Kevin Knox

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Irving, Korkmaz, Morgan

Forward Kevin Knox, a 2018 lottery pick, has reached a crossroads in his Knicks career and Knox remains hopeful he can gain coach Tom Thibodeau’s trust, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. He’s entering the last year of his rookie career and it’s highly unlikely the team will sign him to an extension.

“Right now, no one has really solidified minutes, solidified starters and bench players,” Knox said. “So it’s going into camp, going into the season with the right mindset that I really want to play this year. So I’m going to have to figure out a way to stay on the court and get minutes. So I’m really not worried about the trades and everything else. I’m just worried about getting in the rotation and being on the court.’’

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets aren’t sure whether Kyrie Irving will be allowed to practice with the team on Tuesday, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Irving’s refusal to be vaccinated will prevent him from playing home games as well as participating in practices at the training facility under New York City rules. “I don’t have an update on that,” coach Steve Nash said. “So I really don’t know.”
  • Sixers wing Furkan Korkmaz has parted ways with Excel Sports, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. He’ll pick a new agent soon, Carchia adds. Korkmaz re-signed with Philadelphia on a three-year, $15MM deal this summer.
  • Juwan Morgan of the Celtics remains sidelined by a hamstring injury, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. The injury imperils Morgan’s chances of making the team. The former Jazz forward, who hasn’t been able to participate in practices, signed a camp deal last month.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Knox, Rivers, Birch

Nets superstar James Harden is still working on getting his conditioning back to 100%, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Lewis notes that Harden has fully healed from a hamstring injury sustained during the playoffs — but that his next challenge is getting back into shape.

“He hasn’t really played since the Boston series, and before that, he hadn’t played for a long time either,” head coach Steve Nash explained. So he hasn’t played a lot of basketball, period, since the [2020] bubble. It’s been stop-start for him. He still wants to get his legs under him, and then can feel a few new levels for him to go.”

Brooklyn is poised to re-add Harden to a starting five of Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin this season. The 32-year-old played 44 games with the Rockets and Nets last season, averaging 24.6 points and 10.8 assists per contest.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kevin Knox‘s future with the Knicks remains cloudy entering the season, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Knox only played in 42 games last season (11 minutes per contest), and sources told Berman it was largely due to his low motor and lack of defensive toughness. Knox was drafted by the franchise with the No. 9 pick in 2018.
  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers helped recruit Andre Drummond and Georges Niang to the team in free agency, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Both Drummond and Niang are expected to provide depth in the frontcourt as bench players this season. “That was the swinger in me wanting to be here,” Niang said of his phone conversation with Rivers. “Just simply because that’s the guy that’s taking me in and out of the game. He had a vision for me, and it aligned with [how] I thought I fit in. He wants to win right away, and so do I. I want to be in a good culture, and that’s what he’s building here. Obviously, when I got off the phone, I was real excited because I thought, before I even made the decision, I had a home here in Philly.”
  • Raptors big man Khem Birch has missed the start of training camp due to health and safety protocols, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet tweets. Birch appeared in 19 games with Toronto last season, averaging 11.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 30.4 minutes per contest.

Atlantic Notes: Nesmith, Barnes, Knox, Vildoza

Aaron Nesmith‘s rookie season saw him go from the end of the Celtics‘ bench to a spot in their playoff rotation and he’s hoping to make a greater impact in his second year, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. The 14th pick in the 2020 draft was dealing with a foot injury when last season started, and he had to adjust to the NBA during a short offseason with no Summer League. The swingman eventually settled into a consistent role and shot 50% from the field and 42% from three-point range over the final two months of the season.

“It was definitely a quick turnaround from the moment I got drafted,” Nesmith said. “The season started and I didn’t get a lot of preparation or many chances to get my feet wet. Coming off the injury and not being able to play 5-on-5 for almost a year, that definitely was a whirlwind. It also taught me a lot of good lessons as well. It taught me how to adjust faster and adapt to a new system, a new level of play very quickly so if there was ever a point in time where I have to adapt very quickly again, I already know how to do it and I have a layout to do it as well.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie forward Scottie Barnes introduced himself to Raptors fans with a first-hand piece on The Players Tribune. The No. 4 overall pick out of Florida State states that he was quickly embraced by the Toronto fanbase and gained about 80-100K new followers on social media within 24 hours of being drafted. He shares experiences from Summer League and draft night and says there was one message he wanted to deliver in his first post-draft meeting with the Raptors’ front office. “I’m ready to work,” he wrote. “Not ease into it, not half-do things or make excuses because I’m one of the new guys. I’m ready to work. I’m ready to grind. I’m ready to WIN. And I could tell that the feeling was definitely mutual.”
  • Knicks forward Kevin Knox is about to enter the most important season of his NBA career, observes David Vertsberger of Yahoo Sports. Knox is now the longest-tenured player on New York’s roster, but unless he finds a way to become a contributor, this could be his last season with the team.
  • Luca Vildoza returned to the Knicks this week to let team doctors examine his injured right foot before the start of training camp, per Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media. The injury limited Vildoza to two games during Summer League, and he was prescribed rest and treatment rather than surgery. He also played for Argentina during the Summer Olympics.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Raptors, Sixers, Beckner, Kemba

Knicks forward Kevin Knox will not play for the team in the Las Vegas Summer League, the club announced today (via Twitter). According to the Knicks, Knox has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

It’s unclear whether Knox has tested positive for COVID-19. Regardless, he’ll miss out on an important opportunity for offseason development following three underwhelming seasons with the Knicks, creating further uncertainty about his future with the franchise.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Even though Masai Ujiri has made several savvy roster moves during his tenure as head of basketball operations in Toronto, he has had a hard time luring top free agents to the Raptors and many of his biggest free agent signings have been busts, write Eric Koreen and Blake Murphy of The Athletic. That’s likely a big reason why the Raptors appear to be forgoing cap space and operating over the cap this offseason, per The Athletic’s duo.
  • The Sixers have hired Phil Beckner as a coaching consultant, Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports relays (Twitter links). While it’s probably unwise to read too much into the move, it’s worth noting that Beckner is a former Weber State assistant coach and Damian Lillard‘s trainer.
  • Mike Vorkunov, Jay King, and Jared Weiss of The Athletic discuss Kemba Walker‘s injury history and his fit with the Knicks. As Vorkunov points out, even if Walker’s left knee isn’t 100% healthy going forward, the cost of signing him (about $8MM) isn’t prohibitive and he has proven in the last two seasons that he can still be productive while dealing with that knee issue.

Knicks Notes: Sexton, Knox, Barrett, Lillard, Oubre

Kevin Knox could be an important trade asset if the Knicks try to get Collin Sexton from the Cavaliers, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox hasn’t done much over the past two seasons, but Cleveland general manager Koby Altman was very interested in the forward heading into the 2018 draft, Berman notes. The Cavs opted for Sexton with the eighth pick, and New York took Knox at No. 9.

The Knicks have a couple of connections that could help in negotiations with Cleveland, Berman adds. Chief strategist Brock Aller was a front office executive with the Cavaliers when they drafted Sexton and he remains close with Altman and owner Dan Gilbert. Sexton has the same agent as Knicks rookie forward Obi Toppin, another candidate to be sent to Cleveland in a possible deal. They are both represented by Austin Brown of Creative Artists Agency, the firm that Leon Rose ran before becoming president of the Knicks.

There’s more from New York:

  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv confirms the Knicks’ interest in Sexton, but cites sources who say the Cavs want a useful veteran in return. New York doesn’t have any veterans with a multi-year contract, so a third team might be necessary to get a deal done. Sexton will be eligible for an extension worth up to $168MM over five years, which would cut into the Knicks’ cap room.
  • Begley adds in the same story that teams in contact with the Knicks have gotten the impression that the club has little interest in trading RJ Barrett. A previous report stated that Barrett isn’t untouchable, but would likely only be available in a deal for a superstar.
  • One superstar who could end up being available this offseason is Damian Lillard. While it’s not clear if the Knicks would offer Barrett in a package for the Trail Blazers point guard, Berman says the team figures to be amenable to including at least three first-round picks in an offer. If Lillard does look to leave Portland, he’d likely be intrigued by the Knicks in part because assistant coach Johnny Bryant is one of his mentors from Oakland, Berman adds.
  • If the Knicks are able to trade for a point guard, that frees up their considerable cap room to be used elsewhere, Berman adds in a separate story. One option is Warriors forward Kelly Oubre, who is expected to lose his starting job when Klay Thompson returns. The Spurs and Heat are reportedly also interested in Oubre.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic identifies six free agents he believes the Knicks should consider, including point guards Goran Dragic and Spencer Dinwiddie and sharpshooters Duncan Robinson and Malik Monk.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Sexton, Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Raptors

Following up on Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks have been the most aggressive trade suitor for Collin Sexton so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post confirms that the team has the Cavaliers guard on its trade radar.

According to Berman, the Knicks would’ve picked Sexton over Kevin Knox in the 2018 draft if he had slipped to No. 9 instead of being selected at No. 8. Berman adds that Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who played his college ball at Dayton, may be a player the Cavs would target in a trade.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks – who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks – are open to trading out of the first round entirely in order to acquire an “established player.” Sexton has certainly established himself as a talented scorer, having averaged 24.5 points per game in 2020/21, though it’s unclear if New York would be willing to offer both of its first-round picks in a package for him.

Here’s more from around the East:

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Celtics, Joe, Randle

Knicks forward Kevin Knox could see an increased role with starting center Mitchell Robinson sidelined due to a fractured hand, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau has spent parts of recent practices testing different lineups, some of which included small-ball variations, according to Berman. The 21-year-old Knox is averaging 16.2 minutes in 23 games this season, lower than his previous two campaigns.

One thing Knox has added this year is three-point shooting, connecting on 37.9% of his shots, albeit on limited attempts. Those small-ball lineups would likely feature Obi Toppin at starting power forward and Julius Randle at center. New York currently holds a 14-16 record.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • With the Celtics playing the Pelicans on Sunday, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston examines three New Orleans players that could interest the team in a potential trade. Among those players is Josh Hart, whose versatility, size and shooting could bolster Boston’s depth at the wing positions.
  • Sixers rookie Isaiah Joe has learned from several veteran players this season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The 76ers added Dwight Howard to a veteran mix that already included Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and others last offseason, giving Joe plenty of players to learn from. For the season, the 21-year-old is averaging 4.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 12.9 minutes in 17 games.
  • The scrutiny that comes with playing in New York made Knicks star Julius Randle a better basketball player, Berman examines in a separate story for the New York Post. “I felt like I wasn’t playing my best basketball,’’ Randle said on J.J. Redick’s podcast, as relayed by Berman. “I don’t care what anyone says — there’s no tougher place to play than New York with the media and the fans who know and love the game. It’s a tough place to play. Anyone who loves the game is going to be sensitive about their craft. I was sensitive to it and really wanted to get better. My progression in my career was every year I got better. I took it personal and a challenge and think I’ve done that.’’

Knicks Notes: Rose, Rivers, Knox, Ntilikina, Beal, Oladipo

After making his Knicks debut on Tuesday, veteran guard Derrick Rose spoke about the “synergy” he shares with head coach Tom Thibodeau and admitted that reuniting with Thibodeau – and Knicks executive William Wesley – was his top choice when he decided he wanted to move on from the Pistons, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“Even though I couldn’t say that at the time, I just wanted to be comfortable,” Rose said. “Like I said, I’ve been knowing these guys ever since high school, eighth grade, high school, so coming here, like I said, it’s family. I never really thought about anything else but really getting here and understanding they wanted me to help grow the young guys they’ve already got here.”

One of those “young guys” Rose will get a chance to mentor is rookie guard Immanuel Quickley. In Rose’s debut, the two guards shared the court as part of New York’s second unit, which is a pairing Thibodeau expects will continue going forward. As Bontemps details, the Knicks’ head coach said after the game that Austin Rivers, who was replaced in the rotation by Rose, figures to be a “situational” player for the time being.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, and all of the Knicks’ first-round picks were off limits in the trade for Rose, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who says the Knicks want to save as many assets as possible for a possible bigger splash down the road.
  • The Knicks are among the teams keeping an eye on Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo, Berman adds in the same story. There’s no indication that Beal will be moved by the Wizards anytime soon, but sources tell The New York Post that the Rockets are considered “amenable” to flipping Oladipo after acquiring him in January. A report last week indicated the Knicks still have interest in Oladipo after eyeing him in the offseason.
  • The Knicks announced plans today to allow approximately 2,000 fans at their home games beginning on February 23 (Twitter link). The announcement came on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo permitting large sports venues to reopen at 10% capacity, which will pave the way for the Nets to begin allowing fans at Barclays Center later this month as well, as Malika Andrews of ESPN writes.

Eastern Rumors: Celtics, Knicks, Payton, Knox, Bulls

The Celtics appear to be in the market for an in-season upgrade to their roster, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says he received “a flurry of texts” on Saturday night from executives around the league who suggested that Boston appeared to be up to something.

The Celtics haven’t completed any moves in the couple days since then, so there’s no indication at this point that anything is imminent — the team could wait until closer to the March 25 trade deadline to attempt to finalize a move. O’Connor notes that league sources have long stated that the C’s are looking to bolster their wing and frontcourt rotations.

Discussing the Celtics’ massive trade exception during a radio appearance last week, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suggested the club’s top priority on the trade market will be “shooting with size.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Knicks aren’t done exploring trade options after acquiring Derrick Rose from Detroit, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv (video link). According to Begley, at least one team in playoff contention has shown some interest in Elfrid Payton. Additionally, while New York didn’t want to move Kevin Knox in the Rose deal, that doesn’t mean that he’s untouchable “by any stretch of the imagination,” per Begley.
  • As long as the Bulls continue playing sub-.500 ball, Zach LaVine – whose contract expires in 2022 – will be the subject of trade rumors. However, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago argues that LaVine, whose scoring average this season is up to a career-high 27.4 PPG, continues to improve and that the team should seriously consider pursuing a contract extension for the standout guard in the offseason.
  • With multiple reports indicating that the Bulls could be a landing spot for Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype explains why a trade sending him to Chicago would make sense for both Ball and the Bulls.