Cole Aldrich could have a future with Knicks president Phil Jackson thanks to his ability to play in the triangle offense, a league source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I personally love the triangle, being able to have more opportunities to post up but also have the ball in your hands in the pinch post with the guard coming off,’’ Aldrich said after putting up 18 points and seven boards against the Kings on Saturday night. “There’s a lot of opportunities to get assists and easy buckets down.” More out of the Atlantic..
- The Nets have all but given up on Deron Williams just two years after making him their franchise player, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Williams, who signed a ~$100MM deal with the Nets not long ago, has been benched for Jarrett Jack amid weeks of trade talk surrounding him. Mikhail Prokhorov hasn’t been seen in Brooklyn in a while, but he’s surely unhappy about paying the league’s highest payroll without having a true franchise player to show for it.
- It’s clear the Brook Lopez-Mason Plumlee front court pairing isn’t working for the Nets, opines Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. During the 61 minutes that the duo has played together, the Nets have been outscored by over 17 points per 100 possessions. The team has made Lopez available in trade talks. Plumlee, meanwhile, was brought up by the Kings in recent trade discussions surrounding Deron Williams, but Brooklyn is very reluctant to part with the second-year center.
- Robert Covington is in the midst of a breakout campaign has been particularly impressive lately, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Covington, who is signed to team friendly four-year $4.2MM contract, could be a very interesting trade piece for the 76ers as many teams looking for long distance shooting. The forward is shooting 43.3% from the three-point line, which is good for 11th best in the league.
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.
Three Atlantic Division teams are in line for a top-10 pick in the 2015 draft, as our Reverse Standings show. The presence of the Sixers among that group certainly isn’t shocking, and the Celtics, with the league’s ninth-worst record, aren’t surprising many with their play, either. However, the Knicks are off to their worst start in franchise history at 4-16, and their unexpectedly poor performance doesn’t bode well for the future, either, as we examine amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Lakers and Celtics had a brief conversation about a Rajon Rondo trade as recently as a few months ago, but the discussion was short and didn’t go anywhere, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The Lakers continue to eye Rondo for free agency this coming summer, Shelburne writes in a full story, echoing a report from Chris Mannix of SI.com a month ago. The Celtics are willing to engage in Rondo trade talks merely on an “informational” basis at this point, and if talks were to heat up with the Lakers, they’d likely ask for at least one first-round pick, the sort of asset the Lakers are hesitant to give up, Shelburne hears.
- The Knicks will make finding a center their top priority in free agency this summer, but they’re not optimistic that they will be able to lure Marc Gasol, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. They’ll make a run at Gasol, the No. 4 player on the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings, hoping his friendship with fellow Spaniard Jose Calderon pays dividends, but the Knicks understand he’s more likely to choose a contending team, Berman writes. That’s part of the reason why Knicks management doesn’t want to tank, as Berman explains. Regardless, the Knicks are unlikely to re-sign any of their existing centers aside from Cole Aldrich, according to Berman.
- Terrence Ross will be up for a rookie scale extension from the Raptors this summer, and he’s getting a sudden chance to showcase his ability to take a lead role on offense in the wake of DeMar DeRozan‘s groin injury, as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun examines.
Wednesday was the last day that teams with outstanding qualifying offers out to restricted free agents could unilaterally withdraw them. Clubs can still withdraw qualifying offers, but doing so would require the player’s consent, and it would require the team to renounce any form of Bird rights on the player. No team withdrew a qualifying offer before the deadline, though that’s not entirely surprising, since there are only five unsigned restricted free agents left. We ran down the latest news on each of them earlier this week, and not much has changed since then.
As we wait for the last of the restricted free agents to make their decisions on where to sign, let’s have a look at the latest contract details that have leaked out from around the NBA..
- As expected, Jameer Nelson is slated to make $2,732,000 for the Mavs next season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Nelson’s deal features a $2,854,940 player option for the 2015/16 campaign, adds Stein.
- The three-year contract P.J. Tucker signed with the Suns will pay him $5.7MM in 2014/15, passes along Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, who goes on to reveal that the deal is worth $5.5MM and $5.3MM during the following two seasons, with only $1.5MM guaranteed in year three (Twitter link).
- Brian Roberts‘ two-year, $5.6MM contract with the Hornets will be fully guaranteed without any player or team option, reports Pincus (via Twitter).
- James Ennis signed a three-year deal with the Heat that’s mostly non-guaranteed, save for a $200K partial guarantee for this season, according to Mark Deeks of Sham Sports. The first year will become fully guaranteed if he sticks through opening night.
- The Knicks gave Cole Aldrich one year at the minimum salary when they signed him earlier this month, Deeks reveals.
- Grant Jerrett‘s contract with the Thunder runs four years at the minimum salary, with full guarantees on the first two seasons and no guarantees for the last two, Deeks notes.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
7:30pm: The signing is official, the team announced.
7:19pm: The Knicks have re-signed center Cole Aldrich reports Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). The length and terms of the contract have not been announced yet.
In 46 games last season for New York, Aldrich averaged 2.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 0.3 APG in 7.2 minutes per contest. His slash line was .541/.000/.867.
The team has also announced that they have waived Lamar Odom. In regards to Odom, the press release stated, “Unfortunately, Lamar was unable to uphold the standards to return as an NBA player.We found it necessary to free up the roster spot.” This move could mark the end of Odom’s NBA career.
Amar’e Stoudemire envisions remaining with the Knicks organization beyond his playing career, as we noted last night. Still, the 31-year-old hopes he doesn’t leave the court anytime soon, telling Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling that he wants to “play until I can’t walk any more.” Stoudemire says he wants to stay on the Knicks roster, which is indication that he intends to opt in for next season. That wouldn’t be at all surprising, but it sounds he’d also like to re-sign with the club in the summer of 2015. Whether the Knicks will have mutual interest remains to be seen, of course. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- A source tells Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com that new Knicks president Phil Jackson is high on Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Cole Aldrich, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure’ Murry. Carmelo Anthony is on that list as well, and Jackson has already publicly expressed his regard for the star.
- The Pistons have denied that Isiah Thomas is a candidate to run their basketball operations, but MLive’s David Mayo wouldn’t be “thoroughly and completely shocked” if Thomas ends up in that role, as Mayo writes in his latest mailbag column.
- The Sixers and Pacers had nearly identical records over a seven-year span from 2005/06 through 2011/12, but the teams have taken drastically different paths since, notes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. The Pacers have distinguished themselves primarily because of their success uncovering gems in the draft, Cooney argues, suggesting much is at stake for the Sixers come June.
Knicks owner James Dolan joined Michael Kay and Don La Greca on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM earlier today, and when asked about the team’s 2013/14 season, the Knicks owner responded that he’s been “horrified” (Neil Best of Newsday relays via Twitter). New York hopes that Phil Jackson‘s stewardship as president of basketball operations will bring a significant step towards success, as Dolan likened hiring Jackson to “…bringing in Albert Einstein to do your math homework.”
Later on during his radio appearance, the Knicks owner also reiterated that Jackson has full power over basketball decisions. The most important decision arguably involves Carmelo Anthony‘s future, and interestingly enough, Dolan added that if Jackson were to allow Carmelo to leave this summer, he’d give his blessing: “It’s (Phil’s) decision, that’s my agreement with him” (Twitter links via ESPN New York’s Ian Begley).
Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple, including more from Begley:
- When he had been tied to the potential GM opening in Seattle last year, Jackson previously convinced Steve Kerr to become the team’s head coach; those plans fell through once the purchase agreement of the Kings fell apart, reports Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo Sports.
- Dolan attempted to dispel speculation that Jackson would eventually coach the Knicks, telling Kay: “At the moment, it’s not in the cards.”
- Based on his early assessment of the roster, Jackson reportedly likes Carmelo, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Cole Aldrich, a source tells Begley. Jackson also likes the youth of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure’ Murry.
- Jackson also dropped in on The Michael Kay Show later on, saying that there’s “hope and strong reason” that Carmelo would re-sign with the Knicks.
- Per source, Jackson is strongly committed to implementing the triangle offense and will shape the roster with that in mind, adds Begley.
- Steve Mills sat silently for more than 45 minutes during Jackson’s introductory press conference, notes Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. Per Botte, NBA sources initially expected Jackson to consider bringing in another general manager to handle day-to-day work with Mills, specifically involving trade calls and talks with agents.
- Dolan told Michael Kay that his relationship with former Knicks GM Isiah Thomas doesn’t involve discussions about basketball, relays Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Sundiata Gaines is headed to the D-League, a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. The three-year NBA veteran has appeared in 11 games with Besiktas Milangaz in Turkey this year and was in camp with the Pacers in the fall of 2012. The 6’1″ guard’s most memorable contribution to the NBA was a buzzer-beater for the Jazz in 2010, though his best season was in 2011/12, when he started 12 games for the Nets. Here are more comings and goings from the D-League:
- The lack of a one-to-one relationship with their affiliate might be one reason why the Wizards are unlikely to send Otto Porter to the D-League, even though coach Randy Wittman says an assignment is possible, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
- The Knicks followed through with their plan to recall Cole Aldrich, Toure’ Murry and Jeremy Tyler from the D-League today, the team announced (Twitter link). New York sent the trio down on Wednesday merely to practice with the team’s affiliate, which is stationed at the Knicks training facility this week.
- The Rockets have recalled Isaiah Canaan from the D-League, the team announced via Twitter. Canaan is undergoing rehab for a strained hamstring, as Jason Friedman of Rockets.com notes, so it doesn’t sound like he’ll see action for the big club (Twitter link).
- Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks says the team will send Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva to the D-League to play this weekend, tweets Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, confirming a report from Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel.
The Knicks earned a measure of revenge Tuesday night for their 41-point loss to the Celtics earlier this season, turning the tables in a 26-point victory. Still, the Knicks are a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and mystery surrounds the matter of where Carmelo Anthony will play next season. There’s more on that amid the latest from Madison Square Garden.
- Anthony brushed off inquiries on Tuesday about a weekend report suggesting he’d like to join the Bulls, cutting off a reporter in the middle of a question that seemingly was to be about whether he’d ever considered playing in Chicago. Anthony did allow for a full question about whether he had a relationship with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, but last year’s scoring champ replied that he didn’t, as Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times observes.
- The Knicks have assigned Cole Aldrich, Toure’ Murry and Jeremy Tyler to the D-League, the team announced via Twitter. All three will practice today with the Erie BayHawks, who are spending the next few days at the Knicks training facility. The Knicks plan to recall them tomorrow, the team also tweets.
- The BayHawks also spent a break in their schedule last season working at the facility, and that’s when New York assigned Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Copeland and James White to join the BayHawks as they practiced, notes Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. Schlosser didn’t count on the Knicks making similar assignments this year, but New York doesn’t play again until Thursday night, so it doesn’t sound like Aldrich, Murry or Tyler will miss any time for the big club.
MONDAY, 8:25am: Smith is the player expected to be released if and when the Knicks sign Tyler, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, who says the Knicks could announce the roster moves as soon as today.
SUNDAY, 2:29pm: The benefits of nepotism can only get you so far sometimes. If the Knicks go ahead and sign Jeremy Tyler, as they’ve been discussing, they are seriously considering cutting Chris Smith to free up a roster spot rather than center Cole Aldrich, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
Aldrich is on a non-guaranteed deal while Smith’s pact is fully guaranteed for the rookie minimum salary. The guard has seen just two minutes of total court time and while Aldrich hasn’t gotten that much more burn, it doesn’t make sense for the team to shed a big man when frontcourt depth is their issue.
The signing of Smith, the younger brother of J.R. Smith, was a controversial move for the Knicks over the offseason. Despite Chris’ assertion that he earned his place on the roster, many speculated that the Knicks added him as a sweetener to get J.R. to re-sign over the summer.
Chris Smith wasn’t among the five players whom the Knicks waived today, so he’s set to remain with the team as it begins the regular season. Coach Mike Woodson has acknowledged that the presence of J.R. Smith, Smith’s brother, would help Chris make the opening-night roster, and while Smith agrees, he feels he would be on the roster regardless of whether his brother were there.
“Did it help me? Of course,” Chris said to reporters, including Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, about the family connection (Twitter link). Still, he added that, “I feel like I earned my position on the team.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports doesn’t buy the notion that Chris would have made the team on his own merits, arguing (on Twitter) that the deal was sealed when J.R. re-signed with the team this summer. Here’s more on the blue-and-orange, via Begley’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:
- Woodson said Smith and Toure Murry will spend time on assignment to the Erie BayHawks, the D-League affiliate of the Knicks.
- Woodson said the team waived Jeremy Tyler because of a need for healthy bodies. Tyler is out as he recovers from foot surgery, though Woodson added that the team will continue to keep tabs on him. The Knicks likely won’t be able to use their D-League affiliate to do so, however. The Santa Cruz Warriors own Tyler’s D-League rights since that was the last D-League team he played for, as Marc Berman of the New York Post points out on Sulia.
- The Knicks kept Cole Aldrich instead of Ike Diogu because Aldrich is younger, bigger and a true center, Woodson also said.