Storyline: Knicks Front Office

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Whether or not the Knicks play another game this season is out of their control, subject to the veracity of a pandemic’s spread. Regardless, new team president Leon Rose will form his staff and plan for a regime that will begin in earnest in the offseason. To that end, a source told the Daily News that Brock Aller — a capologist with the Cleveland Cavaliers — is a strong candidate to join the Knicks. Aller served as a personal assistant to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for 10 years before a promotion in 2017 to senior director of basketball operations. According to Gilbert, Aller was “instrumental” in the Cavaliers trade with the Knicks for JR Smith and Iman Shumpert in 2015. At the time, Smith was a client of Rose, the longtime agent at CAA.

Ewing, who currently is the head coach of Georgetown’s men’s basketball program, is not the right guy either, according to Oakley. “I don’t deal with Patrick,” Oakley said. “He was one of the most difficult guys I’ve played with. I played with Patrick 10 years. He should know me. I should know him. It was a hard 10 years because he’s not easy to play with. High maintenance.” Oakley doesn’t see anything changing in New York any time soon either. “It’s going to take years,” said Oakley. “It’s like driving from New York to Texas. It’s a long road.”

Ewing, who currently is the head coach of Georgetown’s men’s basketball program, is not the right guy either, according to Oakley. “I don’t deal with Patrick,” Oakley said. “He was one of the most difficult guys I’ve played with. I played with Patrick 10 years. He should know me. I should know him. It was a hard 10 years because he’s not easy to play with. High maintenance.” Oakley doesn’t see anything changing in New York any time soon either. “It’s going to take years,” said Oakley. “It’s like driving from New York to Texas. It’s a long road.”

With the ongoing split of the Madison Square Garden Company into an entertainment company and a sports company, Andrew Lustgarten will be promoted to president and CEO of the business end of MSG’s sports company, it was announced on Friday morning. Dolan, who has been in the headlines again for his feud with Knicks superfan Spike Lee, will still be executive chairman of the MSG sports company. But Lustgarten’s rise to a bigger role is indicative of him having a stronger voice within the Knicks, Rangers and their other sports operations.

He will also have to make an adjustment from being an agent to the front office, one that can be difficult at times and comes with its own issues. To find out the what that process is like The Athletic spoke to three former agents about what it was like for them. All harped on different parts of the changeover and the differences from one job to another and the stresses that brings. “Your results will dictate how well you’re doing,” Myers said. “I feel like Leon will do very well. He’s seen a lot of different sides of the NBA and will come prepared.”

Rose has already called Myers to chat and seek counsel about what the job is like. Myers is bullish on how Rose will do, expressing an affinity for his former competitor in the agent business and then again from different sides of the industry. “I like Leon,” Myers said. “I think he’s going to do a good job. He had some great questions. He’s got a curiosity. He’s got a humility. It was probably my favorite part. He knows there’s a lot of work ahead of him and he’s OK with that.”

The Knicks officially have a new team president. The franchise announced on Monday morning that Leon Rose is taking over effective immediately, after weeks of the former agent untangling himself from his role at CAA. “New York is the epicenter of basketball and Madison Square Garden has always been very special to me,” Rose said in a statement. “To be a part of the Knicks revitalization and basketball at The Garden is a challenge and a rare opportunity, one to be cherished, and I will do my utmost to make the fans, the City and ownership proud. I want to thank Jim Dolan for this opportunity.”

According to sources, NBA executives/agents have been told not to bother Rose about Knicks issues until March 1, which is Sunday. The Knicks are expected to make an official announcement on Rose’s hiring as soon as Monday. “Player relations, he’s very big on that,” Anthony said. “Deal-making, very big on that. Communicating. Knowing personnel. He’s been in this game for a long time. He’s represented the best of the best in this game. He knows. He’s made deals. That’s just what he does. He’s good at running his organization and his own business.”

Knicks promote Allan Houston?

As Leon Rose prepares for his imminent takeover, Garden constant Allan Houston has emerged as a candidate for a front office promotion, a league source told the Daily News. The former All-Star, 48, is currently the GM of the G-League affiliate in Westchester and has been a Knicks executive since 2008, surviving multiple regime changes while being groomed for a larger role. He also served as the Knicks assistant GM before and during Phil Jackson’s tenure.

Quentin Richardson, who played 241 games for the Knicks from 2005 to 2009 and one game for the team in 2012-13 before calling it a career, talked about why he believes most players don’t want to play for the Knicks. “The new generation, they want to just have their money and enjoy being in the NBA and have fun,” Richardson said during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio. “And at times, in New York, it could be the reverse of that. If you’re making a lot of money and you’re not playing up to whatever their standards, they think they can boo you, they can make it tough for you. And I’ve seen teammates and different people not want to go out to eat, not want to enjoy the city or enjoy your down time because they’re worried about fans talking smack or looking at ’em crazed and all that.

“You have to have a thick skin to be able to deal with that. For me, I was from Chicago, so it never really mattered to me what anybody said. I legit witnessed seeing how it goes. If you’re not built for it, you’re not built for it.” Richardson also said the coverage in the newspapers is a deterrent. “You look in the Daily News, (New York) Post or whatever, they would put people’s paychecks and like what their production has been and say ‘hey, they made this much money for every point they made,’ like ‘they ain’t doing nothing,'” Richardson explained. “You gotta be able to deal with different things when you go to New York.”

The Wade tributes — called “L3GACY Celebration” — will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s event at AmericanAirlines Arena will be a series of tributes to honor Wade’s impact on the Heat and the South Florida community. Wade’s jersey No. 3 will be retired Saturday before the Heat host the Cavaliers. Sunday, a documentary will be screened highlighting Wade’s NBA career, with the 13-time All-Star and three-time champion addressing the crowd.

The GM is a crucial part of the plan, given that Rose has no experience actually running a franchise, and names have begun to flicker through the rumor mill. Artūras Karnišovas’ name has been floated by multiple sources, but the Nuggets’ general manager signed a contract extension last summer and the Knicks would need permission to speak to him and possibly compensation to obtain him. An SNY report said some around the league believe long-time Hornets GM Rich Cho is under consideration.

Despite his place as one of the power players in the NBA for decades, Leon Rose has rarely put himself on center stage, willing to work in the background for his clients as one of the premier agents in the NBA. So it is little surprise that as the stars converged on Chicago for All-Star Weekend, Rose was noticeably out of the spotlight. Reporters from other cities asked and even executives wondered where he was and when he would emerge in his new role as the president of the Knicks.

Since we’re still days – weeks? – away from Rose starting, it’s too early to concretely state which coaches or executives will be joining Rose’s Knicks. But one name that several opposing execs expect to get consideration is Rich Cho. Cho, currently an executive with the Memphis Grizzlies, is believed to have a solid relationship with Rose. That’s one reason why those opposing execs see Cho as someone to keep an eye on when it comes to potential additions under Rose.

An exec who has worked at the Garden recently described Rose as sharp and incredibly well connected. But the executive also pointed out that who Rose hires underneath him will be crucial to his tenure in New York. So who Rose brings in to his front office and scouting departments could be nearly as crucial as who he hires as head coach. In addition to Cho, we know that Rod Strickland is another person to keep an eye on regarding a potential role with Rose’s Knicks.

Rose has served as a marquee NBA agent for over 20 years with clients such as LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. He’s taking care of his current clients and businesses before decertifying as an agent to officially run the Knicks. It’s unclear if he’ll hire an experienced NBA executive to serve as GM. “That’s for ownership to determine. How do you structure an organization?” Colangelo said. “Who is the lead guy and people around him? I’ve known Leon Rose as an agent. I think he knows basketball. I think he really loves the game, etc. He certainly has a lot of relationships. I think the key in the game today is relationships.”

Colangelo is still powerful in the NBA as the director of USA basketball and chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame. On Friday, he endorsed two Team USA coaches — Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau — for the Knicks job. “Those are great basketball guys. They’re terrific coaches. I have great respect for both of them,” Colangelo said. “They’re different. They’re alike in some ways. But they’re born to coach. And the fact that they’re not — there are teams out there that could use those guys, for sure.”

Stoute, the newly hired branding manager, appeared on ESPN Tuesday and stated he’s looking forward to a new coaching staff next season to develop some of the team’s young potential stars. The remark got Stoute in hot water with the administration for essentially firing Miller prematurely. It is believed an apology was given at the fan charity event, “Kicks and Cocktails’’ when Miller met the entertainment mogul for the first time. “I saw Steve at the charity event,’’ Miller said, said before the Knicks played the Wizards on Wednesday night. “We spoke over there. We had a private conversation.”

One NBA source said acting president Scott Perry, whose future still is up in the air, was particularly bent out of shape by Stoute’s comment. Asked if team brass or ownership spoke to him to put him at ease, Miller said, “I speak to Scott every day. I just left speaking with Scott. It’s really not necessary. There’s really no reason to put me at ease. I’m at ease. We’re getting ready to play in MSG and I’m coaching the Knicks tonight. We get to play basketball. It’s basketball season. “I don’t really have a reaction to it. “I’m locked into doing what we do here. My job is to get the team ready to play Washington. My focus is on the players.’’

You have a long history in both the music and basketball industries. I agree with those who say Stoute overstepped his bounds when talking about the Knicks coaching situation (on Tuesday). But given your perspective, what do you think about what Steve Stoute can bring to the Knicks? KLEIMAN: “Steve Stoute is a winner, straight up. He’s not phased by what happened (on Tuesday). I’m sure whatever’s happening behind closed doors is to be kept behind closed doors. But someone like Steve Stoute knows exactly what his role is. He will deliver and then some and the Knicks will benefit greatly from it. When there’s nothing really to talk about in terms of wins and success right now (with the Knicks), which is to come, people will be quick to harp on what they feel like is not the traditional thing to say. But Stoute has never done anything the traditional way. So you will see the benefit that the team will reap from his position in that organization. And he knows what his role his and he’ll deliver. I didn’t think twice about (what happened Tuesday). I know what Steve’s doing.”

There was at least one report that you were on the Knicks’ radar for the team presidency position. Was there any accuracy to that? KLEIMAN: “No accuracy to it. Never heard from them. It clearly has to do with the fact that, two or three years ago, I tweeted that I wanted to run the Knicks one day — and, of course, I grew up in New York City. It’s hard for me with all of the access that I’ve gotten to not still be a kid at times and realize that the Knicks were my life growing up. “So, yeah, it’s still a dream of mine but I’m also building a business with Kevin. And I think that it’s flattering to know that my name was mentioned because I think, at least, it justifies some of the work I’ve done within the world of business and basketball. But it was never real because nobody ever called me. But if what they’re reporting is true about Leon Rose, then I think they did the right job. Because I think Leon is going to be incredible.”

A few notes on the Knicks’ coaching situation: before Steve Mills was removed as team president, there was support within the organization to keep Mike Miller in the fold — even if New York hired a new head coach for next season. In the wake of Mills’ reassignment, some prominent people at Madison Square Garden remain in support of giving Miller a role within the organization regardless of what happens with the coaching search this offseason, per SNY sources.

Be advised, however, that there is no shortage of skepticism around the league that Rose, with zero front-office experience, can really change Dolan’s universe — skepticism that the Knicks have earned based on their many, many missteps since last reaching the N.B.A. finals in 1999. Rival teams and agents have long accused the Knicks of letting the talent agency Creative Artists Agency influence their basketball decisions. Now they are hiring C.A.A.’s most veteran basketball agent. (Full disclosure: I am a former C.A.A. client.)

The so-called “agent model” they are adopting, furthermore, has flopped (with Lon Babby in Phoenix and Arn Tellem in Detroit) as often as it has flourished (Bob Myers in Golden State and Rob Pelinka with the Los Angeles Lakers). The skeptics are also bound to point out that, as recently as last May, no one was looking to the Lakers for any sort of blueprint. LeBron James chose to sign with the Lakers as a free agent in July 2018 independent of anyone working for them — and they were a franchise in disarray, after Magic Johnson’s unforeseen resignation as team president in April, until Anthony Davis forced a trade to the Lakers to team up with James.

There’s skepticism around the league that Stoute can make any difference in turning the Knicks around. “That’s just another foolish thing from Dolan. He’s saying Steve Stoute will help me get those guys (superstar free agents) and they don’t realize it – it’s not about that,” said a longtime NBA executive whose team worked with Stoute. Added another executive, “Steve is going to take his check and say, ‘Hey, I tried.’”

From that chaos and confusion, Steve Stoute emerged Tuesday to declare he’s a prominent voice in the organization and, once again, the Knicks are chasing superstars. “The biggest thing is getting free agents and players to know this is a place to show up, this is where they should be,” Stoute said on ESPN’s ‘First Take.’ “I think that narrative has been lost. Players haven’t come, a free agent hasn’t come. And if we can solve that problem, which I know we will, we have a great chance. We’re the most iconic team in the league by far.”

Stoute didn’t go into great detail about his plan but the overall message was that the Knicks are a marquee franchise and will act accordingly. That means attracting superstar players, personalities and a dynamic coach. What was assumed about interim coach Mike Miller’s future was essentially confirmed by Stoute — that Miller’s playing out the string this season. “There had to be a change in (firing team president Steve Mills). That change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to help develop these younger players,” Stoute said. “And they got some young players — you see RJ Barrett, Mitch Robinson. They got something to work with. And getting a coach in there and ultimately getting a coach and a coaching staff that’s going to help develop a team. That’s what I expect to happen so that we can actually get to what you expect from a New York team.”

Mike Vorkunov: Knicks released a statement about Steve Stoute, saying that personnel decisions will be made by new team president. “While Steve Stoute is a valued contributor to the Knicks’ marketing and branding efforts, he does not speak on behalf of NY Knicks personnel & basketball ops.”

Last week, the Knicks parted ways with longtime executive Steve Mills, and multiple reports indicated the team was close to an agreement with Rose to take over. The deal came together quickly, catching his longest-running clients by just as much surprise as everyone else. “I’m still in shock,” Anthony told Bleacher Report on Sunday night after the Blazers’ 115-109 win over the Miami Heat. “I didn’t know until this week. There’s a lot to figure out and finalize. I’m sure he’s going to take [the job], but it’s all new.”

On Friday at his press conference, University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari spoke about potentially being linked to the Knicks head coaching job under Leon Rose. “Let me say this: first of all, I haven’t talked to Leon, so I don’t know if it’s done, if he’s doing it,” Calipari said. “I have no idea. But let me tell you about him: I’ve known him for 25 years — dear friend. In a rough-and-tumble business — really, that business he was in was a sport, too, like body-to-body contact, it is — and I’ve never heard anyone in 25 years say anything bad about Leon Rose. He’s a gatherer, he’s a culture-builder. I’d help him in any way I could, being a resource. You want to call and ask me about college players, my own players, I’m here. It just wouldn’t be to coach.”

Here’s the most important William Wesley fact for Knick fans: Many years ago, I stood talking to him pre-game, in Philadelphia, when David Stern, then still commissioner, marched up, said hello, and validated one of Wesley’s key claims to fame. He thanked Wesley for getting NBA stars to play for Team USA. In other words, Wesley has more pull with Dream Teamers than … the NBA. Wesley can call the best players on the planet and say “I need you to play,” and they show up. (Many people told me Wesley stayed on the boat with the Dream Team at the Athens Olympics, which makes perfect sense.)

Wesley has this saying: “Everybody wants to make the quick nickel. Nobody wants to make a slow dime.” It means a lot of things. Get good grades! Eat right! Don’t get in trouble with the police! Think long term! But it applies every bit as much to Dolan. Will Rose and Wesley really have the time to go all in, building a program with the culture to lure the many players in their sphere? Phil Jackson was once seen as a genius with pull, too. Rebuilding in the NBA is a long-term project, Dolan is a short-term panic purchaser, throwing quick nickels at everything.

Despite his long-term relationship with Leon Rose, the CAA super-agent who is expected to be the team’s new president, the Kentucky coach nipped that rumor in the bud, telling reporters on Friday he will help Rose any way he can, “it just wouldn’t be to coach.” Calipari was effusive in his praise of Rose. “I’ve never heard anyone in 25 years say anything bad about Leon Rose,” he said. “He’s a gatherer, he’s a culture-builder.”

“I think if they allow Leon to surround himself with good people, he will do well,” a longtime NBA executive told SI.com. “GMs in this league really respect Leon. They liked working with Leon. He is always fair. Being in New York, there will be some of his former clients who want to go there. But they have to allow him to put people in place that he trusts. He came from the bottom of the agency industry and worked his way up. He understands the structure of the NBA, of a front office. He gets the day-to-day. He won’t be Phil Jackson—he will be in the office every day doing the job.”

Last month, the Knicks hired Steve Stoute and his agency to help bolster the team’s brand and ties to the fan base. Since being hired, Stoute has had strong influence with Dolan and the organization, as you’d expect. His hiring was endorsed by LeBron James. When reached last night by email to ask about his influence in the organization, Stoute said, “I work with Jim and his leadership team…I’m proud to be a part of this organization…We haven’t even gotten started yet…There are great things ahead for the NY Knicks.”

So how can the Knicks break out of this terrible stretch and get back to respectability? Shaquille O’Neal laid it out on TNT Tuesday night. “When Mr. Dolan was walking out of the arena the other day, the whole crowd was yelling ‘Sell the team.’ So whoever he hires, I just hope he doesn’t micromanage,” Shaq said. “You need to let a guy be able to do his thing. When I was playing in Miami, Pat Riley ran the show. Micky Arison owns it, but Pat Riley ran the show. When I was with the Lakers, Jerry West ran the show. So whoever they hire, I just hope Mr. Dolan just stays out the way.”

The first is one of availability. Is he willing to go and is Toronto willing to let him walk? He’s reportedly under contract through 2020-21, and the Raptors could presumably sign him to an extension if they wished. There is scuttlebutt out there that he’s itching for another challenge and has eyes for a large American market (this point also came up in league circles when the Washington job was open) and that the Raptors’ ownership might be okay letting somebody else pay him an eight-figure salary while they promote GM Bobby Webster.

With owner James Dolan looking at making various agents as potential presidential candidates, don’t sleep on Kevin Durant’s man, Rich Kleiman, according to NBA sources. Kleiman, a native New Yorker, has always desired to run the Knicks. Kleiman was a force in having Durant at least consider the Knicks last year. The scuttlebutt was Durant would join the Knicks and Kleiman would take on a prominent front-office role. That possibility slammed shut when Durant chose the Nets, along with Kyrie Irving.
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March 31, 2020 | 3:50 pm EDT Update
For the first time since being admitted to the intensive care unit on March 23 due to complications from the coronavirus, beloved Detroit Pistons scout Maury Hanks successfully passed his breathing trial and was taken off a ventilator on Tuesday, CBS Sports has confirmed. His physicians at the University of Tennessee Medical Center have warned there is a chance he could regress and again require ventilator assistance, but for now this is the biggest step the 57-year-old has taken toward recovery.
On Monday, Hanks’ oxygen levels had improved to a point where doctors were able to decrease the work of the ventilator to test how his body responded to breathing on its own, but he was only able it make it for 30 minutes before having to ramp the ventilator back up. His wife, Susan Hanks, told CBS Sports that part of Maury’s struggle to maintain his oxygen levels had been a product of his agitation in coming out of sedation.
On Tuesday, Hanks was fitted with earbuds so Susan, in an effort to calm her husband, could talk to him the whole time he was coming out of sedation and trying to breathe on his own. It just might’ve worked. Doctors will monitor Hanks, who is still utilizing an oxygen mask, for the next 24 hours. If all goes well, he will be transferred to a COVID-19 step-down unit, likely on Wednesday.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 31, 2020 | 3:31 pm EDT Update
March 31, 2020 | 3:14 pm EDT Update
Stephon Marbury: I know that was something that people were saying that people didn’t need, but that’s a strong need. One of the things that I learned and saw from living in China and being here is that when the virus outbreak arrived, everyone wore a mask because nobody knew who had the virus. … People cough all the time. When people were saying to me, ‘Oh, you don’t need a mask.’ They’re probably saying that you don’t need the mask from a doctor standpoint. But you don’t know which person has this virus and people sneeze and cough and talk all the time. So, are you going to stop that? For me, knowing that was one of the main things that was needed from being in America and being out in New York and seeing how many people were walking around looking at me when I had on a mask, like, ‘Why you got a mask on?’ And I’m like, ‘You should have a mask on. It’s so important. It’s so vital.’
Storyline: Coronavirus
Stephon Marbury: So, the Brooklyn borough president, he reached out to me about helping him source some masks and other things. My focus has been on the mask and there are other things that I’m trying to help for the medical staff. They need robes, they need the gowns, the goggles, all of these different things are needed. And you know, I have friends that know people [in China] in all of these different areas at the manufacturer. So, I’ve been pretty much speaking to them and trying to accumulate and get everything from my country, for Coney Island, for Brooklyn, for New York City. It’s been a real challenge for me seeing all of us going on where I’m from. Anybody that knows me know how I feel about Coney Island and about New York. I’m a real New York kid.
Stephon Marbury: I lost my cousin to this virus. My little cousin [former NBA guard] Sebastian [Telfair] has an older brother. We lost him two days ago. His mom is fighting for her life right now because of the virus. So, it’s pretty difficult in this trying time and staying on focus and trying to handle the things that I need to handle for my mom and them. They’re nervous about my aunt. … For me being here [in China], my family there, I’m constantly thinking about my mom. My mom is 78 years old. She has respiratory issues. We can’t even allow nobody to come near our home with my mom. My brother doesn’t go next to my mom. My sister doesn’t go next to my mom because we’re just so nervous about it. I’ve got an older brother that’s 60 years old. … I literally have family members that are in a space where my aunt is fighting for her life. And her son just passed away while she’s in an induced coma. She doesn’t even know. My family is just like on pins and needles with what’s going on.
DID YOU REACH OUT TO THE NBA ABOUT COVID-19? Stephon Marbury: I sent [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver an email March 8. I said in the email, ‘You guys got to stop.’ I said, ‘This is not good. You got, like, 17,000, 18,000 people going to games and people don’t know if they’re infected or not. This could happen. One of the basketball players can get infected. Anything can happen.’ He was like, ‘Stephon, thank you for so much for sending me this email.’ My concern is for everybody. It’s bigger than basketball. You got guys getting sick and they can’t play. I mean, what’s the use? There is no point or no purpose. I think that it’s going to be a really big challenge for the [NBA] season to get going this year.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 31, 2020 | 2:03 pm EDT Update
SB NATION: I’ll begin with a question I find myself asking just about everyone I talk to these days: How are you staying safe? And, did you consider traveling home once the NBA allowed its players to do so, or just bunker down and stay put? PAT CONNAUGHTON: I stayed in Milwaukee. I tried to look at it from a variety of different angles. For me, I’m from the Boston area and Massachusetts was arguably hit worse than the majority of other places, so going home didn’t really make sense for me, for my own health but also for the safety of my family. We’re fortunate to be in the NBA. We might as well stay close to our team just in case, God forbid something does happen and we need access to doctors, we have team doctors. If we need access to food for some reason, the chefs are trying to help us out when they can. There’s different things that I think teams are doing to help their players that stick around.
Storyline: Coronavirus
SB: Being part of such a special season with the Bucks, how often do you think about the possibility that the season is over, and how you might never get an opportunity to finish what you started? How difficult would that be, given all the hard work that was put in and what the expectations were? PAT CONNAUGHTON: It’s tough because you look at it from a few different lenses. You think seasons like this don’t come along every year, so if it ends that’s gonna suck. To be honest. But when you look at it from the lens of an athlete you’re like we, as a team, are very good. What is preventing us from doing it again next year? Obviously we would be disappointed, we’re having a great year, etc. But maybe it just makes us hungrier next year. Maybe it’s fuel on the fire, as opposed to something else. Giannis will be a year older, a year more skilled. We’ll all be getting better. If you look at it that way you can throw some positive light to it.
PAT CONNAUGHTON: The other light you look at it, just being open and honest, there are guys that are on contract years. There are guys that, I mean, personally I don’t have a technical contract for next year or anything. So you look at it like how does it affect free agency? How does it affect the salary cap? What does our team look like next year if the season were to end and not continue, and the playoffs weren’t to happen and there weren’t a champion to be crowned. I think all of those are unknown. I could sit here for 24 straight hours and put down a sheet of paper, pros, cons, all these different scenarios, but I don’t think that does me any good. We don’t know. Nobody knows. The NBA is full of much smarter people than myself. Adam Silver is great. The owners are all very smart guys. The general managers are very smart guys. Obviously the player’s union, Michelle. Chris Paul. All them are very smart. I believe the best interest of as many players as possible and all the teams and the league itself will be what’s most important and what will be accomplished. So for me to worry about those sorts of things, sure, but at the same time it’s not gonna help me. I’m not gonna figure out, sitting in this apartment in the next month and a half, what the answers are.
March 31, 2020 | 12:24 pm EDT Update
Isaiah Thomas: “I was a junior when I entered the draft. I had a year of eligibility left. I wrote down my pros and cons — all the good things by putting my name in the draft and all the negative things that could possibly happen, which can go from not getting drafted to going in the second round to getting drafted and then there being a lockout and no money coming in, and not knowing what to do next. My final decision was that I’m going to just bet on myself. I’ll figure things out. I just felt like college wasn’t going to do anything for me going forward. But on the back end of things, yes, the lockout was on my mind.”
March 31, 2020 | 10:36 am EDT Update
Borrego liked the contrast of styles: the run-and-gun Nuggets against the behemoth Lakers, starting the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum mega-frontcourt. Bynum averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game for the series, and put up a triple-double — including 10 blocked shots — in the Lakers’ Game 1 win. “A lot of our guys probably don’t even know Andrew Bynum,” Borrego said. The series was also incredibly physical. The offensive teams rebounded almost 37% of all misses, a mark that would lead the league today by a laughable margin. The teams combined for 47 offensive rebounds in the Lakers’ 96-87 win in Game 7; Gasol had six — all in a row — on one pivotal fourth-quarter possession. “Part of this is to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like,” Borrego said. “This is where we want to get to someday. Let’s study it.”
All the players said they enjoyed learning more about the classic NBA characters in that series. Obviously, today’s players love watching peak Bryant — now more than ever. Bynum has become something of a curiosity. “People forget how good Bynum was,” Zeller said. “He was a monster.” Caleb Martin said he was surprised at the speed and athleticism of a young Danilo Gallinari, playing almost full time as a wing. “You know of these guys, but you never sit down and actually watch them play a full game,” Cody Martin said.
On a recent episode of The Lake Lake Show podcast, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested that “it could be three or four years until the league is back in balance”. Pincus also went into depth on how the NBA will return. Where he stated that the league are considering canceling games. Which will create financial implications for players, even more so the high-end stars like LeBron James. “Players typically get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month and the 1st would be a full check. But the league hasn’t committed to the 15th… it means they’re considering canceling games. Because by the rules, they can’t dock players for games that are rescheduled. They can only dock from players for games that are canceled.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
“If they were going down that path they might start with canceling a few games. Why cancel a lot, right? There’s no reason to until you have a better feel. I could see them canceling 3 games and start deducting 3 games worth of money from each player’s check. For someone like LeBron James, that’s in the neighbourhood of $400,000 per game. So you’re talking about deducting $1.2 million from LeBron’s check. So it’s not a small amount.”
March 31, 2020 | 7:46 am EDT Update
ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst, on his recent podcast, expressed his thoughts what the offseason will most likely bring to big name free-agent DeMarcus Cousins. “I think DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a make good contract, even if it’s more than a minimum. I think that after a series of injuries he’s had, all of which indicates that he’s coming back too fast, doing too much, he needs even more time of coming back from this. He’s gonna have a job in the league, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a big money,” the NBA insider said.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to continue to reshape their roster around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “I believe they have telegraphed they intend to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along with Kyrie and Durant,” said Brian Windhorst. “Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star and they make the decision that he is. But my feel reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations they had at the trade deadline, which was sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think they’re going to swing for the fences whenever the season comes. They’re going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that.”
Joe Harris is a pending free agent, one who likely will get a big raise this summer. But the sharpshooter wants to re-sign with the Nets, partly to take a shot at a title playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Joe Harris Free Agency
On the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo: Jason Terry: “They’re still headed down as one of the all-time dynamic duos in the history of the game, if they continue to win and then have success in the playoffs, and hopefully take us to another NBA finals and win a championship. Because they’re so young. When you have two young stars as KP and Luka, and the talent that they possess, they have yet to really reach their full potential and I think the chemistry that they’ve gained this season by playing together is going to continue to grow.
Jason Terry: “KP is learning that ‘hey maybe it might not be at the four position, maybe at the five position where I can be most dangerous and effective.’ Luka is also understanding ‘hey I might not have to take over an entire ball game, I can kind of conserve my energy and be the closer very similar to what Dirk [Nowitzki] was and kind of let KP get off early in games.
Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was all set to make his triumphant return on Sunday, Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets. It was a home game for the Blazers. An early matinee game on national television. It was 10 days away from Nurk’s one-year mark of his leg injury. And to the Bosnian Beast, it was a “perfect” game to make his debut for the 2019-20 season. In choosing that day to return, it was a collective effort by Nurkic’s camp along with the entire Trail Blazers organization. In a recent interview with NBC Sports Northwest’s Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes, Nurk detailed what went into the decision making of that game.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is 9 hours ahead of Portland, OR; thus, the timing of a noon tip-off in Rip City also worked out great for his family and friends back home. It was an earlier game Sunday, and of course, I need to look [out] for my people back home. It was perfect for them too. It was like 8:30pm back home. So, everybody was pretty much set up and I thought it was a really good game because it was [a] home game and I really wanted to play [at] home first. — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic told our Dwight Jaynes
After his teenage brother Dorian tragically died of heart disease, Dawkins tapped into his basketball network to pay for a memorial and an AAU team in Dorian’s memory. He says he quickly raised more than a hundred thousand dollars from some of the most important people in the sport. His network mattered. Before long, NBA agent Andy Miller noticed Dawkins and hired him. Fast forward a few years and Dawkins is at the NBA draft, barely legal to drink, sitting in the green room with Miller and Elfrid Payton’s family. Rodney Hood, Fred VanVleet … Dawkins was instrumental in directing their careers, in the belly of the basketball beast. “Everybody knew Andy was paying players,” Dawkins says in “The Scheme.” “Andy’s been paying players since I was born. It wasn’t, like, a secret.”
The president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, wants to ensure the future of the National Team bench and for this, a new contract extension could be offered to Sergio Scariolo until 2024, according to AS.com. The Italian coach’s agreement with the Federation would come to an end after the 2020 Olympics. However, with the current worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Games in Tokyo until 2021, a new scenario is created.
Storyline: Olympic Games
Every bit of help is key amidst this coronavirus pandemic, whether it’s food, cash or medical supplies. The Nets, Barclays Center and Alibaba — all owned by Joe Tsai — have been providing all of the above. With live sports shut down and teams and arenas getting squeezed economically, many hourly workers have been laid off or face pay cuts. But Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.
“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”