Knicks: 3 imposing front-court options to replace Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson

knicks, myles turner

When the New York Knicks signed Nerlens Noel, they didn’t expect him to be a defensive maestro for them during the 2020 season. Of course, he offered a 6’11′ shot-blocking center, but he underwhelmed in producing points on the scoreboard. One of the Knicks’ most prevalent struggles during the postseason was their lack of aggressiveness and physicality against a stronger frontcourt, courtesy of the Atlanta Hawks. Noel and Taj Gibson simply couldn’t compete against Clint Capela, which will likely force the hand of management to find another competent center with a physically imposing frame to pair with Mitchell Robinson.

While there is a chance the Knicks bring back Noel, who set a career-high in blocked shots last season with 2.2 per game, they might find their money spent better elsewhere. The Knicks will have $5 million in additional salary to spend, which is what Noel earned last season for starting 41 games, the most since his 2015 campaign with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Gibson could also be a consideration, despite the fact he is 36 years old and was clearly outmuscled during the playoffs. However, he is a relentless player that exerts maximum effort and energy. It doesn’t seem the Knicks are too intrigued by Gibson as a future option, though, considering he played a little bit more than half the season and signed for $2.28 million after Robinson went down with a fractured hand.

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at a few options the Knicks should consider this off-season to further bolster their frontcourt.

Three big men to target this offseason for the Knicks:

1.) Myles Turner

While President Leon Rose would have to trade for Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers, he is an adequate center who offers more offensive production than Gibson, Noel, and Robinson. Last season, he averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 3.4 blocks per game. He is a defensive menace at 25 years old and has his best basketball ahead of him. He started 47 games for the Pacers last year, and with Domantas Sabonis also playing a similar position, the Pacers could be looking to part ways with Turner for capital.

Unless Indiana is asking for a behemoth package in return, this is a scenario the Knicks should heavily consider.

2.) Jarrett Allen

Another free-agent target could be Jarrett Allen, who is only 23 and coming off a solid season with the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen is also a more efficient scorer than Robinson, and offering a new point guard a solid option down low who can perform well in the pick and roll game would be ideal.

Bobby Marks of ESPN reported that the Knicks could be intrigued by Jarrett, and while he has a qualifying offer of $7.7 million for this upcoming season, it seems as if Cleveland will allow him to test the market. Of course, Cleveland will have the opportunity to match any offers, but if Allen earns more than the QO, he could easily part ways and find himself transitioning back to the Big Apple.

3.) Hassan Whiteside

If head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to focus on defense, Hassan Whiteside could be an option for the Knicks. As a two-time blocking champ and All-Defensive player in 2015, the 32-year-old could still be an adequate player behind Robinson.

Last year with the Sacramento Kings, he played in 36 games, averaging 8.1 points, 1.3 blocks, and 6.0 rebounds. However, during the 2019 season with Portland, he averaged 15.5 points, 2.9 blocks, and 13.5 rebounds. There’s no question he has plenty of defensive prowess, and at 7’0″ and 265-pounds, he’s exactly the imposing force the Knicks need during the postseason.

Whiteside would likely be the cheapest of the bunch, as he earned just $2.3 million last season with Sacramento.

Out of these three options, who would you want the Knicks to land? Comment below!

Knicks could build tantalizing front-court with one off-season acquisition

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The most efficient method of building a strong team this off-season is simple for the New York Knicks, don’t part ways with significant assets to acquire a player in a trade, but rather utilize available funds to bolster the team while approaching the draft with one impact prospect in mind. Simply put, the Knicks don’t have enough roster spots to field three more rookies as developmental projects, so pairing their selections together and targeting one in a trade-up would be a more beneficial move.

With that being said, President Leon Rose has $50+ million to work with this off-season in addition to his draft selections, meaning the Knicks can easily bolster their squad without selling the farm for a player like point guard Damian Lillard. As attractive as he is, if the front office has learned anything from the Carmelo Anthony trade, it is that one star player cannot win a championship alone. Even Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.

Some might make the argument that Lillard and Julius Randle together would equate a championship caliber team, but they would have little in terms of complementary pieces to work around them. Just look what the Brooklyn Nets accomplished spending money and not giving away valuable draft and personnel pieces.

However, I want to shift our attention over to the frontcourt where the Knicks had issues during the postseason due to a lack of physicality and offensive production. With Mitchell Robinson going down with a fractured foot, head coach Tom Thibodeau was forced to operate with Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. While both big men played valiantly, they lacked in specific categories, notably on the offensive side.

Finding another solid center to play alongside Robinson should be a priority for New York this off-season, and one player that stands out is Jarrett Allen, who was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year.

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN:

Cleveland could let Allen shop for an offer sheet but unlike Capela, who entered a tough market with few options, Allen is likely to have plenty of suitors, ranging from Charlotte to New York and Toronto.

At 23 years old, Allen averaged 12.8 points, 10 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and connected on .618 of his shots from the field. At such a young age, Allen has plenty of quality basketball ahead of him, and with Robinson in the final year of his rookie deal, having two adequate options in the paint will give the Knicks plenty of value.

Clearly, it is necessary for a physical team that relies on defense to have two solid big men available, and guaranteeing Allen would stay for multiple years would give the Knicks a bit of comfort if Mitch doesn’t play to expectations this season.

I believe pairing these two together would be a tremendous addition for New York, solidifying their frontcourt alongside Julius Randle. With the work rate that Thibodeau commands, both players could average upwards of 25 minutes per game, keeping both fresh and fatigue-free as the latter portion of the season commences and intensity is turned up a few notches.

Of course, it ultimately boils down to price point, and I don’t believe Allen will command a massive payday, giving the Knicks a good opportunity to grab him off the market early.

What do you think about pairing Mitchell Robinson with Jarrett Allen? Comment below!

Knicks News, 6/29: Jarrett Allen connected to Knicks as center option in FA

Jarrett Allen, knicks, cavaliers

The rumor mill is churning in the NBA as the 2020–21 season comes to a winding end. The New York Knicks, however, are already being caught right in the line of fire regarding the vast array of rumors being rained down upon a team with $50+ million in free agency funds available.

This is a different off-season compared to recent ones for the Knicks, considering they actually have the pull to land a star player and put together a strong team for next year.

Of course, we will hear about the big names — Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, but some might fly under the radar, as former Brooklyn nets and current Cleveland Cavaliers Center Jarrett Allen has done.

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN:

Cleveland could let Allen shop for an offer sheet but unlike Capela, who entered a tough market with few options, Allen is likely to have plenty of suitors, ranging from Charlotte to New York and Toronto.

If New York is a serious contender for Allen on the market, he would be a great complementary piece for Mitchell Robinson next season. Allen is coming off a four-year, $10 million deal he signed with a Brooklyn Nets before being traded to the Cavaliers. He has a qualifying offer of $7.7 million for this upcoming season, but it seems Brooklyn will allow him to test the market and match any offer that is brought to the table. However, it opens the door for a team like the Knicks to try and steal him away from Cleveland, as the 6’11”, 243-pound big man averaged 12.8 points, 1.7 assists, 10 rebounds, and played nearly 30 minutes per game this year.

Jarrett not only has more scoring prowess than any Center the Knicks have had over the past few seasons, but he’s only 23 years old and still developing. Averaging 1.4 blocks this year, Allen has the potential to expand into a great starter who plays well on both ends of the floor. He would fit Tom Thibodeau’s mold perfectly, and pairing him with Robinson would give the Knicks a fantastic 1-2 punch in the paint.

The only problem I could see arising is splitting minutes between Allen and Robinson, who both play the same position. Of course, Robinson is in the final year of his rookie deal, so the Knicks will have an opportunity to extend him after the season if he plays to par.

Nonetheless, New York had a difficult time in the postseason without imposing physical center, and Allen offers just that if signed. He wouldn’t cost a boatload, but granting him a bit more than Cleveland’s qualifying offer could test the waters on his price tag.

What do you think about the Knicks pursuing Jared Allan? Comment below!

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

Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen talks NBA bubble, his role in team’s rotation

Brooklyn Nets, Jarrett Allen

In an interview with Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Brooklyn Nets big man Jarrett Allen expressed uncertainty about whether players will be able to fully abide by the rules of the NBA bubble in Walt Disney World later this month.

“It’s going to be 310 players or something like that. Take NBA players out of it: That’s a lot of people to make sure you have complete control and complete guidelines over. Then you add the NBA aspect, a bunch of grown men in this situation. We have our needs, we have our wants, and you know how we are,” Allen said with a smile. “I agree there’s going to be some level of hardship like Dame [Damian Lillard] said.”

Despite the varying levels of apprehension Allen feels the players are in good hands with the NBA and Walt Disney World.

“For everybody, including myself, it’s a little bit of worry. We’re all going to an unknown,” Allen said. “But at the end of the day, I have no doubt the two powerhouses — Disney and the NBA — are coming up with the best solution for us. Obviously, there’s a little doubt in my mind; we’re all human. But I’m confident.

Allen ultimately determined his best choice was to suit up for Brooklyn this summer.

“I did question myself whether it’s worth risking my health. But at the end of the day, weighing the options, it’s better for me to go.”

The Brooklyn Nets could use some more big men

Head coach Jacque Vaughn’s rotation will be thin inside, as center DeAndre Jordan will be sitting out the resumption of the NBA season in the wake of testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, fellow big man Nic Claxton is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and forward Wilson Chandler announced he will also be sitting out.

Allen feels there’s “some” pressure on him to answer the bell.

“There is some pressure. I don’t want to say I’m the last big standing, as bad as that sounds. There’s some pressure for me to be able to stay healthy and help the team succeed,” Allen said.

“I’ve been in this position before… Rookie year I was the main big playing, then last year when Ed [Davis] got hurt I had the load, and this year this happened. I just need to come out and prove I’m able to play at this level again.”

Allen is averaging 10.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season.

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.

Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen Isn’t Clutch

Brooklyn Nets, Jarrett Allen

BROOKLYN NETS – Let me start of by saying I love The Fro. He’s come a long way since we drafted him and I appreciate what he does on the floor. The rebounds, the screens, the blocks. Let me tell you about the blocks. He had FIVE of them in the home opener loss to the Timberwolves. “One, two, three, four, FIF” to quote the great Dave Chappelle. And with all the great things he does, I can promise you I’ve never once said, “I need Jarrett Allen with the ball in his hand in the closing moment”. It’s just not something I want to see and this is the second time I can remember seeing it.

The first was in the playoffs against the 76ers. I believe it was Game 4. D’Angelo Russell had been our closer all year. He had hit a big three not to long before the moment in question. Russell got a pick from Allen, Allen rolled and Russell passed. Allen got the ball a little below the free throw line. He was mauled and lost his balance as well as the ball. Soon after we’d lose the game. I’m not here to argue whether or not it was a bad no-call by the refs. The game is long gone in our rearview mirror and the league’s Two Minute Report already admitted it should’ve been called a foul. It was the good “basketball play” to make, but for me it wasn’t a good play.

My uncle always told me, “You have to know your personnel”. So understanding my team and its players, I know Jarrett Allen isn’t really used to being in that situation. That’s strike one against him. He isn’t the strongest big. That’s strike two. He doesn’t really have a good handle and can be a little clumsy, yet got the ball around the free throw line. That’s either two steps immediately or at least a dribble. Strike three. And although he is a solid free throw shooter for a big, he is by no means a great one (keep this in mind). This is not the ideal situation for The Fro to succeed.

Fast forward to today, we’re in a similar situation. Kyrie has been carrying us all game. Countless big shots, he had 13pts in the fourth quarter. Then on a drive he sneaks a pass in to Jarrett Allen who gets fouled. Now we’re relying on Jarrett Allen to make two free throws at the line for the win. He only needs to hit one. His rookie year, Jarrett Allen shot 78% from the charity stripe. Last year, he shot 71%. Yesterday, in the clutch (so two free throw attempts) and in the game in general (four free throws total), Jarrett Allen shot 0%. I know these are rare occurrences, but we cannot allow ourselves to be at the mercy of Jarrett Allen on the offensive end of a close game. That being said, the free throw critique does not stop at Jarrett Allen. The team as a whole shot a tick under 58% from the stripe. That cannot happen. Ever! Five of the seven players to attempt free throws shot 50% or below. The Brooklyn Nets were 24th in free throw percentage last season at 74.5% and that needs to change for the better sooner rather than later.

Brooklyn Nets: Deandre Jordan Can Be a Mentor to Jarrett Allen

DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets

Questions lingered when Deandre Jordan signed with the Brooklyn Nets, mainly the thought of how would he fit alongside Jarrett Allen who boasts a similar play style. If anything, Jordan can help mentor Jarrett Allen.

The NBA regular season is a little under a month away, and training camp is coming even sooner for teams such as the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets, capping off a successful rebuild with an offseason that saw them sign two of the biggest free agents on the market, have plenty of expectations and questions for the upcoming season.

Many of those are obvious: Will Kevin Durant push himself to return this season? In his absence, can Kyrie Irving fulfill his role as a leader? Where exactly should we expect Brooklyn to finish, record-wise this season?

All justified questions, but many of those revolve around just two of three significant free-agent signings for the Nets this summer. Don’t forget that Brooklyn also signed Deandre Jordan, a player whose skill set and position mirror closely to the younger Jarrett Allen already on the roster.

Count Jarrett Allen alongside the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Lavert as the players that make up a promising young core for Brooklyn. For Allen in particular, he displayed a knack for defending the rim and showed promising defensive potential, but was clearly outplayed by Joel Embiid in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Allen was simply smaller and Embiid had more strength, which makes the signing of Deandre Jordan a logical choice. But will Jordan’s arrival, and presumably his transition to the starting lineup, stunt Allen’s development?

Some might assume, but it doesn’t have to. Deandre Jordan is 31 years old, and Jarrett Allen is 21. That’s a ten-year difference, and despite the Nets’ title window being fast-forwarded to the present, Allen is still the future. Brooklyn does not just want to win now, they want to stay competitive in the future as well.

That means properly developing the young players on the roster now, and that includes Jarrett Allen. In this way, Deandre Jordan won’t only be a fixture to contend for a title in the short-term, but he can be a mentor for Allen, showing him how to develop his game for the future. Imagine Jordan helping Allen get stronger in the weight room, or how to properly defend elite big men like Joel Embiid inside the paint.

That is what the Nets and GM Sean Marks envisioned when they signed Deandre Jordan. If you don’t believe that, then hear it from the man himself when he spoke to the media on Tuesday:

“Where can his game go? I’d never limit him. But then also how can he develop some of our young guys. You mention Jarrett. For Jarrett to be battling him day in and day out and DJ sharing some of that knowledge he’s learned, that’s terrific when you can do that.”

Sounds like Jordan has a larger and more significant role to play than just for contending for a title in June. He’s an experienced vet and brings a good amount of knowledge and experience that can help this young Nets team. For Allen in particular, he should benefit from that knowledge, and it should make him a better fixture in Brooklyn not just now, but into the future.