Knicks Rumors

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Rose, Barrett, Robinson

A right quad contusion may force Jalen Brunson to miss his first game since signing with the Knicks, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. Brunson suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to Portland. He sat out today’s practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday when New York hosts the Grizzlies.

Brunson has been worth the $104MM investment that the Knicks made in free agency, leading the team with 21.8 points and 6.5 assists per game through the first quarter of the season. He has also become an on-court leader for a franchise that spent years searching for an answer at point guard.

“The leadership, I think point guard is a leadership position, and it helps you to manage and control the team,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think Jalen is so team-oriented, I think it makes your team play unselfishly. I think we’re scoring a lot of points, and he gives us an attack, a pace to the game, downhill, guys are playing off each other. And if you move and you’re open on a cut, he’s gonna hit you. He wants to get the ball up the floor fast and when we do that, I think it presents a lot of easy scoring opportunities for everybody.” 

There’s more from New York City:

  • Derrick Rose participated in most of today’s practice after missing the past two games with an injured toe, Botte adds. Thibodeau said Rose looked “better,” but he’s still questionable for Sunday. Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride figure to see additional playing time if Brunson and Rose are out.
  • RJ Barrett‘s extended shooting slump continued Friday, but he told reporters, “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine,” writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Barrett made 6-of-22 shots against the Trail Blazers and is now 36-of-114 in his last seven games. Thibodeau thought Barrett was too focused on trying to draw fouls rather than attacking the basket, and Barrett seemed to agree. “They were getting everything, I thought I would get some. Sheesh,” he said, referencing Portland’s 51 free throw attempts. “Second half I started going in more aggressively, trying to finish. I played a little better.”
  • Mitchell Robinson, who had to leave Monday’s game due to pain in his right knee, admitted that the knee still isn’t 100% but he’s trying to be available for the team, Braziller adds. Robinson played 23 minutes Friday with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Randle Adjusting To Off-Ball Role; Thibodeau Talks Center Depth

  • Power forward Julius Randle says he’s still adjusting to “playing off the ball more” after the Knicks signed point guard Jalen Brunson in the offseason, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. As Botte notes, New York ran a lot of its offense through Randle from 2020-22, when he averaged 5.6 assists per game. That figure is down to 3.0 per night in ’22/23, but he’s scoring more efficiently. “Just making the game easy, try and make efficient shots and keep the flow of the offense going,” Randle said. “I think it’s the flow of our offense. Break it down, see more, especially in my position where shots are coming from [and being] responsible for getting good shots … figuring out what spots for most efficient shots.”
  • The Knicks have played all three of their centers — Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims — three games in a row. Head coach Tom Thibodeau says that won’t always be the case, but he’s a fan of having so many options at the five spot. “It’s game-to-game. It’ll sort itself out,” Thibodeau said, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I don’t think it’ll be like that every game. But I love the depth at that position. So all three guys are more than capable, all three can start, all three can come off the bench. It’s a good luxury to have.”

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Grimes, Tatum, Brown, Raptors

Though Sixers starting power forward Tobias Harris may be a trade candidate down the line, Philadelphia needs his two-way contributions while weathering injuries to the team’s three leading scorers, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Harris, the Sixers’ fourth-leading scorer, has two years and $76.9MM remaining on his current maximum-salary contract with the club. In his last two contests – with James Harden, Joel Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey out – Harris is averaging 21.5 PPG while taking 20.5 field goals a night. For the 2022/23 season, the 6’8″ vet is averaging 15.6 PPG, on 13.1 field goal tries.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes has been logging significant minutes of late, having been promoted to a starting role in the absence of injured wing Cam Reddish, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I feel great,” Grimes said of the opportunity. “I feel like I’m kind of back to my old game shape, really.Zach Braziller of The New York Post scouts how Grimes can help New York though his shooting, perimeter defense, and passing.
  • Ahead of his Mavericks’ 125-112 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday, All-Star guard Luka Doncic praised Boston as “probably” the league’s best team, adding that All-Star swingmen Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could be the team’s best tandem, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Tatum and Brown combined for 68 points in Boston’s win over the Mavs.
  • The Raptors front office does not yet have enough information about the team’s roster to have made a determination about how best it can approach this season’s trade deadline, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Injuries and illnesses have affected several key players, including forward Pascal Siakam and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. have impeded the team’s appraisals.

Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein Discusses Role, Achilles Issue

Last season with the Clippers, center Isaiah Hartenstein served as a play-maker in the middle, averaging 4.7 assists per 36 minutes. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, the Knicks sold Hartenstein on playing a similar role in New York when he joined the team in the offseason as a free agent.

However, so far this fall, Hartenstein is handing out a career-low 1.2 assists per 36 minutes and averaging just 0.8 seconds per touch (as opposed to 2.06 seconds per touch last season). The big man acknowledged on Wednesday that he has been asked to play more like a traditional center with the Knicks.

“It’s adjusting to a different role where it’s playing more like (the Knicks’ other centers), I guess. Not more of what I’m used to,” Hartenstein said. “That’s been a little more difficult. And so I’m just adjusting to more of a Mitch (Robinson) role, where I’m just rolling into the pick-and-roll.”

As Bondy relays, Hartenstein reiterated multiple times during his media session that he’s fine with making the adjustment, but said it has been a challenge and has required some extra film work to get comfortable.

It doesn’t help that the 24-year-old has been dealing with an inflamed Achilles tendon since the summer and still only feels “about 80 percent.” Hartenstein believes the issue is hindering his athleticism and may be having an impact on his defense and rebounding, according to Bondy.

“I feel like I’m a little slower than I normally am,” he said. “Little slower to get up to defend the shots where I normally am able to do really good.”

When Robinson missed some time this month due to a knee injury, third-string center Jericho Sims entered the rotation and had some strong performances. With Robinson back, all three centers have played at least 13 minutes apiece in each of the Knicks’ past two games, but Bondy says head coach Tom Thibodeau typically prefers to use just two centers in his rotation, especially if he wants to try to get Julius Randle and Obi Toppin some minutes together.

Hartenstein, who signed a two-year, $16MM contract and has appeared in every game so far this season, may not end up being the odd man out, but he said he’s willing to accept a reduced role if the team wants to lean more on its traditional centers or use a two-power-forward look.

“I know what I can do,” Hartenstein said. “It’s now just doing whatever I can do in the role that’s given to me. I have a lot of respect for Jericho and Mitch. So if that’s what coach thinks is the best thing to do – if coach thinks it’s best to go with Julius and Obi, then do that. I’m just here to help the team win at the end of the day and if coach thinks that way, or if coach thinks that way. I’m ready to do that.”

Knicks Notes: Quickley, Robinson, McBride, Rose, Grimes

The Knicksreported willingness to trade Immanuel Quickley is related to their long-term goal of making a deal for a star, explains Fred Katz of The Athletic. New York is seeking a first-round pick for Quickley, according to Katz, who writes that New York’s front office may believe that a first-rounder from another team is more valuable in a potential trade than Quickley, who will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension next summer.

Quickley has been part of the team’s rotation since his rookie season, and his game has evolved over time. Katz notes that he was originally relied on for instant offense off the bench, but his efficiency has declined and he’s now shooting a career-worst 30.9% on three-pointers. However, Quickley’s defense has gotten better, he pushes the pace in transition and is relentless in pursuing loose balls. He has value to the organization, but management may not want to pay whatever he can get in an extension or in restricted free agency.

Katz points out that Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes will earn a combined $97MM in the 2024/25 season, which would be the first year of an extension for Quickley or Obi Toppin. If they both sign for roughly the mid-level exception, the Knicks will have about $120MM tied up for seven players. Assuming a salary cap of $140MM, the team would have limited resources to complete its roster, without considering new deals for Cam Reddish, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims.

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Robinson was ruled out of Monday’s game in the fourth quarter because of pain in his right knee, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. It’s the same condition that recently caused him to miss eight games, but the team isn’t overly concerned. “Just a little soreness. To be expected,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought he gave us really good minutes in the first half. But it’ll be a work in progress each day. (Tuesday) will be a good day for recovery and rehab. But he’s coming along.” 
  • Derrick Rose‘s toe injury has created an opportunity for second-year guard Miles McBride, Botte adds. McBride got into just four of the team’s first 16 games, but he played 29 combined minutes in the last two. “Good energy, good ball pressure. It’s good to see him out there,” Thibodeau said. “He’s worked extremely hard. So I’m expecting good things from him.” Rose will be reexamined today as the team returns home after a five-game road trip.
  • Grimes made a statement in his return to the starting lineup on Sunday, Botte notes in a separate story. Grimes, who had been out of the rotation, handed out a career-high eight assists to go with 10 points and five rebounds. “I don’t think I ever thought I blew (my chance), he said. “I know who I am and the way Thibs feels about me, and the organization. I just had to wait for my opportunity, and it was gonna come. … You gotta be ready for the opportunity when it comes, and I feel like it came today and I made the most of it.”

11 Players Affected By Poison Pill Provision In 2022/23

The term “poison pill” doesn’t actually show up in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it’s used colloquially to refer to a provision in the CBA that affects players who recently signed rookie scale contract extensions.

As we explain in our glossary entry, the so-called poison pill provision applies when a player who signed a rookie scale extension is traded before the extension takes effect.

In that scenario, the player’s incoming value for the receiving team for matching purposes is determined by averaging his current-year salary and the salaries in each year of his new extension. His current team, on the other hand, simply treats his current-year salary as the outgoing figure for matching purposes.

For instance, Heat guard Tyler Herro is earning a $5,722,116 salary in 2022/23, but signed a four-year, $120MM extension that will begin in ’23/24. Therefore, if Miami wanted to trade Herro this season, his outgoing value for salary-matching purposes would be $5,722,116 (this year’s salary), while his incoming value for the team acquiring him would be $25,144,423 (this year’s salary, plus the $120MM extension, divided by five years).

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Rookie Scale Extension Recap]

Most of the players who signed rookie scale extensions aren’t candidates to be traded anytime soon. But even in the event that a team does want to look into trading one of these recently extended players, the gap between the player’s incoming trade value and outgoing trade value could make it a real challenge to find a deal that works for both sides.

The “poison pill” provision applies to 11 players who signed rookie scale extensions in 2022. Here are those players, along with their outgoing salaries and incoming salaries for trade purposes:

Player Team Outgoing trade value Incoming trade value
Zion Williamson NOP $13,534,817 $34,639,136
Ja Morant MEM $12,119,440 $34,403,240
RJ Barrett NYK $10,900,635 $23,580,127
De’Andre Hunter ATL $9,835,881 $19,967,176
Darius Garland CLE $8,920,795 $33,870,133
Tyler Herro MIA $5,722,116 $25,144,423
Brandon Clarke MEM $4,343,920 $10,868,784
Nassir Little POR $4,171,548 $6,434,310
Jordan Poole GSW $3,901,399 $26,380,280
Keldon Johnson SAS $3,873,025 $15,574,605
Kevin Porter Jr. HOU $3,217,631 $15,234,726

Once the 2023/24 league year begins, the poison pill provision will no longer apply to these players. At that time, the player’s ’23/24 salary would represent both his outgoing and incoming value.

Until then though, the gap between those outgoing and incoming figures will make it tricky for these players to be moved, with one or two exceptions.

The small difference between Little’s incoming and outgoing trade figures, for instance, wouldn’t be very problematic if the Blazers wanted to trade him. But the much larger divide between Poole’s incoming and outgoing numbers means there’s virtually no chance he could be moved to an over-the-cap team in 2022/23, even if the Warriors wanted to.

Robinson Rusty In Return To Action

  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson didn’t have much of an impact in his return to action, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Robinson, who suffered a sprained right knee on Nov. 4 against the Sixers, finished with two points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes against Phoenix on Sunday. “I don’t feel that far behind,” Robinson said. “I feel like I’m way better than I was last year as far as conditioning-wise. But since this happened, I’ve got to build it back up.” Jericho Sims, who filled in for Robinson, will likely drop out of the rotation.

Trade Rumors: Collins, Jazz, Clarkson, Fournier, Robinson, More

Many around the NBA thought it was a foregone conclusion that John Collins would be moved ahead of the draft this past summer, and Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article that the Hawks power forward was “very nearly” dealt to the Kings in June.

Sources tell Stein that there’s “momentum building on all sides” for Collins to be traded during the 2022/23 season, so his name should be “right at the top of the list” of players most likely to be dealt before the February 9 deadline.

Stein confirms that the Jazz have shown interest in Collins, and that’s a noteworthy pivot for a team that many believed would be tanking and a frontrunner for a top lottery pick after dealing away Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and other veterans.

Speaking of Utah, a rival executive tells Stein that he thinks the Jazz are more likely to extend Jordan Clarkson‘s contract than trade him. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype hears similarly, saying there’s “palpable buzz” about a potential Clarkson extension.

Here are a few more trade rumors from Scotto, who takes a look at the top trade candidates for each NBA team:

  • The Knicks are reluctant to part with a first-round pick to move off Evan Fournier‘s contract, sources tell Scotto. Fournier has fallen out of New York’s rotation after a prolonged shooting slump and is owed $18MM this season and $18.9MM in 2023/24. In addition to Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley, rival executives also believe that second-year guard Miles McBride is available due to the team’s backcourt logjam, per Scotto.
  • The Heat have made Duncan Robinson available in trade talks, sources tell Scotto. That’s hardly surprising since Robinson, like Fournier, has struggled and fallen out of the rotation at times in ’22/23. The problem is Miami would almost certainly have to attach assets to deal Robinson, who is owed $57.5MM over the next three seasons, and it remains to be seen whether the Heat are willing to do so.
  • Echoing a previous report, Scotto writes that the Lakers were trying to offload Russell Westbrook to the Spurs for Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson before the season started. While LJ Ellis of stated that the Lakers were only willing to attach two second-round picks to Westbrook’s enormous expiring contract, Scotto hears the Lakers offered a lottery-protected first-rounder and the Spurs wanted that pick to be unprotected, which caused the talks to stall.
  • Center Nerlens Noel is not expected to finish the ’22/23 season with the Pistons, according to Scotto. It’s unclear if Scotto means he’ll be bought out at some point or moved in a trade, since Noel’s $9.2MM contract doesn’t have positive value given how many injuries he’s dealt with the past couple seasons.

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Sims, Reddish

Starting center Mitchell Robinson will be back on the floor for the Knicks on Sunday, the team has announced (Twitter link). He’ll come in handy against formidable Phoenix big man Deandre Ayton and the rest of the 9-6 Suns in an afternoon matchup.

Robinson has missed New York’s last eight games with a sprained right knee. Through eight games, all starts, he is averaging 6.5 PPG on 69.7% shooting, along with 6.4 RPG, 2.3 BPG and 1.0 APG. Reserve centers Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims had alternately started in Robinson’s stead.

There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:

  • Sims had been showing out with Robinson absent, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. In 27 minutes as a reserve behind Hartenstein on Friday, Sims chipped in a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. “You hear all the time coaches saying ‘stay ready,’ and that’s all I’ve really been doing. The time will come that you’ll get more time,” Sims said. The 6’9″ big man was drafted with the No. 58 pick out of Texas in 2021, and appears to have real NBA ability. In New York’s past eight games with Robinson sidelined, Sims averaged 6.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.4 BPG. “Yeah, the athleticism, great feet. Gives you the opportunity to switch more [on the defensive end],”  Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Very good playmaker on short rolls. We still haven’t seen it in the games, but we’ve seen it in practice. He’s got a real good feel for it.”
  • Knicks swingman Cam Reddish suffered a right groin injury during the third quarter of the team’s 111-101 loss to the Warriors on Friday, Botte writes in a separate piece. New York revealed (via Twitter) that Reddish, who had started eight straight games leading up to the injury, will sit out at least today’s contest. “It was competing against the greatest ever, to be honest,” Reddish said of his experience defending All-NBA Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. “It was fun. Tough, too. He’s non-stop moving. That’s probably why my groin is hurting. But I enjoy the competition.” Botte notes that Quentin Grimes could be elevated to a starting role with Reddish absent.
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are reportedly amenable to discussing trades involving reserve guards Immanuel Quickley and/or Derrick Rose.

And-Ones: Trade Market, Spain, Coaches, Overtime Elite

Even though we’re only a month into the 2022/23 NBA season, some front offices are “beginning to get itchy trading fingers,” writes Steve Bulpett of, citing league sources. While the in-season trade market often doesn’t heat up until December 15, when most offseason signees become trade-eligible, some clubs may already be looking to make changes, according to executives who spoke to Bulpett.

“Everyone comes into the year having talked themselves into their roster,” one general manager said. “But then we start playing the games and soon enough reality sets in. Some teams shouldn’t read too much into it, because it takes time for guys to get on the same page if you’ve made some changes. But even though it’s crazy, some guys look at the standings and think, ‘Oh, s–t, I better do something.’ … And some of them are going to be under pressure to do something. It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens after December 15.”

Bulpett’s story features some speculation from executives about what struggling or inconsistent teams like the Lakers and Nets might do on the trade market, as well as a suggestion from one exec that clubs’ financial situations will be worth monitoring as the trade deadline nears.

“There could be some interesting players out there as we get deeper into the season, because I think teams are going to be looking to dump salary once it’s clear they’re not in the playoff mix — or maybe in the mix but with no chance to do anything if they get there,” the executive said. “Teams are going to start looking at that luxury tax bill and their record, and the two just aren’t going to mesh.

“Where it could get interesting is if some guys get the idea they need to make a splash to keep their jobs. But I think you’re going to see some owners step in and look at the bottom line. What’s funny is that they may end up saving their GMs from themselves — you know, keep them from doing something stupid.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Spain has leapfrogged the United States as the No. 1 national team in FIBA’s men’s basketball rankings, according to a press release. The U.S. had held the top spot in FIBA’s rankings since 2010 and has won the last four Olympic gold medals, but finished seventh in the 2019 World Cup (which Spain won) and third in this year’s AmeriCup.
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic divides the NBA’s 30 coaches into “hot seat” tiers, starting with the ones who definitely aren’t going anywhere – such as Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra – and working his way down to the coaches who might want to keep their LinkedIn profiles up to date — Tom Thibodeau of the Knicks and Doc Rivers of the Sixers are in that final tier.
  • A panel of writers weighs in on the biggest surprises of the NBA season to date. Besides obvious choices like the Warriors‘ struggles and the Jazz‘s unexpected early success, the panel singled out the Pacers for their solid start and noted that offensive production has been off the charts in the early going.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic checks in on where Overtime Elite stands heading into its second year, highlighting some of the tweaks the league has made. Among those tweaks? Offering recruits a choice of a scholarship or a salary, allowing them to leave the door open to eventually playing college ball by retaining their amateur status, if they so choose. “The scholarship option (for high-school aged recruits) has been big for us, if not bigger than NIL,” OTE general manager Damien Wilkins said. “Because now we can go out and recruit without restrictions. There’s no real downside.”