Jericho Sims

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.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Siakam, Brown, Sims

It would be a big surprise if Celtics center Robert Williams returned during the first round of the playoffs, but the door isn’t entirely closed on that possibility, Jay King of The Athletic tweets. Williams, who underwent left knee surgery on March 30, hasn’t technically been ruled out because players react differently to surgeries, according to coach Ime Udoka. However, the expectation is that Williams won’t be available, Udoka added.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had another huge game on Thursday, piling up 37 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists against Philadelphia. Siakam has become an all-around force who deserves a spot on one of the All-NBA teams, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports writes. “I think I’m continuing to get better,” Siakam said. “It’s been a good long road for me and I just always believed all the work I have put in is going to pay off.”
  • Jaylen Brown had a triple-double against Milwaukee on Thursday. Just being on the court was enough to add to Brown’s bank account. The Celtics forward gained a $482,143 bonus for playing in his 65th game this season, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The bonus was deemed likely heading into the season and does not impact Brown’s cap hit, Marks adds.
  • Knicks two-way player Jericho Sims notched 10 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks in 35 minutes against Brooklyn on Wednesday. Sims has a similar skill set to Mitchell Robinson, who is headed to free agency this summer, and could replace him in the rotation next season, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “Great feet, the athleticism is terrific,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Sims. “We haven’t seen the playmaking in the paint he has. As time goes on, we’ll see that he’s a very good playmaker in the paint. You’ll see him kick out and find the open guy.’’

Knicks Notes: Sims, Robinson, Gibson, Westbrook

The Knicks may lose free agent center Mitchell Robinson this summer, so they’re seeing if they have a capable replacement already on the roster, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Rookie Jericho Sims, the 58th pick in last year’s draft, started the past two games and made all eight of his shots as New York picked up a pair of road wins.

Robinson is headed toward unrestricted free agency unless the Knicks sign him to an extension (which could be worth up to $55.6MM over four years) by June 30. He missed Wednesday’s game at Charlotte because of back pain and was used as a reserve Friday at Miami.

When healthy, Robinson has been New York’s starting center over the past two seasons, but the organization may not want to make a huge financial commitment to someone with his injury history and limited game away from the basket. If Sims can become a dependable center, that would ease the pain of losing Robinson.

“He’s been terrific since the summer,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said of Sims. “Just the way he approaches things. I think he’s growing, he’s learning, he puts a lot into it every day. And I think playing has been helpful for him, but it’s his preparation I think that’s helping him the most. He’s a lot more confident.’’

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks no longer have a realistic shot at reaching the play-in tournament, but coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t want to waste the rest of the season, per Steve Popper of Newsday. The team’s young players sparked a rally Friday against the Heat as New York overcame a 17-point fourth quarter deficit and improved to 7-4 in its last 11 games. “Honestly, really since the All-Star break, every game we’ve been feeling good about ourselves for real,” RJ Barrett said. “We’ve been playing great basketball. Even some of those losses, we’ve been playing amazing basketball since the All-Star break. You’re seeing it more and more, just trying to get better every day.”
  • Taj Gibson has improved as a three-point shooter this season, which could give the Knicks a reason to bring him back on his non-guaranteed $5.2MM salary for 2022/23, Popper adds. If Gibson isn’t retained as a player, he would definitely consider coaching. “For sure, because I love being around the game,” he said. “It comes easy to me. First thing, I love it. You’ve got to love watching film. I love just being around the guys. I love having the communication as far as just being on the court. And even in the workouts, I love being in the gym on off days with young guys and handling my business.”
  • Cross off New York as a potential trade destination for Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer said on a podcast with Marc Stein of Substack (hat tip to Brad Sullivan of Lakers Daily). Fischer talked to several people in the Knicks organization who told him they’re focused on building around the current core, rather than gambling on a veteran like Westbrook.

New York Notes: Simmons, Durant, Payne, Sims

A pair of outside orthopedic specialists who spoke to Brian Lewis of The New York Post expressed skepticism that Ben Simmons will play for the Nets this season due to his ongoing back issues. However, head coach Steve Nash remains confident that Simmons will return, telling reporters on Tuesday that he has “extremely high hopes” about seeing the three-time All-Star before the end of the regular season.

“He’s just doing his rehab, strengthening,” Nash said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We’re still doing that side of things rather than court work right now.

“… The biggest thing we’ve tried to do is to have him be involved in everything. The traveling is the one caveat where sometimes you’re weighing the cost-benefit of him on airplanes and buses and different beds. When he’s with us we want him in every meeting, in every walkthrough, in every film session, whatever it may be so he’s around the group. We’d love for him to travel, be with the team all the time, but we have to weigh that scenario as well.”

The Nets have just 14 games left on their regular season schedule, and presumably would be reluctant to bring back Simmons in the middle for a play-in game of in the middle of the playoff series if he hasn’t gotten at least a few regular season reps under his belt.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant missed too much time this season to be a legitimate MVP candidate, but John Hollinger of The Athletic believes Durant could be the league’s current “Most Dangerous Player” — in other words, the player opponents fear most in a short-term situation like a fourth quarter or playoff series.
  • The University of Louisville appears to be zeroing in on Knicks assistant Kenny Payne as its top head coaching candidate, sources tell Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated. Forde cautions that nothing is definite yet, but says if talks between the two sides go well, Louisville could announce a deal with Payne before the end of the week.
  • With the Knicks leaning more on rookie center Jericho Sims as of late, Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post suggests that the possibility of losing big man Mitchell Robinson in free agency this offseason might be more palatable than it initially appeared. After appearing in just 18 of New York’s first 59 games and averaging 6.5 minutes per contest, Sims has played in the team’s last nine contests, logging 13.9 MPG. He had arguably his best game in Sunday’s loss to Brooklyn, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds in a season-high 23 minutes.

New York Notes: KD, Simmons, Reddish, Sims

All-Star forward Kevin Durant could return from his sprained left knee MCL as soon as this Thursday or Saturday, Nets head coach Steve Nash indicated, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant has been sidelined since injuring his knee on January 5.

“We’re hopeful that he can play this week,” Nash said. “So Kevin’s getting close, which is exciting.”

In the 36 games he has been healthy, Durant has been his typical All-NBA self for the Nets. This season, he is averaging 29.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 5.8 APG, with shooting splits of .520/.372/.894.

“He’s going to come back and impact the game every way possible,” new Nets starting center Andre Drummond said of Durant. “I think with our chemistry together on the floor, it’s going to make it very difficult for teams to pick their poison, with who they want to guard, along with Kyrie [Irving], Seth [Curry] and when Ben [Simmons] comes back. And we go on the list of our roster, we have a lot of threats.”

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

  • Rich Paul, the agent for new Nets addition Ben Simmons, told Brian Windhorst of ESPN (video link) that Simmons should be thought of as “week-to-week” with back soreness as he works his way into game shape ahead of his 2021/22 season debut. Windhorst expressed uncertainty about whether Simmons would even be ready at any point in March for Brooklyn, suggesting that he’s “frankly not close” to debuting for his new team.
  • With Knicks wing Quentin Grimes unavailable for much of the remaining season, new swingman Cam Reddish finally has a path to regular rotation minutes in New York, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post“I’m trying to work my way in,” Reddish said. “Just trying to make the right play, really. Not trying to force it too much. But yeah, I think the last 20 games are definitely a good spot to start.” In 11 games with New York thus far, Reddish is averaging 5.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG and 0.7 SPG across 12.5 MPG.
  • With the 25-36 Knicks seemingly stuck on the outside of the play-in race looking in, rookie reserve center Jericho Sims has been getting some run as New York looks towards the future, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “[Sims is] a great kid, great worker, getting better day by day,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said Tuesday. “Very diligent. Comes in and watches film and wants to do well. So I think this experience is really good for him.” Sims has displaced Nerlens Noel in the rotation as Noel continues to grapple with a plantar fasciitis injury. 36-year-old veteran center Taj Gibson has also been a healthy scratch for the last two games in favor of the No. 58 pick in the 2021 draft.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Williamson, Sims, Anunoby, Morey, Harden

The speculation over Zion Williamson‘s future with New Orleans has Knicks fans dreaming of acquiring the 2019 top pick. Williamson’s former coach and current TV analyst Stan Van Gundy scoffs at the notion that big-name players want to go to New York, Ethan Sears of the New York Post relays.

“No matter how many times people have proven they don’t want to play for the Knicks, the Knicks have this idea that everybody in the league wants to play for the Knicks,” Van Gundy said on the Dan Le Batard Show. “Now, what is the last time it actually happened that somebody came and tried to get their way to New York? Like, never in the last 20 years? But still the Knicks and Knicks fans think everybody is trying to get to the Knicks. I’m not saying [Zion] won’t end up there — there’s all kinds of ways people can end up somewhere — but this idea that everybody wants to be a New York Knick, I mean if that were the case, then they wouldn’t be as bad as they’ve been for the last 20 years.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau played rookie center Jericho Sims ahead of Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson on Friday, which may signal a shift in philosophy, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Thibodeau typically relies on veterans, so it was unusual to see a late second-round pick get 18 minutes of playing time. “We’ll see how it unfolds. Taj did a good job for us,” Thibodeau said. “Nerlens did a good job for us. Jericho, the opportunities that he’s had, he’s played well. So just let him get in there; let him gain some more experience.”
  • Raptors forward OG Anunoby will get a second opinion on his injured finger, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. An X-ray revealed that Anunoby had a fractured right ring finger and would miss some games. The trip to the specialist will presumably clarify a recovery timeline.
  • James Harden, who made his Sixers debut on Friday, wanted to play with Joel Embiid “for a long time,” president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne“James is a basketball genius,” Morey said. “And he’s been wanting to play with Joel for a long time. I think he’s always thought Joel was, like, the perfect guy to pair with him.”

COVID-19 Updates: Sixers, Celtics, Rondo, Blazers, More

Sixers wing Danny Green cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Jaden Springer and Matisse Thybulle are both in the protocols now, joining two-way player Myles Powell.

In the latest injury report for the Sixers’ Monday game vs. Houston, Powell and Springer are both listed as out, while Thybulle is considered questionable. That suggests that the team is likely waiting for the results of Thybulle’s latest COVID-19 test before determining whether or not he’ll be available.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Dennis Schröder and Bruno Fernando returned to action for the Celtics on Sunday after a stint in the health and safety protocols. Jayson Tatum has exited the protocols, but remained sidelined for Sunday’s game — he’s expected to return on Wednesday, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • On the LakersSunday injury report, Rajon Rondo was listed as out due to return to competition reconditioning. Rondo had been in the COVID-19 protocols since December 26, which presumably delayed the official completion of the trade sending him to Cleveland. Now that he has cleared the protocols, the Cavaliers and Lakers should soon officially announce that deal.
  • Robert Covington, Trendon Watford, and Keljin Blevins are no longer in the health and safety protocols for the Trail Blazers, per the injury report.
  • Knicks center Jericho Sims remained out of action on Sunday, but he was listed on the injury report as taking part in return to competition conditioning, so he has exited the protocols.
  • McKinley Wright (Timberwolves), Jarrett Culver (Grizzlies), and Jay Scrubb (Clippers) are among the other players who have recently cleared the COVID-19 protocols, according to the league’s injury report.
  • Our full health and safety protocols tracker can be found right here.

D’Angelo Russell, Three Blazers Enter Protocols

Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell has joined the growing list of Minnesota players in the health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Timberwolves now have eight players affected, including stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They’ve already signed a pair of replacement players – Chris Silva and Rayjon Tucker – using hardship exceptions, but will likely make at least one more roster addition before their next game on Monday.

Here are more COVID-19 protocol updates from around the NBA:

  • Three Trail Blazers players – Robert Covington, Ben McLemore, and Keljin Blevins – have entered the health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). That brings Portland’s total count to five affected players, all of whom have been placed in the protocols in the last two days.
  • Kevin Knox has exited the protocols, but Jericho Sims has entered, so the Knicks still have three players affected, according to the team (Twitter links). RJ Barrett is back in the starting lineup for New York today and Quentin Grimes is also expected to play, but Immanuel Quickley and Knox will need a little more time to ramp up their conditioning, says Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has tested out of the protocols, but didn’t travel with the team to Utah and won’t play tonight, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.