New York Knicks Rumors

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Phil Jackson On Draft, Free Agency, Carmelo

April 21 at 11:34am CDT By Chuck Myron

The triangle, the presence of Carmelo Anthony, and the past success that Phil Jackson‘s staff has enjoyed will be the selling points for the Knicks in free agency this summer, Jackson said today to reporters, including Ian Begley of (Twitter link). Of course, that staff didn’t have much success this season, a 17-65 debacle for New York, and Jackson acknowledged that he doesn’t expect to suddenly win a title next year, notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Instead, the Zen Master is shooting for a playoff berth and a winning record, as Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal relays (Twitter link). Here’s more from his chat about his plans for achieving that:

  • The Knicks will look for defenders and a player who can get to the basket, Jackson said, as Begley notes in a pair of tweets. Jackson also suggested that the team sorely needs a rim-protecting big man, Herring adds (on Twitter).
  • Jackson suggested he would be more likely to trade New York’s first-round pick if it falls to fifth, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). There’s a 12.3% chance the Knicks end up with the fifth pick after the lottery, as the odds show. Should the Knicks keep their pick, a big man will be the priority, Jackson said, tweets Adam Zagoria of Jackson also indicated that he likes the depth of the draft through the top 15 prospects, as Zagoria passes along (Twitter link).
  • Regardless of how the draft shakes out, Jackson doesn’t expect to end up with an immediate game-changer, as Herring relays (Twitter link). “[Our pick] isnt going to step on the court immediately and be an MVP,” Jackson said. “So a lot of our contingencies are on free agency. They have to be.”
  • The Knicks may have to “sit on our hands” for a year as their top draft pick develops, Jackson suggested, as Zagoria chronicles in a full piece. “So we’re certainly not going to walk away from a situation like that even if it takes the fact that we might have to sit on our hands for a year in the growth process and watch Carmelo come back off an injury and then regenerate for another year after this, provide more support as we go forward,” Jackson said.
  • Jackson seemed to convey a measure of displeasure about Anthony’s decision to play in the All-Star Game despite the ailing knee that kept him out the rest of the season, as Herring relays (Twitter links). Anthony “pushed himself” to play, Jackson said, according to Herring. “[Him playing in the All-Star Game] wasn’t that important to us, but it was important to him,” Jackson said.
  • Jackson responded affirmatively when asked if he’d be OK with merely setting the foundation for the Knicks to win a championship rather than winning a title during his time with the team, Herring tweets. Jackson just completed the first year of a five-year contract, and there have been hints that he might not stay the entire term.

Atlantic Notes: Richardson, Sixers, Knicks

April 19 at 9:32pm CDT By Will Joseph

Jason Richardson is open to re-signing with the Sixers this summer, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The 34-year-old, who is set for unrestricted free agency, envisions himself in a similar role to the one he had this season. He served as a mentor to younger players while attempting to make the most of playing time. Richardson returned to the court on Feb. 20th for the first time in more than two years after suffering knee and ankle injuries. In 19 games, he averaged 9.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 21.9 minutes. In March, Sixers coach Brett Brown said he didn’t see a reason why the 34-year-old couldn’t play for another couple of seasons.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In a separate piece, Pompey opines that it’s very likely Sixers fans will be calling for front office firings if winning is not made a priority after two straight seasons of tanking. Sixers co-managing owner Josh Harris said the team is “making progress” after its second season of tanking, Pompey writes. Harris did not say, however, when the team expects to start winning more games. “I just don’t think we’re there yet,” Harris said. “I think over time, the team will tell you. We’re going to continue to add great players, the best players we can, and really make sure they are well-coached and well-conditioned and ready to play and excited to be part of our organization and to bring it. And they are going to ultimately answer that question themselves.”
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post listed LaMarcus AldridgeGreg MonroePaul Millsap, Rajon RondoWesley MatthewsDeAndre JordanRobin LopezTobias HarrisDeMarre CarrollKhris MiddletonDanny Green and Patrick Beverley as 12 realistic free-agent targets for the Knicks. Those are a lot of names, of course, and some are more realistic than others. The Knicks are expected to be one of Monroe’s top choices. Berman writes that Hawks guard/forward Carroll has expressed interest in New York and playing for Derek Fisher. Last week, Carroll said he would “most definitely” give a great deal of consideration to the Knicks.

Eastern Notes: Ferry, Smith, Knicks, Noel

April 19 at 11:56am CDT By Arthur Hill

Danny Ferry may be on a leave of absence as Hawks GM, but he hasn’t been forgotten, writes Scott Cacciola of The New York Times. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Ferry deserves a lot of credit for building Atlanta into the top seed in the East. The coach added that he talks to Ferry frequently. “I think it’s probably important to both of us that those conversations are somewhat private,” Budenholzer said. “It’s safe to say that we talk about everything.” Ferry has been on indefinite leave since racially insensitive comments about Luol Deng‘s African heritage surfaced in September. Budenholzer declined to suggest a resolution to Ferry’s situation.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • J.R. Smith probably would have picked up his $6.4MM player option if he had remained with the Knicks, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Despite the team’s awful season, Smith’s love of New York and his friendship with Carmelo Anthony would have influenced his decision. “I think I would have opted in,” he said. “I would have stayed. I wanted to be part of the building process to be one of those teams that ‘this is the team we got and we’re going to give a shot at it.’ I wanted to be a part of it.” A January 5th deal sent Smith to a Cavaliers team that is among the favorites for the NBA title.
  • Rival executives don’t expect a quick fix in New York, Iannazzone writes in a separate piece. The Knicks will have a top five draft pick and are expected to have about $30MM to spend in free agency, but that doesn’t guarantee a huge jump in wins. “They don’t really have any trade assets,” said an unidentified Western Conference executive. “It’s going to be hard to get off the deck. They have a long road up the hill. They got to go one block at a time. One piece at a time and have some patience.”
  • Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel told Tom Moore of Calkins Media that he would like to see the team improve its outside shooting through the draft. Philadelphia finished third in Hoops Rumors’ Reverse Standings and will find out its draft position at the May 19th lottery. “I think we’re pretty good with the frontcourt,” Noel said. “I think we definitely need to add shooting, whether it’s with the first pick we have or [possible] second pick.”


And-Ones: Wolves, Knicks, Draft

April 18 at 9:47pm CDT By Chris Crouse

If the Wolves win the lottery and land the top pick in the NBA draft, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the only players whom the team should seriously consider using the selection on, opines Joel Brigham in a collaborative piece for Basketball Insiders. Point guard may be a position of need, considering Ricky Rubio‘s history of injuries, but the team has already indicated it will take a best-player-available approach when using its selection rather than drafting for need.

“I think when you’re a lottery-type team, you have to take the best player available,” President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said. “If you’re there, you probably got there because you lost, and you’re probably still a little ways away. There’s not probably one player, really, that you think, wherever you’re at, ‘Hey, if I take that position, he can help me.’ The better chance you have of improving the team is to take whoever the best player you evaluate is there.”

Minnesota finished the season with a record of 16-66, which gives the team the best chance at winning the lottery and a 46.5% chance at landing one of the top two picks, as our 2015 Lottery Odds page indicates.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • If the Knicks win the lottery, Towns should be the selection, Tommy Beer opines in the same piece for Basketball Insiders. Beer believes Towns could be the defensive anchor that New York hasn’t had since it traded Tyson Chandler to the Mavs. The Kentucky product averaged 2.3 blocks while playing only 21 minutes per game during his lone college season.
  • The Warriors have recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to a team press release. To date this season, the center has appeared in 16 games for Golden State, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.
  • The Magic showed flashes of potential, but ultimately they turned in another sub-par season. Center Nikola Vucevic believes it’s time the team takes the next step, Denton writes in a seperate piece. “Now, we’ve got to accept the fact that we’ve got to change this and turn this thing around. Rebuilding was fine for two or even three years, but we’ve got to find a way to turn it around because [youth] is not an excuse anymore,” said Vucevic, who led the Magic in points and rebounds this season. “So we’ve got to find a way to turn this thing around quickly.’’ 

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Knicks, Salary Cap

April 18 at 8:19pm CDT By Chris Crouse

The Raptors will face some difficult decisions this offseason, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Amir Johnson, Lou Williams and Jonas Valanciunas will be free agents and Terrence Ross will be eligible for a rookie extension. Toronto won 49 games this season, one more than last year’s total, but the team went 12-16 over its final 28 games and didn’t look like a playoff-caliber team at times. GM Masai Ujiri has the challenge of figuring out if the young roster is still growing or if the team has plateaued as currently constructed.

“We’ll learn that as time comes,” Ujiri said. “This playoffs will help. We will continue with what we are preaching, we will continue to learn. It’s like at the trade deadline, if we added an older player, that would take away something from these guys showing themselves … [But] It’s going to take the playoffs, it’s going to take time to see [if] you keep this group or do you add in a player here or there. But they are building the stage and that’s what you want.” 

The Raptors, who lost the first game in their series with the Wizards earlier today by a score of 93-86, haven’t won a playoff series since they beat the Knicks in the 2001 playoffs. Here’s some notes from Toronto’s rival in the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks need to improve in almost every facet and Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal examines a few areas that deserve the most attention. Herring identifies the point guard situation as an area the team should invest resources in this offseason. He believes Jose Calderon, who was the subject of trade discussions during the season, could be a contributor to the team, but as part of the second unit instead of a starter. Herring also identifies adding athleticism to the roster and working to improve coach Derek Fisher‘s game management among the areas the team should focus on.
  • The projected salary cap increase over the next two seasons should help the Knicks land marquee free agents, opines Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork. League executives expect the salary cap to increase from its current $63.1MM figure to $67.1MM next season and $89MM during the 2016/17 season. Begley also cautions that the team should be careful when adding free agents this offseason; although the team will have roughly $22MM more to work with next offseason, the maximum salaries for players will also rise significantly since they are a product of the salary cap.

And-Ones: Cauley-Stein, Parsons, Knicks

April 18 at 5:22pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Mavs forward Chandler Parsons understands the criticism levied against him regarding his production not being worthy of his $14.7MM salary this season, Ben Golliver of writes. “The whole expectations of being a max player and taking that next step, it’s tough to manage at first,” Parsons said. “A lot of people look at me like I’m a different player. I’m the same player. I’ve gotten better. My numbers are down a little bit but at the same time I continue to get better. I’m on a different team. We’re very explosive offensively, we have more of a balanced attack, and I’m playing five minutes less than I did in Houston. I’m a basketball player and I impact the game in many different ways. My job is to be a good teammate, work extremely hard and do whatever it takes to win games.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports and Leon Rose of the Creative Artists Agency will team up to represent Willie Cauley-Stein, as Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal reports in a subscription-only piece. The center from the University of Kentucky is the No. 6 prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and No. 7 with Chad Ford of
  • Nuggets GM Tim Connelly indicated that there are no players on Denver’s roster who are untouchable in terms of trades, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post tweets.
  • The Knicks are expected to have a busy offseason, and team president Phil Jackson will need to make decisions regarding a large number of players on his current roster. Marc Berman of The New York Post breaks down the team’s roster, and who the franchise should retain for the 2015/16 campaign. Players whom the Post scribe believes the team should bring back include Louis Amundson, Lance Thomas, and Cleanthony Early, while the team should part ways with Cole Aldrich and Travis Wear.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team announced.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Calderon, Sixers, Celtics

April 18 at 12:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Knicks point guard Jose Calderon had a difficult first season in New York, but he insists that he’ll turn things around if he’s still a member of the organization in 2015/16, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “One hundred percent, we didn’t see the Jose Calderon I was all these years,’’ Calderon told Berman. “Personally, [I was] just disappointed how it was individually because I can do a much better job. And I didn’t get it right. The only good thing about it, I know I’m going to be much better next season. I know what they want, I know what they want from me and how it’s going to work. Hopefully I’ll get better with [avoiding] injuries.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • There is still a chance that the Knicks could waive Calderon using the stretch provision, but the veteran says his first choice is to return to New York, Berman adds. “I’m pretty confident I’m going to be here,’’ Calderon said. “I want to be here. That’s the feeling I got from the coaching staff. That’s what I feel about next year. But you’re only one phone call away for something to happen. I always got to be prepared. It’s how the NBA works. I don’t want to get out now because the good part is coming. You don’t want to leave now.’’
  • The Sixers have many needs that need to be addressed this offseason, but coach Brett Brown says the team needs to prioritize improving its defense, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer notes. “In my heart of hearts, I know we have to build on our defense,” Brown said. “That’s just who we are.” Philadelphia ranked 20th in opponents points allowed this past season.
  • The Celtics made the playoffs this season not by bringing in more talented players, but by acquiring players who better fit their philosophy, A. Sherrod Blakely of opines.  “It’s very unusual,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Boston’s rebuilding efforts while still making the playoffs. “They’ve done it with overhaul, and at the same time losing an All-Star point guard [Rajon Rondo). We kind of did the same thing last year [with Rudy Gay]. We lost an All-Star wing guy, kind of rebuild. Sometimes it’s good, addition by subtraction. And Boston is a good example of that.

Atlantic Notes: Teletovic, Embiid, Ledo

April 17 at 7:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has been cleared to resume basketball activities and he could return during Brooklyn’s first-round playoff series against Atlanta, Andy Vasquez of relays. The 29-year-old has been out of action since January, and has been receiving treatment for multiple blood clots in his lungs. “The doctors … they know what’s best for me,” Teletovic said. “And the coaches are there, they know what’s best for them and for the team, and they’re going to decide. It’s not up to me. They’re going to look at it and see. And then probably decide if I’ll play or not play, but for now I’m just happy to be back.”

Teletovic is in the final year of his contract, making slightly more than $3.368MM, and he said in the fall that he planned to listen to offers from the Nets as well as others after the season. Brooklyn can make him a restricted free agent if they extend a qualifying offer worth $4,210,125.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown hasn’t been enamored with injured rookie Joel Embiid‘s work ethic this season, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “There were times that I wasn’t happy,” Brown said. “And you know it’s been well-documented. I tell my guys, you want me to coach you. You want to show up on time. You want to do the right thing. You want to act the right way.”
  • Ricky Ledo is hoping that he can remain in the NBA next season, and that he can change the perception around the league that he is a troubled player, Tim Casey of USA Today writes. The Knicks had inked Ledo to a deal that covered the remainder of this season after his second 10-day contract with the team ended. In 12 appearances for the Knicks Ledo averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge when discussing what he termed the league’s “transcendent players” mentioned Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James, Ben Rohrbach of WEEI 93.7 FM notes (Twitter links). Omitted from Ainge’s list was his former player Rajon Rondo. When asked, Ainge said he never thought Rondo would reach that level of excellence, Rohrbach adds. Rondo will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and some around the league have doubts that the veteran is worth a max contract, which Rondo is likely to be seeking this summer.

Latest On Goran Dragic

April 17 at 10:45am CDT By Chuck Myron

Goran Dragic today confirmed that he’ll turn down his $7.5MM player option for next season, as he’s long planned to do, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The point guard continued to talk up his affection for the Heat during an exit interview with the media today while stopping short of commiting to a return. The Heat can offer a fifth year this summer because they have his Bird rights, and that extra year will be “huge,” Dragic said, according to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link).

“I had a great time in Miami and I want to come back, but we’ll see what happens,” Dragic said, as Lieser tweets.

Dragic said the Heat meet all of the criteria he’s looking for in a team from the basketball standpoint, and he already named Miami his favorite U.S. city, as Lieser relays (Twitter link). Still, the BDA Sports Management client said that he’ll consider every offer this summer, Winderman notes (on Twitter).

The 28-year-old Dragic, who turns 29 next month, reportedly had the Knicks and Lakers in addition to the Heat on his list of preferred destinations as he pushed for a midseason trade from Phoenix. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reportedly briefly after the trade that Dragic viewed the Lakers as a “perfect fit” and would relish the chance to join the team in free agency this summer. Still, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard at about the same time that Dragic would probably re-sign with the Heat, and the expectation was that the Heat would make a five-year max offer to bring him back, according to Ramona Shelburne of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear to the media today that he wants to retain Dragic as well as Luol Deng, as Lieser relays in a full story. Deng also has a player option for next season.

“We love them; hopefully they love us,” Spoelstra said. “I love working with them and our staff loved working with them. They’re two pros. From an objective point of view, they’re not difficult guys to work with. They’re absolute pros, the kind of guys you want to build your team around, the guys you want to go to work with, the guys you want to be in a foxhole with. The next two months [the playoffs], what that feels like, you want to have guys like that. When this thing kicks off this weekend, you have to have reliable professionals, and both of those guys’ resumes and careers scream that.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Towns, Noel, Nets

April 16 at 7:29pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Paul Pierce fired some shots across the Nets‘ bow the other day with his negative comments regarding his year spent in Brooklyn. Current Nets coach Lionel Hollins, who was not with the team during Pierce’s tenure, dismissed the veteran’s barbs, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily writes. “I don’t really care,” Hollins said. “I wasn’t here. I don’t care. All I can go by is how we are this year, and as I’ve said many many times, the vocal leader of our team early on was Kevin Garnett, and since he’s left it’s been more of a collective. Paul Pierce is entitled to his own opinion. I don’t get into that kind of stuff. Players say stuff all the time. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. But they’re entitled to it.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown said that rookies Jerami Grant and JaKarr Sampson were both “keepers,” Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). Both players are signed for next season to minimum salary arrangements, though Sampson’s pact is non-guaranteed.
  • The Knicks are now assured of having no lower than the fifth pick in this year’s NBA draft. Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal profiles prospect Karl-Anthony Towns, and what he would bring to New York. Towns is currently the No.1 ranked prospect by both and DraftExpress.
  • The Knicks are expected to remake their roster this offseason and Tim Hardaway Jr. wants to remain a part of what New York is building, Ian Begley of tweets. “I gotta get stronger and faster and hopefully I’m back,” Hardaway said. “I wanna be back.
  • Celtics president of Basketball operations Danny Ainge said that Isaiah Thomas was the type of player you had to pounce on when given the opportunity to acquire, the executive told Discussing the trade for Thomas, Ainge said, “You never know when you can get a deal like that again and you can’t sit around and wait for a player like Thomas.
  • Ainge also referred to this year’s NBA draft as “mediocre,” and is unsure if he will keep Boston’s draft picks or look to trade them away.
  • On of the biggest contributions Nerlens Noel brought to the Sixers this season was his energy and hustle, something that Philly’s coaching staff has taken notice of, Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report writes.