Allen Crabbe

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Crabbe, Casey, Celtics

The Nets‘ acquisition of Jahlil Okafor signaled a change of scenery for a talented yet displaced player. With 24 games left in the season, however, the Nets seem to be wasting their opportunity to audition Okafor as a potential long-term commodity, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Since being traded to Brooklyn, Okafor has appeared in 22 games while averaging 6.2 PPG and 3.0 PPG. Okafor’s playing time has been inconsistent, which makes it difficult to assess both his value and interest in retaining him beyond this season.

“Getting on the floor is very important,” Okafor said. “As a basketball player we all want to be on the court. My minutes have been fluctuating up and down, but the coaches say it’s nothing on my end.”

Head coach Kenny Atkinson noted that the team feels comfortable with 19-year-old Jarrett Allen playing at power forward with Okafor at center. As it stands, the team will have a decision to make in terms of Okafor’s playing time and future.

Check out other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets shooting guard Allen Crabbe has been on a tear, averaging 25.3 PPG and 5.5 RPG over the team’s last four games. It has taken a while but Crabbe is finally playing and scoring the way the Nets hoped he would, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays.
  • Dwane Casey is headed to Los Angeles to coach Team LeBron this weekend, but his proudest accomplishment is entering the break with the Raptors wielding the best record in the Eastern Conference. Despite the improvements the franchise has enjoyed under Casey, there always seems to be a perception that the Raptors head coach is on the hot seat, Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports writes.
  • After a rough stretch in which they’ve lost nine of their last 15 games, the Celtics may explore changing their lineup after the All-Star break, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Celtics, Crabbe, McConnell

Celtics forward Marcus Morris will be back in action today after missing eight games with a left knee injury, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. The knee has been an issue all season, as soreness caused him to miss the first eight games of the season. Morris is excited about the holiday matchup against the Wizards and his twin brother Markieff. “This has to be history,” Marcus Morris said. “First twins to play on Christmas against each other.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ heated rivalry with Washington may not be the same after Boston’s offseason roster shakeup, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The teams staged a contentious seven-game semifinal series in last year’s playoffs that seemed to cement a long-standing bitterness. But many of those Celtics are gone, Bulpett notes, and today’s game features not only a reunion of the Morris twins but a meeting of Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, two St. Louis natives who frequently encourage each other on social media. “We never hated anybody,” said Marcus Smart, one of the Celtics’ holdovers from last season. “I don’t think nobody really hates anybody. As a competitor, you just want to go out there and do everything you can to win. This game is 80 percent mental, and if you can get under your opponent’s skin early, you did half the battle.”
  • Allen Crabbe hasn’t provided the 3-point shooting the Nets expected when they traded for him, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn acquired Crabbe from Portland this summer, finally securing a player the organization signed to a four-year, $83MM offer sheet in 2016. A career 42% shooter from long distance, Crabbe has dipped to 36% since joining the Nets. “It happens. For me the biggest focus is stop settling so much,” Crabbe said. “I know I said the ‘shooters shoot’ quote, and we do. But me trying to find easier ones as well would help the confidence.”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown was thrilled by T.J. McConnell‘s 15-point performance in today’s win over the Knicks, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The backup point guard, who has a $1.6MM team option for next season, has become a personal project for his coach. “He wears his heart on his sleeve,” Brown said. “I have a very antagonistic relationship with him. I coach him harder than I coach anybody. I’m so proud of him coming out of left field, being in the NBA, staying in the NBA and now playing in the NBA.”

Nets Notes: Okafor, Stauskas, Crabbe, Harris

Even after suffering a season worst 33 point loss to Toronto on Friday night, Nets center Jahlil Okafor and guard Nik Stauskas both appeared to be in high spirits after finally being able to get back on the court ten days removed from a trade that brought them to Brooklyn from Philadelphia in exchange for Trevor Booker, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

After playing only 25 minutes for Philadelphia all season, Okafor logged 23 minutes in his Nets debut, scoring ten points and grabbing four rebounds. Stauskas, meanwhile, scored a team high 22 points of 5-of-7 shooting from long range. “It just felt great to be back on the basketball court,” Stauskas said. “I hadn’t played that much in Philly, so it felt good to run up and down again.” Being from the Toronto area, Stauskas added, “maybe [being home helped] a little bit. But for me, it was more excitement to be back out there.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have their own “process” for Okafor’s acclimation to the Nets’ style of play, Lewis reveals in a separate story. “With Jahlil, it’s going to be a process,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He’s shown a lot of potential and strength in the post. That’d be cool if we could throw it in there a little more, [have] a little more balance.” Notwithstanding Okafor’s post play acumen, he knows that the game has changed and he’s ready for the challenge. “I have to get comfortable shooting threes in the game. That’s the way coach wants the team to play. If you’re open for three in the corner, he wants guys to shoot it. I’m going to be in the gym constantly so I can knock that down.”
  • In yet another story for the New York Post, Lewis relays how the Nets believe that sharpshooter Allen Crabbe, who has been battling left knee soreness, will shoot his way out of a recent slump sooner rather than later. Crabbe, who has shot 4 for his last 21 from long distance, is expected back for tonight’s game against Indiana after missing Friday’s loss to Toronto. Said Atkinson, “right now he’s struggling a little. It’s just like a batter that has a two-game little slump. He’ll come back and he’ll make shots. I’m not worried about that.”
  • In an interesting piece for NBA.com, Tom Dowd chronicles how Joe Harris found his way onto the Nets’ roster. After being waived by Orlando in January, 2016, and unable to hook on with another team for the remainder of the season, Harris spent the summer of 2016 looking for another opportunity in the NBA. Upon meeting with Harris following a team workout, Atkinson was hooked. “What I loved, he took ownership,” said Atkinson. “That convinced me that this is a guy we want. Just his character to say that. (And) since he’s been with us, it’s amazing his commitment to what we’re doing.”

New York Notes: Lee, Porzingis, Crabbe, Russell

With Tim Hardaway Jr. expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks – and possibly longer – the Knicks’ performance during his absence may go a long way toward dictating the team’s approach to the trade deadline, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. If New York can tread water and remain in the playoff hunt during that time, the front office could stand pat or even attempt to bolster the roster in February. If not, perhaps the Knicks will become deadline sellers.

In the event that the Knicks do decide to move veterans, Courtney Lee is one player to watch. Lee, who scored 24 points on Wednesday, continues to draw interest from opposing teams, league sources tell Begley. Lee’s contract, which is guaranteed through 2019/20 at about $12MM per year, is somewhat onerous, limiting his trade value, but his shot-making ability (.465 3PT%) should certainly appeal to teams around the NBA.

Here’s more on the two New York teams:

  • Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis was represented by Andy Miller, who relinquished his certification as an agent this week, but his primary agent is his brother Janis Porzingis, who also works at ASM Sports. As such, Porzingis is expected to remain at the agency with his brother despite Miller’s situation, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • Knicks owner James Dolan was named as a defendant in a civil suit filed against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Begley has the details at ESPN.com.
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe was fined $15K by the NBA after throwing a ball at the basket stanchion on Monday (link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). Crabbe is set to earn more than $19.3MM this season, so the $15K hit to his salary is a drop in the bucket.
  • While Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson didn’t provide an official update on D’Angelo Russell‘s recovery timetable this week, his comments suggest that Russell’s return isn’t exactly imminent, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Celtics, Crabbe, Raptors

Kyrie Irving won’t be sidelined long by a facial fracture he suffered Friday night, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Irving is doubtful for Sunday’s game, the Celtics announced today, but he plans to get a facemask and resume playing as soon as possible. Sources tell Charania that Irving should need the mask for about two weeks.

The injury, which is being called minor, occurred early in Friday’s game when Irving was accidentally elbowed in the face by teammate Aron Baynes. Irving has emerged as an early MVP candidate, posting 20.3 points and 5.2 assists per night while helping the Celtics rise to a league-best 11-2 despite the loss of Gordon Hayward.

There’s more news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Unexpected contributions from several players have helped the Celtics remain successful after the loss of Hayward, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year player Jaylen Brown have taken on more responsibility, while Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis have become valuable role players. “We’ve been preaching next man up forever,” Rozier told Chris Forsberg of ESPN. “Lately, our team is dropping like flies. You just gotta be ready. Shane did a great job, stepping up, coming in [Friday]. Like you said, you just never know in this league when your number is going to be called. We did a good job handling that.”
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe didn’t hide his nostalgia for Portland when he returned to the city Friday for the first time since a July trade, relays Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Crabbe spent four seasons with the Trail Blazers before the deal and says he still has fond feelings for the organization. However, he believes he has a greater opportunity to become a full-time player in Brooklyn. “It’s everything an NBA player would want,” Crabbe said. “To be a key piece to a team. I don’t think it was going to happen [in Portland].”
  • Changes in philosophy are resulting in fewer shots for Raptors stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, notes Scott Stinson of The National Post. Toronto has been emphasizing ball movement and 3-point shooting, resulting in three fewer shots and three fewer points per game for DeRozan and four fewer shots and nearly 10 fewer points for Lowry.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Morris, Crabbe, Russell

The Celtics remain interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, but won’t give up a first-round pick to get him, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston views the third-year center as more of a project than an immediate contributor and is reluctant to part with a significant asset.

Okafor has been on the market for more than a year, but his fate became obvious when the Sixers decided this week not to pick up his option for 2018/19. Washburn contends Philadelphia has let Okafor’s market value slip by not playing him. He has appeared in just one game this season.

Washburn compliments Okafor for the way he has handled a difficult situation and says the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft has kept himself in good shape despite the lack of playing time. The Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and Nuggets also have interest in Okafor, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops, but so far no one is willing to meet the Sixers‘ asking price.

There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Morris made an immediate impact Friday in his first game for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. After being slowed by soreness in his left knee, Morris debuted with nine points and four rebounds in a win over the Thunder, and his defense on Carmelo Anthony helped Boston overcome a large deficit.
  • Allen Crabbe posted his best game since joining the Nets with 25 points Friday against the Lakers, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The fifth-year swingman was acquired from the Trail Blazers in a July trade to boost Brooklyn’s offense, but has started the season in a shooting slump, hitting just 15 of 43 from 3-point range before Friday night. “I think he’s finding his rhythm. He’s going to get better and better,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “He was struggling because he missed a fair amount of time at training camp. I [don’t] think he was physically at his peak. You’ll see him get better as the season goes on.”
  • Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell has responded to comments from Lakers president Magic Johnson suggesting he wasn’t a leader during his time in Los Angeles, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” said Russell, who spent two seasons in L.A. after being the second pick in the 2015 draft. “But you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.”

Atlantic Rumors: Beasley, Hayward, Crabbe, Embiid

A pair of free-agent acquisitions, forward Michael Beasley and point guard Ramon Sessions, are among the players who have fallen out of the Knicks’ rotation, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Beasley didn’t play for the first time this season in the Knicks’ win over the Cavaliers on Sunday while Sessions, who started the first three games, didn’t play for the second straight game. Beasley signed a one-year, $2.1MM deal with New York and Sessions inked a one-year, $2.3MM contract this summer. Big man Willy Hernangomez has also fallen out of coach Jeff Hornacek’s current rotation and combo guard Ron Baker was inactive for the second straight game, Berman adds.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics are gradually adjusting to the loss of Gordon Hayward, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Hayward’s horrific leg injury in the season opener left the team reeling but it has perked up over the past week, winning four straight heading into Monday’s game against the Spurs. “I think we’re getting used to that reality to what we have in front of us,” power forward Al Horford told Bulpett. “It’s a hard blow, but then as the days go on you kind of realize that this is our reality, this is what we have, and we need to make the most of it with what’s here right now.”
  • The Nets traded for shooting guard Allen Crabbe‘s huge contract but he hasn’t taken a lot of shots in the early going, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.com notes. Crabbe, who is the second year of a four-year, $74.8MM deal, was acquired from the Trail Blazers in July. Thus far, he’s averaging 10.6 PPG and taking an average of 9.4 shots per game. However, coach Kenny Atkinson told Puccio and other media members that he’s not worried about getting Crabbe more involved.  “We’re not a ‘let’s give it to Allen and clear out and let him go one-on-one,’” Atkinson said. “It’s a team concept. That means everything has to be in sync, we have to run to our spots, screen better, cut better.”
  • Joel Embiid, who signed a max extension with the Sixers earlier this month, wants to play in Philadelphia the remainder of this career, Molly Sullivan of NBCSPhilly.com tweets. “I want to be Kobe Bryant. I want to be Tim Duncan. I want to be Dirk Nowitzki,” Embiid told Sullivan.

Nets Notes: Ownership, Crabbe, Outlook, Booker

Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of The New York Post are back with another update on the potential Nets sale, reporting that prospective bidders for the franchise have been pushing owner Mikhail Prokhorov to sell a controlling interest in the team. Prokhorov is reportedly interested in selling a 49% stake with a path for a new minority owner to purchase a controlling interest within three years, but potential buyers are hoping to gain control of the club immediately.

“They’re asking, but I don’t think he’s giving in,” one source close to the discussions tells Kosman and Lewis. However, another source suggested that he wouldn’t be shocked if Prokhorov surrenders full control immediately.

While it remains to be seen what a sale will look like, a deal could be announced in the coming days or weeks, sources tell The Post. According to Kosman and Lewis, at least two “New York financial titans” are believed to be among the potential suitors, along with a Texas-based group that lost the bidding for the Rockets. Former Knicks and MSG president Dave Checketts is also rumored to be involved in a group of prospective buyers, sources tell The Post.

Here’s more on the Nets, as we wait to see how the sale process will play out:

New York Notes: Crabbe, Starting Lineups, NBA Draft

Newest Nets acquisition Allen Crabbe was limited during the preseason due to an ankle injury. Crabbe missed the first two preseason contests and was relegated to coming off the bench in the final two games. Head coach Kenny Atkinson wants to get Crabbe acclimated to the lineup but is also pleased with how Brooklyn’s highest-paid player has progressed, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

“We still have to integrate Allen Crabbe a little bit. He’s obviously a little behind because he’s been out,” Atkinson said. “We got a good practice in [Friday] and he got a lot of reps. For him it’s just a matter of time. Overall [I’m] pleased.”

Crabbe, 26, had a productive season off the Trail Blazers’ bench last season, averaging 10.7 PPG across 79 games in Portland. Crabbe’s journey to Brooklyn was delayed by one year as the Nets originally issued him an offer sheet that the Trail Blazers matched. Now that he’s in a revamped culture with a revamped roster in Brooklyn, Crabbe’s health will be key to the team’s development.

Below you can check out other news surrounding New York’s two basketball teams:

  • Without a clear defensive big man on the Nets roster, playing with a smaller roster on the floor could spell disaster for the young Brooklyn squad, Lewis writes in a separate story.
  • A knee injury to 19-year-old Frenchman Frank Ntilikina is making the Knicks‘ opening night lineup clearer, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Veteran Ramon Sessions will be the likely starting point guard with Tim Hardaway Jr. (shooting guard)  and Courtney Lee (small forward) rounding out the backcourt. Kristaps Porzingis has dealt with his own injury-riddled preseason but should start the season opener in Oklahoma City with Enes Kanter — acquired from the Thunder for Carmelo Anthony — as the center.
  • The Knicks are not expected to contend in 2017/18 so the team should consider its possible options in the 2018 NBA Draft when deciding on plans for this season, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News opinesMichael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III and Luka Dončić will be three highly sought-after targets in next year’s draft. A lowly Knicks team could set its sights on tanking this season in order to secure a draft pick high enough to select one of those youngsters next season.

Atlantic Notes: Hernangomez, Dinwiddie, McKinnie

The Knicks have a glut of centers on their roster and this season could go a long way toward figuring out who their big man of the future might be. A solid summer with Spain’s national team has helped 23-year-old Willy Hernangomez shore up his case for the position, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Hernangomez will presumably compete with Enes Kanter for the Knicks’ starting gig but teammates Kyle O’Quinn and Joakim Noah have value in their own ways as well. The Spanish import and close friend of franchise star Kristaps Porzingis, will look to build upon a rookie season in which he averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 boards in just 18.4 minutes per game.

Hernangomez says that he learned a lot from brothers Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol this summer, things that should serve him well as opponents learn more about him after he seemingly came out of nowhere in 2016/17. Whether or not that’s enough to convince the team to commit to him as their center of the future remains to be seen.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into his fourth season and second with the Nets, second-round pick Spencer Dinwiddie has slowly started to make a name for himself. Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson sees what the guard is capable of and wants to get him more minutes in 2017/18. “As well as he is developing, I’m really excited about him,” Atkinson told Alex Squadron of the New York Post. “I think he’s going to have a really good year.”
  • In his first season with the Raptors, G League standout Alfonzo McKinnie has been a revelation, Mike Gardner of the Toronto Sun writes. The forward has shown versatility, length and an ability to knock down three-pointers that the club could use.
  • Recently acquired forward Allen Crabbe finally made his debut for the Nets. As Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, Brooklyn had been looking to bring Crabbe aboard for a while now, stretching all the way back to last offseason.
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