Tyrese Haliburton is already making the New York Knicks pay for passing on him in the draft.
Haliburton and the Sacramento Kings defeated the Knicks 103-94 on Friday night. After the game, the rookie guard trolled the Knicks by tweeting out the famous meme of Kermit sipping tea.
Haliburton stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and four blocks off the bench. In his postgame interview, he essentially confirmed that he was trolling the Knicks.
“My job is to make them think about that when they go to sleep,” Haliburton said of the Knicks, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I guess it fueled me personally. But I love it here [in Sacramento]. If I did it all over, I pray to God I slipped here. It’s no hard feelings. It is what it is. It’s a business. I don’t care.”
The 20-year-old Haliburton interviewed with the Knicks before the 2020 draft. They wound up taking big man Obi Toppin with their No. 8 overall pick though. Haliburton then fell to the Kings with the No. 12 pick.
Toppin has been injured for much of the season, so it is way too early to tell if the Knicks made the right choice picking him over Haliburton. Regardless however, it has been open season lately for players trolling the Knicks.
Talen Horton-Tucker has become a new cult hero for the Los Angeles Lakers. But they may have to be wary of vultures circling next offseason.
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week that multiple NBA teams are expected to pursue the 20-year-old guard in the summer. Deveney mentions the New York Knicks specifically as a team with potential interest. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks are also listed.
Horton-Tucker was part of the Lakers’ championship team last season. He since broke out on the heels of an excellent 2020 preseason. Now Horton-Tucker is a fairly regular part of the team’s rotation. His contract is up after the season however. The Lakers cannot extend the former Iowa State star prior to that because he is on a two-year deal.
The Lakers do have an advantage though thanks to their “early Bird rights” on Horton-Tucker. The “Gilbert Arenas rule” will also allow the Lakers to offer more money than any other team. But those other teams can certainly make it more expensive for them to retain Horton-Tucker, especially those with excess cap room. In any event, the Lakers will have to figure out how Horton-Tucker fits into their long-term plans amid a changing rotation.
The New York Knicks may be trying to reunite with a centerpiece of their last team to make the playoffs.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Thursday that the Knicks have had internal discussions about bringing back veteran center Tyson Chandler. The former Defensive Player of the Year played for the team for three seasons from 2011 to 2014. Current Knicks assistant Mike Woodson was also Chandler’s head coach then.
The Knicks are also reportedly planning to bring back big man Taj Gibson, who played for the team last season and has a long history with head coach Tom Thibodeau. Omari Spellman would be waived though to make room for Gibson, which seems to suggest that Chandler could still be a possibility.
Chandler is now 38, so he would almost certainly play more of a sensei role for the Knicks rather than factoring into the actual rotation. But the team has some young bigs (e.g. Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, etc.) who could use some polishing. Still, signing another frontcourt piece could play into a popular running gag about the Knicks lately.
Photo: Tim Shelby/Flickr via CC-BY-SA 2.0
Bobby Portis has enjoyed a strong start to the season, and he thinks that no longer being in a traffic jam on the depth chart has something to do with it.
The Milwaukee Bucks big doubled-doubled with 13 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday. After the Bucks tweeted about his performance, a fan said that Portis should have done that for the New York Knicks last season. Portis responded by taking a shot at the Knicks’ roster construction, saying they had “too many power forwards.”
Indeed, the Knicks were the butt of jokes for their glut of 4s last season. In addition to Portis, they also had Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson, Julius Randle, and Kevin Knox. Portis signed with the Bucks this offseason and has gotten a modest bump from 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game with the Knicks to 10.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game.
Throwing shade at the Knicks is nothing new though. They have been taking shots lately from fans, former players, and even children’s movies.
The New York Knicks can’t even avoid the jokes when it comes to children’s movies.
Disney on Friday released its new Pixar movie “Soul.” The animated movie included a surprising reference about the lowly Knicks franchise. In one scene, a character jokes about how they have been messing with the team for years to cause them bad luck.
The Knicks haven’t had a winning season since 2012-2013, which has caused great frustration and pain for their fans. That must have included some of the people involved in the creation of the movie, who decided to use it as a joke in the film.
Kemp Powers says he was responsible for the joke.
We know one person who will NOT be happy about this joke.
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.