Kevin Knox

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.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Knicks, Celtics

As we relayed earlier this week, new Sixers coach Ime Udoka is replacing Monty Williams as lead assistant coach under head man Brett Brown. Unlike Williams, however, Idoka will also be tasked with being the team’s new defensive coordinator next season, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Udoka has interviewed unsuccessfully for some head coaching positions over the last couple offseasons in Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, but this new position for the Sixers will still be a promotion for him, as Ettore Messina is the lead assistant in San Antonio.

Getting the opportunity to be a lead assistant may very well increase Udoka’s chances of landing a head coaching role in the near future, especially considering the success that Brown’s other assistants for the Sixers like Lloyd Pierce (Hawks) and Williams (Suns) have had when they had the opportunity to interview for top jobs.

In the meantime, Udoka will oversee a defense that largely underperformed during the 2018/19 season given the talent on the Sixers’ roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this afternoon:

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Walker, Durant, Robinson

Kevin Knox, the Knicks‘ first-round pick last season, is lobbying for R.J. Barrett to get that designation this year, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox, who attended Game 4 of the NBA Finals with a small Knicks contingent, may be on hand tomorrow for Barrett’s workout in New York. They have faced each other before as high school opponents in Florida.

“If we get the opportunity (to be teammates), I think we’d jell really well,’’ Knox said. “He’s a great player. He can pass well, score the ball well. I think we’d complement each other.’’

Barrett is generally considered the third best player in the draft and the likely selection for the Knicks with the No. 3 pick. It’s also possible that Knox and Barrett could be teammates with the Pelicans if both are included in a trade for Anthony Davis.

There’s more today from New York:

  • It appears Kemba Walker won’t be the solution for the Knicks’ backcourt, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Rival executives tell Begley they don’t believe going to New York is a likely outcome for Walker if he decides to leave Charlotte. The three-time All-Star recently said that the Hornets are his “first priority” in free agency. They have the ability to offer Walker a five-year super-max deal worth up to $221.3MM, while other teams will be limited to four years at $140.6MM.
  • The Knicks have become so “brazen” in their belief that they are landing Kevin Durant that other free agents are getting upset, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. He states that the organization is behaving as though a deal is already in place, even though Durant has strongly denied making a decision, and the Warriors seem resigned that he will be gone after the playoffs.
  • New York should try to avoid giving up Mitchell Robinson in a trade for Davis, states Zack Rosenblatt of NBA.com. The second-round pick had a remarkable rookie season, averaging 2.4 blocks per night in 66 games. Rosenblatt sees Robinson as a perfect complement to play alongside Davis if the Knicks can make a deal happen without him.

Knicks Notes: Durant, Davis, Draft, Ntilikina

The possibility of Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks overshadowed all other topics as NBA executives gathered this week for the annual combine, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. He states that most of those in attendance consider it a “fait accompli” that the Warriors’ star will be coming to New York when free agency begins in July.

The combine was peppered with talk of a secret meeting between the Knicks and Durant and rumors that a “handshake deal” is already in place, along with endorsement opportunities. That would be a blatant violation of NBA rules and a huge risk for the team to take when the opportunity to legally negotiate with Durant is just six weeks away. However, even those who don’t buy into such conspiracy talk seem convinced that a move is on the way.

Explaining why Durant might be willing to leave a potential three-time champion, one unidentified front office executive speculates that he is tired of constant “prodding” from Warriors coach Steve Kerr and believes he will never replace Stephen Curry as the team’s most important player. That opportunity would come instantly in New York, where Knicks fans have been clamoring for a star for years.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills wouldn’t discuss the possibility of including the No. 3 pick in a deal for Anthony Davis, but he insists the team is happy about its position coming out of Tuesday’s lottery, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trade talks for Davis remain on hold as Pelicans executive David Griffin tries to convince his star big man to stay with the team, a source tells Berman. Any trade offer for Davis would have to include the two first-rounders from Dallas that were acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, along with two young prospects from a group that includes Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.
  • Berman considers it a”virtual certainty” that New York will take Duke’s R.J. Barrett if the draft proceeds as expected. The Knicks rate Murray State’s Ja Morant slightly higher, but Memphis is likely to grab him with the second pick. New York’s front office met with both players Wednesday at the combine. The Knicks also own the 55th pick and could target a power forward in the second round.
  • The Knicks are willing to part with Ntilikina in exchange for another late first round or early second round selection, Berman adds. That would open more cap room to pick up the options on Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson without jeopardizing the ability to offer to max deals in free agency.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Pelicans, Rockets, Mavs

Responding to a report which claimed she had said she’d only trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers “over my dead body,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson laughed and called it “totally absurd” and “completely untrue,” tweets Fletcher Mackel of WDSU.

Rumors of the Pelicans’ reluctance to send Davis to the Lakers have persisted since before the trade deadline. There was a perception that the timing of Davis’ trade request was orchestrated by his camp to attempt to push him to Los Angeles, with the Pels resisting that outcome.

While sending their All-NBA big man to a big-market conference rival may not be their first choice, the idea that the Pelicans would rule out a trade partner altogether is far-fetched — if the Lakers’ offer is clearly the most favorable, it wouldn’t make sense for New Orleans to look elsewhere out of spite.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking of potential Davis trade talks, Kevin Knox may be a centerpiece in any Knicks offer for the Pelicans‘ star, but a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that New Orleans isn’t high on the 2018 first-rounder.
  • In the view of Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, the Rockets‘ biggest offseason priority should be adding a frontcourt player who is capable of creating shots and offense.
  • The risks associated with acquiring Kristaps Porzingis keep growing for the Mavericks, Kevin Sherrington of the Daily Morning News opines. While it’s unlikely to prevent owner Mark Cuban from offering Porzingis an extension this summer, the Latvian big man carries plenty of baggage with him, Sherrington continues. The latest unsavory incident is his alleged involvement in a bar room brawl in his home country.
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic might be a better free agent fit than Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, Sherrington writes in a separate story. Vucevic would give Dallas size, rebounding, scoring and play-making, with his relative lack of athleticism the only downside. Walker and Doncic would have to share the ball and that approach didn’t work well with Dennis Smith Jr. this season, Sherrington notes.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Knicks Rumors: A. Davis, Zion, Offseason Plans

The winner of tonight’s NBA draft lottery will ostensibly be the winner of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, but it’s possible that the team with the No. 1 pick will end up using Williamson as a trade chip. While most clubs wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to move forward with the Duke forward as a franchise centerpiece, the Knicks are one team that might consider dealing him.

In fact, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link via Knicks Film School), if the Knicks do land the No. 1 overall pick, they’re expected to “shift their focus” to a potential trade for Anthony Davis. Charania reports that Williamson and Kevin Knox would likely be the headliners of a Knicks offer for Davis in that scenario.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News conveys a similar sentiment, tweeting that Knicks executives have told rivals they plan to seriously pursue Davis this summer.

For a team in the midst of a rebuild, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade a young, cost-controlled building block like Williamson, so the Knicks’ apparent willingness to use him as a trade chip in Davis negotiations is the latest signal that the franchise is confident about its ability to land other impact players in free agency and contend immediately.

Of course, as noted in our draft lottery primer, the Knicks’ odds of securing that top pick are still just 14.0%, so there’s a good chance this discussion will be moot in a matter of hours.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • In a conversation with Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Knicks executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry spoke about the team’s upcoming offseason, its player development program, and much more. Asked about their flexibility, Perry pointed out that the Knicks’ cap room gives the front office multiple options. “The obvious answer is that it puts you in the free agency game,” the Knicks’ GM said. “What gets lost and doesn’t get talked about, you’re at the table for trades. The flexibility allows you to be involved in a multitude of discussions about a multitude of things to help your team get better.”
  • Perry also addressed the Knicks’ offseason this week during an appearance on ESPN Radio, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays. “We’re going to play the hand we’re dealt,” Perry said in regard to the Knicks’ free agency plans. “… Whatever happens, we know we’re going to add some talent to the roster this summer.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along word that the Knicks have interest in a pair of free-agents-to-be from the Celtics besides Kyrie Irving.

Pelicans Notes: Celtics Trade, Knox, Gentry, Trainer

The Celtics’ flameout in the postseason may have reduced the possibility of the Pelicans trading Anthony Davis to Boston, according to Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate. A package of forward Jayson Tatum and a handful of the Celtics’ first-round draft picks would have been considered a fair return for Davis, who can become a free agent after next season. However, Tatum regressed in his second season and struggled during the postseason, Kushner continues. Boston’s incentive to acquire Davis has diminished with the likely departure of Kyrie Irving and the lack of enough quality pieces around Davis after a potential trade to make a championship run, Kushner adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The team’s front office has quietly gathered intelligence on the Knicks’ first-round pick, forward Kevin Knox, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Knox averaged 12.8 PPG in his rookie campaign and improved his shooting percentage as the season went along. If the Knicks win the lottery, that pick plus Knox and other assets could be attractive to New Orleans. However, there’s no consensus within the Knicks organization about trading that pick, even for a shot at Davis, Begley adds.
  • Alvin Gentry’s personality is the main reason why new VP of basketball operations David Griffin retained him, Kushner reveals in a separate story. Gentry’s lighthearted, professional and charismatic persona held the locker room together after Davis’ trade request, and Gentry also deftly handled the situation in the media, Kushner continues. Gentry and Griffin developed a longstanding friendship when they worked together with the Suns, Kushner adds.
  • Griffin said new athletic trainer Aaron Nelson changed the way he approached scouting, as he detailed to The Athletic’s William Guillory. Griffin poached Nelson from the Suns staff. They have been friends since 1993. “As I watched Aaron and his staff do what they were doing, it changed the way I scouted players,” Griffin said. “It changed what I looked for in players. My devotion to what they were doing in terms of changing player bio-mechanics was really complete. It literally impacted every part of my career after that.”

Knicks Notes: Zion, Kyrie, Kemba, Young Players

While Knicks head coach David Fizdale didn’t name the Duke forward specifically, he made it clear during an appearance this week on The Dan Patrick Show that if his team lands the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft lottery, Zion Williamson will be the choice.

“If we win the lottery, do we know who we’re taking?” Fizdale said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “Yes.”

Of course, if the Knicks do land that first overall selection, speculation about a possible Anthony Davis trade would only increase during the weeks leading up to the draft. Fizdale wasn’t asked about that scenario during his appearance on Patrick’s show, but ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider-only link) took a look this week at whether or not it would make sense to seriously consider moving Williamson if the Knicks grab that No. 1 spot.

In Pelton’s view, trading Williamson in a package for Davis would give the Knicks the best chance to win in the short term, but it’s unclear how well-suited the rest of the roster will be to contending immediately. Since Zion could be a part of a contending team in New York for years to come, Pelton would be inclined to hang onto him if the Knicks are lucky enough to draft him.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Now that Kyrie Irving‘s Celtics have been officially eliminated from the postseason, the Knicks are poised to be a part of the July conversation about the point guard’s potential free agent destinations, as Marc Berman of The New York Post details.
  • Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that some members of the Knicks’ organization on high on another free agent point guard, Kemba Walker. However, that interest likely wouldn’t matter much if Kevin Durant commits to New York and wants to team up with Irving, says Begley. According to Begley, some opposing executives believe that the Knicks will be willing to pursue any player Durant wants to play with if it ensures that KD will choose New York.
  • The Knicks will send their assistant coaches on the road in the coming days to work out with young players like Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, and Dennis Smith Jr., sources tell Begley. Kevin Knox and head coach David Fizdale have already met up for some offseason work, as the team has exhibited an increased focus on developing its prospects.

Steve Mills, Scott Perry Discuss Knicks’ Offseason

The Knicks are entering their most crucial offseason in years, but president of basketball operations Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry told reporters on Wednesday that they’re not necessarily feeling pressure to turn the team into an instant contender overnight with a series of major additions.

As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, Perry said that the Knicks don’t view this summer as the “end-all or be-all,” noting that it will be more about taking steps in the right direction and avoiding major mistakes.

“What I look at is this summer presents an opportunity for us to get better,” Perry said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “And so whether we get better through whatever the free-agent signings may or may not be, whatever the drafting process yields us, whatever potential trade may come our way, our goal is to get this team better over the offseason so there’s a better product on the floor next season. And that’s what we’re committed to.”

Here are a few of the most noteworthy comments from Mills and Perry, as detailed by Berman and Popper:

Mills on his expectations for the summer:

“We feel good about the summer. We feel we’re in a position that it gives us an opportunity. We hope we get lucky and we land free agents. And if not, we’ll keep building the way we’re building. The space gives us an opportunity to be flexible in terms of how we deal with trades. We can take guys into our [cap] room in the trade process, it gives us the flexibility to continue to build the team the way we’ve been building it. But it gives us an opportunity to make it better in a way with free-agent or trade prospects.”

Mills on what happens if the Knicks can’t use their cap room to land two star free agents:

“I don’t feel pressure to deviate from our plan if we don’t get two big free agents. I don’t feel that kind of pressure. The pressure is for us to continue with the process and build this team the way we’re saying we’re going to build it.

“… The worst thing we can do is react to doing the wrong thing because we’re disappointed something didn’t happen exactly the way we want it to happen this summer. That could be thing that could derail us from doing what we committed to our fans, what I committed to Jim (owner James Dolan) in how I would build this team.”

On why the Knicks are confident in their appeal after a 17-65 season:

Perry:
“This is New York City. It’s the greatest city in the world. There’s a lot of appeal here. Even though the team has struggled, it’s a definite attraction to becoming a player in this city who can help turn this organization around. I think that’s something that gives us excitement that it’s out there — the storied nature of this franchise and what the franchise meant to the NBA that still resonates.”

Mills:
“There’s a lot of noise and a lot of guys are interested in New York. They like Fiz (head coach David Fizdale). They like some of the changes we made in the organization. We hear that from agents. We read it from guys getting interviewed about what guys feel about the Knicks. We hear that from other players. At least we’re in the game, and hopeful something really good happens. But we won’t know until it happens.”

Here are a few more Knicks-related items stemming from Mills’ and Perry’s comments:

  • According to Berman, Mills said that in this year’s exit interviews, every player on the Knicks’ roster expressed a desire to return to the team — one even said he’d come back for less money.
  • Perry didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping a top-three draft pick if the Knicks luck out in the lottery, per Berman. “Once the draft process plays out, your phone rings a lot of times,” Perry said. “I can’t sit here and tell you exactly what would happen in that scenario.”
  • As Berman writes in a separate story, the Knicks sound more bullish on Kevin Knox‘s future than Frank Ntilikina‘s. However, they’re not ready yet to pass judgment on either player, noting that Ntilikina is still 20 years old and Knox is 19.
  • In an appearance on ESPN Radio, Mills insisted that the Knicks weren’t tanking or trying to lose games on purpose in 2018/19, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. While that may technically be true, it’d be hard to argue that the front office was trying to put the roster in position to win as many games as possible this season, which is entirely understandable during a rebuild.

Knicks Notes: Roster, Robinson, Durant, Ewing

Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson are the only current Knicks who should definitely be on the roster next season, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Knox showed enough promise at age 19 to hold onto, Robinson was a second-round surprise who became the league’s second-best shot blocker and Dotson is a part-time starter with an affordable contract.

Popper lists Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, as a question mark, noting that his fate could depend on whether the Knicks are in position to draft Ja Morant or sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker in free agency. Also questionable to return, according to Popper, are Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, Lance Thomas and Luke Kornet. Popper expects the rest of the roster to be overturned, including DeAndre Jordan, whom he speculates will be too pricey to re-sign as a back-up center.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Coach David Fizdale believes Robinson would be a lottery pick if last year’s draft were redone, relays Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Fizdale admits he didn’t know much about Robinson when the Knicks grabbed him with the 36th pick, but he quickly blossomed into a force in the middle, swatting 2.44 shots per game. “I think we can all agree if we had to restructure the draft right now, I don’t think he’ll go 36,” Fizdale said. “I think he’d be in that top 10 pretty easily.”
  • LeBron James‘ disappointing first year with the Lakers should make Kevin Durant think twice about whether he wants join the Knicks, states Frank Isola of The Athletic. For all of Durant’s talent, he has a reputation as a highly sensitive player who might not adjust well to the atmosphere in New York. Isola suggests that he will only consider the Knicks if he can find another top-level free agent to join him.
  • Fizdale played a pivotal role in easing tensions between Patrick Ewing and the Knicks after years of a strained relationship, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Ewing will represent the team at next month’s draft lottery.