Kevin Knox

Knicks Notes: Morris, Barrett, Ntilikina, Knox

Despite being called “unprofessional” by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Marcus Morris believes he made the right move in free agency, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Morris backed out of a two-year, $19MM commitment to the Spurs when the Knicks were able to increase their offer after Reggie Bullock‘s contract was reworked. Morris wound up getting $15MM for one season to come to New York, but he insists the decision wasn’t all about money.

“As far as my free agency, it didn’t go as planned,” Morris said at Monday’s Media Day. “A lot of those decisions came off of a lot of unknown sources and unknown situations. I kind of committed very early, [earlier] than I wanted to. New York became involved and I saw opportunity, East Coast, the Mecca, [I’m] from Philly. The biggest thing is … I know they embrace guys like myself. … I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a really surprising year for us.”

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • First-round pick RJ Barrett will have to earn his playing time this season, Berman writes in a separate story. Sources tell Berman that some Knicks players believe coach David Fizdale was too easy on last year’s lottery pick, Kevin Knox. Fizdale says he plans a tougher approach with Barrett, adding, “I think this team is more talented, I think we have more guys he has to fight with to get those minutes. But I think the kid is up for it. I think he’s the kind of competitor that embraces it.’’ Barrett said he welcomes the approach, as it’s the only way to improve.
  • Frank Ntilikina wasn’t on hand at Media Day and faces an uncertain future after the Knicks spent the summer trying to trade him, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. GM Scott Perry gave reporters a terse response when asked about picking up Ntilikina’s fourth-year contract option, which is valued at about $6.1MM. “We have until October 31 to do that and we won’t discuss any contract things in detail,” Perry said. “So that’s all I’m going to tell you right now.”
  • Knox spent much of the offseason watching videos of his rookie year and learning where he needs to improve, writes Scott Thompson of SNY.tv. Part of the change includes better decisions on when to shoot. “I just took a lot of tough 2’s, a lot of contested [and] bad shots that I took last year that I’m going to try to eliminate out of my game this year,” he said. “I think I was forced to take a lot of bad shots late in the shot clock, bad shot selection.”

New York Notes: Knox, Fizdale, Nets Signings, G League

The Knicks enter the upcoming season with a roster filled with a mix of young players and veterans on one-year deals. It remains to be seen how the roster shakes out but one of those youngsters, Kevin Knox, is excited about how early practices have gone.

Speaking at a recent event, Knox praised the team’s current group and how competitive everyone has been, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“Very competitive practices so far,’’ Knox said. “You can tell all the guys are hungry and looking forward to training camp. A lot of guys have been impressive. You can tell a lot of guys have been working on their games all summer. I watched a lot those guys playing on TV last year. Everyone’s game has gotten a lot better. I can’t wait to get to training camp and jell together.”

Knox mentioned that head coach David Fizdale has said that no starting spots are locked up at this point in time. Thus, competitive battles for playing time figure to persist.

Check out more notes on the New York squads:

  • While the Knicks didn’t land a superstar free agent, Knox noted that seeing their crosstown rival Nets do so is adding fuel to the team’s fire, writes Newsday’s Steve Popper. “You’ve got people always saying the Knicks and the Nets,” Knox said. “Of course they got two superstars. That’s just fuel to the fire for us. Like [Fizdale] told us all in a group message, put your head down and just go out and play hard for one another. That’s kind of been our motto this whole summer.”
  • With training camps approaching, there are plenty of questions about how the Knicks will handle their aforementioned roster. The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov examines seven burning questions on the upcoming season, including the development of the team’s young players.
  • The Nets‘ G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, announced a series of staff hires for the team, per a press release.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

Knicks Reportedly Canceled Meeting With Kawhi Leonard

The Knicks pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Kawhi Leonard, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Leonard agreed earlier in the week to meet with Knicks officials, but not until today after he completed sessions with the Lakers and Clippers. New York decided its chances of luring Leonard were remote without Kevin Durant and decided to call off the meeting because of “logistics.” There had been rumors that Leonard and Durant were looking to team up with the Clippers or Knicks, but those plans were scrapped when Durant committed to the Nets on Sunday.

New York’s front office didn’t want to wait for a decision from Leonard before diving into the free agent market. Berman noted that the team exhausted nearly all of its $70MM in cap space in the first 20 hours after free agency began.

The best scenario for the Knicks, he adds, would be for Leonard to sign a one-year deal with an option in Toronto and hit the market again next summer. Julius Randle is the only one of New York’s signees to get a guaranteed multi-year deal.

There’s more from New York City:

  • The Knicks plan to retain Damyean Dotson through his July 15 guarantee date, Berman adds in the same story. The second-year guard, who will earn about $1.5MM, will get increased competition for minutes from free agent additions Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN examines whether the Knicks did the right thing by loading up on free agents after their top targets were off the board. While they retained their financial flexibility for the future and should put a better product on the court, they also missed out on a chance to acquire assets by saving some of that cap money to facilitate deals such as the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, the Andre Iguodala trade to the Grizzlies or the D’Angelo Russell trade to the Warriors.
  • Kevin Knox wants to prove his omission from the All-Rookie Team was a mistake, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Knox collected just 22 second-team votes, well short of the amount needed to earn a spot. “Yeah, of course I deserved to make it,” he said. “But it was definitely motivation. I worked hard this summer. That was kind of a chip on my shoulder for me to work hard this summer. Definitely, it was motivation. I’m going to use it for summer. I’m going to keep using it for next year.”

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Knicks, Celtics

As we relayed earlier this week, new Sixers coach Ime Udoka is replacing Monty Williams as lead assistant coach under head man Brett Brown. Unlike Williams, however, Idoka will also be tasked with being the team’s new defensive coordinator next season, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Udoka has interviewed unsuccessfully for some head coaching positions over the last couple offseasons in Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, but this new position for the Sixers will still be a promotion for him, as Ettore Messina is the lead assistant in San Antonio.

Getting the opportunity to be a lead assistant may very well increase Udoka’s chances of landing a head coaching role in the near future, especially considering the success that Brown’s other assistants for the Sixers like Lloyd Pierce (Hawks) and Williams (Suns) have had when they had the opportunity to interview for top jobs.

In the meantime, Udoka will oversee a defense that largely underperformed during the 2018/19 season given the talent on the Sixers’ roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this afternoon:

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Walker, Durant, Robinson

Kevin Knox, the Knicks‘ first-round pick last season, is lobbying for R.J. Barrett to get that designation this year, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox, who attended Game 4 of the NBA Finals with a small Knicks contingent, may be on hand tomorrow for Barrett’s workout in New York. They have faced each other before as high school opponents in Florida.

“If we get the opportunity (to be teammates), I think we’d jell really well,’’ Knox said. “He’s a great player. He can pass well, score the ball well. I think we’d complement each other.’’

Barrett is generally considered the third best player in the draft and the likely selection for the Knicks with the No. 3 pick. It’s also possible that Knox and Barrett could be teammates with the Pelicans if both are included in a trade for Anthony Davis.

There’s more today from New York:

  • It appears Kemba Walker won’t be the solution for the Knicks’ backcourt, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Rival executives tell Begley they don’t believe going to New York is a likely outcome for Walker if he decides to leave Charlotte. The three-time All-Star recently said that the Hornets are his “first priority” in free agency. They have the ability to offer Walker a five-year super-max deal worth up to $221.3MM, while other teams will be limited to four years at $140.6MM.
  • The Knicks have become so “brazen” in their belief that they are landing Kevin Durant that other free agents are getting upset, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. He states that the organization is behaving as though a deal is already in place, even though Durant has strongly denied making a decision, and the Warriors seem resigned that he will be gone after the playoffs.
  • New York should try to avoid giving up Mitchell Robinson in a trade for Davis, states Zack Rosenblatt of NBA.com. The second-round pick had a remarkable rookie season, averaging 2.4 blocks per night in 66 games. Rosenblatt sees Robinson as a perfect complement to play alongside Davis if the Knicks can make a deal happen without him.

Knicks Notes: Durant, Davis, Draft, Ntilikina

The possibility of Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks overshadowed all other topics as NBA executives gathered this week for the annual combine, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. He states that most of those in attendance consider it a “fait accompli” that the Warriors’ star will be coming to New York when free agency begins in July.

The combine was peppered with talk of a secret meeting between the Knicks and Durant and rumors that a “handshake deal” is already in place, along with endorsement opportunities. That would be a blatant violation of NBA rules and a huge risk for the team to take when the opportunity to legally negotiate with Durant is just six weeks away. However, even those who don’t buy into such conspiracy talk seem convinced that a move is on the way.

Explaining why Durant might be willing to leave a potential three-time champion, one unidentified front office executive speculates that he is tired of constant “prodding” from Warriors coach Steve Kerr and believes he will never replace Stephen Curry as the team’s most important player. That opportunity would come instantly in New York, where Knicks fans have been clamoring for a star for years.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills wouldn’t discuss the possibility of including the No. 3 pick in a deal for Anthony Davis, but he insists the team is happy about its position coming out of Tuesday’s lottery, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trade talks for Davis remain on hold as Pelicans executive David Griffin tries to convince his star big man to stay with the team, a source tells Berman. Any trade offer for Davis would have to include the two first-rounders from Dallas that were acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, along with two young prospects from a group that includes Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.
  • Berman considers it a”virtual certainty” that New York will take Duke’s R.J. Barrett if the draft proceeds as expected. The Knicks rate Murray State’s Ja Morant slightly higher, but Memphis is likely to grab him with the second pick. New York’s front office met with both players Wednesday at the combine. The Knicks also own the 55th pick and could target a power forward in the second round.
  • The Knicks are willing to part with Ntilikina in exchange for another late first round or early second round selection, Berman adds. That would open more cap room to pick up the options on Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson without jeopardizing the ability to offer to max deals in free agency.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Pelicans, Rockets, Mavs

Responding to a report which claimed she had said she’d only trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers “over my dead body,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson laughed and called it “totally absurd” and “completely untrue,” tweets Fletcher Mackel of WDSU.

Rumors of the Pelicans’ reluctance to send Davis to the Lakers have persisted since before the trade deadline. There was a perception that the timing of Davis’ trade request was orchestrated by his camp to attempt to push him to Los Angeles, with the Pels resisting that outcome.

While sending their All-NBA big man to a big-market conference rival may not be their first choice, the idea that the Pelicans would rule out a trade partner altogether is far-fetched — if the Lakers’ offer is clearly the most favorable, it wouldn’t make sense for New Orleans to look elsewhere out of spite.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking of potential Davis trade talks, Kevin Knox may be a centerpiece in any Knicks offer for the Pelicans‘ star, but a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that New Orleans isn’t high on the 2018 first-rounder.
  • In the view of Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, the Rockets‘ biggest offseason priority should be adding a frontcourt player who is capable of creating shots and offense.
  • The risks associated with acquiring Kristaps Porzingis keep growing for the Mavericks, Kevin Sherrington of the Daily Morning News opines. While it’s unlikely to prevent owner Mark Cuban from offering Porzingis an extension this summer, the Latvian big man carries plenty of baggage with him, Sherrington continues. The latest unsavory incident is his alleged involvement in a bar room brawl in his home country.
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic might be a better free agent fit than Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, Sherrington writes in a separate story. Vucevic would give Dallas size, rebounding, scoring and play-making, with his relative lack of athleticism the only downside. Walker and Doncic would have to share the ball and that approach didn’t work well with Dennis Smith Jr. this season, Sherrington notes.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Knicks Rumors: A. Davis, Zion, Offseason Plans

The winner of tonight’s NBA draft lottery will ostensibly be the winner of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, but it’s possible that the team with the No. 1 pick will end up using Williamson as a trade chip. While most clubs wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to move forward with the Duke forward as a franchise centerpiece, the Knicks are one team that might consider dealing him.

In fact, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link via Knicks Film School), if the Knicks do land the No. 1 overall pick, they’re expected to “shift their focus” to a potential trade for Anthony Davis. Charania reports that Williamson and Kevin Knox would likely be the headliners of a Knicks offer for Davis in that scenario.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News conveys a similar sentiment, tweeting that Knicks executives have told rivals they plan to seriously pursue Davis this summer.

For a team in the midst of a rebuild, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade a young, cost-controlled building block like Williamson, so the Knicks’ apparent willingness to use him as a trade chip in Davis negotiations is the latest signal that the franchise is confident about its ability to land other impact players in free agency and contend immediately.

Of course, as noted in our draft lottery primer, the Knicks’ odds of securing that top pick are still just 14.0%, so there’s a good chance this discussion will be moot in a matter of hours.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • In a conversation with Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Knicks executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry spoke about the team’s upcoming offseason, its player development program, and much more. Asked about their flexibility, Perry pointed out that the Knicks’ cap room gives the front office multiple options. “The obvious answer is that it puts you in the free agency game,” the Knicks’ GM said. “What gets lost and doesn’t get talked about, you’re at the table for trades. The flexibility allows you to be involved in a multitude of discussions about a multitude of things to help your team get better.”
  • Perry also addressed the Knicks’ offseason this week during an appearance on ESPN Radio, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays. “We’re going to play the hand we’re dealt,” Perry said in regard to the Knicks’ free agency plans. “… Whatever happens, we know we’re going to add some talent to the roster this summer.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along word that the Knicks have interest in a pair of free-agents-to-be from the Celtics besides Kyrie Irving.