Luke Kornet is making a strong push for a new contract during his late-season audition with the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Coach David Fizdale has benched veteran center DeAndre Jordan to take a longer look at rookie Mitchell Robinson alongside Kornet, who will be a free agent this summer. They will be starting for the rest of the season as management evaluates how well they fit together.
Kornet responded to the opportunity with 17 points against the Heat, followed by a career-high 24 against the Bulls. Fizdale has called him the smartest player on the team when it comes to ball movement and helping his teammates on defense.
“They have chemistry together,’’ Fizdale said of the Kornet-Robinson pairing. “Luke stretches the floor for us. Mitch puts pressure on the rim. Both when they get the ball in their hands, they’re looking to get down the floor and get other people involved.”
There’s more out of New York:
- Two-way point guard Kadeem Allen would also be getting a chance to showcase his talents if he hadn’t suffered a concussion Monday, Berman notes in a separate story. Allen was a two-way player with the Celtics last season and reportedly turned down an offer to stay in Boston because he believed the Knicks provided a better opportunity. Berman states that scouts from other teams have shown up since the All-Star break to get a look at Allen. He adds that Fizdale has included Allen in discussions of the team’s future and seems to prefer him to Frank Ntilikina.
- Emmanuel Mudiay started his 41st game Monday, meeting starter criteria and making him eligible for a $5.75MM qualifying offer, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Knicks have a June 29 deadline to make the offer. His $12.88MM cap hold will not change.
- Former Knick Charles Oakley is predicting Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will be the next owner of the team, tweets Bill Simmons of the Ringer. Oakley, who has feuded with current owner James Dolan, made the surprising statement during the filming of a “Tough Chef” segment. Oakley also predicts New York will miss out on free agent targets Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and will sign Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler instead.