Scott Perry

Atlantic Notes: Green, Perry, Dozier, Celtics

Fresh off the Raptors‘ first NBA championship, swingman Danny Green is entering free agency prioritizing two things: money and winning. Green, 32, spoke to HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy regarding his future and made it clear that returning to Toronto would be his first choice.

“If Toronto brings everyone back, I think we have a really good shot of coming out of the East again,” Green said. “So why would I not want to be there? But things change and things move. [If the Raptors can’t bring everyone back], there are going to be other teams who are in the running and I want to see what those situations are.

“Obviously, I want to maximize on the dollar, but I also want to maximize on the situation. I know I’m not an All-Star or star player, but I want to be remembered as a great role player who won a lot of games and leave my mark in the league.”

Green’s style of playing is a strong fit for the modern NBA. The two-time NBA champion was second in the league in three-point percentage (45.5%) and was third in steals during Toronto’s historic playoff run. In Green’s own words, if a reunion with Toronto is not in the cards, his veteran leadership and productivity figure to make him a popular target.

Check out more Atlantic Divison notes below:

  • With a star-studded free agent class and the financial means to make a splash, the Knicks are in a position to quickly rebuild. However, general manager Scott Perry insists the organization wants to rebuild the team “the right way,” Vince Goodwill of Yahoo Sports writes. “We’re not paying attention to the noise,” Perry said. “We’re gonna continue to be opportunistic and build this the right way. This summer will allow us to shape the team in the image that we want, be able to bring in some guys to field a more competitive team for next season.”
  • The Celtics are not expected to bring back wing PJ Dozier, sources tell NBA reporter Sean Deveney (Twitter link). Dozier, signed to a two-way pact last August, averaged 21.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 6.6 APG in the G-League last season.
  • ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan looked into the Celtics’ dysfunctional season and why the team never got on the same page. While a lot of the blame has fallen onto Kyrie Irving, who is expected to depart in free agency, MacMullan writes Boston’s young core took a step back from the previous season.

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Nets, Horford, Barrett, Raptors

The Raptors’ pitch to Kawhi Leonard to remain with the organization is still being discussed but is near completion, GM Bobby Webster told the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith and other media members. “There’s definitely more (things to be done),” Webster said. “As you can imagine, there are a ton of thoughts and ideas.” Aside from the financial implications — the Raptors can offer their superstar a five-year deal worth nearly $190MM while other suitors can give him a four-year, $140.6MM contract — the organization is expected to emphasize its championship pedigree, the medical staff that earned Leonard’s trust, and a chance to keep winning in familiar surroundings, Smith adds.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have continued to clear cap room to sign two high-level free agents and there’s an expectation that this summer will be transformational for the Nets, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Draft-night trades cleared $2MM more in cap room, moving the team within $2MM of landing some combination of Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. GM Sean Marks indicated that going after big fish in free agency is the next logical leap for the franchise.
  • Al Horford would be a “no-brainer” free agent target for the Sixers if they don’t re-sign both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Horford would be a natural fit at power forward alongside Joel Embiid and could play center in games that the oft-injured Embiid sits out, Pompey notes. Horford will decline his $30.1MM player option with the Celtics and pursue a multi-year contract in free agency.
  • There were mixed views on R.J. Barrett within the Knicks organization but GM Scott Perry was determined to draft the Duke freshman with the No. 3 pick, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Barrett made a strong impression during a June 10 visit with the Knicks. “When we bring guys in, we allowed them to spend time with the front-office staff, coaching and medical staff. It became apparent he was going to be an excellent fit from a culture standpoint,” Perry said. “He did nice things on the court when he worked with coaches. He reaffirmed what we had seen during the college season. … We were comfortable remaining in the draft position at 3.”
  • The Raptors had some discussions about moving into the late first round or early second round of the draft but weren’t willing to give up future assets, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Steve Mills, Scott Perry Discuss Knicks’ Offseason

The Knicks are entering their most crucial offseason in years, but president of basketball operations Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry told reporters on Wednesday that they’re not necessarily feeling pressure to turn the team into an instant contender overnight with a series of major additions.

As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, Perry said that the Knicks don’t view this summer as the “end-all or be-all,” noting that it will be more about taking steps in the right direction and avoiding major mistakes.

“What I look at is this summer presents an opportunity for us to get better,” Perry said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “And so whether we get better through whatever the free-agent signings may or may not be, whatever the drafting process yields us, whatever potential trade may come our way, our goal is to get this team better over the offseason so there’s a better product on the floor next season. And that’s what we’re committed to.”

Here are a few of the most noteworthy comments from Mills and Perry, as detailed by Berman and Popper:

Mills on his expectations for the summer:

“We feel good about the summer. We feel we’re in a position that it gives us an opportunity. We hope we get lucky and we land free agents. And if not, we’ll keep building the way we’re building. The space gives us an opportunity to be flexible in terms of how we deal with trades. We can take guys into our [cap] room in the trade process, it gives us the flexibility to continue to build the team the way we’ve been building it. But it gives us an opportunity to make it better in a way with free-agent or trade prospects.”

Mills on what happens if the Knicks can’t use their cap room to land two star free agents:

“I don’t feel pressure to deviate from our plan if we don’t get two big free agents. I don’t feel that kind of pressure. The pressure is for us to continue with the process and build this team the way we’re saying we’re going to build it.

“… The worst thing we can do is react to doing the wrong thing because we’re disappointed something didn’t happen exactly the way we want it to happen this summer. That could be thing that could derail us from doing what we committed to our fans, what I committed to Jim (owner James Dolan) in how I would build this team.”

On why the Knicks are confident in their appeal after a 17-65 season:

Perry:
“This is New York City. It’s the greatest city in the world. There’s a lot of appeal here. Even though the team has struggled, it’s a definite attraction to becoming a player in this city who can help turn this organization around. I think that’s something that gives us excitement that it’s out there — the storied nature of this franchise and what the franchise meant to the NBA that still resonates.”

Mills:
“There’s a lot of noise and a lot of guys are interested in New York. They like Fiz (head coach David Fizdale). They like some of the changes we made in the organization. We hear that from agents. We read it from guys getting interviewed about what guys feel about the Knicks. We hear that from other players. At least we’re in the game, and hopeful something really good happens. But we won’t know until it happens.”

Here are a few more Knicks-related items stemming from Mills’ and Perry’s comments:

  • According to Berman, Mills said that in this year’s exit interviews, every player on the Knicks’ roster expressed a desire to return to the team — one even said he’d come back for less money.
  • Perry didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping a top-three draft pick if the Knicks luck out in the lottery, per Berman. “Once the draft process plays out, your phone rings a lot of times,” Perry said. “I can’t sit here and tell you exactly what would happen in that scenario.”
  • As Berman writes in a separate story, the Knicks sound more bullish on Kevin Knox‘s future than Frank Ntilikina‘s. However, they’re not ready yet to pass judgment on either player, noting that Ntilikina is still 20 years old and Knox is 19.
  • In an appearance on ESPN Radio, Mills insisted that the Knicks weren’t tanking or trying to lose games on purpose in 2018/19, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. While that may technically be true, it’d be hard to argue that the front office was trying to put the roster in position to win as many games as possible this season, which is entirely understandable during a rebuild.

Mills, Perry Cite Knicks’ Cap Space In Letter To Fans

Entering this summer, the Knicks are expected to be major players for some of the top free agents. Among the names the franchise is expected to pursue are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

In a letter to season ticket holders, general manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills cited February’s Kristaps Porzingis trade — which netted the team Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan two first round picks — and cap space as reasons for confidence this summer, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. The 279-word letter is the first public acknowledgment from brass on the two max slots the team wields in an offseason with several viable candidates to fill them.

“We have created a tremendous amount of financial flexibility, which has put us in a position to potentially sign up to two max free agents,’’ the letter states. “We will continue to focus on the draft in an attempt to replicate the type of players we added last summer. Most importantly, we will use our cap space diligently and only on players who believe in our plan and are committed to building the New York Knicks into the championship team that you deserve.”

This letter is not the first public vote of confidence from a high-ranking team official in recent months. During a wide-ranging interview last month, team owner James Dolan said the team is set up to do well in free agency.

“Yes, I do think that. I think we offer a pretty good situation for [to acquire free agents]. One is a lot of them love New York, a bunch of them live in New York in the offseason,” Dolan said. “They know the team, they know [head coach David Fizdale] really well, they know [Mills] and [Perry]. Players want to go to a winner and they want to get paid. We’re definitely going to pay them. We think with them combined and the kids we’ve got today, we can build a winning team.”

Atlantic Rumors: Rozier, Dudley, Chandler, Knicks

Unless Kyrie Irving has a change of heart about staying in Boston, the Knicks won’t have a shot at signing the Celtics’ starting point guard. They might have a chance at Boston’s other talent point man, Marc Berman of New York Post speculates. Terry Rozier would be a good fit for them, since they’re still trying to choose among Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke. Ntilikina, Noah Vonleh, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson are some of the young players New York could dangle as trade bait for Rozier, Berman opines. Rozier will be a restricted free agent in July.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran forward Jared Dudley has been a pleasant surprise on and off the court for the Nets, Chris Milholen of Nets Daily writes. Dudley, acquired from the Suns in an offseason deal, has posted modest numbers but he’s started every game and he’s served as a mentor to the team’s younger players. “He’s doing it in the locker room and he’s also doing it with his play, because he doesn’t need the ball in his hands,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. Dudley’s $9.53MM salary comes off the books at the end of the season.
  • Sixers forward Wilson Chandler will remain on a minutes restriction as he works his way back from a hamstring injury, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Chandler will play approximately 15 minutes until coach Brett Brown is satisfied that he can handle a back-to-back situation. “I think the minute restriction won’t be long, a couple weeks or so, it’s not long term, I’m not worried about that at all,” Chandler told Todd.
  • The Knicks’ trio of president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale have put a plan into action designed for the long-term health of the franchise, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. They are focused on player development and building through the draft rather than the quick-fix solution that have dragged down the franchise for so long.

Atlantic Notes: Perry, Ojeleye, Bolden

While Knicks general manager Scott Perry is still relatively new to the job, an impressive second summer at the helm has shown that’s he’s a competent choice to lead the franchise. Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes that the stellar play of second-round pick Mitchell Robinson is the latest example of his prowess.

Not only did Perry nab a useful young big man that could grow to be a part of the Knicks’ core, he did it on the cheap. Robinson signed a four-year deal worth $6.6MM that will keep him under affordable team control.

Hamilton also calls to light Perry’s selection of Kevin Knox in the first round, the hiring of David Fizdale and the 2017 trade of Carmelo Anthony as the general manager’s early portfolio of work with the Knicks.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • The Knicks will look to see Mario Hezonja break out in his fourth year as an NBA pro and, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes, one of the keys to that will be the swingman maintaining his confidence. A stable coaching staff should help in that regard.
  • The Celtics effectively guaranteed Semi Ojeleye‘s contract by not waiving him by today, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets. The second-year forward has stood out for the C’s during summer league.
  • Sixers draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden, who hopes to play for the big league club this season, struggled in summer league play. The 2017 pick understands that he didn’t perform as well this year as he did in the previous summer league and, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, attributes it to a lack of organized basketball this spring.

Atlantic Rumors: Gaines, Nurse, Celtics, Knox

Clarence Gaines Jr. is no longer with the Knicks’ organization, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. Gaines was the team’s VP of player personnel under former team president Phil Jackson, who credited Gaines for lobbying to select Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 lottery. Gaines did scouting for the current regime last season. Several newcomers have been hired by the front office and Gaines did not have strong ties to GM Scott Perry, Ian Begley of ESPN notes. Gaines’ contract expired after last season.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Challenging DeMar DeRozan to become a better defender is just one of the things new Raptors coach Nick Nurse has in mind for next season, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes. Nurse is trying to devise ways to play two smaller guards, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, together and still minimize the issues that it presents defending pick-and-rolls, Wolstat continues. Playing Serge Ibaka more often at center is another wrinkle Nurse plans to employ, Wolstat adds.
  • The Celtics are planning to hold onto their $8.641MM mid-level exception for the balance of the offseason, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. Their priority is to re-sign restricted free agents Marcus Smart and Jabari Bird and see what develops during the season, Smith adds.
  • Strong summer-league showings by first-round pick Kevin Knox and second-rounder Mitchell Robinson have made the Knicks look wise in their selections, ESPN’s Andre Snellings writes. Knox should jump right into the Knicks’ starting lineup at small forward, while Robinson could eventually work his way into the rotation. While neither player shows superstar potential, they both have skill sets that should translate to the league, Snellings adds.
  • The Nets have positioned themselves to make a big splash next summer, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype notes. They can create enough salary-cap room to sign two first-tier free agents to go along with two first-round picks, provided that the protections on the pick the Nuggets sent them don’t kick in.
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale will head off to Latvia on July 22nd to visit with Porzingis and check on his progress from knee surgery, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.

Atlantic Rumors: Saric, Sixers, Celtics, Knicks

The Sixers didn’t move up in the lottery in large part because they refused to trade Dario Saric, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. Philadelphia tried to get into the top five of the draft but multiple teams indicated the Sixers had no interest in giving up a forward who averaged 14.6 PPG 6.7 RPG and 2.6 APG last season, Begley adds. Philadelphia wound up staying put at No. 10 and drafted Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, then dealt his draft rights to the Suns for Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith and a future first-rounder.

In other draft news involving Atlantic Division teams:

  • With coach and GM Brett Brown running the show, the Sixers were very active in the second round. They traded the No. 38 pick to the Pistons and the No. 39 pick to the Lakers, then parlayed two late picks to move into the Mavericks’ No. 54 spot, where they drafted SMU guard Shake Milton. The Sixers picked up three future second-rounders and cash in the first two second-round deals. “I feel like the trades that we made to acquire future picks and to move up closer to somebody that we really like like Shake Milton, I think that the room was fantastic in organizing and allowing us to do that,” Brown said during a press conference.
  • The Celtics decided against trading for a second-round pick after drafting enigmatic Texas A&M big man Robert Williams with the No. 27 pick, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports. “We don’t need more young players, really,” GM Danny Ainge told Bulpett and other media members. “We feel good about adding one positional player that has something that we don’t have, that does something that we don’t have.”
  • Knicks GM Scott Perry doesn’t expect the team to be “highly active” in free agency, Begley reports in a separate tweet. That’s not surprising, considering the team’s salary commitments for next season. Kyle O’Quinn gave them a little more breathing room by deciding to decline his option but unless Enes Kanter also chooses to decline his $18.62MM option, they’ll be operating over the cap.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Knicks, Brown, Crabbe

The Sixers need to make some hard decisions this offseason on where top pick Markelle Fultz fits into their future plans, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues. Now that they’ve established themselves as a playoff team, they have to decide how to get as deep as possible in future seasons with Fultz playing a bigger role. If Fultz isn’t a playoff-caliber two-guard by this time next year, the dream of a championship season could be dashed, Murphy continues. Ideally. Fultz will soon establish himself as a legitimate third option but they have guard against the possibility it never happens, Murphy adds.

In other news and musings around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry have taken a much more thorough, well-thought-out approach to their coaching search, unlike predecessor Phil Jackson, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The amount of candidates interviewed has reached double digits and the duo has traveled across the country and over the Atlantic Ocean in order to find the right fit, Berman continues. They don’t pretend to know everything and that’s a stark contrast to Jackson, who stopped listening and learning, according to Berman.
  • Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown vows to play Game 2 of the series against the Sixers on Thursday, as he told A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports. Brown, who was a game-time decision in the opener, is nursing a right hamstring injury. “I’ll be back. I’m playing,” he told Blakely, though he added, “I’m basically trying to come back in two days from a two-week type injury.”
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe promises to improve his efficiency and production in his second season with the club, according to BrooklynNets.com. Crabbe averaged a career-best 13.2 PPG and set the team record for most 3-pointers made, but his long-range percentage dropped from 44.4% to 37.8%. “I didn’t have the consistent season I wanted to have,” Crabbe said. “But I got one year under my belt [in Brooklyn] and I know where I can be effective on this team and what I can bring – what I can do. Just go into off-season and come back a completely different player.”

Knicks Rumors: Howard, Blatt, Leonard, Mudiay

Juwan Howard, the latest name to emerge in the Knicks’ coaching search, has a powerful connection in the team’s front office, notes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. GM Scott Perry is a former assistant at the University of Michigan, and his first year with the Wolverines was Howard’s last season there.

Howard will be the 10th candidate to talk to Perry and team president Steve Mills, who were in Europe this week to interview former Cavaliers coach David Blatt and to scout Luka Doncic, along with other prospects. Despite the long list of interviewees, Bondy hears that the Knicks’ next coach may be someone not yet mentioned by the media.

There’s more news from New York:

  • Howard has a long list of former teammates with coaching experience who could potentially fill out his staff if he gets the Knicks job, notes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. The list includes Adrian GriffinNick Van ExelDavid VanterpoolJames PoseyDarvin HamJamaal MagloireGod ShammgodRafer Alston and John Lucas III.
  • If the Spurs make Kawhi Leonard available in trade the summer, the Knicks should go all in, even if it costs them Kristaps Porzingis and this year’s first-rounder, contends Tommy Beer of Forbes. Leonard’s scoring ability, defensive prowess and record of big-game performances make him a player that a franchise can be built around, Beer argues. He adds that the Knicks are hoping to construct a contender by surrounding Porzingis with top-level free agents, but their recent record in free agency casts doubt on that plan. He cautions that New York should make the deal with the Spurs only if team doctors determine that Leonard’s quad injury won’t be a long-term issue and he agrees to a four-year extension.
  • One-time Knicks coach Larry Brown remains optimistic about Emmanuel Mudiay‘s prospects in New York, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Brown tried to recruit Mudiay to SMU before he opted for China, and he believes the 22-year-old can excel by getting into top physical condition. “I don’t think Emmanuel has ever been in the greatest shape of his life,” Brown said. “That position you have to be an elite athlete and in unbelievable shape. I don’t know until he got to the NBA if he has ever been coached the way he needed to be coached.” Mudiay was placed in the league’s concussion protocol after hitting his head late in the season and was just cleared for basketball activities last week.