What could Andre Drummond cost the Knicks? Is he worth the price?

New York Knicks, Andre Drummond

With starting center Mitchell Robinson still on the recovery from his fractured right hand surgery, the New York Knicks have done their due diligence on Cleveland Cavaliers’ big man Andre Drummond.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks have explored the possibility of adding Drummond, a four-time NBA rebounding leader and a two-time All-Star, for their playoff chase.

Charania added that the Knicks are mulling a multi-year deal to lure Drummond from going elsewhere. Title contenders Los Angeles Lakers and the Knicks’ crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets are believed to be potential destinations for Drummond should he enter a buyout agreement and becomes a free agent.

The Knicks, however, can also outright eliminate other suitors if they trade for Drummond, and it will probably cost them a second-round pick and/or two of three salary fillers from their expendable players like Austin Rivers, Frank Ntilikina, or even Kevin Knox. The Cavaliers are believed to be seeking an asset in return for Drummond.

But if the Knicks wanted to join the Drummond sweepstakes via buyout, what can they offer in a multi-year deal to pry him away from the minimum deal that comes with the glittery promise of a Larry O’Brien trophy in Los Angeles or Brooklyn?

Drummond’s market price

ESPN Front Office Insider and former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks gave us an idea of Drummond’s price range in the open market.

“He’s a $15-17 million player,” Marks told Empire Sports Media.

But he’s also skeptical if he’ll be worth it since he believes Drummond won’t be a major upgrade from Robinson.

“They are a first-round [playoff] team right now,” Marks said. And he answered with an emphatic “No” when asked if Drummond gives the Knicks a better shot of advancing deeper in the playoffs.

At a bare minimum, the Knicks can use Drummond as insurance for Robinson [if he’ll be out longer than expected] as they navigate the third toughest schedule in the second half.

Drummond averaged 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25 games for the Cavaliers before he was shut down.

In contrast, Robinson was averaging 8.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 2.1 blocks before he went down with an injury last month. Backup center Nerlens Noel is averaging 6.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks since he took over from Robinson.

Risk-cost benefit

When Robinson comes back at full health, Tom Thibodeau would have more options.

If he wants to generate more offense from the post, he could roll with the more offensively-polished Drummond. But if he wants rim protection, Robinson could have more value on the court. This could make Noel expendable and move Taj Gibson further down the rotation.

Drummond will be a bigger weapon to have against Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo or the firepower-heavy Nets in a potential first-round playoff series. But as Marks suggested, Drummond won’t push the Knicks over the first-round hump.

However, the bigger concern would be the risk of drilling a hole in the already solid Knicks’ chemistry.

Drummond could eat into the Knicks’ lone post threat Julius Randle’s usage rate on top of potentially rubbing Robinson the wrong way. Unless the Knicks intend to flip Robinson into a major backcourt upgrade such as Lonzo Ball or in a larger package for an All-Star level guard like Bradley Beal or Victor Oladipo, Leon Rose and his shrewd front office could be on to something.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Bobby Marks: Brooklyn Nets’ big man Jarrett Allen looking for Clint Capela-type of extension

Brooklyn Nets, Jarrett Allen

Will the Brooklyn Nets extend or cash in Jarret Allen?

This is one of the biggest questions that Net’s general manager Sean Marks would have to address aside from re-signing Joe Harris and finding the third star to complement the returning Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Allen’s contract extension talks could be tied with the last one as his name constantly pops up in trade rumors.

Conventional wisdom says the Nets would likely play out Allen’s rookie deal and have him as a restricted free agent next year. But that would be tempting Allen to walk away after this season without getting anything in return.

Former Nets’ assistant general manager and now ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks recently weighed in on Allen’s contract situation.

“He’s looking for a Clint Capela-type of money,” Marks said on Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast.

Capela signed a five-year, $90-million extension deal with the Houston Rockets in 2018 before he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks last season. Capela was 24 at the time of the deal.

“I would think it’s hard for me to extend him to that type of number and the other thing is if you extend these guys, you’re basically off the board for a year because of the poison pill restriction in your contract. So it’s not like he’s tradeable so I think if I’m Brooklyn and if I can get him in that $12-14 million range, I’m looking for a below-market type of deal here,” Marks added.

But would Allen agree to a discount in a reduced role for the next three to four years?

 

Marks and Windhorst’s ESPN colleague Tim MacMahon chimed in, suggesting that it’s more complicated than it seems.

“The other thing is the strange dynamic with KD and Kyrie’s guy, DeAndre Jordan, as $10-million a year dude, paying him that much to play 18-20 minutes a game. Do they want DeAndre in the starting lineup? You can’t ignore that whole dynamic when you’re making these decisions and obviously, the Nets’ front office isn’t ignoring anything that KD and Kyrie have to say when it comes to making major decisions,” MacMahon said.

The 22-year old Allen was one of the homegrown Nets but could see himself as another casualty of the new order with the team’s championship window arriving.

The markings were on the wall when Irving left him out of their core during a controversial post-game talk early this year.

“Collectively, I feel like we have great pieces, but it’s pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will complement myself, [Kevin Durant], DJ, GT, Spence [Dinwiddie], Caris [LeVert], and we’ll see how that evolves,” Irving said after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in January.

Allen subsequently lost the starting job to Jordan after Kenny Atkinson, his biggest backer, left the team. While Allen has said all the right things since the demotion, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow after showing he’s a capable starter on a playoff team before last season.

Would he want to play as a backup in a championship contender or secure the bag and play as a starter with another team?

Nets owner and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai has no qualms about paying the luxury tax. Still, Bobby Marks, speaking from his experience with former Nets’ owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, warned that Sean Marks and the Nets’ front office could be courting trouble if they flame out while being the league’s top taxpayer.

“Here’s the deal with these guys (rich owners). They may be making 20 billion dollars a year and I’ve said this all along. When you’ve got to write a luxury tax cheque, or wire money for $40 or $50 million and you lose in the second round or conference finals, it’s not a pleasant meeting with the ownership. So I don’t care what they’re worth. Nobody wants to spend $50 million on tax,” Marks said.

Earlier, Marks told Empire Sports Media that a Harris deal worth $12 million annually would net the Nets a $50-million tax bill. A lucrative Allen extension would push Tsai to dig deeper into his pocket.

Even with a healthy Durant and Irving, the Nets are not a surefire favorite. They would have to contend in a crowded East with at least five more solid contenders in Miami, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Sean Marks showed his chops as an executive pulling the Nets out of the rabbit hole by extracting value out of nothing.

Now that he’s got something, will he keep it or flip it?

Marks has his work cut out for him.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks Draft Watch: What is the value of the top two picks?

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

LaMelo Ball has added more fuel to the fire when he said on ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby Show Wednesday that he has spoken to only two teams thus far: the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.

The 6-foot-7 point guard has been on top of the Knicks’ Draft Board since May according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Meanwhile, Ian Begley of SNY recently reported that some NBA teams believe that the Knicks have been trying to move up in the Draft.

If the Knicks have their eyes on Ball, what could move the needle for them to get to the top of the Draft?

 

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, executives around the NBA believe the Minnesota Timberwolves will shop the top overall pick for a win-now player. The Warriors are also in the same boat, hoping that they could snag a key piece to augment the loss of Kevin Durant and Andre Igoudala.

But ESPN’s Front Office Insider Bobby Marks believes the value of the Wolves and Warriors’ top two selections have decreased relatively owing to the unpredictability of this Draft class.

“I don’t believe you can get an All-Star back. It’s a lot different compared to last year,” Marks told Empire Sports Media.

Last year, Zion Williamson was the consensus top pick. This year, it’s unclear.

Ball, swingman Anthony Edwards, and big man James Wiseman have routinely figured out on top of several Mock Drafts and Draft Boards.

Trading draft picks have been tricky. Because there’s an unknown variable involved.

Revisiting past trades involving top picks might give us a better appraisal of the Timberwolves and Warriors’ picks.

The last time the No. 1 pick was traded happened in 2017 with the Philadelphia 76ers moving up from No. 3 to select Markelle Fultz. In return, the Celtics received the No. 3 pick (Jayson Tatum) and a future first-round pick which turned out to be Romeo Langford, last year’s No. 14 selection.

The following year, another Draft Day trade involving a top-three pick had a major impact. The Atlanta Hawks traded down from No. 3 to No. 5 to get an additional draft pick and selected sharp-shooter Trae Young.

The Mavericks, on the other hand, went on to pick Luka Doncic, who finished in the top five of the MVP balloting this season. The additional draft pick which the Hawks got in the trade turned out to be Cam Reddish, last year’s No. 10 selection.

Those cases, however, don’t apply to the Knicks, who are at the bottom half of the lottery. For the Knicks to move up into the top two, they will have to give more compensations than what the 76ers and the Mavericks have sent out.

The Knicks have the Draft capital, having six first-round picks starting next year until 2023 to choose from to add to their current No. 8 pick in a trade package. But they don’t have the win-now player which both the Timberwolves and the Warriors seek in a trade.

The last time an All-Star was involved in a trade for a No. 1 pick occurred in 2014 when the Cleveland Cavaliers sent No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love in a larger three-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

In addition to Wiggins, Minnesota also received Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, and a trade exception while the 76ers got Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, and a future first-rounder which turned out to be Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (24th pick in 2016 NBA Draft).

As complicated as it is to pull off a multiple-team trade, it’s the more plausible way for the Knicks to convince ironically the Timberwolves or the Warriors to part way with their picks.

Sources: New York Knicks interested in Heat’s Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic, New York Knicks

In 2015, Goran Dragic had the New York Knicks as one of his preferred destinations along with the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pat Riley beat Phil Jackson in the trade deadline acquiring the Slovenian point guard and his brother Zoran from the Phoenix Suns. Dragic went on to stay long term with the Heat and was rewarded with a Finals trip this season.

Five years later, Dragic could find himself crossing paths with the Knicks again as multiple sources believe that the Heat point guard is among their free-agent targets.

The Knicks have also been linked to trade rumors involving Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul and another free-agent-to-be Fred Van Vleet of the Toronto Raptors. But the price of acquiring either of those two backcourt generals could be too high for the Knicks who want to maintain their cap flexibility for the next summer’s loaded free agency class.

One NBA agent views Dragic as a cheaper alternative that would make more a lot of sense from a financial standpoint and as a culture-builder.

“He’s one year younger than Chris (Paul) and has more years of experience than Fred (Van Vleet). He could be the ideal leader of this Knicks rebuild just like what he did with the Heat and be a mentor to their young guards at a relatively cheaper contract,” the agent told Empire Sports Media.

Another source said that the Knicks will have the cap space to lure Dragic with more money on a long-term deal, but the Heat will be motivated to keep Dragic after their successful run this season.

“I believe the Heat will try to keep him and run it back next season but it’s going to be tough for them to offer a long-term deal as Pat Riley has his eyes on the 2021 free agency,” the source told Empire Sports Media.

Grammy-nominated guitarist Robert Randolph, who is one of the Knicks’ owner James Dolan’s close friends in the music industry, has tweeted that Dragic is the Knicks’ top target in the free agency.

Dragic has accepted an off-the-bench role in the regular season and served as one of the catalysts in the development of the Heat’s young players such as Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro.  The veteran guard averaged 16.2 points and 5.1 assists for the Heat while shooting 37 percent from deep this season.

A consummate pro, Dragic is viewed around the league as the embodiment of the Heat culture in the post-LeBron James and Dwyane Wade era.

Former Brooklyn Nets’ assistant general manager-turned ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks has broken down Dragic’s potential value in the free-agent market.

“I think his range is 2 years $10M per with another team. 1 year at $16-18 with Miami. It’s hard to see him getting 3 years at his age. It’s also very hard seeing him going to a rebuild like in New York,” Marks told Empire Sports Media.

A three-year deal in the range of $30 to $35 million or a 2 plus 1 deal similar to Julius Randle’s contract structure could lure Dragic to ride the sunset in New York.

The Heat, on the other hand, could use their Bird rights to retain Dragic and offer a one-year bloated contract to maintain their 2021 cap space. But Dragic was non-committal last March, according to a Miami Herald report, although he maintained that he was happy at Miami.

“We’ll see,” Dragic said about signing the one-year deal. “A lot of different factors, my family, myself. I would say it’s too soon to talk about it. I’m not thinking about my next contract. I’ve always been a guy in the present.”

A lot of things have changed since then, with Dragic carving out a bigger role as the Heat went deeper in the playoffs. But it has also caused too much stress on his foot that kept him out of the NBA Finals since Game One — a factor that may keep Dragic from accepting a one-year deal.

Dragic, 34, may have played his final game with the Heat this season after tearing his plantar fascia on his left foot in the Finals opener.

According to a medical expert, Dragic could be sidelined by at least six weeks up to more than nine weeks.

“To better understand Goran’s foot injury, a brief run-through of the anatomy & function of the Plantar Fascia and its importance in a player like Goran is appropriate. The plantar fascia refers to the long thick fibrous tissue at the bottom of the foot that runs from the heel to the toes,” Dr. Ernest Eusebio, a New York City-based Performance Physical Therapist & High-Performance Consultant, told Empire Sports Media.

It functions to absorb high tension forces, maintains the structure of the foot when weight bearing, and creates a strong, stable platform upon which propulsion occurs.”

The Filipino-American doctor continued that “a guard like Dragic who relies on powerful push-offs, cuts, and changes of pace — a tear to the plantar fascia is a devastating structural injury that dramatically changes the function of his foot, and ultimately his chances of seeing the court again this series.”

Dr. Eusebio, whose experience includes affiliations with major sporting brands & companies, athlete & personnel affiliations in the NBA, NFL, MLB, domestic, and international Olympic Sport, as well as figures in Entertainment & Media, has also noted that the injury was caused by the accumulation of stress on the foot.

“The injury itself doesn’t happen overnight — it’s a repetitive stress injury, where consistent overload to the tissue leads to degenerative changes of the fascia itself. Goran, at 34, with 12 years of NBA experience, has likely had his fair share of load to his plantar fascia,” Dr. Eusebio said.

“Combined with the intensity of this year’s NBA Playoff Basketball and the amount of minutes required from him to help the Heat reach the Finals (33.4 mins avg per playoff game, via basketball-reference.com), it’s the highest amount of game-specific load he’s had to tolerate since his 2015-16 season.”

It’s the same injury that kept Malcolm Brogdon out for a significant time during the Bucks’ playoff run last year before he was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Brogdon has since bounced back with a career year.

Dr. Eusebio, who is also an awarded clinician (American Health Council “Best in Patient Care”), is the founder of the Wolves Performance & Lifestyle Collective, an all-encompassing high-performance consultancy providing solutions in Professional Sport, Entertainment, & Fortune 500. He explained that treating Dragic’s injury will involve receiving physical therapy & medical management that includes specialized stretching, strengthening, soft tissue, and joint mobilization, and interventions like PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections to help facilitate and optimize tissue healing and recovery windows. He also added that custom foot orthoses are usually instituted immediately as tolerated as well to assist with structural support, and then the athlete can return to sport-specific strengthening.

“The estimated total timeline for an elite athlete to return to play is about 9.1 weeks +/- 6 weeks pending the severity of the injury, the success of the rehabilitation, and player preparedness,” Dr. Eusebio concluded.

By Dr. Eusebio’s estimation, Dragic should be ready for next season, which could begin as early as January next year. But whether Dragic will still be in Miami or New York or anywhere else, we will find out when the free agency frenzy begins in the first week of December.