Knicks Rumors

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Kawhi, Knicks, Sixers

Marcus Morris is not ruling out coming back to Boston next year, Yahoo Sports contributor Keith Smith hears (Twitter link). The combo forward enjoyed his time on the Celtics and believes he’ll have a major role on the team if he returns.

While a re-signing remains a possibility, Morris intends to test the free agent market to see what’s available for him. The Philadelphia native made slightly under $5.4MM during the 2018/19 season.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fred VanVleet said there is “nothing more” that the Raptors can do to re-sign Kawhi Leonard, ESPN relays. “The best way to recruit somebody is to just be yourself over the course of the year, and I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special,” VanVleet said. “If it’s enough then it’s enough. If it’s not then it’s not.”
  • The Knicks are expected to add former NBA player Mike Miller to David Fizdale‘s coaching staff, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports. Miller most recently coached the club’s G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.
  • Darius Bazley was scheduled to work out for the Sixers today, but Villanova’s Joe Cremo will participate in drills instead, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The Sixers own the No. 24 overall pick in addition for four second-rounders.

Latest On Darius Garland

While Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are viewed as virtual locks to follow Zion Williamson off the board on draft night, point guard Darius Garland is still receiving serious consideration at No. 3, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). A source tells Givony that Garland will be conducting a last-minute workout with the Knicks tomorrow.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), there are people around the NBA who believe it’s a mistake to view this as a three-player draft, since that view discounts Garland. There are even some evaluators who consider Garland 2019’s second-best prospect, Smith adds. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) has also heard rave reviews for Garland from various league sources.

A source tells Givony (Twitter link) that Garland is 100% healthy again after undergoing knee surgery in November, and should be fine to participate in Summer League play. Garland’s private pre-draft workouts have been impressive, per Givony, who names the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Bulls that have worked out the 19-year-old.

Despite his rising stock, Garland is still unlikely to crack the top three ahead of Morant or Barrett. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the Knicks are doing their due diligence on the former Vanderbilt point guard.

However, Garland is also receiving plenty of interest at No. 4, Givony notes. According to Givony, the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Bulls are among the teams that have considered the possibility of trading up to No. 4, with Garland in mind. The Pelicans currently hold the fourth overall pick as a result of the Anthony Davis blockbuster with the Lakers.

The Hawks are also among the teams that have aggressively explored trading up, using the Nos. 8 and 10 overall picks, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Givony writes that the Knicks rebuffed that package for No. 3, but the Pelicans may be considering it for No. 4. It’s not clear which player the Hawks, who have promising young point guard Trae Young under contract long-term, would be targeting.

Draft Notes: Porter Jr., Little, Pelicans, Barrett

Kevin Porter Jr. could go higher in Thursday’s draft than most observers expect, as Shams Charania of The Athletic passes along. Several executives on teams picking near the top of the draft told Charania that Porter Jr. is high on their board. “He has the gifts to be a top-five pick — easily,” one executive said.

Porter Jr. was expected to work out for the Wizards on Monday, though he pulled out of the appearance over the weekend. Washington owns the No. 9 overall pick. Porter Jr. previously worked out for the Hawks, owners of the No. 8 and No. 10 overall picks.

The USC prospect only played in 21 games while in college, as he dealt with quad and ankle injuries in addition to a suspension. Jonathan Givony has Porter Jr. going to the Nets at No. 27 in his latest mock draft for ESPN.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The range for Nassir Little (UNC) likely begins with the Hawks at No. 8, though the Bulls are trying to get him into the building for a last-minute workout this week, sources tell Charania (same piece). During a media session in Washington, Little told Hoops Rumors that the Wizards would be his last workout.
  • The Pelicans have explored moving from No. 4 to No. 2 in order to select R.J. Barrett, sources tell Marc Berman of the New York Post. Barrett and Zion Williamson are best friends and former teammates at Duke. Berman notes that the Pelicans have also explored moving down from No. 4.
  • The Knicks have Ja Morant higher on their board than Barrett, Berman hears (same piece). New York had initial interest in moving back following the draft lottery but the organization is now content standing pat. “The Knicks have a good problem to have — pick three in a three-man draft,” an NBA executive tells Berman. “They just have to wait and see.”

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Kings Not Expected To Chase Nikola Vucevic

The Kings are hoping for an upgrade at center, but they won’t pursue Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic when free agency starts June 30, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Vucevic is in line for a huge raise after posting his best NBA season and his first All-Star appearance. The 28-year-old averaged 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks in 80 games this year. Despite reports that Sacramento might be one of his free agent suitors, Ham states that he doesn’t fit the up-tempo approach that the Kings prefer.

That’s also true of fellow free agent big man Jonas Valanciunas, who opted out of his deal with the Grizzlies last week. He’ll be seeking a significant raise over the $17.6MM salary he bypassed.

Ham suggests the Kings might opt for a short-term solution, seeking a one- or two-year contract with the Knicks’ DeAndre Jordan or the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon. Jordan will turn 31 this summer and Dedmon is almost 30, so neither is viewed as a long-range option.

Sacramento also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of keeping Willie Cauley-Stein, as Ham notes the team is expected to make him a restricted free agent by issuing a qualifying offer before June 30. GM Vlade Divac said the front office still sees potential in the former No. 6 pick, but has been frustrated by his up-and-down performance.

“We would like to keep Willie in terms of his talent potential,” Divac said, “but he still needs to show us the consistency that we are looking for. We are talking.” 

Draft Notes: Wizards, White, Garland

The Wizards will work out Coby White (North Carolina) and Nassir Little (North Carolina) on Monday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays (Twitter link) Both prospects are options for the team at No. 9.

Jonathan Givony has White, who will be the highest-ranked prospect to work out for the Wizards, going to the Suns at No. 6 in his latest mock draft on ESPN. Givony places Little in Minnesota at No. 11.

[Related: Could The Wizards Be The “Right Situation” For Keldon Johnson?]

Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) was previously scheduled to take part in the workout, though he will no longer be in attendance. Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The Bulls will work out Darius Garland this week, Givony passes along (Twitter link). The Knicks, Lakers, Cavs, and Suns have either worked out Garland or plan to do so.
  • Garland believes he’s the best point guard in the draft, as he tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “I humbly say this, I think I’m the best [guard] in the draft,” he told McMenamin. “I mean, I think I can do everything that an NBA team wants me to do.”
  • Garland’s workouts with the Lakers was particularly impressive, a source tells McMenamin while referencing the point guard’s shot-making ability and deep range. The event took place prior to the Anthony Davis trade.

And-Ones: Davis, Knicks, Randle, Leonard

During the latest rounds of discussions involving a trade for Anthony Davis, the Knicks never made the Pelicans a formal offer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

New York was undoubtedly interested in Davis, though talks were “preliminary” and “brief” since New Orleans began parsing offers a couple of weeks ago. Berman writes that the Knicks believed they could not match the Pelicans’ demands.

Davis had the Knicks on his preferred list of destinations along with the Lakers. Los Angeles ended up completing a deal with the Pelicans, sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a bounty of draft picks to New Orleans in exchange for Davis. New York couldn’t come close to that kind of offer.

“The Lakers had to get AD, otherwise it would’ve been a waste of LeBron — or whatever LeBron has left,’’ one NBA executive tells Berman.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Knicks are fans of Julius Randle and the power forward could be a fallback option if the franchise fails to land stars in free agency, Berman passes along in the same piece. Randle will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
  • Draymond Green flew to New York on Saturday to visit Kevin Durant and a source tells Berman (same piece) that the forward was visiting Durant as a friend and not as a recruiter for the Warriors.
  • The Lakers will pursue Kawhi Leonard this summer, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Los Angeles will look to add a third star to the Davis-LeBron pairing.

Knicks One Of Many Losers From Painful NBA Finals

  • Aside from the Warriors themselves, the Knicks are one of the biggest losers from Golden State’s strange NBA Finals run, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Major injuries to potential targets Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have hurt the potential of the 2019 free agent class, leaving some to wonder what kind of contracts teams will offer the two All-Star players on the open market. New York still hasn’t backed away from the idea of signing Durant to a four-year, $141MM deal if he opts out from his final season in Golden State, according to Berman.

Knicks Notes: Davis, Durant, Coaching Staff, Free Agency

Anthony Davis listed the Knicks as one of his preferred locations, but they “weren’t close” to landing the Pelicans star, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. The front office in New Orleans wasn’t impressed with the assets that New York could offer, and a third team would have been needed to make a deal work.

The Knicks were willing to part with the No. 3 selection in this year’s draft, plus at least one of the two first-round picks they received from the Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Berman adds. However, the Pelicans don’t view any of New York’s young talent as having the potential to become top-15 players, and the Knicks wouldn’t have been willing to give up as much talent as the Lakers, who parted with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-rounders.

Berman speculates that rumors about the Knicks being a possible landing spot for Davis were being leaked by the Pelicans to drive up the asking price from L.A.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Even though Kevin Durant will miss all of next season with a ruptured Achilles, he’s still the best option for the Knicks in free agency, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Vorkunov cites a study from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton showing that players who come back from that injury have been about 6.5% less effective over the past decade. Durant at that level would still be an elite talent. “I think it’s a no-brainer,” an unidentified executive told Vorkunov. “It’d be one thing if he wasn’t skilled like he is. He’s one of the most skilled guys in the NBA.”
  • Mike Miller of the Knicks’ G League affiliate in Westchester is a candidate for a spot on David Fizdale’s staff next season, Vorkunov adds. The Knicks lost Howard Eisley, who left to join Juwan Howard at Michigan, then head video coordinator and player development coach Ross McMains left the team this week. Miller was named G League Coach of the Year in 2017/18.
  • The Knicks don’t appear to be definite front-runners for anyone on the free agent market, observes Steve Popper of Newsday. He notes that the front office has been trying to manage expectations since opening up cap room for two max offers, adding that the organization might be better off using that space to facilitate trades and acquire assets rather than making one or two splashy moves.

Draft Updates: Oni, Langford, Bitadze, Bone, Harris

Yale wing Miye Oni returned to the Bucks’ practice facility for a second workout on Saturday, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Oni averaged 17.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 APG during his junior season. The 6’6” Oni is hoping to become the first Ivy Leaguer drafted since 1995, Schultz adds.

We have more draft info:

  • Indiana freshman swingman Romeo Langford is meeting with the Heat this weekend, Schultz reports in another tweet. Miami possesses the No. 13 pick and Langford is ranked No. 14 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • International prospect Goga Bitadze is visiting the Celtics, Pistons and Hornets in the days leading up to Thursday’s draft. according to a tweet from Hawks website writer Kevin Chouinard. The 6’11” Bitadze, 19, led the EuroLeague and Adriatic League in blocks on both a per-game and per-minute basis. He is ranked No. 17 overall by Givony.
  • The Wizards worked out Tennessee guard Jordan Bone on Saturday, according to a team press release. The point guard is No. 56 on Givony’s list.
  • Forward Terry Harris worked out for the Knicks on Thursday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. He also visited the Nets this week and will work out for the Mavericks and Jazz, Bondy adds in another tweet. He played for North Carolina A&T in his senior year, averaging 8.1 PPG. He is the younger brother of Sixers free agent forward Tobias Harris.