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This injury is a major blow to the Bobcats and their playoff hopes. Jefferson has averaged 25.3 points and 15.3 rebounds against the HEAT this season and was the one clear matchup advantage the Bobcats had going into the series. Though Jefferson says he will be “okay” it is hard to imagine that he will be able to dominate the way he has throughout the season given the severity of this injury.
Hopefully Jefferson can play through the pain and be as close to his usual self as possible. However, Joakim Noah has dealt with this same injury before and last year stated, “It feels like you have needles underneath your foot while you’re playing. That’s what it feels like. You can imagine how hard it is when you need to run or you need to jump; all the things you have to do when playing basketball.”
The Bobcats put up a good fight against the HEAT in Game One on Sunday. The teams will meet for Game Two on Wednesday. The Bobcats better hope Jefferson’s condition will have improved somewhat by then.
Earlier this week, Larry Coon reported that the NBA was likely to increase the salary cap next season more than was originally anticipated. Now ESPN is reporting that all 30 teams received a memo from the league that the salary cap will rise from $58.6 million to $63.2 million next year. As of now, this is a projection and not a final number.
Coon reported on his blog that this is the third time this season that the NBA has increased its salary cap projections for next year, which is telling. Since the league and the players enacted the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, NBA teams have become more profitable. The players made major concessions to the owners, who complained that they were losing money under the old agreement. It seems those concessions are working out better than anyone anticipated.
If the salary cap does increase as expected, it will add more intrigue around the Carmelo Anthony free agency situation. With more salary cap space, the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets will have more flexibility to make a max free agent offer to ‘Melo this upcoming offseason. While New York is still considered the favorite to retain ‘Melo, Chicago and Houston are intriguing options that the star forward will have to at least consider. At age 29, ‘Melo is in the middle of his prime years and cannot afford many more seasons like this one. Only time will tell whether Phil Jackson can persuade ‘Melo that New York is still the best place for him long-term.
The New York Post is reporting that Jim Cleamons, currently an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, is looking to join Phil Jackson in New York. Cleamons served under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers and is very familiar with the Triangle Offense. This new rumor adds fuel to the reports stating that Jackson will remove current head coach Mike Woodson and replace him with Steve Kerr.
Cleamons would likely help Kerr implement the Triangle Offense and help Kerr acclimate to being a head coach the way Lawrence Frank was supposed to with Jason Kidd in Brooklyn this season. Former Bulls personnel evaluator Clarence Gaines Jr. has already joined Jackson in New York, and it’s becoming clear that Jackson intends to surround himself with people he personally knows and trusts.
It will be interesting to see if these moves—if they do in fact happen—help persuade Carmelo Anthony to re-sign long-term in New York.
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