Allonzo Trier

Knicks Notes: DSJ, Trier, Free Agent Targets

Last year’s Kristaps Porzingis trade was ultimately the “undoing” for Steve Mills in New York, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes that Dennis Smith Jr.‘s inconsistent play for the Knicks didn’t help keep Mills off the hot seat leading up to his February ouster.

As Berman writes, former head coach David Fizdale and assistant Keith Smart were among Smith’s “key allies” within the franchise, and their departures – along with Mills’ – significantly reduce the odds that DSJ has a long-term future with the Knicks. Berman suggests Smith will be a trade candidate during the 2020 offseason, with the Magic among the teams that could have interest. Some teams still believe the former lottery pick can evolve into a solid pro, per Berman.

“He thinks too much about his shot and trying to score the ball,” one NBA scout said of Smith. “He needs to be more of lead pass-first guard and score second. Dennis also need a coach who shows him love and gives him confidence. The quickness and ability to dribble-drive is always there, but he wants to always be the highlight play with traffic dunks.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While Fizdale was fond of Allonzo Trier, interim head coach Mike Miller preferred to play stronger defenders with more experience, Berman writes in a separate New York Post story. Given Trier’s lack of a regular role in 2019/20, he seems unlikely to stick with the Knicks as a restricted free agent this offseason, according to Berman.
  • Mike Vorkunov and John Hollinger of The Athletic take an in-depth look at the Knicks’ future, breaking down the upcoming head coaching search, identifying possible free agent targets, and discussing which of the club’s current players are long-term keepers. Fred VanVleet is one free-agent-to-be singled out by Holliner as a potentially nice fit for the Knicks.
  • 2020’s free agent class isn’t a particularly strong one, but there will be some intriguing players available if the Knicks want to try to make a splash, writes Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • Rafael Canton of SNY.tv explores whether the Knicks’ financial flexibility could give them a chance to be in better position that the Nets three years from now.

New York Notes: Trier, Barrett, Irving, Atkinson

Allonzo Trier continues to be dangerous from 3-point range, but the second-year guard isn’t seeing enough playing time for it to make a difference, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trier was a pleasant surprise for the Knicks last season, earning a two-way contract after going undrafted and later having it converted to a standard deal.

He averaged 22.8 minutes per night as a rookie, but that figure has dropped to 12.0 this season and Trier has only gotten into 21 games. Berman calls Trier’s reduced role one of the season’s great mysteries, but there are some explanations. Drafting RJ Barrett added to an already crowded backcourt, and a source tells Berman that management isn’t pleased with Trier’s effort on defense.

“I’ve flipped onto a new year and new role,’’ he said. “I just have to accept it and continue to do my job. And even if I don’t play, I continue to come in and support my teammates.’’

The Knicks made an effort to trade Trier at the deadline, Berman adds, but teams weren’t willing to part with a future asset. Trier insists he would have been fine either way.

“I wasn’t nervous,’’ he said. “If it happened, it happened. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Nothing to be worried about.”

There’s more from New York City:

  • Barrett told reporters today that he’s more “ambidextrous” than fully left-handed, Berman relays in a separate story. Barrett revealed that shooting is one of the few things he does with his left hand, adding that scouts were incorrect when they feared he wouldn’t be effective going to his right. Barrett has been given more ball-handling duties with Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina both injured, and interim coach Mike Miller believes he may ultimately become a combo guard. “He likes the ball in his hands,” Miller said. “The hardest guys to guard are guys like Devin Booker. The ball is in his hands then he’s playing off the ball. He’s really difficult to defend. How do you game plan on him? He’s not in one spot. He’s all over the place, coming off handoffs, screens and initiating.’’
  • A date still hasn’t been set for Kyrie Irving‘s season-ending shoulder surgery, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Irving and Kevin Durant are both expected to start accompanying the team on road trips soon.
  • In the same story, Atkinson talks about being the longest-tenured active coach in the New York market, even though he has only had his job since 2016. “(The Nets) obviously stuck with me when we went through a lot of struggles,” he said. “We’ve had struggles this year. I just think that’s the real advantage too, of being on the same page with ownership.”

Knicks Notes: Monk, DSJ, D-Lo, Rose, Payton, More

Before Steve Mills was removed from his position as the Knicks‘ president of basketball operations, there was some internal support for a potential trade with the Hornets that would have sent Malik Monk to New York, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley notes that Dennis Smith Jr. would’ve gone to Charlotte in the deal, though it’s not clear what other pieces would have been involved on either side. Both Smith and Monk were prospects the Knicks passed over in the 2017 draft for Frank Ntilikina.

Within his roundup of the Knicks’ deadline discussions, Begley also says that before Mills’ departure, there were members of the organization that felt as if they’d made “significant progress” toward a D’Angelo Russell trade with the Warriors.

We don’t know exactly how those talks played out, so it’s hard to say whether that confidence was warranted. But for what it’s worth, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that none of New York’s offers had been “even remotely appealing” to Golden State. One of the Knicks’ proposals included Bobby Portis, Allonzo Trier, Ntilikina, and presumably some form of draft compensation, sources tell Begley.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Marc Berman of The New York Post takes a look at the Knicks’ impending hire of agent Leon Rose as their new head of basketball operations, citing one NBA executive who said, “MSG and CAA have been in bed for years. This shouldn’t be surprising.”
  • Berman notes in his article on Rose that the veteran agent is tight with Kentucky head coach John Calipari. However, Calipari said today that he has no plans to become the Knicks’ next coach, according to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic (Twitter link). Calipari said he’d help Rose in any way he can — “It just wouldn’t be to coach.”
  • One decision Rose will face this summer will be on Elfrid Payton‘s $8MM non-guaranteed salary for 2020/21. Berman examines the factors that will go into that decision, pointing out that Payton is a CAA client.
  • In an interview on Showtime’s “All the Smoke,” Kevin Durant was once again asked about his free agency decision last summer. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Durant replied that he didn’t seriously consider any teams beside the Nets. “I looked at other places — the Clippers, I took a peek at the Knicks just to do my due diligence — but I really wanted to play for the black and white,” Durant said.

Eastern Conference Notes: Thompson, Sixers, Horford, Knicks

Kevin Love doesn’t want to see long-time teammate Tristan Thompson get traded, but he understands it might be the best move for both him and the organization, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers are reportedly seeking a first-round pick in return for Thompson, who will be a free agent this summer. If Cleveland can’t find an acceptable deal, management still has interest in re-signing the 28-year-old center or possibly working out a sign-and-trade.

“That’s my brother, man,” Love said. “I would always go to war with him. I would run through a wall for him. He’s the best. Just the type of guy he is, he’s a lifelong friend of mine, so it would be tough to see him go. I would like to have him around selfishly, but if there’s a better situation out there for him, going to make him happier, have a chance to win a championship, then so be it. I only know Tristan Thompson as a Cavalier and I like it that way.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference as the trade deadline draws nearer:

  • Trey Burke, Kyle O’Quinn and Jonah Bolden were all absent from the Sixers‘ shootaround this morning, tweets Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Philadelphia has to trim two players from its roster by 3pm Eastern to complete a trade that will bring Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Warriors in exchange for three second-round draft picks.
  • Al Horford hinted at trouble in the Sixers‘ locker room in comments after Wednesday’s practice, relays Jon Johnson of KYW Radio (Twitter link). “There’s some stuff going on in our locker room,” Horford said, “and we’ll keep that internal.”
  • A pair of Knicks youngsters have signed with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports (via Twitter) that Mitchell Robinson is one of Paul’s newest clients, while Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) says Allonzo Trier has joined Klutch Sports too.

Knicks Rumors: Russell, Morris, Trier, Caruso, Ujiri

The Knicks continue to pursue Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell with the trade deadline 24 hours away, according to Newsday’s Steve Popper and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Reports earlier in the week had revealed the Knicks’ interest in Russell. However, those stories were published prior to Steve Mills‘ ouster from the front office, so it wasn’t clear if the remaining group – led by interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry – would continue to go after the fifth-year guard.

While today’s reports confirm that the Knicks remain interested in Russell, Charania hears that New York’s proposed package haven’t been enough to close the gap and meet Golden State’s asking price.

As we noted last night when we checked in on the Timberwolves’ pursuit of Russell, the Warriors were said to be seeking at least one of Minnesota’s own unprotected first-round picks — preferably in 2021, which is expected to be a strong draft than 2020. The Wolves were reportedly dangling Brooklyn’s lottery-protected 2020 first-round selection and their own protected ’20 first-rounder as part of their offer.

Presumably, the Warriors will be seeking at least one unprotected Knicks first-rounder in talks with New York. However, there’s no consensus within the Knicks’ front office on the team’s willingness to give up first-rounders to land D-Lo, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Newsday’s Steve Popper (Twitter link) is hearing that Marcus Morris will be moved before the deadline. Marc Stein of The New York Times conveys a similar sentiment, tweeting that the Knicks know they can trade Morris and now it’s just a matter of where.
  • In addition to touching base about Kyle Kuzma, the Knicks and Lakers have also discussed Allonzo Trier and Alex Caruso, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Those talks took place before Mills’ ouster and didn’t advance, sources tell Begley.
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Knicks owner James Dolan would like to move fairly quickly on the team’s front office search, possibly so there’s a new president in place for a head coaching search in the spring.
  • An in-season search would reduce the likelihood of the Knicks landing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, Berman notes. However, a source suggests to Berman that might be okay with Dolan, who values loyalty and may not want to push Ujiri to break his contract in Toronto. Dolan may also been wary of Ujiri using the Knicks for leverage in extension talks with the Raptors, the source tells Berman.
  • Within a separate SNY.tv article examining possible front office targets for the Knicks, Begley writes that R.C. Buford (Spurs) and Kevin Pritchard (Pacers) aren’t realistic options. Both executives are on long-term deals and Buford has a CEO title in San Antonio.
  • Recently hired by the Knicks as a brand consultant, Steve Stoute is a “prominent voice” within the organization right now, according to Popper (Twitter link), who says Stoute is involved in the front office search.

Knicks Notes: Smith, Trier, Drummond, Morris

Dennis Smith Jr. has been promoted to back-up point guard a week ahead of the trade deadline, writes Anthony Rieber of NewsdayFrank Ntilikina has slipped down the rotation in the past two games as Smith has seen an increase in playing time, which could mean the Knicks are showcasing him in hopes of a potential deal.  Smith played 14 minutes last night and scored seven points, while Ntilikina was limited to three minutes late in the game. Smith was the first point guard off the bench again tonight.

“I thought [Smith] had a solid outing. Particularly the first turn,” said interim coach Mike Miller said Tuesday. “I thought he really did a good job touching the paint … He set up several shots off of his penetration, scored a couple, ran the team, was good defensively. Yeah. I thought he had a good, solid outing … Dennis has been good. He’s been professional. He’s been getting himself ready and I think he took advantage of his minutes tonight.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • Another trade candidate is Allonzo Trier, whose playing time has been cut sharply after a promising rookie season, notes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. Trier has gotten into just four games this month and is averaging 12.3 minutes per night after playing 22.8 MPG last year. “He’s had some opportunities here and there, he just hasn’t been real consistent there,” Miller said. “There are many times late in games where we need someone to do something specific, and we call his number to go do it. We have the confidence in him, it’s just we’ve gotta stay ready, see what the game’s gonna dictate and let the guys go out there and do what they do.”
  • The Knicks still aren’t showing interest in Pistons center Andre Drummond, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. A source tells Bondy that Detroit is hoping to receive expiring contracts, along with a young prospect or draft pick. Drummond is averaging 17.3 points and a league-best 15.6 rebounds per game, but he has a $29MM player option for next season and the Knicks aren’t interested in a short-term rental. Bondy states that New York could still get involved if the Pistons reduce their asking price.
  • Management may decide to keep Marcus Morris, whom they view as their best player, even though the veteran forward has an expiring contract, Bondy adds in the same story. A source says Bobby Portis, who has a $15.75MM team option for next season, is more likely to be dealt.

Marcus Morris Draws Interest From Clippers, Sixers

The Clippers and Sixers both have interest in acquiring Knicks forward Marcus Morris, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Morris’ playoff experience and expiring $15MM contract make him an attractive addition for any playoff contender. He is among several veterans who signed short-term deals with New York over the summer that carry little to no guaranteed money beyond this season.

With the Knicks in Los Angeles for a game today, Morris was asked about the possibility of joining the Clippers.

“Rumors are rumors,” he said. “Look, I told you before I’m in New York and love being here. I’m excited to help to turn this around. I’m not paying that any mind. I’m focused on what we got going on in this locker room.’’

Morris would likely be more interested in winding up in his hometown of Philadelphia. He said in July that playing close to home was among his reasons for backing out of a deal with the Spurs to join the Knicks.

Berman notes that the Sixers don’t have a first-rounder to offer in the 2020 draft, but they have four second-round picks. He adds that a third team would probably be needed to facilitate a deal, such as the Hawks, who are under the salary cap.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks may also be able to land second-round selections in exchange for Allonzo Trier and Wayne Ellington, who have both fallen out of the rotation.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Robinson, Bullock, Predictions

Carmelo Anthony received a hero’s welcome as he returned to Madison Square Garden with the Trail Blazers last night, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Anthony was cheered during pre-game introductions and every time he touched the ball. The cheers grew even louder when he scored, as the fans offered their thanks for his six and a half years of service to the Knicks.

“The love was definitely felt tonight,” Anthony said. “From the fans that were here, just the city as a whole, just being back. I think that feeling is kind of hard to explain. But for me to kind of get that ovation, I think I’ve always had the love from the city like that. But to be back in this building where I spent so many years, that love felt extremely good tonight.”

It was only Anthony’s second trip back to Garden since being traded in 2017, and he celebrated with a season-high 26 points. He admitted to reporters that he’d like to see the Knicks retire his number some day.

“I did glance up at the rafters today during the national anthem,” Anthony said. “You know, they say in life you’ve got to envision, so I was envisioning seeing Anthony hanging up there.”

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • The difference in the fan reactions to Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis may have something to do with the return the Knicks got for each player, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. While the Porzingis deal brought back Dennis Smith Jr. and a ton of cap room that failed to deliver a star, the package for Anthony included a second-round pick that turned into Mitchell Robinson. The second-year center delivered one of his best performances Wednesday, making all 11 of his shots from the field in a 22-point, eight-rebound night. “I honestly think he’s getting better and better and better,” Anthony said of Robinson. “I don’t really think he understands how good he is or how good he can be and his ceiling. The way he plays is perfect for the way the Knicks play.”
  • Reggie Bullock made his Knicks debut last night, giving the team five healthy shooting guards for the first time this season, Berman notes in a separate story. Playing his first game since spinal fusion surgery in July, Bullock scored 11 points in 15 minutes as Wayne Ellington and Allonzo Trier both remained on the bench.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic offers several Knicks predictions for 2020, including no first-round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris, roster moves to get rid of Ellington and Bobby Portis by the end of February, and no Mark Jackson or Masai Ujiri in the team’s future.

Knicks Notes: Blatt, Trier, Ntilikina

David Blatt, who recently was hired by the Knicks as a consultant, says he’s happy to be with the team.

“I feel very fortunate,’’ Blatt said, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. “I’m happy to be here.’’

What exactly Blatt will be doing for the Knicks remains vague, though Berman hears that former coach will conduct some scouting in Europe for the Knicks among other duties. Evaluating talent on the team and giving input to interim coach Mike Miller will also be part of his responsibilities.

Here’s more from New York:

  • It wouldn’t be farfetched to think that if team president Steve Mills is retained, the executive would allow Blatt to have a say in the Knicks’ next head coach, Berman writes in the same piece. This is assuming the team moves on from Miller.
  • Allonzo Trier hasn’t seen meaningful action this season, but the team still views him as a valuable asset, Zach Braziller of the New York Post relays. “We’ve got confidence in Zo,” Miller said. “We know what he can do, and we’ve gotten into some situations where we need some scoring we’ve called his number. We went to him, he comes in does what he does, and makes some plays.”
  • Frank Ntilikina has no problem with being relegated to the bench, as Berman passes along in a separate piece. “I’m comfortable,’’ Ntilikina said of the switch. “It’s just a role change. When I’m on the court, I know it’s my job. I got to do my job and bring everything I can to the team.’’
  • Ntilikina would have been better served by spending at least one more season abroad in a league more competitive than the French one he played in, one NBA personnel man told Berman in that same piece. The Knicks drafted him with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft as a 19-year-old.

Knicks Notes: Trier, Payton, Ntilikina, Garnett

Allonzo Trier‘s future with the Knicks appears uncertain after being kept on the bench for eight of the past 10 games, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trier saw his first game action outside of garbage time in nearly three weeks Monday in New York’s 44-point loss to the Bucks. He scored 10 points in 11 minutes in the first half, but wasn’t used at all after halftime.

Coach David Fizdale hasn’t provided a public explanation for why Trier has been demoted, other than citing the team’s depth at shooting guard with RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington and Damyean Dotson. There are theories that Trier’s isolation-heavy game doesn’t fit with Fizdale’s emphasis on ball movement.

“You take it head on,’’ Trier said. “Be prepared whenever that time is, continue to work and get better and help this team if I’m playing or not. I got to accept that. They tell me to stay ready.’’

Opportunity could come later in the season if the Knicks start moving on from their veteran free agents. Ellington is among the players who could be moved by the February trade deadline or waived if a deal can’t be worked out.

There’s more from New York:

  • Elfrid Payton, who has played just four games since signing with the team this summer, may be ready to return tomorrow against the Nuggets, Berman tweets. Payton, who was briefly installed as the team’s point guard, has been sidelined since October 28 with a strained right hamstring. That role has been taken over by Frank Ntilikina, who missed Monday’s game with a back injury, but may also be ready for Thursday.
  • Roster flexibility is all the Knicks have left from what could have been a historic offseason, observes Steve Popper of Newsday. With enough cap space to offer two max contracts, the team missed all its top targets and wound up with seven free agents, six on expiring deals. Management can start moving those contracts on December 15, when most newly signed free agents become eligible to be traded.
  • Former NBA star Kevin Garnett is calling out Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for choosing the Nets instead of the Knicks in free agency, relays Neil Best of Newsday. Speaking at a roundtable to promote a new film, Garnett claimed they passed on a chance to breathe life into a historic franchise. “I’m not a Knicks fan by far,” he said. “But if they come to the city and dominate, man, the first superstar to hit New York and be vibing is going to be bigger than life. Remember I said that. Any piece of hope in this city is going to [soar]. People are waiting.”