NBA players decide to resume playoffs, but strike/protests to continue Thursday

From Danny Abriano:

NBA players have decided to continue with the playoffs, SNY’s Ian Begley confirmed, though Thursday’s slate of games will be postponed.

According to Begley, play could resume as soon as Friday.

The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

All playoff games on Wednesday night were postponed after teams refused to take the court while striking in protest of racial injustice, including the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Sources told Begley that after Thursday’s meeting, there remained a significant number of players committed to not playing the rest of the season, while several non-max contract players had concerns about big-picture financial implications of stopping the rest of the season.

According to Begley, union members explained to players that there could be a 30 percent drop in revenue if they didn’t play the rest of the season.

Hopefully they received some nice concessions regarding social justice support from the owners.

NY Post: NBA season hangs in balance with two crucial meetings set

From Justin Terranova:

The fate of the NBA season could be decided by two simultaneous meetings on Thursday morning.

The NBA players are set to reconvene today at 11 a.m. after an emotional meeting on Wednesday night, while the NBA board of governors will gather at the same time.

Lakers, Clippers push to boycott rest of NBA season in emotional meeting
Wednesday night’s players meeting ended with a feeling of “uncertainty” and “no sense of accomplishment,” reported. In an informal polling of teams, the Lakers and Clippers pushed to boycott the remainder of the NBA season in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Most of the remaining teams, though, preferred they finish out the season in the NBA bubble.

The Bucks boycotted their game against the Magic on Wednesday and the other two games were postponed as NBA players, led by LeBron James, vented their frustration on social media.

It is unlikely Thursday’s games will be played — and we may have seen our final game of the season.

Good for the players. I hope that they return to playing on Friday, after receiving some sort of concessions from the owners to commit to more political action.

Testing Dolan’s Razor: The 2020 NBA Lottery Thread

If this is the year the Knicks somehow jump up in the lottery and win it, we will know that Dolan’s Razor is firmly intact.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong and they’ll win the #1 pick, get Ball and he’ll become a superstar. Stranger things have happened!

Well, the TV show Stranger Things happened, at least. I don’t know if any stranger thing than the Knicks winning the #1 pick and having it turn out to be a superstar has happened.

NY Post: Mike Miller’s time on Knicks coaching staff likely done

From Marc Berman:

Former Knicks interim coach Mike Miller is unlikely to return to the Knicks as he explores other coaching opportunities, according to a source. Miller is under contract for next season, as The Post reported last month.

Miller could return to the Knicks in a scouting capacity, if he doesn’t find another position.

A source told The Post after Tom Thibodeau was hired that Miller was disappointed and may not campaign for a return to the staff despite his solid work after taking over for David Fizdale on Dec. 4. Miller went 17-27 as interim coach.

According to sources, Thibodeau had agreed to allow the front office have heavy input into the coaching staff and that has prevented him from immediately hiring his usual guys such as Ed Pinckney, the Greer brothers and Dice Yashimoto, who is working for the University of Georgia. It is believed, however, that Andy Greer and Yoshimoto are still under consideration.

Sources contend Knicks vice president William Wesley pushed for Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne, Johnnie Bryant and Mike Woodson, whose hiring appears imminent. That made Miller’s inclusion dicey because Thibodeau would be limited in hiring his own guys.

Sources contend Miller was considered strongly for the permanent job after a solid interview.

It’s a shame, as Herb Williams was able to go back to being an assistant coach after being the interim coach after Lenny Wilkins was fired in 2005. He remained an assistant coach for the next decade, working for four other coaches in the process.

However, it is fair to say that the Knicks’ hiring of Johnnie Bryant away from Utah almost certainly included Bryant being made the lead assistant, so it wouldn’t just be a demotion for Miller, but a demotion to not even lead assistant, which I could see stinging a bit.

Good luck to Miller on his coaching opportunities. I hope he at least gets a lead assistant gig somewhere. I doubt he’d be the guy in Chicago, but hey, maybe they’ll give him a shot (or, again, hire him as lead assistant. I think he’s clearly good enough to be a lead assistant).

2020 NBA Playoffs First Round Predictions Thread

I DID do this last year, so fair enough, I’ll do it this year, too!



Feel free to also share your picks in the comments to get credit later!

NY Post: Knicks hire Kentucky’s Kenny Payne as first addition to Tom Thibodeau’s staff

From Brian Lewis:

The Knicks confirmed Kenny Payne as the first addition to Tom Thibodeau’s new coaching staff, prying away John Calipari’s longtime right-hand man and bringing him from Kentucky to the Garden.

“I’m thrilled that Kenny has joined my staff as an assistant coach. He has an outstanding ability to forge relationships with players and improve their skills,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “He knows what it takes to win and has learned from one of the best coaches there is in John Calipari. Kenny will be a tremendous addition to our organization.”

Payne had spent the past decade working under – and winning with – Calipari, promoted to associate head coach in 2014 and helping the Wildcats to the first 38-0 season in college basketball history just a year later.

But the 53-year-old also has longstanding relationships with not only Knicks president Leon Rose, but senior vice president William Wesley.

Rose had been Calipari’s agent at CAA, where Wesley also worked. And Payne’s ties with “World Wide Wes” stretch back decades, all the way to his days playing for Louisville.

This is a fair enough move. Payne’s a well regarded coach. Hard to worry too much about the assistant coaches on the teams. Let’s just get to the lottery!

Kentucky Herald Leader: UK or Knicks for Payne? ‘It’s hard to even fathom leaving Kentucky,’ he says.

From Jerry Tipton at the Kentucky Herald Leader:

Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne acknowledged Saturday that the New York Knicks have expressed an interest in hiring him as an assistant coach.

“All I can say is it’s not an easy decision,” he said of the UK-or-Knicks basketball crossroads he might face. “And, hopefully, it gets resolved one way or the other here soon.”

Jeff Goodman of The Stadium reported on Twitter that Payne was considering an offer to join the Knicks, who recently hired Tom Thibodeau as the new head coach. The Knicks are also considering hiring a former player, Mike Woodson, as an assistant coach.

“They reached out to Coach Cal (John Calipari) for permission to talk to me,” Payne said of the Knicks. “That’s the most I can say.”

The Knicks have also spoken to his agent, Payne said.

“But I have a great job for a lot of different reasons,” he said. “And all I can tell you is that I’ve been blessed to be able to be in a position to help a lot of people. It’s more than just basketball with me when you’re in a position to help families.”

It’s nice to see the Knicks thinking outside of the box like this.

In other news, Kemba Walker did an interview where he said that, at one point, the Knicks were a priority for him, back when he thought “another player” (obviously Kevin Durant) was coming to New York. That Durant injury sure did throw a proverbial monkey wrench into the Knicks’ plans.

Sports Illustrated: Top 5 Former Tom Thibodeau Players Who Could Wind Up on the Knicks

Jonathan Macri had an interesting bit:

If you didn’t groan (or grunt, in the spirit of the Knicks new head coach) after seeing the title of this article, you’re a kinder soul than most.

Of all the knocks on Tom Thibodeau – that he’s relentless with practices (not true), that he buries his young players (it depends), or that he’s lost his defensive edge (remains to be seen) – the one that can’t really be denied is his penchant for relying on those he’s comfortable with.

In Minnesota, President of Basketball Operations Thibs went out and acquired former Bulls Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks for coach Thibs to inject into his rotation. In just two-and-a-half years on the job, five former players has to be considered a lot. Check out ????? if you would like to play online and have the opportunity to win incredible prizes.

In New York, Thibodeau won’t be wearing both hats, but it’s foolish to assume he won’t have some input on the roster, especially with more than half of the spots potentially up for grabs.

With that in mind, let’s look at the top five former Thibodeau players who could wind up wearing orange and blue, the likelihood each becomes a Knick, and whether it would be a good idea or not.

(One name you won’t see here: Jimmy Butler. The Heat are surely gearing up for a run at Giannis, not at the expense of Butler, but to pair them up. If three times ends up being the charm for Thibs and Jimmy Buckets, it won’t be for some time from now)

Click the article to see the reasoning for his picks, but it boils down to:

5. Dario Saric (under 10% chance)
4. Jeff Teague (15-20%)
3. Zach LaVine (25%)
2. Taj Gibson (50%)
1. DJ Augustin (better than 50%)

As Macri notes, Augustin might not be the ideal move in terms of blocking other players, but since the Knicks likely will be trying to win, he makes some sense as a stopgap.