With the inexplicable absence of Peter Vescey from the NY Post on the day of the NBA All-Star Game, we instead turn our attention to the NY Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence.

It’s still difficult to imagine Jackson landing with the Knicks, because Isiah Thomas needs to be the entire show. It’s not hard to imagine Jackson ending up in Portland, where there’s another franchise sinking before its owner’s eyes.

In this case, Paul Allen has deep enough pockets to scuttle his GM, John Nash, and embattled coach, Maurice Cheeks, and bring in Jackson to run the whole show.

Jackson wanted $16 million per to return to the Lakers last season, a nice little raise off the $6 million per he was getting (with another $2 million every time he won a title).

Portland is a mess and it only figures to get worse. Since no one is really in charge there, it makes sense for Allen to go after Jackson. And from what sources say, that’s exactly what Allen intends on doing.

(Carmelo, shown scoring 2 of his 31 points from Friday night’s meaningless exhibition prequel to another meaningless exhibition)

Carmelo Anthony’s absence from today’s All-Star Game hardly caused a stir in the Mile High City. For one thing, he didn’t deserve a spot. And, only in his second season, he is hardly considered a Denverite. Now if the Broncos’ Jake Plummer had been left off the Pro Bowl roster in a deserving season, you’d hear the howls all the way back to New York. One last thing about the Nuggets: If the Kenyon Martin trade was such a fiasco for the Nets, why isn’t Martin playing in the All-Star Game, as he did as a Net a year ago? You can’t make the All-Star team averaging only 16 points and eight rebounds a night. For $93 million, the Nuggets got fleeced. At the least, they should have figured out how to get Jason Kidd.

Alonzo Mourning needs to show a little humility. When asked about going to the Heat, he said, “I want a ring because I think I’ve worked hard enough and paid my dues.” Plenty of guys have worked long and hard and left the game without a ring. Mourning’s Miami teams were always undermined because he never delivered in a critical playoff spot against the Knicks. His return to the Heat is perplexing from the standpoint that Shaq had no use for Mourning when they used to go head-to-head. “But I trust coach (Pat) Riley,” O’Neal said, which leads one to believe that Riley did a major selling job on his big man.