Trey Burke

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).

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Burke, Knox, Cap Room

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

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

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

There’s more tonight from New York:

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

New York Notes: Knicks, Butler, Kanter, Nets

Jimmy Butler‘s trade request was made public just two days after Knicks president of basketball operations Steve Mills spoke to fans about building the roster “the right way” and hanging onto the team’s future first-round picks. Since Butler’s initial short list of preferred destinations included the Knicks, there was some initial uncertainty about whether Mills would stick to his public stance or whether the club would get involved in the Butler sweepstakes.

Nearly three weeks later, we appear to have our answer. Within his latest report on the Butler saga, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the Knicks “never called” the Timberwolves about the All-Star swingman. Reports have suggested that upwards of 25 teams have at least inquired on Butler, so the fact that the Knicks never even made a call is a clear indication that they’re sticking to their guns on building the team “the right way.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • As Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Frank Ntilikina vie for the Knicks‘ starting point guard job, no player has separated himself from his competition during the preseason, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. As a result, head coach David Fizdale has yet to finalize any lineup decisions. “What ends up coming out of it is what fits the best,” Fizdale said. “All these guys are competing and nobody is flying out in front. Ultimately the final decider may be what combinations work the best.”
  • Enes Kanter is just 26 years old and has only played in New York for a single season, but the big man is already something of an “elder statesman” in the Knicks‘ locker room, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who explores Kanter’s role as a leader.
  • The Nets‘ odds of landing Kyrie Irving and/or Jimmy Butler in 2019 free agency appear to be dwindling significantly, prompting Brian Lewis of The New York Post to explore the team’s potential Plan B.
  • In an interesting piece, NetsDaily outlines the impact that a corporate decision by Spanish club Barcelona had on a pair of Nets draftees.

Knicks Notes: Vonleh, Ntilikina, Preseason, Durant

Power forward Noah Vonleh may be angling his way onto the Knicks’ opening-night roster, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. V0nleh posted a double-double in a preseason game against the Pelicans on Friday and coach David Fizdale said Vonleh brings a unique skill set. “You can the see guy’s an animal, a lot like Enes [Kanter], but more bouncy. … He’s a beast on the offensive glass,” Fizdale said. “I really think he’s an underrated passer. He really settles us down offensively with the way he can control the game when you throw the ball to him. He really gives us a unique element.” Vonleh signed a one-year, $1.5MM non-guaranteed contract in July and received $100K prior to camp. The contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Fizdale plans to use Frank Ntilikina more at shooting guard with Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke sharing the point, Howie Kussoy of the New York Post writes. The 6’6” Ntilikina gives Fizdale more options at both ends of the floor. “I just think that he brings so much value with his length and his size, and the fact that he can play some point,” Fizdale said. “It’s nice to have him out there with multiple handlers because I can put him on a ‘three’ and feel very comfortable with that, and that’s just a luxury to me.”
  • The team has won all three of its preseason games and Fizdale sees value in that, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets“We’re building habits right now. Winning is a habit. I don’t care … if they decide to play checkers together, pool, ping pong, I want them competing,” Fizdale said.
  • The Knicks’ best hope of landing Kevin Durant in free agency is to sell him on the dream of bringing their downtrodden franchise a championship, Frank Isola of The Athletic opines. Durant still seems unsatisfied with winning back-to-back titles and Finals MVP awards, Isola continues. He also remains sensitive to criticism and could be convinced that he would stand alone from his peers by bringing a title to New York, Isola adds.

Atlantic Rumors: Dinwiddie, Robinson, Irving, Kanter

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has mixed feelings about hearing his name in trade rumors, according to an Associated Press report. Dinwiddie is considered a potential target for the Suns, who are in the market for a point guard. Dinwiddie is playing for the bargain rate of $1.656MM before he enters the free agent market next season, and the Nets have other point guard options, which only fuels the trade talk. “Being in trade rumors all summer I guess is two pieces: I want to be here. I love being here. I’m happy that they didn’t (trade me). On the flip side, the spectrum of teams calling me (meant) obviously I played well,” Dinwiddie said.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks point guard Trey Burke doles out high praise when asked about second-round pick Mitchell Robinson, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. The 7’1” center has dazzled teammates during fall workouts and Burke compares him to a Hall of Famer. “I got a chance to play with him in open gym, and I was shocked a little bit,” Burke said. “His ability to just get a rebound off of the rim, just go right back up and just dunk it, it reminded me of like a young — and this is high praise — it reminded me of like a young Shaquille O’Neal, just skinnier.”
  • Kyrie Irving is trying to downplay the notion that he wants to leave Boston when he becomes a free agent next summer, as he told Celtics.com in comments that were relayed by USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. The Celtics point guard even tossed out the possibility of getting his jersey in the rafters with other franchise greats when he retires. “Obviously it’s everybody else’s job to look forward to my future before I can, so I just really thought it was important to make sure it’s known that this franchise is really built for the next few years of being at the top-tier of teams in the league,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? What more could you ask for from an organization to really elevate your game? When you want to be on the same lineage of greatness as the guys that have come before you, there are times where I have thought about having No. 11 in the rafters, hopefully, one day. That’s a dream.”
  • Another player heading into free agency next summer, center Enes Kanter, reiterated his desire to re-sign with the Knicks, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets“I want to retire here. Nothing has changed,” Kanter said.

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Burke, Lowry, Theis

The Knicks are committed to a long-term rebuilding plan, but a chance to get Jimmy Butler at a bargain price might change their minds, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York was one of three preferred locations Butler gave to Timberwolves officials today when he asked to be traded. The Nets and Clippers, also big-market teams, were the other two.

Knicks president Steve Mills provided a window into the team’s thinking Monday when he said the team wouldn’t give up valuable assets in exchange for a player about to enter free agency. Butler expressed a willingness to re-sign with any of the three teams on his list, although he’s going to want a five-year max deal.

Butler’s impending free agent should help drive down the price and could force Minnesota to take far less than his normal value. Berman suggests Courtney Lee would be part of any offer, along with Tim Hardaway if the Knicks feel good about their chance to attract Kyrie Irving in free agency next summer. Berman warns that their reluctance to part with first-round picks or point guard Frank Ntilikina will make it difficult for the Knicks to get a deal done.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks will have a three-way battle for the starting point guard spot in training camp and Trey Burke is confident that he’ll come out on top, Berman writes in a separate story. Burke, Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay, who all saw significant playing time last season, will be in an open competition for starting honors when camp opens next week. “I think all three point guards go in with the right mentality,” Burke said. “We know we’re going to be competing with each other. We also know we’re on the same team and we’ll be making each other better while we’re competing. That’s win, win, win. We’re all looking forward to it. I know I am.”
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri understands the strong friendship between Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but he doesn’t expect the trade that split up Toronto’s longtime backcourt to have any effect on Lowry’s play, relays Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“That [trade] was a blow to him,” Ujiri said. “I think basketball-wise Kyle is always ready, he’s always going to be ready, he’s training hard and he’ll be ready.”
  • Celtics center Daniel Theis made amazing progress as a 3-point shooter before a meniscus injury cut short his season in March, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Theis was just 5 for 26 [19.2%] from long distance from October to December, but improved to 13 of 32 [40.6%] over the rest of the year. Theis has fully recovered from surgery and is expected to be cleared for all basketball activities by the start of camp.

Few Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates This Fall

Over the summer, NBA teams faced a number of decisions on whether to keep a player and guarantee his salary or waive him and avoid that extra cost. In total, nearly 50 players had some sort of guarantee deadline on their contracts in June, July, and August.

Typically, that pattern continues to some extent in the fall. All NBA contracts for a given year become guaranteed on January 10 (not counting 10-day deals), but several contracts include trigger dates that come before the new year, most frequently around the start of the regular season.

A player with a mid-October salary guarantee date in his contract receives a sizable bonus if he makes his club’s regular season roster, perhaps even having his entire salary guaranteed. If he doesn’t earn a spot on his team’s 15-man squad, he’s waived without getting that guarantee, but has the opportunity to seek a new job elsewhere.

For the 2018/19 league year though, fall salary guarantee dates are scarce. While there are plenty of players on non-guaranteed contracts around the NBA, virtually all of those contracts will remain non-guaranteed until January 10.

According to data from Basketball Insiders and ESPN, the Knicks are one of the few teams carrying players with salary trigger dates this fall. Trey Burke, whose deal is currently partially guaranteed for $100K, will have that partial guarantee bumped to $400K if he remains under contract for the first game of the regular season. Noah Vonleh, on a non-guaranteed contract for now, will receive a $100K partial guarantee if he’s not waived by September 25.

Outside of those two dates, September 1 represents the other deadline of note for salary guarantees. The Thunder and Abdel Nader reportedly agreed to push his guarantee deadline from August 1 to September 1, so Nader – who currently has a $450K partial guarantee – should be in line for a fully guaranteed salary if he’s not waived by Saturday.

Elsewhere, there’s some conflicting info on a pair of Pelicans players. Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins have $100K and $75K partial guarantees, respectively, according to Basketball Insiders. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks indicated this week (via Twitter) that those partial guarantees won’t actually lock in until after September 1. If Okafor remains under contract through October 16, his guarantee would increase to $200K, per Basketball Insiders.

Salary details are still trickling in for some recent signees, and it’s possible that a few more free agent deals between now and the start of the season will feature trigger dates. For now though, there aren’t many salary guarantee deadlines worth keeping an eye on this fall.

Knicks Looking For “Unquestioned Upgrade” If Drafting PG At No. 9

The Knicks didn’t move up in the lottery and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has the team selecting Collin Sexton in his post-lottery mock draft. However, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that they have yet to decide whether the Alabama product is an “unquestioned upgrade” over the point guards already on the roster.

The team selected Frank Ntilikina with the No.8 overall pick last summer. “Frank’s a better defender,’’ one NBA personnel director said. “And Collin can struggle with his shot.’’

New York’s preference is to take a small forward, though Berman notes that’s only the case if prospects are seen as equal. The available prospect with the highest upside may be the pick regardless of the player’s position.

The Knicks also have Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke in-house. Neither appears to be the point guard of the future in New York, though both should be near-locks to make the roster next season.

The option of passing on Sexton might not even present itself, as Alabama coach Avery Johnson believes Sexton will rise in the draft after working out for teams. “Nine range?’’ the former NBA player and coach said. “If they saw what I have seen, I’m not trying to promote my player [because] my reputation is on the line also. But if they’ve seen what I’ve seen, I don’t see how he gets past five.’’

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Hernandez, Mudiay, Kanter

Building a productive relationship with Kristaps Porzingis and devising a plan for his three point guards are among the questions facing new Knicks coach David Fizdale, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Fizdale plans to travel to Latvia in the near future to meet with his franchise player, who is rehabbing his knee injury there.

Juggling the minutes of Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke will be a challenge for the ex-Grizzlies coach, Berman continues. Learning from his mistakes in Memphis, particularly in the way he dealt with veteran center Marc Gasol, is another thing Fizdale must do in order to be a success in New York, Berman adds.

In other Knicks-related news:

  • Former Magic assistant coach Jay Hernandez is a name to watch as Fizdale selects his staff, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. He has a solid reputation in player development and player relationships after working with several NBA players as a trainer, Scotto adds.
  • Mudiay said the coaching change has energized the team, as he told Berman in a separate story. “Nobody has played with him yet over here except Troy Williams. But I’m not the only one excited. Everyone else is, too,’’ he said. Mudiay believes Fizdale, a point guard during his playing days, can help with his development.
  • Center Enes Kanter, who exchanged barbs with LeBron James this season, playfully challenged the Cavaliers superstar to sign with the Knicks during a Twitter Q&A session, Ian Begley of ESPN relays. “You really want to be king of New York? Come and prove it. I’ll see you July 1st, brother,” Kanter said in the Twitter video. James is expected to opt out of his contract this summer but the Knicks are an extreme long shot, considering their salary-cap issues and their rebuilding status.