Allan Houston

Knicks Notes: Rose, Houston, Wooten, Robinson

Nearly three weeks after reportedly reaching an agreement to bring him aboard, the Knicks still haven’t made it official with incoming president of basketball operations Leon Rose. However, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that an official announcement confirming the hiring of the veteran agent is expected to happen next week.

The official arrival of Rose, who has been tying up loose ends at his longtime agency CAA, could bring about some changes, according to Berman, who notes that the new president of basketball operations may encourage interim head coach Mike Miller to increase Knicks youngsters’ playing time. As Berman notes, Miller said on Monday that he speaks frequently with interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry, but hasn’t yet had a conversation with Rose.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Following up on a recent report that executive Allan Houston is expected to receive a promotion, Berman says that Houston already received one unreported promotion late last season, having been named special assistant to the GM. A source tells Berman that Houston is tight with Rose and William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”), who figures to become an unofficial advisor.
  • A torn ligament in his left thumb is expected to sideline Knicks two-way player Kenny Wooten for at least six weeks, Berman writes in a separate New York Post story. As such, it remains to be seen whether the shot-blocking rookie will get an opportunity to make his NBA debut this season. If he doesn’t, that’s probably fine with the Knicks — sources tell Berman the club signed him to his two-way deal last month primarily to prevent another team from poaching him from New York’s G League affiliate.
  • Miller is happy with what he has seen from second-year center Mitchell Robinson, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “He’s very important,” Miller said of Robinson. “… He’s a high-energy guy. That’s a skill. He can play at high energy now. He’s matured and grown more, extended those minutes where he is impacting the game at a high level.”
  • In case you missed it on Monday, we passed along a report indicating that the Knicks aren’t planning on buying out any of their veteran players.

Latest On Knicks’ Front Office Shakeup

As the Knicks restructure their front office, Allan Houston appears to be in line for a promotion, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Houston, 48, was New York’s former assistant general manager and currently serves as GM for the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. He was a strong proponent of hiring that team’s former head coach, Mike Miller, as the Knicks’ interim coach after David Fizdale was fired. Houston has been with the organization since 2008 and has survived multiple management shakeups.

Bondy shares information on a few other prominent figures:

  • The Knicks have given up on an attempt to lure Rich Cho from the Grizzlies‘ front office. A source tells Bondy that Cho is happy in Memphis, where the team is a surprise playoff contender with a bright future built around Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Cho has more than two decades of experience as an NBA executive and is a former GM with both Charlotte and Portland.
  • Vice president of player development Craig Robinson, best known as the brother of former First Lady Michelle Obama, is seeing a reduction in responsibilities. Robinson was hired three years ago by ousted team president Steve Mills to run the Knicks’ player development initiative. However, the organization has experienced a mixed draft record during that time and is using a lineup mostly consisting of players who were developed by other teams.
  • No decision has been made on GM Scott Perry, but he has a strong relationship with William Wesley (“Worldwide Wes”), who will have an unofficial role with the team through his close ties to incoming president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Perry was an executive in Detroit when Wesley was managing former Pistons star Richard Hamilton.
  • Bondy confirms that Tom Thibodeau, a former client of Rose’s Creative Artists Agency, is expected to be considered for the head coaching job.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Mills, Payton, More

More than 48 hours after news broke that the Knicks had parted ways with head coach David Fizdale, the team released a formal statement on Sunday night that expanded on its initial, bare-bones announcement from Friday — albeit not by much.

“The New York Knicks organization would like to thank David Fizdale for his leadership and professionalism over the past two seasons,” the new statement read. “He represented the organization with nothing but class. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Sunday’s press release included a longer statement from Fizdale himself, who thanked team president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry, and owner James Dolan for the opportunity to coach the Knicks, and expressed gratitude to Knicks fans for their “passion and commitment.”

Typically, when a team issues a statement like the one New York did on Sunday, it’s attributed to the team’s head of basketball operations or owner. However, the Knicks’ press release on Fizdale notably didn’t mention Mills, as Marc Berman of The New York Post points out, which may be another signal that the team president is on shaky ground.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News explores potential replacements for Mills if the Knicks decide to make a front office change. The right move would be to hire an accomplished executive and grant him full autonomy, Bondy opines.
  • Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that the Knicks have been keeping an eye out for potential moves that would improve the current roster. While New York may be doing its due diligence, it’s hard to imagine the team would become a buyer in advance of the trade deadline. The front office’s uncertain future also complicates matters, as Begley observes.
  • Elfrid Payton, who is back from a hamstring strain, is on a minutes restriction for now, but looked like the Knicks’ best point guard on Saturday, Berman writes for The New York Post, noting that it may just be a matter of time before Payton reclaims the starting job.
  • Westchester Knicks GM Allan Houston pushed hard to have Mike Miller considered for the Knicks’ interim head coaching job once Fizdale was fired, according to Berman. Miller previously coached New York’s G League affiliate in Westchester.
  • Knicks fans deserved a better explanation from the team’s decision-makers for their head coaching change, argues Barbara Barker of Newsday. Mills and Perry didn’t hold a news conference over the weekend to discuss Fizdale’s dismissal.
  • Former Knick Carmelo Anthony addressed Fizdale’s firing and the perception that stars don’t want to play for the franchise. Steve Popper of Newsday has the details and the quotes from Anthony.

Knicks Notes: Houston, Hardaway, Anthony, Contract Details, Artis

Knicks assistant general manager Allan Houston feels that New York is on the right track, relays Bob Herzog of Newsday. Although he would not comment on whether Carmelo Anthony would be playing for the Knicks next season, Houston was effusive in his praise of his new bosses, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.

“Steve and Scott have been intentional in their language about what we want to be,” said Houston. “It starts with identifying what you want to be and then going out and doing it. When I was here playing, it was very exciting and we had an identity. It’s about establishing that identity again. From what I’ve seen, the players are buying into it. I think it’s the first time in a long time that’s been the case.”

Houston also spoke enthusiastically about Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks’ notable free agent signing this offseason: “I’m excited for him. People tend to forget he was 20 years old coming into this environment [as a rookie]. Everybody has to grow. Everybody has to mature. He’s developed all the way around and he’s prepared himself for this. That’s the mindset I took. You want to be valuable to your family, your community, your franchise.”

Here are other relevant details regarding the Knicks:

  •  Anthony is headed for an awkward preseason, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The star small forward has told the Knicks that he is only willing to waive his no-trade clause for a deal with the Rockets, but the two sides have not been close on a trade. Berman writes that there is a chance that Melo will be forced to attend training camp, which will begin September 25. If Anthony holds out, it will cost him money. If he attends training camp, expect a great deal of awkwardness.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN reports that both Knicks free agent signees Jamel Artis and Xavier Rathan-Mayes have an Exhibit 10 in their contract. This means that each player would receive a $50K bonus if he is waived and would pend 60 days with the Knicks G-League team. Unlike the protection for Nigel Hayes, the Exhibit 10 bonus doesn’t impact the Knicks cap.
  • In another story penned by Marc Berman, the writer explains how the Knicks ensured that the undrafted Artis would not get away after his impressive Summer League performance. After a forgettable first game, Artis averaged 10.1 points, while shooting over 50% in his last four contests. “I feel great about making the team,’’ Artis said. “It’s just my competitiveness. I feel I bring a lot to the game and am better than a lot of people, but I want to keep being humble. I feel I’m better than some guys that got drafted.’’

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Beasley, Artis, Porzingis

The Knicks made a sizable commitment to Tim Hardaway Jr. this offseason, bringing the former Knick back home after inking him to a four-year, $71MM deal. While there’s a lot of apprehensions about Hardaway’s deal, Knicks’ assistant general manager and former guard Allan Houston cannot wait to see how the team’s draft pick from 2013 establishes himself, Thomas Lipe of the New York Post writes.

Speaking at Hofstra University with his youth program, Houston said the current version of Hardaway is more seasoned and talented than several years ago.

“I’m excited for [Hardaway],” Houston said. “When you’re 20 years old and you’re coming into this environment, everybody has to grow and everybody has to mature. He’s developed all the way around and he’s prepared himself for this. So he’s prepared for it.” 

Houston himself is no stranger to large contracts with the Knicks as he signed a six-year, $100MM pact with the team in 2001. While Houston was more established at the time of his deal, he was also older and injuries prevented him from playing out the entirety of the contract. Hardaway, still just 25 years old, brings youth and upside to a rebuilding Knicks team. Houston feels that Hardaway can live up to expectations by not just strong on-court performance but strong off court work as well.

“The mindset I took is: you come in, you put your work in, you treat your whole being, your whole life, like you want to make the most out of it,” Houston said. “You want to be valuable, not in terms of money, but you want to be valuable to your family, your community, to the franchise. That’s where [Hardaway’s] mindset is.”

Read additional notes surrounding the Knicks below:

  • In a resounding interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, free agent signing Michael Beasley referred to himself as a “walking bucket” who has not received the respect he deserves. The former second overall pick says he’s long past his prior marijuana suspension and said that people still dwelling on his past issues need to emulate him by growing up. For his career. Beasley has averaged 12.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG across nine NBA seasons with five different teams.
  • Just prior to signing with the Knicks, Jamel Artis spoke to Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports. The former Pittsburgh forward expressed his excitement to join the New York squad and said his offensive skill set would mesh well with the current core.
  • A recent report indicated the Cavaliers‘ interest to acquire a budding young star in a trade for Kyrie Irving with Kristaps Porzingis topping the list. Fred Kerber of the New York Post cites league source who claim “no proposal exists” in which the Knicks part with Porzingis for Irving. Kerber adds that while the New Jersey native Irving would like a homecoming to New York, it will not come at the expense of the team’s Latvian standout.

Knicks Hire Craig Robinson For Front Office Job

The Knicks continue to re-shape their front office, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports that Bucks executive Craig Robinson is accepting a job with New York.

Robinson will fill multiple roles for the Knicks, working in a player development capacity, per Charania. It’s not clear exactly who Robinson will report to, but he’ll work in the club’s new-look front office under president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.

Robinson, who served as the Bucks’ vice president of player and organizational development, played college basketball alongside Mills at Princeton from 1979 to 1981 and is the brother-in-law of former President Barack Obama.

With Phil Jackson out and Perry and Robinson in, it will be interesting to see what other changes the Knicks make to their front office this summer. Charania’s report suggests that Robinson will take over as the GM of the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate. However, that role is currently held by Allan Houston, and Ian Begley of ESPN suggests Houston will continue to work in that position.

While Houston may not be impacted significantly by the hiring of Robinson, the future of Knicks executive Clarence Gaines – a Jackson hire – is less certain.

Knicks Rumors: Front Office, Rondo, Anthony

With the Knicks unwilling to grant David Griffin final say on basketball decision, it appears very likely that GM Steve Mills will retain some – and possibly full – autonomy on the club’s basketball decisions going forward, writes ESPN’s Ian Begley. Mills is set to run the team at least through this year’s free agent period, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s named the full-time president after that, per Begley.

Marc Berman of The New York Post reiterates that sentiment, noting that no formal negotiations have taken place yet between Mills and the Knicks, but the current GM appears to be on track to becoming the club’s permanent president. As Berman explains, New York figures may continue to conduct interviews, but the club would be on the lookout for a general manager to work under Mills, rather than someone to take over basketball operations.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Following up on the Griffin story, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reports that one of the requests made by the former Cavs GM was to remove assistant GM Allan Houston from the front office. The Knicks’ unwillingness to part with Houston or to let Griffin bring in his own staff was one reason why the potential partnership didn’t pan out.
  • Currently, Mills is focusing on potentially trading Carmelo Anthony, finding a veteran point guard, and figuring out how to smooth things over with Kristaps Porzingis, according to Begley.
  • On the point guard front, the club has remained in touch with Rajon Rondo, and there’s mutual interest there, says Begley. However, the Knicks are out of cap room for the moment, so it’s not clear if Rondo would be willing to settle for the $4.3MM room exception, or if the team is looking to create cap space in order to make a more substantial offer.
  • A trade for a veteran point guard is a possibility too, according to Begley, who says New York had “strong” interest in Patrick Beverley before Houston traded him to the Clippers. Begley also mentions Brandon Knight or Eric Bledsoe as possible trade candidates, though there’s no indication the Knicks have talked to Phoenix about those vets.
  • No Carmelo deal is imminent, but the Knicks and Anthony “feel good” about getting something done at some point, sources tell Begley. For his part, newly-signed Knick Tim Hardaway said he’d “definitely” like to see Anthony return to the team next season (link via Begley).

Knicks Notes: Draft, Lottery, Jackson, Oakley

With the NBA draft lottery a mere hours away, the Knicks organization will soon learn where it will draft next month. The Knicks stands a 5.3% chance of grabbing the first overall selection and, at worst, will pick 10th overall. The team has trained its focus on wings and guards, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.

The Knicks delegation made up of Phil Jackson, GM Steve Mills, assistant GM Allan Houston, and head coach Jeff Hornacek interviewed Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, and Frank Jackson, at the combine, per Zagoria. Fox beamed about his desire to play for the Knicks in another piece Zagoria wrote for FanRagSports.com.

“I don’t know too much about the triangle,” Fox said. “Everyone says it’s hard to learn but if I go in there I’ll have to learn quickly. And Porzingis, he’s amazing, watching the NBA this year. I really paid attention to the NBA this year knowing I’m about to go into this business; I had to stop watching it as a casual fan and start thinking of it as a business aspect. He’s great and if I get to play with him, I feel like we can do something special.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Phil Jackson is furious about the coverage he and the team are getting by the New York media, but it is Jackson who must take accountability for his failures for the Knicks culture to improve, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. In particular, Jackson should question the effect of his treatment of star players on the team, argues Isola. Jackson claims that NBA commissioner Adam Silver agreed that media coverage has become problematic when the pair recently met, but Isola is skeptical.
  • Jackson has tempered his expectations for the lottery and the draft, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Jackson knows that there are no guarantees and is approaching the draft in a holistic manner: “We don’t expect a whole lot. Even our franchise, the New York Knicks, deigned to draft guys back in the ’90s, went with all veterans, gave up a lot of their picks. There’s that feeling too. As this talent pool is narrowed, it really is important to have both draftable players, tradeable players and free agents. We want to look at all these options before we get into it.”
  • Lonzo Ball and Fultz top the list of Knicks possible targets, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. That’s no surprise, as those are considered the top two prospects in the draft by nearly every expert.
  • Charles Oakley is still facing charges stemming from his infamous February expulsion from Madison Square Garden and says that James Dolan should have been fined or suspended, writes Ted Berg of USA Today Sports. Oakley made his comments on the For the Win podcast.

Atlantic Notes: Dunn, Trimble, Wiltjer, Hart

Coach Brett Brown has promised Providence sophomore point guard Kris Dunn a chance to play right away if the Sixers draft him, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Dunn met with Sixers officials Wednesday and both he and the team appeared to come away impressed. “They made me feel like they really wanted me there,” he said. “We all were very engaged. We talked about a lot of things. I appreciate them having me.” Philadelphia notched the NBA’s worst record this season and has a 26.9% chance at landing the top overall pick. That will probably be LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram, but the Sixers will also get the Lakers’ pick if it falls outside the top three, which is where they might take Dunn.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers are interviewing a lot of guards, including Maryland sophomore point guard Melo Trimble, Pompey tweets.
  • Gonzaga senior power forward Kyle Wiltjer will work out for the Sixers later this month, Pompey tweets.
  • Villanova junior shooting guard Josh Hart plans a workout with the Sixers, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. Hart is undecided on whether to stay in the draft or return to school. Philadelphia will also work out freshman small forward Dedric Lawson of Memphis on Monday (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics have met with several top prospects, including Ingram, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Other projected top-10 players that Boston has interviewed include Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, Kentucky’s Jamal Murray and California’s Jaylen Brown. The team has also scheduled an interview with Utah center Jakob Poeltl. According to Himmelsbach, the Celtics have either met with or are planning interviews with Oakland’s Kay Felder, Maryland’s Diamond Stone, Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin, New Mexico State’s Pascal Siakam, Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis, China’s Zhou Qi, Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson, UNLV’s Patrick McCaw, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku, Vanderbilt’s Damian Jones, Mississippi State’s Malik Newman, North Carolina State’s Cat Barber, Kansas’ Cheick Diallo, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes and high school prospect Thon Maker.
  • Seton Hall sophomore point guard Isaiah Whitehead, who has met with the Sixers, Celtics, Knicks and Nets among others, will “100%” leave college if a team offers him a first-round guarantee, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv“You can’t give up opportunities like that,” Whitehead said. “I mean, when they tell you it’s time to go, you just gotta go.”
  • Assistant GM Allan Houston conducted the Knicks‘ meeting with Whitehead as team president Phil Jackson apparently skipped the draft combine, Zagoria writes in a separate piece.
  • Diallo is scheduled to meet with the Knicks, Celtics and Raptors on Friday, Zagoria tweets.

New York Notes: Nets, Pierce, Knicks, Executives

The Nets and Knicks will renew their intracity rivalry this season as both teams hope to get off to faster starts than they did in 2013/14. Each club figures to be in the mix for a playoff spot again this season, so while we wait to see if we’ll have a subway series come the postseason, here’s the latest from the Big Apple:

  • Nets GM Billy King insists the team is still doggedly pursuing a championship and isn’t focused on making financial cutbacks, telling reporters, including Newsday’s Rod Boone, that he still has permission from owner Mikhail Prokhorov to make expensive acquisitions. King made his remarks in response to Paul Pierce‘s assertion that the team was no longer willing to spend to win. ” . . . We have some younger guys like Mason Plumlee who are under rookie contracts, and that helps your payroll. But [Prokhorov] hasn’t wavered in pursuit of what he wants,” King said.
  • That seems to conflict with King’s admission last month that money was a factor in the team’s decision not to re-sign Pierce and that the club doesn’t want to repeat its more than $190MM expenditure on players and luxury taxes last season. Pierce’s representatives with Excel Sports Management asked the Nets for a two-year, $24MM deal this summer, but the Nets didn’t want to pay that much, according to Boone.
  • Former Magic GM John Gabriel‘s influence is growing within the Knicks front office, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Gabriel, who holds the title of director of basketball operations, is on the upswing while former Nuggets GM and current Knicks director of player personnel Mark Warkentien is losing sway, and assistant GM Allan Houston doesn’t have the pull that he once had, either, Berman adds.
  • The Knicks have hired former D-League assistant and small college head coach Kevin Whitted as head coach of their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Whitted went to college with Houston, who serves as the GM of the Knicks D-League affiliate in addition to his duties with the big club.