Kevin Knox

Community Shootaround: Knicks’ Offseason Trade Options

With only about $56MM in guaranteed salary on their books for next season, the Knicks have the flexibility necessary to create cap room and make a run at one or more top free agents. However, the team also feels as if it’s well-positioned to trade for an impact player, as an April report indicated.

This year’s free agent class isn’t particularly star-heavy, so it’s possible that greasing the wheels for a blockbuster trade may be a better use of the Knicks’ cap space. Plus, New York has accumulated seven first-round picks in the next four drafts and has a roster loaded with former lottery selections, so the team could put together an appealing package for the right player.

In a report this week, Marc Berman of The New York Post indicated that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo could be that player. Knicks general manager Scott Perry, who drafted Oladipo when he was a member of the Magic front office in 2013, “still is enamored” with him, according to Berman, and there have been rumblings that the All-Star may not be fully committed to Indiana for the long term.

Thunder guard Chris Paul, a former CAA client of new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, is another potential trade target for the franchise.

Writing today about that possibility in a separate story for The New York Post, Berman suggests that Oklahoma City would likely seek a first-round pick and a young prospect on his rookie contract in return for Paul. According to Berman, the Thunder would probably target Kevin Knox in a deal with New York, while the Knicks would rather give up Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr.

Oladipo and Paul aren’t the only potential trade candidates who could catch the Knicks’ eye this offseason, but they’re probably two of the only All-Stars who will realistically be available. Within his initial article on Oladipo, Berman names three more trade targets who would intrigue the Knicks, but it’s hard to imagine any of them (Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Paul George) actually changing teams this fall.

Of course, even if Embiid, Towns, George, or another superstar becomes available, the cost to acquire them in a trade would be extremely high. On the other hand, there are certain factors that should keep the price tags of Oladipo (health; expiring contract) and Paul (age; exorbitant salary) in check, which may appeal to the Knicks — making a trade for one of those two players could help New York move back toward playoff contention without emptying the team’s treasure chest of assets.

In today’s Community Shootaround, we want to get your input on the Knicks’ offseason options.

Does Oladipo look like an appealing trade target for New York? How about Paul? Should the team wait for a star with fewer question marks to become available before looking to trade future first-round picks? Or should the Knicks altogether avoid trading multiple assets for one impact player, focusing instead – for now at least – on using their cap room to sign free agents or to keep adding draft picks by taking on unwanted contracts?

Head to the comment section to share your thoughts on the Knicks’ offseason plan!

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Bulls, Rozier, Knox

The Pistons began their in-market training camp on Wednesday with several players from their G League affiliate participating, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News (Twitter link). Tre’Shawn Thurman, Tra-Deon Hollins, Adam Woodbury, Khalil Iverson, and Craig Sword all played with the Grand Rapids Drive this season.

Beard also reports (via Twitter) that Pistons center Justin Patton had surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right pinky finger. Additionally, Tony Snell returned home for personal reasons, and Jordan McRae will not be participating in the team portion of the in-market camp.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls have reportedly hired Vanja Cernivec as an international scout, per Daniel Greenberg (Twitter link; h/t Real GM). Cernivec spent the last five years working in the NBA’s office in Spain as manager of basketball operations. He also played professional basketball in Slovenia.
  • After wrapping up his first season with the Hornets, Terry Rozier is ready to take on a larger role, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “I’ve had a lot of time over six months to figure out how I can be a better leader: Get to the guys, talk to them how they like it,” Rozier said. The combo guard averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.1 APG this season, after inking a three-year free-agent deal last summer with Charlotte. Rozier also spoke about how hard its been not being able to play in an organized game in six months. “I’m not going to sugar-coat and say, ‘Ah, six months is nothing.’ It’s been tough on all of us.”
  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is hoping that assistant coach Kenny Payne can help unlock Kevin Knox‘s potential, writes Marc Berman of the New Post. Knox has struggled to find his footing since being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. This season, he averaged a modest 6.4 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 17.9 MPG, but Thibodeau has been impressed with the 21-year-old in the team’s in-market training camp. “Kevin’s come in and he’s done quite a bit of work,’’ Thibodeau said. “I’m getting to know him and he’s getting to know me and it will take some time. But I like what he’s done so far.”

Knicks Notes: Knox, Hammon, Coaching Search

New Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose is “not sold” on 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who says that Rose badly wanted to see the young forward in action over New York’s final 16 games. With the team not part of the NBA’s 22-team restart plan for this summer, Rose won’t get that opportunity.

Despite not necessarily being all-in on Knox and not getting the chance to evaluate him down the stretch this season, it seems unlikely that Rose will look to move him this offseason. The team would be selling low if it traded Knox now, and there’s a chance that a new head coach could get more out of the 20-year-old.

Still, it’s worth noting that the Knicks will have to make at least one key decision on Knox later this year. He has a fourth-year option for 2021/22 worth $5.85MM that would typically have to be exercised or turned down by October 31. It’s not yet clear when that decision will be due now that the NBA’s calendar is undergoing some changes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Although Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has been identified by multiple outlets as a name to watch in the Knicks’ head coaching search, a source tells Berman that she appears unlikely to interview for the position.
  • In a separate story for The New York Post, Berman notes that six of the nine candidates identified so far as probable interviewees in the Knicks’ coaching search are clients of Creative Artists Agency, Rose’s old firm. It’s not clear how many of those coaches are legit candidates for the job. “It seems obvious this is a great way to get their names in the pipe line and give them some exposure for the next cycle,” a coaching source told Berman. “Time is on their side.”
  • Of the assistant coaches interviewing with the Knicks, Ime Udoka of the Sixers looks like one of the strongest candidates, having interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs in the past. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a closer look at Udoka’s résumé, examining how he’d fit in New York.

Knicks Notes: Ball, Smith Jr., Playoffs, Aller

LaMelo Ball tops the Knicks‘ wish list for this year’s draft, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A 6’7″ playmaker who spent this season with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL, Ball would solve New York’s long search for a point guard. However, unless they get some lottery luck, the Knicks would have to trade up to land Ball, who is expected to be among the first players selected.

Berman notes that new team president Leon Rose has experience in dealing with Ball’s controversial father LaVar during his time with Creative Artists Agency. League insiders told Berman that LaVar likes the idea of his son playing in a big market and will attempt to work behind the scenes to get him to New York.

If the Knicks’ pick remains in the 6-10 range, Berman expects Cole AnthonyTyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes and Tyrese Maxey to all be considered, along with trading down to target RJ Hampton or Kira Lewis.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks would like to part with Dennis Smith Jr.‘s $5.7MM salary for next season if they can put together a trade involving Chris Paul, Berman adds in the same story. The Thunder guard will make $41.36MM in 2020/21, so accommodating his salary would require sending out some contracts. Berman suggests that Kevin Knox ($4.6MM), whom Rose hasn’t committed to keeping, and Frank Ntilikina ($6.2MM) could also be included.
  • A “playoffs plus” scenario being considered in a survey of general managers could leave the Knicks out in the cold, Berman observes in a separate story. New York currently ranks 12th in the East, so it wouldn’t be included if seeds seven through 10 are involved in play-in games for postseason spots.
  • Plenty of people around the league believe Brock Aller will make a difference in the Knicks’ front office, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Aller left the Cavaliers last month to become VP of strategy in New York. “He’s a big-picture guy who is also a diabolical genius from a cap standpoint,” said David Griffin, VP of basketball operations for the Pelicans, who formerly served as general manager in Cleveland.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Durant, Robinson, Hayward

The league’s hiatus has made it much more difficult for new Knicks president Leon Rose to evaluate Kevin Knox, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Rose was unable to get a closer look at the second-year forward and doesn’t know if the 20-year-old is part of the team’s future, Berman adds. Rose must decide prior to the start of next season whether to pick up Knox’s $5.84MM fourth-year option.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kevin Durant‘s agent and business partner, Rich Kleiman, said it’s unrealistic to think his client can return to action from his Achilles injury this summer, he told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. This reiterates what Kleiman said in an ESPN interview last month about the Nets forward. “I promise you, Kevin and I have not talked about that. And I know it sounds crazy, but my assumption has been that wasn’t very realistic,” Kleiman said to Mannix.
  • Mitchell Robinson‘s development may be the biggest argument to remove the interim tag from Knicks coach Mike Miller, Berman writes in a separate story. Robinson has emerged as a foundation piece, according to Berman, and his high school coach, Butch Stockton, believes Miller is primarily responsible for that. “The Knicks have done a real good job developing him and getting toward to his full potential,” Stockton said.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said the hiatus has allowed him to heal up from lingering knee and foot injuries, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports. “That’s one positive from this whole thing is everybody’s been able to recover,” Hayward said. “We haven’t been able to do much, so hopefully everyone is healthy whenever and if ever we get back this year. … This has been good for everybody’s body.”

Atlantic Notes: Dolan, Oakley, Knox, Sixers, Celtics

Although they were ordered earlier this month to personally participate in a March 31 conference call to media their long-running dispute, Knicks owner James Dolan and former NBA big man Charles Oakley will no longer be required to do so, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News details. Instead, their lawyers will take part in the call. According to Bondy, there was a sense that a conference call might not be conducive to mediation between Dolan and Oakley themselves.

Oakley sued Dolan after the Knicks owner had him arrested and banned from Madison Square Garden in 2017. While Tuesday’s call could offer some form of resolution, a face-to-face meeting may be necessary for Dolan and Oakley to truly bury the hatchet. And, as Bondy notes, it’s not clear when that sort of meeting might be viable, given the social-distancing measures enacted in New York, not to mention Dolan’s positive coronavirus test.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Former Knicks head coach David Fizdale and interim replacement Mike Miller both felt that second-year forward Kevin Knox had a tendency to play “soft,” a league source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks have been impressed by Knox’s effort level and the strides he made on the defensive end, but Berman hears from a source that Miller, who was still tasked with winning games following the trade deadline, didn’t feel as if giving Knox heavy minutes was the best way to achieve that goal.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Derek Bodner takes a look at how things might have been different for the Sixers if they hadn’t traded up to select Markelle Fultz in the 2017 draft. Bodner refers to the decision as “the turning point of when the Sixers’ team-building became complicated.”
  • Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald takes a look at what the Celtics got out of each player on their roster in 2019/20 and what the team might have expected from those players if the season hadn’t been postponed.
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up a few Nets-related rumors and notes earlier this afternoon.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Knox, Hiatus, Brazdeikis

Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who has a long-standing relationship with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, said today on a conference call that he thinks Rose is the right man for the job in New York, per Scott Thompson and Ian Begley of SNY.tv. While Calipari acknowledged that changes within the organization might not happen overnight, he’s confident that Rose will do a “great job” and will eventually get the Knicks on the right path.

“He’s a gatherer,” Calipari said. “And I believe that’s what the Knicks need right now, a gather who can bring things together and make it a culture that players want to be in because they know, ‘This is about all of us.'”

Calipari also spoke at length about former Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, who has struggled thus far in his two NBA seasons. As Danny Abriano of SNY.tv relays, Calipari said he has seen “glimpses” from Knox at the NBA level and believes the 20-year-old is still going through an adjustment period.

It’s going to take time. What you don’t want to do — and teams have done this in that league — they give up on a young, young player too soon,” Calipari said. “And now all of a sudden, the guy comes back and they look and the whole thing in New York will be, ‘Well, what if we had him? We gave him away. We should have held on longer. Why did we do that?'”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Mike Vornukov of The Athletic identifies six ways the Knicks will be affected by the NBA’s hiatus, including its impact on the team’s coaching search, draft prep, and free agency period. As Vornukov points out, the Knicks beating Atlanta in their last game before the break will cost them in the lottery standings if the regular season doesn’t resume.
  • Ignas Brazdeikis, who only appeared in nine games for the Knicks as a rookie in 2019/20, would have gotten a chance at regular minutes down the stretch after the NBA G League season ended, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. “That was the plan — join the team, get an opportunity,” one source told Berman. “The Knicks were happy with his development. He kept a real positive mentality, kept his head down and was excited about the opportunity.”
  • Former NBA head coach Rick Pitino tells Steve Selby of The New York Post that he was shocked by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant signing with Brooklyn without even meeting with the Knicks. “The Knicks today, it’s not like the old days, where everybody dreamed of playing at Madison Square Garden,” Pitino said. “… The Knick organization is going through difficult times, but hopefully they got the right leadership now and they’ll turn it around.”

Knicks Notes: Rose, Carmelo, Knox, Harkless

Carmelo Anthony, a longtime client of Leon Rose, thinks the Knicks are in good hands with the veteran CAA agent set to take over their basketball operations department, telling Al Iannazzone of Newsday that it’s “an exciting time” for the team.

“I love it,” Anthony said of Rose’s transition from player agent to team executive. “I didn’t understand it at first because it happened so fast. When you’re somebody in that position, that’s the top of the mountain for you. That’s becoming the trend now in the NBA. I think it’s a great situation for him.”

Julius Randle, meanwhile, isn’t specifically a Rose client, but is also represented by CAA and is familiar with the Knicks’ incoming president of basketball operations. Like Anthony, he’s optimistic about what Rose can bring to the franchise, as he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“Leon’s is a well-respected agent who’s done a lot of great things representing players in his career,” Randle said. “I haven’t heard one bad thing about him. My personal relationship with him has always been very respectful. … Great guy, great family guy and well-respected agent. Straight-up guy. He’s a good dude.”

Here’s more on the Knicks and Rose, who is reportedly on track to officially start his new job on Sunday:

  • Despite speculation that Rose’s presence in New York’s front office creates a path for Anthony to eventually finish his career with the Knicks, Carmelo tells Iannazzone that he hasn’t discussed that possibility at all with Rose and isn’t sure a reunion is in the cards. “It’s hard to say because I don’t know what that situation is going to be,” Anthony said. “The easiest thing to say is, ‘His agent is there, he’s coming back.’ Until I sit down and see the whole plan, I don’t know.”
  • Establishing an effective player development program in New York will be one of Rose’s primary goals in his new role, says George Willis of The New York Post.
  • Kevin Knox had one of his worst games of the season on Thursday, scoring a single point in eight minutes of action, going 0-of-3 from the floor and 1-of-4 from the line. Still, the second-year forward is trying to remain positive, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.
  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears that teams in touch with the Knicks before the trade deadline came away with the impression that New York would be “very hesitant” to trade Knox unless the return was significant. It’s not clear if Knox will continued to be valued so highly by the new management group.
  • Asked on Thursday whether it has been hard to go from a contender (the Clippers) to one of the NBA’s worst teams, Maurice Harkless simply replied, “Yeah” (video link via SNY.tv). While Harkless appears frustrated by the Knicks’ six-game losing streak, a report last week indicated that the veteran forward and the team have no plans for a buyout.

Knicks Notes: Miller, Barrett, Rose, Dinwiddie

The Knicks should be focused on the future, but interim coach Mike Miller doesn’t appear ready to give more minutes to the team’s younger players, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman suggests Miller is more concerned with his own future in the organization. His 13-20 record is a marked improvement over David Fizdale’s 4-18 start, but there’s no guarantee Miller will be brought back next season, especially after comments this week from consultant Steve Stoute.

Miller’s philosophy is doing nothing to help 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox or Dennis Smith Jr., who was among the keys to the Kristaps Porzingis deal. Knox played just 10 minutes Wednesday in the team’s final game before the break and hardly had any role in the offense. Smith played six minutes and committed four turnovers.

“As we approach this, this is all about development,’’ Miller said. “That will never change. It’s about how these guys get better just if they get 10 more minutes in a game. There are a lot of things that go into the development to make these guys better. Just having minutes isn’t the end-all. I think there are other ways and other factors.’’

There’s more from New York:

  • Before posting a game-high 27 points last night in the Rising Stars Challenge, RJ Barrett assessed the Rookie of the Year race and said he should be a contender, Berman adds in a separate story“A lot of people deserve [Rookie of the Year], a lot of people work hard for it,” Barrett said. “I don’t know. It’s kind of hard not to vote for myself.” The third pick in last year’s draft, Barrett is averaging 13.6 PPG in 44 games and shooting 38.8% from the field.
  • As he prepares to take over as head of basketball operations for the Knicks, Leon Rose is keeping a characteristically low profile at All-Star Weekend, observes Steve Popper of Newsday. Rose hasn’t officially taken on his new duties and is still completing the paperwork to end his time as an agent. A source tells Popper that Rose plans to replace general manager Scott Perry, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie doesn’t expect his cross-town rivals to be a threat any time soon, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “They’ll probably have a high draft pick,” Dinwiddie said of the Knicks. “Unless they do something via trade or via free agency, which I don’t know if this free agency class is that spectacular, they’re probably not going to be that good. We’ll see. I can’t tell the future. But more than likely, I mean Kevin Durant is coming back. And he’s Kevin Durant. He’s really good.”

Warriors Notes: Trades, Russell, Looney

Draymond Green admits that the vibe in the locker room in Golden State is different this year because of the trade deadline. There’s a bit of angst among the Warriors‘ players, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members recently.

“It’s not something that we focus on but we’re all realistic,” Green said. “We understand this business and what could possibly happen.”

D’Angelo Russell, who is being pursued by the Timberwolves,  and Alec Burks, who has drawn interest from the Mavericks, are among the Warriors who could be dealt prior to the trade deadline. Here’s more from Golden State:

  • Russell hears the trade chatter and isn’t letting it faze him, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. “It bothered me when we were further away from [the deadline],” Russell said. “But when we’re closer to it really happening, I’m numb to it. I’m just expecting a phone call. Let me know. … I’m just ready for whatever happens.”
  • The Warriors turned down a Kevin Knox-based package for Russell from the Knicks, according to Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com (Twitter link). Golden State would have wanted Mitchell Robinson and a future unprotected first-rounder for the former All-Star.
  • Kevon Looney, who returned to the court on the Warriors’ current road trip, says he just wants to “get back to feeling like an athlete again” after an injury-plagued season, as Slater relays in a separate piece. While he could be traded before Thursday, Looney hopes to be part of Golden State’s future and prove that he’s worth the three-year, $15MM contract that he inked during the offseason. “You get paid and you want to prove your worth,” Looney said. “You want to show the team they made a smart investment in you.”