Courtney Lee

Knicks Looking To Trade Courtney Lee?

The Knicks are exploring the possibility of trading Courtney Lee and his multiyear contract, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Lee will make $12,253,780 in the upcoming season and $12,759,670 in 2019/20, which could disrupt the team’s plans to offer a maximum-salary contract next summer.

If the Knicks want to lock up Kristaps Porzingis to a contract extension this offseason, it would cut into their projected 2019 cap room, so moving Lee for expiring salary would help retain some of the their ’19 flexibility and create a clearer path to a max-salary slot. Porzingis, who is expected to miss at least part of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, is eligible for a extension worth a projected $155MM.

Lee, 32, will likely fall out of the rotation under new coach David Fizdale, Berman writes. Sources tell The Post that rookie Kevin Knox is expected to take Lee’s spot as the starting small forward, while Damyean Dotson will have a bigger role as the backup to Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard and Frank Ntilikina will also see time there. Fizdale reportedly doesn’t view the 6’5″ Lee as a small forward.

Lee has spent the past two seasons with the Knicks after signing as a free agent in 2016. He appeared in 76 games this year, starting 69, and posted a 12.0/2.9/2.4 line.

And-Ones: Warriors, Trade Block, Howard

The Warriors are likely to carry only 14 players heading into the season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move would save the team money against the luxury tax and leave the organization with room to add a player during the season. Slater notes that the pair of players it signs under two-way deals can fill-in for minutes if needed.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Wilson Chandler, who officially opted into his 2018/19 contract with the Nuggets last week, is available in trade talks, David Aldridge of reports (Twitter link). Chandler will make slightly over $12.8MM this upcoming year.
  • The HawksKent Bazemore and the KnicksCourtney Lee are both available in trade talks as well, Aldridge adds. The scribe also confirms that there are no untouchable players on the Raptors.
  • The Warriors insist they are not interested in signing Dwight Howard once the center reaches a buyout with the Nets, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes. Charlotte dealt the big man to Brooklyn after one uninspiring season with the club.
  • LeBron James has indicated that family considerations will play a big role in his free agency decision. Stein (same piece) can envision James choosing the Lakers with a belief that President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson can assist him and his family with their off-court needs.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Lee, Porzingis

With David Fizdale being welcomed as the next coach of the Knicks, Marc Berman of The New York Post examines what went wrong for him in Memphis. Fizdale, who inherited a perennial playoff team, took the Grizzlies to the postseason last year before being fired after 19 games this season with a 7-12 record.

Former NBA player Brevin Knight, who serves as a broadcaster in Memphis, suggests that Fizdale tried to infuse too much of an uptempo approach into a veteran team that was comfortable with its “grit and grind” philosophy.

“It’s hard to give a true assessment of him as a bench coach because he was trying to change a culture when he came to Memphis,’’ Knight said. “It wasn’t just him running his offense. It was almost a hybrid of what he would’ve liked to have done — coupled with guys who were comfortable and accustomed to doing something else for so long.’’

Fizdale also had a long-running feud with center Marc Gasol, which raises concerns about how he might relate to Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. Knight said Fizdale had a “learning experience” in Memphis about coaching international players after years with the Heat where LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh served as team leaders.

There’s more news today out of New York:

  • Knicks guard Courtney Lee, who remains close to some of his former Grizzlies teammates and has heard the inside story of Fizdale’s time there, is ecstatic about his new coach, relays Al Iannazzone of Newsday“Even in his time in Memphis, you can tell he was focused on a team or getting better — whether it was holding your best player accountable or your worst player accountable,” Lee said. “He wasn’t afraid to be confrontational and get his message across. So that’s a quality I like about him.”
  • Fizdale’s plan to travel to Latvia to meet with Porzingis is the latest sign that the Knicks are committed to building the franchise around their young star, notes Ian Begley of ESPN. The rift between Porzingis and the organization that caused him to skip his exit meeting last year hasn’t been fully repaired, Begley adds. Porzinigis is eligible for a five-year, $157 million extension this summer, but it’s uncertain whether the Knicks are willing to commit to that while he’s recovering from a torn ACL.
  • It’s now up to Fizdale to end the cycle of coaching changes in New York, writes Mike Lupica of The New York Daily News. The Knicks have employed 11 coaches in the past 14 years, he adds, and nearly all have left with damaged reputations.

New York Notes: Kanter, Lee, Russell, Allen

Despite starting the season with four centers, that could become a position of need for the Knicks this summer, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Enes Kanter has signed with Mark Bartelstein, one of the NBA’s most powerful agents, as he ponders whether to opt out of an $18.6MM salary for next season, adds Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Backup center Kyle O’Quinn has a $4.3MM opt out that he is expected to exercise, as he recently expressed a desire to join a playoff contender. Joakim Noah is on an extended leave of absence from the team, and Willy Hernangomez has already been traded to the Hornets. Berman expects the Knicks to use the stretch provision on Noah once September 1 arrives to open up future cap space.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Trade rumors have surrounded veteran Courtney Lee, but he hopes to remain with the Knicks, relays Chris Iseman of Lee doesn’t fit in with the youth movement in New York and may not have a future spot in a crowded backcourt. “All I can control is what I can control,” Lee said. “And that’s showing up here and being a professional and continuing to do the things I’ve been doing, encouraging and helping the young guys. And then when Coach calls my name, going out there and playing hard.”
  • Lee also came to the defense of embattled coach Jeff Hornacek, Iseman adds, blaming injuries for a disappointing season. The Knicks were 11-10 when Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a stress injury to his left leg in late November, and Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL shortly after Hardaway returned. “For what, injuries?” Lee responded when asked about Hornacek. “For Tim having a stress fracture? For KP going down? How do you blame coach for that?”
  • D’Angelo Russell understands the need to improve after mixed results in his first season with the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Russell averaged 15.4 points and 5.1 assists, but missed 32 games after knee surgery and did little to calm fears about his defense. “Yeah, it could be better. I think it’s just learning. I’m feeling it out,” said Russell, who will be eligible for an extension this summer. “Everything I’m doing is new, playing with new coaches, new teammates. Everything is new. So I think it’s a feeling-it-out type deal with me, so it could always be better.”
  • Rookie center Jarrett Allen has been a pleasant surprise for the Nets, but coach Kenny Atkinson wants him to improve as a rebounder, Lewis notes in a separate story. Allen averages 5.3 boards per night, which ranks 46th among centers.

New York Notes: Okafor, Lee, LeVert

Jahlil Okafor hasn’t found much success on the court since being traded to the Nets, but coach Kenny Atkinson believes the big man is simply a “victim of circumstance,” as Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays.

“Sometimes it’s just circumstances,” Atkinson said. “I’d say his approach, his buy-in to what we’re doing, has been phenomenal. His buy-in to our performance team and getting his body, improving his body has been phenomenal. So, very pleased.”

Atkinson had shortened his rotation before giving the Duke product some run against the Sixers on Sunday. Okafor, who will be a free agent after the season, had four points in his five minutes of action and he may see more court time during the last month of the season.

“He has some days where he gets a little down, which is normal,” the coach added. “But he picks it right back up and has really busted his tail. So hopefully in these last games we can find opportunities for him to get there. I’d like to see more, so hopefully we get to that point.”

Here’s more from the Big Apple:

  • Courtney Lee, who was the subject of trade rumors earlier this season, isn’t happy with the Knicks‘ effort on the court lately. “Effort is the key to everything,” Lee exclaimed (via Fred Kerber of the New York Post). “It takes no talent to run from the paint out to contest a 3-point shot, that’s just all effort. We have to get everybody’s effort. Everybody’s got to be locked in.” The shooting guard is under contract with New York through the 2019/20 season.
  • Nets GM Sean Marks always believed former No. 20 overall pick Caris LeVert would develop into a reliable playmaker despite criticism from naysayers who argued that the team made a mistake by taking the Michigan product that high, as Bryan Fonseca of SB Nation relays. LeVert, whom the team gave up Thaddeus Young in order to acquire, is averaging 5.3 assists per contest this season.

Trade Deadline Notes: Evans, Hill, Hood, Mavericks

One of the most important deadlines on the NBA calendar is less than 24 hours away, and teams are preparing their best offers as we head for 2:00pm Central. We’ll find out soon if any more franchise-altering moves are in store for this season, but in the meantime here are some Wednesday night trade rumors:

  • The Celtics remain in the running for Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, but there’s a sense that Memphis is getting better offers elsewhere, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. A GM from another team tells Bulpett that Boston is waiting to swoop in if talks with those other clubs fall apart. Evans’ value figures to have increased after Lou Williams agreed to an extension with the Clippers today, taking one high-scoring guard off the market.
  • Multiple teams have shown interest in George Hill, but the Kings don’t want to take on bad contracts, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The Cavaliers have been the team most prominently linked to the veteran guard, but Jones says the Rockets and others have contacted Sacramento about Hill. Houston could match salaries with Ryan Anderson, but he is owed more than $41MM over the next two seasons and the Kings want to avoid cutting into their future cap space. They are seeking young players and draft picks in return for Hill.
  • Teams have also called the Kings about veterans Garrett Temple, Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos, Jones adds in the same story. Both Temple ($8MM) and Koufos ($8.74MM) have player options for next season, while the 41-year-old Carter is on an expiring deal.
  • Jazz swingman Rodney Hood told Shams Charania of The Vertical that he expects to be traded. “I’ve had great times in Utah, but regardless of where I’m playing, whether it’s there or somewhere else, I’m going to stay professional,” Hood said. “I’m going to stick with it. My gut feeling is that I won’t be here by the deadline. I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I’ve felt isolated the past month and I would not be surprised if I was moved.” 
  • The Mavericks are being offered players by teams trying to unload salary, but they aren’t getting enough incentives to make the deals worthwhile, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Sefko lists Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle of the Lakers and J.R. Smith of the Cavaliers as players who would be available if Dallas doesn’t mind committing the cap space.
  • The Knicks may be in the market for more deals after sending Willy Hernangomez to the Hornets, writes Adam Zagoria of Kyle O’Quinn and Courtney Lee are the most likely players to be moved.

Trade Rumors: Chriss, Knicks, Belinelli, Hood

Over at USA Today, Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt broke down trade deadline goals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams. While the duo’s round-up mentioned several players already known to be trade candidates, Amick and Zillgitt also identified a few new names.

Kings center Georgios Papagiannis, Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford, and Nuggets big man Darrell Arthur are among the players who could be available this week, per Amick and Zillgitt. The duo also suggested that a handful of teams are open for business on nearly all of their players. The Hawks are willing to discuss anyone except John Collins; the Mavericks would talk about anyone besides Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Smith Jr., and Harrison Barnes; and the only players off the table for the Thunder are Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Steven Adams.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Suns appear to be exploring deals involving second-year big man Marquese Chriss, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that the Lakers are one of a few teams involved. However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who is well-connected in Phoenix, tweets that those rumors are “totally false,” suggesting that the club hasn’t discussed deals involving Chriss. Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic also gets involved, tweeting that the Suns would only consider parting with Chriss in a deal for an established player like Kemba Walker.
  • Having sending Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte, the Knicks continue to take calls about Kyle O’Quinn and Courtney Lee, and are still trying to trade Joakim Noah, says ESPN’s Ian Begley.
  • The Jazz aren’t one of the teams in the mix for veteran guard Marco Belinelli, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. According to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), Belinelli isn’t making the trip to Orlando with the Hawks, as the team continues to mull its trade options.
  • As many as 15 teams have called the Jazz to inquire about trade candidate Rodney Hood, tweets Tony Jones.
  • In an in-depth look at where things stand for the Kings, James Ham of NBC Sports California says the club doesn’t want to take on a bad contract that runs past 2018/19 or impact its young core led by De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Knicks Rumors: Payton, Noah, Biyombo, Hernangomez

The Knicks got some devastating news on Tuesday night, as an MRI revealed that Kristaps Porzingis suffered a torn ACL, sidelining him for the rest of the 2017/18 season — and likely for the start of next season too.

After a solid start to the year, there was speculation that the Knicks could remain in the playoff picture in the East, with key contributors like Porzingis and Enes Kanter publicly encouraging the organization to push for the postseason rather than selling off assets. Already mired in a slump though, the Knicks are now nine games below .500 and their playoff hopes appear to be on life support.

With the Porzingis injury further reducing the Knicks’ chances of making a late-season run, members of the franchise have already discussed giving the team’s young players more minutes for the rest of the year, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link). While Begley says it’s not clear yet whether that’s the definitive plan, it would certainly make sense to shift in that direction.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks have checked in on Magic guard Elfrid Payton, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes that Knicks GM Scott Perry was a member of Orlando’s front office when the club drafted Payton. Berman adds that Perry and the Knicks view Payton as the type of athletic player they covet, and believe the fourth-year point guard has more upside as a defender than the advanced metrics suggest.
  • According to Berman, the Knicks and Magic have engaged in preliminary talks about Payton, and the two teams have discussed the possibility of including highly-paid bigs Joakim Noah and Bismack Biyombo in a deal. Still, these talks occurred before Porzingis went down on Tuesday, so it’s not clear how that injury impacts New York’s plans.
  • The Nuggets are one of about a dozen teams that have inquired on Willy Hernangomez, but the young center isn’t being discussed in talks with the Magic, sources tell Berman. The Knicks would likely move Hernangomez if they could get a first-round pick or a promising young player at a different position in return, says Berman.
  • With Porzingis potentially sidelined until the 2019 calendar year, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton examines how the injury will affect the Knicks’ offseason plans. If Porzingis misses a good chunk of the 2018/19 season, the team may end putting off any major veteran additions until at least 2019, Pelton notes. He adds that the injury could make a Courtney Lee trade more viable for the Knicks, since Lee is more of a win-now piece.

Pistons Rumors: Failed Trades, S. Johnson, Love

The Pistons had originally planned to approach this season’s trade deadline by aggressively pursuing upgrades on the wing, writes Jake Fischer of League sources tell Fischer that Detroit looked into several potential trade candidates around the NBA, including Danny Green, Jordan Clarkson, Tyreke Evans, Rodney Hood, and Courtney Lee. The Magic also called to discuss a deal that would have included Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, and Luke Kennard, per Fischer.

As a result of all that research and legwork on wing players, the Pistons came to a realization that prompted them to change direction. “It’s becoming a wing league, and not many teams are willing to move those players,” a Pistons source told Fischer. “We were willing to give up ours.”

Rather than looking to build up on their own wing depth, the Pistons decided to part with Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris in a deal that would bolster their frontcourt instead. It remains to be seen whether that approach will pay off, but the team will start to find out tonight, with Blake Griffin set to make his Pistons debut. “It’s time to make a run now,” one team source told Fischer, who notes that seven of Detroit’s eight remaining games before the All-Star break are at home.

Here’s more on the Pistons from Fischer:

  • The Pistons, who explored trading for Eric Bledsoe last summer, circled back to him in November and came “within inches” of acquiring him in a three-way deal with the Suns and Pelicans, according to Fischer. That trade, which would have included Reggie Jackson, fell through.
  • The Pistons will continue to keep an eye out for opportunities to acquire wing players, and Fischer hints that Stanley Johnson is more likely than Kennard to be included in such a deal.
  • Detroit’s front office worked with Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and GM Michael Winger on the Griffin deal. Head coach Doc Rivers, who served as the Clippers’ head of basketball operations until this past offseason, didn’t find out about the deal until Sunday — by that point, every detail except the first-round pick protections had already been agreed upon, a league source tells Fischer.
  • If the Pistons had been unable to finalize a deal for Griffin, they were planning to shift their focus to Kevin Love, says Fischer. Obviously, that was before Love suffered his hand injury, though there’s no indication that the Cavaliers would have seriously considered moving him.

Knicks Rumors: RHJ, O’Quinn, Lee, Dotson

The Knicks have inquired about Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, an NBA source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, Brooklyn asked for a first-round pick in exchange for the Hollis-Jefferson, and with the Knicks likely headed for the lottery, that pick is “virtually untouchable.”

In addition to wanting to hang onto that first-rounder, the Knicks’ front office is “vehemently opposed” to taking on any more bad contracts, writes Berman. I imagine the only exception would be if another team was willing to take on Joakim Noah‘s deal — in that scenario, the Knicks may be open to absorbing an unwanted contract that perhaps isn’t quite as bad as Noah’s.

While New York is receiving more calls about Willy Hernangomez than any other player, sources suggest to Berman that Kyle O’Quinn and Courtney Lee are more likely to be dealt. Lee, in particular, has generated increasing interest recently, though Berman says that the Knicks won’t move him unless they get “significant value” in return.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Most opposing executives and scouts surveyed by Fred Kerber of The New York Post believe that the Knicks should approach the deadline as sellers, looking to collect more assets. However, that view wasn’t unanimous — one opposing team official advocated for an attempt at a playoff push, though he cautioned that the Knicks shouldn’t move their first-round pick “under any circumstance.”
  • Al Iannazzone of Newsday takes a closer look at the Knicks’ prime trade candidates, with the deadline fast approaching.
  • The Knicks have been reluctant to send lottery pick Frank Ntilikina to the G League to get him extra work, but playing with the Westchester Knicks is paying off for fellow rookie Damyean Dotson, Berman writes in an article for The New York Post.