- Allonzo Trier has an outside chance to gain a spot on the 15-man Knicks roster after a solid showing in summer-league action, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Trier, an undrafted guard out of Arizona, has a two-way contract but if he makes a strong impression in training camp, it could be converted to a standard contract. The Knicks waived forward Troy Williams this week, trimming their 15-man roster to the league limit, and could open up another spot if they waive Joakim Noah and utilize the stretch provision for the remaining money on his bloated deal.
Los Angeles used a big chunk of its $4,449,000 room exception to get Beasley in the fold.
Exactly what kind of role Beasley will carve out is a big question mark. He’ll join a forward rotation of LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lance Stephenson. Luol Deng is still on the roster as well, though Los Angeles is trying to find a way to dump his contract.
Beasley fits in with a locker room already full of volatile personalities. Along with Stephenson, the Lakers have also signed two other players this summer who are no strangers to controversy, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee.
Beasley, still just 29, has bounced around the league since the Heat made him the second pick in the 2008 draft. He’s also played for the Timberwolves, Suns, Rockets and Bucks before a productive stint with the Knicks last season. He averaged 13.2 PPG, his highest total since posting a career-best 19.2 PPG with Minnesota in 2010/11. He also averaged 5.6 RPG and 1.7 APG while appearing in 74 contests, including 30 starts.
The Charlotte point guard and New York native is heading into his walk year and has a very movable $12MM contract. Cleveland has been oft-mentioned as a potential landing spot if he gets traded.
“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker told Scotto. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”
Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has said he’d like to retain Walker but a contract extension isn’t feasible due to salary-cap restraints. Thus, Walker is headed to free agency next summer if he doesn’t get traded.
The Hornets have a stopgap option in Tony Parker, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract in free agency. Walker welcomes Parker’s presence and hopes to learn a few new tricks from the wily 36-year-old.
“Having Tony Parker is huge,” Walker told Scotto. “He’s a guy who’s been through it all. He knows a lot. He’s won championships. He knows what it takes to win in this league. I don’t think there’s any better point guard to learn from than Tony Parker.”
The Knicks have released small forward Troy Williams, the team announced today (via Twitter). The move reduces New York’s roster count to 15 players on NBA contracts, plus a pair on two-way contracts.
Williams, who previously played for the Grizzlies and Rockets, signed two 10-day contracts with the Knicks following last season’s All-Star break and made a good impression, earning a rest-of-year deal. The 23-year-old’s contract agreement included a non-guaranteed salary for 2018/19 — the Knicks won’t be on the hook for any of that $1,544,951 figure.
In 17 games for the Knicks last season, Williams averaged 7.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 1.1 SPG, with a .490/.333/.704 shooting line. His non-guaranteed salary and the offseason additions of Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox made Williams expendable.
Williams will clear waivers and become a free agent on Wednesday, assuming he goes unclaimed. It’s possible some team will place a claim, since no cap room or trade exception is required to absorb Williams’ minimum-salary contract.
While Knicks general manager Scott Perry is still relatively new to the job, an impressive second summer at the helm has shown that’s he’s a competent choice to lead the franchise. Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes that the stellar play of second-round pick Mitchell Robinson is the latest example of his prowess.
Not only did Perry nab a useful young big man that could grow to be a part of the Knicks’ core, he did it on the cheap. Robinson signed a four-year deal worth $6.6MM that will keep him under affordable team control.
Hamilton also calls to light Perry’s selection of Kevin Knox in the first round, the hiring of David Fizdale and the 2017 trade of Carmelo Anthony as the general manager’s early portfolio of work with the Knicks.
A disagreement over pre-draft strategy has resulted in an agent change for Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Robinson has signed with John Spencer, a former Knicks scout, after leaving Raymond Brothers.
Robinson was drafted at No. 36, but believed he had a chance to be taken late in the first round, which would have provided more guaranteed money. Robinson’s representatives pulled him out of the draft combine the day before it started, and he blames that decision for his slide on draft night. The Lakers were looking at him with their 25th pick and may have taken him at No. 39 had he still been available, a source tells Berman.
Robinson signed with the Knicks last week, getting a $6.4MM deal over four seasons that includes team options after the second and third year. Robinson, who dropped out of Western Kentucky and hasn’t played in 14 months, may have changed the Knicks’ plans for him with an impressive summer league performance, Berman adds. The organization originally had him ticketed for the G League, but will now consider keeping him on the NBA squad.
There’s more this morning out of New York:
- David Fizdale will travel to Latvia next week to meet with Kristaps Porzingis, Berman writes in a separate story. The first meeting between the new coach and his injured star will include a lot of film study. “It’s going to be a big part of the next step to show him the big picture,’’ Fizdale said. “How I want to utilize him, coach him, start building a relationship with him, a bond with him, a connection with him.”
- First-round pick Kevin Knox is already dreaming about being on the court with Porzingis, Berman adds in the same piece. Both players can shoot from outside, and the Knicks view them as an effective combination to spread the floor in Fizdale’s offense. “I see they will complement each other very well,’’ Fizdale said. “That’s not a bad pick-and-roll to run — a KK-Porzingis pick-and-roll.’’
- The Knicks weren’t major players in this year’s free agency, but things are shaping up great for next summer, notes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving, two potential 2019 targets, both turned down extension offers, and Kevin Durant has an option after one year.
Clarence Gaines Jr. is no longer with the Knicks’ organization, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. Gaines was the team’s VP of player personnel under former team president Phil Jackson, who credited Gaines for lobbying to select Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 lottery. Gaines did scouting for the current regime last season. Several newcomers have been hired by the front office and Gaines did not have strong ties to GM Scott Perry, Ian Begley of ESPN notes. Gaines’ contract expired after last season.
- Strong summer-league showings by first-round pick Kevin Knox and second-rounder Mitchell Robinson have made the Knicks look wise in their selections, ESPN’s Andre Snellings writes. Knox should jump right into the Knicks’ starting lineup at small forward, while Robinson could eventually work his way into the rotation. While neither player shows superstar potential, they both have skill sets that should translate to the league, Snellings adds.
- Knicks coach David Fizdale will head off to Latvia on July 22nd to visit with Porzingis and check on his progress from knee surgery, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.
Although the Knicks are currently carrying 16 players on NBA contracts, the team hasn’t closed the door on the possibility of signing another free agent before training camp gets underway. As Ian Begley of ESPN.com details, members of the Knicks organization have been in contact regarding free agent big man Willie Reed this month.
Begley cautions that it’s not clear whether the Knicks had – or still have – “serious” interest in Reed, so it’s possible that nothing will come of the club’s inquiries. If New York does sign Reed or another free agent though, the team would eventually have to trade or waive at least two players currently under contract. Joakim Noah, Ron Baker, and Troy Williams could be at risk in a potential roster crunch.
Devin Booker has already signed a maximum-salary extension with the Suns, and Karl-Anthony Towns is discussing a similar deal with the Timberwolves, but the Knicks appear to be in no rush to lock up Kristaps Porzingis to a long-term rookie scale extension of his own. As Ian Begley of ESPN.com notes, signing Porzingis now would mean giving up about $10MM in 2019 cap room, so the team may prefer to wait until next summer to get something done with the standout big man.
“We’ll continue to stay in touch with Kristaps,” Knicks GM Scott Perry said on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “He’s part of our long-term plan. But we’ll get all that figured out at the appropriate time in terms of when we get into that negotiation. We’re comfortable with were at with him and we’ll work together with he and his representation to figure something out.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- This year’s signing of Mario Hezonja may represent a hedge against striking out on top free agents in 2019, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. As Berman explains, the Knicks would probably have to renounce Hezonja next summer in order to clear cap room for a maximum-salary free agent, but if New York doesn’t need to maximize its space, Hezonja’s Non-Bird rights should give the team the ability to make a competitive offer to retain him for one more than one season.
- Knicks president Steve Mills sounds like he doesn’t want to put all his eggs into one basket when it comes to landing a star free agent in 2019, Berman adds. “We didn’t say our ultimate goal was to have cap room in 2019 — that’s just a byproduct of the situation of how our salaries line up,” Mills said. “There’s no reason to think if Mario does really well, he shouldn’t be part of what we’re doing. Our goal is to put together a Knick team that could be competitive in the long-term.”
- Speaking of Hezonja, he said he got offers from the Lakers, Trail Blazers, and Thunder before he accepted the Knicks’ proposal, Berman writes in a separate article.
- According to GM Scott Perry, all options are still in play for Joakim Noah, whether that means trading, stretching, or keeping him, per Ian Begley and Nick Friedell. “He’s still a member of the Knicks franchise right now,” Perry said of Noah. “He’s part of this team. Like we said to you earlier, all options are on the table for us concerning him, whether it’s coming back or some sort of trade or whatever the case may be.”
- During his introductory press conference as a Pacer, Kyle O’Quinn made a comment that could be interpreted as a dig at the Knicks. “I just felt like at this point, I owed it to myself to be a part of something bigger than next year’s draft,” O’Quinn said, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays.