Jericho Sims

Knicks To Guarantee Jericho Sims’ Contract For 2023/24

The Knicks intend to fully guarantee Jericho Sims‘ $1.93MM salary for 2023/24, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Entering the offseason, the young center’s contract for the upcoming season was partially guaranteed for $600K. That guarantee increased to $1.2MM when New York kept him on the roster last month. Sims’ salary will officially be fully guaranteed if he remains on the Knicks’ roster past August 20.

The move was expected. The 24-year-old was a fill-in starter at times during his second NBA season in 2022/23, averaging 3.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG across 52 games (16 starts, 15.6 MPG).

The 58th pick of the 2021 draft, Sims initially signed a two-way deal with the Knicks, but received a promotion last summer to a multiyear standard contract after impressing the team. New York holds a team option on Sims’ contract for ’24/25 worth $2.1MM.

Sims is currently recovering from right shoulder surgery, which prevented him from participating during the Knicks’ playoff run. He’s expected to be fully recovered by training camp.

As our roster count shows, the Knicks are currently at the offseason maximum of 21 players under contract. They now have 12 players on guaranteed standard contracts, with all three two-way slots filled.

Atlantic Notes: Udofia, Raptors, White, Porzingis, Knicks

The Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate, have named Mfon Udofia as head coach, according to a league press release. Brooklyn’s intent to hire Udofia for the G League club was previously reported.

“We’re pleased to welcome Mfon to the Nets family,” Long Island Nets GM J.R. Holden said. “His passion for the game and dynamic coaching style have prepared him to lead our development team on Long Island. Our organization is excited to support Mfon and his staff as they lead the next generation of talent this upcoming season.”

Udofia spent last season as an assistant coach with the Ontario Clippers in the G League. He had prior stints with several other NBAGL franchises.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors may not be done dealing, but The Athletic’s Eric Koreen examines how the rotation might shake out if the roster remains unchanged. Koreen believes either Pascal Siakam or Scottie Barnes must be on the court at all times for play-making purposes and either OG Anunoby or Gary Trent Jr. need to be on the floor for shooting purposes. He also doesn’t see lottery pick Gradey Dick as a member of a nine-man rotation, given the team’s other commitments.
  • With Derrick White the undisputed starting point man with the Celtics, The Athletic’s Jared Weiss breaks down how a pick-and-roll partnership between White and Kristaps Porzingis can unlock the team’s full offensive potential.
  • Miles McBride, Jericho Sims or Isaiah Roby could force their way into the Knicks’ rotation, The Athletic’s Fred Katz writes, though if coach Tom Thibodeau goes with his usual nine-man rotation, minutes will be hard to come by for that trio. Katz looks at various lineup combinations and which starter might play with the second unit when the usual four reserves are on the floor.

Atlantic Notes: DiVincenzo, Sims, Nowell, Reed

Warriors superstar point guard Stephen Curry praised the Knicks’ free agent signing of former Golden State shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

“He knows how to play the game,” Curry said. “You can tell he won at the highest level in college. The Knicks got a good one and I’m happy that he got his fair share of that CBA, too. So it was good.”

DiVincenzo joined the Knicks earlier this month on a four-year, $47MM contract that far exceeded what the Warriors were able to offer him. Across his 72 healthy regular season contests with Golden State last season, the 6’4″ wing averaged 9.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.5 APG.

“He’s all about basketball, he’s all about winning,” Curry said. “He’s good on both sides of the ball. He can play-make better than most people probably realize. So he fills a lot of holes on teams. And he’s not selfish in the respect of — I know he wants to start and be that guy, but he also understands where the value can be created on a team no matter what role you’re asked to do. And he bought in right away. And he got rewarded for it.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks reserve center Jericho Sims will not be cut by the team prior to today’s salary guarantee deadline, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. The $600K partial guarantee on Sims’ contract for 2023/24 will increase to $1.2MM after today; his full minimum-salary deal will become guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 20, which should be a lock.
  • Raptors rookie two-way guard Markquis Nowell is striving to become the latest undersized guard to succeed in Toronto, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As Smith notes, the 5’8″ Nowell is looking to former shorter-statured Toronto guards Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Muggsy Bogues and Damon Stoudamire for inspiration on his NBA journey. “They’re (people) I studied growing up, knowing that I wasn’t going to be a bigger guard,” he said of the likes of ex-Raptors Stoudamire and Bogues. “I kind of had to study them, study how they stood in the league, how they impacted the game at this level. Anyone I can learn from, I do.”
  • Newly re-signed Sixers backup center Paul Reed took to The John Kincade Show on Philadelphia’s 97.5 FM The Fanatic to discuss his restricted free agency and eventual return to the club. The 6’9″ big man inked a three-year, $23MM offer sheet with the Jazz, which the Sixers opted to match. “I’m glad they [were] able to match the offer,” Reed said (hat tip to Ky Carlin of USA Today for the transcription). “The goal this offseason is to keep developing and keep finding ways to get better. I know I got an opportunity this year to play a little 4. Especially, with [new head coach] Nick Nurse. Just working on stretching the floor, driving out the corners, just little things like that.”

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Brunson, Grimes, Quickley, Sims

Knicks small forward RJ Barrett helped provide a big lift to New York in a must-win Game 5 effort, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Lewis notes that Barrett has been the Knicks’ most consistent contributor in their ongoing series against the Heat, aside from star point guard Jalen Brunson. Barrett is averaging 22.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG in the series.

Barrett scored 26 points while shooting 8-of-17 from the floor in the Game 5 win. He also helped defend Miami’s star small forward Jimmy Butler.

“I thought [All-Star power forward Julius Randle] and RJ were terrific,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said following the game.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Thibodeau also had high praise for Brunson, who scored 38 points while playing all 48 minutes of the Knicks’ eventual 112-103 victory over the Heat Wednesday, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter  links). “I’ve never seen anyone work the way he does,” Thibodeau said. “What can you say about the guy? He’s just incredible.”
  • Brunson’s colleague, Quentin Grimes, also played all 48 minutes in the victory, in his second start of the series, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Grimes served as the team’s primary defender against Butler, and he held the 2023 All-NBA Second Teamer under 20 points for the first time in the playoffs so far. “He’s probably been the best player of the playoffs so far,” Grimes said. “So knowing I have that matchup every night, I have to be more disciplined and probably have to play 48… Forty eight or 25, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve just got to make sure I’m locked in on him defensively and try to do whatever I can to slow him down.”
  • The Knicks have announced (Twitter link) that guard Immanuel Quickley is doubtful to suit up for Game 6 due to a sprained left ankle, while reserve center Jericho Sims will miss yet another contest as he continues to recover from a right shoulder surgery. Quickley was initially listed as doubtful for Games 4 and 5 before being ruled out.

Jericho Sims Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

Knicks center Jericho Sims had surgery Wednesday on his injured right shoulder, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The recovery process will take about five months, and Sims is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, sources tell Wojnarowski.

Sims missed New York’s entire first-round series against the Cavaliers and hasn’t played since April 7. He appeared in 52 games this season and averaged 3.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game while shooting 78% from the field.

Wojnarowski notes that Sims moved into a rotation role during the middle of the season while Mitchell Robinson was sidelined following thumb surgery, adding that the Knicks were 15-11 when Sims played at least 15 minutes.

Sims, 24, signed a two-way contract after being selected by New York with the 58th pick in the 2021 draft. It was converted to a standard deal last summer that includes a partial guarantee for next season and a $2MM team option for 2024/25.

He took part in the Slam Dunk Contest during this year’s All-Star Weekend.

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.

NBA Announces All-Star Saturday Night Participants

It was quite a Valentine’s Day for Mac McClung. He was signed to a two-way contract by the Sixers and, hours later, was named as one of the four participants in this year’s Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend, according to an NBA press release.

He’ll be joined by the Rockets’ Kenyon Martin Jr., the Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III and the Knicks’ Jericho Sims.

The Skills Challenge will feature a brother act. Team Antetokounmpo, predictably, will include Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Alex Antetokounmpo of the G League’s Wisconsin Herd.

Team Jazz will include Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Collin Sexton, while Team Rookies will feature top pick Paolo Banchero of the Magic, as well as the Pistons’ Jaden Ivey and the Rockets’ Jabari Smith Jr. 

The participants in this year’s 3-point contest can be found here.

And-Ones: Taxpayers, Cap Room, Traded Cash, Sims, Lue, More

Prior to the trade deadline, 10 NBA teams projected to be taxpayers this season and the 20 non-taxpayers were each projected to receive $17.2MM as a result of those tax penalties, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

However, one of those 10 taxpayers – the Sixers – ducked below the tax line with a deadline deal, and the NetsKevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades reduced Brooklyn’s projected end-of-season tax bill by approximately $100MM, Marks notes. As a result of those changes, among others, the luxury tax distribution at the end of the season will now be split among 21 teams and will be worth a projected $14.5MM, based on current team salaries, says Marks.

Danny Leroux of The Athletic also considers the financial impact of a busy trade deadline week, though he’s looking ahead to the offseason, breaking down which teams project to have the most cap room in the summer of 2023.

Leroux anticipates there will be eight teams with the ability to generate significant cap space, ranging from the Rockets at $61MM to the Pacers at $28MM. The Spurs ($40-48MM), Jazz ($31-45MM), Magic ($22-58MM), Hornets ($27-37MM), Thunder ($31MM), and Pistons ($30MM) are also in position to operate under the cap, Leroux writes. The range in projections for some of those teams is related to decisions on options and non-guaranteed salaries.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report has the details on the cash that changed hands at the trade deadline. In a series of tweets, Pincus reports that the Lakers sent $2MM to Magic in the Mohamed Bamba trade, the Suns sent $1MM to the Thunder in the Darius Bazley trade, the Clippers sent $1MM to the Hornets in the Mason Plumlee trade, and the Nets sent $1.36MM to the Pacers in the four-team Durant blockbuster.
  • Who will be available on the buyout market in the coming weeks? John Hollinger of The Athletic lists and ranks 32 buyout candidates (or players who have already been cut), starting with veteran guards Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson.
  • Circling back to a pair of pre-deadline stories: Knicks center Jericho Sims has committed to take part in this year’s dunk contest after Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe dropped out, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). And Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue will replace Suns head coach Monty Williams as an assistant on Steve Kerr‘s Team USA coaching staff, per a press release.
  • Disney CEO Bob Iger said this week that his company doesn’t plan to sell ESPN, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, who adds that Iger expressed a desire for ESPN to retain NBA rights when the league negotiates its next media deal.

Atlantic Notes: Sims, Hartenstein, Nets, Raptors, Niang

Knicks reserve big men Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein have seen their roles expand following starting center Mitchell Robinson‘s recent thumb surgery, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Sims had been out of the Knicks’ rotation in the five games leading up to Robinson’s thumb injury last week, while Hartenstein was playing backup center minutes. After Robinson went down, Sims was elevated to starter, while Thibodeau kept Hartenstein in his reserve role.

“I feel good about both guys,” New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “What gives us the best chance to win? It may change based on matchups… Jericho and Isaiah have been in the rotation, and that was one of the things that stood out when we were acquiring those guys was the rim protection. We felt both were capable.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Though the Kevin Durant drama may have been taking the lion’s share of headlines as far as the Nets were concerned this summer, the team made some excellent under-the-radar roster moves that are now paying off in a big way, per James Herbert of CBS Sports. Herbert singles out Brooklyn’s re-signing of Nic Claxton, its free agent additions of Yuta Watanabe and T.J. Warren, and its trade for Royce O’Neale.
  • As the Raptors continue to slide in the Eastern Conference standings, team president Masai Ujiri should look to move on from some of its best assets and begin a full-on rebuild around second-year forward Scottie Barnes, opines Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star. Arthur believes that Toronto players OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam could each net at least three first-round draft picks in trades, writing that at least one team previously offered three first-rounders for Anunoby.
  • Sixers reserve power forward Georges Niang is striving to play better defensively, and seems to have truly improved on that end this season, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “People try to knock me, and not give me credit because I don’t look like someone that can defend,” Niang said. “I believe if I’m out there on the court, I’m going to make it tough on anybody that I have to guard.. That’s kind of the narrative that I’m trying to spin the other way.”