Wednesday October 24th, 2012

By Ben Golliver

• At what point does the panic level start increasing for Philadelphia 76ers fans? PhillyBurbs.com reports that Andrew Bynum, who hasn't participated in training camp or played in the preseason because of knee pain, might not play in next week's regular-season opener.

• Hardwood Paroxysm put together a mammoth season preview online magazine. Get to digging.

• Charley Rosen's coach rankings are hard to argue with at the top: Gregg Popovich, Tom Thibodeau, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle and George Karl. The Heat's Erik Spoelstra ranks No. 8 and, fresh off a title, probably has the best "I was snubbed" case.

• Speaking of rankings, The Basketball Jones lists the 30 NBA teams from a League Pass Watchability perspective. The Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder both take hits for being too similar to last year's models.

• Shaquille O'Neal takes some shots (NSFW language) at a handful of NBA players past and present in a weak freestyle rap. The key bars, if you must:

What I look like? I ain't even got no car //

Don't you ever call me Chamberlain, don't you ever call me Jabbar //

Like I said before, you will get devoured //

But don't you ever call me... Dwight Howard //

Ask that boy LeBron //

who the hell is the real Superman //

I let my rings do the talking //

Let you see, these talk quite often.

Cleveland.com reports that Cavaliers coach Byron Scott had the option picked up on his contract for next season.

One report has the Denver Nuggets offering point guard Ty Lawson a four-year, $45 million extension. The deadline for an agreement is next week.

• Kevin Arnovitz sees five NBA teams at a crossroads, including the New York Knicks.

If they fail to play into May, the Knicks would begin to look a lot like Mike Woodson's Atlanta Hawks -- a team with discernible talent, but no championship aspirations. What happens then?

The Knicks could resign themselves to a nice house in the East's upper-middle class district or, much like the Lakers did in sheer defiance of what was thought possible, they could trade on the allure of their market and coax a game-changer to New York. It won't be easy. They'd either have to part with [Tyson] Chandler, convince a team with cap room to absorb [Amar'e] Stoudemire's outsized salary along with a few goodies, get a superstar approaching free agency to hold his existing team hostage in exchange for a ticket to New York -- and probably some combination of the above.

The Knicks wanted superstars to elevate their brand and incite championship aspirations among their beleaguered fans. Now it's time to manage those expectations and find an acceptable alternative should the team fall short of them.

• A courtside seat for next week's Knicks-Nets game at the Barclays Center could run you $8,000.

• Just what the already terrible Orlando Magic didn't need to start the year: Gustavo Ayon is out for a few weeks with a sprained thumb, according to the Orlando Sentinel. • NJ.com reports that Rasheed Wallace will scrimmage with the Knicks on Friday. Wallace, 38, has reportedly "labored" during conditioning drills; roster cuts are coming down next week.

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