Norvel Pelle

Knicks Notes: Randle, Draft Night, Point Guards, Gibson

July 31 marked the trigger date for Julius Randle‘s contract guarantee, so the Knicks now owe him the full $19.8MM for next season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. There was no suspense about whether New York would be willing to pay Randle that much in the wake of a career season that saw him win the Most Improved Player award and earn second-team All-NBA honors.

The real intrigue this offseason involves a four-year, $106MM+ extension that Randle is eligible to receive. The Knicks have plenty of incentive to sign him at that figure, as Randle could potentially make a lot more next summer as an unrestricted free agent, particularly if he puts together another All-NBA season. New York will have his Bird rights if that happens and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.

Randle joined the Knicks two years ago on a three-year, $63MM contract that carried just a $4MM guarantee for 2021/22. His game blossomed in New York, especially under new coach Tom Thibodeau, as he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night while leading the team to the No. 4 seed in the East.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks’ decision to trade the 19th pick in this year’s draft to the Hornets for a heavily protected future selection was done to free up another $2.4MM for free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, citing an NBA executive who has talked to team president Leon Rose. New York never planned to use both of its first-round picks Thursday night and was happy to get Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride after trading down.
  • Even if the Knicks can’t lure top targets Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry in free agency, they will have plenty of options at point guard, Berman adds. With more than $50MM in cap space, New York can outbid rival teams for Spencer DinwiddieCameron Payne, Dennis Schroder or Reggie Jackson. Restricted free agent Lonzo Ball remains a possibility, but the Knicks saw him as a better fit in February than they do now, sources tell Berman. Re-signing Derrick Rose, a favorite of Thibodeau, remains on the table, although the front office is debating whether to make a long-term offer to Rose, who will turn 33 in October. The Bulls may get into the bidding for the Chicago native.
  • Saturday’s decision to waive backup center Norvel Pelle increases the chances that Taj Gibson will be back on the roster next season, Berman states in a separate story. A source told Berman the Knicks would consider re-signing Pelle at some point during the season if injuries leave them needing help in the middle.

Knicks Exercise Team Option On Mitchell Robinson, Waive Norvel Pelle

The Knicks have picked up their option for next season on center Mitchell Robinson and have waived center Norvel Pelle, the team announced (via Twitter).

Robinson will make $1.8MM in the final season of the four-year deal he signed after being drafted in the second round in 2018. He was the team’s starting center before getting injured, so it was an easy decision for New York to exercise the option.

The 23-year-old averaged 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 31 games before undergoing season-ending foot surgery in late March. He also suffered a broken hand during the season that caused him to miss 15 games.

Robinson is eligible for a four-year, $51MM extension during the offseason, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Knicks also have the option of using cap space to renegotiate his salary for next season and having that be the beginning of an extension. If no extension is reached, Robinson will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Pelle, 28, had a $1.7MM option for 2021/22 that New York chose not to exercise. He signed a pair of 10-day deals with the Knicks in April, shortly after Robinson broke his foot, and earned a contract through the end of the season. Pelle appeared in nine games, averaging 1.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 5.8 minutes per night.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Udoka, Stoudemire, Bridges

The Knicks enter free agency with the most cap space in the league and some major holes to fill. With that in mind, Ian Begley of SNY.tv explores some of their potential options on the wing.

Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks both had success playing different roles on the wing for the Knicks during their overachieving year, and there was midseason interest in bringing both back, but following a postseason that exposed the team’s lack of offensive creators and with options like Kelly Oubre, DeMar DeRozan, Will Barton, Duncan Robinson and others available, it’s unclear if the Knicks will want to spend significant money on Bullock and Burks.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are closely watching the Damian Lillard situation, Begley reports. With Lillard reportedly considering his long-term future with the Blazers, and the Knicks employing Lillard’s mentor Johnnie Bryant as an assistant coach, the team is monitoring the All-Star guard in case a deal could be made. Begley writes that the team would also be content building patiently should a trade not materialize.
  • Norvel Pelle is looking to stick with the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The 6’10” center joined the team late, but provided a defensive spark off the bench, and was a willing and beloved team cheerleader, writes Berman. One NBA scout interviewed by Berman was impressed with the strides Pelle has made in recent years. “[He] looks like he’s reading angles better when switching on pick-and-rolls,” said the anonymous scout. “He’s avoiding foul trouble that way. We are talking about a guy who was [the] No. 1-ranked center in the country out of high school.”
  • Jay King of The Athletic profiles Celtics coach Ime Udoka, and how he found his calling as a coach. Much of the inspiration came from Isiah Thomas when Udoka played for Thomas on the Knicks in the 2005/06 season. “You may not see what your calling is,” Thomas told Udoka. “Your calling is coaching.” It took a long time for Udoka to accept that coaching could be his destiny rather than being an NBA star in his own right.
  • Former NBA point guard Damon Stoudamire is a target to join Ime Udoka on the Celtics coaching staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Stoudamire was the 2019/2020 WCC Coach of the Year for the Pacific Tigers.
  • The Sixers’ draft-night trade of Mikal Bridges to the Suns had a lasting impact on both teams. The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov dives deep into how the trade went down. Vorkunov writes that the Sixers had no intention of trading Bridges when they took him, but Zhaire Smith was tied with Bridges on their board, and when the Suns offered a 2021 Heat unprotected pick, the Sixers felt they couldn’t say no. “If second-round picks are cigarettes in prison,” said one anonymous source interviewed by Vorkunov, “unprotected picks are conjugal visits.”

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).