The point guard position remains a priority for the Knicks both in the short and long term, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who says that Lonzo Ball is higher on president of basketball operations Leon Rose‘s wish list than Victor Oladipo.
The odds of making a trade for Ball look slimmer now than they did a month or two ago. The former No. 2 overall pick has played well, and Will Guillory of The Athletic says he’d “really be shocked” if the 23-year-old doesn’t remain in New Orleans at least through the trade deadline. Still, Ball’s restricted free agency looms, putting the Pelicans in a tough spot.
As John Hollinger of The Athletic notes in his conversation with Guillory, New Orleans is only about $20MM away from next season’s projected tax line, so accommodating a lucrative new deal for Ball will be a challenge, especially if the team also wants to re-sign Josh Hart. According to Berman, the Knicks – who will have plenty of cap room available this summer – would be “heavily on Ball’s radar” in restricted free agency.
Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York-based teams:
- The Knicks still aren’t sure exactly when Derrick Rose will clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to head coach Tom Thibodeau. “He’s feeling a lot better,” Thibodeau said, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). “… As soon as he can get back on the court we can let everyone know, but you just gotta follow the protocol.”
- The Nets will be missing two of their stars for Wednesday’s game in Indianapolis, as Kyrie Irving (right groin soreness) has been ruled out (Twitter link). Kevin Durant (hamstring) also remains on the shelf, and Blake Griffin (injury management) also hasn’t been given the green light to make his Brooklyn debut.
- As Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes, the Nets are looking forward to an emotional reunion on Wednesday with Pacers guard Caris LeVert, who has had an eventful two months since being traded to Indiana. LeVert underwent surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer, but is already back on the court for the Pacers. “We’re really proud that Caris is returning to play here,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “He’s incredibly well-loved in this organization, a world-class human being, a terrific basketball player. There’s no doubt everyone here is rooting for him.”