Knicks Rumors

New York Notes: Randle, Quickley, Burrell, Johnson

Julius Randle‘s ankle injury came at a very bad time, but the Knicks believe they can keep winning while he mends, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.

“I think it takes more focus being down an All-Star, but I’m very confident in our team and how we can handle things,” Jalen Brunson said.

The Knicks won their last two games heading into their showdown with Cleveland on Friday. “We have more than enough guys that are capable of helping out,” Brunson said. “That’s what a team is for and that’s what we do, we’re professionals.”

Obi Toppin started in Randle’s place on Friday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley shot 44.8 percent on two-point attempts last season. That stat is up to 52.9 percent this season and he credits associate head coach Johnnie Bryant and personal trainer Reese Whitley, according to Mark Sanchez of the New York Post. Whitley’s workout regimen has made Quickley stronger, while Bryant has devoted extra attention to his on-court effectiveness. “Before every game, I watch a lot of film of the team I’m about to play, spots on the floor that I can pretty much be effective,” Quickley said. “Johnnie Bryant has helped me a lot, just being able to work with him every single day and being able to pick his brain.”
  • Long Island Nets coach Ronnie Burrell has been named the NBA G League Coach of the Year, the NBA’s PR department tweets. After defeating the Cleveland Charge on Friday, Long Island advanced in the playoffs and will host Delaware in the G League Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
  • Cameron Johnson is thriving with a bigger offensive role than he had with the Suns, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes. Since being traded in the Kevin Durant blockbuster, Johnson is averaging more minutes (30.4), shots (12.4), points (16.7), rebounds (4.7) and assists (2.1) per game than he did with the Suns. “That’s part of the beauty of the situation,” Johnson said of joining the Nets. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

RJ Barrett Prepared To Play More At Power Forward

  • RJ Barrett is prepared to play more minutes at power forward during Julius Randle‘s injury absence if the Knicks ask him to, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays. “I’ve done it before. I’m comfortable with it,” said Barrett, who has played mostly at the three this season. “With the way the NBA is now, it makes it kind of easier.”

Julius Randle To Miss At Least Two Weeks With Ankle Sprain

Knicks All-Star power forward Julius Randle will miss at least the next two weeks due to a left ankle sprain, the team has announced (Twitter link).

According to the Knicks, Randle will have the ankle reassessed in two weeks. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be ready to hit the floor at that juncture, just that New York could have a better sense of his recovery timeline.

Randle injured the ankle during the second quarter of an eventual 101-92 victory over the Heat Wednesday.

Needless to say, this serves as an incredibly inopportune time for New York to be without perhaps its best player. That will knock him out for the team’s final five games of the 2022/23 regular season. The NBA playoffs will begin two weeks from Saturday, on April 15.

At 44-33, New York is currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Tim Bontemps of ESPN observes that the Knicks are just two wins away from clinching their second postseason appearance in three seasons under head coach Tom Thibodeau. As Ian Begley of tweets, New York is 2.5 games ahead of the No. 6-seeded Nets, and four games in front of the seventh-seeded Heat, so the club is a good bet to avoid the play-in.

Prior to the ankle injury, Randle had not missed a single game this season. In his 77 appearances, the 6’8″ forward averaged 25.1 PPG on .459/.343/.757 shooting splits. He also chipped in 10.0 RPG, 4.1 APG and 0.6 SPG. Randle seems to stand a pretty good chance of landing on his second All-NBA team in three seasons thanks to his consistency, health and team record.

As the East’s fifth seed, the Knicks are currently slated to square off against Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. New York will face the Cavs, who have already clinched a playoff berth, on Friday.

Injury Updates: Randle, Clippers, Sixers, Wolves, Blazers

The Knicks received both good and bad news on Wednesday night versus Miami. The good news is point guard Jalen Brunson was able to play after missing the past two games with a sprained right hand, and the Knicks came away with an important victory (Twitter link via the team).

The bad news is power forward Julius Randle sprained his left ankle after landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot following an offensive rebound (YouTube link), with Randle remaining on the floor for a while in pain. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but headed back to the locker room with a trainer.

Randle was able to limp off the floor on his own, but as soon as he was back in the team’s tunnel he was bent over in discomfort. The Knicks later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest (via Twitter).

Hopefully the injury isn’t severe, particularly so late in the season. Randle has appeared in all 77 games for the Knicks and was named to his second All-Star team last month.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis due to personal reasons, per Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team is hopeful Leonard will only be out one game. On a positive note, Norman Powell was able to return to action after missing the past 11 games with a shoulder injury — he was previously listed as questionable.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid (calf soreness) and James Harden (Achilles soreness) were active for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Embiid missed Monday’s loss in Denver with the injury, while Harden had missed four straight games.
  • The Timberwolves had several late additions to their injury report (Twitter link) ahead of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Kyle Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers and Matt Ryan are all dealing with an illness that head coach Chris Finch described as an “intestinal flu,” according to Chis Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). Edwards and Anderson were able to suit up, but the Wolves later ruled out (via Twitter) the other three players as well as Jaylen Nowell, who continues to battle left knee tendinopathy.
  • In addition to four starters being held out with various injuries and surgeries sidelining a couple other players, the Trail Blazers added three young players to Wednesday’s injury report ahead of their matchup with Sacramento (Twitter link). Second-year guard Keon Johnson is out with a fractured right finger, while second-year big man Trendon Watford will miss his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Fourth-year wing Cam Reddish is doubtful due to lumbar soreness.

Randle Talks Techs; Jeffries Gets Portion Of Room Exception

  • Prior to Monday’s blowout win over Houston, Knicks forward Julius Randle had received technical fouls in three consecutive games, all losses. While Randle acknowledged he needs to do a better job of keeping his frustration in check, he doesn’t believe his outbursts adversely impact his standing as a team leader, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Name a perfect leader,” Randle said. “Name a perfect human being.”
  • The Knicks used a portion of their room exception when they signed DaQuan Jeffries to a two-year contract, Hoops Rumors has learned. A rest-of-season minimum salary for Jeffries would have paid him $163,977, but New York opted to give him $300K for the remainder of the season using the room exception. The swingman’s new deal includes a non-guaranteed minimum salary ($2.07MM) for 2023/24.

Injury Notes: Brunson, Bulls, Cavaliers, KAT, Grizzlies

Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson will miss his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right hand, the team has announced (Twitter link).

The 6’1″ Brunson is enjoying a career season with his new club. Across 65 healthy games, he’s averaging 23.8 PPG on .489/.411/.833 shooting. The 26-year-old is also averaging 6.2 APG, 3.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG for New York.

Reserve guard Derrick Rose, who has been out of the rotation since the calendar rolled over to 2023, will also be inactive for this evening’s bout against the Rockets due to an illness, the Knicks add.

Here are some more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Javonte Green, who continues to recover from a January knee surgery after making a brief return to the lineup last week, will be out tonight against the Clippers, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Johnson adds that veteran Chicago guard Alex Caruso is considered questionable to play.
  • Several Cavaliers players comprise the club’s injury report ahead of the team’s game Tuesday against the Hawks, per Chris Fedor of (Twitter links). Starting center Jarrett Allen is questionable with a groin strain, while starting small forward Isaac Okoro is also questionable due to a sore knee. Swingman Danny Green and point guard Raul Neto will not play. Wing Dean Wade is doubtful to play through an illness. Isaiah Mobley, Sam Merrill and Dylan Windler are all going to be working with Cleveland’s NBAGL affiliate, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns will sit out tonight’s game against the Kings as he manages his right calf strain injury on the second night of a back-to-back, the team has announced (Twitter link). Two-way player Matt Ryan is out with an illness. All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards is questionable due to a sprained right ankle. Guard Jaylen Nowell is also questionable with a left knee tendinopathy.
  • At least five Grizzlies players will be shelved for Tuesday’s contest against the Magic, Memphis has announced (via Twitter). Beyond Brandon Clarke, who’s out for the year with a left Achilles tear, Ziaire Williams, Vince Williams, Jake LaRavia and Steven Adams are all also sidelined. All-Star point guard Ja Morant is considered doubtful to play due to a sore right thigh.

Brunson Listed As Questionable To Play Monday

Joel Embiid is listed as questionable as the Sixers square off against the Nuggets on Monday in a battle of MVP candidates. Embiid said that if he plays, he won’t be focused on his individual matchup with Nikola Jokic, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“These types of matchups, whether it’s against (Giannis Antetokounmpo) whether it’s against him, it’s cool and all,” Embiid said, “but at the end of the day, it’s always about Milwaukee against Philly or Denver against Philly. (Individual matchups) is not where the focus should be. The focus is on making sure everything is running right for later on (during the playoffs).”

If he does play, Embiid says he’ll need a night off soon to rest his sore calf, Pompey tweets.

“I’ve been playing a lot of minutes, I’ve been playing every single game.” Embiid said. “So to add to that, dealing with the calf and whatever the foot, I think at some point you gotta look at the bigger picture, which is the playoffs, obviously.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • OG Anunoby was a prominent trade candidate before February’s deadline but the Raptors were glad to have him on Sunday. He poured in 29 points in a pivotal victory over the Wizards, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “I think that almost all the time he catches and shoots, it’s a good shot — even if he’s pretty covered, especially in the corner,” coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s a really high-percentage, high-contest corner three shooter. He had a couple of mid-rangers off the catch, too — which, again, I like. He was feeling it, obviously. I think when guys are feeling it, you want them to get to wherever they can get to and let it go, so I think that’s what was going on (Sunday).”
  • The Knicks could benefit from the Mavericks’ misery, Jared Schwartz of the New York Post notes. Dallas owes New York a first-round pick, though it’s top-10 protected. Dallas is currently 11th in the Western Conference after losing its last four games. The first-rounder also has protections for 2024 and 2025, and if it does not convey within those three years, the Knicks would receive a second-round pick.
  • Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson practiced on Sunday and is listed as questionable to play Monday against Houston after missing Thursday’s game against Orlando due to a sprained right wrist, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Brunson “did everything in practice” on Sunday and the team will reevaluate him before the game.

Knicks Sign DaQuan Jeffries To Multiyear Deal

1:32pm: The Knicks have confirmed the signing of Jeffries, announcing the move in a press release (via Twitter).

11:22am: Following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, swingman DaQuan Jeffries has agreed to sign a multiyear deal with the Knicks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Jeffries signed a pair of 10-day pacts with the Knicks this month in order to ensure that the team was carrying the NBA-mandated minimum of 14 players on standard contracts. He completed the second of those deals on March 16, so it expired overnight on Saturday.

Jeffries didn’t actually play at all for New York during his 20 days on the NBA roster, but the 25-year-old has been a standout performer for the Westchester Knicks in the G League this season.

He started 15 games for Westchester in the fall’s Showcase Cup, averaging 18.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 2.3 APG on .482/.280/.769 shooting in 33.1 minutes per night. Since the NBAGL’s regular season began, he has appeared in 21 more games, putting up 21.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG with a shooting line of .492/.390/.683.

Jeffries’ new contract will presumably only run through the 2023/24 season, since the Knicks will have to sign him using either the minimum salary exception or room exception — neither exception can be used to sign a player for more than two years.

Once the signing is official, New York will once again be carrying 14 players on standard contracts, leaving one roster spot still open. Both of their two-way slots are full.

Knicks Notes: Trade Chips, Brunson, Randle, Quickley

Given their excess of future first-round picks, the Knicks have long been viewed as a good candidate to make a trade for a star player — they seemingly got close last summer when they pursued Donovan Mitchell. In a recent Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested that the team could be even more ambitious heading into the 2023 offseason.

“Here’s what I think about the Knicks,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “They have two handfuls of trade material, in my opinion. They can make, in my opinion, two big trades if they had to coming into this summer. They have the expiring contract of Evan Fournier, which can act as ballast in a trade. They have a bunch of younger players that people are interested in. And they have something like nine tradable first round picks.

“In my view, they can trade for two star-level players if they needed to. … In my opinion, they can hold Jalen Brunson, they can hold Julius Randle, and they can make two giant trades. Now, whether they can hold Brunson, Randle AND (RJ) Barrett and make two giant trades, that would depend on the players. But there is even a window that they can hold all three of those and make two giant trades.”

Windhorst went on to offer some caveats. He believes that a star (or two) may have to explicitly seek a move to New York in order for the Knicks to realistically be able to use their assets to land two impact players. He also acknowledged that, as well positioned as the Knicks are to pursue a blockbuster deal or two, actually making those deals won’t be easy.

“Leon Rose has put them in position,” Windhorst said. “Getting into position is not the hard part. Executing is the hard part. But he’s put them in position.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Three games after returning from a foot injury, Jalen Brunson was out again on Thursday in Orlando due to a right hand sprain, notes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Following the Knicks’ loss to the Magic, Brunson appeared to be sporting a hard plastic brace on his hand. “I think he’ll be evaluated when we get back (to New York), so we’ll see where he is,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
  • An All-NBA second-teamer in 2021, Julius Randle had a down year in 2022 but now once again looks like a legitimate All-NBA candidate, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Katz polled 39 media members on their All-NBA picks and found that Randle received the fourth-most votes among forwards, behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Jimmy Butler. As Katz observes, Randle could benefit from superstars like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard missing significant time due to injuries.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports spoke to Sixth Man of the Year candidate Immanuel Quickley about the strides he has made on both sides of the court during his third NBA season. Quickley will be eligible for a rookie scale extension beginning in July.
  • Randle received a technical foul for yelling at official Leon Wood at the end of the first half of Thursday’s loss. Quickley, who tried to calm down Randle, ended up nose-to-nose with his teammate as the two exchanged words (Twitter video link), but downplayed the altercation after the game, Botte writes for The New York Post. “Honestly, everybody’s trying to win. Heat of the moment. That’s basically what it is,” Quickley said. “We all want to win. We’re all trying to get dubs.”

Knicks Notes: Hart, Brunson, Hartenstein, Randle

Josh Hart is hoping he’s not just a rental with the Knicks, as he told Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

Hart, who plans to decline his $12.96MM option for next season, said he wants to sign a long-term deal and remain in New York. Family reasons are a major reason why he feels that way, since he and his wife Shannon are more comfortable on the East Coast than they were in the Pacific Northwest when he played for Portland.

“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” said Hart, who grew up in Maryland. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York and hopefully the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Speaking of Hart, he’s thrilled to be reunited with his former college teammate Jalen Brunson. He’s greatly impressed by how Brunson has made himself into an All-Star caliber player, he told Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “It’s really dope for me to see, obviously, knowing him since 2013, watching his progression, watching him grow just as a friend,” Hart said. “It’s amazing cause I’ve seen the work behind the scenes. And he knows this, and I have the most respect for him as almost any NBA guy or basketball player in general because he continues to grind, continues to work.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year contract to join the club as a free agent and he’s getting steady minutes. His impact goes beyond the numbers on the stat sheet, Sears notes. “Whether he scores 10 points, 15 points, he rebounds, he defends, gets his hands on plays and deflections and stuff like that,” Julius Randle said. “Sets screens, really good screens. He just does a lot of little things for us that help us win.” Hartenstein is averaging 4.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per night.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau lamented that the team couldn’t take advantage of Randle’s career night on Monday, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. He poured in 57 points, the most by a Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points in January 2014, but the Knicks’ defense went AWOL in a 140-134 loss to Minnesota. “It’s a shame to waste a performance like that,” Thibodeau said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”