Immanuel Quickley

D’Angelo Russell May Be Option In Knicks’ Point Guard Search

If the Knicks can’t get their preferred choices at point guard, the TimberwolvesD’Angelo Russell could become an option this summer, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

New York has a strong connection to Russell in Gersson Rosas, who was recently named senior basketball advisor after spending time with the organization as a consultant. Fischer notes that when Rosas was president of basketball operations in Minnesota, he traded Andrew Wiggins and a lottery pick to the Warriors for Russell in 2020 after missing out on him in free agency.

Russell, who has a $31.4MM expiring contract next season, took some heat after a disappointing performance in the Wolves’ brief playoff run. The emergence of other backcourt options in Minnesota might make him expendable as the team looks to the future.

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell remains the Knicks’ dream choice, but getting him appears unlikely even if Utah decides to shake up its roster, Fischer writes. He cites “healthy skepticism” around the league that New York can make the best offer for Mitchell, noting that Miami could potentially put together a deal centered around Tyler Herro and multiple first-round picks.

The Knicks have also been linked to Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, who is headed toward free agency, but Fischer hears there’s a “growing sense” around the league that Brunson will remain in Dallas. Fischer expects Brunson’s new contract to top $20MM per season and says John Collins‘ five-year, $125MM extension could be a good comparison.

New York can only offer four years to Brunson and would need to clear out significant cap space first. Sources tell Fischer that the Knicks unsuccessfully tried to move Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel ahead of the trade deadline to begin opening cap room. Fischer cites league executives who believe New York would have to include either the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft or Immanuel Quickley in any deal to unload salary.

Fischer adds that one factor working in the Knicks’ favor in their pursuit of Brunson is that they can offer him the chance to be the undisputed leader of the offense, which he won’t have in Dallas playing alongside Luka Doncic. Fischer notes that if Brunson signs with the Pistons, who are also reported to be interested, he would be in the same situation with Cade Cunningham.

Sources also tell Fischer that New York won’t be among the teams pursuing Cavaliers free agent guard Collin Sexton. Cleveland is interested in keeping him, but it could be difficult considering the team’s salary commitment to other players. Fischer hears that the Pacers, Pistons and Wizards will all be in the market for Sexton.

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 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: Durant, Irving, Barrett, Quickley, Toppin, Draft

The decision by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to join the Nets instead of the Knicks as free agents in 2019 set the two franchises in opposite directions, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The difference in star power was evident Wednesday night as New York built up a big lead before Brooklyn seized control in the fourth quarter for a 12-point win.

“That helps,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thobdeau said about having two superstars after Durant posted a triple-double and Irving scored 24 points. “But I love our young guys. I love what they’re doing and they’re getting better and better. Hey look, those guys over there were once young guys, too. It’s part of this league. Trial and error. Kyrie, Kevin, throw in Patty (Mills) and (Seth) Curry, you get that through experience. The more we go through it, the better we’ll get at it.’’

The Nets are headed for the play-in tournament and appear to be in good position to claim a spot in the playoffs. The Knicks, meanwhile, are wrapping up a disappointing season at 35-45 and are moving into what Berman considers a “make-or-break offseason” for team president Leon Rose. Fans are hoping for a franchise-altering move, possibly involving Donovan Mitchell or Zion Williamson, two clients of Rose’s former CAA agency. Unless something major happens, Berman suggests that owner James Dolan may reconsider his decision to put Rose in charge of the team two years ago.

There’s more from New York:

  • Irving told reporters after Wednesday’s game that the Knicks were in a strong position to sign himself and Durant in 2019, but the two stars opted to make an imprint on the Nets (video link from “They had a good chance of getting us back in free agency,” Irving said, “but we just felt like we wanted to build here and just make our mark on this franchise.”
  • RJ Barrett has improved his chances for a rookie scale extension, says Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Knicks will have to decide this summer whether to give Barrett the offer, which would be worth a projected $181MM over five years. No matter what happens, Barrett is hoping for a long-term future with the team. “I’ve said it since day one that I wanted to come here. I didn’t work out for any other team (in the draft),” Barrett said. “This is where I wanna be. I love playing for the Knicks. I love playing in the Garden. I love how we got to the playoffs last year and looking to do that again. I love everything about being a Knick. Yeah, 100% the place I wanna be.”
  • Strong late-season performances by Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin may be changing the Knicks’ offseason plans, according to Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. With several veterans sidelined for the rest of the season, Quickley is showing signs that he can handle point guard duties, while Toppin has excelled without Julius Randle on the court, Sanchez notes.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic examines the Knicks’ draft options under five different lottery simulations.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Quickley, Curry, Brooks, Celtics

Some people around the league have likened Julius Randle‘s recent behavior and body language to the way James Harden was acting during his final weeks in Brooklyn, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Harden’s discontent ultimately led to a trade request, which the Nets granted, and multiple sources have speculated the Knicks could take a similar path with Randle this offseason, possibly in a deal for a center, says Berman.

One person connected to the Knicks recently described Randle’s behavior this season as “incorrigible,” according to Berman, who hears from a source that the veteran forward sometimes dresses by himself in another area of the locker room. Sources believe a lack of leadership from Randle has hurt the team this season, Berman adds.

Randle also lost a strong ally in the organization this month when assistant coach Kenny Payne left the Knicks to take a job as Louisville’s head coach, as Berman observes.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • After a slow start this season, Immanuel Quickley is showing the potential to be a solid point guard at the NBA level, Berman writes in a separate New York Post story. “I come in with an open mindset to get better,” the Knicks guard said. “Guys around me are helping me and so are the coaches. It’s a great system we got.”
  • Nets guard Seth Curry expects to have to play through left ankle pain for the rest of the season, but doesn’t believe he’ll need to undergo surgery to address the issue in the offseason, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “(The ankle) just (needs) more of an extended amount of rest period. Probably a month or so just rest,” Curry said. “But obviously not going to get that now.”
  • Josh Lewenberg of takes a look at how Armoni Brooks earned a two-year contract from the Raptors and the role he has taken on since arriving in Toronto. “I’m excited because I know the team has a really good development staff,” Brooks said. “I’m excited to be with the team, work out and get better everyday, just embrace the grind. Hopefully we get some good results and we can keep this going.”
  • Breaking down some film, Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores how the Celtics‘ defense can survive and adapt in the coming weeks without injured big man Robert Williams available.

Knicks Notes: Payne, Coaching Staff, Mitchell, Quickley

Knicks assistant Kenny Payne went through several tearful goodbyes before leaving the team to become the head coach at Louisville, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Payne had close relationships with many players and front office members, and it wasn’t easy to let go.

“Over the last few days, (Knicks executive VP) William Wesley and (team president) Leon Rose and myself cried six, seven times a day for me to get out of there to come here,” Payne said Friday at his introductory news conference at Louisville. “So, this was not an easy deal for me to just walk in here.”

Payne was an assistant at Kentucky before joining Tom Thibodeau’s staff in 2020 and recruited Julius Randle to play for the Wildcats. Immanuel Quickley also played for Payne at Kentucky and calls him “Pops” because he’s like a second father.

“It’s bigger than basketball when it comes to K.P., and that’s why he’s so special,” Randle said. “And that’s why he has so many great relationships around the league with so many players because he’s gonna push you on the court, but everything he does is out of love.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau has lost two of his top two assistants in two seasons, with Mike Woodson leaving last year to become head coach at Indiana University, Katz adds. Thibodeau didn’t indicate whether he plans to fill Payne’s position before the end of the season, but he did wish him well. “You’re always trying to work on developing (young coaches) knowing that there’s going to be opportunities for other guys to get head coaching jobs and that sort of thing,” Thibodeau said. “So if you hire good people you anticipate that those things will happen.”
  • Jazz star Donovan Mitchell will play his only game of the season at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but many fans — and some front office members — are hoping he’ll eventually wear a Knicks jersey, per Steve Popper of Newsday. A source told Popper last month that Wesley would like to build the team around Mitchell, but acquiring him would be difficult even if Utah does eventually put him on the market. Mitchell still has three years and about $98MM left on his contract, and the Knicks don’t have a lot of tempting trade assets.
  • Quickley has adjusted to this season’s rule changes and has been getting to the foul line as often as he did as a rookie, Popper states in the same piece. Quickley was 9-for-9 on free throws Friday after going 7-for-8 Wednesday. “I’m watching a lot more film and just seeing how everybody else is getting calls,” he said. “You know, I had to adjust just like everybody else. I am not consciously trying, but if I see somebody out of position, I feel like I can get them, and then I’ll try and do that.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Thomas, Stauskas, Knicks, Jordan

Asked on Tuesday whether the Celtics considered signing Isaiah Thomas at any point this season, head coach Ime Udoka said that point guard “was never really a position of need” for his team, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

The Celtics did trade away a point guard – Dennis Schröder – at last month’s deadline, but acquired Derrick White on the same day. The team came out of the trade deadline with five open spots on its 15-man roster and has since filled them all without adding another point guard.

Now a member of the Hornets on a 10-day contract, Thomas will face his old team on Wednesday night in Charlotte. And, as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe details, the veteran point guard admitted that he’s disappointed a reunion with the Celtics has never materialized since he was traded by the team in 2017.

“I’ve tried to have conversations about that, but it’s hard to speak on because I’ve opened my arms to try to come back in so many ways,” Thomas said on Tuesday. “And it’s not even playing and trying to pick up where I left off. I’m past that moment. I know there’s been times where I can help in that locker room.

“This is from the outside looking in, but I felt like there’s times where (president of basketball operations) Brad (Stevens) could make a call and give me an opportunity, and it hasn’t happened, so that’s very frustrating because of the relationship we have, the friendship we’ve been able to have over the years.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Nik Stauskas, who signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics last week, said on Tuesday that he had considered the possibility of walking away from basketball after this season if he didn’t get another NBA opportunity, tweets Forsberg. Stauskas’ salary for 2022/23 is non-guaranteed, but if he impresses the C’s down the stretch, it’s possible he’ll stick around for next season.
  • Fourth-year center Mitchell Robinson has been one of the few bright spots for the Knicks this season, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who notes that Robinson has played some of his best basketball recently as he nears unrestricted free agency. “Mitch is playing really well, really well,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Monday. “I want him to continue on that path. His effort to the board — his execution is much, much improved in terms of what we can do with him in terms of dribble-handoff and pick-and-roll and that sort of thing. He’s growing day by day.” Robinson, who was limited to just two minutes on Monday due to an illness, is questionable to play in Dallas on Wednesday.
  • With the Knicks in need of some reliable backcourt production due to the absences of players like Derrick Rose, Quentin Grimes, and Kemba Walker, Immanuel Quickley has broken out of a season-long shooting slump and strung together a series of impressive offensive performances at just the right time, says Peter Botte of The New York Post. In his last five games (26.5 MPG), Quickley is averaging 18.6 PPG on .528/.520/.960 shooting.
  • DeAndre Jordan didn’t make much of an impact in Los Angeles this season, but he could be the ideal backup for Sixers star Joel Embiid, Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer contends.

New York Notes: Irving, Burks, Quickley, Barrett, Durant

Nets guard Kyrie Irving has picked a new agent and it’s someone close to him. He’s hired Shetellia Riley Irving, which would apparently make her the only Black woman representing a current player, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. She’s Kyrie’s stepmother and a VP of ad sales at media company BET, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.

Irving’s contract includes a player option worth at least $36.5MM for the 2022/23 season. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he opts out.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • With Kemba Walker shut down for the season and Derrick Rose recovering from a minor procedure on his ankle, the Knicks are thin at the point. They’re currently going with Alec Burks as the starter and Immanuel Quickley on the second unit. Until Rose is ready, coach Tom Thibodeau said he doesn’t anticipate a change, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “That’s the best we have, so that’s what we’re doing, and they’re capable,’’ he said.
  • Following his 46-point eruption against Miami last week, Jimmy Butler said that wing RJ Barrett was going to be “the face of the Knicks.” The New York Post’s Ian O’Connor writes that Barrett must not allow the state of the franchise to hold him back from being an All-Star player. O’Connor notes that the franchise hasn’t drafted, developed and held onto a star player since Patrick Ewing.
  • There won’t a minutes restriction on Kevin Durant in his return to action Thursday, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. However, Durant and acting coach Jacque Vaughn — who is filling for Steve Nash (health and safety protocols) — will be in constant communication during the game to monitor how he’s feeling.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Achiuwa, Pritchard, Quickley

James Harden was brilliant in his Sixers debut Friday night, but he couldn’t escape questions about whether his reputation has suffered after issuing trade demands to two teams in 13 months, writes Brian Hall of The Associated Press. The former MVP put up a near triple-double with 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in a win at Minnesota, but the postgame conversation centered around the circumstances that led to his departure from Brooklyn.

“Just because the current situation happened, whatever happened, happened,” Harden said. “It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad teammate. Me, personally, I feel like I needed to do what’s best for my career, and help myself and be happy. It doesn’t harp on whether I’m a bad teammate or not.”

Sixers players and coaches are extremely happy to have Harden on board. Doc Rivers raved about how Harden has raised the level of communication since arriving, and Joel Embiid noticed an immediate difference in the quality of shots that he’s getting.

“I’ve never been wide open like this in my life,” Embiid said. “Seriously, the passing, like I wasn’t even expecting it and it was just coming.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Although the Raptors were blown out Saturday for the second straight night, Precious Achiuwa continues to be impressive, notes Michael Grange of The 22-year-old big man, who was acquired from the Heat in the Kyle Lowry trade, put up 21 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench. He could be on the way to replacing Khem Birch in the starting lineup, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports.
  • The Celtics‘ decision to keep Payton Pritchard at the trade deadline is paying off, says Trevor Hass of The second-year guard played an important role in Saturday’s win at Detroit, delivering 19 points and six assists in 27 minutes, the most he has logged in two months. “My confidence never should waver,” Pritchard said. “For me, it’s just staying ready and trying to find little ways to help this team win. That’s my job, so I’m going to keep doing it.”
  • The slumping Knicks could use a boost from Immanuel Quickley, who is mired in a long shooting slump, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Quickley, who’s expected to become a primary ball-handler off the bench with Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker both unavailable, is shooting 30.7% from the field and 26.6% from three-point range in his last 19 games. “Teammates tell me all the time, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t, but you just gotta keep the main thing, which is playing defense every night, playing hard every night and just bringing other things to the table,” Quickley said. “You can do other things good when you don’t shoot well. You can still bring other things to win.”