Josh Hart

And-Ones: TNT Sports, Trades, Santa Cruz, Award Votes

With TNT Sports seemingly on the verge of losing its NBA broadcast rights to NBC during the current round of media rights negotiations, it’s possible the 2024/25 season will be the last one that features TNT’s iconic Inside the NBA studio show, featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show (Twitter video link), Barkley admitted it has been discouraging to watch the process play out.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple,” Barkley said (hat tip to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic). “I just feel so bad for the people I work with. These people have families and I just really feel bad for them right now. You know these people I work with (management), they screwed this thing up, clearly. We have zero idea what’s going to happen. I don’t feel good. I’m not going to lie. Especially when they came out and said we bought college football. I was like, well, damn, they could have used that money to buy the NBA.

“… We’ve never had college football, never been involved with college football. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, shouldn’t we be spending every dime we got to keep the NBA?’ So morale sucks, to be honest with you.”

Asked how TNT Sports got to this point, Barkley suggested that the comments made in 2022 by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav – who said his company “didn’t have to have the NBA” – didn’t help matters.

“They came out and said we didn’t need the NBA. I think that probably pissed (NBA commissioner) Adam (Silver) off,” Barkley said. “I don’t know that, but when (Warner Bros. and Discovery) merged, that’s the first thing our boss said. ‘We don’t need the NBA.’ Well, he don’t need it, but the rest of the people — me, Kenny, Shaq and Ernie and the people who work there, we need it. So, it just sucks right now.”

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

  • They were overshadowed by bigger deals at their respective trade deadlines, but the Celtics‘ 2022 acquisition of Derrick White and the Knicks‘ 2023 addition of Josh Hart are examples of non-blockbuster trades that helped turn good teams into contenders, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link). Lowe provides some interesting tidbits on those deals, citing sources who say the Jazz were also interested in White when Boston was pursuing him and that the Trail Blazers didn’t open Hart talks to the rest of the league because New York was his preferred destination.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State’s affiliate – have been named the G League Franchise of the Year for the third time in the past four years (Twitter link). The team went 31-19 during the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup and regular season and ranked first in the league in both ticket sales and partnership revenue, according to the press release.
  • The NBA has officially released the full ballots from all the media members who voted on the major awards for 2023/24, including the All-NBA, All-Defensive, and All-Rookie teams. You can view those ballots – and find out which voters made this year’s most surprising selections – right here.
  • The Ringer’s staff ranked the NBA’s top 25 players who are 25 years old or under, with Victor Wembanyama, Anthony Edwards, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander topping the list.

Knicks Notes: Offseason, Hart, Thibodeau, Anunoby

Trading for an All-Star has been a path the Knicks have explored in recent years as they’ve stockpiled future draft assets, but there are some new factors they’ll have to consider if and when they go star-hunting this summer, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

For one, the emergence of Jalen Brunson as a legitimate All-Star and top-five MVP finisher significantly reduces the likelihood of the franchise pursuing another ball-dominant guard, Bondy observes.

The team will also have to weigh Julius Randle‘s fit going forward after getting to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals without him. As Bondy notes, Randle would be an obvious candidate to be included in certain trades for a star to complement Brunson, both for salary-matching purposes and because it probably wouldn’t make sense for New York to have three impact players who all need the ball in their hands.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Speaking at a charity event this week, Josh Hart said he’d happily play a recruiting role on behalf of the Knicks if the club is going after a specific free agent or trade target this offseason, according to Dan Martin of The New York Post. “If I have to be on the phone with someone, I’ll be there,” Hart said. The workhorse forward also reiterated that he’d like to see head coach Tom Thibodeau sign a contract extension: “He deserves it. He’s someone that works extremely hard and he prepares us. He makes sure we have the right mindset. But it’s not in my hands.”
  • With the help of cap expert Yossi Gozlan (YouTube link), Ian Begley of SNY.tv takes a closer look at the most important contract decisions facing the Knicks this offseason. Begley says he believes it’s reasonable for forward OG Anunoby to earn $35MM per year on his next contract, noting that the rival Sixers are believed to be eyeing Anunoby and could put pressure on New York by making a big offer.
  • Anunoby’s willingness to try to play through his hamstring injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday left an impression on members of the Knicks’ organization, Begley writes for SNY.tv. “He wasn’t moving well. (Prior to Game 6), they didn’t think he was going to play (in Game 7),” a source told Begley. “But he was adamant about playing.”
  • Zach Braziller of The New York Post shares a player-by-player breakdown of the Knicks’ roster, examining how each player performed in 2023/24 and what their contract situations are for ’24/25 and beyond.

Knicks’ Anunoby, Hart To Start In Game 7

After being considered game-time decisions leading up to tip-off on Sunday, Knicks wings OG Anunoby and Josh Hart have officially been given the green light to play in today’s must-win Game 7 against the Pacers, sources inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that both players will start. The matchup tips off in a half-hour.

Anunoby has been dealing with a strained hamstring since Game 2 of the club’s now-knotted series against Indiana. When healthy, however, the 6’7″ forward has proven himself to be an essential component to New York’s attack.

The team has gone 26-5 in the regular season and the playoffs this year when Anunoby – a midseason arrival from Toronto – has played. Across his eight available postseason contests, Anunoby has averaged 16.4 points (on .495/.395/.615 shooting), 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steal in 40.0 minutes per game.

Hart incurred an abdominal strain in Game 6, and though he valiantly attempted to play through it, he proved relatively ineffective offensively. Prior to his injury, the Villanova alum had been New York’s immovable object on the hardwood, averaging 42.6 MPG in the postseason. He has averaged 14.9 PPG on .447/.400/.705 shooting, plus 11.8 RPG, 4.5 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG.

Anunoby’s injury history has cost him major playoff moments before, as when an appendectomy sidelined him during the Raptors’ run to the title in 2019.

Woj: OG Anunoby, Josh Hart “On Course To Play” In Game 7

OG Anunoby and Josh Hart are both “on course to play” when the Knicks host the Pacers in Game 7 this afternoon, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both players will participate in a walkthrough, and a final decision on their availability will be made close to game time.

Anunoby was upgraded to questionable Saturday evening after being sidelined since Game 2 with a strained hamstring. Wojnarowski previously reported that Anunoby was likely to miss Game 7, so his change in status came as a surprise.

Peter Botte of The New York Post notes that Anunoby has been considered day-to-day since suffering the injury 10 days ago. He hasn’t spoken to the media during that time, and coach Tom Thibodeau has been guarded in the information he has released, which includes telling reporters that Anunoby resumed “light workouts” prior to Game 5.

Botte points out that Anunoby, who is Leon Rose‘s most significant acquisition since taking over as team president, has been beset by injuries at inopportune times during his career. He averaged about 59 games per season during his last five years in Toronto and missed the team’s 2019 championship run after undergoing an appendectomy.

The Knicks have been a much better team with Anunoby in the lineup since he was acquired in a late-December trade. Including the playoffs, New York is 26-5 when Anunoby has played, which Botte notes would translate to 69 wins over a full season.

Hart, who has rarely left the court throughout the postseason, suffered an abdominal strain in Friday’s Game 6 while pursuing a rebound. He doubled over in pain after the play, and although he was able to return to the game, he was frequently clutching his stomach area.

The Knicks, who are hosting their first game 7 since 1995, are hoping to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2000.

Josh Hart, OG Anunoby Both Listed As Questionable For Game 7

Knicks swingman Josh Hart suffered an abdominal strain during Friday’s loss at Indiana, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hart will attempt to play in Game 7 on Sunday afternoon, Charania adds.

New York could also have OG Anunoby back in its lineup on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who notes that the versatile forward has been upgraded to questionable on the team’s official injury report. Anunoby has been sidelined since Game 2 with a strained hamstring, and Wojnarowski – having previously reported that the 26-year-old was expected to miss Game 7 – hears that he’ll likely go through shootaround before his status is determined.

Hart, who has been an iron man throughout the playoffs, was limited to about 30 minutes in Game 6. He asked to come out of the game in the first quarter, and even though he was able to return, he was clutching his abdomen during play stoppages.

Hart appeared to get injured while boxing out Pascal Siakam on a missed free throw, according to Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. Hart grabbed at his abdominal area after the play and bent over in pain. The Knicks have listed him as questionable for Sunday as well.

Hart has been an indispensable part of New York’s postseason success, averaging 14.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists through 12 games. He has also been a fiery leader and has embodied the team’s “next man up” approach through a long series of injuries. He played all 48 minutes in the first two playoff games against Indiana and was logging 40.4 minutes per night in the series before Friday.

Coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t able to offer any insight into Hart’s condition after Friday’s game, telling reporters “we’ll see” when asked about his availability for Game 7 (video link from New York Post Sports).

“He seems like he’s feeling better now,” Miles McBride said of Hart following the loss. “I’m not sure about the whole situation, but obviously for a guy like that who’s pretty tough, asking out is not a good sign, but I think he’ll bounce back.”

Latest On Knicks’ Injuries

As we relayed on Friday night, the statuses of Knicks forwards OG Anunoby (hamstring strain) and Josh Hart (abdominal soreness) going forward are up in the air, but the outlook for either being able to play and give 100% in Sunday’s Game 7 against the Pacers isn’t great, according to multiple outlets.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter video link; hat tip to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post), the Knicks are preparing to be without Anunoby for Game 7.

“The Knicks are going to have to beat Indiana without OG Anunoby,” Wojnarowski said prior to Game 6. “I’m told he would also be out for a Game 7 with that hamstring.”

The Knicks are 1-3 this postseason and 14-18 in total without Anunoby in their lineup since acquiring him in February — they’ve gone 26-5 when he has been available.

Hart, who has been something of an iron man for the Knicks, motioned to the sideline and asked to come out of Game 6 in the first quarter. As we detailed last night, he eventually came back in, but according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, he was clutching his abdomen during every downbeat of the game.

You never wanna see anybody get hurt, but it’s been our season,Donte DiVincenzo said. “We have more than enough, whoever’s on the court. I’ve said it 100 times.

As The Athletic’s Fred Katz writes, during this playoff run alone, the Knicks have lost Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic to season-ending injuries, Anunoby to his current hamstring strain, and Jalen Brunson briefly with a foot issue. Now there’s Hart, who had previously appeared in 81 of 82 regular season games and in all 12 of New York’s playoff games. Spotrac’s Keith Smith points out the Knicks are down to just four healthy players who appeared in the opening postseason game against the Sixers: Brunson, DiVincenzo, Isaiah Hartenstein and Miles McBride (Twitter link).

Reserves Alec Burks and Precious Achiuwa have become key contributors during the latter half of this playoff run and New York may need to go even deeper into its roster if Hart isn’t good to go. Jericho Sims, Shake Milton, DaQuan Jeffries and Mamadi Diakite are New York’s only other healthy roster pieces.

For what it’s worth, several Knicks players seemed optimistic about the chances of Hart playing. As Katz writes, Hart has seen more action than any other player in the league in the postseason and had a stretch of five games where he averaged more than 48 minutes per contest.

Just knowing him, he’ll do whatever to play. If his leg’s not falling off I can probably say he’ll probably play,” Hartenstein said. “I haven’t talked to him. We’ll see. It’s hard. He’s done so much for us this season.

In 12 playoff games, Hart has maintained averages of 14.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists, though he was held to five points, eight rebounds and three assists on Friday.

There’s a lot of things obviously that physically don’t go our way with our team this year,” Brunson said. “I think our main focus is whoever we have out there, regardless of what you’re dealing with or anything — if you are out there, you are ready to go. Yes, Josh asked to come back out, but he went back in and gives everything he has. What more can you ask for from a teammate? Knowing the situation, we’re just going to have each other’s backs.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Bokmeyer, Anunoby, McBride, Hart

While the Raptors didn’t trade Bruce Brown Jr. again after they acquired him from the Pacers this season, that might change this offseason. The Raptors have until June 29 to exercise Brown’s $23MM team option for next season and, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star, a handful of sources think that Toronto will pick up that option and trade Brown quickly, rather than waiting until the 2025 deadline.

Trading Brown would give the Raptors some leeway when it comes to talks with free agent wing Gary Trent Jr. According to Smith, the sentiment is that Toronto won’t start the season with both Brown and Trent on the roster. Trent is still just 25 and his outside shooting ability might make him more appealing in the long run.

The Raptors acquired Brown as part of the trade that sent Pascal Siakam to Indiana. He averaged 9.6 points in 34 games with Toronto after registering 12.1 PPG in 33 games in Indiana. Despite the slight dip in production, Brown is still viewed as a valuable rotation player with defensive prowess and positional versatility.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets hired Justin Bokmeyer to their front office as their new director of basketball operations, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. This move is likely related to the Hornets hiring away Ryan Gisriel, Brooklyn’s former executive director of basketball and business operations. Bokmeyer worked in international basketball operations before going to the NBA. He also helped guide the NBA Academy program and assisted in launching the Basketball Africa League.
  • OG Anunoby, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, has missed the past four games for the Knicks. According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz (Twitter link), head coach Tom Thibodeau said Anunoby’s health is “basically the same.” The forward is doing some light on-court work, but it remains unclear when exactly he will return.
  • Miles McBride began the season on the bench, but the Knicks are now calling on him to handle the most important defensive assignments, Newsday’s Steve Popper observes. He was inserted into the starting lineup in Game 5 and was the primary defender against the engine of the Pacers’ offense in Tyrese Haliburton, who scored just 13 points on the night. McBride still thinks he has room for improvement. “I think I’ve got to go up a level,” McBride said. “… Obviously he didn’t go scoreless, and he was still impactful in a way, so my goal is for guys to go scoreless and to make as minimum of an impact on the game.” McBride finished Game 6 as the team’s second-highest scorer, with only Jalen Brunson (31 points) exceeding McBride’s 20 points.
  • Josh Hart exited Game 6 in the fourth quarter with what the team called abdominal soreness and didn’t return, according to the team (Twitter link). Hart left the game a couple times due to injury, going to the locker room after the first quarter and again later in the game. The severity is unclear — considering the Knicks were trailing significantly at the time,  it’s possible this was more of a precautionary move in order to preserve an important role player for Game 7 on Sunday.

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Brunson, Hartenstein, Hart, DiVincenzo, Adjustments

OG Anunoby won’t play in Game 5 of the Knicks’ series against the Pacers on Tuesday due to a strained left hamstring, but the injury report isn’t all bad news, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. Jalen Brunson, who is battling a right foot injury, and Isaiah Hartenstein, who banged his left shoulder in Game 4, are not on it. Anunoby hasn’t played since Game 2.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • They were embarrassed by their performance in Game 4, when they lost by 32 points. Ironman Josh Hart took his share of the blame, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post writes. “It’s the playoffs. You gotta find it. That’s something that we didn’t do (Sunday),” Hart said. “I put that on my shoulders, someone who brings energy, brings hustle, the kinda things I didn’t do (Sunday).  It’s time to get better. It’s rest and recovery. But mentally, we gotta make sure we’re prepared to do everything we need to do to get a win on Tuesday.”
  • The Knicks return home for Game 5 and Donte DiVincenzo is confident the Game 4 stinker won’t carry over, according to Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. “We’ll be fine,” he said. “We’re not worried about it. I know this group and Tuesday is a different game. It has nothing to do with (Sunday). It’s always good to go home. It’s also better to go home after a loss like this where mentally everybody is locked in and ready for the next game and then we will have that energy from the Garden to feed off as well. It’s super big for us. Like I said, this group is going to respond.”
  • What kind of adjustments can the Knicks make? Fred Katz of The Athletic speculates they might use Brunson more off the ball, running him around screens and having Hart or DiVincenzo initiate the offense. They could also tweak the starting lineup, going with Miles McBride in place of Precious Achiuwa to create better spacing on offense.

Knicks Notes: Hartenstein, Anunoby, Brunson, Hart

The Knicks are hoping their injury woes didn’t get even worse during Sunday’s loss at Indiana, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Isaiah Hartenstein hurt his left shoulder on a hard fall after scoring midway through the second quarter. He played about five minutes in the third quarter, but didn’t attempt a shot and only had one rebound. He also appeared to have difficulty lifting his left arm above his head, Popper observes.

“X-ray came back cool, so probably just like a nerve thing,” Hartenstein told reporters after the game. “But the hand kind of gets numb sometimes, but I’ll be good.”

The Knicks can’t afford another significant injury with Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic and OG Anunoby already sidelined. Anunoby is the only one from that group who hasn’t been declared out for the playoffs. For his part, Hartenstein sounded optimistic that he’ll be ready when the series resumes Tuesday in New York.

“It was the fall,” he said. “The X-ray came back fine, so it’s probably like a pinched nerve, where it kind of fell asleep at times, but it’s fine. It’s just like small. I guess it’s something that we can fix easy. Everyone’s playing through a lot of stuff, so I’ll be fine.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  •  Anunoby appears likely to miss at least one more game as he works to recover from a strained left hamstring, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link). “OG Anunoby is getting treatment on that left hamstring two, three times a day right now,” Wojnarowski said Saturday on NBA Countdown. “… But I’m told there has not been enough progress yet to think that his return is likely in Game 5 on Tuesday.” Wojnarowski notes that there are two days off following Game 5, so there’s a chance Anunoby could be ready to play by Friday. Since he was acquired in a late December trade with Toronto, the Knicks are 26-5 when Anunoby is available and 13-16 without him.
  • Jalen Brunson, who briefly left Game 2 with a right foot injury, didn’t want to talk about his condition after Sunday’s loss, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. Even though Brunson wasn’t listed on the injury report, Botte noted that he seemed less explosive than usual and several of his shot attempts fell short. He was held to 18 points on Sunday and shot just 6-of-17 from the field. “Nothing’s flowers and roses, but yeah, we have to take this L,” Brunson said. “There’s no excuse; there’s no blaming anything; there’s no excuses of what we have or don’t have or how anyone’s feeling or what. We take our L’s, and we move forward.”
  • Josh Hart, who has provided an emotional spark throughout the playoffs, accepted responsibility for the Knicks’ lethargic performance on Sunday, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. “It’s the playoffs. You gotta find it. That’s something that we didn’t do today,” Hart said. “I put that on my shoulders, someone who brings energy, brings hustle, the kind of things I didn’t do today.”

Eastern Notes: Carlisle, Knicks, Anunoby, Claxton, Stewart, Wizards

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle‘s comments about the officiating following Wednesday’s Game 2, which earned him a $35K fine from the NBA, were “disrespectful” to the Knicks, according to New York forward Josh Hart. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Hart said Carlisle’s insinuation that the Knicks are winning because of the officiating “discredit(s) how we’re playing,” according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Hart also laughed off Carlisle’s claim that the referees are favoring the big-market team in the series.

“That’s so stupid, bro,” Hart said. “I mean, we’re going to say the big market always wins? The Knicks ain’t won a [championship] in 51 years. So obviously that don’t hold much weight. I don’t fully understand that. Sorry, New York, for the reminder [about the 51-year drought]. But I think that’s just idiotic. At the end of the day it’s who’s playing the best. I’ve never seen a ref shoot a free throw or make a three or miss a rotation.”

According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link), the Knicks have their own complaints about the referees through the first two games of the series, with members of the organization upset by how Jalen Brunson is being officiated. Those Knicks officials believe Brunson is being grabbed and hit “up and down the floor” and it’s going unnoticed by the refs.

Meanwhile, Carlisle was asked on Friday about his response to the $35K fine and suggested he didn’t have any regrets, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).

“I’m gonna support my players and our fan base, and our ownership, 100%, and I’m done talking about it,” the Pacers’ coach said.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Knicks forward OG Anunoby, who is dealing with a left hamstring strain, traveled to Indianapolis with the team for Games 3 and 4. While that means he could theoretically play on Sunday if he makes a quick recovery, that seems unlikely. The main reason he’s traveling with the club is because the medical staff is in Indiana, according to Begley, who tweets that Anunoby is getting treatment three times per day.
  • It looks like the Nets are going to do whatever it takes to re-sign free agent center Nic Claxton, and that’s the right call, according to Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily, who argues that even if it costs $25MM per year, that’s a fair price based on the growth of the NBA’s salary cap. For what it’s worth, $25MM will be approximately the same percentage of the cap in 2024/25 that $20MM was three seasons ago.
  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com recaps Isaiah Stewart‘s season and looks ahead to what’s next for the Pistons big man, who will begin a four-year, $60MM extension this July. Despite being the longest-tenured Pistons player, Stewart will still be just 23 years old next season, Langlois points out, arguing that his transition from center to forward this past season increases his versatility and value.
  • The Wizards will own a top-six pick in this year’s draft, and while the general consensus is that the 2024 class lacks star-level talent at the top, general manager Will Dawkins says he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to that line of thinking, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “I think people hold their cards tight to their vests strategically, so I definitely don’t agree with the narrative,” Dawkins told Robbins. “I think people realize how good this draft is, and in any draft, I’d rather have the power of choice to make the decision than be left with other players on the board that I might not feel as good about. So for me and the Wizards, we’re ones that would always want the highest pick possible if you have an option to choose a player.”