Ex-Knick Jeremy Lin seeks NBA return

Jeremy Lin

Former New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin attempts to make an NBA comeback after playing one season in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

The 32-year old Lin made the emotional announcement to his seven million followers on his Weibo account.

“This decision has really been the hardest in my life,” Lin said in Mandarin. “Every morning I would wake up at 4 am or 5 am, thinking, thinking, and thinking all the time. In the end, although Shougang has treated me incredibly well … giving me everything I wanted, in the end, I feel that I still have NBA dreams. I still have time to play and I have to chase this.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Lin, who had a 10-year stint in the NBA, rose to fame in New York in the 2011-12 season.  The Harvard graduate led a depleted Knicks squad to an improbable run that sparked the Linsanity craze.

After his breakout season, he became an NBA journeyman and played for the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, and Atlanta Hawks. His last stint with the Toronto Raptors made him the first Asian-American to win a ring in the NBA although he was used sparingly in the playoffs.

He posted 11.6 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 480 NBA regular-season games.

Last year, Lin took the CBA by storm averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists and led the Beijing Ducks to the semifinals for the first time in five years.  The Taiwanese-American also finished second in the All-Star balloting next to another ex-NBA player and CBA superstar Yi Jianlian.

Lin also thanked his Chinese fans in the heartfelt video saying it was a difficult decision to make.

“I know that many of my fans have stood by me no matter if I was injured,” Lin said. “Why was this decision so difficult? Yesterday, when I shared this with my family and friends when I told them I would have to leave China, I cried.”

Subsequently, his CBA team released a statement that they are not signing Lin to return for a second season.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Lin will join a shallow free-agent market where his former Toronto Raptors teammate Fred Van Vleet and Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic lead the point guard list.

New York Knicks: Kyle O’Quinn raves about Leon Rose and his hiring

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks are entering a new age of basketball, headed by new general manager Leon Rose. Formally a super-agent in the NBA, Rose has connections with some of the best players in the league. That might be a draw to New York, a place that has been left off high profile free agent’s lists in recent years due to the calamity and inadequate play.

However, one former Knick, Kyle O’Quinn, believes that he will do great things in the city of New York:

“I said it when he first got the job; I seen him in Philly and I said, ‘You’ll do great things,’” O’Quinn said while appearing on SNY’s The Putback with Ian Begley this week. “And I know he will because of his personality, his demeanor and how he is charismatically with his players…. I think that will go through the organization pretty well and he has the personality to get through to guys.”

Rose was initially hired back in February and has spent the last few months building his front office and management portfolio. He has made several moves and could embark on big ones like trading Julius Randle.

“I think New York will always be in the discussion when you have a free agent target simply because New York is New York,” O’Quinn said. “But I think until it’s a situation where (you say) ‘OK, I can blueprint off this. I know I can play for that coach, and this, that and the third. I don’t think that New York will get the respect it deserves in free agency from these big players until those kinds of things happen.”

The Knicks brought in Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, who is a respected man around the league with a pedigree of success. Their coaching staff is composed of premium talent, which hopefully will draw bigger names to the Big Apple. Nonetheless, the Knicks have made egregious signings before, notably Phil Jackson and his triangle offense installation.

Turning the page to the next chapter in Knicks’ history is essential, and reverting back to losing ways would only further sink fans into a state of basketball depression. O’Quinn believes that Rose can elevate the organization from the ashes like a phoenix.

Rumor: New York Knicks could be in running to land Chris Paul

New York Knicks, chris paul

The New York Knicks are in the market for a point guard, whether it be LaMelo Ball in the 2020 NBA draft or a trade piece, upgrading the position is in necessity. Sticking with Elfrid Peyton and Frank Ntilikina would be malpractice moving forward, as the team desperately needs some sort of success to build on.

While recent rumors indicated the Knicks could trade up in the draft to acquire Ball, it might force them to part ways with Mitchell Robinson or more valuable assets. Doing so would be tumultuous for their future plans, but it also might be the best decision. However, there is one alternative that could make sense for the next, and it includes landing Chris Paul.

ESPN’s NBA writer Royce Young provided three teams that could trade for Chris Paul, notably mentioning the New York Knicks. He stated this during an appearance on ESPN’s Hoop Collective Podcast with Brian Windhorst earlier this week.

“I look at three teams,” Young said when asked where Paul could get traded. “Bobby knows better than me, but I look at three teams as the most likely destinations: Philly, the Knicks, and Milwaukee. Those are the three teams that I think are logical places.”

What would Chris Pual bring to the New York Knicks?

Paul is a future Hall of Fame player, and adding him would undoubtedly make the Knicks a better team. They will enter the off-season with over $40 million in cap space available, which means they could fit Paul’s contract. He‘s set to earn $41.4 million next year and a $44.2 million player option in 2021-22. It’s also important to note that Leon Rose is Paul’s former agent.

At 35 years old, he is undoubtedly getting up there in age, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to part ways with him.

This year, Paul played in 70 games, averaging 17.6 points and 6.7 assists. He earned a .489 field-goal percentage and shot .365 from beyond the arc. He earned an All-Star appearance for the first time since the 2015-16 season, meaning he still has plenty of good basketball left in his bones. If the Knicks were to trade for Paul, they would have to unload Julius Randle, who will be making $18.9 million next season. Reports have also indicated they are looking to trade him nonetheless, considering his style of play last year and inability to move the ball on the floor.

CBS Sports mock draft has New York Knicks trading up to No. 2 overall pick

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

The New York Knicks and their bad luck secured the number eight overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, but their goal might still be to still land LaMelo Ball.

While some might say the upcoming draft is underwhelming with talent, Ball represents one of the better players. He would fill an immediate void for the Knicks at point guard, and per a report from SNY, the Knicks want him. Reports have also indicated that Ball prefers to land in New York, where he can execute his skill-set and become a glorified star.

The primary issue at this point is where the Knicks are drafting at number eight. If they can manage to climb the ladder to the second overall pick, they would be in a good position to land Ball, who’s currently playing overseas. However, it will cost them quite a lot, as they would have to strike a deal with the Golden State Warriors.

Here’s what CBS proposals for the New York Knicks and Warriors:

With the Warriors trading back in a theoretical scenario, they target Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He is reportedly tailor-made for the Warriors’ system, making him a great option in a trade-back scenario with the Knicks, who can’t resist the Lamelo Ball temptation.

Via CBS Sports:

Avdija is tailor-made for the Warriors system as a big wing with excellent playmaking ability and the makings of a strong 3-point stroke. Golden State is obviously hoping to get contributions right away, and while Avdija will have a strong learning curve on the offensive end, his basketball IQ should earn him playing time from the jump…

To land the number two overall pick, it is possible the Warriors demand center Mitchell Robinson, who represents one of the Knicks’ best young players. Of course, trading him away would be an awful loss, but might be worth it if they are able to secure Lamelo in the process.

Their young foundation would still be strong, but they would also need to bring in some talented veterans to help make the team competitive. They do have Julius Randle still on the roster, but reports have also indicated they might be looking to trade him.

Johnnie Bryant thanks Jazz, excited for Knicks job

Johnnie Bryant, New York Knicks

Shortly after the Utah Jazz blew a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Johnnie Bryant is headed to the New York Knicks for a fresh start.

Bryant, now a former assistant coach of the Jazz, has officially signed with the Knicks as their new associate head coach under Tom Thibodeau.

Marc Spears of The Undefeated first reported the news.

Bryant was grateful to the Jazz organization for having him since 2012.

“To the city and the state that embraced me when I first step foot on the campus of the University of Utah, I say thank you. To the Miller family, Steve Starks, Dennis Lindsey, and Ty Corbin, who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to coach in the NBA, I say thank you. To Quin Snyder who encouraged me daily to be the best coach that I can be, I say thank you. To all the players, co-workers, those at the arena, the friends, and simply everyone, I say thank you,” Bryant said in a statement.

Prior to joining the Jazz in 2012, Bryant was running his own training gym (Bryant Sports Academy).  Corbin, the former Jazz coach, was so impressed with the player development work he’s done with Ronnie Price and Paul Millsap and his son Tyrell Corbin that he invited him to join his staff.

Bryant stayed with the Jazz when Snyder replaced Corbin in 2014.

Bryant has since been credited for Gordon Hayward and Donovan Mitchell’s development while in Utah. He has also forged a strong bond with the Jazz current star Mitchell.

It was Bryant, who consoled Mitchell right after his emotional post-game interview in the aftermath of their Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Mitchell collapsed into Bryant’s arms and began weeping uncontrollably.

The poignant scene could also have been good friends saying goodbye to each other as they chart new chapters in their respective careers.

Mitchell is said to be closing in on a max deal extension to stay with the Jazz.

Bryant, meanwhile, is excited for the tough task of helping Thibodeau turn the Knicks fortunes around.

“As I embark on new journey, I am very appreciative for this opportunity to coach for the Knicks and I’m excited for my next coaching chapter in New York,” Bryant said.

The hiring is viewed beyond the developmental coaching standpoint. While Bryant is expected to help develop the Knicks young core particularly RJ Barrett, he will also help Thibodeau in managing game situations and in-game plan preparation.

Snyder vouched for Bryant that he’s more than just a developmental coach.

“Tactically, he’s learned [a lot] in the game and on the bench. He’s great on the court with players and you see him develop guys. It’s something we take pride in with our program. Johnnie’s been a big part of that,” Snyder told reporters during the Jazz-Nuggets series.

Bryant’s length of contract was not made available but it is believed to be the same with Thibodeau, who was signed to a five-year deal.

Bryant will join the Knicks when they conduct voluntary workouts as approved by the league for the eight teams that didn’t make the Bubble starting from September 14 until Oct. 6.

The Stage Is Set For Unusually Smart Decision Making By The New York Knicks Front Office

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

On Thursday, August 20th, many New York Knick fans witnessed their beloved team fall two spots into the lap of the eighth overall pick of the upcoming NBA Draft on October 16th, 2020. Many were hurt once they noticed the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and the Charlotte Hornets had occupied the first three overall picks respectively.

Many diehard Knick fans voiced their displeasure on Twitter along with many other social media platforms by accusing the NBA Draft of being “rigged” and “fixed”. However, it’s very possible that in a non top-heavy draft, picking eighth may be the best thing to happen to the New York Knickerbockers this year especially under a special player development and savvy basketball minded staff.

Despite the displeasure from New York Knick fans, the jokes from anti-Knick fans, along with more jokes from anti-Knick sources, the New York Knicks front office might actually have fun this draft without the pressure of choosing a top-three draft pick which could potentially handcuff an organization to certain talents, which might not even be the true desired pick for the vision of the president and General Manager. It’s very possible to land great talent with two opportunities in the first round of this year’s draft. Knicks have the eighth and the twenty-seventh first-round picks.

Some at MSG are fans of FSU’s Devin Vassell according to Ian Begley.

Devin Vassell could be the perfect plug and play draft pick for the New York Knicks. Tom Thibodeau enjoys coaching high defensive IQ players with motor and toughness. Devin Vassell’s style fits the bill. In addition to Vassell’s individual and team defense he displayed in Florida State University under Coach Leonard Hamilton, the first coach to be named coach of the year in both the Big East and ACC, Vassell has shown improvement on his off the dribble shooting and his three-point shooting.

Vassell averaged 12.7-points per contest along with 1.4-steals last season for FSU. Devin Vassell at 6’6″ along with his 6’10” wingspan could be the perfect 3&D prospect for the Knicks moving forward alongside Frank Ntilikina and RJ Barrett. With an improved Mitchell Robinson playing center, the addition of Vassell would enhance the Knicks defensively under Tom Thibodeau with even more room for future growth collectively.

Kira Lewis Jr. is another special talent who very much may become the Knicks new starting point guard next season under Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Payne, and Mike Woodson. The ultra speedy 6’3″ 165lbs sophomore point-guard out of Alabama averaged a solid 18.5-points along with 5.2-assists last season. Lewis also averaged 4.8-rebounds per contest last season for Alabama. Kira Lewis Jr. is a menace on the fast-break, a category the Knicks struggle with. The former Alabama Crimson Tide speedster’s shot creation, on-ball defense, and playmaking skills would help the Knicks tremendously for years to come. Plus, a Kira Lewis Jr., Mitchell Robinson pick and roll would be something to watch for us Knick fans. Expert player developmental coach Johnny Bryant would help Kira Lewis tremendously.

“And with the eighth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select Saddiq Bey from Villanova University!” Those same exact words may come from Adam Silvers mouth during the virtual edition of the NBA Draft if the NBA chooses to announce the picks similar to the traditional way. Saddiq Bey is a very intriguing prospect.

The 6’8″ 220lbs prospect out of Villanova possesses a 6’10” wingspan and he’s a deadly three-point shooter. Energy, motor, unselfishness, and defensive versatility sums up what makes Saddiq Bey an intriguing prospect for the New York Knicks. Bey’s ability to stretch the floor as a small forward or power forward is crucial for the Knicks and will not go unnoticed by the Knick front office. A smart individual and team defender who’s versatile enough to guard a variety of players at different positions would be an excellent addition for a Tom Thibodeau coached team. His solid lateral foot speed and high defensive IQ would be accepted amongst the Knick fan base.

The New York Knicks don’t need the top pick in this year’s uncertain draft. With an established front office, the Knicks are easily positioned to win the draft with savvy additions without the need of a “big named prospect”. The Knicks are building a sturdy foundation for the future and aligning the front office with the head coach seems like a huge step in the right direction. Dolan, be patient, and don’t be pressured by the media or fans. Trusting the right process is crucial, and the Knicks decision making under the new regime hasn’t disappointed thus far.

The stage is set for some unusually smart decision making by the New York Knicks. With the additions of Andy Greer, Dice Yoshimoto, Mike Woodson, Kenny Payne, and Johnny Bryant, the Knicks are slowly putting Head Coach Tom a Thibodeau in a place where he can succeed. Alan Hahn stated similar sentiments on Twitter.

Leon Rose and the Knicks have built a coaching and culture foundation. The construction isn’t nearly finished, however. The basketball court next season will evaluate the development of the youngsters on both the main Knicks squad along with the Westchester Knicks.

New York Knicks join NBA-wide protest against racism

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks joined the league in solidarity to condemn racism in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Knicks released a statement shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic.  The league has since canceled all the Wednesday games and will be rescheduled.

 

“We support the league’s decision to postpone the games and strongly reiterate our condemnation of racism and violence,” said the Knicks’ statement.

Several Knicks players also joined the protest on social media.

The NBA players remaining in the Orlando Bubble will meet tonight in a crucial meeting that will determine the fate of the rest of the season.

The New York Knicks should be all-in on Fred VanVleet

New York Knicks, Fred Van Fleet

With most of the talk being about how the New York Knicks need to address their point guard situation through the draft, there’s also a very intriguing option in free agency whom the Knicks shouldn’t overlook. That player is Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks are expected to be one of the teams in the mix for him:

VanVleet is a shoe free agent and has multiple suitors for a new deal, sources say. And on the court, expect a strong market for the free-agent-to-be: Detroit, New York and Phoenix are expected to emerge as suitors for VanVleet outside Toronto, sources said.

VanVleet has built off of his breakout performance in the playoffs last season with a stellar season this year. He’s established himself as a borderline All-Star who can play both ends of the floor at a high level. Also, being only 26, VanVleet is just entering his prime, so his best basketball is ahead of him.

He’s averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.9 steals in 54 games played this year. He’s shooting the ball 41.3 percent from the field and 39 percent from three, so the efficiency is there too.

The NBA shutdown seemed to have no effect on VanVleet’s game either, as he’s been tearing it up in the Orlando bubble. Since the restart, he’s averaged nearly 18 points and seven assists while playing lockdown defense and shooting about 42 percent from the three-point line.

In the first round of the playoffs, VanVleet has averaged 21.3 points, 7.8 assists, four rebounds, and 1.3 steals while shooting 52.7 percent and 56 percent from three en route to a four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets.

Charania mentions in his report that VanVleet is also a “shoe free agent,” which means he’s looking to cash in on a shoe deal in addition to a basketball deal. He should have plenty of suitors in that area as well, and that could benefit the Knicks’ chances in landing him. Even though it may not carry as much weight as it once did, New York is still the ideal place to play when it comes to endorsement opportunities and brand building.

There are more possible advantages to being a star in the media capital of the world, more so than any other market. This could be very appealing to VanVleet and his camp. On top of that, he would be the perfect fit with the team.

The Knicks have been in desperate need of a franchise floor general for far too long now, and VanVleet can finally fill that void. Elfrid Payton was solid for the Knicks this season, but he’s weak offensively. Frank Ntilikina has shown flashes, but he’s also limited offensively and is better suited as a complementary piece. Dennis Smith Jr. has had his moments, but he’s not the answer either.

The Knicks could try and draft their guy, but that brings more uncertainty and hope with the chance of that player not panning out. Hopefully, the Knicks will be able to better develop their players now with the new regime to reduce that likelihood, but they need to prove they can do that. The Knicks can’t afford to keep banking on potential, and VanVleet would bring a proven, productive player who is still ascending in his young career. He can be a piece that helps the team in the present while also being a core building block for the future.

VanVleet is the kind of tough, determined player who Tom Thibodeau would love due to his two-way ability and strong work ethic. He’s come a long way from going undrafted in 2016, and his stats show he’s consistently been improving. His shooting and facilitating would be huge for the Knicks and would open up many more opportunities for the players around him, particularly RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

It’s good to see that the Knicks are going to try and make a run at VanVleet because he would do wonders for this team. He’ll not only accelerate their rebuild and catapult them back into contention more quickly, but he’ll help a lot in the development of the Knicks’ younger pieces. His market will be competitive, but he should be Leon Rose’s number one priority once free agency begins even if the price is steep, which it likely will be.

Leon Rose hopes to break New York Knicks Draft Lottery curse

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

Leon Rose’s rise to power in New York to become the Knicks president was built on pure hustle. But in one of the early tests of his leadership, the rookie executive will have to rely on beginner’s luck.

Tasked to lead the uphill climb of the moribund franchise, Rose hopes he could start cutting the string of bad luck beginning with the NBA Draft Lottery tonight.

Rose will represent the Knicks on the virtual lottery “dais’’ via Zoom, which will be aired at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN from the NBA headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The Knicks have struck out in the NBA Draft Lottery since picking Patrick Ewing as the No. 1 overall pick in 1985. That could change tonight if Rose proves to be the team’s lucky charm.

With the sixth-worst record (21-45) in the pandemic-shortened regular season, New York has a nine percent chance of winning the lottery trailing only Golden State, Cleveland, Minnesota, Atlanta, and Detroit.

They also have 27.6 percent chance of moving into the top three.

In an NBA Draft that is lacking in consensus top pick, the Knicks are hoping to move up to be able to land an impact talent to either add to their young core or use as trade bait.

Top point guard LaMelo Ball, wingman Anthony Edwards, and big man James Wiseman are expected to figure in a three-way race for the top pick with the decision most likely to go down in terms of fit and need.

“It’s interesting, this draft, there’s a couple of guys that might stand out, and after that, I think there’s a lot of equality,’’ Rose said in his first interview with MSG Network in June.

“I think there’s a lot of guys that are close with different skill sets, different positives, different negatives. It’s funny, each scout, there are varying opinions. A lot more varying opinions than in past years,” he added.

Without the benefit of personal workouts due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Knicks will have to rely on the intel from their scouts and from their new assistant general manager, Walter Perrin, who is expected to have a strong voice in their war room along with current GM Scott Perry.  Perrin, the long-time Jazz executive, is widely credited for Utah’s solid picks in the past.

It appears that the Knicks are going all-in with player development judging on their recent assistant coaching hires (Kenny Payne and Johnnie Bryant). So there is a great chance that they will hold on to their lottery pick unless a trade that can advance their timeline comes up.

If they strike out anew, they might explore trading up or choose the next best available talent that fits their needs. Outside the looming top three picks, there’s still plenty of options from the group which Rose said to have parity in quality.

Deni Advija, Onyeka Okongwu, Precious Achiuwa, Killian Hayes, Obi Toppin Isaac Okoru, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, and Devin Vassell could still be available by the time the they make their pick.

The Knicks have a total of three picks in this year’s Draft. On top of its lottery pick, they have the 27th pick in the first round via Los Angeles Clippers (from Marcus Morris deadline trade) and Charlotte’s 38th pick in the second round.

Knicks hire Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as associate head coach

Johnnie Bryant, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have added another member to Tom Thibodeau’s staff, as they agreed to terms with Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant on Tuesday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Bryant, 34, has been with the Jazz since 2012 and is touted as an elite player developer. He has been an integral part of turning players such as Damian Lillard, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, and yes, Donovan Mitchell into stars.

Here’s what Mitchell had to say about Bryant to The Salt Lake Tribune back in 2018:

He’s [Bryant] really intense, but he’s laid back at the same time — he’s always got something to say. I work as hard as I possibly can to shut him up.

Lillard also credited Bryant for his help turning him into the player he is, referring to Bryant as a “big brother” to him. Both grew up in Oakland, California and Bryant mentored Lillard during his AAU days while Bryant was in college.

Bryant’s hire now marks the second hire from the Jazz organization, as the Knicks brought in long-time front office staple Walt Perrin as an assistant general manager in May. This raises speculation that the Knicks are trying to bolster their appeal to Donovan Mitchell in an attempt to acquire him via trade in the near future.

Trade rumors surrounding Mitchell, who is from New York, have been circulating since he got to the league and started making a name for himself. The rumors have only increased since drama started between he and teammate Rudy Gobert over Gobert’s irresponsible COVID-19 handling, which resulted in Mitchell getting infected with the virus.

While the Knicks reportedly want Mitchell “badly,” a source with knowledge of the Knicks thinking told Adam Zagoria, it seems as though the Knicks hired Bryant mainly from a player development standpoint. Bryant and the rest of the coaching staff will have their hands full with the slew of young talent on this Knicks roster, plus the new players brought in with the multiple draft picks they possess over the next few years.

Thibodeau’s coaching staff is starting to take shape, as he and the front office have been working together to decide who will accompany him on the bench. Bryant now joins University of Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne, whom the Knicks agreed to terms with last week. Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is still expected to be added to the staff as well.

As for Mike Miller, who took over for David Fizdale last season as the interim head coach and led the team to a 17-27 record before the league shut down, he is not expected to return as a Knicks assistant. This isn’t because the Knicks have anything against him, as they reportedly like him a lot and admired the work he was able to do last season. It is more a case of Miller wanting to explore better options where he would be higher than the 4th assistant on the team, which he likely would be now with the Knicks.

There’s still the possibility Miller could return to the Knicks in a different capacity if he doesn’t find a better coaching gig, as he’s under contract for next year, but teams will likely be interested in his services. He may not get consideration for a head coaching job yet, but he’s definitely earned a lead assistant role somewhere.

Even without Miller, Knicks’ new president Leon Rose had mentioned repeatedly how vital player development is, and he seems to be backing up his words now with his recent coaching hires.