A left knee injury to Chris Smith
in training camp derailed the possibility that he'd join his brother on the Knicks
this past season, but it appears a strong possibility the two will be together in New York for 2013/14. Marc Berman of the New York Post
reports that Chris Smith has fired agent Mark Cornstein and will replace him with Leon Rose, the same agent who reps his brother. A report in February
indicated the Knicks still plan to sign Chris Smith. Berman expects J.R. Smith
to re-sign with the Knicks for a four-year deal with a starting salary around $5MM unless another team swoops in with a larger offer. We rounded up more
on the Knicks earlier today, and here's the latest on their division rivals:
- One NBA executive tells Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News that he isn't sure new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie can handle the team's basketball decisions. "I don't think they are leaning on Rod Thorn as much as they should or he wants and I heard there still might be changes to the front office," the exec said. Another rival executive tells Cooney the Sixers have put their coaching search on the backburner.
- Hinkie was part of a Rockets front office that was aggressive in making moves that allowed the team to acquire a star player, and he says he'll bring that approach to the Sixers, notes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Greg Oden is drawing rave reviews for his workouts of late, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge doesn't give the impression that signing the erstwhile No. 1 overall pick is high on his to-do list, observes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. "We’ll look into Greg still," Ainge said. "He wasn’t ready to play when we saw him last. He wasn’t ready to work out — I mean, not like a real workout. We’ll probably check into that some time this summer."
- Bulpett hears that Doc Rivers isn't high on 2012 first-rounder Fab Melo, but Ainge disputes the idea, pointing out that Rivers didn't get much of chance to see the former Syracuse center who spent much of his rookie season in the D-League.
- Bill Walker, who split five NBA seasons between the Knicks and Celtics, has signed to play in Venezuela with Trotamundos de Carabobo, while Mardy Collins, a first-round draft pick of the Knicks in 2006, has joined Guaros de Lara, another Venezuelan team, as Sportando's Emiliano Carchia passes along in a pair of reports.
Former Celtics and Knicks swingman Bill Walker has signed to play in the D-League and will be assigned to a team Tuesday, agent Mike Naiditch told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Walker was recently linked to the Grizzlies as they sought to fill out their roster following last month's three-for-one trade with the Cavs.
Walker, a second-round draft pick in 2008, spent four seasons in the NBA, but hasn't returned to the league since the Knicks waived him shortly before the end of the regular season last year. He's averaged 5.8 points and 37.9% three-point shooting in 15.2 minutes per game for his career. His best season by far took place in 2009/10, when he notched 11.9 PPG and shot 43.1% from behind the arc in 27.4 MPG with the Knicks after coming over from Boston in a deadline trade.
He joins a host of former NBA players in the D-League, including Shelvin Mack, Jerome Jordan and DaJuan Summers. Those three and others are on the rosters for the D-League All-Star Game this weekend.
WEDNESDAY, 8:07am: Chris Vernon adds yet another name to the list of possibilities for the Grizzlies, tweeting that the club is thinking about signing Josh Childress. Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal also adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies' interest in Vujacic is real, and that he'd be given a guarantee if it made financial sense to buy out his contract overseas.
TUESDAY, 7:28pm: Michael Redd has also been mentioned as a possibility, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.
12:38pm: Samardo Samuels is also under consideration for the Grizzlies, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Twitter link).
10:33am: In addition to West and Walker, the Grizzlies are also considering Eddie House, Micah Downs, and Joe Ingles, tweets Vernon.
9:39am: Vernon clarifies in a second tweet that there was a misunderstanding between him and his source, and that the Grizzlies are only considering West and Walker, rather than definitely intending to sign them.
9:11am: Because the Grizzlies had already been carrying the minimum 13 players on their roster, their three-for-one trade with the Cavaliers will leave them two players short of the minimum. To fill out the roster, Memphis is expected to sign Delonte West and Bill Walker, reports Chris Vernon of 92.9FM ESPN in Memphis (Twitter link).
According to Vernon, the Grizzlies will also sign Sasha Vujacic, though we heard back in August that Vujacic's contract in Turkey wouldn't let him return to the NBA this season, so it's unclear if that has changed. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter) and Istanbul-based reporter Ismail Senol (via Twitter), Vujacic won't be leaving Turkey's Anadolu Efes. If they add West and Walker, the Grizzlies would have reached the 13-man minimum, so there'd be no need to immediately add a 14th player anyway.
West, 29, was in camp with the Mavericks this year on a guaranteed minimum-salary contract, but fell out of favor with the team and was released just before the regular season got underway. He had a productive year in Dallas in 2011/12 though, posting a career-high 15.3 PER in 44 games, including 33 starts. Walker, meanwhile, spent most of last season with the Knicks before being released just before the playoffs. The 25-year-old averaged 5.9 PPG in 32 contests for New York in '11/12.
Even if the Grizzlies sign a pair of players to rest-of-season deals, the team shouldn't have to worry about going back over the tax threshold. In each instance, Memphis would only be on the hook for a pro-rated portion of the minimum salary, an amount small enough that the Grizz would remain under the tax line.
The Cavs have a young nucleus heading into the 2012/13 season thanks to key additions through the draft in June. Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller are set to join Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson giving head coach Byron Scott something to build with as he enters his third season with Cleveland. Let's check in with Bob Finnan of The News-Herald to catch up on the latest news and headlines surrounding the Cavs...
- Waiters made some strong impressions during the Las Vegas Summer League while also showing that he has areas of his game requiring improvement. With Irving set to man the point, Waiters will need to strengthen his play off the ball and develop a jump shot in order to be most effective for the Cavs. Finnan reports that the former Syracuse star is approximately 10 pounds overweight and needs to get in shape prior to Scott's training camp unless he wants to spend his time looking into a garbage can.
- Restricted free agent Alonzo Gee hasn't received any offers this summer as teams are convinced the Cavs will match any reasonable offer made to the small forward. Look for the Cavs attempt to the sign Gee on the cheap given that most teams are running out of cap space. Finnan expects Gee to sign with the Cavs for the team's $2.7MM qualifying offer, which would make the former Alabama star an unrestricted free agent next summer.
- Unrestricted free agent Bill Walker may make some sense for the Cavs as they look to fill out their bench. The 24-year-old small forward played for the Knicks for a portion of the 2011/12 season before being waived by the team.
We'll have to wait one more day to continue the Heat/Knicks series, which resumes at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. In the meantime, Amare Stoudemire's ill-advised punch to a fire extinguisher continues to be the talk of New York, with his status for the rest of the series up in the air. Here's the latest on Stoudemire and the Knicks:
- A source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that "half of [Stoudemire's] hand was just hanging off" in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Paramedics were called in because there was a belief that Stoudemire may have punctured an artery.
- Stoudemire underwent surgery that will likely keep him out of action for the series, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Stoudemire be reassessed after Game Four, assuming the Heat don't sweep, but returning to face Miami is a long shot for the veteran forward.
- ESPN.com's Israel Gutierrez argues that the Stoudemire-Carmelo Anthony pairing isn't working, and says the Knicks should have used their amnesty clause to release Amare rather than Chauncey Billups. Stoudemire's contract is "the most undesirable in the NBA," in Gutierrez's opinion.
- The Knicks' decision to waive Bill Walker in favor of Dan Gadzuric seems to have backfired, writes Berman.
6:18pm: Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York gives his take on the Gadzuric signing, saying that the Knicks could have an eye on beefing up for their first round playoff matchup against Chicago or Miami.
4:58pm: The Knicks have made the move official, announcing in a press release that they've signed Gadzuric and waived Walker.
10:15am: The Knicks are planning to sign Dan Gadzuric, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday (via Twitter). To clear a roster spot for Gadzuric, the team would waive Bill Walker.
Gadzuric joined the D-League earlier this season, where he has averaged 12.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in 12 games for the Texas Legends. The 34-year-old has appeared in 525 NBA games, spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Bucks before playing for the Warriors and Nets last season. He'll give the Knicks another option up front with Amare Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries out of action, and will be playoff-eligible since he hasn't played for an NBA team this season.
Walker, meanwhile, is in the final year of his contract, so the Knicks will only be on the hook for the remainder of this season's salary for him. After logging significant minutes in the first half, the 24-year-old underwent elbow surgery and has not been a part of the Knicks' rotation since returning.