Derrick Rose

New York Notes: Knicks’ Second Unit, Knicks Defense, Nets Offense

There may be more pressure on the Knicks’ front office than coach Tom Thibodeau, Steve Popper of Newsday speculates.

The Knicks had to attach draft picks to trade three veterans during the offseason and now have three more — Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish — glued to the bench. They could use some help on the second unit, with Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen rumored as potential trade targets. Meanwhile, Thibodeau is leaning on younger players to produce.

“We know that a big part of learning is trial and error, so our young guys are getting better day by day, and that’s what I’m excited about,” the head coach said. “I know there’s a tremendous amount of growth they’ve already had, and I think there’s more to come.”

We have more on the New York City teams:

  • With the jumbled standings and most teams at least in contention for the play-in tournament, there are more buyers than sellers in the trade market. That could make it more difficult for the Knicks to do anything, Fred Katz of The Athletic notes. The Knicks are hoping that more teams will go into sell mode prior to the trade deadline — Katz breaks down which clubs might fall into that category.
  • The Knicks were disappointed with their defensive coverages in their loss to the Kevin Durant-less Nets, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. The Nets knocked down 22 3-pointers. “Closing out, sense of urgency, none of that. We have to be better,” Julius Randle said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. We definitely didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t pick up our sense of urgency until the game went on, the fourth quarter. We have to be better from the start.”
  • On the flip side, the Nets might need to continue firing away from deep to make up for Durant’s absence, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. They attempted 40 3-pointers against the Knicks and head coach Jacque Vaughn wasn’t sure it was enough. “I wouldn’t mind having 10 more,” Vaughn said. “I say that in the huddle, let’s get 50 up. We have a good enough squad who can shoot the basketball and they have to be respected. [Kyrie Irving’s] ability, that’s why it’s so great to have the basketball in his hands. … If we can shoot 50 [3-pointers], we’ll shoot 50 and be OK with that as long as they’re good ones.”

Knicks Notes: Reddish, Quickley, McBride, D. Rose, More

There have been multiple reports on the Knicks‘ asking price for Cam Reddish in recent weeks, with at least one story indicating the team wants two second-round picks while another suggested that just one would do the trick.

According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, the Knicks have expressed to certain teams that they want a pair of second-rounders for Reddish, but sources from rival clubs believe New York would be amenable to accepting just one.

As Katz observes, the deal the Lakers and Wizards made for Rui Hachimura might actually hurt the Knicks’ market for Reddish, even though Hachimura is also a restricted free-agent-to-be and netted Washington three second-rounders.

Hachimura was a regular contributor in Washington, whereas Reddish hasn’t played for nearly two months. Additionally, the Lakers were viewed as a prime suitor for Reddish, but no longer seem like a probable landing spot for the fourth-year forward, reducing the Knicks’ leverage in trade discussions.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Elsewhere in his story on the Knicks’ trade deadline considerations, Katz confirms that the team has become increasingly resistant to the idea of trading Immanuel Quickley after having been open to moving him earlier in the season and cites league sources who say New York has “decisively” turned down inquiries on reserve guard Miles McBride. McBride isn’t currently a major part of the Knicks’ rotation, but the team likes him “for the long haul,” Katz explains.
  • If Derrick Rose remains on the roster through the trade deadline, buying him out and allowing him to sign with a contender is a possibility, according to Katz. But the Knicks have also discussed the idea of hanging onto the point guard into the offseason in case his $15.6MM team option for 2023/24 becomes a useful salary-matching asset in a trade for an impact player.
  • Reserve center Isaiah Hartenstein was happy to be able to contribute to the Knicks’ win over Cleveland on Tuesday with some key defensive plays in crunch time, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “It’s big. It’s kind of what I came here for,” Hartenstein said. “I know for myself if I’m not playing as good as I’m supposed to be playing I feel like I’m kind of letting the fans down, the city down a little bit. But I’m just going to keep getting better because I know I can do it. So keep getting better and keep representing for New York.”
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau likes what he’s seeing from a second unit that features Hartenstein, McBride, Quickley, and Obi Toppin playing alongside starter RJ Barrett, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “Huge. I mentioned it earlier that the bench was playing really well prior to RJ getting hurt, then Obi got hurt and we haven’t found our rhythm,” Thibodeau said. “Now I think we’re starting to find that rhythm again.”

Stein’s Latest: Quickley, Rose, Collins, Burks, Sixers

Although Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley continues to intrigue several rival clubs, New York is now more hesitant to include him in a potential deadline deal, given his strong play since Christmas, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Quickley has averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.2 APG and 5.1 RPG in his last nine games, during which the Knicks have gone 6-3. As was revealed previously, the Mavericks, Wizards, and Bucks are among the clubs with interest in the 6’3″ guard. Overall on the season, he is posting averages of 12.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.3 APG for the 24-19 Knicks.

There’s more from Stein:

  • Sources inform Stein that veteran Knicks reserve guard Derrick Rose could be on the move as well. The former three-time All-Star and 2011 MVP has long been a favorite player for head coach Tom Thibodeau, who also coached him with the Bulls and Timberwolves. A source tells Stein that New York would only make a move if the team feels it can “do right by” Rose. This would seem to suggest that the Knicks want to flip the 6’3″ vet to a team with an actual rotational need for him, as he has fallen out of New York’s lineups.
  • The Hawks have allowed the management team of power forward John Collins to look for favorable possible trade destinations, per Stein. Collins has been on the trading block for a while now. Stein writes that the Jazz, Wizards, Nets and Pacers remain intrigued by Collins to some extent. The 6’9″ big man has been having something of a down season, averaging his fewest field goal attempts (10.3) and points (13.1) since his 2o17/18 rookie year.
  • Pistons shooting guard Alec Burks has so impressed his current team that Detroit has reportedly been informing rival clubs that it would like to keep him and plans to pick up his $10.5MM team option for 2023/24, according to Stein. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported something similar earlier in the week, noting that it would take a significant return to pry Burks away. Thus far this season, the 31-year-old is averaging 13.8 PPG on .461/.444/.810 shooting splits. He’s also chipping in 3.0 RPG and 2.2 APG for the Pistons.
  • The Sixers, looking to reduce their luxury-tax bill at the end of the season, are expected to try to trade shooting guards Jaden Springer and/or Furkan Korkmaz ahead of the trade deadline, Stein reports.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Atlantic Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Atlantic players.

Fred VanVleet, G, Raptors

  • 2022/23: $21,250,000
  • 2023/24: $22,824,074 player option
  • Stock: Down

VanVleet was a deserving first-time All-Star last season, averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals on .419/.401/.874 (.572 true) shooting through 50 games. However, he struggled mightily after the break due to a lingering bone bruise in his right knee, appearing in just 15 games with averages of 16.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals on .343/.291/.872 (.479 true) shooting. He was clearly hampered in the playoffs as well, posting similar shooting percentages.

In the offseason, he and the Raptors discussed a four-year, $114MM extension – the maximum amount they can offer based on his current contract. VanVleet felt he had outplayed his four-year, $85MM deal to that point, so he wanted to wait and see if he could get a more lucrative contract in 2023.

I definitely understand why VanVleet bet on himself. The former undrafted free agent has turned himself into a very good player through his hard work, tenacity and determination. He was also a major part of the Toronto’s title-winning team in 2019.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone according VanVleet’s plan thus far in 2022/23. A significant portion of his offensive game is tied to his ability to space the floor, but he’s shooting just 32.9% from three, compared to his 37.5% career mark.

VanVleet turns 29 next month, is undersized, has played a ton of minutes the past few years, his point-of-attack defense isn’t what it once was, and he missed an average of just over 18 regular season games from 2018-22. VanVleet’s leadership and competitiveness are unquestioned, but there are a lot of red flags for potential suitors if he declines his player option, which seems likely.

T.J. Warren, F, Nets

  • 2022/23: $2,628,597
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Warren is another player with an injury history, having appeared in just four games in the two seasons leading up to ‘22/23. While the length of those absences was abnormal, the 29-year-old has never appeared in more than 67 games in a season, averaging just under 55 games in his first six years, so durability has always been a concern.

As a free agent last summer, Warren wound up signing a “prove it” deal with the Nets for the veteran’s minimum, and it took him a while to return to action — he made his season debut on December 2. However, he has only missed one game since (the second of a back-to-back), and his production hasn’t disappointed.

Warren has always been a mid-range sniper, and this season is no different – he’s shooting 52% on those looks, which ranks in the 93rd percentile of all players, per Through 17 games, he’s averaging 10.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists on .532/.353/.889 shooting in 20.4 minutes per contest.

As long as Warren stays healthy, there’s a very good chance he’ll get a big raise in free agency — his ability to score from all over the court is the most valuable trait in basketball.

Grant Williams, F, Celtics

  • 2022/23: $4,306,281
  • 2023/24: RFA
  • Stock: Up

Williams and the Celtics couldn’t agree on a rookie scale extension prior to the season, with the 24-year-old reportedly looking for more money than the cost-conscious Celtics were willing to offer. Betting on himself in restricted free agency has been a worthwhile gamble for Williams so far.

Although his averages of 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game are all career highs, those numbers don’t jump at you. But he’s a solid defender across the three frontcourt positions and is highly efficient, posting a .504/.404/.859 (.659 true) shooting line through 42 games (16 starts, 28.0 MPG).

If he maintains his top-tier efficiency, Williams might get more than he was reportedly seeking before the season, which was in the $14-16MM range annually.

Derrick Rose, G, Knicks

  • 2022/23: $14,520,730
  • 2023/24: $15,596,339 team option
  • Stock: Down

The former league MVP has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, but he’s actually been relatively healthy in ’22/23. The problem is, he just hasn’t been effective on the court, averaging career lows in minutes (12.9), points (5.8) and FG% (.394) through 26 games.

Long a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau, Rose has fallen out of the Knicks’ rotation. His $14.5MM contract has negative value on the trade market, and his team option for ’23/24 is essentially a lock to be declined at this point.

Unless there’s a dramatic turnaround, the 34-year-old is probably looking at a veteran’s minimum deal in the offseason. Considering his age and injury history, even that might not be a given.

Shake Milton, G, Sixers

  • 2022/23: $1,997,718
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Milton is an interesting player. He’s a subpar defender who isn’t a great athlete by NBA standards, but he finds effective ways to work around those limitations.

He impressed as a fill-in starter when Tyrese Maxey and James Harden were injured, averaging 20.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists on .542/.425/.967 (.652 true) shooting in nine games (38.0 minutes). While those shooting percentages are an anomaly, given his career averages (.457/.361/.822 splits, including .557 true), Milton is a patient and crafty pick-and-roll play-maker who has plus size (6’5″, 205 pounds) for a combo guard.

The former 54th overall pick initially signed a two-way deal and then was converted to a standard four-year, $7MM contract back in 2019. He’s only 26 years old, and has certainly outperformed his current deal. Something in the $5-8MM per year range seems within reach.

Obi Toppin Cleared To Return For Knicks

Knicks forward Obi Toppin will be available for Wednesday’s home game against the Spurs, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Toppin has missed the Knicks’ last 13 contests due to a non-displaced fracture in his right fibula head. He sustained the injury on December 7 vs. Atlanta.

A former eighth overall pick, Toppin was a regular part of New York’s rotation prior to his injury, appearing in all 25 of the team’s games and averaging 17.1 minutes per night. He contributed 7.7 PPG and 3.8 RPG on .421/.351/.824 shooting in his part-time role. However, it doesn’t sound as if Toppin will be immediately reinserted into the Knicks’ rotation.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters on Wednesday that the 24-year-old will assume a “situational” role, which is typically what he says about players who only see garbage-time minutes, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Although Toppin has been cleared to return, he’ll need more practice time to get fully back up to speed, adds Ian Begley of (Twitter link).

Knicks point guard Derrick Rose, who missed Monday’s game due to a left knee contusion, will also be available on Wednesday, per the team, and will also play a “situational” role, per Thibodeau (Twitter link via Begley).

Eastern Notes: Isaac, Suggs, Herro, Oladipo, Embiid, Brunson

Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley told reporters, including Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), that forward Jonathan Isaac and guard Jalen Suggs were a “full go” in Monday’s practice. While that is certainly an encouraging update, there is still no return timetable for either player, tweets Price.

The Magic are notoriously cautious when it comes to injured players, but Isaac’s absence has been exceptionally long even by their standards. He last played on August 2, 2020, when he tore his ACL, so he has missed nearly two-and-a-half years of action.

As for Suggs, he has missed 18 consecutive games with right ankle soreness. The 21-year-old has unfortunately been plagued by injuries since he was selected fifth overall in the 2021 draft. After playing in 48 of 82 games as a rookie, he has appeared in just 14 of 37 games thus far in 2022/23.

Here are a few more notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat guard Tyler Herro, who signed a four-year extension before the season started worth a guaranteed $120MM, is emerging as a go-to clutch scorer, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Herro hit his third game-winner of ’22/23 on Saturday in Utah, Chiang notes, capping off a 29-point, nine-rebound, six-assist effort.
  • Victor Oladipo has had a difficult stretch over the past four years, missing a significant amount of time due to a series of leg injuries. While he has played strong defense since returning from left knee tendinosis, he has mostly struggled offensively. However, the Heat guard broke out of his slump by recording 23 points, five rebounds and five assists on Saturday. Head coach Erik Spoelstra believes it could take most of the season for him to really find his rhythm, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I told him the other day, I want him to have a little bit of grace with himself going through this process,” Spoelstra said as part of a larger quote. “We love being on this journey with him and, ultimately, I think it will still take 40 or 50 games for him to get fully in rhythm. But we got a snapshot of what it could look like at the end of this.” Oladipo has now played 11 games in ’22/23, and the Heat have 45 games remaining on their regular season schedule.
  • Sixers star Joel Embiid is questionable for Monday’s contest against New Orleans, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. All-NBA center is dealing with lower back soreness. Embiid is having another excellent season, posting career highs in points (33.2, second in the NBA), assists (4.6), steals (1.2) and FG% (.528).
  • After missing the past three games with right hip soreness, point guard Jalen Brunson will return to action for Monday’s matinee against Phoenix, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). Derrick Rose, who had been out of the rotation until Brunson got hurt, will be sidelined with a contused left knee, per the Knicks (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Rose, Maxey, Nurse, Claxton

After a long stretch outside the Knicks‘ rotation, injuries have given Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose a chance to play again, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Jalen Brunson missed a third straight game Saturday with a sore hip and RJ Barrett sat out his second game after suffering a lacerated finger on Tuesday, so Fournier and Rose were back in their familiar roles.

Coach Tom Thibodeau called Fournier “a true pro” after he returned to the court Thursday following a 23-game absence. On Saturday, Thibodeau held up Fournier and Rose as positive examples for young guards such as Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

“I think trial and error is a big part of learning, so they have to go through things,” Thibodeau said. “There’s gonna be some bumps, how do you handle all those things and then there’s times, hey look, this league, it’s a roller coaster. There’s gonna be times it’s going great and then all of a sudden it can change very quickly on you and it’s going the other way. And you have to be able to handle both. So I think having the right veterans around those young guys is very important.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey didn’t play Saturday after logging 19 minutes Friday night in his return from a fractured foot. Coach Doc Rivers plans to monitor Maxey’s playing time for a while, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • The Raptors responded to a challenge from coach Nick Nurse in Friday’s win over Phoenix, notes Michael Grange of Toronto had fallen out of a play-in spot with five straight losses, and Nurse called the recent effort “unacceptable.” Instead of having a shootaround before facing the Suns, the team went through a 20-minute film session with Nurse pointing out areas that need improvement. “It’s very simple, foundational things that we’ve got to get better,” Nurse explained. “… I’m probably not gonna air on the soft side of saying, ‘It was just a one-night thing.’ I’m gonna show them the good, bad, and ugly. I’m gonna show them that I’m not backing away from any of that stuff. I’m gonna show them what they need to do better. That’s the only way I think I can teach ‘em.”
  • Nic Claxton has given the Nets a defensive anchor in the middle, and coach Jacque Vaughn believes he’s playing the best basketball of his career during the team’s 11-game winning streak, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Derrick Rose Staying Positive Despite Diminished Role

Derrick Rose isn’t upset about losing his rotation spot with the Knicks and is content to serve whatever role coach Tom Thibodeau asks of him, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Rose has only played a total of 17 minutes this month, as Thibodeau has chosen to play younger guards. Rose feels the situation could change down the road and he’s fine with mentoring his teammates as New York pushes for a postseason berth.

“For one, I’m very appreciative to understand my role. I’m not here for entitlement, I’m not here feeling like I need minutes or anything like that,” Rose said. “I’m just here to win and try to help the young guys out. I never thought I’d be in this position. I never thought I’d be playing this many years. I’m waiting for my chance, for sure, but I can’t complain. Being in this position. I’m taking advantage of it. I’m looking at it where I’m saving my body, and you never know in the playoffs when I could be used.”

Rose addressed a number of other topics during his interview with Charania:

  • He feels appreciated by coaches and teammates and maintains a positive outlook: “I’m not in the locker room trying to (screw) up the vibe of the team by having a messed up attitude like that.”
  • He’s giving all the guidance he can to starter Jalen Brunson: “He listens, so that’s half the battle when you’re dealing with someone like that. He’s a hell of a player, a winner too. He won in college, won in high school, and he’s trying to win on the next level now. So it’s up to me to guide him, and not be forceful, but try to give him as much info, knowledge and wisdom as I can.”
  • He maintains a strong relationship with Thibodeau and remains prepared to contribute if he regains a rotation spot: “Thibs (and I) always talk about it — he always says this is the bottom of the mountain, we got a whole mountain to climb. I just got to make sure that I’m always prepared. That’s the biggest challenge. Being in the new position, being in a new situation every year, this year is the first time I went through this. So learning, adjusting, trying to keep my body ready if you do need me, all that is going to take time. But it should be good.”
  • He isn’t sure about coaching after his playing career, but he’d like to own a piece of a franchise: “I’m into ownership. I feel like I saved up enough. It’s not like I need a loan, I’m good. So I’m waiting. I’m waiting for my time.”

Knicks Notes: Barrett, D. Rose, Grimes, Thibodeau

A “weird” summer for Knicks swingman RJ Barrett may have led to his slow start to the season, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Barrett went through weeks of hearing his name floated in a potential trade to Utah for Donovan Mitchell. When Mitchell ended up in Cleveland, the Knicks quickly reversed course and worked out a contract extension with Barrett.

He admits being cautious during most of the offseason with no extension in place and so much uncertainty regarding his future.

“It was weird, not really getting to even play runs like I normally do,” Barrett said. “Really just going the whole time without basketball. It was a little weird. Got it done, trying to figure it out a little bit. Have a long way to go. Have to keep working. At the end of the day, you’ve got to play basketball, man. I was still working out, but there’s no shape like game shape. Playing the games, getting used to that again, is the best thing.”

Barrett began the season in a long shooting slump, but he’s turned that around as New York has strung together six straight wins. During those games, Barrett is connecting at 43.1% from the field and 41.2% on three-pointers.

“Honestly, I play with the same confidence game in and game out,” he said. “Even when I wasn’t shooting it well, I was probably still shooting the same amount of shots. Doesn’t matter. You get open shots, you shoot them. You work at this game hard enough, you do it for a number of years, your confidence is always there.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Derrick Rose is currently out of the team’s rotation, but he remains a hero in Chicago, Popper notes in a separate story. Bulls fans chanted for the former MVP to get playing time in the closing minutes of Friday’s blowout and cheered when coach Tom Thibodeau responded by sending Rose to the scorer’s table.
  • Quentin Grimes supports Thibodeau’s decision to make him earn his minutes after a foot injury forced him to miss almost all of training camp and the start of the season, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The Knicks are 8-5 since Grimes became a starter, and like Barrett, he’s enjoying his best stretch of the season during the winning streak.
  • The Knicks are one of the few remaining teams that doesn’t practice load management, observes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and Barrett have appeared in all 29 games this season. “It used to be a big deal to play 82,” Thibodeau said. “And when you talk to the guys that have done it, they always say that you condition your body to do what you want it to do.”

Knicks Notes: Rose, McBride, Vucevic, Fournier, Orr

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose recently told reporters that as long as the Knicks keep winning, he’s fine with being out of the rotation — but that could change if they aren’t. The 15-13 Knicks have now won five straight games after head coach Tom Thibodeau replaced Rose’s minutes in favor of second-year guard Miles McBride — a stronger defensive player.

I can’t complain when we’re winning games,” Rose said, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (free account required). “If we were losing, I’d probably be mad. But we’re winning and playing basketball so I really can’t complain.”

Rose’s name has popped up a few times already in trade rumors, but he said that he hasn’t paid attention to the rumors – and likely won’t going forward — unless the Knicks start losing, per Bondy. Rose added that he’d prefer to stay with the Knicks.

Here are a few more notes from New York:

  • Rose continues to mentor McBride despite their role reversal, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Rose praised McBride’s attitude and work ethic, saying he has “no ego” and is “professional.” McBride says he’s grateful to have a veteran like Rose in his corner, Braziller notes. “I couldn’t have asked for a better vet. I’m just very thankful he’s been able to take me under his wing,” McBride said. “Derrick is a great person, on and off the court. I think that’s the most important thing. One of the best things I’ve learned from him was not to get too high, not to get too low, because things change quickly in this league.”
  • The Knicks have only won 50-plus games once in the past 22 years — back in 2012/13 — and haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since ’99/00. How can they break out of that cycle of mediocrity and emerge as a contender? Brian Wacker of The New York Post explores that topic ahead of the February trade deadline.
  • Evan Fournier set a Knicks record for most three-pointers made in a season in ’21/22, but he hasn’t played at all in 15 consecutive games after Thibodeau pulled him from the rotation in November. Fournier’s former teammate with the Magic, Nikola Vucevic, still thinks the 30-year-old wing “has a very major place in the NBA,” Bondy writes in another story for The New York Daily News. “Absolutely. He has many skills. His shooting is great. He’s great in the two-man game. A very smart player. Players like him are very needed around the NBA,” Vucevic told Bondy. “Not to start anything or whatever, but I’m sure if it doesn’t happen with the Knicks, I’m sure it’ll happen somewhere else.”
  • Louis Orr, an eight-year NBA veteran with the Pacers and Knicks, has passed away at age 64, according to The Associated Press. Orr averaged 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in his career from 1980-88, including six seasons with New York. He had a lengthy college and international coaching career after his playing days ended. We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to his family and friends.