Isaiah Hartenstein

Knicks Notes: Randle, Anunoby, Robinson, Hartenstein, More

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that Julius Randle continues to make “good, steady progress” in his recovery from a dislocated right shoulder, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. One day later, speaking publicly on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury, Randle told reporters that he’s feeling “better and stronger” than he was earlier in the month, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post.

However, neither Thibodeau nor Randle indicated that the possibility of season-ending surgery is off the table.

“I mean, we’ll see. There’s still necessary steps. It’s a process to everything. I have to weigh out everything ultimately and decide from there,” Randle said. “But right now I’m just focused on trying to avoid (surgery), obviously, and get back on the court as soon as I can.”

Even if Randle is able to return to action this season without undergoing surgery, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to avoid a procedure on the shoulder in the offseason, Botte writes.

“I’ve heard many different opinions. Both, so we’ll see,” Randle said when asked about that scenario. “I like how I feel today as far as getting better, feeling stronger, progressing to where I need to be, as far as getting on the court.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While Randle’s recovery timeline remains very much up in the air, another injured Knicks forward – OG Anunoby – said on Tuesday that he “for sure” expects to return before the end of the regular season and be available for the playoffs, according to Botte. Anunoby, who underwent a procedure on his right elbow a couple weeks ago, is expected to be reevaluated around March 1 and to resume on-court activities not longer after that, a league source tells Fred Katz of The Athletic.
  • Within that same Athletic story, Katz says center Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) is on track to resume on-court work not long after the All-Star break, though it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll return this season. Katz adds that big man Isaiah Hartenstein doesn’t view the Achilles injury he has been nursing as a serious issue.
  • Hartenstein, Donte DiVincenzo (hamstring), and Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) all returned to practice on Tuesday and went through a second day of workouts on Wednesday, according to Thibodeau, who said that all three players remain on track to return on Thursday (Twitter link via Steve Popper of Newsday).
  • During a Boardroom.tv discussion (YouTube link) between Kevin Durant and longtime business partner Rich Kleiman, the duo confirmed that Kleiman badly wanted Durant to sign with the Knicks as a free agent in 2019, when the star forward instead chose to join the Nets.

Knicks Notes: Achiuwa, Injuries, Randle, DiVincenzo

After a highly impressive stretch of play which saw New York go 15-2 from January 1 to February 1, a wave of injuries finally caught up with the Knicks, who have dropped five of their past six games entering the All-Star break.

With OG Anunoby (elbow), Julius Randle (shoulder), Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) all sidelined and Isaiah Hartenstein missing the past three contests with a sore Achilles, the Knicks have been heavily reliant on Precious Achiuwa, and the fourth-year forward/center has responded well, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Over the past eight games, all starts, the 24-year-old big man has put up 14.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks in 41.6 minutes. Achiuwa pulled down an eye-popping 19 offensive rebounds over the past two games, Botte notes.

I mentioned earlier what Isaiah has shown us and then Precious coming in,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s road loss to the Magic. “Obviously there were things we liked about [Achiuwa], that’s why we traded for him. But he’s shown us a lot. And it’s given us more versatility, we have size now at the 4. He can play the 4 or the 5, can play it well. … So that’s a big plus for us.”

Achiuwa, who was acquired from Toronto in the deal that sent Anunoby to New York, will be a restricted free agent this summer if the Knicks give him a qualifying offer, which seems very likely based on how he’s performed of late.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau is hoping to have multiple players back from injuries after the All-Star break, Botte writes in another story for The New York Post. Donte DiVincenzo (hamstring), trade-deadline addition Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) and Hartenstein all missed Wednesday’s game, but they could return next Thursday against Philadelphia. “I think we’ve had a great two-thirds of the season. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we’ve done well, but we have a lot of room for improvement,” All-Star guard Jalen Brunson said. “So I think this break is obviously good for us. We’re the walking wounded right now. But I’m more than happy with what we’ve been able to do. So quick reset and just be ready to go next week.”
  • While there’s still a chance he may need season-ending surgery after dislocating his right shoulder on January 27, Randle’s rehab has gone well over the past few weeks, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. “I’ve heard during this period that there’s been some positive progression here during the rehab and I think that’s left people with even more reason to be optimistic that Randle will be back at some point this season,” Begley said on Thursday’s episode of The Putback with Ian Begley. “I don’t know if they’re out of the woods yet, but certainly the progress that he has made over the last couple of weeks during this rehab stretch has left people excited about the possibility of him coming back.”
  • DiVicenzo is another player who has stepped up his game with Randle and Anunoby out. As Fred Katz of The Athletic details, DiVincenzo is drawing extra defensive attention lately due to his long-range shooting, with the sixth-year guard ranking second in the NBA over his past eight games in three-point attempts (13.3) and makes (5.3), only trailing Stephen Curry in those two categories. He’s averaging 26.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals on .459/.396/.750 shooting in 40.4 minutes over that span. “I think it’s his best stretch of basketball,” Thibodeau said.

Knicks Sign Taj Gibson To Second 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 10: Gibson officially signed his second 10-day contract with the Knicks, according to team PR (Twitter link).


FEBRUARY 9: The Knicks are bringing back Taj Gibson on a second 10-day contract, reports Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Gibson’s first 10-day deal expired on Thursday night.

The move comes as no real surprise, given that Gibson is a Tom Thibodeau favorite and the Knicks have no shortage of roster spots available after trading four players to Detroit on Thursday and only taking back two in return. Even after re-signing the 38-year-old, New York will have two openings on its 15-man roster.

Thibodeau made it clear on Thursday that he hoped Gibson would be re-signed, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

“It’s obvious. He’s been terrific,” Thibodeau said. “On any team, at any time, he’s a great addition. So I’m hopeful. (President of basketball operations) Leon (Rose) will (look at) everything and we’ll always do what’s best for the team. But everyone in the organization loves him and has an appreciation for him.”

This will be the third contract Gibson has signed with the Knicks this season. He initially rejoined the team on December 15 on a non-guaranteed deal and was waived on January 7, before his full-season cap hit was locked in. New York brought him back on a 10-day contract on Jan. 30.

Gibson typically wouldn’t be part of the Knicks’ rotation, but he has been forced into action several times this season due to frontcourt injuries. He logged 22 minutes in Thursday’s loss to Dallas, with Isaiah Hartenstein departing that contest early due to a sore left Achilles (Twitter link via Steve Popper of Newsday).

Gibson will earn a $183,704 salary over the course of his 10-day deal, while New York will carry a $116,075 cap hit. The contract will cover the team’s next three games before expiring during the All-Star break. If the Knicks want to retain him beyond that, they’ll need to offer a rest-of-season deal.

Knicks Notes: Deadline, Bogdanovic, Burks, Hartenstein, Grimes

No team, including the Knicks, was certain whether Bojan Bogdanovic would be available via trade at the deadline, writes SNY’s Ian Begley. Decision-makers in Detroit were split on whether to keep him and guard Alec Burks, but ultimately decided to move off both.

New York managed to acquire both players, who had been on their radar during various time periods. The Knicks were interested in getting some scoring help off the bench and accomplished that by bringing in Bogdanovic and Burks.

Before figuring out which way the Pistons were leaning in regards to keeping or selling Bogdanovic and Burks, the Knicks checked in on Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins and now-Piston Shake Milton, according to Begley. Milton was ultimately traded from the Timberwolves to Detroit as part of a package for Monte Morris, but it’s clear the Knicks were eager to add scoring to their lineup.

We have more notes on the Knicks:

  • Knicks players were happy about the team acquiring both Bogdanovic and Burks, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post. “I think Leon [Rose] and the front office was cooking,Josh Hart said. While the Villanova trio of Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson and Hart were sad to see fellow alum Ryan Arcidiacono leave as part of the trade, they appear to be on board with what the front office is doing. The Knicks are 16-4 since the New Year but are dealing with a plethora of injuries — including long-term ones with Julius Randle and OG Anunoby. Those injuries left them with an eight-man rotation on Thursday after the deadline, with a bench rotation consisting of a 10-day contract player and a pair of two-way players. Bogdanovic and Burks are expected to provide an instant boost.
  • The Knicks traded their own 2028 and 2029 second-round pick to Detroit in the Bogdanovic/Burks trade, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov (Twitter link). New York also sent $3MM to Detroit.
  • New York’s injury issues got worse on Thursday when center Isaiah Hartenstein exited with a recurring Achilles injury after only 15 minutes of play. He was ruled out for the Knicks’ game against the Pacers on Saturday, according to Botte. Hartenstein is averaging 8.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per agme as a starter this season. With Hartenstein out, Botte writes the Knicks may turn to two-way player Jacob Toppin, who would be squaring off against his brother Obi Toppin. “It was amazing having him on the court with me [in Indiana]. Hopefully we can do that again,” Obi Toppin said last time Indiana visited. “It would be even better if we are able to do that here in New York and at the Garden.
  • Grimes, who was drafted by the Knicks with the 25th overall pick in 2021, expressed his gratitude to the Knicks after being traded to the Pistons on Thursday. “It was an honor to be able to wear a Knicks jersey and represent the city!” Grimes tweeted. “Your love and support throughout the years has meant the world. Forever grateful to the entire Knicks organization, my teammates, and most importantly the fans. THANK YOU, NEW YORK.

Knicks Notes: Hartenstein, Brunson, Anunoby, Grimes, LeBron

Isaiah Hartenstein can expect a huge raise when he becomes a free agent this summer and he hopes it comes from the Knicks, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Hartenstein grabbed 15 rebounds Saturday night, the latest in a string of impressive performances since he took over as the team’s starting center following Mitchell Robinson‘s injury. This is Hartenstein’s first extended experience as a starter in his six years in the NBA, and he’s proving he can handle the challenge.

“Yeah, it’s great timing, I can’t lie about that,” Hartenstein said about his upcoming free agency, “but at the end of the day, I love it here in New York. The plan would be to stay, but at the end of the day, you can’t predict what’s going to happen. So you have to just go game-by-game. But I love New York, I love the fans, I think it’s something special. And I love winning, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

After signing Hartenstein to a two-year, $16MM deal in 2022, the Knicks own his Early Bird rights and can go over the salary cap to keep him. However, there’s no guarantee they’ll be willing to make a long-term investment with Robinson already under contract for the next two seasons.

“I feel like in the past I’ve had times where I’ve played minutes like this, but I don’t think it was ever over a consistent two-month span. I guess I’m just proving that I can be a starter in the NBA. I think I’ve done that,” Hartenstein said. “And us still winning is a part of that. I feel like you can be a starter, you can have great stats on a losing team, but it doesn’t really mean much. So just being in that starting role and playing heavy minutes on a winning team, I think that says a lot.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Jalen Brunson may be the Knicks’ best point guard since Walt Frazier, but he’s uncomfortable with comparisons to the Hall of Famer, Botte adds in a separate story. Brunson expressed admiration for Frazier, who still has a visible role with the team as a broadcaster. “Whenever I see him. I have to say ‘hi’ to him. I can’t just walk past him because he’s a legend,” Brunson said. “But to be able to see him every day just knowing the presence he brings around this organization, you have to respect him and you have to understand the things that he did as a player are remarkable.”
  • Coach Tom Thibobeau wasn’t able to offer an update on OG Anunoby, who missed his fourth straight game Saturday with elbow inflammation, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Thibodeau said Quentin Grimes is doing more on-court work after suffering a knee sprain, but both players are considered day-to-day (Twitter link).
  • During Saturday’s visit to Madison Square Garden, Lakers star LeBron James told reporters that he considered joining the Knicks when he was a free agent in 2010, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Although he doesn’t give it any chance of happening, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post makes the case that New York may be a better fit for James than L.A. at this point in his career.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Maxey, Embiid, Hartenstein, Celtics, Nwora

Marcus Morris, who has already been traded once this season, recognizes that his expiring $17.1MM expiring contract makes him a candidate to be dealt again by next Thursday, but the Sixers forward – and Philadelphia native – isn’t let his uncertain future faze him, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Honestly, to be real with you, like I’m a pro, man,” Morris said on Monday. “So I just go into it with the same (stuff), man, to keep my body the same, because regardless of where I go, I’m still going to be able to help the team win if I’m going somewhere.

“I just hoop. … It’s part of a business. I understand it. I’ve been around. So if I go into it and act, like, sorry for myself or feel like it should never happen or anything, I’m being naive to the game. Being here 13 years gets you prepared for (stuff) like this. I’ve been on seven different teams. I’ve been traded a few times. I would be naive to act like I’d been surprised to get traded.”

Morris has played regular minutes for the 76ers since being acquired from the Clippers in the James Harden trade, so the team would likely only move him in a deal that clearly improves the rotation. It’s unclear whether that sort of opportunity will arise at the trade deadline or whether the Sixers’ front office will have to wait into the offseason to pursue more serious upgrades.

“I’m not 100% sure,” Morris said. “This is my hometown. I love it here. I’m just not sure, but I’m prepared for it.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey (left ankle sprain) will miss a third consecutive game on Tuesday, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT. Star center Joel Embiid may also be out for a third straight contest — he’ll be a game-time decision in Golden State, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Every potential missed game looms large for Embiid and his awards eligibility.
  • Isaiah Hartenstein was in the Knicks‘ starting lineup on Saturday and Monday after missing two games with an Achilles issue, but only logged 32 total minutes in those games. According to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link), Hartenstein is on a minutes limit, but could have played up to about 25 minutes on Monday — with New York up big, he only ended up playing 16.
  • The Celtics could benefit from adding one more big wing to their roster, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston, who considers which players around the NBA might be logical targets for the club. Naji Marshall, Saddiq Bey, and Thaddeus Young are among the players Forsberg mentions.
  • After playing in Milwaukee for his first two-and-a-half NBA seasons, Jordan Nwora has been traded in each of the past two winters. Part of Indiana’s package for Pascal Siakam, Nwora is hoping to stick in Toronto and is looking forward to the opportunity he has with the Raptors, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “It’s a new situation, new opportunity, and in my head, I’m just going to just make the most of it,” he said.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Anunoby, Hartenstein

The rhythm of the Knicks‘ offense seems liable to be thrown out of whack with All-Star power forward Julius Randle now shelved due to a dislocated right shoulder, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

New York has been rolling of late, with six straight victories to its credit. 6’4″ swingman Josh Hart has functioned as Randle’s primary backup this season.

Bondy posits that, though players like Hart, OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Jericho Sims can assume bigger roles in Randle’s stead, the team will still miss the way his presence has bent opposing defenses. The two-time All-NBA vet is the club’s second-leading scorer, averaging 24.0 PPG, while also chipping in 9.2 RPG and 5.0 APG.

“You don’t want to see that from anybody,” teammate Jalen Brunson said. “Especially the way he’s been playing… He means a lot to us.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • Among the Knicks who should look to increase their output with Randle unavailable, OG Anunoby especially needs to be more aggressive as a scorer, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Across his 14 contests since being traded to New York from the Raptors, the 6’7″ wing is averaging 15.6 PPG on .516/.391/.842 shooting, 4.6 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.5 APG and 1.1 BPG. The Knicks have gone 12-2 in those games and are currently the East’s No. 4 seed with a 29-17 record.
  • After missing two games due to an Achilles tendinopathy, Knicks reserve center Isaiah Hartenstein looked like his old self upon rejoining New York’s lineup against the Heat, writes Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. Hartenstein had previously played in 164 straight contests for the club. “I’m past it,” Hartenstein said. “It’s like normal tendinitis. It’s nothing like, ‘Oh, it’s the end of the world.’ You just manage it so it’s nothing crazy.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are said to be considering a move for Jazz shooting guard Jordan Clarkson ahead of this season’s February 8 trade deadline.

Knicks Notes: Hartenstein, Hart, Anunoby, Brown, Burks, Thibs

After missing the Knicks‘ past two games due to left Achilles tendinopathy, center Isaiah Hartenstein will return on Saturday afternoon vs. Miami and is reentering the starting lineup, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Head coach Tom Thibodeau had previously said on Thursday that Hartenstein was doing “a lot better” (Twitter link).

Hartenstein became the Knicks’ starting center last month following Mitchell Robinson‘s ankle injury. The veteran big man has averaged 7.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks in his 17 starts (33.8 MPG). New York has gone 11-6 during that stretch.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Josh Hart, who griped about his role with the Knicks earlier this season, still doesn’t agree with the notion that he’s a power forward and isn’t necessarily thrilled by his career-low 12.1% usage rate. However, he has gotten on board with what the team has asked him to do and embraced his new role, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. “Yeah, it took me 40 games. It’s a process,” Hart said. “Obviously it’s not something I thought it was going to be like entering the year. But it’s where we’re at. Now it’s just you got to sacrifice and do some of that.”
  • In a subscriber-only story for The Post, Bondy takes a deep dive into how OG Anunoby‘s arrival and explains how his impact has gone beyond his defense. Within the same article, Bondy says Raptors guard Bruce Brown and Pistons guard Alec Burks are the two potential trade targets he has heard connected most frequently to the Knicks as of late.
  • Would it be in the Knicks’ best interest to stand pat at the trade deadline, given how well they’re playing recently? Steve Popper of Newsday considers that question, writing that if the team does make a move on the trade market, a player’s fit will be as important as his skill.
  • In yet another story for The New York Post, Bondy shines a light on the role that Thibodeau has played in the Knicks’ success this season, pointing out that several key players on the roster are playing the best basketball of their respective careers and arguing that wouldn’t happen “without the touch of a great — and tirelessly focused — coach.”

Trade Rumors: Gafford, Grimes, Wizards, Raptors, Jazz, Bridges

The Wizards are among the teams with interest in Knicks wing Quentin Grimes, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who also confirms that Washington center Daniel Gafford remains on New York’s radar. A report a couple weeks ago indicated that the Knicks had inquired on Gafford.

With Isaiah Hartenstein playing well in a starting role, Precious Achiuwa and Jericho Sims providing depth at the five, and Mitchell Robinson possibly on track to return before the season is over, the Knicks might already be set up front.

However, Robinson’s return this season isn’t a certainty and Hartenstein has missed the past two games with an injury of his own (left Achilles tendinopathy), so it sounds as if the Knicks haven’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing another frontcourt player. Still, if Hartenstein is back in the lineup within a week or so and feels good, I wouldn’t expect a center – especially one like Gafford, who wouldn’t be cheap – to be a focus at the deadline.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

Knicks Notes: Grimes, Sims, Achiuwa, Brunson

Quentin Grimes has been the subject of recent trade rumors, but coach Tom Thibodeau wants the third-year wing to ignore the speculation and concentrate on basketball, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. The Knicks have reportedly been taking calls about Grimes, but Thibodeau said that’s not a sign that anything will happen.

“For this time of year, for every 100 trades that get talked about, one gets done. That’s why you stick to your routine,” Thibodeau said. “You block out all the outside stuff. You lock into what’s in front of you and keep your focus there. Let basketball be your focus. So, I think where we are today, the popularity of the game is so huge. Media, social media and everyone talking about it. It’s a by-product of society today. But don’t get caught up in it. Whether it’s praise, criticism, speculation, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that really matters is what you think and what we think. That’s it.”

Botte notes that Grimes probably expected his playing time to increase after RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley were traded to Toronto last month. Instead, it has declined since the deal as Thibodeau has relied more on other players on his reconfigured bench.

There’s more from New York:

  • With their top two centers hurt, the Knicks got a strong night from their reserve big men in Tuesday’s win at Brooklyn, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Mitchell Robinson underwent ankle surgery and hasn’t played since December 8, and Isaiah Hartenstein saw his consecutive games streak end at 164 due to an inflamed Achilles, but Jericho Sims and Precious Achiuwa were capable replacements. Sims started the game and blocked four shots in the first quarter, and Achiuwa played the entire fourth quarter as New York rallied for the victory. “[They were] amazing,” Julius Randle said. “Precious gave us big minutes. Jericho gave us big minutes. Protecting the rim. Jericho was great protecting the rim in the first half. Precious just being in the right spots, getting us extra possessions rebounding the ball. Defending guards. All that type of stuff. Gave us a lot of versatility.”
  • Jalen Brunson has been playing at an All-Star level, but that won’t guarantee him a spot in the game when the rosters are announced Thursday night, Botte notes in a separate story. Brunson ranked sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players in the latest round of fan voting, which accounts for half of the final total. He may need to be selected by the coaches to earn his first-ever All-Star nod.
  • The Knicks should monitor trade opportunities, but they shouldn’t risk their current chemistry with an aggressive move, contends Fred Katz of The Athletic, adding that he doesn’t see an ideal player for the team on this year’s market.