Knicks Rumors

New York Notes: Knox, Fizdale, Nets Signings, G League

The Knicks enter the upcoming season with a roster filled with young players and a mix of veterans on one-year deals. It remains to be seen how the roster shakes out but one of those youngsters, Kevin Knox, is excited about how early practices have gone.

Speaking at a recent event, Knox praised the team’s current group and how competitive everyone has been, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“Very competitive practices so far,’’ Knox said. “You can tell all the guys are hungry and looking forward to training camp. A lot of guys have been impressive. You can tell a lot of guys have been working on their games all summer. I watched a lot those guys playing on TV last year. Everyone’s game has gotten a lot better. I can’t wait to get to training camp and jell together.”

Knox mentioned that head coach David Fizdale has mentioned that no starting spots are locked up at this point in time. Thus, competitive battles for playing time figure to persist.

Check out more notes on the New York squads:

  • While the Knicks did not land a superstar free agent, Knox noted that seeing their crosstown rival Nets do so is adding fuel to the team’s fire, writes Newsday’s Steve Popper. “You’ve got people always saying the Knicks and the Nets,” Knox said. “Of course they got two superstars. That’s just fuel to the fire for us. Like [coach David Fizdale] told us all in a group message, put your head down and just go out and play hard for one another. That’s kind of been our motto this whole summer.”
  • Entering the season, there are a lot of pressing question on how the Knicks will approach their aforementioned roster. The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov examines seven burning questions on the upcoming season, including the development of their young players.
  • The Nets’ G League affiliate Long Island Nets announced a series of staff hires for the team, per a press release.

Contract Bonus Notes: Nene, KCP, Randle, Jones

Veteran big man Nene officially signed his new contract with the Rockets back on September 6, but the NBA has yet to formally approve the deal, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). Sources tell Marks that the league has been discussing internally whether it should disapprove of the incentives in the agreement, which create a $10MM trade chip despite the fact that Nene will likely only be paid about $2.56MM.

The NBA has the right to challenge deals that it believes violate the spirit of rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, even if those deals are technically legal based on what’s written in the CBA. While it seems unlikely that Nene’s deal would be nixed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league looked to adjust the rules related to bonuses and incentives in the future to prevent teams from manipulating a player’s cap hit to such a significant extent.

In the meantime, Nene’s deal is hardly the only one signed this offseason heavy on bonus money. We’ve gone into detail on the incentives included in a handful of other contracts, such as the ones signed by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but Marks has even more details on bonuses available to players around the NBA this year.

We won’t pass along every single note included in Marks’ article, but here are a few of the noteworthy new bonuses worth watching in 2019/20:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can earn three separate $350K bonuses if he averages 1.85 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game this season with the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope’s new deal also includes a $163K bonus for being named to either All-Defensive team and a $50K bonus if the Lakers reach the Western Finals.
  • Julius Randle‘s contract with the Knicks includes three separate $900K unlikely bonuses that he could earn if he makes the All-Star team, is named to an All-Defensive team, or makes the playoffs (and appears in at least 65 games).
  • Tyus Jones‘ $9.258MM cap hit with the Grizzlies in 2019/20 includes an $858K bonus that has been deemed likely. Jones will earn the bonus if Memphis wins 33 games. If the rebuilding Grizzlies fall short of that mark, Jones’ cap hit for the season will dip to $8.4MM.
  • Maxi Kleber‘s new contract with the Mavericks features a set of four unlikely bonuses that could be worth up to $475K in total. To earn them all, Kleber must make an All-Defensive team ($150K), make at least 80% of his free throws ($75K), make at least 40% of his three-pointers ($150K), and average more than nine rebounds per 36 minutes ($100K).
  • Again, if you’re an ESPN Insider, be sure to check out Marks’ full story for more details on some of the more unusual incentives around the league.

And-Ones: Lineups, Fournier, Roc Nation, Gasol

The league has made a proposal requiring teams to reveal their starting lineups at least 30 minutes prior to tip-off, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. Currently, teams only have to issue their lineups 10 minutes before the start of the game. The move would most likely facilitate wagering, particularly with daily fantasy leagues, who would have more advance knowledge of any lineup changes.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier, who played for bronze-medalist France in the FIBA World Cup, was disappointed that many NBA stars chose to skip the event, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. “To be honest, like, when you look at (LeBron) James, KD (Kevin Durant), all these guys, they came here already, they won,” Fournier said. “Whatever, it’s fine. Friends of mine like Tobias (Harris), I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I don’t think they realize how beneficial this is for their career.”
  • Veteran agent Roger Montgomery has resigned from Roc Nation Sports to focus on other management projects, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. Montgomery negotiated Rudy Gay‘s two-year, $32MM contract with the Spurs and also represented Hornets lottery pick PJ Washington.
  • Marc Gasol showed he’s still an effective player during the World Cup, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. Gasol was the defensive and offensive anchor of Spain’s gold-medal winning team and that provides hope for the Raptors that they can still make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, maligned point guard Frank Ntilikina showed he could be an elite defender for the Knicks with the way he handled Kemba Walker while playing for France.

NBA Teams With Most, Fewest Guaranteed Salaries

At this point in the offseason, the majority of the NBA’s teams are carrying either 13 or 14 players on guaranteed salaries. Teams will have to pare down their rosters to no more than 15 players on standard contracts once the regular season begins, so having 13 or 14 players on guaranteed deals now gives those clubs the flexibility to allow one or two non-guaranteed players to make the team — or to carry an open roster spot into opening night.

However, there are currently a dozen teams around the league carrying fewer than 13 guaranteed salaries or more than 14. With the help of our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2019/20 season nears:

Fewer than 13 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Houston Rockets (10)
  • Miami Heat (12)
  • Toronto Raptors (12)
  • Utah Jazz (12)

With only 10 players on fully guaranteed salaries, the Rockets may have some competition for their final few roster spots in training camp. For now Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark – each of whom have partial guarantees – look like good bets to earn spots, with Ben McLemore perhaps the frontrunner for the 13th spot. Anthony Bennett, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier, William McDowell-White, and Shamorie Ponds are candidates to fill out the roster, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston eventually acquires a veteran or two with its open spots.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Non-Guaranteed Contracts By Team]

Duncan Robinson‘s and Kendrick Nunn‘s partial guarantees put them in good position to earn the Heat‘s 13th and 14th roster spots. The hard-capped club won’t have room for a 15th player to start the season.

Royce O’Neale is a lock to make the Jazz, and Georges Niang seems like a safe bet too. William Howard and Stanton Kidd could be the prime contenders for the 15th spot if Utah wants a full roster.

For the Raptors, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez, veteran point guard Cameron Payne, and returning role players Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller are the top candidates for the final two or three openings on the regular season roster.

More than 14 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Brooklyn Nets (15)
  • Dallas Mavericks (15)
  • Indiana Pacers (15)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (15)
  • New York Knicks (15)
  • Phoenix Suns (15)
  • San Antonio Spurs (15)

The Grizzlies were the only team carrying more than 15 guaranteed salaries, but a buyout agreement with Dwight Howard changed that. If they reach a similar deal – or find a trade – involving Andre Iguodala, their roster count would dip to 14 fully guaranteed contracts.

The Nets, Mavericks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Knicks, Suns, and Spurs could shake things up with roster moves before the season begins, particularly if any of those teams is impressed by a non-guaranteed camp invitee. But for now, their regular season rosters look pretty set with their 15 players on guaranteed salaries.

New York Notes: Thabeet, Ntilikina, Nets, Fein

Free agent center Hasheem Thabeet will once again participate in workouts with the Knicks this week, agent Jerry Dianis tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Thabeet has spent a lot of time around the team lately, having worked out for New York in August and then again during the first week of September.

It remains unclear whether the Knicks are seriously interested in bringing Thabeet to training camp this fall. Currently, New York has a full 20-man roster, though if the team wants to sign the former No. 2 overall pick, it would be easy enough to create a roster spot by releasing a player with a non-guaranteed contract.

The Knicks’ projected 15-man regular season roster doesn’t feature any true centers besides Mitchell Robinson, so if Thabeet looks good, bringing him aboard for depth purposes could be appealing. However, the club has plenty of veteran power forwards who figure to see time at the five, including Taj Gibson, Julius Randle, and Bobby Portis.

Here’s more on both of New York’s teams:

  • Steve Popper of Newsday is skeptical that Frank Ntilikina will get the opportunity to play an increased role this season for the Knicks, even after the Frenchman’s impressive World Cup performance. As Popper notes, the team was willing to play stopgaps like Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke over Ntilikina last season, and now may be more invested in getting Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton regular minutes.
  • The Nets‘ new G League head coach, Shaun Fein, has a history with Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson, as he tells Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com. Fein and Atkinson spent time together playing for French team Nantes during the 2001/02 season, with Atkinson provided crucial veteran guidance. “He kind of took me under his wing,” Fein said. “He was at the latter stages of his career and I was just beginning mine. I think as a first-year player, as an American, you’re in a foreign country, you don’t really know anything. … He kind of got me out of my comfort zone. ‘Hey, we’re going to go out, we’re going to go have dinner,’ and things like that. Kind of showed me how to live life as a basketball player in Europe. I was really appreciative of that.”
  • In case you missed it, we reviewed the Knicks‘ offseason on Friday and relayed word earlier today of the Nets hiring a new CEO.

Frank Ntilikina Regains Full Health, Motivation For Season

  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is healthy again and motivated for the upcoming season, tweets Marc Stein of the New York Times. Ntilikina, according to Stein, also mentioned how the entire group is “very hungry” for next season. New York has several new players on its roster, including the likes of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett and others.
  • The Nets plan to give away 10,000 Kyrie Irving jerseys when the team hosts the Knicks on October 25, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The Knicks were one of several teams interested in signing Irving in July, though Irving was said to have his sights set on joining the Nets well before the start of free agency.

2019 Offseason In Review: New York Knicks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the New York Knicks.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Julius Randle: Three years, $56.7MM. Third year partially guaranteed ($4MM). Signed using cap room.
    • Bobby Portis: Two years, $30.75MM. Second-year team option. Signed using cap room.
    • Taj Gibson: Two years, $18.5MM. Second year partially guaranteed ($1MM). Signed using cap room.
    • Wayne Ellington: Two years, $16MM. Second year partially guaranteed ($1MM). Signed using cap room.
    • Elfrid Payton: Two years, $16MM. Second year partially guaranteed ($1MM). Signed using cap room.
    • Marcus Morris: One year, $15MM. Signed using cap room.
    • Reggie Bullock: Two years, $8.2MM. Second year partially guaranteed ($1MM). Signed using room exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
    • None
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
    • Amir Hinton: One year, minimum salary (Exhibit 10).
    • V.J. King: One year, minimum salary (Exhibit 10).
    • Lamar Peters: One year, minimum salary (Exhibit 10).
    • Kenny Wooten: One year, minimum salary (Exhibit 10).

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-3: RJ Barrett — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-47: Ignas Brazdeikis — Signed to three-year, minimum salary contract. Third year team option. Signed using cap room.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Used cap space; now over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $112.6MM in salary.
  • $767K of room exception still available ($4MM used on Reggie Bullock).

Story of the summer:

As the Knicks and their fans endured a forgettable 17-65 season in 2018/19, optimism persisted that better days were around the corner.

Rumors that free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were strongly considering a move to New York swirled all season long, especially after the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas to create a second maximum-salary slot.

While the Porzingis blockbuster was criticized by a wide swath of Knicks fans, most of those fans were at least cautiously hopeful that the deal signaled how confident the front office was in landing two stars in free agency. That belief became even more prevalent after team owner James Dolan offered the following assessment in March: “From what we’ve heard, we’re going to have a very successful offseason.”

You know by now how things actually played out. The Knicks weren’t seriously considered by any of the very best free agents on the market, and just hours into free agency – after missing out on its top targets – the organization put out a public statement to address fans’ disappointment, re-wording and re-issuing that statement moments later to insert a mention of the team’s “core of young players” in its rebuilding plans.

Rather than landing a pair of stars to jumpstart their ascent to contention, the Knicks ended up signing a series of veteran role players to short-term contracts. Those players will likely help the franchise win more games in 2019/20, but New York’s coaching staff will have to walk a fine line in balancing playing time for its incoming veterans with minutes for that “core of young players” the club is still determined to develop.

The short-term contracts those veteran free agents signed will allow New York to retain salary cap flexibility for the next two summers. But there’s no reason at this point to expect the Knicks to have any more success recruiting stars in 2020 or 2021 than they did this summer. There’s still plenty of work to be done to rehab the unflattering reputation the franchise has earned in recent years.

Read more

Begley Examines Fizdale's Challenge With 2019/20 Knicks

  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv spoke to a handful of current and former NBA coaches who believe that David Fizdale will face a difficult challenge in New York this season. The Knicks‘ head coach will have to balance developing young players with finding enough minutes for all the veterans who signed short-term, big-money deals and expect to play key roles.

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Kanter, De La Rosa

In the wake of Frank Ntilikina‘s impressive performance in France’s World Cup upset of Team USA, a series of New York beat writers and columnists are making the case that Ntilikina – the subject of trade rumors earlier this year – has earned a longer look from the Knicks this season.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News argues that the Knicks should exercise Ntilikina’s $6.2MM team option for the 2020/21 season (a decision is due on October 31) and give him a real chance to earn a role for this year’s squad. One scout suggests to Ian Begley of SNY.tv that Ntilikina is playing in the World Cup with a poise and confidence that he hasn’t showed yet in the NBA — if that confidence carries over training camp, it could bode well for his future in New York.

Meanwhile, Frank Isola of The Athletic writes that Knicks president Steve Mills hasn’t given up on Ntilikina despite the fact that the club has brought in several other point guards to compete for minutes. Elfrid Payton and other previous backcourt additions like Trey Burke are considered “[Scott] Perry guys,” says Isola, referring to New York’s general manager.

As we wait to see what the Knicks’ plan for Ntilikina is, let’s round up a few more notes on the team:

  • The differing opinions on Ntilikina within the Knicks’ organization aren’t unusual, given the organization’s current management structure, says Isola. League sources tell The Athletic that some of the scouts and executives brought in by Perry have clashed with the scouts and executives who worked under Mills and remain in the organization. “That’s always been the case,” a former Knicks exec tells Isola. “They keep a lot of people from different regimes and that causes some friction.”
  • After suggesting earlier this week that the Knicks’ ownership group is a deterrent for the team’s potential free agent targets, Enes Kanter clarified that he personally had a positive experience with James Dolan and doesn’t agree with players who avoid the team for that reason, tweets Begley.
  • Former Illinois big man Adonis De La Rosa is among the players working out with the Knicks this week in the hopes of securing a training camp invite from the team, a source tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • Knicks head coach David Fizdale issued an invite to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski to make an appearance at the team’s training camp this fall, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Coach K isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be able to attend, but said he expects former Blue Devil RJ Barrett to make a smooth transition to playing in New York.

Knicks Officially Sign Four Undrafted Rookies

The Knicks have officially signed four players who previously reached contract agreements with the team, according to RealGM’s transactions log. All four players are believed to have received non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 deals.

Here are the players who have now officially joined the Knicks:

Word of New York’s deals with Hinton and King broke shortly after the draft concluded in June. The Knicks also struck a tentative agreement on a two-way contract for Kris Wilkes at that time, but it fell through for health reasons. Hinton, a former Division II standout, and King both went undrafted this year.

Like Hinton and King, Peters and Wooten are rookies who went undrafted after declaring as early entrants in the spring. Both players were members of the Knicks’ Summer League team in Las Vegas in July, with Wooten’s 2.5 blocks per game in just 13.3 MPG turning heads. Peters struggled with his shot (2-for-17 from the floor), but still apparently showed enough to earn a deal with New York.

The Knicks now have a full 20-man roster, including 15 players on guaranteed contracts and one (Kadeem Allen) on a two-way contract. One of the players from this new group could end up in that second two-way slot, but most of them are good bets to eventually land with the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate.