Atlantic Notes: Howard, Celtics, Kurucs, Knicks

Former Lakers center Dwight Howard was asked this week about whether impending free agent Kawhi Leonard should consider the team in free agency, with Howard quickly shutting down the idea in favor of Leonard’s current situation in Toronto.

“I don’t know if [the Lakers] are the draw anymore,” Howard said Thursday on ‘First Things First’ on Fox Sports 1, as relayed by Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I think now guys understand that in the era that we live in, the social media age, you can play anywhere and get attention.”

Howard, who was traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, spent just one tumultuous season in Los Angeles and quickly became disliked by many fans of the organization. He believes that Leonard should prioritize re-signing with the Raptors when free agency opens on June 30.

“To me, I think he should stay in Toronto,” Howard said. “Because he took the team to the Finals. If he wins, why would he go anywhere else?”

Along with Leonard, the Raptors also have the situations of Danny Green (unrestricted) and Marc Gasol ($25.6MM player option) to address this summer. Leonard has long been linked to the Clippers as a free-agent target, but Toronto may have the slight advantage coming off their first NBA championship.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • The Celtics’ plans have been altered in the wake of the Lakers-Pelicans trade for Anthony Davis, Jay King of The Athletic writes. Boston suddenly has an unclear future, dominated by the fact that star guard Kyrie Irving could leave the team in free agency and sign elsewhere. The team is also awaiting a decision from Al Horford, who must inform the franchise of whether he plans to exercise his $30.1MM player option for the 2019/20 season.
  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs is planning on playing summer league with the team, he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “My focus this summer is just working on my game, my all-around game, my handle, my shot, defense, rebounding, physicality for sure,” Kurucs said. “Everything, basically, because I will need them next season.” Kurucs is coming off a rookie season where he averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in 63 games.
  • Aside from the Warriors themselves, the Knicks are one of the biggest losers from Golden State’s strange NBA Finals run, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Major injuries to potential targets Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have hurt the potential of the 2019 free agent class, leaving some to wonder what kind of contracts teams will offer the two All-Star players on the open market. New York still hasn’t backed away from the idea of signing Durant to a four-year, $141MM deal if he opts out from his final season in Golden State, according to Berman.
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23 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Howard, Celtics, Kurucs, Knicks

  1. Bryzzo2016

    Knicks just can’t catch a break. They’ve been the laughing stock of the NBA since the last time they were actually competitive, when Jordan&Co. slapped them around in the 90’s. I think the NBA Is better when the largest market in the league is at least competitive. Now, they aren’t even the most desirable location in their own city with FAs rumored to prefer the F’n Nets over them. WOW!

    • Jason Lancaster

      The only constant in the Knicks terrible record the last 20+ years is Dolan. The NBA needs to “encourage” him to sell.

  2. acarneglia

    Knicks dream offseason fell apart. Lose the lottery and won’t get Zion. Anthony Davis gets traded to LA. KD tears his Achilles. Kyrie looks destined for Brooklyn. Kawhi wins title in Toronto. Kemba seems likely to show Charlotte loyalty or join LBJ and AD in LA

  3. We’ll see.

    We MUST do simple things:

    1-ALL IN in kawhi. At 90% he’ll say no. If he says Yes, take jimmy and Rubio or collison and go with him/dsj+Frank(?)+jimmy+kawhi+Knox+Barrett+Robinson. Not so bad…

    If he says no, 90%, take KD and take other crabbes intorno league, so expiring albatross+sweeteners… Next year we’ll have all the young guns+lottery pick+other picks+KD and space

    • 4Quarters

      Options.

      I like both of those strategies if those players say yes.

      The only bad one is blowing the cap space on mid-tier guys, which I don’t see Perry & Co. doing.

  4. 4Quarters

    So, the Knicks can build around a young core. The ‘proper’ way was always the clear plan 1-A.

    Let the young talent continue developing (Knox looked like a diff person on the floor last couple weeks of the season). Lobinson is a revelation – 2.4 blk/g in 20 mins per, as a rookie…? Thats ridiculous. Plus he cut his fouls down mid-season–which is rare to see; shows attention to detail and to the game plan (had rookie mistakes too, but the effort to eradicate them was visible). He just needs to gain a bit more strength to attack the defensive boards a bit more aggressively – the route to success is clear. Just go get it my guy.

    Iso Zo is the perfect weapon off the bench if he gains some game-to-game consistency. The #3 pick is either Barrett or Ja…

    I get a kick out of the keyboard pundits continuing the narrative of the Knicks are lost, their offseason fell apart, etc. You don’t load up on 7 first round picks in 5 years if all of your eggs are in the KD/Kyrie basket.

    Guess it’s cool to parrot what everyone else is saying tho..

    • hiflew

      Don’t you love it when people insult a group of people for doing something while they are doing that exact same thing? Appreciate your input Mr. Keyboard Pundit. No need for the insults.

      That being said, I agree with you that everyone is going a little overboard with how this affects the Knicks. Or rather they went a little overboard before. People just took it for granted that the Knicks would get the #1 pick even though they only had a 14% chance at it. People just took it for granted that KD/Kyrie was coming and NY just needed to find a third star to dominate. In reality, thy will end up with a couple of overpaid second tier guys to pair with their young guys and will need attach assets to trade them in a year or two.

    • LordBanana

      I mean they traded their best player for cap space, their offseason will be judged on how they use that cap space.

  5. Jason Lancaster

    Knicks should commit to building through the draft. Use their cap space to help other teams unload contracts in exchange for picks and young players. Hire the best player development coaches. Use free agency to bring in veterans who can push the rookies and also lead.

    NY’s problem is that they’re never interested in taking the long way. They just want to shortcut to greatness. Unless they get really lucky in the draft, that’s not going to happen.

    • hiflew

      That shortcut to greatness is used mainly because they are in New York. No one will accept the Yankees to ever have to do a full tear down rebuild where they are picking in the top 5 for several years. People though the sky was falling when they were “only” winning 85 games a year for a couple of years. This new kid at QB for the Giants had better be good quickly or it won’t be pretty.

      Look at Kevin Knox. He was the youngest rookie in the league last season and started out strong. People were saying he was going to lead the team to greatness again. Then he hit the rookie wall and had a decent, but not great, season. Now people are talking about him as if he is a major bust and they just need to get rid of him. The kid is still a teenager for 2 more months. New Yorkers do not want to wait for anything.

  6. hoosierhysteria

    On Father’s Day…dhoward…father by how many women….and the laziest guy ever telling the hardest working KL what he should do….really? Anybody that puts a microphone in front of that loser…. is an idiot.

  7. 22Leo

    Remember the last time anyone cared about what Dwight Howard had to say? Neither do I.

  8. Norm Chouinard

    As it stands the Knicks project to have 0 players who would start on a playoff team in 2019-2020. Knox was one of the worst players in the league by metrics. Mitchell is extremely one dimentional and vulnerable defending low post guys. The roster is pretty much loaded with good 2nd unit guys who are exposed starting. There is a chance that several could improve but most likely outcome is that they are what they are. The defense is a work in progress to put it nicely. The outlook this summer is that they will need to overpay to attract any respectable free agent. They might as well take on bad 2020 contracts and tank again to see what they have going into 2020-2021. On the positive side, their amateur scouts are pretty good and I am looking forward to seeing who they get at #55.

    • Z-A

      Developing role players isnt a Bad thing. They have to hit on RJ or Ja neither can be a bust or they need to trade for a proven guy. Personally it would make more sense to draft RJ and bring in 2 vets, the most obvious being KD. But youd have to find a 2nd max guy that’s willing to waste a season. If they overpay Boogie he’d come.

  9. Guest617

    knicks and draymond green is next yrs blockbuster – add another chip and things be lookn good

  10. Guest617

    dwight howard cares about social media than winning #fact what a waste of talent

  11. captainsalty

    Dwight bashing Lakers because he didn’t have what it takes to win in LA…guess what Dwight, the Lakers always have and always will be a “draw” no matter what some bitter old Faker has to say

  12. dlevin11

    If Celtics looking for a big man up front maybe they should think about adding Julius Randle as unrestricted free agent?

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