New York Knicks

And-Ones: Drummond, Farmar, Mekel

The Pistons could reap greater cap flexibility for next summer if they wait until then to sign Andre Drummond as a restricted free agent instead of giving him an extension this summer, but the team will leave that choice to the Jeff Schwartz client, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Drummond reportedly wants an extension, so it would seem it’s a strong bet he’ll end up with one before the October 31st rookie scale extension deadline. Here’s more from around the NBA and related circles:

  • Jordan Farmar has signed with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced (hat tip to David Pick of Eurobasket.com). Agent Tony Dutt searched for NBA deals for the point guard who spent part of last season with the Clippers, but found nothing, as Pick hears (Twitter link).
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv management pushed for the deal with Farmar, while the coaches were higher on former Mavs and Pelicans point guard Gal Mekel, according to Pick, who earlier reported that Mekel and the team had a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with NBA out clauses (Twitter links). However, fellow Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem is still pursuing Mekel, who remains in talks with teams from the NBA and Europe, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss clarified in a radio appearance on KPCC-FM last week that this past year was the first on brother Jim Buss‘ three-year window to guide the team to at least the Western Conference Finals, as Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. Jim Buss would resign his job as executive VP of basketball operations if the Lakers aren’t back to that point by the end of the 2016/17 season, his sister said.
  • The Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Suns and Pelicans have expressed interest in Justin Hamilton, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). The Timberwolves elected not to retain the right to match offers for him when they decided against making a qualifying offer.
  • Serge Ibaka failed to meet an incentive worth $100K this past season, so his cap hit for the Thunder for this coming season shrinks by that amount, to $12.25MM, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter). That’s unlikely to matter for the Thunder, who are expected to be well above the cap and exceed the tax line. Ibaka’s salary for tax purposes will be determined based on the bonuses that he either triggers or doesn’t trigger this coming season, whereas last season’s figures only affect his cap number.
  • The Nuggets are hiring German national team coach Chris Fleming, former Magic assistant Wes Unseld Jr., and Kings assistants Ryan Bowen and Micah Nori as assistants to new head coach Michael Malone, reports Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. They’ll join Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney, who’s also reportedly joining the Denver coaching staff.

And-Ones: Terry, O’Quinn, Anderson

The Mavericks have had conversations with unrestricted free agent Jason Terry about a reunion in Dallas, where the veteran spent half of his 16 seasons in the league, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. If the Mavs added him, Terry would likely join Devin Harris as a good source of offense off the bench, Sefko writes. Terry finished last season as the Rockets’ starting point guard when Patrick Beverley was injured and played well in that role during the playoffs.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Kyle O’Quinn, who the Knicks have agreed to acquire via sign-and-trade with the Magic, will miss Orlando, but the clincher in the deal was it being a long-term one from his hometown team, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “It was a long-term deal. That played a big part,” O’Quinn said. “When I found out I was going home, of course I was excited to be around my mom and my dad and my sister. … And it was just a good opportunity for me to possibly get minutes, play a bigger role, and hopefully I can flourish in it.”
  • Keeping free agent Alan Anderson remains a priority for the Nets, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  However, Anderson is a popular bench target for teams so he could wind up elsewhere.
  • Unrestricted free agent big man Joel Freeland is considering five potential NBA teams, but it is very possible he signs with CSKA Moscow, reports Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype.com (Twitter links). A decision is expected some time next week.
  • The Spurs have expressed an interest in adding Carlos Boozer to their bench, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Rodney Stuckey declined four other offers before agreeing to sign a 3-year, $21MM deal with the Pacers, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (on Twitter).
  • NBA free agent Vitor Faverani auditioned for Maccabi Tel Aviv and there’s mutual interest in a deal, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter).
  • Jeremy Evans is a developmental project for the Mavs, but they believe he can contribute this season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Knicks, Datome

While the Celtics didn’t land the premier free agents in this year’s class, they did agree with Amir Johnson 0n a deal that brings him in from the Raptors.  Coach Brad Stevens believes that, in general, the team’s positive environment will help attract players to Boston, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes.

I think the biggest thing is that I feel really good about our environment. I think people will really enjoy playing with this group of people. I don’t think there’s any question about it. We’ve got guys that like the game, they work at the game, they want to be good. And we have to focus our attention on those guys and helping them become the best they can be,” Stevens said.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division..

  • Knicks president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills are still talking with Jason Smith‘s representatives about bringing him back for the 2015/16 season, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter).
  • The Knicks have also been in constant contact with Louis Amundson‘s representatives about bringing him back for next season, sources tell Begley (on Twitter).  Amundson appeared in 41 games for New York last season, averaging 6.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 20.9 minutes per contest.
  • When asked about reports that he has been approached by reps from Olimpia Milano about signing with them, Celtics free agent big man Gigi Datome dismissed the talk as premature. “It’s very early because [NBA] free agency is so [early],” Datome told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald via phone. “My agent told me that first the big players will sign, and then you have to wait. I’ve waited more than two months to get here, so I can wait two more. My agent is listening to proposals from European teams, and right now we’re not saying no to anyone. But I still want to see if anyone in the NBA wants to sign me.”
  • The development of newly-signed forward Derrick Williams will be a good litmus test for Knicks coach Derek Fisher, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes.  Williams’ talent led to him being selected No. 2 overall in the 2011 draft, but he has yet to put it all together at the NBA level.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Stoudemire, Hollins, Rivers

The agreement to trade for Roy Hibbert caps another dismal free agent season for the Lakers, according to Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. passed on Jahlil Okafor in the draft  because team officials were confident they could land a big man through free agency, he writes. But LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Greg Monroe all chose to go elsewhere. Bresnahan notes that the pattern of free agents turning down the Lakers began with Dwight Howard two years ago and has included Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Outside of money, the Lakers don’t have much to offer free agents, writes J.A. Adande of ESPN.com. That was evidenced by the team’s disastrous first presentation to Aldridge, which reportedly focused more on the off-court advantages of Los Angeles than on basketball matters, Adande claims. Teams need to have good players to attract great players, he states, and the Lakers are struggling to reach the first step.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire was expected to speak with Clippers President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers Saturday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  The forward has interest in several teams, including the Clippers, Mavericks and Pacers, Wojnarowski adds. The Clippers have roughly $2.2MM in exception space left to sign a player beyond the league minimum.
  • The Clippers have had conversations about bringing Ryan Hollins back, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Hollins played for Doc Rivers when he coached in Boston as well as in his first season as the coach of the Clippers.
  • Austin Rivers will probably be a late signing for the Clippers, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Los Angeles has limited Bird Rights on the free agent guard and can offer up to $3,110,796MM per season, which Washburn speculates will be the best he receives in a shrinking market.
  • Justin Holiday is unlikely to return to the Warriors, Washburn writes in the same story. The free agent guard will probably leave the defending champs to seek more playing time.
  • In addition to the Kings‘ max offer, Tobias Harris also received interest from the Celtics, Pistons, Pelicans and Grizzlies, among others, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Lakers and Knicks were not among the teams to reach out to Harris, Kennedy adds (Twitter link).

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Knicks Rumors: Free Agents, O’Quinn, Anthony

This year’s top free agents had no interest in the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman reports that team president Phil Jackson canceled a meeting last week with LaMarcus Aldridge — not the other way around, as widely reported — after he was informed that Aldridge wouldn’t be signing with New York. With roughly $28MM in cap space heading into free agency, the Knicks wound up with Robin LopezDerrick Williams, Arron Afflalo and Kyle O’Quinn, but didn’t come close to landing a star. Berman notes that New York still has a $2.814MM room exception available and has inquired about Caron Butler and Willie Green. The team is hoping to keep Jason Smith and Alexey Shved, but that may not happen if they get offers from other teams that exceed the room exception. Jackson also would like to re-sign Louis Amundson and Lance Thomas for the veterans’ minimum, according to Berman.

There’s more this morning from the Big Apple:

  • O’Quinn, whom the Knicks are obtaining through a sign-and-trade with the Magic, should bring some needed toughness, Berman writes in a separate story. O’Quinn’s numbers in Orlando weren’t impressive — averaging 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 51 games — but Berman believes he may contend for the starting power forward slot in New York. “He’s a very underrated player, solid,” said Tobias Harris, O’Quinn’s former teammate. “He’s a tough player who doesn’t back down, good individual off the court. He is a very good pickup for the Knicks.”
  • O’Quinn’s passing abilities could be a good fit in the triangle offense, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Begley said the Knicks’ latest free agent addition came at a “reasonable” price of $16MM over four years and could be a major bargain when the salary cap soars next summer. He adds that New York is hoping to keep Langston Galloway, who has a partially guaranteed contract, on its roster for next season. Galloway, due to make more than $845K next year, is already guaranteed $220K and will receive $440K if he is waived after September 15th [salary guarantee dates]. Ricky Ledo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo also have a shot at earning roster spots.
  • The Knicks’ free agent failings make Carmelo Anthony more important to the franchise than ever, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. New York needs Anthony to play at an All-Star level so it will be more attractive to free agents like Kevin Durant next summer.

Knicks To Acquire O’Quinn In Sign-And-Trade

The Knicks have agreed to acquire Kyle O’Quinn via sign-and-trade with the Magic, according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link). The deal will be for $16 over four years, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The contract contains an opt out after the third season, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Orlando will receive cash considerations as well as the rights to swap a second-round draft pick in 2019, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Magic had the right to match any offer sheet that O’Quinn signed since they extended a qualifying offer to the 25-year-old.

The big man averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in  16.2 minutes per game with Orlando last season. Although he started his NBA career as a center, O’Quinn played over two-thirds of his minutes at the four spot last season, per Basketball Reference.

Latest On David West

SATURDAY, 12:38pm: The Cavs and the Spurs are both aggressively pursuing West, with Cleveland having a slight edge at the moment, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports relays (via Twitter).

FRIDAY, 9:56am: The Wizards are making a hard push for West, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Spurs are still very much in the picture for him, but the Warriors have become “highly unlikely,” Stein adds in a second tweet. The ESPN scribe said Wednesday that the Spurs and Wizards were his most likely destinations. Washington has only the $5.464MM mid-level exception to spend unless it can work a sign-and-trade.

THURSDAY, 9:35am: David West is seriously interested in playing for either the Spurs or the Warriors, a source with knowledge of his situation told USA Today’s Sam Amick. Playing for one of the last two NBA champions would jibe with the reason he turned down his $12.6MM player option with the Pacers, as he explained Wednesday to Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, telling him that he wants a legitimate chance at a title that he feels the Pacers can’t provide. He also said to Kravitz that while the team’s open criticism of Roy Hibbert wasn’t the deciding factor, it also played a role in his choice to leave Indiana.

“That’s one thing where I wish they would have handled better was the situation with Roy,” West said. “I’ll be honest with you, that bothered me a little bit, and I told Roy that. I’m the type of guy who feels like we’re all in this fight together and I’m not designed in that way to put it all on one guy. That did rub me the wrong way. That threw me off. I started reading some of that stuff, I started thinking, ‘Whoaa.’ I just didn’t feel good about that. I told Roy that it bothered me, that he’s still my teammate.”

West was open-minded at the end of the regular season about returning to Indiana, but as he watched the Finals on TV, he decided winning was a greater priority, as Kravitz detailed. The Pacers still have West’s Bird rights, but he doesn’t sound keen on re-signing, and it doesn’t sound like he’s Knicks-bound, either. He called the rumor that he was likely to sign with the Knicks ridiculous, citing his desire to play with a contender, Kravitz tweets.

The Spurs have maximum-level cap flexibility as they seek LaMarcus Aldridge after agreeing to trade Tiago Splitter to the Hawks, and while West probably wouldn’t command the max, he may well be a fallback option for San Antonio should it miss on Aldridge or Marc Gasol. The Warriors have only the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception to offer. It’s not clear if either team has interest in the Lance Young client.

Knicks To Sign Derrick Williams

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

After striking out on a number of high-profile free agent targets, the Knicks have reached an agreement with free agent forward Derrick Williams, Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). It is a two year pact for $10MM, and it includes a player option for the 2016/17 season, Broussard adds. Williams became an unrestricted free agent when Sacramento declined to tender him a qualifying offer.

The 24-year-old out of Arizona is a combo forward, and it’s not immediately clear how New York will utilize Williams. He could start at power forward alongside Carmelo Anthony, or come off the bench at either forward spot if the Knicks choose to keep ‘Melo at power forward, a position he has excelled at the last few seasons. The Mavericks, Kings, Wizards, Rockets, Lakers, Heat, and Suns all had some level of interest in Williams.

Williams began his NBA career in Minnesota, who made him the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. He appeared in 74 games for the Kings last season, including six as a starter. Williams notched averages of 8.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in 19.8 minutes per contest, to go along with a slash line of .447/.314/.684. His career numbers through four seasons as a pro are 9.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 0.6 APG, with a shooting line of .429/.301/.703.

LaMarcus Aldridge Rumors: Friday

LaMarcus Aldridge checked in third when we did our last Free Agent Power Rankings in June, but he seems to have the league on a string now with LeBron James almost assuredly going back to Cleveland and Kawhi Leonard already reportedly committed to the Spurs. Aldridge reportedly met with the Lakers for a second time and the Heat for the first time Thursday, when he apparently canceled a meeting with the Knicks. We’ll use this post to track the client of Arn Tellem and Thaddeus Foucher today, with any new information added to the top:

  • The Spurs and the Suns have solidified themselves as the favorites to land Aldridge, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.

11:45am update:

  • Spurs president/coach Gregg Popovich would like to have another meeting with Aldridge, and the team is confident that the power forward will choose San Antonio, as John Canzano of The Oregonian hears (Twitter links).

11:00am update:

  • Rival executives believe that Riley told Aldridge that he should sign a short-term deal if he goes elsewhere with the idea that the Heat would come calling again next summer, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

9:51am update:

  • The Spurs are in the lead for Aldridge, with the Suns second and the Mavs a “darkhorse of sorts” in third, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. The Lakers, Rockets and Raptors don’t seem to have moved any closer, Amick adds, having heard that the Heat‘s meeting with Aldridge was “much ado about nothing” other than a nice dinner.

8:45am update:

  • Aldridge is genuinely torn and will need some more time to decide, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link). The Spurs and Suns are the front-runners, the Blazers are trying for a Hail Mary, the Mavericks are still in pursuit, the Lakers are flailing and the Knicks are in the green room, as Shelburne succinctly puts it (on Twitter).
  • The meeting between Aldridge and Heat president Pat Riley went longer than expected Thursday, but the Texas teams (presumably meaning the Spurs and Mavs, though he’s met with the Rockets) remain out front for him, reports Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • The Lakers apologized to Aldridge for not giving him more of a basketball focus in their initial meeting, which was more than an hour old before GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott spoke, according to Shelburne (Twitter link).
  • The presentation the Lakers made was a good one, but the team doesn’t believe Aldridge was wooed by it, sources tell Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Latest On Patrick Beverley

FRIDAY, 5:26pm: The talks between the Kings and Beverley are progressing, and the two sides could be nearing a deal, Kennedy tweets.

1:05pm: New York is ramping up its pursuit of the point guard, and the sides have been talking a lot, Kennedy reports (on Twitter).

12:26pm: The Cavs contacted Patrick Beverley, Kennedy reports (on Twitter), while the Kings, Mavs and Knicks have all called him, too, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 12:07am: The Knicks have “major interest” and Beverley is interested in them, too, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

TUESDAY, 1:43pm: The Mavericks, Knicks, Bulls, Cavs will challenge the Rockets in their efforts to re-sign Patrick Beverley, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Kennedy confirms that Houston continues to have interest in the point guard, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote this spring that the Rockets were determined to have him come back.

The Rockets have the right to match all offers after having extended a qualifying offer today worth slightly more than $2.725MM, according to fellow Basketball Insiders scribe Eric Pincus (on Twitter). That was largely a procedural move, as the Bill Duffy client appears poised to command much more after having played for just the minimum salary the past few seasons in Houston.

The Bulls and Cavs would appear to be long shots, since they’re both poised to go into tax territory, likely limiting them to the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception. The Mavs and Knicks can clear max-level cap room, though Beverley probably isn’t their first priority. The Rockets are in the mix for marquee names, as usual, but GM Daryl Morey thinks the team will most likely remain above the cap and focus on re-signing its own free agents. Even if it doesn’t, it would be relatively easy to retain Beverley’s Bird rights, since his cap hold is equivalent to his qualifying offer.