NBA Finals Predictions Thread

The NBA Finals starts tonight, so feel free to share your thoughts on who will win the big game!

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

I think that Spo is one of the best coaches I’ve ever seen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled out some sort of crazy scheme to get a game or two, but I also think that the Lakers’ two best players are just particularly bad matchups for the Heat (and most NBA teams) that I think that the Lakers will take this in five or six games.

If the Lakers do take it in five or six, it’ll be fascinating to see who wins MVP between Bron and the Brow.

NY Post: Angry James Dolan cuts check for Malliotakis campaign after Max Rose trash-talk

From Jon Levine:

Hell hath no fury like James Dolan scorned.

The controversial Knicks boss is pouring cash into the effort to help GOP Congressional candidate Nicole Malliotakis beat incumbent Democratic Staten Island Rep. Max Rose — all because Rose recently trash-talked his ownership of the perennially losing New York Knicks.

“Max Rose thinks he can make our team and my ownership his political platform,” Dolan wrote in a personal email to friends last week that was obtained by The Post. “I need to let him know that we will not stand for this. The best way to do this is to help his opponent. He is in a tight race for the US Congress in Staten Island. … Please join me in helping Nicole defeat Max Rose for Congress.

“It will help send a strong message to all NY politicians that the Knicks will not be their political ticket to reelection. The most you can donate is $2,800,” Dolan added. “I cannot do this alone due to the limit on campaign contributions.”

But he sure is trying.

A $50,000 check from MSG Sports was cut Tuesday to “The Governing Majority Fund,” a PAC run by former Reps. John Faso and Jeff Denham, Dolan confirmed. The PAC’s mission is to help Republicans take back the House.

“Faso said Dolan got pissed off at Max Rose because he said something about the Knicks being a sh–ty team and then Dolan turned around and wrote a $50,000 check to his PAC,” a source close to Faso told The Post.

James Dolan is the gift that keeps on giving.

SNY.TV: Sources: Mitchell Robinson will not be with Knicks during voluntary workouts due to personal reasons

From the best Knicks beat reporter, Ian Begley (click those links, people):

Mitchell Robinson will not be with the Knicks during their voluntary team workouts in a “bubble” setting due to personal reasons, league sources told SNY.

The third-year center, who participated with the Knicks during voluntary individual workouts last week, does not have COVID-19, league sources say.

The Knicks will begin their team workouts on Wednesday. Per NBA rules, the workouts can run through Oct. 6. All teams who did not get an invite to the Orlando bubble are allowed to have voluntary team workouts in a bubble setting.

The NBA will allow non-roster players from teams’ G League affiliates to participate. So you should expect some non-roster players from the Knicks’ G League club – the Westchester Knicks – to participate in the workouts.

The Knicks have several 2020 free agents – or players with team options for 2020-21 – currently under contract. It’s unknown if all of those players are participating in the team workouts.

Cool cool cool.

I don’t think it is a bad sign at all.

Nope, just cool cool cool here.

The Oklahoman: Where will Chris Paul play next season? Here’s three trade ideas involving the OKC Thunder guard.

I assume that this trade proposal by OKC beat reporter, Joe Mussatto, is what folks are talking about now:

Thunder receives: Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, 2023 first-round pick (via Dallas)

Knicks receive: Chris Paul, Hamidou Diallo

Why it makes sense for the Thunder

The Thunder can acquire three former top-10 picks while not taking back any onerous contracts.

Knox is the most intriguing player in the deal despite a terribly inefficient first two seasons. Of the 259 players who appeared in at least 50 games this season, Knox ranked 255th in true shooting percentage. He shot 35.9% overall and 32.7% from behind the arc.

The good news is that Knox just turned 21, and he has the tools and size (6-foot-7) to improve. Knox was a former 5-star prospect coming out of high school, and he was the leading scorer on a Kentucky team that also featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo.

Ntilikina, like Knox, might benefit from a change of scenery and system. The third-year point guard might never grow into an above average offensive player, but Ntilikina already has elite defensive skills, and he’s only 22.

Randle needs to be included to make the money work. He’s New York’s highest-paid player, and is due $18.9 million next season. He’s owed $19.8 million in 2021-22, but only $4 million is guaranteed.

Randle averaged 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his first season with the Knicks, but his shooting percentage (46%) was down from his career average (49.3%). Randle was forced to be the primary option on a bad Knicks team, but he’s better suited as a complementary piece.

Randle, entering his age 26 season, most likely wouldn’t be a long-term investment for the Thunder. He could eventually be flipped for another asset.

Sam Presti might ask for a first-rounder to sweeten the deal, but the Knicks shouldn’t part with a valuable pick. New York’s 2023 first-round pick from Dallas might be a good compromise. It’s likely to fall in the mid to late 20s.

Why it makes sense for the Knicks

Paul has been rumored to the Knicks ever since Leon Rose, Paul’s former agent, was named team president in March.

Entering his age 35 season, Paul might not want to lead a rebuild, but there’s still the allure of New York and Madison Square Garden, and Paul’s relationship with Rose makes it a natural landing place.

The Knicks can easily absorb Paul’s contract given their clean cap sheet for the next several seasons, and Paul would provide immediate stability to a flailing franchise.

Much like Paul mentored Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley, he could do the same for young Knicks cornerstones R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

To soften the blow of losing young pieces like Knox and Ntilikina, the Knicks could ask for 22-year-old Hamidou Diallo. The athletic wing is still raw offensively, but Diallo is ready to help on defense. He’s a perfect fit for the Knicks having grown up in Queens.

I don’t want to trade a draft pick for Paul period, but I can’t say that this is an otherwise absurd trade idea. Mussatto is obviously closer to an actual trade idea than most.

The Athletic: Three trades that could land the Knicks their new point guard

Over at The Athletic (subscription required and recommended), Mike Vorkunov has three trade ideas for the Knicks to get a new point guard.

Basically, they come down to:

1. No. 27 pick in the 2020 draft and Dennis Smith Jr. for Derrick Rose and the Lakers’ 2021 second-round pick, which is owned by Detroit (after a fairly embarrassing initial mistake where he suggested Detroit’s 2020 second rounder, which they don’t have).

2. No. 27 pick in the 2020 draft, Wayne Ellington and Frank Ntilikina for Paul

3. Julius Randle and the No. 27 pick to Minnesota for No. 17, James Johnson and Juan Hernangomez (sign-and-trade), with the argument being that the #17 pick could be then used on a point guard (kind of a stretch to call it a “trade for a point guard,” though, right?)

I don’t like any of the three trade suggestions, but, well, it’s something to talk about, at least! And it’s something I could do a new post for, as we really needed a new post.

NY Post: Mike Woodson officially back with Knicks after unceremonious firing

From Marc Berman:

More than six years after Phil Jackson never met with him to discuss the possibility of coaching the triangle, Mike Woodson is officially back with the Knicks.

The Knicks finally announced the rest of their coaching staff under Tom Thibodeau with Woodson, Utah’s Johnnie Bryant, Andy Greer and Dice Yoshimoto being officially named. The Knicks had already announced Kenny Payne’s hiring so the University of Kentucky could move on in replacing him.

“With these hires, we have added a wealth of basketball experience and knowledge that will be of great service to our players and our organization,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “All of our coaches have had a high level of success in college, the NBA or internationally. We are assembling a hard-working and well-rounded coaching staff that will embody everything we want to be about: accountability, development, teaching and a winning culture.”

The Knicks were waiting for Bryant to be done with his Jazz duties as Utah was eliminated in Game 7 of the first round by Denver on Tuesday.

According to a source, there’s a good chance Larry Greer, Andy’s brother, will be added to the organization in some capacity. Larry Greer was with Thibodeau in Minnesota and most recently coached last season in Phoenix.

Nothing new, just official now that Bryant is out of the playoffs, but Jowles wanted a new thread and there is nothing else new about the Knicks, so here ya go…it’s something!