Kevin Knox

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.

Pistons Notes: DSJ, Knox, Grant, Rookies

Instead of heading to the G League, Dennis Smith Jr. will get a chance to revive his career in Detroit, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Smith and a second-round pick were the price the Knicks paid to acquire long-time Tom Thibodeau favorite Derrick Rose. The move is another step in the rebuilding process for Detroit, which already owns the league’s worst record at 5-18.

It’s the second trade in 24 months for Smith, who had two disappointing seasons in New York after being acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis deal. He fell far out of the rotation after Thibodeau took over and got into just three games this season. He’s far more likely to get playing time with the Pistons, especially with Killian Hayes recovering from a torn labrum in his right hip. Detroit saved nearly $2MM in the deal and will get a few months to evaluate Smith before deciding whether to extend a $7MM+ qualifying offer when his rookie deal expires after this season.

A bigger prize for Detroit is the draft pick, which originally belonged to the Hornets, Edwards states. The Pistons also own the Raptors’ second-round choice, along with their own first-rounder, which currently has the best odds of being No. 1 overall. The team is positioned to add more young talent in a draft class that is considered to be one of the best in years.

There’s more this morning from Detroit:

  • The Pistons were initially asking for Kevin Knox instead of Smith, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who speculates that the Knicks could be saving Knox for another trade.
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey believes free agent addition Jerami Grant should be an All-Star selection (video link from The Detroit News). Grant has stepped up his game since signing with Detroit, averaging 24.0 PPG, double what he scored last year in Denver. “I hope the true basketball fan sees what he’s doing, the all-around game, not just the scorer,” Casey said.
  • Edwards and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examine the progress of the Pistons’ rookies through the first third of the season. Hayes was still adjusting to the NBA when he suffered the injury, Saddiq Bey has been a valuable shooter but is otherwise limited offensively, and Isaiah Stewart has been impressive with his energy and competitiveness.

Latest On A Potential Derrick Rose Trade

The Knicks are a “preferred destination” for Derrick Rose because of coach Tom Thibodeau and the experience the Pistons guard had when he played in New York during the 2016/17 season, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Word broke last night that the Knicks, along with the Clippers and a few other teams, are engaged in trade talks involving Rose.

Sources tell Berman that New York is willing to part with any of its three former lottery picks who aren’t in the rotation under Thibodeau — Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. However, Berman doesn’t expect Knox, the youngest of the three at age 21, to be included in the deal.

Berman also believes the team will hold on to the 2021 first-round pick it received from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. With Dallas off to a 10-14 start, there’s a chance it could become another lottery selection. Berman notes that the Knicks have flexibility in a deal because they have $18MM in cap room and won’t have to match Rose’s $7.2MM salary.

He also points out that Saturday marked the first day that free agents who signed in November can be traded. That means Austin Rivers, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks are all eligible to be moved.

There’s more on a potential deal:

  • Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that Ntilikina’s name has been brought up in trade talks. The point guard has an expiring contract and will be a restricted free agent after the season. Begley notes that the Pistons will likely ask for at least one draft pick, but he doesn’t think New York is willing to give up a first-rounder. Some Knicks representatives believed the team was close to acquiring Rose during the offseason, according to Begley. He adds that if New York pulls off a deal, it will probably be with the intention to re-sign Rose, who is also headed for free agency. The Knicks would own his Early Bird rights and could offer a contract ranging from two to four years with a starting salary up to $13.4MM or a one-year deal for as much as $9.2MM.
  • The Pistons are interested in acquiring Smith, who recently asked to be sent to the G League for more playing time, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. With Blake Griffin‘s expensive contract likely on the books for another season, new general manager Troy Weaver has been working to reduce salary in other areas.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic examines how a Rose deal would affect the Knicks, particularly rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley.

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Knox, Houston, Robinson

While 25th overall pick Immanuel Quickley has shown signs he could be the Knicks’ answer at point guard, lottery pick Obi Toppin has gotten off to a surprisingly slow start to his NBA career, Mike Vornukov of The Athletic writes. The No. 8 pick is averaging 12.0 MPG after coming into the draft with the reputation as the most NBA-ready player in his class, Vornukov points out. Part of the problem is he’s been used as a big wing, rather than as a rim runner and pick-and-roll threat, Vornukov adds.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Kevin Knox vows to stay positive despite the fact he’s fallen out of the rotation, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. “I’m going to continue to be ready, because anything can happen, at any moment, any given time,” Knox said. “So I want to make sure that I’m ready. I’ll continue to get my reps up, continue to shoot the ball well, focus a lot on defense, watch a lot of film, so when they do call my number and my time does come, I’m ready.”
  • Allan Houston’s new front office title is Vice President, Player Leadership & Development, Ian Begley of SNY tweets. Last season, Houston was GM for the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. He was also a former assistant GM in the organization. Pops Mensah-Bonsu is now Director of Minor League Operations, Begley adds.
  • Center Mitchell Robinson reminds coach Tom Thibodeau of a young Joakim Noah, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “(Noah) started off as a defensive player, an energy guy, a guy who ran the floor well,” Thibodeau said. “He was an excellent passer, decision maker, very good with dribble handoffs and I think that’s a part of Mitch’s game that can grow. And so we’ll challenge him in that way.”

Eastern Notes: Monk, Knox, Ntilikina, Allen, Markkanen

Malik Monk‘s 36-point outburst on Monday pumps up his future value, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The Hornets guard has knocked down 15-of-26 from 3-point range since he was reinserted into the rotation four games ago and has also served as a playmaker.

“He makes us so much more dynamic. He’s kicking that ball out and making plays for others,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. Charlotte can make Monk a restricted free agent this summer by extending him a $7MM+ qualifying offer. Otherwise, he’ll head into unrestricted free agency.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Two prominent young players, forward Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, have fallen out of the Knicks’ rotation but it doesn’t appear they’ll join the G League’s Westchester Knicks in Orlando, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Dennis Smith Jr. agreed last week to join the G League club in order to get some playing time. Knox, who is currently stuck behind Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks, could have more trade value than Smith and Ntilikina because he’s under contract next season, Begley adds.
  • Jarrett Allen‘s big performance on Monday provided a glimpse of the future for the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. With Andre Drummond, who is headed to unrestricted free agency, sidelined by a back injury, Allen erupted for 23 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. He’s developing chemistry with young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and the front office views him as the better long-term fit at center, Fedor adds. Allen will be a restricted free agent this offseason.
  • Following a disappointing season, Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen is making a case to be in the team’s long-term plans, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Markkanen, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, is averaging 22.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG while shooting 52.4% from the field over the last eight games.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Pelle, Shumpert, Raptors G League, Walker, Smart

Kevin Knox‘s playing time has continued to diminish and his future with the Knicks organization is murkier than ever, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. The 2018 lottery pick never left the bench for the first time this season on Sunday. New York might look to deal Knox or even send him to Orlando to get some floor time with the G League’s Westchester Knicks. Knox’s rookie contract is guaranteed through next season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets signed Norvel Pelle and Iman Shumpert to non-guaranteed contracts to get up to the league minimum for roster spots but they may not last long, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates. With luxury tax issues, the Nets might open up those spots again as soon as February 10, then make the necessary additions when 10-day contracts are allowed on February 23. They could continue similar roster maneuvers right up to the March trade deadline, Hollinger adds.
  • Raptors 905 GM Chad Sanders is awaiting to hear the quarantine protocols regarding the shuttling of players between NBA teams and the G League bubble in Orlando, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. Two-way player Jalen Harris is already there but any additional assignments will hinge on those protocols, Murphy adds.
  • If the Celtics are truly going to contend for Eastern Conference supremacy this season, they’ll need more out of Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, Mark Medina of USA Today opines. At least one of those guards has to develop into a more consistent threat to help out the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Medina adds. Smart is currently sidelined by a calf strain.

Knicks Exercise Contract Options On Barrett, Knox

The Knicks have exercised their 2021/22 contract options on recent lottery picks RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox, the team’s PR department tweets.

Barrett, the third pick of last year’s draft, will make approximately $8.6MM in his third season. Knox, chosen ninth in the 2018 draft, will make $5.85MM in his fourth season during the 2021/22 campaign.

Barrett was the third-leading scorer among rookies last season at 14.3 PPG in 30.4 MPG while appearing in 56 games.

Knox’s playing time and production regressed dramatically in his second season, but the Knicks’ new regime thinks enough of him to lock in his salary through the next two seasons. He has averaged 9.9 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 140 career games.

Notably, the Knicks’ announcement didn’t mention recently-acquired big man Omari Spellman, the team’s other player with a 2021/22 rookie scale option. New York has until December 29 to make a decision on Spellman, but teams generally announce all their exercised options at once, so the team may be declining that one.