The New York Knicks are still looking for a way to use all their cap space, and appear to be pursuing a new option.
The Knicks are interested in free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. However, the Lakers remain interested as well, despite already making additions to their backcourt.
Money will be a factor here. Turner makes clear that Caldwell-Pope is looking for the “right price.” It’s not known what that might be, but the Knicks have roughly $40 million in cap space to work with. The Lakers, however, retain Caldwell-Pope’s Bird rights.
There was some thought that the Lakers’ activity so far might make them less likely to re-sign KCP. For now, it appears they’re undeterred, and they’re certainly more of a title contender than the Knicks are if that matters to the veteran guard.
Gordon Hayward appears to be leaning toward declining his player option with the Boston Celtics, and the New York Knicks are reportedly waiting to pounce if and when that happens.
The Knicks have been aggressively pursuing Hayward for weeks, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
New York has the salary cap space to sign Hayward, and they could still pursue him even if he picks up his $34 million player option for the 2020-21 season. Hayward reportedly wants out of Boston, so a trade is a possibility if he opts in.
Hayward’s time with the Celtics has not gone well. He suffered a devastating broken leg in his first game with the team, spent the following season trying to find his way back, and then he was only a supplemental option last season. Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game last season.
We know of at least one other team that is interested in signing Hayward if he declines his option.
The New York Knicks drafted Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall pick in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, and many people feel they got a great value with the former Dayton star that far down the board. As far as Kendrick Perkins is concerned, Toppin was a steal.
Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take” Thursday morning that drafting Toppin was the best thing the Knicks have done in a decade. He strongly believes Toppin can help rescue one of the most tortured franchises in sports.
“This is the best thing the New York Knicks have done in the last 10 years. He’s electrifying. He’s box office. He reminds me a lot of Blake Griffin when he was coming out,” Perkins said. “He’s gonna fill up seats. He’s must-see TV. He led college with 107 dunks last year and I’m not talking about Kendrick Perkins-type dunks — little one-hand and two-hand flushes. I’m talking about between the legs, windmilling and all. And he can stretch the floor. He’s ferocious and he’s ready.”
There has been some talk about the Knicks potentially making a big trade for a player like Russell Westbrook. If that happens, Perkins thinks Knicks fans should get their popcorn ready.
“New York fans, y’all have something to be proud about and be happy about,” Perkins said of Toppin. “You can get the popcorn popping again back in Madison Square Garden. If the Knicks can pull off a trade for Russell Westbrook, you might as well add the butter to the popcorn. I’m all-in with Obi Toppin to the New York Knicks. I think they hit a home run.”
Perkins went on to call Toppin “a dog” and say he feels the Knicks won the draft by getting him. In a draft that was not considered all that deep, the claim is not as wild as it sounds.
Toppin was National Player of the Year at Dayton and averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He made an impressive 63.3 percent of his field goals. There are questions about his defense, but one NBA star went out of his way to praise Toppin after the Knicks took him.
While few are higher on Toppin than Perkins, the general consensus seems to be that the Knicks made a smart pick at No. 8.
The New York Knicks are said to be in the market for a point guard this offseason, and Russell Westbrook may have become available at the perfect time.
The Knicks are on the short list of teams that could conceivably work out a trade for Westbrook, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports. They would have to be willing to take on the three years and more than $130 million remaining on Westbrook’s contract, but Stein says that is something the Knicks are considering.
Westbrook reportedly wants to play for a team that will make him the focal point, and the Knicks can definitely offer that. They have a young roster and have been looking for a veteran point guard to pair with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Free agent Fred VanVleet is another player they have their eye on, but Westbrook would obviously be the bigger splash.
The Knicks are expected to have more than $50 million in salary cap space, so they can definitely afford Westbrook. They still have to match salaries per NBA rules, however, which is what complicates any potential deal.
Westbrook reportedly wants out of Houston, though he has denied that it has anything to do with James Harden. The 32-year-old is not believed to have many suitors because of his contract situation, but the Knicks and at least one other team are considering making a run at him.
It’s very early, but the New York Knicks’ new coaching staff seems to have made an impression on one player.
Kenny Wooten, a former undrafted free agent who spent 2019-20 with the G League’s Westchester Knicks, took part in the first workout led by Tom Thibodeau on Wednesday. He tweeted a quick note afterward that indicates that the staff made an impression on him.
It’s certainly never a bad thing to see this from a player after meeting the new coaches.
The Thibodeau hire has won wide praise around the sport. Thibodeau also added Kenny Payne, a highly-regarded assistant coach at Kentucky, to his staff. The early results certainly seem good, but much will depend on whether Thibodeau and his staff get the players they need to be successful.
When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets over a year ago, there was a feeling that the New York Knicks blew a shot at turning things around for their tortured franchise. As it turns out, they never had a shot.
During an appearance on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter this week, Durant said the idea of being the “savior of the Knicks” never appealed to him. He also says he was never lured by the popularity of the franchise.
Many were shocked when Durant signed with the Nets. After he won multiple championships with the Golden State Warriors, some felt Durant would look to cement his legacy by rescuing the Knicks. Apparently he never had any intention of trying to do that.
There was a report after Durant turned down the Knicks that they may not have been willing to offer him enough money, but that reeked of spin from a team that missed out on yet another elite player. Given Durant’s comments this week, it seems even more likely that he simply wanted nothing to do with James Dolan’s team.
Justin Holiday will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the New York Knicks reportedly have interest in him.
Indiana Pacers reporter J. Michael said on Twitter Saturday that the Knicks “really want” Holiday.
J. Michael’s comments came after he said on the “Setting the Pace” podcast that he originally heard Holiday wanted to return to the Pacers, but that things changed due to locker room issues.
Holiday saw this report on Instagram and responded in a comment on the Pacers Access page to say that he didn’t know what J. Michael was talking about.
So here’s what we know:
– Holiday is a free agent
– There are differing reports about whether Holiday wants to return to the Pacers
– The Knicks are interested in Holiday
The Knicks will have an estimated $53 million in salary cap space for next year and should have the funds to sign Holiday if he is interested. The 31-year-old forward averaged 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season.
H/T Daily Knicks
Count Rick Pitino among those who are very happy with the direction of the New York Knicks.
Pitino went out of his way on Twitter Saturday to praise the Knicks’ recent coaching moves. He not only gave plaudits to the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, but he also was pleased with the addition of Kenny Payne as an assistant.
If the Knicks turn it around quickly, it appears that you heard it from Pitino first.
Pitino, now the head coach at Iona, is a New Yorker, and he coached the Knicks for two seasons. He wants to see them do well. If they’d taken his advice three years ago, they’d probably be in a lot better shape, but better late than never.
The New York Knicks are working hard to assemble a new coaching staff for coach Tom Thibodeau, but last year’s interim coach apparently will not be on it.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the team will not retain Mike Miller as an assistant to Thibodeau despite acquitting himself fairly well as the team’s interim coach.
Miller took over from David Fizdale in December and went 17-27 as the Knicks’ interim coach. While not great, that’s a lot better than the 4-18 record Fizdale had started with at the time of his firing.
There were some in the organization who wanted to see Miller retained by the Knicks even if someone else got the head coach job. Instead, it appears a well-respected assistant is going to be on the open market.
John Calipari may not be going to the New York Knicks, but one of his top assistants might be.
Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported Saturday that the Knicks have made a job offer to Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne, who is weighing whether or not to take it.
New Knicks president Leon Rose continues to use his connections throughout the world of basketball to try to build a top organization. Payne has been an assistant with Kentucky since 2010, and his official school bio touts him as a top recruiter and key to the development of Kentucky’s big men.
Payne is also a pretty big fan of Kevin Knox, and moving to the Knicks would present an opportunity for the two to work together again.