New York Notes: NBA Finals, Gaines, Mitchell, Draft

Personnel decisions by the Knicks and Nets helped turn the Cavaliers and Warriors into the NBA’s best teams, writes Fred Korber of The New York Post. New York gave Cleveland two much-needed pieces in J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in a January 2015 trade that also involved the Thunder. Backup big man Channing Frye was drafted eighth overall by the Knicks in 2005, and reserve forward Derrick Williams spent time in New York. The Knicks were hoping Stephen Curry would fall to them with the eighth pick in the 2009 draft, but Kerber says they didn’t try to trade up because they didn’t believe the Warriors would take him at No. 7. New York has been through 23 point guards since then, and may be looking for another with Derrick Rose headed to free agency. Recent Golden State signee Matt Barnes was also briefly a Knick.

The Cavs’ bench is filled with players who have ties to the Nets. Richard Jefferson spent eight years with the team, including two finals appearances. Kyle Korver was drafted by the Nets in 2003 and shipped to the Sixers. Deron Williams spent nearly four years in Brooklyn before being bought out in 2015. Dahntay Jones signed a training camp deal last year, but was cut in preseason. The Nets sent the 35th pick in the 2012 draft to Golden State along with Troy Murphy in a 2011 deal that brought them Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric. The Warriors used that pick on Draymond Green. Shaun Livingston revived his career with the Nets in 2013/14, but they couldn’t afford to keep him and he signed with Golden State.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • Clarence Gaines Jr. is Phil Jackson’s secret weapon when it comes to draft preparation, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Formerly a scout with the Bulls, the vice president of player personnel was the first executive Jackson hired when he took over as team president. Gaines was a strong advocate for Kristaps Porzingis two years ago and pushed the team to sign Langston Galloway out of the D-League.
  • The Knicks have “more than a casual interest” in Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, Berman writes in a separate story. At 6’3″, Mitchell was an undersized shooting guard for the Cardinals, but he projects as a point guard in the NBA. That’s a position of need for New York, which holds the eighth pick. That may be high for Mitchell, although he is reportedly rising on draft boards, but the Knicks might trade down and take him later in the lottery. New York’s front office requested an interview with Mitchell at the combine, though it wasn’t granted, and hopes to work him out before the draft.
  • Brooklyn, which has about $27MM in cap space available this summer, will see that figure trimmed slightly by the draft, tweets NetsDaily. If the Nets sign, rather than draft-and-stash, all three of their picks, it will cost them about $3.9MM — about $1.7MM for No. 22, $1.3MM for No. 27 and $852K for No. 57.
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