New York Notes: Dolan, Durant, Russell, Nets

With Kristaps Porzingis sidelined due to his ACL tear, the Knicks have lacked star power this season, something owner James Dolan observed this week, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News details. Drawing a line between the Knicks and the other team he owns – the NHL’s New York Rangers – Dolan suggested that his NBA club would “probably be competing for a playoff spot” if it featured a star player like Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Instead, the 10-30 Knicks are just two games away from having the NBA’s worst record. Although New York has been focusing on developing its young players at the expense of some veterans’ playing time, Dolan dismissed the idea that he’s in favor of tanking, per Bondy.

“You have responsibility to the fans,” Dolan said. “Fans pay for tickets and they deserve (the) best game you can give them. That’s probably No. 1. But when you go in and tell a team, even if you’re just telling the coach, to lose the game, you’re dispiriting your team. That hurts more than getting a better draft pick helps. It’s hard to reignite the spirit of the team.”

While Dolan publicly disavowed the idea of tanking, he did acknowledge that he hears from plenty of Knicks fans who want the team to lose in order to have a chance to draft “this kid out of Duke.” NBA executives generally aren’t permitted to publicly comment on college underclassmen, but the league isn’t expected to take action against Dolan for his oblique reference to top prospect Zion Williamson, tweets Bondy.

Let’s round up a few more items on the NBA’s two New York clubs…

  • Kevin Durant didn’t offer up any juicy comments today when he was grilled by New York reporters about the idea of joining the Knicks in free agency later this year, but he also didn’t seem to mind the back-and-forth, Bondy writes in a separate Daily News story. “I wish it was the other way where it was totally about the game, but I get it,” Durant said. “Our league has grown so much in popularity. The sexy thing is what happens in the summer moreso than what happens in the season – playoffs and free agency is the big thing now. I get it.”
  • After starting his 41st game of the season on Monday, Nets guard D’Angelo Russell has officially met the “starter criteria” for restricted free agents, as Bobby Marks of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter). That means that Russell’s projected qualifying offer ($9.16MM) and cap hold ($21.06MM) for this summer will remain unchanged — both would have been reduced if he hadn’t started at least 41 games or played 2,000 minutes this season.
  • Hamstrung for years by their infamous trade with the Celtics, the Nets aren’t in the same class as the C’s, who comfortably beat them on Monday, but Brooklyn’s future looks much brighter than it once did, says Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com.
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5 thoughts on “New York Notes: Dolan, Durant, Russell, Nets

  1. Z-A

    How about trading for Melo lol?

    Melo, Knight, Chriss + a future 1st w/protections that turns into (2) 2s for Lee, Thomas, and Burke?

    Let Melo just iso ball out. Frees up an additional 19M for next year. Puts the Knicks at 41M this offseason. Enough to add 2 max players and a role player. I would try to dump Ntilikina too and free up additional money for a legitimate role player.

    Realistically they could land one or two of the elite players in Kyrie, Kemba, Kawhi, Boogie, Butler.

    If they landed one of the above, they could add a Marc Gasol, Mirotic, Harris, Middleton, Rozier, Russell, Brogdon, Rubio.

    Take that plus a Top-4/5 pick (most likely Cam Reddish/Porter/Morant).

    That sounds like a decent plan and for Houston… it actually helps them b/c all 3 of those guys would be solid rotation pieces.

    • bigguccisosa300

      I don’t think Jontay is gonna go that early in the draft with that knee

    • This trade would reduce the Knicks’ cap space next summer, as Knight makes almost 3 mm more than Lee, and Thomas’ contract is NG (maybe a 1 mm gtee).

      Right now, they’re at a little over 65 mm with KP’s cap hold (17.1), Noah’s stretch amount (6.4), THJ (18.2), Lee (12.8), FN (4.8), Knox (4.4) and MR (1.6). Keeping Trier (3.6), Dotson (1.6) and the 1st rounder (5 +) gets it to about 76 mm. Close enough to get 1 max guy in the door with some tinkering, but nothing more than that.

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