Damyean Dotson

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.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Randolph, Fizdale, Thomas

A reported Enes Kanter for Zach Randolph swap with the Kings would fulfill the Knicks‘ desire to move the veteran center without taking back a contract that runs past this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

The trade makes sense on several levels, Berman notes. Kanter is unhappy with his reduced playing time in New York and should welcome a deal to a contender. Knicks GM Scott Perry formerly worked in Sacramento and signed Randolph to his current deal. Randolph, who hasn’t played all season, might be bought out to free up a roster spot or he could return to action under David Fizdale, his former coach in Memphis.

Berman adds that the Knicks were surprised by Kanter’s comments last week about his ongoing feud with Turkish leaders as an explanation for his decision not to accompany the team on its upcoming trip to London. A team official said Kanter was having visa issues, but he later denied that was the reason for staying home.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Team owner James Dolan supports Kanter’s decision to skip the London trip, Berman adds in the same piece. The Kings and Knicks aren’t close to a deal yet, a source tells Berman, with Sacramento appearing to be more reluctant.
  • The Knicks finished the first half of the season with just 10 victories, but Fizdale remains confident that better things are coming, Berman writes in a separate story“Individually, I think guys are getting better,’’ Fizdale said after last night’s loss at Golden State. “Small areas of the game we’re getting better. It’s not all collective and not showing in a full game. I do see great strides in our young guys. I see Emmanuel [Mudiay] constantly gaining confidence, and [Noah] Vonleh continues to grow in his evolution. Kevin Knox over the course of the first half has shown great strides. Him and Damyean Dotson.” Draft lottery concerns may work against Fizdale’s prediction of more wins in the second half. The league’s three worst teams will share the best odds at the No. 1 pick, and the Knicks rank third in our latest Reverse Standings.
  • Lance Thomas has signed with CAA and agents Leon Rose and Rich Felder, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. His $7.58MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Dotson, Hardaway, Mudiay

Knicks center Enes Kanter sounded off on his reduced playing time following a miserable night in Utah, relays Marc Berman of the New York Post. Kanter was pulled from the starting lineup earlier this season to give a more prominent to rookie Mitchell Robinson. With Robinson injured, Kanter remains a reserve as the team tries out little-used Luke Kornet.

The frustration overflowed last night following an 0-for-6 performance in which Kanter didn’t enter the game until nine minutes had elapsed and the Knicks were already trailing by 14 points.

“I understand we want the young guys to get better, but it’s very painful to watch it out there,’’ Kanter said. “I’m essentially positive and try to help the young guys get better. It’s too early in the season to shut me down. My goal this year was to go out and be an All-Star, but now look at the situation.’’

Kanter stopped short of asking for a trade, but he fears his minutes will be cut even further once Robinson returns. After opting in last summer, Kanter has an $18.6MM expiring contract that could be attractive to a contender.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • In addition to the on-court frustration, Kanter learned Saturday that the NBA won’t be taking action against Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham for his role in a fracas this week, Berman adds. Kanter had called on the league to fine Ham for allegedly pushing him from behind during an altercation with Giannis Antetokounmpo. An NBA source told Berman that Ham “acted as a peacemaker to separate the players.”
  • The Knicks envision Damyean Dotson as part of their future, Berman writes in a separate story. The team has until July 15 to guarantee his $1.6MM contract for next season and seems likely to do so. New York has received calls about him from other teams, including Detroit and Brooklyn, notes Berman, who speculates that having young wings like Dotson and Allonzo Trier could make the Knicks more willing to deal Tim Hardaway Jr. to help open cap space for a run at Kevin Durant.
  • As Emmanuel Mudiay prepares for Monday’s return to Denver, he tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that things got so bad late in his tenure there that he stopped talking to the media. Mudiay never developed into the player Nuggets hoped when they took him with the seventh pick in 2015, and he was benched prior to the February trade that brought him to New York. “It was just the best decision at the time for both of us,” Mudiay said of the deal. “So it’s not like, I want to prove y’all wrong or blah, blah, blah. It’s just certain things had to happen and it worked out best for both sides.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Dotson, Boylen, Pacers

Following up on conflicting reports about the Pistons‘ apparent interest in Damyean Dotson, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News confirms (via Twitter) that Detroit has expressed interest in trading for the Knicks‘ swingman. It’s not clear how enthusiastic New York would be about moving Dotson, but both the Pistons and Nets have been linked to him within the last couple weeks.

While the Pistons could use a little more stability on the wing, Bondy’s report, which noted that Luke Kennard hadn’t yet found a fit in Dwane Casey‘s system, came just hours before Kennard went off for a career-high 28 points on Monday night. If the 2017 lottery pick can get it going, Detroit’s need for reinforcements figures to be less urgent.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In the wake of Monday’s report that Bulls players contacted the National Basketball Players Association of Jim Boylen‘s coaching tactics, a front office sources stressed to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the team’s new head coach is “safe.” That source also had no complaints about what happened over the weekend: “Jim handled [Sunday] really well. It was a teachable moment for our young guys.”
  • Indiana has turned Victor Oladipo‘s absence into a positive, with several Pacers playing their best ball of the season while Oladipo has been sidelined, writes Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. With Oladipo on the verge of returning, the Pacers will certainly be happy to welcome him back, but they’ll need to make some tweaks to their rotation to accommodate him, says Mark Montieth of Pacers.com.
  • Rodney Hood and Alec Burks were traded from the Jazz to the Cavaliers in separate deals, with Donovan Mitchell‘s emergence in Utah playing a major part in the change in their career paths. Joe Vardon of The Athletic spoke to both Hood and Burks about adjusting to Cleveland and what comes next for them.

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Hezonja, Wall, Dotson

Before getting his third consecutive DNP-CD on Thursday night, Frank Ntilikina offered some terse answers when asked about his role, perhaps conveying a little frustration, as Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. Meanwhile, head coach David Fizdale made some ominous comments when asked about his lineup decisions involving Ntilikina and other Knicks.

“I got a front office that supports me in that,” Fizdale said. “We have to know who’s moving forward out of this group. And it won’t be every single player on this roster, unfortunately. That’s the nature of the business. We have to come out of this year knowing who those guys it’s going to be moving forward with us.”

After Thursday’s game, in which the Knicks surrendered 128 points, Fizdale acknowledged that maybe he should’ve given a strong defender like Ntilikina the opportunity to play, per Steve Popper of Newsday.

“I can always look at him,” Fizdale said. “It ain’t like he’s out, though. Again, it’s going to be a long season. Frank will be getting his opportunities again.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Fizdale said on Thursday that Mario Hezonja is still in New York’s starting lineup because of his effort on defense, as Popper notes. Berman of The New York Post passes along a tweet from former Knicks executive Clarence Gaines Jr. questioning Fizdale’s explanation, while sources also told Berman that Hezonja was happier during his Orlando days when he was in the starting five.
  • Following up on a pair of reports from earlier this week, Ian Begley of ESPN.com says (via Twitter) that the Knicks haven’t had any internal discussions about a possible trade for John Wall and haven’t heard from the Nets or Pistons about Damyean Dotson. Berman previously reported that people around the league believed the Knicks were gearing up to make a push for Wall and said that Detroit and Brooklyn had shown the most interest in Dotson.
  • Lance Thomas is getting close to returning to action, but – like Courtney Lee before him – may have a hard time carving out major minutes in a crowded rotation, Berman writes for The New York Post. Thomas and Lee look like potential trade candidates this season, so New York may make an effort to showcase both players.
  • Ten months after Kristaps Porzingis suffered his ACL tear, there’s still no set timetable for his return to the court, according to Berman.

Pistons, Nets Show Interest In Damyean Dotson

After reporting last week that at least a couple teams have inquired on Knicks swingman Damyean Dotson, Marc Berman of The New York Post provides some additional details, identifying the Pistons and Nets as the two teams that have shown the most interest in Dotson.

While Dotson is drawing interest from rival teams, there are no indications for now that the Knicks intend to move him. At the time of Berman’s initial report, Dotson has fallen out of New York’s rotation and hadn’t played in over a week, which perhaps prompted teams like the Pistons and Nets to poke around to see if the 24-year-old might be available.

Since then though, Dotson has reclaimed a regular role and has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Over the Knicks’ last four games, the former second-round pick has averaged 17.8 PPG with a scorching-hot .625/.650/1.000 shooting line in 26.1 minutes per contest.

David Fizdale‘s rotation in New York this season has been somewhat inconsistent, with players moving in and out of the lineup over the course of the season. Given Fizdale’s frequent shake-ups, there’s no guarantee Dotson will continue to receive regular minutes the rest of the way, but for now he looks like a potential low-cost keeper for the club.

If the Knicks do make Dotson available before this season’s February 7 trade deadline, his on-court production and his team-friendly contract would make him an intriguing target for either a playoff contender like the Pistons or a rebuilding club like the Nets. Dotson is earning just $1.38MM in 2018/19, with a non-guaranteed $1.62MM salary for 2019/20. He’d be eligible for restricted free agency in 2020.

Another of the Knicks’ 2017 draftees, Frank Ntilikina, has reportedly received some trade interest from around the league too, having been linked to the Magic, Suns, Grizzlies, and possibly the Nets.

Knicks Considering John Wall Trade?

The Knicks‘ long-term answer at the point guard position may not be in the roster and some within the league believe the team is gearing up to make the Wizards an offer for John Wall, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.

Berman writes that the Knicks are “stocking up” their young talent and could attempt to put together a package for the former All-Star should the Wizards make him available. The offer would involve Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson and Courtney Lee as well as a 2020 first-rounder and a future second-rounder as part of a three-team deal, Berman suggests.

It was previously reported that there were no untouchables on Washington’s roster, though that was when the team was 6-12 and looking at a lost season. The Wizards have since gone 4-2, pulling themselves closer to their lofty playoff goals.

Wall has not played his best basketball this year. However, it would be hard to argue that he wouldn’t be an upgrade over New York’s current point guard situation.

[RELATED: John Wall drawing very little trade interest]

Ntilikina has fallen out of the rotation and it’s unclear whether the team believes he can play the position long-term. Emmanuel Mudiay hasn’t proven to be consistent as the starter and Trey Burke was demoted to backup before suffering an MCL injury.

The upgrade to Wall would come with heavy financial and opportunity costs. The team expects to be a major player in free agency and Wall’s $37.8MM salary for the 2019/20 season would severely impact the franchise’s ability to make a splash.

Knicks Notes: Lee, Dotson, Playoffs, Trier

Courtney Lee is almost ready for his season debut after overcoming a neck problem, but the Knicks may not have a regular role for him, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Lee said he needs two more practices before playing again, which puts his first game on Saturday at the earliest. The injury occurred when he was hit while driving to the basket during training camp, leaving him with pain in his chest and back. He still gets occasional spasms, but said the pain is mostly under control.

“Definitely gotta get in practice to get my timing down, learn all the plays,” Lee said. “I pretty much know all of them. But [new coach David Fizdale] changed a couple wrinkles in some. Gotta get in there and feel comfortable with the guys, grow some chemistry. Once I get that rhythm, I should be fine from there. Definitely need multiple practices.”

The Knicks have plenty of depth at shooting guard and small forward, so it’s not clear how much playing time Lee will receive once he’s available. The team would like to find a taker for his contract, which pays him $12.25MM this season and $12.76MM in 2019/20.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Damyean Dotson, who has been the subject of trade inquiries as his playing time has dropped, put on an impressive performance in last night’s loss to the Pistons, Berman notes in a separate story. With Mario Hezonja in foul trouble, Fizdale called on Dotson, who responded by making six of eight shots and scoring 17 points. “You’re always right there even if you haven’t played a game or two,’’ Fizdale said. “He stepped up big time. That’s what you call a pro.” If the Knicks don’t trade Dotson, they’ll face a decision this summer as his $1.6MM salary for next season won’t become guaranteed until July 15.
  • At 7-15, the Knicks are on the verge of playoff contention, but Fizdale doesn’t want that to become a distraction, Berman adds in another pieceTrey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter all recently said the postseason is their goal, but Fizdale wants to emphasize development. “I’m keeping them focused on the work,’’ he said. “We’re going to keep working at what we do. Trying to stay in the details of our development and our growth and our competition.”
  • Allonzo Trier is on our list of the two-way players most likely to have their deals converted to standard contracts as soon as next month.