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No Lin no problem for Knicks?

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No Lin no problem for Knicks?

In probably one of the more surprising moves of the off-season, the New York Knicks stopped the Linsanity and opted to let last season's wonder kid Jeremy Lin go to Houston after the Rockets offered the guard a 3-year, 25 million dollar deal which the Knicks did not match.

Lin literally came out of nowhere to be the poster boy of the sports world last winter as he exploded onto the scene, leading the Knicks back to prominence in what had been a sluggish start for the team. Lin averaged 18 points a game in 25 starts and had several memorable moments, including a game-winning three-pointer at Toronto in January and a 38-points spree in a home win over the L.A. Lakers.

Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin was just trying to hang on to an NBA roster in his second season in the league and he made the most of his opportunity in New York with the point-guard-starved Knicks. Lin scored 25 points in his first-ever NBA start last February and helped the Knicks reel off seven straight wins. Lin broke defenders down off the dribble, stepped out and hit jumpers, and was also able to dish the ball,averaging6 assists in 35 games.

Lin missed the final month of the season and the playoffs with a knee injury but it was thought management would re-sign the restricted free agent to play for New York after bringing back the buzz to Madison Square Garden, even with starsCarmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire already in the fold. The Knicks, though, decided to let Lin walk after the Rockets offered a back-loadedguaranteedcontract that New York was not willing to match.

Without Lin, the Knicks will rely on veteran guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton next season. Despite being 39 years old, Kidd got a three-year contract with the Knicks while Felton also received a three-year deal. Kidd is coming off a season in which he averaged only 6 points and 5 assists in Dallas. Felton, who has struggled with his fitness, put up 11 points and 6 assists for the Blazers last season.

Going forward and with Lin out of the picture, this team is clearly Carmelo Anthony's. The all-star forward will be entering his second full season in New York and it's expected that he would guide the Knicks past the first round of the playoffs, a place they bowed out of the last two years. Anthony averaged 22 points a game in 2011-12 but he will need forward Amare Stoudemire also to be a big contributor.

Stoudemire, the 100-million man, averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds this past season but his slicing of his hand punching a fire extinguisher after a playoff loss to Miami last spring will hang over him until he can help the Knicks go farther in the post-season.

The defensive player of the year in the NBA, Tyson Chandler, returns at center for the Knicks. Chandler posted 11 points and 10 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game last year. The Knicks brought back veteran Marcus Camby to back up Chandler.

The Knicks said goodbye to energy forward Landry Fields, but also added Corey Brewer who comes over from Chicago. New York also re-signed long-range specialist Steve Novak.

We shall see if the Knicks' decision to let Lin go pays off or backfires but a lot will depend on whether Anthony and Stoudemire can take their games and the team to the next level in the playoffs.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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