Kevin Knox

Knicks Notes: Knox, Ntilikina, Porzingis, Ujiri

Knicks head coach David Fizdale is using the term “tough love” to describe his decision to bench second-year forward Kevin Knox, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Knox was held out of Friday’s loss to the Sixers and had only been averaging 12.1 minutes per night in the previous four games. It’s been a trend for the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, whose minutes have fallen from 28.8 per game in 2018/19 to 19.8 this season.

“Sometimes they’ve got to go through some tough love to find themselves and watch the game from 25,000 feet, see it, and see the things that I’m emphasizing,” Fizdale said after Saturday’s practice. “I was tough on Frank (Ntilikina) last year and I just feel like Frank has come back with a whole different mindset about how he’s going to go about this season. I’ve been so happy with the way he’s played and produced. But I do think a little bit of tough love on some of these young guys isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

Knox will be “a consideration, for sure” to return to the lineup today, Fizdale added. Marcus Morris is listed as questionable for the game because of cervical spasms in his neck.

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • Ntilikina tells Botte that he benefited from last year’s experience and encourages Knox to find ways to help the team when he’s not on the court. Ntilikina began this season out of the rotation, but has made 14 consecutive starts at point guard. He said an offseason meeting with Fizdale gave him a new perspective. “There’s a lot of noise with this team, a lot of expectations,” Ntilikina explained. “Around this city, a lot of expectations. Obviously, those expectations are for us to get better. But what we have to understand, too, is we have expectations, and [Fizdale] wants us to get better, and he wants us to be the best team possible. He wants us to be the best possible, that’s the same for every player.”
  • Former Knicks guard Trey Burke, who was part of the package sent to Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, offered some insight into Porzingis’ perspective on the deal and his falling out with management in New York, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. “A lot of things the press said, he felt like wasn’t true,’’ Burke said. “He feels like there was a narrative that got out about him, he couldn’t defend himself. I don’t know if (Dallas) told him not to talk that much, but he wasn’t talking. I do think he has his side.’’
  • The Knicks may try to lure Raptors executive Masai Ujiri after the season ends, and there are fears in Toronto that he might accept their offer, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Ujiri may view New York City as a larger platform to help expand his Giants of Africa foundation, which aids children in his home continent.

Knicks Notes: Rebuilding, Trier, Knox, Robinson

The Knicks have started talking about player development again, and the organization will face important decisions in that area in about three weeks, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman noticed a different tone from David Fizdale in his pre-game press conference yesterday as the head coach discussed the difficulties of building a young team and the model set by his cross-town rivals in Brooklyn.

“We have to grow our kids,’’ Fizdale said. “That’s the biggest thing. And be patient in free agency. It wasn’t that fast [for the Nets]. They didn’t go to it until the fourth year into it. It’s hard starting from a bunch of young guys.”

That’s a stark contrast to the Knicks, who were hoping for an instant turnaround this summer by pursuing free agents such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Once they all signed elsewhere, New York loaded up on veterans with short-term contracts. That group becomes eligible to be traded on December 15, presenting the front office with a choice about how long they want to keep together the core of a team that has stumbled to a 4-13 start.

There’s more from New York:

  • The biggest concerns among the young players are Allonzo Trier and Kevin Knox, who have both fallen out of Fizdale’s rotation after promising rookie years, Berman adds in the same story. Trier sat for the sixth straight game yesterday, while Knox got a start because of RJ Barrett‘s illness, but delivered a 1-for-4 performance in 18 minutes and continued to struggle on defense. “I’m going to continue to hold his feet to the fire defensively,’’ Fizdale said of Knox. “We want to get him where he’s desperate to play. His defensive effort, focus, execution has got to be there for us to be a good basketball team.”
  • Some Knicks are insisting the current roster needs more time to develop after so many offseason changes, relays Ian Begley of SNY.tv. “We’ve got 10 new guys. How can you build chemistry with 10 new guys that you just met?” Mitchell Robinson said after Sunday’s loss. “… We played a lot of playoff teams (this season) and we’ve stayed in the game. Think about when we do get that connection? We’re going to be all right.”
  • The Knicks’ woes of the past six years can be traced back to James Dolan’s decision to bring in the McKinsey & Company consulting firm prior to the 2013/14 season, contends Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The team was coming off its best season of the Carmelo Anthony era with 54 wins and a second-round playoff exit, but the new firm proved to be disruptive and led to changes such as replacing general manager Glen Grunwald and coach Mike Woodson and installing Phil Jackson as team president.

Knicks Notes: Knox, Fizdale, Smith Jr., Randle

After leading the Knicks in minutes as a rookie last season, Kevin Knox is finding playing time harder to earn, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. His starting job has gone to veteran Marcus Morris, who signed a one-year contract this summer and needs plenty of court time to earn his next one. In addition, Knox’s defensive issues have eroded some of coach David Fizdale’s confidence.

“I let him know why,” Fizdale said of the reduced minutes. “We got candid relationships around here. No one’s got thin skin. He and I have been through a lot together already. He knows where I’m coming from. He knows I want the best for him and I’m going to continue to challenge him. He can accept the challenge. … Like I said, his offense has taken that step forward, now I’m pushing his defense to take that step forward.”

Knox was on the court for less than nine minutes last night and about 10 minutes Wednesday. It’s a difficult adjustment for a player who seemed to be part of the foundation for the future after being selected with the ninth pick last year.

“It was tough, but it was something that had to be done,” Knox said at Friday’s practice. “Fiz made the decision so I just made sure I was the best teammate on the bench, made sure I was cheering my guys on, keeping my guys up. I didn’t want to sit at the end of the bench and sulk and cry and just have an attitude because I wasn’t playing. So I had the right mindset going in. Came in the next day, got my work in, watched film on what I need to get better at so when my opportunity comes next time I can be able to produce.”

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Last night’s debacle against the Spurs won’t help Fizdale keep his job, observes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Fans booed loudly as the team left the court with a 25-point halftime deficit in the worst performance since Fizdale was put on an apparent 10-game alert at a post-game press conference by president of basketball operations Steve Mills on Nov. 10.
  • Expectations have fallen for Dennis Smith Jr. since he was acquired from the Mavericks in January, but he is still struggling to meet them, Berman adds in a separate story. A preseason back injury and a two-week absence from the team for a funeral have slowed his progress.
  • Watching free agent addition Julius Randle wear No. 30 is a reminder that the Knicks should have retired Bernard King‘s number a long time ago, contends Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Simmons, Kyrie, Knox

After Al Horford left for bigger free agent riches in Philadelphia this summer, the Celtics signed scoring-oriented Enes Kanter as a cheap replacement, hoping that Daniel Theis, Kanter, Robert Williams and rookie Grant Williams could compensate for Horford’s absence piecemeal.

So far, that has proven to be the case during Boston’s 11-4 start. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston preaches caution against disrupting team chemistry by trying to trade for a major center upgrade like Clint Capela or Karl-Anthony Towns

Instead, Blakely notes that 7’5” rookie Tacko Fall, on a two-way contract, has impressed in the G League thus far. Blakely suggests that Fall might be an option who could shore up the Celtics’ interior defense in spot minutes. Boston should also monitor the buyout market and top Chinese Basketball Association centers, Blakely opines.

There’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • After making his first NBA triple in a 109-104 win over the Knicks, Sixers All-Star point guard Ben Simmons mentioned his desire to play for the Australian national team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports. Sixers coach Brett Brown was recently announced as the Australian national team’s coach for the event.“We have a great relationship,” Simmons said of Brown in his postgame comments. “I’ve known him my whole life. I’m excited to put together a great team.”
  • Prized offseason Nets acquisition Kyrie Irving has missed the past four games with a shoulder impingement. Though coach Kenny Atkinson insists that the ailment will not be a long-term issue, he concedes that Irving is not healthy enough to play, as the New York Post’s Brian Lewis relays. “We have a protocol before a guy comes back to play. Usually we’re not just going to throw you out there without seeing you. We have these kind of set standards in the past,” Atkinson notes. “We’re not at that point yet. Hopefully, he will get there soon.”
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale has challenged second-year forward Kevin Knox to improve his defense, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “I am definitely riding Kevin, to challenge him to go to another level, especially defensively,” Fizdale confirmed, before praising his improved offense. “His shooting percentage is up, finishing around the rim is much better, he’s seeing the floor better. But I want him to take a big jump forward defensively… He’s got the physical tools to do it.” Braziller points out that Fizdale has been quicker with the hook for Knox lately. The 6’7″ forward from Kentucky has averaged 14.7 minutes across the team’s last four contests, a far cry from the more generous 23.6 minutes he was allotted over New York’s first 11 games.

Knicks Exercise Options On Ntilikina, DSJ, Knox

2:01pm: The Knicks have made it official, announcing that they’ve picked up the 2020/21 options on Ntilikina, Smith, and Knox.

12:31pm: The Knicks will exercise Frank Ntilikina‘s fourth-year option for the 2020/21 season, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The team is also picking up its fourth-year option on Dennis Smith Jr. and its third-year option on Kevin Knox, as expected, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.

Of the three option decisions, the one on Ntilikina was the only one that was up in the air leading up to the October 31 deadline. The former eighth overall pick has been somewhat underwhelming in his first two seasons, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.1 APG on .354/.305/.735 shooting in 121 games (21.6 MPG) for the Knicks.

However, Ntilikina had a strong showing for France in the 2019 FIBA World Cup last month and has been more aggressive on offense for New York this preseason, as Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic detailed last week. As such, the Knicks were willing to lock in his $6,176,578 cap hit for the 2020/21 season. The 21-year-old is now on track to reach restricted free agency in 2021 if he doesn’t sign an extension next year.

As for Smith and Knox, those option decision were simpler ones. Smith, who was selected one spot after Ntilikina in 2017’s draft, will count against the cap for $5,686,677 in ’20/21, while Knox will have a $4,588,680 charge.

We’re tracking all of the decisions on 2020/21 rookie scale team options right here.

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.