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

Should the New York Knicks consider trading RJ Barrett in blockbuster deal?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

If the New York Knicks really want to acquire a star player, they are going to have to give up some premium assets. The Knicks have been linked to Washington star Bradley Beal, who is a bonafide superstar and would immediately make the Knicks a better team.

While Beal has only reached the All-Star game twice, he’s averaged over 30 points per game the past two seasons and is just 27 years old. Over 25 games this year, Beal is averaging 32.9 points, 4.6 assists, and 5.2 rebounds, arguably his best season to date.

Michael Kay stated several days ago that the Knicks were quietly trying to lure Bradley Beal out of Washington:

“I’ve got it from a very good source that the Knicks are quietly interested in a Bradley Beal. How’s that gonna happen? He’s signed to a long-term deal. He has not said he wanted to be traded. But you forget, the Knicks have World Wide Wes on their side. He’s been in the ears of some of Beal’s people and kinda nudging them that this might be the time to push for a trade,” Kay said on his ESPN radio show last week.

The issue, Washington would likely demand a massive deal, including multiple first-round picks, some of which would be unprotected. In addition, they might even ask for RJ Barrett, a player the Knicks might feel too highly about to part ways with.

Bobby Marks of ESPN told Alder Almo of ESM that the Knicks would have to be willing to give up RJ Barrett in the deal.

Ultimately, acquiring a player like Bradley would be costly, but pairing him with Julius Randle, Immanuel  Quickley, Mitchell Robinson, and more would be a playoff-caliber move. In addition, they have plenty of current players on rookie deals, meaning they would still have more salary space to acquire another big name this upcoming off-season.

Alternatively, RJ Barrett is just 20 years old and averaging 16.5 points per game this season over 33.7 minutes. He’s taking a slight step forward but has shown a bit more maturity in his game, and considering Beal was averaging very similar numbers at the same age back in 2013, there is hope that Barrett could develop into an elite player, but it might be five years down the line.

The real question is, do the Knicks favor making the playoffs now or later, and do they value Randle enough to inject more talent into the starting squad alongside him, or they feel as though their youth is capable of picking up the load when he eventually moves on?

Beal or No Deal: Knicks reportedly interested in Beal; Barrett on the move?

Is Bradley Beal New York-bound?

Beal remained adamant that he’s not quitting on the Washington Wizards. But an influential New York Knicks executive is reportedly cooking up a Beal trade.

Last week, Michael Kay reported that Knicks vice president and senior basketball advisor William Wesley, more famously known as World Wide Wes, is working through back channels to land Beal in New York.

“I’ve got it from a very good source that the Knicks are quietly interested in a Bradley Beal. How’s that gonna happen? He’s signed to a long-term deal. He has not said he wanted to be traded. But you forget, the Knicks have World Wide Wes on their side. He’s been in the ears of some of Beal’s people and kinda nudging them that this might be the time to push for a trade,” Kay said on his ESPN radio show last week.

Brightest star in the biggest market

Beal is fresh from getting his first All-Star starter nod, ranking first in fans, media, and players’ votes among all Eastern Conference guards. He’s leading the league in scoring with a career-high 32.8 points per game on 47/34/90 shooting splits. The 27-year old star is also putting up career-best 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.3 steals. But despite his spectacular numbers, the Wizards are in the bottom three in the East though they have won their last three games.

On the flip side, things are getting rosy in New York. The Knicks are in the playoff conversations and are quickly becoming an attractive destination. New team president Leon Rose, along with Williams and head coach Tom Thibodeau, has dramatically changed New York’s culture.

The appeal to Beal in New York is a chance to become the biggest star in the biggest NBA market. And if he wins in New York, that will cement his basketball legacy.

Aggressive buyer

Along with their early on-court success, a treasure trove of picks, and a $15 million cap space, the Knicks are in a prime position to be an aggressive buyer in the trade market.

They own all their first-round picks plus two more from Dallas via the Kristaps Porzingis trade. All in all, the Knicks have seven first-round picks and eight second-rounders through the 2025 NBA Draft.

Stefan Bondy of the Daily News reported that the Knicks are also monitoring CJ McCollum’s situation in Portland. But ESPN’s Front Office Insider and former Brooklyn Nets’ assistant general manager Bobby Marks told Empire Sports Media that the Trail Blazers are not trading him.

Potential Beal package

If Beal and the Wizards decide to part ways, the asking price would be in the James Harden trade neighborhood.

When asked what the Wizards could seek from the Knicks in exchange for their long-time cornerstone, Marks told Empire Sports Media that it would require giving up both the first-round picks from Dallas (2021 unprotected, 2023 top-10 protected), a minimum of two unprotected first-round picks, pick swaps and sophomore swingman RJ Barrett. 

A package like that could still leave the Knicks in a good position to contend in the East with a core of Beal, Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Immanuel Quickley, all of whom are still under 30 years old and plenty of cap space to chase another star.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Nets Rumor: James Harden names Brooklyn as one of 3 potential destinations if Rockets blow it up

Could James Harden be the third star that the Brooklyn Nets covet?

With all the unrest in Houston brought by the sweeping changes in the coaching staff and front office, Rockets’ superstars Harden and Russell Westbrook have reportedly expressed concern about the franchise’s direction, per ESPN.

Adding more fuel to the fire, Kendrick Perkins said on The Jump on Wednesday that Harden isn’t picking up the phone calls of the members of the Rockets’ organization.

Five Reasons Sports Network’s Clutch NBA reported shortly after that Harden already has a list in mind on where he wants to go next if the Rockets decide to go in another direction.

The 31-year old Harden has $131.5 million left in his contract, including a $46.9 million player option in 2022-23.

Nets’ possible package for Harden

ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks also named the Nets as one of the five teams who have the combination of draft capital and tradeable contracts that can satisfy Rockets’ possible asking price. The four other teams are Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and the 76ers where Daryl Morey, the former Rockets general manager, has indicated that he will trade for Harden if he is made available.

The Nets, according to Marks, can dangle a package composed of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, and future draft picks.

The Nets have internally discussed last season on how to acquire a third star, acknowledging that their championship window has arrived with the acquisition of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

They were previously linked to Bradley Beal and Jrue Holiday, but nothing concrete came out of it.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Bradley Beal leaves door open for Nets, other contenders

New York Knicks, Marcus Morris

The Brooklyn Nets have an outside chance to land Bradley Beal, if not this offseason, in the foreseeable future.

Expect the Beal trade chatter to continue until next season after the Washington Wizards superstar left the door open for him to bolt out from D.C.

Beal, appearing on J.J. Redick’s podcast The Old Man and the Three, explained why he only signed a one plus one extension instead of the three or four-year deal.

“I want something built around me. I have that opportunity to do it here. I signed my deal and structured it to have some flexibility,” Beal said. “Because at the end of the day, I still want to win. The (Wizards) organization have to show me that we want to win. I want to see what John (Wall) is like [when he returns] as well.”

Beal suprised the league when he signed a two-year, $72 million extension that will keep him in Washington until the summer of 2022 when he can exercise his player option to enter free agency.

If he declines his player option, he would be eligible for a lucrative five-year, $266 million deal or sign elsewhere for a four-year, $198 million contract.

“You still want to be able to protect yourself and kinda be selfish. How can I create some type of flexibility for myself if we aren’t winning, if I do choose to get out.”

The Nets have reportedly discussed last summer on how to acquire Beal as the team’s third star after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined them last year.

At that time, Beal took the news as a sign of respect.

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard this kind of talk,” Beal told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “It’s interesting. To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I’ve been doing good things and guys want to play with me. That’s an unbelievable feeling. When you hear that Kyrie and KD want you, s—, that’s amazing.”

“At the same time, you don’t know how much there is to it, or how easy it would be to do. And I’ve put down roots in D.C. I’ve dedicated myself to this town, this community. I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team. But I’d be naive to say that I don’t think about it when these stories come up.”

The Wizards are hoping that Wall’s comeback will ease up the load on Beal and help them get back into playoff contention in the East which has gotten stronger with a healthy Durant and Irving in Brooklyn.

Wall has only played 73 games since 2017-18 but looks fine in a recent workout against, ironically, the Nets that surfaced on social media.

Without Wall, Beal had to shoulder much of the load and despite a stellar campaign last season, he wasn’t named to any of the All-NBA teams. Beal averaged 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from beyond the arc and 84.2 percent from the free throw line.

He was the first player to average 30 points and six assists who wasn’t named to any All-NBA team.

The Nets as well as the other contenders will be closely monitoring Beal and the Wizards situation.

The pressure is building up in Washington.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets keeping tabs on Zach LaVine

New York Knicks, Zach Lavine

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets “have been monitoring” Zach LaVine’s situation with the Chicago Bulls.

And it’s worth noting that both the Knicks and the Nets are among the teams who have been monitoring LaVine’s situation in Chicago. Per SNY sources, both teams have done background work on LaVine to be prepared for the possibility that Chicago ends up listening to trade offers on the 25-year-old guard.

The Bulls finished the 2019-20 NBA season as the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference (22-43), missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. LaVine has two seasons remaining on a four-year, $78 million deal, initially signed with the Sacramento Kings and matched by the Bulls in the summer of 2018.

LaVine has been Chicago’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons. Last season the 25-year-old averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks could potentially offer the Bulls some combination of Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and their two first-round draft selections in both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Draft for LaVine. New York has also been linked to Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

New York finished the regular season as the 12th seed in the East (21-45), missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. They’re looking to name a head coach for next season.

The Nets could potentially offer the Bulls some combination of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Spencer Dinwiddie and their first-round draft selections in both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Draft for LaVine. Brooklyn has also been linked to Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Brooklyn is the seventh seed in the East (30-34), preparing for the NBA restart in Walt Disney World next week under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who took over for Kenny Atkinson in March.

The Drama of the New York Mets Sale Continues

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

As most New York baseball fans know, anything with Alex Rodriguez comes loaded with drama and endless media coverage. The hopeful future owner of the New York Mets decided to take to the media in an attempt to steal the team away from Steve Cohen.

Rodriguez never has received a “no” for something he wanted, no matter what dirty tricks he has used to pursuit it. From his record-setting contract with the Texas Rangers, then trade to a contender, to playing through and fighting a well-deserved suspension, Rodriguez is a master of using the media to get his way and is attempting to do so once again. This time it is backfiring big time at him.

No Money, No Team

It became apparent that the A-Rod/J-Lo group lacked funds when they enlisted the help of athletes across sports to help their cause. A-Rod used the media game to vouch for a salary cap to put teams on an even playing field. Once again, the highest-earning baseball player of all-time is demanding a salary cap. Since he knows he does not have the money to spend like a New York team should, Rodriguez is attempting to find a way to level the playing field.

One of A-Rod’s former teammates, Brandon McCarthy, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with his former teammate’s comments.

Union rep Tony Clark also voiced his opinion saying, “Alex benefited as much as anybody from the battles this union fought against owners’ repeated attempts to get a salary cap.” This was not the only trick the Rodriguez team had up their sleeve.

The Race Card

One of the athletes involved with A-Rod is Bradley Beal. Whether Rodriguez had anything to do with it is still a question, but Beal put out a tweet involving race issues and Cohen’s “shady” past.

It seems ironic that an A-Rod led group is talking about shady decisions. Rodriguez could qualify for the same category as Barry Bonds and Pete Rose when it comes to off the field issues that are keeping them out of the hall of fame.

Plain and simple, if anyone had the money to compete with Cohen’s wallet, a salary cap or race issue would not be a question. Baseball only has one minority principal owner and it is Artie Moreno of the Los Angeles Angles. The MLB, more than any sport, can better their diversity and has issues with it within the sport, but this ownership issue is not one of race.

The Guggenheim Baseball Management group, with Magic Johnson as their face, bought the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 as well. Johnson has a 2.3% stake in the Dodgers ownership, but his star power had a factor in making the group popular with fans. Should his side win, Beal will likely get the same percentage.

You ask yourself this question, $1.7 billion with a net worth lower than that or $4 billion with $13.6 billion net worth? They are both enormous amounts, but the Wilpons love money more than baseball, and the MLB wants an owner who can support a winner in their biggest market. The biggest factor for this entire sale is whether the Wilpons want to keep SNY (agree to A-Rod’s deal) or hand over any power with the Mets (agree to Cohen’s deal).

Is Cohen the cleanest businessman who ever lived? No. It is hard to find someone with that much money who is completely innocent. Also, there are plenty of owners in the four major sports who are worst people; you can find a couple of them scattered in the New York sports scene.

If the A-Rod group could sniff the amount of money Cohen has, then the race card could certainly have weight to it. The extreme gap in funds, the timing of the statement, and A-Rod’s unpopularity from players throughout baseball are precisely why he is turning to plan B.

Also, think about this, Rodriguez can grab football and basketball players to join his bid, but why haven’t any former baseball players joined his quest to buy Flushing’s franchise?

Brooklyn Nets: Get Bradley Beal at all Costs

New York Knicks, Marcus Morris

Flashback seven years ago, the newly located Brooklyn Nets are stuck as a second-tier team. Led by Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the options are clear: make a push for a championship that mortgages the future or tear down the roster and rebuild with a stockpile of assets. On draft night in June 2013, the front office made their choice. In a trade that has haunted the franchise for the majority of the decade, the Nets acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, two pieces they hoped would catapult them into real contenders. 

After recent reports surfaced Thursday that the Nets have interest in adding star Bradley Beal to the fold, deja vu struck in the minds of many Nets fans. Just as the Nets quickly built a contender in 2012, they have done so again. As Williams and Lopez were exiting their primes, the team attempted to surround them with a desperate accumulation of talent. Durant and Irving may have already seen their best days, but that is where the similarities end. They represent a higher class of superstardom, one that can objectively compete against the most high-profile names in the league. Adding a superstar entering his prime would fuel a championship run without stripping the franchise of all future assets. 

When it comes to perfect additions for this complicated Nets roster, it doesn’t get more seamless than Beal. His immense versatility would allow him to fit in next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a way that most stars would not be able to. 

“I can put him in any situation, and he understands it at a high level,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I can use him as a decoy, and he understands why I’m using him as a decoy. I can use him in pick and rolls and pin downs and in the post.” 

Playing with two superstars who can break down any defense would offer Beal more open three-pointers than he’s seen at any other point in his career. As a 38% three-point shooter over the course of his eight-year career, he also presents a perimeter reputation that would open up lanes for Durant and Irving to get the rim without the worry of help coming off of the shooters. With Durant coming off a major Achilles injury and Irving dealing with several maladies in previous seasons, Beal would provide necessary durability to a roster lacking in it. He hasn’t missed a game in the previous three seasons, proving to be one of the most dependable stars the league has, especially in the era of player preservation. This would afford Durant and Irving the ability to play relaxed with less of an onus on scoring, which would limit the wear and tear of a grueling NBA season as they geared up toward a run at a championship. Beal’s ability to come off screens and dribble handoffs as a scoring threat would make him a perfect partner with Deandre Jordan, a big-bodied screener who excels with playmaking guards as an explosive roll man to keep the defense honest. 

The big concern out of Brooklyn is the fragility of their two superstars, who are constantly in the headlines for the wrong reasons. It would behoove Sean Marks to add a star with a stabilizing personality to the mix. 

When asked about his relationship with Beal, Wizards co-star John Wall said “We’re just building a bond. We always joke and have fun. We play cards on the plane with each other. All that stuff equaled up to us making a better bond. We never disliked each other. There are times on the court where you are going to dislike a player. You want the ball. They want the ball”

The fight Beal displays on the court indicate a level of competitiveness that carries teams to basketball glory. A desire to win games and compete as well as capable drives the great ones. As Wall stated clearly, Beal is an excellent teammate both on and off the court. 

Parting with Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen may seem like a tough ask for the Brooklyn Nets front office, but consider this: when envisioning the Nets lineup closing out games, which of these guys do you want out on the floor? Dinwiddie struggled mightily when paired with D’Angelo Russell last season and with Kyrie Irving this season. Without the ball in his hands, he provides little in the way of positive value on the court. He isn’t a particularly strong defender or spot-up shooter, making him a less than ideal fit in a closing lineup where he won’t have the ball in his hands. Levert has flashed glimpses of greatness for the entirety of his career, but injuries and an inconsistent jump shot have hindered his development. His lack of a consistent long-range shot would allow defenses to focus on Durant and Irving driving to the hoop, clogging the lane, and leaving them little opportunity to score at the rim. Allen’s inability to develop a consistent offensive game makes him a trade piece for the Nets. His benching in early March, in the first game after Kenny Atkinson was fired, was an indication about how the coaching staff and stars on the team felt about his value. Since his rookie year he has been a rim-running center who can protect the rim on defense but does not provide much else. While he is a solid big man for any rotation, this makes him expendable. At just 26 years old and now entering his prime, Beal himself would account for the lost young talent it would take to acquire him in a deal.

With Beal added to the fold, the Brooklyn Nets would become instant title favorites. Possessing three superstars in a league that is currently controlled by duos would give the Nets a considerable edge to close out games. Putting out Irving, Beal, and Durant to pair with sharpshooter Joe Harris would give the Brooklyn Nets a fearsome foursome that would compliment each other’s skillsets perfectly. Beal would add overwhelming talent for a Nets team that is looking to win their first NBA championship while leading the franchise for years to come. If the Wizards make Bradley Beal available in trade discussions, the Nets should engage immediately, no matter the cost.