Damyean Dotson

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

Salary Guarantee Updates: Robinson, Nader, Dotson

The Heat don’t intend to waive Duncan Robinson today, tweets Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops. Keeping Robinson on the roster will ensure that the partial guarantee on his minimum-salary contract increases from $250K to $1MM. Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald confirms the news, noting (via Twitter) that Robinson now appears very likely to make Miami’s regular season roster for 2019/20, barring a trade.

The Heat have more contract decisions to make starting on August 1, when the partial guarantees for Kendrick Nunn and Yante Maten are both set to increase. Those decisions will be important, given Miami’s hard-cap constraints for the ’19/20 league year.

For now though, there are a handful of other teams carrying players with July 15 guarantee deadlines in their contracts. Let’s check in on them…

  • All signs point to the Thunder keeping Abdel Nader under contract through today and guaranteeing his 2019/20 salary ($1,618,520), tweets ESPN’s Royce Young.
  • As we relayed earlier, J.R. Smith is expected to be waived by the Cavaliers today before the amount of his partial guarantee increases, while the Pacers will retain Alize Johnson and fully guarantee his ’19/20 salary.
  • The other players with guarantee dates today, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), are Damyean Dotson (Knicks) and Kenrich Williams (Pelicans). A report in early July indicated that the Knicks will hang onto Dotson and guarantee his $1,618,520 salary. There have been no updates one way or the other on Williams, who would get a $200K partial guarantee if he’s not released today.

Knicks Reportedly Canceled Meeting With Kawhi Leonard

The Knicks pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Kawhi Leonard, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Leonard agreed earlier in the week to meet with Knicks officials, but not until today after he completed sessions with the Lakers and Clippers. New York decided its chances of luring Leonard were remote without Kevin Durant and decided to call off the meeting because of “logistics.” There had been rumors that Leonard and Durant were looking to team up with the Clippers or Knicks, but those plans were scrapped when Durant committed to the Nets on Sunday.

New York’s front office didn’t want to wait for a decision from Leonard before diving into the free agent market. Berman noted that the team exhausted nearly all of its $70MM in cap space in the first 20 hours after free agency began.

The best scenario for the Knicks, he adds, would be for Leonard to sign a one-year deal with an option in Toronto and hit the market again next summer. Julius Randle is the only one of New York’s signees to get a guaranteed multi-year deal.

There’s more from New York City:

  • The Knicks plan to retain Damyean Dotson through his July 15 guarantee date, Berman adds in the same story. The second-year guard, who will earn about $1.5MM, will get increased competition for minutes from free agent additions Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN examines whether the Knicks did the right thing by loading up on free agents after their top targets were off the board. While they retained their financial flexibility for the future and should put a better product on the court, they also missed out on a chance to acquire assets by saving some of that cap money to facilitate deals such as the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, the Andre Iguodala trade to the Grizzlies or the D’Angelo Russell trade to the Warriors.
  • Kevin Knox wants to prove his omission from the All-Rookie Team was a mistake, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Knox collected just 22 second-team votes, well short of the amount needed to earn a spot. “Yeah, of course I deserved to make it,” he said. “But it was definitely motivation. I worked hard this summer. That was kind of a chip on my shoulder for me to work hard this summer. Definitely, it was motivation. I’m going to use it for summer. I’m going to keep using it for next year.”

And-Ones: Irving, Lakers, Robinson, Morris

Kyrie Irving remains as much of a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard is, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Earlier today, Los Angeles was able to amend the Anthony Davis trade agreement, giving them the ability to carve out roughly $32MM in cap room.

Irving seems likely to join Brooklyn, but that won’t stop the Lakers from making an attempt to lure the point guard to the team. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Former No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson will play in the summer league for the Spurs, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Robinson most recently played in the G League for the Red Claws, the affiliate of the Celtics.
  • Markieff Morris is unlikely to re-sign with the Thunder, Maddie Lee of the Oklahoman writes. The scribe details how many players who sign during buyout season end up switching teams come the offseason.
  • Damyean Dotson believes the Knicks will be fine even if they don’t land a big star in free agency this summer, as Marc Berman of the New York Post passes along. “We have a full team of young guys,” Dotson said. “My teammates Allonzo [Trier], Kev [Kevin Knox] Mitchell [Robinson], [R.J. Barrett], we’re rising stars. We can build together and one day become a great team if we work hard keep listening to coach [David Fizdale]. All the guys played last year got experience.”

 

Knicks Notes: Durant, Davis, Draft, Ntilikina

The possibility of Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks overshadowed all other topics as NBA executives gathered this week for the annual combine, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. He states that most of those in attendance consider it a “fait accompli” that the Warriors’ star will be coming to New York when free agency begins in July.

The combine was peppered with talk of a secret meeting between the Knicks and Durant and rumors that a “handshake deal” is already in place, along with endorsement opportunities. That would be a blatant violation of NBA rules and a huge risk for the team to take when the opportunity to legally negotiate with Durant is just six weeks away. However, even those who don’t buy into such conspiracy talk seem convinced that a move is on the way.

Explaining why Durant might be willing to leave a potential three-time champion, one unidentified front office executive speculates that he is tired of constant “prodding” from Warriors coach Steve Kerr and believes he will never replace Stephen Curry as the team’s most important player. That opportunity would come instantly in New York, where Knicks fans have been clamoring for a star for years.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills wouldn’t discuss the possibility of including the No. 3 pick in a deal for Anthony Davis, but he insists the team is happy about its position coming out of Tuesday’s lottery, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trade talks for Davis remain on hold as Pelicans executive David Griffin tries to convince his star big man to stay with the team, a source tells Berman. Any trade offer for Davis would have to include the two first-rounders from Dallas that were acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, along with two young prospects from a group that includes Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.
  • Berman considers it a”virtual certainty” that New York will take Duke’s R.J. Barrett if the draft proceeds as expected. The Knicks rate Murray State’s Ja Morant slightly higher, but Memphis is likely to grab him with the second pick. New York’s front office met with both players Wednesday at the combine. The Knicks also own the 55th pick and could target a power forward in the second round.
  • The Knicks are willing to part with Ntilikina in exchange for another late first round or early second round selection, Berman adds. That would open more cap room to pick up the options on Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson without jeopardizing the ability to offer to max deals in free agency.

Knicks’ Dotson Undergoes Surgery On Torn Labrum

Knicks shooting guard Damyean Dotson underwent surgery today on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, Dotson is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

As Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports (via Twitter), there was an expectation before Dotson underwent today’s procedure that the shoulder issue would sideline him for about two months. Begley is unsure whether that timetable has changed post-surgery, but either way, the injury shouldn’t keep him out of action for any of the 2019/20 season.

Dotson, a second-round pick in the 2017 draft, enjoyed a modest breakout season for the Knicks in 2018/19, averaging 10.7 PPG and 3.6 RPG with a .415/.368/.745 shooting line in 73 games (27.5 MPG).

Dotson’s 2019/20 salary is non-guaranteed, so it’s possible he’ll be a roster casualty if the Knicks need every last dollar of cap room this summer. However, the club should be able to work around his $1,618,520 cap charge and keep him in the mix.

Knicks Notes: Roster, Robinson, Durant, Ewing

Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson are the only current Knicks who should definitely be on the roster next season, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Knox showed enough promise at age 19 to hold onto, Robinson was a second-round surprise who became the league’s second-best shot blocker and Dotson is a part-time starter with an affordable contract.

Popper lists Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, as a question mark, noting that his fate could depend on whether the Knicks are in position to draft Ja Morant or sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker in free agency. Also questionable to return, according to Popper, are Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, Lance Thomas and Luke Kornet. Popper expects the rest of the roster to be overturned, including DeAndre Jordan, whom he speculates will be too pricey to re-sign as a back-up center.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Coach David Fizdale believes Robinson would be a lottery pick if last year’s draft were redone, relays Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Fizdale admits he didn’t know much about Robinson when the Knicks grabbed him with the 36th pick, but he quickly blossomed into a force in the middle, swatting 2.44 shots per game. “I think we can all agree if we had to restructure the draft right now, I don’t think he’ll go 36,” Fizdale said. “I think he’d be in that top 10 pretty easily.”
  • LeBron James‘ disappointing first year with the Lakers should make Kevin Durant think twice about whether he wants join the Knicks, states Frank Isola of The Athletic. For all of Durant’s talent, he has a reputation as a highly sensitive player who might not adjust well to the atmosphere in New York. Isola suggests that he will only consider the Knicks if he can find another top-level free agent to join him.
  • Fizdale played a pivotal role in easing tensions between Patrick Ewing and the Knicks after years of a strained relationship, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Ewing will represent the team at next month’s draft lottery.

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Fox, Lakers’ Issues, Free Agency

Young center Ivica Zubac has kept close tabs on his former team and says he could have made a difference for the Lakers if they hadn’t dealt him, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register reports. Zubac was a part of the deal that landed brought power forward Mike Muscala to the Lakers. Zubac has averaged 8.6 PPG and 7.7 RPG in nine games as the Clippers’ starting center. “I’ve been watching almost every game,” Zubac said. “I feel like every time I watch them, I’m like, ‘If I was there, I would help them. I would definitely make a difference on the floor,’ you know? But they’re not my team anymore.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The longtime trainer of Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is now his agent, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Chris Gaston is newly certified as an agent and has launched the “Family First Sports Firm.” Knicks guard Damyean Dotson has also hired Gaston to co-represent him, Haynes adds.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and members of the front office believe that rival teams have taken great pains to cause internal damage to the franchise, a knowledgeable source told Sam Amick of The Athletic. President of basketball operations Magic Johnson felt the Pelicans didn’t negotiate in good faith during Anthony Davis discussions, Amick notes. The fact that specific trade packages were being reported throughout the process gives credence to those suspicions that other teams want to cause the Lakers grief.
  • While the Lakers could trade for Davis and/or land a top free agent, it’s also quite possible that they will strike out in those endeavors, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes. The future holds nothing more than “maybes” for the franchise and this disjointed season has given it a black eye, Pincus adds.

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Davis, Trade Deadline, Allen

The Knicks were surprised to discover how much Kristaps Porzingis‘ trade value had dropped when they started shopping him, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Some of that was because of the ACL injury that has sidelined him for a year with still no clear date for a return. But some executives also expressed reservations about “where his mind was at and his actual skill set,’’ a source tells Berman.

The Knicks had three criteria in any trade for Porzingis: a good young prospect, which they got in Dennis Smith Jr.; enough expiring contracts to offer two max deals in free agency, which Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan provided; and future first-round picks. Of eight to 10 offers that were available, the Dallas deal was the best one that checked all three boxes.

But New York could have gotten much more if it had traded Porzingis prior to the 2017 draft, when former team president Phil Jackson first raised the idea. Berman reports that the Celtics offered a package of young assets, while the Suns were willing to part with Devin Booker along with a draft pick swap that could have brought Lauri Markkanen to the Knicks.

There’s more this morning from New York City:

  • Signing two elite free agents is just one way the Knicks can take advantage of their cap space, Berman notes in the same story. They could also use that money to absorb Anthony Davis‘ $27MM salary in a potential trade with the Pelicans. New York attempted to convince New Orleans GM Dell Demps to accept Porzingis as part of a package for Davis rather than wait for a trade this summer, a source close to Demps tells Berman, but the Pelicans didn’t believe Porzingis would be willing to re-sign in a smaller market. Berman states that the Knicks will become a serious contender for Davis if they land a top-two pick on lottery night.
  • A lack of interest in their available players led to the Knicks being quiet on deadline day, Berman adds. Virtually no one wanted to take on Enes Kanter‘s $18.6MM contract when a buyout was expected; offers for Frank Ntilikina “underwhelmed;” Damyean Dotson sparked some inquiries, but not enough for New York to act; and few teams made offers for Noah Vonleh.
  • G League callup Kadeem Allen continues to impress, Berman and Howie Kussoy write in a separate story. Allen, who signed a two-way contract with the Knicks last month, played in his seventh straight game last night and produced career highs with 14 points and six assists. “He’s a tough little runt. I love him. I really do. He fits my personality,” coach David Fizdale said. “He’s a grimy kid. He’s really worked his way to where he’s at. He keeps getting better and better.”

Wesley Matthews Headed For Buyout; Warriors May Be Next Stop

We noted earlier tonight that the Knicks plans to begin buyout talks with Enes Kanter if he’s not traded before tomorrow’s deadline. It appears Wesley Matthews is in the same situation and may wind up with the Warriors, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Matthews was acquired from Dallas last week as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, but he has an $18.6MM expiring contract and there’s little reason to keep him on one of the league’s worst teams. The Knicks are still hoping to work out a trade and had some interest from the Sixers before they acquired Tobias Harris, Berman adds.

Matthews was just 2 of 11 Tuesday in what the Knicks hoped would be a showcase game, but that won’t affect his popularity on the buyout market. Several teams are expected to make a run at Matthews if he becomes available, including Golden State, which a source says is “intrigued” by the 32-year-old swingman. “The biggest thing is winning,’’ Matthews said Sunday at his introductory press conference in New York, so the interest should be mutual.

Berman adds a few notes on other players:

  • The trade market for Kanter remains light and a buyout appears to be the most likely resolution. “[Knicks GM] Scott [Perry] and I are working together, collaborating and seeing if something makes sense,” said Kanter’s agent, Mark Bartelstein. “If nothing happens [Thursday], we’ll put our heads together.’’
  • DeAndre Jordan, who was also acquired in the Porzingis deal, doesn’t expect to be traded again. He would be happy to stay in New York and serve as a mentor to rookie center Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks have told Jordan they will consider keeping him past this season and may offer him their $5MM room exception if they use all their cap space as planned.
  • Several teams have inquired about Damyean Dotson, with the Kings being the latest to call.
  • New York could have three roster spots to fill with 10-day contracts by the end of the week. The team is watching John Jenkins, whose 10-day deal with the Wizards will expire on Saturday, to see if he becomes available. Jenkins had been playing with the Knicks’ G League affiliate in Westchester before his NBA call-up.