Knicks Notes: Kyle Lowry could hand deliver Lonzo Ball to Knicks as Pelicans pursue

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

One way or another, the New York Knicks will be seeking a point guard to upgrade the position this off-season. With the NBA draft in just three days and free agency starting in August, things are about to get exciting for a team with $50+ million in funds and four draft selections.

However, free agency may offer the team their best vehicle to bolster the unit, despite a recent report indicating the Knicks could wait until the 2022 off-season to spend their ample money. However, with eyes on Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine next year, there’s no guarantee either will be available whether they are traded or signed to a long-term extension.

One option this summer is New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, who is coming off a solid campaign, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and shot 41% from the field. From downtown, he connected on 37.8% of his shots over 8.3 attempts, the highest of his career. Based on the simple reality that players were elevated by Tom Thibodeau last season, Ball could see a statistics skyrocket in New York, which has to be on the mind of the front office. It has been eerily quiet on the Lonzo Ball front the past few weeks after he was heavily discussed at the trade deadline.

If the Knicks are still intrigued by his services, one veteran could open up the door for his departure from New Orleans.

Ian Begley of SNY stated that the New Orleans Pelicans could be pursuing Kyle Lowry at point guard, which would open up the door for a Lonzo Ball departure:

Regarding the Pelicans, opposing teams expect New Orleans to explore ways to shed salary in pursuit of a veteran. Kyle Lowry is one player on New Orleans’ radar, sources confirm.

If the Pelicans are seeking a veteran PG, Lowry undoubtedly fits the bill. At 34 years old, he averaged 17.2 points, 7.36, and shot 43% from the field over 46 games this past year. He also connected on 40% of his shots from range, averaging 7.2 attempts. Ultimately, Lowry should be a player the Knicks are looking at too, simply based on his historical success and veteran experience. If the Knicks are looking for a younger option, the Pelicans could be gearing up to let Lonzo Ball walk if a big offer sheet is presented.

His current contract would be on the books for $14.3 million on a qualified offer. The former first-round pick hasn’t made the elite impact most believed he would when drafted four years ago, but there’s no question he has untapped potential at 23 years old.

Do you think the Knicks should be considering Ball as a long-term solution at point guard? Comment below!

Knicks News, 7/13: Management split on Lonzo Ball, Duncan Robinson could be a target

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

Prior to the New York Knicks reaching the postseason, reports at the trade deadline indicated a heavy interest in New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball. In fact, rumors were flowing that the Knicks would make an offer to acquire the young guard, but instead, they rolled with Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons, sending Dennis Smith Jr. on his way.

While the Knicks didn’t land Ball this past season, there was still heightened interest in acquiring him during free agency, but it seems as if management is split on his pursuit.

Per Ian Begley of SNY:

The Knicks spoke to New Orleans about a potential Ball trade prior to the deadline but nothing materialized. One source with knowledge of the dynamic at the deadline expected the Knicks to pursue Ball again in the offseason.

But as recently as late in the regular season, there was no consensus on Ball among Knicks decision-makers.

Ball is one of the more intriguing options on the open market, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting 41% from the field this past season. For a high-volume shooter, attempting 8.3 shots from range per game, he averaged nearly 38%, which is a solid clip. His free-throw percentage took a massive jump from 56 to 78% in his fourth year.

Heading into his fifth season in the NBA, Lonzo is preparing to turn 24 years old, a ripe age to become an established starter for a team like the Knicks. With plenty of available funds, there is a likelihood he will be one of their priority options this off-season, given his increase in production last year and Tom Thibodeau’s ability to bring the best out in players.

While Ball would likely be expensive, commanding $20+ million per season, the Knicks also have a few other players on their mind, including Miami guard Duncan Robinson.

Duncan Robinson interest:

(Robinson will probably have plenty of suitors this summer. This isn’t surprising, but Robinson has fans within the Knicks organization), per Begley.

Robinson is an interesting player, with the ability to play small forward and shooting guard, offering versatility with Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock prepared to hit free agency. At 27, the Maine native has three years of NBA experience, playing 72 games this past season as a small forward. He averaged 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. In addition, he is a high-quality three-point shooter, connecting on 41% of his shots on 8.5 attempts per game.

Based on the obvious connections the Knicks have made this off-season, it is clear they want to improve their three-point shooting to complement Julius Randle and his court vision down in the paint. Kicking the ball out to the corners where players like RJ Barrett and Duncan Robinson can thrive is exactly what modern NBA teams are doing to spur success.

Knicks Off-season Mock 1.0: Overhauling the point guard position with long-term talent

davion mitchell, knicks

The New York Knicks front office needs to have one thought in mind regarding the point guard position, a long-term solution. Stop-gap players simply don’t offer the same value as building blocks that play into a strategy fit for a franchise.

Over the past few seasons, the Knicks have relied on one year contract to fill voids in the roster, but it is time they build with young talent on long-term deals made through free agency and not lavish trades. Dealing players and draft selections have bit the Knicks in the butt in the past, and with plenty of money to allocate this off-season and youth players preparing to take a step forward, they have the catalysts to spur another postseason run in 2021.

The Knicks can solve the point guard position with two long-term solutions:

In this scenario, President Leon Rose aims for consistency and chemistry over a longer period of time. While veteran Derrick Rose could be a solution in that category, it is unlikely he signs a contract worth more than two years, which could pose a problem for New York, who wants a long-term solution and a player they can build around for the future.

Sign Lonzo Ball in free agency:

The first step in this idea is signing Lonzo Ball, who is only 23 years old and had the best year of his career in 2020. Averaging nearly 15 points, he also posted 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and shot 41% from the field. Over 8.3 times per game from range, he hit on 38%, showcasing gradual growth in the category ever since his inception into the NBA during the 2017-18 season.

While some may not favor signing Ball, he is an adequate defender with plenty of untapped potential that Tom Thibodeau could exercise. Increasing his shooting efficiency and utilizing his phenomenal facilitator vision, he might be a perfect player to pair with Julius Randle on a max contract. He could feed him the ball efficiently and also hoist affective shots up from downtown.

The Knicks can’t only rely on Lonzo, though, as he played 31.8 minutes per game last season and appeared in 55 games, so they will need a solid reserve to help mitigate fatigue.

Draft Davion Mitchell:

The second piece of the puzzle is drafting Davion Mitchell, which would require the Knicks to pair their first-round selections together and move up in the draft. Mitchell averaged 14 points this past season, 5.5 assists, and shot 51% from the field. In addition, he was a 45% three-point shooter, over 4.7 attempts per game.

The development Mitchell showed with his point production last year proved that he is worth taking a flyer on an early first round. The most attractive part of Davion‘s game is his defensive prowess, featuring a relentless motor and fantastic frame. As a solid pick-and-roll defender, his high intensity and fundamentals stand out frequently. He would be an instant impact player on defense for the Knicks, which fits Thib’s bill to perfection.

Pairing an elite defender straight out of college with Ball would allow the Baylor product to refine his offensive game in short spurts, which would be beneficial long-term. This will completely overhaul a weak point in the roster, injecting an established player and a high upside rookie without overwhelming the roster with inexperience.

What do you think of this idea, signing ball and drafting Mitchell? Comment below!

Knicks could fix point guard problem in free agency with double signing

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

In a perfect world, the New York Knicks would land a young point guard this off-season with plenty of developmental potential left to unfold. Looking at the organization and the coaching personnel at their disposal, the Knicks should feel good that whatever player they end up signing this off-season will be maximized by their staff.

Ultimately, Tom Thibodeau and his assistants did a phenomenal job extracting the most value out of players like Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. The majority of the players on the roster saw an uptick in multiple categories, including defensive efficiency and three-point percentage. With that being the case, the front office should be thinking long-term instead of a short-term solution that could command substantial money.

The Knicks have a unique opportunity to target two point guards this free agency, which would not only shore up a weak spot on the roster but offer a long-term solution in the process.

The Knicks could look to retain Derrick Rose and target Lonzo Ball in free agency:

In this scenario, the Knicks elect to target Lonzo Ball and retain Derrick Rose. Ball saw nice progression this past year, averaging a career-high 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. He connected on .414 of his shots from the field and nearly 38% from downtown over 8.3 times per game. If he can improve his defensive work rate, he could be a star player for the Knicks, and there is no secret that LaVar Ball desires his sons to play at MSG.

Ever since his inception into the NBA, Ball has been expected to carry a heavy weight on offense — he had the highest usage rate of his career at 20.5% this year.

Adding another effective scorer who can operate as a pick-and-roll guard and catch-and-shoot option would benefit Julius Randle tremendously, taking pressure and attention away from him. Considering what the Knicks had last year to work with in Elfrid Payton as one of their primary players, upgrading to Ball would give them a fantastic back-court with depth at PG.

Extending Rose on a one-year deal would give them a mentor for Ball and a familiar face that understands Tom Thibodeau’s demands on defense. Both would earn a fair share of playing time, as D-Rose simply can’t handle a full season’s workload at his age and degradation.

One of the most exciting benefits that Lonzo would bring to New York is his ability as a facilitator. Considering the New Orleans Pelicans have Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in their starting five, Ball had one goal in mind, feeding them the rock. With a team that focuses on getting the ball to Randle and spreading to the perimeters for three-point shots, Ball’s vision would likely be an essential piece of their future success.

There’s no question that Lonzo would be a more price-effective option compared to Chris Paul, and they could depend on him as a long-term solution at his age, 23.

What are your thoughts on signing both Rose and Ball? Comment below!

Knicks News, 6/28: Lonzo Ball, Kyle Lowry connected to Knicks in free agency

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

There’s no question the New York Knicks are going to need to splash the cash if they want to land a long-term solution at point guard, and while there are a bevy of options available on the free-agent market, the targeted players they seek must also want the bright lights of New York.

At the trade deadline this past season, the Knicks were heavily connected to New Orleans Pelicans PG Lonzo Ball, who will be a restricted free agent this off-season. Either the Pelicans can match his offer sheet that starts at $19 million, or they can let him test the market and match any offers made my alternative clubs.

Ball is not only a young point guard that took a positive step forward this past season, but he also has chemistry with Julius Randle, as they spent two seasons together in Los Angeles between 2017-19.

However, Ball is an entirely different player at this point in his career, similar to Randle. Randle is coming off a career season with the Knicks, averaging 24.1 points, 6.0 assists, and shot .456 from the field. Both players took extravagant leaps in their three-point percentages, with Julius increasing his number from .277 in 2019 to .411 in 2020. Ball went from .329 in 2018 to .378 in 2020 over 8.3 attempts, indicating a lofty increase.

In addition to the statistical improvements, LaVar Ball has always wanted his sons to end up at MSG on the biggest stage in basketball.

Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that LaVar Ball’s desire is for his sons to end up ‘on Broadway”:

The father’s eccentricities are not an issue. Sources believe Lavar, a former tight end on the Jets’ practice squad, wants all his sons on Broadway, and the Knicks are on Lonzo’s radar.

Landing Ball on a multi-year deal would enable the Knicks to spend the rest of their funds on high-end complementary pieces. Of course, signing a bonafide star like Chris Paul or trading for Damian Lillard might be ideal for some parties, but Lonzo is just hitting his stride and will likely continue to develop, especially with a great Knicks coaching staff.

Kyle Lowry also reportedly “wanted to be a Knick,” according to Berman:

As stated above, the Knicks will have several options to choose from on the open market, and Lowry remains one of them. Coming off a one-year, $30.5 million deal, Lowry only started 46 games this past season at 34 years old. However, he’s earned six All-Star appearances over the past seven seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 7.3 assists during his playing time this year. He also connected on nearly 40% off his three-point attempts, averaging 7.2 shots from beyond the arc per game — a category the Knicks ‘NEED’ to improve in.

There’s no question that Lowry would offer a significant upgrade at PG for the Knicks, but overpaying for an oft-injured, declining PG might not be the best allocation of resources. Staying young while also adding superior potential is what the Knicks should be focusing on. A dual threat of Lonzo and Derrick Rose would be a solid pairing, as Rose can operate the offense at a high level and Ball can also swing out to shooting guard if need be as they rotate and keep Rose healthy and fatigue-free (Rose simply can’t manage a full seasons workload at this point). This theoretical move would also allow Ball to develop even further behind one of the best PGs of the past generation, taking over in the long term. This idea might only work if Rose was on a one-year deal, and he might be looking to cash in one last time late in his career.

What do you think of a Lonzo Ball, Derrick Rose pairing at PG? Should the Knicks spend that much on to starting options, if they were willing to operate under that mold? Comment below!

3 free agent point guards on the Knicks’ radar as we head toward free agency

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

The New York Knicks are heading into a competitive off-season full of teams looking to acquire big players. After a successful 2020–21 season, led by All-Star Julius Randle and one of the best defenses in basketball, thanks to Tom Thibodeau, the organization plans to inject more talent into the roster.

With various players expected to hit the open market, including Nerlens Noel, Taj Gibson, Alec Burks, and more, the Knicks will have plenty of money to go out and find a bonafide star while also retaining some of their more efficient contributors.

However, point guard remains a significant weakness, and it became clear that the team cannot rely on Derrick Rose on an everyday basis due to his age and injuries. Retaining him as a spark off the bench, on the other hand, could be a fantastic move as he showed elusiveness and scoring prowess throughout the season. He was the only Knick to really show production during the postseason series against the Atlanta Hawks, as his experience brought benefits. He already mentioned that returning to New York would be a priority, but he expects the Knicks’ front office to be busy with bigger fish.

Three FA point guards on the Knicks’ radar:

1.) Lonzo Ball

During the trade deadline a few months ago, Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball was at the top of the food chain. He was rumored daily to the Knicks, and after posting 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting .378 from three-point land this season, he is undoubtedly still on their radar.

At 23 years old, Ball hasn’t hit his ceiling yet, so the Knicks could end up acquiring a player just entering his prime. With four years of experience on two different teams, he has seen improvements in several categories on a yearly basis, including his shot from downtown. His field-goal percentage has also increased from .360 in his rookie year to .414 last season. Averaging 31.8 minutes per game, Ball would be a solid option for a New York team in need of a long-term point guard. While he won’t be as expensive or as proven as Chris Paul or Damian Lillard, his upside is worth gambling on, and I would be content if the Knicks went this route in FA.

2.) Kendrick Nunn

New York has also been linked to Miami Heat point guard Kendrick Nunn, who could make upwards of $15 million per season after earning $1.7 million with Miami this past campaign.

Nunn averaged 14.6 points per game, seeing an increase in scoring proficiency while also hitting on .381 from downtown. His free-throw percentage rose to .933, indicating a very efficient shooter in that category. He has taken steps forward gradually in nearly every section, and at 25 years old, he could offer the Knicks a long-term solution a point guard as well.

Per Ian Begley of SNY:

“Nunn, per sources, is among the guards who have been on the Knicks’ radar as they consider their offseason plans. Nunn shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc on nearly six attempts per game this season and shot it remarkably well in the second half of the season. One member of an opposing organization analyzing the market drew a comparison between the 25-year-old Nunn and Terry Rozier, who averaged nine points per game in his last season with the Celtics before signing a three-year, $56 million deal with Charlotte. Rozier’s role increased. His production also increased. The opposing team thought Nunn, who averaged 14.6 points per game last year, could follow a similar path if his opportunities increased.”

3.) Chris Paul

Of course, the big fish would be Chris Paul, who is 36 years old and is looking for a three-year deal. For a player of his age, Paul is still playing exceptional basketball, making the All-Star team over the past two seasons consecutively. His points per game have dropped to 16.4, the lowest since 2010, but he is still providing 8.9 assists and shooting nearly .500 from the field. There is no question that Paul still has plenty of great basketball left in his future, but the concern for injury is real.

The expectation is that Paul could be searching for a contract in a three-year, $100 million range, which would give the Knicks more funds to utilize in other places, but it is still lofty for a player past his prime. The Knicks could be better off sticking with a younger option for cheaper then taking a gamble on an aging veteran like Paul.

Report: Knicks could make series push for Lonzo Ball in free agency

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

While the New York Knicks are preparing to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the first series of their postseason quest, free agency rumors are still bubbling to the surface. At the trade deadline, the Knicks were connected to a variety of players, ranging from Victor Oladipo to Lonzo Ball. However, their interest in Ball remains a constant, as they desperately need more assistance at point guard, and acquiring Ball while also retaining veteran Derrick Rose could be a solution to their problems.

Having a quality mentor like Rose for Lonzo would not only help him develop quicker but also allow the Knicks to retain one of their most important players this season. Rose is currently in the final year of a two-year, $15 million deal, so he likely won’t be cheap but not overpriced. He is averaging an impressive 14.9 points per game with the Knicks at 32 years old, shooting .487 from the field and .411 from three-point, the best success rate in his entire career.

In fact, I would argue that keeping Rose should be a priority for New York, even if they splash the cash for Lonzo Ball. Ball is having himself his best year to date, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. He has solid vision and spreads the ball effectively but is also capable of scoring, shooting .414 from the field and .378 from behind the arc. He has a bit of room to grow from three-point land, averaging 8.3 attempts per game.

“I think Lonzo will get a pretty good number whether it’s Chicago or New York or some other places,” via Adrian Wojnarowski on the Woj & Lowe Podcast.

Ball will command solid money, nonetheless, as he’s only 23 years old and represents a budding player in the NBA. He’s capable of playing solid basketball on the defensive side but also has unlimited potential offensively. He has good court vision, solid athleticism, and the desire to be coached, which is something that head coach Tom Thibodeau loves in his players.

A point guard duo of Rose and Ball would certainly be an upgrade, and the Knicks would gladly move on from Elfrid Payton for this pairing.

Knicks won’t get Lonzo Ball audition in matchup against Pelicans

The Knicks are gearing up to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening, and coming off three wins consecutively, New York is riding a high. However, we have seen the inconsistencies that plague the Knicks in the past, but there is hope they have finally gotten over the hump, stringing together not only a few wins but close victories — finishing games. The keyword there is “finish,” one that wasn’t understood against the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and even Philadelphia 76ers a few weeks ago.

This seems to be a new age for head coach Tom Thibodeau and his team of defenders, considering the Knicks rank first in the league, allowing 104.4 points per game. Despite the recent turnaround, that doesn’t mean the Knicks couldn’t use a bit more talent around them, especially a star player to pair with Julius Randle.

There is hope that RJ Barrett can be that number two next to Randle, but adding a point guard might be the focus during the 2021 off-season, and the team may target Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ball, who was expected to suit up against New York on Wednesday, will likely miss the game with left hip flexor soreness. His sought-after audition will have to wait, but the Knicks still consider him highly despite missing the last three games and showing a bit of fatigue more than halfway through the season. Ball is having his best campaign to date, averaging 14.5 points on .424 shooting from the field and .384 shooting from downtown. Consider this, Barrett has been on a tear as of late from three, currently averaging .378%, which is still below Lonzo’s current measurements.

Replacing Elfrid Payton with Ball would be stellar, as they can roll over the $5 million into an extension for the 23-year-old PG from California. Seeing a slight bump in offensive efficiency is a positive, and we know Thibs will turn on the inner defender in him.

I’m not too worried about Ball missing this contest, as New York clearly sees his increase in statistical output. Just take a look at this, Ball’s free-throw percentage has increased from .566 last season to .792 this year. In fact, a majority of his shooting specifics have seen vast improvements, which is a great sign for a player going into a contract year.

New York Knicks’ quiet NBA trade deadline reflects newfound stability

The New York Knicks approached the trade deadline the same way they did in the offseason. They operated with silence and guided by prudence.

For the first time in a long while, the Knicks roster has chemistry. Their overachieving group, which currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 23-22 slate, reflects the stability in the Knicks hierarchy.

“Leon and his staff did an unbelievable job,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said in the aftermath of a quiet NBA trade deadline for the Knicks. “There’s a plan that was really well thought out. There were a number of possible opportunities and I thought they were really disciplined. We love the team we have. So it worked out well for us.”

Unlike his predecessors, Rose, the unassuming president of the most magnified NBA franchise, has successfully kept himself from a media firestorm.

But don’t mistake their silence for passiveness.

The Knicks did entertain and were active on calls. But even when there were tempting talents within their reach, Rose and co. showed restraint. It’s a refreshing change for a franchise that has long been known for knee-jerk reactions and irrational actions.

“For us, it’s building the foundation by going step by step. If something can help us, we’ll consider it and we did but it was very well executed. So I’m very pleased with that,” Thibodeau said.

They were linked to Evan Fournier, who eventually went to Boston Celtics for two second-round picks. The Knicks could have had him. But they stuck with their guns as Alec Burks continue to flourish and Reggie Bullock providing defense and outside shooting. Both players are outplaying their contracts and have cemented their spots in Thibodeau’s rotation.

When the Knicks are healthy, it’s tough to insert Fournier, who will have to learn and adjust to Thibodeau’s system while also thinking of his next contract.

Lonzo Ball was also on their radar, and the Knicks were active in the negotiation table until the 11th hour, Ian Begley of SNY reported. No deal was made. Perhaps it was too rich for their blood. But Ball will certainly get an offer from the Knicks in his upcoming restricted free agency.

Rose chose their present team chemistry over altering their DNA that might pose a risk to their team’s upward trajectory.

The Knicks only made one minor move: picking up two more future second-round picks for a couple of players out of their rotation. They dealt Austin Rivers and Ignas Brazdeikis in a three-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder that netted them Terrance Ferguson and Frenchman Vincent Poirier, who was waived, along with the additional draft capital.

Rivers became the ambassador of goodwill for the Knicks at the beginning of the season. And for a while, his run with rookie Immanuel Quickley in the second unit’s backcourt was fun. Too bad, the “Quivers” didn’t last long. Some good things never last.

Rivers fell out of the rotation once Derrick Rose, the former MVP, and a Thibodeau favorite, arrived.

“It didn’t work out. We have a situation in which we have a number of players and we didn’t have injuries. There was a period when we were shorthanded and I thought Austin played well. He’s been a good player in the league,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously, we wish him well and we’ll go from there.”

The Knicks still have a cap space of nearly $15 million which they can use until the next Draft but cannot carry over to next season. Or they can use it right now to sign a free agent to fill up the roster spot vacated by Poirier.

They can make a run at Andre Drummond or sign any player from the free-agent market. Whatever the Knicks decide to do with their remaining cap space, expect that decision to be guided by prudence, a hallmark of Rose’s leadership.

On the day the Knicks were frantically taking and making calls, Thibodeau was in and out of their war room checking out on every possible Knicks trade while preparing his team for a rematch with the Washington Wizards later that night.

His mind was divided. But his heart wasn’t.

“Leon is very inclusive. Everyone has a voice and that’s all you could ask for. But I really respect and admire the discipline to follow the plan and to weigh everything out and determine if it makes sense or not,” Thibodeau said. “For us, it’s building the foundation by going step by step. If something can help us, we’ll consider it and we did but it was very well executed. So I’m very pleased with that.”

Thibodeau knew in his heart that he has the team that he can go to war with. The Knicks have the lowest payroll, but they have managed to stay in the middle of the pack of the bunched-up Eastern Conference.

Thibodeau did not say it directly but reading between his lines. He fought for this team to remain intact. He fell in love with this team, whose effort reflects his hard-nosed coaching.

“Their willingness to commit to play for each other, sacrifice to put the team first, come in every day. We know we have a long way to go. It will require more commitment and more sacrifices and more fight because you can see how bunched everyone is. You need some good fortune but you also need the willingness to play as a team. This team has demonstrated that all year and so we want to continue to build and see where we can go,” Thibodeau said. 

Later that night, the Knicks proved their coach right. They came back from as many as 17 points down to sweep their regular-season series against the Washington Wizards, 106-102.

“It’s great to understand the front office has confidence in us,’’ said Taj Gibson, the 35-yeard old third-string center who closed out the game with his splendid play. “But we got to continue to grow. It was a hard-fought win that showed the character of our team.”

How far can these Knicks go?

Thibodeau wants to find out. Rose and his front office agreed.

For the first time, there’s synergy within the Knicks organization. Out with the disfunction, in with the positive transformation. The once-moribund franchise is finally headed in the right direction.

Even with more than $50 million in cap space and a stacked draft capital this summer, expect the Knicks to operate the same way they did this season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks still eyeing Lonzo Ball trade; Mitchell Robinson draws interest from teams

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

After dealing away Austin Rivers and Ignas Brazdeikis, the New York Knicks appear to have still some moves to make as the NBA trade deadline reaches its 11th hour.

Ian Begley of SNY reports that the Knicks remains active in discussion with the New Orleans for a potential trade involving Lonzo Ball.

ESPN’s Andrew Lopez just reported that Ball pulled himself out early in today’s practice.

Ball is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason. Trading for Ball now means the Knicks will have the right to match any offer he can get from the other teams.

Mitchell Robinson, who was impressive in his second game back from hand surgery, is also garnering some interest. Begley reports that teams have reached out to the Knicks about trading for Robinson.

It is unclear if Robinson is on the table for a Ball deal.

The Knicks have been linked to Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Andre Drummond for quite some time now. If Robinson is flipped for Ball, then a Drummond deal via trade or buyout market makes more sense for the Knicks.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo