Kevin Knox

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.”

 

Charania’s Latest: Kuzma, Love, Russell, Covington, Rose, Drummond

While forward Kyle Kuzma has been mentioned prominently in trade rumors, the Lakers are reluctant to make a deal that would negatively impact their team chemistry, The Athletic’s Shams Charania told Alex Kennedy on a HoopsHype podcast (Twitter link). The Lakers would only consider moving the offensive-skilled power forward if they received a “high-end rotation player” in return. “Those guys really get along on and off the floor,” Charania said.

The Athletic’s top NBA writer also commented on a number of other players on the trade market:

  • It’s unlikely the Cavaliers will be able to find a taker for Kevin Love and his big multi-year contract. “I don’t see a logical landing spot,” he said.
  • The Knicks are willing to give up their 2018 first-round pick, forward Kevin Knox, as part of a package for the Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell. However, that doesn’t hold much appeal to the Warriors. Golden State, as Charania reported earlier, is seeking multiple unprotected first-round picks for Russell. The Timberwolves looking to acquire first-round picks for forward Robert Covington, which it would then flip in a Russell deal.
  • The Rockets, Bucks and Mavericks are among the suitors for Covington, with Houston showing “a lot of interest.”
  • The Pistons are seeking a great asset — a quality first-round pick — for Derrick Rose. But Rose, who missed Monday’s game at Memphis with an adductor strain, doesn’t want to be dealt. “He wants to be in Detroit,” Charania said. “Derrick feels at home and Detroit has embraced him with open arms.”
  • The market for the Pistons’ Andre Drummond is “stagnant.” Drummond’s high salary and ability to opt out in the summer makes it difficult to find a suitable trade, Charania notes.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Perry, Schroder, Robinson

Marcus Morris is confident that he’ll sign a multi-year contract with the Knicks if he remains with the organization past the trade deadline, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. This comes after a report earlier this week that he and the team have “strong mutual interest” in reaching a new deal this summer. Morris likes playing in New York and enjoys being so close to his family in Philadelphia.

Morris risked some security last year when he reneged on a two-year offer with the Spurs to accept a one-year arrangement with the Knicks. He recently hired a new agent in Raymond Brothers, who has a close relationship with New York general manager Scott Perry.

While it’s not a sure thing that Perry will remain with the organization after another disappointing season, some sources believe owner James Dolan’s desire to have Masai Ujiri run the team could work in Perry’s favor. Dolan may not be able to land Ujiri while he’s still under contract with the Raptors, so Mills may be able to convince Dolan to give him another season while he waits. Thunder president Sam Presti could be another target, Bondy adds.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • A source tells Bondy the Knicks are in the market for a point guard and have interest in acquiring Dennis Schroder from the Thunder. Schroder is making $15.5MM this year and is signed for the same amount for next season.
  • The Clippers are believed to be interested in Morris, and a source suggests to Steve Popper of Newsday that the Knicks might accept Maurice Harkless in return, along with a first-round pick, Landry Shamet or possibly both. Harkless has an $11MM expiring contract. Popper also states that New York may be willing to trade for Pistons center Andre Drummond as a way to unload Julius Randle, who will make $18.9MM next season. Drummond is expected to opt out of his $28MM salary, which would provide a huge amount of cap room. The Knicks have also received calls about Kevin Knox, Popper adds.
  • The Knicks are surprised that Mitchell Robinson was passed over for the Rising Stars Challenge, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. The second-year center has been one of the bright spots of the team, averaging 9.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. “It’s not something that’s going to hurt my feelings,’’ Robinson said. “I’m still going to come out here and play. I’m still going to move on and continue to play ball. I’m still in the NBA, so I really don’t care.”

Knicks Notes: Knox, Wooten, Drummond

The Knicks are wasting an opportunity to develop their young players as they string together losses with veteran journeymen, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. After whiffing on the big names in the free agent market last summer, New York signed seven players, with only Julius Randle having a fully guaranteed salary beyond this season. Those additions make up the core of a team that is 10-29 with five straight losses.

Affected most by not being on the court is Kevin Knox, a lottery pick from 2018, Popper adds. When Marcus Morris was hurt earlier this week, interim coach Mike Miller inserted Reggie Bullock into the starting lineup and continued to give limited minutes to Knox, who has regressed in his second NBA season.

“My Pops always just tells to go out there and just play every single possession as hard as I can, because you never know how long you’re going to be on the floor,” Knox said. “So just go out there and give it your all. So that’s the approach. The six minutes I had (January 5 against the Clippers), I thought I played really well; went out there and played hard. Unfortunately, I didn’t get back in the game. But like I said, you never know when your number is going to get called. So you always got to stay prepared, stay ready.”

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • The Knicks have an important decision to make this week on G League standout Kenny Wooten, notes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Wednesday is the final day that two-way contracts can be offered this season, and several teams are watching Wooten, who is among the G League leaders in blocks per game. New York doesn’t have a roster opening, so either Kadeem Allen or Ivan Rabb would have to be waived to create a two-way slot for Wooten.
  • Tommy Beer of Forbes examines why it would be a mistake for the Knicks to give up future assets in a trade for Andre Drummond. Not only would they be committing to re-signing Drummond to a massive contract once he opts out this summer, they already have a promising young center in Mitchell Robinson.
  • The Knicks would still be on shaky ground even if they had achieved their dream scenario of signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and drafting Zion Williamson, observes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Williamson’s knee issue, Irving’s shoulder problem and Durant’s uncertain future after a ruptured Achilles tendon would all be giving nightmares to Knicks fans if they were on the roster.