Emmanuel Mudiay

New York Notes: Hornacek, Jack, Tsai, Lin

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek may not have a long-term future in New York, but at least two of his players are coming to his defense, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter both offered support for Hornacek after the team’s latest loss, which is part of a 1-13 string.

“He’s doing a great job in a tough situation,” Hardaway said of his coach. “Coaches are in a tough situation too. It’s easy for him to fold as well. He’s continuing to develop us as ballplayers, continuing to encourage us on both ends of the floor, especially in practice, continuing to have that killer instinct and mentality to instill in the ball club. We appreciate that and we’ll keep on fighting for him.”

Hornacek’s job was considered to be in jeopardy even before the latest slide. He has one year left on his contract and is a holdover from the Phil Jackson regime. Team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are believed to want to put their own candidate on the bench.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • With the Emmanuel Mudiay/Frank Ntilikina backcourt duo struggling recently for the Knicks, Hornacek admitted this week that he’s “talked about” going back to Jarrett Jack at point guard to restore order, Berman writes for The New York Post. Jack, who was the Knicks’ starter up until the All-Star break, was considered a buyout candidate, but stayed in New York through March 1 to help mentor the club’s young point guards.
  • The NBA has yet to officially confirm Joe Tsai‘s purchase of a 49% stake in the Nets, but Tsai is already making his presence felt, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Tsai, who sat courtside during the Nets’ game this week in Golden State, will have the option to take over the franchise as the majority owner within three years, once the paperwork is finalized.
  • Jeremy Lin, Tsai’s favorite player, continues to rehab his season-ending knee injury as he aims to be ready for the start of the 2018/19 season. Lin, who has already exercised his player option to return to the Nets next year, spoke to Alex Labidou of BrooklynNets.com about his recovery process and how he’s tried to stay involved with the team since suffering his injury.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Casey, Smart, Fultz

Emmanuel Mudiay, who turned 22 on Monday, has struggled in his last two games as the Knicks‘ starting point guard, making just two of 16 shots in losses to the Clippers and Kings. Nonetheless, head coach Jeff Hornacek plans to keep Mudiay in the starting lineup for now, per Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Mudiay was benched down the stretch on Monday in favor of Trey Burke, but the Knicks don’t intend to insert Burke – or rookie Frank Ntilikina – into the starting five. While that may change in the coming weeks, it doesn’t sound like Hornacek views it as a priority to get Ntilikina some starting experience down the stretch.

“I’m not sure it matters a whole lot,” said the Knicks’ head coach. “I think the more minutes is helpful. Just because we start someone this year at the end doesn’t mean that’s who’s starting next year. That’s meaningless. It’s the summer of work, what we see the rest of the year, how the guys go in the summer and come back the next year and what they work on. As long as we get [Ntilikina] minutes and keep getting him experiences, I think that’s good.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With the Raptors holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference after overhauling their offense in the offseason, Dwane Casey is receiving some buzz for Coach of the Year. Seerat Sohi of SBNation.com describes how the franchise put its trust in Casey to remake the Raptors without a rebuild, while Lee Jenkins of SI.com delivers an in-depth profile of the veteran coach.
  • The NBA announced today that Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $15K for publicly criticizing the officiating following Saturday’s loss to Houston. Smart – whose comments were fairly tame as far as criticisms go – turns 24 today, making that $15K fine the strong favorite to be his worst birthday gift this year.
  • While the Sixers have had a solid season, the team could use Markelle Fultz‘s playmaking and ball-handling ability, writes David Murphy of Philly.com. A team source tells Jon Johnson of 94WIP (Twitter link) that there’s still no plan for Fultz to return to the lineup anytime soon, unsurprisingly.

Knicks Notes: Hornacek, Ntilikina, Hardaway, Mudiay

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was visibly upset at the team’s defensive effort in Friday’s loss to the Clippers, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. In particular, Hornacek was frustrated the Knicks’ lack of physicality against Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and guard Austin Rivers.

“It was terrible,” Hornacek said. “It was a terrible defensive effort. Defensively, it’s disappointing. The (Clippers) just kind of line it up. You saw (Austin) Rivers just made two 3s (in the third quarter) and we’re just going let him line it up and shoot another one. You get all over guys. That’s a pride thing.”

The Knicks are in the midst of another disappointing season, sporting a 24-39 record. New York has also dropped 11 of their last 12 games. With the head coach openly questioning the team’s effort, it’s plausible to question whether or not the team’s remaining games are part of Hornacek’s farewell tour.

Check out other Knicks news and notes below:

  • The Knicks were playing well and seemed to be headed in the right direction before Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a stress injury that sidelined him for 20 games. Bondy relays in a separate story that Hardaway wants to use the rest of the year to prove his worth. “I had a solid preseason, struggled the first four games of the regular season and then was just cruising after that,” Hardaway said. “We were winning. We had a winning streak here and there. I felt confident, I felt great — and then, the injury. The injury I think was a blow to the team. I was very disappointed. I really felt like if I didn’t have that injury we wouldn’t be in the position we’d be in right now. And it sucks. But it’s life.”
  • The Knicks drafted Frank Ntilikina as their hopeful point guard of the future but his play since the All-Star break indicates he may be playing the wrong position, Bondy writes in another article. In his increased minutes, Ntilikina has played off the ball and seen his assists decrease and that could signal his future being more of a shooting guard than a true playmaker, Bondy notes.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay is adjusting to a new system with the Knicks but he is also looking to improve his physical conditioning, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes.

Knicks Notes: Mudiay, Ntilikina, Williams, Draft

It looks like the Knicks will have a new starting point guard when the season resumes Thursday, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Emmanuel Mudiay, acquired from the Nuggets in a three-team deal at the deadline, appears ready to take the place of veteran Jarrett Jack, who has started 56 games this season.

“Definitely means something to me. I’m not going to take it for granted,” said Mudiay, who has been practicing with the Knicks’ starters. “I came in as a lottery pick so I was kind of handed the spot and stuff like that. So the fact that I’m in that position again, it’s a blessing. Thank God for it. I just have to take full advantage.”

New York’s front office has ordered coach Jeff Hornacek to give more minutes to young players for the rest of the season, Bondy adds. The coach has already made the decision to remove Jack from the starting lineup and has talked to the 34-year-old about cutting his playing time. Jack will be a free agent this summer.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • The Knicks were grooming rookie Frank Ntilikina to be the starting point guard going into January, but a decline in his performance and the acquisitions of Mudiay and Trey Burke changed those plans, Bondy adds in the same story. Ntilikina will still see increased playing time, but it may come at the two-guard spot. “I think he hit a little bit of a wall. The energy, and his knee [was hurting],” Hornacek said. “Hey, these kids come from another country. Now, all of a sudden, they’re having to travel every other day, play in games, and do all this stuff and he just looked exhausted at some times.”
  • Troy Williams, who signed a 10-day contract with the Knicks this morning, is looking forward to the opportunity, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. “Great opportunity, great fit,” Williams said. “Their interest level here was a little bit higher than everybody else’s.” Williams, who was waived by the Rockets last week, will concentrate on what he needs to do to extend his stay in New York beyond 10 days, adding, “Right now my main role is just being an extra athletic guy, run the court and defend.”
  • Begley examines the most important questions surrounding the Knicks for the rest of this season and beyond in an ESPN story. Topics include the future of Hornacek, who has one year left on his contract, how Kristaps Porzingis‘ injury will affect the team in free agency and the Knicks’ plans for the draft, where they reportedly like Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Villanova’s Mikal Bridges if they stay in the middle part of the lottery.

Knicks Notes: Jack, Ntilikina, PGs, Hornacek

When the Knicks return from the All-Star break, their backcourt rotation may look a little different, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. As Bondy details, Jarrett Jack has been New York’s starting point guard for 56 of the team’s 59 games this season, but that figures to change in the coming weeks as the club focuses on developing its younger players.

While it’s not clear who will replace Jack in the starting lineup, or whether the veteran’s role will be altogether eliminated, head coach Jeff Hornacek said that the Knicks expect to give more minutes to some combination Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke — the club may even play two of those young point guards alongside one another at times, writes Bondy.

Getting Ntilikina more action at his natural point guard spot is also a priority for the Knicks, per Hornacek. We don’t want (Ntilikina) to always be off the ball,” Hornacek said. “We want to play him on the ball. So that he continues to get that taste of the point guard position.”

As we wait to see what the Knicks’ new rotation looks like, here are a few more notes on the lottery-bound club:

  • Within his post on the Knicks’ point guard plans, Bondy includes an interesting note on Jeff Hornacek, writing that it’s “hard to envision a scenario where he returns next season.” Bondy isn’t reporting outright that the Knicks are expected to make a coaching change, but it sure sounds like he thinks it’ll happen.
  • The Knicks currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA, and they’ll have a tough time passing many of the team’s above them in our Reverse Standings. Taking that into account, Marc Berman of The New York Post takes a closer look at a couple prospects who could be available at No. 9 for the Knicks: Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.
  • On Wednesday, we passed along the latest updates on the season-ending injuries suffered by Kristaps Porzingis and Ron Baker.

New York Notes: Prigioni, Knicks, Ntilikina, Nets

The Knicks are considering a reunion with old friend Pablo Prigioni, but as a developmental coach rather than as a player, two industry sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. Prigioni, who played for the Knicks from 2012 to 2015, has retired as a player and was named the coach of Spanish team Baskonia last summer, but had to step down after just eight games due to family issues, a source tells Berman.

Now, Prigioni is back in New York, with a source telling Berman that the former NBA point guard is spending the week with the Nets to learn about Brooklyn’s basketball operation. While it’s unclear whether the Nets are also interested in hiring Prigioni, the 40-year-old is “exploring” whether he wants to become a personnel man, says Berman.

As we wait to see whether Prigioni returns stateside to take a job with one of the NBA’s New York teams, let’s round up a few more notes on those two clubs…

  • New Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is excited to develop alongside rookie Frank Ntilikina, as Berman details for The New York Post. “We’re going to grow together,” Mudiay said. “At least that’s what I know is the plan right now. He’s 19, I’m 21, so we’re both kind of close in age. He speaks French. I speak French. It’s going to be fun, just trying to see how we feel each other out on the court.”
  • Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report outlines why the two trades the Knicks made last week are representative of GM Scott Perry‘s plan for the franchise. Weitzman also cites league sources who say that the Knicks turned away numerous trade proposals for Ntilikina prior to last Thursday’s deadline.
  • The Nets‘ acquisition of Dante Cunningham last week was a move that flew under the radar, but GM Sean Marks says he expects Cunningham to fill a key positional need in Brooklyn. Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com has the story.

Atlantic Notes: Belinelli, Fultz, Mudiay, Hayward

Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.

The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.

The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
  • The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.

Knicks Notes: Mudiay, Ntilikina, Kornet, Noah

If Emmanuel Mudiay makes his Knicks debut today, he won’t have much preparation, writes Anthony Rieber of Newsday. Acquired Thursday from the Nuggets in a three-team trade, Mudiay wasn’t permitted to practice Saturday because the transaction wasn’t official. Devin Harris, who was sent to Denver in the deal, had yet to complete his physical. All coach Jeff Hornacek could do was talk to Mudiay, who is expected to suit up if the deal gets finalized before today’s 4:00 pm Central game in Indiana.

“Wish he could have been able to get out there and go through things, but he wasn’t allowed to,” Horacek said. “We’re going to have to continue to talk to him. Unfortunately, it’s an early game, so we won’t have a shootaround, but we’ll go over things with him on film. He was able to watch things, at least. I think he has a pretty good idea, so I don’t think it’ll take long for him to adjust.”

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Mudiay’s addition to an already-crowded point guard situation will result in fewer minutes for some players, but Hornacek expects them to handle it like professionals, Rieber adds in the same story. The coach isn’t worried about a negative attitude from rookie Frank Ntilikina, who has watched the organization add four point guards since he was drafted with the No. 8 pick in June. “To me, mentally weak guys think that,” Hornacek said. “Mentally strong guys don’t think that. They say, ‘OK, bring on whoever. I don’t care.’ I can see that in Frank. He has that mentality.”
  • Luke Kornet‘s impressive NBA debut made the decision to trade Willy Hernangomez easier to understand, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Kornet had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes Friday and became the first player ever with four blocks and three 3-pointers in his first game. Kornet’s breakout performance makes it even more unlikely that Joakim Noah will return from his leave of absence this year, according to Berman, who adds that the Knicks tried to send the veteran center to Orlando in a deal for Elfrid Payton.
  • Enes Kanter, who has a player option for next season worth more than $18.6MM, wants to spend the rest of his career in New York, relays Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Kanter said the city has a negative reputation in some NBA circles, but he believes in the front office led by president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry. “I like this place, man,” Kanter said. “It’s weird because people are scared to come to New York because they think New York is scary, all these bad things but I think this organization is good, man. These guys, Scott and Steve, the coaches and everything. They are just making sure you got everything you need so you can just focus on basketball.”

New York Notes: Mudiay, Kornet, Russell, Dinwiddie

Acquiring Emmanuel Mudiay at the deadline on Thursday was not a shot at Frank Ntilikina but part of a plan to acquire young talent, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. General manager Scott Perry said the addition of Mudiay, a former lottery pick, gives the Knicks another talented player, which can only help Ntilikina.

“The organization is not down on Frank,” Perry said. “I’ve spoken to Frank today. We’ll continue to speak. He’s excited about it. Everyone’s committed to getting better. If you want to become a good team, you got to be resigned to adding players to our mix that will help our cause. He’s going to be fine. It’s not in any way a negative reflection on him and who we think he’s going to be. He’s a 19-year-old kid with very good tools and a lot of upside. This will help his learning process.”

The plan for Mudiay is for him to see time at both guard spots. Jared Jeffries, an ex-Knick and former scouting director for the Nuggets, commended the acquisition of Mudiay, Berman writes in a separate story. Jeffries does not agree with the consensus that Mudiay is a bad shooter — instead, he feels the former seventh overall pick is a bad finisher. If he can improve his shots closer to the rim, Mudiay can be successful, per Jeffries.

Check out other news coming out of New York:

  • Luke Kornet, who has spent the season in the G League, made his NBA debut against the Raptors on Friday, Berman writes. Taking the spot vacated by the departed Willy Hernangomez, Kornet became the second Knick ever to debut with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds). The 22-year-old Vanderbilt project is currently on a two-way deal that allows him 45 days in the NBA before he must be added to the 15-man roster — and the Knicks have an open roster spot.
  • A knee injury sidelined Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell for two months, putting some ice cold water on a hot start to his first season in Brooklyn. Since his return, Russell has come off the bench and hasn’t seen consistent playing time. Both Russell and head coach Kenny Atkinson want to see the former second overall pick play more minutes and get reacclimated, writes Newsday’s Greg Logan.
  • While the Nets did make some moves ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, both DeMarre Carroll and Spencer Dinwiddie stayed put. Dinwiddie, who has burst on the scene as a productive asset this season, is so coveted by the Nets, the team turned down a first-round pick from the Cavaliers, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post details.

Atlantic Notes: Mudiay, Ntilikina, Bruno, Ainge

The Knicks were interested in both Emmanuel Mudiay and Elfrid Payton as minutes winded down to the trade deadline and the team ultimately decided to swing a deal for Mudiay. Both former lottery pick point guards have been disappointments but Mudiay may have been the more sensible target for the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

While Mudiay and Payton both come with some downside, they are also both still young and possess talent. Berman quotes two executives who believe Mudiay — who is still under contract for one additional season beyond 2017/18 — is a better fit for the Knicks. The Knicks also gave up Doug McDermott, who was not in New York’s future plans, Berman notes.

In 42 games this season, Mudiay has averaged 8.5 PPG and 2.9 APG.

Check out other Knicks news below:

  • While adding another young point guard could be interpreted as the Knicks losing faith in Frank Ntilikina, he is not worried about the acquisition, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes. Ntilikina views the addition of Mudiay as a positive that will benefit both sides.  We’re not competing against each other,” Ntilikina said. “We’re going to bring each other to the top to make the Knicks a competitive team. We can both play with the ball, we can both play off the ball, so it might be great for us.”
  • The Raptors‘ trade of Bruno Caboclo to the Kings for Malachi Richardson may not be a major deal on a blockbuster deadline day but it has salary cap implications, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes. Trading Caboclo sheds nearly $1MM in salary, which gives Toronto flexibility to fill its 15th roster spot without going over the tax line.
  • Despite numerous rumors entering the deadline, the Celtics ultimately kept Marcus Smart. Greg Monroe‘s deal with Boston also became official and the chase for Eastern Conference supremacy continues. Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe spoke to general manager Danny Ainge about the deadline, Smart staying in Boston, and the team’s future — including plans to explore the buyout market.