New York Knicks

Northwest Notes: Durant, Thunder, Blazers

The Blazers acquired Mike Miller from the Cavs earlier this week but he’s probably not sticking around for long.  The veteran is a “strong candidate” to negotiate a buyout with Portland, Marc Stein of hears, and the Grizzlies, Thunder, and Mavs already appear to be interested.  While we wait for more on that, here’s more from the Northwest Division..

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Ndour, Boozer, Celtics, Prokhorov

The Knicks tried to make Maurice Ndour the latest to back out of a deal with the Mavericks this summer, but Ndour wouldn’t break his commitment to Dallas, a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. The undrafted power forward stuck to a three-year pact that will give him a fully guaranteed salary worth more than the rookie minimum, according to Berman. The Knicks had only been offering a $200K partial guarantee until the Mavs swooped in, and New York’s attempt to win over Ndour after he gave his word to Dallas came up short, Berman writes. Still, if Ndour becomes a free agent again soon, he’d love to return to the Knicks, for whom he played in summer league, the Post scribe says. Already, DeAndre Jordan and Richard Jefferson have turned their backs on the Mavs, but Jefferson did so with owner Mark Cuban’s blessing. In any case, there’s more out of New York amid the last from the Atlantic Division:

  • New York’s interest in Carlos Boozer is “tepid,” Berman writes in the same piece, and that jibes with his report from two weeks ago that the team held internal conversations about the free agent power forward but hadn’t made a move on him. In any case, Knicks team president Phil Jackson would still like to sign a big man, Berman adds.
  • The offseason has been a success for the Celtics because they acquired depth that vastly improved the team while still maintaining the copious draft assets that they can use in future trades, opines Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. That’s doubly so because the C’s acquired players with motivation to play to their fullest, Washburn adds. We asked you to weigh in Boston’s offseason so far right here.
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov struck an upbeat tone in brief comments Tuesday, but conspicuous by his absence from Prokhorov’s remarks was Deron Williams, the marquee free agent signing of the Prokhorov era whom the Nets let go in a buyout deal this month, notes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post“First of all, we had a really good offseason – better than a lot of people expected,” Prokhorov said. “Without a lot of noise, we got a lot done. Brook [Lopez] and Thaddeus [Young] are staying with us, which gives us continuity in our frontcourt. Joe Johnson stays as a core player. We also have high expectations for Bojan Bogdanovic, who showed us real flashes of brilliance in his first year on the Nets.”

Knicks To Ink Wesley Saunders

JULY 29TH, 8:06am: The partial guarantee will be worth no more than $75K, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.

JULY 24TH, 8:16pm: The Knicks continue to fill out their roster, and are closing in on an agreement with undrafted free agent Wesley Saunders, league sources tell Shams Charania of (Twitter link). The full contract details are unknown at this juncture, but Charania notes the pact will include a partial guarantee.

New York could be hoping to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time by adding another former Harvard guard to its roster. Jeremy Lin had previously parlayed a successful 35 game run with the Knicks during the 2011/12 campaign into a multiyear deal from the Rockets. The addition of Saunders provides some much needed depth to the Knicks’ backcourt, though he’ll still likely be a longshot to make the regular season roster.

In 30 appearances last season for the Crimson, the 22-year-old averaged 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 34.4 minutes per contest. Saunders’ career numbers at Harvard were 12.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 3.2 APG to go along with a slash line of .481/.402/.755.

The Knicks were one of the teams on the predraft workout docket for Saunders, as he told Zach Links of Hoops Rumors. The Ivy League prospect spoke to Zach about several topics, including what it was like to balance Harvard academics with basketball.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Celtics, Boatright

Knicks team president Phil Jackson tacitly questioned the wisdom of spending max-level money on Marc Gasol in an interview that took place in February with longtime confidant Charley Rosen, who transcribes it as part of a series on Still, it seemed more of a remark about spending max money in general, and indeed, the Knicks wound up spreading their cap space around on multiple second-tier free agents. Jackson admits that he pursued Goran Dragic at the trade deadline in February, when the Knicks were one of the preferred teams on the point guard’s wish list of destinations, with the Zen Master adding that he might have spent too much time on the pursuit of Dragic, as Rosen’s piece also shows. Jackson also expressed interest in Arron Afflalo, whom the Knicks eventually signed this summer, and Enes Kanter, whom they reportedly spoke with this month. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
  • The Celtics are unlikely to use their $2.814MM room exception, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s not surprising, since the C’s already have 17 fully guaranteed contracts, including Zoran Dragic, whom the team is expected to either waive or trade.
  • Ryan Boatright‘s minimum salary deal with the Nets is already partially guaranteed for $75K this season, according to NetsDaily (Twitter link). A previous report indicated that guarantee wouldn’t kick in until August 1st. Boatright will lock in $200K if he sticks on the roster for the regular season, NetsDaily adds. However, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shows Boatright only with a $75K guarantee until November 15th, when that guarantee would increase to $125K.
  • The Knicks are letting go of interim D-League head coach Craig Hodges, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Hodges had reportedly been expected to remain as a D-League assistant.

Pelicans Sign Kendrick Perkins

JULY 28TH, 11:13pm: The deal is official, the Pelicans announced.

JULY 21ST, 6:49pm: The Pelicans and unrestricted free agent Kendrick Perkins are in the process of finalizing a contract agreement, Marc Stein of reports (Twitter links). It will be a one-year pact for the veteran’s minimum, Stein adds.

The Clippers, Rockets, and Knicks had all expressed interest in the 30-year-old center. Instead, Perkins will add depth and grit behind starter Omer Asik, who re-signed with New Orleans this offseason for five years and approximately $60MM.

Perkins appeared in a combined 68 games for the Thunder and the Cavaliers, averaging 4.0 points and 5.5 rebounds for OKC and 2.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG for Cleveland. His career numbers through 12 NBA seasons are 5.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.2 BPG to go along with a slash line of .530/.000/.597.

Knicks, Others Eye Kevin Seraphin

The Knicks, Lakers and Wizards continue to show interest in Kevin Seraphin, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported interest from the Lakers early this month, and Scotto added the Wizards a few days later, but this appears to be the first time New York has come up in connection with the center.

The Knicks are also among the teams with interest in Carlos Boozer, but it’s not clear if New York sees the pair of big men as an either-or proposition. The Knicks and Lakers have their $2.814MM room exception available, but the Wizards have his Bird rights, so they can outbid other teams.

The Wizards were expected earlier this month to attempt to find a team willing to sign-and-trade for Seraphin, a maneuver that would ostensibly allow Washington to create a trade exception. In any case, Seraphin seemed a long shot to return to the Wizards at season’s end, as he’s reportedly been looking for a chance to compete for the starting job, though, according to Scotto, Washington at least touched base with him this month. The Wizards have Marcin Gortat entering year two of a five-year deal to man the pivot. Starting would also be a difficult proposition for Seraphin in New York, where free agent signee Robin Lopez seems firmly entrenched, and the same is probably true of the Lakers, who traded for Roy Hibbert.

The Suns and Mavericks also reportedly showed interest earlier this month, though it’s unclear if they’re still in the mix. The Spurs apparently had tentative interest in case David West signed elsewhere, but West took the minimum to play for San Antonio.

Which team needs Seraphin the most: The Knicks, Lakers or Wizards? Leave a comment to let us know.

Latest On Carlos Boozer

The Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks continue to have interest in signing Carlos Boozer, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Scotto first identified the Knicks as among the teams eyeing the Rob Pelinka client earlier this month, though Marc Berman of the New York Post reported soon thereafter that the Knicks had engaged in internal conversations about him but hadn’t made a formal pursuit. Chris Broussard of pegged the Mavs and Rockets as among the teams in on Boozer just before free agency began, while Broussard later heard that the Mavs were one of four teams in talks with the former All-Star.

The Knicks and Mavericks have access to the $2.814MM room exception. The Rockets are in a tough spot, since they only have roughly $2.3MM left on their mid-level exception to spend but would trigger a hard cap if they gave any of it to Boozer. Houston also has No. 32 pick Montrezl Harrell who remains unsigned.

Several other teams, including the Clippers, Spurs, Raptors, Pelicans, Nuggets, Nets, Lakers and Heat, have reportedly been interested in Boozer over the last month, but it’s unclear if any of them remain in the mix. Boozer and the Clippers reportedly had mutual interest.

Atlantic Notes: Larkin, Nets, Lee

 Shane Larkin admits he had trouble fitting into the Knicks’ triangle offense and feels he’s a much better fit with the Nets, Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News reports. In Part 5 of a series of Q&As between Knicks president Phil Jackson and author Charley Rosen posted on ESPN’s website, Jackson said in February that Larkin had “failed to show any growth since the start of the season.” Larkin responded in a tweet on Monday. “Couldn’t grow in an offense I wasn’t comfortable in. … Glad I’m across the river now.” The Nets emphasize a faster pace with a pick-and-roll heavy attack, Abramson adds. A free agent after the season, Larkin signed a two-year, $3MM deal with the Nets with a player option on the second season.
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
  • In the same Q&A with Rosen, Jackson spelled out his reasons for trading J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers. “J.R. was more interested in hunting for his own shots than in buying into the triangle. Plus, he has a player’s option for next season that would limit our flexibility. As for Shumpert, mainly because of injuries, he’d take one step forward and two steps backward. And because of a salary ‘hold’ on his rookie contract, a CBA format that limits available money in free agency.” Jackson was presumably referring to Shumpert’s cap hold, which would have taken up more than $6.542MM on New York’s cap this summer.
  • David Lee nearly signed with the Celtics the last time he was a free agent, Ben Rohrbach of tweets. Lee signed a six-year contract with the Knicks and then was shipped to the Warriors in a sign-and-trade in 2010. The Celtics completed a long-rumored trade for Lee on Monday.  Lee was immediately interested in joining the Celtics when they showed interest in acquiring him, according to Jay King of (Twitter link).
  • The Nets used their $2,339,131 Kevin Garnett trade exception to acquire Steve Blake from the Trail Blazers last month, as NetsDaily indicates. It was one of three exceptions Brooklyn could have used to accommodate the deal. Blake’s salary, since moved to the Pistons in the Quincy Miller trade, left a virtually unusable $262,131 remaining on the Garnett exception.

Eastern Notes: Irving, Anthony, Embiid, Raptors

The CavaliersKyrie Irving is being cautious about his return to basketball after fracturing his left kneecap in the NBA Finals, writes Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media Group. Irving had surgery the day after suffering the injury in Game 1, and the team estimated his recovery time at three to four months. That should have him ready for the start of training camp in late September, but the star guard isn’t focused on that timetable. “I’m honestly not putting a date on anything,” Irving said. “People are going to put a date regardless. I’m just continuing to be on the journey I’ve been on and that’s continuing to get better every single day and rehabbing my leg.” Irving said he expects the Cavaliers to be even better next season after adding veterans Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson through free agency.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks have given their approval for Carmelo Anthony to attend a USA Basketball minicamp next month in Las Vegas, according to Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News. It’s the latest indication that Anthony will be healthy in time for training camp after February’s surgery on a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. The August 11th-13th event will bring together players who have participated in the USA Basketball system. Non-contact workouts are planned with an informal all-star game capping off the proceedings. Anthony, who is still recuperating from the surgery, is not expected to participate in all the events.
  • If Joel Embiid had slipped to the sixth pick in the 2014 NBA draft, there is a good chance the Celtics would have taken him, reports Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald“[The Celtics] did have the go-ahead from their medical staff to make that pick,” said an unidentified source. “They weren’t going to say no to him.” The Sixers recently announced that Embiid will undergo another surgery on his right foot and probably miss a second consecutive season.
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star compares the Raptors‘ philosophy under GM Masai Ujiri to the team’s under former GM Brian Colangelo in the writer’s latest mailbag. Smith believe the main difference is that the current regime tends have more patience with the team and lets things develop longer.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Larkin, Stuckey, Copeland

The Nets believe that the right system can bring out the potential that made Shane Larkin a first round pick back in 2013, Ohm Youngmisuk of writes. “I talked to [GM] Billy [King] and Lionel [Hollins] as soon as free agency started, and they told me they wanted me to come in and just play my game,” Larkin said. “I’m more of a pick-and-roll guy, up and down. “And that’s the thing they told me they wanted me to come in and do. For them to tell me they wanted me to come in push the tempo, bring some energy to the team, that was everything I wanted to hear.

Larkin admits to having been uncomfortable playing in the Knicks‘ triangle offense last season, Youngmisuk adds. “I mean the triangle is a good offense if you have the type of players that fit within that offense,” Larkin said. “And I don’t feel like it was the best offense for me. I’m not talking bad about it. It’s a great offense. I wish them nothing but the best.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The presence of former teammate Jason Kidd as coach was a major factor for Chris Copeland‘s decision to sign with the Bucks, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes. “The biggest hook for me was Jason Kidd, by far,” Copeland said. “Obviously, he was a friend of mine before all this. He was a great mentor for me in New York and someone I continue to grow under. An incredible mind on and off the floor.
  • The final season of Jordan Mickey‘s four-year pact with the Celtics is a non-guaranteed team option, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Brazilian big man Cristiano Felicio‘s contract with the Bulls is a two-year deal, and he will earn $525,093 in 2015/16 and $874,636 the following season, with both years non-guaranteed, Pincus relays (Twitter link).
  • Rodney Stuckey‘s three-year contract with the Pacers will see him earn $7MM each season, and includes a player option for the final year, Pincus relays (on Twitter).

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