New York Knicks

Noah Admits Guilt Over Jackson’s Firing

Knicks big man Joakim Noah spoke out about his feelings of guilt regarding Phil Jackson‘s firing as team president, relays Marc Berman of The NY Post. Noah feels that his awful season in 2016/17 contributed to Jackson’s ouster.

“It’s tough, man, because I got a lot of love and respect for Phil,’’ Noah said. “He gave me an opportunity to play back home. Somebody I read all his books as a kid. I was just a big fan and still am. I have a lot of respect for him. It didn’t work out. That sucks. It’s something I have to live with. He believed in me, and I kind of let him down. That’s frustrating. He got a lot of blame that it was his fault. But we didn’t lose all those games because of Phil Jackson.’’

Noah also admitted that he lost his confidence last season and was not moving properly. He said that his drug suspension “hurt a lot of people” and that he has “to live with it the rest of his career.” 

Jackson lavished Noah with a whopping four-year, $72 million contract last offseason, but Noah’s first season at Madison Square Garden proved to be a nightmare. Jackson was fired in late June. The NBA veteran is now ready to put last season’s struggles behind him and be a model mentor to the team’s big men.

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Beasley, Artis, Porzingis

The Knicks made a sizeable commitment to Tim Hardaway Jr. this offseason, bringing the former Knick back home after inking him to a four-year, $71MM deal. While there’s a lot of apprehensions about Hardaway’s deal, Knicks’ assistant general manager and former guard Allan Houston cannot wait to see how the team’s draft pick from 2013 establishes himself, Thomas Lipe of the New York Post writes.

Speaking at Hofstra University with his youth program, Houston said the current version of Hardaway is more seasoned and talented than several years ago.

“I’m excited for [Hardaway],” Houston said. “When you’re 20 years old and you’re coming into this environment, everybody has to grow and everybody has to mature. He’s developed all the way around and he’s prepared himself for this. So he’s prepared for it.” 

Houston himself is no stranger to large contracts with the Knicks as he signed a six-year, $100MM pact with the team in 2001. While Houston was more established at the time of his deal, he was also older and injuries prevented him from playing out the entirety of the contract. Hardaway, still just 25 years old, brings youth and upside to a rebuilding Knicks team. Houston feels that Hardaway can live up to expectations by not just strong on-court performance but strong off court work as well.

“The mindset I took is: you come in, you put your work in, you treat your whole being, your whole life, like you want to make the most out of it,” Houston said. “You want to be valuable, not in terms of money, but you want to be valuable to your family, your community, to the franchise. That’s where [Hardaway’s] mindset is.”

Read additional notes surrounding the Knicks below:

  • In a resounding interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, free agent signing Michael Beasley referred to himself as a “walking bucket” who has not received the respect he deserves. The former second overall pick says he’s long past his prior marijuana suspension and said that people still dwelling on his past issues need to emulate him by growing up. For his career. Beasley has averaged 12.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG across nine NBA seasons with five different teams.
  • Just prior to signing with the Knicks, Jamel Artis spoke to Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports. The former Pittsburgh forward expressed his excitement to join the New York squad and said his offensive skill set would mesh well with the current core.
  • A recent report indicated the Cavaliers‘ interest to acquire a budding young star in a trade for Kyrie Irving with Kristaps Porzingis topping the list. Fred Kerber of the New York Post cites league source who claim “no proposal exists” in which the Knicks part with Porzingis for Irving. Kerber adds that while the New Jersey native Irving would like a homecoming to New York, it will not come at the expense of the team’s Latvian standout.

Knicks Ink Xavier Rathan-Mayes To One-Year Deal

The Knicks have signed Xavier Rathan-Mayes to a one-year deal, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Scotto adds that the pact will be partially guaranteed.

Rathan-Mayes entered the 2017 draft out of Florida State University but was not selected. In three seasons at the school, he averaged 12.4 points per game while making 52.1% of his shots from the field.

After signing the combo guard, the Knicks have 15 players under contract. New York appears to be embarking on a genuine rebuild for the first time in over a decade, so it could mean the team will opt to keep young talent over borderline-rotation level veterans. If the Knicks go that route, Rathan-Mayes, who turned 23 in April, may have a decent chance to make the team.

Nigel Hayes Agrees To Deal With Knicks

The Knicks have reached an agreement with Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes on a partially guaranteed contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowki of ESPN.

The senior averaged 14.0 points and 6.6 rebounds last season for the Badgers. He was invited to New York’s mini-camp in July and played for the Knicks’ summer league team, averaging 5.2 points, and 5.0 rebounds in five games in Orlando.

New York has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so Hayes will have the opportunity to win a roster spot in training camp.

Hayes’ deal with the Knicks was first reported in June by ESPN’s Ian Begley.

Durant Says He Will “Never” Sign With Knicks

Last offseason, Kevin Durant was a free agent and the Knicks hoped to get a meeting with the 2013/14 MVP. They didn’t get one and it appears they won’t in the future should he hit the market again, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News explains.

A fan asked Durant when he was going to play for New York’s team during a portion of the star’s promotional video, which was filmed in the Big Apple. Durant was direct in his answer, telling the New Yorker “never.”

It appears the Knicks are still recovering from years of reputational damage even after exiling Phil Jackson and ushering in a new regime. The franchise hasn’t had much luck attracting top talent to play for the team since it re-signed Carmelo Anthony to his current deal back in 2014.

In 2015, LaMarcus Aldridge scheduled a meeting with New York during the opening week of free agency only to cancel it later after Jackson told him that the organization wanted Aldridge to play “strictly” center. Dwyane Wade, who met with New York last summer before signing with the Bulls, represents the last free agent fresh off an All-Star appearance to sit down with the club.

Several stars, such as LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Paul George, can hit the free agent market next offseason and it’ll be interesting to see which, if any, of the league’s marquee players will schedule a meeting with the Knicks. It seems likely that Durant, who has the ability to hit the market for the third consecutive offseason should he opt out after the 2017/18 campaign, will not headline that list.

Knicks Rumors: Blatt, Porzingis, Ntilikina

David Blatt’s connections to the Knicks front office could land the former Cavaliers head coach in New York during the upcoming season, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Blatt would like another NBA job and he’s close friends with team president Steve Mills and recently-hired front office executive Craig Robinson, both of whom were college teammates of Blatt’s, Isola points out. The Knicks’ schedule could also put current coach Jeff Hornacek on the hot seat before the All-Star break as they play 16 of 20 games on the road right after Christmas, including the Warriors and Spurs, Isola notes.

In other items regarding the Knicks:

  • The club should not give up Kristaps Porzingis in order to acquire disgruntled Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News argues. Porzingis is a unique player who should be considered an untouchable, a 7’3” big man who protects the rim and stretches the floor, Bondy notes. Porzingis is not even eligible to become a restricted free agent for another two seasons, and even shedding the contract of Carmelo Anthony or Joakim Noah isn’t worth giving him up, Bondy continues. If Irving wants to play in New York, he can sign with the franchise as a free agent in two years, Bondy adds. Currently, the Knicks regard any attempt by the Cavs to acquire Porzingis as a non-starter in trade talks involving Irving.
  • Frank Ntilikina has picked the brains of former NBA players in Europe and believes he’ll have to play more on instinct than he did overseas, he explained to Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times in an in-depth feature. Former Knick Mardy Collins and former Maverick Rodrigue Beaubois instructed him that talent and athleticism rule in the NBA, while the European game is more focused on basketball I.Q. and a cerebral approach. “They told me like when you go here, you don’t have to think too much, because I used to think a lot,” the Knicks lottery pick told Vorkunov. “I used to play the game as a chess game. So they told me when you go there, you just have to play your game and not think too much.” Ntilikina has been studying tapes of top NBA point guards in an effort to refine his game, Vorkunov adds.

Kyrie Irving Rumors: Spurs, Celtics, Porzingis

If the Cavaliers had received assurances from LeBron James that he intends to remain with the franchise beyond the 2017/18 season, their approach to a Kyrie Irving trade might be much different, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the Cavs certainly haven’t given up hope of James remaining in Cleveland, the franchise wants to use an Irving trade to protect itself against his possible departure — that means focusing on acquiring a young potential star, rather than targeting veteran help for LeBron.

Initially, the Cavs’ desire in an Irving trade was to acquire young players and picks that could help the team down the road and to get pieces that could help the club contend immediately. However, that kind of massive return may not be available for the star point guard, forcing the Cavaliers to choose one path or the other. And with LeBron unwilling to commit, the Cavs are leaning toward prioritizing long-term pieces over short-term help.

As Wojnarowski details, Josh Jackson (Suns), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), and even Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) are among the young players the Cavaliers have their eye on in trade talks. In his own piece on the situation in Cleveland, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders agrees that those four teams – Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and New York – are mentioned most frequently as trade partners, and continue to have discussions with the Cavs.

Here’s plenty more on the Irving situation:

  • According to both Wojnarowski and Kyler, teams around the NBA believe that the Cavaliers will ramp up trade talks and get more serious about moving Irving in September, with training camps approaching.
  • The Spurs have interest in Irving, but the fact that the Cavs are prioritizing young potential stars over veteran help means Cleveland doesn’t have much interest in the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, or Danny Green, says Wojnarowski.
  • Although the Cavaliers are intrigued by Tatum, the Celtics have yet to make an official offer for Irving and the two sides haven’t formally discussed this year’s No. 3 overall pick, according to Wojnarowski. Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe adds (via Twitter) that Boston has remained in touch with the Cavs throughout the process.
  • The idea of including Porzingis in an Irving offer is currently a “non-starter” for the Knicks, per Wojnarowski. However, Woj adds there may still be some lingering tension between Porzingis and the franchise, and teams are wondering how emphatic the Knicks’ “no” really is — especially if the Cavaliers would be willing to take on Joakim Noah‘s contract.
  • Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks have shown interest in Irving. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo obviously untouchable, Milwaukee may not have a young star who makes sense for the Cavs.
  • Although the Clippers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Irving, a league source tells Kyler that L.A. doesn’t appear to have the right combination of assets to appeal to the Cavs — a third team would be necessary, and even that may not be enough to make the Clips a serious contender for Irving.

Knicks Embark On Genuine Rebuild

For the first time in over a decade the Knicks appear to be embarking on a genuine rebuild. It’s a changing of the guard, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes, that extends beyond the literal fact that Derrick Rose is out and Frank Ntilikina is in.

After years of seeming to prioritize headlines over wins, the Knicks have a young core in place and a respected general manager that may just be up to the task of gradually building a winner.

While the Knicks’ decision to take Ntilikina eighth overall in the June NBA Draft will forever be tied to how well Dennis Smith Jr. (ninth overall) and Malik Monk (12th) fare throughout their careers, the 19-year-old represents the long developmental process inherent with a genuine rebuild.

Joining Ntilikina as anchors of the Knicks’ decent young core are Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez and even 2017 free agent acquisition Tim Hardaway Jr., Hamilton writes.

It may be some time before the Knicks end up back in the postseason but the fact that the franchise may, for now at least, be committed to rebuilding authentically as opposed to chasing shortcut solutions is a step in the right direction.

Malik Monk Was Convinced Knicks Would Draft Him

The Knicks were under Phil Jackson‘s reign during this summer’s draft and the team selected Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick. Jackson has since been ousted, though the current front office is confident in the team’s first round selection, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays.

“I talked to our scouts a lot about Frank before the draft. I went over and watched Frank play prior to the draft, met with Frank’s coaches and learned a lot about who he is as a player and who he is as a person,” said Steve Mills, who has been with the organization since 2013, but has been recently promoted to Team President. “So I’m very comfortable with that draft pick. I would have selected Frank at that point in the draft myself. He’s a guy that fits in everything that we’re talking about right now. He’s a smart basketball player. He focuses defensively and his approach to the game, his work ethic, fit exactly in the direction that we want to take this team.”

New York decided to take the Ntilikina over other notable guards. The front office had internal debates about taking Dennis Smith Jr., Donovan Mitchell or Malik Monk over the French point guard, but ultimately passed on each.

Monk met with the team leading up to the draft and believed he would be the selection at No. 8.

“Me, my agent, everybody in my agency, my family – we all thought we were going to NY,” Monks said (via Bondy’s Twitter feed.

On the day of the draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com predicted Monk or Ntilikina would be the selection for New York. Monk was nabbed by the Hornets with the No. 11 overall pick.

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Jackson, Smith Jr., Front Office Diversity

The Knicks recently exercised their team option to re-sign Kristaps Porzingis for 2018/19. However, if Phil Jackson were still calling the shots at Madison Square Garden, who’s to say what The Unicorn’s basketball future would look like, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype writes.

According to Peter Vecsey, who received the first and to-date only quote from Jackson after his departure from the Knicks, Jackson was legitimately interested in trading Porzingis.

Vecsey said:  “People knew, they probably wouldn’t have accepted, but Phil was angling to try and trade Porzingis for the No. 1 pick to Boston and he would have taken [Lonzo] Ball. That’s who he was after. In the end, people might really like that.”

Vecsey adds that when Jackson began embarrassing Porzingis, owner James Dolan knew Jackson was no longer a suitable executive for the team.

Here are some more notes regarding the Knicks:

  • Prior to this year’s NBA draft, Dennis Smith Jr. dined with former team president Jackson and was encouraged to eat an octopus tentacle, relays Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News. Although Smith reluctantly ate the exotic delicacy, the Knicks opted to draft Frank Ntilikina instead. Smith was selected by the Mavericks with the following pick. Smith was a standout performer at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League and has already inked a three-year endorsement deal with Under Armour.
  • Seventy years ago, the Knicks’ visionary coach Joe Lapchick pushed racial integration on a league that would merge with another to form the NBA three years later. Lapchick did so by fielding an all-black team that he pushed to have admitted to the league. Today, the Knicks are again at the vanguard of diversity, writes Harvey Araton of The New York Times. This time, New York is blazing trails in its front office, boasting the only African-American president-and-general-manager tandem in the NBA and proceeding to hire three more black front office executives in recent weeks.
  • For more news, notes, and rumors on the Knicks, be sure to check out their team page.

 

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