NBA Notes: Fisher reportedly agrees to coach Knicks


NBA Notes: Fisher reportedly agrees to coach Knicks

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning, amid reports that Derek Fisher has agreed to become the team's new coach.

The Knicks did not confirm the reports, other than saying they were planning a "major announcement."

Several media outlets cited unnamed sources saying the longtime NBA guard agreed to terms with the Knicks on a deal that was still being finalized.

The 39-year-old Fisher just completed his 18th season, finishing his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played under Knicks President Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers, and helped that franchise win five NBA titles (see full story).

NBA Finals: Game 2 ratings up slightly from 2013
NEW YORK -- The NBA Finals rematch is drawing a higher television audience than the first go-around between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.

Nielsen says Game 2 on Sunday delivered just over 15 million viewers on ABC and had a peak audience of 18,786,000 viewers from 10 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. The viewership translates to an 8.9 household rating. That is a 5 percent increase from last year's Game 2, which drew an 8.5.

Through two games, the Finals are averaging more than 14.9 million viewers. That's up 4 percent from last year, when LeBron James and the Heat beat the Spurs in a seven-game series.

The series is tied 1-1 heading back to Miami. Game 3 is Tuesday night.

Cavaliers: AP source says Gentry to have 2nd interview
CLEVELAND -- A person familiar with the Cavaliers' coaching search says Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry will have a second interview for the vacancy.

Gentry is the first known candidate to meet for a second time with the Cavs, who fired Mike Brown -- for the second time -- on May 12. Gentry's second meeting has not yet been scheduled, said the person who spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team was not making its plans public.

The Cavs hope to have a coach in place before the June 26 NBA draft. Cleveland has the No. 1 overall pick.

Gentry previously worked in Phoenix with new Cavs general manager David Griffin.

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since aggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points and had one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.