Knicks Rumors

Steve Mills, Scott Perry Discuss Knicks’ Offseason

The Knicks are entering their most crucial offseason in years, but president of basketball operations Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry told reporters on Wednesday that they’re not necessarily feeling pressure to turn the team into an instant contender overnight with a series of major additions.

As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, Perry said that the Knicks don’t view this summer as the “end-all or be-all,” noting that it will be more about taking steps in the right direction and avoiding major mistakes.

“What I look at is this summer presents an opportunity for us to get better,” Perry said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “And so whether we get better through whatever the free-agent signings may or may not be, whatever the drafting process yields us, whatever potential trade may come our way, our goal is to get this team better over the offseason so there’s a better product on the floor next season. And that’s what we’re committed to.”

Here are a few of the most noteworthy comments from Mills and Perry, as detailed by Berman and Popper:

Mills on his expectations for the summer:

“We feel good about the summer. We feel we’re in a position that it gives us an opportunity. We hope we get lucky and we land free agents. And if not, we’ll keep building the way we’re building. The space gives us an opportunity to be flexible in terms of how we deal with trades. We can take guys into our [cap] room in the trade process, it gives us the flexibility to continue to build the team the way we’ve been building it. But it gives us an opportunity to make it better in a way with free-agent or trade prospects.”

Mills on what happens if the Knicks can’t use their cap room to land two star free agents:

“I don’t feel pressure to deviate from our plan if we don’t get two big free agents. I don’t feel that kind of pressure. The pressure is for us to continue with the process and build this team the way we’re saying we’re going to build it.

“… The worst thing we can do is react to doing the wrong thing because we’re disappointed something didn’t happen exactly the way we want it to happen this summer. That could be thing that could derail us from doing what we committed to our fans, what I committed to Jim (owner James Dolan) in how I would build this team.”

On why the Knicks are confident in their appeal after a 17-65 season:

“This is New York City. It’s the greatest city in the world. There’s a lot of appeal here. Even though the team has struggled, it’s a definite attraction to becoming a player in this city who can help turn this organization around. I think that’s something that gives us excitement that it’s out there — the storied nature of this franchise and what the franchise meant to the NBA that still resonates.”

“There’s a lot of noise and a lot of guys are interested in New York. They like Fiz (head coach David Fizdale). They like some of the changes we made in the organization. We hear that from agents. We read it from guys getting interviewed about what guys feel about the Knicks. We hear that from other players. At least we’re in the game, and hopeful something really good happens. But we won’t know until it happens.”

Here are a few more Knicks-related items stemming from Mills’ and Perry’s comments:

  • According to Berman, Mills said that in this year’s exit interviews, every player on the Knicks’ roster expressed a desire to return to the team — one even said he’d come back for less money.
  • Perry didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping a top-three draft pick if the Knicks luck out in the lottery, per Berman. “Once the draft process plays out, your phone rings a lot of times,” Perry said. “I can’t sit here and tell you exactly what would happen in that scenario.”
  • As Berman writes in a separate story, the Knicks sound more bullish on Kevin Knox‘s future than Frank Ntilikina‘s. However, they’re not ready yet to pass judgment on either player, noting that Ntilikina is still 20 years old and Knox is 19.
  • In an appearance on ESPN Radio, Mills insisted that the Knicks weren’t tanking or trying to lose games on purpose in 2018/19, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. While that may technically be true, it’d be hard to argue that the front office was trying to put the roster in position to win as many games as possible this season, which is entirely understandable during a rebuild.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Robinson, Celtics

Bradley Beal making the league’s All-NBA team could change the course of the Wizards‘ franchise, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports writes. If Beal earns the nod, then he will be eligible for a super-max contract that starts at 35% of the salary cap.

[Related: How All-NBA Choices Impact Contract Situations]

There’s no guarantee that Washington offers that kind of deal to Beal if the organization gains the ability to do so. It’s also not certain that Beal would accept it. Hughes argues the Wizards will be left with no choice but to trade Beal if they decide against offering the super-max contract or Beal opts against accepting it.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Many within the NBA believe Mitchell Robinson possesses the highest ceiling of any current member of the Knicks, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes in his latest newsletter. Stein compares Robinson’s potential to Clint Capela‘s game, writing that Robinson could become better than the Rockets big man.
  • Rookie Allonzo Trier didn’t hear his name called on draft night but Stein (in the same piece) believes that was a mistake. Trier played in 64 games for the Knicks this season.
  • The Celtics brought in Cam Johnson (North Carolina), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State) and Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech) for workouts, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston could end up with as many as four first-round picks in the upcoming draft.

Allonzo Trier’s Playing Style Viewed As Cancerous?

Allonzo Trier showed promise as a scorer for the Knicks, and early in the season, the franchise converted his deal from a two-way contract to a two-year pact with a team option for the 2019/20 campaign. It’s unclear how the Knicks will approach his option, with rumblings that his stay in New York was problematic.

“His play on the court was cancerous,” a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. “A lot of guys didn’t like the way he didn’t play team ball. He cared about himself too much. He looked guys off who were open.’’

The 23-year-old shooting guard, who was in the running for our 2018/19 two-way contract MVP, played 64 games for New York and recorded just 1.9 assists per contest. Trier’s 17.1 shots per 100 possessions ranked fourth on the team behind Emmanuel Mudiay, Kevin Knox and Mario Hezonja, per Basketball-Reference. The results weren’t bad, as Trier (44.8%) only trailed Kadeem Allen (46.1%) in field goal percentage among all non-bigs on the team. Still, his iso-centric game apparently may have rubbed veteran teammates the wrong way, with Berman relaying that Trier was often picked last in team pickup games.

Where he ranks with current teammates may not ultimately matter, as New York could see a slew of new additions this offseason. Coach David Fizdale hinted that Mudiay won’t be back. The team will attempt to shop Frank Ntilikina, and while Hezonja would like to return to New York, there’s no word that mutual interest exists — especially if the former lottery pick sees his stock rise after his promising late-season point guard stint. New faces on the team could make Trier adapt his game.

Kevin Durant adamantly denies that he’s made a decision on his future, though those declarations won’t silence the Knicks rumors. Durant mentored Trier during Trier’s time in high school and the shooting guard previously said he’s “absolutely” hoping that Durant signs with the franchise.

The Knicks have a clear path to two-max level contract openings and Trier alluded that he won’t find out about any potential July news in the same way that most of the basketball world will.

“I don’t have to watch social media,’’ Trier previously said. “I’ll speak to [Durant] directly. Whatever he decides to do, it’s on him.

Berman writes that when Trier was recently speaking with reporters, a member of the Knicks’ PR reminded him to be careful of crossing the tampering line. Trier said that he doesn’t bother Durant during the season but that KD sometimes sends words of encouragement via text.

“When we talk he says if I ever need advice, I should talk to him. He’s grown. I’m not a young man [any more,] I don’t want to be a burden. He’s a good family friend to have. He’s like a brother to me,” Trier said.

The University of Arizona product admits that he has to work on his game. He may get that chance to improve with the Knicks next season, or the team could look to decline his option with an eye on maximizing cap space.

“We’ll see how, I guess,’’ Trier said about improving his game. “Everything pointed toward me being here.”

Durant Says He Has Yet To Make FA Decision

Kevin Durant recognizes that speculation about free agency and player movement is appealing to NBA fans, but as the Warriors gear up for another postseason run, the star forward tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he’d prefer those fans shift their focus to the games happening now.

“Just watch the game. Just focus on the game and stop nitpicking, because it is a beautiful game going on out there,” Durant said. “What can I do right now? I can’t sign a paper. I got to do the most important thing, and that is play. And that is what we should be focusing on.

“I know it’s the sexy part of the NBA: free agency, trades, transactions. But it’s a beautiful game that we’re out here playing. I feel like I play a different and unique way that may inspire some people.”

According to Durant, he has yet to make a decision on where he’ll be playing next season, and won’t do so until he reaches free agency on July 1. All season long, reports have popped up suggesting that people around the league believe the two-time Finals MVP will end up leaving Golden State to sign with the Knicks, but Durant insists that he won’t make that decision until after the season.

“If I already made a decision, it would take away from the team, what we’re fighting for. Every play would be overshadowed by it,” Durant said, per Spears. “It is not necessary for me to make a decision right now. It would be bad to do that. It would take the focus off of what is important. I would never want to put my teammates in a messed-up position. I want to forget about it.”

While Durant has a player option available for the 2019/20 season, he’s expected to turn that down to sign a new contract in unrestricted free agency. He’ll be eligible to sign for up to five years and a projected $221MM with the Warriors, or four years and $164MM with another team.

Knicks Notes: Roster, Robinson, Durant, Ewing

Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson are the only current Knicks who should definitely be on the roster next season, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Knox showed enough promise at age 19 to hold onto, Robinson was a second-round surprise who became the league’s second-best shot blocker and Dotson is a part-time starter with an affordable contract.

Popper lists Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, as a question mark, noting that his fate could depend on whether the Knicks are in position to draft Ja Morant or sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker in free agency. Also questionable to return, according to Popper, are Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, Lance Thomas and Luke Kornet. Popper expects the rest of the roster to be overturned, including DeAndre Jordan, whom he speculates will be too pricey to re-sign as a back-up center.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Coach David Fizdale believes Robinson would be a lottery pick if last year’s draft were redone, relays Chris Iseman of Fizdale admits he didn’t know much about Robinson when the Knicks grabbed him with the 36th pick, but he quickly blossomed into a force in the middle, swatting 2.44 shots per game. “I think we can all agree if we had to restructure the draft right now, I don’t think he’ll go 36,” Fizdale said. “I think he’d be in that top 10 pretty easily.”
  • LeBron James‘ disappointing first year with the Lakers should make Kevin Durant think twice about whether he wants join the Knicks, states Frank Isola of The Athletic. For all of Durant’s talent, he has a reputation as a highly sensitive player who might not adjust well to the atmosphere in New York. Isola suggests that he will only consider the Knicks if he can find another top-level free agent to join him.
  • Fizdale played a pivotal role in easing tensions between Patrick Ewing and the Knicks after years of a strained relationship, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Ewing will represent the team at next month’s draft lottery.

Knicks Notes: Jordan, Ewing, Williamson, Fizdale, Coaching Staff

The Knicks acquired veteran center DeAndre Jordan as part of the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster in February. Jordan was viewed as a potential buyout candidate; a veteran player likely interested in latching on with a contending team. However, he finished out the season in New York.

Head coach David Fizdale said this week that the Knicks offered Jordan a buyout, but he wanted to remain with the team, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Jordan, 30, appeared in 19 games with the Knicks, averaging 10.9 PPG and 11.4 RPG — solid totals in line with his career production.

In addition to his production, Jordan served as a mentor for a young team, particularly to promising big man Mitchell Robinson. As the Knicks prepare for an active offseason, Jordan remains a possibility to re-sign with the team.

Check out more Knicks notes down below:

  • Knicks legend Patrick Ewing will represent the team at the NBA draft lottery next month and the team is hopeful he will be a good luck charm, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes“Patrick is a huge part of our team’s history and we’re thrilled to have number 33 represent the franchise at this year’s draft lottery,” Knicks president Steve Mills said.
  • While the Knicks will hope for the best at the lottery, particularly the chance to draft Duke’s Zion Williamson, the team is prepared for any outcome, Forbes’ Adam Zagoria writes.At the end of the day, I’m really prepared for whoever we get,” Fizdale said on The Michael Kay Show.
  • It’s unclear how different the Knicks’ roster will be next season but Fizdale is also not looking to change the coaching staff, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes“No, I like these guys,’’ Fizdale said. “These guys are good. They know their stuff. They know their craft. We got some really knowledgeable guys.”
  • Speaking of next season, both Berman of The Post and Newsday’s Steve Popper examined the Knicks’ roster and who may or may not be back for the 2019/20 season.

Magic Johnson Fallout: News, Rumors, Reactions, More

In the wake of Magic Johnson‘s abrupt resignation on Tuesday night, the Lakers issued a statement thanking him for his work with the franchise over the past two years.

“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise – as a player, an ambassador and an executive,” the statement reads. “… He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.

“As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.”

While Johnson admitted in his impromptu press conference on Tuesday that he didn’t inform owner Jeanie Buss of his decision to step down before announcing it to the press, Buss – at least publicly – showed no sign that she was angry about the move, though ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne hears from those close to the Buss family that they were “sad, angry, and disappointed.”

“Earvin, I loved working side by side with you,” Buss tweeted. “You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”

Reactions to and additional details on one of the most surprising developments of the NBA season have poured in over the last 12 hours, so we’ll round up many of them in the space below. Let’s dive in…

General news/rumors:

  • Johnson met for three hours with Buss on Monday to discuss the Lakers’ direction and gave no indication he was planning on leaving the organization, tweets Chris Mannix of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka also visited with LeBron James and agent Rich Paul on Saturday and similarly gave no indication that he was thinking about stepping down.
  • Sources tell Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin of that Buss, Pelinka, CFO Joe McCormack, COO Tim Harris, and manager of special projects Linda Rambis sat down for an “all-hands-on-deck meeting” following Johnson’s announcement on Tuesday night. The Lakers’ franchise is currently “paralyzed” by the news, a team source tells ESPN.
  • People close to Johnson say he was “deeply offended” by the constant accusations of tampering that followed him during his two years with the Lakers, writes ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. An ability to once again speak freely about players around the NBA was one factor Johnson cited when announcing his decision.
  • Almost in passing, Johnson mentioned during his presser on Tuesday that he “could have led the Knicks when (president) Steve Mills called,” but he considers himself a “Laker for life” (Twitter link via Knicks Film School).
  • There have been rumblings for months that ESPN was working on a story that focused on Johnson’s mistreatment of employees and would be “extremely unflattering” for Magic, says Sam Amick of The Athletic. However, Johnson denied that was a factor in his decision to step down. “I know that article is not an accurate article. I can tell you that now,” Johnson said, per Bill Oram of The Athletic. “… Now it’s some disgruntled, former Laker employees (talking to reporters). Yeah, they gonna say (what) they gonna say, ‘cause they wasn’t doing their jobs. So what is a person going to do? Point the finger bad about the person who fired them.”

Luke Walton notes/rumors:

  • Luke Walton‘s contract runs for two more years, though 2020/21 is a team option, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Johnson planned to fire Walton before deciding instead to step down, Wojnarowski adds.
  • Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports provides additional details on the Walton situation, writing that Magic was displeased with the head coach’s ability to make in-game adjustments and also felt that the coaching staff “lacked the experience and expertise to foster player development.”
  • Sources tell Haynes that Johnson wanted to replace Walton during the season, but Buss was reluctant to do so and didn’t give Magic the go-ahead to make a change until recently. Tyronn Lue, Monty Williams, and Mark Jackson would have been primary targets to replace Walton if Johnson had made a change.
  • During the infamous early-season meeting in which Johnson questioned Walton’s coaching performance, Magic told the head coach to “shut the f— up” at one point when Walton tried to intervene, says Sam Amick of The Athletic.


  • Lakers players and coaches were caught off guard by the news of Johnson’s resignation, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Walton said he found out about thew news when everyone else did, while Sam Amick of The Athletic confirms that LeBron didn’t know it was coming either. “What shocked me is how everybody else is shocked,” Rajon Rondo said. “Because nobody knew.”
  • Buss and the Lakers are better off without Johnson, Chris Mannix argues in a column for
  • In his column for The Los Angeles Times, Bill Plaschke says the manner in which Johnson left the Lakers was as shocking as anything he’s seen during his 25 years covering the team. Plaschke also makes the case that Magic was never all-in on the job.
  • While the Anthony Davis saga wasn’t the main reason for Johnson’s resignation, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry couldn’t help but notice that the two heads of basketball operations involved in those trade discussions are now unemployed, as Nick Friedell of details. Gentry said he has never seen a situation as “toxic” as the Davis trade request during his time in the NBA. “Not this toxic, no,” Gentry said. “Not that affected two teams. And two guys. One lost his job, and the other one resigned from his job. So no, in 31 years I hadn’t had anything that would equal this kind of fallout. No, I haven’t.”

Next steps:

  • In a column for The Athletic, Bill Oram contends that Buss must look outside of her circle of friends to replace Johnson, focusing on the best and brightest NBA executives, since the Lakers’ job is a coveted one.
  • Kevin Pelton of (Insider-only link) writes that the Lakers need to find an executive who is willing to do the dirty work, appeals to star players, and who can set a positive culture. Pelton points to former Cavs GM David Griffin as one candidate who would fit the bill.

Several Contenders Had Interest In Mario Hezonja At Trade Deadline

Mario Hezonja is showing off his play-making skills during the Knicks final games of the season. The team handed him starting point guard duties over the weekend and he has looked like a completely different player than the one who registered just a single 20-point game prior to his trial as New York’s floor general.

If the Knicks had allowed Hezonja more play-making responsibilities, perhaps the former No. 5 overall pick would be on a different team. Several contenders reached out to the Knicks about trading for Hezonja at the trade deadline, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post.  No deal materialized and it’s unclear what the Knicks wanted in return for the Croatia native. Had the point guard experiment occurred earlier this season, the interest in Super Mario may have been more intense.

Hezonja believes that he could have helped younger players such as Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox further develop if given more time at the one, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays.

“In terms of involving them and making them better, yes [I wish I played point guard more],” Hezonja said. “But then we have to understand if I get the ball, where is [Emmanuel Mudiay] going to be, where is [Dennis Smith] going to be? They have to play, too.”

The Knicks’ point guard situation will be a major storyline this season. The team reportedly plans to shop Frank Ntilikina. Coach David Fizdale hinted that Mudiay could be playing elsewhere and while Smith was the centerpiece of the Kristaps Porzingis deal, the team would have no problem shifting him to a different role if a top target such as Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker signs with the franchise.

Hezonja, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, would welcome a return to the Knicks. a league executive tells Bondy that the 24-year-old is probably looking at a contract worth part of the mid-level exception on the open market. The 2019/20 MLEs are projected to come in at $9.246MM (standard), $5.711MM (taxpayer), and $4.76MM (room). Hezonja made $6.5MM this past season.

I’m ready to talk to [owner James] Dolan,” Hezonja said. “If he gives me that call on July 1, we’re done.”

Draft Notes: T. Jones, J. Smith, Dawkins, Tyree

Duke guard Tre Jones published an Instagram post this weekend in which he strongly hinted that he’s leaning toward returning to school for at least one more year. Nothing is official yet, but if Jones does elect to stick with the Blue Devils for his sophomore season, it would be big news for the program.

Currently, Jones ranks 29th on Jonathan Givony’s 2019 NBA draft big board at, including fourth among point guards. According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter), the Knicks, Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans, Hawks, and Thunder have all done a “great amount” of background work on Jones.

As we wait for official word from the Duke guard, here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Maryland freshman forward Jalen Smith, a potential draft candidate, has elected to return to the Terrapins for his sophomore season, the school announced today in a press release. “I’m excited to return to Maryland for my sophomore year and advance my education as I continue to develop both on and off the court with my teammates and coaching staff,” said Smith, who averaged an impressive 17.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in two NCAA tournament games.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has submitted the paperwork necessary to declare for the 2019 draft, according to a press release. The 6’6″ junior left a strong final impression, having racked up 32 points against Duke in UCF’s second-round NCAA tournament loss.
  • Ole Miss junior guard Breein Tyree has announced that he’ll test the draft waters, maintaining his college eligibility during the process (Twitter link). Tyree averaged a team-high 17.9 PPG on .459/.375/.831 shooting in 33 games in 2018/19.

Community Shootaround: Postseason Droughts

After the Timberwolves snapped a 14-year playoff drought last spring, only seven NBA teams entered the 2018/19 season having not reached the postseason at all since 2015. Three of those teams – the Nets, Magic, and Nuggets – have secured playoff berths, meaning that 26 NBA clubs have now earned postseason berths at least once in the four-year period from 2016-19.

That leaves the following four teams with the NBA’s longest playoff droughts:

  • Sacramento Kings (last playoff appearance in 2006)
  • Phoenix Suns (2010)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (2013)
  • New York Knicks (2013)

None of those teams ultimately came very close to reaching the postseason this season, but the Kings will finish the closest. After holding onto one of the top eight spots in the Western Conference for much of 2018/19, Sacramento has struggled down the stretch — the team is just 9-15 since the All-Star break. Still, the Kings will end up ninth in the West and feature an impressive collection of young talent, led by De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley. There’s plenty of reason for optimism going forward.

The Lakers will finish right behind Sacramento in the West, though L.A.’s young core wasn’t nearly as impressive in 2018/19 as the Kings’ group. Armed with cap room and trade chips this offseason, the Lakers will make every effort to add a second star to complement LeBron James, which would put them in a good position to return to the playoffs next season. Of course, there’s no guarantee the club will land that kind of star, and if James’ health issues in ’18/19 are a harbinger of things to come, the Lakers are no lock to rebound next year.

Further down the Western Conference standings, the Suns will win fewer than 25 games for the fourth straight season. The team is starting to put together a nice group of long-term building blocks, led by Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges. However, the Suns have yet to experience a Kings-like breakout season. Phoenix will add another top prospect in June’s draft and is expected to have some flexibility in free agency, so perhaps that will happen in 2019/20.

Over in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are perhaps the NBA’s biggest wild card heading into the 2019 offseason. The club has the cap room necessary to sign, say, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and doing so would make New York a near-lock to return to the playoffs a year from now. On the other hand, if the Knicks strike out in free agency, or end up with a couple second- or third-tier stars, their position will be far more tenuous.

What do you think? Which of these four perennial lottery teams do you expect to return to the postseason first? Is there a team that will have to wait another two or three years (or more) to end its drought?

Head below to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!