting better.”
4 hours ago via ESPN
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