New York Knicks

Southwest Notes: Conley, Parsons, Anderson

Mike Conley isn’t ruling out any option as he approaches free agency this summer, as he said to reporters today in New York, where the Grizzlies are in town to play the Knicks, notes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Conley also said that he hasn’t made any promises to Marc Gasol, Bondy points out, despite the point guard having recently pegged the difficulty of leaving the Spanish center as 11 on a scale of one to 10.

“Everything will be on the table when the time comes,” Conley said. “I haven’t committed to anything.”

See more on the Grizzlies amid items from the Southwest Division:

  • Chandler Parsons and Rick Carlisle have a close relationship off the court, but they don’t always see eye to eye about Parsons’ on-court role, with Carlisle hesitant to use him the way most teams feature their stars, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com examines. Parsons can opt out at season’s end, but he’s indicated that he wants to remain in Dallas for the long term and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants that same outcome, with the team having signed Wesley Matthews in part because he fits so well with Parsons, MacMahon writes. “What I see 100% is we’re going to keep those guys together for a long, long time,” Cuban said to MacMahon. “When they’re both 100% and have all their explosiveness, that’s a crushing tandem on the wing and we’ll fill in around them.”
  • The Spurs have turned to Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons more of late, allowing Anderson to respond on the court to doubts that preceded San Antonio’s decision to draft him 30th overall in 2014 and Simmons to continue impressing on his minimum-salary deal, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio News-Express details. The pair figure to have more opportunities to play with Manu Ginobili sidelined for at least a month.
  • The use of 10-day signee Ryan Hollins at the expense of minutes for JaMychal Green seems to show the disparity between coach Dave Joerger‘s full attention to the present and the front office’s broader attention to both now and later for the Grizzlies, opines Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal.

Atlantic Notes: Hernangomez, Powell, Canaan

There are a number of obstacles to navigate if the Knicks wish to sign 2015 draft-and-stash pick Guillermo Hernangomez for next season, Marc Berman of The New York Post notes. The big man intends to play for the Spanish national team and Olympic training camp occurs in July, which would prevent Hernangomez from participating in NBA summer league play, Berman writes. The Spanish league season runs until late June, which means the New York coaching staff won’t have much time to evaluate Hernangomez before needing to make a decision regarding his future, the Post scribe adds. “There’s a lot of variables that have to evolve,’’ Hernangomez’s agent, Andy Miller, said. “They [the Knicks] have to get through free agency and the draft and he has a long season. My perspective is I’d like to get him being here to train and develop sooner than later. It’s my job to balance it as an intermediary between the parties. Will the Knicks want him only if he plays summer league? There’s a lot of factors that can’t be answered now. It will get hectic.’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A rash of injuries have Raptors rookie Norman Powell seeing meaningful minutes for the team and the swingman is beginning to show promise now that he is getting settled in his new role, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star relays. “He’s getting more comfortable,” teammate DeMar DeRozan said of Powell. “Mainly [it’s] just trying to make everything easier on him so he doesn’t have to think so much. He’s got a good feel on the defensive and on the offensive end we just have to keep it simple for him.
  • Isaiah Canaan is finding his niche as shooting guard for the Sixers after breaking into the league as a point guard, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “People may say I’m an undersized shooting guard,” Canaan said. “I just say I’m blessed with the ability to shoot the basket, and I can just run the point when they need me to.” Canaan, who can become a restricted free agent at season’s end if Philadelphia extends a qualifying offer, noted that he would love to re-sign with the team, Pompey adds.
  • Elton Brand has yet to see any game action for the Sixers since being signed on January 4th, but he understands his role is to be a mentor to the team’s younger players and embraces it, Pompey writes in a separate piece. “With me, I’m not trying to take anything away from the development of these young guys, getting these young guys looks,” said Brand. “I don’t mind. Whenever you need me, I’m ready.”

Atlantic Notes: Bargnani, Afflalo, Williams

All four Nets who have player options for next season are planning to opt out, as NetsDaily hears (Twitter links). None of them have particularly lucrative options, with Wayne Ellington‘s nearly $1.568MM topping the list, followed by Shane Larkin at $1.5MM, with Andrea Bargnani and Thomas Robinson at minimum salaries of close to $1.552MM and almost $1.051MM, respectively. Their agents believe the inflated salary cap will yield a market too fertile to pass up, NetsDaily adds. Brooklyn has about $45MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season against a projected $89MM salary cap, so the opt-outs would allow the team to retain flexibility. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks consider Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams core players, while Robin Lopez and Lance Thomas are also part of the team’s “inner circle,” writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Afflalo and Williams have player options for next season, worth $8MM and $4.598MM, respectively, that the team is hoping they’ll pick up, while Thomas is on a one-year contract. Lopez is in the first season of a four-year deal.
  • The Sixers have given executive Brandon Williams more latitude on player development, agent relations, recruiting and other areas as part of a promotion to a new chief of staff position, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Williams, who had been GM of the team’s D-League affiliate while serving as an assistant GM of sorts to GM Sam Hinkie, will retain his D-League duties and continue to report to Hinkie, as Wojnarowski details. The team has yet to make an official announcement.
  • P.J. Tucker might help the Raptors as a stopgap option at small forward, but Markieff Morris isn’t the long-term solution the club’s needs at power forward, opines Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Wednesday that the Raptors are interested in both Suns players.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Sixers, Celtics

Signing Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson, who is set to be a free agent after this season, in the summer would make sense for the Nets because they need outside shooting and would have the money to spend, Andy Vasquez of The Record details. The Nets were actually Anderson’s first team before they shipped him to the Magic, as Vasquez points out. Anderson, 27, is enjoying his best season in the league and is averaging 17.5 points per game. Anderson is also pals with Brook Lopez, and that could be an advantage for the Nets, Vasquez writes. It is worth mentioning, however, that Thaddeus Young, a bright spot for the Nets this season, plays the same position as Anderson.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Ish Smith‘s former agent turned down a $2.9MM deal from Suns and later declined a $1.5MM offer from Kings over the summer because he strongly believed the Sixers would re-sign him after Smith played well in 25 appearances with Philadelphia last year, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes in an extensive profile. Of course, that did not happen, but Smith nonetheless found his way onto the team this season. The Sixers acquired Smith in a deal with the Pelicans last month and the point guard has flourished since the trade, as Pompey details in the worthwhile read. Smith switched from IAM Sports & Entertainment to Dutt Sports Services for representation.
  • Knicks point guard Jose Calderon, who is signed through next season, has been a stabilizing presence for New York despite his underwhelming defense and lack of speed, Scott Cacciola of the New York Times relays. Calderon has a reputation around the league for being an ideal teammate, Cacciola adds.
  • The interesting combination of Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko on the floor together has opened things up for the Celtics, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com details. Over Boston’s last 10 games, Olynyk and Jerebko have combined to go 29 for 51 on 3-pointers, according to Forsberg. The Celtics re-signed Jerebko this past summer on a two-year, $10MM deal.

Knicks Rumors: Antetokounmpo, Anthony, Grant

After getting the 10-day contract with the Knicks that he had been hoping for, the next goal for Thanasis Antetokounmpo is to extend his stay in the NBA, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. The 6’7″ small forward caught the attention of team president Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher with his ability to guard multiple positions, according to Isola. The former second-round pick has twice been named to one of the All-Defensive teams in the D-League. “Patience comes with confidence and hard work, so you just believe in yourself and you say, I’m going to work hard and hopefully — it’s not just hopefully — it’s going to come one way or another,” Antetokounmpo said. “For me it’s been every year getting better. The first, came to the States, got drafted. The second year got an invite and a contract with the New York Knicks. This year getting a 10-day. For me the fourth year is about being established on an NBA team.”

There’s more news tonight out of New York:

  • Carmelo Anthony has become too valuable for the Knicks to trade, contends Ian Begley of ESPN.com. New York is being outscored by 7.8 points per 100 possessions without Anthony, and Begley believes dealing him away would crush the team’s playoff hopes. That would increase the value of the draft pick that is owed to Toronto in the 2013 Andrea Bargnani trade.
  • Jerian Grant hopes to follow the path that he watched several NBA players travel when he served as a ballboy for the Washington Bullets, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. The Knicks acquired Grant, the son of Harvey Grant and the nephew of Horace Grant, in a draft-night deal with the hope that he could be a long-term answer at point guard. “I’ve seen a lot of players in Washington grow and grow and get better and better,” Jerian Grant said. “It came from a lot of hard work. Being around my dad and my uncle and basketball so long, you see how long it takes some guys to develop. You see how some guys get a lot better each year.”
  • The Knicks will be among several teams pursuing Kevin Durant in free agency this summer, as Iannazzone examines in a separate piece. Durant is close with Anthony and Fisher, he has expressed admiration for rookie Kristaps Porzingis and he likes playing in New York.

Knicks Signing Thanasis Antetokounmpo To 10-Day

FRIDAY, 2:45pm: Antetokounmpo signed today, the team announced (on Twitter). New York plays six games, against the Suns, Warriors, Celtics, Pistons, Grizzlies and Nuggets, in the next 10 days.

2:25pm: The signing won’t happen until Friday, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). That means he won’t be available for tonight’s game against the Raptors but would still be under contract for a February 7th game against the Nuggets.

THURSDAY, 1:22pm: The Knicks have added Thanasis Antetokounmpo on a 10-day contract, league sources told Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Charania indicates the signing has already taken place, though the team has yet to make announcement. The older brother of Bucks phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo was a somewhat surprising cut at the end of the preseason, when the Knicks elected to keep an open roster spot, and it appears he’ll go right back into that spot, which New York has left vacant all season.

Thanasis has been playing for New York’s D-League affiliate in the meantime, though his offensive production has lagged. The 23-year-old is averaging just 10.3 points in 27.8 minutes per game for the D-League Westchester Knicks. However, the D-League has twice named him to one of its yearly All-Defensive teams, and he’s quietly shown plenty of improvement this season, according to Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link).

New York drafted the small forward 51st overall in 2014 after he’d spent the previous season as a draft-eligible player with the Sixers D-League affiliate. He spent 2014/15 as a draft-and-stash player with the Westchester Knicks, and the Knicks added him to the NBA roster this past summer with a deal that included a partial guarantee of $75K. The Knicks gave up his draft rights when they waived him in October, but he opted to return to their D-League team even though it seemed he would have preferred to go overseas instead. He’s in line to receive $30,888 on his 10-day deal.

Southeast Notes: Porzingis, Wade, Wizards, Magic

The Magic were determined to land Kristaps Porzingis in the 2014 draft and GM Rob Hennigan promised to take him with the No. 10 pick if he stayed in the draft that year, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Instead, he withdrew, and as he prepared for the 2015 draft, the Magic realized he wouldn’t slip past fourth, even though the Knicks had talks about swapping the No. 4 pick for a wing player and another first-rounder up until the day of the draft, Wojnarowski adds.

“Rob had a thorough, comprehensive plan,” Miller said to Wojnarowski. “He had invested as much, or more time, into Kristaps as anyone in the league. He really studied him. They had a plan for supplemental training, development. It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s just draft him and see what happens.’ This was a plan. Kristaps knew the plan and just wasn’t ready.”

Porzingis would have had the Magic’s blessing to remain overseas for a year had they drafted him in 2014, but as the 2015 draft approached, Porzingis’ camp wanted him to end up with the Knicks, as the Yahoo scribe details. Agent Andy Miller withheld him from working out or taking a physical for the Sixers, who had pick No. 3, Wojnarowski notes. The Magic wound up drafting Mario Hezonja with the fifth pick. See more from the Southeast Division.

  • Pat Riley said LeBron James never asked him to fire Erik Spoelstra, as previously rumored, as Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald relays, rounding up comments the Heat team president made Thursday. Riley also said he’s proud of Dwyane Wade for “how he has come back and changed the narrative about himself and worked on his body,” Skolnick notes. Wade hits free agency again this summer.
  • A third straight loss that dropped the Wizards to 20-24 prompted a players-only meeting Thursday, as J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic details. Jared Dudley, referring to himself as the spokesperson for the team, implicated the coaching staff in his comments following the meeting, as well as a return to a lineup featuring both Marcin Gortat and soon-to-be free agent Nene, who’s been marginalized most of this season. “The flow has been terrible for us these last couple games. That’s something that players and coaches have to do a better job,” Dudley said. “At times it’s good to play Nene and Gortat together. … What team are we trying to be here? We can’t keep coming into this locker room talking about inconsistency because April 15 [when the regular season ends] we’ll all be back at the crib.”
  • Hennigan last week cited the youthfulness of the Magic roster for the team’s struggles of late, but the team’s players said before the season that wouldn’t be an excuse, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic, tied with the Wizards at 20-24, have evoked memories of last season’s 25-57 disappointment as they’ve lost 11 of their last 12 games, and it indicates little progress under new coach Scott Skiles, who faces a challenge to turn the season around, Schmitz writes.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Fredette, McConnell

The Knicks will have to struggle to make it into the playoffs this season, but the league has come to view the franchise as one in the midst of a sturdy rebuild rather than one undergoing a messy collapse, writes Harvey Araton of The New York Times in his look at the current state of the team under executive Phil Jackson. The Times scribe points to the selection of Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 NBA Draft as a watershed moment for the team, with the fanbase now viewing the rookie as the team’s potential savior rather than the aging Carmelo Anthony. Also counting as successes for Jackson are the offseason additions of Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams and Robin Lopez, who is a better fit for the team than original target Greg Monroe would have been, Araton adds.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks‘ reported signing of Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a 10-day deal instead of Jimmer Fredette, who plays for New York’s D-League affiliate, surprised some since the team had been evaluating the shooting guard for a potential roster spot, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. New York wasn’t enamored with Fredette’s defense, something that Antetokounmpo excels at, Berman adds. The Knicks also considered signing Tony Wroten, but preferred Antetokounmpo’s familiarity with the triangle offense instead, the Post scribe notes.
  • This season’s version of the Raptors are superior to last season’s thanks to the improved bench, tougher team defense and the improved chemistry and roster cohesion, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “I think it’s guys playing more years with each other, understanding what we want to do and more people buying into their roles,” is how James Johnson described the difference in this season’s team.
  • Point guard T.J. McConnell has carved out a role for himself on the Sixers thanks to his toughness and unselfish play, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I think he’s been pretty good from the get-go,” coach Brett Brown said of McConnell. “I feel like he’s starting to understand the rhythm of the game, the tempo of the game, who needs the ball, what plays should be called, defensive rotations, on-ball pick-and roll-defense. … He’s constantly in pick-and-rolls. He’s developed in a big way there.

Knicks Talked With Hawks About Jeff Teague

THURSDAY, 7:55am: “Very preliminary” is how league sources who spoke with Fred Kerber of the New York Post described the talks. Kerber indicates that a deal between the sides probably won’t happen.

1:12pm: The discussions are casual and have been going on for several days, a league source told Begley, who writes in a full story.

WEDNESDAY, 10:29am: The Knicks are among several teams to have discussed a potential Jeff Teague trade with the Hawks, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, citing league sources (Twitter links). Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reported earlier that Atlanta was talking to teams about the point guard.

Dealing for Teague may well require some creativity from the Knicks, given a lack of assets for New York to trade, Begley asserts. It’s unclear exactly what the Hawks would want for the point guard who’s making $8MM this season and another $8MM next year, though Zach Lowe of ESPN.com wrote Tuesday that Atlanta wants to contend this season. A trade of Teague would presumably clear the way for Dennis Schröder to take the point guard reigns in Atlanta, which has suffered this season from the free agent defection of small forward DeMarre Carroll. Soon-to-be free agent Lance Thomas has emerged as a contributor at the three this year for New York, but it’s not known whether the Knicks are open to trading Thomas or if Atlanta has any interest in him.

Dealing for Teague without sending out anyone with a contract that includes guaranteed salary for next season would take a bite out of New York’s cap flexibility, Begley points out (on Twitter). The Knicks will already be hard-pressed to create the cap room necessary for a max offer to Kevin Durant, whom some executives believe will at least listen to the Knicks during his free agency this summer, as Begley reported earlier.

Would Teague be a fit for the Knicks? Leave a comment to tell us.

Eastern Notes: Durant, Anderson, Heat, LeBron

Some executives around the NBA expect that the Knicks will at least “get an audience” with Kevin Durant, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, who points out that New York will likely have to maneuver to create enough cap space to place a max offer on the table for him. Durant praised the Knicks’ roster construction, mentioning Kristaps Porzingis, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams, as well as coach and former Durant teammate Derek Fisher, notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, but in spite of Durant’s much-publicized “unicorn” comment about Porzingis, the Thunder have a strong roster and a unique player of their own in Russell Westbrook, observes Royce Young of ESPN.com. See more on a few of New York’s Eastern Conference rivals:

  • Alan Anderson is expected to return to game action around the All-Star break, a source told Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The Wizards signed the swingman in the offseason thinking he’d be ready to start the season on time, but he wound up needing a second surgery on his injured left ankle, and he’s yet to suit up for the team.
  • Heat majority owner Micky Arison has been trying to buy out minority share owner Ranaan Katz for years, and Heat employees have long been barred from talking with him, according to Dan Le Batard of ESPN, who adds that the assertion that LeBron James tried to have Erik Spoelstra fired is untrue (Twitter links). Katz reportedly made that assertion, but he denies that, claiming that what he said on a radio show hosted by Ofira Asayag on ONE.co.il’s 102 FM in Israel was incorrectly translated from Hebrew to English, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). For what it’s worth, international journalist David Pick provided a full transcription for Bleacher Report, which depicts Katz saying that Riley’s refusal to fire Spoelstra was the primary reason James returned to Cleveland and that the Heat drafted Shabazz Napier in 2014 because James wanted them to. Katz also denies that he said LeBron was the catalyst for the Cavs firing David Blatt, as Pick notes in an addendum to the transcription.
  • James said today that he never hesitated to give his opinion but that he’s never undermined a coach, adding that he’s never met Katz, note Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter links). James has indeed met Katz, counters Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, who points out that Katz sits next to the visitors bench for every Heat home game (Twitter link).

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