New York Knicks

Knicks Notes: Rose, Jennings, Randle, Ndour

The Knicks appear to be done with buyouts. After parting ways with Brandon Jennings, Frank Isola of the Daily News reported the team’s interest in releasing Derrick Rose (Twitter link). Ramona Shelburne of ESPN quashed this rumor, however, noting that the team is done with buyouts unless “a player they like becomes available.” (Twitter link)

Despite Jeff Hornacek‘s words to the contrary, the Knicks appear to be in full-on tank mode at this point. Sporting a 24-35 record, the Knicks are four games behind Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference.

More from The Garden…

  • Hornacek has been a fan of Chasson Randle‘s game, Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times writes. The Knicks always viewed Jennings as a stopgap, Vorkunov writes, whose absence will now allow Randle to receive NBA minutes over the next several weeks. “We loved Chasson, his ability, how he can play,” Hornacek said. “He’s a smart player, knows how to play the game, shoot the ball. Chasson can play.”
  • Frank Isola of the Daily News commended the team for cutting Jennings, as Brandon “was never going to be a part of the Knicks future.” Jennings wasn’t happy with the Knicks, as he’d begun to lose minutes to rookie Ron Baker. Isola speculates the reason Jennings was released before Sasha Vujacic was Vujacic’s willingness to run the triangle offense. Additionally, the Knicks attempted to trade Jennings prior to the deadline, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, but no team was interested in giving up an asset for him.
  • Isola is skeptical  that the Knicks will cut Rose (link above). The Knicks still view themselves as a playoff-caliber team, and waiving Rose would be an admission of a “colossal mistake” from Phil Jackson. Had the Knicks dealt Rose-for-Ricky Rubio, Isola observes, Jackson essentially would have traded Rose, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez for Rubio. Isola suggested the team look to the future; “acquiring as many lottery balls as possible” rather than playing for the eighth seed. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis‘ minutes should be limited, and Ndour appears to be a cut candidate.
  • In trade deadline negotiations, the Timberwolves wanted Mindaugas Kuzminskas in addition to Rose, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. The Knicks and Wolves couldn’t get on the same page for a deadline swap, as we’d previously heard the Knicks insist Minnesota include Nemanja Bjelica alongside Rubio.

Joakim Noah Likely To Miss Rest Of Season

2:03pm: The Knicks have confirmed that Noah underwent a left knee arthroscopy today to remove a loose body (Twitter link). According to the team, Noah will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks, though I imagine the center would only try to get back on the court this season if the Knicks push for a playoff spot. They’re currently four games back of the No. 8 seed, with four teams to pass.

11:01am: Knicks center Joakim Noah is expected to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, which would sideline him for the remainder of the 2016/17 season, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). Noah’s injury, which has kept him out of action for most of February, had been classified as hamstring soreness, but it seems his knee is an issue as well.

Noah, who turned 32 on Saturday, signed a four-year, $72MM contract with the Knicks last summer. New York received some criticism at the time for that deal, and it doesn’t look any better now than it did then. Noah has struggled to produce for his new team this season, averaging 5.0 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 46 games (all starts). As NBA.com’s advanced stats show, the Knicks have a -6.0 net rating with Noah on the court, compared to -2.5 when he’s on the bench.

Assuming Noah is indeed ruled out for the season, he’ll join Brandon Jennings in having played his last game for the Knicks this year. Unlike Jennings though, Noah won’t be released, since he still has three more years left on his contract.

Knicks Cut Brandon Jennings, Sign Chasson Randle

11:50am: The Knicks have officially confirmed Jennings’ release and Randle’s new deal, tweeting a photo of the rookie guard signing his contract.

7:23am: The Knicks are set to cut ties with veteran guard Brandon Jennings, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). After waiving Jennings, the club will use its open roster spot to sign free agent guard Chasson Randle, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).

Randle, who went undrafted in 2015, appeared headed toward a roster spot with the Knicks in October, but was waived after suffering an orbital bone fracture. Randle subsequently joined New York’s D-League squad as an affiliate player, and a solid showing in Westchester earned him an audition with the Sixers, which in turn led to two 10-day contracts and a rest-of-season deal. However, he lost his roster spot last week when the club needed to clear a spot to complete its Nerlens Noel trade with Dallas.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Randle will ink a multiyear deal with the Knicks that features a partial guarantee for the 2017/18 season.

As for Jennings, the former 10th overall pick signed a one-year, $5MM contract with the Knicks last summer, and has averaged 8.6 PPG and 4.9 APG in 58 games for the club, with a .380/.340/.756 shooting line. Per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (via Twitter), Jennings recently informed the Knicks that he’d like to join a playoff team, so the Knicks will release him to potentially give him that opportunity.

If Jennings clears waivers, he’ll be free to sign with any team, but as Bobby Marks of The Vertical observes (via Twitter), that $5MM contract could be appealing to teams below the salary floor, since there’s only about $1.2MM left to pay on it. We identified the teams below the floor over the weekend, including the Jazz ($4.23MM below) and Wolves ($3.24MM below).

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/26/17

Here are the D-League transactions for Sunday:

Latest On Derrick Rose And The Knicks

B.J. Armstrong, the agent for Derrick Rose, said that his client “wants to be in New York,” Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. Rose was the subject of trade rumors leading up the trade deadline, but his representatives believe the Knicks had his best interests in mind when negotiating with other teams. Rose told the local media on Friday that he holds “no grudges and no hard feelings” about the trade chatter.

“It was an opportunity to see what his value truly was throughout the league,” Armstrong said. “So as you can see, through all the reports, there were teams that were interested in him and what he does and what he brings to the court.” 

Begley notes that several teams contacted the Knicks regarding a Rose trade. The Knicks had discussions with the Wolves regarding a Ricky Rubio-Rose swap, but those talks stalled when New York demanded additional assets. Shortly before the deadline passed, the Knicks backed off those demands, but Minnesota backed out of talks because it feared Rose wouldn’t be open to re-signing with the club.

“I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t traded,” Armstrong said of Rose. “Derrick is putting together, game by game, coming back and really beginning to play at a consistent level to where he’s at and what he’s going to be at this stage of his career. So I think there was a lot of rumors, his name was out there. But in the end, I think the Knicks did what they thought was in their best interests.”

Rose would like to remain in town, but it’s unclear whether or not the Knicks would like to continue the relationship past this season, according to Begley.

Rose is averaging 17.6 points while shooting 46.2% from the field this season. However, the raw numbers don’t tell the whole story, as Dan Favale of NBAMath details. Rose prioritizes scoring when he’s on the court and his decision making has hurt the team this season. New York’s assist percentage drops significantly when Rose is in the lineup and Favale believes Rose has taken opportunities away from other players, especially Kristaps Porzingis.

Earlier in the year, it was reported that Rose would seek a max deal when he hits free agency this summer. It’s unlikely that he receives the max offer, but with a plethora of teams in need of a point guard, he’ll have plenty of suitors. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him land a deal in the $12-15MM/year range, though that is simply my speculation.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Rose, Porzingis, Jackson

Carmelo Anthony is unsure of the Knicks‘ direction after standing pat at the trade deadline. “I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline, whether they were trying to make moves,” Anthony said. “I think that was one plan. Now they’ve got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team.”

Anthony’s frustration is understandable. Team president Phil Jackson extensively discussed the prospect of shopping Anthony, despite ‘Melo’s no-trade clause. While Anthony wasn’t mentioned in trade rumors throughout the deadline, the team was apparently rebuffed by Minnesota on a Ricky Rubio-for-Derrick Rose swap. Anthony claimed he “kind of knew” he wouldn’t be dealt in the days leading up to the deadline, and spoke for his teammates in criticizing the front office’s lack of transparency.

“Yeah, I mean, nobody likes to be in limbo,” Anthony said. “We all want to know kind of what’s going on, especially when it’s involving you. I think there’s other players who feel the same way, that they want to be involved — not involved, but at least up to date with what’s going on.”

More from the Mecca…

  • Kristaps Porzingis will be out several days with an ankle injury, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). Porzingis made an early exit from Thursday’s loss to the Cavs, and appears likely to miss match-ups against the Sixers and Raptors.
  • Frank Isola of the Daily News relayed a troubling report that Phil Jackson was difficult to contact leading up to the deadline. Isola commended Jackson for not dealing a first round pick, but chastised his inactivity on the trade market. Through three seasons as team president, Isola notes, Jackson’s only deadline acquisition has been Alexey Shved.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post echoes Isola’s sentiments, claiming Jackson “overplayed his hand” throughout negotiations for Rubio. According to Berman, the Knicks insisted Minnesota include either a draft pick of Nemanja Bjelica along with Rubio in a trade for Rose. Now 12 games under .500, the Knicks’ “win-now-with-Rose experiment” has been doomed, Berman writes.
  • By the conclusion of the trade deadline Thursday, coach Jeff Hornacek received a text stating “we’re sticking with what we have,” from Jackson. The team’s deadline inactivity is the latest development in a “disappointing and chaotic season,” David Waldstein of the New York Times writes. While Rose is on an expiring contract, there appears to be “little momentum” for the Knicks to re-sign him, Walstein notes.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/23/17

Here are today’s D-League assignments and recalls:

Timberwolves Balked At Rose/Rubio Swap

3:04pm: A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) that the Wolves got “extra concerned” that they wouldn’t be able to re-sign Rose this summer, and didn’t want to acquire him as a rental.

2:40pm: The Timberwolves walked away from trade negotiations involving Ricky Rubio and Derrick Rose, Marc Stein of ESPN reports. The Knicks made a final push for a Derrick Rose-for-Ricky Rubio trade with no additional pieces, but Minnesota balked. (Twitter links).

Earlier today, the Knicks pushed Minnesota to include additional trade pieces along with Rubio. Apparently unable to receive other assets (New York was said to be interested in Nemanja Bjelica), the Knicks made a final push at a straight-up trade offer.

Ian Begley of ESPN corroborated Stein’s report, claiming the Knicks’ willingness to lower their demands came too late in negotiations. Phil Jackson had been looking for draft picks in trade talks with other teams, which may have been the sticking point with Scott Layden of the Timberwolves.

Barring a buyout, Derrick Rose appears set to finish the season in New York before testing the free agent market. Ricky Rubio, who remains ahead of Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn on Minnesota’s depth chart, is under contract through 2018/19.

Trade Talks Between Wolves, Knicks Stalled?

1:42pm: The talks between the Knicks and Wolves have “stalled significantly” with the deadline less than 20 minutes away, per Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link).

11:40am: The Knicks and Wolves remain engaged in discussions on a potential deal headlined by Rubio and Rose, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link).

8:35am: Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio continues to be a “significant” trade target for the Knicks today, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). We’ve heard in recent days that the two teams have discussed multiple variations of a deal involving Rubio and New York point guard Derrick Rose.

There had been some skepticism about the Knicks’ ability to trade Rose this week, since he has a $21MM+ expiring salary and some members of the organization were believed to be reluctant to take long-term salary back for him. However, as Marc Berman of The New York Post has noted, the Knicks have had interest in Rubio for several years, so it’s possible that he’s a player for whom the team would sacrifice summer cap room.

Because the Wolves are far below the cap, the team could trade Rubio straight up for Rose, despite a gap of nearly $8MM between their 2016/17 salaries. For Minnesota, such a move would allow the club to reach the salary floor this season and create some cap flexibility going forward. Tom Thibodeau‘s history with Rose may also hold some appeal if the Wolves view the former MVP as more than a rental.

Still, if the two sides can get something done, it may not just be a one-for-one swap. The Knicks are said to have some interest in Wolves forward Nemanja Bjelica as well, and ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets that New York’s desire to get another piece in the deal has been a sticking point so far.

Eastern Notes: Hawks, Celtics, Butler, Knicks

Whether it’s via trade or free agency, the Hawks are planning to add a third point guard to their roster, head coach Mike Budenholzer said today (Twitter link via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution). Dennis Schroder has had a very solid season in Atlanta, but Malcolm Delaney has been up and down as his backup, and the team doesn’t really have additional depth at the position.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • On The Vertical’s live trade deadline show, Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that one reason the Celtics and Bulls haven’t moved forward in Jimmy Butler talks is because the Bulls would want at least a couple players capable of joining their rotation immediately, and Boston is more interested in using draft picks in a potential package.
  • The Knicks have yet to budge on their insistence that the Timberwolves add an additional player or draft pick to a Ricky Rubio/Derrick Rose swap, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. As Begley notes, it’ll be interesting to see if either side budges before the deadline.
  • J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com takes a closer look at why the Wizards targeted Bojan Bogdanovic and were willing to give up a first-round pick for him.
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