Tim Hardaway Jr.

Knicks Notes: LeBron, Jack, Hardaway Jr.

J.R. Smith, who spent three and half seasons with New York, can’t envision LeBron James ever joining the Knicks.

“Nah, don’t think so. Can’t see it [happening],” Smith said of LBJ playing home games in Madison Square Garden (via Peter Botte of The New York Daily News). “But that’s cool, though, man. A lot of cities have tried that already with [a billboard]. But we’ll see what happens.”

James can become a free agent this offseason and he’s seen several billboards recruiting him to cities that Cavs are visiting, including one reading “King of New York? Prove it.” that was put up last week in the Big Apple.

Dwyane Wade was also recently asked about LBJ’s chances of coming to the Knicks, responding simply with “good luck.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • Jarrett Jack deserves credit for showcasing professionalism with the Knicks and being a mentor to the team’s younger players, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The veteran has been helping the team’s stable of young point guards while trying to refrain from being overbearing. “If somebody kept the training wheels on your bike the whole time you would never know what it’s like when they take them off,” Jack said. “Sometimes you got to let them balance on their own, push them down the hill a little bit and see what happens.”
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s contract has been a topic of debate since his four-year, $72MM deal last summer. However, he’s had a solid season and one anonymous scout tells Fred Kerber of the New York Post that he doesn’t believe the financials are hindering the Knicks. “Forget the name,” the scout said. “If I said you could sign a young, athletic wing who averaged 15 points on a playoff team [Atlanta], would you?”
  • As we relayed earlier today, current Knicks point guard Trey Burke finished third in voting for the G League’s 2017/18 MVP award.

Atlantic Notes: Hardaway Jr., Hornacek, Harris, Larkin, DeRozan

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek allowed Tim Hardaway Jr. to draw up a play against the Hornets this past Monday. Hornacek’s trust in Hardaway to man the clipboard — even for one play — was a boost to their relationship, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.

Berman notes that Hardaway is believed to have interest in coaching after his playing days. In the interim, Hardaway appreciated having Hornacek’s trust and the effort he has put into developing the team.

“He’s doing a great job in a tough situation,’’ Hardaway said. “Coaches are in a tough situation too. It’s easy for him to fold as well. He’s continuing to develop us as ballplayers, continuing to encourage us on both ends of the floor, especially in practice, continuing to have that killer instinct and mentality to instill in the ball club. We appreciate that and we’ll keep on fighting for him.’’

Check out more Atlantic Division notes down below:

  • As the Knicks tried to lure free agents to New York City, the messy breakup with Phil Jackson and the triangle offense was likely a hindrance to that goal, Hornacek told reporters, including ESPN’s Ian Begley. “I think it probably was,” Hornacek said. “I think we truly believed that we could blend it [into Hornacek’s preferred offense]. And we found out that probably wasn’t great.” Hornacek added that a healthy Kristaps Porzingis and a young core of talent will be the Knicks’ strongest recruiting pitch.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe looked at 10 things he likes and dislikes around the league and Nets‘ sharpshooter Joe Harris is one thing he likes. Harris’ journey from being released by the Cavaliers to becoming a scoring machine in Brooklyn has him lined up to sign a “fat contract” soon, Lowe writes.
  • In a wide-ranging interview with HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy, Celtics guard Shane Larkin discussed his impending free agency, past injuries, and his current stint in Boston. Larkin noted that if possible, he would love to remain in Celtics green. “Obviously going into free agency, you can’t say, “Yeah, this is what’s going to happen.” I love being in Boston and if Boston is the right place for me to be next season, I would be happy to come back and have no hesitation because I love the fans, I love the city and I love everything about it,” he said.
  • DeMar DeRozan has not been scoring as much as he’s accustomed to recently but he and the team are far from concerned, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. DeRozan, instead, has focused on other aspects of the game, such as defense and playmaking. DeRozan joked that he reserves his scoring for emergency situations as he can help the Raptors in other ways.

Knicks Notes: Beasley, Hardaway, Porzingis, Hornacek

Michael Beasley has carried an off-the-court reputation that outweighs his on-court NBA career but he seems to have found a niche with the Knicks. ESPN’s Ian Begley profiled the eccentric former second overall pick, whose personality and performance have become a favorite with his teammates.

Beasley wanted to prove himself so badly this offseason, he left $10MM in guaranteed money from a Chinese basketball team to accept a one-year, $2.1MM deal with the Knicks.

“Yeah, I want a lot of [money]. But I want to prove that I’m the best. The ball will tell you who the best players are, not the contracts, not the media,” Beasley said.

Everyone from childhood friend Kevin Durant to Knicks general manager Scott Perry to opposing coaches speaks glowingly of Beasley and his scoring ability. Conversely, his former and current teammates describe a fun and quirky — sometimes misunderstood — player who memorizes phone numbers and wears wristwatches on his ankle.

“He spends a majority of his time talking to his kids on the phone. He’s a good dude,” Knicks guard Courtney Lee said. “He gets a reputation from stuff that happened in the past, and it still follows him to this day. But he’s not that guy that everybody perceives him to be.”

Check out other Knicks news and notes below:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. took one step closer to immortality earlier this season when Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo jumped over him for a posterizing dunk. The Bucks started selling a shirt of the dunk and Hardaway is ready to move on from the moment, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “That’s back in the past,’’ Hardaway said. “We’re moving on.’’
  • Bucks forward Jabari Parker has suffered a torn ACL twice in his career and he offered up some words of advice to Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis, Berman writes in a separate story.  “For himself, to think about his journey, think about who he is and not thinking about comparisons and looking far outside what’s out of his control,’’ Parker said. “Because then you face doubt on top of the doubt you face with yourself. You never want to seek outside advice for either your confidence or your doubt. I want him to stay in tune, taking it real slow and try to train his body to push himself forward.’’
  • Head coach Jeff Hornacek addressed the NBA’s recent warning to the Bulls about purposely tanking this season. Hornacek said there is a difference between purposely losing and analyzing the current roster, Berman writes. “There’s a difference between tanking and trying to look at the future,’’ Hornacek said. “And we made trades to bring these guys in. We brought Trey in from the G-League and Emmanuel from another team. That’s a totally separate thought process. We’re seeing if they can play for us.’’

Knicks Notes: Burke, Hardaway, Trade Deadline

Trey Burke‘s performance in the two games since signing with the Knicks has given the team a “puzzle” at point guard, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Burke has exhibited instant chemistry with former college teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. and was used to close out Friday’s win in Utah.

“I can just read him on the floor anywhere, especially when he’s coming downhill,’’ Hardaway said. “Yeah, it was immediate. I kind of know his game so well. Even when I wasn’t playing with him the past couple of years, I definitely watched him in Utah, Washington. I still know what he can do on the court, and what he’s able to do both offensively and defensively. It felt like old times.”

The Knicks are giving Burke an audition to see if they want to bring him back for next season, Berman notes. The point guard position is unsettled with rookie Frank Ntilikina not ready to be a starter and veteran Jarrett Jack unlikely to return. Ramon Sessions was waived last week, and a trade with the Hornets for Kemba Walker remains a possibility.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Burke turned down a $3MM offer from China and opted to play for the Knicks’ G League affiliate, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “[Knicks GM] Scott Perry, that’s my guy,” Burke said. “He told me he was going to give me an opportunity to come [to Westchester] and start there, and if I do what I do, he’ll give me an opportunity [with the Knicks]. Now we’re here, I just got to continue to get better.”
  • Hardaway has boosted the Knicks’ offense in the four games since returning to the lineup and is determined to make the playoffs, relays Al Iannazzone of Newsday. After missing about six weeks with a stress injury in his left leg, Hardaway is averaging 22 points per game and shooting 52.6% from the field since he started playing again. “I feel like with our group, we have that fire and that desire and in our heart [the goal] is to make the playoffs one hundred percent,” he said. “If we don’t make the playoffs, we’re going to go home in April upset.”
  • Finding a point guard before next month’s trade deadline remains among the Knicks’ priorities, along with a starter at the wing and a rim protector, Iannazzone notes in a separate story. He doesn’t expect the team to get all three, but it will be active in trade talks. He adds that the Knicks want to be aggressive in the 2019 free agent market and won’t be interested in Walker if it means taking one of Charlotte’s expensive, long-term contracts.

New York Notes: Beasley, Hardaway, Burke, LeVert

With Tim Hardaway Jr. back in the fold, Michael Beasley will likely see his role diminish moving forward, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Beasley played 16 minutes on Friday against the Grizzlies, the same night that Hardaway’s long-awaited return took place.

Before Hardaway’s injury, the Knicks’ bench was rotational with Beasley, Lance Thomas, and others seeing the court when the situation called for it. While Beasley played well in Hardaway’s absence, notching a pair of 30+ point outings in that time, he will have to readjust to the role he filled to start the season.

 “Every one of (our bench players) lends us something and it could be situational,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Lance (Thomas) has done a great job defending some of these guys. Prior to when Tim was here, there were nights when Lance didn’t play. There were nights Mike didn’t play. So we’ll probably end up going back to that.”

  • Speaking of Hardway, he notched 16 points in 25 minutes for the Knicks in Friday’s loss. After missing 20 games, it was a welcome sight for the Knicks to have Hardaway back, and he felt much better than he expected, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.
  • The Knicks‘ signing of former lottery pick Trey Burke is official. Burke has arrived in New York and will be in uniform the Knicks’ tilt against the Pelicans, Grey Joyce of the New York Post writes.
  • Quincy Acy got his first start of the season – and second in his 70-game career with the Nets – and played well, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. The veteran center posted eight points, six rebounds, and made a crucial three-pointer late in the game.
  • Caris LeVert has played well in his second NBA season and despite his early shooting struggles, he has shown the Nets the potential of a standout player, Tom Dowd writes in a profile for NBA.com. LeVert, 23, was the 20th overall pick in last year’s draft and after missing most of his rookie season due to injury, he has made great strides in his sophomore campaign.
  • The Nets will file with the NBA to receive a disabled player exception for Jeremy Lin before tomorrow’s deadline, tweets Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Lin went down with a season-ending ruptured patella tendon in his right knee on opening night.

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Ntilikina, Smith, Kanter

Tim Hardaway Jr. was a limited participant in practice today and is optimistic about returning during a six-game road trip that starts January 18, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Hardaway has been sidelined for five weeks by a stress reaction in his left leg, and the Knicks have fallen below .500 without him as an outside scoring threat.

“I was itching to get back for Christmas, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen,” Hardaway said. “I was itching to go home against Miami [Friday], my hometown. It was painful not to be there. I had those two games circled on the calendar.’’

Hardaway was New York’s top free agent addition of the offseason, signing a $71MM deal over four years. He was an important contributor to the team’s fast start, averaging 17.8 points over 21 games before the injury.

There’s more tonight out of New York:

  • Point guards Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith may be linked throughout their careers because of their proximity in the draft, but they are different types of players, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Ntilikina is a defensive standout who has struggled with his shot and ballhandling, and some scouts believe he will eventually be moved to off guard. Smith is outstanding on offense, but has shortcomings on defense. They will meet for the first time Sunday when the Mavericks host the Knicks. “That part of him being aggressive, that’s always interesting to watch,” Ntilikina said of Smith. “That’s the part I have to explore in my game. Something I can learn and take [from him], as I said he’s a great player offensively.”
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is denying a New York Times report that his professed interest in Ntilikina before the draft was a ruse to get the Knicks to pass on Smith, Bondy adds in a separate story. “Not a stunt at all,” Cuban wrote in an email. “We like Frank quite a bit. If Dennis had been selected there was a very good chance we would have taken Frank.” Smith had an awkward pre-draft meeting with the Knicks, Bondy recalls, and he refused to hold an individual workout or share his medical records with the team.
  • After a few months in New York, Enes Kanter feels like he wants to retire as a Knick, relays Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Kanter has excelled since being acquired from the Thunder in the Carmelo Anthony trade, but he has an $18.4MM player option that could determine his future with the team. He said he hasn’t decided if he will exercise it.

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Porzingis, Noah, Hardaway

On the heels of two strong performances, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to find more minutes for rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes. Veteran Jarrett Jack remains the starter with Ntilikina taking over late in games but the team does not want to push him too hard early in his career.

“We’re trying to get him some more minutes,” Hornacek said. “It makes it difficult late in games if he’s going well, he ends up playing a lot of minutes. Maybe we need to give him a break here and there.”

Ntilikina, 19, has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.5 APG for the Knicks in 33 games while flashing his defensive capabilities. The Knicks took a risk drafting Ntilikina out of France with the eighth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The organization envisions him as the eventual full-time point guard. For now, the team will be cautious with his workload. “Not yet,” Hornacek said about giving Ntilikina more minutes. “That’s something we’ll continue to look at it, but for now, no.”

Check out other Knicks news below:

  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ frustration with his recent shooting struggles has spilled over into the referees’ officiating, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.  Porzingis voiced his concern with a lack of called fouls on his shots and described his trick to avoid receiving technical fouls.  “When something like that happens, I look at the ref,’’ Porzingis said. “If I say something I try to delete it and sprint back. When I’m sprinting back, I’m already not thinking about it. That’s how I cut it off at that moment.’’ Porzingis is still averaging a career-best 24.5 PPG but his field goal percentage has dipped to .446%.
  • Joakim Noah received some rare playing time in the Knicks’ win over the Pelicans on Saturday and was appreciative of the minutes, Berman writes in a separate story. While Noah logged just four points and rebounds in 12 minutes, it was a good way to end a road trip that started with a DNP against his former team, the Bulls, in Chicago.
  • It’s no coincidence that a lot of the Knicks’ struggles with winning and scoring started once Tim Hardaway Jr. went down with a phantom stress injury in his left leg, several teammates told Berman of the New York Post. Hardaway was a steady presence, averaging a career-best 17.8 PPG in 21 games. The team continues to hope their starting guard is back sometime in January.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Hardaway, Theis, Holmes, Booker

After both Frank Ntilikina and Jarrett Jack were upstaged by T.J. McConnell in the Knicks‘ Christmas loss to the Sixers, head coach Jeff Hornacek wants both players to be more aggressive, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“We always tell our point guards, if someone is pressuring you, just drive right around them. Don’t wait for them to get into your body and try to make a move,” Hornacek said. “You see when he comes up to get you. That’s that change of pace, that change of speeds, when you go one way then slow down, then speed up. And that’s something that Frank will learn.”

Ntilikina and Jack combined to shoot just 2-for-13 from the field in the loss. Also, the 20-year-old Ntilikina had a rare off night on defense, a part of the young Frenchman’s game that has been lauded thus far. With Jack the incumbent starter, the Knicks do not have much depth at the position, meaning the Knicks will need consistency from both players as the team battles for playoff contention.

Check out other Atlantic Division stories below:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s timetable to return from a stress injury to his left shin remains a mystery, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. The Knicks announced on Wednesday that Hardaway has made progress — which includes on-court activities such as jumping — and that he will be evaluated weekly. The exact severity of Hardaway’s injury remains unclear but the team hopes to have their prized offseason signee back at some point in January.
  • Celtics big man Daniel Theis does not like playing with a protective mask on his face but his recent performance was not impacted by the facial inconvenience, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. Theis grabbed 15 rebounds in the Celtics’ win over the Bulls last Saturday. While he maintains that the mask is bothersome, he said the current one he uses has improved his vision on the court. Theis hopes to play without the mask in three weeks.
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) examined the Sixers’ recent loss to the Raptors. Bodner also highlights the disappearance of Trevor Booker and Richaun Holmes in Philadelphia’s recent skid.

Knicks Notes: Beasley, Jack, Hardaway, Schedule

Michael Beasley has been a pleasant surprise for the Knicks this season, capped off by a pair of 30+ point performances in the team’s last two victories. Less than two years ago, however, Beasley — who had solidified himself as a star in the Chinese Basketball Association — started accepting the fact that he may never play in the NBA again, Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports writes.

Beasley, still just 28 years old, said interest in him two springs ago was limited not due to his talent but issues with his maturity and questionable off-the-court incidents. A call from the Mavericks did not amount to much and it was not until the Rockets — a team Beasley said was not on his radar — agreed to take a look at him in 2016. After an impressive 20-game cameo in Houston followed by a productive season in Milwaukee last year, Beasley proved he can be a useful asset in the NBA.

“If you love to do it, do it. That’s why I play basketball,” Beasley said. “That’s why being in China was so important. When the NBA was no longer a realistic dream, basketball kept me sane. It’s ironic. You have to go halfway across the world to a place you’ve never been to find yourself.”

In 26 games (six starts) this season, the man who dubbed himself a “walking bucket” in the preseason is averaging 10.9 PPG and 4.1 RPG. It has not been an easy road back to success for the former second overall pick; having a wife and kids has changed Beasley’s priorities, which he said motivates his on-court effort.

Check out other news from the Knicks organization below:

  • Much like Beasley, veteran point guard Jarrett Jack has been a welcome addition to a Knicks team currently occupying the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Jack, 34, will play in just his second Christmas Day game on Monday when the Knicks face the Sixers at Madison Square Garden. After a torn ACL in January 2016 put his career in jeopardy, Jack appreciates every game he plays in, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes. “Every day,” Jack said of his appreciation, “because I understand in one game, it could be taken away from you for a substantial amount of time. That’s what happened to me. I don’t take none of it for granted.”
  • While he nurses a stress injury to his left leg, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has not received enough credit for his strong play this season, his father, Tim Hardaway Sr., said to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • Stan Van Gundy voiced a theory this week that the NBA purposely organized the Knicks schedule to include more home games than road games in the early going to help the franchise build confidence. However, an industry source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post the scheduling had to do with the Grammys being hosted at Madison Square Garden in January.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Russell, Hardaway Jr.

The Nets roster boasts two of the top-three 2015 draft picks but neither are currently in the lineup, nor are they expected to be in the near future. Brian Lewis of the New York Post confirms that while D’Angelo Russell is five weeks into his recovery from arthroscopic surgery last month, he’s still a couple of weeks away.

Jahlil Okafor, on the other hand, is out for a different reason. Prior to his acquisition on December 7, Okafor was seldom used by the Sixers, seeing action in just two games for Philly. The big man played for the Nets last week but has been held out since.

I’d hate to put an exact date on [when Okafor will play again]. Depending on how he feels, we’re going day-to-day,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “I’d assume he’s still probably a week-and-a-half or two weeks away from where he feels comfortable out there and be able to play at the pace in which coach Kenny Atkinson and his staff want to play at.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • While they still haven’t released a timetable for his return, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made progress in his recovery from a leg injury, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The swingman can push off of his leg a little bit and will be re-evaluated again next week.
  • The versatile contributions of Delon Wright have served the Raptors well, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. The 25-year-old is long and athletic, capable of both running with the squad and being patient when they need him to be. Wright has averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season.
  • The Celtics have been said to be interested in acquiring Anthony Davis. One C’s writer, however, doesn’t want the club to go all in on the Pelicans‘ superstar. D.J. Bean of NBC Sports Boston writes that giving up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may be too much, especially considering that the Warriors are going to be a formidable contender to seriously compete with over the next few seasons.