Last year’s Kristaps Porzingis trade was ultimately the “undoing” for Steve Mills in New York, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes that Dennis Smith Jr.‘s inconsistent play for the Knicks didn’t help keep Mills off the hot seat leading up to his February ouster.
As Berman writes, former head coach David Fizdale and assistant Keith Smart were among Smith’s “key allies” within the franchise, and their departures – along with Mills’ – significantly reduce the odds that DSJ has a long-term future with the Knicks. Berman suggests Smith will be a trade candidate during the 2020 offseason, with the Magic among the teams that could have interest. Some teams still believe the former lottery pick can evolve into a solid pro, per Berman.
“He thinks too much about his shot and trying to score the ball,” one NBA scout said of Smith. “He needs to be more of lead pass-first guard and score second. Dennis also need a coach who shows him love and gives him confidence. The quickness and ability to dribble-drive is always there, but he wants to always be the highlight play with traffic dunks.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- While Fizdale was fond of Allonzo Trier, interim head coach Mike Miller preferred to play stronger defenders with more experience, Berman writes in a separate New York Post story. Given Trier’s lack of a regular role in 2019/20, he seems unlikely to stick with the Knicks as a restricted free agent this offseason, according to Berman.
- Mike Vorkunov and John Hollinger of The Athletic take an in-depth look at the Knicks’ future, breaking down the upcoming head coaching search, identifying possible free agent targets, and discussing which of the club’s current players are long-term keepers. Fred VanVleet is one free-agent-to-be singled out by Holliner as a potentially nice fit for the Knicks.
- 2020’s free agent class isn’t a particularly strong one, but there will be some intriguing players available if the Knicks want to try to make a splash, writes Steve Popper of Newsday.
- Rafael Canton of SNY.tv explores whether the Knicks’ financial flexibility could give them a chance to be in better position that the Nets three years from now.