Trey Burke

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, McConnell, Celtics, Burke

As Frank Ntilikina has fallen out of the Knicks‘ rotation, a handful of other teams around the NBA have been linked to the second-year guard, with the Magic, Suns, and Grizzlies among the clubs said to have shown some interest in Ntilikina.

Ian Begley of ESPN.com added another name to that list over the weekend, reporting (via Twitter) that the Nets have also expressed interest in the Knicks guard. Brooklyn already has a pair of solid point guards – Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell – in its backcourt, but both players will be free agents at season’s end, while Ntilikina remains under team control through 2021.

However, if the Nets did inquire on Ntilikina, it sounds like they were just doing its due diligence — a team source tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post that Brooklyn has no interest in acquiring the former eighth overall pick from the crosstown Knicks.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Appearing last week on The Russillo Show, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned that he’s “very confident” the Sixers could have acquired a first-round pick in exchange for T.J. McConnell within the last few weeks, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. Wojnarowski had previously reported that the 76ers weren’t looking to move McConnell. Woj is obviously more plugged in than any other NBA reporter, so it’s hard to doubt his intel, but I’d have to think that there’s a catch here — perhaps the pick would have been heavily protected, or the Sixers would have had to take on some salary.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton explores the Sixers‘ options with Markelle Fultz, writing that the team doesn’t have to make a decision on the former No. 1 overall pick right away, with the trade deadline still two months off.
  • While the Celtics still have an enviable collection of assets to put in play if they take a big swing on the trade market, the value of some of those assets has depreciated a little this season, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report details. Boston’s first-round picks from the Kings, Clippers, and Grizzlies may not be as valuable as initially anticipated, given how those teams have performed, and Jaylen Brown has taken a step back in his development so far.
  • Trey Burke sustained a mild MCL sprain on Saturday and will be re-evaluated sometime this weekend, the Knicks announced today (via Twitter). Earlier today, we passed along some comments Burke made about his upcoming free agency.

Trey Burke Discusses Upcoming Free Agency

Facing unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2018/19 season, Trey Burke would like to remain with the Knicks, but knows he might not have that option depending on which direction the club goes at point guard. Burke acknowledged as much during a conversation with Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

“I know how the business goes and if that is not an option, you’re always auditioning for other teams. But personally, on record, I want to be here in New York City,” Burke said. “You just never know, man. You never know in this league. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket because it is a business at the end of the day.”

Burke, who is currently sidelined with a knee sprain, has started five games for the Knicks this season, but has recently settled into a backup role behind Emmanuel Mudiay. Even coming off the bench, the former Michigan standout has been impressive, averaging 25.8 points per game in 28.1 MPG during one four-game stretch a couple weeks ago.

While he’s a few years older than fellow point guards Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina, Burke tells Bondy that he doesn’t feel like he has a ton of mileage on his body at age 26, pointing to a couple seasons where he “didn’t play much.” Burke, who says he’s making an effort to become a better defender this year, also acknowledges that he’s trying to “stay in the moment” rather than looking ahead to his free agency. However, he’s curious about what next summer will bring.

“Obviously, it is on my mind,” Burke said. “It’s an exciting time, but at the same time I’m just trying to first of all just get back on the court and second of all be the best version I can be to help this team win. I think when you win and when you are personally excelling in your role, I think that’s a plus. But I think when you win, teams look at that more than anything.”

Over at The New York Post, Marc Berman observes that Mudiay is making a case to receive consideration as part of the Knicks’ long-term plans at point guard, given his recent play. However, as both Bondy and Berman note, Mudiay would have a sizable cap hold ($12.88MM) as a restricted free agent at season’s end, which could complicate the Knicks’ offseason salary cap situation. Burke’s minimum-salary cap hold would be much easier to keep on the books during free agency if New York wants to go after Kevin Durant or other big-name targets.

Of course, the Knicks’ long-term decision at point guard won’t just come down to Mudiay vs. Burke. Ntilikina remains under team control for multiple seasons, and it’s possible the club will use its cap flexibility to fortify the position with an established veteran, via trade or free agency. Berman writes that some people around the NBA believe the Knicks are stocking up assets to make a play for Wizards guard John Wall, though Wall doesn’t seem like an ideal target for the franchise, given his unfavorable contract.

New York Notes: Lee, Burke, Knox, Dinwiddie

Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee expects to be cleared for full practice this weekend, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Lee has yet to make his season debut after straining his neck during training camp. He participated in limited contact drills last Friday. Getting Lee back on the court would allow the Knicks to showcase him for a potential trade. They have been exploring trades for Lee but he has drawn very little interest. Lee, who is making $12,253,780 this season, is signed through next season.

We have more on the Knicks and Nets:

  • Trey Burke‘s hot streak off the bench has clouded the Knicks’ point guard outlook while enhancing his trade value, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. Burke has averaged 25.8 PPG over the past four games, forcing his way into the rotation after being benched three of the previous four games. Burke is competing with Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina for minutes. His $1.8MM contract doesn’t even become fully guaranteed until January 10th and he’ll be a free agent after the season. He could be moved for a draft pick if the team’s brass doesn’t view him as part of its future, Berman adds.
  • Draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson are coming off the bench at the moment but coach David Fizdale said he’s still searching for the right combination in the starting five, Berman relays in a separate story. Knox would prefer to start and Robinson was in the starting five until Fizdale went back to veteran center Enes Kanter this week. “We have so many young guys and we’re trying to find out strengths and tendencies and the suffering that comes with it because you’re doing that when you’re losing, figuring it out,’’ Fizdale said. “We’re trying to get to know these guys. Hopefully in the next week or two, we’ll start to get to know them better and settle in and maybe that will help us.”
  • Spencer Dinwiddie bristled at coming off the bench during the second half of last season, but the Nets point guard settled into that role this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Dinwiddie, a free agent next summer, is averaging 14.9 PPG and 4.8 APG and could be a candidate for the Sixth Man award. “Any time your role changes drastically during the season, you have to adjust,” Dinwiddie told Lewis. “I knew what it was coming into [this] season, so it’s easy when you’ve got all summer and all that other stuff to know what your role is going to be. There wasn’t an adjustment; I already knew what time it was.”

Knicks Notes: Knox, Lee, Burke, Jenkins

The Knicks had some concerns about Kevin Knox‘s motor heading into the 2018 NBA draft, and while they were thrilled to land the young forward with the ninth overall pick, those concerns continue to linger 10 games into his NBA career, writes Mike Mazzeo of The New York Post.

According to head coach David Fizdale, the Knicks are working on that aspect of Knox’s game, showing him moments on film where he could have made a cut, run harder, or done something else with his athleticism. For his part, Knox agrees that there’s room for improvement in that area.

“That’s something I’m working on,” Knox said of his motor, per Mazzeo. “A lot of people told me that coming out of college, but that’s not something that’s going to fix overnight. I have to get in shape, get conditioning, compete every day in practice. I think most of it is just competing offensively and defensively. But there’s games when my motor is good, I just got to get it consistent and play at a high level.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Fizdale hasn’t hesitated to shake up his starting lineup in the early going this season, having already gone through five different lineups in 17 games. With the Knicks mired in a five-game losing streak, more changes may be coming to the starting lineup soon, writes Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • Courtney Lee, who continues to recover from a neck issue, started doing contact drills this week and is getting closer to returning to action, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Lee figures to be a prime candidate this winter if he’s healthy.
  • Knicks point guard Trey Burke has changed agents, having hired Sam Permut of Roc Nation Sports for representation, per Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Burke, who is playing on a minimum salary contract this season, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
  • John Jenkins was waived by New York last month after spending training camp with the club, but he has looked great in the G League for the Westchester Knicks, averaging 29.6 PPG with a scorching .526/.528/.949 shooting line. He’d love to get a shot to join the Knicks’ NBA roster, as he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. “Anywhere I can get a real opportunity and chance to play at this stage of my career,” Jenkins said. “It would be great to be in the Knicks uniform and play at Madison Square Garden. That’s a dream come true for a lot of kids. They’re the team I want to play for. Hopefully I can make that happen.”

Knicks Notes: Hezonja, Burke, Robinson, Trier

A cutback in minutes could ruin Mario Hezonja‘s return to Orlando on Sunday, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Hezonja, who spent three years with the Magic before signing with the Knicks over the summer, got his first DNP of the season last night in a loss to the Pelicans.

Hezonja has been the victim of an evolving rotation in New York, along with his own inconsistent play. He’s shooting just .397 from the field and a career-worst .280 from 3-point range.

“That’s just how the rotation is where it’s at,” coach David Fizdale said after the game.Trey [Burke] didn’t play [in two games] and he scored 24 for me tonight. I tell all the guys stay ready, it’s a revolving door. Everyone will get a chance to help our team. I think [Hezonja] will.’’

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Burke credits a change in attitude for Friday night’s scoring outburst, Berman relays in a separate story. He hadn’t shown the explosiveness that helped earn him a rotation spot after being signed from the G League last season, and says he wasn’t driving to the basket enough. “[I was] being conservative, letting the game come to me,’’ Burke said. “Not attacking immediately. Naturally I’m a scoring point guard. When I attack it’s not always for me to score, it creates for others to. I wasn’t doing that.”
  • Rookie center Mitchell Robinson showed off his shot-blocking prowess last night with seven rejections in 24 minutes, Berman adds in another piece. He ranks fourth in the league in blocks per 36 minutes at 3.7 and gets many of those with his left hand, a fact that his high school coach, Butch Stockton, takes credit for. “I taught him that,’’ Stockton said. “When he was in high school with us, I always stressed to him to block shots with his left hand. Most people you play against are right-handed. Mitchell can always spring better with his left hand up. His senior year he was the best shot-blocker in the country.’’
  • Two days after unveiling a new starting lineup, Fizdale changed it again in New Orleans, Berman tweets. The latest move involves rookie Allonzo Trier, who was inserted into the starting five in place of Noah Vonleh.

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: Burke, Carroll, Ainge, Porzingis

Knicks guard Trey Burke didn’t see any action in the team’s game against the Hawks on Wednesday, catching the 25-year-old by surprise. Burke. a six-year NBA veteran, has averaged 9.5 points per game in 11 contests this season.

“I’m just as surprised as everyone else,’’ Burke said, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’m going to continue to stay ready and control what I can control.”

Knicks coach David Fizdale opted to use Emmanuel Mudiay more instead of Burke, who rooted for his team from afar. Mudiay registered 11 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. For Burke, the sudden adjustment won’t change what he’s been doing throughout his career: Staying ready, waiting for his opportunity.

“I’m a competitor,’’ Burke said. “I’m ready to go every single game to help this team win. Of course it was frustrating but you can’t show that. I’ve been through the fire in this league. At this point, nothing can break me. Nothing can make me fold. I got to stick to what I’ve been doing. My faith will get me through all this. It has before and will again. If the opportunity presents itself again, I’ll be ready.’’

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets forward DeMarre Carroll expects to make his season debut on Friday against the Nuggets, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Carroll has missed the team’s first 11 games due to right ankle arthroscopic surgery. The Nets are officially listing him as “probable” for the game.
  • Danny Ainge doesn’t imagine retiring in the near future, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Ainge has served as the Celtics’ president and general manager for over a decade, and explained that he loves his current job. Ainge has constructed several contending teams during his 10 years with the organization, a list that will likely include this season’s roster.
  • There’s still no timetable in place for Kristaps Porzingis‘ eventual return, according to Steve Popper of Newsday.com. Porzingis tore his ACL in February and could miss the rest of the season depending on how his rehab goes. He’s made some appearances at Knicks games and practices, offering support to his teammates and coaches.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Kanter, Dudley, LeVert

Frank Ntilikina scored a career-high 17 points Friday in his first NBA start at point guard, leaving the Knicks with some decisions to make, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New coach David Fizdale adjusted his lineup, replacing Trey Burke with Ntilikina and starting rookie Mitchell Robinson along with Noah Vonleh up front and Damyean Dotson at the wing.

“He ran the show, picked his spots,’’ Fizdale said of Ntilikina’s performance. “He didn’t pass up much. I really thought he got after it defensively and competed hard. The guy was playing against one of those special, once-in-a-lifetime talents [Warriors guard Stephen Curry]. I thought he really did a solid job against that.”

Burke started the season’s first five games, but prompted the change with a 1-for-10 shooting night Wednesday. The point guard picture should become more crowded next week when Emmanuel Mudiay is expected to make his season debut after recovering from a sprained ankle. Berman suggests that the Knicks may be realizing that they won’t get a top point guard in free agency and are revisiting the idea of developing Ntilikina at that position.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Enes Kanter doesn’t seem to be on board with the Knicks‘ new lineup, Berman adds in a separate story. Kanter is normally talkative with the media, but he didn’t have much to say after losing his starting job Friday. It marked Kanter’s first appearance in a reserve role since being traded to New York before the start of last season. “Coach said he wants me to lead the second unit,” he told reporters. “I’m just leading the second unit.’’ Kanter had a chance to leave the Knicks over the summer, but elected to opt in for the final year of his contract.
  • The Nets traded for Jared Dudley to help mentor their young players, but coach Kenny Atkinson says he’s learning things from the 12-year veteran as well, relays Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. “And for the coach too, right,” Atkinson responded when asked about Dudley’s impact on the team. “The young coach, he’s been in the league longer than I have. I learn things from him every day … his spirit and his enthusiasm and he’s a positive dude.”
  • Caris LeVert promises better times are ahead for long-suffering Nets fans. In an interview with Steve Serby of The New York Post, LeVert expressed confidence that the team has turned the corner. “I think in years past, a lot of people were kind of mocking Nets fans, and Nets players and things like that, but I think those days are over,” he said. “We’re becoming a good team, somebody that people have to respect.”

Knicks Notes: Burke, Porzingis, Noah, Ntilikina

Trey Burke is poised to open the season as the Knicks‘ starting point guard, which means he’s in line to lock in a partial guarantee on his salary for 2018/19. According to Basketball Insiders’ salary data, Burke’s $1,795,015 salary for the coming season is mostly non-guaranteed, with only a modest $100K partial guarantee. However, as long as Burke remains on the roster through the club’s first game of the regular season, that guarantee increases to $400K.

It’s safe to say that Burke has secured that $400K. As for whether he guarantees the rest of his ’18/19 salary, that won’t happen until January 10. The Knicks like what they see from the former ninth overall pick though, so unless he has an awful start to the season, it’d be surprising to see Burke waived before the rest of his contract becomes guaranteed.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • It wasn’t surprising that Monday’s rookie scale extension deadline passed without a new deal in place for Kristaps Porzingis. After all, Porzingis continues to recover from an ACL tear and the Knicks can maximize their 2019 cap flexibility by waiting to re-sign him. However, GM Scott Perry‘s response when asked if Porzingis was fine with his contract situation was a little curious, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “That’s a question you’d have to ask him,” said Perry, who had previously stressed that both sides were on the same page.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News also notes (via Twitter) that Perry called the Knicks’ extra 2019 cap room a “byproduct” of not extending Porzingis, implying that it wasn’t the club’s primary reason for waiting on a deal. While this may simply be a case of Knicks reporters reading too much into a couple off-hand comments, Porzingis’ restricted free agency next summer will be interesting to monitor.
  • Perry said on Tuesday that he spent “a lot of time” trying to find a trade involving Joakim Noah before waiving him outright, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. However, Perry was dead set against giving up any first-round picks, making a deal a long shot.
  • Head coach David Fizdale has high hopes for second-year guard Frank Ntilikina on the defensive end, as Howie Kussoy of The New York Post relays. “Frank’s going to guard everybody. You can already see where I’m going with him,” Fizdale said. “With Frank, I’m trying to develop a first-team all-defender.”

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Carroll, Bulls, Cavs, Howard

Trey Burke will be the Knicks‘ starting point guard to open the season, but Frank Ntilikina also earned a job in the starting five, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Head coach David Fizdale, who indicated in camp that starting jobs would be based on merit, rewarded Ntilikina for his strong fall, and hopes the decision to bring Kevin Knox off the bench will motivate the rookie (Twitter link via Begley).

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • DeMarre Carroll will undergo a surgical procedure on his injured ankle, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters today (Twitter link via Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily). Atkinson downplayed the seriousness of that procedure, but didn’t offer a timetable for Carroll’s return (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post).
  • The Bulls joined the ever-growing list of NBA teams that wear a sponsored advertisement on their jerseys, announcing on Tuesday that they’ve partnered with eyewear company Zenni Optical, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details. The Bulls and Zenni Optical reached an agreement on a five-year partnership, which will involve various market elements in addition to the new ad patch on Chicago’s uniforms.
  • A pair of Cavaliers trade exceptions expired when they went unused on Monday. The exceptions were modest — one created by trading Richard Jefferson last October was worth $2.5MM, while the other, created by trading Kay Felder, was worth approximately $1.3MM.
  • Although Dwight Howard‘s status for opening night remains unclear, the new Wizards center practiced in full on Monday for the first time, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link).