Good morning, it's a trip to the Knicks' terrible ballet

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

A full set of links from Sloan, a better snack bowl, a horrid Knicks team and much, much more in Monday's NBA newsletter.

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Good morning. Let's basketball.

A TERRIBLE BALLET: The Knicks had another disastrous performance on Sunday on national television against the Bulls. Disastrous is their only trick at this point. Check out the lowlights. Of course, the Bulls had a lot to do with it, specifically Joakim Noah, who notched his fifth career triple-double, the second in the past month.

HE'S BACK: According to this GIF and my eyeballs, Russell Westbrook is back. The Thunder beat the 'Cats.

RAPTOR SMASH: Toronto beat Golden State in a matinée. The Raptors and Bulls are tied for No. 3 in the East, with Washington two games back.

ROCKETS SOARING: Paul Flannery's Sunday Shootaround led with a strong piece analyzing the hopes and dreams of the Houston Rockets, who have found their stride. How do they match up in the West? Plus a chat with Elton Brand on the state of the Hawks and all the usual features.

AND 1: Flannery chatted with SI legend Lee Jenkins on the art of storytelling and more on the Drive & Kick podcast. Subscribe via iTunes.

GOOD ANSWER: The Sixers retired Allen Iverson's No. 3 jersey on Saturday night in a pretty awesome ceremony. Liberty Ballers writes that he was perfectly imperfectly. We miss you, A.I.

CRESCENDO OF DOMINATION: Um, Kobe Bryant has a grand piano shaped like the Black Mamba logo with the words "KOBE PIANO" inscribed in gold above the keys. And he tweeted a picture of it with something Bane would probably say. Kobe might be a cult leader, guys.

WHY JIMMER AND THIBS MIGHT BE A PERFECT MATCH: It'll be interesting to see what happens here.

THE TANKS ROLL THROUGH MIT: The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was this weekend, and the topic du jour was tanking. On Friday, Bryan Colangelo admitted that he tried to tank in 2011-12. (Toronto potentially missed out on Damian Lillard by one loss.)

On Saturday, Adam Silver said that he does not believe the Sixers are trying to tank. That means he's using my definition of tank, which is losing tactically (pulling healthy players, changing the gameplan to boost the chances of a loss), instead of rebuilding, which is making your roster horrible with the express purpose of getting a high draft pick. And yes, that does make me feel a little dirty.

PHIL JACKSON TALKS: The great Sam Amick caught up with him at Sloan (?!), and the Zen Master offered hints about his future and some interesting notes about his involvement in the Kings' attempted relocation to Seattle. Also, Jackson's youngest son is poetry professor at the University of San Francisco. Of course.

WHAT PEDS?: Adam Silver explains why he doesn't believe the NBA has a PED problem. Dan Devine has a really good roundup of everything the Commissioner discussed on Saturday.

THE PITCH: Mark Cuban pitches that the D-League is a better option for prospects than the NCAA. He's not wrong.

CLOSING THE GAP: Kevin Durant's new frontier is as a playmaker. Ricky O'Donnell investigates.

DIRTY SOUTH: The Bobcats finally waived Ben Gordon ... a day after the deadline for waived players to be eligible for the playoffs with new teams. Yikes.

LAND OF SECOND CHANCES: Eddie Maisonet writes that the Lakers have oddly become the team where fringe NBA players go to rebuild their careers.

A PATTERN: Another Cavaliers fan made it onto the court. Jeez, guys.

A BETTER SNACK BOWL: Brent Barry is the greatest, and of course he served candy out of his Slam Dunk Contest trophy during the Oscars. I have on good authority that an SB Nation columnist has eaten guacamole out of the trophy.

Happy Monday. See you next time.

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