DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip: Your questions on Kristaps Porzingis, the Boston Celtics' roster and more

David Aldridge

The Dark Knight. From Omar Farooqi:

Phil Jackson has an agenda. We just thought it was winning. My question: Why do Knicks fans love masochism?

Ha! Tough times in Gotham. Phil has certainly boxed himself into a corner; it’s generally not good business to rip your players and then try to trade them. I have no idea why he’s picking a fight with Kristaps Porzingis.

Among the odd things he said in that MSG interview last week was that the Knicks were shopping Porzingis because of “the future.” Porzingis is the future. He’s 21. He grew another couple of inches last year and is a 7-foot-3 man who can put the ball on the floor, get to the front of the rim and knock down deep 3-pointers with ease. There’s only one of him on Earth.

I’m fine with the Knicks taking Frank Ntilikina eighth in the Draft. He’s a good lead guard prospect, Phil likes big guards and Dennis Smith, taken next by the Dallas Mavericks, would have been a poor fit in the triangle. And, like it or not, New York’s going to play the triangle as long as Jackson’s in charge. I don’t mind that, either. The triangle is just the name of a system where players are supposed to move and cut away from the ball. The Golden State Warriors have the same goal in their offense; it just doesn’t have a snazzy nickname. What continues to surprise me, though, is why Jim Dolan doesn’t insist Jackson come out of the stands and coach the offense in which he believes so strongly. I know Phil has health issues, but something’s got to give here.

California Dreaming. From Steve Koripsky:

What in the world made the D’Angelo Russell trade take so long? And could that be what kept PG-13 in Indiana on Draft night?

I’m not sure what you mean by “take so long,” Steve. The Lakers moved fairly quickly after The Finals to make the deal, and the other team has to be compelled to trade, too. The Lakers and Pacers talked, but once L.A. made it clear that the 2017 No. 2 Draft pick was off the table as part of a George trade, there wasn’t much else to talk about. Indiana wasn’t going to be bullied into moving PG-13 before the Draft just for the sake of moving him. Assuming the Lakers and Pacers don’t make a deal in the next week, I’m thinking that whatever team(s) that covet Gordon Hayward in free agency but don’t get him — Boston and Miami first and foremost — this summer will quickly turn and see if they can somehow close a deal with the Pacers for George. Each has decent assets that would make sense, though Miami is hamstrung pick-wise. The Heat have already traded their 2018 and ’21 firsts to Phoenix as part of the 2015 deal for Goran Dragic. So Miami can’t trade another future first-rounder out until 2023 because of the Stepien Rule, unless it acquires an additional first from another team.

Forward thinking. From Andrew Nelson:

My question is about the Celtics’ roster. They now have Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele stashed overseas who are all pretty much small forwards. My question is which of these 5 will be on the Celtics roster by opening day? I feel like one or two of them will be used in a trade come July.

Would be my guess as well, Andrew — and there’s also, for the moment, Jonas Jerebko, an unrestricted free agent, who’s likely gone. But every time I think the Celtics can’t possibly start a season with this many guys on the roster who want/need playing time, they do. And if they continue to hold onto the Brooklyn picks, I don’t know that any of their other firsts are appealing enough to bring in an elite player as part of a package. If I had to guess right now I’d say Brown and Tatum for sure. Any of the others could be gone. But, Danny Ainge has folded and folded and folded his hand for more than a year now. Who’s to say it won’t ultimately pay off? It did for Mike McDermott against Johnny Chan (NSFWork, Church, Daycare).

Minnesota Fats. From Bradley Crowe:

Which trio will be most successful: Butler/Wiggins/Towns, Ball/Ingram/Randle, or Fultz/Simmons/Embiid?

Definitely the Wolves’ trio out of that group, Bradley. It’s hard to see a scenario where that won’t work out, barring injuries. Towns is, to me, a hair better all-around than Embiid, and we haven’t even seen Simmons play an NBA minute yet. Butler’s a three-time All-Star and Olympian, and Wiggins has shown BeastMode potential offensively, something that will only be enhanced as defenses have to account for Butler.

Andre 3000. From Nick Haugen:

You think adding Jimmy Butler means Thibs goes all out to get Andre Iguodala?

I’m sure Minnesota and 10 other teams will take a run at Iguodala, now that’s he’s let it be known he’s not taking a deep discount to stay with the Warriors. But at the end of the day I can’t see him leaving. Andre is very smart, and he must realize that staying with the Dubs in his current role off the bench will lengthen his career. He’s made too much money to chase a big contract with a bad team, and he’s too wired into the Silicon Valley crowd for potential post-career opportunities. And, frankly, he likes golf too much to be much interested in going to the Wolves or any other cold winter weather teams. (Now watch him sign with Toronto.)

Send your questions, comments and other fun loving adventures with the hound of the house to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!


$11,000,000 — Money saved by the Kings after waiving veteran guard Arron Afflalo on Friday. Sacramento would have been on the hook for all of Affalo’s $12.5 million salary for 2017-18 had it not cut him by last Friday; now, the Kings will only have to play Afflalo, signed last year, $1.5 million. He became expendable when the Kings acquired rookie guard Buddy Hield from New Orleans in February as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

2 — Games, at the start of next season, for which Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was suspended by the league last week, after he was cited for Operating While Intoxicated last March in Michigan. Caldwell-Pope is among the top restricted free agents available beginning Saturday; the Pistons have indicated they’ll match any offer that the 24-year-old guard, who averaged 13.8 points per game last season, receives from other teams.

5,000 — Commemorative towels that the NBA had made up to distribute at Sunday’s Pride March in New York, which included Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts, former player Jason Collins — the first NBA player to come out while an active player — and NBA referee Bill Kennedy. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also took part in the parade for the second year in a row.


1) Can’t wait to see what transpires in New York tonight, when the inaugural NBA Awards Show is broadcast on TNT at 9 ET . Will Russell Westbrook or James Harden get the league’s Most Valuable Player award after each had historic seasons? Who will win the fan vote for Block of the Year — Hassan Whiteside, Kristaps Porzingis or Kawhi Leonard? Will Chuck cuss on TV before the show’s producers can hit the dump button? Get your popcorn ready!

2) Great writing, Part the First: Cyd Ziegler from Out Sports on former NFL offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who came out as gay after his retirement.

2a) Great Writing, Part the Second: ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin on the behind-the-scenes friction between now former GM David Griffin and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that led to Griffin’s departure.

3) Good luck to Ice Cube, Roger Mason, my Twitter pal Amy Trask and everyone else associated with the Big 3, the halfcourt three on three league that began play this past weekend. So many great players from the last 15 years are taking part as coaches or players, and fans all over the country will get a chance to see them this summer. But, please: remember: Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.

4) To quote the late, great Gorilla Monsoon: these two have had their differences in the past.


1) The very brief 2017 playoffs — only two of the 15 postseason series this year went seven games (LA Clippers-Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards), while seven others were either sweeps or just five games — has led to a $3 million reduction in the 2017-18 cap, as teams found out at the 11th hour last week, just before the start of free agency. The league bases the following year’s cap on how much Basketball Related Income its teams produce the previous season; fewer playoff games means less overall revenue coming into the pot. (Which, again, puts the lie to the conspiracy loons out there who insist the NBA fixes games to ensure long playoff series. Do y’all ever admit you’re just full of hot gas on this subject?) The sudden scale back in next year’s cap will force significant scrambling among those teams most likely to be aggressive in free agency, with Boston, San Antonio and Miami at the top of the list.

2) When keeping it real — real close to the ground — goes wrong.

3) Good luck to the Toronto Blue Jays’ closer, pitcher Roberto Osuna, who took the brave and rare step of acknowledging he’s dealing with mental issues over the weekend. We’ve written extensively about basketball players like Royce White and their struggles over the last few years, and how sports leagues like the NBA continue to have difficulties coming up with comprehensive programs to deal with mental health issues.

4) There is supposedly a new version of “The Gong Show” on television. Chuck Barris, the brilliant producer who developed numerous hit game shows, and who was the unhinged host of the original (only) TGS in the ‘70s, died earlier this year. As should have any idea of a remake with him.


Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid), Thursday, 2:39 a.m., recruiting New York’s Kristaps Porzingis electronically after the latest contretemps between the Latvian star and Knicks’ management came to light last week. Knicks President Phil Jackson acknowledged that he was upset that Porzingis — himself upset at how Jackson had criticized teammate Carmelo Anthony publicly — skipped the team’s end-of-season exit meeting and flew home instead.


“D’Angelo is an excellent player. He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with.”

— Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, laying the smackdown on guard D’Angelo Russell after the Lakers traded him to Brooklyn last week, clearing the way for Los Angeles to take Lonzo Ball with the second pick overall in the Draft.

“I think it could make a statement in a time where there’s so much divide and everybody seems to be angry with each other. It might be a good statement for us to go. And to show that, ‘hey, let’s put this aside, put all this partisan stuff aside and personal stuff aside, respect the institution.'”

Steve Kerr, on Tim Kawakami’s “TK Podcast” last week, on a potential Warriors trip to the White House to visit with President Trump — if the White House extends an invitation. Kerr and Stephen Curry have been frequent and outspoken critics of the president and his policies.

“Just because I’m gone it doesn’t mean the relationships end. I still care for these kids, what’s best for them and I’m going to stick to my word.”

DeMarcus Cousins, to the Sacramento Bee, upon his return to town last week for his skills camp — which was free for anyone who registered and also included free eye exams.

More Morning Tip: 4 thoughts in wake of 2017 Draft | Pacers in common NBA position with George

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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