Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

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Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

From Comcast SportsNet
GREENBURGH, New York (AP) -- Linsanity has taken over Madison Square Garden, and even Magic Johnson was captivated watching the New York Knicks' newest star. The only guy who doesn't seem impressed is Jeremy Lin. The new point guard refuses to get his own place to live, just in case the NBA team decides to cut him this week before his contract becomes guaranteed. He takes no satisfaction in proving he wasn't a one-hit wonder, because he could be "like a two-time wonder." And no, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent doesn't consider himself all that smart, regardless of that Harvard education. "That's a stereotype," Lin said on Tuesday. "(Former Golden State teammate) David Lee would be the first to tell you, he always calls me the dumbest smart guy he knows. Depends on who you ask I guess." Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni knew Lin was intelligent. What he didn't know was whether Lin could play in the NBA, and for a while he was hesitant to find out. The Knicks struggled at the start of the season, and even though D'Antoni had seen glimpses from Lin, he worried this wasn't the time to turn to a guy who just recently was sent to the NBA Development League. "I was afraid to do anything, we're already in a little bit of a crisis and I just can't be, you know, pulling straws, just trying something, a whim. Other players would be looking at me like You crazy?' if it didn't work," D'Antoni said. "Now he just kept showing stuff a little bit, a little bit. When he got one opportunity, he took advantage of it." Lin scored 25 points last Saturday -- after crashing at teammate Landry Fields' place because his brother, with whom he normally stays, had company. He then scored a career-best 28 on Monday in his first NBA start, a victory over Utah as "Linsanity" was trending on Twitter in New York. "The excitement he has caused in the Garden, man, I hadn't seen that in a long time. The way he can penetrate, and can get in that lane, and either shoot it or dish it, has really made them a better basketball team," said Johnson, the Hall of Famer who watched both games. "When they started chanting last night MVP!' I fell out. It was really wonderful for the young man. When you get a spark a like this, especially in a season like this, this could carry them for a long time because they needed something to happen positive. Everything has been really negative." D'Antoni had already gone through three point guards this season while waiting for Baron Davis to become available. Despite having All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks struggled to score because they couldn't find anyone to properly run D'Antoni's pick-and-roll offense. The coach said it wasn't that difficult, but it takes some intelligence, something the economics major has plenty of along with some overlooked physical gifts. "First of all, he has really good speed. He gets into the lane, he gets by people," D'Antoni said. "But he has pace in the sense of setting the guy up, sensing where the openings are, and it's hard to teach. Some guys have it. You can teach certain aspects of it and get him better, but they have to be able to read and stuff, and he can do that." Lin wasn't selected in the 2010 draft and was eventually signed by the Golden State Warriors, not far from where he starred for Palo Alto High School. He split last season between the Warriors and the D-League, then was waived before this season. Houston claimed him but cut him two weeks later, and the Knicks claimed him, with D'Antoni recalling being impressed after seeing Lin work out a year earlier. It seems unlikely he'll be hitting the market again anytime soon, but Lin won't risk it. Contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season if a player is still on the roster on Friday, so he'll wait for that before checking out the local real estate market. Even though he outplayed an All-Star in the New Jersey's Deron Williams on Saturday, he knows he can be the one looking bad on Wednesday against Washington by John Wall's speed. "The minute as athletes you get complacent, that's when trouble comes," Lin said. "So I'm just trying to stay ready." Lin is a natural draw in New York, where Stoudemire said fans love the underdog. But it's not the box office appeal that matters to his teammates, who saw a promising season slipping away because they had nobody to get them the ball. Lin's done that, and the Knicks might need another big effort on Wednesday, with both Anthony and Stoudemire expected to miss the game. But Lin guided the Knicks past Utah without them on Monday, a surprising victory over a winning team. Not as surprising as the undrafted Ivy Leaguer becoming the most important player on an NBA team. "You never know who can step up. It only takes one guy to step up and all of a sudden everything turns and I think that's the way we're feeling around here now," center Tyson Chandler said. "Jeremy stepped up and put guys back in their natural positions and all of a sudden our offense is flowing."

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.