Report: Thanasis Antetokounmpo to sign with Westchester Knicks

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

After acquiring two second-round draft picks in their offseason trade with the Dallas Mavericks, one would have assumed the Knicks would make selections that could impact the team’s future, especially as Phil Jackson aims to put his own stamp on the roster.

With that in mind, it was a bit surprising to see New York fail to sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a contract.

With the team’s roster already maxed out at 15 players, the young gun had an interesting decision to make. Should he venture out overseas for a more lucrative contract, or play in the D-League?

It appears as though Antetokounmpo has opted to remain stateside (RealGM, August 21st). 

If the Knicks were to invite the swingman to training camp and ultimately decide to cut him later, there would only be a limited amount of time for the team to sign him before losing out on his draft rights once and after all. With no roster spots to be had at this point and time, such a move wouldn’t make much sense. He doesn’t appear to be in the most immediate of plans.

Instead, Antetokounmpo will sign a contract with the Westchester Knicks and go from there. This allows New York to retain his draft rights while monitoring his progress and ultimately deciding whether or not he should be considered a piece for the future.

Antetokounmpo played for the Delaware 87ers last season, but as per new NBA D-League rules, any minor league player is automatically assigned to the affiliate of the NBA squad that drafts him (aka holds his draft rights), should he choose to sign a D-League contract.

TheKnicksBlog Podcast: Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy calls in

Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton break down the Knicks’ 2014-15 schedule – from opening night vs. Chicago to the final game of the year against Detroit. Plus, the guys welcome Basketball Insiders’ writer Alex Kennedy to the show to discuss everything going on in the NBA.

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For the show rundown, click here...

  • Anthony reviews the Eminem/Rihanna concert
  • NBA Schedule is released
  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders joins the show (13:00)
  • How will Fisher handle the rotation?
  • Jim Cleamons joins Fisher’s staff

GEICO SportsNite: Team USA at West Point

GEICO SportsNite reports from the USA men’s basketball team’s stop at West Point to practice in preparation for two FIBA exhibition games.

Watch: Knicks take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Over the past week, the likes of Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Shane Larkin have been among those Knicks to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which challenges participants to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads, and/or donate money to ALS research.

To learn more about the cause and donate, click here.  Continue watching the clips below…

To read more of this story, click here

Carmelo Anthony

Boeheim weighs in on Carmelo’s choice

Jim Boeheim said Monday he believes if Carmelo Anthony had based his free-agency decision on basketball alone, Chicago was a better choice than New York (ESPN, Aug. 18).

“Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players,” the Syracuse coach told reporter Ian Begley. “But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”

Anthony re-signed with the Knicks over the summer for five years and $124 million. The Bulls had enough cap space to offer Anthony a $74 million contract and could have increased their offer to a max contract of four years and $96 million in a sign-and-trade. But the Knicks never discussed such a deal.

Boeheim, who won an NCAA title with Anthony in 2003, believes players such as Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and newcomer Pau Gasol give the Bulls the talent edge on the Knicks.

“I think anybody would agree with that. That’s not rocket science,” Boeheim told Begley after Team USA practiced at West Point.

Boeheim also told Begley that Anthony probably would have left New York if team president Phil Jackson wasn’t there.

“I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil,” Boeheim said. “(New coach) Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice . . . I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”

The Knicks Blog Radio at 9 p.m.

Marc Berman of the New York Post joins Anthony Donahue for this week’s The Knicks Blog Radio show.

He’ll also take calls from fans, so if you want to have your voice heard, dial (646) 478-5554.

Listen on Blog Talk Radio…

Report: Jim Cleamons to join Knicks’ coaching staff

According to Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner, former Knicks guard Jim Cleamons will be joining the team’s coaching staff as an assistant under Derek Fisher.

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

After spending the 1977-78 season donning orange and blue alongside (now President) Phil Jackson, the two developed quite a relationship, one that turned long-lasting with Cleamons serving as an assistant on Jackson’s staffs both with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

As a familiar Jackson confidant, Cleamons’ name (along with the likes of Kurt Rambis, Bill Cartwright, Ron Harper, Rick Fox, etc.) had been tied to Fisher’s forthcoming staff for quite some time now. Despite such speculation, aside from Rambis, the rookie head coach ultimately chose to fill out his staff with some of his own respective Laker and Thunder confidants.

After serving as an assistant under Larry Drew with the Bucks last season, Cleamons was initially expected to remain in Milwaukee. However, the team’s surprising coaching change (bringing in Jason Kidd, while letting go of Drew) subsequently made Cleamons available to return to the Big Apple.

Anthony will get large yearly salary advance

Newly re-signed F Carmelo Anthony will get half of his yearly salary upfront, the maximum allowed by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

Anthony, who signed a 7-year, $124 million deal earlier this summer, will receive half of his $22.5 million salary in one lump some payment this season  (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15).

His contract is set up like that every year meaning ,$62 million in total salary will be paid up front. It’s an unusual salary structure, but something the Knicks did with J.R. Smith, who has a similar mechanism on his 3-year, $18 million deal. The payouts are more about timing and do not affect the salary cap.

What role will Iman Shumpert play for the Knicks next season?

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

As he experienced free agency for the first time, this offseason proved to be the summer of Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks. There’s also been plenty of talk surrounding Jose Calderon, a key new acquisition in the trade with Dallas. The likes of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early have also gained some increasing fan-fare over the last month and a half, largely in part due to a couple of impressive showings at NBA Summer League.

With Phil Jackson in town, actively continuing to put his own respective mark on the team’s roster, how some of the other players fit into this new equation remains to be seen. Nevertheless, one has to believe it may be worth making an effort to determine how (if at all) Iman Shumpert still fits into New York’s future plans.

nba_u_shumpert_cr_286Since first hitting the hardwood, there’s been plenty of hype surrounding the Georgia Tech product. He’s been recognized as a defensive-stopper, someone who isn’t afraid of matching up against and taking on some of the league’s most elite scorers. When he’s at his best, Shumpert plays with a certain intensity that isn’t often matched by many others. His style and the swagger he carries himself with on the court certainly fit the Big Apple.

But such intensity has somewhat wavered over the last two seasons. Shumpert has lacked consistency, though perhaps much of this can be attributed to the team’s lack of continuity with a confused coaching staff leading the way. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how the swingman is utilized moving forward.

In the past, there’s been chatter about whether or not Shumpert could handle point guard duties. In the triangle offense, the Knicks’ two point-guard lineup figurse to be a thing of the past, so the team will have other options to fall back on before the young gun. He’s also been considered a 3 and D player of sorts, but his lack of consistency from deep sometimes makes him a liability offensively. That explosive first step has also disappeared a bit, as Shumpert has not been encouraged to attack the basket too much.

In recent months, his name has been tossed around in trade rumors involving teams such as the Raptors, Clippers, and Thunder. With the likes of Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith figuring to eat up most of the minutes at shooting guard, one has to wonder if there will be any time left over for Shumpert.

How Coach Derek Fisher chooses to mix and match his lineups this season remains to be seen, but if anything appears likely at this point, it’s that Shumpert will have to fight for his minutes coming into of training camp. But perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. Coming into his fourth year as a player, it might be best to light the fire under Shumpert’s butt and raise the bar for expectations.

To ensure he doesn’t become expendable, it’s important for the Knicks to put him in the best spot to succeed (where that will be in the rotation is anyone’s guess) and look to get the most out of him while they still can. Under a new regime, it could prove to be a new beginning for Shumpert. He was once a hot commodity, so this is his opportunity to prove he can still be one.


Report: Jackson buys Manhattan apartment for $4.85M

Phil Jackson won’t have far to go to work when the Knicks begin the season. The first-year team president has reportedly purchased a 2,600-square-foot co-op at the Osborne, a brownstone on West 57th Street, for $4.85 million (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 14).

The apartment — 11 minutes by subway from Madison Square Garden — has a wood-paneled library, fireplaces clad in limestone, a dining room, a gallery, a living room, an updated kitchen, three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master suite has a large closet and a bath with dual sinks.

Jackson, of course, is no stranger to the city. He played for the Knicks in the 1970s, when he was known for an eclectic lifestyle. Jackson, who won 11 NBA titles as a coach with the Bulls and Lakers, signed a 5-year, $60 million contract when he became the Knicks president in March.

The purchase was first reported by 6sqft. The property was listed in February for $4.995 million. Amanda S. Brainerd at Brown Harris Stevens was the listing agent.Besides the Manhattan apartment, Jackson owns a  beachfront home in Playa del Rey, Calif., and a house on Flathead Lake in Montana.

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

This is somewhat of an interesting development, simply because there’s been much talk of Jackson spending more time in Los Angeles to be closer to his family. How often he remains in the Big Apple (perhaps still) remains to be seen.

It’s important for the man with the plan to be around the team as much as he can. In addition to simply watching the team play, it’s crucial that Jackson takes part in practices, has a presence in the locker room, etc. During this time of transition for the Knicks, it’s crucial that he gets a feel for the team while beginning to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Hopefully this new home will keep Jackson in New York more often than not.