NBA: James Harden reported to be joining Brooklyn Nets as they beat New York Knicks

James Harden joined the Houston Rockets in October 2012

The Brooklyn Nets fought back to beat the New York Knicks 116-109 on a night they reportedly signed James Harden.

US reportsexternal-link say Harden, NBA top scorer for the past three seasons, has left the Houston Rockets after nine years.

The 31-year-old was asked to miss Rockets training on Wednesday, having said that they were not good enough to be title contenders after Tuesday’s defeat at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kevin Durant scored 26 points in the Nets’ win over the Knicks.

Star forward Durant, a former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate of Harden, led seven Nets players in double figures as they moved sixth in the Eastern Conference on seven wins and six defeats.

The deal for Harden – which has been reported in the US but not confirmed – is said to be part of a huge trade that also involves the Indians Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As part of the trade, Houston would receive guard Victor Oladipo from the Pacers, guard Dante Exum from the Cavaliers and forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets.

The Rockets would also get three first-round draft picks from the Nets, one unprotected 2022 first-round pick from the Cavaliers – via the Milwaukee Bucks – and the right to swap four first-round picks with the Nets.

After Tuesday’s defeat against the Lakers, 31-year-old Harden – the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 – said Houston were “not even close, honestly” to the league’s top competition.

James and Lakers win away (again)

LeBron James attempts a lay up
LeBron James was again influential for the Los Angeles Lakers

Elsewhere in the Western Conference on Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his 20th career triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 110-101.

The win leaves the Bucks second behind Boston Celtics in the west, while the Los Angeles Lakers, the Eastern Conference leaders, were helped by 26 points from LeBron James in a 128-99 win at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The success means the Lakers have won their opening seven away matches in a season for the first time in their history. They remain favourites to win the NBA title this season and have now trailed for just 11 seconds in total during their last three games.

The Los Angeles Clippers moved second in the Western Conference as Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds, in a 111-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Luka Doncic collected 34 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a fourth win in a row as they proved too strong for the Charlotte Hornets, their hosts, in a 104-93 victory.

The Mavericks sit sixth in the West, a place behind the Portland Trailblazers, who won 132-126 at the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Damian Lillard notched 40 points and 13 assists for Portland as they overhauled a 19-point third-quarter deficit to record a fourth win in a row and elsewhere, the Memphis Grizzlies earned a 118-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Embiid, Simmons extend dominance of Knicks as Sixers roll

Julius Randle scored 25 points and Alec Burks added 22 for the Knicks, who fell to 0-2 under Tom Thibodeau. Barrett, after a 26-point season opener, shot two for 15 and had 10 points.

The Knicks were without both their first-round rookies. Obi Toppin is sidelined by a strained right calf and Immanuel Quickley was still sore after sustaining a hip pointer in their season opener.

Ben Simmons drives to the basket.Credit:AP

The Sixers’ lead was just three a minute and a half into the third quarter before six straight points made it 68-59 on Curry’s three-pointer. Randle made a free throw, but two baskets by Embiid and three-pointers by Curry and Danny Green made it a 16-3 run and extended the lead to 78-62 midway through the period.

The Knicks cut it to nine midway through the fourth, but Embiid nailed a three-pointer before a nice flurry by Simmons pushed it to 104-85.

In San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan had 27 points and the Spurs rallied in the final minute to beat Toronto 119-114.

DeRozan’s three-pointer with a minute remaining pulled the Spurs to 114-113, and they took a 115-114 lead on LaMarcus Aldridge’s fadeaway put-back with 29.9 seconds remaining.

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry missed a pull-up 19-footer with 22.3 seconds left, and Rudy Gay made two free throws at the other end.

Fred VanVleet had 27 points and Chris Boucher added 22 points for the Raptors.

Patty Mills added 21 points for San Antonio. Aldridge had 12 points and Dejounte Murray had 11 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

Oklahoma City held off Charlotte in the Thunder’s season opener, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hitting a tiebreaking jumper with 1.4 seconds left and finishing with 24 points.

The Thunder led by 13 with 1:50 to go, but Miles Bridges spurred Charlotte with 11 of his 14 points in the final 1:06 – including three threes in the last 25 seconds. His final three tied it at 107 with 10.3 seconds left. The final score was 109-107.

Terrence Ross scored 25 points and Orlando overcame Russell Westbrook triple-double in his home debut for Washington, with the Magic winning 130-120.

Westbrook had 15 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists to become the fourth player in NBA history to record triple-doubles in his team’s first two games. Magic Johnson (twice), Jerry Lucas and Oscar Robertson previously accomplished the feat. Westbrook is the first player to do it with a new team after being acquired from Houston in the offseason for John Wall.

Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Markelle Fultz added 21 points to help the Magic improve to 2-0. Bradley Beal had 39 points for the Wizards. They are 0-2.

In other results, the Cavaliers beat the Pistons 128-119 in double overtime, the Hawks beat the Grizzles 122-112, the Timberwolves beat Utah 116-111 and the Pacers beat the Bulls 125-106.


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Knicks re-sign starting PG Payton, add Noel

FILE PHOTO: Jan 12, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Miller talks to point guard Elfrid Payton (6) during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

November 22, 2020

Two days after being among a group of six players released by the New York Knicks, the team agreed to re-sign starting point guard Elfrid Payton to a one-year, $5 million contract for next season, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

The Knicks also agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with center Nerlens Noel, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-3 Payton needed only 48 hours to get his job back. Since the NBA’s free agency period tipped off on Friday, several other point guards have agreed to deals — including Fred VanVleet staying with the Toronto Raptors and D.J. Augustin heading to the Milwaukee Bucks.

After signing with New York in July 2019, the 26-year-old Payton played in 45 games (36 starts), averaging 10.0 points, 7.2 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.56 steals over 27.7 minutes.

The Knicks are Payton’s fifth NBA organization since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 10th overall pick in 2014. The 76ers shipped Payton to Orlando in a draft-day trade that summer, where he played for three-plus seasons before being dealt to Phoenix in the 2017-18 season.

In Payton’s six NBA seasons, he has averaged 11.0 points, 6.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game over 387 career contests (331 starts).

The well-traveled Noel spent the past two seasons with Oklahoma City, averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 61 games (seven starts) for the Thunder last season. The Knicks will be the 26-year-old’s fourth team since being drafted No. 6 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2013 draft. His 2.9 blocks per 36 minutes ranked 10th in the NBA last season.

The Knicks are rebuilding under new team president Leon Rose and new coach Tom Thibodeau. New York finished the 2019-20 season with a 21-45 record and has not had a winning mark since the 2012-13 season.

–Field Level Media

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Josh Green, New York Knicks pick news, Aussie first round selection

He comes from The Land Down Under but has made his mark in the Valley of the Sun.

With all the media focus on the New York’s lottery pick at No. 8 in the November 19 (AEDT) 2020 NBA draft, the Knicks’ front office has worked just as diligently on their second first-round pick at No. 27 and their second-round pick at No. 38.

“They are trying to find the diamond in the rough,’’ one NBA source said.

One player of particular interest is Arizona freshman Josh Green, a shooting guard who moved from Sydney, Australia, to Phoenix when he was 13.

Green is listed at 6-foot-5 but has a 6-10 wingspan. Scouts have classified him as the prototypical 3-and-D.

“He’s an NBA athlete,’’ one NBA scout said of Green. “He excels in transition and has potential as a defender with good awareness. He probably still needs to improve his outside shooting.’’

The latest scouting report places the Aussie teenager as one of the key planks in the future of the NBA’s biggest franchise as it looks to finally rebound after years of misery.

The team, valued at $US4.6 billion this year, according to Forbes, as the third most valuable sporting franchise on the planet, is not used to tolerating failure.

Green earlier this year participated in the 2020 NBA Draft Combine alongside top three draft prospect and former Illawarra Hawk, LaMelo Ball.

The 19-year-old declared for the NBA draft back in April after his freshman season with the Wildcats was cut short.

In a recent mock draft, Green was selected at 21 by Philadelphia which would link him with fellow Australian Ben Simmons.

Some NBA officials believe the Knicks may have to trade up a few slots to snare Green because he may not last until No. 27.

The former King’s School student is projected to be a late first to early second round draft selection.

In Green’s one-and-done season in college season — shortened by COVID-19 — he averaged 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30 games. He shot a decent 36.1 per cent from 3, but there’s been criticism of his shooting mechanics.

“He’d be the perfect fit for the Knicks,’’ another talent evaluator said.

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Green, who turns 20 next week, is represented by the preferred Creative Artists Agency, which Knicks president Leon Rose ran until March when owner James Dolan chose him to lead the franchise.

“He can shoot and defend, but he could still be a project,’’ ESPN’s draft guru Fran Fraschilla said.

The Knicks obtained the 27th pick from the Clippers at the February trade deadline in exchange for Marcus Morris, now a free agent who could still re-sign with the Knicks if they want to pursue him.

Because of the parity in this year’s draft that extends all the way to the middle of the lottery, the Knicks have no idea who might be there at No. 27.

In a perfect world, the Knicks prefer to select a scoring point guard with their lottery pick and a deft outside-shooting swingman with their second first-rounder.

Besides Green, other players who fit that shooting-guard description are Duke swingman Cassius Stanley, 6-7 Robert Woodward II of Mississippi State and Texas Christian’s Desmond Bane.

At 27, the Knicks could be staring at two other Duke players besides Stanley — point guard Tre Jones, RJ Barrett’s former teammate, and freshman centre Vernon Carey Jr.

Indications are the intriguing Carey is higher on their list. Knicks GM Scott Perry viewed Carey, son of former Dolphins offensive lineman Vernon Carey, as a sure-fire first-round pick last season.

Carey is hurt by the perception that he’s a low-post, old-school centre akin to Duke draft-bust Jahlil Okafor. Carey has lost 30 pounds since the Duke season ended in March, and he’s shown an ability to hit from the outside in recent workouts.

In fact, there’s talk he will go higher than 27 because of his weight loss and dispelling the myth he’s only a back-to-the-basket big. That was essentially the role in which Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski employed him.

“I like Carey, and I think people undervalue him,’’ the NBA scout said.

If the Knicks don’t take a point guard at No. 8, San Diego State’s Malachi Flynn and France’s Theo Maledon could be point possibilities at 27.

Some of these names might still be around in the early second round at No. 38. Adding three rookies to the roster will have its disadvantages this season, with no summer league and almost no time to get into top shape before a potential December 1 training camp.

To boot, there may not be a traditional G-League season to develop rookies.

“In this draft, there’s no difference between 20 and 40,’’ Fraschilla said. “A good player will be there at 27 and 38.”

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New York Knicks trolled, Golden State Warriors rising

The rest of the NBA is keenly aware of the New York Knicks’ lack of lottery draft luck.

With the woeful franchise falling back to the No. 8 pick in Thursday’s 2020 NBA Draft Lottery — despite having the sixth-best odds at the top pick — players around the league took notice.

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“L.O.L.,” Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie tweeted as part of his instant draft lottery takes. “8 was my number so I’ll cap my analysis there lol.”

Dinwiddie is no stranger to trashing the Knicks, declaring that, while the neighbouring Knicks will always have a bigger fanbase, his Nets are the better basketball team.

Boston Celtics centre Enes Kanter, a man who suited up at Madison Square Garden for a season and a half, knows all too well how things go when it comes to the Knicks and the Draft: he simply tweeted a crying-laughing emoji.

De’Aaron Fox, the Kings forward and 2017 first-rounder, went from being the franchise’s Lottery representative on ESPN to laughing at the outcome pretty quickly.

“Yo I know they sick #8,” he tweeted with a pair of laughing emoji. “Aye ya’ll so hurt. So so so hurt.”

Fox later clarified he wasn’t making fun of the franchise, but rather their misfortune.

“I’m not clowning the Knicks at all,” he responded to one user. “It was aimed at expecting a top 3 pick and getting 8.”

— Michael Blinn, NY Post


They’re coming back.

One season after making the NBA Finals, the Warriors secured the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 Draft in Friday’s lottery, adding to an already impressive roster that includes two-time MVP Stephen Curry, former defensive player of the year Draymond Green and sharpshooter Klay Thompson.

With Curry (five games) and Thompson (zero games) non-factors this season because of injuries, the Warriors stumbled to a league-worst 15-50 record in the shortened season.

Now, Golden State will have the chance to add an instant contributor to a team that won 57 games a year ago.

The Warriors’ luck is akin to the fluky 1996-97 Spurs season that saw San Antonio win just 20 games. The season before, the Spurs went 59-23; a year later, they selected future two-time MVP Tim Duncan with the first overall pick and were back to contending.

The Warriors are eyeing Georgia’s Anthony Edwards with their pick, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If Edwards goes first, Golden State will reportedly turn its attention to Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Israel’s Deni Avdija and others.

Golden State also holds the No. 48 and 51 picks in the draft, which will be held on October 16. From 2015-2019, the Warriors won three NBA titles and appeared in the Finals five years in a consecutively.


1. Minnesota Timberwolves, 2. Golden State Warriors, 3. Charlotte Hornets, 4. Chicago Bulls, 5. Cleveland Cavaliers, 6. Atlanta Hawks, 7. Detroit Pistons, 8. New York Knicks, 9. Washington Wizards, 10. Phoenix Suns, 11. San Antonio Spurs, 12. Sacramento Kings, 13. New Orleans Pelicans, 14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies)

— Jake Nisse, NY Post

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