The New York Knicks tossed head coach Derek Fisher to the curb this morning and put assistant Kurt Rambis in charge. But how long will Rambis get to run the show? For a while, apparently. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Phil Jackson says interim Kurt Rambis will remain head coach

The interim label was firmly affixed to the new head coach, but Knicks president Phil Jackson insisted he has his man in Kurt Rambis and is not seeking candidates to replace Derek Fisher, ousted after a season and a half.

“Kurt Rambis will be the new coach. We’re not in a coaching hunt, looking for anybody else. He’s the associate head coach. I have complete confidence in his ability to coach this team,” Jackson said Monday, indicating Rambis will serve out at least the rest of the season. “He has plenty of experience.”

Now whether that experience or whatever happens in the Knicks’ final 28 games will be enough to bring Rambis back next season remains to be seen. But rolled up in 18 seasons of coaching experience, Rambis said, is his belief there is only one way to right the listing ship: Kurt Rambis’ way.

“It’s not necessarily different,” Rambis said when asked how he will vary from Fisher, fired Monday after compiling a 40-96 record in his first head-coaching job. “The recommendation and advice we all receive from veteran coaches: You’ve got to be yourself. You’ve got to do things your way so if you end up in a situation where you do get fired, you feel like you handled things the way you wanted.”

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee surgery

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee surgery

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this morning to clean out debris from his left knee, the team announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Arthur Ting at the Fremont Surgery Center.

Ezeli, who is expected to return this season, will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The 6’11” center last appeared in a game on January 25 versus San Antonio and has missed the last five games due to a sore left knee. In 40 games this season (11 starts), Ezeli is averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.23 blocks in 17.8 minutes per contest.

Terrico White named D-League Performer of Week

Terrico White of the Bakersfield Jam was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, Feb 7. The honor is the first of White’s career.

White (6-5, 190, Ole Miss) helped Bakersfield to a 3-0 week, averaging 29.7 points (third in the league) on 52.5 percent shooting (32-for-61) to go with 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals. He connected on 12-of-25 attempts (48.0 percent) from three-point range.

White was selected 36th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2010 NBA Draft. He is averaging 17.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.

Other top performers considered include Bakersfield’s Cory Jefferson and Xavier Munford, Delaware’s Russ Smith, Reno’s Ricky Ledo and Sioux Falls’ Jarnell Stokes (on assignment by the Miami Heat).

Suns sign Jordan McRae to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed guard Jordan McRae to a second 10-day contract.

McRae signed his first 10-day contract with the Suns on Jan. 29. The 24-year-old guard has appeared in five games with Phoenix, averaging 5.8 points and 1.4 assists in 13.0 minutes. McRae made his NBA debut at New York on Jan. 29, scoring 12 points and handing out four assists.

Prior to signing with the Suns, McRae earned 2016 NBA Development League All-Star honors as he ranked third in the D-League with an average of 23.1 points in 28 games with the Delaware 87ers. In his last game with the 87ers against Canton on Jan. 26, he scored a D-League record 61 points on 21-of-34 shooting from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line. In addition to 23.1 points, McRae had been averaging 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 35.5 minutes in his second D-League season, both with the 87ers.

McRae was the 14th GATORADE Call-Up of 2015-16 at the time he signed with the Suns on Jan. 29, his first regular season signing with an NBA team. Originally selected by San Antonio with the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft then traded to Philadelphia on draft night, McRae played professionally in Australia in 2014-15 before joining Delaware for the season’s final 13 games and averaging 18.4 points. A 6-5, 179-pound guard, McRae played for Philadelphia at NBA Summer League in 2014 and 2015, also playing with the 76ers this past preseason before being waived on Oct. 26.

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on the Detroit Pistons and retired guard Chauncey Billups, who currently does TV broadcasting:

Pistons will soon retire jersey of Chauncey Billups

Wednesday marks the jersey retirement for former Detroit Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups, the second this season for a player who flourished in Detroit after previous stops in the NBA.

Billups averaged 16.5 points and 6.2 assists during his eight-season tenure with the Pistons, numbers he continued to produce in the four or five seasons after.

Which begs the question: Why didn’t his previous stops in Boston, Toronto, Denver give him more time to develop?

“People always criticize the Celtics on that one, for giving up on him,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But it was also, I look, and it was two different systems. It’s very possible that Chauncey, as good as he was, would not have been as good staying in that system. It’s not just patience, sometimes it’s fit.”

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that Derek Fisher has been relieved of his coaching duties. Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been named the interim head coach.

Fisher, who was originally hired on Jun. 10, 2014, finishes his Knicks coaching career with an overall record of 40-96 (.294).

According to ESPN.com, “The Knicks are 23-31 this season after going 17-65 in Fisher’s first season. New York’s current losing skid contributed to the timing of the move, but the team was already convinced Fisher was not transitioning from the role of player to coach effectively, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.”

Rambis becomes the 27th head coach in franchise history. Originally hired as the team’s associate head coach on Jul. 7, 2014, the 18-year NBA coaching veteran starts his second-stint as a head coach, after leading the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons from 2009-10 through 2010-11 (56-145). The Terre Haute, IN native was a member of eight NBA Championship teams, all as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (four as a player and four as a coach or executive). Rambis becomes the fifth former Knicks draft pick to coach the team (third round, 58th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft).

Austin Rivers suffers hand fracture

Austin Rivers suffers hand fracture

The L.A. Clippers announced today that guard Austin Rivers suffered a left hand fracture in the second quarter of the Clippers loss to Minnesota on Feb. 3. Rivers did not play in the Clippers game Feb. 5 in Orlando and underwent an MRI Feb. 6 in Miami that revealed the fracture.

Rivers will be re-evaluated in Los Angeles on Monday and a timetable for his return will be established at that time.

This season, Rivers has appeared in 46 games (5 starts) and is averaging a career-high 8.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 21.6 minutes per game.

Report: Austin Rivers has broken hand

Report: Austin Rivers has broken hand

The Clippers are 33-17 this season and have played very well despite star power forward Blake Griffin missing serious time due to injury. But they have reportedly suffered another injury, this time to their backcourt.

According to several ESPN reporters (Chris Broussard and Brian Windhorst), backup guard Austin Rivers has a broken hand and will miss 4-6 weeks of action.

Austin is the Clippers’ sixth leading scorer this season. Coming off the bench for 41 of the 46 games he’s played, Rivers is averaging 8.1 points in 21.6 minutes per outing.

FEB. 7 UPDATE FROM THE CLIPPERS: Austin Rivers suffers hand fracture

The Nets (13-38) are having a tough season. But beyond 2015-16, with a lot of losses and no first round draft picks for years due to trades, their future is cloudy. A new front office leader is needed. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

The Brooklyn Nets will begin formally interviewing candidates for their general manager vacancy on Monday, sources told ESPN.com.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will be in attendance, as will the other members of the team’s GM search committee: Nets chairman of the board of directors Dmitry Razumov, trusted Russian basketball confidant Sergey Kushchenko, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Brett Yormark and president of ONEXIM Sports & Entertainment Irina Pavlova.

The interview process is expected to last for a few days, sources said.

Jimmy Butler injury is a strained left knee

The Chicago Bulls are just 27-22 this season. A bright spot has been the great play of shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who in 37.9 minutes per game is averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals. Here’s the latest from the team on his recent injury:

An MRI performed today on Butler’s left knee confirmed that he sustained a knee strain in the second quarter of last night’s game against the Denver Nuggets. The timeline for his return to play will be determined by further evaluation in Chicago and his response to treatment.

Rudy Gay day-to-day with ankle sprain

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay suffered a left ankle sprain early in the first quarter of tonight’s game at Brooklyn. A subsequent X-ray taken following the contest were negative and he will be listed as day to day going forward.

The National Basketball Association announced today that the Jan. 23 game between the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards, which was postponed due to severe weather conditions in the Eastern United States, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Verizon Center.

Suns sign Orlando Johnson to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract. A two-year NBA veteran, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star for his play with the Austin Spurs this season.

A 6-5, 220-pound guard, Johnson has previous NBA experience with Indiana in 2012-13, also playing with Indiana as well as Sacramento in 2013-14. Originally selected by the Kings with the 36th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 96 total games averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 10.5 minutes. The 26-year-old has four career double-digit scoring games, including a career-high 15 points against Atlanta on March 25, 2013, while with the Pacers.

Johnson has averaged 15.2 points while shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from beyond the arc and 80.6 percent from the free throw line in 28 games with Austin in 2015-16. For his efforts, which include 22 double-digit scoring games and a season-high 29 points at Los Angeles on Jan. 16, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star on Jan. 29.

Johnson also played with Austin in 2014-15, averaging 17.4 points in 43 games; one of the team’s assistant coaches was current Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson.

A native of Monterey, Calif., Johnson played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara where he led the Gauchos to two NCAA tournament appearances.

Johnson will wear number 0. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15.

Jazz sign Erick Green to second 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz have signed guard Erick Green from the Reno Bighorns to a second 10-day contract. Green signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Jan. 26 and has appeared in two games, averaging 2.0 points in 3.0 minutes.

Green (6-3, 178, Virginia Tech) appeared in 23 games (22 starts) for the Bighorns this season, averaging 26.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting, 4.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 39.0 minutes of action. He scored in double figures in 22 games, including 20-plus points on 19 occasions. He scored 30-or-more points in nine contests and a career-high 40 points in two games. Green was named the NBA D-League Player of the Month for January, and was also selected as an NBA D-League All-Star.

manu ginobili injury

Manu Ginobili underwent surgery earlier today in San Antonio after suffering a testicular injury in last night’s Spurs-Pelicans game.

Ginobili, who is out indefinitely, will be sidelined for at least one month.

The Spurs are 41-8 this season, second only to the 45-4 Warriors. Ginobili is averaging just 10.0 points in 19.7 minutes per game and has come off the bench for all 43 of the games he’s played.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on Heat center Hassan Whiteside, whose game was cut short on January 20 and just returned to action last night:

Hassan Whiteside happy to be back in action for Heat

It wasn’t about working back into a lather, again breaking into a sweat under the brightest lights. Those were the residuals. For Hassan Whiteside, getting back on the court meant the opportunity to again soak up what has transformed his life with the Miami Heat over the past year.

“I really missed playing basketball,” the shot-blocking, dunking-on-people center said after returning from a six-game injury absence in Wednesday night’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks. “A lot of times, you don’t realize how much you miss the game. I know I was just out for like a week and a half, I can’t imagine being out any longer.”

So he worked the coaching staff like he works the paint, essentially posting up coach Erik Spoelstra.

“I was expecting him to play in Charlotte,” Spoelstra said of Friday’s third and final stop of this three-game trip. “That was the plan.

“He really wanted to give it a go right now, so we gave him the green light.”

The Atlanta Hawks (29-22) are getting just 4.7 points in 15.4 minutes per game from Tim Hardaway Jr this season. But in recent games he’s gotten 20 or more minutes. Baby steps. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:

Tim Hardaway Jr getting more minutes from Hawks

Defense got Tim Hardaway Jr. on the floor.

Trust is keeping him there.

The guard had season-highs in six statistics as part of a balanced attack that led to the Hawks lopsided 124-86 win at the 76ers Wednesday night. It was the 16th straight game played for Hardaway after appearing in just four of the Hawks’ first 35 contests.

“You earn the trust off your teammates; you earn the trust of your coach,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said prior to the victory. “He’s doing all those little things in a way that earns that.”

Hardaway had a team-high 13 points, along with Dennis Schroder, as the Hawks had all 13 players score with eight in double-figures. The point total was a season-high for Hardaway, eclipsing the 10 points he scored at the Heat just three days earlier. He also set season-highs in minutes (25:47), field goals (5), rebounds (7) and assists (4). He tied his season-high in field goal attempts (8).

Kings re-assign Duje Dukan to D-League

The Sacramento Kings have re-assigned rookie forward Duje Dukan to the team’s NBA D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.

Dukan is averaging 13.4 points (.336 FG%, .727 FT%, .318 3PT%), 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 31.0 minutes per game in nine games in which he started for the Bighorns.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the mindset of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as trade possibilies are thrown around:

Celtics coach Stevens plays it cool with trade rumors

Former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers calls it “silly season,” the time of year when trade rumors fly like 3-pointers at a Celtics game. Still two weeks out from this year’s deadline, the “quietly aggressive” Celtics have already found themselves linked to some big names, including Houston center Dwight Howard.

Current Celtics coach Brad Stevens admits that he occasionally checked with the team’s front-office staff to substantiate rumors during his first year on the job. Now a grizzled veteran — he’s an “elderly” 39 when you consider that recent in-season hires Tyronn Lue (38), J.B. Bickerstaff (36), and Earl Watson (36) are all younger — Stevens doesn’t pay much mind to the chatter.

“The guys that have been in the league longer probably feel a lot like I do. It’s like, we’re just all like listening and laughing and trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, but not putting a lot of a stock into it until somebody knocks on our door,” Stevens said. “And that’s the way I feel about it. I probably followed up on every third rumor my first year. And I don’t think I’ve followed up on one yet. If [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] wants to talk to me about something, he knows where to find me.”

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

The Phoenix Suns have added experienced NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant coach, the team announced today.

“Coach Hill is a creative and innovative teacher of basketball,” said Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to our program and will be very beneficial to everyone involved in our basketball family.”

Hill compiled a 310-293 (.514) record over parts of nine seasons as an NBA head coach, last leading Seattle in 2005-06 and 2006-07 where he coached Watson. In addition to Seattle, Hill served as head coach for New York (1986-87), Indiana (1990-93) and San Antonio (1994-96), guiding his teams to the playoffs on five occasions. Hill’s best season as a head coach came in 1994-95 when he led the Spurs to a 62-20 record and reached the Western Conference Finals.

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