New York Notes: Kanter, Lee, Russell, Allen

Despite starting the season with four centers, that could become a position of need for the Knicks this summer, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Enes Kanter has signed with Mark Bartelstein, one of the NBA’s most powerful agents, as he ponders whether to opt out of an $18.6MM salary for next season, adds Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Backup center Kyle O’Quinn has a $4.3MM opt out that he is expected to exercise, as he recently expressed a desire to join a playoff contender. Joakim Noah is on an extended leave of absence from the team, and Willy Hernangomez has already been traded to the Hornets. Berman expects the Knicks to use the stretch provision on Noah once September 1 arrives to open up future cap space.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Trade rumors have surrounded veteran Courtney Lee, but he hopes to remain with the Knicks, relays Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Lee doesn’t fit in with the youth movement in New York and may not have a future spot in a crowded backcourt. “All I can control is what I can control,” Lee said. “And that’s showing up here and being a professional and continuing to do the things I’ve been doing, encouraging and helping the young guys. And then when Coach calls my name, going out there and playing hard.”
  • Lee also came to the defense of embattled coach Jeff Hornacek, Iseman adds, blaming injuries for a disappointing season. The Knicks were 11-10 when Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a stress injury to his left leg in late November, and Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL shortly after Hardaway returned. “For what, injuries?” Lee responded when asked about Hornacek. “For Tim having a stress fracture? For KP going down? How do you blame coach for that?”
  • D’Angelo Russell understands the need to improve after mixed results in his first season with the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Russell averaged 15.4 points and 5.1 assists, but missed 32 games after knee surgery and did little to calm fears about his defense. “Yeah, it could be better. I think it’s just learning. I’m feeling it out,” said Russell, who will be eligible for an extension this summer. “Everything I’m doing is new, playing with new coaches, new teammates. Everything is new. So I think it’s a feeling-it-out type deal with me, so it could always be better.”
  • Rookie center Jarrett Allen has been a pleasant surprise for the Nets, but coach Kenny Atkinson wants him to improve as a rebounder, Lewis notes in a separate story. Allen averages 5.3 boards per night, which ranks 46th among centers.
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6 thoughts on “New York Notes: Kanter, Lee, Russell, Allen

  1. H.Henderson

    The Knicks should not be worried about Kanter or O’Quinn possibly leaving. If they opt out let them walk. Kanter has been solid but the Knicks would be a better defensive team with KP playing center. He was the league leader in blocks before his season ending injury, while defending mostly stretch fours. Just imagine what KP could do if he were the Knicks primary center. Also the Knicks have Kornet, whom fits their youth movement core.

    As for Lee, I’ll understand if he was added to a trade package if it meant the Knicks could get another first round pick for this year or next year. Although I’d prefer he wasn’t traded at all. To solve the log jam at the guard position the Knicks need to let Baker and Dotson go, and try to trade away Ntilikina or Mudiay. I’m not hating on either player. They are both intriguing pieces but neither have been really productive. Mudiay has a better offensive attack while Ntilikina has the better defense.

    Hopefully the Knicks roster would look something like this at the start of next season:

    Starting five-
    Burke, Hardaway, M. Bridges(I really like this kids hustle), Beasley, Porzingis.

    Bench-
    Ntilikina, Lee, Thomas, some young stretch four, O’Quinn/Kornet.

    The Knicks aren’t far away from returning to playoff contention.

    • wdwyer

      I think they should go small with Frank at the 2 with hardaway and bridges at the 3 and 4. I think Beasley is a perfect 6th man, really good scorer not great defense. Frank is too good of a defender to not start him. I think his offense will develop.

  2. H.Henderson

    Mikal Bridges not Miles Bridges. Haha and I’m not sure I’m spelling their last names correctly.

  3. LeonRaymond Mitchell

    Somebody made a comment about Frank being Michael Cooper 2.0 and I agree they better keep him. he just needs one more season to be lethal 2 way player. Thomas needs to go along with Lee, there is much better out there. and there will be a glut of Centers to choose from this off season! with the Idiot Coach we had playing THJ out of position the entire season that hole will be plugged and Hornacek gone for good -goodbye (Door slam)

    • H.Henderson

      There are better players out there but none that we can steal or will be available this summer. 2019 offseason there will be a plentiful selection available. My point being is that if you can’t get anything worth value for Lee, apply patience for next summer.

    • padam

      That was me regarding the Michael Cooper comparison/comment. I see Ntilikina as being that player who comes off the bench and shuts down the other teams scorer at either PG, SG or SF. The occasional score here and there, maybe good for 10ppg. Every team needs a player like that. Just wish he was more.

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