Brandon Knight

Pacific Notes: Green, Zubac, Ulis, Knight

The NBA has rescinded a technical foul that was assessed to Warriors forward Draymond Green this past Saturday, per ESPN. The rescinded foul would have been Green’s 15th, one shy of an immediate one-game suspension and $5,000 fine.

With one less technical on his record, Green is now two shy of the automatic suspension and fine. Green has been the NBA’s most prolific technical foul recipient; he has registered double-digits in that category the past four seasons, including 15 technicals last season.

“I was very happy,” Green told reporters, including Mark Medina of the Mercury News. “A little breathing room. Just a little bit, though.”

Check out other Pacific Division news below:

  • Ivica Zubac has not been assigned a larger role with the Lakers this season, which was expected as he entered his sophomore season. However, now that he is slowly creeping back into Lakers’ rotation, he feels much better on the court, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “This is what I’ve been doing for my whole life,” Zubac said. “When you’re not playing you’re not feeling good because this is what I’m doing my whole life. Now, when I’m finally in the rotation, everything else feels much better.”
  • After a strong season with the Suns in 2016/17, injuries have hampered Tyler Ulis this season. Despite his optimism, he seems to be falling out of the team’s rotation, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes. “That’s something I can’t control so I don’t think about stuff like that,” Ulis said. “I’ve been doing this all my life. There’s not many people my size in the NBA so obviously I have the game to make it here and I have the game to stick.”
  • Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports answers several questions surrounding the Suns’ draft plans and oft-injured guard Brandon Knight. A source tells Bordow that getting a healthy Knight back from reconstructive knee surgery would be comparable to adding a first-round pick. Knight has been a solid player for Phoenix, averaging nearly 20.0 PPG in his last healthy season, so getting him back to 100% could affect the team’s draft plans.
  • As the Kings head for another losing season, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee looks at five of the team’s young players, including De’Aaron Fox, examining how they can benefit for the rest of the season.

Pacific Rumors: Ball, Bradley, Warren, Payton

Lonzo Ball went through a full-contact practice on Tuesday but won’t return until after the All-Star break, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register reports. The Lakers rookie point guard has been sidelined since spraining his left knee on January 13th. Coach Luke Walton remained vague on when Ball would suit up. “When his body is ready, then he’ll play again,” Walton told Teaford and other reporters. “I can’t tell you whether that’s going to be the first game [after the All-Star break], the second game or the third game.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers shooting guard Avery Bradley admits he’s having trouble finding his place in the team’s offensive scheme, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley is averaging just 9.0 PPG in 28.6 MPG since he was dealt by the Pistons to Los Angeles as part of the Blake Griffin blockbuster. “I think it’s a mix of me trying to find my rhythm and my game and trying to learn how to play off these guys,” Bradley told Turner. “They have a lot of offensive-minded guys on this team. So I have to figure out, and not only myself, but (coach Doc Rivers) has to figure out how he wants to use me.”
  • Forward T.J. Warren is making the four-year, $50MM contract extension the Suns gave him look like a bargain, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. He’s averaging 19.7 PPG and making over 50% of his field-goal attempts. “Coming into the league, I was known for being a scorer,” Warren told Bordow. “Just getting the opportunity and staying consistent is big for me. I’m just trying to get better, make my way in this league and earn the respect of my peers.”
  • It’s no sure thing that the Suns will try to re-sign restricted free agent point guard Elfrid Payton this summer, as Bordow explains in a separate story. Phoenix, which acquired Payton for a second-round pick from the Magic, could free up $10MM in salary-cap space by renouncing Payton’s rights, Bordow continues. With Brandon Knight expected to return next season from a knee injury, the Suns could then draft a point guard as Knight’s eventual replacement and pursue a center in free agency. Bordow adds.

Pacific Notes: Lopez, Rivers, Clippers, Knight, Labissiere

Brook Lopezs frustrations with the 2017/18 season, his first with the Lakers, seem to have reached a boiling point, writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Lopez played just nine minutes in the Lakers’ loss to the Magic on Wednesday, his lowest single-game total in over three years.

Lopez, 29, is playing for a contract next offseason and thus far, he has posted career lows across every major statistical category — a far cry from the player who averaged 20.0 PPG last season while adding a three-point shot to his repertoire. The center will return to Brooklyn on Friday to face the Nets in his first game against his former team; in the meantime, it’s all about adjustment.

“On the court, I can be very visible, with my emotions [showing on my face],” Lopez said to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “So, yeah, just trying to control myself, breathe a little bit, and just keep cool because it was an unfortunate game for us. Just watching it, it was tough to be out there. Just trying to get settled a little bit.”

Lopez said that he has not had discussions with his agent about the possibility of pursuing a buyout if he decides he wants out of Los Angeles.

Check out other Pacific Division news below:

  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers is on track to return from a right ankle injury on February 9, the day after the NBA trade deadline, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Rivers, who is having his best season to date, has missed the Clippers’ last 16 games.
  • Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated examines how the Clippers‘ use of two-way contracts this season has shaped their roster.
  • Suns guard Brandon Knight tore his ACL in the offseason and is expected to miss the entire season. However, with a lot of money still owed to him, Knight tells Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports that he can still contribute to the team when healthy.
  • Kings forward Skal Labissiere will miss 2-to-3 weeks with a rotator cuff muscle strain, the team announced. Labissiere has been hampered by the shoulder ailment since mid-January.

Pacific Notes: Knight, Clippers, Lakers

As expected, Suns guard Brandon Knight will miss the entirety of the 2017/18 NBA season. The 25-year-old underwent successful ACL surgery on Friday, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes, after initially tearing the ligament last month.

While Knight’s name has been a mainstay in trade rumors over the course of the past few seasons, he remains a relatively valuable reserve asset. Last year Knight posted 11.0 points per game, shy of the 15.2 point career mark he’s posted across stints with the Pistons, Bucks and Suns.

Per Amico, the Suns could look to apply for an injury exception in order to free up room for a new backcourt option behind Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers have shuffled around their executive team this summer. Most recently, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets, the Clips have named Michael Winger their new general manager and Dave Wohl (their previous GM) a special advisor to the team.
  • The Suns have doubled down on their young core but aren’t exactly sure what they’re going to get out of it, Shaun Powell of writes. The scribe also wonders if the club may have put too much stock in fourth-overall pick Josh Jackson, refusing to include him in a possible Kyrie Irving trade package.
  • The Lakers had a productive summer,’s Shaun Powell writes. The club did well to position itself for the future by scrubbing Timofey Mozgov‘s contract off their books and, of course, drafting Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to be in Cleveland as long as LeBron James is around, though that doesn’t mean he’s willing to commit long-term to another franchise should the Cavs trade him. According to Terry Pluto of, Irving, who has two years before he can become a free agent, wants to keep his options open for the summer of 2019. Pluto adds that the former No. 1 overall pick isn’t ready to commit to any team at this point.

While an extension with a new team was never a likely outcome for Irving, the latest news could potentially suppress his trade value. Any team giving up a haul to acquire the point guard would want him around long-term and without that assurance, teams may think twice about mortgaging their futures to bring in the Duke product.

Here’s more from Pluto’s piece on Irving:

  • The Suns would be willing to deal Eric Bledsoe to the Cavaliers for Irving even if Irving makes no commitment to stay in Phoenix past his current deal. However, they would not want to include Josh Jackson in that scenario.
  • The Cavs would love to take back Devin Booker in an Irving-to-the-Suns deal, but Phoenix is unlikely to trade Booker since it already told the shooting guard that he wasn’t going anywhere. Phoenix would like to send a package of Bledsoe, T.J. Warren, and Brandon Knight to the Cavs for Irving and additional salary (Iman Shumpert or Channing Frye). That proposal is underwhelming to Cleveland’s front office.
  • The Nuggets remain a threat to trade for Irving, but Pluto hears that Denver will not give up both Jamal Murray and Gary Harris in a deal. Pluto adds that there are players on Denver’s roster who are attractive to Cleveland and because of that, the Nuggets could be involved in an Irving trade as a third team even if they don’t land the point guard themselves.
  • If Andrew Wiggins signs an extension with the Wolves, it’s unlikely that he gets dealt to Cleveland, a source tells Pluto.

Brandon Knight Expected To Miss Season

Suns guard Brandon Knight has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. An official announcement from the Suns states that Knight will undergo surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2017/18 season.

In six career seasons with three different teams, Knight has averaged 15.2 PPG and 4.3 APG on 41.5% shooting. Knight played by far the least minutes of his career this past season, averaging just 21.1 minutes per game and starting only five of the 54 games in which he played. His scoring average was also a career low at 11.0 PPG.

Knight was acquired by the Suns in February of 2015 in a three-team trade. Two years earlier, the guard had been traded from the Pistons to the Bucks. Knight’s best scoring season came with the Suns in 2015/16 when he averaged 19.6 PPG. However, he shot just 41.5% from the floor during the campaign.

With near-All-Star Eric Bledsoe and up-and-coming Tyler Ulis at point guard for the Suns and Knight likely to miss the entire 2017/18 season, it will be interesting to monitor the Kentucky product’s future in Phoenix. After an incredibly disappointing performance last season, Knight had already been on the outs with the Suns. This injury may have solidified the young guard’s future elsewhere.

Knight is owed $13.6MM this season, $14.6MM next, and $15.6MM more the following season.

Latest On Suns, Knicks Trade Talks

The Suns and Knicks have had trade talks involving Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe, but don’t appear to be close to a deal. According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Twitter link), the two teams discussed a trade involving Knight, but the Knicks countered with a deal that included Bledsoe, which Phoenix declined.

We heard previously that the Knicks had contacted the Suns about Bledsoe. As Marc Berman of The New York Post observed at the time though, New York doesn’t have a ton of assets to offer up in a potential deal. Bledsoe isn’t a hugely valuable trade chip, but he’s a starting-caliber point guard coming off a career year and is under contract at a reasonable rate ($29.5MM for two years), so Phoenix would likely be seeking young players or picks, which the rebuilding Knicks would be reluctant to give up.

That’s not the case for Knight, who is coming off perhaps the worst year of his career, having recorded a career-low .398 FG% and 11.0 PPG. The Knicks wouldn’t have to give up as much for the former eighth overall, but Gambadoro suggests that the two teams were discussing a deal that would trade Knight “into cap space.” The Knicks no longer have space available, so it’s not clear what a Knight deal would look like at this point.

The Knicks explored signing a handful of veteran point guards in free agency, but ultimately used their cap space and room exception to sign Tim Hardaway and Ron Baker, respectively. That effectively took the team out of the market for any notable veteran free agents, but New York continues to seek out a veteran mentor for Frank Ntilikina, making the trade route a real possibility.

Suns GM Talks Offseason, Chandler, Bledsoe, Knight

Although the Suns’ 2016/17 season produced some memorable moments – most notably Devin Booker‘s 70-point game last month – it was a disappointing year on the whole for the club. With a 24-58 mark, Phoenix will finish with the worst record in the Western Conference.

Still, general manager Ryan McDonough remains optimistic about the team’s future. While he acknowledged that the Suns’ record this season was disappointing, he suggested this week that the club has been encouraged by the play of some of its young players since the All-Star break, which he believes bodes well for the future.

As Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic details, McDonough also spoke about the draft, some of his veteran players, and the team’s goals for 2017/18. The full piece is worth a look, especially for Suns fans, but here are a few highlights from the Phoenix GM…

On adding players in the draft and free agency this summer:

“We’ll have a high pick in the lottery. We’ll have two second-round draft picks as well. We have plenty of cap space, so we’ll have some options for this summer. We have a plan in our head right now in terms of continuing to add through the draft and build with youth, but we’ll also look at potential free-agent options. And then, the least predictable part of this, obviously, is the trades and what may swing our way. Those talks usually heat up closer to the draft.”

On how Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe have handled being shut down for the season:

“Those guys have been great. Not just good, great. It was a difficult situation, but they reacted how we thought they would react. Especially Eric. He really wanted to play, and we get that. He’s a competitor. And those decisions aren’t easy to make. It’s not easy to be patient in the short term for something that will help long term.”

On Brandon Knight‘s future:

“He didn’t have the year that I think he would’ve hoped. He’s still 25 years old, I think a lot of people forget that. He’s a talented guy. Our main focus will be trying to figure out a way to put him in position to be more effective next season.”

On the Suns’ 2017/18 goals:

“We’re not as far away as it may appear given our record. We obviously made a difficult trade sending P.J. Tucker to Toronto and made some lineup adjustments that affected our win total in the short term. Hopefully, it will help our win total in the long term.

“The West is brutal, it’s hard to crack that (playoff) group. That’s kind of the way it has been in the Western Conference, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We’re going to try and win as many games as we can and be as competitive as we can. We’ll see how the dust settles, but we’ll probably set making the playoffs as our goal again next year.”

Suns Notes: Chandler, Knight, McDonough

The Suns gave Tyson Chandler the option of being dealt prior to the trade deadline, but the center chose to stay in Phoenix and take on a role as a mentor. Chandler is a huge fan of the team’s young prospects and he expects to return to to the franchise next season, though nothing is set in stone, Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic relays.

“I think it all depends, honestly, on what direction the team is going in,” Chandler said. “Honestly, I don’t think it’s possible for any team just to go young because then you have a roster full of guys just competing with each other. I’ve had a good relationship with the owners here and management and even the coaching staff. There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever happens it will be a common agreement, whatever’s the best for myself and the organization.”

“So for me, I want what’s best for [the young guys on the team]. I’ve accomplished a lot throughout my career. At the end of the day, I want to see those young players grow.”

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • Brandon Knight, who hasn’t played since the All-Star break, may be tough to trade because of his contract, Haller notes in the same piece. Knight has three years and slightly under $43.9MM left on his contract after this season.
  • The Suns must figure out what to do with their veterans, Keith P. Smith of RealGM contends. Smith believes GM Ryan McDonough is in a tough spot because a youth movement is a practical route for the team to go, but McDonough may not have the ownership support necessary to progress through that kind of rebuild.
  • Year three is when many NBA players go from being good, up-and-coming prospects to great, All-Star caliber players and Devin Booker is on the path to make that transition, Haller opines in a separate piece. Haller believes Booker will become Phoenix’s next big star for years to come.

Suns To Explore Eric Bledsoe Trade?

At 27, Eric Bledsoe doesn’t quite fit in with the Suns’ youth movement and the team may explore trading him for someone who does, suggests Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

Bledsoe, who has been shut down for the season because of “soreness” in his left knee, remains one of the best assets on the Phoenix roster. He averaged 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 66 games, and has an attractive contract totaling $29.5MM over the next two seasons.

Bontemps notes that the Suns’ future will be built around shooting guard Devin Booker, who is 20, power forwards Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, who will both turn 20 this year, and whomever they get with their first-rounder in June.

At 22-52, the Suns are third in our latest Reverse Standings, which puts them in the running for an elite point guard such as Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. If that happens, parting with Bledsoe will be much easier.

Phoenix would also like to find a taker for Brandon Knight, who still has three seasons and nearly $43.9MM left on his contract. Knight has turned into a part-time player with the Suns, averaging 11.0 points and 2.4 assists this season, but Bontemps notes that he was a near All-Star with the Bucks two years ago. He writes that there won’t be many teams interested in Knight, but someone may take the gamble if Phoenix is willing to give him away.