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Does the Mike D’Antoni hire make sense for the Lakers?

I really have no idea. The entire situation in LA is pretty stunning. I’m not surprised they got rid of Mike Brown, as his pathetic offense seemed like a poor fit for a team Steve Nash. Nash flourished under Mike D’Antoni, but he was younger at the time and they never won anything. Meanwhile the Lakers decided not to bring back the best coach in NBA history – Phil Jackson. It should be good for NBA ratings, however, as this drama should be fun to watch.

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Jeremy Lin drops 38 on Lakers

New York Knicks Jeremy Lin drives to the basket in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 10, 2012. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 92-85 and Lin scores 38 points. UPI/John Angelillo

The Jeremy Lin story keeps getting more amazing. Naturally, some were questioning whether this kid from Harvard could sustain his incredible run against the Los Angeles Lakers, and then Lin went out and dropped 38 points on them.

Stop the Lin-sanity? The Lakers tried and tried. And failed. Badly.

The New York Knicks rolled over the Lakers, embarrassed them, really, fielding a lineup that would be laughable if not for Jeremy Lin.

The Lakers weren’t amused after Lin had 38 points and seven assists in the Knicks’ 92-85 victory Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Kobe Bryant was seething after the game, kicking a trash can in the locker room before quietly stewing at his locker in the corner. Lakers Coach Mike Brown tore into the team, telling players they needed to compete much better than the alleged 48 minutes they’d just logged.

It was another head-scratcher for the Lakers (15-12) in a season already filled with them.

This is a great story, though you have to wonder why Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni waited so long to play the kid. If it weren’t for injuries, the kid would still be wasting away on the bench. Didn’t he show off these skills in practice?

In any event, the NBA has a new star, at least for the moment. Let’s see if the Lin show continues.

How will the new-look Knicks match up in the East?

New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni reacts in the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 14, 2011. The Kings defeated the Knicks 93-83. UPI/John Angelillo

Once the dust settles and the Carmelo trade becomes final, the Knicks are looking at a starting five of Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and probably Ronny Turiaf at center. The Knicks will be solid at point guard through power forward, but Turiaf is at best an average center who gets by on hustle and hard work. Per 82games, he does tend to outplay his counterpart (15.0 vs. 13.3 PER) which is a good sign because his minutes are going to jump.

Turiaf is going to need to play well for the Knicks to do anything in the postseason because the team is now very thin in the frontcourt. They lost two 6-10 or taller players (Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov) and are likely to lose 6-11 Anthony Randolph as well. In return, 6-9 Shelden Williams is the only bona fide power forward or center they’ll acquire, and he hasn’t done much in his 4+ year career to indicate that he can play significant minutes on a good playoff team.

This lack of frontcourt depth could be a problem because both the Celtics (Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett) and the Magic (Dwight Howard) have big men who are adept at scoring on the block. The Celtics are less of a concern at center because Doc Rivers usually uses Glen Davis to finish games instead of O’Neal (or Kendrick Perkins, for that matter).

Against the Heat or Bulls, the Knicks should fare better. Chris Bosh is not terribly good on the block and the Heat prefer to play Joel Anthony at center. Joakim Noah is a great defensive center, but his post up game is limited, so Turiaf (or Stoudemire, in a pinch) shouldn’t be overmatched on the block.

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Carmelo Anthony speaks out about the extension

Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony reacts in the second quarter of Game 4 against the Utah Jazz in their NBA Western Conference playoff series in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 25, 2010. REUTERS/Ramin Rahimian (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Per ESPN…

“I think my decision is my decision,” Anthony said, according to The Denver Post. “I don’t think it’s based on who is in the front office or anything like that. I’m going to make my decision based on my feelings.”

“I could wake up tomorrow and they could snatch it off the table,” Anthony said, according to the Denver newspaper. “I don’t know. I don’t know what their mind-set is.”

Anthony said his loyalty to the Nuggets’ fanbase and organization has never wavered.

“I’ve shown that over my seven-year stint here,” he said, according to The Denver Post. “I don’t think anybody can question that. But at this point in time, I have to do what’s best for me and my family. I’m just taking my time, figuring out if I want to take that extension or not.”

Lest there be any confusion, this is not a negotiating tactic to coax a better deal out of the Nuggets. Denver’s offer of $65 million over three years would give Anthony financial security in a time when there’s a new, owner-friendly collective bargaining agreement on the horizon. And let’s not gloss over the risk of injury either. If Anthony were to blow out his knee (a la Michael Redd), he could be leaving millions on the table.

If this were about money, Anthony would have already signed. This is about whether or not he wants to continue his career with the Nuggets. If he plays out the season without signing the extension, he’ll become the prize of the 2011 free agent class and could potentially ‘take his talents’ to the Big Apple.

Most pundits feel that this is about the Knicks, and I tend to agree. He’d be a nice fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system with Amare Stoudemire and an outside shot at teaming up with Chris Paul in 2012. But don’t overlook the Nets, who will be moving to Brooklyn in two years and have several attractive young pieces — Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris — who might appeal to Anthony.

However, if he does indeed become a free agent, the Knicks are the frontrunner — there’s no doubt about it.

If I were a Nuggets fan, I’d be very, very worried. The writing is on the wall, but it’s nothing that a run to the Finals can’t fix.

Stoudemire agrees in principle to become a Knick

Phoenix Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire (C) attends the MLB interleague baseball game between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL BASKETBALL)

I wrote quite a bit about this possible pairing a few days ago, but after flirting for a few more days, the two sides finally came together on an agreement.

The Knicks said Monday they intend to sign Stoudemire to a contract later this week when the free agent moratorium period ends. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, said the deal is for the maximum allowed, which would be nearly $100 million over five years.

Wearing a blue Knicks hat, Stoudemire said he looked forward to rebuilding a franchise and bringing the Knicks back to the top — maybe with a player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade with him.

Team president Donnie Walsh said the Knicks decided to pull the trigger on the Stoudemire deal because he was the only player that has told the Knicks thus far that he wants to play for them.

The Stoudemire agreement takes the Knicks out of the running for Chris Bosh, but New York has been assured it will not be an impediment to their chances of signing James or Wade, sources told ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan and Chris Broussard.

Interesting phrase there — “it will not be an impediment to their chances of signing James or Wade” — which can mean one of three things: 1) James and Wade like Stoudemire as much as Bosh, 2) they’re both willing to play with Stoudemire if push came to shove, or 3) neither guy is going to sign with the Knicks, so it doesn’t matter.

I’m betting on No. 2.

Stoudemire met with head coach Mike D’Antoni to clear the air that apparently became smoggy during the duo’s tenure in Phoenix. Stoudemire apparently admitted that he was a little immature at times during D’Antoni’s reign and the two clashed as a result. I’d expect them to work well together; Stoudemire is the ideal center for D’Antoni’s up tempo system.

The other line that I think is funny is the part about Donnie Walsh saying that the team pulled the trigger on Amare because he was the only one willing to commit. It makes sense — the Knicks are offering him the max and at his age with his injury history, he’s not really a max player. Of course he’s going to jump on all of this guaranteed money.

Now, will his presence get LeBron or Wade to join the Knicks? I doubt it. But there are a few other possibilities out there.

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