Knicks Continue to Preach Defense, Sign J.R. Smith

Knicks Continue to Preach Defense, Sign J.R. Smith

One of the sentiments in the headline above is true. The other is that the Knicks preach defense.
Former Denver Nugget J.R. Smith tweeted early on Friday afternoon that he has agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks now that international basketball rules allow him to do so. Smith signed a contract to play in the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout when state-side negotiations looked bleak and had to wait for his Chinese season to end before he could return.
For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Smith is a previous teammate of Knick superstar Carmelo Anthony and one of the single most freakishly astonishing athletes in the game. That said, he is also known as something of a gunner and has never been nearly as invested on his own end as he has been on the attack.
Smith's addition really makes the New York Knicks even more like the team they already were: crazy fun to watch on offense and Mike D'Antoni on defense.
As far as potential rotations or lineups go, with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the signing of Smith and the returns of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, you could see the following on the court for the Knicks at any given time:

1. Lin 2. Smith 3. Anthony 4. Stoudemire 5. Tyson Chandler

And that's with current 2-guard Landry Fields just resting on the bench.
Your Philadelphia 76ers still lead the division by 4.5 games, but the Celtics rebounded after a dreadful start to go 10-2 over a 12-game stretch from Jan. 18-Feb. 7 (though they've stumbled since) and the Knicks -- on the back of "Linsanity" -- just added yet another dynamic scorer. Doug Collins & Co. are also expected to be without starting center Spencer Hawes for the near-future; Hawes will be in a walking boot for at least the next two weeks.
With the Sixers about to see an increase in road games over the second half of the season and the Knicks and Celtics both seemingly improving, things are about to get a little tougher down the stretch, both in the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

The Sixers, who have an afternoon of cuts to make in order to get the regular season roster down to 15 before 5 p.m. on Monday, will waive guard Brandon Paul, according to a source.

Jake Fischer first reported the news. Paul has received interest from other NBA teams, per the source, and has not yet had talks about the D-League. 

Paul, 25, appeared in four preseason games for the Sixers. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three.

Paul recently shared with his challenges to pursue an NBA career.

The Sixers' roster stood at 20 after they signed Temple alum Dionte Christmas.

Cat Barber, Shawn Long and James Webb III also are expected to be waived and spend time in the Development League. Elton Brand announced his retirement and was waived last week.