New York Knicks Rumors

Knicks To Decline Option On Shane Larkin

October 31 at 11:01am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks have decided to pass on their 2015/16 rookie scale team option with Shane Larkin, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman suggests this was New York’s plan all along, though previous reports had indicated that New York was picking up the option before the team had an apparent change of heart. Larkin’s option was worth more than $1.675MM for that season, as our Rookie Scale Team Option Tracker shows. The Knicks picked up a nearly $1.305MM team option for 2015/16 on Tim Hardaway Jr. and waived trade acquisition Arnett Moultrie, who also had a pending rookie scale team option.

Declining Larkin’s option will set the point guard up for unrestricted free agency next summer, a year after the Knicks acquired him from the Mavs in the Tyson Chandler trade. The 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft played sparingly as a rookie, averaging 10.2 minutes per game across 48 appearances, though he’s started the first two games of the year for the Knicks, who are without Jose Calderon because of injury.

The primary motivation for turning down the option appears to be New York’s desire to preserve cap flexibility for next summer. That also appears to be behind the apparent unlikelihood that the team will reach an extension with Iman Shumpert before tonight’s deadline to do so. The Knicks have about $32.7MM tied up for 2015/16, plenty of room beneath a projected $66.5MM salary cap.

Extensions Unlikely For Leonard, Butler

October 30 at 1:59pm CDT By Chuck Myron

THURSDAY, 1:59pm: Johnson suggests the potential remains that Friday’s 11:00pm Central time deadline will motivate Butler and the Bulls to strike a deal, but the Chicago Tribune scribe adds that the sides remain far apart in their proposals (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 11:54am: Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler are unlikely to sign extensions with the Spurs and Bulls, respectively, before Friday’s deadline, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Leonard is reportedly seeking the maximum salary, and while a recent report indicated Butler and the Bulls were “millions apart” in talks, that sort of separation is not uncommon in the days leading up to the rookie scale extension deadline. Broussard also hears the Knicks won’t grant an extension to Iman Shumpert, advancing the reporting of ESPN colleague Ian Begley.

Bulls GM Gar Forman said earlier today that he’d met with Butler’s agent, Happy Walters, and that Butler’s left thumb injury wouldn’t affect negotiations, tweets David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. The injury is expected to keep him out no longer than three weeks, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes (Twitter links). It’s unlikely that the eye infection that plagued Leonard throughout the preseason and forced him to miss San Antonio’s opening night game Tuesday would affect an extension for him, either.

The Spurs and Brian Elfus, who represents Leonard, have reportedly met several times in the past few weeks but have made no progress, though the Spurs appear poised to match any maximum salary offer sheet that Leonard would sign in restricted free agency next summer. The reigning Finals MVP appears prepared to buck the tradition of San Antonio’s stars agreeing to discounts, though the Spurs could still prevail on Leonard to do so next summer even if they can’t convince him to take less in an extension by the end of Friday.

Butler expressed confidence just days ago that he and the Bulls would come to an extension, so presumably talks, which the swingman said a month ago were going in the right direction, have hit a snag. Chicago apparently had a preference to come to an extension rather than let Butler, who turned 25 last month, hit restricted free agency. The Bulls have about $60.2MM tied up for 2015/16, and Kirk Hinrich holds a nearly $2.9MM player option, so Chicago probably wouldn’t have the cap flexibility to replace Butler if he were to sign an offer sheet and Forman and company decided against matching.

Q&A With Former Bulls Guard Craig Hodges

October 30 at 10:30am CDT By Zach Links

Earlier this week, Phil Jackson hired old friend Craig Hodges to serve as an assistant coach for the Knicks’ D-League affiliate in Westchester.  A two-time champion as a player under the Zen Master, Hodges later reunited with Jackson as an assistant coach for the Lakers and added two more rings to his collection.  During his playing days, the guard led the league in three-point shooting percentage twice over the course of his ten-year career and established himself as one of the most consistent long-range threats of his time.

When the Bulls visited the White House after winning the 1992 NBA Championship, Hodges handed President George H.W. Bush a letter outlining his dissatisfaction with the administration’s treatment of disadvantaged black Americans.  That summer, he was waived by the Bulls and, surprisingly, was not picked up by another team, prompting him to later file a lawsuit against the NBA alleging that he was blackballed from the game.  He was unsuccessful in court but the experience hasn’t hardened Hodges and he is still very much an activist for the downtrodden.

When he’s not busy with the Westchester Knicks this season, Hodges will be working on his forthcoming book, which he expects to be released in January.  The NBA champion and the newest member of the Knicks D-League operation was kind enough to take some time and chat with Hoops Rumors on Tuesday.

Zach Links: How did the opportunity to join the Westchester Knicks coaching staff come about?  It was reported that you were initially among the head coaching candidates.

Craig Hodges: It actually was one of those things where it was a basic interview and they didn’t really tell me which job was available. Initially they talked to me in May and asked if I would be interested in working with the D-League team.  I got a call again in August to actually come and interview we’ve been going back and forth since then.   NBA: Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls

ZL: How often do you and Phil Jackson talk?

CH: Well, with him, even when you don’t talk to him you know you’re still cool with him and I have a cool relationship with him.  He’s a great manager of people and his management style is that he understands what you do well, and if he sees something that you need help with, he’ll help you or find a person to help you. I’ve never felt uncomfortable around him, and I’ve been blessed to be one of the first players to win a championship [with him], and I was a coach on his staff when he won his last one, so hopefully we can make something happen here.

ZL: I know you just joined the staff, but do you have a sense of how closely the Westchester Knicks will work with the main organization?

CH: We’re going to function as their minor league team and we’re going to operate the way that they operate so that they can gauge the pulse of our players.  It’s a great situation and I’m looking forward to it.  We’ll also have an emphasis on getting guys accustomed to the triangle and ready to play in that system.

ZL: The D-League is very youth-centric, but what do you think of it as a tool for veterans to find their way back into the NBA?

CH: I think it’s good for both young guys and vets.  I don’t know how many vets look at it as an opportunity, but they should.  One drawback would be the money, but I think the opportunities that come from it would be worthwhile for guys trying to get back into the NBA and get their games back to that level. I think we have a great thing going in Westchester and, hopefully, guys will see it as a destination location.

ZL: In 1992, you brought a lawsuit against the league when you felt that you were blackballed from playing for expressing your beliefs.  Do you feel like in 2014 a player can take up a cause without repercussions, or do you think that could still be problematic career-wise?

CH: You’re always going to be sacrificing something if you speak out, but I think it’s important for people to do so when it comes to issues that are near and dear to their hearts.  If someone [takes a stand], they need to know that they’ve done critical studies on what they want to speak about.  I was the baby of the movement and my mission then [was], and it continues to be, ‘How can I help people who are less fortunate than me and help them move upward?’  Many people saw that as a militant stand to take, but I look at it as a cultural imperative.  Mentors in my life have always told me that you’re only as strong as the weakest of your people, and when I look at the condition of my people, especially in Chicago where the young people are killing each other and getting killed at a horrible rate, you just have to say something.  We have the opportunity as a nation to take the lead role in getting people to realize how important it is to teach young people.

ZL: Could you tell me a bit about your upcoming book?

CH: It’s not a book to bash anybody, but it’s a book to clear the air as far as the stuff that happened in my career and also what I see going on.  God blesses me and he blesses you with teachings, but not everyone is taught the same way and not everyone is passionate about the same things.  I think God has blessed us with a garden where we can have a lot of good people do a lot of good things and we can change the face of the Earth by doing so.  

ZL: Now that you’re actively working for the NBA again, will you be pulling any punches in the book when it comes to how your career ended, or are you putting it all out there? 

CH: I think it’ll be somewhat cathartic when I put it all on paper.  I’m just putting the facts out there and letting people study things for what they are, it’s not up to me to make judgement calls.  Everyone has their own reasoning and logic. … For me, I just want to make sure that I put it out there as a written history for my sons and my grandbabies, but I also want it out there for the overall legacy of it, man.  I think that it’s important that I took the stand that I did.  My mantra has been to help others ever since I was 8 years old.  My mom was a civil rights organizer who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and those ideals have been on my heart.  They haven’t diminished.

ZL: Do you have a publisher yet?

CH: We’re still shopping it and we have a few meetings over the next few weeks with publishers.  It’s been a cool experience and I’m looking forward to getting the book out there. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.  Having Daniel [Hazan, of Hazan Sports Management] to help me has been great.  I never had an agent for off-the-court matters [before], and looking back on my life, I wish I had an agent for that type of stuff. It would have made things a lot easier.

ZL: Do you have your eye on becoming a head coach in the NBA?

CH: [laughs] Not at all!  That’s the thing, I love what I do as an assistant coach.  The purity of the game is what I love.  I get to help make guys better and do as much as possible with their talent.  That’s what I like doing, so I haven’t thought about moving up the ladder.  I think in general if you do a good job, then opportunities open up, and then you can assess and go from there.  I’ve been trying to live more in the spiritual realm. I’m not looking forward or behind. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Notes: Randle, Bryant, Roster

October 29 at 7:59pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Lakers have already suffered some significant blows to their roster with both Steve Nash and Julius Randle being lost for the season with injuries. Even if the franchise is approved for Disabled Player Exceptions, they will still have two of their maximum 15 roster spots occupied by injured personnel. If Los Angeles loses another player to injury the team could apply for a temporary hardship increase that would allow the franchise to carry up to 16 players, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (Twitter links). This scenario could help the team maintain its depth in the wake of another player loss, but once one of the injured players was able to return to action, the 15 player max would resume, Pincus notes.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The only bright side to the Lakers losing Randle for the season is that the team will be in contention for a top-five lottery pick next summer, J.A. Adande of ESPN.com opines. Los Angeles’ 2015 first-rounder is owed to the Suns but is protected for picks one-through-five, notes Adande.
  • The Lakers should take a page out of the Sixers’ playbook and try to hit bottom this season, Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes. This includes trying to convince Kobe Bryant to waive his no trade clause and dealing the future Hall-of Famer, Ford opines. Ford lists the Knicks, Nets, Mavs, and Hornets as teams that would potentially be interested in obtaining Bryant.
  • The loss of Randle will hurt the Lakers much more than losing Nash, Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders opines. Los Angeles wasn’t expecting much from Nash, and had Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price on board to make up for any time that Nash would have missed. With Randle, this season was important for his development, and the team was planning to run a large portion of their offense through him, Koutroupis notes.
  • The Lakers and Bryant have faced criticism for the two year, $48.5MM contract extension he signed back in 2013. Hornets owner and former NBA great Michael Jordan defended Bryant for inking the pact, DeAntae Prince of The Sporting News writes. “Can I criticize him for maximizing his opportunity from a financial standpoint? No,” Jordan said. “Does his decision have an effect on how the team will structure certain things? Maybe.”

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Thomas, Outlaw, Melo

October 28 at 7:33pm CDT By Zach Links

Outgoing Raptors executive Tim Leiweke is in talks with Irving Azoff, a confidant of Knicks owner James Dolan, about a deal that would see them have a stake in assets that are currently part of the Madison Square Garden company, reports Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg.com. MSG, which owns the Knicks, is considering splitting into a pair of companies, as Soshnick details, though Soshnick doesn’t indicate whether there’s a role for Leiweke on the Knicks under consideration. Leiweke, who’s leaving his job with the company that owns the Raptors by the end of June or as soon as a replacement is found, said he doesn’t think the company is close to finding it’s next chief executive.  More from the Atlantic Division..

  • Malcolm Thomas got a fairly substantial contract guarantee of $474K for this season on his four-year, minimum-salary deal with the Sixers, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).  Thomas, we learned yesterday, was getting set to play in China before Philly reached out to him over the weekend. The rest of his contract with the Sixers is non-guaranteed, as Pincus shows on the team’s Basketball Insiders salary page.
  • The Knicks received a $1,863,840 trade exception when they traded Travis Outlaw to the Sixers, tweets Pincus. That’s equivalent to the difference between the salaries for Outlaw and Arnett Moultrie, whom the Knicks acquired and immediately waived.
  • Carmelo Anthony is preaching patience when it comes to the Knicks, who had a 37-win season, traded Tyson Chandler, and have a first-year head coach, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.  “It’s a work in progress now. It’s going to be a work in progress until the end of the season,” Anthony said. “We’re not looking for nothing easy, but we know it’s a work in progress. We have a chance to create something here, and we’re excited about it.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Knicks Opt In With Tim Hardaway Jr. For 2015/16

October 28 at 3:23pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks have exercised their option to keep Tim Hardaway Jr. on his rookie scale contract through 2015/16, the team announced (Twitter link). He’ll make close to $1.305MM that season, as our Rookie Scale Team Option Tracker shows. Reports indicated that New York would pick up Shane Larkin‘s 2015/16 team option, too, but it appears that’s still up in the air.

Hardaway impressed in his rookie season after the Knicks made him the 24th overall pick in the 2013 draft. The 6’6″ shooting guard averaged 10.2 points in 23.2 minutes per game across 81 appearances, earning an All-Rookie First Team selection.

New York, which has targeted next summer for a free agent push, has about $32.7MM in commitments for 2015/16 as a result of today’s move. That doesn’t include Larkin’s option or a new deal for Iman Shumpert, who’d hit restricted free agency if he and the Knicks don’t sign an extension by the end of Friday.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Knicks, Thomas

October 27 at 10:00pm CDT By Alex Lee

It’s been a busy Monday in the Atlantic division, with the Knicks and Sixers completing a trade and then promptly cutting both players involved. That wasn’t it for Philly, which added a forward before cutting two others. Meanwhile, the Celtics cut five players to get down to the required roster count of 15. With final rosters set, let’s see what else is going on in the Atlantic:

  • After waiving Casper Ware on Saturday to get their roster down to 15, the Nets now have some flexibility with Jorge Gutierrez, Cory Jefferson and Jerome Jordan, none of whom have deals that become fully guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date in January, tweets Robert Windrem of Nets Daily. With opening-night rosters finalized, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News also points out that the Nets luxury tax bill of around $35MM for this season, as it stands now, pales in comparison to last season’s mammoth $90MM total (via Twitter).
  • Knicks head coach Derek Fisher indicated that Travis Outlaw was suffering from an Achilles injury that hurt his chances of making the team, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Outlaw was traded to Philly earlier today, opening up a roster spot for Travis Wear, who the Knicks initially had planned to cut and send to the D-League, according to Berman.
  • Sixers signee Malcolm Thomas was set to play in China and was ready to leave on Tuesday before Philly reached out to him over the weekend, notes Tom Moore of Calkins Media (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, Max Rappaport of Sixers.com points out that the careers of Thomas and Sixers coach Brett Brown intersected in San Antonio in 2012, when Thomas appeared in three games with the Spurs. “He’s got a chance — really his first chance, in my opinion — to [get] minutes and [have] a role. He sees we’ve got a bunch of young guys he’s competing with, and he probably sees a lot more daylight than he may have with Utah, the Spurs, or Chicago,” Brown said.

Knicks Waive Arnett Moultrie

October 27 at 3:13pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks have waived Arnett Moultrie, the team announced at the same time at which they confirmed they’ve traded for him (Twitter link). A decision had been due by Friday on a rookie scale team option worth more than $2MM for the 27th overall pick from 2012, but that salary will be nullified unless a team claims Moultrie off waivers. New York will still be on the hook for Moultrie’s 2014/15 salary, worth slightly more than $1.136MM, if another team doesn’t submit a claim.

The 23-year-old Moultrie had been Philadelphia’s longest tenured player before the Sixers shipped him to the Knicks today. Still, he didn’t appear to have much of a future with the team, particularly in light of his drug-related suspension last season. He saw action in only 12 games in 2013/14 after appearing in 47 as a rookie, averaging 3.6 points in 12.4 minutes per game for his career.

New York is set to save about $4.7MM against its luxury tax bill, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com estimates (on Twitter), as a result of putting Moultrie’s salary on the books as opposed to the $3MM in cash that’s guaranteed to Travis Outlaw, who went to the Sixers in today’s trade. The Knicks began today with about $88.9MM in guaranteed salary, well above the $76.829MM tax line, but the league only calculates the tax based on a team’s roster at the end of the regular season. In any case, letting go of Moultrie leaves the Knicks with 15 players, the regular season max, including 13 fully guaranteed contracts and partial guarantees with Samuel Dalembert and Travis Wear.

Knicks Trade Travis Outlaw To Sixers

October 27 at 3:07pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:07pm: It’s the Clippers’ 2018 pick that the Sixers would send to the Knicks if they swap second-round draft choices that year, Philadelphia announced.

3:01pm: The trade is official, the Knicks announced (Twitter link). It’s Outlaw to the Sixers and Moultrie to the Knicks. The Sixers get New York’s 2019 second-round selection and the right to swap 2018 second-rounders with the Knicks, too.

2:33pm: The Knicks and Sixers have an agreement that will send Travis Outlaw to Philadelphia, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Sixers will also receive a future second-round pick as well as the right to swap another second-rounder with New York, according to Stein (Twitter links). Arnett Moultrie goes to New York in the swap, and the Sixers are likely to release Outlaw after the trade becomes official, Stein adds in another tweet.

The Knicks, who’ve been carrying 16 players, had reportedly been poised to release Outlaw. It’s unclear if the plan is to do the same with Moultrie, though Moultrie’s fully guaranteed salary, a little more than $1.136MM, is less than the $3MM that Outlaw is in line for, so the Knicks wouldn’t be on the hook for quite as much dead money if they went that route. New York appears to want to keep rookie undrafted rookie Travis Wear on his nominally guaranteed deal for the 15th and final regular season roster spot. Samuel Dalembert‘s partially guaranteed contract, which the Knicks will almost assuredly keep, and 13 fully guaranteed deals occupy the other 14 spots.

Philadelphia continues a strategy of using its cap space to acquire second-round picks, just as the Sixers did a few days ago in the Marquis Teague trade, last month’s acquisition of Keith Bogans, and numerous other examples since GM Sam Hinkie took control in 2013. Hinkie’s latest move means the Sixers are cutting ties with Moultrie, their longest-tenured player. The Knicks will have until Friday to decide whether to pick up a 2015/16 team option worth more than $2MM on Moultrie if they don’t cut him loose.

Executives from around the league reacted incredulously to the news of the latest Sixers deal, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com, as the team continues to make deals focused on the future rather than the present. Still, Moultrie seemed to have a tenuous grip on a roster spot, at best, suggesting the only cost to Philadelphia is a degree of salary cap flexibility, of which they still have plenty.

New York Rumors: Shumpert, Nets, Carmelo

October 27 at 12:01pm CDT By Chuck Myron

A report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com 10 days ago indicated that the Knicks and Iman Shumpert were in active extension negotiations, but Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com continues to hear that the sides haven’t engaged in any talks, echoing his dispatch from a month ago. The Knicks upset Shumpert when they made him a frequent subject of trade talk last season, Begley writes, and a source close to the swingman tells Begley that Shumpert is in no mood to give New York a hometown discount should he hit restricted free agency next summer. Here’s more from around the Big Apple:

  • Nets GM Billy King confirmed the team will keep Jorge Gutierrez and Jerome Jordan along with the team’s 12 fully guaranteed contracts for opening night, tweets Andy Vasquez of The Record. Presumably, that means Cory Jefferson will stick around on his partially guaranteed deal, too.
  • Carmelo Anthony did his part to refute a report that indicated that marquee free agents don’t want to play with Kobe Bryant, telling reporters that he’d “love” to play with the Lakers legend, as Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com note. Anthony also said that Bryant tried to recruit him to the Lakers this summer, but the Knicks forward can’t hit free agency again until 2018, and Bryant’s under contract through the summer of 2016.
  • Lionel Hollins said he never got to know Grizzlies owner Robert Pera before the team let Hollins go in 2013, as he tells Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The new Nets coach added that timing played a key role in his decision to take the Brooklyn job this summer while the Lakers still had a vacancy. “I felt either one of those jobs would be fine,” Hollins says. “The Lakers still had Kobe and they could change the team at a moment’s notice because they only had three players under contract. So I thought that wasn’t a bad situation and I thought this was a good situation so when it came about, it was one that I was happy and I wasn’t going to wait on the Lakers when I had a job in hand.”