Knicks Rumors

Nets Notes: Simmons, Warren, Marks, Rupert, O’Neale, Claxton

The Nets’ Ben Simmons, who is dealing with left knee soreness, is questionable to play Monday against the Lakers, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweetsT.J. Warren, who has a left shin contusion, is listed as doubtful.

Simmons didn’t play in the 122-115 win over the Knicks on Saturday after suffering the injury against Detroit on Thursday. Warren also missed Saturday’s game after playing on Thursday.

We have more on the Nets:

  • GM Sean Marks has been travelling far and wide to scout a point guard, Nets Daily relays. Marks has reportedly twice scouted 18-year-old French point guard 6’7” Rayan Rupert, who plays for the New Zealand Breakers. Marks, who watched Rupert play in Australia and New Zealand, was accompanied on the trip by Nets director of player evaluation, B.J. Johnson. Rupert is currently ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • They traded with Utah for Royce O’Neale this summer and it’s worked out well, according to another Nets Daily story. He’s leading the team in minutes played while enjoying a career year. “[He’s] a guy that you trust at the end of the game, who’ll take the right shot, who’ll make the right decision at the end of the game, who doesn’t mind playing on both ends of the floor,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He has the trust of his coaching staff, his teammates and he’s in the right spot.” O’Neale’s $9.5MM contract for next season is only partially guaranteed at $2.5MM but they’re likely to fully guarantee it, considering his value to the team.
  • Nic Claxton is enjoying the city rivalry with the Knicks, especially since his team has won nine straight against them, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. “It does feel like a rivalry just because you felt the energy in there (Saturday),” he said. “We’re here at Barclays and they had a lot of fans and it was definitely a good atmosphere. But me, I’ve never lost to the Nets since I’ve been in the league, I don’t think. It’s always fun playing the Knicks.” 

Atlantic Notes: Thibodeau, Knicks, Grousbeck, Boucher

During an interview Friday with WFAN, Knicks owner James Dolan said reaching the playoffs will “definitely be a benchmark” for this season, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Dolan didn’t specify what will happen if the team falls short, but Bondy suggests the repercussions will likely be directed at head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is in his third season with the team.

New York is in seventh place in the East at 27-24 following Saturday’s loss to Brooklyn, so the prospects for at least the play-in tournament appear good. Thibodeau acknowledged Dolan’s statement, but said it won’t change his approach to running the team.

“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at (Dolan) as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes,” Thibodeau said. “So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are focused mainly on adding bench depth before the trade deadline, Ian Begley of SNY.TV states in a mailbag column. Begley adds that the front office appears committed to building a contender around the current core group and doesn’t view a full-scale rebuilding project as a viable option.
  • The Celtics will approach the trade deadline with a philosophy of trying to win the title this season, owner Wyc Grousbeck said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston (video link). When asked about his message to president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, Grousbeck responded, “It’s about this year. It’s not about ‘this will pay dividends in three years or this will do this next year. It’s this year; muscle up and let’s go get the job done.’ … If there’s anything to do, we’ll do it. If not, we love this team. We’re top of the league right now.”
  • Friday’s trip to Golden State brought back memories for Raptors big man Chris Boucher, who started his NBA career by appearing in one game for the Warriors in 2018, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Boucher faced an uncertain NBA future at the time, but he ultimately landed a rotation role with the Raptors. “I’m a lot older, I say that. I think I take things a lot differently than I used to,” Boucher said. “(I’m) less emotional, sensitive and (can) take criticism and not thinking that it’s all about me and everybody’s pointing fingers at me and all that. More able to see my mistakes and being able to fix them by myself, trying to be a better player every time I step on the floor.”

Scotto’s Latest: Reddish, Bucks, Holmes, Russell, Suns

After reporting earlier in the week that the Knicks had expressed interest in acquiring Bucks guard Grayson Allen in a possible Cam Reddish trade, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says Milwaukee continues to resist the idea of including Allen in any deal for Reddish.

According to Scotto, the Bucks have instead proposed a trade structure that would be centered around a 2023 second-round pick and salary filler. That “salary filler” could consist of veteran guard George Hill and big man Serge Ibaka, Scotto adds.

As for the second-round pick, the Bucks control both their own 2023 second-rounder and the least favorable of the Cavaliers’ and Warriors’ selections. Both Milwaukee and Cleveland currently have top-seven records, so those picks would both be in the 50s.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Marc Stein previously reported that rival teams were monitoring Kings center Richaun Holmes as a potential buyout candidate if he’s not moved at the trade deadline. However, league sources tell Scotto that a buyout won’t happen for Holmes this season. That’s no surprise — as I previously noted, Holmes is still owed $12MM in 2023/24 and $12.9MM on a ’24/25 player option after this season, while buyouts typically occur when a player is on an expiring deal.
  • Rival executives still believe that the Timberwolves will explore trading point guard D’Angelo Russell before the deadline, says Scotto. There were rumblings in December that the Heat and Wolves had at least a conversation about a swap involving Russell and Kyle Lowry, according to Scotto, but with Miami playing better, the team isn’t looking to move Lowry at this point.
  • Former Thunder VP and chief of staff Paul Rivers and former NBA point guard Mateen Cleaves have been mentioned by multiple NBA executives as candidates to join the Suns‘ organization, Scotto reports. Cleaves played with incoming Suns owner Mat Ishbia at Michigan State.

Knicks’ Dolan Says He Has No Plans To Sell, Retire

Appearing on Friday afternoon on WFAN Sports Radio in New York, Knicks owner James Dolan said he doesn’t intend to surrender control of the franchise anytime in the near – or distant – future, as Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

“I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point,” Dolan said. “I’m not retiring anytime soon. It’s a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will eventually own it.”

There have been no recent reports indicating that Dolan was considering the possibility of selling the team and he has said in the past that he has no intention of doing so.

Still, with NBA franchise valuations soaring, there has been some recent speculation that more owners could be looking to cash out. There has also been a segment of the Knicks fanbase hoping for years that Dolan would take that route — it sounds like they shouldn’t get their hopes up.

Asked later in his WFAN appearance whether he likes the job president of basketball operations Leon Rose has done with the team since being hired nearly three years ago, Dolan gave Rose a positive review.

“Yes. Absolutely. … The team with the best talent wins,” Dolan said (Twitter link via Katz). “So then you want a guy who can get you the best talent and I believe Leon Rose is still the best guy.”

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays (via Twitter), Dolan went on to say that the Knicks don’t have a specific timeline for contention that they’re holding Rose to, and are simply looking for “progress” at this point. He did add, however, that “we absolutely expect” to make the playoffs this season.

Bulls Notes: Caruso, Vucevic, DeRozan, Trade Deadline

Multiple teams have contacted the Bulls to inquire about guard Alex Caruso, sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. It remains to be seen whether Chicago will seriously consider moving its top perimeter defender, but Johnson reiterates that the Knicks and Warriors – previously cited as as teams with interest – are still viewed as potential suitors for the 28-year-old.

On the latest episode of his Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggested that the Bulls would seek a substantial return if they were to make Caruso available.

“Someone told me last week that the Chicago Bulls think they could get two first-round picks for Alex Caruso,” Fischer said.

Caruso is an All-Defensive candidate on a team-friendly contract — he’s owed $9.5MM in 2023/24 and a partially guaranteed $9.9MM in ’24/25. Still, it’s hard to imagine a team giving up multiple first-rounders for him unless those picks include relatively heavy protections.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • It would surprise rival executives if the Bulls do anything too drastic, such as trading DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine, at this year’s trade deadline, Johnson writes in both his aforementioned mailbag and a separate NBC Sports Chicago story. Of the team’s “big three,” Nikola Vucevic is the player to watch, according to Johnson, who notes that losing the big man for nothing this offseason would be a disaster for a front office that gave up several valuable assets to acquire him.
  • DeRozan said this week that he isn’t thinking about which players the Bulls could trade for at the deadline or when injured teammates might make it back in the second half, preferring to focus on what the team has available right now. “That’s exactly been my mindset my entire career, before I was in the NBA, everything,” DeRozan said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “… Whatever cards you’re dealt with, let’s figure it out. … That’s just my mindset when it comes to everything, so I don’t really get caught up in waiting on Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) to walk through that door to help us. I don’t even think like that. You can be waiting forever for something like that.”
  • The Bulls “took a blowtorch to any belief lingering in even their most optimistic fans” with losses in Indiana and Charlotte this week, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who argues that the team as constructed is “unequivocally unfit for playoff basketball” and is in need of a trade deadline shake-up.

Raptors Rumors: VanVleet, Anunoby, Siakam, Trent, Achiuwa

Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, who recently parted ways with his agency, is considered very likely to sign with Klutch Sports, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack story.

VanVleet’s agency change is coming at a pivotal time in his career. The seventh-year guard is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer if he and the Raptors don’t work out an extension before then — and if he turns down his player option for the 2023/24 season, which is viewed as a near-lock.

According to Stein, multiple teams around the NBA hope that the Raptors will start to become more receptive to trade inquires on VanVleet as the February 9 deadline approaches. The Magic have been mentioned more and more often in league circles as a “prime” VanVleet suitor this summer in free agency, Stein adds, though it’s unclear if Orlando would attempt to trade for him at the deadline.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • After having reported in December that the Knicks inquired about a possible deal for Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Ian Begley of SNY.tv follows up on that item by stating that New York was comfortable offering multiple first-round picks in exchange for Anunoby. While that’s notable, it’s worth adding a caveat — the Knicks control multiple heavily protected first-round picks, so being willing to offer a couple of those is much different than being willing to give up two or three of their own unprotected first-rounders.
  • In his aforementioned Substack article, Stein expresses skepticism that either Anunoby or Pascal Siakam is a legitimate trade candidate at this season’s deadline, with Gary Trent Jr. still looking like the Raptor most likely to be moved.
  • In his latest Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports also downplayed the likelihood of a Siakam trade, suggesting that the star forward wants to be in Toronto. Fischer says he’d be “shocked” if Siakam is on the move in the next couple weeks.
  • No matter what the Raptors do at the trade deadline, the development of big man Precious Achiuwa should be one of the club’s top priorities in the second half of the season, argues Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Achiuwa has been limited to 25 games so far this season due to injury, but has played some of his best basketball as of late, scoring double-digit points in eight of his last nine games, with a season-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento.

New York Notes: Nets Trade Talk, Simmons, Vaughn, Dolan, Robinson

The Nets are one of the more active teams on the trade market, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Joe Harris, Seth Curry and/or Patty Mills could potentially be on the move due to their short-term salaries and reduced roles, O’Connor notes. Beyond that, they could only dangle young players Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas, their 2028 or 2029 first-round pick, and a future first-rounder from Philadelphia in 2027 or 2028.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons says that coach Jacque Vaughn hasn’t really informed him why he’s often been on the bench in late-game situations, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. “I really had no message from him. I think it’s more just wherever team needs,” Simmons said. “When we’re winning I have no problem with it; if we’re losing then I got an issue.”
  • Speaking of Simmons, Vaughn says he expects him to be more consistent in the second half of the season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Simmons had a 10-point third quarter against Philadelphia on Wednesday and the coach wants to see that offensive aggression more often. “That’s the goal,” Vaughn said. “That’s where we’re going to get him to, where each possession he has to be dealt with on both ends of the floor. Where you feel him on both ends of the floor and he imposes his will and has an impact on every single possession, which he has the ability to do. That’s where we’re going to get to, that’s the challenge and we’re going to continue to expect it from him.”
  • Knicks owner James Dolan figures it’ll be another month or so before center Mitchell Robinson returns to action, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays (Twitter link). In a Fox5 interview, Dolan said the Knicks will have to “make it through the next four weeks” without Robinson. Robinson underwent thumb surgery last week and is expected to be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

Knicks Notes: Reddish, Quickley, McBride, D. Rose, More

There have been multiple reports on the Knicks‘ asking price for Cam Reddish in recent weeks, with at least one story indicating the team wants two second-round picks while another suggested that just one would do the trick.

According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, the Knicks have expressed to certain teams that they want a pair of second-rounders for Reddish, but sources from rival clubs believe New York would be amenable to accepting just one.

As Katz observes, the deal the Lakers and Wizards made for Rui Hachimura might actually hurt the Knicks’ market for Reddish, even though Hachimura is also a restricted free-agent-to-be and netted Washington three second-rounders.

Hachimura was a regular contributor in Washington, whereas Reddish hasn’t played for nearly two months. Additionally, the Lakers were viewed as a prime suitor for Reddish, but no longer seem like a probable landing spot for the fourth-year forward, reducing the Knicks’ leverage in trade discussions.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Elsewhere in his story on the Knicks’ trade deadline considerations, Katz confirms that the team has become increasingly resistant to the idea of trading Immanuel Quickley after having been open to moving him earlier in the season and cites league sources who say New York has “decisively” turned down inquiries on reserve guard Miles McBride. McBride isn’t currently a major part of the Knicks’ rotation, but the team likes him “for the long haul,” Katz explains.
  • If Derrick Rose remains on the roster through the trade deadline, buying him out and allowing him to sign with a contender is a possibility, according to Katz. But the Knicks have also discussed the idea of hanging onto the point guard into the offseason in case his $15.6MM team option for 2023/24 becomes a useful salary-matching asset in a trade for an impact player.
  • Reserve center Isaiah Hartenstein was happy to be able to contribute to the Knicks’ win over Cleveland on Tuesday with some key defensive plays in crunch time, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “It’s big. It’s kind of what I came here for,” Hartenstein said. “I know for myself if I’m not playing as good as I’m supposed to be playing I feel like I’m kind of letting the fans down, the city down a little bit. But I’m just going to keep getting better because I know I can do it. So keep getting better and keep representing for New York.”
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau likes what he’s seeing from a second unit that features Hartenstein, McBride, Quickley, and Obi Toppin playing alongside starter RJ Barrett, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “Huge. I mentioned it earlier that the bench was playing really well prior to RJ getting hurt, then Obi got hurt and we haven’t found our rhythm,” Thibodeau said. “Now I think we’re starting to find that rhythm again.”

Bob Myers’ Future With Warriors Remains Uncertain

With Bob Myers‘ contract as the Warriors‘ president of basketball operations set to expire later this year, people around Myers are wondering whether – or even predicting that – his time in Golden State could be coming to an end, according to Anthony Slater, Marcus Thompson II, and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s trio cites team and league sources who say that Myers believes he should be among the NBA’s highest-paid front office executives, if not the highest, after having built a roster that has won four titles since 2015.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who previously stated that the team has made two contract extension offers to Myers, has referred to the executive’s last deal as one that made him one of the NBA’s top three highest-paid general managers, but Slater, Thompson, and Amick suggest that’s not the case.

According to The Athletic, Myers is among the top six or top eight highest-paid basketball executives, but Daryl Morey (Sixers), Masai Ujiri (Raptors), Pat Riley (Heat), Tim Connelly (Timberwolves), R.C. Buford (Spurs), and Leon Rose (Knicks) are believed by industry experts to be paid more.

Myers is well-liked by the Warriors’ stars, including Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and Lacob and the team’s ownership group have shown a propensity over the years to spend to retain talent wherever possible, so the two sides could certainly still work out a new deal that keeps Myers atop Golden State’s front office for years to come.

If that doesn’t happen, the Wizards, Suns, and Knicks are worth watching as possible suitors for Myers, according to The Athletic’s trio, who also name the Clippers as a possibility being discussed in front office circles. A source with knowledge of the Clippers’ situation pushed back on that idea, however.

Slater, Thompson, and Amick have heard that Lacob has become more involved than ever in the Warriors’ personnel moves in recent years, including scouting draft prospects and creating big boards.

The Athletic’s report doesn’t indicate that Myers has chafed at Lacob’s involvement, but suggests Myers has essentially had to play the role of mediator between the Warriors’ ownership group – which has encouraged the development of young prospects and pushed a “two-timeline” plan – and his veteran stars and head coach Steve Kerr, who may favor more experience on the club’s bench.

Sources close to Myers who spoke to The Athletic wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the veteran executive leaving the NBA altogether and pursuing other opportunities, especially if burnout is a factor.

With several months left until Myers’ contract expires, it’s too early to say how the situation will play out. Two years ago, Ujiri and the Raptors didn’t agree to a new deal until well into the summer, just as his contract was about to expire — it’s possible the Myers situation in Golden State could follow a similar trajectory. For now, it’s worth monitoring as an under-the-radar storyline that could be resolved without further drama or could result in a major shake-up for the defending champs.

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Durant, Tatum, Raptors

Asked directly if he wants to remain with the Knicks, Evan Fournier paused to consider his answer before responding, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. As the veteran wing eventually explained, while his preference would be to stay in New York, that may not be the case if he’s going to remain out of the team’s rotation.

“Best-case scenario, I want to stay here. I want to play here,” Fournier said. “I had a bunch of different choices in free agency and I wanted to be a Knick. I love New York. I wanted to play for (head coach Tom Thibodeau). So I’d love to stay, but I’d love to play.”

Fournier went on to say that he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career and that he’d rather not spend some of his prime years sitting on the bench.

“I should be in my prime. I am in my prime,” he said, per Braziller. “You want to play, for sure. Especially as a competitor. It’s not like I forgot how to play. Last year I had a different role and somehow I was able to break a 30-year-old franchise record (most three-pointers in a season). So I am going to find a way to adapt to any situation.”

The veteran wing has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game vs. Cleveland for personal reasons, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). According to Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link), Fournier’s wife gave birth today.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It’s uncertain after today’s update from the team whether Kevin Durant will be healthy in time to play in next month’s All-Star Game, but if the decision is up to him, the Nets star would like to suit up in Salt Lake City, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I want to play tomorrow if I can,” Durant said. “So that’s what my sense of urgency is. Obviously, I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100%. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events.”
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum didn’t rule out the possibility that his sore left wrist will require surgery after the season, but indicated that he has no plans to miss extended time during the season, using rest and injury management to play through the ailment, per Bobby Manning of CLNS Media.
  • Eric Koreen and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to take a closer look at the Raptors‘ approach to the trade deadline and various factors the team should be considering as it weighs its options. Hollinger views the Lakers as one logical trade partner for Gary Trent Jr., pointing out that L.A. would be in position to re-sign the veteran swingman to a new contract this summer.