Archive for October 5th, 2018

Knicks sign Paul Watson

The New York Knicks signed forward Paul Watson today.

It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that won’t last past the end of preseason.

Watson, 6-8, 210-pounds, appeared in five games for New York’s 2018 Summer League entry in Las Vegas and averaged 2.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and a steal over 12.0 minutes. He spent the 2017-18 season with the Westchester Knicks where he averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds over 26.7 minutes in 45 games (23 starts). Watson played four seasons (2013-17) at Fresno State, posting 10.1 points and 4.4 rebounds over 29.7 minutes in 135 games (128 starts). He was named 2014 Mountain West Rookie of the Year as voted on by the coaches.

Jimmy Butler wants the Timberwolves to trade him. This has been reported for a while now. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting the words of a few Wolves players and what they had to say, on the record, about the concept of welcoming Butler back should a trade not happen. Of course, what a player says on the record about a situation like this vs what the player privately thinks may not exactly be the same thing, but it’s still interesting to see what they have to say:

“Jimmy’s my guy,’’ guard Jeff Teague said. “So, he’s a professional. I know he’s going to come in, work hard. You all know that. He’s a team guy. He gives it all. I think he’d be accepted, but I guess we’ll see.’’

That’s all the players can do, wait and see how the situation is resolved. But, should it drag out, would it become harder?

“It’d be nice,’’ Teague said. “Just being honest. It’d be nice to have him back. But it’s not up to me.’’

Andrew Wiggins said any team with Butler on it is going to be better. “Jimmy, he’s always a plus, you know?’’ he said.

Taj Gibson, though, said he’s not taking much time to ponder a possible return to the fold by Butler.

I would love to see what Karl-Anthony Towns has to say, but he’s probably delivering a “no comment” on it until the situation resolves.

Anyone who has followed the NBA for a long time knows that a team belongs in Seattle. That’s just a feeling, though. Business doesn’t work that way. People have to work together, on all sides, to make it happen. Can the city get itself a squad again? Here’s ESPN.com with an update on the city’s arena situation:

What it didn’t have was an acceptable arena, the genesis of the reason the Sonics left. After numerous previous proposals failed, last week the Seattle City Council passed a measure to clear the way for a privately-funded rebuild of antiquated KeyArena, ensuring the city will have a world-class venue by late 2020 or early 2021. The end of the long journey triggered a wave of momentum not only that the NHL would come, but that the NBA would soon follow…

The NBA doesn’t have expansion anywhere on its timeline, and Seattle’s arena developments weren’t discussed for a moment at the fall board of governors meeting two weeks ago, league sources said. Some prospective ownership groups that have met with NBA officials have been told expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest, when a new TV deal can be negotiated, sources said.

In general, NBA teams have flown up so high in value that it’s tough to think an owner would want to rock the boat by moving to another city. There are exceptions to that, of course, but the vast majority of the league’s teams will likely stay put for a long, long time.

Fans in Seattle shouldn’t expect any positive news on this front anytime soon.

What would be interesting is what the favorite team is of former Sonics fans who still do follow the league and have switched to another squad as the one they call their own.

There was no real reason to expect Kyrie Irving to leave the Celtics as a free agent next summer. He’s got a great role. An excellent team. A young squad that should keep getting better. And right now, the team has just as clear a path to the NBA Finals as his LeBron James-led Cavs squad did.

Kyrie wanting out of Cleveland was a surprise, too. But there’s no reason to expect the same in regard to Boston. And now he’s said so himself, not in those exact words, but close enough. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

The annual Celtics season ticketholder fan fest is a generally fun affair, notable mainly for skills contests among the players.

But Kyrie Irving made Thursday night’s event something that will be spoken of for years. While the All-Star guard has been hinting strongly since he returned to town for training camp that he will be remaining with the club when he opts out of his contract next summer, he went a loud step further during a panel discussion on the parquet floor.

Rising from his chair, microphone in hand, Irving told the crowd, “If you’ll have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.”

Evidently, it wasn’t such a spur of the moment remark. Irving told team officials he planned on making the statement tonight, though he saved it for the larger crowd after an earlier media session backstage.

The Celtics are must-watch these days, because they’re an excellent team, fun to watch, and also to see how they work Gordon Hayward into the mix.

MSG exec James Dolan gets big raise

James Dolan is doing just fine, for those who were wondering.

Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Madison Square Garden Chief Executive James Dolan got a hefty raise, the company said Thursday.

Dolan will bring home roughly $9.3 million in total compensation over the next year — including sales, bonus and other payout — up 20 percent from his previous contract.

MSG, which owns the Knicks and Rangers, saw its shares spike about 46 percent over the past year.

MSG is packed with fans and business is booming. Now it’s up to the Knicks to match that success in the form of wins not necessarily in this rebuild-focused season but certainly in the next few years.

Preseason is mostly a warmup period for many teams, but for the Lakers and other squads who made major offseason changes and have major chemistry development ahead of them, it’s more than that. The Lakers have a ton of lineup and rotation decisions to make. None will be fully settled in preseason, but coach Luke Walton has a lot of work ahead of him figuring this thing out.

And as for last night, here’s the Daily Breeze:

It was a tag-team act. LeBron James got the Lakers started. Brandon Ingram made sure they finished.

Breaking out of a sluggish start without their top two point guards, the Lakers finally managed their first preseason victory, 128-123 over the Sacramento Kings, behind 18 points from James in another one-half cameo followed by 31 points from Ingram, who guided the team down the stretch.

As Ingram made a key steal and two free throws in the final minute, James could be seen clapping and smiling from the bench.

It wasn’t a game the Lakers felt wholly good about – their third straight preseason effort with iffy defense and too many fouls. But between James’ second-quarter surge and Ingram’s strong offensive effort, they were finally able to get over a hump and see some potential from a budding young player.

The Lakers are must-see right now, and will stay that way for the near future.

Knicks sign guard Billy Garrett

The New York Knicks have signed guard Billy Garrett.

Garrett, 6-6, 210-pounds, appeared in three games for New York’s 2018 Summer League entry in Las Vegas and averaged 2.3 points over 9.4 minutes. He spent the 2017-18 season with the Westchester Knicks where he averaged 11.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals over 27.2 minutes in 50 games (14 starts). Garrett played four seasons (2013-17) at DePaul, posting 13.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds over 29.2 minutes in 125 games (119 starts). He was named 2014 Big East Rookie of the Year.

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