Spurs GM R.C. Buford is “incredibly happy” in San Antonio and has no intention of leaving even as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili near retirement age, as Buford tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe (audio link; transcription via Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News). McCarney, in the intro to his transcription, notes that Gregg Popovich has backed away from his assertion a year ago that he’ll retire when Duncan does, referring to Popovich’s remark as merely a joke.
Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:
- On the idea that the Knicks might be focusing on the summer 2015 rather than be competitive next season, Tyson Chandler hopes that it isn’t the case: “I definitely don’t want to waste another season….I’m not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one” (Marc Berman of the New York Post reports). Berman adds that with his expiring contract and ability to still play at a high level, Chandler could be Phil Jackson‘s number one trading chip this summer.
- It appears that soon-to-be restricted free agent Gordon Hayward would like to stay with the Jazz, but he acknowledges that nothing’s certain at this point, notes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Currently without a contract after July, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin isn’t ready to field questions about his impending future just yet, writes Falk in a separate piece. Corbin elaborated: “I don’t know if that’s a good question to ask right now…I have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself and figure out what’s my next step.”
- The Rockets have recalled Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan from the D-League, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
- Melvin Ely‘s contract with the Pelicans runs through next season with non-guaranteed salary, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports, writing for the Score. The ninth-year veteran’s minimum salary he’d get makes him a trade chip in the same manner that Scotty Hopson is for the Cavs, but Ely comes much more cheaply, as Deeks points out.
- Deeks also reports that the Bulls’ deal with Louis Amundson, like teammates Ronnie Brewer and Mike James, covers next season with non-guaranteed salary.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Knicks have a plan for the future that they will pitch to Carmelo Anthony, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The plan will be to re-sign Anthony this summer, bottom out in the 2014/15 standings, clear the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, and Tyson Chandler, then make a big free agent signing during the summer of 2015, opines Berman.
More from the east:
- The Sixers rebuilding process is going to take time and patience, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Moore’s piece looks at a number of the obstacles the team will have to face, along with the positive factors the Sixers have going for them.
- There are several factors that would indicate the Cavaliers intend to bring back coach Mike Brown for next season, writes Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal. Finnan points to the team’s improved play as of late, the need for stability, and the remaining four years on Brown’s contract as some of the primary things that could net Brown another season in Cleveland.
- Charles Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines what the Bucks’ plan for Giannis Antetokounmpo is this coming summer.
Here’s a roundup of more Phil Jackson/Knicks-related notes worth passing along tonight..
- Though it was made clear that Steve Mills will continue to handle the duties of a general manager in New York, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News that Jackson will be allowed to choose a “basketball man” to help him run the front office. At that point, Mills will have more of a ceremonial role once Jackson has his preferred brain trust in place.
- The above piece shed some light on Ronnie Lester potentially being brought in to assist Jackson. Lester, who served as the No. 2 to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak when Jackson was with the Lakers, would be a viable executive that New York fans could feel better about, says Lawrence. If not Lester, then that person would have to have strong ties to Jackson in order to receive consideration.
- The Zen Master may have alluded to a plan to “work the bushes” in order to improve the roster, but people who have spoken with him recently say that he’ll deliberately wait until Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Andrea Bargnani come off the cap in order to accommodate another star and perhaps other pieces.
- The thought of Jackson luring Jim Paxson away from the Bulls front office to be his “basketball man” is an intriguing one, opines Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, who also envisions Steve Kerr, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Pete Myers, and Kurt Rambis eventually joining Jackson’s regime (Twitter links).
- James Dolan tells Scott Cacciola of the New York Times that he sought Jackson’s approval on several deadline deals the team tried to make this season: “If it was a trade that didn’t fit what he was thinking — and I couldn’t tell you the specifics of what he was thinking, but I knew he had a plan … I believed he was coming on board, and I felt I should consult him.”
- The Knicks owner also shared how he plans to let Jackson and Mills operate: “They’re going to come in, and they’re going to tell me what they want to do. They’re going to tell me how much it costs, and I’m going to say yes — assuming it doesn’t bankrupt the company. I don’t think they’ll come in with a bankrupt-the-company scenario, but I’ve told them that I’m willing to spend. We need a championship here.”
Lakers president Jeanie Buss appeared on TWC Sports Net in Los Angeles tonight, addressing today’s most popular topic: “it was clear that (Phil Jackson) wanted to go back to work, but there was no role for him with the Lakers…He was not offered an official position… There (was) no role in the front office for him.”
As Jackson’s fiancee, Buss said that she recently met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss a potential conflict of interest now that Phil is running the front office in New York. With regard to the Buss family’s ownership of the Lakers, Jeanie asserted that they aren’t going anywhere soon: “This is the family business and the family is going to own the team for as long as the family is together” (All Twitter links via ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne).
Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:
- Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck recently hinted at major roster changes this summer, telling Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe that there could be “fireworks” this June, as Holmes notes within a story on the challenges of playing for a team with so much uncertainty,
- LeBron James sidestepped a question about a potential return to the Cavaliers earlier tonight: “For me to take my mind somewhere else when I know what’s on its way [postseason] is almost impossible” (Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel via Twitter). Tonight marked LeBron’s final appearance in Cleveland before he can opt out this summer, and the Heat superstar didn’t count anything out: “Only time will tell” (Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio relayed on Twitter).
- Though Mark Jackson has been a target for ridicule in Golden State, the missteps of Warriors owner Joe Lacob and GM Bob Myers can’t be ignored either, writes Ric Bucher of the Bleacher Report.
- Bucher adds that it was Lacob who made the call to amnesty Charlie Bell‘s $4MM contract so the team could pursue then-free agent Tyson Chandler, who never planned on playing for the Warriors. Additionally, top management – whether intentional or not – provided the grist which brought forth questions about Jackson’s job security this year, specifically when Lacob expressed disappointment about certain losses and Myers suggested that Jackson has been given all he needs to succeed. The team is currently sixth in the Western Conference and holds just a three-and-a-half-game lead over the ninth-seeded Suns.
Knicks owner James Dolan joined Michael Kay and Don La Greca on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM earlier today, and when asked about the team’s 2013/14 season, the Knicks owner responded that he’s been “horrified” (Neil Best of Newsday relays via Twitter). New York hopes that Phil Jackson‘s stewardship as president of basketball operations will bring a significant step towards success, as Dolan likened hiring Jackson to “…bringing in Albert Einstein to do your math homework.”
Later on during his radio appearance, the Knicks owner also reiterated that Jackson has full power over basketball decisions. The most important decision arguably involves Carmelo Anthony‘s future, and interestingly enough, Dolan added that if Jackson were to allow Carmelo to leave this summer, he’d give his blessing: “It’s (Phil’s) decision, that’s my agreement with him” (Twitter links via ESPN New York’s Ian Begley).
Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple, including more from Begley:
- When he had been tied to the potential GM opening in Seattle last year, Jackson previously convinced Steve Kerr to become the team’s head coach; those plans fell through once the purchase agreement of the Kings fell apart, reports Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo Sports.
- Dolan attempted to dispel speculation that Jackson would eventually coach the Knicks, telling Kay: ”At the moment, it’s not in the cards.”
- Based on his early assessment of the roster, Jackson reportedly likes Carmelo, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Cole Aldrich, a source tells Begley. Jackson also likes the youth of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure’ Murry.
- Jackson also dropped in on The Michael Kay Show later on, saying that there’s “hope and strong reason” that Carmelo would re-sign with the Knicks.
- Per source, Jackson is strongly committed to implementing the triangle offense and will shape the roster with that in mind, adds Begley.
- Steve Mills sat silently for more than 45 minutes during Jackson’s introductory press conference, notes Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. Per Botte, NBA sources initially expected Jackson to consider bringing in another general manager to handle day-to-day work with Mills, specifically involving trade calls and talks with agents.
- Dolan told Michael Kay that his relationship with former Knicks GM Isiah Thomas doesn’t involve discussions about basketball, relays Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
This summer, the Knicks will have a load of expiring 2015 contracts, including Tyson Chandler, who could be used as a pawn in a trade bid for Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (Marc Berman of the New York Post). One league source didn’t mince words when commenting about New York’s chances at dealing for the 6’10 big man, telling Berman: “They’re selling New York fans land in New Mexico.’’
Carmelo Anthony recently spoke about Love’s game, and when specifically asked about the similarities between them as stretch-fours, Anthony didn’t see a comparison: “I didn’t know we had similarities…He’s a guy who became a stretch 4 but never was a stretch 4. He worked on his shot, his 3-ball and stretching the floor and spreading the floor out. He can also go inside. He’s one helluva rebounder. He’s a big load. He’s gotten better every year since been in the league and still is.’’
Here are more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- Former NBA coaches George Karl, Avery Johnson, and P.J. Carlesimo weighed in on the state of the Knicks, the Warriors‘ title hopes, and who should have been moved during the trade deadline, among other topics (ESPN Insiders only).
- The Suns are poised to make their first postseason appearance since the 2009/10 season, thanks in large part to an All-Star caliber season from Goran Dragic. The 27-year-old point guard recently shared his thoughts on the season with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, speaking with the confidence one would ideally expect from a seasoned veteran: “I’m more relaxed…I know all of the situations I’m put in and I know how the opposing teams are going to guard me. I’m just more relaxed. It feels like I’m playing basketball with my friends back home, with no pressure. I just go out there and do my job. I’ve gotten some great support from my teammates and I’m just having fun. It’s not like I’m thinking too much or anything. I’m just having fun.”
- Luol Deng and Marcin Gortat are two players that the Mavericks should go after in free agency this summer, opines Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Brad Stevens’ emphasis on establishing a winning culture along with the players’ continued commitment toward playing hard is proof that the Celtics haven’t given up on the season just yet, explains Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.
The Knicks dropped a critical game Monday night to the Pistons, one of the teams ahead of them for the final playoff spot. The loss was the seventh in a row for the Knicks, who are six and a half games out of the playoffs. All of this is a boon for the Nuggets, who’ll receive New York’s first-round pick this year, as our Reverse Standings show. Here’s more from the beleaguered blue-and-orange:
- Tyson Chandler is under contract through next season, but he’s uncertain if he’ll want to re-sign with the Knicks, as Marc Berman of the New York Post observes.
- Newly signed Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette says playing for the Knicks “would have been a lot of fun,” given the team’s proximity to his hometown of Glens Falls, New York, but he’s not crestfallen that it didn’t happen, notes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- Jeff Van Gundy, rumored as a head coaching candidate for the Knicks if they let go of Mike Woodson after the season, weighed in on the team’s struggles in an appearance on ”The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show” on ESPN New York 98.7. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com transcribes the highlights.
After previously being part of a Spurs coaching staff that helped San Antonio win three titles, Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown tells Keith Pompey of The Inquirer that bringing a championship culture to the 76ers is much tougher than he anticipated:
“It’s much harder…It’s something that I didn’t judge properly. It doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm being here. I just recognize the monster ahead of us…Trying to build a program to the level we hope to build it to requires so much work and so much luck. And there is no wiggle room. You can’t skip a single step.”
You can find some more miscellaneous links worth passing along out of the Atlantic Division below:
- Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire is more than eager to be a contributor and asserted that he’s ready to play without minute restrictions: “From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been (minute) limitations since the first week of the season…So we can’t keep saying limitations; that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day. I feel great. I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not” (Frank Isola of the New York Daily News).
- Stoudemire added that he’s spoken with head coach Mike Woodson about increasing his role: “Yeah. I talk to Coach all the time about it. He knows I am ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train. I am ready to play. But it depends on how the game is played.”
- In response to Mike Wilbon’s recent argument on ESPN that the Bulls should look to add Carmelo Anthony on the premise that stars win in this league, ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk thinks the same can be said for why the Knicks must do what they can to keep him in New York.
- Henry Abbott and David Thorpe of ESPN discuss why Tyson Chandler hasn’t been able to make the same defensive impact we’re used to seeing from seasons past.
- Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News explains why Raymond Felton isn’t fit to be the team’s starting point guard.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post looks at how Shaun Livingston orchestrated his mid-season turnaround. The Peoria native put up 9.2 PPG on 46.1% shooting to go with 4.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG in 29.7 MPG during Brooklyn’s 10-3 stretch in January, and is averaging 18.5 PPG on 51.9% shooting over his last two contests.
The average value of an NBA franchise is $634MM, a 25% jump over last year, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com. The Knicks lead the way with a valuation of $1.4 billion, helped along by renovations to Madison Square Garden. Only four NBA teams lost money last year, Badenhausen writes, though Grantland’s Zach Lowe notes that the league usually disputes the numbers in the Forbes annual report (Twitter link). While the Knicks appear to be doing just fine financially, that isn’t the case on the court or in the locker room, as we detail amid our look at the Atlantic Division:
- There have been some hard feelings between Mike Woodson and Tyson Chandler, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News examines, noting that Knicks GM Steve Mills isn’t thrilled with Woodson’s job performance.
- The Celtics highly value a player’s zeal for the game, as their 10-day signing of Chris Johnson and dismissal of Keith Bogans indicate, but it won’t be easy for Johnson to get a deal with Boston for the rest of the season, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Presumably that applies to the newly signed Vander Blue, as well. The C’s are close to the luxury tax line, and keeping roster spots open will help the team retain flexibility for trades in advance of the February 20th deadline, Forsberg explains.
- Jeff Green tells Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher that the Celtics haven’t indicated to him that he’s on the trade block, as Bucher notes at the end of his piece.
- Danny Ainge didn’t say whether he envisions a long-term future in Boston for Kris Humphries, who’s expressed a desire to stay, but the Celtics GM tells Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe that he didn’t expect Humphries to perform as well as he has. Ainge was nonetheless high on the power forward even before the trade that brought Humphries to Boston this summer.
- Nets GM Billy King thinks Jason Kidd is “coming into his own” as a coach, as he said on The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show on ESPN New York 98.7, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. Mirza Teletovic expressed similar sentiments in a conversation last night with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
- King also confirmed on radio that it’s unlikely Edin Bavcic, a throw-in to Wednesday’s Tyshawn Taylor trade, ever plays for the Nets. King said the roster spot the team opened via that transaction enhances the possibility the Nets will use the disabled player exception for Brook Lopez to add a player. Youngmisuk has more from the Nets GM in the same piece.
Since Knicks owner James Dolan gave Mike Woodson a public vote of confidence on November 20 (while the team sported a 3-8 record), New York has gone 6-11 over their last 17 games. Among those losses include a 41-point defeat to the Celtics at home, a 15-point loss to the Cavaliers two days later, and a one-point heartbreaker at the hands of the Wizards, in which the Knicks failed to call a timeout with ample time left to set up a final play. Ian Begley of ESPN New York writes that no one from the team’s ownership or front office has commented publicly on Woodson’s status over the last few days, although it appears that the players – especially outspoken center Tyson Chandler – still offer their support.
Here’s what we’ve heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight, including more from Begley’s piece:
- Despite the Knicks struggles, Woodson is still confident that the team can and will win the Atlantic Division title: “Eventually, we’ll get healthy and we’ll see how it all plays out. The beauty about all of this that we’re going through is nobody’s running away with it in our division, and I’m pushing our team to win our division still…We won it last year, and I expect us to win it this year.”
- Marc Berman of the New York Post thinks that the four-day break between New York’s upcoming home-and-home series against Toronto and their Texas triangle trip would be the window in which Dolan could make a coaching change if he ultimately decided to. Otherwise, the Knicks owner could wait until the offseason, where names such as Jeff Van Gundy or Lionel Hollins may become available.
- Conditioning is deemed to be the biggest hurdle between Rajon Rondo and his return from rehab. Though Rondo was reportedly “huffing and puffing” after practice, the 27-year-old point guard participated extensively in drills today, as Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston details: “Rondo raced up and down the court during sprint-heavy drills, tried to take charges as teammates attacked in odd-man breaks, and even dunked off his left leg at one point. He seemed to be pushing himself hard as Boston engaged in its first practice after a three-day holiday break.”
- A source confirms to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the 76ers have assigned Lorenzo Brown to their D-League affiliate, the 87ers. Earlier today, we noted that Bob Cooney of the Daily News was the first to relay notice of those plans. You can read the team’s official press release here.
- RealGM’s Shams Charania writes about how Michael Carter-Williams‘ young stardom has reminded Philadelphia of the way Allen Iverson once carried the Sixers franchise. The 6’6 point guard also offered his thoughts about how outside talk of tanking helped motivate him to compete hard this year.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post notes the Nets’ inability to respond when challenged with adversity this season, shifting focus on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s inability to instill the toughness and fortitude expected of them after being acquired from Boston this past summer.