Allen Crabbe

NYC Notes: Fizdale, Musa, Hardaway, Crabbe

The Knicks have not been a very good basketball team for years and new head coach David Fizdale knows it. So when a reporter asked him if his starting lineups will be dictated by anything other than “best player plays,” he had an adamant response, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.

 “Didn’t I answer that question already?” Knicks coach Fizdale said today. “No one is promised a starting position. I got freedom to do what I want to do from my bosses over there. So it’s open. Don’t matter if you make a lot of money or you make a little money. If you earn the spot you play. That’s it.”

Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr., both starters last season, will make $18.6MM and $17.3MM this year, respectively, while Courtney Lee will make a cool $12.3MM in 2018/19. And while Kanter and Hardaway will likely start again this season for the Knicks, the other three positions remain open, especially with franchise player Kristaps Porzingis out with injury.

Fizdale has already been quoted as saying he prefers a bigger guy at the small forward slot, so it’s likely Knicks’ rookie lottery selection Kevin Knox or newcomer Mario Hezonja will start, but Fizdale still hasn’t decided on any lineups to start the season.

“Oh gosh, probably after the last preseason game,” Fizdale said when asked when he’ll make his decision on a Knicks’ lineup. “Because a guy might play great or do a great job the first game then not show up the next three or four, but another guy plays awful early and he starts revving it up late. (So) I don’t think it’s fair for me to start making decisions until we get out of training camp. Training camp for me is all the way up until the end.”

There’s more out of the Big Apple this evening:

  • Nets rookie forward Dzanan Musa told reporters at media day (per Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily) that the Nets were one of the last teams he spoke with during the pre-draft process. Musa met with the team the day before the draft, but did not participate in a workout. Per Fonseca, the Nets scouted Musa extensively when he played overseas.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday reports that Hardaway Jr. and his teammates are happy with the Knicks‘ apparent decision to pass on a trade for Jimmy Butler, saying that the players now feel a lot better as a team.
  • Speaking of Butler’ trade buzz, Nets guard Allen Crabbe says he’s heard the rumors come up with his name, but he’s not letting it become a distraction, telling Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily that he’s concentrated on continuing to get better and work hard.

Nets Notes: Pinson, Musa, RHJ, Jefferson, Crabbe

Theo Pinson currently has a standard NBA contract with the Nets, but it sounds like he’ll end up being the team’s second two-way player for the 2018/19 season, along with Alan Williams. As Michael Scotto of The Athletic relays (via Twitter), Nets GM Sean Marks said today that the rookie guard out of UNC “is going to be our (other) two-way guy.”

While Brooklyn’s plans could change between now and the start of the regular season, it wouldn’t be hard for the club to shift Pinson into one of its two-way slots — his contract includes an Exhibit 10 clause, which allows the Nets to convert his deal into a two-way pact before opening night.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Marks isn’t concerned about offseason injuries sustained by Dzanan Musa and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, indicating today that both players should be cleared for training camp, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).
  • Speaking of training camp, the Nets still have one opening on their 20-man roster for camp. According to Lewis (Twitter link), former Baylor standout Nuni Omot is one of multiple candidates for that spot.
  • After Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported last week that Richard Jefferson was drawing TV interest, NetsDaily hears from league sources that Jefferson seems likely to join the YES Network for Nets broadcasts unless he gets an NBA contract offer. Jefferson told Marchand that his goal is to “play basketball this season,” but if that doesn’t happen, Nets fans may see Jefferson on YES broadcasts doing game analysis and/or studio work.
  • Speaking to D.J. Sixsmith of CBS Local, Allen Crabbe referred to the Nets as a “match made in heaven” for him. Crabbe had to waive his trade kicker to accommodate a deal to Brooklyn last summer, and seemingly has no regrets about doing so.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Knicks, Brown, Crabbe

The Sixers need to make some hard decisions this offseason on where top pick Markelle Fultz fits into their future plans, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues. Now that they’ve established themselves as a playoff team, they have to decide how to get as deep as possible in future seasons with Fultz playing a bigger role. If Fultz isn’t a playoff-caliber two-guard by this time next year, the dream of a championship season could be dashed, Murphy continues. Ideally. Fultz will soon establish himself as a legitimate third option but they have guard against the possibility it never happens, Murphy adds.

In other news and musings around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry have taken a much more thorough, well-thought-out approach to their coaching search, unlike predecessor Phil Jackson, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The amount of candidates interviewed has reached double digits and the duo has traveled across the country and over the Atlantic Ocean in order to find the right fit, Berman continues. They don’t pretend to know everything and that’s a stark contrast to Jackson, who stopped listening and learning, according to Berman.
  • Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown vows to play Game 2 of the series against the Sixers on Thursday, as he told A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports. Brown, who was a game-time decision in the opener, is nursing a right hamstring injury. “I’ll be back. I’m playing,” he told Blakely, though he added, “I’m basically trying to come back in two days from a two-week type injury.”
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe promises to improve his efficiency and production in his second season with the club, according to BrooklynNets.com. Crabbe averaged a career-best 13.2 PPG and set the team record for most 3-pointers made, but his long-range percentage dropped from 44.4% to 37.8%. “I didn’t have the consistent season I wanted to have,” Crabbe said. “But I got one year under my belt [in Brooklyn] and I know where I can be effective on this team and what I can bring – what I can do. Just go into off-season and come back a completely different player.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers Culture, Rozier, Wright

Love or hate The Process, it produced a Sixers team that is every bit an Eastern Conference contender. Beyond the roster loaded with talent, however, is a strong culture, one that ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz points out is far more developed and nuanced than we all assumed while they were losing historically.

All of that was a time of learning, a time of progression, a time of really seeing the type of person you can become when you endure hard time,” said Sixers forward Robert Covington. “That journey made us who we are. The 18-win season, the 10-win season. All that, it built us up for this moment.

A mainstay for the team during those lean years is a tradition of having players give presentations about topics that resonate with them on a monthly basis. The result? A series of PowerPoint speeches over which Sixers staffers and stars have been connecting.

Arnovitz breaks down the motivation behind the Sixers’ discussions, which range from Covington’s lecture on snakes to Dario Saric‘s lesson on the Balkan conflict that shaped his childhood. If you dive into one #LongRead today, make it this one.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Consider David Lee a supporter of the notion that the Knicks should hire Mark Jackson. Lee played in New York and later for Jackson in Golden State. “Mark understands the difference in New York basketball. He’s from there,” Lee told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He understands the politics, the fans, things involved unique to the Knicks. That’s an advantage he has.
  • A pair of Atlantic Division point guards have developed slowly over time. Now, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wonders if Delon Wright and Terry Rozier could eventually leave the Raptors and Celtics for a chance to play a bigger role on another squad. Both players will be eligible for extensions this offseason, and Toronto and Boston may not have the cap flexibility to invest in them for the long term.
  • The Nets have seen a trend of development in players that they’ve had for two or more seasons. Tom Dowd of the team’s official website writes that all eyes will be on D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Jarrett Allen to see if they’ll show similar improvements when they reach their second year under the tutelage of head coach Kenny Atkinson.

Nets Notes: Harris, Lin, Marks, Cap Room

The Nets are committed to re-signing free agent Joe Harris this summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The fourth-year swingman is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting .419 from 3-point range. He emerged as a rotation player in Brooklyn last season after two years of trying to earn a role in Cleveland, and said “I don’t really envision myself being anywhere else” during a media session last week.

Scotto talked to eight NBA executives who estimate Harris will get offers between $4MM and $7MM per season. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Nets, who will have up to $20MM in available cap space. Harris just wrapped up a two-year veterans’ minimum deal he signed with Brooklyn in 2016.

“I think Joe made it pretty clear in some of the statements he made that he’d love to be back here,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s how the organization feels about him, too. As [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] alluded to before, we’ve got some decisions to make on several, but definitely, Joe is a guy we see in a Nets uniform.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeremy Lin‘s season was wiped out by a ruptured patella tendon on opening night, but the front office believes he will be an impact player next season, Scotto relays in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to 36 games during 2016/17 in his first season with Brooklyn, so he feels like he has something to prove heading into the final year of his contract. “I would say I wouldn’t bet against Jeremy,” Marks cautioned. “The way he’s attacked his rehab over the course of the last six to eight months is really impressive. He’s come back with a little bit of a new lease on life, which is great.”
  • The Nets plan to remain patient in the rebuilding process, Scotto adds. The team raised its victory total from 20 to 28 this season and is aiming for modest improvements over the summer. Brooklyn’s cap room will be reduced by about $8.5MM if it makes a qualifying offer to Nik Stauskas and picks up non-guaranteed salaries for Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Lin’s contract expires next summer and Allen Crabbe can opt out, giving the Nets much more flexibility in the 2019 free agent market.
  • Atkinson is happy with the progress that Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen all made during their first year with the franchise, but he wants them to improve on defense, especially with forcing turnovers, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

New York Notes: Hornacek, Hicks, Crabbe

The Knicks will conclude their fourth consecutive 45+ loss season next month and the future of the team remains unclear. Outside of Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis — who is recovering from a torn ACL — it appears there are no locks for the roster or coaching staff after this season.

As Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his newsletter (via CBS Sports), it’s likely that head coach Jeff Hornacek does not return next season despite having one year left on his deal. The organization has moved swiftly to distance itself from almost anything related to former president Phil Jackson, which could include Hornacek.

“It’s difficult to fault Hornacek for much of the chaos that has engulfed the Knicks during his two seasons in charge,” Stein writes. “But there’s no avoiding the fact he was a Phil Jackson selection, which could well doom him now that the organization seems intent on cutting every non-Porzingian tie to the Phil era as possible.”

The Knicks have gone 57-96 under Hornacek since last season, but injuries, poor roster creation, and a rebuilding effort hindered both the head coach and the team from being competitive. Early possible candidates to replace Hornacek are Mark Jackson and David Blatt, Stein notes.

Check out more notes coming out of New York:

  • Whether or not Hornacek is the head coach next season, he feels the Knicks should seek depth at small forward, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Sources tell Bondy that the Knicks have scouted both Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges as possible draft targets, which would echo Hornacek’s suggestion. “I think if you look around at the top teams that are in the league they have multiple guys that are in the 6’7″, 6’8″ range with length. We had a lot of guys that are in the 6’5″ ish range,” Hornacek said. “I think the longer guys you get, it gives you more opportunities to switch on defense, which if you look at the league today, the best teams are switching all the time.”
  • With the Knicks eliminated from playoff contention, the goal for the rest of the season will be auditioning young talent, which includes 23-year-old Isaiah Hicks. In nine games, Hicks is averaging just 4.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG, but he has impressed with his basketball IQ and athleticism, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Hicks is on a two-way deal and the Knicks will have to decide whether they want to re-sign him.
  • The Nets‘ record has hovered near the bottom of the league in recent seasons, but the organization has bought into the mantra of building a positive culture with promising talent. Allen Crabbe, who is finishing up a strong first season in Brooklyn, said he is willing to recruit free agents this offseason, Bryan Fonseca and Net Income of NetsDaily relay. “Oh yeah. Whatever I can do, just getting guys on board and looking at the vision that Sean Marks and coach (Kenny) Atkinson have for this organization moving forward, I think guys will buy in,” Crabbe said.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Crabbe, Casey, Celtics

The Nets‘ acquisition of Jahlil Okafor signaled a change of scenery for a talented yet displaced player. With 24 games left in the season, however, the Nets seem to be wasting their opportunity to audition Okafor as a potential long-term commodity, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Since being traded to Brooklyn, Okafor has appeared in 22 games while averaging 6.2 PPG and 3.0 PPG. Okafor’s playing time has been inconsistent, which makes it difficult to assess both his value and interest in retaining him beyond this season.

“Getting on the floor is very important,” Okafor said. “As a basketball player we all want to be on the court. My minutes have been fluctuating up and down, but the coaches say it’s nothing on my end.”

Head coach Kenny Atkinson noted that the team feels comfortable with 19-year-old Jarrett Allen playing at power forward with Okafor at center. As it stands, the team will have a decision to make in terms of Okafor’s playing time and future.

Check out other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets shooting guard Allen Crabbe has been on a tear, averaging 25.3 PPG and 5.5 RPG over the team’s last four games. It has taken a while but Crabbe is finally playing and scoring the way the Nets hoped he would, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays.
  • Dwane Casey is headed to Los Angeles to coach Team LeBron this weekend, but his proudest accomplishment is entering the break with the Raptors wielding the best record in the Eastern Conference. Despite the improvements the franchise has enjoyed under Casey, there always seems to be a perception that the Raptors head coach is on the hot seat, Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports writes.
  • After a rough stretch in which they’ve lost nine of their last 15 games, the Celtics may explore changing their lineup after the All-Star break, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Celtics, Crabbe, McConnell

Celtics forward Marcus Morris will be back in action today after missing eight games with a left knee injury, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. The knee has been an issue all season, as soreness caused him to miss the first eight games of the season. Morris is excited about the holiday matchup against the Wizards and his twin brother Markieff. “This has to be history,” Marcus Morris said. “First twins to play on Christmas against each other.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ heated rivalry with Washington may not be the same after Boston’s offseason roster shakeup, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The teams staged a contentious seven-game semifinal series in last year’s playoffs that seemed to cement a long-standing bitterness. But many of those Celtics are gone, Bulpett notes, and today’s game features not only a reunion of the Morris twins but a meeting of Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, two St. Louis natives who frequently encourage each other on social media. “We never hated anybody,” said Marcus Smart, one of the Celtics’ holdovers from last season. “I don’t think nobody really hates anybody. As a competitor, you just want to go out there and do everything you can to win. This game is 80 percent mental, and if you can get under your opponent’s skin early, you did half the battle.”
  • Allen Crabbe hasn’t provided the 3-point shooting the Nets expected when they traded for him, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn acquired Crabbe from Portland this summer, finally securing a player the organization signed to a four-year, $83MM offer sheet in 2016. A career 42% shooter from long distance, Crabbe has dipped to 36% since joining the Nets. “It happens. For me the biggest focus is stop settling so much,” Crabbe said. “I know I said the ‘shooters shoot’ quote, and we do. But me trying to find easier ones as well would help the confidence.”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown was thrilled by T.J. McConnell‘s 15-point performance in today’s win over the Knicks, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The backup point guard, who has a $1.6MM team option for next season, has become a personal project for his coach. “He wears his heart on his sleeve,” Brown said. “I have a very antagonistic relationship with him. I coach him harder than I coach anybody. I’m so proud of him coming out of left field, being in the NBA, staying in the NBA and now playing in the NBA.”

Nets Notes: Okafor, Stauskas, Crabbe, Harris

Even after suffering a season worst 33 point loss to Toronto on Friday night, Nets center Jahlil Okafor and guard Nik Stauskas both appeared to be in high spirits after finally being able to get back on the court ten days removed from a trade that brought them to Brooklyn from Philadelphia in exchange for Trevor Booker, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

After playing only 25 minutes for Philadelphia all season, Okafor logged 23 minutes in his Nets debut, scoring ten points and grabbing four rebounds. Stauskas, meanwhile, scored a team high 22 points of 5-of-7 shooting from long range. “It just felt great to be back on the basketball court,” Stauskas said. “I hadn’t played that much in Philly, so it felt good to run up and down again.” Being from the Toronto area, Stauskas added, “maybe [being home helped] a little bit. But for me, it was more excitement to be back out there.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have their own “process” for Okafor’s acclimation to the Nets’ style of play, Lewis reveals in a separate story. “With Jahlil, it’s going to be a process,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He’s shown a lot of potential and strength in the post. That’d be cool if we could throw it in there a little more, [have] a little more balance.” Notwithstanding Okafor’s post play acumen, he knows that the game has changed and he’s ready for the challenge. “I have to get comfortable shooting threes in the game. That’s the way coach wants the team to play. If you’re open for three in the corner, he wants guys to shoot it. I’m going to be in the gym constantly so I can knock that down.”
  • In yet another story for the New York Post, Lewis relays how the Nets believe that sharpshooter Allen Crabbe, who has been battling left knee soreness, will shoot his way out of a recent slump sooner rather than later. Crabbe, who has shot 4 for his last 21 from long distance, is expected back for tonight’s game against Indiana after missing Friday’s loss to Toronto. Said Atkinson, “right now he’s struggling a little. It’s just like a batter that has a two-game little slump. He’ll come back and he’ll make shots. I’m not worried about that.”
  • In an interesting piece for NBA.com, Tom Dowd chronicles how Joe Harris found his way onto the Nets’ roster. After being waived by Orlando in January, 2016, and unable to hook on with another team for the remainder of the season, Harris spent the summer of 2016 looking for another opportunity in the NBA. Upon meeting with Harris following a team workout, Atkinson was hooked. “What I loved, he took ownership,” said Atkinson. “That convinced me that this is a guy we want. Just his character to say that. (And) since he’s been with us, it’s amazing his commitment to what we’re doing.”

New York Notes: Lee, Porzingis, Crabbe, Russell

With Tim Hardaway Jr. expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks – and possibly longer – the Knicks’ performance during his absence may go a long way toward dictating the team’s approach to the trade deadline, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. If New York can tread water and remain in the playoff hunt during that time, the front office could stand pat or even attempt to bolster the roster in February. If not, perhaps the Knicks will become deadline sellers.

In the event that the Knicks do decide to move veterans, Courtney Lee is one player to watch. Lee, who scored 24 points on Wednesday, continues to draw interest from opposing teams, league sources tell Begley. Lee’s contract, which is guaranteed through 2019/20 at about $12MM per year, is somewhat onerous, limiting his trade value, but his shot-making ability (.465 3PT%) should certainly appeal to teams around the NBA.

Here’s more on the two New York teams:

  • Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis was represented by Andy Miller, who relinquished his certification as an agent this week, but his primary agent is his brother Janis Porzingis, who also works at ASM Sports. As such, Porzingis is expected to remain at the agency with his brother despite Miller’s situation, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • Knicks owner James Dolan was named as a defendant in a civil suit filed against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Begley has the details at ESPN.com.
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe was fined $15K by the NBA after throwing a ball at the basket stanchion on Monday (link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). Crabbe is set to earn more than $19.3MM this season, so the $15K hit to his salary is a drop in the bucket.
  • While Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson didn’t provide an official update on D’Angelo Russell‘s recovery timetable this week, his comments suggest that Russell’s return isn’t exactly imminent, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.