Norvel Pelle

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Durant, Dinwiddie, Green, Pelle

Coming off a nice win over Phoenix on Thursday, the Celtics are set to play the Nets in Brooklyn on Friday, and both teams are a little banged up.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said during a radio appearance on Toucher and Rich on Thursday that Jaylen Brown, who is dealing with shoulder bursitis, is sore, but should be good to go “in the next few days” (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

Meanwhile, Evan Fournier (health and safety protocols) is going through a ramping-up process and could return to game action as soon as this weekend, per Ainge. The Celtics’ president also said that Robert Williams (knee) is “not too far away.”

Nets star Kevin Durant, who has missed two games with a left thigh contusion, is listed as questionable on the club’s latest injury report and could be available to play on Friday vs. the Celtics, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. If not tonight, Durant looks like a good bet to be back on Sunday against Phoenix.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who suffered a partially torn ACL early in the 2020/21 season, continues to say that he has a realistic chance of returning during the postseason, as Diamond Leung of The Athletic tweets. While that seemed unlikely at one point, there’s an increasing feeling among league sources that Dinwiddie could return before Brooklyn’s season is over, Lewis writes for The New York Post.
  • Danny Green‘s inclusion in a potential deal for Kyle Lowry at last month’s trade deadline didn’t make or break those talks, but the Sixers value Green as far more than just an expiring contract and were only willing to attach so many additional assets to him in their offer for Lowry, Zach Lowe of ESPN writes in a look at what Green brings to Philadelphia.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN has the details on Norvel Pelle‘s new three-year contract with the Knicks, tweeting that Pelle received $500K this season (about double his minimum). The second and third years are non-guaranteed, with a team option on that third year. That option would allow the Knicks to make Pelle a restricted free agent in the summer of 2022 if they so choose.
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up a handful of Raptors-related notes on Thursday evening.

Knicks Sign Norvel Pelle To Multiyear Contract

APRIL 22, 1:55pm: Pelle’s new deal with the Knicks is now official, the team announced in a press release.


APRIL 22, 6:36am: The Knicks are signing Pelle to a multiyear deal now that his second 10-day has expired, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As noted below, New York could offer Pelle up to four years. His new deal is expected to include a small guarantee beyond this season, tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post.


APRIL 21: Norvel Pelle‘s second 10-day contract with the Knicks will expire tonight, but the team isn’t expected to let him get away. Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link) that the Knicks and Pelle will likely agree to a new contract.

Because teams aren’t permitted to sign a player to more than two 10-day contracts in a season, a new deal for Pelle would have to cover at least the rest of this season. New York has plenty of cap room available and could offer him up to a four-year deal with a 2020/21 salary above the minimum. If the Knicks do go that route, their offer likely wouldn’t include guaranteed money beyond this season.

Pelle, who spent some time with the Nets and Kings earlier in the year, hasn’t played much during his 20 days with the Knicks, but has been effective in his limited minutes. In three appearances (16 minutes), he has scored five points, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked three shots.

As Begley notes, head coach Tom Thibodeau has complimented Pelle’s performance and his attitude during his time with the team.

Assuming they work out a rest-of-season agreement with Pelle, the Knicks will still have one more open spot on their 15-man roster.

Knicks Notes: Henson, Robinson, Noel, Thibodeau

John Henson‘s 10-day contract with the Knicks expired overnight and the team doesn’t plan to sign him for another 10-day stint, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes (via Twitter) that the big man injured his calf on the second day of his deal and didn’t get a chance to play at all.

With Henson no longer under contract, the Knicks have an open spot on their 15-man roster and could create a second one if they don’t re-sign Norvel Pelle after his second 10-day deal expires next Wednesday night. Pelle made a case on Wednesday for a rest-of-season contract, as he was a plus-19 in just 13 minutes in New York’s victory over New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks haven’t played any worse with Mitchell Robinson sidelined this season than they have with him in the lineup, prompting Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News to wonder how heavily the team should be willing to invest in Robinson on his next contract.
  • Nerlens Noel has played a major part in making up for Robinson’s absence. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report takes a closer look at Noel’s resurgence and how it could impact the former lottery pick’s upcoming free agency.
  • Like Mark Cuban‘s Mavericks, Tom Thibodeau‘s Knicks may have to earn their playoff spot in a play-in tournament despite a possible top-eight finish. However, Thibodeau is more enthusiastic than Cuban about the merits of the play-in tournament, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I think we have to let it play out first and then assess it again,” Thibodeau said. “But I think a lot of a lot of teams being involved in important games, I think that that’s good for the league. I think you’re always concerned about that. And so let’s see we’ll how it plays out but the initial thought of it I think is very good.”
  • Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy pointed to the “extra training camp” that Thibodeau and the Knicks got last fall as one reason for the team’s surprise emergence this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The teams that weren’t invited to the Walt Disney World bubble last summer were granted up to two weeks of organized team activities in September and October — that was Thibodeau’s first real chance to get familiar with his players, though it’s worth noting the roster was overhauled to some extent after that.

Norvel Pelle Signs Second 10-Day Deal With Knicks

APRIL 12: Pelle has officially signed a second 10-day contract with the Knicks, the team confirmed today in a press release.


APRIL 11: The Knicks are set to sign center Norvel Pelle to his second 10-day deal with the club this season, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.

Pelle’s current 10-day contract with New York will expire overnight. He has appeared in one game with the Knicks this season on his current deal.

The Knicks are Pelle’s third team of the 2020/21 season. He initially signed with the Nets this season in January. When Brooklyn moved on, Pelle inked a 10-day contract with the Kings in February.

In five games with his three teams thus far this year, Pelle is averaging 6.9 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG and a robust 1.0 BPG.

The 6’10” 27-year-old went undrafted out of Iona in 2014. He then played overseas, in Taiwan, Lebanon, Italy, and Beirut, in addition to occasional stints in the then-Developmental League, now the G League. He made his first appearance in the NBA with the Sixers for the 2019/20 season.

New York Notes: Nash, Marks, Toppin, Johnson, Pelle

Nets head coach Steve Nash recently praised general manager Sean Marks for constructing an impressive culture and roster, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. While both areas were strong before the season began, the recent signings of veterans Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge only helped strength Brooklyn’s culture – and roster – as the team continues its quest of winning a championship.

“Sean deserves the credit for pushing these things over the line and for having a vision to execute,” Nash said. “It may look straightforward and simple from the outside, but a lot goes into all these decisions, and Sean is very thorough in his approach, with the whole front office and then opinions from all the other departments as well.

“He’s done an unbelievable job, not just this year but in building the prior culture that was here before this team was here, building that position of strength and leverage for the roster over the course of the year. So I hope everyone understands what a great job he’s done and what a thorough and well-thought-out process he has. It’s been outstanding.”

Here are some other notes out of the Atlantic:

  • Knicks rookie Obi Toppin is gaining confidence as he continues to play with aggression, Barbara Barker of Newsday writes. Toppin scored eight points in 15 minutes off the bench against the Pistons on Friday. “I really like the way he’s been playing,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He played extremely well in the first half.” On the season, Toppin is averaging just 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game.
  • Nets guard Tyler Johnson will receive a scan on Monday after sustaining a knee injury against Chicago, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). The team called the injury a right knee strain before ruling the 28-year-old out for the rest of the game, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Johnson had to be helped off the court and was unable to put any weight on his leg.
  • Knicks 10-day player Norvel Pelle showed toughness after suffering a finger injury in his first game with the team on Saturday, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Pelle dislocated his finger, received treatment, and continued to play on despite suffering the injury. “Seeing a player like that that just joined us to go down with an injury and be able to wrap it right back up and make big blocks showed his energy,” Reggie Bullock said. “He’s a Knick type of player with the grit to continue to play in the game. We love that fight from him.’’ Pelle is currently listed a probable to play against Brooklyn on Monday, Berman tweets.

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Rose, Woodson, Pelle

Knicks fans haven’t forgiven Kristaps Porzingis for requesting a trade two years ago, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The limited crowd at Madison Square Garden booed the Mavericks‘ center throughout Friday’s game, which Dallas was able to win even though he had a sub-par performance.

“The reaction was what I expected, of course,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy we got the win.”

It was Porzingis’ second game at the Garden since the deal, and the response seemed to rattle him, as he missed six of his first seven shots from the field. Fans began anti-Porzingis chants during introductions and they continued loudly until the Mavericks took control of the game.

Former teammate Derrick Rose is sympathetic, saying he understands Porzingis’ decision to make a trade request.

“When you think about the situation it wasn’t an easy situation for both sides, with him wanting to leave and with them, the fans felt like they put their all into him by supporting him,” Rose said. “I get it. I was in a similar situation when I left Chicago. People felt like it was me.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • It’s up to Rose to justify the front office’s decision to pass on making a big deal at the trade deadline, states Marc Berman of The New York Post. Rose, who was acquired from the Pistons in early February, represents the only significant trade the Knicks have made since the season began.
  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said coaches around the league aren’t surprised that Tom Thibodeau has the Knicks in playoff contention in his first year with the team, Berman adds in a separate story. “He’s a guy that has great respect in the coaching ranks, because of what he stands for as a tactician, what he stands for as a guy that believes in tough, hard-nosed play, unselfish play, and particularly on the defensive side,” Carlisle said. “He’s got this team playing to its strengths.’’
  • Mike Woodson, who resigned as an assistant with the Knicks to become the head coach at Indiana University, discusses Thibodeau, team executive William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”), president of basketball operations Leon Rose and other topics in an interview with Steve Serby of The New York Post.
  • Newly-signed center Norvel Pelle will be available for tonight’s game, but Thibodeau described him as “situational,” which means he won’t be part of the rotation unless something unexpected happens, Bondy tweets. Thibodeau added that the scouting staff likes what it has seen from Pelle.

Knicks Sign Norvel Pelle To 10-Day Deal

9:44pm: The signing is official, the team’s PR department tweets.


10:52am: Free agent center Norvel Pelle will sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks this weekend, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Pelle has been mentioned as a possibility since Mitchell Robinson was lost for the rest of the season with a fracture in his right foot. Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson handled the center position while Robinson was sidelined with an earlier injury, but New York needed an extra big man.

Pelle, 28, will be joining his third team this season. He signed with the Nets in late January, but was waived in mid-February after seeing limited action in three games. Following a brief G League stint, Pelle inked a 10-day contract with the Kings while Hassan Whiteside was in health and safety protocols. He appeared in just one game for Sacramento and didn’t receive a second 10-day deal.

Pelle underwent COVID-19 testing this week so he could be available for Saturday’s game, tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks also considered veteran big man John Henson, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

Knicks Rumors: Robinson, Bell, Maker, Cousins, Whiteside

The Knicks‘ contract with Mitchell Robinson allows the team to retain the young center in 2021/22 for just $1.8MM, assuming his option is exercised. But in that scenario, he’d become an unrestricted free agent in ’22. New York could assert more control over Robinson’s free agency by turning down the team option and issuing a qualifying offer to make him restricted this summer.

Now that a broken foot is likely to sideline Robinson for the rest of the 2020/21 season, Marc Berman of The New York Post cites league sources who believe the Knicks’ decision has become simpler — the club doesn’t have enough information yet on Robinson to send him to free agency so soon, those sources say, arguing that picking up his option for ’21/22 is the right move.

Exercising Robinson’s team option would still allow the Knicks to negotiate a possible extension during his contract year. In that scenario, they could go as high as about $54MM over four years with a straight extension offer, or even higher with a renegotiation-and-extension. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tells Berman that he’d be surprised if New York is that aggressive in extension talks.

“Coming off a serious injury, I’m not paying him what Christian Wood got in Houston,” Marks said, referring to Wood’s three-year, $41MM contract with the Rockets. Marks suggests something in the three-year, $30MM range would be more realistic.

One source tells Berman that he believes the Mavericks will have interest in Robinson if and when he reaches free agency.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • With Robinson out, the Knicks will probably add a center for “insurance” purposes, per head coach Tom Thibodeau, Berman writes in the same story. Berman confirms a previous report that John Henson and Norvel Pelle are among the options being considered by the club and says New York has also had internal talks about Jordan Bell, Thon Maker, DeMarcus Cousins, and Hassan Whiteside.
  • Cousins appears likely to join the Clippers for at least 10 days, while Whiteside – a buyout candidate – remains a King for now. Berman notes that the Knicks’ brass likes the team’s chemistry and would want a player who fits “seamlessly” into the locker room, so Cousins and Whiteside may be lower on the wish list for that reason anyway.
  • While the Knicks seem likely to add a center, Nerlens Noel believes he and Taj Gibson are capable of handling the five in Robinson’s absence, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I feel like we have it covered, but that’s not my department,” Noel said. “That’s (the front office’s choice). … If Coach, management wants to add another piece, that’s all up to them. I definitely feel we’re comfortable with what we have. “We have depth in Kevin (Knox) and Obi (Toppin) staying available at the four, five spots and that helps as well, so I like the versatility we have.”

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Drummond, Free Agents, Payne

Knicks players were crushed to learn that center Mitchell Robinson suffered another serious injury Saturday night, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Playing his second game back in the starting lineup, the third-year center got hurt midway through the first quarter when he tried for a steal attempt. Robinson landed awkwardly and wound up with a fracture in his right root. The Knicks announced the injury to the public, but didn’t tell the players until after the game.

“He worked so hard to get back,” RJ Barrett said. “To see him go down again, it hurts us, hurts the team. But we’re just — we’re gonna be with him every step of the way until he gets back.”

The timing is particularly bad for New York, coming on the same night that word leaked that LaMarcus Aldridge plans to signs with the Nets and Andre Drummond appears headed to the Lakers. The Knicks have cap room to use on the buyout market, but the two biggest names are already likely committed.

“He’ll be fine,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Robinson. “He’ll have to go through rehab and stuff, but he’s been through that before, and just maximize his time that way. But you feel for a teammate. It’s part of the game, and you have to deal with it as best you can.”

There’s more from New York:

  • “One or two prominent voices” in the Knicks’ front office were in favor of pursuing Drummond before the organization cooled on the idea, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). He adds that the team had been hoping to use the rest of the season to evaluate how Robinson fits in Thibodeau’s system. If New York picks up Robinson’s $1.8MM team option for 2021/22, it would put him on track for unrestricted free agency in ’22. Begley states that Gorgui Dieng, Norvel Pelle and John Henson could be potential low-cost pickups for the Knicks, who have an open roster spot.
  • Assistant coach Kenny Payne will remain in New York, even though DePaul had strong interest in making him its next head coach, Begley tweets.
  • The Knicks were quiet at the trade deadline while teams around them in the standings made big moves, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. The organization has adopted a strategy of preserving its assets for the future, rather than gambling to make a playoff run this year.

Knicks Rumors: Fournier, Oladipo, Rivers, Henson, Pelle

The Knicks still seem more likely than not to forgo making a major trade at this week’s deadline, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Besides not wanting to surrender major assets in a deal, the Knicks are also reluctant to disrupt the chemistry the current group has established, Begley explains.

Still, the team continues to monitor some of the more notable names available on the trade market. For instance, both Begley and Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports cite Evan Fournier as a possible target. Goodwill suggests New York is monitoring Fournier, while Begley says the club recently had a conversation with Magic about the veteran wing. It’s unclear if any progress was made in those talks, Begley notes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Although the Knicks have been linked to Victor Oladipo and Lonzo Ball, a trade for either guard seems unlikely unless the asking price drops significantly, writes Begley. That’s not entirely out of the question in Oladipo’s case. David Aldridge, Kelly Iko, and Danny Leroux of The Athletic cited one executive who offered the following assessment on the Oladipo trade market: “I think they (the Rockets) will be selling very low on this, and possibly lower than anyone can imagine right now.”
  • Begley confirms that a trade or buyout of Austin Rivers seems probable, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested on Monday. If the team opens up a roster spot by moving Rivers, John Henson and Norvel Pelle are among the candidates the team would consider to fill it, sources tell SNY.
  • Within his Knicks trade deadline primer, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic weighs which players currently on the roster are the top candidates to be moved and proposes hypothetical deals for Oladipo and Norman Powell.