Patrick Ewing

Hornets Notes: Miller, Oubre, Williams, Ball

The Hornets don’t want to ask too much of No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller at the start of his rookie season, and the roster depth at the forward spots puts the club in a good position to avoid putting pressure on him in the early going, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. As Miller notes, with plenty of reliable veterans, he can focus on getting comfortable in his role.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence just to come in here and take an open shot on a passed ball from LaMelo Ball or one of our vets out here,” Miller said. “It’s just a confidence thing.”

While Miller may not immediately be a focal point on offense or the player who’s taking on the toughest defensive assignments, he has been a quick study so far in training camp, impressing his Hornets teammates.

“Yeah, I think it’s definitely rare, but his game speaks volumes,” P.J. Washington said. “I’ve been saying this a long time, but he doesn’t do anything (wrong) on the court. I’m very happy the way he’s been working. He’s getting extra shots, he’s doing everything to be successful in this league. And I just can’t wait to see him play.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • In his initial comments to reporters as a 76er this week, former Hornets wing Kelly Oubre appeared to take a shot at his old team, as Boone relays. “Honestly, this team wins every year, right?” Oubre said of the Sixers. “The fan base wants them to win more, but I’ve come from teams where they have no hope. Like, zero hope within the whole city. And this is not that at all. … The organization gives its players the platform to do so with everything around us. So, it’s night and day from what I’ve been to, and I’m going to just take advantage of it, soak it all in, and take it day by day.” Oubre spent the past two seasons with the Hornets.
  • Second-year big man Mark Williams wasn’t able to play in Summer League or complete his usual offseason workout routine since he spent part of the summer recovering from thumb surgery. Instead, he focused on spending extra time in the weight room, adding roughly 12 pounds without sacrificing speed and lateral movement, Boone writes for The Observer.
  • Within the same story, Williams said he’s looking forward to picking the brain of Patrick Ewing, the former star center who has rejoined the Hornets as a coaching consultant. “Obviously, what he can do, what he’s done, and then now to have a legend like that here will be great for me,” Williams said. “He obviously played the five, played against a lot of greats. So, to have him here will be really cool.”
  • LaMelo Ball, who signed a five-year, maximum-salary contract extension with the Hornets in July, is embracing his role as a team leader, according to Boone. “(We) see the difference in him from last year and the last couple of years,” veteran guard Terry Rozier said of his teammate.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Hampton, Banchero, Ewing, Hornets

The Heat only have 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts in training camp, but they haven’t been inclined to add another veteran to their roster because they want to get a good look at their non-guaranteed camp invitees, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

As Jackson outlines, the Heat have a strong track record of finding diamonds in the rough and believe they’ll increase their odds of identifying another potential contributor if they’re focused on giving those young players an opportunity this fall, without another vet “cluttering the equation.”

While the Heat want to give their young players every chance to stand out in camp and the preseason, they also haven’t ruled out the idea of signing a free agent if none of their camp invitees emerges and claims a regular season roster spot. As Jackson observes, the list of unsigned players includes accomplished veterans like Blake Griffin, T.J. Warren, and Terrence Ross, as well as several former members of the Heat, including Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Justise Winslow.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • R.J. Hampton was determined to join the Heat this offseason and began working out at Miami’s Kaseya Center alongside Heat players without any guarantee that he would be invited to training camp, according to Jackson. “It was Miami or nothing for me,” Hampton said on Monday. “I’ve been down here, off and on, since the beginning of August. It was almost like [the Heat saying], ‘Come here, do what you do, work hard. We’ll make decisions and talk to your agency and see what happens.'”
  • After earning Rookie of the Year honors during his first NBA season, Magic forward Paolo Banchero has his sights set higher in year two, as he tells Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Asked by Beede what a successful season would look like, Banchero replied, “A successful season for Paolo Banchero looks like making the playoffs, being an All-Star and winning the in-season tournament.”
  • Patrick Ewing, an assistant coach in Charlotte from 2013-17, has rejoined the Hornets as a coaching consultant, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The former star center was out of the NBA for the last several seasons as he coached at Georgetown, but the Hoyas parted ways with him earlier this year.
  • The 2023/24 season is a make-or-break one for the Hornets, according to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer, who points out that the new ownership team of Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin didn’t make major changes when they took over the franchise earlier this year, but will likely show less patience if the club spends another year in the lottery.

And-Ones: Coach K, Fan Conduct, Williams-Goss, Coaching Candidates

Longtime Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski has decided to retire following the upcoming 2021/2022 college basketball season, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Coach K has helmed the Duke program since 1980, and has been key in ushering in the era of one-and-done college players and collegiate recruiting battles.

During his tenure as head coach, Krzyzewski led the team to five national titles and 12 Final Fours, and with two potential top freshman on next year’s roster in Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, he will look to end his storied career with one final title run.

Goodman also reports that assistant coach Jon Scheyer is the leading candidate to replace Krzyzewski. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that Scheyer is considered Duke’s coach-in-waiting.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • As fan-related incidents continue to occur around the league, the NBA has instituted new measures in an attempt to prevent fan misconduct, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. These policies include: encouraging teams/arenas to pursue legal recourse against such actions, enhanced security, and a “code of conduct” message to be broadcast multiple times throughout the game.
  • Former Jazz point guard Nigel Williams-Goss has agreed to a two-year deal with Real Madrid, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 6’2″ point guard played 15 games for PBC Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia this season, averaging 17 points and 5.9 assists while shooting 46% from three.
  • Although the Celtics are the only team with a head coach vacancy so far this summer, there are plenty of enticing first-time head coach options available, writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN. Among them: Patrick Ewing, Chauncey Billups, Will Weaver, and Darko Rajakovic. Arnovitz uses present success stories to detail what front offices are looking for in a first time head coach and what attributes can make them successful.
  • Now that the first season of the Basketball Africa League has ended and Egypt’s Zamalek has been crowned champions, the league is looking ahead and planning its 2022 season, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.  “The biggest triumph? Maybe it was just making it to reality,” BAL President Amadou Fall said, regarding the first season of the new league. “Just a long time coming and just being the culmination of many decades of work and engagement by the NBA across the continent, committed to growing the game. And now, it has established a complete pathway for basketball development from grassroots to elites and just league.” Those in and around the league are hoping that as the BAL grows, it will attract more and more viewers and participants from around the country. Though none of the players this season are expected to draw attention from NBA teams, Fall expects that to change soon. “This is the first time that this league is here,” Zamalek’s Walter Hodge said upon receiving the Hakeem Olajuwon MVP award. “And it’s going to be here for a long time.”

Knicks Notes: Ewing, Hayes, Facility, Nwora

Knicks legend Patrick Ewing would likely be a candidate in the search for a new head coach if Steve Mills hadn’t been fired as team president, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that Mills contacted Ewing two years ago before hiring David Fizdale. Ewing had just finished his first season at Georgetown and wasn’t ready to consider leaving. He was not among the 11 candidates that Mills interviewed.

Berman suggests Ewing could be in play for a top assistant’s role under Tom Thibodeau, who is rumored to be the favorite to replace Mike Miller. Thibodeau spent four years as a Knicks assistant while Ewing was still playing.

The former NBA star doesn’t have the advantage of a prior relationship with new president of basketball operations Leon Rose like Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson and John Calipari all do. Ewing was represented by David Falk during his playing days. Still, he is believed to prefer the NBA over college basketball and Berman believes there’s a good chance he will eventually make his way to the Knicks.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • French point guard Killian Hayes may be too similar to Frank Ntilikina for the Knicks to be interested, Berman adds in the same piece. Berman states that scouts are concerned about Hayes’ speed and he may be too much of a project to interest New York at No. 6, assuming the team stays there. He suggests Rose might be more willing to gamble on a scoring point guard like North Carolina’s Cole Anthony.
  • In a separate piece, Berman examines the benefits of the Knicks reopening their training facility, even though they won’t be part of the group resuming the season in Orlando. It will give their players a location where they can work out safely with minimal risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. Most of the team’s players left the New York area during the shutdown, but Taj Gibson and Maurice Harkless remained and Mitchell Robinson has returned. A source tells Berman it’s “a long shot” that the Knicks’ season will continue.
  • Louisville forward Jordan Nwora, an early entrant in this year’s draft, tells Adam Zagoria of Forbes that he has participated in Zoom calls with about 20 teams, including the Knicks (Twitter link). Nwora is projected to be taken in the second round, and New York has two second-round picks.

Coronavirus Notes: Orlando, Resuming Season, Ewing

Appearing today on ESPN’s Get Up (video link), Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that Orlando remains the frontrunner to host the NBA’s return this summer and that it may end up being the lone bubble location the league uses.

[RELATED: NBA Enters ‘Exploratory’ Talks To Resume Season In Orlando]

“Everything is pointing toward a return of the NBA this season at a single site in Orlando at Disney World,” Woj said, adding that teams believe they’ll be told to recall players as early as next week.

As Wojnarowski explained, there will be plenty of calls taking place today and throughout the week, culminating with an NBA’s Board of Governors conference call on Friday, which will include commissioner Adam Silver and team owners. According to Woj, by the end of this week or early next week, we should have a better idea of what the format of a potential NBA return will look like.

Here’s more on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the NBA:

  • Patrick Ewing Jr. issued an update today (via Twitter) saying that his father – former Knicks center and current Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing – is out of the hospital and is improving after having contracted COVID-19. “My father is now home and getting better,” the younger Ewing wrote. “We’ll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines.”
  • There’s no point in having all 30 NBA teams resume their seasons this summer, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who argues in a column that the league would be best off minimizing the risk by just inviting the 16 current playoff clubs.
  • As we relayed earlier today, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during a Monday morning TV appearance that he thinks there’s a good chance only 16 teams will be involved in the resumption of the NBA season (video link). Windhorst suggests there will be “a lot of back-room haggling” over the next few days as the league weighs what proposal(s) to present to team owners on Friday’s conference call.

Coronavirus Notes: Resuming The Season, Hall Of Fame, Ewing

Several teams that are unable to open their facilities because of government restrictions are asking the NBA if their players can report directly to the proposed campus environment, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Sources tell Woj that the NBA is willing to work out an arrangement with those teams. Franchises located in areas where stay-at-home orders are still in effect have a large number of players who have gone elsewhere, he adds.

A timetable and other specifics to resume the season are expected to be outlined in a Board of Governors call on Friday. Sources tell Wojnarowski that teams expect to be told to begin recalling players to their markets around June 1. A few teams have talked about establishing temporary training camps at other sites before arriving in Orlando, which is now considered the likely location to finish the season.

There’s more coronavirus-related news to pass along:

  • During a conference call on Thursday, the league offered few specifics about how it plans to finish the season, Wojnarowski writes in the same story. Some Board of Governors members believe the league would prefer not to bring back all 30 teams because placing more people in the bubble environment means a greater opportunity of contracting the virus. Also, there was little support for a scenario that would provide a chance to make the playoffs for the league’s worst teams. Privately, Woj states, those teams are more concerned with preserving their odds for the draft lottery and don’t want to risk injuries to their veteran players.
  • This year’s induction ceremony at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is still set for August 29, but two other dates are being considered if the virus is still prevalent, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Hall officials are willing to move the ceremony to Columbus Day weekend or to next spring. No matter what happens, the 2020 and 2021 inductions will not be combined. “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” CEO John Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
  • Former Knicks star Patrick Ewing, now the head coach at Georgetown, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. Ewing issued a statement urging everyone to “stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”

Knicks Notes: Roster, Robinson, Durant, Ewing

Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson are the only current Knicks who should definitely be on the roster next season, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Knox showed enough promise at age 19 to hold onto, Robinson was a second-round surprise who became the league’s second-best shot blocker and Dotson is a part-time starter with an affordable contract.

Popper lists Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, as a question mark, noting that his fate could depend on whether the Knicks are in position to draft Ja Morant or sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker in free agency. Also questionable to return, according to Popper, are Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, Lance Thomas and Luke Kornet. Popper expects the rest of the roster to be overturned, including DeAndre Jordan, whom he speculates will be too pricey to re-sign as a back-up center.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Coach David Fizdale believes Robinson would be a lottery pick if last year’s draft were redone, relays Chris Iseman of Fizdale admits he didn’t know much about Robinson when the Knicks grabbed him with the 36th pick, but he quickly blossomed into a force in the middle, swatting 2.44 shots per game. “I think we can all agree if we had to restructure the draft right now, I don’t think he’ll go 36,” Fizdale said. “I think he’d be in that top 10 pretty easily.”
  • LeBron James‘ disappointing first year with the Lakers should make Kevin Durant think twice about whether he wants join the Knicks, states Frank Isola of The Athletic. For all of Durant’s talent, he has a reputation as a highly sensitive player who might not adjust well to the atmosphere in New York. Isola suggests that he will only consider the Knicks if he can find another top-level free agent to join him.
  • Fizdale played a pivotal role in easing tensions between Patrick Ewing and the Knicks after years of a strained relationship, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Ewing will represent the team at next month’s draft lottery.

Knicks Notes: Jordan, Ewing, Williamson, Fizdale, Coaching Staff

The Knicks acquired veteran center DeAndre Jordan as part of the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster in February. Jordan was viewed as a potential buyout candidate; a veteran player likely interested in latching on with a contending team. However, he finished out the season in New York.

Head coach David Fizdale said this week that the Knicks offered Jordan a buyout, but he wanted to remain with the team, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Jordan, 30, appeared in 19 games with the Knicks, averaging 10.9 PPG and 11.4 RPG — solid totals in line with his career production.

In addition to his production, Jordan served as a mentor for a young team, particularly to promising big man Mitchell Robinson. As the Knicks prepare for an active offseason, Jordan remains a possibility to re-sign with the team.

Check out more Knicks notes down below:

  • Knicks legend Patrick Ewing will represent the team at the NBA draft lottery next month and the team is hopeful he will be a good luck charm, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes“Patrick is a huge part of our team’s history and we’re thrilled to have number 33 represent the franchise at this year’s draft lottery,” Knicks president Steve Mills said.
  • While the Knicks will hope for the best at the lottery, particularly the chance to draft Duke’s Zion Williamson, the team is prepared for any outcome, Forbes’ Adam Zagoria writes.At the end of the day, I’m really prepared for whoever we get,” Fizdale said on The Michael Kay Show.
  • It’s unclear how different the Knicks’ roster will be next season but Fizdale is also not looking to change the coaching staff, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes“No, I like these guys,’’ Fizdale said. “These guys are good. They know their stuff. They know their craft. We got some really knowledgeable guys.”
  • Speaking of next season, both Berman of The Post and Newsday’s Steve Popper examined the Knicks’ roster and who may or may not be back for the 2019/20 season.

Gasol, Fizdale Tensions Went Far Beyond Benching

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol and former coach David Fizdale had such a strained relationship that they rarely spoke to one another, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Geoff Calkins. Fizdale was fired on Monday, one day after he benched his leading scorer, rebounder and shotblocker in the fourth quarter against the Nets. The benching served as the breaking point and Gasol, who has a tight relationship with owner Robert Pera, had expressed major concerns about the team’s direction under Fizdale, Calkins continues.

Commercial Appeal beat writer Ronald Tillery confirms the longterm disconnect between coach and star player. A team source told Tillery that the tension between them and Sunday’s benching weren’t the only reasons that Fizdale was axed. That source said the team was “trending down in several categories.” However, Tillery tweets that as recently as Saturday, a source close to the owner said that Fizdale’s job was safe because of the team’s injury issues. That’s an indication that Sunday’s incident swiftly changed Pera’s thinking.

In other reactions to Fizdale’s dismissal:

  • Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both expressed their dismay on social media, demanding answers regarding the firing, as Joe Vardon of relays. Both played under Fizdale when he was an assistant with the Heat.
  • Interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff is one of the potential long-term replacements for Fizdale but Sean Deveney of the Sporting News lists several other intriguing names. Former head coaches Mark Jackson, David Blatt and Monty Williams, former player Shane Battier, and several current college coaches such as Tony Bennett, Patrick Ewing and John Calipari are some of the candidates Memphis could look at, according to Deveney.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Hornacek, Ewing

As we learned earlier today, Derrick Rose underwent an “uncomplicated” left knee arthroscopy to handle his meniscus tear. He’s expected to resume basketball activities in roughly three to six weeks. Here’s more on the 2010/11 MVP as well as notes on his current team:

  • The Knicks have left the door open on Rose returning to the team, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.“Derrick did a lot of good things for us this year, with the way he can break down the defense,” coach Jeff Hornacek. “We’ll take a look at it and see if we can bring him back.’’
  • Mike Vorkunov of The New York Times isn’t optimistic about Rose’s future with the Knicks. The scribe believes the franchise should be able to replace Rose with a prospect through the draft.
  • Patrick Ewing recently agreed to become Georgetown’s head coach, but that may be the first stop on his way to becoming the coach of the Knicks, Berman writes in a separate piece. A source tells Berman that Ewing’s relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan is “fully repaired.”
  • Berman notes (same piece) that Ewing had a chance to interview with the school 13 years ago. The Hall of Famer previously said that he didn’t “want to go back to college.”
  • Rose’s injury is likely to limit his options in free agency, George Willis of the New York Post argues. If Rose hadn’t suffered his latest ailment, Willis believes he would have had several multiyear offers from teams around the league. As it stands, the former MVP may have to settle for a one-year deal.