Atlantic Notes: MKG, Spellman, Sixers, Nets, Durant

The Knicks have 15 players with guaranteed salaries for the 2020/21 season, which means that – on paper – their roster for the regular season appears set. However, if the team wants to hang onto veteran forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, whose deal isn’t guaranteed, one of those 15 others will have to be traded or released.

“You know who (Kidd-Gilchrist) is and he’s trying to find a way onto the roster,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said over the weekend, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Michael’s always been a terrific competitor. Health comes first, we want him healthy and then we’ll go from there.”

It’s not clear yet whether the Knicks are committed to getting Kidd-Gilchrist – who has missed the first two preseason games with an illness – onto the regular season roster. But if he makes the team, Omari Spellman appears to be a candidate to be waived to make room, sources tell Bondy.

Spellman was dealt to New York last month along with Jacob Evans and a second-round pick in exchange for Ed Davis. That trade appeared to be mostly about the future draft pick for the Knicks, who have already cut Evans.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic liked the Sixers‘ offseason moves, which created better fits on the roster while giving the team more long-term cap flexibility. However, he still wants to see proof that the team can be more than the sum of its parts rather than less, as it was last season.
  • With a left knee contusion sidelining Caris LeVert for the Nets‘ preseason opener on Sunday, Spencer Dinwiddie got the start in his place. Head coach Steve Nash isn’t sure whether or not that arrangement might become permanent, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “Caris is a starter. Will he start for us? I’m not sure,” Nash said. “He’s so good with the ball in his hands. There’s a case to be made that he plays that (Manu) Ginobili role, where he’s clearly a starter. Manu played in All-Star games, started on the bench, ran the second unit and closed games.”
  • Kyrie Irving‘s return and Kevin Durant‘s debut for the Nets on Sunday couldn’t have gone much better, says Lewis in a separate New York Post story. While Durant didn’t quite look like peak KD, he score 15 points in 24 minutes and said after the game that he felt healthy, calling it a “good first step.”
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