Knicks Rumors

Injury Notes: Mobley, Embiid, Brunson, Little, O. Porter

Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley missed his first game of the 2023/24 season on Friday due to left knee soreness. The third-year forward/center also didn’t participate in the team’s shootaround, according to Chris Fedor of (subscriber link), who reports that Mobley could miss multiple games with the injury, though that depends on how he responds to treatment.

The Cavs’ next game is Monday in Orlando, so Mobley will have a couple more days to determine how he’s feeling, Fedor notes. Forward Dean Wade started in Mobley’s place during Friday’s victory in Miami.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Reigning MVP Joel Embiid will be reevaluated on Saturday after sustaining a left leg injury in the Sixers‘ victory over Atlanta on Friday, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Embiid grabbed at his knee after falling on a drive, Vorkunov adds, but he was able to play through it while favoring his left leg.
  • Knicks guard Jalen Brunson sustained an injury to his lower left leg after stepping on Payton Pritchard‘s foot with 21 seconds remaining and the Knicks down 12 to Boston, per New York Basketball (Twitter video link). The team’s leading scorer was able to head to the locker room under his own power, but had a noticeable limp. Head coach Tom Thibodeau said he didn’t regret having Brunson in the game, despite the loss being all but guaranteed (Twitter link via Stefan Bondy of The New York Post). Brunson didn’t speak to the media afterward, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • Suns wing Nassir Little took a hard fall in the first quarter of Friday’s contest vs. Sacramento and appeared to be woozy after the incident, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Little was later ruled out of the remainder of the contest, as he’s being evaluated for a concussion. He could be sidelined for multiple games if he did indeed sustain a concussion.
  • Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. exited Friday’s game with a left foot contusion. As Josh Lewenberg of observes (via Twitter), that’s the same foot that caused Porter to miss most of last season after he had surgery. This injury hopefully isn’t serious, however, as X-rays were negative, per Blake Murphy of (Twitter link).

DiVincenzo Replacing Grimes In Knicks’ Starting Lineup

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau played coy ahead of Friday’s matchup in Boston, saying there “could be” lineup changes in store (Twitter link via Steve Popper of Newsday).

However, Fred Katz of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Donte DiVincenzo will start at shooting guard in place of Quentin Grimes. Stefan Bondy of The New York Post confirms the news (Twitter link).

It’s a noteworthy development for multiple reasons. Grimes has been struggling lately, scoring just 16 points on 5-of-28 shooting over his last seven games, and he expressed frustration with his limited role in the team’s offense following Tuesday’s in-season tournament quarterfinal loss to Milwaukee.

“It’s just hard when you go the whole quarter without touching the ball, the whole second quarter without touching the ball, and then you get one shot and you got to make it,” Grimes said. “So it’s tough going out there and just standing in the corner the whole game. Then you got to make the shot when you shoot the ball one or two times per game. It is what it is.”

DiVincenzo, on the other hand, has been on a heater of late, averaging 11.4 points while shooting 51.8% from three-point range over his past nine contests, including a pair of starts when Grimes was injured. DiVincenzo was New York’s primary offseason addition, signing a four-year, $50MM contract to join the Knicks in free agency.

Grimes, 23, was the 25th pick of the 2021 draft. Known as a solid defender, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists on .468/.386/.796 shooting in 71 games last season (66 starts, 29.9 minutes). In ’23/24, his numbers are down across the board, posting 5.8 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists on .359/.345/.667 shooting in 18 games, all starts (22.9 minutes).

Part of the reason Grimes is playing fewer minutes is due to the team’s crowded wing rotation, with RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart also in the mix. And he’s not the only player who has shown a level of frustration with a reduced role — Hart made similar comments last week, though he made a point to say he wasn’t a “disgruntled player.”

It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. Perhaps Grimes will have more on-ball opportunities with the second unit, with Katz recently suggesting the third-year guard could look to be more active off the ball too.

Knicks Notes: Trade Rumors, Towns, Quickley, Grades

Although the Knicks have conveyed to potential trade partners that they want to acquire a star, they don’t expect one to become available during the 2023/24 season, Fred Katz writes for The Athletic.

Katz, like Ian Begley of, has heard from league sources that New York hasn’t expressed any serious interest in Bulls scorers Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, who are presumably a tier or two below the level of player the Knicks would ideally like to land in any major trade. Sixers center Joel Embiid is one example of the kind of star who would interest New York’s front office, but Philadelphia’s success this season has reduced the likelihood that the Knicks will get a chance to make a play for Embiid anytime soon, Katz notes.

At this time last year, the Knicks had already been in touch with some teams to gauge Immanuel Quickley‘s potential trade value, but things have been quiet so far this season, Katz continues. Still, some people within the Knicks’ front office believe a “too-many-guys situation could be brewing,” sources tell The Athletic, so a consolidation trade at some point this season is a possibility.

Here’s more on the Knicks, including some additional trade-related chatter from Katz:

  • The Knicks checked in on Karl-Anthony Towns earlier this season, but didn’t make an offer for the Timberwolves big man and haven’t made a “serious run” at him in recent years, Katz writes. Towns has frequently been cited as a possible trade target for the Knicks due to his connections to executives Leon Rose (a former CAA agent) and Gersson Rosas (Minnesota’s former head of basketball operations), but the Wolves are off to a 16-4 start and presumably won’t be looking to make significant roster changes.
  • Teams around the NBA are curious to see how the Knicks will handle Quickley, who will be a restricted free agent in 2024, says Katz. According to Begley, when Quickley and the Knicks talked about a rookie scale extension prior to the season, the two sides couldn’t agree on the structure of a potential deal. They didn’t discuss incentives, but at least one offer made by New York included a team option on the final season, Begley adds. Just two of the 14 players who signed rookie scale extensions this year – Isaiah Stewart and Cole Anthony – agreed to deals that included team options.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscription required) hands out his grades for the first quarter of the 2023/24 season, awarding Jalen Brunson an A and giving both Quickley and Julius Randle a B-plus. Josh Hart (C-minus) and Quentin Grimes (D-minus), who have voiced concerns about their respective roles, didn’t fare as well.

New York Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Bogdanovic, Dinwiddie, DSJ

The Knicks are searching for ways to upgrade their roster, but they haven’t engaged in serious trade talks with the Bulls about Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan or any other players, sources tell Ian Begley of New York has been floated as a potential suitor for LaVine and reportedly explored a possible deal with Chicago prior to last season’s deadline. The Bulls are hoping to find a taker for LaVine, but his latest injury setback should cool any interest around the league, at least for a while.

Bojan Bogdanovic has also been a target for the Knicks in the past, but Begley’s sources say Detroit isn’t looking to move him right now. Bogdanovic recently returned from a calf strain, and the Pistons hope he can help snap an 18-game losing streak and get them heading in the right direction before considering any deals.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Recent frustration expressed by Knicks guards Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes is the result of a poorly constructed roster with too many redundant players, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Bondy points out that team president Leon Rose created a roster imbalance this summer when he traded power forward Obi Toppin to Indiana for virtually nothing and signed shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo. The move gave New York too many guards and wings, without enough playing time to keep them all satisfied. Grimes is unhappy about losing minutes to DiVincenzo, but Bondy notes that the same situation occurred last year when Evan Fournier was replaced by Grimes. Bondy’s solution is to either move Grimes to the second unit, which would give him more play-making duties, or to balance the roster with a long-rumored trade for another star.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie has been willing to adapt his role amid heavy injuries to the Nets‘ backcourt, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ben Simmons, Dennis Smith Jr., Cam Thomas and Lonnie Walker have all missed time already, forcing Dinwiddie to spend more time running the offense, and he has posted one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the league. Dinwiddie will be a free agent next summer, and Lewis says there’s a belief in league circles that his next contract could top the $81MM over four years that Hart received from the Knicks.
  • Smith, who refers to himself as “a savage,” has been showing why the Nets were so determined to add him in free agency, observes CJ Holmes of The New York Daily News. Smith returned Saturday after missing six games with a lower back sprain, adding another level of toughness to Brooklyn’s scrappy lineup.

Knicks’ Grimes Expresses Frustration With Role

Knicks swingman Quentin Grimes has scored just 16 points in his past seven games and has gone scoreless in three of those outings, including Tuesday’s in-season tournament quarterfinal loss to Milwaukee.

Following a game in which he had four times as many personal fouls (4) as shot attempts (1), Grimes expressed some dissatisfaction with his role in the team’s offense, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

“It’s just hard when you go the whole quarter without touching the ball, the whole second quarter without touching the ball, and then you get one shot and you got to make it,” Grimes said. “So it’s tough going out there and just standing in the corner the whole game. Then you got to make the shot when you shoot the ball one or two times per game. It is what it is.”

As Bondy notes, Grimes’ only field goal attempt on Tuesday came in the third quarter. Shortly after that missed three-pointer, he was removed from the lineup and – for a third consecutive game – didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter.

“It feels like if I don’t hit the shot, I’m coming out,” Grimes said. “So every shot I shoot probably weighs like 100 pounds if I don’t make it.”

Grimes started 66 games last season for the Knicks and is one of the team’s best defensive players. He was also a reliable part of the offensive attack in 2022/23, averaging 11.3 points per game with a .468/.386/.796 shooting line. This fall, he’s averaging just 5.8 PPG on .359/.345/.667 shooting and his usage rate has dipped to a career-low 11.7%.

Grimes has started all 18 games he has played this season, and head coach Tom Thibodeau has lauded the 23-year-old’s defense, indicating that he likes his fit with the starting five. But Grimes’ minutes are down and playing alongside ball-dominant players like Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett means there are limited offensive opportunities for him.

“I just know last year RJ missed a lot of games. Jalen missed some games. So I had the ball in my hands a little bit more. I knew I wasn’t coming out,” Grimes said. “I knew I was going to be in there and get more shots, play the whole first quarter, the whole third quarter. I knew I had opportunities to get the ball and get my shots up. Now it’s just a matter if the ball come my way, really.”

While Grimes’ teammates sometimes don’t find him when he’s open, the third-year wing could also benefit from being more active on offense, suggests Fred Katz of The Athletic, who notes that a player like Donte DiVincenzo constantly cuts and relocates when he doesn’t have the ball. Grimes could look to do more when his defender sags off of him, Katz writes.

Josh Hart registered some similar complaints about his own role last week and has been on a hot streak since then (13.0 PPG, .656 FG%), with his teammates ribbing him about his usage rate, according to Katz. The Knicks are hoping to get Grimes going too.

“He has a hard job, a tough role,” Randle said. “But we’ve gotta do a better job of trying to get him better looks, make him feel more included for sure.”

“He’s going to get the ball so sometimes when the confidence is low it seems like the end of the world,” Brunson added. “But as teammates we need to pick him up and make sure he gets back on track

Tournament’s Final Four Set, Regular Season Schedule Finalized

The Bucks and the Lakers earned quarterfinal victories on Tuesday night, joining the Pacers and Pelicans as the final four teams that will head to Las Vegas to compete for the championship in the NBA’s first-ever in-season tournament.

Milwaukee pulled away from New York in the second half in Tuesday’s early game, with superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard combining for 63 points in the 146-122 victory.

In the late game, the Lakers benefited from a generous timeout call in the closing seconds (Twitter video link) and eked out Phoenix in a 106-103 nail-biter, led by LeBron James‘ 31 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, and five steals.

The schedule for Thursday’s semifinals at T-Mobile Arena is as follows:

  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers (4:00 pm Central time)
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8:00 pm CT)

The winners of those semifinal matchups will square off in the in-season tournament final at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday at 7:30 pm CT.

Players on standard contracts with the Bucks, Pacers, Lakers, and Pelicans have now secured bonuses worth at least $100K (two-way players will earn half that amount). A semifinal victory would increase those bonuses to at least $200K, while the champs will earn $500K apiece.

The Celtics, Knicks, Kings, and Suns, meanwhile, will come away with bonuses worth $50K per player for making the knockout round, but won’t get the opportunity to head to Vegas for the tournament’s final stage.

Instead, the Knicks will travel to Boston on Friday, while the Kings will visit Phoenix on the same night. Those newly added regular season contests represent the 82nd game on each team’s schedule. Thursday’s semifinals will also count toward the NBA’s regular season standings, but Saturday’s final won’t, since that will be the 83rd game on those teams’ schedules.

New York Notes: DiVincenzo, Grimes, Walker, Finney-Smith

After making 7-of-9 three-point attempts in Friday’s win over Toronto, Knicks sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo has converted 43.4% of his tries from beyond the arc this season, which would easily be a career high. Julius Randle says DiVincenzo has made New York “a more dynamic team,” while head coach Tom Thibodeau expressed appreciation for what the veteran wing has brought to the club, per Peter Botte of The New York Post.

“I think he complements our primary scorers great, because he can stretch the floor and he does a little bit of everything,” Thibodeau said. “He handles the ball, he makes plays, he rebounds the ball well for his size. So he’s done a really good job, but it’s that entire [second] unit that’s really done a good job.”

DiVincenzo, who signed a four-year contract during the 2023 offseason, is one of two Knicks players who will become trade-eligible on December 15, but there have certainly been no indications that the team will look to move him this season.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Knicks wing Quentin Grimes is off to a slow start this season, having averaged just 6.2 points per game on 36.3% shooting. However, Thibodeau remains comfortable with Grimes as part of the starting five because the group as a whole is performing well, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “To me, it’s not about individuals. It’s about, how is the unit performing?” Thibodeau said. “And if the unit is performing well, then you’re fine, right? And if you’re open, you shoot it, and if you’re guarded, you make a play. He can help a lot, and he does. He’s guarding a lot of different players for us. That’s a very important role for our team.”
  • After missing Saturday’s win over Orlando, Lonnie Walker underwent imaging on his left hamstring strain and is expected to remain sidelined for several more games, head coach Jacque Vaughn said on Tuesday (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). “Lonnie’s situation is he will not travel with us to Atlanta (for Wednesday’s game) and all signs pointing towards him not playing on the West Coast trip (which runs from Dec. 11-18) and having some more information about that after we get back from the West Coast trip,” Vaughn told reporters.
  • On the plus side for the Nets, Dorian Finney-Smith, who was also unavailable on Saturday due to right foot/knee soreness, practiced on Tuesday and is “back in action,” according to Vaughn (Twitter link via Lewis).
  • Although the Nets‘ 10-9 record isn’t a major surprise, their strong offensive production has been a little unexpected, Braziller says for The New York Post. Seven different Nets are averaging double-digit points per game and Brooklyn’s 117.5 offensive rating ranks sixth in the NBA. The club is also second in the league with a 39.0% three-point rate, Braziller notes.

De’Aaron Fox, Julius Randle Named Players Of The Week

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Knicks forward Julius Randle have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced (via Twitter). Fox won for the Western Conference, while Randle won for the East.

It’s the second weekly award thus far in 2023/24 for Fox, who led Sacramento to a 2-1 record last week. The 25-year-old averaged 31.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.7 steals in his three games (38.7 minutes per night). The Kings host the Pelicans tonight in the quarterfinal of the league’s inaugural in-season tournament.

Randle, meanwhile, averaged 24.7 points, 13.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in guiding New York to a perfect 3-0 record last week (36.0 minutes). As Tommy Beer tweets, Randle joins Jalen Brunson — who won two weeks ago — as the first pair of Knicks teammates to win the weekly award in the same season since 2012/13, when Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were honored.

The Knicks will play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Tuesday for their quarterfinal matchup.

According to the NBA, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic and Shaedon Sharpe were nominated in the West, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, Patrick Beverley, Mikal Bridges, Donovan Mitchell, Franz Wagner and Coby White were nominated in the East (Twitter links).

Barrett Still Trying To Find Form

  • Knicks forward RJ Barrett had a strong start to the 2023/24 season interrupted by migraines, which caused him to miss three games, and he’s still trying to regain his prior form, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The 23-year-old is shooting just 34.4% from the field and 25.0% from long distance over the past seven games. “Having a week where you don’t play, it’s not ideal,” Barrett said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve also had a [few] weeks where I’ve been playing. No excuses; I’m kind of getting back to it.”

Brutal Schedule Upcoming This Month

  • The Knicks are 12-7 but their December schedule will be a major test, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post notes. They have to play Milwaukee three times and nine of their remaining 12 December games are on the road. Phoenix and both Los Angeles teams will be part of a West Coast trip and the last three road games including up-and-coming clubs Oklahoma City, Orlando and Indiana.