Jul 14, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forrward Maurice Ndour (55) shoots during an NBA Summer League game against the 76ers at Thomas and Mack Center. The Knicks won the game in overtime, 84-81. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ndour signs with Mavericks

Forward Maurice Ndour, who played with the Knicks in the Las Vegas Summer League, signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday (July 23).

Ndour, a 23-year-old 6-foot-9 forward, reportedly chose the Mavericks over the Knicks when Dallas offered more guaranteed money. His deal is guaranteed through the first season and half of the second one (July 23).

He averaged 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in the Summer League this year.

“It was just a blessing. When you talk about opportunity, that was a great opportunity for me, it was great timing,” Ndour said to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley (July 22). “I was glad that I was able to play for the Knicks in the summer. And I think I maximized everything I could do on the floor.”

He averaged 16 points and 8.3 rebounds as a senior at Ohio University last season.

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

This isn’t a big deal, but it’s still somewhat of an unexpected loss.

Ndour was a pleasant surprise during Summer League. He was confidently able to score the basketball, and passed the ball well from down in the low block as part of the triangle. Needless to say, he showed potential playing alongside a number of players who figure to be on the roster this coming season.

Perhaps the Knicks held off on throwing more money his way (at least more than Dallas) because they have someone else better in mind for the spot he would have taken up. That remains to be seen.

Still, it would have been nice to see the team follow up on a diamond-in-the-rough player they found in Las Vegas.

There’s a good chance guaranteeing Ndour for the entire first year won’t pay off for the Mavericks. He’d likely be better suited coming up in NBA camp and then going to the D-League as an affiliate player.


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Apr 27, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes (12) fight for a rebound during the second quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks only wanted to play LaMarcus Aldridge at center

Remember when the New York Knicks were trying to sign marquee free-agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge?

Apparently, Aldridge hasn’t forgotten either.

The All-Star power forward, now a member of the San Antonio Spurs, told Basketball Insiders that the reason his second meeting with the Knicks was because the team canceled it over a disagreement about where Aldridge fit on the court.

“About the New York Knicks, they told me that they wanted me to play strictly (center),” Aldridge told the site. “So they didn’t want to meet with me. People was saying it was me, but it was both parties agreeing that we shouldn’t meet.”

Aldridge gave the Lakers a second meeting but eventually spurned the team to sign with San Antonio. Aldridge said the only reason he met with Los Angeles a second time was because the initial sit-down “didn’t go as good” as he would have liked.

Sam Spiegelman

This is an insightful comment from Aldridge, who finally ended Knicks fans’ curiosity as to why he wouldn’t entertain Phil Jackson’s attempt for a second meeting in free agency.

Aldridge, 30, is a four-time All-Star at power forward, but the Knicks’ top priority in free agency — obviously — was to find a big man to patrol the paint. Hence the team’s interest in Aldridge, Greg Monroe, DeAndre Jordan and eventually Robin Lopez.

The Knicks drafted a power forward in Kristaps Porzingis, which in hindsight likely derailed their interest in Aldridge at his natural position. That, plus Carmelo Anthony has had enjoyed success while filling in at the No. 4 spot last year.

This was just a match that was never going to come to fruition. In San Antonio, he has a chance to be an immediate superstar and compete for an NBA championship and eventually replace Tim Duncan as the face of the franchise.


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Will the Knicks be able to find another point guard?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Phil Jackson and co. did a sufficient job of reeling in and adding to the Knicks’ key components this summer. The roster is deep, if not more or less complete.

Still, with just a small handful of spots remaining, head coach Derek Fisher recently told reporters he’d like to add a point guard who can push the tempo to the team.

And while Jackson’s recent assertion that he wants to add a backup center makes sense, Fisher’s own suggestion is a little puzzling.

The point guard position is arguably one of New York’s deepest positions. Despite struggling last season, Jose Calderon is a well-respected veteran of nearly a decade in the NBA. Langston Galloway was named to the All-Rookie Second Team this past year. First-rounder Jerian Grant showed plenty of potential in Las Vegas last week.

It would appear easy (and sensible, perhaps) enough to split the minutes between the three. Maybe the idea that the Knicks could be in the market for another floor general further suggests that they do not consider Galloway to actually be one. Or better yet, perhaps there’s a hope (if not a likelihood) the team could trade Calderon.

Feb 11, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks guard Jose Calderon (3) has a free lane for the basket during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Galloway clearly plays with a scorer’s-first mentality. What’s more, he experienced some success playing alongside Calderon toward the tail end of last season. As the team bolstered its lineup this summer, Galloway stood tall as a steady candidate to come off the bench next year and provide an offensive spark. Still, perhaps he can do so best as a two-guard.

While Grant is someone who runs the floor with an extra pep in his step, he may need time to transition before being fully trusted with such responsibility. If one cares to poke holes in the Knicks’ depth chart, the point guard position may not be as covered as believed to be at first glance.

But currently in mid-July, many of the more desirable options have been snagged off the open market. Following the NBA Summer League, the options whose stock are at their highest right now are fringe NBA players and/or past D-League guards who have proven themselves with promising showings in Las Vegas.

That said, it’s hard to believe they could be relied upon much more than a player like Grant at this point. If a reliable point guard is what Fisher wants, it’s anyone’s guess as to where he could look (perhaps acquiring one via trade) at this point in the offseason.

A more sensible, familiar, and harmless name to explore could be Steve Blake, whom the Pistons recently acquired. If he were waived in the near future, the triangle offense vet who played for Jackson with Fisher could be worthwhile for New York. Still, it’s hard to believe that he’s the type of uptempo guard the team seeks.

There aren’t many options out there, which means the team may surprise people if they’re able to find someone who fits the bill.


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Mike Brey believes Jerian Grant could start for the Knicks

Josh Newman

Of all the moves Phil Jackson made this offseason, one that has been universally lauded is trading Tim Hardaway, Jr. for the draft rights to former Notre Dame star Jerian Grant.

The son of Harvey Grant and nephew of Horace Grant, the 6-foot-5 point guard is coming off a productive showing for the Knicks at the Vegas Summer League in which he averaged 11.8 points, 4.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds.

With that showing, plus four years of experience at a Power Five program and no definitive answer as to who the Knicks’ point guard is, could Grant start? At least his college coach thinks that could be the case.

“He’s a man, he’s 22, he’s got good size, he has amazing court vision,” Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey told SNY.tv on the 4 Quarters Podcast Tuesday afternoon. “I thought he really defended well because he was locked in. He’s got a great chance of being a key guy for them and maybe even the starting point guard.

“He cut his teeth for two years in the Big East and two years in the ACC. I think he’s ready.”

The Knicks have two other point guards on the roster. Jose Calderon will be 34 on opening night and is coming off a strained left Achilles tendon, which ended his season in March. Calderon is in the final year of a 4-year, $29 million deal he signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2013.

The other is Langston Galloway, who was a bright spot last season for the Knicks in an otherwise forgettable 17-win season. Galloway averaged 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 45 games, 41 of which were starts, on his way to being an NBA All-Rookie team selection.

Grant was the 19th overall selection in the June 26 Draft, and that alone figures to get him a long look during training camp.

“I think it’s a great get for New York. I spoke to him the other day and I agree with you, he was really productive out there. His basketball IQ is so high. He was moving guys through the triangle by the second game. Hand-motioning, talking to guys, he’s got a feel for that and of course, the triangle sometimes takes on a life of it’s own. It’s just good basketball. It’s moving, cutting, reversing the basketball.”


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Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Kristaps Porzingis is escorted onto the stage with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick to the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What we learned from Kristaps Porzingis

Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report recently sat down with Knicks first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis and discussed a variety of topics. Here are some things we learned from Pozingis:

  • In Europe, where he has played professionally since 2012, his nickname is “Zinger”
  • He can speak three languages (Latvian, Spanish and English)
  • Porzingis knew the fans would boo if he was selected by the Knicks but it was a “dream come true” for him.
  • Carmelo Anthony sent him a text to congratulate him on the selection shortly after being drafted and the two have spoken several times since.
  • Porzingis said New York “is the best city in the world”
  • Kevin Garnett offered the rookie some advice one day after practice in Las Vegas “Take that negative and turn it into energy”
  • Anthony Davis and Dirk Nowitzki are his favorite players to watch
  • Drake and Meek Mills are who he listens to before games
  • Ping pong has become his new favorite interest and he plays everyday in New York
  • The travel during the season is what he is most looking forward to
  • He has learned a lot about social media from comedian Kevin Hart
  • Porzingis is looking forward to the opportunity to play in New York “if we can make something good happen and make it to the playoffs, that will be great for me personally, for the team and for the city”

 


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Feb 11, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA;  Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a 3 point shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks can’t afford to sign max free agent in 2016

For those expecting the New York Knicks to make a play for Kevin Durant next summer, it’s time to start pondering alternative options.

According to ESPN New York, the Knicks will have about $19 million in salary cap space for 2016, which likely will not be enough to afford Durant or any other max contract (July 21).

The Knicks owe four guaranteed contracts for the 2016-17 season for a total of $55.3 million. Soon,  six players will be owed money as soon as rookies Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant ink their deals.

One scenario in which the team can bolster its cap space is if newly signed Arron Afflalo or Derrick Williams decline their 2016-17 player options. Of course, making a trade also works in this situation.

ESPN New York mentions waiving a veteran like Jose Calderon under the stretch provision, which if done by July 1 of next year, would create an extra $5 million. That would put the Knicks in a position to extend a max offer.

In addition to Durant, Mike Conley, Al Horford, Al Jefferson and Nene headline the free-agent crop next summer.

Sam Spiegelman

To be perfectly frank, the Knicks were already a darkhorse in the Durant sweepstakes. Factor in that the team may not be in a financial position to extend any max offers out to the free-agent pool, and you can effectively say the Knicks are out of the running for all of the aforementioned players.

There are a couple of different things that must go right in order for the Knicks to have a productive free agency next summer. The team has to be more competitive this coming season and get contributions from its rookies and free-agent additions in Afflalo and Lopez. Second, let’s just say the team has to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs, which means its record must be close to .500.

Lastly, there has to be better recruiting on the part of Carmelo Anthony. He seemed to be a deterrent as opposed to be a positive for the Knicks as they tried to lure LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Greg Monroe to New York earlier this month. He must take on the role of a recruiter and convince other star players they can thrive in the triangle alongside him.

In all likelihood, Durant will either stay put in Oklahoma City — pending how the Thunder does in 2015-16 — or accept a max deal for another competitive team elsewhere in the NBA. If the Knicks can’t even offer a max deal, he won’t even bother meeting with the team.

However, if the Knicks can muster up the cap space to be able to offer the max contract, that at least puts New York in the running. It also creates a promising Plan B in which the Knicks can also offer that deal to Horford, Jefferson, Conley or Nene, or whatever other free agents the team sets its sights on next summer.


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