The Newark Star Ledger’s Dave D’Alesandro gives Vince Carter a shoulder to moan on regarding the NBA’s newfangled basketballs.

If you™re not up to date on this matter, after 35 years, the league has gone from leather to a œmicrofiber composite, which allegedly improves the grip. But just the opposite is true, so prepare for a season of Pete Schwetty jokes.

œFeel this, V-Carter said today, holding a clean one out for our consideration.

œAnd now this one, which is more worn in, he added, holding a darker model. œSee, when this (second) one gets wet, it™s like playing with a bowling ball.


œThere have been some complaints about it, J-Kidd said. œIt feels smaller, and when it gets wet, it becomes very slippery. We just have to work through that.

Or not.

œIt™s gonna be a problem, VC said. œI™m not a fan of it. I just don™t like the feel. It™s not really an NBA basketball.

Carter had one this summer at his home gym, and knew then it would be a problem. But he kept eight leather ones around, œin case they switch back to them.

Prediction: We™ll give it three preseason games for that to happen.

œOr as soon as they see the percentages go down, Carter agreed.

Jettisoned by the Knicks, F Maurice Taylor signed a one year deal with the Kings. The Sacramento Bee’s headline is not entirely complimentary.

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola attended Knicks practice yesterday, and it sounds like the kind of exercise that would’ve had Ken Reeves looking for razorblades.

Jared Jeffries, the Knicks’ newly minted $30 million small forward, shot one air ball from the foul line and launched a couple of bricks at the end of Isiah Thomas’ first practice yesterday, resulting in Jeffries’ teammates running a few extra wind sprints.

Three additional “suicides” were added because free agent Nikoloz Tskitishvili, a player without a guaranteed contract, suffered the misfortune of having his cell phone ring in the locker room while Thomas was addressing the team on Monday.

The punishment for those transgressions seemed particularly cruel for Eddy Curry, who was huffing and puffing from end line to end line and finished last each time. He eventually needed Quentin Richardson and David Lee to pull him along. But at least Curry finished. His backup, Jerome James, resumed his familiar role of hobbled spectator after suffering an injury on the first day of practice for the second straight year.

Curiously, the Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein claims that Isiah Thomas told Curry he could skip the sprinting, but Curry chose to participate.