Jericho Sims

Knicks Notes: Sims, Achiuwa, Anunoby, McBride, Hartenstein, Roster Openings

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau made a change to his frontcourt rotation on Saturday, using Jericho Sims as his primary backup center ahead of Precious Achiuwa, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Thibodeau expressed a need for more “physicality” after his team got pushed around in Thursday’s loss at Denver.

“Whoever’s got it going, that’s where we’re going,” Thibodeau said. “Some nights it’s not your night, it’s someone else’s night and then you put the team first. Everyone sacrifices. And that’s really what we’ve done all year.” 

Sims didn’t score, but he boosted the defense and grabbed seven rebounds in his 18 minutes of action. Achiuwa played just eight minutes, his fewest since January 17. Bondy notes that Achiuwa was used as the starting power forward the last time OG Anunoby was injured. Over the past three games, Thibodeau has moved Josh Hart to that position and inserted Miles McBride into the starting lineup. Thibodeau told reporters that he still has “a lot of confidence” in Achiuwa and indicated that the reduction in playing time may be temporary.

“He’s done a great job for us,” Thibodeau said. “I love the fact that he can play two positions. I think he can guard multiple positions. It allows you to do a lot of switching. So it was more the matchup of, OK, who are we looking at in the Golden State game? We’re looking at (Stephen) Curry (necessitating McBride to be in the lineup to chase him around). And then with Brooklyn, you’re looking at Cam Thomas, who has been rolling.” 

There’s more from New York:

  • Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle both worked out before the game, but Anunoby wasn’t seen on the court or in the locker room after reporters were granted access, Bondy adds. There’s no word on whether the soreness in his surgically repaired elbow has eased enough to allow him to practice. “It’s hard to say,” Thibodeau said. “I haven’t seen him. He’s doing better so just let it calm down and go from there.”
  • McBride’s 48-minute marathon on Saturday marked the sixth time he has topped the 40-minute mark since signing an extension in late December, per Bridget Reilly of The New York Post. McBride said he tried not to look at the Knicks’ bench during Saturday’s game so he wouldn’t give any indication that he wanted to come out. “Honestly, it’s mental,” he said. “Just telling myself to keep pushing through, give everything I’ve got in order to get the win.” 
  • Isaiah Hartenstein credits Thibodeau and the Knicks’ medical staff for helping him ease back into the lineup while dealing with Achilles soreness, per Ian Begley of SNY (video link).
  • New York has two roster openings after 10-day contracts expired on Saturday for Mamadi Diakite and DaQuan Jeffries, notes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). Diakite is eligible for another 10-day deal, but Jeffries would have to be signed for the rest of the season if the Knicks want to keep him.

Knicks Notes: Offensive Struggles, Anunoby, Randle, Milton, Rotation

The Knicks played their worst game of the season and posted their lowest offensive total in nearly six years in Sunday’s 79-73 loss to Philadelphia, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. It was the fewest points scored by any NBA team in 2023/24, barely eclipsing the 74 points that New York held Orlando to Friday night, and Knicks players were honest about their performance.

“We played like [expletive],” Josh Hart said. “I mean, we obviously didn’t shoot the ball well. Turnovers bad. I think I had six or seven myself … But we’ve got to try to flush it. Got them again on Tuesday. Try to come out and play better.”

The Knicks shot 32.5% from the field and committed 19 turnovers, with All-Star Jalen Brunson going just 6-of-22. The game had a late-1990s feel to it, Popper observes, including a fourth quarter altercation between Donte DiVincenzo and Kelly Oubre that led to a shoving match involving several players.

DiVincenzo refused to comment on the scuffle, but Oubre said, “All of that stuff’s funny to me. I don’t know why. I just laugh, because nobody’s gonna fight.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Coach Tom Thibodeau said OG Anunoby will travel with the team when it departs for the West Coast on Thursday, per Ian Begley of SNY (Twitter link). There’s hope that Anunoby will be able to return soon from a right elbow injury that has sidelined him since January 27. Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson will also make the trip, but there are concerns about why Randle still hasn’t been cleared for contact, Begley adds.
  • Randle missed his 18th game of the season Sunday night, which means he won’t receive a $1.28MM bonus for appearing in 65 games, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Randle’s contract includes the same bonus for next season, which will now be considered unlikely. His cap hit will be adjusted to $28.9MM and the team will receive a $1.28MM tax variance credit for this season, Marks adds.
  • Shake Milton has only played one minute in three games since signing with the Knicks last week, but Thibodeau is urging him to be patient, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. “Just fit in and stay ready. Trades are hard in the middle of the season. You gotta learn the system,” Thibodeau said. “But I like what I’ve seen from him in terms of his attitude, his approach. He’s been very, very good.”
  • In a separate story, Popper examines what the Knicks’ rotation might look like if everyone is healthy. He notes that a potential starting five of Brunson, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Randle and Robinson hasn’t played together yet. If that’s the starting unit, Popper expects Hart, Isaiah Hartenstein and Miles McBride to be the first three reserves. It’s tougher to determine who’s next in line, as Precious Achiuwa, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, Jericho Sims and Milton will all be competing for limited minutes.

Rockets’ Stone Discusses Adams Deal, Green, Deadline Talks

After the Rockets acquired Steven Adams a week before the trade deadline in a move with next season in mind, the front office had plenty of discussions about deals that would’ve helped the team more in the short term, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Houston kicked the tires on players like Kelly Olynyk, Andre Drummond, Jericho Sims, and Xavier Tillman, among others, but couldn’t find a trade that worked for both sides.

“We certainly weren’t going to do something that would hurt us on a going-forward basis,” general manager Rafael Stone said. “The moves we were the most excited about were moves where we thought that could help us in the short term and also the long term, the moves subsequent to (the trade for) Steven.
We were very excited about acquiring Steven. Subsequently, a lot of the ones we had long discussions about were moves that would have provided elements this year maybe that we don’t have, as well as stuff for the future.

“But they didn’t happen, and we’re fine with that. We like our group, and this gives everybody on our current roster an opportunity to shine.”

If the Rockets had wanted to make a more significant deal, it would’ve likely required them to part with a player from their young core: Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, Amen Thompson, or Cam Whitmore. But Stone said the team wasn’t looking to move on from any of those youngsters, adding that he and head coach Ime Udoka were in agreement on the deals they pursued and those they didn’t.

“We’re looking at the long term more so than anything,” Udoka said. “When you have that many young, talented players, you want to see what they become and not rush to judgment on anything.
As far as those guys, everyone’s going to check in when you have this amount of young talent. We’re trying to win. We’re in the development and winning stage at the same time, so people checked in. We knew they would. They are talented young guys, and we have some duplicated positions there. We like what we’re seeing from those guys and want to see what we are as a whole unit.”

Here are a few more of Stone’s most notable comments from Monday’s post-deadline media session:

On the acquisition of Adams:

“I think we got a really high-level basketball player. A guy who’s been a dominant rebounding force in the NBA for the last five, six years. One of the best defenders in the NBA. We obviously feel great with Alperen, but now we have two truly starter-level centers next year. Depth is extraordinarily important. On top of that, he’s a very different player and will be a good complement on and off the court for our group.”

On the long-term fit of Jalen Green, whose name popped up in some predeadline rumors:

“Jalen has been and continues to be, on paper, a great fit with us. He has a skill set that isn’t really replicated on our roster. My expectation of him – and he knows this, and I think he echoed in his postgame comments – my expectation is that the defense, which has gotten better, is still going to get a lot better. That the physicality and the efficiency are all going to get better. He needs to take those steps. That’s extraordinarily important. He’s aware of it. We’re aware of it. And that’s the challenge for him and for us.”

On Stone’s assessment of his own job performance in the past year:

“I’m happy with the choices we made. I think for the most part, we’ve gotten what we want. And the additions of Fred (VanVleet) and Dillon (Brooks) were necessary and really important. I like that we brought Boban (Marjanovic) back. I like that we have Jeff (Green). I love the hire of Ime. And then I think we did well drafting Cam and Amen. So we had a very successful offseason, which set us up to make the right steps for this season.

“But I would say for myself, similar to our young guys, it’s not good enough. And so they need to improve. Our front office — not just me, all of us, our coaching staff, all of us — we’ve got to continue on the grind and make sure the choices we make between now and the end of the season, the ones in the offseason all set us up to have the best possible chance to win a championship in the short term. Not meaning like a year or two, but not 20 years either. And that’s very much our goal. And my goal.”

Knicks Notes: Randle, Hart, Anunoby, Achiuwa, Fournier

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t speculate prior to their game against Charlotte on Monday how much time Julius Randle might miss, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post tweets.

Randle dislocated his right shoulder against Miami on Saturday and is expected to be out at least a few weeks, though an MRI revealed no significant damage.

“He’s being smart right now, as are we. So we’re gathering the information then we’ll make a good decision once we have the information,” Thibodeau said. “I think that’s a big part of decision making. To speculate before you have all the information would just speculation.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Josh Hart said the early prognosis on Randle’s injury is reason for optimism, Bondy reports in another tweet.“That has us in good spirits that he’s not going to be out too long,” Hart said. “We have to stay afloat during that time. I think we have the pieces to do that.”
  • While Randle mends, Hart could be inserted into the lineup at the three with OG Anunoby to power forward, Mark W. Sanchez of the Post writes. The could also go with a more traditional lineup, with Precious Achiuwa starting, or even consider a very small unit with Quentin Grimes in place of Randle. Jericho Sims will likely take on a bigger role, Sanchez adds.
  • Anunoby was a late scratch on Monday due to right elbow inflammation, the team’s PR department tweets. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 14 starts since being acquired from Toronto. Hart and Achiuwa started on Monday in place of Anunoby and Randle, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.
  • Evan Fournier did not travel with the team due to personal reasons, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Fournier, who has appeared in only three games, is a prime trade candidate due to his contract, which includes a $19MM club option for next season.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Hartenstein, Poeltl, Martin, Maxey

Center Isaiah Hartenstein could miss some time due to soreness in his left foot and ankle, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets. The Knicks will see how he feels on Tuesday before determining his status for their matchup with the Nets. He’s listed as questionable due to Achilles tendinopathy.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said Jericho Sims and Precious Achiuwa will need to step in if Hartenstein misses any time (Twitter link via Knicks Videos). Julius Randle or OG Anunoby could also get minutes at center if Thibodeau is willing to use smaller lineups.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors center Jakob Poeltl is progressing well in his recovery from an ankle injury, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Poeltl didn’t play against Memphis on Monday but the Raptors are hoping to have him back “very, very soon,” according to coach Darko Rajakovic. Poeltl hasn’t played since Jan. 7.
  • The Sixers have made swingman KJ Martin available on the trade market, Marc Stein reports in his latest notebook. Philadelphia is looking for a quality second-round pick in a potential deal. Martin has struggled for playing time on a veteran-laden team. He has appeared in 25 games this season but is only averaging 5.9 minutes in those outings. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • By starting 41 games this season, Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has met the starter’s criteria, bumping his qualifying offer to $8,486,620, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. For a player at Maxey’s level, the increase of his QO isn’t significant, since he’s widely expected to receive a max contract from Philadelphia in lieu of exploring the restricted free agent market.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Achiuwa, Hartenstein, Trade Rumors

There were good vibes in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, as Knicks fans gave Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett a warm welcome in their return to New York as Raptors, then watched stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle lead the home team to a dominant 126-100 victory. After the game, Brunson and Randle both spoke about how much they enjoyed playing with Quickley and Barrett, who said they appreciated the reception they received from Knicks fans.

“Love those two. Being teammates with them the past couple of years has been special,” Brunson said of Barrett and Quickley, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “Great character dudes. They both work really hard. Everything you want in a franchise player. Toronto has a couple good dudes over there. I wish them nothing but the best.”

“Those guys are special talents,” Randle added, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “It’s a special relationship I’ve built with them. I know they talk about how much I meant to them, but they mean a lot to me, to be honest. Talking about leadership, how I carry myself, how to be open, how to be honest, how to be motivated — those are things I didn’t necessarily have coming in vocally. I always wanted to lead by example, just play hard every night. But those guys with me brought a different side out of me. … The relationship that I have with them is extremely special.”

While Quickley and Barrett are missed by their former teammates, Saturday’s game was a reminder of why trading them was the right move, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. As Bondy notes, OG Anunoby continues to show he’s a perfect fit alongside the Knicks’ ball-dominant players, who have been on a tear this month.

Following a 38-point showing on Saturday, Brunson has now averaged 28.9 points and 8.4 assists per game since the arrival of Anunoby, who in turn has been an NBA-best +190 during his time on the court as a Knick. Randle had a triple-double in Saturday’s victory and has put up 25.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 5.1 APG since Anunoby’s debut.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • While Anunoby continues to be lauded by his play for the Knicks – including by super-fan Spike Lee, as Michael Grange of details – another former Raptor had a big night vs. his former team on Saturday. Precious Achiuwa established new season highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes of action, writes Jared Schwartz of The New York Post.
  • Achiuwa was playing an increased role due to the fact that starting center Isaiah Hartenstein left the game in the third quarter with an ankle issue. According to Bondy (Twitter link), head coach Tom Thibodeau called it as a sprain, though the team later referred to it as just “sore.” Whether or not Hartenstein has to miss time as a result of the injury, Bondy expects Jericho Sims to see more playing time. Sims logged three minutes on Saturday after sitting out the past five games.
  • Discussing some of the potential trade targets who have been linked to the Knicks, Ian Begley of (Twitter video link) says the Jazz‘s asking price for Jordan Clarkson is very high and that he hasn’t heard anything to suggest that the Knicks and Trail Blazers have had serious talks about Malcolm Brogdon.
  • On the other hand, Begley keeps hearing “again and again” that New York has strong interest in Raptors guard Bruce Brown. Asked on Saturday about those rumors, as well as the belief that Thibodeau is a fan of his play, Brown said he has “nothing but respect” for the Knicks’ head coach and can do “just about whatever [Thibodeau] needs me to do,” per Schwartz. “I play extremely hard,” he said. “I would think [I’m] the type of player that he likes.”

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Flynn, Sims, McBride, Gibson

OG Anunoby had a rough shooting night Friday in Philadelphia, but his defensive impact showed why the Knicks were determined to acquire him, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Anunoby guarded everyone from Joel Embiid to Tyrese Maxey as New York limited the Sixers to 40.7% from the field, and the Knicks outscored Philadelphia by 20 points in his 37 minutes on the court.

“I think we have a good core that’s been together for a while now. So I think that can absorb people coming in and then a guy like OG is very serious,” coach Tom Thibdoeau said. “He wants to do well, and I think his mind is open. He plays incredibly hard on every possession, so even if it’s not perfect right now, it’s still gonna be good.”

The Knicks have won their first three games since last weekend’s trade, and Anunoby has played a significant role in all of them. His scoring is down slightly and he’s only connecting at 46.9% from the field since coming to New York after Friday’s 3-of-11 performance, but he’s finding other ways to make a difference.

“Your hustle can make up for a lot. And that’s really what he’s doing,” Thibodeau added. “And each day, he’ll get better and better and guys are starting to figure him out, as well. So that takes a little bit of time. But help where you can, hustle, be in passing lanes, get deflections, help out on the boards, play physical, run the floor, move without the ball. Those are things that he does great. And then as time goes on, he’ll find more places where he can get scoring opportunities, too.” 

There’s more from New York:

  • Malachi Flynn, who was also acquired in the Anunoby deal, made his Knicks debut on Friday night, playing just one minute at the end of the game, Bondy adds. Flynn is considered “situational,” which Bondy notes is a word Thibodeau uses to describe players who aren’t in his rotation. Jericho Sims played two minutes Friday, having been bumped from the rotation when New York acquired Precious Achiuwa from Toronto.
  • Miles McBride, who is hoping to establish himself as the team’s new primary back-up point guard, had his best performance since the trade in Friday’s win, per Steve Popper of Newsday. This is McBride’s first opportunity at regular minutes in his three-year career. “I think what I bring to the table is a great thing for the team,” he said. “I think I can push the pace. I can obviously knock down shots and on the defensive end, really get stops and just keep the team positive and be a leader out there.”
  • Thibodeau would be open to making Taj Gibson an assistant coach when the 38-year-old big man is done with his playing career, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, McBride, Sims, Achiuwa

Prior to his first game with the Knicks on Monday, new starting forward OG Anunoby told reporters that he was “excited” to be with the team and that he always loved playing in New York as a visitor, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. After getting a “crash course” on Tom Thibodeau‘s system, Anunoby logged 35 minutes against the Timberwolves and was a team-best plus-19 in the Knicks’ six-point victory.

“I felt good,” Anunoby said after the win, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I felt good. Just trying to help the team on both ends. Just talking to guys on defense and them talking to me, helping know where to be, and stuff. Felt good.”

Anunoby admitted that his new teammates were still telling him during the game where to be and what to do on the court, adding that he was “thankful” for their help. Thibodeau, who spoke earlier on Monday about how Anunoby would help shore up New York’s defense (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic), was pleased with what he saw from the veteran three-and-D forward in his Knicks debut.

“I thought for the first game, impressive,” Thibodeau said. “Just to be ready, and kind of figure it out on the fly. Played smart, played off people well, hustled, moved without the ball, shot good shots, made good plays … very good start.”

Here’s more on the new-look Knicks:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic, Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post (subscription required), and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post all took a closer look at Anunoby’s debut and the new Knicks’ rotation, noting that Julius Randle referred to his new teammate as the “perfect piece” for the roster. “He can be very special here,” Jalen Brunson added.
  • Anunoby deflected talk about his upcoming free agency on Monday, indicating that he’ll let his agents “handle that stuff,” according to Bontemps. However, he didn’t sound like someone who will be looking to leave New York in the summer. “When the time comes, [we’ll] figure it out,” Anunoby said. “But I’m really excited to be here.”
  • After playing fewer than four total minutes in the six games leading up to the trade, reserve guard Miles McBride has logged 25 total minutes in the past two contests and appears likely to play an increased role going forward. As Botte and Bontemps relay, McBride admitted that the contract extension he signed hours after the trade was finalized came as a bit of a surprise. “It was pretty sudden, but I’m glad we got it done,” he said. “It just shows their belief in me and my hard work really paid off. They were watching me, and I think I proved it.”
  • Reserve center Jericho Sims was technically cleared to play on Saturday following a right ankle sprain and was available again on Monday, but he didn’t appear in either contest, Botte notes. Taj Gibson backed up center Isaiah Hartenstein on Saturday, while newcomer Precious Achiuwa got those minutes on Monday.
  • Before his NBA career began and before playing his college ball at Memphis, Achiuwa attended schools in the Bronx and Newark, so the trade to the Knicks represents something of a homecoming for the big man, according to Bridget Reilly of The New York Post. “I’m very excited to be back home in front of my family, friends that I grew up with,” Achiuwa said before Monday’s game. “Really, really a very exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.”

Knicks’ Jericho Sims To Miss Time With Ankle Injury

4:46pm: The Knicks have confirmed (via Twitter) that Sims will be out at least seven-to-10 days, which is when he’ll be reevaluated.

1:36pm: Although he’s still listed on the injury report as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn, Knicks center Jericho Sims is expected to miss one or two weeks due to his right ankle sprain, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Sims suffered the injury during Monday’s victory over the Lakers.

Sims has averaged just 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game across 14 appearances so far this season, but he has become an important part of New York’s rotation since starting center Mitchell Robinson went down with a left ankle injury. Sims started the Knicks’ first five games without Robinson and had been playing between 17 and 21 minutes per night.

Although Isaiah Hartenstein had been handling the majority of the minutes at the five and looks like the obvious candidate to move into the starting lineup, the Knicks now find themselves shorthanded up front. With Robinson and Sims unavailable, the team’s only other center besides Hartenstein is 38-year-old Taj Gibson, who just made his season debut last week and probably shouldn’t be counted on for meaningful minutes.

Even before Wojnarowski revealed Sims’ recovery timeline, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post had suggested that something has to give for the Knicks, who can’t count on Hartenstein to keep playing 39 minutes per game like he did on Monday.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau has resisted the idea of using a power forward like Julius Randle as a small-ball five, since he prefers to always have some form of rim protection on the floor, but Thibodeau may need to be flexible on that front, writes Bondy.

The other option would be for the front office to add another center via free agency. The Knicks currently have a full roster, but a few players, including Ryan Arcidiacono and DaQuan Jeffries, don’t have fully guaranteed contracts, so the team has some flexibility to move players in and out if necessary.