Justin Holiday

Knicks Target Tucker, Cunningham, Simmons

The Knicks are putting together their free agent shopping list with an eye toward players who can contribute on offense and defense, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

One of those players is Raptors small forward P.J. Tucker, who previously played for coach Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. Hornacek describes Tucker as an intense defender and a leader in the locker room. He could also give the Knicks a 3-point threat, shooting 35.7 from long distance this season, including 40% after a midseason trade to Toronto.

Another target is Pelicans small forward Dante Cunningham, who was the top 3-point shooter in New Orleans this year at 39.2%. Cunningham is also a solid defender and helped the Pels to a 13-8 record when he played at least 28 minutes per game.

Spurs forward Jonathon Simmons has fans in the Knicks organization, but he will be in demand around the league. Simmons is a restricted free agent, so San Antonio can match any offer he receives.

New York will enter free agency with about $19MM to spend, although that number could change significantly if efforts to trade Carmelo Anthony are successful. In addition to adding talent this summer, the Knicks are hoping to retain shooting guard Justin Holiday, who played all 82 games and averaged 7.7 points per night in his first year with the team.

The Knicks may also reopen trade talks for Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, Begley adds. New York and Minnesota discussed a deal involving Rubio at the trade deadline, and Knicks officials might still be interested.

New York will be looking for more players in the mold of Courtney Lee, who was their lone success among last summer’s major moves. Lee, who is signed for three more seasons, believes the Knicks worked out many of their problems late in the season and are headed in the right direction. He also defended center Joakim Noah, who became a lightning rod for criticism after signing a four-year, $72MM contract.

“Joakim had a lot of injuries that people weren’t aware of during the season,” Lee said. “I know how tough he is and how prideful he is and I’m looking forward to him coming back 100 percent healthy and doing what he does for us on the court. I know he will come back strong and help lead for us.”

Atlantic Rumors: Knicks, Jackson, Raptors, Johnson

The Knicks are focused on trading Carmelo Anthony and becoming a younger team, but scarce financial resources may prevent the team from landing a max free agent, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. Free agents Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague are potential targets for New York, league sources tell Begley. However, with eight players on guaranteed contracts for next season, team president Phil Jackson said during a recent a press conference that the current team has “a dozen players that we’re very confident can support and be a part of a team. So we feel pretty good about that.”

Upgrading via free agency may be contingent on the Knicks trading Anthony, whom Jackson indicated “would be better off elsewhere” during the aforementioned presser. Begley notes that a hypothetical Melo trade could clear about $5MM in cap room, giving the Knicks $24MM — the team’s current cap space calls for $19MM available for the Knicks to spend.

However, a lot of Begley’s hypothetical offseason spending includes the Knicks not re-signing any of their young players. So if the Knicks intend on upgrading, players such as Jrue’s older brother Justin Holiday, Ron Baker, Maurice Ndour, and Chasson Randle may suit up elsewhere in 2017/18.

In other news around the Atlantic division.

  • The Nets maintain interest in Euroleague guard Edwin Jackson, according to Nets Daily. An earlier report indicated the club’s interest in the 27-year-old guard, who is averaging 21.8 points in 30 games for Movistar Estudiantes of the Liga ACB in Spain. The 6’1″ French guard has never suited up for an NBA team but he was in Nets camp three years ago, per Nets Daily. Jackson has indicated he would come stateside for a guaranteed NBA deal or seek a lucrative offer in Europe.
  • Nets Daily compiled a list of potential European targets for Brooklyn in addition to Jackson. Milos Teodosic, 30, Nicolo Melli, 26, and 2011 second-round NBA draft pick Tyler Honeycutt, 26, — who revived his career in Turkey — are listed as potential free agent options; Latvian-born Rodions Kurucs, 19, and Anzejus Pasecniks, 21, are both listed as possible draft targets.
  • In an attempt to contain the Cavaliers’ offense, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey may start Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll on the bench, SportsNet’s Michael Grange writes. Both men — who were major signings by team president Masai Ujiri — have underperformed this postseason and Casey is “desperate” to jumpstart his team. Norman Powell and rookie Jakob Poeltl are likely to see significant playing time if Casey goes in that direction.
  • As he heads for free agency, Amir Johnson remains positive despite dwindling playing time for the Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe relays. While Johnson got the start for Boston tonight in Game 2, he has been a liability on both sides of the court for most of the postseason. Johnson led the Celtics in games (80) and starts (77) in the regular season and maintains he’s trying to work out of his slump. “If things aren’t working out for you, you know you’ve got to do the next thing,” Johnson said.

New York Notes: Knicks, Holiday, Nets

Justin Holiday said last month that he’d love to find a way to play on the same team as his brother Jrue Holiday next season, and both players are eligible for free agency this summer, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Knicks may be an ideal landing spot for the duo, since Justin is the sort of effective two-way player the club wants to retain, and New York will also be in the market for a point guard like Jrue if Derrick Rose doesn’t return.

With the Holiday brothers not competing in the playoffs, Justin Holiday tells The Post that they plan to “take some time off” and eventually will talk about their plans for the future. Given how dysfunctional the Knicks have been this season, it remains to be seen whether the elder Holiday will make an enthusiastic pitch to younger brother Jrue on behalf of the franchise.

Here’s more from out of New York on the Knicks and Nets:

  • Phil Jackson the coach is undermining Phil Jackson the team president, in the view of George Willis of The New York Post. As Willis details, Jackson’s comments on Friday made it sounds as if he intends to micromanage the club more in 2017/18, which probably doesn’t thrill Jeff Hornacek and likely won’t address the problems that ail the Knicks.
  • While 2016/17 was a disaster, there are ways for Jackson to fix the Knicks‘ roster, or at least take steps toward patching the holes, Berman writes in a piece for The New York Post. Berman examines potential defensive-minded free agent targets for the Knicks, as well as draft options for the club.
  • The Nets will use the draft, the trade market, and free agency to attempt to upgrade their roster this season, but head coach Kenny Atkinson and the team will also do all they can to find ways to improve the players already on the roster, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “We’re obsessed with that as a staff, one through 15: How can we get those guys better?” Atkinson said. “I’m sure I have a wish list that’s Utopian, but where we are we have to keep taking a lot of pride in developing the players we have. … To me, that’s your wish list: Get these guys better that are on your roster.”

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.”

New York Notes: Holiday, Knicks, Booker, Nets

Headed to his fifth team in four years, Justin Holiday wants to show the Knicks that he’s more than a throw-in from the Derrick Rose trade, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Holiday, a 6’6″ shooting guard, divided last season between the Hawks and Bulls, moving in February after a three-team trade that also involved the Jazz. Holiday said he started to feel comfortable in Chicago after the deal, appearing in 27 games, starting four and averaging 6.5 points per night. However, the 27-year-old brother of the Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday found himself on the move again with the June trade to New York. “As far as talent goes, I think we’re one of the more talented team tins his league, especially in the East,” Holiday said of the Knicks. “Hopefully we do some stuff [the Warriors] did.’’ Holiday was a reserve on the Golden State team that won the NBA title in 2015.

There’s more NBA news tonight out of New York:

  • The Knicks may not live up to Rose’s “super team” designation, but they raised their talent level considerably this offseason, writes A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. New York’s addition of Rose, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings makes the team interesting, but their collective injury history limits the Knicks’ offseason grade to a B-minus.
  • The Nets are counting on Trevor Booker to help replace the production lost when Thaddeus Young was traded to the Pacers, according to NetsDaily. Brooklyn signed the former Utah power forward to a two-year, $18.5MM deal shortly after free agency began. The 6’8″ Booker averaged 5.9 points and 5.7 rebounds with the Jazz last season, and he will be counted on to help improve the Nets’ interior defense.
  • The Nets might be in the worst position of any team in the league, writes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Powell likes the additions of GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson, as well as some of the other offseason moves, but cautions that it will take a long time to change the situation in Brooklyn.

Knicks Acquire Derrick Rose From Bulls

The Knicks and Bulls have agreed to deal that sends Derrick Rose to New York, along with Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick. In exchange, Chicago receives Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. Both teams have officially confirmed the move, with the Knicks announcing that they’ve also waived guard Tony Wroten as part of the deal.Derrick Rose

[RELATED: Knicks among teams Dwight Howard would consider]

K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link) first reported that an agreement was in place, along with all the names involved, while Adrian Wojnarwoski and Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link) were first to report that the two teams were engaged in “advanced talks” on a trade that would send Rose to the Knicks. The deal also came on the heels of earlier reports that the Bulls were open to moving Rose, and that the Knicks had internally discussed acquiring the Chicago point guard.

While Rose has been plagued by injuries since his MVP campaign in 2010/11, he managed to stay on the court for 66 games this past season, his highest mark in five years. In those games, he recorded averages of 16.4 points and 4.7 assists, shooting .427 from the floor.

Rose is entering the final year of his contract, and is set to earn a $21.323MM salary in 2016/17, so the Knicks are betting on him continuing to stay healthy going forward, and perhaps recapturing the form that saw him win that MVP award five years ago. If the 27-year-old has a solid season in New York, the Knicks would hold his Bird Rights when he becomes eligible for free agency in 2017.

By acquiring Rose, the Knicks will perhaps shift their focus in free agency more toward big men. The team could still use backcourt help, particularly at the two, with Arron Afflalo opting out, but losing Lopez will leave a hole at center in New York. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News suggests (via Twitter) that Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, and Pau Gasol could be among the Knicks’ targets in July, and we know Howard would be open to signing with New York.

Noah and Gasol, of course, are Bulls free agents, but the odds of those players both landing elsewhere appear to be on the rise with Lopez headed to Chicago. If the Bulls go into full rebuilding mode, Jimmy Butler could be a trade candidate as well, but considering they acquired veteran players in exchange for Rose, I’d be surprised if the Bulls go in that direction.

As Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com tweets, the Bulls have been eyeing point guard prospects in this year’s draft class, and while the team won’t get Kris Dunn at No. 14, a player like Wade Baldwin is a potential target. In Calderon, Chicago will at least have a solid veteran at the position for one more year.

From a financial perspective, the salaries involved in the swap are virtually a wash, despite Rose’s $20MM+ cap figure. Lopez, Grant, and Calderon combined to earn $21,625,172 in 2015/16, compared to $21,040,340 for Rose and Holiday. As Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets, Rose’s 15% trade kicker won’t be applied to this deal, since his salary would exceed the max with that kicker — it would have been in play if the trade had been completed in July.

The Knicks create a traded player exception worth $1,572,360, the amount of Grant’s salary, but will likely renounce that exception next month in order to use space under the cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hawks Acquire Kirk Hinrich In Three-Team Deal

Jennifer Stewart / USA Today Sports Images

Jennifer Stewart / USA Today Sports Images

4:16pm: The Bulls traded Kirk Hinrich to the Hawks as part of a three-team swap that also involved the Jazz, all three teams announced. Chicago, in its first trade since July 2014, gets Justin Holiday from the Hawks and Denver’s unprotected 2018 second-round pick from the Jazz, who acquired it from the Nuggets in 2013. Utah receives Shelvin Mack from the Hawks.

Hinrich returns to Atlanta, where he spent a season and a half as part of the two-year hiatus in his Bulls career from 2010-12. The 35-year-old is in his 13th NBA season and his 11th with Chicago. However, he’d never had such a limited role, with his minutes only at 15.9 per game this season, by far a career low. Any playing time he gets in Atlanta figures to come at the wing instead of the point guard spot, since the Hawks held on to Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder in spite of rumors about both, and Teague in particular.

Atlanta did end up dealing away Mack, its third-string point guard, who, like Hinrich, is playing the fewest minutes he’s ever seen in his career at 7.5 a game. The 25-year-old Mack, a fifth-year veteran, becomes the most experienced point guard for the Jazz, who’ve de-emphasized the position in the wake of the offseason injury to Dante Exum that wiped out his season. Utah’s reported talks about swapping point guards Ty Lawson and Trey Burke fell through. Mack has a non-guaranteed salary of more than $2.433MM for next season.

Holiday, the other player the Hawks gave up, picked up a championship with the Warriors last summer and shortly thereafter signed a two-year fully guaranteed deal for the minimum salary with Atlanta. His minutes are down slightly but his shot attempts and scoring are off markedly from last year’s numbers. The primary benefit for Chicago, aside from the pick, is the financial savings, as the Bulls subtract the $1,907,664 difference between Hinrich’s and Holiday’s salaries from their payroll. That also clears the Bulls of nearly $2.9MM in projected luxury tax penalties. The deal allows Chicago to create a trade exception equivalent to Hinrich’s $2,854,940 salary.

Atlanta gets to create a trade exception worth the equivalent of Holiday’s $947,276 salary, since Mack’s $2,433,333 pay is a close match with Hinrich’s, even though a 15% trade kicker that Chicago is paying Hinrich gives him a slight bump on his salary. The Jazz remain under the cap, using a slice of the roughly $7.6MM in cap room they had entering deadline day to take in Mack’s salary.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com broke the news that Hinrich was headed to Atlanta (Twitter link), while Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reported the Jazz were getting Mack and giving up a second-round pick (Twitter link). K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relayed that Holiday was going to the Bulls and that all the pieces were part of the same three-teamer, rather than separate deals (Twitter link). Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution pegged the second-round pick going to Chicago as Denver’s 2018 second-rounder. RealGM shows that the pick carries no protection.

Southeast Notes: Green, Beal, Skiles

Gerald Green is “safe and healthy,” according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who offered little else about the swingman who was hospitalized early Wednesday with an undisclosed illness, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald details. Sources told fellow Herald scribe Barry Jackson that the local rescue department in Miami requested assistance from police because of a “combative patient” at the address where Green lives, but the police didn’t write a report or make any arrests. A recording of a 911 call indicated that Green was unconscious and bleeding during the incident, Navarro relays. Green missed Tuesday’s game and isn’t with the team for Thursday’s game in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
I talked to him today and he said he was doing better,” Dwyane Wade said, according to Navarro. “That’s all I can ask for.” Wade added that he and other Heat players still don’t know exactly what’s going on with Green but that they’re glad Mario Chalmers was with him when the incident took place, Navarro notes.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • It appears to be a good thing that the Wizards reportedly intend to re-sign Bradley Beal for the maximum next summer, seeing as the shooting guard certainly considers himself worthy of that sum, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post relays (on Twitter). When asked if he thinks he’s a max player, Beal responded, “Yeah. I do,” Castillo notes. The Wizards reportedly intend on utilizing their available cap space next summer prior to finalizing a new contract with Beal.
  • New Magic coach Scott Skiles has gotten the most out of his young team so far this season, and despite the team’s 1-4 start, the early returns have been positive, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel. Swingman Evan Fournier‘s strong play has also been encouraging, but the downside is that it may be more difficult to re-sign him next summer when he is eligible to become a restricted free agent, Schmitz notes.
  • Hawks shooting guard Justin Holiday has made the most of his extra playing time as Thabo Sefolosha continues to work his way back from injury, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “He’s gotten a couple of opportunities and has taken advantage of those opportunities,” coach Mike Budenholzer said of Holiday. “We went with him tonight without Kyle Korver suiting up. He got more minutes and more opportunities. I think it’s his defense, his activity and his length. He’s making some shots and making some plays. We’ve got a good group there with wings all fighting for opportunity.” Holiday inked a two-year, $1.963MM deal with Atlanta this past offseason.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Napier, Smith, Holiday

Goran Dragic has a new five-year deal worth more than $85MM with the Heat, and he also has more responsibility and a stronger roster around him than ever before, notes Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. Dragic only has played in one NBA postseason, but odds are that’ll change by this spring.

“There’s definitely more pressure now,” Dragic said to Lieser. “You need to show people that you’re worth that money. I know I have my spot, but you need to prove to everybody that you deserve it. There’s pressure, and you need to deal with it. I can do that.”

See more on an ex-Heat point guard amid the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Shabazz Napier likes his new surroundings with the Magic and wasn’t surprised when the Heat traded him in the offseason, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. “During the summer you hear lot of rumors. What actually happened, I wasn’t too surprised at all. If it hit me where I didn’t know about it, then I’d be surprised,” Napier said. “But I kind of had a feeling they kind of needed to get some trades off. I sensed it because I have a great agent [Rob Pelinka], not because I felt they wanted me to get out of there. It’s just sometimes it’s business. They needed extra money and they didn’t need the luxury tax and what not.”
  • The Sixers made Ish Smith an offer to return, and the Kings and Suns offered him deals, too, before he instead signed with the Wizards, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers seem like they could have used him, but Smith faces long odds to stick for opening night in Washington, since he has a non-guaranteed deal on a roster with 15 fully guaranteed contracts, Pompey writes.
  • Justin Holiday, one of the few members of the Warriors championship team to depart Golden State this summer, is hoping to follow in DeMarre Carroll‘s footsteps as an under-the-radar signee who blossoms with the Hawks, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders details. Holiday’s two-year deal with Atlanta is for the minimum salary, as Basketball Insiders scribe Eric Pincus shows. “The main thing that appealed to me was how the team played,” Holiday said. “Just how coach [Mike Budenholzer] goes about doing things here. I guess DeMarre leaving, obviously that made it available for me to come. So that has to be a big reason why I’m here, but I guess I didn’t focus as much on him not being here. I just think the way they do things here is the main reason why I felt like this was a good place for me to come.”
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