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New York Knicks

Knicks Notes: Ndour, Randle, Rose, Amundson

Defense was behind the Knicks’ decision to keep Maurice Ndour over Chasson Randle, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The 6’9″ Ndour provides a defensive presence with the bench unit, something coach Jeff Hornacek felt was important after watching the team in preseason. “He’s an activity guy when we need to mix it up,’’ Hornacek said of Ndour. “You saw in some of the preseason games when he face-guarded a point guard and ran around to deny him the ball. He creates havoc out there. He’s done a nice job with the second group. His activity of cutting to the basket, moving around, we liked that energy.’’ Ndour, a Senegal native, first impressed the Knicks while playing for their 2015 summer league team. He appeared in six games this preseason, averaging 4.3 points and 2.4 rebounds.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Randle is examining his options, but Hornacek would like to see him join the Knicks’ D-League affiliate in Westchester, Berman relays in the same piece. Randle is recovering from an orbital fracture and is expected to be sidelined for another month. He has a $100K guarantee, and it’s possible that he could be brought back to the roster when he’s healthy in place of Ron Baker. “He’s done a great job for us,’’ Hornacek said of Randle. “We hope all these guys get other jobs and another team picks them up, but our hope is if he doesn’t go to another team, he stays with our organization. We really like what he did for us.”
  • Derrick Rose rejoined the Knicks Saturday after missing nine practices and five preseason games because of a sexual assault civil trial in Los Angeles, Berman writes in another story. Rose, who played in just one preseason game, is excited to be able to concentrate solely on basketball. “I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” he said. “Ever since I didn’t make the playoffs last year, I’m still chasing something right now. I just want to hoop and let my game speak for itself.”
  • New York’s frontcourt depth worked against veteran Lou Amundson, who was among five players waived Friday, according to Adam Zagoria of The 33-year-old power forward has been in the league for 10 years and spent most of the past two seasons with the Knicks. New York decided to part ways with Amundson even though he is guaranteed more than $1.5MM for this season. “Lou, it came down to a matter of how many bigs we have,” Hornacek said. “We have a lot of bigs on the team. So that was a tough one.”

Knicks Worked Out Hasheem Thabeet

  • Former second overall pick Hasheem Thabeet hasn’t played in an NBA game in more than two years, but he’s still working hard to salvage his career, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders details. Kennedy takes a closer look at Thabeet’s training regimen, adding that the Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards have all recently worked out the 29-year-old.

Knicks Cut Chasson Randle, Lou Amundson, Others

The Knicks have waived point guard Chasson Randle, according to multiple reports, including one from Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). In addition to parting ways with Randle, the team has also cut big man Lou Amundson and shooting guard J.P. Tokoto, reports Ian Begley of (via Twitter). The team confirmed those three cuts and announced two more, tweeting that small forwards Cleanthony Early and Damien Inglis have also been released.

New York had been carrying 15 guaranteed salaries on its roster, along with five non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals, so its roster decisions had looked fairly simple on the surface. However, Randle and Ron Baker – two players without guaranteed deals – had impressed the team in training camp, complicating those decisions. The Knicks also had to weigh the fact that Randle is set to miss the next few weeks due to a left orbital fracture.

Marc Berman of The New York Post had speculated earlier today that Randle and Baker would both make the cut for the 15-man roster, with the Knicks cutting a pair of guaranteed salaries – Amundson and Maurice Ndour – along with Tokoto. While the team did eat Amundson’s guaranteed contract, it appears Ndour is safe, given Randle’s release. The Knicks are down to 15 players, so their regular-season roster seems set.

Among today’s cuts, Tokoto and Randle each had partial guarantees of $100K on their contracts, so the Knicks will carry that money on their cap. Both players are candidates to join the D-League’s Westchester Knicks, as are Early and Inglis. Randle may also receive consideration to re-sign with the Knicks when he gets healthy — Baker’s salary won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10, so the club will have some flexibility with that final roster spot.

Rose Needs To Catch Up On Offense

  • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said point guard Derrick Rose will need to “learn by fire” after spending most of the past two weeks at his civil trial in Los Angeles, Ian Begley of reports. Rose missed five preseason games and seven practices during the trial, in which a jury on found Rose and his two friends not liable in a lawsuit that accused them of gang-raping Rose’s ex-girlfriend. Rose is expected to meet with the coaching staff on Friday to review aspects of the Knicks’ offense that were implemented while he was away, Begley adds.

Rose To Return To Team

Derrick Rose‘s civil trial concluded today and the eight-member jury found Rose and his two friends not liable for damages stemming from an alleged sexual assault. The Knicks excused Rose from team activities during the trial and he will likely rejoin them later this week, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet writes. However, there is no definite timetable for Rose to return to the lineup, as the team doesn’t want to rush him back and risk injury.

Knicks Pick Up Kristaps Porzingis’ 2017/18 Option

The Knicks have taken care of some 2017/18 business, officially exercising their team option on the third year of Kristaps Porzingis‘ rookie contract, as Ian Begley of tweets. The move guarantees Porzingis a salary of $4,503,600 for the ’17/18 season.

Most third-year options around the NBA are picked up even for players who didn’t excel in their rookie seasons, since teams don’t want to give up on first-round draft picks too soon. In Porzingis’ case though, the decision was even easier than usual.

While Karl-Anthony Towns took home the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in 2015/16, Porzingis finished second in voting, and generated plenty of buzz and excitement in New York after being selected with the fourth overall pick. The Latvian big man averaged 14.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 1.9 BPG in 72 contests (all starts) during his rookie season.

Porzingis joins Justise Winslow (Heat), Myles Turner (Pacers), and Justin Anderson (Mavericks) as 2015 first-rounders who have had their third-year options for 2017/18 exercised so far this week. Teams must make their final decisions on third- and fourth-year options by October 31. You can check out our tracker for those decisions right here.

Rose Needs Practice Time Before Being Named Starter

The Knicks are hoping their lack of point guard depth won’t come back to haunt them, especially early in the season, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. Projected third-stringer Chasson Randle is expected to miss three to four weeks with an orbital fracture and presumptive starter Derrick Rose has yet to play during the preseason due to his civil trial which is being held in Los Angeles. The earliest Rose could be back with the team would be for Thursday’s contest against the Nets, but even if he return in time for the game, he may not play due to lack of practice time, Bondy notes. “I don’t know [if I’ll play him without a practice]. If we can go through some things in the morning with him the day of the game — it’s a back-to-back situation, so I don’t know if we’d get a chance to,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “But if somehow we could get a couple guys to work with him, maybe, just to give him a little bit of time before the first game. But we won’t push that.”

Knicks Re-Sign Cleanthony Early

OCTOBER 18: The Knicks have officially re-signed Early, the team announced today (Twitter link).

OCTOBER 13: The Knicks will re-sign forward Cleanthony Early, sources told Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Early will likely start his season in the D-League as he continues his rehab from a hamstring injury, Charania adds.

The 6’8″ Early, 25, has played both of his NBA seasons with New York. He appeared in 17 games last season, including two starts, and averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 9.1 minutes. During the 2014/15 campaign, he appeared in 39 games, including seven starts, and averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.6 minutes.

The Knicks have mulled bringing back Early for quite some time and ultimately decided to give the former second-round pick another chance. They renounced their rights to him in early July in order to sign high-profile free agents, including Joakim Noah.

Early’s 2015/16 season was marred by an incident in late December which he was shot in the right knee and robbed. He did not return to action until the beginning of April.

Early’s hamstring injury occurred prior to the summer league, preventing him from participating with the Knicks’ entry in Orlando in July, and is apparently still affecting him. He’ll eventually give new coach Jeff Hornacek another option at the small forward spot.

Randle Out 3-4 Weeks

  • Knicks point guard Chasson Randle, who suffered a left orbital fracture, will be able to resume full activity in about three or four weeks, the team announced today (via Twitter). That timeline comes after a visit to a specialist, who determined that Randle didn’t need to undergo surgery. Head coach Jeff Hornacek has indicated that Randle’s injury won’t affect whether or not he makes the Knicks’ regular-season roster.

New York Notes: Randle, Knicks, Nets, Vasquez

Chasson Randle‘s odds of landing a 15-man roster spot with the Knicks won’t be affected by the injury he suffered during a Friday practice, according to head coach Jeff Hornacek. As Zach Braziller of The New York Post details, Randle will be given the chance to make the team despite sustaining a left orbital fracture. “We kind of understand what he can give us as a player,” Hornacek said. “It would’ve been nice to see him against [Celtics guard] Isaiah [Thomas] in those two Boston games, see how he can do. But, again, we have a pretty good feel for him.”

Here’s more out of New York on a couple more new Knicks who are making a good impression, along with some Nets notes:

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