NBA Athletes Offer Support For TNT’s Craig Sager

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Craig Sager, often recognized for his quirky suits and ties, has been a staple on NBA sidelines for 17 years.

Thursday afternoon, Craig Sager, Jr. broke the news on Twitter that his father, long-time NBA on TNT sideline reporter, Craig Sager, would be out for 3-4 weeks while receiving treatment for acute leukemia.

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Scotto: Knicks’ Season, Futures of Melo, Woodson On the Line — UPDATED

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knicksNEW YORK — For Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, making the playoffs is all that matters.

The same can be said for coach Mike Woodson.

However, after a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Knicks find themselves one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot — and two games behind in the loss column — with only five remaining games.

Anthony’s desire to reach the postseason is understandable. Since entering the NBA as part of the heralded draft class of 2003, he has never missed the playoffs. Not even the Big Three in Miami can say that.

If Anthony reaches the postseason again, he’ll have to do it with a strained right shoulder that “gave out” against the Wizards.

“Throughout the course of the game there was no strength on the passes, causing turnovers and things like that,” Anthony said. “But hopefully I’ll be alright.”

NYK_Woodson_MikeFor Woodson, however, making the playoffs means much more. His job is on the line.

“No playoffs, no Woody,” one league source told SheridanHoops.

“Without question he’s fired (if they miss the playoffs),” one Eastern Conference scout also told SheridanHoops.

SH Blog: NBA reacts to Phil Jackson hire; Kerr denies interest in Knicks; Cuban says Dirk will never be traded

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photo (2)Phil Jackson was officially introduced as president of the New York Knicks on Tuesday during a press conference held at Chase Square just outside of the newly renovated Madison Square Garden.

Jackson was introduced by the enigmatic James Dolan, who both offered a great deal of insight and explanation into how this power relationship materialized, from which we learned began a few months ago. 

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Bernucca: Jackson’s Resume Alone Not Nearly Enough To Fix Knicks

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220px-Isiah_ThomasPhil Jackson won’t be awful as president of the New York Knicks. He certainly won’t be as bad as Isiah Thomas was in running the club. And he will almost certainly be better than David Kahn, Bryan Colangelo, Joe Dumars, Otis Smith and Geoff Petrie have been in recent years.

But Phil Jackson isn’t Isiah Thomas, or David Kahn, or Bryan Colangelo. He’s Phil Jackson, with a reputation of all things basketball that he touches turning to gold.

And that’s exactly what Knicks fans – now with three generations of folks waiting for another NBA title – will expect from Jackson.

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SH Blog: Silver wants to raise age limit; who will be Phil’s first coaching hire with Knicks?

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NCAA_logo.svgWith the seedings for the NCAA tournament announced today (and my beloved Maryland Terrapins not even making the NIT), college ball takes centre stage for a few weeks.

I used to be primarily a college basketball fan. Sure, I loved watching the NBA, basketball is basketball, but I thought of Joakim Noah as a former Florida Gator, not as a Chicago Bull. I thought it was weird that he wasn’t Al Horford’s teammate any more, and wondered what happened to Taurean Green.

Now I barely watch the college game, except the aforementioned Terps. I think it’s because of the age limit and the one-and-done system. I can’t keep up with rosters changing every year. A team can be great one year and awful the next and then right back to great, because they were effectively three different teams. The best players are different every year, there’s less opportunity for storylines to develop, and dynasties have to be rebuilt every year with raw, untested pieces (look at Kentucky).

So I guess I like today’s top story.

SILVER WANTS TO TALK WITH NBPA, NCAA ABOUT RAISING AGE LIMIT

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has the story:

Image.AdamSilverIt’s obvious that new commissioner Adam Silver has made the league’s age limit the foremost topic in his opening weeks at the helm. Silver has not camouflaged his desire to increase the age limit to 20 but is open to debate from the players’ union and even the NCAA.

Silver said he has spoken with NCAA president Mark Emmert about participating in discussions that would create a more feasible system for players entering the draft. Because so many college coaches complained about players who wanted to explore the draft waiting until June to decide whether to leave or come back, the NCAA moved up the date to declare.

The NCAA’s deadline for players to withdraw from draft consideration is April 16, while the NBA deadline is June 16. Silver suggested more uniform laws with the NBA and NCAA, which would work wonders for fringe draft players who may want to return to school in May.

Privately, the NBA has a major issue with “one-and-done” players entering the league and clogging up rosters. With the new collective bargaining agreement emphasizing more price-effective contracts, owners need more production from rookies. Cleveland’s Anthony Bennett, who has experienced a disastrous rookie season as the first overall pick, is a prime example of a player unprepared for the NBA rigors.

And if the argument is for the owners to avoid drafting one-and-done players, well, that may be difficult when 15 of the best 20 prospects are freshman entries.

“The next step is for us to formulate a proposal,” said Silver, who visited Boston last week. “What I’ve been saying internally at the NBA is let’s make sure we have a better understanding of the issue. It’s a lot more complicated than just saying 19 to 20. College needs to have a seat at the table because there are various rules they can address as well as to the window in which you can hire an agent, maintaining eligibility, potentially insurance for kids who are forgoing college and becoming a pro. It’s got to be more of a holistic approach, but ultimately there’s nothing we can do without our players association.”

VONLEH, HOOD LIKELY TO DECLARE

NoahVonlehWith the NCAA tournament starting this week, it’s time for NBA fans who don’t watch the college game to get a quick look at some of the top draft prospects on a big stage. Unfortunately, Joel Embiid is out injured, and Dante Exum and Dario Saric play overseas, but the other eleven projected to go in the lottery in our latest mock will be in action this weekend. Let’s hope we don’t get a repeat of last year, when only five eventual lottery picks (Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, and Michael Carter-Williams) made it past the first weekend. Three (Alex Len, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and CJ McCollum) of the top ten picks’ teams didn’t even make the tournament.

Whether you picked Andrew Wiggins’ Kansas or Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood’s Duke, the tournament is a great chance to catch the future of the NBA before they’re in the NBA. And people love brackets, also.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has this on Vonleh:

Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh is strongly leaning toward entering the NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports.

NBA front office executives expect Vonleh, a 6-foot-10 forward, would be selected somewhere between Nos. 7-12 in the draft. Still, there is widespread agreement his potential far exceeds his performance and preparedness for the NBA.

Team executives and agents are under the impression that Vonleh, who had an inflammation in his left foot, sat out two games late in Indiana’s regular season largely out of concern for his draft status.

Vonleh, who averaged 11 points and nine rebounds, was selected as the Big Ten Conference’s Freshman of the Year.

Vonleh’s decision is a tricky one. At Indiana and Marquette, Hoosiers coach Tom Crean has a well-established reputation for player development, turning a mid-major recruit, Victor Oladipo, into the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft. Nevertheless, it would be difficult for Vonleh to turn down the chance to be a lottery pick and the guaranteed first NBA contract that comes with it.

Vonleh doesn’t turn 19 until late August, but has shown growth in his season with the Hoosiers. Vonleh’s shooting has markedly improved at Indiana, but several league executives told Yahoo Sports they have concerns about his position in the NBA, as well as a lack of assertiveness that sometimes causes him to drift through long segments of games.

And this on Hood comes from the Duke Chronicle’s Daniel Carp:

rodney hood and jabari parkerMike Krzyzewski has essentially ended any and all rumors of Rodney Hood returning to Duke next season.

After the redshirt sophomore sunk a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to give his team a 63-62 win against Clemson in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, Krzyzewski lauded the Blue Devil captain for his coachability during his postgame press conference. In the process, the Hall of Fame coach acknowledged the fact that this season would be Hood’s first and last in a Duke uniform.

“I wish we had him for more than one year, because the growth that he’s had in this year is terrific, and it’s because he wants to be coached and he takes responsibility,” Krzyzewski said. “Anybody’s who’s willing to take responsibility for his or her actions usually does better, and that’s what Rodney does.”

WHO WILL PHIL CHOOSE AS KNICKS’ NEXT COACH?

The Zen Master, now officially installed in New York, will probably want to install his own coach, as most new general managers do when taking over a team. That means Mike Woodson is all but gone, if he wasn’t already. And ESPN.com’s Marc Stein has word on who Phil might want to replace him:

 

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Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent last summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.