Jared Harper

Knicks Notes: Atkinson, Harper, Robinson

The Knicks interviewed head coaching candidate Kenny Atkinson again on Monday, according to Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School (Twitter link). Confirming that report, Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that it’s unclear whether it was Atkinson’s second interview or third.

A report a week ago indicated that the Knicks had completed their second round of interviews with coaching candidates, but perhaps Atkinson’s second interview was delayed. It’s also possible that the club is conducting a third round of meetings with potential finalists.

While the Knicks are playing things fairly close to the vest as they seek a permanent head coach, Berman hears from multiple sources that the organization is doing a “very thorough” job. President of basketball operations Leon Rose indicated last month that a decision is expected before the end of July.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks were the only one of the NBA’s 30 teams not to issue a public statement in support of the social justice movement following the death of George Floyd this spring, a decision that didn’t sit well with everyone in the organization. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report takes a deep dive into the situation, reporting that one “key rotation player” told team officials that he “definitely wasn’t happy with the Knicks” following their silence. “I know there are others upset about it,” a source that does business with the team told Beck.
  • Having been claimed off waivers by the Knicks last month, two-way player Jared Harper is excited about the opportunity to show his new team what he can do, as he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. “It’s definitely a great spot for me,” Harper said. “I’ll be able to grow as a basketball player. That it happened so quick (after being waived by the Suns) was just assurance to me I belong at this level.”
  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who made 74.2% of his field goal attempts this season, is in position to set a new NBA single-season record in that category, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv details.

Knicks Notes: Coaching Search, Rose, Wesley, Harper

A recent report indicated that the Knicks would look to hire a permanent head coach by the time the season resumes in Orlando on July 30, and president of basketball operations Leon Rose essentially confirmed as much in a conversation with Mike Breen on MSG Network this week. As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays, Rose said he expects the search to last until mid-to-late July.

“We want to find the right leader that can develop our young players, as well as hold everyone accountable and take us from development to becoming a perennial winner,” Rose told Breen. “We also want somebody that we think will be collaborative with the front office. Someone that when you’re in that huddle, you’re looking in that coach’s eyes, every player that’s looking at him knows that person is driving the ship and going to get the job done.”

As Vorkunov and Ian Begley and Alex Smith of SNY.tv pass along, Rose also addressed several more topics, including the possibility of the Knicks becoming a free agent destination, his thoughts on some of the team’s young players, and the club’s draft plans. On the subject of appealing to top free agents, Rose said he wants to make sure the organization is “player-friendly and first-class,” per SNY.tv.

We’re going to work as hard as we can that this is the place you want to be at,” Rose said. “We have the greatest city in the world, we have an iconic arena and we just need to create culture that people are going to want to be part of.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Greg Joyce of The New York Post takes a closer look at the 11 known candidates for the Knicks’ head coaching position.
  • Former Knicks Rasheed Wallace and Stephon Marbury are unimpressed with the team’s decision to hire Rose and William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”), as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. Wallace called the decision a “brain fart,” while Marbury referred to Wesley as a “world wide sucker.”
  • Following the Knicks’ waiver claim of Jared Harper on Thursday, Harper’s former college coach Bruce Pearl praised the Auburn alum, calling him a “flat-out winner” and suggesting New York should retain him for 2020/21. “The Knicks are getting a true scoring point guard,” Pearl told Adam Zagoria of Forbes. “He’s under-sized, but pound-for-pound is as strong and athletic as any player out there on the floor. He has tremendous range and the ability to pull from deep. He’s special in ball-screen and plays at a real good tempo.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks made another waiver claim today, nabbing Theo Pinson from the Nets and releasing Allonzo Trier to make room on the roster.

Knicks Claim Jared Harper, Waive Kadeem Allen

4:56pm: The Knicks have issued a press release confirming that they’ve claimed Harper and waived Allen.

4:24pm: The Knicks have claimed two-way player Jared Harper off waivers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team waived guard Kadeem Allen to open up a spot. Harper and Kenny Wooten now occupy New York’s two-way contract slots.

Harper, 22, signed a two-way contract with Phoenix last July after going undrafted out of Auburn. The 5’11” guard logged just eight total minutes in three NBA games for the Suns, but had a strong season for the Northern Arizona Suns, Phoenix’s G League affiliate. In 34 NBAGL games (28.9 MPG), Harper averaged 20.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.6 RPG, and 1.1 SPG with a shooting line of .413/.362/.787.

The Suns opted to release Harper in March just as the NBA puts its transaction moratorium in place, so the move didn’t technically become official until Tuesday of this week. Harper would have cleared waivers and become a free agent today if not for the Knicks’ claim.

Now, it will be Allen who is on track to become a free agent if he clears waivers this weekend. The 6’1″ guard spent the last two seasons under contract with New York, appearing in 29 games for the NBA squad and 63 more for the Westchester Knicks in the G League. Allen struggled to score efficiency this season, averaging 13.7 PPG on .394/.261/.828 shooting in 24 NBAGL games (28.8 MPG).

Harper’s two-way contract is believed to be for only one season, which means the Knicks would have to re-sign him this fall in order to keep him under control beyond 2019/20. Claiming him off waivers gives the club greater control of that process, since he can be made a restricted free agent.

NBA Transaction Window To Open On June 23

The NBA will lift its moratorium on transactions on Tuesday, allowing a number of moves to be completed between June 23 (starting at noon eastern time) and June 30 (until 11:59pm ET), sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Charania details (via Twitter), the following types of transactions will be permitted during that week-long window:

  • Players can be signed to rest-of-season contracts.
  • Substitute players can be signed for players opting not to report to Orlando.
  • Two-way contracts can be signed or converted to standard deals.
  • Players can be waived.

Trades won’t permitted during the transaction window, since the season’s deadline has passed and the offseason hasn’t yet begun. And while Charania’s report doesn’t mention it, it’s believed that all 30 teams will be eligible to participate in the transaction window, though the eight teams not included in the summer restart may be restricted from certain transactions, such as signing substitute players and two-way players.

The minimum salary for players with at least two years of experience who are signing rest-of-season deals will be $183,115, according to Charania. That’s the equivalent to 20 days’ worth of the $1,620,564 minimum salary for 2019/20.

Transactions have been frozen since shortly after the NBA suspended its season in March. The NBA and NBPA agreed in April to extend that moratorium indefinitely, so next week will represent the first time in more than three months that teams will be able to complete roster moves.

While it remains to be seen what moves will be made next week, we’ve heard that the Thunder have interest in converting Luguentz Dort‘s two-way contract into a standard deal and that the Rockets are eyeing free agent guard Tyler Johnson. With 22 teams set to participate in the summer restart, a number of two-way contract situations will also be worth keeping an eye on. You can check out our two-way contract tracker here.

Additionally, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes (via Twitter) that Suns guard Jared Harper, who was waived just before the moratorium was imposed in March, will be placed on waivers once the transaction window opens on Tuesday — he’ll need to clear waivers on Thursday before officially becoming a free agent.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Hiatus, Harper

A potential championship run for the Lakers has officially been put on hold with the NBA suspending its season over coronavirus concerns, Bill Oram of The Athletic writes.

The Lakers were one of the most formidable teams of the season, dominating through 63 games and holding the best record in the Western Conference at 49-14. They only trailed the Bucks (53-12) for bragging rights of the NBA’s best record.

“Even if we’re out for a month, even if we’re out for six weeks, we can still restart the season,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this week, clarifying that the season isn’t necessarily lost. “It might mean that then the Finals take place in July or late July. Just my feeling was that it was way premature to suggest that we had lost the season.”

The Lakers made several moves in order to build its current group. The franchise made a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis, signed two-time champion Danny Green and made a pivotal decision to bring in Dwight Howard after DeMarcus Cousins ACL tear, signifying its willingness to go all-in for a championship.

The organization knows its clock is ticking, with Davis expected to enter free agency this summer and LeBron James set to turn 36 in December. Given everything that has happened to this point, it’s safe to assume the Lakers hope Silver’s reminder turns into reality.

There’s more out of Los Angeles this evening:

  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines the biggest questions facing the Lakers if the NBA season doesn’t restart. Pincus examines the likelihood of several Lakers players opting in (including Davis), along with what value they could acquire for players such as Quinn Cook.
  • Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times details how potential championship runs for both the Clippers and Lakers remain in limbo, with the NBA naturally undecided on when (or if) the season will be resumed. The league is expected to be postponed for at least one more month as the country copes with the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus.
  • The Suns have officially waived point guard Jared Harper, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic confirms. “The G League season is over,” general manager James Jones said. “Jared’s on a one-year deal. For him to explore opportunities was something that we considered and at the end of the day, we just thought we could help him.”

Suns Reportedly Waive Jared Harper

As the NBA schedule comes to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams apparently aren’t fully halting their roster business. According to Gina Mizell of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Suns have made a minor move by releasing two-way player Jared Harper.

The motivation for the transaction – especially given the timing – is unclear, since the NBA and G League will be suspended for the foreseeable future. It’s not coronavirus-related, Mizell clarifies.

Harper, 22, signed a two-way contract with Phoenix last July after going undrafted out of Auburn. The 5’11” guard logged just eight total minutes in three NBA games for the Suns, but was in the midst of a strong season for the Northern Arizona Suns, Phoenix’s G League affiliate.

In 34 NBAGL games (28.9 MPG), Harper averaged 20.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.6 RPG, and 1.1 SPG with a shooting line of .413/.362/.787.

If and when the season resumes, Phoenix won’t be permitted to sign a new two-way player to replace Harper, since the signing deadline for two-way contracts was January 15.

Suns Sign Jared Harper To Two-Way Deal

JULY 18: The Suns have officially signed Harper to a two-way contract, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

JULY 17: The Suns have reached an agreement to sign undrafted rookie Jared Harper to a two-way contract, reports Gina Mizell of The Athletic (via Twitter).

A 5’11” point guard, Harper declared for the 2019 draft as an early entrant after helping lead Auburn to the Final Four as a junior. In 40 games for the Tigers, he averaged 15.3 PPG and 5.8 APG with a .399/.370/.828 shooting line.

Although Harper wasn’t selected on draft night, he caught on with Phoenix for Summer League play, averaging 10.5 PPG, 2.5 APG, and 2.5 RPG in four games in Las Vegas (21.8 MPG). The Suns liked what they saw from Harper enough to commit one of their two-way contract slots to him.

Phoenix’s other two-way contract slot remains open for now, as our tracker shows.

Draft Rumors: Trades, Knicks, Celtics, Warriors

There’s an “ongoing flurry” of trade talks involving draft picks in the 20-23 range, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). According to Fischer, teams like the Warriors, Nets, Kings, Mavericks, and Spurs have expressed interest in moving up into that range of the draft.

The Celtics hold the 20th and 22nd overall picks, and are unlikely to use all three of their first-rounders (they also have No. 14), so it makes sense that they’d be listening to inquiries. The Thunder are picking at No. 21 and have reportedly explored moving their pick in an effort to reduce team salary. The Grizzlies are acquiring No. 23 overall in the Mike Conley trade and are said to be listening to offers for the selection, which is their second of the first round.

Here are a few more draft-related notes and rumors:

  • The Knicks are interested in buying another second-round pick, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). New York, which currently holds the No. 55 overall pick to go along with No. 3, hasn’t sent out any cash in trades so far this season, so the team has flexibility to make a move.
  • League sources tell Fischer and Jeremy Woo of SI.com (Twitter links) that the Celtics brought in six players for last-minute workouts on Wednesday: Darius Bazley, Jalen Lecque, Tremont Waters, Jordan Bone, Chris Clemons, and Jared Harper. It was the second workout with Boston for all six prospects.
  • People around the NBA are wondering how early the Warriors would be willing to draft Serbian power forward Alen Smailagic, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. Smailagic played in the G League for Santa Cruz in 2018/19 but wasn’t draft-eligible until this year. He was shut down early in the pre-draft process and was “hidden” in Serbia from the rest of the NBA, according to Givony, who wonders if Golden State would use its newly-acquired No. 41 pick on Smailagic.
  • There are about 35 players whom various sources feel confident will be first-round picks, tweets Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. In other words, it’s tough to determine exactly which players will come off the board in the back half of the first round tonight.

Southeast Notes: Frazier, Washington, Langford

Melvin Frazier underwent successful surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia, the Magic announced on their Twitter feed. The No. 35 overall pick from the 2018 draft played in just 10 games for Orlando during his rookie season.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

Bulls Notes: Point Guard, Cap Room, Workouts

Finding a solution at point guard and making savvy additions in free agency will be among the Bulls‘ goals this offseason, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link) in his preview of the team’s summer.

In Marks’ view, there’s a role for Kris Dunn in Chicago, but he’s probably not the long-term solution at point guard, so the club needs to use its No. 7 overall pick or a chunk of its cap space to address the position. Coby White as a possible option at No. 7, according to Marks, who says that if Chicago doesn’t draft a point guard, the club should set aside about $13-14MM of its cap room to try to get one in free agency.

Here’s more on the Bulls: