Isaiah Hartenstein

Wolves’ Naz Reid In Search Of “Best Fit” As Free Agent

Timberwolves big man Naz Reid, who just completed his fourth NBA season, recently spoke to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune about his priorities ahead of unrestricted free agency. Financial considerations will play an important factor, but the 23-year-old says it’s not the end-all-be-all.

I just want to be put in the best fit,” Reid said. “Obviously money plays a part, but I definitely want to be able to develop in a situation where I’m used to the best of my abilities. A place where I’m able to do things that I could do.”

Hine followed up by asking if Reid thought the Wolves could optimize his abilities, and he said they could. As Hine writes, Reid has been working out in Minnesota the past few weeks after having the cast removed from his left wrist. Reid’s season was cut short in late March following the wrist fracture, so he was unavailable for the postseason.

In April, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly expressed hope that the Wolves would be able to reach a long-term agreement with Reid, who is extension-eligible, and the two sides have had regular discussions about a new deal, with Hine referring to those conversations as “productive and amicable.” Still, Reid intends to test his value on the open market, and says the opportunity to land a starting job — which Minnesota can’t currently provide with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert on the roster — will be a priority.

I really value that as a person, as a player, because I feel like I worked to that potential,” Reid said. “But with my unique situation, it can go great either way, coming off the bench or starting. Whatever situation is presented. But for sure, I would prioritize that.”

Reid averaged career highs in multiple categories in 2022/23, including points (11.5), rebounds (4.9) and field goal percentage (53.7%) in 68 games (18.4 minutes per night). However, he was out of the rotation at times to start the season before Towns suffered a major calf injury. Reid ended the season on a strong note, with a larger offensive role off the bench with Towns and Gobert healthy. Would that type of role appeal to him?

I wouldn’t mind it,” Reid told Hine. “Whatever we can do for me to be back in Minnesota would be lovely, but I also feel like I’ve grown to a higher role or situation than I was in, in the beginning of the year.

I’m pretty sure everybody else would agree as well. As the time goes on, the years go by, you look for a higher role, better situations than you were in if you’ve obviously outgrown them. So, I would love to stay back in Minnesota, but it’s just like we got to find a position for it.”

It’s an interesting interview from Hine, with Reid also talking about growing “closer and closer” with Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, two young franchise cornerstones who have been trying to sell Reid on returning. Both Edwards and McDaniels are eligible for rookie scale extensions this summer.

New York doesn’t currently need a center, with Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims all under contract next season. However, Ian Begley of reports that Reid has a “significant amount of fans” within the Knicks organization, and says he’s worth monitoring in the event they decide to trade Robinson or Hartenstein.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Hartenstein, Barrett, Quickley, Hardaway

Julius Randle‘s stat line (25 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) in the Knicks‘ Game 2 win over Miami on Tuesday suggests he didn’t miss a beat after being sidelined for the first game of the series due to a left ankle injury. However, Randle admitted after the game that the rehab process he went through in order to return for Game 2 wasn’t easy, per Nick Friedell of

“It was hell,” Randle said. “Just every day around the clock, trying to get my body right. I don’t have a problem doing the work, mentally it’s a grind, though. But I just want to make myself available to the team … just happy that I was able to be out there and contribute and help us get a win.”

Asked after the victory about how his ankle was feeling, Randle deflected the question.

“It doesn’t even really matter, to be honest,” he said, according to Friedell. “I do whatever I got to do to make myself available to play. And just take it a day at a time.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • After Mitchell Robinson was a difference maker in New York’s first round win over Cleveland, backup center Isaiah Hartenstein has come up big early in round two. Hartenstein was a team-best plus-six in 14 minutes in Game 1, then played 26 minutes in Game 2 as Robinson battled foul trouble. As Zach Braziller of The New York Post details, Hartenstein gave the Knicks a much-needed spark with his physical play on Tuesday.
  • After an up-and-down first round vs. Cleveland, RJ Barrett has scored 26 and 24 points in the first two games vs. Miami. Barrett, whose nine-figure contract extension will take effect in 2023/24, took a seat late in the game for defensive reasons, but the fourth-year forward earned praise from head coach Tom Thibodeau for his performance, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • Immanuel Quickley, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year runner-up this season, logged a season-low nine minutes in Game 2 and scored just six points, but Thibodeau remains confident that the Knicks will once again lean on Quickley before the series is over, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. “We need him,” Thibodeau told reporters after the game. “.. He’s got a knack for putting the ball in the basket, and I don’t want him overthinking it. Shoot your shot, when he’s aggressive and attacking, he’ll be fine. We’ve seen him now, as everyone knows, he’s a scorer.”
  • Tim Hardaway Sr., who had been working as a scout for the Knicks, was on an expiring contract and left the team a few weeks ago to pursue media opportunities, a league source tells Ian Begley of (Twitter link).

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Roster Moves, Brunson, Centers, Thibodeau

Knicks forward RJ Barrett has gone from bust to boom in the past two games, Peter Botte of the New York Post points out. Barrett shot 6-for-25 from the field in the first two games of the first-round series against the Cavaliers. He has gone 17-for-30 in the last two games, averaging 23.5 points per contest.

“I just wanted to continue to make the right plays, make the right reads. Just do whatever to help the team,” said Barrett, who will begin his four-year, $107MM extension in 2023/24.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • The moves the Knicks made during the offseason and at the trade deadline have put them in a position to reach the second round, Ian Begley of SNY TV writes. They signed Jalen Brunson instead of trading for Donovan Mitchell, signed Barrett to his extension and re-signed big man Mitchell Robinson. They also added Isaiah Hartenstein via free agency and acquired Josh Hart from Portland in February.
  • Brunson is running pick-and-rolls with wings and other guards such as Barrett to great effect during the postseason, Fred Katz of The Athletic notes. Their defense is also much more intense, particularly in transition. “We’re playing extremely hard,” Barrett said. “We’re making hustle plays. … The whole team, all the hustle plays we’re making, we’re really together collectively.”
  • The center rotation of Robinson and Hartenstein became increasingly effective as the regular season wore on, coach Tom Thibodeau told Botte and other media members. “That tandem, from the second half of the season on, Mitch is the anchor of the defense. Isaiah gives us the rim protection and he’s different offensively,” Thibodeau said. “So there’s different components to it.” They combined for 13 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots in Game 4 on Sunday.
  • Thibodeau’s willingness to bench gimpy Julius Randle for a good portion of the second half is an example of how much the veteran coach has changed his approach, Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post opines. Thibodeau has become much more willing to rely on younger players and his second unit, rather than leaning too heavily on veterans.

New York Notes: Finney-Smith, Harris, Hartenstein, Playoff Rotation

Following a lackluster offensive start to his Nets tenure, swingman Dorian Finney-Smith is finding his footing in Brooklyn, writes Jared Schwartz of The New York Post.

Smith had been scoring just 6.4 PPG on 31% field goal shooting across his first 22 games with the Nets prior to a 124-107 defeat of the Hawks. In that contest, he notched 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-6 from deep, and eight boards.

“It feels good, man,” Finney-Smith said of his best scoring night with his new team thus far. “Especially when the whole team is yelling at me when I turn down shots to stay aggressive. It feels good when you got guys who believe in you, so I appreciate them.”

Finney-Smith continues to make a big defensive impact for the Nets. Head coach Jacque Vaughn has even employed the 6’7″ forward as a center in small ball lineups.

There’s more out of The City That Never Sleeps:

  • Nets wing Joe Harris has been demoted since Brooklyn added an influx of three-point shooting perimeter players at the trade deadline, and that’s just fine by Harris, per Schwartz in another piece. “It’s definitely a luxury of this team,” Harris observed. “A lot of space on the floor for primary ball-handlers, facilitators.”
  • Knicks backup center Isaiah Hartenstein is the only New York player to have been available for all 78 of the team’s games thus far, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.
  • Though they have just four games left in their 2022/23 regular season run, the 45-33 Knicks still need to finalize their postseason rotation, says Ian Begley of Begley notes that New York’s coaching staff is assessing both active rotation and deep-bench players with the playoffs looming. The Knicks seem to favor a nine-man rotation, Begley observes. Backup point guard Miles McBride became the team’s new ninth man with All-Star power forward Julius Randle out of the lineup for now.

Knicks Notes: Hart, Brunson, Hartenstein, Randle

Josh Hart is hoping he’s not just a rental with the Knicks, as he told Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

Hart, who plans to decline his $12.96MM option for next season, said he wants to sign a long-term deal and remain in New York. Family reasons are a major reason why he feels that way, since he and his wife Shannon are more comfortable on the East Coast than they were in the Pacific Northwest when he played for Portland.

“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” said Hart, who grew up in Maryland. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York and hopefully the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Speaking of Hart, he’s thrilled to be reunited with his former college teammate Jalen Brunson. He’s greatly impressed by how Brunson has made himself into an All-Star caliber player, he told Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “It’s really dope for me to see, obviously, knowing him since 2013, watching his progression, watching him grow just as a friend,” Hart said. “It’s amazing cause I’ve seen the work behind the scenes. And he knows this, and I have the most respect for him as almost any NBA guy or basketball player in general because he continues to grind, continues to work.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year contract to join the club as a free agent and he’s getting steady minutes. His impact goes beyond the numbers on the stat sheet, Sears notes. “Whether he scores 10 points, 15 points, he rebounds, he defends, gets his hands on plays and deflections and stuff like that,” Julius Randle said. “Sets screens, really good screens. He just does a lot of little things for us that help us win.” Hartenstein is averaging 4.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per night.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau lamented that the team couldn’t take advantage of Randle’s career night on Monday, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. He poured in 57 points, the most by a Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points in January 2014, but the Knicks’ defense went AWOL in a 140-134 loss to Minnesota. “It’s a shame to waste a performance like that,” Thibodeau said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Pacific Notes: Curry, Hartenstein, Brown, Russell

Warriors star Stephen Curry turned 35 years old on Tuesday, but he’s not even close to thinking about retirement, as he told Andscape’s Marc J. Spears. He’s hoping to play into his 40s, if all goes well.

“How I feel right now is not how I thought I’d feel at 35. That number sounds crazy, but in my head, I feel like I got a lot left,” he said. “The work I put into this I still enjoy. Who knows how [the future] looks?

“I talked to Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and other guys who have been on the other side of the halfway point. I know quarterbacking is different, but you can check yourself [mentally] into not fast-forwarding too far. They really did a good job of disciplining themselves for what is happening in real time. They’re 40 feeling like they can still play. I’m trying to stay in that mode. Thirty-five is a big milestone, but the next one is 40. The way I feel right now, who knows?””

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Knicks big man Isaiah Hartenstein suggested that if the Clippers had offered him the taxpayer mid-level exception last summer, he would have taken it, Tomer Azarly of reports. Hartenstein wound up signing a two-year contract worth up to $18.1MM with New York. “I mean, they gave the only thing they really could’ve offered me to John Wall. I was — I can’t take that big of a pay cut,” he said. “I think I was actually gonna come back, but I can’t take that big of a pay cut. So they picked John Wall over me and I got to live with that.”
  • Head coach Mike Brown has raised the bar for the Kings and they’ve responded, as Sam Amick of The Athletic details. Brown ripped his team for giving up 23 offensive rebounds to the Knicks on Thursday, even though Sacramento won. Holding his players accountable has paid off. “That’s why we’re in the position we’re in right now, because he wants us to be perfect,” guard Malik Monk said. “He knows we can’t be perfect, but he wants us to be perfect. So I think that’s why we’re succeeding right now. He’s pushing us, coming in and telling us that was B.S. You would’ve thought we lost if you heard what was going on, but he just wants the best for us, man. Like I said, he wants us to be perfect in a world that’s not perfect.”
  • D’Angelo Russell is hopeful of re-signing with the Lakers this offseason when he hits free agency, Jacob Rude of relays. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said at halftime of the Knicks-Lakers game on Sunday night that Russell wants to extend his second stint with the franchise. “D’Angelo Russell very much wanted a second chance in LA with the Lakers and you’ve seen the impact he made coming back against Toronto the other night, playing great in a win, and again (Sunday). He wants to be the point guard of the future for this organization.”

New York Notes: Brunson, Hartenstein, Nets’ Defense, O’Neale

Jalen Brunson seems likely to miss the Knicks’ game on Tuesday in Portland. He was spotting wearing a walking boot on Sunday night, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Just continue to do his treatments and we’ll see where he is. When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Knicks’ star guard. “It’s not Jalen by himself. It’s Jalen with the medical. So he’s got a say in it, but the medical has to clear him. So there’s a number of people involved in a decision. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way.”

Brunson said the boot isn’t as ominous as it might appear. He wore it during the Lakers game as a protective measure in case it got kicked or stepped on and isn’t wearing it away from the court, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein earned a $350K bonus by hitting his minutes requirement for the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. He needed to play at least 1,350 minutes to earn the bonus and surpassed that in the win over the Lakers. Hartenstein reached another $350K bonus threshold with the Knicks winning their 40th game on Sunday, New York Basketball tweets. He can collect one more $350K bonus in his contract if the Knicks make the playoffs.
  • The Nets have won five of their last six games, thanks to an improved defense, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “We had to challenge that group to shift the mentality of not thinking you have to score but to first of all let’s be a defensive-oriented team,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I think we’ve responded, started to form an identity with this group and hopefully they realize that.”
  • In another Lewis story, The Post’s beat writer notes that Royce O’Neale has exceeded the franchise’s expectations after acquiring him from Utah. He’s averaging career highs in points (9.0) and assists (3.7) per game while playing superior defense. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, no matter how many minutes I’m playing, I’m going to play as hard as I can, do things that I got to do for us to win the game, and just be myself,” O’Neale said. His $9.5MM contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $2.5MM.

Mitchell Robinson Nearing Return For Knicks

Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson has been sidelined since January 18 after undergoing surgery to repair a right thumb fracture, but he’s getting close to a return. He’s officially listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Wizards, the team announced (via Twitter).

As Peter Botte of The New York Post writes, Robinson was a full practice participant on Wednesday, including taking contact, which was one of the final hurdles in his recovery process.

It’s great to have him back. He’s an important part of the team. We want everyone healthy. We need everyone right now,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.

It does [help] a lot,” Jalen Brunson said of Robinson’s pending return. “It’s good to see him healthy, first and foremost. He brings a lot to the table. He’s been great for us down inside the paint, on both sides of the floor. So when we can get a guy like that back, it definitely helps and I’m very excited to get him back.”

The injury did not affect a lower extremity, so the team’s starting center was able to keep his conditioning up while sidelined. Thibodeau was non-committal when asked if Robinson would be on a minutes restriction, according to Botte.

We’ll talk to the medical people. Whenever a player comes back you see where they are,” Thibodeau said. “If he can handle minutes, he’ll play. If he needs a break, he’ll get a break. So we’ll talk to him, talk to the medical people, see what everyone thinks. We like the depth that we have at that position.”

Through 38 games, Robinson is averaging 7.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 26.9 minutes per contest. The 24-year-old leads the team in net rating among rotation regulars at plus-8.2, Botte notes.

Jericho Sims, who had started the previous 14 games in place of Robinson, could be out of the rotation upon Robinson’s return, Botte adds. Isaiah Hartenstein is likely to remain the primary backup five.

Knicks Notes: Hartenstein, Grimes, Brunson, Randle

Isaiah Hartenstein has been more productive since shaking off the effects of an Achilles injury, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The Knicks’ backup center is averaging 6.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during his past 12 games and is helping the team survive while Mitchell Robinson is sidelined with a broken thumb.

“I feel like I can do the role that I need to do here a lot better with how good my Achilles is now feeling,” Hartenstein said. “… My main thing was helping the team win. Now it’s coming back where I’m doing the little stuff to help the team win.”

Hartenstein and Jericho Sims have been handling center duties since Robinson was injured on January 18. New York has gone 8-6 without its starting center, who is expected to return after the All-Star break, according to Braziller.

“Anytime someone goes out, and you hate to see anybody be injured, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step in and grow,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think Jericho getting into that role has really been helpful for him and for us. I said this earlier, I love the depth we have at that position. … I don’t want to overlook the contributions Isaiah’s made. Isaiah has found a really good rhythm. He’s playing really well on both sides of the ball. So we’re getting really good production out of that position.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Quentin Grimes has remained in the starting lineup since the addition of Josh Hart, but his playing time has been reduced, Braziller notes in a separate story. Instead of being upset, Grimes is determined to learn from his new teammate. “He’s definitely a guy you watch out there, see how hard he plays,” Grimes said. “Just go out there and try to match it, because he’s definitely going to make winning plays on and off the ball.”
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News examines how Jalen Brunson‘s father, Knicks assistant Rick Brunson, taught him from a young age to shoot with his left hand. Jalen is naturally right-handed, so he’s comfortable attacking defenses from either direction. “There’s not a lot of lefties,” he said. “So I guess everything is the opposite for defenders. I just think it’s a little unorthodox.”
  • Julius Randle has been selected to replace Anfernee Simons in this weekend’s three-point contest, the NBA announced (via Twitter). The Trail Blazers guard suffered a sprained right ankle Tuesday night.

Moore’s Latest: Pelicans, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets, VanVleet, Vanderbilt, More

The latest trade intel column from Matt Moore of Action Network is packed full of tidbits about the upcoming deadline, including some details on which players a handful of Western Conference teams have made available.

According to Moore, the Pelicans – in the market for another shooter – have made players like Jaxson Hayes, Devonte’ Graham, and Naji Marshall available, while the Spurs are discussing Isaiah Roby in addition to previously reported trade candidates like Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Perhaps most interestingly, Moore says the Warriors consider Jonathan Kuminga “off limits,” but have been willing to discuss youngsters James Wiseman and Moses Moody.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets – who have put second-year guard Bones Hyland on the trade block – are seeking another wing and have their eye on players like Bulls guard Alex Caruso, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Pacers swingman Chris Duarte, Moore writes.

Here’s more:

  • The Magic, who have previously been cited as a possible free agency suitor for Fred VanVleet, have “real” interest in the Raptors point guard, reports Moore. While VanVleet is thought to be available at the trade deadline due to his uncertain contract status beyond this season, one executive told Moore that trying to get a deal done with Toronto is “like blood from stone.”
  • There’s a growing belief that forward Jarred Vanderbilt will be on the move this week even if the Jazz don’t get the first-round pick they’re seeking for him, according to Moore, who suggest the Trail Blazers may be the frontrunner to land Vanderbilt.
  • Two league sources tell Moore that the Cavaliers have contacted the Hawks to inquire about Bogdan Bogdanovic. While there’s no indication those talks went anywhere, it’s worth noting Caris LeVert‘s $18.8MM salary is a near-perfect match for Bogdanovic’s $18MM cap hit.
  • Recent strong play from Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has reduced the odds that he’ll be traded before Thursday’s deadline — the belief is that he’ll remain in New York, per Moore.