Jericho Sims

New York Notes: Simmons, Claxton, Randle, Knicks Centers

Health and confidence are the primary reasons Ben Simmons has performed well lately for the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

After missing all of last season due to mental health issues and later a herniated disc in his back, which required surgery in May, Simmons had a slow start to the 2022/23 campaign, averaging just 5.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 46.7% from the line through nine games (27.3 MPG). He also missed five games while dealing with knee soreness and swelling.

However, over the past six games (31.1 minutes), Simmons has started to look more like his old self, averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks while shooting 82.0% from the field and 61.1% from the charity stripe. The 26-year-old swingman still isn’t 100 percent yet, according to Lewis, but he’s clearly making progress.

Healthy. Finally got his legs under him. He was off for two years. Y’all won’t even give him a chance. Y’all want to criticize him after every f–king game,” Markieff Morris said. “But the guy didn’t play two years. Obviously, y’all wouldn’t know, because none of y’all played in the NBA. He’s got to get his body right. There’s contact every night. Playing 30-plus minutes, it takes time.”

Simmons says he’s still working on finding consistency with his health and play.

Yeah, I feel [the confidence]. I know who I am, I know what I’m capable of. I know what this team needs me to do, so I’m going to keep working and being consistent with my body and on the court,” he said.

Here’s more on the two New York-based teams:

  • Can Simmons and center Nic Claxton overcome spacing concerns and coexist in the Nets‘ starting lineup? Lewis tackles that subject in a member-only article for The New York Post. Head coach Jacque Vaughn acknowledged it will be a challenge at times. “Something we’ve got to figure out,” Vaughn said. “Because both guys do present some positives for us. Hopefully we can lean into the defensive piece with their length with Kevin (Durant) out there on the floor at the same time. But we do have to work through some spacing. We’ll try to play fast. Nic has that ability to run the floor and play fast, so hopefully we won’t have a bunch of sets in the halfcourt that we’ve got to make our way through.”
  • Power forward Julius Randle says he’s still adjusting to “playing off the ball more” after the Knicks signed point guard Jalen Brunson in the offseason, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. As Botte notes, New York ran a lot of its offense through Randle from 2020-22, when he averaged 5.6 assists per game. That figure is down to 3.0 per night in ’22/23, but he’s scoring more efficiently. “Just making the game easy, try and make efficient shots and keep the flow of the offense going,” Randle said. “I think it’s the flow of our offense. Break it down, see more, especially in my position where shots are coming from [and being] responsible for getting good shots … figuring out what spots for most efficient shots.”
  • The Knicks have played all three of their centers — Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims — three games in a row. Head coach Tom Thibodeau says that won’t always be the case, but he’s a fan of having so many options at the five spot. “It’s game-to-game. It’ll sort itself out,” Thibodeau said, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I don’t think it’ll be like that every game. But I love the depth at that position. So all three guys are more than capable, all three can start, all three can come off the bench. It’s a good luxury to have.”

Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein Discusses Role, Achilles Issue

Last season with the Clippers, center Isaiah Hartenstein served as a play-maker in the middle, averaging 4.7 assists per 36 minutes. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, the Knicks sold Hartenstein on playing a similar role in New York when he joined the team in the offseason as a free agent.

However, so far this fall, Hartenstein is handing out a career-low 1.2 assists per 36 minutes and averaging just 0.8 seconds per touch (as opposed to 2.06 seconds per touch last season). The big man acknowledged on Wednesday that he has been asked to play more like a traditional center with the Knicks.

“It’s adjusting to a different role where it’s playing more like (the Knicks’ other centers), I guess. Not more of what I’m used to,” Hartenstein said. “That’s been a little more difficult. And so I’m just adjusting to more of a Mitch (Robinson) role, where I’m just rolling into the pick-and-roll.”

As Bondy relays, Hartenstein reiterated multiple times during his media session that he’s fine with making the adjustment, but said it has been a challenge and has required some extra film work to get comfortable.

It doesn’t help that the 24-year-old has been dealing with an inflamed Achilles tendon since the summer and still only feels “about 80 percent.” Hartenstein believes the issue is hindering his athleticism and may be having an impact on his defense and rebounding, according to Bondy.

“I feel like I’m a little slower than I normally am,” he said. “Little slower to get up to defend the shots where I normally am able to do really good.”

When Robinson missed some time this month due to a knee injury, third-string center Jericho Sims entered the rotation and had some strong performances. With Robinson back, all three centers have played at least 13 minutes apiece in each of the Knicks’ past two games, but Bondy says head coach Tom Thibodeau typically prefers to use just two centers in his rotation, especially if he wants to try to get Julius Randle and Obi Toppin some minutes together.

Hartenstein, who signed a two-year, $16MM contract and has appeared in every game so far this season, may not end up being the odd man out, but he said he’s willing to accept a reduced role if the team wants to lean more on its traditional centers or use a two-power-forward look.

“I know what I can do,” Hartenstein said. “It’s now just doing whatever I can do in the role that’s given to me. I have a lot of respect for Jericho and Mitch. So if that’s what coach thinks is the best thing to do – if coach thinks it’s best to go with Julius and Obi, then do that. I’m just here to help the team win at the end of the day and if coach thinks that way, or if coach thinks that way. I’m ready to do that.”

Atlantic Notes: Trent Jr., Siakam, Robinson, Irving, Williams

Gary Trent Jr., who has been out of the Raptors lineup since Nov. 12 due to a hip injury and an illness, is expected to play on Wednesday, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports.

Chris Boucher, who hasn’t played since Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness, and Trent took part in Monday’s light workout and should both be available against the Nets this Wednesday.

In another promising development, Pascal Siakam also participated in the practice on a limited basis. He has missed eight games due to an adductor strain.

“We certainly needed to survive here and Pascal was out there today in practice,” coach Nick Nurse said. “Well, not a whole lot of people in contact (practices) these days when the numbers are what they are, so he was out there moving around. So we shouldn’t be awfully far away from him being back.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson didn’t have much of an impact in his return to action, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Robinson, who suffered a sprained right knee on Nov. 4 against the Sixers, finished with two points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes against Phoenix on Sunday. “I don’t feel that far behind,” Robinson said. “I feel like I’m way better than I was last year as far as conditioning-wise. But since this happened, I’ve got to build it back up.” Jericho Sims, who filled in for Robinson, will likely drop out of the rotation.
  • Kyrie Irving had his suspension lifted on Sunday and the Players’ Association will not file a grievance for the games he missed, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets. Executive director Tamika Tremaglio said the union opted not to file a grievance with the league against the Nets on behalf of  Irving, who missed eight games without pay.
  • Celtics center Robert Williams has progressed to 3-on-3 work, another step in his knee rehab, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. “We’re happy with him as far as his progression and the work he’s put in toward coming back,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He’s picking it up on the court a little bit. … He looks good. He’s healthy and responding well to it. He’s in a good space as far as patience, and he’s doing the work he needs to do.” There’s no set timetable for Williams’ return to full practices and games.

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Sims, Reddish

Starting center Mitchell Robinson will be back on the floor for the Knicks on Sunday, the team has announced (Twitter link). He’ll come in handy against formidable Phoenix big man Deandre Ayton and the rest of the 9-6 Suns in an afternoon matchup.

Robinson has missed New York’s last eight games with a sprained right knee. Through eight games, all starts, he is averaging 6.5 PPG on 69.7% shooting, along with 6.4 RPG, 2.3 BPG and 1.0 APG. Reserve centers Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims had alternately started in Robinson’s stead.

There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:

  • Sims had been showing out with Robinson absent, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. In 27 minutes as a reserve behind Hartenstein on Friday, Sims chipped in a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. “You hear all the time coaches saying ‘stay ready,’ and that’s all I’ve really been doing. The time will come that you’ll get more time,” Sims said. The 6’9″ big man was drafted with the No. 58 pick out of Texas in 2021, and appears to have real NBA ability. In New York’s past eight games with Robinson sidelined, Sims averaged 6.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.4 BPG. “Yeah, the athleticism, great feet. Gives you the opportunity to switch more [on the defensive end],”  Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Very good playmaker on short rolls. We still haven’t seen it in the games, but we’ve seen it in practice. He’s got a real good feel for it.”
  • Knicks swingman Cam Reddish suffered a right groin injury during the third quarter of the team’s 111-101 loss to the Warriors on Friday, Botte writes in a separate piece. New York revealed (via Twitter) that Reddish, who had started eight straight games leading up to the injury, will sit out at least today’s contest. “It was competing against the greatest ever, to be honest,” Reddish said of his experience defending All-NBA Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. “It was fun. Tough, too. He’s non-stop moving. That’s probably why my groin is hurting. But I enjoy the competition.” Botte notes that Quentin Grimes could be elevated to a starting role with Reddish absent.
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are reportedly amenable to discussing trades involving reserve guards Immanuel Quickley and/or Derrick Rose.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sumner, Sims, Mazzulla

There will be quite the competition for the Raptors‘ final roster spots, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Although rookie Christian Koloko still hasn’t been signed, he seems like a safe bet to be the 13th player on a standard deal, per Lewenberg.

He does what he does very well and we probably don’t need him to do much more than that,” head coach Nick Nurse told TSN. “I love the way he runs, his feet are great, he’s blocking shots, screening OK and he’s got a pretty decent, safe pair of hands. And it’s probably a good roster fit.”

The 7’1″ center was the 33rd pick of last month’s draft. Second-year guard/forward Dalano Banton also has a good chance to be on the opening night roster, Lewenberg writes.

That leaves Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson, Armoni Brooks, David Johnson and Ron Harper Jr. battling it out for the final few roster spots. Toronto is expected to sign Harper to a two-way deal but he could earn a promotion if he impresses in training camp, according to Lewenberg, who notes that there’s also a chance the Raptors could waive Svi Mykhailiuk, who exercised his minimum-salary player option last month, in order to keep more than one of that group on a standard deal.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported that guard Edmond Sumner signed a two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets, and the second year is non-guaranteed. Ian Begley of SNY.tv provides more details about Sumner’s contract (via Twitter), reporting that the first years isn’tfully guaranteed either. Sumner’s 2022/23 guarantee will increase from $250K to $500K if he’s on the opening night roster, and the second season becomes fully guaranteed once the free agency moratorium lifts in 2023. That typically occurs on July 6.
  • As Fred Katz of The Athletic recently relayed, Jericho Sims‘ new contract with the Knicks is fully guaranteed at $2K above the minimum in ’22/23, the second year is at the minimum and partially guaranteed for $600K, and the final year is a team option for the minimum with a $651,180 partial guarantee. Begley reports (Twitter link) that the $600K in year two increases to $1.2MM if Sims is still on the roster by mid-July 2023, and the deal becomes fully guaranteed in mid-August ’23. The same structure applies to the third year, with the $651,180 increasing to $1.3MM in mid-July ’24 and a full guarantee in mid-August ’24.
  • Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said he will be promoting Joe Mazzulla to a role on the bench in place of Will Hardy, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Mazzulla recently interviewed for Utah’s head coaching vacancy, which ultimately went to Hardy. He also interviewed for Boston’s job last summer.

Atlantic Notes: McBride, Randle, Stevens, Tucker

The addition of Jalen Brunson could make playing time scarce for Miles McBride but he’s trying to remain confident, Zach Braziler of the New York Post writes. The 2021 second-round pick played in 40 games last season and projects as the Knicks’ third-string point guard behind Brunson and Derrick Rose. “Doing whatever I can to be on the floor [is my mindset],” he said. “If that means making shots, bringing the ball up, finding the open man, playing defense, I’m doing anything I can to be on the floor.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Julius Randle showed his leadership by inviting young players Jericho Sims and Feron Hunt to summer weight and cardio sessions in Dallas, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News notes. “It was cool. He wanted me to come down, so I said, ‘Hey, he’s a big-time player, why not get close to him, build that relationship,’” Sims said. Randle is trying to improve an image that was tarnished during a disappointing season for him and the Knicks. He’s at the beginning of a four-year extension.
  • Brad Stevens is happy with his current status as the Celtics’ top executive but he’s not ruling out coaching again someday, as he told Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “I’ve enjoyed both roles I’ve been in. I love the people I’ve worked with in both roles, and my family loves it, so, yeah, we’re really happy,” he said. “I’m not going to try to predict the future. I have no idea. No idea. I don’t know if I’d ever coach again. We’ll see.”
  • Toughness, durability and 3-point shooting are among the attributes that P.J. Tucker brings to the Sixers. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com breaks down all the aspects of Tucker’s game and the intangibles he adds to the table as the veteran forward transitions from one Eastern Conference contender to another.

Knicks Notes: Sims, Robinson, Diop, Hartenstein

Jericho Sims has shown so far during the Las Vegas Summer League why the Knicks were willing to give him a new three-year deal this offseason, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. In addition to averaging a double-double (13.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG) in his first two Summer League games, Sims has displayed intriguing mobility and play-making ability, putting the ball on the floor and bringing it up the court himself after grabbing rebounds.

“I’ve been working on pushing the ball in transition a little bit, trying to get more comfortable doing that again, making the right reads,” he said, per Braziller.

Sims’ three-year contract is worth just $2,000 above the minimum in 2022/23, with minimum salaries in years two and three, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter links). Katz adds that the first year is fully guaranteed, while the second year is partially guaranteed for $600K and the third year is a team option with a partial guarantee of $651,180.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Mitchell Robinson‘s strong relationships with his young teammates and other members of the organization played a major part in his decision to remain with the Knicks, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. “He had a number of opportunities,” a source familiar with Robinson’s thinking said of the center’s free agency. “He chose to be there.”
  • DeSagana Diop, the head coach of the Westchester Knicks (New York’s G League team), is taking over as the head coach of Senegal’s national men’s basketball team, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link).
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue believes Los Angeles’ former backup center Isaiah Hartenstein will be a good fit on his new team in New York, Braziller writes for The New York Post. “You can run stuff through him, he can make plays, he can make passes,” Lue told Braziller. “Defensively, he’s one of (Tom Thibodeau‘s) types of guys. He can switch at the five position, good in the drops. He’s very athletic and so he can do a lot of different things. He had a great year for us.” Although Lue would’ve liked to have Hartenstein back in L.A., he said he’s “happy for him, getting the contract he got.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks finalized their Alec Burks/Nerlens Noel trade with the Pistons on Monday, clearing a path to officially sign Jalen Brunson and Hartenstein.

Jericho Sims Signs Three-Year Deal With Knicks

JULY 9, 9:03pm: The new deal with Sims is official, the Knicks announced (via Twitter).


JULY 7, 11:58am: Sims’ new three-year deal will be worth a little under $6MM, according to Katz (Twitter link). A three-year minimum contract would be worth $5.66MM, so if it’s above the minimum, it’s not by much.

Half the contract is currently guaranteed, Katz adds. There are trigger dates in 2023 and 2024 that would make years two and three fully guaranteed.


JULY 7, 11:39am: The Knicks will promote big man Jericho Sims to their standard roster, having agreed to terms with him on a new three-year contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sims spent the 2021/22 season on a two-way deal.

The 58th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Sims played in 41 Knicks games as a rookie, averaging 2.2 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 13.5 minutes per contest. He moved into the team’s starting lineup for five games down the stretch, registering his first career double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds) during the last week of the season vs. Brooklyn.

While the Knicks are trading away Nerlens Noel, the team fortified its frontcourt by re-signing Mitchell Robinson and agreeing to a deal with Isaiah Hartenstein. Sims will provide additional depth up front.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported last month that the Knicks would likely negotiate a standard contract with Sims, clearing a path for second-rounder Trevor Keels to take the newly opened two-way slot. Fred Katz of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that Keels remains on track to get a two-way deal.

The exact terms of Sims’ new deal aren’t known, but it will likely be a minimum-salary contract or something close to it. The third year will be a team option, per Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).

As Katz tweets, the Knicks will complete the signing using either some leftover cap room or part of their mid-level exception, depending on whether or not they end up turning their deal with Jalen Brunson into a sign-and-trade.

Atlantic Rumors: Knicks, Barrett, Harris, DiVincenzo

With the Knicks expecting to re-sign Mitchell Robinson, the next focus will be on finding a back-up center, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. There’s an opening with Nerlens Noel headed to the Pistons in a salary dump trade.

New York has expressed interest in several free agent centers, sources tell Begley. He adds that the team plans to convert two-way player Jericho Sims to a standard contract and may re-sign Taj Gibson if he’s needed for depth.

Isaiah Hartenstein could be under consideration, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, although several teams have interest in the Clippers center. The Knicks will aggressively pursue Hartenstein, Begley adds in a separate story, and may have interest in Andre Drummond as well.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fischer cites “mutual interest” in an extension agreement between the Knicks and RJ Barrett (Twitter link from Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School). The 22-year-old swingman was the team’s second-leading scorer this season at 20.0 points per game.
  • The Sixers haven’t given up efforts to trade Tobias Harris, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Twitter link from Talkin’ NBA). Windhorst expects the team to shake up its roster to find players who fit better alongside Joel Embiid and James Harden.
  • The Raptors could have interest in Donte DiVincenzo, who is unrestricted after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Kings, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Grange says Toronto would have pursued Pat Connaughton if he hadn’t decided to exercise his player option with Milwaukee, adding that DiVincenzo is younger and better suited for a playmaking role.

Atlantic Rumors: Tucker, Sixers, Knicks, Robinson, Nets

With free agency still two days away, rumors about P.J. Tucker landing in Philadelphia continue to percolate. After Marc Stein reported earlier in the week that multiple executives believe the Sixers will sign Tucker to a three-year, $30MM contract, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer conveys a similar sentiment today.

According to Pompey, three sources believe Tucker to the 76ers is a “done deal,” while a fourth source said he’d be shocked if the veteran forward doesn’t end up in Philadelphia. Sources tell Pompey that Tucker’s three-year deal with the Sixers, assuming it materializes, could be worth $27MM with incentives that increase the value to $30MM.

The Sixers still need to do some cap work in order to realistically make that kind of offer to Tucker. If James Harden turns down his $47MM+ player option and agrees to a lesser first-year salary on a new contract, the team could create the cap flexibility necessary to use its full mid-level exception on Tucker. But Harden is expected to opt in and then sign an extension, which means Philadelphia would have to shed some salary. Furkan Korkmaz ($5MM), Matisse Thybulle ($4.4MM), and Georges Niang ($3.5MM) are among the club’s potential trade candidates.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Knicks are considering converting Jericho Sims‘ two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. If that occurs, second-round pick Trevor Keels would likely receive a two-way pact. Both moves were considered likely as of Tuesday afternoon, Begley writes.
  • Within the same story, Begley says he expects the Knicks to give strong consideration to re-signing Taj Gibson if they waive him this week as part of their cap-clearing efforts.
  • The four-year, $48MM contract Robert Williams signed with Boston last fall is viewed by rival executives as a fair comparable for Mitchell Robinson, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who suggests the Knicks likely wouldn’t want to go much higher than that to retain Robinson this summer.
  • The Nets are expected to give David Duke a prominent role in summer league games next month and will give him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in 2022/23, sources tell Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. Duke received a two-way qualifying offer from Brooklyn, as we relayed earlier today.