Desi Rodriguez

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, No. 9 Pick, Coaches, Workouts

Since being hired by the Knicks earlier this month, new head coach David Fizdale has talked repeatedly about making it a priority to connect with his new star, Kristaps Porzingis. On Thursday, Porzingis finally reciprocated some of Fizdale’s love, tweeting that he had a “great conversation” on the phone with Fizdale, and is “excited” about the hiring.

As Ian Begley writes at ESPN.com, Porzingis’ tweet isn’t a whole lot to go on, but it looks like a positive sign for the relationship between the big man and the Knicks’ new head coach. Porzingis didn’t always have the rosiest relationship with former head coach Jeff Hornacek, and skipped his exit meeting with Knicks brass – including Steve Mills – in 2017, so it’s important to get him on board with the franchise’s direction as he becomes extension-eligible for the first time this offseason.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While it’s possible that the nation’s leading scorer, Trae Young, could still be on the board when the Knicks pick at No. 9, they should resist the urge to draft him, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who hears from sources that the club has “a genuine yen” for the Oklahoma guard.
  • In addition to being linked to Young, the Knicks are also believed to have interest in Miami guard Lonnie Walker. Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype passes along a report connecting Walker to the Knicks, and confirms separately with a source that New York is “very interested” in the Hurricanes freshman.
  • Three Knicks assistants who were with the team last season – Jerry Sichting, Corey Gaines, and Dave Bliss – won’t be back next season as new coach David Fizdale reshapes the staff, per Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola of The New York Daily News.
  • Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez and Michigan’s Charles Matthews had pre-draft workouts with the Knicks, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley (Twitter links), who cites their respective Instagram accounts.

Draft Notes: Childs, Combine, DiVincenzo, Knox

BYU forward Yoeli Childs is the latest early entrant to remove his name from 2018’s NBA draft class, announcing late on Tuesday night (via Twitter) that he won’t be going pro quite yet.

“After several weeks of prayer, talking with my family, those close to me, and NBA teams, I feel the best decision for my future and my family is to return to BYU for my junior year!” Childs wrote in his statement.

In his sophomore year, Childs averaged 17.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 1.8 BPG for the Cougars. However, his odds to be drafted in 2018 weren’t great. The 6’8″ forward will head back to BYU looking to improve his draft stock during his junior year in 2018/19.

Here are more draft-related notes and rumors from around the league:

  • With the NBA draft combine set to begin today in Chicago, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN.com preview the event, providing a schedule of what to expect for the rest of the week and identifying several prospects who could most significantly hurt or help their draft stocks in the coming days.
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), Villanova sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo “has some real fans in NBA circles,” and is a legit candidate to come off the board late in the first round. DiVincenzo is still technically just testing the draft waters without an agent, but he’s probably a good bet to go pro if he gets that sort of feedback from NBA evaluators.
  • Kyler passes along another note from the combine, tweeting that Kevin Knox‘s stock may be on the rise, as his initial workout schedule includes several teams in the top 10.
  • Former Seton Hall forward Desi Rodriguez has worked out for the Nets and Celtics so far in the pre-draft process, tweets Zach Braziller of The New York Post.