Morning Shootaround — March 10


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played March 10

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Jackson to decide on Knicks’ offer today | Report: Sixers’ Noel wants to play this season | Bynum ready for action, too | Durant could score more | A J-Smoove/Rondo reunion?

Update, 1:31 p.m. ET: From the looks of things (literally) per a report from ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard, Phil Jackson seems headed for a front-office job with the New York Knicks:

All indications are that Phil Jackson will accept the New York Knicks’ offer to join the club’s front office, according to a league source.

“The Knicks have a sense of what’s going to happen,” the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “And as of right now, it looks like Phil’s taking the job.

“There’s always the possibility of something falling apart at the last minute, but the Knicks’ sense is that he’s joining them.”

The two sides are still working out all the details, including what Jackson’s title will be, how much time he will spend in New York, and when in the next few months he will start his job.

Jackson’s answer is expected to become official within the next day or so. The Knicks have not yet scheduled an announcement.

Jackson will not be a mere consultant for the Knicks, as he was recently for the Detroit Pistons. Whatever his title, he will be an integral part of the club’s basketball operations. Jackson will definitely not coach the team.

And here’s our earlier entry from this morning about the Knicks and Jackson expected to reach a deal sometime today …

Report: Knicks expect decision from Jackson today – New York Knicks fans are nervously awaiting word from Phil Jackson today, wondering and many of them hoping that the legendary coach will join the organization in a front office position that will help lift their team out a season-long (and some would say decade’s old funk). It’s unclear whether or not Phil’s presence alone will change the fortunes of the franchise. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News details the countdown to the latest decision:

According to an NBA source familiar with the negotiations, the Knicks expect to have a decision on Monday, approximately two weeks after Jackson turned down an offer to coach the club. The 68-year-old Hall of Fame coach is considering a lucrative deal to join the Knicks’ front office and be placed in charge of the basketball operations.

The possibility of Jackson returning to the franchise that drafted him would give the Knicks instant credibility since Jackson has won 11 NBA titles as a coach and two as a player.

The downside, of course, is that Jackson has never been an executive and, at this stage of his life and career, on-the-job training could be a risky proposition for both sides. Jackson, though, believes he can make the same transition that Pat Riley made nearly 20 years ago when he left the Knicks to run the Miami Heat.

The Knicks have not commented on Jackson’s potential hiring and have not even acknowledged that an offer has been made. In recent interviews, Jackson has made it clear that he has no interest in coaching and instead prefers a consultant’s role similar to the one Jerry West has with the Golden State Warriors.

Whether Jackson wants to live full-time in New York or would be required to do so remains unclear. Jackson splits his time between his Montana ranch and his beach house in Playa Del Rey, Calif. Jackson is not enamored with traveling, which is crucial if he takes the job. In fact, with all the college basketball tournaments starting, it would be essential for Jackson to be on the road scouting. However, Jackson has no appetite for that aspect of the job and is not a big fan of college basketball. Friends say his true passion is following the NHL.

In that case, perhaps Dolan will give Jackson the same freedom he gives to Rangers president Glen Sather, who lives in both California and Canada. Whether that arrangement works with the Knicks, considering the club’s current state, is debatable.

It is also unclear if Jackson is sincere about joining the Knicks or perhaps leveraging James Dolan’s offer to return to the Los Angeles Lakers in some capacity. Jackson’s girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, is a club executive and the daughter of the onetime Lakers owner, the late Jerry Buss.


VIDEO: Isiah Thomas talks about the challenges of fixing the Knicks

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No. 2: Report: Noel wants to play on April 4 – Nerlens Noel has every intention of making his rookie debut with the Philadelphia 76ers before this NBA seasons ends. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that  Noel has been preparing himself for a action all season and believe he’ll be ready to make his first appearance in a Sixers uniform in his hometown of Boston:

The sources said this is just a wish that he had not disclosed to the Sixers as of Sunday afternoon.

Noel has been sidelined this season due to the anterior cruciate ligament tear he suffered in his left knee in February, 2013 during his lone season at Kentucky.

The 6-foot-11, 228-pounder is slowly increasing his activity on the court and has yet to participate in five-on-five scrimmages. Minor back spasms held him out of Sunday’s open practice for Sixers Camps participants and their families at Haverford College.

There’s a thought that the franchise doesn’t want him on the court and would be content if he missed the entire season. In October, Sixers coach Brett Brown said Noel was not likely to play this season, something the team has stood by ever since.

***

No. 3: Bynum ready for work next week – The Indiana Pacers are mired in a slump right now, losers of four straight even though they are still sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings this morning. Could there be a remedy for their woes in the form of Andrew Bynum, the former All-Star center who has yet to suit up in a game with the Pacers? Could be. But he has to get on the court first. And Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star explains the Pacers’ plans regarding Bynum:

On Sunday, Bynum said that he hopes to be “cleared to play next week,” believing that he could be on the floor by Friday, March 14 when the Pacers play in Philadelphia. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said the team planned to re-evaluate Bynum after the road trip.

“We’ll see after (Sunday’s) game goes and then we’ll probably meet about it (Monday),” Vogel said, “and try to come up with a firmer plan.”

Through his career, Bynum, a 7-0 center, has shown flashes of dominance but has also been limited with knee problems. Bynum, 26, began his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and started alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol when the team won its second consecutive NBA championship in 2010.

Last season, Bynum was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers then signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers over the summer. In 24 games this season with the Cavaliers, Bynum averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. Through Bynum said that he was “probably at 90 (percent)” at the end of his time in Cleveland, the team traded him to the Chicago Bulls.

After being waived by the Bulls on Jan. 7, Bynum took several weeks off before deciding to sign with the Pacers as a backup to Roy Hibbert.

Bynum has worked with the team’s training and medical staff to build up his knee strength. Over the past weeks, Bynum has slowly picked up more work on the basketball court and on Saturday he participated in a full practice that included 5-on-5 action.

“He looked good,” Vogel said about the Saturday practice, “and he looked like he can give us some short bursts.

***

No. 4: Durant could score more if needed – The Oklahoma City Thunder’s recent woes don’t include any individual struggles from Kevin Durant, who continues to light it up, win or lose. He could score more, according to Thunder coach Scott Brooks, if he wasn’t so focused on the team. Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the details:

“Let’s face it: If he wanted to score a bunch of points or more than he’s scoring now, he really could do that,” Brooks said before the Thunder played the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. “His assist level has gone up, he impacts the game. Defensively, he impacts the game. He can guard 1 through 5. So a lot of things that he does (are) all about the team.”

Durant entered Sunday’s game averaging a career-high 31.8 points per game, but his 5.5 assists per game are also a career-best mark for the seven-year veteran.

On Sunday he had a triple-double through three quarters and finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in the Thunder’s 114-110 loss to the Lakers.

While Durant leads the league with 10 games of 40 or more points this season, Brooks said the rangy forward really stood out with his all-around game while Russell Westbrook was sidelined with a knee injury for two months.

“When he was out, (Durant) definitely had to continue to lead us,” Brooks said. “Not only on the court, but off the court. Just from the emotional standpoint of losing Russell, he had to wrap that type of stress around his game and continue to work our way as a team through that. It’s not easy losing players, (especially) a dynamic player like Russell is. But Kevin came in and led us.

“He improved his defense and his playmaking, the ball was in his hands and the decisions were more so in his hands and he did a good job with that. With adding Russell now, it gives us two dynamic players, and that’s better. That’s better for us because you can’t load up on one. The thing about KD, he knows that he has the ability to impact the game on both ends and he does it every night. The consistency level that he has, it’s remarkable that he’s so consistent every night.”


VIDEO: Kevin Durant records a triple-double in OKC’s loss to the L.A. Lakers

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No. 5: J-Smoove is dreaming of a reunion with Rondo – As seniors at Oak Hill Academy, Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo formed one of the most dynamic duos in the history of the boarding school/basketball factory. A reunion at the NBA level is not in the offing, but it’s also not impossible. Smith admitted to fantasizing about it, never mind that he plays for the Detroit Pistons and Rondo is under contract for at least one more season after this one in Boston. Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk.com connects the dots for you:

They watched film together. They walked to the gym together for extra workouts together. They played games together.

Could they team up again in the NBA?

“The conversation comes up,” Smith said. “We always tell each other how surreal a moment that would be, for us to be able to reconnect again in that realm. With the different free agencies that we both have, it could be far-fetched, but it could be possible, too.

“I’m always optimistic. I’m always thinking different scenarios. It could happen, but who knows?”

Smith said he and Rondo talk frequently and vacation together, but he adds, he’s happy with the Pistons and Rondo is still making his mark with the Celtics.

But if it were to happen, what would work?

The Pistons have previously shown interest in Rondoand there also has been Smith-to-Boston buzz. So, either player could swap teams.

If they were to join forces in Boston, how about Smith for Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace this summer? Then, the Pistons should have the cap room to make that deal, accepting Wallace’s toxic contract as a tax for upgrading – in age, fit and contract status – from Smith to Green.


VIDEO: Rajon Rondo and the Celtics dispatch Josh Smith and the Pistons

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Carmelo Anthony has not been consulted on the Phil Jackson business and has been kept in the dark about the Knicks’ future plans … Eric Bledsoe is ready to come back to the Suns … The Nets are down to just two (of their six) All-Stars and somehow, someway they keep winning … Are the Rockets the best team in the league right now? Our Fran Blinebury tackles that one

ICYMI of the Night: Move over Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Make room for in the annals of the Los Angeles Lakers for Jodie Meeks …. that’s right, Jodie Meeks, who showed up and showed out with 42 points in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder …


VIDEO: Jodie Meeks shreds the Thunder for 42 points

31 Comments

  1. AYWAN says:

    Lakers 2014-2015

    Kyle Lowry – PG
    Gerald Green – SG
    Carmelo Anthony – SF
    Kevin Love – PF
    Demarcus Cousins – C

    Bench

    Ryan Kelly
    Kent Bazemore
    Kobe Bryant
    Tyson Chandler
    Raymond Felton
    Steve Nash
    Marc Gasol
    Lamar Odom

  2. gaze says:

    Rondo could be traded to OKC for RW its still rebuilding, Phil can take any post he wants cause he is Phil, he’s an end to end guy for a team meaning he knows the best guy and train them and work as needed. bu its also ok if both RW RR will stay from theyr own team and test for another year. melo can stay. LBJ and other stars too are available though :)

  3. Singaporean says:

    1) Westbrook and Perkins for Lakers… Kobe will play his last season in the 14-15 season.
    2) Rondo & Phil Jackson for Knicks, Stoudamire and BArgiani off…
    3) Kyrie Irving for Celtics…

  4. Singaporean says:

    Phi goes Knicks front office, signs Rondo and release stoudamire and Bargiani.. bring in one more big man such as one of the Plumlee brothers will be great for next season…

  5. tim says:

    I dont know about The Pacer and the Heat recent slide but I know OKC’s trend has to do with WB return. Before WB return all the guys were much more productive but since WB came back KD seem to laid back and let the ball hog run the show. Guess what?? OKC are a two men game again! Before you know it they will be back to the hobbit hole

  6. Mark says:

    Nerlens!

  7. No more Zero says:

    Yeah, RW needs to go to the Lakers. Ballhogs who have wayyy toooo much ego to be told they’re no good. Yeah. He fits in there.

  8. Lebron iZ DeezD says:

    Houston can beat Miami….. FEAR THE BEARD :|

  9. John says:

    If knicks want to win An nba championship, the need to hire Phil Jackson to run all operations, trades, draft picks, and scouting while they fire Woodson and hire Jeff van Gundy. It’s been a while since the knicks went to nba finals and Jeff van Gundy brought a weak 8th seed knicks team to reach the nba finals!!!! Now that’s a stat that’s almost impossible unless you are truly a good coach!

    • Stephen says:

      Playoff seeding that year was pretty unreliable as a guide for spotting the good teams, as it was a shortened lockout season there were less games to sort the best from the worst, there was a crazy schedule of back to backs for the games they did manage to squeeze in post-lockout, which played havoc with results, and the players weren’t coming in to the season with a full training camp or early season matches so decent teams ended up with low seeds due to poor conditioning which improved in time for the playoffs.

      Phil Jackson himself famously said that the Spurs’ championship that year should come with an asterisk.

  10. dustydreamnz says:

    Don’t forget the Clippers and Bulls, they’re charging lately.

  11. Mo d says:

    I just think Westbrook will leave next season
    Lakers starting line up point westbrook sg Kobe sf melo pf love and c asik dammmm allstar squad for next season

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      Kml that starting five alone screams 100+ shots a night, idk there’s enough ball for all of them- or cap space, they will all be fightin to see who can put up 30 shots first not to mention their point guards(westbrook) strength isn’t settin up players, it wud be the all time greatest isolation wing combination tho

  12. contra10 says:

    Phil Jackson may be the best coach of all time and may even be the one that sparks Carmelo Anthony to be even better than he already is but…that will never happen (at least no in NY). New York is one of those teams that look good on paper (at least with the superstar names) but what they don’t have is chemistry, too much ego for one team plain and simple. I think Phil of all people could see that. What New York needs to do is trade certipain players and build chemistry, that’s where they need to start. I would love to see Phil Jackson come back but only with Chicago and if melo could go there too that would be amazing. Thibideau is a great coach and all but he pushes players way too hard (I.e. Derrick Rose) and look what happen yo D-Rose…star player off an injury and you push him way too hard. People always say that Chicago just needs that one !ore player to make them perfect…what they need is a coach that really can take their game to a different level…Phil is that man…go yo Chicago memo…or raptors haha #raptorsfan

  13. steagl3 says:

    In response to the Josh Smith / Rondo article, I don’t think it’s in Boston’s best interests to trade away Jeff Green for Josh Smith. Green’s got a cheaper contract, is younger, and has more potential now and in the next 5 years than Smith does. Same goes for Rondo. This is his team now, and he has the chance to build a legacy in Boston. Leaving half way through his career for a franchise like Detroit just does not seem like the best career move for him. Only he can answer that one of course, but I would much rather see Boston surround him with talent in the next few years than try to start over with a new PG. Boston has a stockpile of draft picks and will also have the flexibility to land one or two really solid free agents next year and in 2015. A LaMarcus Aldridge or a Kevin Love or – dare I say – a LeBron James. Boston is getting ready to make another super team, and Rondo is an integral piece to that puzzle.

    • jc says:

      If you ask me, the Celtics already have this “super team” you’re referring to. Like you said Rondo is the main piece, but Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger have both proved to have All-Star potential. With a more consistent wing scorer (Wiggins? or I’m still willing to give Jeff Green another shot next season), a big body down low (Embiid? Monroe? Asik?), and maybe 2-3 to develop they will be a force to be reckoned with. I don’t see anyway Josh Smith fits in there.

      • OldCelt says:

        Monroe – yes. Asik – no thanks. You have to play hard and give it your best no matter what team you are on. Wiggins is out of the question, chances for no.1 pick are zero, and he’ll be no.1 pick with 99% probability. But draft is deep, and I’d really like to see C’s pick up a productive rookie SG – Marcus Smart? Gary Harris? Zach LaVine?. Other priorities are signing a quality big man (hopefully Monroe), and keeping Bradley, as he is your 2nd coming of Tony Allen defensive player of the year … I hope :) As much as I like Kelly Olynyk, he doesn’t seem like an all-star type. A very very solid backup center – yes, but not an all-star.

    • OldCelt says:

      Anyone who thinks Smith for Green (let alone Green and smb else) is a fair trade has no clue. Green is a better player in every way, and it is well known that Josh Smith hurts his team more than he helps it. If he can learn that he should NOT shoot the ball from anywhere outside 5ft, then maybe it’ll change. We need a center, and mr. Greg Monroe (who playes for the same Pistons team and apparently isn’t doing too well with Drummond and Smith on the roster) is gonna be a free agent this summer. If C’s can grab Greg in free agency and teach him some defense, they’ll have a contender team. LeBron won’t really fit in Celtics, but if Love or Aldridge decide to change teams in 2015, I’d totally love to see either of these guys in Boston. Been LaMarcus fan since he came to the NBA, his loyalty and hard work for all these years is really inspiring. Love is a tad worse fit for C’s as they already have Sullinger who does practically same thing – rebounds and spreads the D with the 3-ball.

  14. Apex Predator says:

    It is “interesting” that the top powerhouse teams with the potential top 3 choices for MVPs (KD, LBJ, PG) are all losing at the same time. Especially againsts rosters that are dubed down, below .500, or injury prone. Realistically its probably fatigue and that the core players aren’t playing as good as they should. The other reason is probably they just don’t care anymore because theres not many teams that can really catch them with the exception in the West (SA and HOU). Still I bet that 1-1.5 month before playoffs these teams will turn it up again.

    Phil Jackson is by far a great coach but theres NO way in this century that he can fix the Knicks. When he took over teams (LAL & CHI), the organizations were already set and had a plan to win. They knew who they needed and what they needed. All those years of bad trades & signings, unfit chemistry, players salary going over board, and Spike lee (joking) theres just too much negativity and terrible decisions to come back to life. Sorry to say for Knicks fans you might as well cheer for Brookyln for now until the Knicks starts from the very beginning.

    If I am Carmelo, I should really, I mean really, and I mean really consider leaving NY and going to CHI. He will fit in with the defensive minded Noah and a slasher guard like Rose. Only if Melo dubs down his scoring ego and learn to sacrifice knowing that this is Rose’s team. Just like what Wade did for LBJ. If Melo accepts a little bit of a pay cut so that CHI can keep some of their core guys (Gibson, Butler) he can win a ring which in his career is what he should be focused on or he will go down in history as a great player but can’t win the big prize.

    • BasedonStats says:

      If Carmelo goes to the Bulld have no doubt in your mind the player getting the press will be Melo. It will be “their” team at most. But Melo is the bigger star and has less asterisk next to his name because he has been extremely durable in his 10+ years as a star player. But Melo will not need to submit to Rose like Wade did to Lebron. Rose would have to play #2 to Anthony on offense but run the offense and remain aggressive to keep the d honest. Very similar to what Westbrook is to Durant except with switched personalities.

    • steagl3 says:

      Carmelo fitting in on a defensive minded squad? Now that would be something to see. Carmelo is so used to being the #1 option and dictating the offense of his team. He’s incredibly good at it, of course, but I don’t think it would be an easy transition for him to go to a team-first group like Chicago. Would it be good for him? Sure, but will it work? That’s the million dollar question, and a big gamble for Chicago.

      I’m no Knicks fan but I feel their pain. They really should blow out their roster and focus on draft picks and saving money for solid free agents, like their neighbors in Boston are doing. It’s a hard path to go down, but it yields fruit in the end. I think Carmelo could stay in NY and continue to be their cornerstone player as long as a talented executive (i.e. Phil Jackson) makes the right moves to bring in the right people at the right salaries. You know almost any NBA player would jump at the chance to work for Phil Jackson, even in the role of President of Operations and not a head coach. If this deal goes down, expect NY to make some drastic moves in the offseason (and potentially before). I would not be surprised to see them near the top of the conference within the next two years with Phil at the helm.

      And as for Chicago… D-Rose needs to be able to show he can play a full season, and return to his dominant self, before Chicago really has a chance to compete for the title again. They have great role players, and an emerging star in Noah, but they really need that dominant scorer/facilitator to be in the discussion. Carmelo can fill the scoring role but not facilitator. I think D-Rose has to be that guy for Chicago, unless they give up on him and go for someone else of his caliber (which I don’t see happening.)

    • david bines says:

      Seriously knicks fans that jump ship are not fans.a fan doesn’t have 4 or 5 teams and 1 of them just happens to have won the championship this year ridiculous man the problem with the game as a whole is u cannot keep a nucleus together the money talks.with that being said don’t even think for 1 second the nets will be the team to take over new York orange and blue all day with or without Melo with or with out Phil Jackson ….loyalty here

  15. TTKIN says:

    The Thunder need to trade Westbrook. They could get a ton back in return to make their team better, and honestly, Reggie Jackson is way better at playing with Durant than Westbrook.

    Just ask the 24 foot airball Westbrook threw up yesterday that basically sealed the Laker victory. You can see Durant telling his teammates where to go and pointing, only to turn around and see Westbrook shooting a guarded 3 pointer with plenty of time on the clock. typical Russ.

  16. eX says:

    It is funny to describe Jackson as Risky, seriously what does the Knicks have to loose!?!

  17. Like Phil Jackson is able to turn things around at MSG….pffffff dream on. If they fire Mike W my vote goes to Lionel Hollins

  18. Whom says:

    Did OKC, Miami, and Indiana get together and say “let’s start sudden losing streaks for no reason just to confuse people?” OKC lost to the Lakers? The same Lakers who got stomped by that other L.A. team (Clippers)? They seem to have no intensity on defense, something I hope they get over by playoff time. The stars are still shining, but the role players aren’t giving it their all.

    The only teams that look good these days are Houston and San Antonio, one being a no brainer (S.A.) and the other stepping it up two notches. Of course the Clippers look good as well despite defensive woes, but they’re not even at full strength at the moment with Paul struggling a bit and some nagging injuries, so they should get better.

    Phil Jackson can’t turn the Knicks around anytime soon. Even with him, Knicks fans will have to be patient, and asking a New York native to be patient is… it’s… well let’s just say it’s not going to happen.

  19. kevin says:

    pacers..man i don’t even know how to describe the disappointment….best way to describe it…76ers are dressed up in Indiana uniforms.

    • Sep says:

      Literally. Because of the Evan Turner trade.

      • Whom says:

        They played fine for a few games after the trade. It’s really very sudden what’s going on. OKC and Miami are also struggling so maybe something’s in the air or their sports drinks. Maybe it’s Space Jam syndrome.

    • Apex Predator says:

      I’m more concerned with Bynum rather than Turner. Bynum has a bad track record.

    • smh says:

      lmaoo. the way i laughed, if i had water in my mouth, i would spit it out.