Ron Baker

And-Ones: Kilpatrick, Bennett, Bates, Mahmoud, 2022 Draft, Baker

Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem continued its push to sign former NBA players, adding Sean Kilpatrick and Anthony Bennett to its roster, according to the team’s social media feed (Twitter links). Kilpatrick played in Turkey last season and hasn’t appeared in an NBA contest since 2018. Bennett, a former No. 1 overall pick, had his contract with a Puerto Rican franchise terminated last month. He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2016/17 season. As previously noted, Hapoel Jerusalem also announced the signing of Pistons and Cavaliers big man Thon Maker.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Emoni Bates, considered the best high school prospect in the country, has committed to the University of Memphis, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. He reclassified into the Class of 2021  but still won’t be eligible for the NBA draft until 2023 because his 19th birthday isn’t until January 2023. A 6’9″ small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Bates committed to Michigan State last summer, but he de-committed in April.
  • Anas Mahmoud played with the Raptors in the Las Vegas summer league and is looking to become the first homegrown Egyptian player to make the NBA. Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a closer look at the 7-footer, who could be ticketed to the G League if he doesn’t gain a spot on the Toronto roster. “I’ll probably be the first Egyptian coming out of the Egyptian league,” Mahmoud said. “I was a little different (from other Egyptians who have made the NBA) because I only got here right (before) college and went back to play in the (Egyptian) league. It’s a pleasure and it’s an honor.”
  • Gonzaga power forward Chet Holmgren, Duke power forward Paolo Banchero and G League Ignite shooting guard Jaden Hardy top ESPN Jonathan Givony’s initial top-100 list for the 2022 draft. Givony also explores a number of storylines surrounding next year’s projected draft class, including the lack of point guard depth.
  • Former NBA guard Ron Baker quietly retired last year and he’s got a new job, according to Shelby Kellerman of the Wichita Business Journal. Baker has been hired as a project manager in Ascension Via Christi’s strategy and business development department. Baker, 28, appeared in 96 games during his NBA career, including a combined 15 with the Knicks and Wizards during the 2018/19 season.

And-Ones: Baker, Liga, Future Rosters, Atkins

Former NBA guard Ron Baker has parted ways with CSKA Moscow, according to a post from the team’s website. Baker appeared in 27 EuroLeague games with the club but averaged just 2.6 PPG in 11.1 MPG. Baker, 27, appeared in 96 games during his NBA career, including a combined 15 with the Knicks and Wizards during the 2018/19 season.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • ABA Liga has cancelled the remainder of its season and will not crown a champion due to the coronavirus pandemic, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Novosti originally reported the news that the teams agreed not to resume the competition in the 19-year-old European league, also known as the Adriatic League.
  • Who would you choose as the best NBA players in 2025? James Edwards III, Tim Cato and Fred Katz of The Athletic conducted a mock draft and selected Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson with the top three picks. The trio of writers selected 10 players apiece for the final rosters.
  • Former NBA guard Chucky Atkins is one of 14 members in the NBA’s Assistant Coaches Program, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. The program assists former players in entering the NBA, G League and college coaching ranks. Atkins, who has battled personal issues since his playing career ended, hopes to become a head coach.

Ron Baker Signs With EuroLeague Defending Champions CSKA Moscow

Former Knicks point guard Ron Baker is headed to CSKA Moscow, according to the Russian team’s website. It will be a one-year deal.

“I’m excited for this new opportunity CSKA Basketball has given me. I’m very thankful! After speaking with head coach Dimitris and team captain Kyle Hines, I see myself fitting in with what CSKA is about,” Baker said in a statement. “Their day-to-day culture and achievements on the court were what I was looking for in a franchise during this summer free agency. I’m extremely grateful and most of all ready to compete for the fans of CSKA!”

Nikos Varlas of EuroHoops first had the scoop on the interest between Baker and the defending EuroLeague champs, tweeting that Baker’s decision was deciding between CSKA and the Nets, which would have been on a two-way deal.

Brooklyn currently has Henry Ellenson on a two-way contract, with the other spot open. Second-rounder Jaylen Hands is considered the most likely candidate for that second slot, but perhaps the Nets would’ve been willing to offer it to Baker.

After entering the NBA as an undrafted free agent with the Knicks in 2016, Baker spent parts of three seasons with the club before latching on the Wizards briefly last season. He averaged 3.1 PPG and 1.8 APG in 96 total regular season games (14.5 MPG).

Kosta Koufos also signed with CSKA Moscow earlier this offseason.

Ron Baker To Miss 4-6 Months With Torn Labrum

Free agent guard Ron Baker will miss four-to-six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right labrum, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Baker started the 2018/19 season with the Knicks, but the 25-year-old was waived after playing in just 11 games. He then signed with the Wizards for four contests and was released after two weeks.

Baker was also ruled out for the remainder of last season after suffering a torn labrum and dislocated shoulder, with that injury coming at the end of January. Baker’s estimated timeline could see him healthy by the start of free agency, which would allow him to sign with a team during the offseason or entering training camp in the fall.

Baker, who wasn’t selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, holds career-averages of 3.1 points, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals and 14.5 minutes per game.

Wizards Waive Ron Baker

Ron Baker‘s stay in Washington turned out to be a short one as the Wizards waived him today, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. His contract would have become fully guaranteed if he had remained on the roster past 5pm Eastern today.

It’s the second trip to the waiver wire in less than a month for Baker, who was waived by the Knicks on December 13. He joined the Wizards eight days later. Baker played four games for Washington, but didn’t score a point despite averaging 11.3 minutes per night.

The move leaves Washington with just 13 players on its roster. At least one more will have to be added by January 21 to get the team back to the NBA’s 14-player limit.

The Wizards will have a $170,915 cap hit on Baker’s salary and now face an $8.66MM luxury tax bill, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). However, the tax number will increase when an extra player is added.

Wizards Sign Ron Baker, Waive Okaro White

DECEMBER 21: The Wizards have officially signed Baker and waived White, the team announced today in a press release.

DECEMBER 19: The Wizards have agreed to sign Ron Baker to a new contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. In a related, albeit unnecessary move, Wojnarowski adds that Washington will waive forward Okaro White. Marc Berman of the New York Post adds that the Nuggets also had interest in Baker before he agreed to terms with the Wizards.

As it currently stands, the Wizards only have 14 players on their roster with standard NBA contracts, so they could have kept White and signed Baker. However, as we’ve noted on several previous occasions, Washington is extremely cognizant of their looming luxury tax bill, so it’s not surprising that they will waive White, the only player on the roster with a non-guaranteed contract, and keep their roster at 14.

Assuming that White is waived/Baker signs for the veteran’s minimum tomorrow (all that Washington can offer), and that White is not picked up off waivers, the Wizards will incur a cap hit of just over $957K for Baker and just under $248K for White, totaling approximately $1.2MM. The cap hit for White, had he remained on the roster past January 10, was for $1.19MM, so the ultimate tax difference is negligible.

Accordingly, the move likely comes down to roster fit and team need, and as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports notes, the Wizards really need a guard more than a forward/big man right now, as further indicated by yesterday’s signing of point guard Chasson Randle and the surprisingly positive play from Sam Dekker.

Baker, 25, was recently waived by the Knicks to make room for the signing of former two-way standout Allonzo Trier. In his three NBA seasons with New York, Baker averaged only 3.3 points and 1.8 assists per game, but had become a fan favorite with his work ethic and hard-nosed play.

Meanwhile, White, 26, signed with the Wizards about a month into the 2018/19 season after spending the last couple of seasons in Miami. For his career, he’s averaged 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Baker, Kornet, Lee, Trier

It wasn’t easy for Knicks coach David Fizdale to part with Ron Baker, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Baker was waived yesterday to open a roster spot so that Allonzo Trier‘s two-way contract could be converted to a standard NBA deal.

“This was the hardest one I’ve ever been a part of,’’ Fizdale said. “Cutting Ron Baker was really rough. I talked to him today. He was fantastic. He’s Ron Baker. He’s a pro. He totally understood where we were. Obviously it goes without saying we’re resources to him. If anyone ever calls me on him I’ll have nothing but incredible things to say about him. I even joked to him a little bit when he’s finally done, spend some time with me and I may have a coach on my hands there.”

Baker spent more than two seasons in New York after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2016. When Steve Mills took over as Knicks president last year, his first move was to use the room exception to give Baker a two-year, $9MM deal, but despite the team’s confidence Baker never developed into a consistent rotation player. He was averaging just 1.3 points and 9.7 minutes in 11 games this season.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Luke Kornet not only kept his roster spot Thursday, he received a promise from Fizdale for more playing time, Berman relays in a separate story. Kornet was considered a possibility to be released, but the Knicks want to see if the second-year power forward can develop into a reliable shooter from the perimeter. That potential was part of the reason they traded Willy Hernangomez last year. “I kept my mind set on doing what I could do — playing in the G League, getting better there,” Kornet said of the rumors that he might be let go. “There’s nothing you can control other than what you do on the court. I was completely committed to letting whatever happened happen.”
  • Courtney Lee is back after one game in the G League and might see an increase in playing time while Damyean Dotson deals with a sore shoulder, Berman adds. The Knicks would like to boost Lee’s trade value and unload his $12.76MM salary for next season.
  • The new deal with Trier may have at least slightly improved the Knicks’ prospects to land Kevin Durant, Berman notes in another piece. Durant became somewhat of a mentor to Trier when he was in high school in Oklahoma City and they have remained friends. Trier’s two-year contract is non-guaranteed for next season — and it could take away valuable cap space New York will need to make a full max offer — but Berman states that the front office intends to keep Trier as long as he continues to perform at his current level.

Knicks Sign Trier To New Deal, Waive Baker

1:26pm: The Knicks’ new agreement with Trier is now official as well, the club confirmed in a press release. We went into more detail on Trier’s deal earlier today.

9:52am: The Knicks have officially waived Baker, the team announced in a press release.

8:55am: The Knicks and two-way player Allonzo Trier have reached an agreement on a new two-year contract that will give Trier a spot on the team’s 15-man roster, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). To create an opening on their roster, New York is expected to waive veteran guard Ron Baker, Charania adds.

A promotion to the 15-man squad had long been expected for Trier, who signed his two-way deal with the Knicks in early July after going undrafted out of Arizona. In 27 games (23.3 MPG), the rookie guard has averaged 11.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.9 APG with an impressive .470/.391/.816 shooting line. With his 45-day NBA limit fast approaching, Trier would have been relegated to the G League for the rest of the season if he had remained on his two-way contract.

The Knicks could have unilaterally converted Trier’s two-way deal into a standard NBA contract, but doing so would have made him a restricted free agent in 2019. Instead, New York will use its bi-annual exception to lock up the 22-year-old through the 2019/20 season, according to Charania (Twitter link).

[RELATED: How Teams Are Using 2018/19 Bi-Annual Exceptions]

The Knicks can offer a starting salary worth up to $3.382MM using the bi-annual exception, and it sounds like they did just that. Ian Begley of reports (via Twitter) that Trier will receive $7MM on his two-year contract, with a team option on the second season. Technically, a two-year BAE deal this year can have a maximum value of $6.93MM, so it appears that’ll be the exact amount of Trier’s new pact.

New York now won’t have its bi-annual exception available during the 2019 offseason, since it can only be used once in a two-year stretch. That shouldn’t be a big deal though, since the Knicks would lose it next summer anyway if they use cap room. That appears to be the plan, with Trier’s new salary for ’19/20 potentially cutting into that room a little.

Meanwhile, it looks like this will be the end of Baker’s time in New York. The former Wichita State standout joined the club back in 2016 and impressed the old regime enough in his rookie season to earn a two-year contract worth $8.87MM in 2017. That deal came as a shock at the time and doesn’t look any better in hindsight, as Baker has appeared in just 40 games for the Knicks since re-signing, averaging 2.1 PPG and 1.5 APG on .320/.286/.781 shooting in 12.3 minutes per contest.

Baker’s $4.54MM salary for 2018/19 is fully guaranteed, so it will remain on the Knicks’ cap. The team won’t have to carry any dead money in future seasons for the third-year guard.

New York will also create an open two-way contract slot as a result of Trier making the jump to the 15-man roster. Two-way players can be signed up until January 15, so there’s no rush to fill that opening immediately.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Lee, Trier, Knox, Ntilikina

Courtney Lee will be getting more playing time, but not at the NBA level, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks are sending Lee, who has missed most of the season with a neck injury, to their G League affiliate in Westchester so he can rack up minutes in tomorrow night’s game against Lakeland.

The 33-year-year-old is averaging just 10.8 minutes in four games since returning to the lineup, stuck in a crowded backcourt on a team now committed to finding time for Frank Ntilikina. Lee admits he needs to work on conditioning and suggested the idea of spending time in the G League.

“It’s going to take a while to get reactivated to game-speed, game-like situations,” he said. “It’ll probably take couple of weeks to get back a rhythm and feel chemistry with the guys. I’ve been thrown out there with those guys and trying to play on the fly. Next couple of weeks, I’ll start to feel comfortable out there.”

Lee is scheduled to rejoin the Knicks following Wednesday night’s game. The team is hoping to build up his value in hopes of working out a deal before the February 7 deadline to get his $12.76MM salary for next season off the books.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Rookie guard Allonzo Trier strained his left hamstring and won’t be re-evaluated until next week, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Trier, who is getting close to the 45-day NBA limit on his two-way contract, will remain with the team while he rehabs the injury, but the time won’t add to his service days. Berman notes that it will give the front office more time to decide what to do once he reaches the limit, whether it involves waiving Ron Baker or Luke Kornet or trying to work out a trade (Twitter link).
  • Coach David Fizdale has been using Kevin Knox at power forward more often to boost his rebounding numbers, which paid off Sunday as he collected 11 boards, notes Peter Botte of The New York Post. It marked the first double-digit rebounding night for Knox. “I’ve really been stressing to him rebounding and getting in the trench,” Fizdale said. “We do a lot of block-out drills, just trying to get him used to the physicality of the league, trying to fast-track him that way. And so he’s taken it to heart, and he’s going to get the ball.”
  • Ntilikina’s 18-point explosion in the second half Sunday night is a sign that he will eventually reward the Knicks’ patience, contends Shlomo Sprung of Forbes.

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Burke, Knox, Cap Room

Frank Ntilikina‘s versatility may help him earn more minutes during his second NBA season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks showed a lot of faith in Ntilikina when they drafted him ahead of Dennis Smith last season, and it may be paying off. Berman calls him a bright spot in a difficult preseason, looking more powerful on his drives to the basket and more active on defense.

Ntilikina has been locked in a three-way battle for minutes at point guard, but new coach David Fizdale seems willing to use him at shooting guard and small forward as well. Trey Burke is expected to be the starter at the point, with Emmanuel Mudiay and Ron Baker battling for leftover playing time.

“They all showed the ability to run the team and guard their position well,’’ Fizdale said of the point guard contenders. “They’ve made it tough on me — which is good.’’

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Knicks fans were thrilled about the prospects for rookie forward Kevin Knox, but the preseason showed he still has a lot to learn, Berman adds in the same story. Knox got into foul trouble Friday against the Nets and only played 12 minutes. It was his third straight poor game, but Fizdale remains committed to him as the starting small forward. “This is all learning for me,’’ Knox said. “Like he says all the time, I’m going to get my butt kicked a lot and I’m going to have a lot of mistakes. It’s part of a rookie year, you’re going to have ups and downs. It just shows how much confidence he has in me keeping me in the starting lineup.”
  • Even with today’s decision to waive and stretch Joakim Noah, the Knicks have some work to do before they can offer a max contract to a 10-year veteran like Kevin Durant, notes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. New York will have more than $57MM in committed salary next summer, and the team can subtract a non-guaranteed $7.6MM deal for Lance Thomas. However, Kristaps Porzingis will have a $17.1MM cap hold as a restricted free agent, and a likely lottery pick will reduce the cap by about another $6MM. That brings the Knicks’ cap space down to $32.5MM, short of the estimated maximum salary of $38.15MM that Durant can receive.
  • The Knicks were 28th in the league in 3-point attempts in the preseason and Fizdale says it’s a matter of personnel, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley. “The way we’re shooting it, I don’t think that’s a great shot for us,” he said.