Tag: New York Knicks

Nets Favored to Land Kyrie Irving in Free Agency… Knicks Also in Running

With the Celtics on the brink of elimination, everyone is turning their focus away from Boston’s playoff hopes and towards Kyrie Irving’s intentions in free agency.

According to Vegas, Irving is likely to leave Boston in favor of a New York team, with the Nets holding the best odds of snagging the six-time All-Star.

It is worth noting that the Knicks are not far behind in this pursuit. As a New Jersey native, Irving has ties to the area so signing with either New York team would make perfect sense for the 27-year-old point guard.

Kyrie has said in the past that he intends to resign with Boston, but that assertion seems as likely to be accurate as his Flat Earth Theory.

At first glance, the Knicks would be the better fit for Irving over the Nets considering Brooklyn’s loaded backcourt, but the Nets are young and already competitive which is attractive to a player like Kyrie who wants to win now.

While no one really knows Irving’s thoughts on his future in the league, it is apparent that a New York franchise is his likely destination.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Knicks Trade Kristaps Porzingis to Mavs in Blockbuster Deal

Coveted Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis voiced his frustrations with team management regarding the organization’s direction, giving the impression that he would prefer to be traded from New York. His wish was granted as the Latvian big-man will head to Dallas along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two first-round picks.

This move opens up immediate cap space for a Knicks team banking on a successful 2019 free agency to crawl their way back into contention. By dealing Hardaway and Lee, New York rids themselves of two multi-year, $10M+ contracts to make room for two max contract slots in July.

However, Knicks fans are in shock over losing their franchise centerpiece for expiring contracts. Porzingis was supposed to be the cornerstone that the team was built around, but now the front office must start over to bring a competitive team back to the World’s Most Famous Arena.

The only player still on the books at the end of this season is Dennis Smith Jr., who the Knicks infamously passed on with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Frank Ntilikina. Smith was named to the All-Rookie Second Team in his first year after averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.

New York also acquired DeAndre Jordan, a former All-Star center who led the NBA in rebounding twice. He is primarily known for his defensive prowess and dunking abilities, a combination that has allowed him to consistently be among the top players at his position. He has earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2015 and 2016, a year where he also made the All-NBA First Team.

The real implications of this deal come after the end of the season when the Knicks enter free agency with $70M to spend. If the organization is unable to land Kevin Durant as they plan, what is the next move? They just traded away the only All-Star caliber player on the roster, which makes New York even less desirable as a potential offseason destination. The city is known for striking out when it comes to adding big names in the summer, and if they are unable to land a marquee player, the Knicks may have pushed the rebuilding process back another five years.

Although the team currently owns the worst record in the NBA which gives them a 25% chance to land the #1 pick and a chance to draft Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett, this trade improves the roster in the short-term. This should lead to a spike in wins and move them further out of the running for these high-level prospects.

The future is uncertain, but this organization is going to have to roll with the punches.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

Enes Kanter Ejected After Scuffle With Giannis Antetokounmpo

After suffering a fourteen point loss to the Bucks on Christmas Day, the New York Knicks couldn’t bounce back in their rematch with the Greek Freak, losing in Milwaukee by a score of 112-96.

However, the real story was the altercation between Knicks center Enes Kanter and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Following a collision between the two players where no foul was called, Giannis appears to pump Kanter before they went head-to-head in a very heated moment. Kanter was issued two technicals and ejected from the game as a result.

Enes took an elbow on the previous play from Thon Maker that would require three stitches, which was why he thought he had to leave the floor. He thought he was just receiving medical attention for the gash to his eye, not knowing that he had been ejected and unable to return.

Referee Brian Forte explained why he gave the two technicals to Enes by saying that “during instant replay review for the altercation, we observed an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter, and that is what led to his first technical foul. After the out-of-bounds foul, Giannis and Kanter came face-to-face, and so they were both assessed dead-ball technical fouls.”

After the game ended, fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis posted on his Instagram story to express his frustrations with the way the whole situation was handled.

“That was some bs tonight!!!” Porzingis said. “And that bucks assistant coach needs to sit his ass down before grabbing Enes like that. Grab your own players not the opp. team.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Kanter. He had lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson earlier in the year, but Robinson was sidelined due to an ankle injury that allowed Kanter to re-enter the starting lineup for a short time. However, in last night’s game against the Bucks, Fizdale decided to give the starting nod to Luke Kornet instead. Kornet had a career night, scoring 23 points while logging 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This was much to the dismay of Kanter, who conveyed his frustration on Twitter after being benched yet again.

His effectiveness on the floor has also taken a hit as of late. Despite averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, his numbers have dipped to 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the last seven days.

Hopefully, this altercation will motivate the Knicks big man to continue improving his game and return to being the scoring and rebounding machine from earlier in the year.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

David Fizdale: The Player’s Coach

Learning the ropes as an Assistant Head Coach in the NBA isn’t always easy, but being able to do so under Erik Spoelstra and a Miami Heat team that won two championships in four years from 2010 to 2014  made it that much easier for David Fizdale. Among players in the league, Fizdale is known as a humble, personable coach who actually cares about his players’ best interest both on and off the court. Chris Bosh, one of Fizdale’s former players and a member of the “Big 3” with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is extremely appreciative of Fizdale’s style and coaching abilities.

Fizdale received such high praise and recognition from around the league that he began to make a name for himself and was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as their head coach for the 2016-17 season. Leading the team to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth, players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley loved the culture and attitude that he brought and ultimately embedded into the organization. In Conley’s case, he signed the NBA’s biggest contract (five-year / $153 million) to date during the summer in the free agency before Fizdale was hired.

Conley articulated how grateful he is for Fizdale’s impact on his playing career. After signing such a huge contract, Fizdale was able to unlock parts of his game that allowed him to be worth the over $30 million per year that the Grizzlies were giving him. Unfortunately, the start to the 2017-18 season was not one that the Grizzlies had expected, starting the year with a 7-14 record which led the Grizzlies to cut the cord quickly on Fizdale. On the other hand, this opened the door for his opportunity with the New York Knicks where he resides today. Having the 3rd youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6 and their franchise player still sidelined with an ACL injury, Fizdale’s task as the Knicks’ leader would definitely not be an easy one, and his main objective would be to develop the young players rather than attempting to make a playoff push. As Fizdale put it a few days ago:

“It’s about, are these guys staying in the trench to get better every single day? That’s our focus. We know the win-loss category is going to change when we become a better basketball team. So we’re not putting all our stock in wins and losses right now and our group understands that.”

Developing over winning is a tough motto to resonate with, but Fizdale’s track record has proven that he is up for the task and is in it for the players and their development as young men and NBA players. Although he has yet to subtweet Joel Embiid’s infamous “Trust the Process” quote, Fizdale is definitely embracing the process and understands that the Knicks are a project, one that may take years to come to fruition.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Michael Tipton

Enes Kanter Plans to be a WWE Superstar One Day

Enes Kanter has established himself as one of the most productive big men in the NBA. During the 2018 season, he was 6th in the league in rebounds per game (11.0), 4th in offensive rebounds per game (3.8), and 3rd in rebounds per 48 minutes (20.5).

In the midst of his 8th season in the league, Kanter has gotten off to an auspicious start, averaging 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The evolution of his game over the past five years has made him a premier player in the league who will be around for years to come, but he is already planning on a career change once his time as a professional basketball player is up.

So what’s next from the Turkish center? Professional wrestling.

Kanter is an avid fan of the WWE and has made several connections in the industry including wrestlers and executives.

“I’m actually talking to the people over there now. Vince McMahon, he knows me,” said Kanter. “I had dinner with [Paul Heyman] two, three days ago. I asked him how long he’s gonna do this and he said ‘as long as Brock [Lesnar] goes, I go, and then I’m with you.’ I’m like yes! Seriously. I’m really serious about it.”

Kanter’s fandom of the WWE, which he describes as his”most intense obsession,” can be traced back to 2010 when he introduced himself as The Undertaker during Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness. “It was funny as hell, and the fans flipped out,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “There were people falling from the upper deck to the lower deck when he came out.”

Years later, he was actually able to meet The Undertaker, which made him so nervous that his knees began to shake.

As one of the top trash talkers in the game, coupled with his fiery personality, Enes Kanter is an ideal candidate for a career in the ring. Don’t be surprised if you here the name “The UnderKanter” in the future.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Knicks Fans Can Cross Kyrie Irving Off Their Wish List

The Knicks have made it known that they want to make a big splash in 2019 free agency as the team is expected to have plenty of cap room. There are several high profile stars who they planned on pursuing, a list that had Kyrie Irving at the top.

This dream appears to be dead as Irving has announced his intention to re-sign with the Boston Celtics this offseason.

Irving is a member of one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, and bringing a championship to Boston would solidify his elite status. Former Celtics standout Paul Pierce agrees with this assertion, saying, “I think that’s a legacy decision and for him to see the potential of that team moving forward in Boston,” Pierce said. “Winning a championship in Boston is different than winning one in Cleveland. He will be immortalized if he wins in Boston.”

Kyrie is a 5-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection and would have undoubtedly helped the Knicks make another trip to the playoffs. However, this clearly is out of the question after declaring his allegiance to the C’s.

So what’s next for the Knicks?

With Kyrie out of the picture, the Knicks will have all hands on deck to go after Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Although several skeptics around the NBA believe this is only a pipedream, the fact of the matter is that New York has a legitimate shot at both of these premier players.

Durant has already won two championships with Golden State and may decide to leave the team to improve his image. The Knicks are a possible destination simply because of the allure the franchise offers. Madison Square Garden is one of the most electrifying arenas in the league and is in the center of the greatest city in the world. This is the same reason that LeBron went to the Lakers. Playing in a big-time city where basketball is at the heart of the city’s culture is a great experience, to say the least. Also, KD’s longtime business partner/agent Rich Kleiman is based on New York and is big Knicks fan, along with Durant’s father.

As for Jimmy Butler, he has expressed a degree of interest in coming to New York. A few weeks ago, Butler formally requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the organization a list of his three preferred destinations, one being the Knicks. He would add the defensive pedigree that the team has been lacking for several years and would fit in nicely with Fizdale’s offensive system.

Although losing out on Kyrie is a big blow, there are plenty of other viable options to revitalize the Mecca of basketball.

Could Joakim Noah be Headed to the Timberwolves?

Tom Thibodeau, the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has displayed his affinity for the players on his old Chicago team. In addition to having Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson on his roster, the Timberwolves also recently signed former Bull Luol Deng. Accordingly, people around the league are calling them the TimberBulls. The only piece left of the puzzle is Joakim Noah, and the Wolves reportedly have some interest in acquiring him as well.

The Timberwolves are full of young talent that is in need of some direction by seasoned veterans, and Joakim Noah fits that bill. The two-time All-Star has a high basketball IQ and could undoubtedly impart some wisdom onto players like Karl Anthony Towns. Noah is also a former Defensive Player of the Year, and anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that being a good defensive player is more mental toughness than physical. It’s about being in the right spots, knowing when to go over and under screens, when to switch, and always communicating with your teammates. The Wolves have struggled to play good defense in the past and adding Noah could help them improve in that department even if it isn’t through Noah’s contributions on the floor.

The Knicks are ready to move on from Joakim after their fallout last year, and it seems that the T-Wolves are the only team that have interest in the center who is clearly past his prime. If he does wind up in Minnesota, the TimberBulls roster will be complete.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Jeff Villanueva