Sixers chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo has an in with plenty of NBA stars as managing director of USA Basketball, but it’s off-base to suggest marquee players will flock to the Sixers anytime soon because of that, contends Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine. The Sixers are too far from contention to become the rare NBA team capable of convincing top-flight free agents to take discounts to sign with them, Bodner argues, suggesting the onus instead is on Colangelo and the rest of the Philly front office to make wise choices without any inherent advantage. The year ahead is critical for Colangelo and the Sixers, as Liberty Ballers managing editor Jake Pavorsky detailed Friday in the latest edition of our Top Bloggers series.
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- Kristaps Porzingis has broken out of his slump, as Fred Kerber of the New York Post examines, and the numbers show he’s putting up essentially the same sort of production under Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis as he did under the fired Derek Fisher, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. That dismisses one of the arguments against the team removing the interim tag from Rambis’ title, Begley suggests.
- The Knicks have reportedly given up on the idea of Langston Galloway as a point guard, but Rambis insists the team is still high on the soon-to-be free agent, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone relays. New York can make him a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of about $1.18MM. “We like his defense, we like his ability to organize and execute our offense,” Rambis said. “We just continue to challenge him to broaden his game . . . He’s just not playing at his best right now.”
- A versatile forward is what the Celtics probably want if they’re to fill their roster vacancy, coach Brad Stevens said today, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Coty Clarke, whom the team has elected not to re-sign following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, would ostensibly fit that bill, but Boston prefers the flexibility of an open roster spot over another deal for him, wary of the possibility that an injury will create a need at another position, Himmelsbach wrote this weekend. Any new deal for Clarke would have to cover the rest of the season and the playoffs.