Knicks sign former St. John’s big man Orlando Sanchez

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

The Knicks signed 6-foot-9 former St. John’s big man Orlando Sanchez to a partially-guaranteed, one-year deal, his agent confirmed to SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

USATSI_7778824_110579513_lowres“I think that they feel that his overall skillset, his passing ability in particular, will fit very well in the triangle,” Sanchez’s agent, B.J. Bass, told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

“Unless you really watched St. John’s this year, you could miss that. This kid is a very, very gifted passer and so my feeling is that they could have a diamond in the rough.”

The Knicks already have a number of bigs signed to guaranteed contracts, including Samuel Dalembert, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Jason Smith, so Sanchez may not last past training camp, which begins Sept. 30 at West Point.

“I think right now their roster is full but that doesn’t necessarily mean  that they can’t make a move at some point,” Bass said. “So more than likely he would end up as an affiliate guy going to Westchester [D-League], but we’re certainly not ruling it out that he could go in there and play very well and force their hand.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez and Monroe (N.Y.) College teammate Marco Bourgault committed to head coach Steve Lavin in April 2012. Eligibility issues soon arose, partly because Sanchez was trying to become a first-year player at the age of 24, but then because he logged time with the Dominican Republic National Team in 2010. Thanks in part to the support of legal counsel in the fight against the NCAA, Sanchez gained one year of eligibility in 2013-14, when he averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the 2013-14 Red Storm.

“At the end of the day, I just want to play basketball,” Sanchez told SNY.tv in the summer. “Basketball has given me the opportunity to do a lot of great things in my life and I just want to continue to play.”

“These teams, they know how I play and I feel like I’ve played well so far for the NBA teams. It was all good feedback. I can do a little bit of everything and they know that,” he said

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

The Knicks’ roster is maxed out at fifteen players with guaranteed contracts. With that in mind, perhaps Sanchez’s most likely destination following training camp is Westchester to play for the Knicks’ NBA D-League team. Having said that, the door is wide open for skillful big men to impress the team this season. Plenty of players in New York’s front court are injury-prone, cracking the window a bit for others to step in and fill voids if need be.

If he impresses enough during training camp, perhaps Sanchez will also get a call and be depended on down the line.

During his senior year at St. John’s, the forward averaged 7.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. What’s more, he shot 51 percent from the field. But alas, the numbers don’t simply tell the whole story for Sanchez. The 26-year-old has high a basketball IQ, even better instincts and is a skillful passer for a player his size.

Knicks brass had an opportunity to see Sanchez up close during more formal competition last month. He spent the past few weeks representing the Dominican Republic in FIBA World Cup play, and hit the hardwood when his team took on Team USA at Madison Square Garden.


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The Knicks Blog Podcast: 42 days and counting…

Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton welcome Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting to the SNY studios. The guys discuss next week’s Media Day and the new additions to the Knicks’ roster. Plus, Anthony and Moke react to the Jim Dolan article in Sunday’s New York Times.


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For the show rundown, click here...

  • Seth Rosenthal of Posting & Toasting joins the show
    • Media Day
    • Jose Calderon
    • Tim Hardaway Jr.
    • Assessing this year’s team
  • Jim Dolan article in NYT (25:45)
  • Team USA wins FIBA World Cup (33:10)

Ed. Note: Knicks Media Day is Monday, September 29, not Friday, September 26, as we mention in the podcast.

Do Knicks need Iman Shumpert to have a breakout year?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

With training camp all but two weeks away, it’s almost time for Coach Derek Fisher to begin penciling in his rotation, figuring out his starting five and dividing up playing time accordingly. Of course, the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Jose Calderon both figure to be assured starting spots, but the rest of the first unit is pretty wide open.

But perhaps the biggest question mark for Knicks is the shooting guard position. The team has plenty of talent there, which certainly is a good problem to have. With the likes of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Tim Hardaway Jr. all ready to compete for minutes, this is a healthy dilemma.

Iman Shumpert, David West108Following three seasons as the team’s starting two-guard, Shumpert appears to be the incumbent player. It’s his spot to lose. But after failing to truly rise up and reach the potential many have already expected him to, perhaps he will in fact lose it once and for all. The Knicks may finally have better options.

A versatile player, Shumpert has the potential to play up to three different positions. As such, he isn’t the most natural of shooting guards. His shooting stroke isn’t very smooth, and in the early phases of his still young career, he’s already battled various injuries and his own respective inconsistencies. At times, it’s safe to say he’s let the Knicks down.

That same promising explosiveness he showed early on in his career has wavered, and his intensity has seemingly faded from time to time. Not the most consistent long-range shooter, Shumpert isn’t the traditional “3 and D” player, either.

The real question is: does any of that matter now?

With Shumpert heading into his fourth season, the Knicks need to ask themselves that very question. It’s time to gauge Shumpert’s value. Is it better to cash in and get something (else) of value for him while he’s still a relatively hot commodity? Will he be worth the money he stands to make in free agency? Furthermore, is time running out for him to reach that aforementioned potential?

Perhaps the clock is ticking on Shumpet’s tenure in the Big Apple. But should the Knicks decide to reduce the pressure on the swingman to reach his untapped potential sooner than later, they might get more out of him than they bargained for anyway.

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James Dolan and band play on Good Day NY

Sam Spiegelman

No, there was no typo in the headline. Knicks owner James Dolan and his band appeared on Good Day NY, and thankfully it was captured on YouTube.

The lead singer of JD and the Straight Shot gave us a performance to laugh at for the ages.

How involved will Phil Jackson be with Knicks during season?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

When Phil Jackson was first hired as President of the Knicks, many wondered just how involved he would ultimately be. Was his hiring necessary just for James Dolan to make a splash? Would Jackson be all but a figurehead? With homes in Montana and Los Angeles, how much time would he be spending in the Big Apple? By dividing up his time, how much of an impact will Jackson end up making for the Knicks?

From day one, these have all been burning questions. As fate would have it, Jackson has answered many of them rather quickly.

Derek FIsher announced as CoachJackson has certainly been more than just a name or a figure early on. He purchased an apartment in New York City. He’s proven to be the man with a plan, making the impressive moves necessary to put his own stamp on the team. Already making changes with little flexibility to be had, it’ll be interesting to see what else he does in the summer of 2015.

Still, there’s the 2014-15 season to get through first. And while this year was supposed to serve as a transitional period for the Knicks initially, the window of opportunity may be there anyway. New York has made improvements and should be able to remain competitive in an Eastern Conference that appears rather wide open.

With the roster set, how will Jackson stay involved during the season?

Of course, there will be personnel matters to handle and preparations to make for the following summer. But in the meantime, all signs lead to Jackson having an impact on the hardwood — in some form.

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Carmelo Anthony ‘angry’ after 2013-14 Knicks season

Sam Spiegelman

In an interview Saturday at the Citi Carmelo Anthony Basketball camp, Carmelo Anthony admitted he was angry.

Anthony told ESPN New York  he began his offseason training two weeks earlier this summer because of how the New York Knicks’ season went. Those 37 wins were enough motivation for the All-Star forward to get into top shape and prepare for the 2014-15 season.

“I was angry,” Anthony said. “I haven’t been broadcasting it, man. But I’ve been at the facility for the last couple of weeks with the young guys, with the coaches, trying to figure out that triangle offense.”

Speaking of the Knicks’ new triangle offense, Anthony is very confident it will fit his team very well.

How well — he said the Knicks should be a playoff team, though he tempered the expectations by opting not to promise any championships just yet.

Still, he’s optimistic about the upcoming year.

“Without a doubt, without a doubt. When people say spots, I’m going to be all over the floor in the triangle,” Anthony said. “It makes it hard to guard, it keeps all eyes off of you. I’m looking forward to it, I’ve been saying it all summer. I can’t wait.”