- Grimes defended the work ethic of teammate Julius Randle, who battled ankle issues throughout the playoffs, Begley adds. Randle continued to play after aggravating a late-season injury to his left ankle in the series against Cleveland. “It just really shows you that nobody should ever be questioning his toughness, how much he wants it, how much he cares about the team, how much he cares about winning,” Grimes said. “… He cares a lot about this team. He does everything he can possibly (do) to make sure his body is right, to make sure he’s in the best shape possible to make sure he can give it all.”
- Grimes told Ethan Sears of The New York Post that he’s excited to have Donte DiVincenzo on the team, even though the free agent addition might cut into his playing time. Sears suggests they might have a training camp battle for a starting wing role. “I think everything you do is competition,” Grimes said. “You wanna have the best players out there every day to make us better. Competing against him, Josh (Hart), Jalen (Brunson), (Immanuel Quickley) is gonna make everybody better, really.”
- In addition to giving the Knicks more shooting, Brunson believes DiVincenzo will bring an “edge” to the team in whatever role he plays (Twitter link from Knicks Videos).
Count veteran guard Spencer Dinwiddie among those who’s bullish on Ben Simmons‘ chances of enjoying a big comeback season in 2023/24. As NetsDaily relays, Dinwiddie heaped plenty of praise on his Nets teammate during a recent appearance on Patrick Beverley’s podcast.
“Ben at his best form is a far more athletic Draymond Green with less three-point shooting,” Dinwiddie said. “… When you talk about the defensive IQ, reading passing lanes, quarterbacking a defense, able to guard one through five. He’s one of the only people in the league who can do that, and then obviously he’s getting out on that break.
“… When Ben’s at his best, he’s getting off the rim, he’s being a monster in transition, he’s making plays for others,” Dinwiddie continued. “We hope that there’s enough shooting out there with Mikal (Bridges) … Cam Johnson obviously is elite, he’s always shooting 45 (percent) from three … Catch and shoot-wise I’ve been a good three-point shooter in my career. We hope to space the floor for him. He gets out in transition and makes plays. And obviously you’ve got Nic (Claxton) playing above the rim.”
Simmons’ comments in August about how he was eager to “come back and dominate people” after recovering from his back issues were met by many fans with skepticism and some derision. However, people who have spent time around the former No. 1 overall pick this offseason believes those quotes are “based on substance,” according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who has heard from those sources that Simmons looks like he’s primed for a bounce-back year.
Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:
- Defensive rebounding and outside shooting look like two potential Nets weaknesses based on their current roster, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who suggests that how Brooklyn overcomes – or addresses – its shortcomings in both areas could go a long way toward determining what sort of season the team has.
- Michael Pina of The Ringer lays out the case for why the Knicks are in position to target an impact player and why New York may be a more appealing landing spot for stars than it has been for years. In a related story, Adam Zagoria of NJ.com argues that the Knicks should go all-in for trade candidate Jrue Holiday.
- After stating in July that he’d be “very surprised” if he opens the season with the Knicks, Evan Fournier sounds more resigned to that scenario, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (subscription required), who passes along highlights from Fournier’s appearance earlier this month on French radio station RTL. The veteran wing acknowledged that he doesn’t have much control over the situation, but simply wants the opportunity to play again. “I love living (in New York), I love the franchise, I love playing at Madison (Square Garden), I love the guys on the team,” Fournier said. “So I just want to play, that’s all. It’s true that finding another club, changing franchises, if that’s what you have to do to play again, that’s what I would like to do.”
- In his latest mailbag, Fred Katz of The Athletic fields questions on Fournier’s status, the Knicks‘ rotation, and Julius Randle‘s recent agency change. While Katz doesn’t believe Randle’s decision to leave CAA means he wants to leave the Knicks, he refers to the move as “significant,” noting that the timing (following the first season of a four-year contract) is unusual.