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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Articles tagged: New York Knicks

Knicks hire notable former rival as scout

James Dolan looking on

Jan 4, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Executive Chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden, James Dolan, walks off the court after the New York Knicks defeated the Indiana Pacers 104-94 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks’ latest hire might come as a shocking one to some of their old-school fans.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Thursday that the Knicks hired retired former All-Star Tim Hardaway to be a scout. While the team never officially announced the hiring, Hardaway has been interviewing prospects for the Knicks at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Hardaway, now 55, was one of the Knicks’ biggest rivals during his playing career. He was a member of the Miami Heat at the peak of the Heat-Knicks rivalry back in the 1990s. Hardaway is also infamous among Knicks fans for his 38-point performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1997 to help eliminate the Knicks from the playoffs.

The Hardaway move is not entirely out of left field since son Tim Hardaway Jr. previously played for the Knicks over two separate stints. But this is not the only controversial hire the Knicks have made in the last few months.

Donovan Mitchell linked to Eastern Conference team?

Donovan Mitchell warming up

Dec 7, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) warms up prior to their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have a lot to ponder this offseason when it comes to their future. Will they move forward with their tandem of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, or will they part ways with one of the players?

Gobert might be the more likely player to trade if they choose to break up their core. But if it’s Mitchell who leaves, there is one team to whom he apparently has been linked the most.

The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner published a mailbag on Monday where he answered questions from fans. Many of the questions had to do with possible offseason moves for the Hawks.

In one of his answers, Kirschner said that Mitchell has been most strongly linked to the New York Knicks.

Here is what Kirschner wrote:

“If Mitchell or Gobert became available, I’d say the latter is the likelier option for the Hawks to land. There’s just been too much buzz in league circles with Mitchell to the Knicks if he were to come available,” Kirschner wrote.

We have heard the rumors about the Knicks’ interest in Mitchell. They even sent some scouts to watch a Jazz playoff game last month. A report in February said that the Knicks were even plotting a move for Mitchell.

Mitchell will not be a free agent for three years. So if he wants out of Utah, he will have to force his way out. Otherwise the Knicks will need to look elsewhere to improve.

Knicks reportedly eyeing former Tom Thibodeau player

Tom Thibodeau looking on

Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau already managed to bring Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson to the New York Knicks. Now another one of Thibodeau’s old players appears to be next up on the wishlist.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported this week that Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is on the Knicks’ radar.

The 25-year-old Jones previously played for Thibodeau, the Knicks coach, on the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016 to 2019. Jones is having a nice year as Ja Morant’s backup (averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 assists per game) and has even do some solid spot-start work when Morant has been hurt.

While Immanuel Quickley made an impact for them this season, the Knicks did not have very many answers at point guard with Rose missing most of the year and the Kemba Walker experiment going kaput. On top of Jones, the Knicks also have interest in another notable backcourt player.

Report: Jazz unhappy Knicks exec attended playoff game

Donovan Mitchell warming up

Dec 7, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) warms up prior to their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are facing unneeded distractions in their playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, and one of them appears to have annoyed the team’s hierarchy.

Some prominent members of the Jazz organization were “surprised and upset” to see Knicks executive William Wesley sitting courtside at Utah’s Game 1 loss to Dallas, according to Ian Begley of SNY. The Knicks have been frequently linked to Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, and Wesley’s appearance was seen by some as a scouting mission.

There is little the Jazz can do but ignore the chatter. That is no easy task considering there are lingering rumors that the team might make major changes with another early playoff exit. Also unhelpful are the rumors of tension between Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

The Knicks have long been linked to Mitchell, who is a New York native. Wesley and the New York front office had to know that a courtside appearance at a Jazz playoff game would spark speculation. Perhaps that is what they wanted, though it might make any potential future trade more difficult if the Jazz hold this against them.

Notable NBA team appears to be scouting Donovan Mitchell at first-round series

Donovan Mitchell warming up

Dec 7, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) warms up prior to their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

One opposing NBA team may be circling the Utah Jazz’s first-round playoff series like some hungry vultures.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported on Saturday that there was a strong New York Knicks contingent present in Dallas to scout Game 1 of the Jazz-Mavs series. Knicks executives William Wesley and Allan Houston were among those present. Star forward Julius Randle was also in attendance.

The Knicks’ presence was significant because they have been heavily linked to Mitchell, an N.Y. native, in recent months. Teams are closely monitoring Mitchell’s situation in case he requests a trade should the Jazz disappoint in the postseason once again.

Utah won Game 1 in Dallas by the final of 99-93 to flip homecourt advantage (though the Mavs were without star Luka Doncic, who could return later in the series). But in the event that the Jazz end up losing the series, Mitchell might not be the only player opposing teams have an eye on.

Reporter names 3 possible trade destinations for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook with his arm out

Russell Westbrook was an absolute disaster on the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and he almost certainly will be one-and-done with the team. But where might Westbrook play next season? That is a good question.

Jovan Buha, a Lakers reporter for The Athletic, was a guest on “The Forum Club” for an episode published on Saturday. During his appearance, he mentioned the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets as three teams that could trade for Westbrook. He named those teams based on what he has heard and what others have reported.

That meshes with a previous report that named the Hornets as a possible landing spot for Westbrook.

It’s hard to imagine any team thinking Westbrook could actually help them at this point in his career. If the Lakers deal him, that will have Westbrook looking to play for his fourth team in four seasons. Westbrook is set to make $47 million next season.

Perhaps Bill Simmons said it best about Westbrook’s trade prospects:

H/T Lakers Daily
Photo: Nov 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Some with Knicks wanted Tom Thibodeau fired

Tom Thibodeau looking on

The New York Knicks endured a very difficult 2021-22 season, and had some in the organization reportedly had their way, it would have involved a change of coaches.

At least two members of the Knicks front office called for Tom Thibodeau to be fired at the All-Star break, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The team had lost 13 of 16 at the time, and ose who wanted Thibodeau fired felt he had lost the team, citing body language during timeouts to support that assertion.

Thibodeau had a staunch ally in team president Leon Rose, however, and Rose refused to consider firing Thibodeau. The Knicks wound up going 12-11 after the break.

Thibodeau just finished his second season with the Knicks, and he led the team to a surprise playoff appearance in 2021. One would think he had built up some goodwill through that, though all indications are Rose is the biggest factor working in his favor. For now, Thibodeau is set to return next season, though it’s hard to know how long his leash is.

Photo: Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle responds to Knicks trade rumors

Julius Randle smiles during a game

Julius Randle has not seemed happy this season, and a report this week claimed he could be setting the stage to force his way out of The Big Apple. The Knicks star insists that is not going to happen.

Marc Berman of the New York Post published a story on Tuesday that listed multiple instances in which Randle has distanced himself from the Knicks. Some people around the NBA compared the situation to the way James Harden acted in Brooklyn before the Nets traded him. Following Wednesday night’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Randle said he has not asked for a trade and is committed to the Knicks.

Randle is New York’s leading scorer. He has had a solid season on paper with 20.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, but the stats hardly tell the entire story.

Randle made headlines this week for not celebrating the Knicks’ win on Monday night with the rest of the team. Randle has refused to talk with the media at times; been in fights with other players; gotten into it with an assistant; and reportedly had fans ejected. Randle also gave a thumbs down to Knicks fans.

The Knicks may look into trading Randle this offseason, regardless of how he feels about it. Randle signed a four-year, $117 million contract extension with the Knicks last year that kicks in next season. There should be a decent market for the 27-year-old given his recent production.

Photo: Nov 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

Will Knicks star force his way off the team?

Julius Randle smiles during a game

The New York Knicks’ leading scorer could force his way off the team, according to a new report.

The New York Post’s Marc Berman published a story on Tuesday about Julius Randle. In the story, Berman lists multiple times that Randle has distanced himself from the team, suggesting he may try to force his way out.

“Some people around the league feel he’s acting in a ‘James Harden type of way’ that suggests he wants a new place of work next season,” Berman wrote.

Randle made headlines on Tuesday for not celebrating the Knicks’ win on Monday night with the rest of the team. Randle has refused to talk with the media at times; been in fights with other players; gotten into it with an assistant; and reportedly had fans ejected. Randle also gave a thumbs down to Knicks fans.

Further, Berman’s report says Randle sometimes dresses by himself in the locker room and has shown a lack of leadership.

Randle, 27, signed a four-year, $117 million contract extension with the Knicks last year. That extension doesn’t even begin until next season.

Though he leads the team with 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game this season, Randle’s future might not be with the Knicks.

Photo: Nov 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle did not seem happy after Knicks win

Julius Randle smiles during a game

The New York Knicks defeated the Chicago Bulls in a hard-fought game on Monday night, but anyone who saw the way Julius Randle walked off the court would never have known.

Randle had one of his worst games of the season in the 109-104 win. He scored just 4 points on 1-of-9 shooting, though he did grab 13 rebounds. After the final buzzer sounded, Randle hung his head, tossed the ball and headed to the locker room.

That certainly did not look like the reaction of a player whose team had just won. Those who have followed the Knicks this season probably were not surprised.

Randle is having another solid year on paper. He has averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. However, his attitude has been an issue on numerous occasions. The 27-year-old has been fined multiple times by the NBA for ejections and technical fouls. Randle has looked unhappy for much of the year, which has reportedly become a concern for the Knicks.

Randle has supposedly been playing through a sore quad lately, so that could be one reason for his frustration. He was on the bench for much of the fourth quarter, and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau defended the former Kentucky star’s toughness after the game.

Whatever the reason, Randle clearly is not enjoying himself this year.

Photo: Nov 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports