Jrue Holiday

Knicks Rumors: Carmelo, Rose, Draft Targets

The triangle offense continues to be a source of tension in New York, with sources suggesting to Ian Begley of ESPN.com that the Knicks’ return to the triangle is one reason some veteran players have started to lose faith in head coach Jeff Hornacek recently. Despite Hornacek’s recent insistence that the triangle could hold some appeal to free agents, there’s concern in some corners of the organization that it could do the opposite, driving free agents away from the Knicks, Begley reports.

As Begley outlines, some Knicks players feel that the triangle is too easy for opposing teams to defend, with opposing players suggesting that they can predict where players will be on the court. Pacers point guard Jeff Teague alluded to this recently, telling Marc Berman of The New York Post that a player like Derrick Rose is easier to contain when he’s playing in the triangle.

According to Begley, there’s also some concern that if Knicks president Phil Jackson leaves the team in two or three years, there would be no guarantee that the team’s new president would insist on the same system. That could complicate the development of young players like Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez, who would then have to learn a new offense after getting accustomed to the triangle.

Begley has several more Knicks-related items of interest to pass along, so let’s round up some of the highlights…

  • After shopping Carmelo Anthony a little earlier this year, the Knicks “remain committed” to moving him this summer, per Begley. Anthony will still control his future, so he’d have to waive his no-trade clause to accommodate a deal. However, sources tell Begley that some members of the Clippers organization expressed confidence last month that they could acquire Carmelo in the offseason.
  • Although the Knicks appeared at the trade deadline to be souring on the idea of keeping Derrick Rose long-term, the club hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing him, says Begley. Some members of the organization view Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague as potential free agent targets as well, as New York searches for an answer at point guard.
  • The Knicks will almost certainly have a top-10 pick in this year’s draft, and according to Begley, they’ve been eyeing players such as French guard Frank Ntilikina and Kentucky sharpshooter Malik Monk.
  • Team owner James Dolan publicly stated earlier in the year that he intends to exercise the Knicks’ half of the mutual option on Phil Jackson‘s contract this summer. Still, sources tell Begley that some people around Dolan have been urging him to consider making a change.

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Hornacek, Jackson, Holiday

Kristaps Porzingis plans on working out with Dirk Nowitzki over the offseason, Marc Berman of the Post reports. While Mark Cuban initially wasn’t thrilled with the idea, the Mavs owner came to his senses, saying “It was all in fun. It’s up to Dirk.’’

Porzingis, meanwhile, intends to take advantage of an opportunity to learn from an all-time great.

“I’m sure it will help me out and improve my game, hopefully, unless Mark Cuban says no,’’ Porzingis said. “Dirk is a guy who can really help my game. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to work with him, a few days to get on the court with him and pick his brain.”

More from The Mecca…

  • In an interview with Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, Justin Holiday reiterated his desire to play alongside his brother (and fellow free agent-to-be) Jrue Holiday. “That’s something we’ve talked about, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it more when the season is over.”
  • According to a report from Frank Isola of the Daily News, Phil Jackson may consider firing Jeff Hornacek after the season. Isola takes Jackson to task for being indifferent to the team’s dour mood, as well as being overly fixated on running the triangle offense. “Maybe Jackson’s plan is to be more hands-on knowing that Hornacek will not stand in his way. Under this arrangement Phil’s coaching the team without being on the bench. And it would be a recipe for an even bigger disaster,” Isola writes.
  • The Knicks must focus on Porzingis’ development amid their chaotic season, Steve Popper of The Record writes. “I think this year is a really good experience for me,” Porzingis said. “It’s a tough year. It’s a tough everything. There’s a quote like, a smooth sea never, you know what I mean about the sea? Google it. Basically if the sea is smooth you’re never going to become a great sailor. That’s how I always take it – as a challenge.”

Justin Holiday “Dreams” Of Playing With Brother

Justin Holiday told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he has long wanted to play alongside his brother, Jrue.

“If we can play together, that would be a dream come true and we’d be successful doing it,’’ Justin said. “We both want to win and both know each other’s game in and out. We both know what we’re going to get from each other when we play together. It just makes sense.”

Both Justin and Jrue Holiday are unrestricted free agents-to-be. Justin, who made $1,015,696 in 2016/17 with the Knicks, has averaged 7.5 points in a career-high 61 games. Jrue is slated for a considerably higher payday. According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, Jrue should command $16MM or $17MM per year on the open market.

Berman notes that the Pelicans “are trying to build something special” following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, and could overpay for Jrue in free agency. Justin didn’t tip his hand about his plans for free agency- “The best thing for me now is not to stress too much about [free agency]”- though Berman noted the two are each clients of Glushon Sports Management.

“I know when we play together, good things happen because we know each other’s game so well,” Justin said. “We do play hard on both ends of the floor. When you have that at both positions, it’s going to help.”

Knicks Notes: Point Guard Search, Rose, Thomas

The Knicks will have a hard time finding their next point guard either through the draft or free agency, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. With Derrick Rose unlikely to return next season, getting a replacement will be an offseason priority. However, Kerber notes that New York’s draft pick won’t be high enough to snag one of the elite point guards available, and the top free agents are likely to stay where they are.

The Knicks are currently in a three-way tie for eighth in our latest Reverse Standings, giving them just a remote shot at a top two pick that will probably be necessary to draft Washington’s Markelle Fultz or UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. That leaves lower-tier options such as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky or international standout Frank Ntilikina.

The problem is similar in free agency, where the Knicks will have about $25MM to spend, but the best available players — Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and George Hill — are all expected to remain with their current teams. Kerber says the Knicks might target Jrue Holiday or Jeff Teague, but the Pelicans and Pacers with both have Bird rights and the advantages of being able to offer more money and more years.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Rose is optimistic about reaching the playoffs despite the Knicks’ 25-36 record, and says he plans to unleash his 3-point shot in the postseason, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’m trying to put pieces of my game together,” Rose said. “I’m not shooting 3s yet. Hopefully I’ll start shooting them in the playoffs. It’s going to take a lot of sacrifice and dedication to get there. I’m just adding pieces to my game throughout the season.”
  • One positive for Rose this season has been his health, Berman notes in the same piece. Rose has appeared in 52 of the team’s 61 games, and if he plays 15 more it will be the most in a season since his ACL tear in 2012. “Two times, three times a day, the entire summer,” Rose said of his offseason workout schedule. “I worked on my game and body. That’s one of the reasons my body is holding up.”
  • The Knicks’ defense has improved significantly since Lance Thomas returned six games ago, Berman writes in a separate story. Thomas missed about a month after taking an elbow to the face in a January game and breaking the orbital bone. The time off also allowed Thomas to overcome plantar fasciitis that had been affecting him since training camp.

Knicks To Target Jrue Holiday In Free Agency?

Some members of the Knicks organization view Jrue Holiday as a free agent target for the club this summer, league sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com. As Begley points out, team president Phil Jackson displayed interest in trading for Holiday earlier in his tenure in New York, so it makes sense that the veteran point guard would be on the Knicks’ radar in the offseason.

After missing the start of the season due to a personal matter, Holiday has appeared in 45 games for the Pelicans in 2016/17, averaging 15.9 PPG and 7.4 APG to go along with a .457/.374/.705 shooting line. The 26-year-old is in the final year of his current contract, putting him in line to hit the open market this summer.

Although there are a number of big-name free agent point guards set to hit the market in July, many of those players – such as Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Kyle Lowry – are viewed as highly likely to re-sign with their current teams. That could leave a player like Holiday as one of the top options left on the board, though New Orleans is expected to make a strong effort to lock him up. Holiday acknowledged last week that the Pelicans view him as a part of their future along with Anthony Davis and newly-acquired DeMarcus Cousins.

The Knicks have a free-agent-to-be point guard of their own on the roster, with Derrick Rose on an expiring deal. Earlier in the season, it appeared that there might be mutual interest between Rose and the Knicks in a contract extension, but the odds of Rose remaining in New York long-term seem to have declined since then.

Here are a few more Knicks notes:

  • On Monday, head coach Jeff Hornacek “firmly denied” that the Knicks had moved into tank mode, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “Who says we’re trying to lose?” Hornacek said. “As a team we’re not thinking about losing. We’re still trying to win. Brandon [Jennings] being waived doesn’t mean [not] trying to win games. We feel Ron Baker can fill right in. It’s a different dynamic. He can control things and provide defense.”
  • According to Berman, the Knicks recognized that Jennings was “unhappy” with his role in New York and that he would have been upset if his playing time had been reduced down the stretch. A source tells Berman that the Knicks felt the veteran guard was “no longer a fit” with the team, leading to his release. “Brandon wanted to play more minutes here,” Hornacek said. “With Derrick here, it made it awfully tough.”
  • As Berman explains, even if the Knicks’ interest in re-signing Rose this summer is limited, the team may hang onto him until season’s end to keep his cap hold on the books, in case it can help accommodate a sign-and-trade.

And-Ones: Cavs, Bogut, Barnes, Holiday

The Cavs won’t make a decision on Larry Sanders until after the trade deadline, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com passes along (ESPN Now link). Cleveland is also keeping an eye on the Andrew Bogut situation. The Cavs would like to bring the center aboard and they’re expected to be in the mix for him.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several teams have expressed interest in Matt Barnes, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets. Sources tell Shelburne that he’s waiting until after the trade deadline to make a decision.
  • Jarrett Jack will audition for the Pelicans, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. New Orleans is pursuing backcourt help after trading away several players in the DeMarcus Cousins deal.
  • Point guard and pending free agent Jrue Holiday said the Pelicans “see me as a part of [the future],” the team tweets. The organization is calling Holiday, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis their version of a Big Three.
  • Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis will be the co-captains of the Ghost Ballers, the fourth official team in the new 3-on-3 league, according to a press release on BIG3.com.
  • Thunder center Enes Kanter returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arm surgery, Royce Young of ESPN.com reports. It’s uncertain whether Kanter, who suffered a broken arm punching a chair on the bench on January 26th, will return to action on Friday against the Lakers.
  • Former Rockets center Yao Ming, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year, has been appointed as president of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN.com report. He gave up ownership of the league’s Shanghai Sharks in order to take over his new role.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

Trade Rumors: Chandler, OKC, Pelicans, Raps, Suns

It’s trade deadline day in the NBA, and Hoops Rumors will have you covered with all the latest news and rumors leading up to today’s 2:00pm central deadline. Let’s check in on a few Thursday mornings rumblings…

  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, potential Wilson Chandler suitors may be unwilling to meet the Nuggets‘ asking price, which is higher than expected. If that’s the case, Denver would prefer to simply keep Chandler and push for a playoff spot.
  • Arron Afflalo and Nick Young are among the names that have been linked to the Thunder as they seek a wing scorer, according to Kyler.
  • The Pelicans, who now have two pricey big man under contract and will look to re-sign Jrue Holiday to a lucrative new deal this summer, are looking to move some contracts, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Aldridge identifies Alexis Ajinca and Quincy Pondexter as players who are available in New Orleans. Of course, the Pelicans would love to move Omer Asik‘s deal as well, though that’s less likely.
  • Today’s big decision for the Raptors will be whether to give up a future first-round pick – likely attached to Jared Sullinger‘s expiring deal – for Suns forward P.J. Tucker, says ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link). Sportsnet’s Michael Grange (via Twitter) gets the sense that Toronto would strongly prefer to keep its pick in a loaded 2017 draft. Still, the Raps are fond of Tucker, tweets Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.
  • According to Stein (via Twitter), the Suns continue to explore the market for deals involving Brandon Knight and other veteran players, including Tyson Chandler. However, the team has “struggled all week” to find traction for that sort of trade.

Trade Rumors: Holiday, Shumpert, Rivers

The Pelicans are unlikely to trade Jrue Holiday prior to the February 23 trade deadline, says Justin Verrier of ESPN. The point guard is the final piece of New Orleans’ suddenly formidable Big Three.

Expect Holiday, who’s averaged 19.8 points and 8.3 assists per game in seven February contests to balance the frontcourt-heavy roster. Holiday, just 26 years old, is owed $11MM this season and will be a free agent this summer.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Pelicans are interested in giving Holiday a max, or near max, contract.

There’s more trade speculation from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the league and aren’t expected to make any drastic roster moves, but they may be involved in something else, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Feigen suggests that Houston’s three draft picks could be available, as well as players on modest contracts who aren’t a major part of Mike D’Antoni‘s core.
  • The Cavaliers, who watched two trade exceptions expire yesterday, won’t be making a trade just for the sake of making one, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Things can change, he says, but he doesn’t suspect they’ll force anything. Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, on the other hand, would be “shocked” if the Cavs don’t make a move.
  • Doubling up as the head coach of the Clippers and managing team personnel isn’t easy and some believe that it has limited Doc Rivers‘ ability to make significant trades. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes that Rivers has considered deals in the past but ultimately scrapped them because of an unwillingness to part with talent that he likes to have when he’s coaching from the sidelines.
  • There’s no denying that the Cavaliers have made Iman Shumpert available, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. There is indeed interest, Amico adds.

Kyler’s Latest: CP3, Holiday, Lowry, G. Hill, Gibson

Chris Paul and the Clippers essentially have a verbal agreement in place for a new contract this summer, sources close to the process tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Although the star point guard is technically eligible for an extension now, he can get a longer-term – and more lucrative – deal by re-signing with the club in July.

A verbal agreement isn’t binding, so things could change between now and July, but Paul has always been viewed as likely to remain in Los Angeles. As Kyler notes, the 31-year-old will be eligible to sign a new five-year contract worth more than $200MM this offseason, so as long as the Clippers are willing to put that offer on the table – and it seems they are – there’s virtually no chance of CP3 changing teams.

Kyler’s latest Basketball Insiders piece also features several other interesting tidbits related to players on expiring contracts, so let’s round up a few of the highlights…

  • Other free agent point guards who are strong bets to re-sign with their current teams: Stephen Curry (Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Pelicans), and Kyle Lowry (Raptors). According to Kyler, New Orleans is prepared to offer Holiday the max, or something close to it, while Toronto is willing to make a similar offer to Lowry, as long as he wants to remain with the team.
  • Like Paul, teammates Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick are viewed as highly likely to re-sign with the Clippers this summer, per Kyler. The Thunder were mentioned at one point as a potential suitor for Griffin, but OKC has since added a ton of salary to its 2017/18 books, and Kyler suggests that Griffin was never all that interest in returning to Oklahoma, where he played his college ball.
  • Sources close to the George Hill situation say the point guard is very happy in Utah. There’s mutual interest in a new deal this offseason between Hill and the Jazz, but it remains to be seen how high the team will be willing to go with its offer, Kyler writes.
  • According to Kyler, the Bulls are interested in re-signing free-agent-to-be Taj Gibson, but there’s a belief that he’ll want to explore other options in free agency, which makes Chicago’s decision this week a little trickier — the club won’t want to risk losing him for nothing.
  • Although Derrick Rose is viewed as very available, his contract will make it difficult to move him, since the Knicks want to maintain cap flexibility, says Kyler.
  • For a few more notes on players with expiring contracts, be sure to check out Kyler’s full piece.

Kings, Pelicans Discuss Cousins-Hield Swap

7:46 pm: In an article published Sunday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical says that Vivek Ranadive‘s stance on trading DeMarcus Cousins has “softened.” Previously the owner wanted to retain Cousins as a franchise pillar and, as recently as January 26, wouldn’t even entertain the prospect of making a deal.

More recently, Wojnarowski writes, Ranadive has been influenced by off-court incidents that call to question the big man’s temperament.

5:46 pm: Wojnarowski has tweeted that Cousins and agent Jarinn Akana have met with Vlade Divac and Kings’ ownership and have been reassured that Cousins is not being traded.

As was the case with the reported Cousins talks involving the Suns a few weeks ago, it seems these discussions were initiated by another team, rather than the Kings. As we noted at the time, it’s possible that not everybody in the Kings organization is on the same page with regard to a possible Cousins deal, which is why rumors keep popping up, only to be shot down.

“There’s just so much ambiguity about how the decision-making process works [in Sacramento] and what information actually gets back to whom,” one rival executive told Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com last month.

5:33 pm: Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee pumps the brakes on trade talks, saying that he has been told Cousins is not being traded, despite teams having inquired about his availability.

5:30 pm: It seems as though Jrue Holiday is not currently part of the outgoing Pelicans package, tweets Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate, but Kushner wouldn’t be surprised if they were willing to include him if push came to shove.

5:21 pm: Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders has added that the Pelicans are allegedly offering their 2017 first-round pick, Hield and an additional first-round pick. Meanwhile, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate adds context, saying that the Pelicans have felt pressure to improve and nearly everyone but Davis is on the table.

5:17 pm: According to Justin Verrier of ESPN, the Pelicans have made inquiries on Paul George as well, but the Cousins talks have progressed further.

5:12 pm: The Kings have recently discussed big man DeMarcus Cousins with the Pelicans, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The center has been the subject of speculation on and off throughout the 2016/17 season. Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders echoes the sentiment, elaborating that a possible deal could involve Buddy Hield and multiple Pelicans first-round picks.

While Wojnarowski previously wrote in a separate tweet that the Kings have been actively engaged in trade talks regarding Cousins for the last few days, the latest implication that the Pelicans are interested makes sense. Less than two weeks ago it was made public that New Orleans was seeking a center to pair alongside Anthony Davis.

If Cousins were to join the Pelicans, he and Davis would instantly make one of the league’s most dynamic pairings, a frontcourt duo unparalleled in the league today.

Just last month it appeared as though the Kings and Cousins were on track to sign a max contract this summer. That deal, it’s estimated, could be for five years at just under $210MM. If such a trade were to transpire, however, Cousins would no longer be eligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets.

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