David Fizdale

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.”

New York Notes: Nets, Knicks, Robinson

The Nets had a quiet trade deadline last week, making just one small move when they acquired a second-round pick by taking on Greg Monroe‘s contract and sending a little cash to Toronto. While Brooklyn is having its best season in years and is in position to make the playoffs, general manager Sean Marks isn’t concerned about not making any moves to upgrade the roster, as Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com writes.

“As it pertains to our particular trade deadline, maybe one of the biggest things was getting guys back healthy,” Marks said. “That might have been the biggest addition to our group without trying to cause too much disruption to the culture and to the group. Let’s see what we’ve got first and foremost.”

As Dowd relays, Marks said that the Nets are definitely “headed in the right direction.” However, he’s not going to let the club’s success this season change the long-term plans, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

“We’ll continue to be systematic and strategic along the way. Does that mean we pivot along the way here and there? Sure. We’ve had to do that in the last couple years,” Marks said. “But I would hope that we don’t skip a step as you mentioned before, that’s never been the goal here. Again, it’s always been about putting something sustainable there with a strong foundation.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • After waiving Monroe, the Nets were left with an open spot on their 15-man roster. Michael Scotto of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at options the team figures to consider for that opening.
  • Knicks head coach David Fizdale has talked throughout the season about sticking to the franchise’s long-term plan, but presumably that plan didn’t involve trading Kristaps Porzingis, writes Newsday’s Steve Popper. Nonetheless, Fizdale defended the move: “Well, you don’t have a choice. What’s your option? You’re going to lose him. So you’re going to sit there and not have nothing sitting there? Or do you want to have two picks, cap space and a heck of a point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., who’s in his second year?”
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post, pointing out that Fizdale said 10 days before the trade that Porzingis was “really engaged” with the team, calls out the head coach for not being willing to admit that the Knicks‘ plans went awry.
  • Ognjen Jaramaz, the 58th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has moved from Spain to Serbia, joining KK Partizan, agent Misko Raznatovic confirms (via Twitter). As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports notes (via Twitter), Jaramaz’s NBA rights are held by the Knicks, though it’s not clear if he’s in the team’s long-term plans at all.
  • Rookie Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has changed agents again, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, who tweets that Robinson has signed with Dynasty Sports and will be repped by Mayar Zokaei.

Knicks Notes: Smith Jr., Kanter, Staying Woke

While there has been much discussion about the Knicks’ recently freed up cap space and what they’ll be able to do with it, it’s important to remember that New York landed a 2017 lottery pick heralded as a prized acquisition mere months ago. Ian Begley of ESPN writes about head coach David Fizdale‘s plans to utilize Dennis Smith Jr.

I want to put the ball in his hands a lot and get him out in the open court and get him a lot of space. Give him some freedom to make some mistakes,” Fizdale said. “There’s no doubt about it. The kid’s a talent, and hopefully we can bring it out consistently.”

Although his role changed dramatically in Dallas when Luka Doncic arrived, Smith averaged 17.1 points and 6.5 assists per game for the Mavs during the final 15 games of the 2017/18 season and was widely regarded as a building block for the future of the franchise.

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Enes Kanter saga continues in New York as fans clamor for the 25-year-old to see court time but the coaching staff doesn’t budge. In five of the past seven games, Kanter has recorded DNP-CDs. Today, Kanter told Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post that he awaits his future. “I have four days left,” Kanter said, referring to Thursday’s trade deadline. “I’m just going to wait four more days to see what happens, and then if something happens, it happens. If [it doesn’t happen], I’ll just go sit down with the front office, see what’s going on, see what they plan to do with me.
  • We wrote earlier today about Knicks president Steve Mills‘ comments about the Kristaps Porzingis trade, listing the various reasons why the club chose to trade their once prized franchise pillar. ESPN’s Ian Begley wrote about Porzingis’ own commentary on the situation. “The city deserves better than that,” Porzingis posted on Instagram. “My suggestion for Knicks fans is to stay woke.”
  • It’s hypothetically possible for the Knicks to land Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis but don’t expect much of a balanced roster if that happens. As Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider writes, even if New York just acquires Durant and Irving, they’ll have a steep drop-off to the team’s third-best player.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Porzingis, DSJ, Matthews, Free Agency

In his first season as Knicks head coach, David Fizdale spoke glowingly of a future in which he would coach the team’s now-former star Kristaps Porzingis. After Thursday’s trade that sent the Latvian to the Mavericks, Fizdale will not get that opportunity.

Speaking to reporters, including Marc Berman of the New York Post, about the organization’s decision to trade Porzingis, Fizdale praised their personal relationship but was on board with management’s decision.

“This is what the situation called for,’’ Fizdale said. “I never got to coach him. I was excited to coach him. We had a really good relationship, but he had to make a decision and he felt that it was best that he get a fresh start. You never want to see a player go. But where we are I’m excited about our future.

“I wouldn’t say [things were] not right. I never felt that. But like Scott [Perry] and Steve [Mills] said [Thursday] night, we felt like over a short amount of time we started to feel some distance and some indicators that we felt like we had to clear up some things to get clarity and that’s why they met.”

In dealing Porzingis, the Knicks acquired an asset in Dennis Smith Jr., two future first-round picks and cap space that could net them two max free agents this summer.

Check out more notes surrounding the Knicks:

  • With Smith in New York, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor looked back at the 2017 NBA Draft in which the point guard was drafted. Some members of the Knicks’ front office were said to be infatuated with Smith, but New York ultimately drafted teenage Frenchman Frank Ntilikina one spot earlier. However, now the organization has both players and can look to see if Smith’s upside supersedes Ntilikina’s — which was the consensus in 2017.
  • In addition to Smith, draft picks and cap space, the Knicks acquired the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. New York has heard from at least one team interested in trading for Matthews, ESPN’s Ian Begley tweets. However, if no trade is found, both Matthews and Jordan — impending free agents — are buyout candidates.
  • The widespread coverage of the Porzingis trade has yielded varying opinions on the Knicks’ future. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes that the deal comes with a huge risk but a potentially huge reward if the team can land two elite free agents. Michael Powell of the New York Times opines that Thursday’s trade was the latest sign of organizational incompetence.

New York Notes: Knicks, Nets, Dinwiddie, Irving

The Knicks aren’t focused on contending this season, but that doesn’t mean that coach David Fizdale doesn’t have concerns about how his young team is playing. As Zach Braziller writes for The New York Post, Fizdale is frustrated with the lack of defense he is seeing on a nightly basis, and with good reason.

As Braziller points out, the Knicks have allowed at least 109 points in 21 straight games and currently rank 29th in the league with a defensive rating of 113.5, ahead of only the struggling Cavaliers.

Fizdale voiced his concerns regarding the team’s lack of weak side defense and the struggles to adjust defensive schemes. The Knicks may not be focused on the win-loss column, but Fizdale would surely love to see more effort and execution on the defensive end from his young players.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

  • While the Nets currently sit in seventh in the Eastern Conference, Brian Lewis of The New York Post points out that they will have to go through a tough stretch of the schedule in the near future, which will test their playoff chances.
  • Speaking of the Nets, they would surely love to see Spencer Dinwiddie snap out of his slump as they enter this stretch of the schedule. As Brian Lewis points out, Dinwiddie is averaging just 11.5 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 35.1% and 16.7% from deep in the past four games, far cries from his season averages.
  • Hopeful Knicks fans have certainly enjoyed seeing the frustration being expressed by Kyrie Irving recently. Marc Berman of The New York Post wrote about how the Knicks may be able to take advantage of Irving’s frustrations and the Celtics underachieving so far this season.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Ntilikina, Knox

Enes Kanter has been promised a place in the Knicks‘ rotation, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Coach David Fizdale assured Kanter he’ll be in games and suggested the team will use two-center alignments in the future.

“I want to pull off combinations like that because I want to give them all a taste out there,” Fizdale said of playing two centers at the same time.

Fizdale replaced the Turkish big man with Luke Kornet after the team’s Christmas day loss to the Bucks. Mitchell Robinson has been out with an ankle injury that predated the lineup change, leaving Kanter to see minutes off the bench over the last four contests. Robinson isn’t quite ready to see the court, though the rookie won’t take all of Kanter’s minutes once he returns.

Kanter won’t play in the team’s January 17 tilt against the Wizards in London. Kanter, who has been outspoken about the Turkish Government, said he wouldn’t travel with the team because of safety concerns. “I could get killed pretty easy,” he previously said, alluding to his feud with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the possibility of a Turkish presence in London.

The Knicks then attempted to clarify the center’s response by announcing that Kanter would not make the trip because of visa issues. However, Kanter refuted the claim today, posting a photo of his travel document on his Twitter feed.

New York could trade Kanter, in addition to some of their other veterans, before the trade deadline, as the franchise is fully committed to a youth movement.  As we wait to see what moves the 10-29 Knicks make, let’s take a look at some more notes from the Big Apple:

  • The Knicks‘ team doctors have changed their diagnosis on Frank Ntilikina‘s ankle from a strained left tendon to sprained ligaments, which is an upgrade in terms of predicted recovery time, Berman passes along in the same piece. The team doesn’t expect Ntilikina to miss as much time as Robinson has. “With the Mitchell thing, we’re being overly cautious because he’s had multiple [sprains],” Fizdale said. “It’s different with Frank, and these kids heal differently. I don’t see Frank being out too long.”
  • Kevin Knox is only 19 years old and the 6’9″ rookie says he isn’t done growing yet, Berman passes along in a separate piece. “Doctors said I have a half-inch or an inch left in the tank,” Knox said. “You never know — hopefully, I have an inch [left]. Maybe 6-10, 6-10½. If not, I’m perfectly fine with where I’m at.”
  • While tanking may be the best path for the Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. is not a fan of the strategy and the losses are wearing him down, Berman adds in a separate piece. “It’s obviously a tough pill to swallow. You definitely want to try to win as many games as possible.”