The Knicks might attempt to pry Tom Thibodeau out of his contract from the Bulls, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who gets the sense that current Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will only last until owner James Dolan can find a splashy replacement. Soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t object to the move, Stein also hears. Thibodeau, like Anthony, is a client of the Creative Artists Agency, a firm with close ties to the Knicks.
Thibodeau has two seasons remaining on his deal with Chicago, but he’s reportedly feuding with Bulls GM Gar Forman. It would nonetheless be hard to convince the Bulls to let him go, Stein writes, but the ESPN scribe figures the Knicks stand a better chance of pulling that off than they do of landing marquee names like John Calipari, Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy.
The Knicks are also apparently considering assistant GM Allan Houston as a possible replacement for Woodson. Houston played for the Knicks when Thibodeau was an assistant coach for the team. Perhaps Houston could serve as an interim if the Knicks decide to replace Woodson during the season, with a pursuit of Thibodeau happening in the summer, but that’s just my speculation.
Coaching transactions between teams are rare, but the Knicks once received compensation for letting Pat Riley go to the Heat, and this summer’s Doc Rivers swap is the most recent example. The Celtics acquired a 2015 first-round pick in exchange for letting Rivers out of his deal so the Clippers could hire him, but the earliest first-rounder the Knicks can surrender is their 2018 pick. The NBA prohibits teams from exchanging players for coaches, so it would indeed be difficult for the Knicks to bring Thibodeau back to Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks fell further into last place in the Atlantic Division last night with a loss to the Cavaliers, and with a 5-15 record, Carmelo Anthony is the only player who’s certain not to be traded, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The free agents the team signed this past offseason become eligible to be traded Sunday, except for Cole Aldrich, who becomes trade-eligible on December 23rd, and J.R. Smith, who isn’t allowed to be traded until January 15th.
Some have suggested trading Anthony might be the Knicks best course of action, but a recent report indicated that New York has no plans to do so. He’s likely to become a free agent at season’s end, but there are few expiring contracts on the team’s books, limiting flexibility. It would be especially difficult to find takers for Amar’e Stoudemire, the team’s highest-paid player, given that he’s making nearly $21.7MM this year and is set for more than $23.4MM next season. Four Knicks have deals that end after this season, but they’re among the cheapest on the books, and Chris Smith‘s minimum salary for 2014/15 is non-guaranteed
There have been plenty of rumors about Iman Shumpert, and the team is apparently trying to boost his value by telling other front offices that Mike Woodson‘s coaching is hiding the full extent of his abilities. Woodson knows his job isn’t on solid ground. He senses that the vote of confidence owner James Dolan gave him last month no longer applies, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, who hears from a source that, “People are just waiting for Dolan to snap.”
After tonight’s 15 point loss to the 8-13 Cavaliers, the Knicks are now 5-15 and have matched the worst start in franchise history, writes ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, who adds that there are serious questions about head coach Mike Woodson‘s job security in New York, as we well know. Here are some additional reactions to tonight’s loss, as well as some speculation as to where the team could go from here:
- Woodson is far more concerned about his job security than he lets on to the media, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein, who openly wonders if the coach will survive tonight’s loss. Stein adds that a coaching change can only result in the Knicks playing harder given the state of the roster. Stein says that momentum is building for assistant general manager Allan Houston to end up as interim head coach. We heard a week ago that owner James Dolan was prepared to make Houston the next coach if the team continued to flounder. (Twitter links)
- Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated agrees that Woodson’s time in New York could be up, and says that we should expect to hear John Calipari‘s name in connection with the Knicks’ job. Mannix doesn’t understand why the Knicks would name Houston the interim coach over assistant coach Herb Williams, but Stein reminds us that Houston can get a better look at the personnel from up close. (Twitter links)
- Agreeing with Stein’s sentiment, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweets that the Knicks’ problems go way beyond the head coach, essentially implying that night after night of sellouts at the Garden will have fooled Dolan into a cosmetic change if that is, in fact, all that the owner chooses to do.
At least three NBA teams are showing interest in Royce White, agent George Bass of AAI Sports tells Sarah Lyall of The New York Times, in comments that jibe with what White said a week ago. The 16th overall pick in last year’s draft recently hired Bass after parting ways with his representatives at ASM Sports. White says he’s ready to play, but when the Sixers waived him before the season, there’s was apparently more to their decision than concerns over his mental health difficulties, Lyall writes.
“They just told me they didn’t want to keep me at this point in time, and that’s pretty much the gist of it,” he said. “There was a lot being said in meetings, and all of it was contradictory — ‘You’re supertalented; you can play; you can be an excellent player in the league, but we don’t want to keep you at this time.’”
There’s more on a player that Philadelphia seems more enthusiastic about in our roundup from the Atlantic Division:
- There were rumors that the Sixers were interested in Kendall Marshall right after the Wizards released him at the start of the season, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Marshall is now with Philly’s D-League affiliate, which makes sense, Coro says.
- Rajon Rondo said today that he’s had “no conversations” with Carmelo Anthony about joining forces, in response to the rumor that Anthony is recruiting the point guard, notes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Yet saying otherwise would probably constitute tampering, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News suggests (on Twitter).
- Rondo would be an awkward on-court fit with Anthony and many of the current Knicks, opines Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal.
- Knicks owner James Dolan met with Mike Woodson right after Sunday’s 41-point loss to the Celtics for a conversation that “must have been as pleasant as root canal” for the embattled coach, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. At least one player was also in the meeting, Isola adds.
It’s been an active past couple of days in the Association, and there are plenty of rumblings on other circuits, too. Here’s the latest on players with NBA ties:
- Knicks training camp invitee Ike Diogu will join the D-League, a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. Diogu, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, last appeared in an NBA regular season game with the Spurs in 2011/12, though the Knicks reportedly considered bringing him back last month after Tyson Chandler‘s injury.
- Lucas Nogueira has exercised a provision in his contract with Spanish club Estudiantes to suspend the deal while he seeks outside medical opinion on his ailing knees, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Hawks retain the NBA rights to Nogueira, the 16th pick in the draft this June.
- D.J. Kennedy has left Gravelines of France and is on the radar of Italy’s Reggio Emilia, reports Prima Pagina (translation via Carchia). The Italian team may view him as a replacement for Coby Karl, who appears to be on the outs with the club. Kennedy was in camp with the Mavs this fall.
- Kevin Murphy and French team SIG Strasbourg are in negotiations about a split, according to a L’Équipe report passed along by Catch-and-Shoot (translation via Carchia). Murphy signed with the club in August, shortly after the Warriors let him go.
Today, Adam Silver stated (Twitter link) he would be willing to consider removing divisions from the NBA. If the NBA does so we will no longer be able to claim the Atlantic Division as the most talked about division in the NBA. Until then, the Atlantic Division has made headlines all season with the Nets and Knicks struggles. Those headlines have increased of late with the Raptors and Sixers being active in the early trade market. Looking further into these rumors:
- Thaddeus Young‘s name has once more emerged in trade talk, this time in reference to an Omer Asik deal, but the Sixers forward continues to pay little attention to the chatter, as he tells Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times. John Finger of CSNPhilly.com explains how this trade would work.
- Sixers offseason acquisition Tony Wroten has played well in place of Michael Carter-Williams, but he seems interested in retaining a starting role long term, which could pose a dilemma for Philadelphia, as Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News explains.
- Paul Pierce thinks he could return from his broken hand for Tuesday’s match up with the Celtics, and today he addressed the emotions of perhaps facing his former team as well as his continued faith in the Nets. The 36-year-old also dismissed talk of retiring in the near future. Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
- Following the blockbuster Rudy Gay trade, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun explains what the road ahead looks like for GM Masai Ujiri and the Raptors. Wolstat adds the Raptors may be realizing how important it is to get in the top of the lottery for next year’s draft especially with fellow Canadian Andrew Wiggens atop that draft.
- Projecting the next few years for Rudy Gay, Tom Ziller of SBNation compares what the Raptors gave up to acquire Gay versus what the Kings gave up to acquire Gay ten months later. Ziller points out that although the Kings gave up much less than the Raptors did, they will be the loser in this trade in the coming years.
- With the 4-6 week timetable approaching for Knicks‘ center Tyson Chandler to return from his fractured leg, Chandler told reporters this morning he expects to be in the lineup before New Year’s Day. Royce Young of CBSSports.com describes what his return will mean for the Knicks’ rotation.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Dion Waiters has emerged as a trade candidate within the past couple of weeks, as a report late last month suggested the Cavs were shopping last year’s No. 4 overall pick while the team insisted it was merely fielding calls for him. Still, there appears to be little motivation at the highest level of the organization to trade Waiters. Owner Dan Gilbert is fond of the shooting guard and wants to keep him, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
Broussard also notes that the relationship between Waiters and backcourt mate Kyrie Irving is improving. The ESPN scribe reported last month that rumors of a fight between Irving and Waiters were false, though Waiters and Tristan Thompson apparently engaged in a heated argument during a recent team meeting.
The Bulls, Knicks and Sixers have been among the teams rumored to be in the mix for Waiters, who turns 22 on Tuesday. Rival executives have expressed disbelief that the Cavs would give up on Waiters so soon, though the majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted believe Cleveland should trade him away.
Carmelo Anthony recruiting Rajon Rondo to New York? Maybe it should be the other way around. The Celtics punished the Knicks at MSG this afternoon, cruising to a 114-73 victory. In the biggest rout of the 2013/14 season so far, Jordan Crawford led the way with 23 points while Melo had just 19 off of putrid 5-of-15 shooting. The latest out of Boston..
- Doc Rivers says the patience and effort needed to rebuild with the Celtics “just wasn’t in me,” but he thinks the team will recover quickly, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald observes. Rivers also doesn’t think the resentment that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett harbor toward Ray Allen will last.
- After being brought in at last season’s trade deadline to be a wild card for the postseason-bound Celtics, Crawford had no real expectations on him. However, Crawford is proving to be a real force for Boston, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
- The rumor that the Knicks approached the Celtics about Rajon Rondo and offered Iman Shumpert caused laughter among the Boston brass because the Celtics want first-round picks, especially if they are to deal with a division rival, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
- Even though he’s not likely to win the award, Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) would like to see Danny Ainge get some votes for Executive of the Year for the picks he stockpiled and his bold coaching hire.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Rajon Rondo doesn’t put much stock in the rumor that Carmelo Anthony is trying to recruit him to the Knicks, but Anthony has been privately yearning to see Rondo in orange and blue since July, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks attempted to trade Iman Shumpert for Rondo, and Newsday’s Al Iannazzone thinks it’s critical that New York continue to see if it can pry the All-Star point guard away from the Celtics or make some kind of splash, lest Anthony bolt in free agency. Here’s more on the Knicks and the rest of the NBA:
- Berman, in the same piece, also suggests the Knicks may look to re-sign camp invitee Jeremy Tyler in another week as he continues to round into form after a preseason injury.
- Unlike some free agents who were happy to leave their former teams behind, Spurs big man Jeff Ayres told Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News that he feels “no animosity” toward the Pacers and is “still really cool with all the guys on the team.”
- Kendall Marshall is off to a fast start with the D-League affiliate of the Sixers, and Michael Kaskey-Blomain of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks the big club should consider signing last year’s 13th overall pick to an NBA contract.
- Doubts about the ability of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe to play together left some executives around the league believing the Suns would trade Dragic, but early returns show the pairing has been successful, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
- Joel Embiid is developing into a potential No. 1 overall pick, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, joining ESPN colleague Chad Ford on the Kansas center’s bandwagon.
- Knee troubles have sidelined Al Harrington for a good chunk of this season, but he remains involved with the Wizards. As he tells Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Harrington can imagine himself coaching after he retires and has been acting as a de facto assistant in Washington while he recovers.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
An Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News points to Nets coach Jason Kidd as a prime example of why the Knicks can’t replace Mike Woodson with Allan Houston, a possibility broached earlier this week. Houston, like Kidd, has no previous coaching experience, and “would be a disaster,” in the exec’s opinion. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Within the previously linked piece, Lawrence writes that he heard Lawrence Frank “regularly honed in on other assistant coaches’ work and often acted like he was in charge,” which was one reason for his re-assignment. Lawrence adds that Kidd won’t really be in trouble unless he gets a fully healthy roster and still struggles to win games.
- Frank has hired attorney David Cornwell, who also represents Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. As we heard on Wednesday, Frank intended to retain legal counsel to help work out a buyout agreement with the Nets.
- Asked about a report suggesting that Carmelo Anthony had been recruiting him to sign with the Knicks in 2015, Rajon Rondo was bemused, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “[Steve Smith] must know something that I don’t know,” Rondo said of his old Oak Hill Academy coach, the source of the rumor.
- It looks like Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will each be a part of the Sixers‘ future, but Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier-Times wonders if there are any other “keepers” currently on Philadelphia’s roster.