Alec Burks

New York Notes: Harden, Irving, Burks, Quickley, Claxton, Sharpe, Mills, Aldridge

The Nets’ two healthy stars had a “breakthrough” performance on Friday, James Harden told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and other media members. Harden and Kyrie Irving combined for 26 fourth-quarter points against San Antonio. Harden finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

“For sure, it was a breakthrough,” Harden said. “(Kyrie)’s capable of doing that at any moment and any point in the game. That’s one of the reasons why we need him every single game, because he’s able to do that, especially with everything that’s going on with our team. But he’s able and more than capable of doing things like that whenever he wants. I think he just tries to get us involved a little bit more, but he’s a special talent.”

Of course, Irving can only play half the time due his unvaccinated status. Kevin Durant is sidelined by a knee injury and there’s no timetable for his return.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • There are all kinds of issues with the Knicks these days, including the lack of production from guards Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. Burks signed a three-year, $30MM contract during the offseason and Quickley is on his rookie deal. They’ve tanked during the current three-game losing streak, shooting 22-for-77 (30.6%) from the field.
  • The Nets are reportedly looking for a way to deal Paul Millsap, who hasn’t been able to crack the rotation. That’s due to the increase in minutes for young players Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. That has made it difficult for coach Steve Nash to fit in the numerous frontcourt veterans dotting the roster. “Just a difficult situation that we didn’t necessarily foresee, but here we are,” Nash said. “And Day’Ron and Nic have emerged.”
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered high praise for two of his former players, the Nets’ Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News relays (Twitter links). Of Mills, Popovich said, “he’s always positive, a consummate pro in preparing for his job, gives everything he has in every practice and every game, supports everybody on the team and in the organization.” Regarding Aldridge, Popovich said, “LA did all the community things Patty did….He just did it quietly. … He was a great teammate with everybody, a heck of a player.”

Reddish Trade Notes: Other Offers, Details, Grades, More

The Hawks traded Cam Reddish, Solomon Hill and 2025 second-round pick to the Knicks in exchange for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick on Thursday. According to Ian Begley of, the Hawks were interested in acquiring Quentin Grimes, but the Knicks were reluctant to part with the rookie, who was the 25th overall pick of the 2021 draft.

The Knicks are likely to explore other trades ahead of the deadline and are known to be interested in Myles Turner and Jalen Brunson, Begley reports. He mentions that any player on New York’s roster could be on the table for the right return, pointing to Alec Burks and Mitchell Robinson as players who could draw interest, but the Knicks would likely want a top-end starter in return for Burks and/or Robinson.

Teams pursuing Reddish believed he could command a salary in the range of $18-20MM per year on his next contract, whether it be this summer in an extension or as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023, so Begley thinks the Knicks must be open to that figure, unless they plan to trade him again in the future.

Here’s more on the trade between Atlanta and New York:

  • Atlanta had been seeking a first-round pick for Reddish for several months and never wavered in its asking price, write Fred Katz and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The Pacers, Cavaliers, Pistons, and Lakers were among the teams interested in Reddish, with L.A. recently offering two second-round picks for the third-year wing.
  • Reddish requested a trade from Atlanta months ago, which led to awkwardness in the team’s locker room, and it was inevitable he would be dealt once a team met Atlanta’s asking price, according to Katz and Kirschner. Reddish was reportedly unhappy with his role as a spot-up shooter and desired more play-making opportunities, which is questionable given he has more turnovers than assists in his career. It’s unclear how he’ll fit in with the Knicks, who have a crowded rotation when healthy, meaning finding more minutes than Reddish was getting in Atlanta (23.4 MPG) could be a challenge. Katz and Kirschner believe the first-round pick Atlanta acquired could be used in a subsequent trade, perhaps for Ben Simmons or Jerami Grant.
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic and Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) provide their grades for the trade. They both liked it more for the Knicks than the Hawks.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic thinks that the trade is in the eye of the beholder, because while Reddish has the size and talent to be a good NBA player, the idea of him has been better than his actual play to this point in his career. The winner of the deal will ultimately depend on how Reddish develops, Hollinger notes. He adds that Hawks were -10.0 points per 100 possessions with Reddish on the court, compared to +5.7 per 100 when he was off.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (video link) provides his thoughts on the deal, essentially saying it’s a low-risk, potentially high-reward for the Knicks, but the Hawks got fair value for Reddish too.
  • Sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) that Reddish and RJ Barrett didn’t get along well at Duke, and some in the Knicks’ front office wanted to trade back to draft Reddish in 2019.

Knicks Notes: Walker, Quickley, Grant, Randle

The Knicks are paying the price for counting on a pair of point guards in their 30s who have a history of health issues, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The team entered the season with Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose atop its depth chart at the point, but Walker has missed time recently due to knee problems and Rose is out indefinitely following ankle surgery.

As Bondy outlines, playing without a reliable point guard has created some additional offensive problems for the Knicks, who have the NBA’s 23rd-most efficient offense and rank last in the Eastern Conference in assists per game.

“The defense has pretty much been there,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said after a weekend loss in which the Knicks scored just 75 points in Boston. “It’s the offense has been inconsistent.”

New York’s injury absences have resulted in Immanuel Quickley taking on more point guard responsibilities as of late, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. Thibodeau lauded the second-year guard for the progress he has made in that role while acknowledging there’s still work to do.

“There’s stretches in the game where you have to settle the team down and get the team organized,” Thibodeau said of Quickley. “I think that will come in time. The more he does it the better he’ll get at it. I love his versatility. You can play him with the ball, you can play him off the ball, and that’s what makes him so valuable to us.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau said on Monday that Walker is getting “close” to returning to action from what the team has called a sore left knee, Popper writes for Newsday. Asked whether Kemba remains sidelined due to healing or conditioning, Thibodeau replied, “Probably a little bit of both. Each day he’s doing a little bit more. The main thing was letting his knee calm down. It’s done that and now ramping it up again.”
  • Following up on Shams Charania’s report on New York’s interest in Pistons forward Jerami Grant, Fred Katz and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic consider whether the 27-year-old would be a good fit for the Knicks and what a trade might look like. The Athletic’s duo suggests a hypothetical package of Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, and the Knicks’ 2022 first-round pick (lightly protected), but observes that a three-for-one swap could be tricky for Detroit to accommodate.
  • Last season’s Most Improved Player has seen his numbers dip so far this season and has shot just 36.7% (19.4% on threes) since Christmas, but the Knicks remain confident in Julius Randle‘s ability to battle through adversity. “I don’t want anyone get wrapped up in any personal dilemmas or any of that stuff,” Thibodeau said on Monday without directly mentioning Randle (link via Ian O’Connor of The New York Post). “…There are going to be ups and downs throughout the course of the year. You’ve got to be mentally tough when you face adversity. Everyone does, right? It’s probably the most important thing in life. Sometimes it goes our way, sometimes it doesn’t. Just navigate through it all.”

Atlantic Notes: Tatum, Claxton, Fournier, Burks

Appearing on Toucher and Rich on Boston radio on Thursday morning, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens expressed displeasure with one of the quotes included in Tim Bontemps’ ESPN report on the team last week. As we relayed, an anonymous assistant coach who spoke to Bontemps questioned Jayson Tatum‘s desire to win, suggesting that the forward only wants to win “on his terms.” Stevens vehemently disagreed, calling the comment “a joke.”

“I thought that quote was absolutely ridiculous, to be honest,” Stevens said, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “I don’t ever react to that stuff and I actually sent a note to one of the people I work with like, ‘This is idiotic.’ Just be around (Tatum) every day. That guy loves to win. He’s sitting there with his feet in the ice bucket after every game that we lose and he looks despondent. This guy’s competitive. I know that for a fact. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Stevens said that anonymous assistant coach shouldn’t be making that sort of comment without putting his name to it, but acknowledged that wouldn’t happen because it would provide Tatum with bulletin-board material when the Celtics played the assistant’s team.

“Jayson would kill him every time he played him for the rest of his career,” Stevens said. “That’s the way those guys in this league are wired.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Nets center Nicolas Claxton, a restricted free agent in 2022, recently hired new representation, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link), who says Claxton has signed with CAA Sports. Bondy adds that the non-COVID illness which has kept the big man out of action since October 25 is mononucleosis. Claxton appears to be nearing a return though. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN notes (via Twitter), he’s not listed on the team’s latest injury report for Friday’s game.
  • Ian O’Connor of The New York Post says the Knicks‘ benching of Kemba Walker should send a message to Evan Fournier, another one of the team’s major free agent additions whose play has been inconsistent since he arrived in New York.
  • The decision to pull Walker out of the rotation and start Alec Burks is paying early dividends for the Knicks, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Burks has led New York in scoring in his first two games as a starter and the team is playing better defense.

Knicks Pull Kemba Walker From Rotation

The Knicks are removing point guard Kemba Walker from both the starting lineup and their regular rotation, head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters on Monday (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).

It’s unclear whether the change will be a short-term or long-term move, but Thibodeau said Walker is out of the rotation “as of right now.” Alec Burks will take over as the team’s starting point guard for the foreseeable future, according to Thibs (Twitter link via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News).

The Knicks’ signing of Walker to a two-year, $18MM deal in the offseason after he was bought out by Oklahoma City was viewed as one of the summer’s highest-upside deals. After all, Walker had been a maximum-salary player and wasn’t far removed from making four consecutive All-Star teams.

However, while Walker’s .413 3PT% to date is a career high, he has failed to recapture his All-Star form, averaging a modest 11.7 PPG and 3.1 APG in 18 games (24.5 MPG). The 31-year-old, who has battled knee issues in recent years, has had his minutes managed for health reasons and has been a liability on the defensive end.

The Knicks have a 116.3 defensive rating and a -13.3 net rating with Walker on the court, compared to a 99.0 defensive rating and +11.2 net rating when he sits. Kemba isn’t the only New York starter who has struggled and isn’t entirely to blame for those numbers, but given how well Burks has played this season, a change at point guard made sense for the club.

Having signed a new three-year, $30MM contract with the Knicks in the offseason, Burks has averaged 10.5 PPG on .426/.451/.800 shooting in 20 games (22.3 MPG) so far in 2021/22 and has been a more reliable presence on defense. The team has a +5.2 net rating in his minutes.

Knicks Notes: Burks, Walker, Dinwiddie, Randle

Playing with a depleted roster, the Knicks got a huge lift from Alec Burks in Saturday’s win over Atlanta, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Making his first start of the season, the veteran swingman delivered 23 points as New York ended the Hawks’ seven-game winning streak.

Burks was called into service at point guard with Derrick Rose injured and Kemba Walker resting on the second night of a back-to-back. It was the latest in a series of strong performances for Burks, and Berman suggests that he may become a regular part of the starting lineup.

“We’re a great team and we have a lot of depth, so I believe I can step up at any time,’’ Burks said. “It was just my night tonight. … It’s the way we play. Anyone can handle the ball at any time. That’s (coach Tom Thibodeau’s) offense.’’

There’s more from New York:

  • Walker remains the Knicks’ starter at point guard, but he has rarely been playing in the fourth quarter, Berman notes in a separate story. Walker’s arthritic left knee is limiting him to 24.5 minutes per night, and Thibodeau is turning to Rose to finish games. As a result, Walker is averaging a career-low 11.7 points per game and the team is routinely getting outscored when he is on the court.
  • Some members of the organization wanted to make a play for Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency, Berman adds, but the team opted to sign Evan Fournier, then reached an agreement with Walker after his buyout with the Thunder. “They had to make a splash,’’ an unidentified team executive told Berman about the decision to add Walker, a New York City native.
  • The Knicks won’t be able to make a serious playoff run without a greater contribution from Julius Randle, states Ian O’Connor of The New York Post. Randle earned Most Improved Player honors last year while leading New York to the fourth seed, but he hasn’t been the same player since the postseason. He shot just 3-of-14 Saturday night, and his scoring and shooting percentages have declined significantly.

New York Notes: Durant, Irving, Harden, Burks, Fournier

Kevin Durant‘s latest comments on Kyrie Irving sounded like a plea for the Nets All-Star point guard to get vaccinated and rejoin the team for the entire season, as Nets Videos relays (Twitter link).

“We want him here for the whole thing,” Durant said. “We want him here for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds all of it. Hopefully, we can figure this thing out.”

The latest development on the Irving saga came Friday, when the team was informed that he could practice with the team but not play in home games.

We have more from the New York City teams:

  • Nets guard James Harden struggled in his preseason debut on Friday against Milwaukee, scoring eight points and committing four turnovers. Harden said it was an odd experience after missing playoff games and spending most of the offseason recovering from a hamstring strain, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “Practice is different obviously, but just being on the court and having to move felt weird. But I’ll get adjusted to it,” he said.
  • Alec Burks‘ ability to make an immediate impact on a game is a luxury for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. “We were in desperate need of shooting, so he provided shot-making, playmaking,” Thibodeau said. “He can go off the dribble, can play three positions, and he can function as a starter or a guy off the bench. As soon as you put him in the game, he’s ready to go.” Burks re-signed with the Knicks in August on a three-year, $30MM pact.
  • Knicks wing Evan Fournier was added mainly to bring some offensive punch but he vows to not be a defensive liability, Botte relays in a separate story. “I consider myself a guy that competes really hard, so I’m not concerned about the defense at all,” he said. “Even as a unit, we’re going to be good defensively.” Fournier was acquired in a sign-and-trade from Boston on a four-year deal worth up to $78MM.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Irving, Quickley, Stevens, Joe

Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant is trying to stay optimistic as the Kyrie Irving situation drags on, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. Irving can’t practice at the team’s facility and will have to miss more than half of its games unless he changes his mind and gets vaccinated. Durant believes Irving will eventually rejoin his teammates.

“I’m envisioning Kyrie being a part of our team,” Durant said. “Maybe I’m just naïve, but that is just how I feel. But I think everybody here has that confidence in themselves, in our group, that if we keep building, we can do something special.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks have a crowded backcourt but second-year guard Immanuel Quickley remains part of the team’s plans. Coach Tom Thibodeau believes he can play Quickley in a number of different guard combinations, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. “The great value with (Quickley) is that he plays with Derrick (Rose) and Alec (Burks), and so really the point (guard) is interchangeable with those guys. They move the ball and they make plays for each other real well,” Thibodeau said. “So, oftentimes, Quickley will bring it up. Derrick will bring it up. Alec could bring it up or we’ll get into dribble-handoffs. … We’re gonna fly around.”
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens doesn’t miss the daily grind of being the head coach, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press. “I haven’t had to worry about practice plan, game plan, none of that,” said Stevens. “I’ve enjoyed watching Ime (Udoka) put the team together and figure out how he wants to play, who compliments who, and all those things that go into that.”
  • Sixers second-year guard Isaiah Joe is angling for playing time and he’s gotten off to a good start in the preseason, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. He had 18 points — including four 3-pointers — three rebounds and three steals against the Raptors. “We’ve got to get him on the floor more is what I keep telling our coaches,” coach Doc Rivers said, “because those 10 guys [in the rotation] are playing so much. … I told [Joe], I don’t care what unit you’re on, just keep going back and forth.”

Knicks Notes: Fournier, Gibson, Rose, Burks

The Knicks have formally announced many of their offseason free agent signings in recent days, with new deals for Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson all becoming official.

We’re still waiting on the team to finalize its four-year extension for Julius Randle, along with some minor signings like Dwayne Bacon. But the flurry of transactions this week means that we now have details on several of the Knicks’ new contracts. Let’s dive in and round them up…

  • As we relayed earlier today, Evan Fournier has $1.5MM per year in unlikely incentives on his new four-year deal. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video), the majority of those bonuses are related to team success — Fournier would earn an extra $1MM, for instance, if the Knicks were to win the title. There are also bonuses related to All-Star and All-NBA nods, which are a long shot to be earned.
  • Taj Gibson‘s new two-year deal features a team option for the 2022/23 season, according to Marks.
  • Marks says the cap hits on Derrick Rose‘s new three-year contract are $13.4MM, $14.5MM, and $15.6MM. Those are likely rounded figures, as the most the Knicks could’ve offered Rose using his Early Bird rights was approximately $13.445MM in year one, $14.521MM in year two, and $15.596MM in year three. The deal, which includes a third-year team option, comes in at about $43.56MM.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets the details of Alec Burks‘ three-year, $30MM+ contract, which are identical to what Burks would’ve received if he were signed using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. The Knicks used cap room to sign Burks, but as Marks observes, they may have structured the agreement that way early in free agency in case they found a way to stay over the cap all offseason and needed the MLE for Burks.

Eastern Rumors: Dinwiddie, Wizards, Avdija, Oladipo, Knicks, Bitadze

The Wizards continue to work through their complicated sign-and-trade acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie, according to multiple reports.

Quinton Mayo (Twitter link) has heard the Bulls and Thunder mentioned as teams that could end up getting involved in a multi-team trade involving Dinwiddie. Mayo also reports that the Nets asked the Wizards for Deni Avdija during those negotiations, which Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News (twitter link) corroborates.

If and when the Wizards, Nets, and other potential trade partners figure out a deal, Dinwiddie is expected to get a three-year, $62MM deal from Washington, reports Winfield (Twitter link).

Here are a few more updates from around the East:

  • Although Victor Oladipo‘s camp is optimistic that he’ll be able to return to action sometime between late December and early February, some Heat people believe March is a more realistic target, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo, who underwent quad tendon surgery in May, agreed to a minimum-salary contract with Miami.
  • Following up on an Ian Begley report that stated the final year in the Knicks‘ deals with Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Evan Fournier aren’t guaranteed, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) clarifies that all four deals are expected to have standard team options in their last years. Noel, Burks, and Rose will have those options in year three, while Fournier’s will be in year four.
  • Pacers big man Goga Bitadze wanted to play for the team in Summer League this month, but he missed Indiana’s first two SL practices due to back soreness and is now away from the club due to a personal matter, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.