Joakim Noah

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Porzingis, Noah, Hardaway

On the heels of two strong performances, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to find more minutes for rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes. Veteran Jarrett Jack remains the starter with Ntilikina taking over late in games but the team does not want to push him too hard early in his career.

“We’re trying to get him some more minutes,” Hornacek said. “It makes it difficult late in games if he’s going well, he ends up playing a lot of minutes. Maybe we need to give him a break here and there.”

Ntilikina, 19, has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.5 APG for the Knicks in 33 games while flashing his defensive capabilities. The Knicks took a risk drafting Ntilikina out of France with the eighth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The organization envisions him as the eventual full-time point guard. For now, the team will be cautious with his workload. “Not yet,” Hornacek said about giving Ntilikina more minutes. “That’s something we’ll continue to look at it, but for now, no.”

Check out other Knicks news below:

  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ frustration with his recent shooting struggles has spilled over into the referees’ officiating, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.  Porzingis voiced his concern with a lack of called fouls on his shots and described his trick to avoid receiving technical fouls.  “When something like that happens, I look at the ref,’’ Porzingis said. “If I say something I try to delete it and sprint back. When I’m sprinting back, I’m already not thinking about it. That’s how I cut it off at that moment.’’ Porzingis is still averaging a career-best 24.5 PPG but his field goal percentage has dipped to .446%.
  • Joakim Noah received some rare playing time in the Knicks’ win over the Pelicans on Saturday and was appreciative of the minutes, Berman writes in a separate story. While Noah logged just four points and rebounds in 12 minutes, it was a good way to end a road trip that started with a DNP against his former team, the Bulls, in Chicago.
  • It’s no coincidence that a lot of the Knicks’ struggles with winning and scoring started once Tim Hardaway Jr. went down with a phantom stress injury in his left leg, several teammates told Berman of the New York Post. Hardaway was a steady presence, averaging a career-best 17.8 PPG in 21 games. The team continues to hope their starting guard is back sometime in January.

Knicks GM: No Plans For A Noah Buyout

Joakim Noah has barely played since his PED suspension ended last month, but the Knicks have no thoughts of trying to get him to agree to a buyout, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Noah has been on the court for just 11 minutes in two games this season and has appeared in just 48 total games since signing a four-year, $72MM deal in the summer of 2016. He still has two seasons and $37.825MM left on that contract, making him virtually impossible for the team to trade.

GM Scott Perry remains a supporter of Noah’s and believes the 32-year-old center will eventually become an asset.

“I like having some veteran people around to help a young team,” Perry said. “His veteran experience is very helpful to have in the locker room. As of right now, I’m comfortable he’s here. Let’s see what he can contribute going forward. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and embraced where he is in his career. It’ll happen at some point [that he”ll play].’’

While Noah was sidelined, he fell to fourth on the depth chart behind starting center Enes Kanter, who was acquired from the Thunder in the Carmelo Anthony trade, and backups Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez. Playing time is also an issue for Hernangomez, who has appeared in just 14 games this season and is seeing less than 11 minutes per night.

Noah has accepted blame for his plight, which was created through a mix of injuries and the 20-game suspension. He had knee and hamstring injuries last season, then needed surgery in April for a torn rotator cuff. He took Androgen to speed up the healing process, which resulted in his suspension.

Noah said he feels like a rookie again as he tries to work his way back into the rotation. He has already made one trip to the Knicks’ G League affiliate in Westchester as a way to get some playing time and is willing to go there again.

“I’ve always been a team guy,’’ Noah said. “That’s never going to change. That’s who I am. I support all my teammates. It’s not about my situation. I made my mistakes. My injuries, everything, I’m coming from the bottom. I’m OK. I feel good. I feel healthy. And whenever my number is called, I’m ready.”

New York Notes: Jack, Noah, Hollis-Jefferson, Allen

Point guard Jarrett Jack, who was considered a candidate to be waived before the season began, has been an overlooked part of the Knicks‘ resurgence, according to Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. The 13-year veteran has made an impact since signing with New York in September, ranking 16th in the league with 5.9 assists per game and second in assist ratio. He has also brought a passing culture to the Knicks, who rank fifth in the league in assists after finishing 19th last season.

“When I got here I kind of gauged the lineup of the guys I was playing with … [and] it calls for somebody within that five, to kind of be like, ‘Hey man, I can’t try and barge my way into the offense,’” Jack explained. “I’ve got to sacrifice for the betterment of everybody and it’s been productive for us. I’m all good with just setting the table, understanding my role and knowing what’s been great and positive for the team.”

There’s more NBA news from New York City:

  • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek thinks Joakim Noah will benefit from the chance to get some playing time in the G League, Kussoy writes in a separate story. Noah has seen just three minutes of action since returning from a suspension, finding himself fourth in the center rotation. “It’s tough on all of them,” Hornacek said. “Periodically, we want to try to make sure we get them in at some point and get some minutes. It’s hard if you go two months and don’t play. That’s why you saw Jo get some tune-up work with the G-League team.”
  • Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returned to the court Saturday after missing two games with a sprained ankle, but he wasn’t in his customary starting position, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Hollis-Jefferson started the first 18 games he played this season, but coach Kenny Atkinson opted to stick with stretch four Trevor Booker“We talked about it before the game,” Atkinson said. “Trevor had a really great game in Dallas, was feeling good. Rondae’s obviously coming back from an injury, so that was the thinking there.”
  • Rookie center Jarrett Allen is still adjusting to life in the NBA, but he is making a strong impression on Atkinson, according to Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. “I’m happy with how he fits our system, I’m happy with his competitiveness, happy that he gives us a 7-foot rim protector and rim-roller,” Atkinson said. “We’re very good defensively when he’s on the court, the analytics back that up, he’s what he thought.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/29/17

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Knicks sent Joakim Noah and Damyean Dotson to the G League today, then recalled them after the conclusion of the Westchester Knicks’ day game (Twitter links). Dotson scored 23 points in the loss to Maine, while Noah chipped in with nine points, five boards, and four assists.
  • Troy Williams has been re-assigned to the G League by the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams figures to suit up tonight for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers against the Texas Legends.
  • The Kings have assigned a trio of players – Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Justin Jackson – to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The Reno Bighorns don’t play again until Saturday, so it’s not clear if the three youngsters will stick around that long, or if they’re just on assignment for practice purposes.
  • After helping the Delaware 87ers earn a win on Tuesday, rookie guard Furkan Korkmaz has been recalled to the NBA by the Sixers, per a press release from the team. Korkmaz had just 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting for Delaware last night, but was a team-best +19.
  • The Pacers have sent rookie center Ike Anigbogu to the G League, the club announced today. Anigbogu has played just 17 total minutes for Indiana so far this season, so assignments to the G League give him an opportunity to get more reps.

Atlantic Notes: Noah, Dinwiddie, Embiid, Simmons

A back injury to Knicks center Enes Kanter forced the Turkish center to miss the team’s last three games. In his absence, Willy Hernangomez has received more playing time and in Monday’s loss, Joakim Noah played his first three minutes of the season. If Noah is active, the Knicks have four options at center since Kyle O’Quinn is still on the roster, and head coach Jeff Hornacek does not know how the team will manage their bigs, Alex Squadron of the New York Post relays.

Hornacek addressed sending Hernangomez to the G League so he can play consistent minutes, but downplayed that possibility.

“I don’t think we’ve discussed that so far,” Hornacek said. “As we move forward, if we’re back with Enes and Kyle, and maybe even Jo occasionally, we are going to need to figure that out. I don’t know if we can always dress four bigs.”

The Knicks are in an unenviable situation with four centers. Noah has two more expensive seasons on his contract after 2017/18, Kanter is the incumbent starter, O’Quinn has been a productive reserve, and Hernangomez is just 23 years old. Barring an injury – or stretching Noah – the Knicks will have to somehow find minutes at one position for four players the rest of the season.

Check out other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Speaking of Noah, his three minutes on Monday included two points, one block, and one rebound. Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post writes that while the season debut was brief, Hornacek wanted to get energy from Noah in limited action. “Oh my god, it’s been so long,” Noah said. “Just to be on the court is special. … Playing in the Garden is something I’ll never take for granted.”
  • Spencer Dinwiddie has been productive for the Nets in the absence of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. In a recent podcast, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury-News discussed Dinwiddie’s trade value and Net Income at NetsDaily examined the possibility of the Nets trading their starting point guard.
  • Joel Embiids recovery from knee surgery has limited the Sixers big man in playing back-to-back games this season. As the start of December looms, head coach Brett Brown is unsure if Embiid can play a back-to-back starting with this week’s games on Wednesday and Thursday, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
  • Ben Simmons left the Sixers‘ loss versus the Cavaliers early on Monday after he sprained his right ankle — x-rays taken after the game were negative. Dave McMenamin of ESPN also detailed how Cavaliers — specifically forward Jae Crowder — shut down Simmons before his early exit.

Knicks Notes: Noah, Porzingis, Jack, Hernangomez

For the second straight night, illness prevented Joakim Noah from making his season debut, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter were both held out of tonight’s game in Houston because of back spasms, leaving the Knicks short-handed in the frontcourt. Noah, who was suspended for the first 12 games of the season and hasn’t been used since returning because of a logjam at center, didn’t travel with the team because he has the flu. The Knicks thought about flying him to the game, but he wasn’t well enough to make the trip.

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • The Knicks appear to be shielding Porzingis from playing in back-to-back games, Berman writes in the same piece. The NBA no longer allows teams to hold star players out of games for rest, but this is the second time Porzingis hasn’t played in that situation because of an injury. He claims his back tightened up after Friday’s contest in Atlanta. “After the game, once I cooled down, that’s when I really was feeling tightness in my back and knew it wasn’t getting better but worse,” Porzingis said. “[After] the flight, I woke up this morning, sleeping in a different bed, it didn’t help. It just got tighter.”
  • The loss to the Hawks displayed some of New York’s glaring weaknesses, Berman notes in a separate story. Jarrett Jack, who signed with the Knicks shortly before the start of camp, had 14 assists Friday but couldn’t control Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder, who finished with 26 points. Jack wasn’t aggressive on pick-and-roll defense, according to Berman, and backup Frank Ntilikina was a non-factor. Interior defense was also a problem, Berman observes, as Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn were slow on rotations.
  • Hernangomez, who has been limited mostly to “garbage time” this season, said he wasn’t familiar with that phrase before the year began, Berman relays in another story. Playing time remains an issue for the second-year center, who has appeared in just 10 games and is averaging nine minutes per night. “If I get those minutes, I will use it,’’ Hernangomez said. “I think I can play more minutes than garbage minutes. Every time I go on the court, whether starting or the last two minutes, I enjoy playing basketball.’’

Atlantic Notes: Noah, Carroll, Nets, Anunoby

The Knicks have played three games since Joakim Noah was reinstated from a 20-game drug-related suspension. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been inactive for all three contests. With three centers ahead of Noah on the Knicks’ depth chart (Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, and Willy Hernangomez), he is patiently waiting for an opportunity that may never come, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Noah, 32, signed a four-year, $72MM deal with New York last offseason. That contract has become arguably the most untradeable deal in the NBA, given his declined skillset, recent drug suspension, and high salary. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said he will not change the Knicks’ lineup to insert Noah into the rotation anytime soon. Thus, the former Bulls center has accepted the reality of his predicament.

“Listen, man, you guys understand the situation right now,’’ Noah said. “I’m just trying to be the best that I can be. I don’t know what that is. I’m not playing. I haven’t played in 10 months. I’ve gone through some injuries. I’ve gone through a lot of things. But at the same time this is not — I’m not making an excuse. This is my reality.”

Noah played in 46 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 5.0 PPG, his lowest total in a season where he played at least 30 games. While he does provide some value on defense and he grabbed 8.8 RPG last season, Noah’s best bet to play is if the Knicks cut their losses and stretch him — which we wrote is a possibility earlier this week.

Check out other news across the Atlantic Division:

  • DeMarre Carroll has been a vocal and physical presence for the Nets early this season but his work off-the-court defines his legacy, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily profiles. Caroll overcame a rare liver disease while he was a college player at Missouri and enjoyed a successful near decade-long NBA career. As Puccio writes, Carroll’s Carroll Family Foundation has been a crucial part of his efforts to help others with his coach and fellow teammates speaking glowingly of the ninth-year forward.
  • Joe Tsai, who purchased a 49% stake in the Nets recently, had reportedly included a unique stipulation in the sale where he refused to cover any losses associated with player contracts. However, a Nets source denied that to NetsDaily and the original report from Bloomberg News has been altered to state that such a provision was discussed but never agreed upon.
  • While P.J. Tucker‘s stint in the Toronto impressed the Raptors, particularly his defensive toughness, head coach Dwane Casey believes the team has another Tucker-type player in OG Anunoby, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes.

Knicks Considering Stretch Provision For Joakim Noah?

Joakim Noah hasn’t played since his 20-game PED suspension expired Saturday, and Marc Berman of the New York Post writes that the Knicks will probably waive the veteran center at some point and use the stretch provision on the final two years of his contract.

“We want him to be involved,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said Wednesday after sitting Noah for the second straight game. “[He wants] to be involved. We don’t know when the time will come when he’s active.”

Hornacek’s dilemma is that he now has four centers competing for playing time. Enes Kanter, acquired in the Carmelo Anthony trade, has taken over the starting spot, with Kyle O’Quinn playing well as the backup. Willy Hernangomez is already upset about his reduced minutes after being part of the rotation last season.

Hornacek said it’s “possible” that he may find a way to use all four centers, but added, “I’m not looking to do that right away.”

Any move with Noah probably won’t happen soon, Berman notes, as there is no advantage in terms of cap space in using the stretch provision now. The Knicks have a September 1 deadline if they want to take the $37.8MM Noah is owed for the final two seasons of his deal and stretch it over five years.

Noah would receive a little more than $7.5MM per season, giving New York roughly $11MM in extra cap room for next year and $12MM for 2019/20. The Knicks could opt to seek a buyout or  waive him without stretching the contract, which would provide little to no cap relief over the next two seasons, but would remove his salary from the books by July of 2020.

Although Noah has minimal trade value, Berman mentions Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau as someone who might be interested. Thibodeau coached Noah for several years in Chicago, including when he was a first team All-NBA selection in 2013/14.

For now, Noah is reduced to a mentor’s role in New York, working mainly with Kanter and Hernangomez. Hornacek said the NBA’s requirement that teams have an inactive list for each game makes it difficult to find playing time for Noah.

“It’s a tough spot,” the coach said. “He’s a great team guy. He sees how we’re playing. He’s still part of the team if inactive or not. He doesn’t want to rock the boat but he is competitive and wants to be out there to help us.”

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Hernangomez, Noah

The Knicks were expected to be among the worst teams in the league this year and they began the season with three straight losses. Since then, New York has won seven of ten contests and the team’s up-and-coming talent is confident in the long-term future of the franchise.

“We can build something great here and I’m sure we’re going to,” Frank Ntilikina said (via Ian Begley of ESPN.com).

Ntilikina believes squad has tremendous chemistry, as evidenced by Enes Kanter coming to the 19-year-old’s defense during a slight skirmish against the Cavs on Monday night.

“We’ll fight together in all our games,” Ntilikina said. “It was good to have them right here and they know I’ll be here for them. That’s just how we are.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • LeBron James took an indirect shot at Ntilikina early this week, telling reporters that No.9 overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. should be a Knick. Ntilikina, who went one spot ahead of the Mavs’ point guard, took the comments personally, as Begley relays in the same piece. “For somebody to go in the media and say something about him — or say it wasn’t about him — I mean, he took it personally. And that’s what all competitors do,” teammate Courtney Lee said.
  • Willy Hernangomez hasn’t seen much action this season, appearing in a total of seven games, and he admits that the lack of playing time has impacted his confidence, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays. “I just need a couple of games playing and my feeling will come back. I know the things I can do well. It’s been harder for me, but I just have to be patient. Things change fast,” the center said.
  • Joakim Noah was inactive in his first game back from his 12-game suspension, though he remains involved with the Knicks as the team’s “defensive captain,” Bondy adds in the same piece.“The guys have voted for some players to kind of step up and speak,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s behind the bench now so he can continue the talk defensively with the guys. I talked to him about doing that and make sure he’s not just sitting back there but he’s involved. He’s not the only [captain]. There are several guys in different roles. That’s just Jo’s role, on the defensive side.”

Knicks Notes: Kuzminskas, Noah, O’Quinn, Porzingis

Mindaugas Kuzminskas is among several Knicks waiting for the team’s next move once Joakim Noah‘s suspension ends, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Noah is serving the last of his 20 games tonight, which means a roster change should happen soon. The Knicks have 15 other players under contract, so an opening will have to be created before Noah can be activated.

Kuzminskas, who was inactive for tonight’s contest, told reporters he is anxious to see what the team decides to do. He is making $3,025,035 in the final year of his contract, which may be a lot for the Knicks to absorb when Ramon Sessions, Jarrett Jack and Michael Beasley are all signed for the veterans’ minimum of $1,471,382. However, Kuzminskas has barely played this season, getting into one game for just two minutes of action. That follows a promising rookie year in which he averaged 6.8 points in 68 games.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Noah isn’t sure how he will fit into the team’s logjam at center, relays Marc Berman of The New York PostEnes Kanter has taken over the starting job since being acquired in a trade with the Thunder, and Kyle O’Quinn has emerged as the primary backup. Willy Hernangomez has appeared in just six games, and playing time figures to get even tighter with four centers available. “All I can do is just be as ready as possible,’’ Noah said. “I feel like I’ve put myself in that position, grinding hard. Whatever my role is I’ll accept it. It’s tough, you know? We have a lot of very good players at our position.”
  • The front office has been making calls to measure O’Quinn’s trade value, Berman writes in the same story. He has been impressive with 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in a reserve role, and the Bucks may be interested after parting with Greg Monroe this week to obtain Eric Bledsoe.
  • Kristaps Porzingis isn’t just playing better this season, he’s enjoying it more, Berman notes in a separate story. Last year’s turmoil, which included Porzingis skipping his post-season exit interview then being shopped for potential trades, disappeared with the firing of team president Phil Jackson“Yes, it was a tough year,’’ Porzingis said Friday on WFAN. “We won a lot of games in the beginning because of our talent. I could tell right away it wasn’t going to keep that up for the whole season.  It started to go downhill, it wasn’t fun anymore.  It was not a very enjoyable season.’’
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