Knicks Rumors

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Durant, Sixers, Raptors, R. Williams

While the addition of Jalen Brunson and the return of Derrick Rose will likely move Immanuel Quickley off the ball in 2022/23, the Knicks guard is making it a priority to improve his play-making abilities this offseason, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

“We put a big emphasis on his passing, we’ve worked a lot on his passing out of the pick-and-roll,” Andrew Morant, Quickley’s trainer, told Braziller. “Early pockets, late pockets and finding the corner shooters as he comes out of the pick-and-roll.”

Quickley’s name has come up in trade rumors linking Donovan Mitchell to New York, and it’s very possible that if the Knicks make a play for the Jazz star, Quickley will end up in Utah. However, Morant said he and the former Kentucky standout aren’t paying attention to that trade speculation as they attempt to hone Quickley’s skills this summer.

“I think he’s an asset to the Knicks in terms of if they want to win games, and he [could] be an asset to a lot of teams,” Morant told The Post. “I don’t know what the Knicks are thinking, what they want to do with him or what the situation is. What him and I try to do is be prepared for any situation and any opportunity that comes his way.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Responding to a report that suggested there may be some mutual interest between Kevin Durant and the Sixers, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com evaluates whether or not Philadelphia could put together a competitive trade package for the Nets star. While Neubeck suggests an offer centered around Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, and Matisse Thybulle wouldn’t be “laughable,” he believes other suitors could comfortably top it, given the 76ers’ limited draft assets.
  • Damien Cox of The Toronto Star considers whether or not the Raptors should be seriously pursuing Durant, given the way the Nets forward’s recent demands have defied the “traditional owner-management-coach-player hierarchy” and the effect that could have on the culture the team has built in Toronto.
  • The Celtics, who have spoken to the Nets about Durant, have made center Robert Williams unavailable in trade talks, sources tell Kurt Helin of NBC Sports.

Jalen Brunson Joins Forces With Two Knicks Teammates In Pro-Am League

  • A few New York fans got to see Jalen Brunson play his first game alongside some of his new Knicks teammates Monday, per Matthew Neschis of The New York Post. Brunson received a standing ovation during introductions as he teamed up with Julius Randle and Obi Toppin in the Nike Pro City playoffs, a summer league in the Bronx. “You have a lot of kids [here] who can’t afford the opportunity to go to a Knicks game,” league director Bernard Bowen said, “so for those guys to come and play in that atmosphere where it’s free for the kids, it’s a blessing.”

Assets Give Knicks Edge In Mitchell Trade Talks

The Knicks can deal up to eight first-rounders, including up to four unprotected picks, in a potential trade with the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell. They could add at least three first-round swaps, as well as young talents such as RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.

Those factors give New York an edge over other potential suitors for Mitchell, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Katz breaks down possible offers from the Wizards, Heat, Raptors, Hornets, Kings and Hawks — the other teams reportedly interested in a Mitchell deal — and how the Knicks might top them.

25 Of NBA’s 30 Teams Have Made At Least One Offseason Trade

Since the 2022 NBA offseason began, 26 trades have been made, as our tracker shows. A total of 25 teams have been involved in those 26 deals, with 15 clubs (half the league) completing multiple trades.

The Raptors, Heat, Bulls, Pelicans, and Clippers are the only teams that have not been part of at least one trade since their seasons ended this spring. While most of those clubs were pretty active in free agency, it has been an especially quiet offseason in New Orleans, where the Pelicans also haven’t made a single free agent signing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Timberwolves have been the NBA’s most active team on the trade market this summer, with new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly putting his stamp on the franchise in his first few months on the job. After making four draft-night deals in June, Minnesota finalized the offseason’s biggest trade by acquiring Rudy Gobert from the Jazz just over a month ago.

The Hawks and Knicks, with four deals apiece, have been the next most active teams on the trade market. A pair of Atlanta’s moves were minor, but the other two – acquiring Dejounte Murray and sending Kevin Huerter to Sacramento – will have a major impact on the team going forward. As for New York, most of Leon Rose‘s deals involved shuffling around draft picks and clearing cap room for the team’s free agent signings of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Here are a few more details on this summer’s 26 trades:

  • The Pacers, Pistons, Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Kings have each made three trades. The other teams to make multiple deals are the Hornets, Thunder, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Rockets, and Spurs, with two apiece.
  • That leaves the Sixers, Nets, Celtics, Cavaliers, Bucks, Magic, Wizards, Lakers, Warriors, and Suns as the clubs that have each completed just one trade.
  • All 26 of this offseason’s trades have consisted of just two teams, with no three- or four-team deals made so far. A draft-night agreement involving the Hornets, Knicks, and Pistons was originally reported as a three-team trade, but was ultimately completed as two separate deals.
  • Not a single player has been signed-and-traded so far during the 2022 offseason. That’s pretty surprising, since 27 free agents changed teams via sign-and-trade in the three years from 2019-21 and only four teams used cap room this offseason — sign-and-trades are typically more common in years when most clubs are operating over the cap.
  • Eight first round picks from the 2022 draft were traded this summer, and four of those were dealt twice: Jalen Duren (Charlotte to New York to Detroit); Walker Kessler (Memphis to Minnesota to Utah); Wendell Moore (Dallas to Houston to Minnesota); and TyTy Washington (Memphis to Minnesota to Houston).
  • Another dozen second round 2022 picks changed hands this offseason, including one that was on the move twice (No. 46 pick Ismael Kamagate from Detroit to Portland to Denver).
  • A total of 15 future round picks (2023 and beyond) were included in trades this summer, including a pair that changed hands twice. Six of those first round picks were unprotected, while nine included protections.
  • Another 19 future second round picks (2023 and beyond) were also traded, with two of those 19 dealt twice. All but one of those traded second rounders was unprotected.

Jazz, Knicks Still Far Apart On Donovan Mitchell Trade

Rumors continue to emerge regarding Donovan Mitchell trade talks involving the Jazz and Knicks, but little progress has been made, according to Tony Jones of the Athletic. Appearing Friday on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Jones was pessimistic that a deal will get done soon.

“I don’t think the two sides are close. I don’t think they have been close,” Jones said. “We’ll see what happens as the urgency of training camp looms. The Jazz want what they want, which is picks out of this deal, and they want young guys on short or rookie contracts.”

Knicks players who fit that definition include Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, but New York has been unwilling to part with significant young talent in addition to substantial draft assets. Jones said keeping Grimes is a priority for the Knicks, along with veteran guard Derrick Rose, who is a longtime favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau.

“The sense I get right now is it’s probably not going to happen on an imminent level,” Jones added. “The two sides aren’t close. To me, I think if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen closer to training camp or the start of the season. If it doesn’t happen then, we’ll see what happens closer to the February trade deadline.”

There are more Jazz-related notes from the podcast:

  • Matching Mitchell’s salary of $30.35MM for next season becomes trickier if Rose’s $14.52MM contract isn’t involved. Scotto notes that Utah doesn’t want to take on long-term money, which eliminates Julius Randle ($23.76MM) and Evan Fournier ($18MM). Jones said the Jazz don’t have any interest in adding Randle and “I’m not sure there’s much of an appetite for (Cam) Reddish ($5.95MM).” He adds that the Jazz would rather keep Mitchell and hold onto a possible $36-$40MM in cap room for next summer than accept unwanted salary.
  • Looking at the rest of the roster, Jones believes Utah can easily find deals for Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley if the team decides to move them before the start of the season. He thinks there’s less of a market for Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley.
  • Udoka Azubuike may have the inside track to be the starting center if Utah trades Mitchell and commits to a youth movement, Jones adds. Sources tell Jones that Azubuike has been working with coaches in Salt Lake City all summer and has been showing improvement. First-round pick Walker Kessler would also be in the mix for the starting job. If the Jazz keep Mitchell and try to make the playoffs, Jones expects them to find a more experienced center in free agency.

Lakers Notes: James, Westbrook, Trade Options, Randle, Horton-Tucker, Walker

LeBron James became eligible on Thursday to sign a one- or two-year contract extension. While the Lakers and James have next June 30 — the day before James would become an unrestricted free agent — to reach an agreement, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated on NBA Today that there’s mutual interest in getting an extension done (video link).

“All signs point toward both sides looking to extend their partnership together,” McMenamin said, adding “Overall, both sides recognize they can help one another get to their mutual goal, which is to compete at a high level and stay relevant.”

James and his representative, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, met with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham at the team’s practice facility on Thursday. Paul told McMenamin that they were “productive talks” and he “expects them to continue.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • The start of training camp could be a soft deadline to trade Russell Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha says both sides would like to avoid the massive off-court distraction of a media circus constantly speculating about Westbrook’s future.
  • In the same mailbag piece, Buha indicates that, for now at least, the Pacers seem more willing to get a Westbrook deal done than the Nets or another other possible suitor.
  • Despite issues of spacing and long-term contract concerns, Julius Randle would still be a better fit with James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook as a third star, Buha argues. However, Westbrook is mainly a fallback option for the Knicks if they’re unable to acquire Donovan Mitchell.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker isn’t likely to be a regular member of the team’s rotation due to his skill set, in Buha’s view. His primary strengths are ballhandling and shot creation and the team already has plenty of players who can provide that.
  • Free agent acquisition Lonnie Walker will fill Malik Monk‘s former role of instant offense off the bench, Buha adds. Walker is a streaky shooter but shot selection and defense are concerns.

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Irving, Raptors

As the NBA continues its investigation into the timing of the Knicks‘ free agent acquisition of point guard Jalen BrunsonFred Katz of The Athletic parses through the extant evidence. Rumors ahead of 2022 free agency suggested Brunson would leave the Mavericks for the Knicks to the tune of a fresh four-year, $104MM deal. When that chatter proved to be true, the league opted to look into just what transpired, and when.

Katz notes that it’s difficult to discern just what kind of pre-free agency conversations the NBA will frown upon, in part given the fact that Jalen’s father, former New York point guard Rick Brunson, was hired as an assistant coach under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in June. Knicks team president Leon Rose, once an NBA agent representing Rick, has known both Brunsons for decades.

Last year, the league opted to penalize the Bulls and Heat for what it perceived to be tampering violations in their 2021 sign-and-trade moves for Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively. Each team was forced to surrender an upcoming second-round pick. This year, in addition to the Knicks, the NBA is also investigating the Sixers for possible tampering violations.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • When Nets point guard Kyrie Irving returned to his native New Jersey for his pro-am “More Than A Run” All-Star Game at Kean University, Brooklyn made a point to showcase the moment on the team’s official social media platforms. In an effort to read the tea leaves, Adam Zagoria of NJ.com suggests that it appears to be increasingly possible Irving returns to Brooklyn this fall, rather than being offloaded in a trade ahead of the season. Kyrie’s teammates Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr., and Royce O’Neale were all in attendance at the New Jersey event.
  • Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, at some point during his successful run with the Raptors, attempted to lure Vince Carter back to Toronto, Lowry revealed on Carter’s podcast The Vince Carter Show (Twitter video link via Uninterrupted Canada). “I tried to get Vince back with us at one point,” Lowry said. “We had conversations,” Carter confirmed. “We tried to get it done, it didn’t work out,” Lowry continued. “I was one of the biggest advocates that tried to get him back in Toronto and Vince was all-in.” It is unclear exactly when this recruitment transpired, but presumably this came fairly late in Carter’s illustrious career. The Raptors originally drafted Carter with the fifth pick out of North Carolina. The 6’6″ wing was named to his first five All-Star teams while with Toronto, before eventually being traded to the Nets in the midst of what was to be his sixth consecutive All-Star season in 2004/05. An eight-time All-Star overall, Carter would go on to play for an NBA-record 22 seasons. He finally retired at age 43 in 2020, following a two-year stint as a bench role player with the Hawks.
  • In case you missed it, 6’11” Serbian power forward/center Filip Petrusev, who was drafted with the No. 50 pick by the Sixers in 2021, expressed confidence in Philadelphia’s developmental plan for him. Petrusev, a native Serbian, will suit up for Serbian club Crvena Zvezda during the 2022/23 season.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Bogdanovic, Beverley, Conley

As we relayed earlier today, the Jazz reportedly spoke to the Knicks and Lakers a few weeks ago about the possibility of a three-team trade that would involved Donovan Mitchell and Russell Westbrook. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who reported those trade discussions, passed along several other Jazz-related tidbits in his latest roundup of rumors from around the NBA. Here are a few highlights:

  • As they explore the trade market for Mitchell, the Jazz aren’t prioritizing win-now players at all, according to Scotto, who says the team is seeking as many first round draft picks as possible. After acquiring four future first round selections and 2022 first rounder Walker Kessler in the Rudy Gobert blockbuster, Utah is hoping to exceed that return by acquiring five or six first rounders for Mitchell, Scotto adds.
  • The Knicks remain the frontrunners to land Mitchell, but they’ve been reluctant to give up the draft assets Utah is seeking, both in terms of quantity and quality, per Scotto. Besides debating the number of picks in a potential deal, the two teams have haggled over how many of them would be protected, and to what extent.
  • Rival executives believes that if the Jazz move Mitchell, they’ll be in “fire sale” mode and more veterans will likely follow him out of town. Playoff-caliber teams are keeping a close eye on Bojan Bogdanovic and Patrick Beverley, says Scotto.
  • While Mike Conley is also a trade candidate, his contract (two years, $47MM) makes him a longer shot to be moved in the near future, Scotto writes. Bogdanovic and Beverley, conversely, are on expiring deals.

Lakers Talked To Knicks, Jazz About Possible Three-Team Trade

The Lakers spoke to the Jazz and Knicks a few weeks ago about a hypothetical three-team trade scenario that would see Donovan Mitchell land in New York, with Russell Westbrook going to Utah, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

As Scotto explains, the proposed deal would involve at least two Jazz players (likely some combination of Bojan Bogdanovic, Patrick Beverley, Jordan Clarkson, and Malik Beasley) going to Los Angeles, while the Knicks would send out players to both teams for salary-matching purposes. New York would need to trade at least $24.2MM in outgoing salary to match Mitchell’s $30.35MM cap hit.

The Jazz – who would buy out Westbrook if they acquired him, according to Scotto – would receive significant draft compensation from both the Lakers and Knicks for trading Mitchell and taking on Westbrook’s $47MM+ salary.

According to Scotto, the Lakers have had interest in Knicks forward Cam Reddish in the past. Additionally, New York previously expressed interest in Beasley and now employs Gersson Rosas, who acquired and re-signed Beasley when he was working in the Timberwolves’ front office. So if the three teams were able to work out a deal, it would be worth keeping an eye on whether the Lakers could land Reddish or the Knicks could get Beasley.

However, it sounds like it’s probably a long shot that the Jazz, Lakers, and Knicks will be able to reach an agreement.

Utah, of course, wants a substantial haul for Mitchell, having reportedly asked the Knicks for three players and six draft picks last month. And teams that have talked to Los Angeles about Westbrook are believed to be seeking the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks (with as little protection as possible) to accommodate the salary dump. According to multiple reports, L.A. has thus far resisted attaching more than one first-rounder to Westbrook in any proposed trade.

For the Lakers, Jazz, and Knicks to make a deal, they’d have to find common ground on the price tags for both Mitchell and Westbrook, which will be extremely challenging.

It’s unclear, based on Scotto’s report, whether or not the three clubs are still actively exploring this scenario or how viable they consider it to be.

Atlantic Notes: Grimes, Vonleh, Nurse, Maxey, Rivers

In an effort to upgrade his skills on the ball and as a play-maker, second-year Knicks guard Quentin Grimes trained with four-time NBA All-Star and current University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway for a second consecutive offseason, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post (subscription required).

“He’s kind of like a big uncle to me,” Grimes said of Hardaway. “Just took me under his wing and helped me play the point guard position a lot better, because that’s what I was in high school… Last year, they didn’t necessarily need me to do that — got to come in, play extremely hard on defense, knock down shots. I feel like next year my role will be expanded a little bit more. … I’m a scorer, really. I love getting to the mid-range, getting all the way to the rim, getting fouled. I like having an all-around game.”

The 6’5″ shooting guard out of Houston was selected with the No. 25 pick in the 2021 draft. A right kneecap injury and a bout with COVID-19 limited his on-court availability to just 46 contests. In 17.1 MPG, he averaging 6.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG and 0.7 SPG. As Braziller writes, Grimes shone bright during Summer League in Las Vegas last month, averaging 21.4 PPG on 41% field goal shooting, plus 4.2 RPG and 4.0 APG.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores how 2014 lottery pick Noah Vonleh could help the Celtics if he makes the team’s 15-man regular season roster following his training camp audition. Weiss thinks Boston could benefit from Vonleh’s abilities as a screener with some defensive versatility as a post presence. In 339 games played for seven teams, the 26-year-old holds averages of 4.9 PPG and 5.1 RPG. He spent last year with the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA. In terms of NBA action, Vonleh most recently suited up for the Nets during the 2020/21 season.
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is preparing to juggle the challenge of doling out time for three exciting bench players who are still in early phases of their NBA development, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. When it comes allocating rotation minutes for Malachi Flynn, Dalano Banton and Justin Champagnie, Nurse spoke candidly about his approach. “I can envision sitting in front of [media members] a lot here coming up in these press conferences, pre- and post-game, asking me about why he played and why he didn’t,” Nurse said. “I think there will be some serious finessing about it, but it’s turning in my head a little bit and I can see us using a lot of them different ways.”
  • During an appearance on the Vince Carter Show podcast, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers heaped praise on breakout shooting guard Tyrese Maxey (h/t to Adam Herman of NBC Sports Philadelphia for the transcription). “He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had, in 21 years of coaching,” Rivers said. “His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief.” As Herman notes, Rivers has coached All-Stars like Blake Griffin, Al Jefferson, Ben Wallace, and Rajon Rondo in similarly early phases of their NBA careers. Maxey enjoyed an excellent second season in 2021/22. His 17.5 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.2 RPG are all almost double his rookie season output.