Posts Tagged ‘Jared Jeffries’

Lin’s Future With Knicks Cloudy After Felton Sign-and-Trade

What seemed a certainty days ago — that the New York Knicks would match any offer sheet for restricted free-agent guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets — became quite unclear Saturday night, after the Knicks agreed to terms with free-agent guard Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade deal with Portland. The Knicks also received forward/center Kurt Thomas from the Blazers for a second tour of duty in New York. In exchange, the Knicks sent forward Jared Jeffries and center Dan Gadzuric to Portland.

Felton reportedly signed a three-year, $10 million contract with New York, a hefty deal for someone that wasn’t going to play very much as a third point guard. The Knicks already signed Jason Kidd to a three-year, $9.5 million deal earlier this month, and also have Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni under contract.

Bringing back Lin, the undrafted guard out of Harvard who electrified crowds in New York in a three-week stretch in early February that was quickly dubbed “Linsanity,” seemed a formality. But unless the Knicks are planning to play Kidd much more at shooting guard next season, it would appear they have at least one point guard too many around.

The Rockets, according to a source, thought there was a chance Saturday that the Knicks wouldn’t match the offer sheet. New York will have three days from when it receives the sheet to decide whether to match it or not. If it matches the offer sheet, it can’t trade Lin until next July.


Stoudemire’s Injury Could Affect Knicks Now … And Later

NEW YORK — When the New York Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million contract in July of 2010, it was clear that the deal would eventually become burdensome. Stoudemire had a history of knee injuries and also suffered a detached retina in 2009. So not only was his contract lucrative, but it was also uninsured.

That was the price the Knicks were willing to pay for a return to relevance. But is it already time for buyer’s remorse to kick in?

The Knicks announced Monday evening that Stoudemire is out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his back. The team picked up a big win over the Bucks at Madison Square Garden Monday night, giving themselves a 2 1/2 game lead for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. But Milwaukee will have an easier schedule from here on out, and Stoudemire’s absence will hurt New York over its final 16 games.

Stoudemire has always been a defensive liability, but also struggled offensively through the first two months of the season, with his recovery from last April’s back injury seemingly limiting his mobility. And just has he started to look more agile and productive (he was shooting 55 percent since the All-Star break), he goes down with his second back injury in less than a year.


Rosen’s Report: Knicks at Heat

Yes, the Knicks lost on Monday to the lowly Nets but they rallied with an impressive rout of the Hawks on Wednesday where they showed signs of  Carmelo Anthony, J. R. Smith, and Baron Davis adjusting Linsanity. Yet despite the massive hype surrounding New York during the last two weeks, facing the Heat in Miami is the best chance yet for the Knicks to prove that their recent spectacular successes are legit.

At this point in the season, the Heat have their collective mojo working and, thus far, are the best team in the East if not the entire league. Their three leading lights are in synch, and their supporting players are likewise at the top of their respective games.  Miami’s aim is to stuff Linsanity into a straitjacket.

Jeremy Lin must hit his perimeter jumpers, repeatedly penetrate and make accurate kick-out or drop-passes, generally keep the ball moving, and play a modicum of man-to-man defense. While he’s far from being a speedster, Lin can read defenses and anticipate where the driving lanes will materialize. Once these openings manifest, Lin’s long strides, slick left-to-right crossovers, and ability to find air-space at the rim are virtually unstoppable. If his straight-up defense is merely ordinary, Lin’s quick hands and extraordinary help-decisions enable him to come up with frequent steals and run-outs.  In any event, Mario Chalmers isn’t the kind of dreadnaught scorer who can consistently embarrass Lin. (more…)

“Linsanity” … More Than Just a Moment?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This is rare air Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is breathing these days and we are all indeed witness to the phenomenon that has become the hottest sensation in the NBA, at least for the last three games.

The last player to record 20 or more points and eight or more assists in his first two NBA starts, LeBron James. Lin made it three straight 20-point games and established new career-highs in assists in each of those three starts last night in Washington D.C.

The last athlete to snatch the sports spotlight like this in his debut on the big stage, Tim Tebow? (It’s way before Lin’s or Tebow’s time, but you old heads might remember “Fernandomania” sweeping the sports world back in the early 1980s.)

“Linsanity” isn’t just an easy nickname, it’s an actual movement in New York that is gaining steam throughout the basketball universe. CNBC Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell reported this morning that “Lin’s highlights of his 1st breakout game (against the Nets) has had 1.27 million views on Sina’s NBA page.”

When Suns star and two-time MVP Steve Nash is Tweeting about you in the middle of the night —  “If you love sports you have to love what Jeremy Lin is doing. Getting an opportunity and exploding!!” you know you’re on to something.

“Linsanity” is obviously contagious. How else do you explain Tyson Chandler‘s 25 points and 11 rebounds in the Knicks’ 107-93 win over the Wizards last night? Chandler, a 10-year vet, was just two points shy of his career scoring high while feeding off of the energy of Lin’s 23 points and 10 assists.

The fact that Lin is doing all of this while Carmelo Anthony (injury) and Amar’e Stoudemire (family reasons) are not uniform only adds to the growing legend of the Harvard grad and former D-League performer with the buzz cut and flashy game. Three straight wins after the Knicks lost 11 of 13 certainly helps fuel the movement.

The sick highlights — “I didn’t know he could dunk,” Chandler said, “When he’s going in for the dunk I’m like ‘no Jeremy, just lay the ball up.’ And all of a sudden he dunks it and I was probably just as excited as the crowd was.” — are just gravy on the feel good sandwich  Knicks are chomping on right now.


Hump Day Hoops Roundup

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We don’t have to wait for the games to start to know what time it is.

If there are sneakers squeaking across a hardwood floor and there’s at least one coach hollering instructions or blowing a whistle (love the teaching going on in Philly, above), it’s the right time here at the hideout.

And on Wednesdays, that means a morning peek at the goings on around the league as training camps have tipped off from coast to coast. Enter this season’s first installment of the Hump Day Hoops Roundup:



Magic power forward Rashard Lewis struggled in the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, a series the Magic saw slip away when they couldn’t combat the Celtics’ size and strength in the low post with just Dwight Howard carrying the lion’s share of the load. Now comes word that Lewis might be splitting his time this season at both power forward and small forward, a move that might have changed the course of that Magic-Celtics series, had it been done then.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel with the details: Coach Stan Van Gundy has said he will spend the weeks before the Oct. 28 regular-season opener trying to determine if the team is better off with Lewis at small forward.

The Magic’s version of The Great Experiment will have repercussions for the rest of the roster. If Lewis remains the starting power forward, either Quentin Richardson or Mickael Pietrus or maybe even J.J. Redick will serve as the team’s fifth starter. If Lewis starts at small forward, then either Ryan Anderson or Brandon Bass will start at the other forward position.

Either way, Lewis figures to receive plenty of time at both forward spots in the days and weeks ahead. One reason Van Gundy didn’t play Lewis at small forward during the Boston series was that Lewis had barely played the position during the year and the team wasn’t comfortable with him playing there. Making such a dramatic change in the middle of the playoffs might have done more harm than good.

Indeed, when asked Tuesday how the team would differ with Lewis at small forward, Dwight Howard responded, “Well, Rashard’s been playing the ‘4’ for so long, I don’t remember him playing the ‘3.’ ”

For Lewis, the biggest adjustment would come on defense. He would go from guarding bulky bruisers such as Boston’s Kevin Garnett to possibly guarding dynamic wing players such as Miami’s LeBron James.

“The concern with him playing the ‘3’ is never at the offensive end,” Van Gundy said. “But it’s whether he can guard the ‘3s’ on the move in this league and chase through screens . . . It’s a different set of expectations.”

This is a no-brainer for the Magic. Lewis isn’t a great defender by any stretch. So whether he matches up at small forward or power forward on defense shouldn’t make that big of a difference, so long as Howard continues to protect the paint in Defensive Player of the Year fashion.



We need to make sure we have this straight: the four-team mega deal involving Carmelo Anthony and a proposed move to New Jersey is off. But the Nets are still pursuing a deal that would deliver Anthony to Brooklyn (in a couple of years)? That’s the way it is as of right now. Of course, just five days ago the ‘Melo-to-Jersey fire was being stoked from all directions. So obviously, things could change in an instant. But again, as of right now, there is no deal to speak of.

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post with more: In a surprising turn-of-events, Melo did make himself available to the media after Denver’s practice – the first of training camp -– though the small forward didn’t say much about the trade talks.

Asked by our guy Mark Kiszla if it’s possible Melo wouldn’t give 100 percent at practice Melo said sternly: “(Expletive) No. I love the game too much to disrespect the game like that. Anytime I step on the court, I’m going to give it my all, regardless of what’s going on, what’s the situation. I’ve been through so much in my short career so far, earlier in my career, and still was able to perform on the court. Going through bad stuff, facing adversity. This is not adversity. This is basketball. People want me, trade talks and rumors and all that stuff, this is basketball. I focus on basketball, it’s something I know how to do and I love to do. As far as my effort on the court, nobody can question that.”

Melo’s contract expires at the end of this year. A source had previously said, back when all this trade stuff started, that he wants the three-year, $65 million extension offered by Denver –- but wants to use it with another team in a bigger market. Melo is a free-agent-to-be, which would normally be enticing, except that the current collective bargaining agreement expires this summer –- and the new one could affect players’ salaries.

“It’s scary,” he said. “Of course it’s scary. There’s a lot of anxiety to see what’s going to happen. Hopefully we as players and the owners can come to an agreement that suits both, players and the owners. We shall see. It is a little scary.”

Anthony has nothing to be scared about. He’ll command max dollars wherever he plays for the foreseeable future. But it’s good to hear that ‘Melo is concerned about his fellow-man.




Don’t laugh. It’s true. Hawks coach Larry Drew is showing just how different his regime will be from his predecessor Mike Woodson‘s, by designating Josh Smith as a team captain alongside All-Stars Joe Johnson and Al Horford. If Smith takes to the role the way Drew hopes, this could turn out to be a true stroke of genius — especially with the league’s expanded rule on technical fouls in place. Smith has also earned the right to operate as one of the Hawks’ team leaders. He’s as responsible as any player on the roster for the Hawks’ rise the past three years.


Don’t Believe The Yao Hype!


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As far as international stirs go, nothing riles up the masses from Houston to Beijing  like these “Yao says he may quit if foot doesn’t heal” headlines you’ve probably already seen.

Here’s a little advice, don’t believe the hype.

The folks in the know, mainly Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, aren’t giving the buzz coming from China, where Yao Ming was quoted about what he’d do if he suffered another foot injury, any credence. Morey issued a statement that should calm any fears Rockets fans have of their All-Star center hanging it up anytime soon:

“Yao Ming is working diligently on his return and has consistently received positive feedback at each of his scheduled medical checkups. He is currently participating in on-court basketball workouts and we continue to expect him to be ready for the start of training camp which begins on September 25th.”

That works for us here at the hideout.

Yao’s comments to the assembled media in his native land (“If the foot injury does not heal next season, I might choose to call it quits”) sent people over the edge. And we’ll admit, Yao’s injury history — he has seen each of his last five seasons interrupted or ended by bone injuries — raises some red flags.  But big men his size always have to deal with injury issues.

That said, we’re not expecting Yao to go anywhere anytime soon. He’s 30 and should still have plenty of All-Star caliber basketball in him. In addition, Morey has assembled some quality frontcourt pieces around their big man — Luis Scola, Brad Miller, David Andersen, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and the always-reliable Chuck Hayes will all help take the pressure off of Yao.

We’re just not buying into any of this retirement hype surrounding Yao.

And with him healthy, the Rockets could certainly make some serious noise in the Western Conference playoff chase this season.