Isaiah Hicks

Free Agency Notes: Mirotic, Kanter, Knicks

Nikola Mirotic helped kick off free agency weekend by opting to play in Barcelona next season. It’s a surprising development considering he was a coveted free agent.

The Jazz had their eye on Mirotic and had “major interest” in trying to sign him to a three-year deal in the $45MM range, Marc Stein of The New York Times hears (Twitter link). The market for stretch fours is even thinner now after Mirotic’s decision.

Let’s take a look at more free agency notes from around the league:

  • The Clippers have interest in Enes Kanter, Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard reports (Twitter link). Broussard also confirms that the Celtics and Lakers are eyeing the center, as was previously reported.
  • There’s been no indication that the Celtics are still pursuing Clint Capela, whether it be a Rockets‘ sign-and-trade involving Jimmy Butler or any scenario, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Capela had previously been linked to Boston.
  • The Knicks will not extend a qualifying offer to Isaiah Hicks, Ian Begley of SNY.tv tweets. Hicks was on a two-way contract last season.
  • New York has interest in George Hill and Wayne Ellington, Begley relays in a full-length piece. Both veterans will be targets regardless of whether the Knicks land any stars in free agency.

Team USA Announces Camp Roster For September World Cup Qualifiers

Fourteen players will participate in a Las Vegas training camp beginning this Thursday, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. Of those 14 players, 12 will be named to Team USA’s roster for the club’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

This set of games – the first window for the second round of qualifiers – will take place later this month. Team USA will face Uruguay on September 14, then play against Panama on September 17.

The following players will be vying for Team USA roster spots for these qualifying contests:

In the first round of qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup, Team USA was made up predominantly of G League players. That’s the case to some extent again this time, with guys like Hearn and Warney returning. However, many of the players this time around are currently under contract with NBA teams, including Bacon (Hornets), Ellenson (Pistons), Hicks (Knicks), Mason (Kings), Trice (Bucks), and White (Spurs).

“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.”

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will take place over three windows of competition in September, November, and February. Team USA will play two games apiece vs. Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay during that stretch.

Having posted a 5-1 record during the first round of qualifiers, Team USA is tied for first with Argentina in Group E, which is made up of six teams. If Team USA remains in the top three of the Group E standings by the end of February’s games, the squad will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in China next September.

Knicks Sign Allonzo Trier To Two-Way Deal

JULY 3: The Knicks have officially signed Trier to his two-way deal, the team announced in a press release. He’ll join Hicks in New York’s two-way slots, with Kornet getting a promotion to a standard NBA contract.

JUNE 21: Arizona’s Allonzo Trier will join the Knicks on a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

New York is currently at its allotment of two-way players with Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks, but both are on one-year deals, so Trier can be added when they expire at the end of June.

Trier, 22, missed part of his junior season after testing positive for a banned substance. He was second on the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game, trailing only tonight’s No. 1 pick, Deandre Ayton.

Knicks Sign Isaiah Hicks To Two-Way Deal

6:08pm: Hicks has officially signed his two-way contract, the Knicks announced on Twitter.

10:20am: Power forward Isaiah Hicks, who played on a two-way contract for the Knicks last season, is expected to sign a new two-way deal with the team soon, reports ESPN’s Ian Begley (Twitter link).

Hicks’ previous two-way contract only covered a single season, so the Knicks issued the 23-year-old a qualifying offer at season’s end, making him a restricted free agent. With former two-way player Luke Kornet poised to join New York’s 15-man roster, Hicks and Allonzo Trier, who reached a deal with the Knicks in June, are expected to fill the team’s two-way slots for 2018/19.

Hicks, who will turn 24 later this month, appeared in 18 games for the Knicks in his rookie year, averaging 4.4 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.3 minutes per contest. He saw more action for the Westchester Knicks in the G League, posting 15.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in 37 games with the club.

The Knicks entered the offseason with 12 players under contract. Now that Kornet, Mario Hezonja, and Kevin Knox are poised to take roster spots and Hicks and Trier will fill the club’s two-way slots, New York projects to have a full regular-season roster. The Knicks can carry a 20-man offseason roster, but will need to eventually waive or trade a player if they intend to sign second-round pick Mitchell Robinson to a spot on their 15-man regular-season squad, Begley notes (via Twitter).

Free Agent Notes: Stephenson, Tolliver, McGee, O’Quinn

Plenty of teams will have interest in Lance Stephenson once the higher-profile free agents are signed, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. The Pacers remain open to bringing back the 27-year-old swingman after declining their team option on him this week. Wolfson lists the Timberwolves, Knicks, Sixers and Lakers as other interested teams, but says there are more.

Stephenson appeared in all 82 games for Indiana this season, averaging 9.2 points per night. He would have made $4.36MM in 2018/19 if the Pacers had picked up his option.

There’s more free agent news to pass along:

  • Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau has talked to Pistons free agent Anthony Tolliver, according to Wolfson (Twitter link). Tolliver shot 44% from 3-point range this season, and Minnesota sees him as a possible replacement for Jamal Crawford. The Wolves also like his locker room presence, which could be valuable if Cole Aldrich doesn’t come back.
  • JaVale McGee has said he wants to return to the Warriors, but he is also getting interest from the Lakers, Pelicans and Thunder, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. Because of luxury tax concerns, Golden State is unlikely to offer more than a veteran’s minimum contract, while the other teams have more financial flexibility. McGee averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.6RPG this season, but his numbers rose after he became a starter after the All-Star break. This is the third straight summer of free agency for McGee, who has spent the past two seasons with the Warriors.
  • The new contract for Luke Kornet is a sign that Kyle O’Quinn won’t return to the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. He adds that the Sixers are showing “heavy interest” in O’Quinn, who spent the past three years in New York as a backup center.
  • The Knicks are hoping to re-sign Isaiah Hicks, who was on a two-way contract this season, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley. New York gave him a qualifying offer last week, making him a free agent and giving the team the right to match any offer. Hicks appeared in 18 NBA games, averaging 4.4 points per night.
  • A scheduled meeting between Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Clippers has been moved from today to Monday, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Kornet, Hicks, Trier

The Knicks’ decision to draft Mitchell Robinson in the second round Thursday night could signal an end to Luke Kornet‘s time in New York, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The team extended a qualifying offer to Kornet, who was on a two-way contract last season, but if he receives even a minimum contract offer [$1.2MM for a second-year player] from another organization, the Knicks may refuse to match it.

A source tells Berman that a handful of teams have interest in Kornet, who displayed an effective shooting touch during his 20 games at the NBA level. Kornet, who went undrafted out of Vanderbilt in 2017, averaged 6.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 35% from 3-point range. His performance contributed to the decision to trade Willy Hernangomez, but Berman states that management may view him as a leftover from the Phil Jackson years.

The decision on Kornet will be impacted by how Robinson performs during summer league, Berman adds. The 20-year-old 7-footer is an unknown quantity after opting to leave Western Kentucky without playing a game.

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Isaiah Hicks, the Knicks’ other two-way player last season, also received a qualifying offer, but the team isn’t likely to bring both Hicks and Kornet back, Berman writes in the same story. New York will likely withdraw one of those QOs in favor of signing Arizona’s Allonzo Trier, who reportedly reached agreement on a two-way deal on draft night. Hicks got into 18 NBA games last season and averaged 4.4 points per night.
  • Robinson may have trouble adjusting to the summer league after not playing a five-on-five game in 14 months, Berman adds in a separate story. However, his high school coach, Butch Stockton, believes the 36th pick will eventually make an impact with his all-around talents. “I see him stepping in and helping right away,” said Stockton, who attended Friday’s introductory press conference. “When he starts playing, the Knicks fans, they’re going to see what kind of talent he is. The media people say he’s not ready physically or basketball-wise, but he runs the floor extremely well, protects the rim and finishes around the rim.”
  • Emmanuel Mudiay, who hosted a youth camp today in New York, expressed confidence that new coach David Fizdale will be able to turn the Knicks around, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now“We’re all kind of starting from scratch,” Mudiay said. “But it’s a positive scratch. It’s big to see that people are actually loving what the front office is doing, loving what the coaching staff is doing. Everybody’s supportive. So that’s a good thing.” 

Kornet, Hicks Receive Qualifying Offers From Knicks

The Knicks have extended qualifying offers to both Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks, according to RealGM’s Transactions log. Those moves make them restricted free agents next month.

That duo signed one-year, two-way contracts last season. According to the latest CBA, the qualifying offer is a two-way contract, with $50K guaranteed.

At least one of them would have to eventually sign a regular contract for next season, since the club has reached an agreement with Arizona guard Allonzo Trier for one of their two-way deals.

Kornet, a 7’1” power forward/center out of Vanderbilt, appeared in 20 games with the Knicks last season. He averaged 6.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 1.3 APG in 16.4 MPG. Hicks, a 6’9” forward from North Carolina, saw action in 18 NBA games and posted averages of 4.4 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG.

New York Notes: Hornacek, Hicks, Crabbe

The Knicks will conclude their fourth consecutive 45+ loss season next month and the future of the team remains unclear. Outside of Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis — who is recovering from a torn ACL — it appears there are no locks for the roster or coaching staff after this season.

As Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his newsletter (via CBS Sports), it’s likely that head coach Jeff Hornacek does not return next season despite having one year left on his deal. The organization has moved swiftly to distance itself from almost anything related to former president Phil Jackson, which could include Hornacek.

“It’s difficult to fault Hornacek for much of the chaos that has engulfed the Knicks during his two seasons in charge,” Stein writes. “But there’s no avoiding the fact he was a Phil Jackson selection, which could well doom him now that the organization seems intent on cutting every non-Porzingian tie to the Phil era as possible.”

The Knicks have gone 57-96 under Hornacek since last season, but injuries, poor roster creation, and a rebuilding effort hindered both the head coach and the team from being competitive. Early possible candidates to replace Hornacek are Mark Jackson and David Blatt, Stein notes.

Check out more notes coming out of New York:

  • Whether or not Hornacek is the head coach next season, he feels the Knicks should seek depth at small forward, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Sources tell Bondy that the Knicks have scouted both Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges as possible draft targets, which would echo Hornacek’s suggestion. “I think if you look around at the top teams that are in the league they have multiple guys that are in the 6’7″, 6’8″ range with length. We had a lot of guys that are in the 6’5″ ish range,” Hornacek said. “I think the longer guys you get, it gives you more opportunities to switch on defense, which if you look at the league today, the best teams are switching all the time.”
  • With the Knicks eliminated from playoff contention, the goal for the rest of the season will be auditioning young talent, which includes 23-year-old Isaiah Hicks. In nine games, Hicks is averaging just 4.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG, but he has impressed with his basketball IQ and athleticism, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Hicks is on a two-way deal and the Knicks will have to decide whether they want to re-sign him.
  • The Nets‘ record has hovered near the bottom of the league in recent seasons, but the organization has bought into the mantra of building a positive culture with promising talent. Allen Crabbe, who is finishing up a strong first season in Brooklyn, said he is willing to recruit free agents this offseason, Bryan Fonseca and Net Income of NetsDaily relay. “Oh yeah. Whatever I can do, just getting guys on board and looking at the vision that Sean Marks and coach (Kenny) Atkinson have for this organization moving forward, I think guys will buy in,” Crabbe said.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/10/18

Here are Saturday’s G League moves from around the NBA:

  • The Raptors assigned Nigel Hayes and Alfonzo McKinnie to their Raptors 905 affiliate for today’s game against Canton, according to a tweet  from the G League team.
  • The Knicks sent Isaiah Hicks to their Westchester affiliate for tonight’s game in Milwaukee, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers assigned Alex Poythress to their Fort Wayne affiliate, according to a post on the team website.
  • The Thunder recalled Dakari Johnson from Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in an email.

Knicks Sign Isaiah Hicks To Two-Way Contract

OCTOBER 20: The Knicks have officially signed Hicks to a two-way deal, the team announced today in a press release.

OCTOBER 19: The Knicks are planning to sign forward Isaiah Hicks to a two-way contract, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The North Carolina alum went through training camp with the Hornets earlier this month.

After going undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Tar Heel will look to make an impression with the franchise bouncing between the New York squad and the Knicks’ G League affiliate in Westchester.

Once the move becomes official, both of the Knicks’ two-way slots will be filled, with center Luke Kornet occupying the other one.