Nerlens Noel

Knicks Agree To Re-Sign Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel

The Knicks have agreed to new deals with unrestricted free agents Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, Burks’ new deal will be worth $30MM over three years, while Noel will get a three-year contract worth $32MM. Burks’ contract will be fully guaranteed, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Burks and Noel both signed team-friendly one-year contracts with New York in 2020 and outplayed those deals. Burks put up 12.7 PPG and 4.6 RPG with a career-high .415 3PT% in 49 games (25.6 MPG), while Noel started 41 of his 64 games, recording 5.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in 24.2 MPG.

Burks had been viewed as a probable target for the Cavaliers, while Noel had been linked to the Raptors, Knicks, Hornets, and Kings. However, the Knicks entered the day with more cap flexibility than any other team, putting them in good position to get deals done with their priority free agents.

New York should still have upwards of $30MM+ in possible cap room after making their commitments to Burks and Noel.

Fischer’s Latest: Bulls, Ball, Pelicans, Hornets, Lakers, Schröder, Knicks, More

While it’s possible the Bulls will sign restricted free agent point guard Lonzo Ball to an offer sheet in the four-year, $80MM range, doing so would be a risk, since the Pelicans could match that offer and leave Chicago empty-handed. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, a possible three-team deal involving the Bulls, Pelicans, and Hornets could eliminate that risk and ensure Ball lands in Chicago.

The structure – which John Hollinger of The Athletic alluded to earlier today and which has seemingly gained traction, per Fischer – would see Ball going to the Bulls, Devonte’ Graham to the Pelicans, and Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart, and draft assets to the Hornets.

Fischer cautions that this is only one idea in play and that things should become clearer once free agency opens. A sign-and-trade that only involves the Bulls and Pelicans – with Satoransky going to New Orleans – is also a possibility, he adds.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest rumor roundup:

  • The Lakers haven’t given up on the possibility of acquiring Buddy Hield from the Kings, but they don’t appear to be working closely with Dennis Schröder‘s camp on a possible sign-and-trade arrangement, per Fischer.
  • The Knicks and Wizards are still considered possibilities for Schröder, according to Fischer. The veteran point guard is also believed to be one of the Bulls‘ targets if they can’t land Ball, Fischer notes, writing that Chicago has done its homework on DeMar DeRozan and Richaun Holmes as well.
  • The Knicks are widely believed to be a frontrunner to sign Evan Fournier, perhaps for a three-year deal worth about $18MM annually, Fischer reports. Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel are also strong candidates to re-sign with New York for deals worth about $10MM per year, Fischer adds.
  • Will Barton appears likely to return to the Nuggets, according to Fischer, who says a two-year, $32MM+ contract is a real possibility.
  • Cameron Payne is considered a good bet to re-sign with the Suns for a deal in the $6MM-per-year range, says Fischer.

Scotto’s Latest: Markkanen, Noel, Raptors, Pistons, L. Williams

The Bulls and Lauri Markkanen are open to working out a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to a new team, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Chicago issued Markkanen a qualifying offer this week that will ensure he’s a restricted free agent, giving the team some leverage in negotiations.

Scotto identifies the Timberwolves – who have long been on the hunt for a power forward – as one team to watch as a possible sign-and-trade destination for Markkanen. The Spurs and Thunder are also among the teams with Markkanen on their radar, per Scotto. San Antonio and Oklahoma City would have the cap flexibility necessary to issue Markkanen an offer sheet without giving up an asset in a sign-and-trade if they’re confident Chicago won’t match.

Here are a few more updates on free agency from Scotto:

  • Following a strong season in New York, free agent big man Nerlens Noel is expected to draw interest from the Raptors, Knicks, Pistons, and Kings, writes Scotto.
  • The Raptors and Pistons should have a little cap flexibility and will likely look to the free agent market to address the center position. Scotto reiterates that Jarrett Allen and Richaun Holmes are on Toronto’s radar, and names Kelly Olynyk as a potential Detroit target. Some people around the league believe Olynyk will end up signing a deal worth $10-12MM per year, Scotto adds.
  • Despite mutual interest in a new deal between the Hawks and Lou Williams, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year will receive interest from other clubs, including the Pacers and Bucks, says Scotto. Williams is seeking a multiyear deal.

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

Knicks Notes: Noel, Payne, Grimes, Murphy

Nerlens Noel was a revelation for the Knicks this season. Signed to a one-year, $5MM deal to back up Mitchell Robinson, Noel stepped up to fill the starting spot for a majority of the season after multiple injuries kept Robinson out of the lineup, and was one of the best defensive centers in the league during that time.

Now, Noel is hitting unrestricted free agency once again and he spoke to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype about the decision he’ll face.

Whether it’s a team that has or hasn’t been to the playoffs, I just want to help the team overall with my playing style and wreaking havoc defensively and catching lobs,” Noel said. “It’s about finding the right fit. Guard play that can help a big man excel. Small things like that I think will be an ideal fit.

Scotto writes that Noel could potentially double his 2020/21 earnings next year in whatever deal he signs. The Hornets, Mavericks, Nets and Raptors have been rumored to have interest in his services.

We have more news and notes on the Knicks:

  • Cameron Payne has had a remarkable last season-and-a-half for the Suns, which could put him in a position to secure a $10MM+ deal in this summer’s free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks, who are looking for answers at point guard and will have the most cap room of any team, could be a suitor for Payne, Berman writes. If Chris Paul stays in Phoenix, it will be difficult financially for the Suns to retain Payne.
  • The Knicks are considering Quentin Grimes with one of their two first-round picks, writes Berman in a separate article. The 6’4″ guard’s stock has risen considerably over the most recent season and the pre-draft process, and the Knicks were reportedly “wowed” by his combination of shot-making and defense during workouts.
  • Berman writes that the team also worked out Virginia’s Trey Murphy III on Tuesday. Murphy isn’t considered a high-ceiling prospect, but he fits head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s edict of getting “wings and guys who can shoot.” Berman reports that Oregon’s Chris Duarte is under consideration as well, and that the Lakers, picking one slot after the Knicks, have also shown interest in Murphy.

Knicks Notes: Sexton, Vildoza, Noel

There has been talk that the Knicks are aggressively pursuing a trade with the Cavaliers for high-scoring young guard Collin Sexton. With that in mind, The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo and Mike Vornukov examine what New York might give up for Sexton. The Knicks don’t have available veteran players that the Cavaliers would be interested in, so it’s more likely to be a combination of last year’s lottery selection, Obi Toppin, and a first-round pick.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Luca Vildoza scored nine points in Argentina’s loss to Team USA on Tuesday while guarding some high-level players such as Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine and Damian Lillard. He’s looking forward to doing that on a regular basis, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “Today was a test for me against the best players in the world,” he said. “I felt really good against them, but we lost by 30, and I got to get better. I got work to do.’’ Vildoza signed a four-year pact with the Knicks in May.
  • The team is interested in re-signing free agent Nerlens Noel but they’ll have plenty of competition, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Kings and Raptors are expected to make a run at the big man. The Mavericks, Nets and Hornets are also potential suitors for Noel, Ian Begley of SNY.tv tweets. Sacramento’s pursuit of Noel hinges on what happens with one of its own free agents, Richaun Holmes, Scotto adds.
  • What are the Knicks’ offseason plans and just how much cap room will it have? Check out our Offseason Preview.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Payton, Gibson, Barrett

The Knicks need a quick turnaround from Julius Randle to salvage their series with the Hawks, but coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t worried about his star forward, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Randle averaged 24.1 points per game during the regular season, but has been limited to 15, 15, and 14 points as Atlanta has taken a 2-1 series lead.

“Just be Julius. I don’t want him overthinking it,’’ Thibodeau said. “Let the game come to you. Sometimes you’re going to get your shots, sometimes you got to make the play. That’s what he’s done extremely well all year long. He’s our engine, he’s a fighter, he’s tough, he’s smart. He’ll figure it out.’’

The Hawks have frustrated Randle with changing coverages, a variety of defenders, and frequent double and triple teams. He hasn’t been able to get comfortable in the point forward role he has played all season, and the Knicks don’t have a dependable guard to run their offense.

“It’s been a team effort,’’ said Hawks guard Kevin Huerter. “He’s the head of the snake. When the team is playing at its best, he’s playing at its best. He’s making shots and creating for everyone else. We wanted to make it as tough as we could on him. We’ve thrown different guys at him. Defensively, it’s feel like every possession someone else gets a crack at him. We’re just trying to show help when we can and force him into tough shots.’’

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Derrick Rose is expected to remain the starting point guard for Game 4, Berman states in a separate story. Rose scored 30 points in 38 minutes Friday as former starter Elfrid Payton wasn’t used at all. Thibodeau admits it was difficult to break the news of the demotion to Payton. “You always have to do what you feel is best for your team,’’ he said. “Sometimes it’s matchups. Elfrid’s a critical part of the team. He’s had a very good year for us. It’s just also, like, what we’re looking at, and what we think gives us our best chance right now.”
  • Thibodeau made another lineup change in Game 3, Berman adds, starting Taj Gibson at center in place of Nerlens Noel, who has been dealing with an ankle that he “tweaked” in the series opener. Noel excelled in the reserve role, with 12 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. “It doesn’t matter, whatever Thibs wants me to do — come off the bench, play five minutes,” Gibson said. “Doesn’t matter. We got to find a way to come out with a ‘W.’”
  • The Knicks need more production from RJ Barrett, points out Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Barrett is shooting 13 of 38 in the first three games and is regularly missing open jumpers. “I see it,” he said. “I’m open. I just got to make it.”

Knicks Notes: Randle, T. Young, Noel, Robinson

Julius Randle isn’t just the NBA’s Most Improved Player, he’s also “a Thibs guy.” That’s how Knicks teammate Taj Gibson described Randle to Nick Friedell of ESPN in explaining how he was able to raise his game under coach Tom Thibodeau.

Randle averaged career highs this season with 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists and is a strong candidate for All-NBA honors. He also appeared in all but one of the team’s 72 games.

“When you’re a Thibs Guy that just shows that he can count on you,” Gibson explained. “Ups and downs, highs and lows, you know that he believes in you and he believes that you can go in there and help the team overcome — through injuries, through it all. It’s being a tough-minded guy, fight for the team.”

Thibodeau traces Randle’s improvement back to a meeting they had shortly after the new coach was hired last July. Thibodeau said Randle showed up in exceptional shape and expressed a willingness to be coached.

“You could see how highly motivated he was,” Thibodeau said. “And then when we had our short bubble, just his willingness to come in and work and lead and I could see how hungry he was. I felt like this was the guy that could help set the tone for us.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Knicks players aren’t buying into the idea of Trae Young as the newest villain at Madison Square Garden, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Hawks guard hit a game-winning floater in the final second of Game 1, then put his finger to his lips as a sign for the crowd to be quiet. “That’s basketball, man,” Derrick Rose said. “He came in, we played a great game and the crowd is supposed to do that, his reaction is supposed to be that way. It’s supposed to amp up and bring that atmosphere and that environment to where it is right now. I mean, that’s what I’m used to.”
  • Nerlens Noel will be in the starting lineup for tonight’s Game 2, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). Noel landed awkwardly and limped off the court midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. Thibodeau said Noel “tweaked his ankle” and was a limited participant in practice, Berman adds in a separate story.
  • Center Mitchell Robinson remains “several steps away” from returning after surgery on his right foot, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Addressing reporters before tonight’s game, Thibodeau said Robinson hasn’t been cleared for practice, adding, “We’re not taking any chances with him.”

Atlantic Notes: Payton, Randle, Noel, Williams

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau may be pulling the plug on struggling point guard Elfrid Payton, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. He played just eight minutes in Game 1 against the Hawks on Sunday. Thibodeau was noncommittal on how he’ll use Payton the remainder of the series.

“Regards to Elfrid, we always put the best players out there that will help us win the game,’’ he said. “So some guys are a bit better than others in situations, some guys may be going well. Whoever is going well, we have confidence in everyone on the roster.’’

Payton is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks forward Julius Randle, a finalist for this season’s Most Improved Player award, is certain he’ll play better in Game 2, Peter Botte of the New York Post relays. He shot 6-for-23 from the field in the opener. “It’s the name of the playoffs, you make the necessary adjustments, and I look forward to that, and like I said, look forward to the next game,” he said. “Shots, opportunity, challenge, that’s what I’m encouraged by. When you’re trying to figure out how to solve a problem, it’s a process. For me, that’s what really makes this whole thing fun.”
  • Knicks center Nerlens Noel, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, suffered an ankle injury in the playoff opener and his status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain, according to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post. “He tweaked his ankle, so we’ll see where he is [Tuesday],’’  Thibodeau said. The extra day should give Noel enough time to suit up for Game 2, Staszewski speculates.
  • Robert Williams presents the Celtics with a dilemma this offseason, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston notes. They could try to negotiate a modest rookie extension, which wouldn’t kick in until the 2022/23 season. If that doesn’t happen, his price tag could rise. Williams has had trouble staying on the court due to hip ailments but the 23-year-old big man might just be scratching the surface of his potential, Forsberg adds.

Free Agency Rumors: Holmes, Hardaway, Powell, More

Kings center Richaun Holmes is expected to be a sought-after free agent this offseason, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who spoke to a number of league personnel members about the 2021 FA class. Fischer’s sources suggested that a four-year, $80MM deal wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Holmes.

“I think everyone’s going to be chasing him,” one team analytics staffer told Bleacher Report.

The Kings figure to make an effort to re-sign Holmes. General manager Monte McNair referred to the big man today as “an integral part of the team,” as James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets. And Ham himself made the case that retaining Holmes should be Sacramento’s top priority.

However, since the Kings only have Holmes’ Early Bird rights and don’t project to have a huge chunk of cap room, their ability to make a competitive offer may be limited if his price gets anywhere near as high as Fischer’s sources believed it could. The Hornets and Mavericks are among the other teams expected to have interest in Holmes, according to Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • One personnel evaluator who spoke to Bleacher Report referred to Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. as “one of the best pure scorers in the league,” and won’t be surprised if he receives another lucrative multiyear deal now that his four-year, $71MM contract is set to expire.
  • That same personnel evaluator said he believes Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell can get $20MM annually in free agency, according to Fischer. “He’s just a guy that can play with anybody,” the evaluator said of Powell. “He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. He’s a good defender, he’s a great athlete, he gets to the rim. You can play him at the three, you can play him at the two. He’s a great character guy.”
  • Multiple league executives believe that Lakers guard Dennis Schröder is aiming to be paid like a top-tier point guard and that he’ll be prioritizing a starting role. The Knicks are among the teams mulling a run at him, sources tell Fischer.
  • League executives who spoke to Fischer identified Nets guard Bruce Brown, Knicks big man Nerlens Noel, and Lakers teammates Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker as some other under-the-radar free agents who could be in line for eight-digit annual salaries on their new deals.