New York Knicks Rumors

And-Ones: Mavs, Koponen, Chandler

September 1 at 9:53pm CDT By Zach Links

Two games into FIBA World Cup pool play, Bulls star Derrick Rose is pain free, writes Joe Cowley of the Sun Times.  Rose didn’t light up the scoreboard against Turkey on Sunday as he scored just two points, but he looked sharp as he scored 12 points in 22 minutes against Finland on Saturday.  Here’s more from around the league..

  • Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen, whose rights are owned by the Mavericks, hopes to be playing in the NBA by the 2015/16 season, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  “I always said my dream is to play in the NBA,” Koponen said. “Every summer we talk a little bit with Dallas to see what the situation is and what they think. I’ve got one more year left on my contract in Russia and then of course I would like to come over. I hope I get some options to go there and show I can play at that level.”  Team sources tell Stein that the Mavs have not ruled out importing Koponen themselves in the future, but there was no talk of doing that this season with four point guards already on the roster.  Of course, they could also deal his rights to another team.
  • Even though he only played just one season for the Mavs, Tyson Chandler says his heart was always in Dallas, says Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. “I enjoyed my entire time with the Mavericks and it was a sad process for me and my family leaving Dallas, especially after the amazing experience and amazing run that we had,’’ said Chandler, who was shipped back to Dallas this summer. “As I left I told those guys, ‘You know, I love you and I’ll love you forever and I love everything you have done for me and did for me.’ I understand the (NBA) business and I guess it wasn’t meant for me. But I guess it is meant for me to be back now.’’
  • The Spurs kept the band together after winning the championship but not every defending champion has been so lucky.  Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders looks at some of the worst defending champs in NBA history.
  • According to Italian basketball exec Gianmaria Vacirca, Thanasis Antetokounmpo had an agreement to play with Pallacanestro Varese before deciding to stay in America to play for the Knicks D-League affiliate, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes.

Rondo Tells Celtics He Wants Out

September 1 at 2:58pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

2:58pm: An ESPN spokesperson released a statement to Hoops Rumors via email explaining why the video was removed.

“Around the Horn producers felt they had put Jackie in a difficult position since the discussion was being characterized externally as reporting rather than as an informed conversation among our panelists. For this reason, the decision was made to remove the video,” the statement read.

MONDAY, 9:42am: ESPN appears to have removed the video that featured MacMullan’s comments from the “Around the Horn” YouTube account, though it doesn’t look like the network has given a reason just yet.

SUNDAY, 10:51pm: A spokeswoman for Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald that both men deny that the guard has demanded a trade.

10:05am: Rajon Rondo has informed the Celtics that he wants out of Boston, as ESPNBoston.com writer Jackie MacMullan said in a recently published video featuring excerpts from the ESPN show “Around the Horn” (hat tip to Jay King of MassLive.com). In the video clip, MacMullan responded to a question about whether or not Boston should trade Rondo, to which she answered, “Oh, I hope so. Just get it done. And it will happen because he’s told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that’s the truth.”

This conflicts with previous reports that Rondo was content in Boston. Rondo had been quoted as saying, “I don’t like change much” and “I wouldn’t mind staying here the rest of my career,” writes Jay King of MassLive.com. The Celtics organization has also maintained that they intend to keep Rondo, in part because they’re eager to see how he plays at the beginning of this season, when he’ll be more than a year and a half removed from tearing his right ACL. If Rondo shows he’s still capable of performing at his peak level, then the team could potentially garner a larger return for their star player.

If Rondo presses the issue and the Celtics are forced to trade him prior to the season, the Kings appear to be the number one suitors for Rondo’s services, MacMullan notes. The Kings have enough enticing pieces to catch Boston’s interest, but according to MacMullan, Rondo has already told the Kings that he would not re-sign with them. It remains to be seen if Sacramento would be willing to make the deal knowing that Rondo intends to leave as a free agent next summer. The Kings were willing to trade for Kevin Love without such assurances, so it’s possible they could take the same gamble with Rondo.

During the video, the potential scenario for Rondo to join the Clippers was broached, to which MacMullan responded, “He [Doc Rivers] doesn’t like Rondo, remember that. I mean, he’s done with Rondo. They went a good, long way together, but that guy — Rondo drives him nuts. And then (the Clippers have) Chris Paul anyway, they don’t need him.”

As for the rest of the potential trade market for Rondo, MacMullan speculated that teams like the Knicks, Rockets, and Mavericks would be interested, but wouldn’t be able to offer Celtics GM Danny Ainge enough to get a deal done. She also listed the Lakers as a possibility, though Rondo might not be willing to re-sign with them either. The other possibility she raised was a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns for Eric Bledsoe, but he’s also looking for a max contract, which the Celtics would most likely be hesitant to agree to.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Rockets To Acquire Jason Terry

August 31 at 5:01pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

5:01pm: The picks that the Rockets are receiving come with some unlikely protections, notes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston would get the pick as long as it falls between the 31st and 50th selections. There is no protection for the Knicks’ 2016 pick, writes Feigen. The deal will take several weeks to complete, notes Feigen, and will include other non-guaranteed contracts, likely either Scotty Hopson, Josh Powell, or both.

4:25pm: The Kings will send Houston two second-round picks in deal, including the 2016 second-rounder that was acquired from the Knicks, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

4:10pm: The Kings are finalizing a deal that would send Jason Terry and a future second-rounder to the Rockets for a package of non-guaranteed contracts, including Alonzo Gee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links).

Terry had been acquired by the Kings at the trade deadline along with Reggie Evans, in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton. Terry never played a game for the Kings, instead opting to rehab his surgically repaired knee in preparation for the 2014/15 season. Prior to the trade, Terry appeared in 35 games for the Nets, averaging 4.5 PPG and 1.6 APG.

Terry is on an expiring $5.85MM contract for next season, and he figures to see some minutes with the Rockets backing up both guard positions. Terry will likely be more motivated playing for a Houston squad that hopes to secure a high seed heading into next season’s playoffs, than a still-rebuilding team in Sacramento.

Poll: Where Does Rondo Start Season?

August 31 at 12:06pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

There was a report earlier from ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan, in which she noted that Rajon Rondo had informed the Celtics that he wanted out of Boston. This conflicted with previous reports that Rondo was content in Boston and that the Celtics were looking to hold onto their point guard at least up until next season’s trading deadline. But if the report from MacMullan is correct, then Celtics GM Danny Ainge may be forced to deal his still-recovering star player, or at the very least, much sooner than he would prefer to.

Rondo is set to make roughly $12.9MM next season, which will be difficult for teams to salary match and provide Boston with players they will agree to take on. Ainge will prioritize cap flexibility, draft picks, and younger players in any deal for Rondo. This means that any team pitching an offer will need to have expiring contracts, first-rounders, and younger players that fit in with the franchise’s new culture, in order to have a shot at nabbing Rondo.

If Rondo is traded, then where might he be headed? The Kings appeared to be the frontrunners to match up as a trade partner with Boston. Sacramento has previously expressed interest in acquiring the 28 year-old guard, who has career averages of 11.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.4 APG, and 1.9 SPG. The Kings have a number of intriguing pieces to offer in some combination of Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas, and draft picks. But the main hold-up would be that Rondo has already said that he would not re-sign with Sacramento when he hits free agency. The Kings were willing to trade for Kevin Love after he made a similar decree, so it’s possible they would make the same concession in dealing for Rondo.

The Rockets would be another possibility, MacMullan noted, though after dealing Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, and losing Chandler Parsons to the Mavs in free agency, Houston has less flexibility or pieces that could have brought in a third team to provide Ainge with the draft picks that he desires to stockpile. There aren’t many players that Houston would be willing to deal that Boston would want, so Houston seems like a long shot here.

Another team that has previously expressed their desire to acquire Rondo is the Knicks. They had attempted to trade for him last season, but had the same issues then that they do today–no tradeable first-rounders in the immediate future, and a lack of younger talent to deal. The Knicks could potentially offer up some combination of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s expiring contract, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jose Calderon, and Shane Larkin, and try to involve another team to get Boston a first round pick. This package isn’t as enticing for Boston as some others they could receive, though if the Knicks could somehow acquire a 2015 first rounder from another team, that, Hardaway Jr, and another player or two isn’t too bad a fallback haul for Ainge.

In the video, MacMullan also mentioned the Lakers as a possibility for Rondo. Los Angeles could offer some combination of draft picks, Julius Randle, and one or both of Jeremy Lin‘s and Steve Nash‘s expiring deals, plus the Lakers probably could be talked into taking on Gerald Wallace‘s $20MM+ that he’s owed over the next two seasons as well. This wouldn’t be a bad return for Boston, especially if they could rid their books of Wallace’s deal in the process. One major hitch would be convincing Rondo to re-sign with the Lakers, which MacMullan said he wouldn’t be willing to do.

One team that I’ll throw into the mix here is the Pistons. They already have Josh Smith on board, who is close friends with Rondo and there was talk in the past that they would be interested in being teammates one day. This might give Detroit an edge in re-signing Rondo, plus it could also keep Smith happy in the short-term. For Detroit, it would give them a star presence at the point, and if Rondo was healthy it would probably guarantee the Pistons a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

Detroit also has a very intriguing piece that might get the deal done in Greg Monroe. Monroe hasn’t signed his qualifying offer yet, which would severely limit his trade possibilities, and this means that a sign-and-trade deal is still very much on the table. Monroe has demonstrated that he has no intention of re-signing with the Pistons after next season, which means Detroit risks letting him leave for nothing in return. Monroe is exactly the type of high-ceiling younger player that Ainge would be interested in, plus the Pistons have a few other pieces they could mix-and-match along with draft picks to get this deal done. As for whether or not Ainge sees Monroe worthy of a long-term, big money commitment, that is uncertain.

There’s no guarantee that Rondo gets dealt prior to the season beginning. The trade market would have been more robust prior to the NBA Draft, when more teams could have gotten involved. But if Rondo has issued an ultimatum to the Celtics, then they may have no other alternative but to find the best offer they can. Vote below for where you think Rondo will begin the season, and then feel free to expand on your choice in the comments section.

Trade Retrospective: Stephon Marbury To Knicks

August 30 at 12:33pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

With the Kevin Love trade saga now finally over, fans of all the teams involved are left to wonder whether or not their franchise got the better end of the deal. The Wolves dealt away their franchise player for a number of intriguing pieces, and the Cavs nabbed another star to pair alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, while the Sixers chances to nab the No. 1 overall pick have improved markedly. It’s always a risky undertaking when dealing a top-tier player away, as many past trades have demonstrated. It’s with that in mind that I’ve been looking back at other blockbuster trades and how they have worked out for all involved.

So far I’ve examined the trades that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers; Deron Williams to the Nets; Kevin Garnett to the Celtics; Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks; Chris Paul traded from the Pelicans to the Clippers; and the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers to the Heat. Next up is a look at a trade that occurred on January 5th, 2004–the deal that sent Stephon Marbury from the Suns to the Knicks.

I’ll begin by running down the assets involved:

This trade had all the makings of a great story–a hometown star returns to change the fortunes of the Knicks franchise. Marbury was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was a lifelong team fan. The Knicks were firmly mired in mediocrity, and this trade was intended to be a major step towards reversing the franchise’s fortunes.

Here are the Knicks’ records prior to trade:

  1. 2000/01: 48-34 (Lost in first round to Raptors)
  2. 2001/02: 30-52
  3. 2002/03: 37-45

The Knicks used this trade to acquire the star point guard they desperately needed, plus it also helped correct the less-than-stellar results of the franchise’s big move from the year before. I’m referring to the ill-fated deal that sent the draft rights to Nene; Marcus Camby; and Mark Jackson to Denver for Antonio McDyess and Frank Williams. McDyess was intended to be an anchor for the franchise, but instead he just added to his injury history, and only played in a total of 18 games in New York. Nene and Camby were much more productive over the years, and this trade ended up being one of the more imbalanced ones that you’ll see.

When New York made the Marbury deal, which was the first major move made during the Isiah Thomas regime, the Knicks hoped this would lead to a change in culture and a reversal of fortune. Things didn’t quite work out that way. Here are the Knicks’ records during the Marbury years:

  1. 2003/04: 39-43 (Lost in first round to Nets)
  2. 2004/05: 33-49
  3. 2005/06: 23-59
  4. 2006/07: 33-49
  5. 2007/08: 23-59

Not all the blame can rest on Marbury’s shoulders for the franchise’s lack of success. The Knicks didn’t have much talent around him, and a number of personnel moves ended up backfiring spectacularly during this era. But Marbury didn’t exactly perform up to the levels he did in Minnesota and New Jersey, either. Here are Marbury’s numbers during his time in New York:

  1. 2003/04: 19.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 9.3 APG. His slash line was .431/.321/.833.
  2. 2004/05: 21.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 8.1 APG. His slash line was .462/.354/.834.
  3. 2005/06: 16.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 6.4 APG. His slash line was .451/.317/.755.
  4. 2006/07: 16.4 PPG, 2.9 RPD, and 5.4 APG. His slash line was .415/.357/.769.
  5. 2007/08: 13.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 4.7 APG. His slash line was .419/.378/.716.

His first two years with the Knicks were excellent statistically, but he tailed off significantly starting with the 2005/06 campaign. Marbury’s lack of productivity led to him spatting publicly with then-coach Larry Brown.

Brown claimed that Marbury refused to take responsibility for his part in the team’s disastrous 2005/06 season. Marbury responded by saying, “I think it’s personal now. I don’t think it’s about basketball anymore. Now it’s to the point where he’s [Brown] putting his 30-year career against my 10-year career. You know, coach is a great coach is what everyone says. We’re supposed to be better than what we are. Did it happen now? No.”

Brown responded by saying, “So, you’re the best guard in the league and the team is 17-45, yeah, it’s the coach’s fault. I don’t know why you play a team sport and not be concerned about making your teammates better and helping your team win games. That’s the only thing that really matters, and if you’re the best player, surely you’re going to have some effect on the game’s outcome.”

That was Brown’s only campaign on the New York bench, and he was replaced the following season by Thomas, who also ended up clashing with Marbury, whose popularity was on the decline with the Knicks’ fan base thanks to all the issues and losing seasons. This player-coach feud culminated with rumors that Marbury and Thomas had allegedly gotten into a physical altercation at practice. Marbury further angered the organization and fans when he elected to have season-ending ankle surgery in February of 2008, which the team had deemed unnecessary at the time.

The Knicks explored potential trades for Marbury, but there wasn’t much interest in the then-31-year-old guard, who still had two years, and nearly $42MM remaining on his contract. Mike D’Antoni took over as head coach in 2008, and New York signed Chris Duhon as a free agent, and Duhon in turn won the starting point guard job during training camp. Marbury was placed on team’s inactive list. He and the team debated over his role and playing time, and when they were unable to come to an accord on a potential buyout, Marbury was banned from attending any practices or games.

The Knicks and Marbury finally reached a buyout arrangement in February of 2009, and after clearing waivers, he signed with the Celtics. Marbury finished out the season with Boston, averaging 3.8 PPG and 3.3 APG. The Celtics offered him a contract for the veteran’s minimum of for the 2009/10 season, which Marbury declined. He has been out of the league ever since.

Penny Hardaway was a shell of the superstar player he was during his years with the Magic. Injuries had taken their toll on his production and ability to remain on the court. Hardaway hadn’t lived up to the seven-year, $86MM contract he had inked in 1999 as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent him from Orlando to Phoenix.

Hardaway was productive for the remainder of the 2003/04 season, and he played well in the Knicks’ first round playoff series loss to the Nets, averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.5 steals. After that he would only appear in 41 contests over the next two seasons due to injuries. Hardaway’s numbers with the Knicks were:

  1. 2003/04: 9.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.9 APG. His slash line was .390/.364/.775.
  2. 2004/05: 7.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 2.0 APG. His slash line was .423/.300/.739.
  3. 2005/06: 2.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG. His slash line was .286/.000/1.000.

His time in New York ended in February of 2006 when he was traded back to Orlando, along with Trevor Ariza, for Steve Francis. Hardaway was then waived by the Magic in a cost-cutting move.

Cezary Trybanski only appeared in three games for the Knicks, averaging 0.3 PPG. He was then traded to the Bulls along with Othella Harrington; Dikembe Mutombo; and Frank Williams, for Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams. Trybanski was waved by Chicago prior to the start of the season and he has been out of the league ever since.

The Suns made this deal to free up cap space for the summer of 2004, when they hoped to make a splash in free agency and build around their core of Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, and Shawn Marion.

The Suns records prior to the trade were:

  1. 2000/01: 51-31 (Lost in first round to the Kings)
  2. 2001/02: 36-46
  3. 2002/03: 44-38 (Lost in first round to Spurs)

This deal is an odd one in that the Suns gave up the best player, didn’t receive much long term value in return, essentially squandered the draft picks they acquired, yet still came out ahead in the end. This is all thanks to the free agent signing of Steve Nash in July of 2004. All Nash did was win the MVP award in his first season and lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals.

The Suns’ records post trade:

  1. 2003/04: 29-53
  2. 2004/05: 62-20 (Lost conference finals to Spurs)
  3. 2005/06: 54-28 (Lost conference finals to Mavs)
  4. 2006/07: 61-21 (Lost in second round to Spurs)
  5. 2007/08: 55-27 (Lost in first round to Spurs)

Howard Eisley finished out the rest of the 2003/04 season with Phoenix, averaging 7.1 PPG and 3.4 APG, then reached a buyout arrangement with the Suns for the remaining two years of his deal. Eisley then signed a one-year, $1.1MM contract with the Jazz that summer.

Charlie Ward was waived the day after the trade by Phoenix and was picked up shortly after by the Spurs for the rest of the 2003/04 season, when he averaged 3.3 PPG and 1.3 APG. Ward appeared in 14 games for the Rockets during the 2004/05 campaign, and then retired after the year.

Milos Vujanic was originally selected by the Knicks with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. He never appeared in an NBA game, and played eight seasons in the Euroleague and Italian League before retiring in 2009.

Maciej Lampe was another second-round selection by the Knicks, taken with the No. 30 overall pick back in 2003, but he never appeared in a game while with New York. After the trade Lampe averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG for the Suns. Lampe’s time in the desert came to an end in January of 2005, when he was traded along with Casey Jacobsen and Jackson Vroman to the Pelicans for Jim Jackson and a 2005 second-rounder (Marcin Gortat).

Antonio McDyess finished out the 2003/04 season with the Suns, averaging 5.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG. After the season he became a restricted free agent and signed with the Pistons, where he stayed for five seasons, and he became a valuable contributor off of the bench.

Both first round draft picks that the Suns acquired in the Marbury trade were later packaged along with Tom Gugliotta and a 2005 second-rounder (Alex Acker) and sent to Utah for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. This ended up being a terrible trade for Phoenix, as neither Clark or Handlogten appeared in an NBA game after being acquired by the Suns.

Utah used the 2004 first-rounder to select Kirk Snyder with the No. 16 pick. Snyder was a bust and was traded after one season to the Pelicans. His career numbers in four NBA seasons were 6.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 1.1 APG. Some notable players that Utah could have had with that selection instead of Snyder were Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao, and Trevor Ariza.

It’s the other draft pick from the Marbury trade that is more haunting to both Knicks and Suns fans. With the No. 9 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Jazz selected Gordon Hayward. Let’s look at Hayward’s numbers since entering the league:

  1. 2010/11: 5.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG. His slash line was .485/.473/.711.
  2. 2011/12: 11.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG. His slash line was .456/.346/.832.
  3. 2012/13: 14.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 3.0 APG. His slash line was .435/.415/.827.
  4. 2013/14: 16.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 5.2 APG. His slash line was .413/.304/.816.

Hayward signed a four-year, $62,965,420 offer sheet with the Hornets this summer, which the Jazz quickly matched in order to keep Hayward in Utah for the foreseeable future.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is an odd trade in how it worked out. This became another failed deal during the Isiah Thomas years for the Knicks. The franchise could have benefited long term from retaining those two first-rounders, and saved themselves a number of headaches and public relations hits that resulted from Marbury’s presence on the team.

The Suns came out OK here, despite not receiving any long term assets besides salary cap room. Their signing of Nash away from the Mavs was a turning point in the franchise’s fortunes, and it wouldn’t have been possible if Phoenix hadn’t dealt away Marbury’s and Hardaway’s contracts. But it’s still hard to give them too much credit, seeing as they later gave up the two valuable first rounders they had acquired to Utah for essentially no return.

The Suns win this by default, but it’s interesting to imagine what might have happened had they held on to those picks and nabbed Josh Smith and Hayward instead. That would have truly been a landslide victory for them in regards to this deal, rather than winning it by default. The Marbury trade is a prime example of the risks involved for all franchises when making blockbuster deals. Knicks fans are still feeling the pain from all the misfires during 2000s, which included this one.

And-Ones: Wolves, Martin, Allen

August 29 at 7:36pm CDT By Zach Links

Wolves president Flip Saunders hopes the Wolves new players’ athleticism will translate into improved defense, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press writes. Saunders said, “I’m hoping that the biggest change is going to be defensively. Always a key in your ability to guard is your athleticism. The quicker you are, the longer you are, the better chance you have to be a good defensive team.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Doc Rivers was in contact with free agent guard Ray Allen earlier this summer, and Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter) expects the Clippers to make a run at him again.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is still over the moon about reacquiring Tyson Chandler this summer, as NBA.com’s Jeff Caplan writes.  “It was kind of surprising that we got it done, just because with that many pieces and the fact that no one finds out,” Cuban said of the trade. “I’m glad we got it done. We’re excited. He can kind of quarterback our defense, he makes everybody better defensively and he’ll make Monta [Ellis] better offensively.”
  • Keith Schlosser of The Knicks Blog wonders if the Knicks would welcome back Kenyon Martin.  Martin gave the Knicks one of the most intimidating and physical defensive presences they’ve had in years, but he struggles to stay on the court.  Even though he’s seen just 50 games of action over the last two seasons, Schlosser sees K-Mart as a player who the Knicks could call on midseason if Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, or Samuel Dalembert have injury troubles of their own.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Love, Bennett, Moultrie

August 26 at 7:27pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Kevin Love today indicated his intention to stay with the Cavs beyond this season, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com observes, and Cavs GM David Griffin is confident that Love and LeBron James will stick together for years to come, notes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Love and James can become free agents next summer, and Love said today that he hasn’t spoken about an extension with Cleveland, though that only stands to reason, since he can re-sign for more money if he waits until free agency.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • There was confusion earlier this month about whether Anthony Bennett would go to the Sixers as part of the Kevin Love trade, but Sixers GM Sam Hinkie told reporters today that he never had any talks about acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick. Tom Moore of Calkins Media passes along the tidbit via Twitter. Bennett wound up with the Wolves instead.
  • Arnett Moultrie‘s future with the Sixers is cloudy, but Hinkie indicated today that Philadelphia still wants to give him a chance even though the power forward has to prove his worth, as Moore observes (Twitter link). Arnett was working really hard last week,” Hinkie said. “It’s been going fine. It’s a big summer for him. He’s got to show what he can do.” Last week, Chuck Myron cast the chances as remote that Philly will up his 2015/16 rookie scale contract option by the October 31st deadline.
  • The two-year $550K offer that agent Tim Lotsos said Thanasis Antetokounmpo turned down from Cimberio Varese to instead join the Knicks D-League affiliate wasn’t quite so lucrative, as Guido Guida of La Gazzetta dello Sport hears (Twitter link). The gross amount wasn’t quite that much, and the net after taxes was only slightly more than $100K per year, Guida says. A source seconds Guida’s report to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Drew, Antetokounmpo, D-League

August 25 at 10:33pm CDT By Cray Allred

Former Bucks coach Larry Drew was blindsided by his ouster from Milwaukee, telling Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was taken aback by the process. New owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens were already in discussions with Jason Kidd, who supplanted Drew on the bench, while he was participating in rookie Jabari Parker‘s introductory press conference.

“The whole Jabari thing, putting me in that position, I don’t think it was very professional. I wish it wouldn’t have happened that way, but it did,” said Drew, who is now an assistant with the Cavs. “It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo‘s agent tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the forward turned down a two-year, $550K offer to play in Italy in order to accept the $25K salary he will receive with the Knicks‘ D-League affiliate. Agent Tim Lotsos says the sacrifice was made because his client is eager to prove himself as NBA-ready. “To my surprise, he passed on it,” said Lotsos. “He’s very ambitious and determined to make the NBA. I didn’t try to force him. I wanted him to make his own decision.”
  • A D-League expansion draft for returning player rights will take place on September 1, reports Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com. The draft will supply the Knicks‘ new affiliate with a starting roster, and each existing team will protect up to 12 current D-League players that the Westchester Knicks can’t obtain.
  • In the same piece, Pilato does a mock selection draft, projecting which players he sees each D-League team protecting and which players wind up in Westchester.
  • Plenty of people believe rookie Cavs coach David Blatt will become one of the best coaches in the league, writes Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders in his look at rising coaching names. Brigham views Mike Budenholzer, Steve Clifford, Dave Joerger, and Jeff Hornacek as fellow up-and-comers in the NBA ranks.
  • In a LeBron James-centric mailbag column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel asserts that it was James’ contract preferences that led to the Cavs receiving draft picks from Miami in 2010 through a sign-and-trade, and that it was also his contract desires that prevented the Heat from receiving any picks when he returned to Cleveland this summer.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Rautins, Heat

August 23 at 11:00am CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Cavaliers‘ roster overhaul this offseason is reminiscent of what the Celtics did back in 2007, including obtaining a star player from the Wolves, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Here’s more from the east:

  • Former Knicks second-round pick Andy Rautins has signed with Pallacanestro Varese of the Italian League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Rautins only appeared in a total of five games for New York, averaging 1.6 PPG. His last NBA action came for the Bulls‘ Summer League team back in 2013.
  • If Dwyane Wade can stay healthy, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes that the Heat‘s roster this season is better than the one they had prior to LeBron James‘ arrival.
  • Former NBA player Terrel Harris has signed with Maccabi Ashdod SCE of the Israeli League, the team announced via their Facebook page (hat tip to Basketball Insiders). Harris has played for the Heat and the Pelicans, with a career average of 2.3 PPG. He spent last year in the NBA D-League, most recently with the Bakersfield Jam.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Miles, Antetokounmpo

August 22 at 8:39pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The United States defeated Puerto Rico by a score of 112-86 in their final home exhibition game prior to the FIBA World Cup. Stephen Curry was the high scorer with 20 points, and James Harden added 13 for Team USA.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks already have the D-League rights to Thanasis Antetokounmpo, as Gino Pilato of D-League Digest clarifies in an update to an earlier report. Pilato had originally indicated that the Sixers retained his D-League rights because he played for their affiliate last season, but this year’s D-League rule changes give the Knicks his D-League rights because they selected him in the NBA draft this summer, as Pilato explains. Antetokounmpo, the 51st overall selection, has reportedly agreed to sign with the D-League and play for New York’s affiliate.
  • C.J. Miles will be asked to do a lot more than the Pacers anticipated when they signed him as a free agent back in July, writes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. In the wake of the potential season-ending injury to Paul George, and the departure of Lance Stephenson to the Hornets, Miles will need to pick up a sizable portion of the scoring load, opines Montieth.
  • The Knicks have a logjam at the shooting guard position with J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Iman Shumpert, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. In the article, Begley examines the pros and cons of each player starting versus coming off of the bench. Smith weighed in on the situation, saying, “That’s for the coach to decide. All we’ve got to do is play. Whatever they decide, we’ve got to just live with it. Hopefully everybody could put their egos aside and come together for one common goal.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.