David Fizdale

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Korkmaz, Dinwiddie, Sixers

The Knicks’ success could largely hind on whether David Fizdale crafts a rotation that keeps both his veterans and rising stars happy this season, Steve Popper of Newsday writes.

New York shifted to Plan B in free agency this summer after superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant opted to sign with the Nets, inking new players Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock to contracts.

The team also drafted Duke standout RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick in June, giving Fizdale and his staff plenty of competitive options to sort through as training camp nears.

“That’s going to be great for us,” Knicks forward Kevin Knox said. “To be able to compete, I don’t think anybody’s guaranteed no starting lineup, no minutes, none of that . . . Everyone is gonna have to earn their minutes, earn their position. I think that’s going to be great for us going into training camp and competing. Nobody’s got a starting spot. Everyone’s got to fight to earn their minutes and earn their position.”

New York has missed the playoffs in each of their past six seasons. The team finished at 17-65 last season, good for the worst record in the league.

  • Lauren Rosen of NBA.com crafts a preseason profile on Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz, who spent most of last season sidelined due to injury. “I think next year is going to be the most important year of my career,” Korkmaz said of the upcoming season. Korkmaz holds per-game averages of 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 12.2 minutes in 62 contests with Philadelphia through two seasons.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie is confident that the Nets could win a championship this season, led by who he believes is the top player in the league today: Durant, as relayed by Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “He asked if I think the Brooklyn Nets will win a championship,” Dinwiddie said, explaining what question he was asked by one of the kids at a recent team-related event. “Now, listen here: I don’t make guarantees. But of course I do. … KD is the best player in the league, right?” Once Durant returns from injury, the Nets are set to sport one of the league’s most formidable cores: Durant, Irving, Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Dinwiddie and more.
  • Former Sixers star Charles Barkley praised the team’s top-two young stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, in a recent interview with Michael Lee of The Athletic. “I’m a big Ben Simmons fan,” Barkley said. “And I want him to do like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Keep working on his game, become a very good shooter, because if he keeps working on his jump shot, he’s going to be one of the best to ever do it. Joel, I expect him to be in the MVP conversation. I think he got mad at me because I suggested his conditioning wasn’t up to par, which it wasn’t. I know they try to be careful with him, because he is injury-prone, and that is why I think swimming would be great for him.”

New York Notes: Knox, Fizdale, Nets Signings, G League

The Knicks enter the upcoming season with a roster filled with young players and a mix of veterans on one-year deals. It remains to be seen how the roster shakes out but one of those youngsters, Kevin Knox, is excited about how early practices have gone.

Speaking at a recent event, Knox praised the team’s current group and how competitive everyone has been, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“Very competitive practices so far,’’ Knox said. “You can tell all the guys are hungry and looking forward to training camp. A lot of guys have been impressive. You can tell a lot of guys have been working on their games all summer. I watched a lot those guys playing on TV last year. Everyone’s game has gotten a lot better. I can’t wait to get to training camp and jell together.”

Knox mentioned that head coach David Fizdale has mentioned that no starting spots are locked up at this point in time. Thus, competitive battles for playing time figure to persist.

Check out more notes on the New York squads:

  • While the Knicks did not land a superstar free agent, Knox noted that seeing their crosstown rival Nets do so is adding fuel to the team’s fire, writes Newsday’s Steve Popper. “You’ve got people always saying the Knicks and the Nets,” Knox said. “Of course they got two superstars. That’s just fuel to the fire for us. Like [coach David Fizdale] told us all in a group message, put your head down and just go out and play hard for one another. That’s kind of been our motto this whole summer.”
  • Entering the season, there are a lot of pressing question on how the Knicks will approach their aforementioned roster. The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov examines seven burning questions on the upcoming season, including the development of their young players.
  • The Nets’ G League affiliate Long Island Nets announced a series of staff hires for the team, per a press release.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Celtics, Fizdale

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will become the first NBA player to turn his player contract into a digital investment vehicle, multiple sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As Charania explains, Dinwiddie is expected to give up some future income on his three-year, $34MM+ deal with the Nets in order to secure smaller lump sum payments up front, which he could then immediately invest. Investors who secure a “Dinwiddie bond” in the form of a digital token would eventually be paid back the principal amount with interest, with that cost covered by the veteran’s NBA contract, writes Charania.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While Team USA has had a disappointing run in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, that doesn’t diminish the fact that four Celtics players – Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown – got valuable chemistry-building reps in China, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. The experience they gained together with Team USA will benefit them and the Celtics more than any medal would have, Forsberg opines.
  • The Celtics‘ G League affiliate – the Maine Red Claws – has acquired the returning rights to former Xavier forward Kaiser Gates in exchange for a first-round draft pick, per a press release. Gates agreed to a training camp contract with Boston last week, so today’s move signals that the club plans to eventually have him report to Maine.
  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv spoke to a handful of current and former NBA coaches who believe that David Fizdale will face a difficult challenge in New York this season. The Knicks‘ head coach will have to balance developing young players with finding enough minutes for all the veterans who signed short-term, big-money deals and expect to play key roles.

Atlantic Notes: Miller, Prokhorov, Celtics, Scott

The Knicks have hired Mike Miller as an assistant on David Fizdale’s staff after he served as their G League coach since the 2015/16 season, according to a team press release. Miller, not to be confused with the longtime NBA player, compiled a 108-92 record with the Westchester Knicks. Derrick Alston, who served as an assistant to Miller, has been promoted to head coach of the G league team, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Mikhail Prokhorov, who recently sold his interest in the Nets, inquired about other NBA franchises — including the Knicks — before he was approved as the majority owner of the Brooklyn franchise. His top basketball adviser, Sergei Kushchenko, revealed that to TASS in a story relayed by NetsDaily.com. ”We were looking over various options at that time,” Kushchenko said. “Among them were the New York Knicks, who asked for a bizarre sum, the Phoenix Suns and the New Jersey Nets. We decided to focus on the New Jersey Nets since it was a completely different market then in addition to the prospect of the new arena’s construction along with a full-fledged business framework.” Prokhorov was also scared away by the Knicks’ debt load, according to NetsDaily.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens will have a dilemma if he wants to get all of his best players on the court during crunch time, Matt John of Basketball Insiders notes. The team’s top five include Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, which would leave them without a true power forward or center in those situations.
  • Sixers forward Mike Scott said some advice from Clippers coach Doc Rivers helped him after he was dealt to Philadelphia last season, Kevin Murphy of The Athletic writes. Scott emerged as a key reserve after he was included in the Tobias Harris blockbuster and earned a two-year, $9.8MM contract in free agency. “I feel I didn’t play well in L.A., and I think for the most part it was on me,” Scott said. “I was still trying to figure it out. When I got here, I said, ‘[The heck with it], I am going to ball-out and try to do what Doc says.’ Do the little things and see what happens.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Burke, O’Quinn, Smart, Fizdale

Despite the loss of J.J. Redick, the Sixers have plenty of perimeter shooters on their current roster, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details. Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, Mike Scott, Al Horford, James Ennis, Trey Burke and Raul Neto loom as long-range threats but mainly in catch-and-shoot situations. That means Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons need to create and open up space for their perimeter players.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Point guards Trey Burke and Raul Neto could be useful members of the Sixers’ rotation but big man Kyle O’Quinn will have regain the form he showed earlier in his career with the Knicks to make a meaningful contribution, Mike O’Connor of The Athletic writes. O’Connor breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of the incoming reserve trio and how they’ll fit in.
  • Marcus Smart admits the Celtics were a dysfunctional team last season, he said on ESPN’s The Jump this week. Many players were uncomfortable with their roles, according to Smart. “It’s hard for anybody to have to look themselves in mirror and sacrifice something,” Smart said.
  • The fact that the Knicks didn’t re-sign any of their nine free agents reflects poorly on coach David Fizdale, the New York Post’s Marc Berman opines. The teams sold player development over the team’s win-loss record last season, yet didn’t consider any of those players worthy of another contract, Berman notes.

Knicks Notes: Jordan, Ewing, Williamson, Fizdale, Coaching Staff

The Knicks acquired veteran center DeAndre Jordan as part of the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster in February. Jordan was viewed as a potential buyout candidate; a veteran player likely interested in latching on with a contending team. However, he finished out the season in New York.

Head coach David Fizdale said this week that the Knicks offered Jordan a buyout, but he wanted to remain with the team, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Jordan, 30, appeared in 19 games with the Knicks, averaging 10.9 PPG and 11.4 RPG — solid totals in line with his career production.

In addition to his production, Jordan served as a mentor for a young team, particularly to promising big man Mitchell Robinson. As the Knicks prepare for an active offseason, Jordan remains a possibility to re-sign with the team.

Check out more Knicks notes down below:

  • Knicks legend Patrick Ewing will represent the team at the NBA draft lottery next month and the team is hopeful he will be a good luck charm, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes“Patrick is a huge part of our team’s history and we’re thrilled to have number 33 represent the franchise at this year’s draft lottery,” Knicks president Steve Mills said.
  • While the Knicks will hope for the best at the lottery, particularly the chance to draft Duke’s Zion Williamson, the team is prepared for any outcome, Forbes’ Adam Zagoria writes.At the end of the day, I’m really prepared for whoever we get,” Fizdale said on The Michael Kay Show.
  • It’s unclear how different the Knicks’ roster will be next season but Fizdale is also not looking to change the coaching staff, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes“No, I like these guys,’’ Fizdale said. “These guys are good. They know their stuff. They know their craft. We got some really knowledgeable guys.”
  • Speaking of next season, both Berman of The Post and Newsday’s Steve Popper examined the Knicks’ roster and who may or may not be back for the 2019/20 season.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Love, Wizards, Fizdale

The Cavaliers lost one of the best basketball players on the planet last summer, a crushing blow to the organization after four straight years of making the NBA Finals.

LeBron James made a quick decision to leave Cleveland and join the Lakers on the first night of free agency, but the team under-performed this season as a result of injury, awkward fit and lack of consistency. They were eliminated from playoff contention — just like the Cavaliers.

“Character-wise, everyone here gets an ‘A,’” Cavs center Tristan Thompson said, as relayed by Joe Vardon of The Athletic this week. “It would be easy for us to show up and lay down, but that’s not what (owner) Dan (Gilbert) is paying us for, that’s not what ’Bron taught us while he was here.”

Vardon ponders whether the Cavs are in a better position without James than the Lakers are with him in his article, detailing the young talent, cohesiveness and determination this current Cavaliers team has.

Cleveland sports a young nucleus of Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, combined with veterans such as Jordan Clarkson, Kevin Love and Thompson, though the team has accrued just a 19-56 record this season. The Cavs are 4-8 during the month of March, compared to the Lakers at 3-11.

“LD’s done a great job getting us in this position,” Thompson said of head coach Larry Drew, who guided Cleveland through a very tough first half of the season. “I give the coaches a lot of credit. They’re four-time Finals coaches, and they don’t know their future.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is set to receive a special honor at Carnegie Hall in May, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Love will be recognized by the Child Mind Institute at the Change Maker Awards for raising awareness about mental health, particularly in the lives of young kids. “It’s bigger than basketball,” Love said. “I think stuff like this is super important. The narrative of sticking to sports and more than an athlete, we just have such a big reach, it’s important for us if we’re able to share these stories and do these things and know that it is bigger than basketball. Although this is what we do, the main thing is the main thing, it’s opened a lot of doors for us to do important things and cool things like this.”
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN.com previews the offseason for the Wizards, a team on the heels of a disappointing 2018/19 regular season. Trevor Ariza, Wesley Johnson, Tomas Satoransky, Sam Dekker, Bobby Portis, Jeff Green, Thomas Bryant and Chasson Randle will all reach free agency on July 1, with the franchise holding a $20MM team option on forward Jabari Parker. John Wall could miss most (or all) of next season as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
  • David Fizdale‘s honeymoon year with the Knicks is nearing its end, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Fizdale has experimented with several different lineup combinations in his first season as coach, as the pressure of having a successful draft offseason continues to mount for the team. The Knicks are expected to pursue top-level talents once free agency officially opens on July 1.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Brown, Knox, Fizdale

The Raptors‘ big deadline acquisition was veteran Marc Gasol, bolstering Toronto’s frontcourt entering the final stretch of the regular season. Thus far, Gasol has seen nearly equal time as a starter (six games) and as a reserve (seven games).

In those 13 games, Gasol has averaged 9.4 PPG and 6.2 RPG for the Raptors, well below his career rates. After spending his first 10-and-a-half seasons in Memphis, the big man is still getting used to his new team and teammates, as Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca writes.

“It’s an adjustment. I think it’s an adjustment for me, an adjustment for my teammates, for the coaches,” Gasol said. “You know, you play a certain way and it’s hard to change certain things on the fly. But you can’t try to force the issue. You have to organically improve and I’m here to work and do my best with a very positive mindset every day. It’s about what’s best for the team and how we can take another step at both ends of the floor.”

While the three-time All-Star figures out his role, the Raptors are focused on the postseason, clinching a spot in the Eastern Conference last week. Heading into that stretch, Gasol’s experience will be a factor but he does not want the attention to be solely on him.

“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” Gasol said. “Whatever role you’re given, it’s about having a good mindset. It’s not so much about starting — it’s about finishing games. It’s about the team playing well, and contributing to that. I know now that I’m going to have to start for the next few games, probably. And that contributes to a routine and a habit and a little bit of consistency. That helps you get that out of your mind. But I definitely don’t want to make a big deal out of it.”

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Jaylen Brown has embraced his role off the bench to the Celtics‘ benefit despite being a starter and the team’s second-leading scorer a season ago, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. “He’s done a good job of embracing that,” Boston head coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s done a good job of not letting that affect his aggressiveness or his game.”
  • It has been an up and down season for Knicks rookie Kevin Knox who had been in a slump since December. Knox is appreciative of the rebuilding Knicks’ patience with his development but head coach David Fizdale has a strategy to help him improve, Marc Berman of New York Post writes.“His strength is going to be a big, big thing, fine-tuning his shooting, solidifying his post game,” Fizdale said. “Obviously, defensively I’m going to be all over him about taking another step forward, about being a playmaker, a shotblocker, a guy who can take a challenge one on one and really slide his feet against the best attackers.”
  • Speaking of Fizdale, earlier we relayed the head coach’s confidence in the Knicks doing well with free agents this summer.

David Fizdale Confident Knicks Can Do Well In Free Agency

During a rare, wide-ranging interview earlier this week, Knicks owner James Dolan voiced confidence that the team would enjoy a successful summer in recruiting top tier free agents.

“Yes, I do think that. I think we offer a pretty good situation for [to acquire free agents],” he said on The Michael Kay Show. “One is a lot of them love New York, a bunch of them live in New York in the offseason. They know the team, they know [head coach David Fizdale] really well, they know [president Steve Mills] and [GM Scott Perry]. Players want to go to a winner and they want to get paid. We’re definitely going to pay them. We think with them combined and the kids we’ve got today, we can build a winning team.”

Thus far, the rebuilding Knicks sit in the NBA’s cellar, owning a league-worst record of 13-56. However, the organization has pointed toward its young assets, such as Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Mitchell Robinson — in addition to the city of New York — as enticing reasons for free agents to consider the team as a destination.

Fizdale echoed Dolan’s comments, citing player development and chatter around the league.

“Well, the beauty of it, the thing that I always — as much as I love you guys — I try to have my baseline on people that are having to make decisions around the league when they look at our team,” Fizdale said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “All of the feedback that we’ve gotten is young kids have gotten better, our guys compete their butts off. We set ourselves up big-time for a great future and that’s what I’m listening to when I talk to my friends around the league and the feedback that I’m getting.”

The Knicks are expected to be serious players for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and others. It’s still far from a certainty that New York will sign any of those impending free agents and Fizdale said he remains focused on finishing the season strong.

“Well, since we’ve been here, I’m hoping that’s the case, that the relationships and what we’re building here will attract people,” Fizdale said. “But right now I’m so far away from that, guys, I’m like in a darkroom right now with these guys. I’ve got a lot of things I’m trying to clean up and teach these young guys. Free agency for me is like millions of miles away.”

Knicks Notes: Durant, DSJ, Hernangomez, KP, Robinson

The Knicks are set to play the Clippers on Sunday, but the real battle between the two teams will be for Kevin Durant in free agency this summer, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Durant, who’s expected to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will register interest from several teams across the league, including the Warriors, Knicks and Clippers. He’s currently holding per-game averages of 27.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists, shooting above 50 percent from the floor for the seventh consecutive season.

“They obviously have a plan that they have in place that they’re trying to do and execute,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said of the Clippers on Saturday, according to Berman. “To their credit, they’ve built a nice, tough team full of guys who understand their role.”

The Clippers have long been linked to Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, who’s also set to become a free agent in July, though a potential meeting with Durant shouldn’t be ruled out. New York has been linked to the likes of Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.

Los Angeles is set to have $57MM in cap space, but the team could create additional room by trading the likes of Danilo Gallinari or Lou Williams before July. New York created a second maximum-salary roster spot by executing the Kristaps Porzingis trade with Dallas last month.

There’s more out of New York today:

  • Fizdale had a deep conversation with Dennis Smith Jr. about the importance of eating healthy and getting good sleep, Marc Berman writes in a separate story for The Post. Smith went shopping with Knicks dietitian Erika Whitman last week, but denied that his eating habits are a serious issue. “I don’t eat bad,’’ Smith said. “I’m not a bad eater. I eat good. I feel great. The arena is great. I played the whole fourth [Thursday against Cleveland] with no fatigue. I felt great. [Fizdale] wants me to get with those people, with Erika and the rest of the dieticians, and that’s what I’ll do.”
  • Former Knicks center Willy Hernangomez, a close friend of Kristaps Porzingis, weighed in on why he believes Porzingis requested a trade out of New York. “Yeah. Sometimes you can understand the plans change a little bit. I think KP wasn’t happy that they weren’t treating him the best way, the way he really deserves,” Hernangomez told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I just think when you don’t think you’re a part of the organization or the future, you keep going. This is basketball. I think KP felt that way too. I think now he’s in a great place in Dallas to keep developing.”
  • Mitchell Robinson spoke with Steve Serby of the New York Post for a Q&A session, discussing how good he can become, his thoughts on Fizdale, how he can improve as a player and more. “When I’m not on the court, I’m chill and like just relaxed,” Robinson said. “But when I’m on the court, I bring energy, and bring good defense. I’m gonna do anything in any way to help my teammates get this win.”