John Henson

New York Notes: Burks, Brunson, James, Nets Roster

Knicks guard Alec Burks has been placed on the league’s health and safety protocols list, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Burks is coming off a 21-point outing against New Orleans on Wednesday.

Burks has exceeded all expectations since the Knicks signed him to a one-year, $6MM contract, having averaged 12.6 PPG on 40.8% shooting beyond the arc in 25.8 minutes per contest. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer, but the club has plenty of cap room and will try to retain him, Berman writes in a separate story.

We have more on the Knicks and Nets:

  • The Knicks have their eyes on Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, according to Berman, though he won’t hit free agency until after next season. Dallas needs only to guarantee his contract this summer, a modest $1.8MM, to hold onto him for one more year.
  • Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, is under consideration as a possible Knicks assistant, Berman writes in the same story. The elder Brunson served under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota but left the Timberwolves amid allegations of workplace misconduct. He’s currently coaching Camden HS in New Jersey.
  • After allowing big man John Henson‘s 10-day deal to expire, the Knicks might add to their backcourt instead of pursuing another center, according to Berman. Euro standout and former NBA point man Mike James is one of the players the team is considering. James was recently suspended by CSKA Moscow after an altercation with his coach and returned to the U.S., though he’s still technically under contract with the Russian team.
  • With the abrupt retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge due to a heart condition, Nets GM Sean Marks is mulling all options regarding a roster move, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. The team is “doing due diligence” and hasn’t decided whether to bring in another big man or add depth elsewhere.

Knicks Notes: Henson, Robinson, Noel, Thibodeau

John Henson‘s 10-day contract with the Knicks expired overnight and the team doesn’t plan to sign him for another 10-day stint, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes (via Twitter) that the big man injured his calf on the second day of his deal and didn’t get a chance to play at all.

With Henson no longer under contract, the Knicks have an open spot on their 15-man roster and could create a second one if they don’t re-sign Norvel Pelle after his second 10-day deal expires next Wednesday night. Pelle made a case on Wednesday for a rest-of-season contract, as he was a plus-19 in just 13 minutes in New York’s victory over New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks haven’t played any worse with Mitchell Robinson sidelined this season than they have with him in the lineup, prompting Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News to wonder how heavily the team should be willing to invest in Robinson on his next contract.
  • Nerlens Noel has played a major part in making up for Robinson’s absence. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report takes a closer look at Noel’s resurgence and how it could impact the former lottery pick’s upcoming free agency.
  • Like Mark Cuban‘s Mavericks, Tom Thibodeau‘s Knicks may have to earn their playoff spot in a play-in tournament despite a possible top-eight finish. However, Thibodeau is more enthusiastic than Cuban about the merits of the play-in tournament, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I think we have to let it play out first and then assess it again,” Thibodeau said. “But I think a lot of a lot of teams being involved in important games, I think that that’s good for the league. I think you’re always concerned about that. And so let’s see we’ll how it plays out but the initial thought of it I think is very good.”
  • Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy pointed to the “extra training camp” that Thibodeau and the Knicks got last fall as one reason for the team’s surprise emergence this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The teams that weren’t invited to the Walt Disney World bubble last summer were granted up to two weeks of organized team activities in September and October — that was Thibodeau’s first real chance to get familiar with his players, though it’s worth noting the roster was overhauled to some extent after that.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Henson, Quickley, Barrett

Knicks guard Derrick Rose still doesn’t have his wind back after contracting the coronavirus last month, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Rose, who missed 10 games due to the virus and an ankle sprain, had significant symptoms and described his bout as having the flu “times 10.” He’s served as a key cog for New York this year, averaging 11.9 points, four assists and 25 minutes in 16 games.

“Having COVID, coming back in, missing the game, just trying to get my rhythm, trying to get my timing down, trying to get my wind, but that’s going to come,” Rose said, as relayed by Berman. “I’m trying to use these last 20-something games to prep myself for a playoff series.

“It’s going to take some time, but it’s going day by day, practice by practice, and in the game, quarter by quarter. I had a pretty good half last game and now the goal is to have two legit halves and just play as hard as I can so I can build up my wind.”

There’s more out of New York today:

  • John Henson will miss Friday’s game against Memphis due to a calf strain, according to Berman (Twitter link). Henson is under a 10-day contract with the team and may not see time due to the injury. The 30-year-old is in his ninth NBA season and holds past experience with Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit.
  • Immanuel Quickley denied that he’s hitting the well-documented “rookie wall,” Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. As Bondy details, Quickley is shooting just 31% in his last seven games, working to get through a slump. “As far as the rookie wall, I don’t really feel it,” Quickley said. “I’m just gonna continue to do whatever’s got me here,” he said. “There’s gonna be ups and downs throughout a season, ups and downs throughout a game.”
  • RJ Barrett continues to make strides in his second NBA season, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. Barrett has increased his scoring average from 14.3 to 17.5 points per game this year, also raising his shooting marks from 40% to 45% from the field and 32% to 38% from deep. “He’s coming into his own and knowing who he is as a player,” teammate Julius Randle said. “Down the stretch, he’s getting to his spots. He’s playing well. Very comfortable and continuing to grow as a player.”

Atlantic Notes: Henson, Hill, Fournier, Maxey

It doesn’t sound as if Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau expects the team’s latest addition, big man John Henson, to crack the center rotation, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“The John Henson signing was just insurance,” Thibodeau said. “Felt we wanted to get a look at both [Henson and fellow recently-added big man Norvel Pelle). We had a roster spot available and that’s what we chose to do with it. I like the idea of it.”

With center Mitchell Robinson out indefinitely after undergoing a surgery to address a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot last month, the team still expects to lean on veteran big men Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson to soak up most of the minutes at center.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that he does not know when new addition George Hill will make his Philadelphia debut, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic. The veteran point guard is still recovering from a February thumb surgery. “I can’t see it anytime soon,” Rivers said. “I had that same injury. That’s not anything you mess around with. Just one whack, you may not get injured, but the pain is excruciating because the nerves are so raw. So we’re gonna try to be as tentative as possible with his injury.”
  • New Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier will likely miss Boston’s games for the rest of the week as he remains in the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “We hope that it’s as little time as possible but (it’s) still part of what you have to get used to this year,” Boston head coach Brad Stevens said during an interview with Boston FM radio program Zolak and Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub, as recapped by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • After missing one game due to the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, first-year Sixers point guard Tyrese Maxey has been cleared to return to the court, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Maxey, the No. 21 pick out of Kentucky in the 2020 NBA draft, has shown plenty of promise across a limited 14.9 MPG, averaging 7.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.6 APG in 42 appearances.

Knicks Sign John Henson To 10-Day Contract

4:01pm: The Knicks have officially signed Henson to a 10-day deal, the team confirmed today in a press release.


1:55pm: The Knicks are expected to fill the final open spot on their 15-man roster by signing big man John Henson to a 10-day contract, according to Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).

Henson, 30, has a reputation as a defensive-minded center and a solid rim protector. The former 14th overall pick spent last season with the Cavaliers and Pistons, averaging 5.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 40 games (15.0 MPG). However, he hadn’t caught on with a new team since becoming a free agent in November.

Multiple reports in late March indicated that Norvel Pelle and Henson were among the top options the Knicks were considering as they sought additional frontcourt depth in the wake of Mitchell Robinson‘s foot injury. New York ended up signing Pelle on Friday, but apparently that won’t stop the club from adding Henson as well.

With 13 players on full-season contracts and Pelle and Henson on 10-days deals, the Knicks will be able to evaluate both centers and assess whether to commit to either one on a second 10-day contract and/or a rest-of-season agreement.

It’s not clear what stage of COVID-19 testing Henson is at, but he’ll have to clear the NBA’s protocols before officially signing with the Knicks. When the deal is finalized, it’ll pay him $158,907 for 10 days, with the team taking on a $110,998 cap charge.

Knicks Sign Norvel Pelle To 10-Day Deal

9:44pm: The signing is official, the team’s PR department tweets.


10:52am: Free agent center Norvel Pelle will sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks this weekend, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Pelle has been mentioned as a possibility since Mitchell Robinson was lost for the rest of the season with a fracture in his right foot. Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson handled the center position while Robinson was sidelined with an earlier injury, but New York needed an extra big man.

Pelle, 28, will be joining his third team this season. He signed with the Nets in late January, but was waived in mid-February after seeing limited action in three games. Following a brief G League stint, Pelle inked a 10-day contract with the Kings while Hassan Whiteside was in health and safety protocols. He appeared in just one game for Sacramento and didn’t receive a second 10-day deal.

Pelle underwent COVID-19 testing this week so he could be available for Saturday’s game, tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks also considered veteran big man John Henson, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

Knicks Rumors: Robinson, Bell, Maker, Cousins, Whiteside

The Knicks‘ contract with Mitchell Robinson allows the team to retain the young center in 2021/22 for just $1.8MM, assuming his option is exercised. But in that scenario, he’d become an unrestricted free agent in ’22. New York could assert more control over Robinson’s free agency by turning down the team option and issuing a qualifying offer to make him restricted this summer.

Now that a broken foot is likely to sideline Robinson for the rest of the 2020/21 season, Marc Berman of The New York Post cites league sources who believe the Knicks’ decision has become simpler — the club doesn’t have enough information yet on Robinson to send him to free agency so soon, those sources say, arguing that picking up his option for ’21/22 is the right move.

Exercising Robinson’s team option would still allow the Knicks to negotiate a possible extension during his contract year. In that scenario, they could go as high as about $54MM over four years with a straight extension offer, or even higher with a renegotiation-and-extension. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tells Berman that he’d be surprised if New York is that aggressive in extension talks.

“Coming off a serious injury, I’m not paying him what Christian Wood got in Houston,” Marks said, referring to Wood’s three-year, $41MM contract with the Rockets. Marks suggests something in the three-year, $30MM range would be more realistic.

One source tells Berman that he believes the Mavericks will have interest in Robinson if and when he reaches free agency.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • With Robinson out, the Knicks will probably add a center for “insurance” purposes, per head coach Tom Thibodeau, Berman writes in the same story. Berman confirms a previous report that John Henson and Norvel Pelle are among the options being considered by the club and says New York has also had internal talks about Jordan Bell, Thon Maker, DeMarcus Cousins, and Hassan Whiteside.
  • Cousins appears likely to join the Clippers for at least 10 days, while Whiteside – a buyout candidate – remains a King for now. Berman notes that the Knicks’ brass likes the team’s chemistry and would want a player who fits “seamlessly” into the locker room, so Cousins and Whiteside may be lower on the wish list for that reason anyway.
  • While the Knicks seem likely to add a center, Nerlens Noel believes he and Taj Gibson are capable of handling the five in Robinson’s absence, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I feel like we have it covered, but that’s not my department,” Noel said. “That’s (the front office’s choice). … If Coach, management wants to add another piece, that’s all up to them. I definitely feel we’re comfortable with what we have. “We have depth in Kevin (Knox) and Obi (Toppin) staying available at the four, five spots and that helps as well, so I like the versatility we have.”

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Drummond, Free Agents, Payne

Knicks players were crushed to learn that center Mitchell Robinson suffered another serious injury Saturday night, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Playing his second game back in the starting lineup, the third-year center got hurt midway through the first quarter when he tried for a steal attempt. Robinson landed awkwardly and wound up with a fracture in his right root. The Knicks announced the injury to the public, but didn’t tell the players until after the game.

“He worked so hard to get back,” RJ Barrett said. “To see him go down again, it hurts us, hurts the team. But we’re just — we’re gonna be with him every step of the way until he gets back.”

The timing is particularly bad for New York, coming on the same night that word leaked that LaMarcus Aldridge plans to signs with the Nets and Andre Drummond appears headed to the Lakers. The Knicks have cap room to use on the buyout market, but the two biggest names are already likely committed.

“He’ll be fine,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Robinson. “He’ll have to go through rehab and stuff, but he’s been through that before, and just maximize his time that way. But you feel for a teammate. It’s part of the game, and you have to deal with it as best you can.”

There’s more from New York:

  • “One or two prominent voices” in the Knicks’ front office were in favor of pursuing Drummond before the organization cooled on the idea, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). He adds that the team had been hoping to use the rest of the season to evaluate how Robinson fits in Thibodeau’s system. If New York picks up Robinson’s $1.8MM team option for 2021/22, it would put him on track for unrestricted free agency in ’22. Begley states that Gorgui Dieng, Norvel Pelle and John Henson could be potential low-cost pickups for the Knicks, who have an open roster spot.
  • Assistant coach Kenny Payne will remain in New York, even though DePaul had strong interest in making him its next head coach, Begley tweets.
  • The Knicks were quiet at the trade deadline while teams around them in the standings made big moves, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. The organization has adopted a strategy of preserving its assets for the future, rather than gambling to make a playoff run this year.

Knicks Rumors: Fournier, Oladipo, Rivers, Henson, Pelle

The Knicks still seem more likely than not to forgo making a major trade at this week’s deadline, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Besides not wanting to surrender major assets in a deal, the Knicks are also reluctant to disrupt the chemistry the current group has established, Begley explains.

Still, the team continues to monitor some of the more notable names available on the trade market. For instance, both Begley and Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports cite Evan Fournier as a possible target. Goodwill suggests New York is monitoring Fournier, while Begley says the club recently had a conversation with Magic about the veteran wing. It’s unclear if any progress was made in those talks, Begley notes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Although the Knicks have been linked to Victor Oladipo and Lonzo Ball, a trade for either guard seems unlikely unless the asking price drops significantly, writes Begley. That’s not entirely out of the question in Oladipo’s case. David Aldridge, Kelly Iko, and Danny Leroux of The Athletic cited one executive who offered the following assessment on the Oladipo trade market: “I think they (the Rockets) will be selling very low on this, and possibly lower than anyone can imagine right now.”
  • Begley confirms that a trade or buyout of Austin Rivers seems probable, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested on Monday. If the team opens up a roster spot by moving Rivers, John Henson and Norvel Pelle are among the candidates the team would consider to fill it, sources tell SNY.
  • Within his Knicks trade deadline primer, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic weighs which players currently on the roster are the top candidates to be moved and proposes hypothetical deals for Oladipo and Norman Powell.

Central Notes: Wood, Henson, Maker, Holiday, Billups

The odds of several free agent bigs returning to the Pistons appear to be diminishing, according to James Edwards of The Athletic. The most prominent of the group, unrestricted free agent Christian Wood, seems like a 50-50 proposition to come back. Wood has positioned himself to be one of the most intriguing players on the market, Edwards notes. Another UFA, John Henson, doesn’t appear to have a future on a young, rebuilding squad while Thon Maker didn’t shine in the team’s minicamp. It’s unlikely the club will extend a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have reached out to Justin Holiday and they’re hoping to re-sign the unrestricted free agent, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports. Indiana anticipates a strong market for the 3-and-D wing, who played on a $4.8MM contract this past season. Holiday averaged 8.3 PPG on 40.5% shooting from deep in 25.0 MPG in his walk year. The Pacers will likely have to offer a multiyear deal to retain him, Michael adds.
  • Chauncey Billups remains a head coaching candidate for the Pacers, J. Michael reports in a separate story. Billups has already tentatively accepted an assistant coaching position with the Clippers, but the door is open for him to take a head coaching job. The 2004 Finals MVP is currently an ESPN analyst. Indiana is expected to pick three finalists and conduct final interviews before the end of the month, Michael adds.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland didn’t have smooth sailing as a rookie but he looked like a different player in minicamp. Get the details here.