The Knicks‘ reluctance to gamble on a big move this summer has left them with an imperfect roster and no star power to lean on, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. New York is off to a 4-5 start, but the wins came against three rebuilding teams and the shorthanded Sixers, while the losses were to probable playoff teams built around All-Stars.
The offseason was defined by an unwillingness to meet Utah’s price for Donovan Mitchell, who was subsequently traded to Cleveland. Coach Tom Thibodeau was a strong advocate for making the Mitchell trade, according to Popper, who hears from an NBA source that the Knicks had bad intel and believed the Cavs weren’t willing to give the Jazz everything they wanted. Knicks executive Brock Aller argued against giving up three unprotected first-round picks for Mitchell, Popper adds.
The Knicks were also in position to outbid Atlanta for Dejounte Murray, Popper contends. He cites recent mistakes such as signing Evan Fournier in 2021 when Thibodeau preferred to keep Reggie Bullock and taking Obi Toppin ahead of Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 draft.
There’s more on the Knicks:
- Thibodeau described the right knee sprain that center Mitchell Robinson suffered on Friday night as “mild,” per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Robinson will be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days to determine when he can resume playing. The injury increases the value of offseason addition Isaiah Hartenstein, who is expected to be the starting center while Robinson is out. “He’s done everything that we were hopeful of, and we obviously studied him quite a bit,” Thibodeau said of Hartenstein. “The rim protection obviously has been very, very good. Pick-and-roll defense, very good. And then offensively, just to pull people away from the basket, play-make, very good passer. Good in the paint. And so I think as he gets more comfortable, you’ll see more and more from him.”
- The Knicks are downplaying an argument during the fourth quarter of Friday’s game between Toppin and assistant coach Rick Brunson, Bondy states in the same story. They reportedly resolved their differences, and they have a solid relationship as Brunson trained Toppin while he was preparing for the draft. “Just normal NBA stuff,” Thibodeau said. “Heat of the battle.”
- Quentin Grimes was held out of tonight’s game because of soreness in his left foot, the same issue that caused him to miss the season’s first six games, Bondy adds.