Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Jeffries, Raptors, Boucher, Dedmon

Since trading away three players in their deal for Josh Hart at this month’s trade deadline, the Knicks have been carrying just 13 players on standard contracts. The NBA-mandated minimum is technically 14, but teams are permitted to be below that minimum for up to two weeks at a time.

It has been nine days since the trade deadline, meaning New York has five more days to fill at least one of its two open roster spots. And according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, one contender to claim one of the Knicks’ roster openings is two-way player DaQuan Jeffries.

Jeffries isn’t a prototypical candidate for a promotion from a two-way contract. Not only has he not been a part of the Knicks’ rotation so far this season — he hasn’t even appeared in a single game at the NBA level since signing his two-way deal in November.

However, the 25-year-old swingman has had a strong season in the G League for New York’s affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. In 32 total games (Showcase Cup and regular season), he has averaged 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks on .485/.328/.691 shooting in 33.5 minutes per contest. If there aren’t any free agents who appeal to the Knicks, it might make sense to lock up Jeffries to a team-friendly deal that includes non-guaranteed money beyond this season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While the Raptors‘ trade deadline may have been quieter than widely expected, Toronto’s front office would push back on the notion that the team didn’t do anything “big” last week, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As Smith explains, the Raptors believed they had three pressing needs (size, depth, and shooting) and addressed two of them (size and depth) with their acquisition of Jakob Poeltl.
  • Within the same story, Smith notes that the Raptors may have a tough time avoiding the luxury tax next season if they’re intent on re-signing Poeltl, Gary Trent Jr., and Fred VanVleet. According to Smith, the club believes it could move off Otto Porter Jr.‘s guaranteed $6.3MM salary for next season if necessary, but isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of trading Chris Boucher (who is owed $11.75MM). “Sure, we could,” a team source told Smith when asked about the possibility of dealing Boucher to help cut costs. “But why? We like him a lot.”
  • One of Dewayne Dedmon‘s first NBA contracts, a 10-day deal, came back in 2014 with a 19-63 Sixers team that had just launched “The Process.” Back in Philadelphia nine years later and with over 500 NBA games under his belt, Dedmon appreciates how far both he and the team have come since then. “It’s great growth for the organization, you know what I’m saying?” Dedmon said, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Doing big things. Just the whole processing years have turned out some really good things going on here. And for myself, just keep working and it’s paying off. I’m back here now and I’m ready to win.”
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