Knicks Notes: Noel, Payne, Grimes, Murphy

Nerlens Noel was a revelation for the Knicks this season. Signed to a one-year, $5MM deal to back up Mitchell Robinson, Noel stepped up to fill the starting spot for a majority of the season after multiple injuries kept Robinson out of the lineup, and was one of the best defensive centers in the league during that time.

Now, Noel is hitting unrestricted free agency once again and he spoke to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype about the decision he’ll face.

Whether it’s a team that has or hasn’t been to the playoffs, I just want to help the team overall with my playing style and wreaking havoc defensively and catching lobs,” Noel said. “It’s about finding the right fit. Guard play that can help a big man excel. Small things like that I think will be an ideal fit.

Scotto writes that Noel could potentially double his 2020/21 earnings next year in whatever deal he signs. The Hornets, Mavericks, Nets and Raptors have been rumored to have interest in his services.

We have more news and notes on the Knicks:

  • Cameron Payne has had a remarkable last season-and-a-half for the Suns, which could put him in a position to secure a $10MM+ deal in this summer’s free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks, who are looking for answers at point guard and will have the most cap room of any team, could be a suitor for Payne, Berman writes. If Chris Paul stays in Phoenix, it will be difficult financially for the Suns to retain Payne.
  • The Knicks are considering Quentin Grimes with one of their two first-round picks, writes Berman in a separate article. The 6’4″ guard’s stock has risen considerably over the most recent season and the pre-draft process, and the Knicks were reportedly “wowed” by his combination of shot-making and defense during workouts.
  • Berman writes that the team also worked out Virginia’s Trey Murphy III on Tuesday. Murphy isn’t considered a high-ceiling prospect, but he fits head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s edict of getting “wings and guys who can shoot.” Berman reports that Oregon’s Chris Duarte is under consideration as well, and that the Lakers, picking one slot after the Knicks, have also shown interest in Murphy.
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