Evan Fournier

Knicks Among Teams To Inquire On Dejounte Murray

The Knicks are among the teams to inquire on Dejounte Murray and express interest in the Spurs‘ All-Star guard, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Marc Stein previously reported of a belief that the Knicks could try to make a run at Murray, while Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated that league personnel began to mention Murray on Tuesday as New York’s next possible target.

The Knicks are still considered the strong frontrunners to sign Jalen Brunson in free agency, so the idea would be to acquire Murray in addition to Brunson, rather than in place of him. As Begley explains, some members of the organization are concerned about what a backcourt duo of Brunson and Evan Fournier would look like on defense and have discussed the potential fit of Brunson and Fournier.

While Murray’s defensive ability would make him a strong match alongside Brunson on that end of the court, it’s worth noting that he was the lead ball-handler in San Antonio this past season, with his usage rate increasing to a career-high 27.3%. As Fischer wrote earlier today, the Knicks are reportedly pitching Brunson on running the show in New York after he spent four years sharing point guard duties with Luka Doncic, so acquiring Murray may be at odds with that plan.

The Spurs are said to be seeking at least three or four first-round picks in any deal involving Murray, and the Knicks are well positioned to offer draft assets. New York has all of its own future first-round selections, plus protected 2023 first-rounders from Detroit, Washington, and Dallas, as well as a protected 2025 first-rounder from Milwaukee.

The Hawks have been the team most frequently linked to Murray as of late, while the Wizards are also reportedly among the clubs to inquire.

Knicks Rumors: Robinson, Fournier, Reddish, Randle, Murray

After Marc Stein reported last week that there were “strong rumblings” about the Knicks‘ plan to sign center Mitchell Robinson to a new multiyear contract, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report follows up on that story today, confirming Stein’s report.

According to Fischer, there’s a belief that Robinson will receive a new four-year deal from the Knicks that approaches $60MM in total earnings. It’s unclear whether that amount would be fully guaranteed or would include incentives, but it would be a nice payday for a four-year veteran who has been earning the minimum salary since entering the NBA.

Because he was on a minimum-salary contract, Robinson has a minuscule cap hold, allowing the Knicks to keep it on their books without compromising their newly-created cap room. New York have the ability to use up that cap room – likely to sign Jalen Brunson – and then go over the cap to re-sign Robinson using his Bird rights.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Despite having agreed to move Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel, the Knicks may not be done making trades. They’re still gauging the market for Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish, according to Fischer.
  • Meanwhile, Fred Katz of The Athletic said in the latest episode of Seth Partnow’s Callin Shots podcast that the Knicks have also gauged Julius Randle‘s value on the trade market, though Katz doesn’t expect the veteran forward to be on the move this summer, as R.P. Salao of ClutchPoints.com relays.
  • Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article that even if the Knicks land Brunson, there’s a belief they could try to make a run at Spurs guard Dejounte Murray or another player of Murray’s caliber using their collection of draft assets. Fischer agrees, suggesting that Murray began to be mentioned by league personnel on Tuesday as New York’s next target. However, Fischer notes that would seem at odds with the Knicks’ pitch to Brunson that he’d have the opportunity to run the show at point guard.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Jazz, Capela, Wolves, Russell, Fournier, Anunoby

The Suns don’t currently own a pick in the 2022 NBA draft, but there have been recent rumors that the team is interested in trading for a second-rounder. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix goes a step further, stating (via Twitter) that “while a second-round pick is more likely, I cannot rule out (the Suns) trading into the first round.”

Gambadoro reports that Phoenix has its eyes on eight-to-10 prospects that the team would consider making a deal for. He points to the Spurs, Hornets and Hawks as teams who could be trade partners, though he doesn’t clarify which of those teams’ picks might be in play.

Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Like Phoenix, Utah doesn’t currently control a pick, but the Jazz are dangling core players to try and acquire some, multiple sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic. Jones reports that the Jazz are very active on the trade market, with the odds increasing that the team’s roster could look significantly different by the end of today. The Jazz have a “lengthy list” of potential undrafted prospects they hope to entice with Exhibit 10 contracts once the draft concludes, sources tell The Athletic.
  • The Timberwolves remain interested in potentially pairing Karl-Anthony Towns with Clint Capela in the team’s frontcourt, but sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that the Wolves and Hawks haven’t made any real headway on that front.
  • Sources suggest to Dane Moore of Bring Me The News (Twitter link) that there’s a greater than 50% chance that D’Angelo Russell will be traded by the Timberwolves in the coming days. Russell is viewed as a trade candidate due to his poor playoff showing despite having a solid season with Minnesota. The guard is extension-eligible this summer and his $31.38MM contract expires after next season.
  • The Knicks offered to trade Evan Fournier to the Celtics to create cap space in order to sign Jalen Brunson, but Boston has no interest in the deal, according to Gambadoro (Twitter links). The Celtics have a large trade exception that was ironically created by signing-and-trading Fournier to New York, so the Knicks theoretically wouldn’t have needed a player in return, but he’d still count against Boston’s cap, which would push the team deep into the luxury tax.
  • Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says (via Twitter) that he has “consistently heard” the Raptors are only interested in trading OG Anunoby if they can get an “elite center” in return. Toronto is still linked to Rudy Gobert and inquired about Jarrett Allen in February, sources tell Bleacher Report.

Point Guard Rumors: Brogdon, Knicks, Wizards, Morris, Murray

Although the Wizards and the Knicks are the two teams that have most frequently discussed a possible Malcolm Brogdon trade with the Pacers, people around the league are skeptical that either team would include its 2022 lottery pick in a package for Brogdon, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

If those league officials are right, that means a Brogdon trade could end up looking more like Portland’s deal for Jerami Grant. The Trail Blazers are giving up future picks (and a swap of 2022 second-rounders) for Grant, but aren’t including this year’s No. 7 overall pick. The Wizards and Knicks pick 10th and 11th, respectively, and will likely attempt to keep those picks as they pursue Brogdon.

According to Fischer, the Wizards have been open to discussing Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in trade conversations, while the Knicks have explored trade options involving Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, and Cam Reddish.

Here are a few more rumors related to the point guard market:

  • With the Wizards widely believed to be seeking a trade for a veteran point guard, one potential target worth keeping an eye on is Nuggets guard Monte Morris, according to Josh Robbins and David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Responding to rumors about Dejounte Murray‘s possible availability, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the Cavaliers have had conversation with the Spurs about Murray dating back to the trade deadline in February.
  • Besides Brogdon, Morris, and Murray, some other point guards believed to be available via trade this offseason include Mike Conley of the Jazz, Terry Rozier of the Hornets, Devonte’ Graham of the Pelicans, and D’Angelo Russell of the Timberwolves, according to Fischer.

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Conley, Snyder, Popovich, Graham

Speculation about the potential breakup of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert appears to be fueled more by people outside of the Jazz organization than those within it, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says sources from the team and around the NBA believe that CAA has been responsible for many of the whispers involving Mitchell’s future.

According to Fischer, team owner Ryan Smith is willing to spend big on a contender, and Utah has no plans to rebuild. Smith also likes the idea of having multiple players in the 2023 All-Star Game, which the Jazz will host.

Although some rival executives believe a Gobert trade is a possibility and view the Mavericks, Hawks, and Raptors as potential destinations, Fischer says the Jazz are focused on upgrading their defense, so moving a three-time Defensive Player of the Year seems counterintuitive. On the other hand, complementary players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, and perhaps even Mike Conley are considered more realistic trade candidates.

Fischer wonders if the Clippers or the Knicks might have interest in Conley, another CAA client. With the Jazz seeking help on the wing, Evan Fournier could theoretically headline a Knicks offer for Conley if they miss out on Jalen Brunson, says Fischer, though he notes that some staffers in New York would prefer to stay in-house and give Immanuel Quickley an expanded role.

As for the Clippers, Fischer is skeptical that a Conley trade offer centered around sharpshooter Luke Kennard would appeal to a Utah team looking to improve its defense and suggests that a more realistic point guard target for L.A. would be John Wall, assuming he and the Rockets work out a buyout. Wall has also been linked to the Heat, but Fischer’s sources believe Miami’s interest predated last year’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • There’s “little expectation” among people close to the situation that Quin Snyder will leave the Jazz before his contract expires in 2023, says Fischer. Snyder also holds an option for the 2023/24 season.
  • Jazz CEO Danny Ainge doesn’t appear inclined to shake up the team’s basketball operations department. According to Fischer, major changes would likely only occur if former head of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey gets a top front office job elsewhere and wants to bring some Utah executives with him.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is traveling and considering his coaching future, plans to visit Belgrade for the EuroLeague Final Four later this month, a source tells Fischer. The general sense is that Popovich seems interested in coaching San Antonio for at least one more season, Fischer adds.
  • The Pelicans are among the teams believed to be considering a possible point guard upgrade this offseason, reports Fischer. Devonte’ Graham saw his role reduced significantly in the playoffs and some people around the league think he could end up on the trade block this offseason, but sources tell Fischer the Pels aren’t motivated to move on from Graham like they were with Eric Bledsoe a year ago.

Knicks Notes: Quickley, Fournier, L. Rose, Toppin, Randle

The Knicks have spent years searching for a reliable point guard, but their offseason plans may change if they decide Immanuel Quickley can handle the job, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Quickley posted two triple-doubles in his last three games and improved his play-making as the season wore on. He also overcame an early-season shooting slump and connected at 39.4% on three-pointers over his last 29 games.

“I just control what I can control, man, and that’s working hard, getting better every day,’’ Quickley said after Sunday’s season finale. “If that’s starting, that’s coming off the bench, it is what it is.’’

The Knicks will certainly explore the market for a point guard this summer if they’re not ready to make Quickley the full-time starter. The position was a major disappointment this season with Kemba Walker playing through injuries before leaving the team in February and Derrick Rose never returning after undergoing ankle surgery in December.

New York reportedly has interest in impending free agent Jalen Brunson, but a source tells Berman that the Mavericks will make a strong effort to keep him, especially if they put together a long playoff run.

There’s more from New York:

  • Evan Fournier set a franchise record for most three-pointers in a season, but his first year in New York didn’t turn out the way he hoped, Berman states in a separate story. Fournier was signed in free agency to provide much-needed long-distance shooting for a contending team, but the Knicks unraveled in too many other areas. Berman suggests the front office may explore trade options involving Fournier this summer, but he prefers to return next season and hopes the core of the team will be kept intact. “I’ve said we had the right pieces and we have everything to be successful and I believe that,” Fournier said. “We have to find ourselves. So, when you go through a whole season with guys and coaching staff, you get attached to them and you want to have success with them. You go through tough moments, so I’m not hoping anything changes, to be honest.”
  • Two talented draft classes and a parcel of future assets are the best things Leon Rose has to show since taking over as team president, Berman adds in another piece. The Knicks currently have nine players age 24 or younger, and they own 13 picks in the next three drafts.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday examines whether the late-season surge by Obi Toppin will make Julius Randle expendable. Randle is coming off a down season and feuded with both fans and the media, but Popper cautions that the Knicks would be selling low if they move him this offseason, especially with his four-year, $106MM extension about to kick in.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Randle, Robinson, Fournier

In a rare media appearance, Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose spoke to MSG Network’s Mike Breen over the weekend about the state of the franchise, head coach Tom Thibodeau, and forward Julius Randle, among other topics. Rose acknowledged it was a “disappointing” season in New York, but expressed confidence that the team’s long-term plan is on track.

“Absolutely. We have to stick to the plan,” he said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “We have to build one block at a time, be patient. We feel like we’re set up, you know, really well as far as like, we’ve got 13 draft picks over the next three drafts, four first-round picks. With regard to opportunities that may come along, we’re very flexible. We want to show patience, we want to show prudence in making those decisions and continuing to develop what we have.”

Rose said the Knicks fell short of their goal of being a playoff team, but added that he saw some positive signs from the club during the season’s home stretch. Following a seven-game losing streak that began in February and ended in March, New York went 12-7 the rest of the way and got solid production from a handful of young players.

Jericho (Sims) going against starting centers, the 58th pick in the draft,” Rose said, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Obi (Toppin), the last week or so has just taken it to another level, scoring a career-high the last game. Quentin (Grimes), who had already established himself in the rotation. (Miles McBride) getting minutes and doing a good job with it. (Immanuel Quickley) playing point guard and showing some signs.

“And RJ (Barrett) is only 21 years old. We have nine players on our team who are 24 years old or younger and Julius is only 27, so … we look at that like development is key. And just in this part of the season, we’ve seen some good development and just need to work and continue on and build on that.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Rose said that Randle “loves it here in New York (and) wants to be in New York,” according to Begley. The Knicks’ president also praised the job Thibodeau did in a challenging season. “I mean, again, he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA,” Rose said, per Popper. “So obviously none of us are happy with the results this year. But he’s a guy who prepares our team better than anybody. I feel that he’s done a good job under the circumstances.”
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Rose was “dead-set” against letting Thibodeau go during the season when at least two members of the front office recommended making a coaching change. Berman also hears from a source that some Knicks executives and players didn’t love the fact that the coaching staff didn’t hold Randle more accountable for his “miscues” throughout the season.
  • Randle and Toppin have talked about the possibility of playing together in small-ball lineups next season, as Peter Botte of The New York Post relays. “There are so many different things we can do when we’re both on the court,” Toppin said. “But we’ve definitely talked about it and hopefully we’re both back here next year and we can see that. I feel like we can definitely do some damage in the league if we’re on the court together.”
  • Although he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Mitchell Robinson remains eligible to sign an extension with the Knicks up until June 30 and Rose hasn’t ruled out that possibility, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. “With Mitchell, there has been ongoing discussions throughout the year with his agent,” Rose told Breen. “And those discussions will continue, will continue for the remainder of the time until free agency.” The Knicks are limited to offering Robinson about $55.6MM over four years on an extension — they could go higher in free agency.
  • Knicks swingman Evan Fournier intends to represent France in this September’s EuroBasket tournament, tweets Katz.

Knicks Notes: Fournier, Future, Randle, Robinson, Rose

Evan Fournier said it took him a little time to figure out his role with the Knicks, as Marc Berman of The New York Post relays.

I feel like it really took me a couple of months to figure out how I would be able to help this team,” Fournier said Wednesday night in Charlotte after breaking John Starks’ single-season record of 217 three-pointers. “I want to thank Thibs (coach Tom Thibodeau) for putting me in that position. That’s what he expected from me. It took me a couple of months to understand that.”

Fournier has been durable this season, appearing in 72 of the team’s 74 games. He’s started all 72 of those contests, averaging 14.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.0 SPG on .419/.394/.696 shooting.

I’ve always been an aggressive player, coming off curls and stuff,” Fournier said. “We have guys that do that already. My role was going to be different from the start. To find a reason and understand what’s expected of you when you’re new, sometime it takes a little bit. Since January, I feel a lot better and really understand my role and it’s been better since then.”

Berman thinks Fournier’s trade value has increased with his strong recent play. Since the start of January, Fournier is shooting 41.4% from deep on 8.7 attempts per game.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • New York got a glimpse of what the team could do without Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson in Wednesday’s 121-106 victory over Charlotte, Berman writes in a separate piece. After signing a long-term extension last summer, Randle’s erratic behavior and his dip in production has led to speculation that he might be traded this summer. Robinson, meanwhile, is an unrestricted free agent in 2022, and it’s not clear whether he wants to re-sign with the Knicks.
  • Derrick Rose hasn’t given up hope of returning to the court this season despite missing the past 45 games after undergoing a pair of ankle surgeries. With eight games remaining on the schedule, time is running out, but he’s making progress. “He did some in practice today,” Thibodeau said, per Berman of The New York Post. “He’s in the next phase right now. He still hasn’t taken contact.”
  • Within the same article, Berman writes that Randle is also inching closer to a return. He’s currently sidelined with a sore right quadriceps tendon, but was listed as a game-time decision before being held out of Friday’s game against Miami. He has missed three straight games with the injury.

Knicks Notes: Payne, Barrett, Kemba, Rose, Fournier

Knicks assistant Kenny Payne has officially been hired as the new head coach of the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball team, the program announced today in a press release. Payne received a six-year deal and will make $3.35MM annually, with his new contract going into effect on Monday, per Brett Dawson of The Louisville Courier-Journal.

During Payne’s introductory press conference on Friday, Louisville athletic director Josh Heird thanked Knicks management, noting that the team didn’t want to lose Payne but understood the hiring was “bigger than basketball” (Twitter link via Dawson).

Payne, meanwhile, said that he and Knicks executives Leon Rose and William Wesley have been crying “six, seven times a day” within the last little while about his decision to leave the team (Twitter link via Dawson).

“We are beyond thrilled for Kenny Payne that he will have the opportunity to coach his alma mater, Louisville,” Rose said in a statement issued today by the Knicks. “We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for his contributions over the past two seasons.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • With RJ Barrett set to become extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wonders if the former No. 3 overall pick has earned maximum-salary consideration, or at least something close to it. For his part, Barrett said that getting a long-term commitment from the Knicks has long been a goal for him. “I’ve been trying to play my butt off and do everything out there to achieve that,” he said.
  • In addition to not seeing any more game action this season, Kemba Walker isn’t around the Knicks at all and isn’t working with team trainers, head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed this week. A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that Walker is doing some of his training in New York and some in his former home of Charlotte, where his mother still lives.
  • Derrick Rose (ankle) still hasn’t received clearance to practice, creating uncertainty about whether he’ll be back before the end of the regular season, Berman writes in the same New York Post story.
  • While Evan Fournier‘s first season in New York hasn’t been a huge success, the Frenchman is on track to set a franchise record, Berman observes in a separate New York Post article. With 201 made three-pointers this season and 13 games left to play, Fournier is just 17 threes away from passing John Starks and establishing a new single-season Knicks record.

Knicks Rumors: Robinson, Noel, Fournier, Randle, Kemba, Reddish

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to five executives about Mitchell Robinson‘s value as the Knicks center nears unrestricted free agency and came away the impression that a deal in the mid-level range ($10MMish) might be on the low end for Robinson this offseason. Generally speaking, the projected range for the big man was closer to $12-13MM per year, according to Scotto.

As Scotto notes, Robinson doesn’t have a perimeter game and has dealt with a series of injuries in his first four NBA seasons, but his ability to protect the rim on defense and finish around the basket on offense makes him valuable. The Knicks will presumably want to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency, which could give him some leverage in contract negotiations.

“One executive told me, ‘I think the Knicks re-sign him and maybe overpay to do so to keep him as an asset. It’ll be a tough negotiation given what they gave Nerlens Noel,'” Scotto told Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News on the HoopsHype podcast.

One exec told Scotto he could see Robinson getting $15MM per year if there’s outside competition for his services. Bondy has heard the Pistons and Mavericks mentioned as possible suitors, and Scotto agrees that the Pistons will be in the mix, especially if they’re unable to seriously contend for a higher-level target like Suns RFA Deandre Ayton.

Here’s more on the Knicks from Scotto and Bondy:

  • Scotto has spoken to multiple executives who believe Nerlens Noel could be back on the trade block this summer after popping up in trade rumors prior to last month’s deadline. Bondy, meanwhile, notes that Evan Fournier was one of the names the Knicks were “kicking around” before the deadline, indicating that he’ll probably still be a trade candidate going forward. “Given the right opportunity and price, he’s a guy they’d move on from,” Bondy said.
  • Bondy downplayed the Julius Randle trade rumors that surfaced prior to the deadline, suggesting the Knicks never really considered selling low on the veteran forward this season. “There might have been some calls here and there, but nothing ever got serious at all,” Bondy said.
  • Both Scotto and Bondy expect the Knicks will be able to find a taker for Kemba Walker this summer, though Bondy acknowledges they likely won’t get much back for him. “One GM told me he was concerned about trading for Kemba because of his knees and his limited availability on back-to-back games,” Scotto said.
  • Although Bondy believes the Knicks are open to trading Cam Reddish, he’s skeptical it will happen, since the team would be reluctant to essentially admit that giving up a protected first-round pick for him was a mistake. Reddish probably won’t sign an extension this offseason, but he’ll likely stick with the Knicks for at least another year, Bondy says.