D’Angelo Russell Meets With Phil Jackson, Proclaims Himself ‘Best Player in the Draft’

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAdam Zagoria, SNY.TV

The last time Knicks President Phil Jackson interacted with D’Angelo Russell, the Zenmaster ended up getting fined.

Feb 8, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) defends against Ohio State Buckeyes guard D'Angelo Russell (0) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 8, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) defends against Ohio State Buckeyes guard D’Angelo Russell (0) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports


That was back in February when Jackson attended an Ohio State game and told Cleveland.com that Russell was a “great looking kid” and a “great prospect.”

“I actually apologized to him when I met with him today,’’ the 6-foot-5 Russell said of the fine Friday at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, where he is not participating in 5-on-5 play or doing drills. “He kind of winked and smiled. I don’t know if it hurt his bank account at all. I apologized to him for that.”

In his mind, there is no need to play in front of the vast array of NBA GMs and scouts on hand here at Quest Sports Complex.

“I’m the best player in the draft,” he proclaimed without hesitation. To read more of this story, click here

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 8.32.18 AM

J.R. Smith disses the Knicks on Instagram following Cavs’ win

KeithKeith Schlosser, TheKnicksBlog.com

J.R. Smith took to Instagram to insult the Knicks after his Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win over the Bulls on Thursday (May 15).

Phil Jackson will continue to be criticized for shipping Smith and Iman Shumpert out of town and getting very little in return, that is, until (or if) he fills out the roster with better players this summer.

Trading both players was a strategic move. With the team struggling earlier this season and Smith not pulling his weight, it was clear his lucrative player option for next season would potentially stand in the way of the Knicks’ development. Smith had some exciting moments as a Knick, but his tenure with the team was shaky at best. An inconsistent performer, to say the least, Smith wasn’t able to find success in the triangle offense.

Shumpert was thrown in the deal as a way to further entice the Cavaliers to take on Smith’s contract. The young gun didn’t appear to be in the Knicks’ future plans at the time, either. His expiring contract suggested that his tenure was coming to a close, and the team didn’t have plans to re-sign him anyway. Even so, despite his evident potential, Shumpert, too, often fell short of the mark. The nagging injuries he continued to experience impacted his ability to make positive contributions on the court.

The message from Smith’s Instagram photo often bodes true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But for what it’s worth, neither player was pulling their weight towards the end of each one’s respective tenure with the Knicks, as it were.

There was clearly enough motive for trading Smith and Shumpert. It’s up to Jackson to prove that doing so was all worth it in the end, if and when he improves the roster by utilizing the newfound cap room that the trade created, and reels in better players.


With Draft lottery looming, Phil Jackson meets with Frank ‘The Tank’ Kaminsky

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAdam Zagoria, SNY.TV

With the NBA Draft Lottery looming on Tuesday, Knicks President Phil Jackson met here in Chicago on Thursday with Wisconsin 7-footer Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky.

“Being in the room with one of the greats in the NBA history from a coaching standpoint is awesome,” Kaminsky said, according to the New York Post. “Hearing his thoughts on me and having a conversation with him was pretty cool.

“You know, tell it to me straight. He’s been through it with a lot of different players and people. He’s going to be honest on what his concerns are, what I need to work on and what I do well.’’

Kaminsky, 22, is projected as the No. 10 pick by DraftExpress.com and the Knicks are guaranteed to have a top-5 pick, with a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick when the ping pong balls fly.

“I could go anywhere from 5-12 but we’ll see once the lottery balls fall what the teams are and who’s picking where,” said Kaminsky, who was named the Naismith Player of the Year, the AP National Player of the Year and won the Oscar Robertson Trophy. “We’ll have a better sense after that.”

Knicks GM Steve Mills said the team will interview 18 players, so they will meet with all of the top players to cover their bases. To read more of this story, click here


Derek Fisher talks with ESPN about team’s mindset at NBA Draft Combine

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher played it coy during a television interview Thursday when asked how the Knicks might approach the 2015 NBA Draft.

“I think anytime that you get the type of talent up front that (Karl Anthony-Towns and Jahlil Okafor) have, it’s an advantage,” he told ESPN, speaking at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. “It’s a benefit. I think there’s a lot of talent in this year’s draft. … Love for competition, that’s our biggest need. If it’s the NBA Draft, you’ll find talent. It’s [about finding] the right talent. That’s what we’re looking for now, which may be different than in years past.”

KeithKeith Schlosser, TKB: It’ll be interesting to see, not only who the Knicks select, but where they select. Whereas both Anthony-Towns and Okafor are big men, it’s possible New York could select as late as fifth in the draft. It doesn’t sound as though the team is necessarily committed to targeting any specific position or filling a solely evident void.

The good news is that the team’s respective canvas is nearly completely blank, excluding Carmelo Anthony and a couple of smaller, younger pieces. Via the draft itself and free agency, the Knicks will have plenty of opportunities to mold a team to their liking that’s worthy of competing each and every night, much like Fisher alluded to.

The lottery-bound players wouldn’t be included in the conversation if they weren’t talented. With that in mind, what’ll aid the Knicks in making a decision?

“The interview process — that’s where you get to talk to these guys one-on-one and see what they’re about, getting to talk to them about life and basketball,” Fisher said. “But obviously what you observe on the basketball floor, you can see whether these guys love to compete or not.”

When pressed for specifics, Fisher did point out, “A lot of the guys probably in our range aren’t here right now,” perhaps alluding to the two centers.

At this point, New York would appear to still be entering the draft with an open mind, and much less a specific target. It may come down to respective personalities — who carries themselves in a positive manner with enthusiasm? Who is grounded enough to handle playing under the bright lights of the Big Apple? Who will mesh with Fisher and Phil Jackson? Do they believe in the triangle offense?

These are all questions that the Knicks must weigh.

Nov 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) is congratulated by center Nikola Vucevic (9) after making a three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks target Tobias Harris looking forward to free agency

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAdam Zagoria, SNY.TV

Tobias Harris becomes a restricted free agent on July 1 and will likely be a target of his hometown New York Knicks.

The issue for the Knicks, of course, is that the Orlando Magic can match any offer the Knicks make — and GM Rob Hennigan is on record saying he “intends” to bring the Long Island native back “no matter what” the cost. That cost could get up to $13-$15 million a year, according to reports.

“For now I’m just going to continue to work out, continue to get better and let everything handle itself,” Harris told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago where he is doing some broadcast work for ESPN.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” Harris added. “You never know what could happen but at the same time I’m a restricted free agent so it’s pretty much in their hands to make the call.” To read more of this story, click here

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 4.06.05 PM

Steve Mills to represent Knicks at Draft Lottery; Knicks will interview Nearly 20 players

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAdam Zagoria, SNY.TV

Steve Mills will represent the Knicks at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday in Manhattan and not the Zenmaster Phil Jackson.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity in finding out where we’re going to be selecting,” Mills said at the NBA Combine at Quest Sports Complex in Chicago.

Jackson was not in the gym to speak with reporters. Mills is here in Chicago with assistant GM Allan Houston, along with numerous members of the scouting staff, including Mark Warkentien and Clarence Gaines Jr.

The Knicks have a 19.9 percent chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick and ideally would love to have the chance to pick a potential franchise-changing big man in Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, neither of whom is here at the Combine.

“We think whatever happens in the draft, we’re going to end up with a good player,” Mills said. “It’s an opportunity to see what ultimately happens, so it’s exciting for the franchise.”

Towns, Okafor and projected No. 3 pick Emmanuel Mudiay are not here in Chicago, and many of the other top players are not playing 5-on-5 or competing in drills.

“We knew going in that the top guys wouldn’t be here, so it’s not even worth speculating on,” Mills said. “It’s part of the nature of this particular combine and what’s important to us is to have the chance to see the guys and talk to them personally. We’ve been watching guys play all season long so we have a pretty good feel for how they are as players on the court.”

usa-today-8383952.0Jackson has said his preference would be for a defensive-oriented big man, which many feel means Towns, a native of Piscataway, N.J., would be their preference over the more offensive-minded OKafor.

“I’m not going to start to compare the two players,” Mills said. ” I think that wherever we end up in this draft we’re going to be able to get a good player.”

Mills said he might bring a good luck charm to the Lottery — a frozen envelope maybe?

“I have a couple ideas, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly with it is,” he said with a smile.

Mills said the team plans to interview nearly 20 prospective picks.

“This is just an opportunity for us to sit down and learn a little bit more about players individually off the court mostly,” Mills said. “We go through an interview process with about 18 players and then after this we’ll bring more players into New York to spend more detailed time with them.”

It’s possible the Knicks could trade down if they don’t wind up with a top-3 or top-4 pick in Tuesday’s lottery. Mills said that was still an option.

“Phil and I are on the same page in terms of how we should approach the draft and what we ultimately do, and I think the most important thing for us is just wait and see what happens in the lottery and where our position is,” Mills said.”

KeithKeith Schlosser, TKB: It’ll be the dawn of a new day for the Knicks next week, but it’ll be an individual who is all too familiar with the team’s past struggles on the dais.

This is Phil Jackson’s team. With the offseason here, the opportunity for him to put his own respective stamp on the Knicks is now. That seemingly starts with the lottery. Of course, Jackson was recruited by the Knicks initially, not only to make a splash, but also to work with and do a better job than Mills did on his own. Having Jackson represent New York at the event could have further begun to set the tone for what’s to come. Instead, it’ll be Mills.

At this point (still an early and uncertain stage) in the Knicks’ respective build, one could argue that Jackson, along with his massive persona and respective credentials, is the face of the franchise. Even so, it’s still a little surprising for the team to select Mills to represent them at the lottery instead of Carmelo Anthony.[/sny-editorial]


Fran Fraschilla still likes Towns over Okafor for Knicks

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAgam Zagoria, SNY.TV

CHICAGO — Neither Karl-Anthony Towns nor Jahlil Okafor will work out here at the NBA Combine in front of Knicks President Phil Jackson and the other 29 teams in attendance.

But ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla reiterated that he thinks Towns would be the best fit for the Knicks and the triangle offense.

Towns hired the same agent as Carmelo Anthony [Leon Rose], according to DraftExpress.com, and has said he would “love” to play for the Knicks.

“If the Knicks pick 1, they’re going to be scratching their head for a month figuring if they want to go with Okafor or Towns,’’ Fraschilla said on a conference call at the combine, according to the New York Post. “Okafor may be more ready to average 18 [points] and nine [rebounds] as a rookie. Towns has a chance to be a better player over the next decade. Towns has more versatility because he has the ability to play away from the basket. In the triangle, that doesn’t hurt, especially at the elbow. But the triangle also is made for low-post players like Shaq. The dilemma is do you want the surer thing early in Okafor vs. rolling the dice Towns becomes a better player over time?’’ To read more of this story, click here