David Fizdale

Atlantic Rumors: Rozier, Dudley, Chandler, Knicks

Unless Kyrie Irving has a change of heart about staying in Boston, the Knicks won’t have a shot at signing the Celtics’ starting point guard. They might have a chance at Boston’s other talent point man, Marc Berman of New York Post speculates. Terry Rozier would be a good fit for them, since they’re still trying to choose among Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke. Ntilikina, Noah Vonleh, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson are some of the young players New York could dangle as trade bait for Rozier, Berman opines. Rozier will be a restricted free agent in July.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran forward Jared Dudley has been a pleasant surprise on and off the court for the Nets, Chris Milholen of Nets Daily writes. Dudley, acquired from the Suns in an offseason deal, has posted modest numbers but he’s started every game and he’s served as a mentor to the team’s younger players. “He’s doing it in the locker room and he’s also doing it with his play, because he doesn’t need the ball in his hands,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. Dudley’s $9.53MM salary comes off the books at the end of the season.
  • Sixers forward Wilson Chandler will remain on a minutes restriction as he works his way back from a hamstring injury, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Chandler will play approximately 15 minutes until coach Brett Brown is satisfied that he can handle a back-to-back situation. “I think the minute restriction won’t be long, a couple weeks or so, it’s not long term, I’m not worried about that at all,” Chandler told Todd.
  • The Knicks’ trio of president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale have put a plan into action designed for the long-term health of the franchise, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. They are focused on player development and building through the draft rather than the quick-fix solution that have dragged down the franchise for so long.

Porzingis, Fizdale Clear Up Rehab Confusion

A fairly innocuous update on Kristaps Porzingis‘ ACL rehab from Knicks head coach David Fizdale on Thursday prompted a response from Porzingis himself, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays.

After Fizdale suggested that Porzingis hadn’t made significant progress since training camp and was still just doing light jogging work, the big man – apparently frustrated by the perception that his recovery was moving slowly – published Instagram photos that showed him sprinting on an outdoor track.

Speaking today to reporters, including ESPN’s Ian Begley, Fizdale explained that he wasn’t aware Porzingis had started sprinting, since the 23-year-old has been working with his own physiotherapist and hasn’t been rehabbing exclusively in the Knicks’ practice facility. According to the Knicks’ head coach, he touched base with Porzingis this morning and they’re now on the same page.

“We had a great talk about it,” Fizdale said. “I think how he took (media reports of Fizdale’s comments on Thursday) was that people thought he wasn’t busting his hump, he took it personally. It got to him that people would think that. … I think maybe when he heard me say, ‘Hey, we’re taking it slow’ and all of that stuff — that’s what we’re doing — but at the same time he (doesn’t) want people thinking that he’s not busting his hump, because he’s killing it.”

While a slight misunderstanding involving a player and his coach hardly qualifies as a major story (even in New York), the communication between Porzingis and Fizdale, who quickly resolved the issue, is a good sign for a Knicks franchise that has been plagued by dysfunction in recent years. Under another coach, it’s possible that similar comments could have ballooned into a larger problem and created resentment between the franchise and its star, who will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019. Fizdale wants to make sure that sort of thing doesn’t happen under his watch.

“With this group of people that we got here right now, our agendas are on point. Everybody’s coming from a good place. So why let things linger?” Fizdale said, per Begley. “That’s how stuff ends up festering into a real problem. It’s all usually some miscommunication or a misunderstanding and something you could’ve hashed out as an adult right there. So I stress that to all of these guys, handle stuff face to face. Eye-to-eye communication. Get it over with.”

Eastern Notes: Korver, LaVine, Celtics, Kanter

The Sixers, Thunder or Lakers are the most likely landing spots for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, Jordan Greer of the Sporting News opines. Korver is likely to get traded or bought out by a Cavaliers team that suddenly finds itself in a rebuilding mode. The combination of Korver and J.J. Redick could drive opposing defenses crazy in Philadelphia, while Oklahoma City desperately needs a 3-point shooter. LeBron James and Korver have good chemistry, as displayed by James’ 89 assists to Korver last season, Greer adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls matched the Kings’ four-year, $78MM offer sheet for Zach LaVine and thus far it’s looking like a wise decision. As Sam Smith of the Bulls’ website notes, LaVine is shooting a career high 46.8% and averaging 26.6 PPG. He’s second in the Eastern Conference in usage rate to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and his efficiency rating still is top 10 in the conference, Smith adds.
  • Interior scoring might be the Celtics’ biggest weakness, Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com points out. It entered Monday’s game at Denver ranked last in points in the paint with an average of just 35.3 per game. Coach Brad Stevens admits the lack of inside scoring is a carryover from the last two seasons. “Last year we were not very good either,” he said. “That’s been an issue for us for the last 18 months. Prior to that we were pretty good at it. So we’ve just got to keep hammering on it, see if we can get a little better.”
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale knows Enes Kanter isn’t happy coming off the bench but Fizdale believes he could be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, as he told Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com and other media members. Kanter, a free agent after the season, is playing behind rookie Mitchell Robinson. “I just want him to keep settling into that role right now,” Fizdale said. “Quite honestly, if we keep going this rout, he’s a guy that with the numbers he’s going to get … he’s going to have his hat in that Sixth Man of the Year Award.”

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Knox, Vonleh, Carmelo

Coach David Fizdale is committed to making rookie Mitchell Robinson his starting center, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Robinson has replaced Enes Kanter, who will enter the free agent market next summer, because Fizdale feels the second-round pick is a “superior natural defender” and he wants the whole team to have a defensive mindset. “He’s going to be our foundation, our anchor of our defense for the future,” Fizdale said. “Let’s get this guy going right now and really commit to the development of these guys and to what it’s going to take to get them to where they need to be for us to be the team we’re going to be later.”  By making an early commitment to a youth movement, Knicks appear to have gone into tanking mode early, sacrificing wins this season to improve their draft position.

We have more from the Knicks:

  • First-round pick Kevin Knox will likely return on Monday from a left ankle sprain, Berman writes in a separate story. Knox has only played three games and with Fizdale cancelling practice on Thursday, he won’t play against the Mavericks on Friday, according to Berman. Even if Knox practices on Saturday, he’ll likely be held out of playing Sunday against Washington because the team doesn’t want him playing back-to-backs right away, so he’ll return against Chicago on Monday.
  • Noah Vonleh has emerged as Kristaps Porzingis‘ fill-in as the starting power forward, Berman notes in another piece. Vonleh signed a partially guaranteed $1.6MM contract that doesn’t fully guaranteed until January 10th but he’s jumped ahead of Mario Hezonja, who signed a one-year, $6.5MM contract in the offseason, in the pecking order. Vonleh only has a cap hold of $1.62MM but he doesn’t want to look too far ahead. “I definitely want to be here in New York, but that’s up in the air,” he told Berman. “I have to focus on this season and go from there.”
  • Carmelo Anthony believes the franchise’s reputation scared away top-shelf free agents during his time with the team, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News“The perception of the organization. I think it probably scared a lot of people away,” he said. “Scared some people away. Not knowing the nuances and the ins and outs of kind of what was going on, who is in charge, who is not. So it was more than just basketball when it came to people making those decisions.”

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Knox, O’Quinn, Durant

David Fizdale enjoyed working as a television commentator and might have stayed in that role longer if not for the opportunity with the Knicks, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Fizdale called TV work a  “comfortable” job without “the stress of coaching,” but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to build a winner in New York. He had interviews with several teams and turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to take the Knicks’ job.

Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his first year as a head coach, but injuries slowed the team last season and he was fired after 17 games in the midst of a well-publicized clash with Marc Gasol. That led to his job as an ESPN analyst.

“I went in there just force-feeding culture down everyone’s throat,” Fizdale said of his time in Memphis. “I had a small window, I felt, with those guys. So I really tried to fast-track everything. And there’s just some things you can’t rush. You can’t rush relationships, you can’t rush trust, you can’t rush the culture.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks are hoping to get injured rookie Kevin Knox back in the lineup soon, possibly by Friday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox suffered a sprained ankle in the third game of the season, and his father says he could be ready to return sometime between Friday and November 10. A tweet from the Knicks yesterday relays that Knox is making “good progress” and has “advanced to participating in shooting drills and non-contact court activity.”
  • Former Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn tells Berman it wasn’t an easy decision to leave New York and sign with the Pacers over the summer (Twitter link). “It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made as far as making a choice in my career,” O’Quinn said. “I slept on it, prayed on it. I made the decision and I’m sticking with it. It’s no secret I would’ve loved to play for Fizdale or be here. It’s tougher than telling a girl you’re moving on.’’
  • The close relationship between Knicks assistant coach Royal Ivey and Warriors star Kevin Durant may give New York an edge in free agency next summer, Berman suggests in another story. They both went to college at Texas and Durant is the godfather of Ivey’s daughter.

Atlantic Rumors: Korkmaz, Kanter, Marks, Wallace

The Sixers are still mulling whether to pick up swingman Furkan Korkmaz‘s option for next season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Philadelphia has a Wednesday deadline to make a decision. His option for the 2019/20 season is slightly over $2MM. If the Sixers decline, Korkmaz will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 6’7” Korkmaz has made four brief appearances this season after seeing action in 14 games last season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Enes Kanter isn’t thrilled about being demoted to the second unit, Howie Kussoy of the New York Post reports. Kanter came off the bench against Golden State on Friday even though he’s the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder.  Coach David Fizdale is determined to develop his younger players.  “We all understand where our team is at and what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Fizdale said. “One way or another we do have to bring our puppies along.” Kanter’s $18,622,514 salary comes off the books at the end of the season and the Knicks are expected to pursue higher-level free agents.
  • Warriors GM Bob Myers believes Nets GM Sean Marks has a blueprint for future success, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Brooklyn has hoarded cap space to be a major player on the free agent market next summer. “I think they’re on their way,” Myers said. “They play in a great city, and Sean is smart. They’re in a position now with their picks and cap space where they’ll be able to make some change, and it’ll probably be positive.”
  • Rasheed Wallace, who won a championship with Detroit in 2004, was invited to Knicks practice on Sunday to instruct the big men, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports. Wallace, who was invited by GM Scott Perry, gave rookie Mitchell Robinson plenty of food for thought. “He pushed me to talk more on defense. I have a tendency to be a little quiet. And him, he brings it,” Robinson told Bondy. Fizdale plans to invite another ex-Piston, Chauncey Billups, to deliver tips to his young guards.

Wade Believes Fizdale Can Help Knicks In Free Agency

Dwyane Wade knows David Fizdale from their time together in Miami and he believes the coach is changing the perception of the Knicks‘ organization.

“I think he’s already changed that perception. Players around the league want to play for Fiz,” Wade tells Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. “Now that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away because things happen – guys stay in certain places or they go team up with someone else. But if you ask every player around the league who is the coach they want to play for, Fiz’s name would come up.”

Wade added that a team’s coach isn’t the only factor in attracting free agents. Culture will play a role in making New York a desirable landing spot.

“It comes with what the players are doing on the court. It comes with what the organization is doing,” Wade said. “And other things as well. So he’s definitely going to try to change the culture but it’s a lot of other things that goes with it.”

Wade spoke about how Fizdale helped him shape his game. The current Knicks coach joined the Heat as an assistant in 2008 and used his tremendous communication skills to showcase his basketball mind, helping Wade become the player he is today.

“I allowed him to take my game to the place where I could still play now at 36 without having the same athleticism and everything I had when he first came here,” Wade said of Fizdale. “It’s tough. He came in and I’m a six-time All-Star already. So to sit there and show me a different way, to be able to explain it to me, to be able to give me the vision, it’s a talent he has.”

Turning the Knicks around will be a challenge and Wade feels Fizdale is ready for it.  “I think he is very aware — him and his wife — they understand where they want to go. A job like the Knicks, he wanted the challenge. It’s one of those jobs that not many people have gotten right. But if you get it right, it’s a special thing. And someone like him, he doesn’t run away from a challenge,” Wade explained.

“He’s been to the mountaintop a few times here [with the Heat], so that is what he’s looking for. He’s looking for that challenge and what better place than New York?”

New York Notes: LeVert, Porzingis, Dinwiddie, Fizdale

Caris LeVert wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the Nets’ rotation heading into training camp, notes Michael Scotto of The Athletic, but through two games he looks like the early favorite for Most Improved Player. LeVert torched the Knicks for a career-high 28 points Friday night, including the game-winning shot. That followed a 27-point outburst against the Pistons in the season opener.

A month ago, LeVert was part of a large group in Brooklyn battling for playing time. He was competing with DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe at the wings and D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Shabazz Napier in the backcourt. LeVert’s transformation may be shocking to outsiders, but teammate Jarrett Allen said it has been building for a while.

“We saw it during the summer,” he said. “We knew it was coming, but coming out and playing like this not even we expected him scoring almost 30 points every night, but he’s coming out and showing all the work he’s done this summer is paying off.”
There’s more from New York City:
  • The rivalry between the Knicks and Nets may be more intense next summer than it is during the season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Both teams should be in the running for lottery picks and both will have plenty of cap room to make a splash on the free agent market. Berman suggests that Brooklyn, which may be in position to offer two max contracts, could really heat things up by pursuing Kristaps Porzingis, who will be a restricted free agent after the deadline for an extension passed without a deal. The Nets can offer him a chance to play alongside fellow Latvian Rodions Kurucs.
  • If the Knicks can’t get a star to take a max offer, they could spend some of their money on Dinwiddie, Berman adds in the same piece. He notes that New York tried to work out a deal for the Nets guard in February, but decided the price was too high and opted for Emmanuel Mudiay instead.
  • David Fizdale’s relaxed exchanges with the media are a sign that a transformation has taken place among Knicks management, contends Harvey Araton of The New York Times. Owner James Dolan has produced a smothering environment among previous coaches, but Fizdale feels free to be open and honest in his assessment of players.

Chris Bosh Not Closing Door On Playing Again

Chris Bosh hasn’t closed the door on playing in the NBA again and will give himself until the All-Star break to make a final determination on his future, as he tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Bosh hasn’t played since the 2015/16 season because of blood clots and the former No. 4 overall pick admits the situation is still “complicated.”

“It’s up to the team doctors from that team. And then we go from there,” Bosh said of the process for a franchise to sign him.

The NBA and its players’ union previously ruled that Bosh’s clotting issues were career-ending. Bondy notes that the risk with blood clotting is that contact could result in internal bleeding.

Bosh remains focused on coming back and he’s open to playing for any team that’s willing to take the risk with him. Bondy asked Bosh if he could envision himself playing for the Knicks to which Bosh replied, “If they make me a deal, yeah.”

New coach David Fizdale was Bosh’s assistant coach in Miami. Bosh credits Fitzdale with helping him reinvent his game.

“He helped me so much as far as dissecting offenses,” Bosh said. “Film work. And just mentally preparing for every night challenge. We felt a bond just trying to figure out how I can be effective in a free-flowing offense we had. And sometimes it was just having a beer and talking and leaving all the offcourt stuff to the side. But he’s just a tremendous person, tremendous coach. And he knows his basketball.”

Atlantic Notes: Fizdale, Thomas, Redick, Stevens

The Knicks have started their preseason on a high note, winning each of their three games under new head coach David Fizdale. Fizdale is known for his high energy, positive attitude and veteran mindset, with each of these habits quickly rubbing off on some of his players.

“Absolutely, heck yeah. I want to win everything,’’ Fizdale said after team’s victory over the Pelicans on Friday, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I want to win every game. These guys are building habits right now. And winning is a habit. Anytime we step on the court, if they decide to play checkers together, pool, ping-pong, I want them competing to win. We have to get that really rooted deeply into who we are.’’

Fizdale is well-respected across the league and has two NBA titles under his belt as an assistant with Miami. The Knicks hired him this past offseason as head coach, and he’s quickly made his mark on changing the overall culture of the organization.

Fizdale’s decision to bring in Hall of Famers Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing to discuss what it means to play for the Knicks was praised this week, with the second-year head coach now focused on getting his team ready for the regular season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Lance Thomas is working hard to maintain his status as the Knicks’ starting power forward, Berman writes in a separate story. “Lance is just … man is he a good leader,’’ Fizdale said. “He’s just a really good leader. Those guys respect him big time. When he speaks, the gym shuts down and everybody listens.”
  • J.J. Redick has provided some much-needed firepower off the bench for the Sixers, as detailed by NBA.com’s Brian Seltzer. Redick shot a perfect 10-of-10 against the Mavericks on Friday.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered strong words of support for assistant Jerome Allen this week, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. Allen pled guilty to accepting a $18K bribe from the parent of a prospective recruit when he coached for Pennsylvania in 2014.