Knicks Rumors

Knicks Rumors: Anunoby, Hartenstein, Thibodeau, Brunson, Bojan, More

The expectation around the NBA is that OG Anunoby‘s floor as a free agent this offseason is $35MM per year, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said during the latest HoopsHype podcast. Anunoby’s ceiling is a maximum-salary contract, though two general managers who spoke to Scotto said a max deal for the three-and-D star would be difficult to swallow, given his injury history.

While Scotto, Ian Begley of, and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post all view the Knicks as the strong favorites to sign Anunoby, they point out that the team could face some competition if Paul George returns to the Clippers, since he’s considered the top target for cap-room teams like the Sixers, who could shift their focus to Anunoby if they miss out on George. Begley and Bondy each suggests that if the Knicks re-sign Anunoby, the deal might include some protections or incentives related to games played.

As for the Knicks’ other top free agent, a pair of GMs told Scotto that they expect New York to have to offer the full Early Bird amount (four years, $72.5MM) for Isaiah Hartenstein, since the team can’t afford to lose him, though those GMs acknowledged that a contract of that size might not be very movable down the road.

Scotto hears that the Thunder, who have been cited as a possible rival suitor for Hartenstein, are likely to be focused on shorter-term deals for any top free agent targets, which could give the Knicks an advantage if they’re willing to go up to four years. According to Bondy, there’s some speculation that Oklahoma City could offer “something in the realm” of $50MM over two years for Hartenstein, perhaps with a second-year opt-out, like the deal Bruce Brown got from Indiana last summer. However, it’s possible the veteran center would prefer longer-term security.

Here’s more on the Knicks from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • A contract extension for head coach Tom Thibodeau appears to be a matter of “when rather than if,” according to Scotto. Discussing potential terms, Bondy predicts a three-year, $33MM deal, while Begley speculates that Thibodeau may just get two new guaranteed seasons, with a third-year team option.
  • Both Bondy and Begley view Jalen Brunson as more likely than Julius Randle to sign an extension this offseason, even though Brunson could potentially sign a much more lucrative deal if he waits one more year. As Bondy observes, one factor to consider is that signing an extension this summer would put Brunson on track to reach free agency in 2028, when he would have 10 years of NBA service under his belt and would be eligible for a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap (instead of 30%). “That doesn’t mean he’s going to do it,” Bondy cautioned. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of debate with (agent) Aaron Mintz, the Knicks, and Rick and Jalen Brunson about what’s the best way to go. I think he’s going to consider it.”
  • The expectation is that the Knicks will likely guarantee Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19MM salary for 2024/25, per Scotto. It’s currently only partially guaranteed for $2MM. The team wouldn’t generate any cap room by cutting him and would lose a big expiring contract for a possible trade, Begley adds.
  • Precious Achiuwa‘s future in New York is uncertain, especially if Hartenstein returns, since new deals for Hartenstein and Anunoby would likely push the Knicks’ team salary into tax territory. Achiuwa is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. “I think you give him the ($6.3MM) qualifying offer and see what his market is,” Begley said. “If you need to rescind the qualifying offer for financial reasons, you can. That’s probably how it’ll go. Hartenstein’s deal is going to happen before Achiuwa, so you’ll have a chance to know whether he’ll be back before making a final decision on Achiuwa.”
  • The Knicks hold a pair of first-round picks at No. 24 and 25, but neither Bondy nor Begley expects them to use both to draft players. Assuming they use at least one of those selections, talented Virginia defender Ryan Dunn could be a target — people around the league have frequently linked him to the Knicks, per Scotto, though he could come off the board even earlier than No. 24.

Scotto’s Latest: J. Smith, Toppin, Weaver, Hartenstein, Huerter, O’Neale, More

Early indications suggest that Pacers power forward Jalen Smith will decline his $5.4MM player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest aggregate mock draft. Sources tell Scotto that a final decision hasn’t been made, but Smith appears to be leaning toward testing the free agency waters. He has a June 29 deadline to opt in for 2024/25.

Smith, 24, appeared in 61 games this season and posted a career high in scoring at 9.9 PPG, along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 17.2 minutes per night. He was selected 10th overall by Phoenix in the 2020 draft and was acquired by Indiana at the 2022 trade deadline.

Scotto notes that rival teams are watching to see whether the Pacers will re-sign restricted free agent Obi Toppin. If the fourth-year power forward reaches a new deal, there’s a belief that Indiana might be willing to trade Jarace Walker, who was a lottery pick last June.

Scotto shares more inside information in his aggregate draft:

  • Washington is believed to be a potential destination for former Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, who recently parted ways with the team, Scotto writes, noting that Weaver was once part of Oklahoma City’s front office along with Wizards executives Michael Winger and Will Dawkins.
  • Scotto talked with some NBA executives who believe the Magic should be considered a threat to sign Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein. Orlando could have close to $50MM in cap space to work with.
  • Executives also expect the Kings to explore deals involving Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes, Scotto adds.
  • The Raptors plan to work out an extension with Scottie Barnes this summer, sources tell Scotto. The versatile swingman made his first All-Star appearance this year.
  • Scotto echoes other reports in stating that Royce O’Neale is likely to reach a new contract with the Suns. The 31-year-old forward, who was acquired from Brooklyn at the trade deadline, is expected to receive about $10MM per year, according to Scotto.
  • Vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry isn’t expected to return to the Spurs next season, sources tell Scotto. The longtime NBA player has been an executive with San Antonio since 2018.
  • Assistant coach Jason Love will likely leave the Sixers and join Doc Rivers’ staff with the Bucks, Scotto states. Love previously worked for Rivers in Philadelphia.
  • The Hornets are assembling a staff of assistants for new head coach Charles Lee. Scotto hears it will include Lamar SkeeterJosh LongstaffChris JentRyan FrazierZach PetersonMatt Hill and Blaine Mueller.

Atlantic Notes: Carter, Payne, Nets, O’Connell

In a wide open draft, the Sixers will have an intriguing choice to make with their No. 16 first round draft pick. Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports makes the case for Providence point guard Devin Carter, one of the elite defenders in the NCAA during 2023/24.

A junior last season, he averaged 19.7 points on a .473/.377/.749 shooting line, along with 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Philadelphia could use a major influx of athleticism next season, and Neubeck contends that, given Carter’s experience, he should be able to earn rotation minutes right away.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers reserve point guard Cameron Payne was arrested in Arizona after he made a false report and would not identify himself, reports Zach Buchanan of The Phoenix New Times. Both offenses are misdemeanors. Splitting his time between Milwaukee and Philadelphia last season (he was flipped for veteran Patrick Beverley midway through the year), Payne averaged a cumulative 7.4 points per game on .432/.390/.866 shooting, plus 2.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 0.5 steals.
  • The Nets face a fascinating offseason this summer, and will have some big decisions to make about two key starters, states longtime basketball insider Yossi Gozlan (YouTube video link). Center Nic Claxton is an unrestricted free agent, and is looking for a major raise coming off a two-year, $17.3MM deal with Brooklyn. In October, star forward Mikal Bridges will become eligible to ink a three-season, $113MM contract extension with the club. Gozlan notes that Brooklyn could make a move to trade for a star player now, or could explore a more thorough rebuild.
  • During a recent Knicks free agent minicamp, former Duke shooting guard Alex O’Connell led about 20 players in scoring, reports Ian Begley of (via Twitter). New York possesses the G League rights to O’Connell, who spent the 2023/24 season playing for Italian club Reyer Venezia.

Knicks Notes: George, Mitchell, Anunoby, Hartenstein

Paul George would be an “ideal fit” for the Knicks, but it won’t be easy to acquire him if he fails to reach a long-term deal with the Clippers, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The 34-year-old forward has a $48.8MM player option for next season that must be picked up by June 29. He’s eligible for a four-year, $221MM extension with Los Angeles, but negotiations have been at an impasse.

George’s three-point shooting, pick-and-roll skills and constant movement would help him blend seamlessly with the rest of New York’s roster, according to Katz, who adds that George and OG Anunoby would become the best pair of perimeter defenders in the league. Katz points out that George has a history of playing alongside other stars and he’s a client of CAA, which was formerly run by Knicks president Leon Rose.

New York won’t have cap space to sign George if he opts out, and the Clippers wouldn’t be permitted to sign and trade him because they’re above the second apron. The Knicks would need George to opt in to make a deal possible, and Katz is skeptical that L.A. would be in a hurry to move him if he’s under contract for another season.

Sources tell Katz that the Knicks have considered George in the past, but they’ve never made a serious offer to acquire him. That could change if he and the Clippers agree that picking up the option and being traded this summer is the best course of action.

There’s more from New York:

  • Sources also tell Katz that the Knicks’ desire to add Donovan Mitchell isn’t nearly as strong as it was two years ago. There has been speculation that the Cavaliers guard could be available again if he doesn’t agree to an extension this summer. New York made an offer to Utah for Mitchell in 2022, but Katz notes that Jalen Brunson‘s emergence into a star has diminished the need for another scoring guard. Katz also examines Mikal Bridges, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan as potential additions. Katz cites sources who say that the Nets have been offered multiple first-round picks for Bridges, but they continue to view him as part of the foundation and hope to eventually pair him with another star.
  • After their playoff run ended, members of the Knicks organization expressed confidence about their chances of re-signing both Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, per Ian Begley of SNY. Begley adds that the team expects competition for both players and could be outbid for Hartenstein because league rules limit their offer to about $16MM for next season and $72.5MM over four years.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post examines Rose’s draft history to see if it offers any clues about what the Knicks might do with picks No. 24 and 25 this year.

Maurice Cheeks Joining Knicks As Assistant Coach

Veteran Bulls assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is switching Eastern Conference franchises. He’s joining the Knicks as an assistant coach under head coach Tom Thibodeau, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), Cheeks had intended to step into more of an advisory position with Chicago before the Knicks opportunity emerged. Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets that Thibodeau and Cheeks are longtime friends.

Cheeks, a Hall of Fame point guard and 1983 champion with the Sixers, has served as the head coach of the Trail Blazers, Sixers, and Pistons. He has a 305-315 overall record in the regular season across those three head coaching stints, having made the playoffs in three of his nine seasons.

Since 2015, Cheeks has worked on the staffs of head coach Billy Donovan, first with the Thunder through 2020, and since with the Bulls.

Now, after two years of play-in tournament futility in Chicago, Cheeks will be joining Thibodeau on a New York club that seems poised to be an East contender for years to come, with plenty of draft assets and movable contracts with which it can conceivably improve its personnel.

During Thibodeau’s four seasons with the Knicks, New York has gone 175-143 in the regular season and 14-15 in the playoffs, reaching the second round twice. Thibodeau was named the 2020/21 Coach of the Year during his inaugural season leading the team. This year, beset by a growing injury report, New York fell in a seven-game conference semifinal series to the Pacers.

Draft Notes: Shannon, Dante, Blazers, Magic, Antoine

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon has been found not guilty of all charges at his criminal trial in Kansas, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shannon was facing felony charges of first-degree rape and sexual aggravated battery.

According to Givony, NBA teams have been closely monitoring Shannon’s legal situation. At one point he was a projected first-round pick, Givony notes, but he’s currently ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Oregon center N’Faly Dante, who is ranked No. 75 on ESPN’s board, appealed to the NCAA for an extra year of college eligibility, but that request has been denied, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers hosted a pre-draft workout on Thursday featuring Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Serbian guard Nikola Djurisic, Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, Memphis guard David Jones, Arizona guard Pelle Larsson and Maryland guard Jahmir Young, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Portland controls four picks in the upcoming draft: a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40). Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN’s board) and Filipowski (No. 21) are considered probable first-rounders.
  • The Magic held a pre-draft workout on Wednesday that featured Purdue’s Lance Jones, Syracuse’s Judah Mintz and North Carolina’s Cormac Ryan, according to Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire (Twitter link).
  • Radford guard Bryan Antoine, a McDonald’s All-American in High School, has a workout on Thursday with the Nets, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link). The Knicks will host Antoine for a workout next week, Zagoria adds.

Cavaliers Notes: Nori, Garland, Allen, Mitchell, Mobley

Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori is among the candidates scheduled for an in-person meeting with Cavaliers officials this week to discuss their head coaching vacancy, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer also cites Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, who were identified as finalists for the job in a report by Chris Fedor earlier today.

Fischer hears that the Cavs are continuing to hold interviews via Zoom as well, with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant and Bucks assistant Dave Joerger included in that group.

Nori has been an NBA assistant since 2009 and spent time in Toronto, Sacramento, Denver and Detroit before coming to Minnesota in 2021. He took on many of head coach Chris Finch‘s duties when Finch was immobilized due to knee surgery following the Wolves’ first-round playoff series.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers’ next coach will likely inherit a team with its current core intact, Fischer adds. Although Cleveland has received “a wealth of interest” in Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen on the trade market, sources tell Fischer that the front office isn’t expected to consider offers for them or for Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley. Expectations are growing that Mitchell will agree to an extension this summer, according to Fischer’s sources, while Mobley is still viewed as a vital part of the organization’s future.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also hears that trade talk regarding Garland has cooled off around the league. In an interview with ESPN Cleveland (video link), Windhorst said potential suitors were discouraged by a recent statement from general manager Koby Altman. “There are now teams that are sort of backing off, saying, ‘Well, maybe Garland is not gonna be available,'” Windhorst said.
  • With Borrego reportedly a finalist for both the Cavaliers and Lakers, Ethan Sands of compares the two franchises and asks which situation is better. He notes that both teams have an urgency to win right away and share an uncertain future regarding their best player as Mitchell is pondering an extension while LeBron James has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise a $51.4MM player option for next season.

New York Notes: Schröder, Hurley, Knicks’ Targets, Lowry, Morris, Irving

Dennis Schröder would like to stay put for a change.

After playing his first five seasons with Atlanta, Schröder has worn six different uniforms since the 2018/19 season. Schröder has one year left on his contract at $13MM but he could be packaged by the Nets in a trade. He hopes that won’t happen, relays via an interview with Germany outlet Braunschweig Zeitung.

“Brooklyn is a really cool, great organization, quite family-oriented,” he said. “I’d definitely like to stick around for the long haul — My agent and I feel like the Nets liked how I contributed. I’ve brought in more defense, teamwork and displayed leadership, but if someone as exceptional as Giannis Antetokounmpo or another superstar wants to join Brooklyn, the Nets could make deals to acquire that player … and that’s why nothing is certain in the NBA.”

There’s no evidence that the Bucks superstar wants to be dealt, but Schröder’s $13MM expiring contract could be a useful salary-matching piece in a major trade.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Dan Hurley spurned the Lakers but he could eventually accept an NBA job closer to home, East Coast-based Adam Zagoria tweets. According to Zagoria, there’s plenty of speculation that the UConn coach will one day coach the Knicks or Nets.
  • The Knicks could have access to the $12.9MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception or the $5.2MM taxpayer exception, depending on how things shake out over the next few weeks. What players might they look at? The Athletic’s Fred Katz explores that topic, listing 10 potential targets such as Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones and Monte Morris. He also notes that Kyle Lowry was on the Knicks’ radar after his buyout with the Hornets last winter before the 38-year-old guard signed with Philadelphia.
  • Markieff Morris was part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks last season. The Mavericks forward said Irving wanted out of Brooklyn for a simple reason — he wanted to get paid, and the Nets weren’t willing to give him the sort of deal he wanted. “It was time for his contract extension, the two sides didn’t meet up, business got involved, and that’s what happened. That’s how it goes,” Morris told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “I think Kyrie was averaging about 27 [points per game] at the time. I think we won 18 out of 20 and all of a sudden the business got involved. That’s how it goes sometimes. A guy of Kyrie’s stature, I wouldn’t be standing for that either. Get me up out of there.”

Thunder Could Make Serious Run At Hartenstein

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein pumped up his value this season during his walk year. They’ll have competition for his services and the Thunder are viewed as the main threat, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.

Hartenstein made approximately $9.25MM this season and he’ll get a huge raise this summer. The Knicks hold his Early Bird rights and can offer a maximum of about $72MM over four years.

That might not be enough to keep Hartenstein, who started 49 regular-season games after Mitchell Robinson was injured and all 13 of the Knicks’ postseason contests. One recent report said the 26-year-old could receive $80-$100MM on a new deal from a team with cap room.

The Thunder will have around $35MM in cap space. While Rookie of the Year runner-up Chet Holmgren manned the middle for the Thunder, Hartenstein could provide a different element.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer recently noted that Hartenstein would help OKC with his rebounding, screening and passing. Rebounding was a major issue for the Western Conference’s top seed.

The Thunder will soon need to make some major salary commitments to keep its strong young core intact, so they make take a different approach with Hartenstein. Citing a source, Bondy suggests OKC might offer a short-term deal, perhaps two years, with a high salary. That would provide both OKC and Hartenstein with long-term flexibility.

OKC could go with a bigger starting lineup, sliding Holmgren to the power forward slot, or use Hartenstein as their main frontcourt reserve.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Knicks, Topic, Spurs, Grizzlies

Mavericks part owner Mark Cuban denies the franchise purposely tanked last year to punish the Knicks, he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.

By avoiding the play-in tournament last season, the Mavericks were able to retain a lottery pick, rather than conveying their pick to the Knicks as final compensation for the Kristaps Porzingis trade. Dallas used the pick on Dereck Lively. The Mavs will compensate the Knicks this year with their pick all the way down at No. 24.

Dallas lost Jalen Brunson in free agency in 2022 to the Knicks, who were later penalized a draft pick for tampering.

“I’m not a revenge guy,” Cuban said, adding, “We never tanked anything. We just decided to play our younger players the last couple of games. But it’s Nico Harrison’s and mine’s and Jason Kidd’s job to make the tough decisions. Nobody who decides to rebuild effectively likes it. When you play your young players, it’s not always fun. So we just felt it was time to go young.”

Cuban later admitted the franchise’s decision to rest key players was not truly a “rebuild” move. “We made the decision 10 other teams made, right?” Cuban said. “We just made it a little bit later. Obviously, it turned out well.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Lottery prospect Nikola Topic has a partially torn ACL. That shouldn’t deter the Spurs, who own two picks in the top 10, from drafting the 18-year-old point guard, LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk opines. From all appearances, the Spurs haven’t shown much interest in Topic but that could be a smokescreen, Ellis notes. With two lottery selections, San Antonio has the luxury of using the latter pick at No. 8 on Topic and waiting for him to heal.
  • What players could the Pelicans target with the No. 21 pick? Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune explores that topic, naming a trio of guards — USC’s Isaiah Collier, Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter and Pittsburgh’s Carlton Carrington — who could entice them at that spot.
  • The Spurs and Grizzlies are two of the teams who currently own more than two picks in this month’s draft. Check out the list here.