Elfrid Payton

New Dates Set For Option Decisions, Salary Guarantees, More

As part of the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement terms that the NBA and NBPA have agreed to, a series of option decision deadlines, salary guarantee dates, and other offseason dates and deadlines have been pushed back.

We don’t yet have a full list that outlines how every date and deadline will be adjusted, but in cases where a deadline fell slightly before or after the start of the 2020/21 league year, those dates have been pushed back to coincide with the new start date for the league year, which will begin on October 19 rather than July 1.

For instance, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets, player option decisions for Gordon Hayward (Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Spurs), Mike Conley (Jazz), and Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) will now be due on October 17 instead of June 29. Lakers big man Anthony Davis will have to decide on his 2020/21 player option by October 14, one day after a potential NBA Finals Game 7, Charania adds.

[RELATED: Re-Examining NBA Player Options For 2020/21]

Meanwhile, the salary guarantee date for four Knicks veterans – Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton – who currently have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21 will be October 17 at 3:00pm eastern time, rather than on June 28, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Additionally, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) reported over the weekend, traded player exceptions that were set to expire in early July will have their expiry dates moved to corresponding dates in October. For example, since the free agency moratorium will now expire on October 23 instead of July 6, the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE that would have expired on July 7 will instead do so on October 24.

[RELATED: Outstanding NBA Trade Exceptions]

There are other deadlines that figure to be closely tied to the new league year as well. For instance, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to a potential restricted free agent will likely be on October 17 rather than June 29.

Some date adjustments may be trickier to determine and will require further clarification. For instance, some players had been scheduled to receive full or partial guarantees if they remained under contract through August 1. That date may simply be shifted to November 19, one month after the ’20/21 league year begins. But the NBA has proposed opening training camps for next season on November 10, complicating that timeline.

Some Knicks Were Frustrated By Randle’s Playing Style

Some Knicks players, including prized rookie RJ Barrett, were frustrated during the 2019/20 season by Julius Randle‘s approach on offense, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

As Berman explains, Barrett – who is accustomed to having the ball in his hands – was among the players put off by Randle’s tendency to hang onto the ball too long and overdribble. While Berman suggests that the chemistry between Barrett and Randle will be worth keeping an eye on going forward, he notes that 2019’s No. 3 overall pick wasn’t the only player who was irked by Randle’s playing style.

“A lot of players felt like that with the exception of Elfrid Payton,” one source told The Post.

Unlike every other free agent signed by the Knicks during the 2019 offseason, Randle received a guaranteed multiyear commitment. He’ll earn $18.9MM in 2020/21, so it’s safe to say he’ll be back with the team unless there’s an offseason trade.

Reports before February’s trade deadline indicated that the Knicks were willing to discuss Randle, with Ian Begley of SNY.tv writing this week that the club engaged with the Hornets on a potential swap that would have included Randle, Dennis Smith, Terry Rozier, and Malik Monk, among other assets.

Assuming Randle returns, one Eastern Conference personnel person who spoke to Berman thinks the Knicks would be wise to avoid tasking him with the lead scoring role, despite the fact that the big man put up a team-high 19.5 PPG in 2019/20 (Marcus Morris scored 19.6 PPG as a Knick, but was traded in February). Randle struggled when he found himself receiving the brunt of opposing defenses’ attention, turning the ball over frequently.

“He absolutely should not be your No. 1 or even No. 2 option, maybe not even No. 3 on a serious contender,” that personnel man told Berman. “He doesn’t have a good enough feel (and is) much too ball-dominant. I don’t trust his decisions with the ball. As sixth man, he would fit perfectly because I don’t think he gives you much defensively either. That’s more in line with a sixth-man role.”

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Payton, Portis, Peters

The departure of former team president Steve Mills and the arrival of replacement Leon Rose will complicate Frank Ntilikina‘s future with the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

As Berman explains, Mills had been Ntilikina’s “stoutest supporter” within the organization, having worked with Phil Jackson to draft the young Frenchman in the 2017 lottery.

Rose, on the other hand, comes from CAA, the agency that Ntilikina left in 2019 when he hired French agent Bouna Ndiaye. Although Rose didn’t directly represent the Knicks’ guard, he led CAA’s basketball department, and Berman hears that the agency was “angered” by Ntilikina’s departure.

Any decision Rose makes on Ntilikina’s future probably won’t be motivated by the 21-year-old’s history with CAA, but it’s not uncommon for new heads of basketball operations to move on from a number of the old regime’s draftees if those players haven’t established themselves as reliable contributors. With Ntilikina entering a contract year in 2020/21, he could be a trade candidate during the coming offseason.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Rose will also have a decision to make on another guard, Elfrid Payton, who is owed $8MM in 2020/21. Currently, only $1MM of that amount is guaranteed. While there are no assurances that the Knicks will bring Payton back at that price, Berman notes in a separate Post article that the veteran guard was one of the team’s most productive players in ’19/20. “I just feel the team has been a noticeably better basketball team with him healthy,” a Knicks source told Berman.
  • Bobby Portis‘ $15.75MM team option for 2020/21 appears unlikely to be exercised, according to Berman. Agent Mark Bartelstein contends that Portis was “really terrific” in the month leading up to the stoppage after adjusting to a new team and a mid-season coaching change. However, an NBA personnel director tells Berman, “I can’t imagine they can keep him (at that price).”
  • It’s possible the Knicks may have found an under-the-radar gem in guard Lamar Peters, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who spoke with Peters about his first season in the G League. Although the former Mississippi State standout spent the year with the Westchester Knicks, New York doesn’t hold his NBA rights, so he could sign with a new team at any point after the current moratorium lifts.
  • In case you missed it on Wednesday, the Knicks are said to have some interest in Sixers general manager Elton Brand for a role in their front office. However, the 76ers reportedly like the job he’s done and don’t plan to let him go.

First World Problems: Knicks’ Point Guard Situation

The Knicks‘ point guard situation appears to be an evergreen problem. New team president Leon Rose inherits a stable of underwhelming options just as Steve Mills and Phil Jackson did entering their respective regimes. Like his predecessors, Rose is expected to look for upgrades at the position this offseason.

What are some potential options? Prior to the Rose hire, the team had interest in trading for Terry Rozier, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv details. According to Begley, there was some support internally to send a package of Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., and a future first-rounder to the Hornets in exchange for a return that included Rozier and Malik Monk.

While Rozier isn’t the All-Star point guard that New York’s fan base hopes for, he’s an upgrade on the current options. Elfrid Payton and Smith have had up-and-down results in the Big Apple. Frank Ntilikina, who has one more year left on his rookie deal, finally showed some progress but his long-term future with the club is uncertain.

Fred VanVleet will likely be the top point guard available on the free-agent market, though it’s hard to envision Toronto not doing all it can to retain the 2019 Finals hero. Chris Paul could be an option, but his contract gave teams pause last summer and that was before factoring in any sort of coronavirus-related basketball income woes that could suppress the league’s salary cap.

The franchise selecting a point guard atop the 2020 NBA draft might the best option for a brighter future at the position. The Knicks entered the NBA’s hiatus with the sixth-worst record in the league, which would give the team a 9% chance at the No. 1 overall selection, as we detailed earlier this month.

Knicks Notes: Monk, DSJ, D-Lo, Rose, Payton, More

Before Steve Mills was removed from his position as the Knicks‘ president of basketball operations, there was some internal support for a potential trade with the Hornets that would have sent Malik Monk to New York, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley notes that Dennis Smith Jr. would’ve gone to Charlotte in the deal, though it’s not clear what other pieces would have been involved on either side. Both Smith and Monk were prospects the Knicks passed over in the 2017 draft for Frank Ntilikina.

Within his roundup of the Knicks’ deadline discussions, Begley also says that before Mills’ departure, there were members of the organization that felt as if they’d made “significant progress” toward a D’Angelo Russell trade with the Warriors.

We don’t know exactly how those talks played out, so it’s hard to say whether that confidence was warranted. But for what it’s worth, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that none of New York’s offers had been “even remotely appealing” to Golden State. One of the Knicks’ proposals included Bobby Portis, Allonzo Trier, Ntilikina, and presumably some form of draft compensation, sources tell Begley.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Marc Berman of The New York Post takes a look at the Knicks’ impending hire of agent Leon Rose as their new head of basketball operations, citing one NBA executive who said, “MSG and CAA have been in bed for years. This shouldn’t be surprising.”
  • Berman notes in his article on Rose that the veteran agent is tight with Kentucky head coach John Calipari. However, Calipari said today that he has no plans to become the Knicks’ next coach, according to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic (Twitter link). Calipari said he’d help Rose in any way he can — “It just wouldn’t be to coach.”
  • One decision Rose will face this summer will be on Elfrid Payton‘s $8MM non-guaranteed salary for 2020/21. Berman examines the factors that will go into that decision, pointing out that Payton is a CAA client.
  • In an interview on Showtime’s “All the Smoke,” Kevin Durant was once again asked about his free agency decision last summer. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Durant replied that he didn’t seriously consider any teams beside the Nets. “I looked at other places — the Clippers, I took a peek at the Knicks just to do my due diligence — but I really wanted to play for the black and white,” Durant said.

Elfrid Payton Among Three Suspended For Knicks-Grizzlies Fight

The NBA has handed out the punishments for the fourth-quarter scuffle between the Knicks and Grizzlies brawl on Wednesday night.

According to the league, Knicks guard Elfrid Payton has been suspended one game for pushing Jae Crowder at the end of the contest. Grizzlies players Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marko Guduric have each been suspended one game for leaving the bench.

Crowder, who took the late-game three-pointer that irked the Knicks, did not get suspended but instead will receive a $25K fine. Marcus Morris has also been fined $35K for his role in escalating the fight.

The Memphis players will serve their suspensions on Friday when the team plays the Pelicans in New Orleans. Payton will miss Saturday’s contest against the Pacers.

For more details on the altercation, be sure to check out our earlier story.

Grizzlies/Knicks Fight Could Result In Suspensions

With less than a minute left in Wednesday’s Grizzlies/Knicks game and Memphis leading by 18 points, Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder stole an inbound pass and ran to the three-point line to get a shot up, drawing the ire of Knicks guard Elfrid Payton. As Crowder launched his three-pointer, Payton delivered a two-handed shove to his chest, knocking him over and instigating a scuffle between the players on the court (video link).

As Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, the altercation could lead to fines and/or suspensions for some of the players involved. Payton, Crowder, and Marcus Morris were ejected from the game, with Payton receiving a flagrant 2 foul.

Payton, who seems like the most probable candidate for a suspension, expressed no remorse for his actions after the game, suggesting that Crowder “knows better” than to do what he did with the game’s outcome already decided, per Garrett Stepien and Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

“I’d do it again,” Payton said. “Didn’t matter who took that shot. Don’t disrespect the game like that … you just don’t do that.”

Barnes points out that Grizzlies players Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marko Guduric could also be subject to league discipline, since they left the team’s bench area during the incident before eventually being pulled back by assistant coaches. The NBA’s rules call for a one-game suspension for any player that leaves the bench to enter the fray during an on-court altercation.

The Knicks don’t play again until Saturday, but the Grizzlies are in action tomorrow, so if the NBA plans on handing out suspensions, we’ll hear about them before Friday night.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies/Knicks fracas:

  • As Mike Vornukov of The Athletic details, Morris faced a backlash after the game for using sexist language while criticizing Crowder’s “unprofessional” play. He’s just — a lot of female tendencies on the court, flopping and just throwing his head back the entire game,” the Knicks’ forward said. “And like I said, it’s a man’s game and you just get tired of it, man.
  • Morris, who may face NBA punishment for his comments about Crowder, later apologized on Twitter: “I apologize for using the term ‘female tendencies.’ I have the upmost respect for women and everything they mean to us. It was a heat of the moment response and I never intended for any women to feel as though in anyway I’m disrespecting them. Again I apologize for my comments.”
  • Following the late-game altercation, fans at Madison Square Garden aimed a “Sell the team” chant at owner James Dolan for about 20 seconds, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Dolan shouted at security during the chants, and a source tells Berman that the Knicks’ owner also singled out a teenager who was the nearest chanting fan in his vicinity.

New York Notes: Robinson, Irving, Nwaba, Ellenson, Payton

The past two seasons, one of the few bright spots on the Knicks‘ roster has been athletic center, Mitchell Robinson. As an elite shot-blocker and rebounder who has developing scoring ability, Robinson has cemented himself as a key part of New York’s future.

Offseason acquisition and NBA veteran Taj Gibson has taken on the role of mentor for the 21-year-old big man. In Gibson’s opinion, Robinson possesses talent that could make him an NBA All-Star, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

“This guy, a lot of players don’t have a niche. A lot of them don’t know where to start,” he said. “A lot of guys just come in and think it’s all about scoring and not defense. A lot of players are lost in the sauce with that. With Mitch, he already knows what he has to do. He’s a starting center and all he has to do is grow. If he pushes himself like he’s doing, he’ll be an All-Star. He doesn’t know how good he is.”

Check out more news from New York’s basketball teams:

  • Nets point guard Kyrie Irving will miss out on two additional bonuses, worth $125K each, for failing to play in at least 60 games this season, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (Twitter link). This brings the total money in incentives lost to $375K for the mercurial Brooklyn guard. We detailed Irving’s eight $125K incentives, totaling $1MM, right here.
  • Injuries and other roster needs forced the Nets to part with injured guard David Nwaba and Henry Ellenson in recent days. As Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, Brooklyn is currently exploring options to upgrade the roster. “Obviously with all our injuries, we need the roster spot. We’re in discussions to see who we bring in,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said.
  • It was a life-changing and busy day for Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. After his girlfriend gave birth to their son on Friday morning, Payton flew to Phoenix for the Knicks’ evening tilt against the Suns. Payton finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Knicks Notes: Payton, Ntilikina, Barrett, Fizdale

Interim coach Mike Miller made his first change to the Knicks‘ starting lineup last night, inserting Elfrid Payton at point guard in place of Frank Ntilikina, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. It’s a move that seemed inevitable, as Payton’s role has increased since Miller took over for David Fizdale seven games ago. Ntilikina provides better defense, but Payton speeds up the offense and gets everyone involved.

“Elfrid had 10 assists and two turnovers,” Miller said after the game. “The one thing we’ve seen him do consistently here as he’s come back from his injury is he’s helping other people and you have that facilitator and that guy that does it and he’s taken that role and he’s done a very good job with it. I’ll be repetitive, but we’ve continued, when we’ve needed it and when the game calls for it, we’ve used all the guards.”

Popper adds that giving Payton more minutes might be a strategy to drive up his trade value. He’s about to turn 26 and has no guaranteed money beyond this season. The Knicks’ future at point guard may still revolve around the 21-year-old Ntilikina and 22-year-old Dennis Smith Jr., who both need playing time to develop.

There’s more this morning from New York City:

  • Executives around the league tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that Ntilikina still has trade value and could bring back a late first-round pick if the Knicks decide to deal him. The organization appeared determined to move on from Ntilikina before the draft, but Begley believes that’s less certain now.
  • RJ Barrett may be the last chance for the current Knicks management team to have a success story, Popper adds in a separate piece. The third player selected in this year’s draft, Barrett has been through an up-and-down start to his rookie season, as this week demonstrated. His 27-point outburst Tuesday against the Hawks was sandwiched between a 3-for-12 shooting night in Denver and a 1-for-10 performance in Miami. “We’re looking at a rookie coming in,” Miller said. “He is really mature. Mentally, he is very mature. He’s prepared for this, handles these things. Physically, he puts the work in, handles himself. From teammates to staff, everyone knows what he can do. It’s part of the learning.”
  • The Knicks’ treatment of Fizdale will make it more difficult for the team to attract a big-name coach in the future, contends George Willis of The New York Post. Numerous coaches around the league have spoken up in defense of Fizdale, who was fired after less than a season and a half.

Knicks Notes: Payton, Miller, Bullock

Elfrid Payton is finally healthy again after battling hamstring woes and the point guard is impressing during his first season with the Knicks.

“He’s played so well. He’s had such a good command,” coach Mike Miller said (via Peter Botte of the New York Post. “I think I might have said this [Wednesday] and the day before, but he’s helping his teammates a lot.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • Payton started in three of the Knicks’ first four games before going down with his injury. Former coach David Fizdale believed Payton could be a difference-maker for the club, as Taj Gibson explains. “Fiz always said [Payton is] the type of guy who thinks when he plays the game and he can be a coach one day,” Gibson said (via Botte in the same piece). “It’s good to have him out there. He’s still getting a little bit of rust off him, but he’s one of those guards that you want to have on your side.”
  • The Knicks interviewed four of their assistants after firing Fizdale, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The team ended up selecting Miller because of his stoic personality and previous coaching experience, Berman adds.
  • Reggie Bullock, who signed with the Knicks this offseason, is nearing a return, as Botte passes along in a separate article. “To see that I’ve made up so much time over the time and worked hard to be able to get back out here, to be able to play with my guys playing with the Knicks. It was a long journey but I’m right here almost at the finish line so just continue to keep pushing,” Bullock said.