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.

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

  1. They’re also saying Strickland is a candidate for an assistant role..I am actually VERY intrigued by that one. Payne’s got a solid reputation, but I’d rather have Strickland on staff if I had to choose one or the other. Reading the tea leaves suggests Miller may be gone. If Thibs has autonomy, and Woodson is already assured a spot, I see no room for Miller with these rumored additions. Unless of course Thibs plans to have a huge coaching staff, because you know he’s gonna bring his guys in

  2. The reporting on Woodson was vague enough that he could be working in the front office. But it sure sounds like Thibs is going to have a big staff, and I could see him wanting Miller to be part of it, as a bridge to a roster he doesn’t know, and also as a fellow grinder (and someone who’s worked, to glowing reviews, with Thibs’ mentor JVG).

  3. and someone who’s worked, to glowing reviews, with Thibs’ mentor JVG

    When did Miller work with Van Gundy?

  4. The more I read about this the more it sounds like management is basically in charge of the assistants and are bringing in their buddies or whoever Dolan wants.

    I’m sure his prior relationship with Rose and Wes were part of why Thibs got the job too, but if you are picking a lot of his assistants, I don’t think that’s a healthy start for the coach.

    I saw the names of 3 people that Thibs would probably want to add to his staff because they’ve worked with him before. It’s starting to look like he may only get 1.

  5. Deeefense:
    The more I read about this the more it sounds like management is basically in charge of the assistants and are bringing in their buddies or whoever Dolan wants.

    I’m sure his prior relationship with Rose and Wes were part of why Thibs got the job too, but if you are picking a lot of his assistants, I don’t think that’s a healthy start for the coach.

    I saw the names of 3 people that Thibs would probably want to add to his staff because they’ve worked with him before. It’s starting to look like he may only get 1.

    brilliant analysis

  6. Z-man:
    Is Wang a KBer? If not, can someone invite him? Seems like he’s right in line with the mainstream thinking here.

    It’s one thing to be pissed off and have an affair with another team like I did with the Nuggets after the Melo deal. It’s another thing to divorce the Knicks and marry the Nets. He should be barred. :-)

  7. Yang isn’t that rich.

    I do remember him making comments about the knicks during campaign press events that would have fit perfectly here. Maybe with Charlemagne?

    Seems a good egg, he’d be welcome around here…

  8. Z-man: brilliant analysis

    Do you practice behaving like this or does it come naturally?

    Exactly what part of management choosing the assistants is a good idea?

    That even backfired on Phil with Fisher and all those guys already worked with each other as coaches/players.

    Exactly what part of keeping Miller, adding Woodson, and bringing in Payne sounds like it’s all Thibs idea when he has no prior working relationship with any of them, 3 names have been mentioned repeatedly as people he wanted on his staff, and there’s only so much room.

    If there’s some legitimately expert assistant available (like maybe Payne as a development coach for example) and Thibs is on board, that makes a lot of sense. If you think Miller is especially good that makes sense instead,

    But the coach should get exactly who he wants first unless there’s a clear problem with one of them and then maybe management has some insights to help fill it out. It clearly sounds like it’s the other way around so far.

    If Dolan and Rose want to hire other people then find a spot somewhere in the organization other than the bench. Give them a job working for MIlls, an assistant consultant spot under Isiah, or maybe hire Herb Williams back and put him in charge of them.

  9. Brian, Miller was one of JVG’s assistants on at least one of the World Cup qualifying teams:

    Neat. I’ve only seen JVG praise Miller for his record as the Knicks coach (which was, of course, much better than Fiz with the same group of players).

  10. Is Wang a KBer? If not, can someone invite him? Seems like he’s right in line with the mainstream thinking here.

    That’s totally what I thought when I read that article! It’s fascinating seeing such a big name getting such logical ideas out there into the mainstream.

  11. Deefense, I don’t know…just seems like you’re trying to find a problem here where maybe there isn’t one?

    They didn’t really say what Woodson’s role was going to be. He might not even be an assistant coach. And there’s no mention in these articles that Thibs is opposed to these guys being on board. Miller worked under JVG. Rose and Thibs are close, so he probably trusts his judgement. The Spurs have 5 assistants on their staff so even if all 3 of these guys are brought in, Thibs could still have 2 assistants that are “his” guys.

    I mean, maybe the issue you bring up could be a problem. But until it actually happens, why not just assume it will be ok?

  12. swiftandabundant:
    Deefense, I don’t know…just seems like you’re trying to find a problem here where maybe there isn’t one?

    Possibly, but I’m seeing the handwriting on the wall. If I’m wrong, that’s great.

    You are supposed to learn from your mistakes. We keep doing the same things over and over.

    1. Don’t clear cap space trying to sign star free agents to a horrible team.
    2. Eat your bad contracts. Don’t stretch them or give away good value (either picks or get less player value in return) to move them faster all to get space for players that won’t come to your shit team anyway .
    3. Don’t put people in management or on the bench based on politics or so they are your eyes and ears into what’s going on. Everyone has to be hired on merit and more importantly everyone has to be on the same exact page.

    Everyone makes mistakes. The Knicks make the same mistake over and over.

    Just give Thibs his guys and work together to fill it out. Don’t ram guys down his throat.

  13. You are supposed to learn from your mistakes. We keep doing the same things over and over.

    okay, doom and gloomer

  14. I can’t get upset over the assistant coach rumors. Rose seems good at recruiting talented people, so why not use that to get good assistants for Thibodeau? At first glance, Payne looks great. I doubt Thibodeau would have found him on his own, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the idea of hiring him once he’s familiar with him. If the front office is working as a team with Thibodeau to hire people that could be a good thing. It’s the same thing as with players. Just because you’ve worked with players before that doesn’t mean you’re not interested in getting someone better. If Thibodeau is committed to doing everything to win, he probably wants the best assistants possible, not just ones he’s familiar with.

  15. Just to clarify, the premise that Rose hired Thibs only to clip his wings and undermine him from the very start is so ludicrous that you should be ashamed to float totally unsubstantiated conspiracy theories at this point. They are long-time friends, and both have their careers and reputations on the line. They are likely working closely together to assemble a team that Thibs will be thrilled to have.

    The premise that anything short of giving a head coach total control over staff hiring without any input of approval from above is also ludicrous. If Thibs wanted that level of control, he should have made it a part of his contract. It seems pretty obvious that the topic would have come up in the interview process, and if the terms were not agreeable to Thibs, he didn’t have to take the job.

    Then you bring up a list of mistakes they have made over and over again as grist for your incessant whining about how Phil was mistreated and it was actually Dolan’s and Mills’ fault that Phil’s tenure was an abject shitshow of a failure. And you willfully superimpose this nonsense onto the current FO because you can’t deal with being as dead wrong as it is capable of being about Phil’s utter incompetence.

    What’s most offensive about it all is that you call the press the scum of the earth when you engage in the worst tactics of the fringiest outlets. You seem almost incapable of rational, objective thinking. You are trapped in a box of your own design, and no matter how badly you get your ass kicked every debate, you keep peddling the same rank bullshit.

  16. Given what we know about Thibs’ history, “clipping his wings” so to speak actually doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world. Maybe some of these guys can make a dent in some of his bad habits.

    It’s hard to imagine he’ll be looking over his shoulder all the time, the ink isn’t dry on a 5 year contract.

    I know we have to occupy this time talking about something but I continue to just not feel strongly about much of anything until players start being signed to contracts ¯\_(?)_/¯

  17. Everyone has to be hired on merit and more importantly everyone has to be on the same exact page.

    Payne wouldn’t be hired based on his merit? Woodson is just an MSG stooge and not an accomplished coach himself?

  18. thenoblefacehumper:
    Given what we know about Thibs’ history, “clipping his wings” so to speak actually doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world. Maybe some of these guys can make a dent in some of his bad habits.

    It’s hard to imagine he’ll be looking over his shoulder all the time, the ink isn’t dry on a 5 year contract.

    I know we have to occupy this time talking about something but I continue to just not feel strongly about much of anything until players start being signed to contracts ¯\_(?)_/¯

    Or until the draft lottery (15 days!)

  19. I just find it hard to believe that Thibs is being undermined or would be by other assistant coaches. He’s one of the most respected and accomplished coaches in the league.

  20. I guess they figure Kenny Payne will be the “player’s coach” on the staff for Thibodeau. I’d also wager Payne is a World Wide Wes guy, and that we should expect him to join the staff. I consider him the good cop to Thib’s bad cop.

  21. And by “clipping his wings” I meant via post-contract fiat. Clearly Thibs’ role is more constricted from the outset than it was in Minny, and it seems logical that if he wanted more control as he did in Chicago, he would have said so in advance of signing. On the staff front, Thibs is probably old-school and would have put in place a smallish staff, while Rose is looking more to cutting-edge stuff with lots of specialists to get every competiti e edge he can. That’s party of the reason Rose gave for interviewing so many candidates for like 6 hours each. He wanted to learn about what other teams had in place. That sounds pretty smart to me.

  22. Please don’t let the possible ascendence of Thibs to GM slip you. Scott Perry is a lame duck GM and giving Thibs a bigger coaching staff might help him manage both positions. I’m not saying it’s a lock to happen, but until we hire/promote a guy to take over for Scott Perry (or extend him), I will not assume Thibs isn’t a candidate for the GM job.

  23. It’s not really worth getting worked up over assistant coaches. The real problems are as follows:

    1. Almost total lack of talent

  24. Lol, the Knick PTSD is so strong here these days that Knickerblogger is starting to resemble an online support group.

  25. Feels extraordinarily unlikely Thibs would be elevated to coach/GM

    Gotta be honest though – I’m not sure what Perry’s job description is right now. Everyone being brought in is a Rose/Wes guy. Rose is like Masai – POBO with a GM under him, but what does Bobby Webster actually do? Is he like a chief of staff, a guy who just gets what the top guy wants done?

    On another note – I’m sure you guys all listen to the KFS podcast. How do you guys feel about all their talk about Donovan Mitchell? I like Mitchell a lot but to me, analogizing the package necessary to get him with the AD/Lakers/Pels thing seems off-base. Lakers had no bargaining power because they had 34-35yo Lebron and an absolute win-now mandate. Plus AD is just a lot better than Mitchell. I agree it’ll prob take RJ plus 2 picks at least, but if Mitchell wants to come home and lets it be known that he won’t be signing an extension with anyone but the Knicks, Utah might have no choice but to trade him for 50c on the dollar.

    (by the way sign me up for Mitchell/Frank/Bullock/Davis Bertans/Mitch )

  26. Scott Perry did a decent job with contracts and trades. I mean, the KP trade is debatable at this point but it was pretty on par for a player of his level. 2 first round picks, another young player, some expiring vet contracts to clear cap space.

    But the Melo trade…that was a good trade considering Melo’s salary/age/NTC. The Morris trade was a good one. The Willy trade was pretty good. And he’s done well with FA contracts not giving them too many years, having team options instead of player options, etc. Would have been interesting what Perry would have done without Mills (and if he got in there a week earlier to THJR and Baker contracts).

  27. I’m not sure why Perry is a lame duck GM other than his contract only having one year left. Rose did bring in a lot of guys, but none of them have experience negotiating actual NBA contracts. And Perry was the one guy at the press conference with Mills. So I think he’s the real GM and will do GM roles. Of course he may not set strategy for the type of player to go after, but he’s the one who will have to execute whatever strategy is decided upon.

  28. Frank:

    if Mitchell wants to come home and lets it be known that he won’t be signing an extension with anyone but the Knicks, Utah might have no choice but to trade him for 50c on the dollar.

    Is there anything to this or just wishful thinking?

  29. Perry has been pretty good on balancing trades and building contracts, but apparently, he has been and remains a terrible talent evaluator. It seems like he just grabs any long, athletic guy regardless of their skill level.

  30. @theclashfan – a couple people in the know (Jalen Rose and a couple others?) have said that Mitchell is unlikely to sign an extension in Utah — small market and as I understand it, not supportive of socially conscious NBA players. And Mitchell is from Westchester so I guess that’s a logical next destination?

  31. Doesn’t Mitchell reek of being a faux-max player by KB standards?

    Yeah, he does. Not horrible, given his age, but it’s a bit like Derrick Rose 2010-11 — the middling-efficiency volume scorer on a defensive juggernaut (until this year, when their defense fell off considerably, apparently from Favors and Rubio leaving town).

    If he gets his TS% up to even .580 on the same volume, he becomes significantly more valuable, but that’s a big bet. If I’m Utah, I’m trying to keep him, since very few players would ever choose to play in SLC. That said, this is the franchise that traded two firsts and a bunch of salary filler for Mike Conley’s age 32 and 33 seasons at $33M a pop, so they aren’t prone to good decision-making.

  32. Frank:
    @theclashfan – a couple people in the know (Jalen Rose and a couple others?) have said that Mitchell is unlikely to sign an extension in Utah — small market and as I understand it, not supportive of socially conscious NBA players. And Mitchell is from Westchester so I guess that’s a logical next destination?

    Okay, thanks. If he’s interested in the Knicks, hopefully it won’t be another Melo type deal where the Knicks send a bunch of useful stuff (RJ, Mitch, #1 picks) for a guy who they can just sign for cash. I’m assuming the Jazz would not take flotsam and jetsam for him…

  33. yeah, i had forgotten just how good nurkic is…plus he’s a great complement to lilliard and mccollum…i don’t know how much of a challenge they can give the lakers, but – it’ll be a lot more interesting than watching the grizz or spurs go against them…

    it’s funny, kind of like turkey around thanksgiving – sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much…ugh, i’ve gorged on b-ball the last couple of weeks…

    looking forward to the playoffs starting though just to see a little bit of defense get played…up until now haven’t really seen that with the restart…

  34. Reveal yourself, Yang! (You’re safe here with Neptune on the sidelines!)

    (My guess is he was the poster Art Vandalay because I think I read somewhere that Yang was a Seinfeld fan. But I have some other guesses up my sleeve too:)

  35. Blazers really choked that game away against the Clips on Saturday. Hard to bet on them after that.

  36. I don’t want Daily Caller, r/The_Donald and Breitbart to descend on this site if Yang outs himself as a regular. So stay in the fuckin’ shadows, bud. We don’t need that smoke. Also thanks for making articulate arguments for UBI. I don’t need it, but I know an awful lot of hard-working people who do.

  37. I don’t necessarily believe that we should implement UBI but I did appreciate Yang bringing it up as an issue and making it a household term.

    Not to get down that path here but I think for me, instead of UBI for everyone, we need stronger unemployment benefits, stronger social safety net programs (food stamps, low income/middle income housing, free healthcare, etc). I worry if you just gave UBI to everyone without fixing stuff like housing, health care, etc..the price of everything would just go up.

    I think also we need a more tiered approach to unemployment, etc. A lot of safety net programs go away immediately once you make one dollar above the set number. So like the Earned Income Tax credit is great if you’re poor but the second you’re a dollar above what is considered “poor” it goes away. Same with qualifying for low income housing, medicaid, etc. Or with unemployment, you get a job and it all goes away even if the job you get pays the same or just barely above what you’d make on unemployment. It needs to taper off.

  38. DRed: If Mitchell doesn’t want to sign an extension in Utah why the fuck would we trade for him?

    I assume you are having Melo trade PTSD but IMHO it’d be ok to trade for him now for a few reasons (feel free to disagree!)

    1) you have to figure that someone else WILL trade for him, even if it’s at a reduced cost.
    2) Trading for him now would get a good/great player in your building at least a year earlier.
    3) He’s also a restricted FA at the end of next season, not an unrestricted free agent like Carmelo was.
    4) And his cap hold is much smaller next summer (~$15MM) than what his presumed salary would be, meaning we could likely squeeze possibly 2 max FAs next summer in addition to him, not to mention Mitch’s tiny cap hold after next summer when we could make him a restricted FA (And prevent him from becoming an UFA the following summer). So theoretically you could have Mitch’s cap hold at just 5.4MM and Donovan at just $15MM while big-game hunting next summer.

  39. ass, gas or grass – nobody rides for free

    i remember seeing that sticker on my cousin’s bike, many many years ago…a citizen’s dividend seems like a good idea which would benefit the whole as well as the individual…

    my personal feeling is – it’s key to the health of society to make sure all our housed, clothed, educated, fed and provided healthcare…

    i just think if you go down this route further (which we’ve already begun a long time ago with the new deal) – citizenship should have increased requirements…

  40. Marcus Stroman opts out of the 2020 season, thus likely ending his tenure as a Met.

    If you’re counting, that’s 12 combined controlled seasons of Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson for 59 innings of a 4.15 FIP.

    Nice one Brodie!

  41. In the Mets defense a horrendously crappy White Sox org somehow managed to trade away Tatis jr. and Montas. Former leading the NL in homers, mVP candidate. Other would be their best arm.

    At least there is young talent on the Mets but it feels like a reverse Dickey

  42. JK47:
    Marcus Stroman opts out of the 2020 season, thus likely ending his tenure as a Met.

    If you’re counting, that’s 12 combined controlled seasons of Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson for 59 innings of a 4.15 FIP.

    Nice one Brodie!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Exhibit Two! Exhbit One is Diaz and the rapidly hardening statue of Cano (5 years/$100m worth) for Kelenic/Dunn/a couple of garbage contracts. Oh yeah, one of those garbage contracts was Jay Bruce, who the Mariners flipped for something last year…

  43. White Sox have a pretty deep farm system though which at least is beginning to show with the MLB club.

  44. Damn, it would be nice if the Rangers shared some of that lottery luck with their roommate. They just won the #1 pick in a draft that has a possible generational talent, a year after getting the #2 pick in a two-player draft.

  45. Donovan Mitchell is among the kind of players we need to STEAL to be great.
    Yes on “stealing” DMitchell.
    Not so crazy on “paying” to get him.

    Stealing means get him while giving away our “garbage”.
    Paying him means losing valuable assets/draft picks to get him.

  46. It would be so Knicksy to trade away assets for Mitchell when they could’ve just drafted him instead of Frank.

  47. Fun Facts:
    DMitchell got 100/100 votes to enter the All Rookie First Team.
    Frank got 1/100 vote to enter the All Rookie Second Team.

    Signs of Hope and Despair:
    DSJ got 9/100 votes to enter the All Rookie First Team and 78/100 votes to enter the Second Team.

    The whole rookie voting below:

    “2017-18 All-Rookie First Team
    Player | Team | First (2 pts) | Second (1 pt) | Total

    Donovan Mitchell | Utah | 100 | — | 200

    Ben Simmons | Philadelphia | 100 — | 200

    Jayson Tatum | Boston | 99 | 1 | 199

    Kyle Kuzma | Los Angeles Lakers | 93 | 7 | 193

    Lauri Markkanen | Chicago | 76 | 21 | 173

    All-Rookie Second Team
    Dennis Smith Jr. | Dallas | 9 | 78 | 96

    Lonzo Ball | Los Angeles Lakers | 7 | 73 | 87

    John Collins | Atlanta | 5 | 66 | 76

    Bogdan Bogdanovic | Sacramento | 6 | 63 | 75

    Josh Jackson | Phoenix | 1 | 43 | 45

    Other players receiving votes, with point totals (NBA All-Rookie First Team votes in parentheses): Bam Adebayo, Miami 44; De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento, 34; OG Anunoby, Toronto, 25 (2); Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn, 18; Dillon Brooks, Memphis, 14 (1); Jordan Bell, Golden State, 5; Royce O’Neale, Utah, 4; Zach Collins, Portland, 3; Milos Teodosic, LA Clippers, 3 (1); Luke Kennard, Detroit, 1; Frank Mason III, Sacramento, 1; Malik Monk, Charlotte, 1; Frank Ntilikina, New York, 1; Semi Ojeleye, Boston, 1; Sindarius Thornwell, LA Clippers, 1.”

  48. My new Nba motto:
    If you’re stupid to draft the future greats…
    Try to “Steal” them!

  49. “Adam Silver’s imaginary call/memo to the 22 seeding teams”
    I get it ’bout Load Management and star players rest shit but don’t bench the whole fuckin team cause we’re already fucked financially and we have some agreements with our advertised clients.
    Ok bitches ?

  50. well then, a bit of a slow day today in de-bait land…I submit this then for your cranial consumption…

    down to my two last episodes in the wire…the last couple of episodes I’ve been watching in like 20 minute blocks…

    it’s a little similar to when you go and buy that sack of weed, whether it’s a qp or an eighth, those initial moments that you get that sack in to your hand – you are big chiefin all the way…once that mighty dope bag starts to disappear and you realize the end is near – stretch it baby…stretch it, see how long you can make that last gram last…

    I didn’t get the whole season (number x) was the best…the show seemed solid from the beginning and seasoned well over time…my favorite stuff was the bunny storylines…I liked him as a narrator after the first narrator got thinned from the story and met their demise…

    overall it seemed to try hard to show all sides in shades of gray, which was good…interesting that the show received no love from the emmys, I’m not sure why – but, my goodness what writing, direction, set design :), and a terrific ensemble cast…what really made the show for me were the beadies, and the bodie’s, carvers, hercs, bubbles, rawls, syndors and even shiiiiiit clay davis…

    I liked the little homicide reunion with clark johnson and richard belzer in that bar scene during the final season, that was nice…

    very good recommendation new york fancy sock aficionado type folks…ya’ll did well catching my interest on this one…

  51. yeah, i know, you’re right, tom waits should be the right answer…hell who ever heard of the blind boys of alabama before, i sure hadn’t…it wasn’t just the fact that waits sounds like he’s singing without teeth or tongue – just pushing chords out with his throat, i wasn’t that in to the music composition either…

    just to be clear- yes, tom waits has more talent in the tip of his pinky on a tuesday than i’ve accumulated in my entire body over a lifetime…

    it might just be that season 1 was the version i heard first when those lyrics really grabbed me…

    trying to think of another series which switched up their theme like that…about the closest i can remember to that is how GOT would switch the landmarks on its opening credits…ha, there was a time i had that westeros map memorized…i could have walked from sunspear, to oldtown, to casterly rock, bear island and all the way over to hardhome without needing to ask for directions…

    speaking of winds of winter, just read george finished up three more chapters…i just don’t get it…each book is about 70 or so chapters long…he’s already released 11 chapters that he had written before a dance with dragons was ever published, which is like a decade ago…wtf dude, finish your story already old man…hell, i used to worry about him keeling over before he finished, now i’m starting worry if i’ll still be around…

    i mean how hard can it be to get another few hundred pages down when you’ve already put down around 5,100 in the story :)

    shit, now that i’m thinking of it, i’m a little disappointed there’s only three tales of dunk and egg finished…we were supposed to get their whole story – i don’t even think dunk has hit puberty yet…

  52. ***Adam Silver’s imaginary call/memo to the 22 seeding teams”
    I get it ’bout Load Management and star players rest shit but don’t bench the whole fuckin team cause we’re already fucked financially and we have some agreements with our advertised clients.
    Ok bitches ?***

    Yeah, seriously. Players had 5 months off to rest. The #1 thing about this restart was that we’d gotten rid of all the tanking team so the games to close out the “regular season” were actually worth watching. Then, boom, suddenly three games later nobody is playing for anything anymore and it’s d-league players vs d-league players. So dumb.

  53. ***Like for every other Tom Waits song, his version is the best version.***

    I have no idea what the context is or what this is in reference to, and I LOVE Tom Waits. But, maybe it’s because of the whole prodigal-jersey-son thing and all, but Springsteen’s version of Waits’ ‘Jersey Girl’ is better. So there.

  54. Like for every other Tom Waits song, his version is the best version.

    And you’ve obviously never heard Patty Smyth’s blistering take on Downtown Train.

  55. During the lockdown I finally learnd to fingerpick and sing my way throug the Heart of the saturday night…mine is a better version also.
    But srsly I know how to troll so i’ll claim that ol’55 is best performed by the bend associated with Phill and JD.

  56. Donnie Walsh:
    ***Adam Silver’s imaginary call/memo to the 22 seeding teams”
    I get it ’bout Load Management and star players rest shit but don’t bench the whole fuckin team cause we’re already fucked financially and we have some agreements with our advertised clients.
    Ok bitches ?***

    Yeah, seriously. Players had 5 months off to rest. The #1 thing about this restart was that we’d gotten rid of all the tanking team so the games to close out the “regular season” were actually worth watching. Then, boom, suddenly three games later nobody is playing for anything anymore and it’s d-league players vs d-league players. So dumb.

    That happened at the end of the regular season as well…and there were the tanking teams on top of that.

    I think the restart has been brilliant in nearly every respect. Far from perfect, but there have been many compelling games and great story lines out West. Maybe out standards are a bit high under these circumstances.

  57. There’s definitely a little bit of whiplash from the fact that the bubble feels like it just started and you’re already seeing so many teams easing off the gas but I agree that it’s how the end of the season always is – a mix of some really high stakes games and some really low stakes ones. If anything the mix is certainly better than normal. In a normal season everyone would’ve been looking ahead to the playoffs for weeks now; it’s just that this year we didn’t have the gradual winding down of the regular season, instead we had the big burst of excitement of the restart followed by a really rapid winding down.

    In a week though we could have:
    Lakers-Suns/Blazers/Grizz
    Clippers-Mavs
    Rockets-Thunder
    Nuggets-Jazz
    Celtics-Sixers
    Heat-Pacers

    That’s a pretty tasty first round and it only gets better from there.

  58. It’s crazy how well the Suns are playing right now. Mikal Bridges with another excellent game. And Booker had another great scoring game. 6-0 in the bubble!

  59. Woj:

    The New York Knicks have hired Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Payne is the first formal addition to new coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff with the Knicks.

  60. Alan: Woj:

    The New York Knicks have hired Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Payne is the first formal addition to new coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff with the Knicks.

    Seems like good news, but someone here is gonna spin it as yet another move insisted upon by Dolan to weaken Thibs for his eventual firing.

  61. Z-Man, I thought that piece was more interesting for what it suggested about Dotson (and DSJ) than Knox. Plus intimations about why Trier never got time on the court. Interesting stuff.

  62. This guy is supposed to be good at coaching up big men so I’m interested to see what he can do for Mitch. and I guess Knox is tall too

  63. I read that Steph Curry is able to practice in the Warriors facility provided there is a max of 4 people in the gym. Does that number include coaches? If so, Thibs and Payne could presumably be working with small groups.

  64. What that Flynn piece said to me was that the team clearly does better with wing defense and spacing.

    I know drafting a real, legit point guard would be a wonderful thing for all Knick fans, but ending up with a guy like Devin Vassell would be huge.

  65. Yeah that article was encouraging for Knox and reinforced my thoughts on him. He was doing better under Miller. Having him focus on rebounding and defense is the way to build the foundation for him. He can score (although the skills on that end are really raw too). Have him focus on defense and rebounding and give him a defined role off the bench and I think you will see him do better.

    We spend so much time lamenting this pick or that but we just have sucked for so long at developing players. When you look at other teams around the league and see how their picks consistently turn into NBA players that contribute while ours don’t…it can’t all just be that we pick the wrong dudes. Rose seems intent on changing that. We’ll see if it happens.

  66. There’s no way Knox can be worse at rebounding, defending the post and closeouts, shooting the corner three, and cutting than Portis at this point. It will be maddening if they decide to keep Portis while not giving Knox minutes at PF, but way more Knicksy things have happened.

  67. If there is a next season, I fully well expect Kevin to approach sub-par, which would be a Frank-ian leap in respectability — in all honesty based on nothing but feathers and conjecture. And I would love nothing more than to see Portis closing the door behind him. However, it should be noted that Kevin hit 25% of his corner threes this past year. Just to keep the discussion grounded in something akin to reality.

  68. ***I think the restart has been brilliant in nearly every respect. Far from perfect, but there have been many compelling games and great story lines out West. Maybe out standards are a bit high under these circumstances.***

    Oh, I agree. The bubble has been great. I’m enjoying it way more than the regular NBA. The thing I liked best was that everybody there was competing to win, and then, suddenly, almost nobody was competing to win anymore. (Except for Portland, Which was why it was so sad when Portland’s starters choked away a must-win game against the Clippers bench!)

    I think that the (non-pandemic) NBA has a real issue with teams losing on purpose, and with teams resting players down the stretch. I understand the incentives for teams to do both, I just think that the product of the league goes down as a whole if both teams aren’t both trying to win games, especially at the end of an 82 game season. The bubble has solved a lot of those issues, which is awesome and why I’m enjoying it so much, I just wish they would perfect the recipe.

    Unfortunately, contraction to 22 teams and shortening the regular season isn’t really on the table, but now that I’ve seen it in action, I think it would fix a lot of the issues I have with the league.

  69. Lol, the Nets are actually considering bringing back Kidd as head coach, per Shams. That should go well.

  70. The Kidd, Kyrie and Kevin Show

    So glad I haven’t jumped ship to the team with the most boring unis in basketball.

  71. Donnie, with the way the economy is going and this pandemic, we might actually see a shrinking of the league over the next few years. It hasn’t been discussed yet and this is just me theorizing, but the economic fallout from this pandemic is not yet fully understood and a real recovery is going to take years. So many businesses are just going to be gone for good. Even when things fully reopen and “get back to normal” are all the small market teams really going to see their arenas fill up right away? Are people just going to instantly have their jobs back and all of their money back to the way it was in January? Its going to be a long road ahead for this country and I have a feeling you will see contraction in all of the major sports.

  72. I think basketball could split into 2 shorter seasons with a break between each one

    That would help with the season fatigue and give everyone a new slate twice which would result in less tanking

  73. IMO resting players can’t be fixed except by shortening the season to make the margins between teams narrower. There’s a theoretical optimal number of games that would minimize both luck (i.e. bad MOV teams accidentally playing themselves into a playoff berth) and reduce the number of irrelevant late-season contests (wild guess is like 45 games), but it would require a total overhaul of how we approach the season. It’ll never happen because people still want to pay to go to games just to see the talent and have the mega-church experience of an NBA game, and obviously, watch illegal streams idly while they mash their keyboards about their shit front office and coaches and players from, I dunno, December onward.

    Tanking can be eliminated with one stroke of the pen, but Adam Silver doesn’t have the balls. Aside from the Elam Ending, it’s probably the easiest fix to an obvious problem in the sport, but as mentioned, the professional sports world (which includes the NCAA) is obsessed with tradition except for when it interferes with maximum profits. For the NBA, the lottery wheel or seeded rookie cap holds (i.e. #1 pick team gets $10M to spend on a single rookie, #2 gets $8.5M, and so on, which gives rookies the option to choose their own destiny and ceases the “gifting” of good talent to terribly-run teams) would be supplying pundits with ammo while providing nominally better results that are hard to measure with the eye.

  74. That would help with the season fatigue and give everyone a new slate twice which would result in less tanking

    What’s the purpose of the first season, though?

  75. I was in Manhattan the other day for the first time in a while and there is a lot of commercial real estate available for lease if anyone is looking to start a business

  76. I was in Manhattan the other day for the first time in a while and there is a lot of commercial real estate available for lease if anyone is looking to start a business

    The Economist had a large feature in June about the future of commercial real estate post-COVID. Chilling stuff, with the commercial mortgage delinquency rate surpassing its peak during the subprime mortgage crisis.

  77. Thanks for pointer; I read the Economist’s article. If anything, I’m afraid it paints too rosy a picture.

  78. Turning back to the Knicks, I guess coach Payne was at Kentucky when Randle was there? Maybe he can get him to stop dribbling

  79. I’m excited, or at least hopeful, about the Payne hiring. Getting some guy who has experience and a good track record working with young players is a lot better than whatever the secret sauce was that Mills was touting.

  80. I wonder whether some commercial real estate in Manhattan (and elsewhere?) will convert to residential, sort of like old factories and warehouses down in SoHo and Tribeca, except this time with hi-rise office buildings.

  81. Ugh. I forgot about the Randle-Payne connection. That leads me to believe they’ll retain Randle for at least another year.

    I don’t know how the offense is going to work, though. Mitch, who just shot over 70% from the field, should probably be placed near the basket, but Julius’ calling card is posting up. Not to mention, RJ likes to do a lot of posting and lane-driving himself. So in the halfcourt, you have to pull one of the bigs out to the three pt line.

    Since Mitch is the much better O-rebounder, I guess that means it’s Randle, who shot .277 from three this year. Maybe instead, they will try to turn Mitch into a three-level scoring PF like Anthony Davis, but that would be risky and could negate a lot of what Mitch already does quite well.

    The same goes for defense, where Mitch might be called on to close out three-point shooters more often if Randle is starting, which would take away from his ability to protect the rim…

    …or they could just make Randle the backup center.

  82. Randle shot 0.344 on 2.7 three point attempt a game in his last season with the Pelicans. I’m hoping that wasn’t a total fluke; because otherwise we have all the roster problems ess-dog mentioned.

  83. I’m fine with retaining Randle if a good trade doesn’t present itself. He’s a very talented isolation scorer who can get to the rim and score efficiently (gets to the line a lot) vs. smaller lineups. He’s also a very good rebounder. He’s just misguided about the optimal way for him to help the team. He just can’t be a #1 scoring option, and probably not #2 either. (although this year he played mostly like #2 lol)

    I hate his game (it’s just so ugly) but wouldn’t mind seeing if he can be straightened out, mainly via playing off the ball, cutting back on turnovers, only shooting 3’s selectively, and becoming a better scheme defender. He had two straight years of .600+ TS% so if we could just get him back to that, he’d be more useful and worth his salary.

  84. Mitch doesn’t have to stay all that close to the basket on O, he doesn’t really get in Randle’s way. he actually does his best work on the move, following drivers in.

  85. What they should do with RJ is have him run pick and rolls with Mitch. If RJ can figure out how to score from that action it would be a really good weapon (Mitch is unsurprisingly the best pnr finisher in the NBA).

    and yes, they should stagger Mitch and Randle as much as possible. Randle is much better on offense as a center

  86. Ideally, Randle becomes our sixth man. Start Frank and our lottery pick in the backcourt, RJ at the 3, and let Thibs and company sort out various stretch 4 options from among the current roster and potential free agent signings. The team still won’t be good, but at least it will resemble a modern NBA offense.

  87. I think the Knicks were telling prospects in interviews that they were going to assemble a world class coaching staff? The Knicks had to pay Kenny Payne a lot of money considering he’s leaving Kentucky when his only son is currently enrolled there and plays for the basketball team.

    I don’t know if he’s worth it, but I damn sure hope he’s worth it.

  88. I don’t think there is any way Randle isn’t starting if he’s on the team. He’s their highest paid player. I guarantee they will try every possible way to make them work together in the starting lineup. If anything, they will rotate them in and out in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, kind of like Harden and Westbrook.

  89. They are challenged by scoring and even at his reduced results from last year, Randle was probably one of best scorers. They will have to start him.

  90. KnickfaninNJ:
    Thanks for pointer; I read the Economist’s article. If anything, I’m afraid it paints too rosy a picture.

    Did you read the leader or the full feature? Just curious.

    I find that Economist tends to understate things in the British manner. They often use tongue-in-cheek language about Trump’s dismantling of democracy when a full-throated denouncement would be appropriate.

  91. I’m not happy with the idea of Julius Randle as a starter but it’s definitely an inevitability if he’s still on our roster. On the bright side, he played for a NOP team that was 21st in 3PA and 24% in 3PT% and still managed a .600 TS% on a 27.8% USG rate. Maybe the Knicks can get him back to a place where he’s scoring efficiently and not making Knicks basketball unwatchable.

  92. Randle was one of the better scorers on the Knicks last year, and he was bellow league average at scoring efficiency. Which tells you a lot about the 2020 Knicks offense. The only Knicks who scored efficiently were Mitch and Taj, and they combined for 11 shots a game.

  93. He had two straight years of .600+ TS% so if we could just get him back to that, he’d be more useful and worth his salary.

    That’s because he basically played the Mitch role next to Anthony freakin’ Davis and the team was still sub-par. I think the question should be: “Why hasn’t he averaged a .700+ TS% over his career like Mitch has?”

  94. Z-man:
    Oh, I almost forgot, Mitch is working tirelessly on his perimeter game, problem solved!

    It’s pretty amazing that Mitch hasn’t attempted a single three-pointer in his entire career thus far.

  95. Did you read the leader or the full feature? Just curious.

    I read the whole article. At the end they talked about how there are commercial real estate funds with lots of money that need places to invest and they suggested that this pool of money would drive the real estate market up again and also provide professional property management. I am very skeptical of this argument.

  96. I’m sorry, I hate the Nets, but how much fun are they right now? They’ve got a 5’11” point guard! A high-flying wing whose name conflates a root vegetable and a red wine! Lance Thomas scores 12 points on 5 shots!

  97. I had the nets on for a few minutes this afternoon and I was thinking “Why are Orlando and the Nets even in the bubble” and then I remembered they were both in the playoffs

  98. I read the whole article.

    Just checking. When I started reading it, I didn’t realize they had little draw-you-in blurbs about their huge feature stories.

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