Kevin Knox

Northwest Notes: Knox, J. Williams, Wolves, McDaniels

Free agent forward Kevin Knox has returned to the G League, having reported back to the Rip City Remix, according to a tweet from the Trail Blazers‘ G League affiliate.

Knox was with the Remix in the fall, but signed with the Pistons in early November and was in the NBA for three months before being sent to Utah at February’s trade deadline. The Jazz immediately waived him, and with no NBA opportunities immediately presenting themselves, the former No. 9 overall pick eventually decide to head back to the G League.

Knox racked up 26 points and 11 rebounds and was a +23 in a 15-point victory over Iowa in his return to Rip City on Friday. A few more performances like that could help earn him another shot at the NBA level. For what it’s worth, since he was waived before March 1, he’ll be playoff-eligible if he signs a rest-of-season contract with an NBA club.

Here are a few more notes from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder center Jaylin Williams has been diagnosed with a sprained left knee, head coach Mark Daigneault said on Friday (Twitter link via Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder). There’s no word yet on the severity of the sprain, but it’s often a week-to-week injury, so one of the team’s recent frontcourt additions – Bismack Biyombo and Mike Muscala – may get an opportunity to claim a rotation role.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links) clarifies that incoming Timberwolves owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez have until the end of March to make their final payment to assume majority control of the franchise. Sources close to the Lore/Rodriguez group say they remain on track to make that payment, per Krawczynski. Current majority owner Glen Taylor said in a recent conversation with Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News that he was told Lore and Rodriguez planned to close the sale at the end of February, which didn’t happen. However, it doesn’t sound like the new ownership group has missed any deadlines.
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune explores Jaden McDaniels‘ importance to the Timberwolves and notes that the club will need an “even-keeled” version of the young forward in order to reach its ceiling. McDaniels memorably broke his hand when he punched a wall on the final day of the 2022/23 regular season and missed Minnesota’s play-in loss.

Jazz Cut Kevin Knox

The Jazz have waived forward Kevin Knox, the club officially announced today in a press release. Knox spent a single day on Utah’s roster, having been acquired from Detroit in the Simone Fontecchio trade prior to Thursday’s deadline.

The ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Knox has appeared in over 300 regular season NBA games for the Knicks, Hawks, Pistons, and Trail Blazers over the past five-and-a-half seasons. However, his production has been uneven during that time.

In 31 games this season for Detroit, including 11 starts, Knox averaged 7.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per night, submitting a shooting line of .462/.330/.909.

Knox was playing on a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a cap hit of $1,845,593, so that dead money will remain on the Jazz’s books, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers. Once he becomes a free agent, the 24-year-old will be eligible to sign with any NBA team except the Pistons.

Utah will create an opening on its 15-man roster by waiving Knox. It’s possible the Jazz will end up with another open spot or two in the coming days — it’s unclear what their plans are for the other players they acquired this week, Kira Lewis and Otto Porter.

Jazz Trade Simone Fontecchio To Pistons

FEBRUARY 8: The Jazz and Pistons have officially completed their deal, issuing press releases to confirm the move.

FEBRUARY 7: The Jazz and Pistons have agreed to a trade that will send forward Simone Fontecchio to Detroit in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

That 2024 draft pick will be the more favorable of the Wizards’ and Grizzlies’ second-rounders, since that’s the only ’24 second-round selection the Pistons control, as Zach Lowe of ESPN confirms (via Twitter).

In addition to that pick, Utah is acquiring Detroit forward Kevin Knox, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Jazz will also receive the rights to Gabriele Procida, the 36th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

An Italian forward who played in Europe for a decade before making the move to the NBA, Fontecchio signed a two-year, $6.25MM contract with the Jazz during the 2022 offseason. He played a modest rotation role in 52 games as a rookie, but has seen his minutes increase in 2023/24.

Fontecchio has averaged 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 23.2 minutes per game across 50 appearances (34 starts) this season, posting a solid shooting line of .450/.391/.800 while attempting 4.7 three-point shots per night. He reportedly drew recent trade interest from the Celtics, Suns, and Cavaliers, among others, so Detroit may have had to outbid a few rival suitors to land him.

The Pistons view Fontecchio as a player whom they’ll retain beyond this season, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Although he’s on an expiring contract, the 28-year-old will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer and Detroit will control his Early Bird rights in addition to projecting to have no shortage of cap space, so the club is well positioned to re-sign him.

In exchange for Fontecchio, the Jazz will receive a draft pick that figures to land near the top of the 2024 second round, as well as Procida, a 21-year-old draft-and-stash prospect who was selected early in the second round two years ago. The Wizards’ 2024 second-rounder currently projects to be No. 32 overall, while Procida – another Italian wing – is playing for Alba Berlin in Germany.

Utah will also receive Knox, a former lottery pick who is unlikely to replicate Fontecchio’s role or his production – especially from the three-point line – and essentially functions as a salary-matching piece. However, it’s possible he’ll get an opportunity to vie for rotation minutes as the 10th-seeded Jazz fight for a play-in spot. The 24-year-old averaged 7.2 PPG and 2.4 RPG on .462/.330/.909 shooting in 31 games (18.1 MPG) for Detroit.

Knox was signed by the Pistons on November 8, meaning he’ll become trade-eligible just ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Sending him out for salary-matching purposes will allow Detroit to retain the $5.7MM trade exception the team generated in last month’s deal with the Wizards.

The Jazz, meanwhile, will be able to take on Knox’s minimum-salary contract using the minimum salary exception, allowing them to create a new trade exception worth just north of $3MM for Fontecchio.

Pistons Notes: Knox, Starters, Duren, Livers, Williams

New head coach Monty Williams has placed a strong emphasis on defense for the young Pistons, which is part of the reason why they’ve been using a starting lineup that doesn’t feature much shooting.

However, as Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) writes, the cramped offensive spacing has played a factor in the team’s issue with turning the ball over — the Pistons are last in the league in turnovers per game, and third-year guard Cade Cunningham leads the NBA in total turnovers (64 in 13 games, or 4.9 per night).

On Thursday, Williams said he was considering making changes to the rotation to surround Cunningham with more shooting.

He’s seeing two and three bodies every single night,” Williams said of Cunningham, who was limited to 12 games last season due to a shin injury. “Making the read is something that can be really hard for point guards in general, but in particular for a guy who’s been off for a while. When you look at the film at halftime, he knows right away where he should’ve made the read, or at night when we talk, he’s already on it. It’s just going to take a lot of reps. I think it’s a combination of the time off, different defenses, the physicality. He’s got bigger guys and stronger guys on him every single night.

I have to do a better job of allowing him to play in more space. Think I gotta change up the combinations with him on the floor so the paint isn’t as crowded. I think that’s going to free him up to see a lot more clearly, if you will.”

Williams did indeed switch up the starting lineup on Friday against Cleveland, with newly-signed Kevin Knox replacing Marvin Bagley in the frontcourt. Knox got the nod at power forward, sliding Isaiah Stewart up to center.

Knox continued his solid play, notching 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in 31 minutes. But the change wasn’t enough for the Pistons to snap their losing streak, which was extended to 10 straight games, notes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • A significant factor in Detroit’s poor spacing is the fact that the team has been ravaged by injuries to open 2023/24. Second-year center Jalen Duren doesn’t provide much shooting yet, but his rim-running and strong synergy with Cunningham have been sorely missed after he sustained an ankle injury that has hampered him since October 30, according to Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link). Duren has missed the past three games with bilateral ankle soreness.
  • On a more positive note, Isaiah Livers, who has missed the entire season to this point with a Grade III ankle sprain, is questionable for Sunday’s matchup with Toronto, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Livers was a full practice participant on Thursday. The former second-round pick will hit restricted free agency in 2024.
  • After winning two of their first three games, the Pistons are now 2-11, but Williams has been encouraged by the team’s progress behind the scenes, per Keith Langlois of “When we watch film, they see the things that we have taught that they know they can be better at,” he said. “I see the growth. I know it sounds crazy, but when I look at the numbers and I look at the film, I see the growth. My hope is with the work and the preparation, we’re going to see consistent play and the style and identity that we want to put on the floor every night.”

Pistons Notes: Burks, Ivey, Duren, Injuries, Knox

The Pistons finally got some good news on the injury front. Key reserve Alec Burks returned on Sunday against Chicago after missing six games with a forearm injury. Jaden Ivey was also back in action after missing four games due to a viral infection.

Coach Monty Williams was pleased to have more answers on his bench, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press tweets.

“It helps settle the rotation down a bit,” Williams said. “You don’t have to stress guys out with long stretches of minutes. And then having the shooting out there, and AB’s IQ and calm demeanor, certainly helps.”

Burks, who scored 16 points in the loss to the Bulls, is on an expiring contract and could be a key trade piece.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year center Jalen Duren has been in and out of the lineup recently due to bilateral ankle soreness. He was unable to finish Friday’s game against Philadelphia. Williams didn’t have a timeline for Duren’s return when he spoke to the media on Sunday, Sankofa tweets. “We’ll see how he responds to the treatment, all that stuff,” Williams said. “I don’t want to speculate on how long. We just don’t wanna put him back out there again, and he plays a short stint and comes out again. We just want to be really careful.”
  • Detroit has now lost eight straight, but Williams wouldn’t use injuries — Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, Isaiah Livers haven’t played this season and Joe Harris is also sidelined — as an excuse for the team’s record, Sankofa writes. “Not gonna happen,” Williams said. “We can throw that out the window. We’ve shown that we can play against anybody. We have to sustain it. Everybody we put on the floor is trained to produce and be productive for four quarters. We’re not doing that. We’re not gonna blame anything on injuries.”
  • Kevin Knox is back with the Pistons on a one-year deal. Knox, who was traded by Detroit to Portland prior to last year’s deadline, told Mike Curtis of The Detroit News he’s thrilled to get a second stint with the Pistons. Knox also relayed the message that GM Troy Weaver gave him. “He just told me what they wanted from me,” Knox said. “They need a lot of shooting and playing hard on defense. Just fitting in with the guys. You got a young team, got a couple of older guys a little banged up but he just told me I have to come in and play my game and play hard.”
  • Knox scored a team-high 18 points off the bench on Sunday in his first game since he was signed. “It wasn’t just his offense. His defense was sound for someone who hasn’t been in our program,” Williams said via another Sankofa tweet.

Central Notes: Giannis, Bucks, Knox, Caruso, Phillips, Terry

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter of Wednesday’s win over Detroit, was hit with a second technical and ejected from the game early in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo briefly stared down Isaiah Stewart after a dunk, prompting the ejection (Twitter video link via Stephen Watson of Bally Sports Wisconsin). Antetokounmpo and his teammates were surprised by the decision, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details.

“He made like a little face and he took off running and he didn’t say a word,” Jae Crowder said. “I think that’s why he was so frustrated, like, ‘You really threw me out and I didn’t say anything?’ Like, the first tech, I think he would say he deserved it. He deserved that first tech. The second one was like, he didn’t say a word, so how do you throw him out for that? He definitely stared, but I don’t know if that’s a tech. I don’t know about that one.”

Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin didn’t criticize the officiating decision during his postgame comments, instead suggesting that he has a responsibility to make sure his star player doesn’t end up in that situation again.

“I think I just have to do a better job,” Griffin said. “Giannis doesn’t complain to the refs. He’s really respectful to the refs and I think I’m letting him down in that sense. I think I need to be a little more, just vocal, during the games when he’s getting hit and kind of stick up for him a little bit better. I’ve been dropping the ball on that.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic considers whether or not it’s too early to be concerned about Milwaukee’s major drop-off in defensive efficiency this fall. Although the Bucks are off to a 5-2 start, they rank 25th in the NBA in defensive rating (115.8) and are the only team with a winning record that has been outscored so far this season.
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deal that Kevin Knox signed with the Pistons is non-guaranteed, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. If he plays out the contract, Knox would earn $2,144,320, the prorated portion of his minimum salary.
  • Alex Caruso isn’t one of the Bulls‘ “big three” stars, but his teammates know his value and rave about what he brings to the team — DeMar DeRozan tells Jamal Collier of ESPN he can envision Caruso winning a Defensive Player of the Year award.“He’s our Ray Lewis. He’s the Deion Sanders. He’s the Charles Woodson,” DeRozan said. “He definitely is one of those great, vocalist, communicators and competitors when it comes to that end of the ball.”
  • A crowded Bulls depth chart means there has been no room in the rotation early in the season for rookie forward Julian Phillips or second-year wing Dalen Terry. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes, the club intends to get both players some regular minutes in the G League and has mapped out the first month of the Windy City Bulls’ schedule to see how it coincides with Chicago’s schedule as it prepares a plan for those youngsters.

Pistons Sign Kevin Knox

2:59pm: The Pistons have officially signed Knox, the team confirmed today in a press release (Twitter link).

11:50am: The Pistons have reached an agreement to bring back free agent forward Kevin Knox on a one-year deal, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Knox spent his first three-and-a-half NBA seasons in New York but has bounced around since then, spending time with Atlanta, Detroit, and Portland from 2022-23.

He signed a two-year, $6MM contract with the Pistons during the 2022 offseason and appeared in 42 games last season for the club before being traded to the Trail Blazers in the four-team deadline deal that sent James Wiseman to Detroit.

Knox averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game across 63 total appearances for the Pistons and Blazers in 2022/23, then had his $3MM team option for ’23/24 turned down by Portland in June.

The Blazers re-signed him, but Knox’s contract was non-guaranteed and he didn’t make the regular season roster. He reported to the Rip City Remix – Portland’s G League affiliate – last week for training camp.

Rather than opening the season in the NBAGL, however, Knox is being promoted back to the NBA, where he’ll fill the 15th spot on the Pistons’ roster. As we noted a few days ago when we examined the open roster spots around the NBA, Detroit was one of the few teams with an open 15-man spot and no luxury tax concerns, so we expected that opening to be filled sooner rather than later.

Knox will provide some depth for a club whose roster has been plagued by injuries this fall. Bojan Bogdanovic (calf), Alec Burks (forearm), Joe Harris (shoulder), Jaden Ivey (illness), Isaiah Livers (ankle), and Monte Morris (quad) are all currently on the shelf, while Jalen Duren (ankle) has been in and out of the lineup.

Beyond the fact that it’s a one-year deal, the details of Knox’s agreement with the Pistons have yet to be reported. A non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract is most likely, but we’ll have to wait for confirmation on that.

Trail Blazers Notes: Henderson, Williams, Knox, Brogdon

Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson feels like he’s headed in the right direction after a slow start to his NBA career, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Following three sub-par outings, Henderson enjoyed his best game on Monday, posting 11 points and seven assists as Portland won at Toronto. The No. 3 pick in this year’s draft hopes the game represents a reset of his rookie season.

“Something new for me. I never went through something like this,” Henderson said of his early struggles. “But I’m ready. I’m ready now. I could tell Portland I’m ready to go now.”

Shooting remains an issue for Henderson, which was expected when he entered the draft. He went 4-of-12 from the field Monday, dropping him to 33.3% on the year, and he’s now 1-of-18 on three-pointers after missing all six of his attempts against the Raptors. However, there are signs that he’s learning how to take command of the game and understanding when to unleash his athletic bursts.

“I thought he let the game come to him,” said Malcolm Brogdon, who’s serving as Henderson’s mentor. “He was sort of warming up in the first half and then in the second half, he started to really find his rhythm, his pace. I think tonight he really picked his spots. I haven’t seen him really do that. He picked when he was aggressive. He picked when he was going to be a facilitator, when he was going to try to get to the line. Pushed in transition. I thought he really started putting it together tonight.”

There’s more on the Blazers:

  • Robert Williams was held out of Monday’s game because it was the second night of a back-to-back, and that’s likely to be a common practice for coach Chauncey Billups this season, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Because of Williams’ extensive injury history in Boston, Billups plans to be cautious with how he’s used.
  • Kevin Knox is hoping to revive his career with Portland’s new G League affiliate, the Rip City Remix, after being waived by the Trail Blazers before the start of the season, Highkin adds (Twitter link). “Anytime you get waived or released, it’s a disappointment,” Knox said. “But I think what separates guys is the mental aspect. A lot of guys sulk and be mad and go home and don’t work out or do nothing. For me, I take it as a challenge, add fuel to the fire. Come in to the Remix, perform as well as I can, play as hard as I can and try to get a gig.”
  • Brogdon has signed with Klutch Sports, the agency announced on Instagram (hat tip to Highkin). Brogdon is under contract through the end of next season and will become a free agent in 2025.

Blazers Claim Ish Wainright Off Waivers, Cut Two Players

The Trail Blazers have claimed forward Ish Wainright off waivers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Portland is waiving another forward, Kevin Knox. The Blazers are also releasing big man Duop Reath, per Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (Twitter link).

The Suns cut Wainright on Thursday due to their roster crunch — they had 17 players on standard contracts and could only carry 15 on their regular season roster. Wainright’s 2023/24 salary was non-guaranteed, making him a logical odd man out.

Phoenix reportedly had interest in bringing back Wainright, perhaps on a two-way deal, but the club won’t get the chance to do so, as the Trail Blazers will take on his non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract. The 29-year-old’s salary won’t become fully guaranteed unless he remains under contract through January 7, so Portland has some time to assess his fit before making a final decision on whether to keep him for the season.

Wainright appeared in 60 games for the Suns last season, averaging 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per night. His shooting line was .370/.329/.839.

The ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Knox finished the season with Portland in 2022/23, averaging 8.5 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 21 games (17.1 MPG). However, when he re-signed with the club over the summer, he only received a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract, so he was never assured of a regular season roster spot.

Reath was part of Portland’s Summer League team, averaging 13.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in five games, and represented Australia in the 2023 World Cup. He has played overseas since going undrafted out of LSU in 2018, spending time in Serbia, Australia and China.

According to Highkin, both Knox and Reath are candidates to remain in the organization, perhaps with the Rip City Remix, the Blazers’ G League affiliate. However, Reath’s contract didn’t include an Exhibit 10 clause, so of the two, Knox seems more likely to end up with the Remix.

The Blazers now have 14 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals. They could add one more player before Monday’s regular season roster deadline or enter opening night with an open spot on their standard 15-man roster.

Trail Blazers Convert Justin Minaya To Two-Way Deal; Waive Two Others

6:35pm: Minaya has officially been converted to a two-way deal, according to’s transactions log, while Conditt and Butler have been waived.

3:57pm: Small forward Justin Minaya has agreed to a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers, agent Jared Mucha tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The 24-year-old finished last season with Portland on a hardship 10-day contract and appeared in four games. He re-signed with the Blazers in early October.

Sources tell Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report that John Butler will be waived to open a two-way slot for Minaya (Twitter link). The 20-year-old center re-signed with Portland in July after spending last season on a two-way deal. He appeared in 19 games, averaging 2.4 PPG and 0.9 RPG in limited minutes.

The team’s other two-way spots belong to Ibou Badji and Skylar Mays.

Highkin also reports that George Conditt, who has an Exhibit 10 contract, will be waived today and is expected to wind up with the Rip City Remix, the organization’s new G League affiliate (Twitter link).

Highkin hears that Moses Brown is likely to make the team, so the battle for the final roster spot appears to be between Duop Reath and Kevin Knox (Twitter link).