Kristaps Porzingis

Knicks Notes: Measuring Success, Height, Hardaway Jr.

The Knicks may not be a likely bet to contend for a playoff spot without Carmelo Anthony but that doesn’t mean that the season can’t still end up being worthwhile. Marc Berman of ESPN spoke about the state of the franchise with analyst and former New York guard Greg Anthony.

This year, the broadcaster says, the team will need to gain confidence, establish leadership and grow team chemistry, whether they find themselves in the hunt for a postseason bid or not.

Regardless of the team’s win total, however, the organization’s new front office tandem of Steve Mills and Scott Perry will be under the microscope. After the disappointing reign of Phil Jackson, Berman writes that it will be hard for them to be any worse.

There’s more from the Knicks:

  • There’s a good chance that Kristaps Porzingis will one day be the face of the Knicks franchise but head coach Jeff Hornacek thinks that his 22-year-old star will need to grow into that role in time, Ian Begley of ESPN writes.
  • The Knicks are an unusually tall team at a time when some of the NBA’s most successful franchises are going small, Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times writes.
  • When summer signee Tim Hardaway Jr. was shipped off from the Knicks to the Hawks and then demoted to the team’s G League affiliate, it served as a wake up call, the guard told Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “[Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer] putting me down there just made me realize you got to work hard, man. You can’t come here expecting to play. I thought I was going to come in and play. I realized I had veterans in front of me that I had to outwork and compete each and every day. Once I got better he trusted me in that process and it got me to where I am right now.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Porzingis, LeVert, Valanciunas

The Sixers decided to take a risk as the franchise signed talented but oft-injured center Joel Embiid, to a five-year, maximum salary extension this week. It’s a lofty commitment to a player who has appeared in just 31 regular season NBA games in three years. However, it could also prove to be a steal if Embiid can stay healthy and match his output from last season, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

In 25.4 minutes per game last season, Embiid, 23, averaged 20.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 2.5 BPG. This season, Embiid will be a focal point on a Sixers team with highly-touted rookies (Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz), veterans (J.J. Redick). Murphy also notes that compared to centers such as Steven Adams and Timofey Mozgov, who signed lucrative deals, Embiid possesses a rare upside that could make a huge difference in Philadelphia.

Embiid has been limited in practice this preseason but is expected to make his debut versus Brooklyn tomorrowIt will be the first step in determining whether or not the Sixers’ franchise-altering signing was a mistake or a bargain.

Read about additional news from the Atlantic Division below:

Knicks Notes: Cap Space, Lee, Noah, Porzingis

The Knicks need to concentrate their rebuilding efforts on the draft rather than free agency, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. If Enes Kanter, Ron Baker and Kyle O’Quinn all exercise player options for next season, New York will have about $10MM available and almost all of that will be consumed by a $9.8MM cap hold for Doug McDermott. The Knicks have a Monday deadline to reach a rookie-scale extension with McDermott, but sources tell Begley that’s unlikely to happen. New York also has to factor in the cost of what is expected to be a high draft pick. Frank Ntilikina, who was the eighth overall selection this year, has a starting salary of $3.5MM.

The outlook is somewhat brighter for 2019, as the Knicks will enter that summer with about $50MM in guaranteed salaries. The team could give Kristaps Porzingis a rookie extension by then, which would add about $27MM, but with the Latvian star having a $17.1MM cap hold, it may make more sense to work out a deal in 2019. Add in a $4.8MM option that is expected to be picked up on Ntilikina, plus $1.6MM options on Damyean Dotson and Willy Hernangomez in addition to another draft pick, and Begley estimates about $19.5MM in available cap space, which isn’t nearly enough to compete for an elite free agent.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • One way to open cap space is through trades, and the Knicks’ front office seems willing to deal Courtney Lee, Begley notes in the same story. With three years and $55MM left on his contract, Joakim Noah is considered virtually untradable, but former team president Phil Jackson tried to include him when he talked to teams about Porzingis deals earlier this year.
  • Teams have contacted the Knicks about O’Quinn and Lance Thomas during the preseason, Begley adds. New York has a surplus of big men after acquiring Kanter from the Thunder in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
  • The Knicks aren’t making much effort to hide their desire to tank this season, with coach Jeff Hornacek comparing himself to Sixers coach Brett Brown, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. There is some concern that rebuilding will take its toll on Porzingis and may affect his desire to sign an extension in New York. “We’re building something and want to move forward as a team. We’re far from a championship right now,” Porzingis said. “We need to have a progression and move forward as a team and get better every year. I don’t know how long, if we do all the right things and grow, we’ll be there one day.’’
  • The Knicks unveiled Squarespace this morning as the new team sponsor, according to The New York Daily News. They are the 17th NBA team to add an official sponsor, and the uniform patches will debut in Friday’s game.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, KP, Smart, Lowry, McDaniels

The Knicks and Carmelo Anthony have officially separated and the organization is moving on from their once perennial All-Star. Now is the time for the Knicks to move on from Anthony through the way the team plays the game, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek now has a retooled roster and the freedom to coach the team his way. Former team president Phil Jackson harped on the triangle offense, which affected Hornacek’s own coaching style and forced the team to run a scheme many players later admitted was uncomfortable. Thus far in training camp, Hornacek said the team is focused on playing at a quicker pace.

“We want to move the ball,’’ Hornacek said. “We’ve had plays out there that I wish I could bottle up and have these guys do it every time. We’ve had some fantastic, six, seven extra passes and a guy nails the shot. We’ll continue to harp on that. We’ll continue to encourage the guys every time that happens, make or miss, and that’s that contagious thing.”

Hornacek also said the Knicks will rely on improved defense even if the team did not necessarily acquire any defensive upgrades. While Anthony was on the roster, he was criticized for holding the ball too long and playing spotty defense. While removing the 10-time all-star will not fix the Knicks, it gives the team a chance find a game plan that works.

Read up on additional news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks GM Scott Perry said to MSG’s Alan Hahn (via ESPN’s Ian Begley) that does not want to put too much pressure on Kristaps Porzingis as the Latvian big man settles in as the team’s franchise player. “I never want to put that much pressure on one individual,” Perry said. “He knows that he needs every one of his teammates to help this team be successful.”
  • Celtics‘ guard Marcus Smart is aware of the massive deals players around the NBA are signing but he is focused on the season and not free agency. “It’s huge; it’s crazy,” Smart said to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. “Those guys definitely deserve it. But like I said, that’s not my focus. I can’t control what those guys are getting. I can only control what I can control.”
  • After signing a massive three-year deal worth up to $100MM to remain in Toronto, Kyle Lowry said to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star his new deal will not kill his desire to be great.
  • K.J. McDaniels has been productive for every team he has played for, and this season he wants to put it all together with the Raptors, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes.
  • While Furkan Korkmaz is likely a year away from having a major NBA impact, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the rookie has impressed Sixers officials in training camp.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Porzingis, Embiid

It hasn’t taken long for Kyrie Irving to gel with his new Celtics teammates, Marc D’Amico of the Celtics’ official website writes. The newly acquired point guard has made an effort to approach his new teammates on the bus and at practice in order to make the transition more comfortable.

Of course Irving’s performance has wowed a Celtics teammate or two as well. Through training camp, Irving has impressed Al Horford with his uncanny ability to finish shots and frustrated Terry Rozier with his slippery offensive game. “He’s a tough one to guard, probably one of the toughest guys I’ve ever had to guard in my life,” Rozier said.

After putting up 25.2 points and 5.8 assists per game in his final season with the Cavaliers, Irving will look to provide much-needed star power to a Celtics squad eager to take the next step toward contention. Irving may well be the player on the roster with the highest ceiling ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Centers, Porzingis, Starters

While Carmelo Anthony was happy to ultimately land in Oklahoma City, agent Leon Rose admitted that he and his client had been expecting a trade to Houston before the Knicks hired Scott Perry as their general manager and reset those discussions. As Frank Isola of The New York Daily News outlines, Rose and Perry were ultimately able to work things out after being at odds over the Rockets opportunity.

Even though Scott and I battled over Houston, I have to respect the fact that he inherited an extremely difficult situation and that he had to do what was best for the organization,” Rose said. “Ultimately, he did right by Carmelo and made a deal. It all worked out for everybody.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • After acquiring Enes Kanter from the Thunder, the Knicks have an overabundance of options at the center position, prompting Marc Berman of The New York Post to wonder if another trade may come at some point to clear out that logjam.
  • With Anthony gone, Kristaps Porzingis  is now “The Man” in New York, and he expects himself to naturally evolve into a team leader, writes Berman for The New York Post. “I don’t need to force it,” Porzingis said. “First thing I’ll do is be the hardest-working guy. We have a bunch of guys who work hard. I will work hard also and give an example. From that hard work, you can be a leader and give it to your teammates.”
  • Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. are likely locked in as starters at power forward and shooting guard, respectively, but the other three spots in the starting lineup may be up for grabs during the preseason, as Berman details for The Post.

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Hornacek, Anthony

The Knicks haven’t seen Kristaps Porzingis since he skipped an exit meeting in April, but the Latvian star was trying to smooth things over this afternoon at media day. Porzingis said he has no lingering bitterness toward the organization regarding the events of last spring or the offseason roster changes, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. “No I’m coming into this season with a fresh mind,” Porzingis said. “It’s a new season.”

Porzingis is also in a new role as team leader after the trade of Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City. Porzingis denied reports that he clashed last season with coach Jeff Hornacek, insisting he has a “great relationship” with the coach and saying he doesn’t “know where it’s coming from,” tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Porzingis got bigger and stronger over the summer, which will come in handy as he tries to carry the team, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Anthony is gone, along with former team president Phil Jackson and his triangle offense, leaving the organization to rebuild around its 7’3″ center. “Moving forward in this league, he’s going to get a lot of opportunities to grow into that lead position,” Hornacek said of Porzingis. “We’re just excited to get back to coaching and moving forward with him and trying to develop him into that great player that we think he can become.” 
  • With his trade to the Thunder becoming official today, Anthony penned a farewell note to New York fans on his website. He thanked owner Jim Dolan and the Knicks organization, along with everyone who supported him during his six and a half years with the team. “New York equipped me to make it in any other place in the world,” he wrote. “It taught me how to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable. Saying Goodbye is the hardest thing to do. I never thought I would, especially to you. No one will ever take your place. It’s hard to find someone like you, so know you will always be missed. You helped me laugh. You dried my tears. Because of you, I have no fears. You came into my life and I was blessed. It’s time to raise my hand and say goodbye. It’s not the end, because like I’ve always said, NYC ‘til the end.”
  • Despite his fond memories, Anthony’s time in New York was a disappointment, contends Neil Best of Newsday. Best gives Anthony credit for the classy way he handled the feud with Jackson, but says he never delivered the playoff success the team expected when it acquired him from Denver.
  • Once Anthony expanded his list of possible destinations to three teams, the Knicks took the best deal they could find, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Although neither Enes Kanter or Doug McDermott may have a long future in New York, Isola says they are a better alternative than taking on Ryan Anderson‘s huge contract.

Knicks Expect Carmelo To Open Camp With Team

After a full offseason of trade rumors, Carmelo Anthony remains a Knick, and the club’s brass doesn’t expect that to change within the next few days. Speaking today to reporters, including Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link), Knicks president Steve Mills says he expects Anthony to be with the club on Monday for Media Day and on Tuesday for the team’s first practice.

While general manager Scott Perry says the Knicks will “continue to listen” to trade possibilities for Anthony, the team is currently planning to head into the season with Carmelo in its starting lineup, as head coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed today (Twitter links via Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog).

We’ve heard all summer that Anthony’s preference is to be traded, but Perry and the Knicks expect nothing but professionalism from the veteran forward, and believe he can set a good example for the team’s young players (Twitter links via Begley). Meanwhile, Mills – who confirmed that the team has been in regular contact with Anthony recently – indicated that he doesn’t expect the Knicks’ chemistry to be negatively impacted by the trade rumors surrounding the club’s leading scorer (Twitter links via Begley).

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Various reports over the offseason, including one this week from Marc Berman of The New York Post, indicated that Hornacek has a strained relationship with Kristaps Porzingis. However, the Knicks head coach said today that his relationship with Porzingis is good, and that he won’t comment on reports that state otherwise.
  • Hornacek suggested today that rookie Frank Ntilikina could compete for the starting point guard job, but Perry, likening the point guard position to a quarterback in football, cautioned that Ntilkina may need some time to get comfortable in the NBA (Twitter link via Berman).
  • Joakim Noah has been medically cleared to get back on the court following his rotator cuff injury, per Mills (Twitter link via Zagoria). Now that he’s been deemed healthy enough to play, Noah will open the regular season by serving the remaining 12 games on his 20-game suspension.
  • Based on Hornacek’s comments today, it sounds like the Knicks’ offense will change significantly, with the triangle no longer the focus, tweets Begley.

Knicks Notes: Jack, Burke, Dotson

When the Knicks drafted Frank Ntilikina, they expected to bring him along slowly so that he could develop from a raw prospect into a dangerous core piece down the road. The loss of Derrick Rose via free agency, however, suddenly cleared room on the depth chart.

With nobody standing between Ntilikina and a significant workload early, New York went out and signed veteran reserve Ramon Sessions. It turns out, however, that there a few more playmakers the Knicks have been keeping their eye on. Per Ian Begley of ESPN, the club views Jarrett Jack and Trey Burke as potential adds as well.

This isn’t the first time that Jack’s name has been brought up by the New York media – in August Ohm Youngmisuk, also of ESPN, linked the Knicks to Jack and Archie Goodwin.

While Jack had a solid season across town with the Nets as recently as 2014/15, he has been besieged by injuries ever since.

Burke, in contrast, has simply seen his role decrease from season to season as his four-year career has drawn on. Though the former NCAA Tournament star is still just 24 years old, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be anything but a bit player for the next team that he finds himself on.

If the Knicks are going to make a move to shore up their playmaking corps, they may want to act sooner than later. Begley’s tweet actually came in response to the news that the Trail Blazers had signed the aforementioned Goodwin to a training camp deal.

There’s more from the Knicks:

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Embiid, Celtics

A pair of Knicks bigs have turned heads at EuroBasket 2017 and that bodes well for the future of the franchise. Between Kristaps Porzingis‘ offensive showcase with Latvia and Willy Hernangomez‘s dominance in the post with Spain, New York fans ought to be drooling with anticipation, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Squashing any concerns about a knee bruise that kept Porzingis out of some exhibition games with his national team, the 7’3″ Knicks forward has flaunted his length, range and just about everything else that’s made him such a tantalizing, unique NBA package. Through two games so far, Porzingis has averaged 22.5 points per game.

Hernangomez may not have pumped out any similarly viral highlight reel plays through his first two games in the tournament but the 23-year-old has stepped up as a foundational component of his Spanish team. The 18 points and nine boards he dropped in 20 minutes during the club’s opener is reminiscent of his impressive string of performances for the Knicks in the second half of 2016/17.

Even Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Berman writes, has looked impressive through three EuroBasket games averaging 16.0 points per match.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers need to figure out the best way to handle Joel Embiid‘s contract extension – our very own Dana Garauder wrote about it here – but one thing that can’t be overlooked when weighing injury risks and production is the impact that Embiid has on the Sixers brand. “He’s got the public on his side,” a league source told Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. “[The idea of alienating or losing Embiid altogether] is a public relations nightmare.
  • Between Gordon Hayward leaving money on the table in Utah and Kyrie Irving leaving a team that made three straight Finals appearances, the newest Celtics made big sacrifices to be where they are now. “They were doing what I thought was fair game and very grateful that both of them chose to come here and make those sacrifices,Danny Ainge told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.
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