Miles McBride

Knicks Reportedly Offered Fournier, Toppin, Five First-Rounders For Mitchell

Since re-engaging with the Jazz in trade talks, the Knicks have made an offer for guard Donovan Mitchell that includes Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, and five first-round picks, according to Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic.

According to The Athletic’s duo, two of the five first-round picks the Knicks offered were unprotected. Those two picks would have to be New York’s own, since all the extra first-rounders the team has acquired from other clubs have some form of protections on them.

Charania and Jones also report that New York’s offer included “additional salary.” The Knicks would have to add at least one player to Fournier and Toppin in order to match Mitchell’s $30.35MM cap hit — Miles McBride and Cam Reddish are perhaps the most likely candidates to be that additional player.

A report in mid-July, when the Jazz and Knicks first engaged in serious discussions about Mitchell, indicated that Utah was seeking six first-round picks, plus young players like Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, in exchange for the All-Star guard.

New York appears to have moved toward closing that gap, but Utah will presumably continue to haggle over the protections on the picks as well as the young Knicks players included in the return. The Jazz would probably also rather acquire Derrick Rose and his expiring contract for salary-matching purposes than Fournier and his multiyear deal, but could relent on that point if most of the rest of their asking price is met.

Mitchell remains under contract for at least three more seasons with a player option for 2025/26 and reportedly hasn’t made a trade request, so Utah has conveyed no urgency to move him. However, if the Jazz can secure a return that matches or exceeds the one they got for Rudy Gobert earlier this summer, the expectation is that they’ll pull the trigger.

Atlantic Notes: McBride, Randle, Stevens, Tucker

The addition of Jalen Brunson could make playing time scarce for Miles McBride but he’s trying to remain confident, Zach Braziler of the New York Post writes. The 2021 second-round pick played in 40 games last season and projects as the Knicks’ third-string point guard behind Brunson and Derrick Rose. “Doing whatever I can to be on the floor [is my mindset],” he said. “If that means making shots, bringing the ball up, finding the open man, playing defense, I’m doing anything I can to be on the floor.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Julius Randle showed his leadership by inviting young players Jericho Sims and Feron Hunt to summer weight and cardio sessions in Dallas, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News notes. “It was cool. He wanted me to come down, so I said, ‘Hey, he’s a big-time player, why not get close to him, build that relationship,’” Sims said. Randle is trying to improve an image that was tarnished during a disappointing season for him and the Knicks. He’s at the beginning of a four-year extension.
  • Brad Stevens is happy with his current status as the Celtics’ top executive but he’s not ruling out coaching again someday, as he told Steve Bulpett of “I’ve enjoyed both roles I’ve been in. I love the people I’ve worked with in both roles, and my family loves it, so, yeah, we’re really happy,” he said. “I’m not going to try to predict the future. I have no idea. No idea. I don’t know if I’d ever coach again. We’ll see.”
  • Toughness, durability and 3-point shooting are among the attributes that P.J. Tucker brings to the Sixers. Kyle Neubeck of breaks down all the aspects of Tucker’s game and the intangibles he adds to the table as the veteran forward transitions from one Eastern Conference contender to another.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Randle, Robinson, Fournier

In a rare media appearance, Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose spoke to MSG Network’s Mike Breen over the weekend about the state of the franchise, head coach Tom Thibodeau, and forward Julius Randle, among other topics. Rose acknowledged it was a “disappointing” season in New York, but expressed confidence that the team’s long-term plan is on track.

“Absolutely. We have to stick to the plan,” he said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “We have to build one block at a time, be patient. We feel like we’re set up, you know, really well as far as like, we’ve got 13 draft picks over the next three drafts, four first-round picks. With regard to opportunities that may come along, we’re very flexible. We want to show patience, we want to show prudence in making those decisions and continuing to develop what we have.”

Rose said the Knicks fell short of their goal of being a playoff team, but added that he saw some positive signs from the club during the season’s home stretch. Following a seven-game losing streak that began in February and ended in March, New York went 12-7 the rest of the way and got solid production from a handful of young players.

Jericho (Sims) going against starting centers, the 58th pick in the draft,” Rose said, according to Ian Begley of Obi (Toppin), the last week or so has just taken it to another level, scoring a career-high the last game. Quentin (Grimes), who had already established himself in the rotation. (Miles McBride) getting minutes and doing a good job with it. (Immanuel Quickley) playing point guard and showing some signs.

“And RJ (Barrett) is only 21 years old. We have nine players on our team who are 24 years old or younger and Julius is only 27, so … we look at that like development is key. And just in this part of the season, we’ve seen some good development and just need to work and continue on and build on that.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Rose said that Randle “loves it here in New York (and) wants to be in New York,” according to Begley. The Knicks’ president also praised the job Thibodeau did in a challenging season. “I mean, again, he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA,” Rose said, per Popper. “So obviously none of us are happy with the results this year. But he’s a guy who prepares our team better than anybody. I feel that he’s done a good job under the circumstances.”
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Rose was “dead-set” against letting Thibodeau go during the season when at least two members of the front office recommended making a coaching change. Berman also hears from a source that some Knicks executives and players didn’t love the fact that the coaching staff didn’t hold Randle more accountable for his “miscues” throughout the season.
  • Randle and Toppin have talked about the possibility of playing together in small-ball lineups next season, as Peter Botte of The New York Post relays. “There are so many different things we can do when we’re both on the court,” Toppin said. “But we’ve definitely talked about it and hopefully we’re both back here next year and we can see that. I feel like we can definitely do some damage in the league if we’re on the court together.”
  • Although he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Mitchell Robinson remains eligible to sign an extension with the Knicks up until June 30 and Rose hasn’t ruled out that possibility, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. “With Mitchell, there has been ongoing discussions throughout the year with his agent,” Rose told Breen. “And those discussions will continue, will continue for the remainder of the time until free agency.” The Knicks are limited to offering Robinson about $55.6MM over four years on an extension — they could go higher in free agency.
  • Knicks swingman Evan Fournier intends to represent France in this September’s EuroBasket tournament, tweets Katz.

Knicks Notes: McBride, Grimes, Draft, Mitchell, Hunt

Quentin Grimes absorbed most of Miles McBride‘s minutes after Grimes returned from a knee injury on Friday. However, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau will still try to find ways to play the rookie second-rounder despite having a more crowded backcourt, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

“I love what ‘Deuce’ has done. We’ll try to figure out how to work that out,” Thibodeau said of McBride. “He’ll probably be going back and forth. He’s done a really good job. We’ll see how this unfolds.’’

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau is focused on his team but he’s finding some time to watch prospects in the NCAA Tournament, Berman adds in the same story. “I’ll get an opportunity to watch a little bit here, little bit there,’’ Thibodeau said. “Then, when the season’s over, I’ll go back and dig in a lot deeper. It’s an exciting time of year.”
  • There are some intriguing connections between Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell and the Knicks. Mitchell was previously represented by Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, while New York assistant Johnnie Bryant was one of Mitchell’s favorite coaches in Utah, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News notes. If Mitchell comes to a point where he wants out of Utah or the Jazz are willing to trade him, Berman speculates the package would have to include RJ Barrett and multiple first-rounders.
  • Feron Hunt‘s two-way contract is a two-year deal, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Hunt signed the contract on Friday. Hunt had 16 points and eight rebounds playing for the G League’s Westchester Knicks on Sunday.

Knicks Notes: McBride, Roster Flexibility, Randle, Barrett, Rose

Injuries have left the Knicks thin at point guard, but they’ve been reluctant to turn to second-round pick Miles McBride, who has been putting up big numbers in the G League, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. McBride is averaging 29.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game for the team’s Westchester affiliate. He seems like a natural alternative with Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose both sidelined, but has only played 22 NBA games so far, logging 7.0 minutes per night.

“It’s definitely been challenging,” McBride said. “Obviously growing up, never had to deal with sitting a lot. But it’s the NBA. It should be challenging. The task they’re giving me, being able to play in the G League and being able to come back to the team, it’s been fun. So just trying to enjoy every day and taking the challenge head on.”

McBride appeared to have a breakthrough game December 16 in Houston when he started the second half after Rose was injured and wound up with 15 points, nine assists and four steals. However, he tested positive for COVID-19 the next day and has barely played since. He said the coaching staff is urging him to be patient.

“The feedback is, ‘you’re young, you’re a rookie, the opportunities you get, take them,’” McBride said. “And some things happen along with it.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Despite their troubles this season, the Knicks may have hope for the future because they’ve prioritized roster flexibility and stockpiled draft picks, notes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Five of the six contracts they handed out last summer included a team option, and although they sent a protected Hornets’ pick to the Hawks in exchange for Cam Reddish, they still have a generous supply of draft choices remaining. Even so, rival executives are skeptical that the Knicks can turn things around quickly because they don’t have a star player already on the roster. “If they are going to give up their picks and swaps to get someone, it doesn’t matter who they are trading,” a Western Conference executive said. “But if their hope was to turn these guys into good players by themselves, I’d be hard-pressed to see a team thinking they’ll take that for a star.”
  • Among the Knicks’ concerns for the future is that their two best players, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, haven’t played well together, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. In the 1,418 minutes they’ve shared the court this season, New York has a minus-6.8 net rating, and that number has fallen to minus-9.9 over the past 11 games, Bondy states.
  • It could be more than a week before the Knicks have an update on Rose, who had a surgical procedure last week for a skin infection on his right ankle, tweets Ian Begley of

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Walker, McBride, Protocols

Knicks fans have been calling for Obi Toppin to get more playing time, but he put up disappointing numbers Friday in his first career start, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Replacing Julius Randle, who is in health and safety protocols, Toppin scored just five points in 27 minutes in a loss at Oklahoma City.

“The second unit, those guys play well together,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The big part of it is (Toppin) running the floor. When you have Alec (Burks), Derrick (Rose) and (Immanuel) Quickley throwing the ball ahead and getting those easy buckets, it gets you into a rhythm and easy scores. It’s his first game starting. You have to be ready to go. That intensity, you can’t ease into the game. You (have) got to go.’’

Toppin has shown improvement in his second NBA season, with his averages of 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game roughly doubling what he did as a rookie. He has been part of a bench unit that has frequently outplayed the team’s starting five, and he believes he can succeed as a starter if given more time.

“This is the first time all of us have played together on the court, the stating five,’’ Toppin said. “We had to find a rhythm. With everything going on, with new people starting, new people coming off the bench, we all haven’t played with each other a lot.’’

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Kemba Walker was a late scratch for Friday’s game after experiencing pain in his left knee, Berman adds in a separate story. Berman notes that the decision to hold Walker out was made during pre-game and it comes after he played both ends of a back-to-back this week. “He started his warm-up, and then he stopped,” said Thibodeau, who isn’t sure how long Walker might be sidelined. “And then (trainer) Anthony (Goenaga) was looking at him and just felt, let’s get him examined, and then we’ll go from there.’’
  • The loss of Walker led to the first career start for rookie Miles McBride, who learned of the assignment about an hour before game time, Berman notes in another piece“I wanted to step up and do the best I could,’’ said McBride, who exited the protocols earlier this week. “I’m still trying to get in a rhythm. The whole team is — with guys going down. It just happened like that. I couldn’t do a lot of thinking or reacting. I had to go with the flow.’’ 
  • The Knicks currently have two starters and three assistant coaches in the health and safety protocols, and Thibodeau tells Steve Popper of Newsday that the team is doing its best to adjust. “There’s nothing you can do other than follow the guidelines,” he said. “You want everyone to be healthy. You want them to be safe. That’s your first concern. Forget the basketball part of it, take care of it yourself.”

Knicks Notes: Walker, McBride, Rose, Barrett, Toppin

Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Kemba Walker‘s banishment from the Knicks‘ rotation may have been a blessing in disguise, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Walker admits he wasn’t aggressive enough at times to start the season.

I just have a tendency of kind of not wanting to step on toes,” Walker said. “I think that’s what I did early on. I was here and I wasn’t being as aggressive, I think, as I could have been. But I think being out and seeing how the game has been flowing and going put me in a different mindset.”

Walker and the rest of the team’s starters struggled mightily in Wednesday’s 94-85 victory over the depleted Pistons, as the Knicks were carried once again by the bench group, all of whom finished with a plus/minus of at least plus-27. Walker had two points, two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 20 minutes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Prior to Wednesday’s game, Marc Berman of The New York Post suggested that rookie Miles McBride may face a diminished role, given Walker’s strong recent play. However, that wasn’t the case against Detroit — in his first game back from the COVID-19 protocols, McBride logged 25 minutes in the team’s victory, leading the team in plus/minus at plus-39 while Walker struggled.
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau says Derrick Rose is recovering well from ankle surgery and that he’s confident in the Knicks’ guard play, Berman writes in another article for The New York Post.
  • RJ Barrett is trying to regain his shooting stroke after a bout with COVID-19, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Barrett is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, and how he finishes the rest of the season could have a major impact on the size of his contract, Bondy opines.
  • It’s clear the Knicks need to give Obi Toppin a lot more minutes than he has received so far this season, even if those minutes eat into Julius Randle‘s playing time, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post contends. In Wednesday’s win over Detroit, Toppin was an incredible plus-36 in 22 minutes, while Randle was a minus-27 in 26 minutes.

COVID-19 Roundup: Nets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder

The NBA’s new guidelines regarding its health and safety protocols have resulted in several players being released from protocols this morning. The league and its players union agreed Monday to shorten the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive players and coaches from 10 days to six.

Here is the latest news on who has entered and cleared protocols today:

  • Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are out of protocols, as is LaMarcus Aldridge, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Durant and Aldridge may be ready for Thursday’s game, Irving is still working his way back into game condition and remains ineligible to play in home games because he hasn’t met New York City’s vaccine requirement.
  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince has cleared protocols and will rejoin the team, but won’t play tonight against the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota also gets back Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has cleared protocols and is set to reunite with the club today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Chris Fedor of tweets that the Cavaliers hope to have Mobley play in tonight’s game against the Pelicans, but will put him through his pregame paces first to gauge his conditioning level.
  • Unfortunately, just as one of Cleveland’s best players recovers, another will be absent. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, enjoying a nearly All-Star-level season with Cleveland, has entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
  • Knicks rookie point guard guard Miles McBride has cleared protocols, the team has announced (via Twitter). New York adds that he has rejoined the team ahead of its game tonight against the Timberwolves.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Heat point guard Kyle Lowry is also in protocols. Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn will return to the sidelines, Chiang adds.
  • Wizards forwards Rui Hachimura and Montrezl Harrell have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, joining six other Washington players, the team has announced (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ entire season thus far due to personal reasons. Among the others, unvaccinated All-Star guard Bradley Beal is still in protocols and Wallace reports that his status is “questionable” prior to the Wizards’ upcoming contest against the Heat tonight. Center Thomas Bryant, wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and guards Anthony Gill, Aaron Holiday and Raul Neto are still in protocols.
  • Thunder rookie guard Josh Giddey has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault has also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Wilks starting with this evening’s contest against the Kings, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Wilks, a former journeyman NBA guard, suited up for four games with the Thunder during the 2009/10 season, Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman adds (Twitter link). Players Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl remain in the protocols for Oklahoma City.
  • Keep track of all the players currently in COVID-19 protocols through out our daily tracker.

Arthur Hill contributed to this report.

Atlantic Notes: Riller, Celtics, Stevens, Walker, McBride

Grant Riller was waived by the Sixers on Sunday and new details have emerged why that move was made. He’s undergoing right shoulder surgery and will miss the next four-to-six months, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Riller was on a two-way contract and could return to Philly next season after he recovers. Riller, a 24-year-old point guard, suffered a torn meniscus in early October and injured the shoulder in a G League game last month.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Boston has new vaccine requirements for indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment establishments going into effect next month, according to a Boston Globe report. However, all professional athletes are exempt, meaning it won’t have any impact on the Celtics or visiting players, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Under the new mandate, proof of at least one vaccine dose will be required after January 15 to enter those facilities except for medical or religious reasons.
  • Brad Stevens has had far more hits than misses in the moves he’s made since becoming president of basketball operations 200 days ago, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston opines. Forsberg breaks down each transaction while noting that those moves can’t be fully judged until Stevens utilizes the cap flexibility generated by them.
  • Kemba Walker and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau have not discussed the point guard’s situation since he was removed from the rotation, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. However, Walker doesn’t want to be a distraction. “I’m not starting, I ain’t playing,” Walker said. “So I’m here for my team, I’m here for my teammates. I can’t say it enough. Whatever’s asked of me that’s what I’m here for.” Walker erupted for 29 points in 37 minutes for the depleted Knicks on Saturday, his first action since Nov. 26.
  • Thibodeau has been impressed by the team’s rookies, particularly guard Miles McBride, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “The thing that I was most proud of is the way those guys all worked. ,,, they’ve been phenomenal and not just in the way they work but when they were competing in practice,” he said. McBride is currently in the health and safety protocols.

Evan Mobley, Marcus Morris, Miles McBride Enter Protocols

Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley (Twitter link), Clippers forward Marcus Morris and Knicks guard Miles McBride (Twitter link) have all entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to their respective teams. All three updates were released on Saturday morning.

Mobley, Morris and McBride join a growing list of players in the league’s protocols. A total of 58 players are currently waiting to return, according to our tracker. Assuming the trio tested positive for COVID-19, they’ll be out for at least 10 days unless they register consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Mobley, 20, is currently enjoying a stellar rookie season. In 25 games, he’s averaged 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 33.6 minutes, starting in every one of his contests.

Morris, an 11-year veteran, is one of many Clippers players on the team’s injury report for Saturday’s game against Oklahoma City, but he’s the only player listed out due to the protocols.

McBride shined in the Knicks’ 116-103 win over Houston on Thursday, recording 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals as a starter. New York now has six players in the protocols.