Report: Knicks have been approached about Dotson’s availability

This article was written jointly by Jeffrey Bellone (Knicks Film School) and Jonathan Macri.

Damyean Dotson has fallen out of the Knicks rotation with two consecutive DNP-coach’s decision. This is coming off a nine-game stretch in which Dotson recorded double digits in points scored and started to look like he was coming into his own under coach Fizdale.

So what’s the latest rumor?

As reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source, the Knicks have been approached by a couple of teams about Dotson’s availability because of his precarious contract status.

Knicks general manager Scott Perry did not draft Dotson. Though president Steve Mills was GM for the 2017 draft, the Dotson pick at No. 44 was spearheaded by former president Phil Jackson and his top adviser, Clarence Gaines, according to sources.


What does this mean?

Nothing. There is no indication that the Knicks are looking to trade Dotson, or that the second round standout is looking to be moved. I don’t doubt the report. I’m sure there are teams calling to check on Dotson, especially with Courtney Lee set to return and Fizdale’s rotation minutes as in flux as a Manhattan street corner.

General Managers and agents are simply doing their jobs to check on situations throughout the league, so I’m sure that is what is happening here.

The bigger question is why this story is coming out now. It would make sense for Dot’s camp to leak other teams’ interest as a way to poke the sleeping bear, and of course to show that he is a player in demand around the league. And why wouldn’t he be; the dude was arguably the Knicks best two-way player in several of the games he appeared in. We’ve been driving the #FreeDot bandwagon since early last season, mostly because he is, at the very least, a solid tradable asset, if not a long term piece.

Should the Knicks entertain offers?

Why not?

As Moke Hamilton discussed with us recently, the Knicks’ front office is currently evaluating the roster to understand who fits into their long-term plan. Right now, that plan means developing the players on their roster, building up their value as much as possible, and then depending on what happens next summer in the pursuit of Kevin Durant, using some of those players to acquire more talent, clear cap space, or decide to invest in long-term.

What is Dotson’s contract situation?

Dotson signed a 3-year, $4.1 million contract with the Knicks upon entering the league. He is currently in the second year of that deal. His salary next season is non-guaranteed at $1.6 million, so the Knicks could waive him after the season without any cap cost.

Berman’s story notes that teams have inquired about Dot, presumably because he’s been out of the rotation of late, but also because the Knicks have to decide on his non-guaranteed salary for next season. On the one hand, this makes sense, as it seems they will need every last dollar to be able to pursue Kevin Durant. In reality though, any cap savings they gain by waiving Dotson before his guarantee date is offset by a minimum roster charge if they also clear other players to make space for a free agent. The offset of the min roster charge would merely create about $800,000 in cap savings from waiving Dotson outright.

In Summary

If the genesis of this story is the lack of playing time Dotson is receiving, hence teams calling to check on him, we can’t overlook that there is some logic to why he’s not playing. The most obvious rotation switch would seem to be with Mario Hezonja, who has been shooting dreadfully but has otherwise done what David Fizdale has asked. The team is also 3-1 with him starting, which has to count for something.

Berman implies Dot’s losing time to Mario has to do with the latter’s Orlando connection with Scott Perry, which is entirely possible at this point of the season. Hezonja did pick the Knicks over several other options available to him this summer. He was by no means a big-time free agent, but someone choosing the Knicks due to the basketball situation and not a massive overpay is a small sign of progress. Relegating him to the bench after only 20 or 25 games might be a bad look.

That said, Fiz seems to care not for such trivialities, or at least there have been no such indications. He has indicated that he wants to settle on a rotation by Game 25. If we hit that mark with Dotson still out, expect the noise surrounding what is still a non-story to amp up incrementally between now and February’s trade deadline.

Knicks Film School Podcast: Moke Hamilton

JB and Jon are joined by Moke Hamilton of the Athletic. They cover several Knicks topics of interest ranging from Scott Perry and Steve Mills’ philosophy in building this team to how David Fizdale plays into their vision to which players on the roster are untouchable. Moke also hits on why he thinks the Joakim Noah stretch made sense and what would get the Knicks to consider moving Tim Hardaway Jr.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / SoundCloud

Check out the Puma swag Kevin Knox sent to his high school

Kevin Knox signed a multi-year deal with Puma before the season began and he is using the platform to help out his former high school basketball team in Tampa.

As reported earlier this month by the Tampa Bay Times:

When Knox signed with Puma, he made sure Tampa Catholic received $10,000 worth of gear from the shoe company for the next four years.

We now have some pictures to see what kind of gear the basketball squad received.

If you’re not lucky enough to be a part of Kevin Knox’s former high school basketball team, you can purchase a pair of the Puma Clyde Court Disrupts for $120. An “electric purple” style was recently released in addition to the orange colorway.


Learn about the Puma Clyde Court Disrupts:


Learn about Puma’s courtship with Kevin Knox:

What’s happening in the NBA: November 26

Knicks fans are some of the most intelligent basketball fans in the world. They want to know more than what is happening with their team. This is a daily overview of NBA highlights and happenings.

TOP HIGHLIGHTS

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SCORES

Magic 108, Lakers 104
Suns 107, Pistons 118
Hornets 123, Hawks 124
Sixers 127, Nets 125
Heat 115, Raptors 125
Knicks 103, Grizzlies 98
Jazz 133, Kings 112
Clippers 104, Blazers 100

TOP STORIES

Jimmy Butler being Jimmy Butler as Joel Embiid remains Joel Embiid

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I mean game winners are nice. but @joelembiid please explain why you felt the need to do this?! 😂😂😂

A post shared by Jimmy Butler (@jimmybutler) on


Kawhi Leonard responds to Gregg Popovich’s leadership criticism

Speaking with reporters Saturday in Milwaukee, Popovich offered a surprising assessment of Leonard’s leadership abilities.

“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich said.

Kawhi responded by saying, “It’s just funny to me because, I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not, but I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead,” Leonard said. “Other than that, it doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors.”

[via USA Today]


Blake Griffin is happy, healthy and hooping in Detroit

But being in Detroit instead of playing for the Clippers, Griffin is fine with it.

Yeah, I’m glad it happened,” Griffin told the Times. “I’m not saying I don’t miss certain people. There were some awesome fans that I got to know and I felt like I was very close with them. And there are some people you miss over there, but it was just time for a fresh start.

“I’m glad to be here.”

[via Los Angeles Times]


Interest in trading for John Wall not very strong

“John Wall is a very different situation [from Bradley Beal],” said Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. “You can count on one hand, and probably with just a couple of fingers places that really might have interest in taking his contract on and what it all means to bring him in.

“I would never say there’s no market for John Wall, but I think Bradley Beal has a much broader market. But if Washington was going to do something, they would have to get every last asset they could for Bradley Beal.”

[via Adrian Wojnarowski]

Knicks Briefing: November 26

Knicks win for Fizdale

The Knicks beat the Grizzlies 103-98 in a game the players clearly wanted to win for Fizdale, as he made his return to the city where he was fired before being hired by New York.

The players celebrated by dousing Fizdale in water.

My suit is ruined. Emmanuel came up to me, him and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) both, were just hugging me and telling me it was for me. And then they all came in and I lost it (crying).”

After the game, Fizdale hugged Marc Gasol, apparently burying the hatchet on the rift that led to their separation.

MUDIAY !!!

Emmanuel Mudiay continues to reward his new head coach for the confidence boost. He scored 17 points on 5-12 shooting last night, but nothing was more impressive than his poster slam dunk on Garrett Temple.

As a starter this season, Mudiay is averaging 14.7 points per game on 52.1% shooting (remember, he is a 38.1% career shooter). He is also starting to knock down some threes to balance his best quality in getting to the rim.

It’s his finishing ability that has helped his game the most this season. He is making a career-high 60% of his shots near the rim this season. Don’t think of a player like Kanter, who shoots with a high percentage near the rim. Mudiay’s 60% rate near the hoop puts him close to the top 20% among point guards.

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter was a beast last night. He became the first Knick since Patrick Ewing in 1997 to post at least 20 points and 25 rebounds in a game, finishing with 21 & 26, respectively. He is also showing glimpses of serviceable defense for stretches of the game.

Courtney Lee cleared to practice

Courtney Lee is finally inching closer to returning to the Knicks lineup after being sidelined with a neck injury since training camp. He has been cleared to practice with the team, but wants to get in “multiple practices” before returning to game action.

With the schedule how it is right now, we’re playing so many games and there’s not so many practices. Definitely gotta get in practice to get my timing down, learn all the plays. I pretty much know all of them. But he changed a couple wrinkles in some. Gotta get in there and feel comfortable with the guys, grow some chemistry. Once I get that rhythm, I should be fine from there.”

Remembering Willie Naulls

Knicks legend Willie Naulls passed away on November 22nd at the age of 84 due to a respiratory failure from Churg-Strauss Syndrome.

Naulls spent seven seasons with the Knicks after playing only 19 games with the St. Louis Hawks. As a Knick, Naulls averaged 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game and made the NBA All-Star team four times.

On this Date

2005: Nate Robinson hits a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Knicks a thrilling 105-102 (OT) victory over the Philadelphia 76ers before a sellout matinee MSG crowd.

1966: Cazzie Russell scores a season-high 34 points off the bench over 27 minutes in a 125-114 win over Baltimore at the Garden.

Knicks legend Willie Naulls passes away at 84

Knicks legend Willie Naulls passed away on November 22nd at the age of 84 due to a respiratory failure from Churg-Strauss Syndrome.

Naulls spent seven seasons with the Knicks after playing only 19 games with the St. Louis Hawks. As a Knick, Naulls averaged 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game and made the NBA All-Star team four times.

https://twitter.com/KnickFilmSchool/status/1066881373670133765

He also served the honor of being Knicks captain. He was the first black athlete to hold such a post for any team in a major American sport, according to the Knicks.

While Naulls wasn’t able to win a championship with the Knicks, but he spent the final three seasons of his career with the Boston Celtics where he won a championship each year.

The Knicks 3-game winning streak FAQ

With the Knicks winning three games in a row against solid competition, fans of the team may find themselves feeling a bit unnerved in these uncertain times. We here at Knicks Film School understand your plight, and are ready to help. For your convenience here is a helpful FAQ to help you navigate these choppy waters. If you get to the end and still feel faint, please call a medical professional. We hope you enjoy.


What is happening right now?

The Knicks are winning games. Please remain calm.

Is this a thing that NBA teams do?

Yes, occasionally. It actually happens quite regularly in other cities.

Is winning a good thing for the Knicks?

It depends on who you ask. Some people feel that winning games improves culture, makes your franchise look more attractive to prospective free agents, and generally begets more winning. Others feel that it just takes away ping pong balls heading into lottery night.

Which is the right answer?

There is no right or wrong answer, really … it’s all a matter of perspective.

No, really … which is the right answer?

The ping pong ball people are wrong.

This is especially true under the new lottery rules, where the team that finishes with the worst record in the league is guaranteed a top-five pick, but only has about a 50% shot at a top-four pick in what everyone seems to think is a four player draft. Even if the Knicks win some games, the way things are lining up, they’ll still likely finish with the fifth-worst record in the NBA, which gives them over a 40% chance at a top four pick.

Why are ultimately meaningless wins worth even a slight decrease in the odds?

Because they’re not meaningless. When you’ve been a dumpster fire of an organization for the better part of two decades, you need to show certain basic competencies before you move on to loftier aspirations … walk before you run, basically. Taking talented but flawed players into your program and helping them play the best basketball of their lives is an important step in that process, and that’s what’s happening now.

But I thought none of these players will be here next season … why does it matter if they help us win games? Isn’t that what happened early last year?

One thing at a time. Regarding players staying or not, there’s basically two scenarios. If they’re not here, that almost certainly means that Kevin Durant is here, in which case, scotch and Cheetos for everyone!

If, however, Durant says no, and the Knicks had shown zero progress this season, there would likely be some pressure on the front office to sign a max player in July just to save face, even if that max player wasn’t really a max player. Having players on the current roster succeed not only lessens that possibility, but opens up the option of bringing several of these guys back on one-year deals at inflated salaries. This not only allows you to field a competitive team while awaiting Anthony Davis’ free agency in 2020, but it gives you a roster full of intriguing trade chips should the right deal arise.

Regarding whether it matters, see the proceeding question. Also, winning games with young reclamation projects that still have upside (Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Noah Vonleh) is very different than winning games with vets who are already known quantities (Jarrett Jack, Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas). It shows that your player development program is working, which other players around the league notice.

If the Knicks do sign Kevin Durant, why will a bunch of these guys be gone?

In this scenario1, the Knicks would need to renounce the cap holds of Mudiay, Kanter, and Hezonja, and almost all of their exceptions, to make room for Durant2.

When you renounce a player’s cap hold, that means you lose the eligibility to exceed the cap to sign them using their respective Bird or non-Bird rights. If the Knicks were to create enough cap space to sign Durant, they can’t have money tied up in cap holds.

However, if the Knicks do trade Lee and take back no future money, they will have a few million in cap room to spare, along with the room exception, which is roughly $4.6 million. Still, if guys like Mudiay and Vonleh keep producing, it’s easy to see another team making a more sizable offer for their services.

Back to this team: we were lead to believe that Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson made up the Knicks’ future core, and that this season would be all about their development. In Memphis, they played a combined 33 minutes. Shouldn’t I be concerned?

You’re probably going to be concerned regardless of what I say.

Humor me.

Ok fine … no, you shouldn’t be concerned. This is where we get into nuance that can’t be properly expressed in 280 characters. If David Fizdale was burying his young players on the bench and we were watching them rack up DNP-CD’s, that would be a major cause for concern, but that isn’t happening.

Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson are arguably two of the five rawest rookies in their class, yet Fiz is still finding a way to give them 17 minutes per game, on average. The fact that Robinson, in particular, is playing in the NBA at all at this point, and hasn’t been relegated to the G-League, is a minor miracle in light of his summer league performance. Knox, meanwhile, was clearly slowed by the injury that kept him out for over two weeks.

These numbers will only go up as the year continues, but right now, they’re more than fine. Playing guys more minutes then they’re ready for and letting bad habits develop is worse than not playing them at all. Ntilikina and Trier, meanwhile, are at 24 minutes per game, while Dotson is at 27.

But Dotson hasn’t even played in four games?

Yeah, that’s a problem.

I thought this was supposed to make me feel better?

Sorry. I’m honestly not sure what’s up with Dot right now, because he has been largely excellent in his minutes so far this year. He does continue to be the first guy off the bench to high five his teammates, though, so that’s a good sign. I’d bet that Fiz let him know his time is coming and that he’s giving Mario Hezonja one more look before relegating him to the bench or out of the rotation entirely. With the team winning, it makes a change that much tougher.

Back to Frank … he’s never the only point guard on the floor anymore. 

I’ve noticed.

Is that ok?

This is the question that’s hanging over this entire Knicks season, and tons of smart people have tons of different opinions about it. Some think he needs to get a certain number of minutes at point guard come hell or high water. Others just want him to get time on the floor and not be relegated to the corner when he’s out there.

Of late, despite fewer minutes and shared time with Burke, Frank has looked more confident and assertive on offense, which has always been the knock on him. He’s taking control of the offense in spurts, but also not forcing it – a balance he thus far hadn’t been able to achieve, including during his stint as the starting point guard earlier this year. So whatever Fiz is doing seems to be working.

One more point on this: if we assume David Fizdale is a rational actor, he knows that the best case scenario for his future as a coach is figuring out a way to get a 6’7″ kid, with an All-Defense ceiling, on the floor as much as possible in as advantageous a role as possible. Not prioritizing his development would harm Fiz more than anyone, which wouldn’t seem to make any sense. So question Fizdale’s development methods if you will, but questioning his priorities seems to be a bit silly.

So we’re winning games … the team is playing hard, playing unselfishly, and playing for their coach. If you’re to be believed, they’re also still keeping their eye on the future as the ultimate prize. What do we have to complain about as Knicks fans?

You’re a New Yorker. You’ll find something.

Knicks Film School Podcast: The Knicks are … good?

Zach DiLuzio joins Jon to digest the Knicks’ improbable win in David Fizdale’s return game to Memphis, one that extended their winning streak to three (three!) games. They talk about why this particular win was so impressive, what the team’s recent play means for the long-term organizational goals, and how fans should react to the younger players seeing less time lately.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / SoundCloud

Knicks win in Memphis for Fizdale

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Knicks Fan TV Postgame Live


MACRI’S GAME NOTES

Hey hey hey there friends … we interrupt your regularly scheduled Tank Job for this important announcement: the Knicks – the New York Knickerbockers – might not be terrible.

Bad?

Yeah, they’re probably still bad.

And they’ll look it on some nights as this season progresses. For right now, though, they’re playing hard, they’re playing smart, and they’re playing together, all culminating in a huge 103-98 win in David Fizdale’s return game, their third in a row.

On to the highlights:

  • Have to start with Kanter. Have to. He was a beast, putting up a 21 & 26 night, which included a stretch in the 3rd where he ate Memphis’ collective lunch on the block, repeatedly posting up and getting buckets, relieving the pressure on New York’s guards to produce points for a key stretch of the game. Perhaps more impressively, his defense was also more than passable. I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought Kanter’s season in NY would end in a buyout, and I might be wrong if he continues to add value like this.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay’s resurgence continues. He didn’t shoot it great, but 17 points on 12 shots is fine any day of the week. He was once again in complete control of the offense – his own and the team’s – and his defense was also far better than what we’ve become accustomed to. His dunk late in the fourth may have been my favorite moment of the season.

  • Noah Vonleh continues to put in work on both ends. Tonight was a quieter effort, but he is a switchable force on the defensive end, his jumper appears to be a thing, and his baby hook is unguardable.
  • Timmy again had a rough night from the field, but he got to the line seven times (two on techs) and hit 3-of-7 from deep. Like Mudiay, the field goal percentage was ugly, but you’ll take 22 points on 16 shots most nights.
  • Other than Frank, the kids struggled tonight, which was to be expected against a tough, veteran squad that’s been hitting on all cylinders. Knox looked overmatched, and Mitch had some rough moments guarding Gasol. Ntilikina, however, had a nice stretch running the offense and looking for his own shot in the second quarter. He didn’t play much in the second half, but in a game where every bucket was going to be critical, it was understandable.
Regardless of how Knicks fans feel about the vets playing more of late, there’s no denying that David Fizdale has this squad playing their asses off. For a franchise where that hasn’t been the case much over the last 17 years, that is step one, above everything else they need to do to go back to becoming a respectable NBA franchise. Kudos to Fiz. He’s go this thing rolling.

What’s happening in the NBA: November 25

Knicks fans are some of the most intelligent basketball fans in the world. They want to know more than what is happening with their team. This is a daily overview of NBA highlights and happenings.

TOP HIGHLIGHTS

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SCORES

Houston 108, Cleveland 117
New Orleans 114, Washington 124
Chicago 96, Minnesota 111
Denver 105, Oklahoma City 98
Boston 104, Dallas 113
San Antonio 129, Milwaukee 135
Golden State 117, Sacramento 116

TOP STORIES

Markelle Fultz no longer in Sixers long-term plans?

For now, however, Fultz is still around the team as if nothing has changed except his playing time. The Sixers keep saying they will do whatever is best for Fultz, but the situation has overshadowed the success the team has had this season.

Some sources have said that, despite the team’s statements, Fultz is no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans. And they are no longer using his shoulder as an excuse for his performances […]

The team might be able to get a late first-round pick for Fultz from a desperate club willing to take a chance, or the Sixers could try for a player with an expiring contract. That would enable them to avoid paying the $9.7 million that Fultz is guaranteed for next season.

[via Philadelphia Inquirer]


Greg Popovich says Kawhi was a great player, but he “wasn’t a leader”

Popovich’s take on Leonard’s tumultuous final season in San Antonio was not at all flattering.

Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich said. “Manu and Patty were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn’t his deal at that time. That may come as he progresses, but Manu and Patty filled that role last year, and LaMarcus (Aldridge) came a long way in that regard also.”

[via USA Today]


Bucks are waiving Jodie Meeks


Stephen Curry to resume practicing following car accident

Curry, the two-time MVP, was re-examined Saturday and is expected to resume practicing next week with a strong chance he would return to game action during an upcoming five-game road trip.

He did some scrimmaging work at the practice facility, and Kerr said there were no lingering physical issues from a car accident Friday in which Curry was unharmed

[via USA Today]


Draymond Green has a sprained right toe

Knicks Briefing: November 25

Fizdale returns to Memphis

David Fizdale returns to the city where he was fired (which worked out well for the Knicks). Fizdale was let go early into the 2017-18 season when a rift developed between himself and star player Marc Gasol.

Gasol said he has moved on and even gave Fizdale credit in his first interview on the subject since the time of the firing, “I’m a better player because of David. I can say that 100 percent. Even though last season was really tough for everyone, I’m a better player this year than I was last year and a lot had to do with him.”

Meanwhile, Fizdale looks back fondly at his time in Memphis, “I got a standing ovation in that building from a great fan base, and that’s the moment I’m going to remember, in the playoffs when we fought our butts off against the Spurs, and those guys being able to give me that moment as a young coach, and to share that moment with them. I’ll never forget that.”

Remember what happened

Gasol recommended Fiz to KP

When Kristaps Porzingis asked Marc Gasol about David Fizdale, the fellow European star gave a glowing review, despite their tension.

“He asked me what I thought. I said, ‘He’s a great coach and you guys are going to do great with him.’”

A classy move by Gasol.

Courtney Lee close to returning

Courtney Lee has been out of the Knicks lineup since training camp when he was fouled hard by Ron Baker in practice. He seemed on his way to returning before opening night, but then aggravated the injury in practice.

Of course, Knicks fans continue to speculate whether Lee (and his $12 million salary) will eventually be traded.

A few key dates to keep in mind 

  • December 5, when the Knicks need to make a roster move to keep Allonzo Trier in the NBA
  • December 15, when trade restrictions are lifted for players signed last summer (i.e. Mario Hezonja, Luke Kornet, and Noah Vonleh).

Stephon Marbury admits to adding to his own pain

Stephon Marbury is still a Knicks fan after all of these years.

In an interview about the award with CNBC’s Beijing Inside China host, Eunice Yoon, the former Knick jokingly talked about the struggle of being a Knicks fan. After stating he believes one day the Knicks will “win the opportunity” to go to the playoffs, he discussed the struggle of being a Knicks fan.

“I’m still a Knicks fan, after all the nonsense I’ve been through, everything I’ve been through in my life with the Knicks, I’m still a New York fan.”

“LOOK, SEE, THIS IS WHAT WE GO THROUGH… I EVEN PUT US THROUGH IT (SMILING).”

Learn more

On this Date

2012: Knicks hit 17-33 (.515) from downtown en route to a 121-100 matinee win over the Pistons at the Garden. Carmelo Anthony leads the way with 29 points while Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace add 18 and 15 off the bench.

1946: The Knicks record first double-digit victory in team history with a 62-46 victory over the Pittsburgh Ironmen at Duquesne Gardens. Stan Stutz leads the way with 15 points (5-13 FG).

Stephon Marbury jokes he contributed to his own fandom’s pain

Stephon Marbury has done more than win basketball games in both the U.S. and China. It was revealed earlier this month that he is the winner of this year’s Pioneer Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the US-China relationship.

In an interview about the award with CNBC’s Beijing Inside China host, Eunice Yoon, the former Knick jokingly talked about the struggle of being a Knicks fan. After stating he believes one day the Knicks will “win the opportunity” to go to the playoffs, he discussed the struggle of being a Knicks fan.

“I’m still a Knicks fan, after all the nonsense I’ve been through, everything I’ve been through in my life with the Knicks, I’m still a New York fan.”

“Look, see, this is what we go through… I even put us through it (smiling).”

What is the Pioneer Award?

It is presented by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China), which is a business-oriented lobbying organization.

Why did Stephon Marbury, of all people, receive the award?

As explained by AmCham China:

Stephon has embodied those principles since arriving here in 2010, both through exemplary leadership on the basketball court, and through a range of entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures off it. Leading the Beijing Ducks to three CBA titles in four years (2012-15), Stephon is often referred to as Commissar Ma (马政委) due to his role as mentor and coach to his Chinese teammates and youth players. Off the court, he has been involved in a variety of business ventures, and, in 2014, he was named one of the Top 10 Model Citizens for Beijing – the first foreigner to receive this award – due to his commitment to the Beijing community and his charity work.

 

Understanding Allonzo Trier’s contract options

Allonzo Trier has gone from undrafted to “the Knicks need to sign this guy!

After signing a two-way deal this offseason, Allonzo Trier is taking the NBA by storm, forcing the Knicks into a quick decision about his NBA future.

Why can’t Trier just stay on a two-way contract all season long?

He can. But if the Knicks want him to play more than 45 days in the NBA, they need to create a roster spot (they are allowed to have up to 15 NBA contracts plus 2 two-way contracts) and then convert him to a standard NBA contract. Otherwise, Trier would be stuck playing the rest of the season in Westchester once his 45 NBA days are used up.

Counting up Trier’s NBA service days is not as straight forward as you would think. First, only the days from the beginning of G-League Training Camp count, so the clock started for Trier on October 22. Second, a new rule change excludes travel days from the count. So any date that Trier travels or doesn’t participate in any practice, basketball drill, conditioning, workout, or other such activity with the team, none of those days count.

This makes it hard to track Trier’s official count, but Marc Berman of the New York Post reports the date is December 15.

What options do the Knicks have to sign Trier?

First, they need to create a roster spot by waiving or trading a player. If you are wondering whether they can turn one of their NBA contracts into a two-way contract, essentially exchanging spots with Trier, they cannot.

Once they create a roster spot, the easiest path to sign Trier is to convert his two-way contract into a standard NBA contract at the league minimum rate for the rest of the season, which coincides with the remaining length of his two-way contract.

If the Knicks want to sign Trier for more than the league minimum or for longer than the rest of this season, they have limited options since they are operating over the salary cap.

Their only option is to trade players to create cap space (unlikely) or use a salary cap exception to sign him. The salary cap exceptions available to them are as follows:

  • Minimum Salary Exception, pro-rated down from $838K for Trier this season, for up to two seasons.
  • Bi-Annual Exception, starting up to $3.4M, for up to two seasons
  • Mid-Level Exception, starting up to $655K this season, but for up to four seasons.

Can Trier sign somewhere else next summer?

Allonzo Trier would be a restricted free agent this summer whether coming off his two-way contract or a standard NBA contract as a player with three or fewer years of service. The same would be true next summer, if the Knicks ended up signing him to a two-year deal using the bi-annual exception.

Does it make sense for the Knicks to use their bi-annual exception on Trier?

This is where things get interesting.

If Trier continues to prove his value as a rookie in this league, it might benefit the Knicks to avoid restricted free agency this summer when they want to save as much cap space as possible.

While they could match any offer thrown at Trier, if his value continues to rise, a team might make a significant offer that could pose a risk for the Knicks to match if they want to preserve cap space for a superstar. This is not to say Trier is going to get some crazy offer sheet, but even a two-year $10 million offer sheet starts to cut into the Knicks precious cap space.

The question for the Knicks is whether they think Trier’s two-year value at the bi-annual rate is above or below market value by the time he is ready to sign a contract this summer.

Since the Knicks are projected to drop below the cap next summer, they would effectively lose their bi-annual exception anyway, so it’s not like using it now on Trier would cost them a chance to use it on a player next summer (teams can only use the bi-annual exception every two years as the name suggests).

If Trier believes he can earn more next summer via restricted free agency, he will probably try to avoid a two-year deal, instead settling for the league minimum rate or a portion of the bi-annual on a one-year offer. Trier would then be running the risk that his stock falls, and by next summer, it’s possible no team is looking to sign him for more than what he could have made from the bi-annual exception amount in Year 2.

For now, the Knicks are still in the driver’s seat with Trier. If he doesn’t accept an NBA contract from the Knicks, he is stuck on a two-way contract that would eventually find him back in the G-League (at G-League pay) for the rest of the season. That said, where each side thinks his market value will go next summer dictates whether they try to reach an agreement using the bi-annual exception for more than one season, or wait to see how things play out in July.

Knicks Briefing: November 24

It’s the Mudiay show

Mudiay had 27 points, including 15 in the final six minutes, to propel the Knicks to victory in his third straight start. The Knicks are 2-1 in those starts, with the only loss being a close one to Portland. That’s three quality games against legitimate opponents.

Fizdale on Mudiay’s performance, “Tonight was a breakout for him,” Fizdale said. “I got a lot of confidence in the kid. … And he’s taken it to heart and he’s really taken the floor general position to heart and he’s trying to lead that group.”

Meanwhile, don’t look Frank fans, but the difference in the Knicks’ net rating when Mudiay is on the floor versus when he is not is much better than the same difference for Frank.

Don’t forget about Trier

Allonzo Trier’s performance can’t be overlooked. The undrafted rookie finished with 25 points, making threes, and driving hard to the hoop. He became the first Knick player with at least 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 75% shooting off the bench since Anthony Mason did it in 1992.

Fizdale heads back to Memphis

Fizdale will face his former team on Sunday. If you somehow don’t know, Fizdale was fired from Memphis after failing to bridge a disconnection with Marc Gasol. I’m sure both Fizdale and Gasol have circled this game on their calendars, despite Fizdale downplaying the game.

I don’t want to put too much stock into it. It’s a story, but this is much more about my kids taking steps forward. I got a lot of people still in Memphis I care about and I root for them. I want to keep on track with my guys and keep them rolling.”

Emmanuel Mudiay, on the other hand, is ready to ball out for his coach, “I don’t know if it means something to him, but it means something to me for him,’’ Mudiay said of his coach’s return to Memphis. “We definitely want to get the win for him. I know I’m going to take it somewhat personally for him.”

Joakim Noah finally close to signing in Memphis

Too bad the timing didn’t work out, because how fun would have Sunday been if the Knicks were also returning to Memphis to face Joakim Noah?

On this Date

1984: Bernard King scores 52 points (19-31 FG, 14-17 FT) in a 119-100 win versus Indiana. It marks his third consecutive game with at least 40 points.

1979Knicks dish out a franchise-best 45 assists in 133-113 win over Cleveland at the Garden. Micheal Ray Richardson leads the way with 16 dimes.