Charles Oakley

Eastern Notes: Giannis, Raptors, Heat, Thompson

If Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent during the summer of 2021, the Raptors are likely to be one of his “chief pursuers,” sources tell John Hollinger of The Athletic.

It’s entirely possible that Antetokounmpo won’t even reach the open market, since the Bucks intend to put a super-max extension offer on the table for him next summer as soon as they’re eligible to do so. And even if the star forward does opt for free agency, it’s not as if the Raptors won’t face competition from just about every other team in the NBA.

Still, it makes sense that the Raptors would zero in on Antetokounmpo specifically as they consider future targets. President of basketball operations Masai Ujiri reportedly helped Giannis and his family emigrate from Nigeria to Greece, and tried to trade into the 2013 draft to select him. The Raps haven’t had much luck luring top American-born free agents to Toronto in the past, but might believe they’d have a better shot with an international star like Antetokounmpo, especially now that they have a championship under their belt.

It’s far too early to draw any conclusions about Giannis’ future, but until he re-ups with the Bucks or ends up elsewhere, it’s safe to assume the Raptors will be retaining their 2021 cap flexibility in the hopes he considers them.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Dion Waiters and James Johnson both practiced with the Heat today, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, only Johnson will travel to Atlanta with the team, as he has reached his conditioning targets while Waiters hasn’t, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Neither player has suited up for the club yet this season due to conditioning issues.
  • Tristan Thompson, who is in a contract year with the Cavaliers, has never made an All-Defense team, but wants that to change this season, as Chris Fedor of relays. “I want to guard the best wings and big on every team,” Thompson said. “I want to make their night tough, to gain that respect defensively around the league. [A] goal of mine is to make first team All-Defense. The way you do that is guarding the best players.”
  • Appearing on Big Apple Buckets, the New York Post’s podcast, Charles Oakley suggested that he’s open to trying to bury the hatchet with Knicks ownership after a contentious saga that saw him banned from MSG, writes Greg Joyce of The Post. Oakley also weighed in on how the Knicks should respond to Kevin Durant‘s comments about the team not being “cool.”

James Dolan Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Selling Knicks

While there are no indications that Knicks owner James Dolan plans to sell the franchise anytime soon, he didn’t entirely rule out the possibility during a recent discussion with Ian O’Connor of Noting that his family has no interest in selling the Knicks, Dolan told O’Connor that he has a responsibility to his shareholders to keep that option open in case the right offer comes along.

“You have a responsibility as the guy who runs the place to deliver on that for them, that’s being open and transparent. And so in that position, I could never say that I wouldn’t consider selling the Knicks,” Dolan said. “Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote.

“As a majority owner, I don’t want to sell, either,” Dolan continued. “As the head of the public company, you can’t say you can’t sell, because then you’re telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won’t invest with you if you do that.”

When Forbes released its NBA franchise valuations early in 2018, the Knicks were once again viewed as the league’s most valuable team, with an estimated value of $3.6 billion. In his discussion with O’Connor, Dolan acknowledged that there have been some “feelers” of offers that would far exceed that number. However, those feelers never led to any concrete offers for the franchise.

“You hear numbers all the time,” Dolan told O’Connor. “… I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued. Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it’s like a stock price. It’s only important if you’re going to buy or sell.”

Dolan also addressed a handful of other topics during his wide-ranging conversation with O’Connor, so the piece is worth checking out in full for Knicks fans.

Here are some of the other notable comments from the Knicks’ owner:

On Phil Jackson’s unsuccessful stint as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations:

“I think it was much more about this triangle thing. It was much more about his philosophy, that he couldn’t get the group to buy into it. And I think he got ‘yessed’ a lot. I think they’d be underneath their breath going, ‘This is not a great idea,’ and he got into conflict with some players over it. But I think he tried hard to get his system in. I just don’t think he ever got it in.”

On Jeff Van Gundy telling ESPN that he had interest in the Knicks’ head coaching job this past spring:

“I never heard that. He wanted the job? Look, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to help the team. If [GM] Scott [Perry] and [president of basketball operations] Steve [Mills] said Jeff’s the right guy, fine, but it was really their call. I didn’t meet anybody else other than [David Fizdale]. They said, ‘Look, he’s our pick, I want you to meet him.’ So I did. I wasn’t involved in the selection process at all.”

On whether he has any regrets about having Charles Oakley ejected from Madison Square Garden during a 2017 game:

“He was out of control. Anybody else who went even half the way that he went would have been ejected from the venue. It just got too bad. He had to be taken out.”

Charles Oakley Files Suit Against Dolan, MSG

2.24pm: The Knicks have issued a response to Oakley’s suit, calling it “frivolous” and a way to get attention, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.

1:39pm: Former Knicks star Charles Oakley filed a civil suit today relating to his removal from Madison Square Garden in February, according to Victoria Bekiempis and Stephen Rex Brown of The New York Daily News. The suit accuses Knicks owner James Dolan and MSG of defamation and discrimination, saying they falsely smeared him as a drunk in the wake of the incident.

“One person who could not abide by Mr. Oakley’s refusal to meekly submit to people in positions of power was Defendant James Dolan,” the suit alleges. It also claims Dolan wouldn’t shake hands or make eye contact with Oakley, refused to invite him to fan appreciation gatherings and made him pay for tickets to games. Oakley was a frequent critic of Knicks management and had a strained relationship with Dolan before the public incident.

Their feud reached a boiling point February 8 when Dolan ordered security guards to remove Oakley from Madison Square Garden. Oakley resisted and claimed in the suit that he was “treated like a common criminal.” The clash was caught on camera and turned into a huge public relations fiasco for the team.

Oakley was arrested and charged with assault, but that was dropped in an August plea agreement that requires him to stay out of trouble for six months and avoid Madison Square Garden for a year. Dolan issued a lifetime ban from MSG for Oakley that was later rescinded and accused him of having a drinking problem.

“Dolan and MSG have caused irreparable harm to his name and career and discriminated against him based on the false perception that he is an alcoholic, all in a transparent attempt to denigrate his standing among Knicks fans,” the suit reads. “However, as he did throughout his playing career, Mr. Oakley has refused to walk to the bench in shame. Instead, holding his head up high, Mr. Oakley files this complaint to set the record straight.”

The suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court cites defamation, assault, battery, false imprisonment and abuse of process claims. Oakley is also suing under the Americans With Disabilities Act, along with city and state human rights laws, claiming Dolan and MSG denied him entrance to the Garden “based on their perception that he suffers from alcoholism, a disability.”

Knicks Notes: Rubio, Anthony, Oakley

A majority of the past few months has fixated on the Knicks‘ interest Ricky Rubio and several people in the organization want the team to continue pursuing the point guard, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. Rubio, who will turn 27 in October, was linked to New York up until the trade deadline this past regular season, when a Derrick Rose-for-Rubio swap nearly completed.

Rubio enjoyed arguably his best season ever, posting career-highs in PPG (11.1), APG (9.1), and field goal percentage (40.2 percent) through 75 games. However, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has indicated that the team views 2016 draft pick Kris Dunn as a mainstay at point guard. Begley reported last month that the Timberwolves view the aforementioned Rose as a target in free agency, which would displace Rubio and make a trade more likely.

The Knicks — who own the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — are also currently in talks with the Trail Blazers about potentially acquiring another first-round pick. So whether it’s Rubio or the draft, the Knicks figure to be one of the most active teams in free agency and the trade market this offseason.

  • In a separate piece for ESPN, Begley examines how Carmelo Anthony‘s $8.1 MM trade kicker impacts his value this offseason. The kicker would have different ramifications if he’s dealt on or before certain dates. If Anthony is traded before June 30, the kicker can be spread out over the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons; if he’s traded before July 1,  it’s spread out over two seasons; if he’s traded after July 1, the entire kicker is factored into his 2017/18 salary. Begley’s thorough examination also includes information on how several potentially interested teams would need to free up salary to accommodate the 10-time All-Star.
  • Knicks legend Charles Oakley appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday and rejected a deal to drop charges stemming from a February 8 incident at Madison Square Garden. Once again from Begley, Oakley’s trial date was set for August 4; he was hit with five charges after a physical run-in with MSG security, including two misdemeanors of assault, two misdemeanors of harassment and one misdemeanor of trespassing. Oakley, who played in New York a decade, has historically had a bad relationship with team owner James Dolan, who Oakley accused of unfairly kicking him out of The Garden.

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

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

“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.

Knicks Notes: Chemistry, Rose, Oakley

Many factors contributed to the Knicks’ disappointing season, though team chemistry belongs near the top of the list, Ian Begley of notes. Earlier in the season, Rose went missing for a game and he addressed his teammates on the following night, apologizing for putting them in a bad spot. Begley hears from a source that after Rose concluded, no one said a word and the scribe believes it’s a testament to the team’s lack of cohesiveness.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Prior to Derrick Rose‘s latest injury, the Knicks were still considering him as an option had they missed out on bigger free agent targets, such as Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague, Begley writes in the same piece. Coach Jeff Hornacek recently said the team won’t close the door on a Rose return.
  • Rose would be happy to get another shot with the Knicks, but he’s excited to hit free agency for the first time in his career, Lonnae O’Neal of The Undefeated passes along. “I would love to stay here,” Rose said of New York. “I love my teammates, I love the coaches, I love the front office. But this will be the first time that I will hit free agency, so I want to take advantage of everything and just see what the free agency system is all about.”
  • Charles Oakley has been arraigned in court on charges stemming from his ejection from Madison Square Garden earlier this season, relays. Oakley has maintained his innocence and declared that he’ll fight the charges.
  • Carmelo Anthony is reportedly leaning toward waiving his no-trade clause this summer. Unless he and Phil Jackson can reconcile, New York will look to deal him.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Simmons, Fultz, Oakley

Aside from the mercurial debut by Joel Embiid, the most important thing to happen for the Sixers this season has been the development of young players, Derek Bodner writes on his websiteDario Saric, Robert Covington, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell have all seen significant playing time and should be important components of the team going forward. Bodner adds that coach Brett Brown is living up to the reputation that he had as a player development specialist when former GM Sam Hinkie hired him in 2013.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown is dismissing rumors that rookie Ben Simmons has grown two inches during the season, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That story apparently started with a comment made by World B. Free on a Cavaliers broadcast last month. “I can feel comfortable saying no, he has not grown to 7 feet,” Brown said. “I wish he had.” The first pick in last year’s draft, Simmons missed the entire season after breaking a bone in his right foot during training camp.
  • University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, a possible top pick in this year’s draft, is visiting Madison Square Garden today to watch the Knicks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. New York, which occupies the sixth spot in our latest Reverse Standings, is hoping for some lottery luck to have a chance at Fultz.
  • Former Knicks star Charles Oakley will appear in court Tuesday for charges stemming from his February run-in with team owner James Dolan that resulted in his ejection from the arena. Oakley, who is charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass, told Dan Gelston of The Associated Press that he has no regrets about the incident. “I would have done everything just the same way,” Oakley said. “I didn’t do nothing. I was only in the arena five minutes. I didn’t know you could get in that much trouble in five minutes. I’d take my chances and do the same thing again.”

Charles Oakley To Join BIG3 As A Player/Coach

Charles Oakley is the latest addition to the BIG3 basketball league, joining the “KILLER 3s” team as a player/coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The KILLER 3s will be comprised of Oakley, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, and two other players.

Ice Cube, the BIG3’s co-founder, and Oakley each expressed their satisfaction with the signing. “The players and coaches are our central focus at the BIG3,” Ice Cube said in a statement relayed by Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. “Charles Oakley is an NBA legend, who deserves and has earned respect, and will get just that in our league.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this league,” Oakley added. “Everyone seems to realize we are about to make history together as players. What an exciting opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best ever.”

Oakley, 53, most recently played in the NBA with Houston in 2003/4, scoring nine points over seven games.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Raptors, Oakley, Lin

Sixers center Joel Embiid claims he’s “more surprised than everybody else” how well this season has gone after he was sidelined two seasons by foot injuries. During the interview with ESPN Radio, Embiid admits he entertained thoughts of retiring during those lost seasons. “I was such in a dark place, I wanted to quit basketball,” Embiid said.  “I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.” Embiid pines for the Rookie of the Year award, saying it would be validation for the sacrifices he made to get back on the court. He’s hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break after missing the last 11 games with what he describes as a left knee bone bruise, though he reportedly has a partial meniscus tear.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The  Raptors do not want to part with young assets now that they’ve made a big move by acquiring power forward Serge Ibaka, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Toronto would prefer to hold onto Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell and Fred VanVleet, Smith continues. They could still package Jared Sullinger‘s expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder and one of their backup point guards to make another move, Smith adds.
  • Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th.  “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

Knicks Notes: Oakley, Roster, Carmelo

It’s been an eventful week for Charles Oakley, who was arrested at a Knicks game last Wednesday, and was subsequently banned from attending future games at Madison Square Garden. According to an ESPN report, the Knicks have since lifted Oakley’s ban, but the former All-Star is in no rush to attend another game as James Dolan‘s guest. Instead, he’d like an apology from the organization.

“It’s not about being at the Garden,” Oakley said. “It’s about the fans. … I love the fans in New York. They’ve been supportive. One of the things I told the commissioner, I want to have a press conference and I want him to apologize to me and the fans.”

Per ESPN’s report, along with Oakley’s comments to Dan Le Batard and Jeff Goodman, Dolan has apologized privately, and Oakley’s camp and the Knicks have discussed the possibility of having a “Charles Oakley Day” at MSG. However, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, since Oakley isn’t quite ready to forgive and forget, as he told Le Batard: “Some things hurt. Some things just don’t walk away. A dog who broke his leg isn’t just going to walk away.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While the Knicks have been at the center of several trade rumors this season, head coach Jeff Hornacek is heading into the All-Star break expecting to start the second half without any real roster changes, per Mike Vorkunov of The New York Times. “I think this is going to be our team,” Hornacek said. “We have had good stretches, bad stretches; we are trying to build something here before we go into the break, so I anticipate we have the same team.”
  • Asked again today about his no-trade clause, Carmelo Anthony said he hasn’t thought about it lately, since management hasn’t talked to him about any potential deals (Twitter link via Ian Begley of
  • The Knicks are stuck in the NBA’s version of no-man’s land, and aren’t working toward a clear destination, writes Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders. According to Beer, New York doesn’t necessarily have to make major changes this month, but will have to decide this summer whether to remain in win-now mode or to take a step backward and commit to a rebuild.
  • Earlier today, we passed along a Forbes report which indicated that the Knicks remain the NBA’s most valuable franchise. Forbes placed a valuation of $3.3 billion on the team.