New York Knicks

Travis Wear To Play In Spain

Former Knicks small forward Travis Wear will sign with Gipuzkoa Basket of Spain, reports Juanjo Lusa of the Spanish outlets Onda Vasca and Mundo Deportivo (Twitter links; translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). The 25-year-old didn’t appear to generate much interest from NBA teams this offseason, as his rumors page indicates, even though he stuck on the Knicks roster for the entire season last year after making the team out of training camp.

New York had the chance to make him a restricted free agent, but the team elected not to make a qualifying offer that would have been worth $1,045,059, so he became an unrestricted free agent instead. It had seemed at the end of last season as though the Knicks would likely invite him back to camp, but he struggled on New York’s summer league team, notching just 2.0 points in 16.7 minutes per game with 26.7% shooting over four appearances. That small sample size represented a regression from this past season, when he posted 3.9 PPG in 13.2 MPG with 40.2% shooting.

Wear is set to join his twin brother in Spain, as David Wear signed with Fuenlabrada this summer after spending time with the Kings on a 10-day contract last year. Both went undrafted out of UCLA in 2014.

Do you think we’ll see Travis Wear in the NBA again? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Raptors, Hawks

Kristaps Porzingis shooting ability has Knicks assistant coach Kurt Rambis comparing the lottery pick to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports. “He might be a combination of both of them just because he can do so many things,” Rambis told the team’s beat reporters on Monday. “You guys haven’t seen it yet and probably all of it won’t come out for three or four or five years, either. He’s got to grow up, mature, develop, get stronger, get used to the NBA game. But he already understands basketball.”  Rambis anticipates that opponents will have to craft their defensive gameplans around the team’s rookie power forward because of his “effortless 3-point range,” Bondy adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Raptors’ unheralded free agent signings of veteran power forward Luis Scola and center Bismack Biyombo could pay large dividends, Josh Lewenberg of opines. Both are expected to play key roles off Toronto’s bench, as coach Dwane Casey values Scola for his experience and durability while Biyombo could anchor the second unit’s defense, Lewenberg continues. “His [role] is to be our defensive captain,” Casey told Lewenberg. “I think his talking, his shot blocking, his protecting the rim is off the charts.”
  • Lamar Patterson has made a strong impression on his Hawks teammates as he battles for the 15th roster spot, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore have all singled out Patterson as having an impressive camp, Vivlamore continues, but the 6’5” shooting guard faces competition from Terran Petteway, Earl Barron, DeQuan Jones, Edgar Sosa and Arsalan Kazemi.
  • Tobias Harris is showing better accuracy on 3-point attempts above the break, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic’s starting small forward became an above average 3-point shooter from the corners last season and wanted to improve in other areas around the arc, Robbins continues. He hit an above-the-break 3-pointer in the team’s preseason opener and showed that shot again in an open practice on Monday. “I think it’s a big weapon, and I think it’s only going to help our spacing on the court to extend that range out,” Harris said to Robbins. “It’s something that I’ve been working on all summer and I’m going to continue to work on.”

Carmelo Anthony Says He Won’t Ask For Trade

Carmelo Anthony rebuked speculation that he would eventually become disenchanted with the Knicks and ask for a trade, saying “hell no” in response to a reporter’s question to that effect, notes Al Iannazzone of Newsday (Twitter link). He once more reiterated his faith in team president Phil Jackson, Iannazonne observes, and ‘Melo added that he was bothered all summer by the notion that he wanted to be traded and the idea that he was against the team’s decision to draft Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall, tweets Ian Begley of

Anthony’s contract, which still has four years and more than $101.606MM left on it, includes a no-trade clause and also features a 15% trade kicker, a bill the Knicks would have to pay if Anthony ever did consent to a swap. That would further complicate any potential trade scenario. The Knicks plummeted to a 17-65 record this past season, the first on Anthony’s contract and the first full season for Jackson as team president. They drafted chiefly for the long run when they chose the still-developing Porzingis, and they missed on Greg Monroe and other key free agent targets, but they upgraded the roster for the near term with signings of Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and others. Anthony’s return from knee surgery, which limited him to 40 games last season, also figures to help the Knicks bounce back.

‘Melo hinted this weekend that he intends to remain with the Knicks even beyond his contract, which carries a player option for the final season. The 31-year-old said recently that he’s taking Porzingis, 19, under his wing, having called the Latvian big man “a steal” in the initial wake of the draft.

Do you think Anthony will remain with the Knicks for the entire term of his contract? What about for the rest of his career? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Fisher, Porzingis

Carmelo Anthony plans on being part of the Knicks for a long time, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes, and when a reporter recently joked to him that the media will have to cover his free agency in four years, Anthony, 31, responded, “I’m here to stay.’’ Anthony is entering the second year of a five-year, $124MM contract.

Here is more on the Knicks:

  • Anthony believes that he can play effectively past age 35 because he doesn’t rely on an impressive vertical leap or foot speed to perform, Ian Begley of writes.
  • Despite Knicks president Phil Jackson’s plan for increased involvement with the coaching staff this season, Ken Berger of opines that Jackson is all in with his philosophy, and as a result of that and his own limitations (mainly his age), he’s totally behind coach Derek Fisher.
  • Fisher isn’t ready to anoint rookie Kristaps Porzingis as the team’s starting power forward, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. “It’s too early in his career for the coach to say one way or the other what he’s going to be,” Fisher said, per Iannazzone. “We’ve been practicing for five or six days. He missed a day and a half. So he can’t get a stamp of approval just yet in terms of what his role will be. But we drafted him No. 4. And I think we like what he is and what he can be.”

Knicks Rumors: Anthony, Vujacic, Porzingis, Lopez

Carmelo Anthony believes he can be a star in the NBA for another “four or five years,” according to Ian Begley of That would take the 31-year-old to at least the end of the five-year, $124MM deal he signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2014. Even though Anthony is about to start his 13th NBA season and had major knee surgery in February, he insists he can remain among the league’s elite players. “The way that I play,” Anthony said, “the way that I know how to pace myself, the way I know how to pick my spots out on the basketball court, I’m not a guy who’s playing above the rim every play, so it works in my favor.”

There’s more out of New York this evening:

  • Sasha Vujacic has looked comfortable in his bid to return to the NBA, Begley writes in the same story. The former Laker stood out with his shooting and passing during portions of team scrimmages that were open to the media. When Knicks coach Derek Fisher was asked if Vujacic is the same player he remembers from when they were teammates in L.A. five years ago, he replied, “No, he’s better.”
  • Confidence won’t be an issue for Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis, Begley writes in a separate story. As training camp wrapped up today, Fisher said Porzingis is a candidate for the starting power forward spot. “I played two years professionally [in Spain],” Porzingis said. “Obviously the level is not the same as here in the NBA, but I feel confident I’ll be able to play at this level.”
  • Getting Robin Lopez as a teammate prompted Anthony to change his mind about the big man, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The former Blazer is living up to his reputation for intensity at training camp after signing a four-year, $54MM deal with the Knicks in July. “I hated him as an opponent — a helluva pick-and-roll guy who set crazy screens,” Anthony said. “I used to think it was dirty, but now I think they are clean.’’

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Knicks, DeRozan

Knicks coach Derek Fisher is focusing on his squad’s intangibles and professionalism, rather than lament the fact that New York didn’t land any of the top names in free agency, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “Character, professional mindset,’’ Fisher said when listing the team’s strengths. “You’re not in the NBA if you’re not talented. We don’t have to get into who’s talented. The character of our group and the way we’re approaching what’s going on daily, those are going to be the strengths. We’ll have rough nights, rough stretches. We have the beginnings of at least a group able to handle some of the adversity and setbacks that come with a long NBA season. The basketball part will take care of itself as long as we become a team. We have the type of guys that are interested in being a team.’’

When asked if the professionalism he was speaking of was an improvement over last season’s team, Fisher said, “It’s just different. Until the season starts and we figure out who we are, you can’t really say it’s better. But it’s different. We’re all different. Teams have different strengths and weaknesses. The strength of this particular group is not in having what people consider the sexy names or guys who didn’t come play with our team, but guys who truly want to be here. I think it’s going to help us.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers owner Josh Harris admits that while he wishes that his team was further along in its rebuild, he is content with the progress that is being made, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “I think we are making progress,” Harris said. “I’m an impatient person at heart. I would rather get to the end point as fast as possible. But at the same time, the goal is still the same goal: to be an elite extremely competitive team that goes deep in the playoffs. But at the same time, there aren’t shortcuts to it. So you have to react to the realities . . . I certainty wish it was going faster. But at the same time, I’m happy with the progress.
  • Since being acquired at last season’s trade deadline, Isaiah Thomas has been the Celtics‘ best player, and this coming season will provide him with an opportunity to take the next step toward being recognized as one of the top players in the league, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes.
  • DeMar DeRozan is eligible to opt out of his current deal with the Raptors and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but he is adamant about wanting to focus on the coming campaign, and not his next pact, Eric Koreen of The National Post relays. Discussing the wealth of questions he receives about next season, DeRozan told Koreen, “I hate that, honestly. I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing [in Toronto]. A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me. Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Smith, Bargnani, Scola

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is not known as a vocal leader, which is something that he doesn’t intend to change, Ian Begley of writes. “I lead in my own way,” Anthony told Begley. “I will speak up from time to time, but that’s just not who I am, that’s not my personality.” Anthony’s leadership takes on other forms, like him organizing offseason workouts in Puerto Rico back in August, Begley notes.

That’s definitely leadership,” teammate Lance Thomas, who participated in those workouts, said. “Him putting us in a position where we can start the season before the season starts is big time. Getting to know everybody on the squad, everybody becoming familiar with each other, it’s important.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers allowed Ish Smith to depart via free agency this summer despite him being the team’s most productive point guard last season, because the franchise wanted to develop its younger players, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News. “It’s hard to deny that Ish was good for us,” coach Brett Brown said. “We decided to go younger and try to uncover somebody that can be with us for a long time, maybe because of the age aspect, and I support the club’s decision to do that. We’ll all be better able to make more accurate assessments in a month or so. Nobody’s really jumped ahead of the pack yet.
  • After missing a total of 191 games over the last five seasons, Nets offseason signee Andrea Bargnani‘s goal is to remain healthy for a full campaign, Roderick Boone of Newsday relays. “The main thing I’m looking for is being healthy, and being on the floor and contributing to the team’s success,” Bargnani told Boone. “I just want to be a part of it. We have a great group of players and I want to be on the court. I want to be able to help them. Sitting out, obviously, was very frustrating and so I really don’t want to do that again. I just want to be healthy and stay on the court. That’s it.
  • Luis Scola is looking to be more than just a mentor to his younger teammates on the Raptors, and he feels that he has plenty left to contribute on the court for his new squad, writes Mike Ganter of The Toronto Sun. “I am sure my experience can help but I also believe I can help on the court as well,” Scola said. “To me if I am helping I am happy in whatever aspect of the game. If it’s in the court, outside the court, or both or in the locker room, all those things would be welcome to me.” The 35-year-old inked a one year deal with Toronto back in July.

Kevin Durant Brushes Aside Lakers Rumors

2:14pm: Smith, in his response to Durant, identifies the Thunder and the Lakers as well as the Heat, Wizards, and Knicks as the teams he’s heard Durant is considering (Twitlonger link).

FRIDAY, 12:25pm: Durant made it clear that he finds no truth to the rumor, as he explained to The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater“I don’t talk to Stephen A. Smith at all,” Durant said to Slater. “No one in my family [or] my friends do. So he’s lying.”

THURSDAY, 8:20am: Kevin Durant would prefer the Lakers over other teams in free agency next summer if he is to leave the Thunder, as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith hears (YouTube link; transcription via Glenn Erby of BlackSportsOnline), and as Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports 1 corroborates. Smith also hears that the possibility of Durant teaming up with Kobe Bryant to join Carmelo Anthony is in play, though he suggests that the notion is a long shot. It’s not entirely clear whether that scenario would play out on the Knicks or the Lakers.

Most of the executives who spoke with Ken Berger of this summer told him they expect Durant will re-sign with the Thunder, with the Lakers, Mavericks and Wizards among the few alternatives with a legitimate chance at the former MVP and the Knicks on the fringe of the picture. Durant said this week that he’s “hit it off” with new Thunder coach Billy Donovan, adding to the idea that the incumbent Thunder are the favorites to put pen to paper with Durant this coming July. Rumors are sure to fly between now and then, but Durant put out a word of caution in August, saying that he’d only be discussing his future with a tight circle of advisers and that if reporters drew from other sources, the information wouldn’t be reliable.

Phil Jackson recently raised the idea of Bryant playing with a team other than the Lakers after this coming season, as Smith points out, but Bryant put the kibosh on that, telling Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports recently that, “I bleed purple-and-gold” and, “I am a Laker for better or worse.” Bryant, 37, is also considering retirement at season’s end. Anthony, the Knicks star, is the only one among himself, Bryant and Durant who isn’t a free agent after this season, as his contract doesn’t allow him to elect free agency until 2018. ‘Melo could waive his no-trade clause if he wants to join the Lakers, though both Jackson and the Lakers would have to agree to a deal for that to happen, a prospect further complicated by the 15% trade kicker on Anthony’s contract that the Knicks would have to pay in the event of a swap.

Durant’s projected maximum salary for 2016/17 is $24.9MM, a figure the Thunder can exceed the cap to pay because they have his Bird rights. The Lakers have less than $20MM in commitments for next season against a projected $89MM cap, and the Knicks have about $55MM, meaning both teams are poised to have enough room to make Durant a max offer.

Where do you think Durant ends up? Leave a comment to tell us.

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Jerebko, Johnson

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov declined to discuss Deron Williams when asked about the team’s former player by reporters, but he instead took the time to praise the team’s projected starting point guard, Jarrett Jack, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post writes. “I will say in that way that we have a great leader at point guard in Jarrett Jack,” Prokhorov said. “All the league knows what Jarrett is about.” Prokhorov then added, “I will say that I discussed all the player moves with [GM] Billy [King], and I signed off on all of them.” Williams and the team reached a buyout arrangement back in July.

Prokhorov also admitted that his expectations for the team have changed, but he did note that he was pleased with the overall direction of the franchise, Bontemps adds. “I think Billy has made great deals to give us top players, and if the stars [had aligned] correctly, we might have seen better results,” Prokhorov said of the team’s all-in moves in the past. “But we are still committed. We have a younger, more athletic team, and we have great flexibility to go on.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • When asked why the Knicks‘ roster is so frontcourt heavy, coach Derek Fisher said that wasn’t the initial intent, but the team was surprised that center Kevin Seraphin was still available late into the free agent signing period, and he was too good to pass up, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal relays (Twitter links).
  • Jonas Jerebko‘s versatility as a player should allow him to maintain a prominent role for the Celtics despite their overcrowded frontcourt, writes Chris Forsberg of The 28-year-old forward re-signed with Boston over the summer on a two-year, $10MM deal.
  • The Raptors will miss Amir Johnson, who’d served as a mentor to DeMar DeRozan since the shooting guard entered the league, Mike Ganter of The Toronto Sun writes. “Once you are somewhere with a person for that long that you have a long history with, that is definitely tough to replace,” DeRozan said. “It takes time to get that back and gain that back from an individual. That’s a big part of it. But we’re going to miss a lot without him. Just his attitude and demeanor, being a great guy and a great teammate, that rubs off on people. He will definitely be missed.” Johnson departed as a free agent and signed with the Celtics this offseason.

New York Notes: ‘Melo, Fisher, Seraphin, Young

Carmelo Anthony said that he’ll be taking Kristaps Porzingis under his wing, further distancing himself from the idea that he was upset with the Knicks for drafting the Latvian big man fourth overall, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details.

“As far as him going into this season, I kind of feel bad for him,’’ Anthony said. “There’s so much pressure on him. This guy hasn’t played one minute in the NBA. I’m going to try to be a big brother to him and try to take the pressure off. There’s going to be so much pressure he’s never experienced yet. He’s 19 years old, first time in the NBA. This is new to him. A newcomer in New York. That’s tough. I don’t think he knows what he’s getting himself into. I have to be that role for him.’’

See more on the Knicks and their New York rivals, the Nets:

  • Derek Fisher has twice reminded reporters that he, and not Phil Jackson, is the coach of the Knicks in response to inquiries about Jackson’s plan for increased involvement with the coaching staff this season, but Fisher resists the idea that he’s feeling insecure, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News“I was asked a question. I don’t think about it until I’m asked about it. I’m me and he’s him and I don’t get caught up in how much and not enough and it’s my job. I’m the coach of the team. How we do will fall on my shoulders,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t matter who says what or how many percentages or times we meet and watch film or whatever. It’s on me. And I’m comfortable with that. I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I wasn’t comfortable with it.”
  • The Knicks convinced Kevin Seraphin that they have room for him to contribute, a key in persuading him to sign with New York after he felt frustration about his lack of playing time with the Wizards last season, as he explained to reporters, including Berman, who writes in a separate piece. Seraphin signed a one-year, $2.814MM deal with the Knicks after averaging 15.6 minutes per game in 79 appearances for Washington this past season.
  • Thaddeus Young cited his family’s comfort in the New York area as one reason he decided to opt out and re-sign with the Nets instead of opting in for the coming season, notes Mike Mazzeo of Young, believed to be the first Nets player to live in Brooklyn since the franchise moved there three years ago, inked a four-year, $50MM deal in July after turning down a nearly $10.222MM player option.
  • Joe Johnson wasn’t exactly fond of Deron Williams, sources told Mike Mazzeo of, and Johnson expressed puzzlement Monday about why Williams would buy his way off the Nets, as Mazzeo details. Williams gave up all but about $27.5MM of the nearly $43.374MM left on his contract to escape Brooklyn, but, “It’s not that bad here,” Johnson insists.
  • Johnson, 34, also hinted at retirement, saying that he plans to play beyond this season, the last one on his contract with the Nets, but not ruling out a change of heart. “God willing, as long as I’m healthy I’ll continue to play,” Johnson said, as Mazzeo relays in the same piece. “I don’t think it’s my last, but we’ll see.”

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