Trevor Keels

Trevor Keels Signs Two-Way Contract With Knicks

Trevor Keels, the 42nd pick of last month’s draft, has signed a two-way contract with the Knicks, the team announced (via Twitter).

The news was anticipated, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported last month that Keels was likely to receive a two-way contract once Jericho Sims was promoted to a standard deal, which occurred yesterday. New York’s two-way slots are now full, with Feron Hunt occupying the other.

Keels was one of the youngest players in the draft at just 18 years old and won’t turn 19 until late next month. He spent a single college season at Duke, averaging 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 36 games (30.2 minutes per contest).

At 6’4″ and 221 pounds, Keels is a combo guard, with some scouts questioning his conditioning, which may have impacted his draft status. He was considered a fringe first-round pick but ultimately fell to the middle of the second round.

Another knock against Keels was his efficiency, as he posted a .419/.312/.670 shooting line with the Blue Devils. That has carried over to Summer League action thus far, with Keels shooting just 3-18 through a couple of games.

However, Keels is young, physically strong, and considered a versatile player on both ends of the court, with a knack for making good decisions. He was also a highly-touted prospect entering college and was the third-leading scorer on a stacked Duke team that reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

If Keels remains on a two-way deal for all of 2022/23, he’ll earn about $509K, be limited to 50 games in the regular season and ineligible for the postseason. He will need to be promoted to a standard contract at some in order to be playoff-eligible.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Keels, Grimes, Gibson

The Knicks are expected to add Jalen Brunson via cap space rather than trying to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Brunson agreed to a four-year, $104MM contract with New York shortly after the start of free agency on June 30. But the signing hasn’t been made official yet as the Knicks review their options on the best way to add him to the roster.

Marc Stein confirms that a signing using cap room is the most likely option (Twitter link), and a source tells him that Monday is probably the soonest it will happen.

Brunson played an important role in helping Dallas reach the Western Conference finals, but Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tells Steve Popper of Newsday there are “no hard feelings” about his departure. Cuban said he never got a chance to make a final offer, but acknowledged that it may not have mattered given Brunson’s close ties to the Knicks organization.

“I wish him nothing but the best,” Cuban said. “You bust your [butt] and you have that choice. He deserves it. It happens. It’s the way this league works. It’s a business. You trade a player, you say it’s a business. You lose a player, it’s a business. It’s just the way it goes.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Trevor Keels, who’s expected to fill a two-way slot in New York, admits having “chills” before his first Summer League game, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. After sliding to No. 42 in last month’s draft, Keels is determined to prove that he should have been taken higher. “I didn’t think I was going to [get drafted] that low. But it is what it is,” he said. “Of course, I’m going to make sure all the teams pay that passed up on me. But I’m excited I’m a Knick. I wouldn’t change it for anything.” 
  • Quentin Grimes had eight assists along with a team-high 24 points in the Summer League opener and has been working on becoming a better play-maker, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. For the second straight year, Grimes spent part of the offseason working with University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway“He’s kind of like a big uncle to me,” Grimes said. “Just took me under his wing and helped me play the point guard position a lot better. Because that’s what I was in high school.”
  • After waiving Taj Gibson this week, the Knicks were hoping to bring him back on a veteran’s minimum contract, but he believed he had a better chance at playing time with the Wizards, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Jericho Sims Signs Three-Year Deal With Knicks

JULY 9, 9:03pm: The new deal with Sims is official, the Knicks announced (via Twitter).


JULY 7, 11:58am: Sims’ new three-year deal will be worth a little under $6MM, according to Katz (Twitter link). A three-year minimum contract would be worth $5.66MM, so if it’s above the minimum, it’s not by much.

Half the contract is currently guaranteed, Katz adds. There are trigger dates in 2023 and 2024 that would make years two and three fully guaranteed.


JULY 7, 11:39am: The Knicks will promote big man Jericho Sims to their standard roster, having agreed to terms with him on a new three-year contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sims spent the 2021/22 season on a two-way deal.

The 58th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Sims played in 41 Knicks games as a rookie, averaging 2.2 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 13.5 minutes per contest. He moved into the team’s starting lineup for five games down the stretch, registering his first career double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds) during the last week of the season vs. Brooklyn.

While the Knicks are trading away Nerlens Noel, the team fortified its frontcourt by re-signing Mitchell Robinson and agreeing to a deal with Isaiah Hartenstein. Sims will provide additional depth up front.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported last month that the Knicks would likely negotiate a standard contract with Sims, clearing a path for second-rounder Trevor Keels to take the newly opened two-way slot. Fred Katz of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that Keels remains on track to get a two-way deal.

The exact terms of Sims’ new deal aren’t known, but it will likely be a minimum-salary contract or something close to it. The third year will be a team option, per Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).

As Katz tweets, the Knicks will complete the signing using either some leftover cap room or part of their mid-level exception, depending on whether or not they end up turning their deal with Jalen Brunson into a sign-and-trade.

Atlantic Rumors: Tucker, Sixers, Knicks, Robinson, Nets

With free agency still two days away, rumors about P.J. Tucker landing in Philadelphia continue to percolate. After Marc Stein reported earlier in the week that multiple executives believe the Sixers will sign Tucker to a three-year, $30MM contract, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer conveys a similar sentiment today.

According to Pompey, three sources believe Tucker to the 76ers is a “done deal,” while a fourth source said he’d be shocked if the veteran forward doesn’t end up in Philadelphia. Sources tell Pompey that Tucker’s three-year deal with the Sixers, assuming it materializes, could be worth $27MM with incentives that increase the value to $30MM.

The Sixers still need to do some cap work in order to realistically make that kind of offer to Tucker. If James Harden turns down his $47MM+ player option and agrees to a lesser first-year salary on a new contract, the team could create the cap flexibility necessary to use its full mid-level exception on Tucker. But Harden is expected to opt in and then sign an extension, which means Philadelphia would have to shed some salary. Furkan Korkmaz ($5MM), Matisse Thybulle ($4.4MM), and Georges Niang ($3.5MM) are among the club’s potential trade candidates.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Knicks are considering converting Jericho Sims‘ two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. If that occurs, second-round pick Trevor Keels would likely receive a two-way pact. Both moves were considered likely as of Tuesday afternoon, Begley writes.
  • Within the same story, Begley says he expects the Knicks to give strong consideration to re-signing Taj Gibson if they waive him this week as part of their cap-clearing efforts.
  • The four-year, $48MM contract Robert Williams signed with Boston last fall is viewed by rival executives as a fair comparable for Mitchell Robinson, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who suggests the Knicks likely wouldn’t want to go much higher than that to retain Robinson this summer.
  • The Nets are expected to give David Duke a prominent role in summer league games next month and will give him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in 2022/23, sources tell Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. Duke received a two-way qualifying offer from Brooklyn, as we relayed earlier today.

Pacers Notes: Warren, Taylor, Sharpe, Keels

T.J. Warren has only appeared in four games over the past two seasons but he could still bring value to the Pacers, even if he’s not on the team next season, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Warren will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but Indiana could sign-and-trade him to a team coveting his services. Warren has averaged 15.5 PPG in his career.

We have more on the Pacers:

  • Pacers assistant Bryce Taylor has been named an assistant coach for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Germany, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files reports. Taylor, 35, played in Germany and Italy before retiring prior to this past season.
  • Projected lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe worked out for the Pacers on Monday and feels he could be a difference-maker if they use the No. 6 selection on him, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star tweets. “I know that (the Pacers are) a great organization, love to develop their players,” he said. “I feel like I could come in and be that go-to guy.”
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels will work out for the team on Tuesday, Boyd adds in another tweet. Keels is a candidate for the Pacers’ second-round selection at No. 31. That’s exactly where the Blue Devils’ wing is rated on ESPN’s Best Available list. As previously reported, center Kai Sotto is also visiting on Tuesday.

Hornets Notes: Atkinson, Workouts, Keels, Arena Upgrades

Kenny Atkinson could become the Hornets‘ next head coach by the end of the upcoming week, a source tells Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, though he cautions that the team still hasn’t reached a final decision. A report on Friday identified Atkinson as the frontrunner for the job, and Boone indicates that momentum for him has been building since last month’s draft combine.

Atkinson has been tied up with his duties as an assistant coach for the Warriors, but with three days between Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, he should have time for a face-to-face meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Boone notes that an in-person session with Jordan was the last step before James Borrego was hired four years ago.

The Hornets are intrigued by Atkinson’s experience, history of developing young players and emphasis on defense, Boone adds. The Finals could last through June 19, which would limit Atkinson’s input into preparations for the June 23 draft. According to Boone, Borrego’s former assistants are working behind the scenes and are waiting to see if they will be part of the new coach’s staff.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets welcomed six players today for a pre-draft workout, according to a tweet from the team. On hand were Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler, Miami’s Kameron McGusty, Providence’s Justin Minaya, Memphis’ Josh Minott, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Arkansas’ JD Notae. On Friday, Charlotte hosted St. Bonaventure’s Jalen Adaway, Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr., Michigan’s Moussa Diabate, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson and Creighton’s Alex O’Connell (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels talked to Boone about the pre-draft process following a workout with the Hornets on Wednesday. Keels is enjoying the chance to meet with interested teams and compete with players he’s never faced before, but he said the experience can be a grind. “I think guys think the pre-draft process is easy,” he said. “You are working every day, keeping your body right. There is only 58 picks and there are hundreds of guys trying to hear their name called and get an opportunity. So you’ve got to work every day.”
  • The Hornets would get $215MM in upgrades to the Spectrum Center along with a new $60MM practice facility in a proposal being considered by the city of Charlotte, per Genna Contino of The Charlotte Observer. The deal would require the team to extend its lease with the city an additional 15 years through 2045.

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

Projected First-Round Pick Trevor Keels Staying In Draft

Duke freshman Trevor Keels has decided to remain in the 2022 NBA draft, a source told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). Keels is currently No. 27 on ESPN’s big board, so he has a chance to be a first-round pick.

In 36 games (30.2 MPG) for the Blue Devils, the guard averaged 11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 1.2 SPG on .419/.312/.670 shooting. At just 18 years old, Keels is one of the youngest prospects in the draft.

Keels, who worked out for the Hornets earlier today (Twitter link), was torn on whether or not to return to Duke for his sophomore season, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Keels’ indecision makes a lot of sense, because as a potential late first-round pick, there’s a real chance he could fall to the second round and not receive any guaranteed money, so he must be reasonably confident about being selected in the top 30.

Mike Schmitz of ESPN describes Keels as a “skilled two-way combo guard with a strong foundational skill set” and praises his toughness on defense as well. However, Schmitz adds that there are questions about his motor and notes that he had a lot of ups and downs during his lone college season.

Remarkably, there’s a chance that five of Duke’s top six rotation players could be first-rounders in ’22, as Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, and Mark Williams are all projected lottery picks, while Keels is 27th and Wendell Moore is 36th.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, “Shadow Heat,” Bam

The Magic, owners of the top pick as well as the Nos. 32 and 35 selections in the 2022 draft, interviewed a variety of players at the pre-draft combine, have hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts, and are expected to host several others as they do their due diligence with an eye towards the future.

Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel lists all the players the Magic are doing their homework on, including Duke guard Trevor Keels, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr., and more.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets, who possess the Nos. 13 and 15 picks in the upcoming draft, are hosting UT-Arlington forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton, LSU forward Tari Eason, North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith, SMU forward Marcus Weathers, and Connecticut forward Isaiah Whaley for a pre-draft workout today, per Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The Heat‘s young deep-bench players, a.k.a. the “Shadow Heat,” are gearing up for a summer of development, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman notes that the Miami front office brain trust of Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg, and Adam Simon have made it a habit to add intriguing youngsters near the end of the regular season, letting them work out with the team during the end of the year and the postseason ahead of hopeful Summer League success. The Heat have hit on solid role players this way in the past, and hope to do so again with Haywood Highsmith and two-way players Mychal Mulder and Javonte Smart. That trio has been traveling with the club as it continues its playoff run. “I think that gives you invaluable experience, any time you can be a part of a playoff run,” said Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven, who underwent a similar late-season development process last year.
  • Though Heat All-Defensive Team center Bam Adebayo has had a relatively modest offensive output in the team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics thus far, the team assesses his production beyond just the box score, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Adebayo is averaging just 13.3 PPG in the series.

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)