The Knicks officially announced today that they’re going to own a D-League team in White Plains, New York starting next season. The expansion squad will be the D-League’s 18th franchise. The Knicks on Friday confirmed a report from late last month that they were ending their relationship with the Erie BayHawks and planning to set up a team in Westchester County, where White Plains is located.
The Magic may replace the Knicks in Erie, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel suggests, noting that the Magic are seeking a one-to-one affiliation in which they would run the basketball operations of a D-League club but leave the business side to local ownership (Twitter links). Orlando is sharing the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with five other NBA teams this year.
The Knicks become the seventh NBA team to own a D-League affiliate outright, while several others have the sort of “hybrid” partnerships the Magic want to arrange for next season. The Timberwolves are investigating the possibility of buying a D-League team, too, notes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston will serve as the White Plains D-League club’s GM, so it appears he’ll remain with the organization regardless of whether Phil Jackson joins the Knicks as an executive.
The new affiliate of the Knicks will play at the Westchester County Center, about 30 miles north of New York City. The Knicks also have their training and practice facility in Westchester County, so it appears the Knicks plan to make heavy use of D-League assignments in the future. This year, they’ve only made five, as our D-League assignment/recall log shows.
Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke with the Sixers marketing firm that has been tasked with selling Philly fans optimism in the midst of a miserable season. The “Together We Build” campaign has tried to convince fans that enduring short term on-the-court sacrifices will make future, more competitive Sixers rosters even more sweet. The message hasn’t landed with many fans, as attendance has dropped by more than 3,000 per game compared to last year. Here’s more from around the East:
- Sixers coach Brett Brown said his gut feeling is that Jason Richardson will not play this year, he tells Christopher A. Vito of The Delaware County Daily Times (via Twitter). Richardson has been out all season while recovering from knee surgery, and owns a player option for next year at $6.6MM.
- Magic point guard Ronnie Price has embraced his role as a veteran mentor to younger players in Orlando, he tells John Denton on the team’s site. “I think it is part of my responsibility and part of my respecting the game and respecting the people who mentored me when I was a rookie and a young guy in this league. I would be selfish to not try to mentor some of these guys and share what I’ve learned in this league.” The 30-year-old has another $1.3MM non-guaranteed year left on his contract, but is aware that his playing career could be over soon. “I like my role right now as a player and I still think of myself as a player. What I do as far as talking to guys on and off the court, that just comes naturally to me. I don’t consider myself a player-coach or anything like that; I love the game of basketball so I know that I will always be around the game.”
- In a 5-on-5 post for ESPN, J.A. Adande, Chris Broussard, Israel Gutierrez, Marc Stein, and Ethan Sherwood Strauss weigh in on whether stars for the Heat and Knicks will become free agents this off-season. Their consensus is that LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade will opt out of their player options this off-season.
FRIDAY, 8:34am: The signing is official, according to a press release from the team.
TUESDAY, 12:24pm: The team will indeed sign Dedmon to a second 10-day deal, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). His first contract will expire at the end of Thursday.
MONDAY, 7:55am: The Magic are expected to re-sign center Dewayne Dedmon to a second 10-day deal, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports amid his weekly power rankings. The undrafted rookie has played in just one game for a total of three minutes so far for Orlando after inking with the team nearly a week ago, but it appears the Magic are confident they can find more time for him. It’s unclear if the Magic have similar plans with Adonis Thomas, who signed a 10-day contract with the team at the same time Dedmon did.
The 24-year-old former USC Trojan is already on his third NBA team after stints with the Warriors and Sixers earlier this season. A second 10-day contract would be Dedmon’s fourth overall this year, as our 10-Day Tracker shows. He’s averaged 2.6 points in 9.9 minutes over 16 NBA appearances in 2013/14. The 7-footer has been impressive so far on the boards, notching 11.5 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Dedmon, a client of Michael Silverman, has also spent 15 games in the D-League this year, posting averages of 15.2 PPG and 13.6 RPG in 33.7 MPG. The Magic have just 12 guaranteed contracts, affording them plenty of flexibility to keep him for the season if they choose to do so once Dedmon’s second 10-day pact runs out.
FRIDAY, 8:32am: The team has officially announced the deal, via press release.
TUESDAY, 12:26pm: The Magic will re-sign Adonis Thomas to a second 10-day contract, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (on Twitter). The first 10-day pact Thomas signed with the team expires at the end of Thursday. The team brought Thomas and Dewayne Dedmon aboard shortly after waiving Glen Davis.
The 20-year-old small forward has played a total of just 13 minutes over two games in his stint with the Magic so far, but it appears he did enough in the D-League this season to convince Orlando to hold on to him for a while longer. The former Memphis Tiger took 3.1 three-pointers per game and made 46.9% of them in 26 contests with the Springfield Armor, the affiliate of the Nets. Brooklyn retained his D-League rights after he spent a brief time with the big club in the preseason, but Thomas was free to sign with any NBA team after the Nets cut him from their NBA roster before opening night.
Dedmon is set to receive a second 10-day pact, too. Orlando is only carrying 12 guaranteed contracts, so unless the team wants to continue cycling through players on 10-day deals, either Dedmon or Thomas, and maybe both, are in line to receive contracts for the rest of the season once their second 10 days are up.
Geroge Willis of The New York Post thinks the Knicks don’t appreciate their own when evaluating coaching candidates, citing Mark Jackson as the latest in overlooked candidates with experience within the franchise. Mike D’Antoni was hired over Jackson in 2008, but things have ended up decidedly better for the Warriors–where Jackson landed–than the Knicks since then. Willis points out that Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks, Doc Rivers, Michael Malone, and Steve Clifford all had connections to the Knicks before thriving elsewhere. Patrick Ewing is a former Knicks-great that has long been looking for a head coaching opportunity; Willis wouldn’t be surprised if he proves himself away from Madison Square Garden. Let’s take a look around the East:
- David Lee has his eye on the Knicks cap situation for 2016, the summer Lee will become a free agent, a person familiar with his thinking tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Lee says he has no hard feelings over the Knicks letting him walk as a free agent while they pursued LeBron James in 2010. ““What happened, happened. I don’t look back with any negative thoughts on my career in New York. I wish we could have won more games,” says Lee. ”But we had a lot of changing pieces that were traded away for that ultimate push for the free-agency year. My only regret is we didn’t win more, but I love the city and loved my time here.‘’
- Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel wonders whether the increasingly bleak Knicks environment could motivate Carmelo Anthony to take a pay cut and/or leave the storied franchise to chase a title elsewhere. While it once seemed Anthony was destined to finish his career in New York, Winderman thinks the precedent set by LeBron James and Dwight Howard in recent years is no longer as far fetched for last season’s scoring leader.
- NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike Show” that the felony charges looming over Knicks guard Raymond Felton create an image problem for the league (transcription via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com).
- Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel [subscription only] looks forward to the summer of 2016, when the Magic will have cap room and, ideally, a developing young talent-base that could attract superstar free agents like Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rajon Rondo, or valuable restricted free agents like Klay Thompson, Reggie Jackson, and Kawhi Leonard.
LeBron James is impressed with Carmelo Anthony‘s willingness to take less money with the Knicks in order to get more talent around him in New York, he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. “What I got out of it is, he wants to win,’’ James said. “Everyone says they want to win, but that’s what it’s about.’’ James, who spurned New York for the Heat in “The Decision” four summers ago, made it clear that he was rooting for Anthony, and not the Knicks: “I don’t worry about their franchise. I worry about Carmelo Anthony. I always want him to win and succeed. Obviously he’s been playing great basketball. I don’t like seeing him lose like they’ve been losing, but I really don’t care about the franchise.’’ Here’s more from the team that continues to make headlines for its struggles:
- Coach Mike Woodson‘s next three to five games could be another perilous stretch, a source tells Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). The source believes that owner Jim Dolan could make a knee-jerk firing if it appears New York is truly, finally out of playoff contention soon.
- The Knicks tried to trade Raymond Felton to the Magic for Jameer Nelson before the trade deadline, per John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. The decision by Orlando to turn down the offer made sense at the time, but it looks even better now considering Felton’s recent legal troubles.
- Harvey Araton of The New York Times thinks that the failures and foibles of the Knicks supporting cast around Anthony are drawing blame away from Anthony and owner Jim Dolan, whom Araton believes are equally at fault for the team’s struggles this year. Araton cites the 2011 trade for ‘Melo that stripped the Knicks of valuable assets and ‘Melo’s failure to develop into a player who makes his teammates better as reasons the Knicks haven’t developed into contenders.
The Knicks are planning to create their own D-League affiliate in White Plains next year, replacing the hybrid arrangement they currently have with the Erie BayHawks, according to Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. If approved by the league, the five-year proposal would give the Knicks complete control over both basketball and business operations with the new affiliate. They only control basketball development with the BayHawks. Here’s more from the D-League:
- The Magic are in talks with a current D-League team to establish a one-to-one hybrid relationship as early as next season, Orlando CEO Alex Martins tells Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando currently shares an affiliation with five other NBA teams. Martins wouldn’t name which team is the potential affiliate, but the Erie BayHawks are a possibility, since the Knicks appear to be moving on.
- D-League president Dan Reed tells Robbins the D-League is looking at expanding soon, likely prioritizing the Northeast region of the country: “We will expand relatively soon, but it will be a measured expansion. We’re not going to grow by 13 teams in a year or two. Our mantra is ‘steady, sustainable growth.’ But we are at the point where it’s time to grow the league based on the stability of the league and the interest that we’re seeing out in the markets.”
- The Wizards have assigned rookie Glen Rice, Jr. to the D-League for a second time this season, the team announced.
- The Warriors D-League affiliate traded Scott Machado to the Blazers affiliate in exchange for the rights to Justin Holiday, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Holiday’s only NBA action to this point was in nine games with the Sixers last year alongside his brother Jrue. Machado also has limited time in the NBA so far in his career, averaging just 3.5 minutes over six games with the Rockets last year.
- Gino Pilato of D-League Digest takes a look at some players who have received NBA contracts this season after playing with the Rockets D-League affiliate Rio Grand Valley Vipers. The team uses an extreme run-and-gun system that outpaces the already fast-paced D-League, and some have wondered whether the system is beneficial to the developing players beyond inflating their possessions and stats. James Johnson, Troy Daniels, and Chris Johnson have all inked NBA deals after spending time with the Vipers in 2013/14.
FEBRUARY 25TH: Orlando has made the signing official, the team announced.
FEBRUARY 21ST: The Magic are expected to sign Dewayne Dedmon to a 10-day contract on Monday, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Orlando reportedly has an agreement to sign Adonis Thomas the same day, and there’s room for both, since the Magic are at 12 players after today’s buyout agreement with Glen Davis. Dedmon had wanted to sign long-term with the Sixers, according to Spears, but Philadelphia opted not to give him another deal after signing him to a pair of 10-day contracts.
Orlando will be Dedmon’s third NBA stop this season. He was with the Warriors for camp, and Golden State re-signed him in November before cutting him once more a couple of weeks later. Dedmon has also seen action with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, both on assignment and after Golden State let go of his NBA rights. The center has put up 15.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in the D-League this season.
The Michael Silverman client has seen action in 15 NBA games as an undrafted rookie out of USC, notching 2.5 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 10.4 minutes per contest.
FEBRUARY 25TH: The team has officially announced the deal, via press release.
FEBRUARY 21ST: The Magic will sign D-Leaguer Adonis Thomas, his agent tells L. Jason Smith of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). It’ll be a 10-day deal, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Orlando is at 12 players after waiving Glen Davis earlier today, meaning the team has two weeks to find a 13th man. The signing of Thomas will take place Monday, according to both Smith and Robbins (on Twitter).
Thomas spent time with both the Hawks and Nets in camp this fall after going undrafted out of the University of Memphis this past summer. The Nets kept his D-League rights for their affiliate, the Springfield Armor, and he’s averaged 16.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 35.1 per game for them.
Orlando plays five games from Monday through March 5th, when the small forward’s 10-day deal would expire. Thomas is a client of Relativity Sports, as our Agency Database shows.
The Hawks put in a call last week to Obradoiro of Spain about Mike Muscala, whose NBA rights belong to Atlanta, reports Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. Still, the Hawks made no offer for the 44th overall pick from the 2013 draft, Sierra notes, adding that Obradoiro has rejected entreaties from other European clubs for the center from Bucknell (Twitter links). More out of the Southeast..
- Tyrus Thomas is not an option for the Wizards due to a back injury, a person close to the situation tells J. Michael of CSNWashington.com (on Twitter). Besides, it looks like Washington has their eye on another 2013 amnesty victim in Drew Gooden.
- Mario Chalmers, a free agent this summer, says that he’s more comfortable than ever with the Heat, writes Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel.
- A fun fact courtesy of Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (on Twitter): the Magic haven’t signed anyone to a 10-day contract since the team signed Seton Hall product Andre Barrett on March 31, 2005.