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Knicks are going to have dinner, workout with Mudiay

The Knicks will hold a private workout with PG Emmanuel Mudiay next week, his agent Jason Martin confirmed to SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

The 6-foot-5 Mudiay, whom former Knicks head coach Larry Brown compared to a young John Wall, was slated to play for Brown at SMU before opting to play overseas in China. He was recently projected to go No. 4 to the Knicks, according to DraftExpress.com (June 1).

As for the Knicks, Brown said Mudiay would be a great fit even though the team plays the triangle, which doesn’t necessarily need a true point guard.

“I don’t think Emmanuel’s gonna have any problem at all,” Brown said of the triangle. “I don’t think anybody who’s had the success that Phil Jackson has had couldn’t figure that one out.”

Former Knicks PG Stephon Marbury, who played against Mudiay in China last season, praised the young PG.

“He’s a kid who is going to be really good, has a big upside,’’ Marbury said. “He’s got real potential, started at 18. He can play at a high level. It’s about the people around [him], and who he surrounds himself with is important to what goes on in his career.’’

According to SNY’s Adam Zagoria, here are the dates for Mudiay’s visits:

  • June 6: Lakers workout
  • June 8: Dinner with Knicks
  • June 9: Knicks workout
  • June 15: Dinner with Sixers
  • June 16: Sixers workout

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Mar 7, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Murray State Racers guard Cameron Payne (1) brings the ball up court against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the second half in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament at Nashville Memorial Auditorium. Eastern Kentucky won 86-83. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks would consider drafting Cameron Payne in trade down scenario

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

With the 2015 NBA Draft just weeks away, the Knicks are in somewhat of a tricky spot with the fourth overall pick. The obvious top-two players will likely be off the board, so it’s up to New York to determine whether or not any prospect available at number four can be considered a game-changer, or if the franchise will be better suited trading down and getting something else of value in the process.

When considering the latter option, Murray State point guard Cameron Payne ranks high on the team’s list among players to take later in the draft, multiple sources tell TheKnicksBlog.com and SNY.tv.

The Knicks like Payne, who is widely regarded as one of the best passers in the draft. He averaged 20.3 points, six assists, and 1.8 steals through 33 games for Murray State last season. He’s an arguably more natural point guard than some of the more talented combo guards (a la D’Angelo Russell and/or Emmanuel Mudiay) in the draft.

Payne is quick, agile, and has the ability to find his teammates in transition, but at just 183 pounds, he needs to fill out his frame a bit more as he heads to the NBA. His overall game can stand to improve, naturally, but if Phil Jackson is able to surround Carmelo Anthony with additional shooters who can help spread the floor and play at a quick pace, Payne would fit in nicely with the Knicks.

New York’s most pressing needs are arguably a big man and secondary scorer, but there’s no denying Jose Calderon and his large contract continue to be shopped after he failed to meet team expectations last season. Building from the ground up, the Knicks truly need a little bit of everything with many voids to fill. Trading down could allow them to fulfill two different needs (a point guard like Payne and possibly another veteran player), if they feel as though the other players available at four aren’t likely to make that much more of an impact.

Payne is projected to be selected in the draft anywhere from the tail end of the lottery into the early twenties. That said, he’s quickly gaining momentum in his placement as teams continue to learn more and more about him as he attends team workouts. One source asserts that the Knicks would be more inclined to take him later in the lottery, if they were able to trade down.


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May 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov (20) dunks the ball as Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore (24) looks on during the fourth quarter in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Mozgov still surprised Knicks traded him

Four years later, Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov is still surprised the Knicks gave up on him (Berman, June 2).

Mozgov, 28, was a piece in the three-team blockbuster trade that sent him to the Denver Nuggets and brought Carmelo Anthony to New York.

“I was really surprised at two things,’’ Mozgov said. “They were talking about the trade for two months and never saw my name on the list. Second thing, it was my rookie year, first time, learning a lot. I didn’t know they did business like that. They just trade you.”

There was speculation of a rift between then GM Donnie Walsh and owner James Dolan over what should be offered in exchange for Anthony.

“Donnie Walsh called me. He says we don’t want to, but we just traded you. I saw him after [the next season] and he explained. He didn’t just say good words. I know he’s a good man.” Mozgov said. “New York was my first experience and I really enjoyed it.’’

Mozgov has become a vital piece, especially on the defensive end, to the Cavaliers run to the NBA Finals. He averaged 9.1 points and 7.2 rebounds during the regular season.


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Why the Knicks should select Justise Winslow with the fourth pick

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

According to most NBA Draft experts, the likes of Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell rank as the top consolation prizes for teams falling just short of nabbing Jahlil Okafor and/or Karl-Anthony Towns at number one and two overall, respectively.

This would obviously include the Knicks, who arguably have the most to gain with so much rebuilding to do.

Each guard is very talented, boasting very promising futures. But a point guard isn’t what the Knicks need. Of course, the draft is often about selecting the best overall talent. It’s not that New York has a floor general on board already — finding talent through the draft means building for the future, and Jose Calderon’s first campaign with the team was underwhelming anyway. It’s more so that the triangle offense doesn’t call for a point guard to be a centralized figure in the system.

If Russell falls to number four, a case could be made for them Knicks to select him because of his ability to play off the ball. But, alas, it’s much more likely to be Mudiay left at the top of the board when it comes time for the Knicks to make their pick. Mudiay shouldn’t be the player New York is targeting. The young gun is an explosive player around the rim and a dynamic scorer, but he clearly thrives with the ball in his hands. He’d serve much better in an offense that runs through him.

The Knicks already employ a player like that in Carmelo Anthony. The superstar can create his own offense better than most players in the NBA. When healthy, Anthony seemed to struggle this past season while adjusting to the triangle. The system is all about spreading the floor and moving the ball. Players are constantly on the run.

There’s only one basketball, and it may not be big enough for both Anthony and Mudiay (let alone, everyone else that stands to get touches in the offense).

Taking all of this into consideration, the Knicks should strongly consider drafting Justise Winslow. He may not be the best raw talent, but he arguably stands to have more success in the triangle than any other player in the draft. The swingman is agile, athletic, explosive, and plays with a boatload of energy. Able to move his feet very well, Winslow has the potential to guard up to three positions on the court. This makes him very versatile, all the while giving the Knicks the best chance to be creative with different lineups. While he doesn’t have the best jump shot, Winslow is a great slasher and knows how to make his way inside and get to the basket effectively.

Nevertheless, the fact that some of his biggest strengths are displayed when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands is a huge plus for a team like the Knicks.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s coming to the NBA fresh off an NCAA national championship. He’s a winner, which obviously plays into the culture Phil Jackson and Co. are trying to create.

Though Mudiay may have more talent, it’s up for debate whether or not the Knicks would be able to utilize such talent (or if it would seemingly go to waste) in the triangle. The system doesn’t allow for a traditional point guard to shine.

On the flip side, Winslow could contribute in a number of different ways. He has the opportunity to grow and develop his skills even further, all while making an immediate impact. This is the type of player New York should target in the draft.


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Observations from the Knicks’ loss to the Warriors

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Taking a one-point lead into the second quarter against the league-leading Warriors, the Knicks arguably had one of their best opening quarters of the entire season.

They kept up with Golden State, trading buckets and maintaining a certain tempo in the early goings. From there, the home team picked up the pace even more. The Knicks’ defense was spread too thin, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson nearly single-handedly sunk New York. They each knocked down six daggers from deep a piece.

From there on out, things got back to normal for New York. Nevertheless, despite the loss, there were still some takeaways worth making note of, especially as the team continues to explore different players as potential fits for next season’s roster. See below for more observations.

– Langston Galloway has certainly had his inconsistencies from the field this season, but he’s one of the better rebounding guards the Knicks have employed in recent years. His tenacity in getting to balls off missed shot attempts is impressive, as he’s able to sneak inside and evade bigger defenders. Not many smaller guards can say the same.

– Scoring in double-figures (in quite efficient fashion, to say the least) over the last two games since returning from back spasms, Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to take advantage of a newfound opportunity. Being able to prove himself offensively as a centralized figure will be key to an increased role next season. The Knicks need to see more of the same from him.

– Leading the team with 18 points, it’s clear Andrea Bargnani is an efficient offensive player. His ability to step out away from the basket, all the while converting on such shot attempts, makes him a steady threat. For the Knicks’ sake, it’s a shame he hasn’t been able to remain healthy.

– With a team-high plus/minus of +3, Cole Aldrich was arguably the Knicks’ best performer in the loss. Playing gritty defense down low, the big man grabbed nine rebounds and swatted five blocks. Offensively, he dished out five assists as well.


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Phil Jackson fined for comments regarding Ohio St. star

Knicks president Phil Jackson has been fined by the NBA for his comments regarding Ohio St. star D’Angelo Russell (AP, March 4).

Jackson was in attendance for the Ohio St-Nebraska game last Thursday night and told Cleveland.com that Russell was a “great looking kid” and a “great prospect.”

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fine Tuesday night but did not disclose the amount.

Team personnel are prohibited from publicly discussing players who aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft.

This isn’t the first time Jackson has been punished by the league for his public comments. Last season he was fined $250,000 for prematurely stating Derek Fisher was a head coaching candidate while he was still playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.


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Could former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw join the Knicks?

With the Knicks struggling under rookie head coach Derek Fisher, will Phil Jackson seek out recently fired Brian Shaw to join their staff? (Berman, March 4)

Shaw was fired Tuesday night after serving as the head coach of the Denver Nuggets for less than two seasons. He led the Nuggets to a 36-46 record last season and 20-39 this year.

It was believed that Jackson preferred Shaw over Fisher in his pursuit for a head coach last off season. But Denver was unwilling to let Shaw walk at the time.

Jackson has both coached and worked with Shaw. He coached him with the Lakers from 1999-2003 and then Shaw served as both a scout and assistant under Jackson from 2005-11.


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