Magic radio analyst thinks adjustment from being a European star has slowed Hezonja in NBA

In trying to explain Mario Hezonja’s struggle with the Magic, [Magic radio analyst and former NBA assistant Richie Adubato] pointed to the adjustment he had to make from being a European star to becoming a role player with fluctuating playing time. The former coach also didn’t like Hezonja’s shot selection or his forcing too many passes that led to turnovers. The 23-year-old is a career 33.2 percent shooter from 3.

“He’s a European,” Adubato said. “They always take time adjusting to our level of play. People don’t realize — they average 18 a game, come in and it’s big adjustment. He’s very talented, you see why they drafted him. Athletic. [He’s] 6-8, runs the floor well, nice-looking shot, range to shoot the 3. But he had to learn the NBA game. It’s so different. Nowadays, so many great athletes. A lot of times when you’re a star at another place and coming off the bench, it’s a new world for you.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Kemba Walker does not see himself playing in New York

The 28-year-old guard was born in the Bronx and attended Rice High School before leading the UConn Huskies to the 2011 NCAA championship, including several highlight moments at Madison Square Garden.

Kemba Walker, who will earn $12 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, was asked if we could ever see himself in New York for a homecoming.

“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker replied. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”

via Michael Scotto, The Athletic

Report: Mitchell Robinson fires agent over pre-draft process

According to league sources, Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks’ 20-year-old project center who dazzled the Las Vegas summer league, has made an agent change already.

Sources indicate Robinson, a Chalmette, La. product, has moved on from agent Raymond Brothers and has inked John Spencer, who also reps Lance Thomas. Spencer is a former Knicks scout under Ernie Grunfeld […]

According to sources, those closest to Robinson thought he had a better shot at becoming a late first-round pick — with more guaranteed money — if the pre-draft process was conducted smoother and smarter.

The day before the Draft Combine, Robinson’s reps decided to pull him out. Robinson, according to sources, believed that was a mistake.

“He had trained two months just for the combine and he was ready for it,’’ one source said.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Kevin Knox takes 5-20 shooting night as a learning experience

Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye, coming off a solid rookie season after being a second-round pick, used his physicality on the 215-pound Kevin Knox, who shot 5-of-20 and didn’t get to the basket nearly as often. Knox still managed 15 points.

Knox is already a quick study on Ojeleye.

I learned a lot — I watched a lot of film on that game already,’’ Knox said. “Semi is a great defender one of the best defenders in the league. He guards LeBron [James], Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. It was good to go against him — one of the premier defenders. … I watched a lot of film from that game and will get better from it.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Kevin Knox working to develop ball-handling and pick-and-roll skills

“Fiz wants me to handle the ball a lot during the season – be able to get rebounds, push it,” Knox said. “At the top of the key, be able to come in pick-and-rolls. It’s what I’ve been working on a lot this summer so I just wanted to show people I could handle the ball and make plays out of pick-and-roll.”

Knox invested heavily in improving his ball-handling, especially, in the pick-and-roll, in the months leading up his pre-draft workouts. Nick Friedman, his trainer, told The Athletic he had Knox work on developing a “a sense of comfort and fluidity with the ball.” They studied Paul George, Kevin Durant and Otto Porter as templates, trying to build up by Summer League.

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Report: Scout Clarence Gaines no longer with Knicks

Clarence Gaines Jr., a scout, is no longer with the Knicks, the team confirmed. Gaines had been an ally of Phil Jackson, the former team president, and a holdover from his tenure. Gaines was the Knicks’ vice president of player personnel under Jackson but moved to a scouting spot this past season. Jackson has given Gaines credit for convincing him to select Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in 2015.

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Ntilikina and Hezonja plan on placing wager on World Cup

It’s France vs. Croatia on Sunday. And Frank Ntilikina vs. Mario Hezonja.

Ntilikina told The Post he plans to make a wager with his new Croatian teammate on Sunday’s World Cup final. If they are still in Las Vegas, they plan to watch the game together.

“We discussed it, I think we are going to make a bet, but it won’t be money — something else,” Ntilikina said. “We always discuss with each other. We’re excited and want to watch the game together.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Mitchell Robinson on training with Anthony Davis

After dropping out of Western Kentucky, as the story goes, Mitchell Robinson spent every day training for the NBA, even having a session with Pelicans center Anthony Davis.

“Was an everyday thing,’’ Mitchell said. “No days off. Only days off was Sunday. That’s church day, but we just grinded every day. I picked [Davis’] brain. He’s been in the league for a while now, showed me a lot of things, ins and outs.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Report: Knicks have had interest in Willie Reed

Per ESPN sources, members of the Knicks organization had been in contact regarding free agent Willie Reed during the free agency period. It’s unclear, though, if the Knicks had – or still have – serious interest in the 28-year-old center.

The NBA suspended Reed for six games without pay last season as a result of a domestic violence incident involving his wife. The league conducted its own investigation into the incident before handing down the suspension. Reed was traded from Detroit to Chicago prior to the 2018 trade deadline. The Bulls subsequently waived Reed.

If the Knicks sign Reed – or another player – and plan to keep that player during the regular season, they’d have to waive or trade two players on NBA deals.

via Ian Begley, ESPN

Report: Charles Oakley arrested in Vegas for trying to cheat casino

TMZ Sports has learned ex-NBA star Charles Oakley was arrested at the Cosmopolitan on July 8 after allegedly trying to pull a fast one during a gambling session — and it was all caught on video.

Officials from the Nevada Gaming Board tell us Oakley “was suspected of adding to or reducing his wager on a gambling game after the outcome was known.” Unclear what game he was playing at the time — but one source with knowledge of the incident says Oak tried to pull back a $100 chip after he realized he was going to lose […]

Oak’s gambling charge is serious business — “to commit or attempt to commit a fraudulent act in a gaming establishment.” He faces between 1 to 6 years in prison if convicted.  A source close to Oakley tells us, “This is an insignificant matter that will be quickly resolved.”

via TMZ Sports

Kevin Knox looks like the “no-duh” NBA talent of this year’s Summer League

It’s only summer league. I know. The two-week event is an alternate reality for many players, who are given the opportunity to do things they may never experience in an actual NBA season. At this stage of his development, Knox’s best skills are his cutting and running transition, not necessarily the on-ball playmaking he’s demonstrated thus far in Vegas.

Against NBA defenses, and not diluted summer league rosters, it’ll be harder for Knox to score as potently as he is doing now. But his game has clearly grown since the end of the college season. Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum looked like no-duh NBA talents last summer; Knox is having moments for the Knicks that capture a similar spirit.

via Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer

Lakers offer glimpse of first adjustment for Knox

Lakers summer-league coach Miles Simon pulled out the stops on Kevin Knox, but could only hold him down so long. After Knox drove the ball for dunks or drew fouls in the first two games, this time he caught fire from the 3-point arc, draining 5-of-7 in leading the Knicks from 25 points down into a tie after three quarters.

“Coach Miles did a great job tonight defending me,” Knox said. “They made passes hard for me, pick-and-rolls they were really switching on me and I couldn’t get past people. They were real physical. They had a good scouting report. It’s going to get harder moving forward for me. A lot of people will see how our offense is and take me away from the top of the key. I’m looking forward to it, getting to practice and see how we adjust.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Kevin Knox can’t get enough basketball

Kevin Knox was disappointed Tuesday night after a 29-point outing against the Lakers because it was the last game of the card, and he had to head back to the team hotel.

Every time we play early, I come back and watch all the games,” Knox said. “I love watching basketball. You can learn from watching others play and I have friends on other teams. It’s who I am. I like to watch college basketball, high school — don’t matter who it is.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Neither Perry nor Mills have spoken with Noah lately, keeping all options on table

Knicks GM Scott Perry says all options remain on the table with center Joakim Noah, who has been away from the team since February following an intense argument with then head coach Jeff Hornacek.

PERRY: “He’s still a member of the Knicks franchise right now …. he’s part of this team. Like we said to you earlier, all options are on the table for us concerning him, whether it’s coming back or some sort of trade or whatever the case may be,” Perry said in Las Vegas on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

David Fizdale has been in touch with Noah. Neither Perry nor team president Steve Mills have spoken to him lately. “He’s in good standing with us. He’s part of the team,” Mills said. “We’ll figure out what happens as we move toward training camp.”

via Ian Begley, ESPN