Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Aldemir, Smart

The Knicks were ranked last in the ESPN Forecast panel’s ranking of the league’s front offices. The management team of Phil Jackson and Steve Mills was ranked 29th; coach Derek Fisher was ranked 30th and owner James Dolan also came in at No. 30. Good times might be on the horizon, however, Ian Begley of writes in his analysis of the panel’s rankings. The Knicks will have at least $25MM to spend and could have a high first-round pick in this year’s draft, Begley noted while also adding that things could also change because Dolan is a willing spender.

Here’s more on the Knicks and the Atlantic Division:

  • It would be unwise for the Knicks to sign Kevin Durant when the reigning MVP is expected to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News opines. Isola believes that acquiring the superstar would be a risk the Knicks cannot afford to take, especially after the Thunder announced Durant will need another surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot and will miss the rest of the season.
  • Furkan Aldemir, a native of Turkey who is in the first year of a four-year deal worth about $12MM with the Sixers, has struggled to adapt to life in the NBA, but is expected to get more playing time as the season winds down, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. Aldemir, 23, has played in five straight games.
  • Clippers president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers is reminded of himself — albeit a better version, he said — when he watches Celtics rookie point guard Marcus Smart, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes.  “He’s a really good defensive player,” said Rivers, who played 13 seasons in the NBA. “On the ball, off the ball. Yet he’s making plays offensively. I like him a lot.”

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