Fizdale says Knicks know who they will take if they win lottery

David Fizdale didn’t give the best poker face when asked if the Knicks would select Zion Williamson if they win the lottery on May 14.

  • If we win the lottery, do I know who we are taking? Yes,” the coach answered.
  • He then gave a “San Diego” poker face when it was suggested the pick would be Zion Williamson. “That was not South Central,” Dan Patrick joked.

WATCH: Steve Mills and Scott Perry on offseason plans

Steve Mills and Scott Perry joined MSG 150 to discuss the offseason with Alan Hahn. Here are some highlights:

  • Shooting: “We want to add some guys that can shoot the basketball. The way the game is going now with the great number of three-point shots, you need guys who can make shots,” Perry said.
  • Identity: “When we went into the beginning season, we said, ‘when we come out at the end, we want to have developed an identity and a feeling inside the organization that the people feel like we are an organization that cares about them, as people, and as basketball players, we get our players better, and this is a place that they all want to come back to. And we accomplished a lot of those things over the course of this season,” Mills explained.

WATCH: Murray State coach on why Ja Morant would fit in New York

Ja Morant’s college coach, Matt McMahon, joined MSG 150 to discuss the lottery prospect that many mocks have slotted 2nd in the upcoming draft. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Could he handle New York? “He’s just such a special player. I think he’s gonna sell a lot of shoes, he’s gonna put people in seats because everyone wants to see what he’s gonna do next — whether that’s jumping over a 6-foot-8 guy to dunk on him or a lob pass from behind half court. He just plays the game in an exciting way that few people can match.”
  • Worried about small school? “I would laugh at them. If you look at his performances in our Power 5 games, he averaged almost 28 points a game, 8.5 rebounds. I think everyone tuned in and watched his dominant performance in the NCAA Tournament [against Marquette]. His game, if you know anything about basketball, speaks for itself.”

Odds for Kyrie favor the Nets?

The betting odds place Brooklyn’s chances of landing Kyrie ahead of the Knicks, and every other team, according to BR Betting.

  • Kyrie Irving has struggled over the past three playoff games against Milwaukee, and there are some hints of displeasure with the situation in Boston. Kyrie was seen leaving the floor before the final buzzer in the team’s Game 4 loss.
  • What this means: Betting odds are betting odds. The Knicks were recently given the fourth best odds in the Eastern Conference to win the 2020 NBA Championship. Sports books are taking advantage of the free agency hype to drive New York money into their hands.

Some Knicks talent evaluators eye Cam Reddish

Ian Begley reports that while the Knicks do not know where they will pick yet in the upcoming draft, “some Knicks talent evaluators are fans of Duke forward Cam Reddish.”

  • By many mock draft accounts, Reddish would probably be available in the 4-5 range of the lottery, meaning the Knicks would likely be considering him if they land outside of the top 3 picks.
  • Since there is close to a 50% chance the Knicks pick 5th, it makes sense that they are scouting players in that range as much as they are players at the top of the draft, where the decision is usually easier given the consensus top talents in Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.

Clyde’s Game 7 jersey up for auction

Courtesy of LeLands vis New York Daily News

The jersey Walt “Clyde” Frazier wore during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals will be auctioned off, starting at $15,000, according to Stefan Bondy.

  • Perhaps the most iconic game in Knicks history, the Knicks won Game 7 over the Lakers to secure the franchise’s first championship. After Willis Reed inspired the team by limping out from the tunnel and scoring the first two baskets, Clyde took over, finishing with 36 points and 19 assists.
  • The jersey will be auctioned at the Lelands Spring Classic 2019 Auction. Bidding started Tuesday and will continue through the first week of June.

New York City-based photographer featured for love/hate relationship with Knicks

Todd Midler’s series “Madison Square Garbage,” is a fabricated photographic archive of a fan’s love/hate obsession with the New York Knicks. The series will appear in VICE Magazine’s upcoming Photo Issue.

  • What inspired Midler: “I became obsessed with basketball fan culture. I decided to study the viewers of the game rather than the players. I was very interested in the different ways that fans expressed their loyalty to their favorite teams.”
  • Read more about Midler and his Knick fandom.

ESPN Panel ranks Knicks 5th among lottery teams in likelihood to fulfill Zion’s promise

via ESPN

An ESPN panel ranked the 14 lottery teams on how likely they are to help Zion Williamson reach his superstar ceiling. I braced for the Knicks to be ranked near the bottom, but perhaps a subtle sign of perception change, they ranked 5th.

Williamson would be walking into a clean slate with the Knicks,” Bobby Marks writes. “Without a starting power forward, head coach David Fizdale can use Zion either at small-ball 5 or next to Mitchel Robinson. Despite a bare roster, New York has one thing other teams in the lottery do not: $70 million in room to build a roster around Williamson.”

KFS Podcast: Mike Vorkunov

Jon and JB are joined by the Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. They try to answer the unanswerable question of whether a 17-win team has truly turned the corner, and whether it’s even possible to know that before seeing how July plays out. They then look ahead to the summer, getting into the possible alternate plans if the Knicks don’t land the very best guys, and whether there might be value in mediocrity or if it’s a step in the wrong direction. [iTunes]

Fan in Houston chants “New York Knicks” at Durant

A fan was heard chanting “New York Knicks” at Kevin Durant during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals in Houston.

Who is this fan? We can guess…

Of course, the Knicks did have a scout listed as being in attendance:

However, it seems like it was actually Rockets fan, Alex Ellerbusch, whose Twitter profile says “Attempted owner of KD head space.” He claims he was the fan chanting “New York Knicks” and he has pictures from his seat location and the ticket stub to prove it:

Knicks nemesis Reggie Miller acknowledged the fan during TNT’s telecast. “The fans behind us screaming out, ‘New York Knicks’ to Kevin Durant while he’s at the free throw line,” Miller said. “Does he know something that we don’t know Kevin?”

Play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan laughed, and responded, “What, is this breaking news?”

WATCH: David Fizdale on MSG 150

On the debut of MSG 150, David Fizdale sat down with Alan Hahn to discuss the Knicks season and offseason. Some highlights:

  • Training one-on-one with Knox. “I’ve been in the gym with Kevin Knox for a week already…For some reason, Kevin and I both had the itch…We started texting after one of the playoff games. We were planning for the week after…I told him in the exit meetings I said listen, ‘I’m going to grab you most of the summer one-on-one, just you and I.’ And so he was obviously up for that.”
  • Learning from the playoffs: “We are going to hit the Western Conference Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals, with different guys, different coaches. But we definitely want these young guys to feel that environment and the intensity that comes with it.”
  • Positive signs: “I think our guys, the way they stuck with it, no matter what was going on. You never saw them lay down. They kept battling…You never heard them go after each other, you never heard them blame. They just owned it and said, ‘okay, we will be ready for the next one.’ Behind the scenes, I wish the fans could really see the work and the respect that they really have for the game. They get there early, the leave late.”

Fizdale continued his discussion on MSG 150 by touching on coaching while maintaining his popularity among players, the historical significance of being part of an African-American led front office, the growth of Emmanuel Mudiay, and more:

Steve Mills and Scott Perry prepping hard for the draft

On the debut of MSG 150, Scott Perry and Steve Mills discussed their “intense and comprehensive” preparation for the draft, and how they would err on the side of talent, over positional need, when deciding between two prospects.

  • Our intel collection is very intense and comprehensive because we want to learn about these young men, who they are as people,” Perry explained.
  • 85% of our home games we are watching some sort of tape on draft prospects,” Perry said. “So we start doing that in the very beginning of the year, we did that throughout the regular season, and we will continue to so up until the draft.”

ESPN set to provide expanded lottery coverage

ESPN will air programming for 90 minutes across their platforms leading up to the 2019 NBA lottery results on May 14, according to details released by the New York Post.

There will be an NBA Countdown show from 7:00-8:00 PM EST, followed by a 30-minute “pre-lottery” show hosted by Rachel Nichols.

The actual lottery show will begin at 8:30 PM, with the results expected to be revealed beginning around 8:40 PM.

Of course, we will be watching the results at Slattery’s Midtown Pub in Manhattan. Money raised during the night will go to local charity.

Durant’s decision could come down to decision of others

The question of where Kevin Durant ends up this summer could come down to which player he is able to partner with, according to Adrian Wojnarowski [starts 4:12 mark of video above].

Woj says, “I don’t think there is any question that the Knicks are going to be a strong consideration [for Durant].” He then notes the importance of Durant being able to partner with a second star. The Knicks enter the summer with the most cap space to sign multiple star players, but the Clippers and Nets are two talked about destinations that can also create two max slots.

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MSG defends CEO James Dolan against lawsuit

James Dolan is being sued by MSG shareholders who claim he is overpaid for his work as CEO of the sports and entertainment company.

In response: An MSG spokesperson released a statement to Pitchfork, who originally broke the story, claiming the suit was filed by a “single plaintiff” and highlighting that Mr. Dolan has “generated tremendous shareholder value” for the company.

“The single plaintiff in this suit—Shelby Willcox and the Norton C. Willcox Testamentary Trust—was found by a firm, Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP, that sends out press releases fishing for clients. Under Jim’s leadership, MSG has generated tremendous shareholder value, including a stock price return of nearly 40%, equivalent to a $2 billion increase in market cap, since he became CEO in November 2017. A substantial portion of Jim’s compensation are options that are priced at a significant premium—creating additional incentive for him to continue growing the company and creating value for shareholders.” 

Pitchfork
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Woj: Kawhi might meet with Knicks, but likely ends with Clippers or Raptors

Kawhi Leonard is the prized free agent this summer who is not named Kevin Durant. Adrian Wojnarowski was a guest on ESPN’s Get Up this morning, where he postulates Kawhi might take a meeting with the Knicks and teams with cap space, but he probably will sign with either the Clippers or Raptors.

If it comes down to money: Kawhi lost the chance to sign a super-max deal when he was traded from the Spurs. But Toronto can still offer him the most money at 5-years, $190 million, versus what another team can offer him at 4-years, $140 million.

Woj: Warriors are bracing for possibly a seismic change

Adrian Wojnarowski was a guest on ESPN’s Get Up show this morning and he indicated the Warriors are preparing for the possibility of Kevin Durant leaving the organization.

Woj explains: “Even internally in Golden State, there’s a sense of ‘let’s try to put aside what’s coming in July, we have a chance to do something very rare in sports, to three-peat, let’s try to keep our focus there, win a title, and then let July play out the way it’s going to.'”

However, Woj acknowledges: “But I think the Warriors are bracing for possibly a seismic change within that organization.”

Jared Dudley thinks Durant and Kyrie end up on Knicks or Nets

Jared Dudley believes Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be taking their talents to New York City, he just doesn’t know which borough.

Of course, Dudley was part of the 2018-19 Nets team that found their way into the playoffs, before losing to Philadelphia. He is an unrestricted free agent this July, and there are rumors that he is interested in joining the Celtics.

Dudley recently made headlines when he commented, “(Knicks owner James) Dolan could burn down Manhattan and they’re going to talk about the Knicks, let’s be honest.”

Scott Perry says Knicks will err on side of talent in draft choice

Every year, every General Manager with a draft pick in their pocket must answer this question: do you draft based on need or talent?

When picking towards the top of the draft, most GMs will tell you that they will draft based on talent, because you can always figure out positional needs later. Who wants to pass up on Anthony Davis because you need a guard in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?

Of course, if the Knicks land the top pick this year, the decision is easy. But what if they pick second? Do they pick Ja Morant or RJ Barrett? The guard or the wing?

In an excerpt obtained by the New York Post, Scott Perry tells MSG 150, “Where we are at right now, talent is important. If it’s very close, then you may lean towards the position of need, but if there is a clear delineation between the talent, I think you always err on the side of talent.”

Tune in to the debut of MSG 150 at 8:00 PM on Monday. The show will run 8-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursdays for 10 weeks and feature guest analysts Swin Cash, John Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak and former MLB player Fernando Perez.

Mitchell Robinson says Knicks are like a family

Mitchell Robinson is the type of player the Knicks want to build around. The rookie stand-out was the brightest spot of a dismal 2018-19 season, and he told the Knicks during his exit interview that he feels very comfortable playing in New York.

Steve Mills relays a conversation the front office had with Robinson on the debut of MSG 150 on MSG Networks. An excerpt was provided in advance to the New York Post.

“Mitchell Robinson is one of our favorite guys in terms of how we’ve seen him grow as a young man, but he said the funniest thing to us in the exit interview,” Mills said. “We said, ‘What do you feel about the environment?’ And he said, ‘This feels like a family.’ He said, ‘You guys around here, it seems like you’ve known each other for 80 years.’ And I’m like 80? Where does that number come from?’ But that’s what he feels about the organization and the people who work here. That’s part of what we are trying to build.”

Tune in to the debut of MSG 150 at 8:00 PM on Monday. The show will run 8-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursdays for 10 weeks and feature guest analysts Swin Cash, John Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak and former MLB player Fernando Perez.

Warriors plan to create West Coast MSG?

Rumors circulated last week about a potential show on MSG Networks for Kevin Durant. Of course, these are just rumors, and who knows if the CBA would allow for such arrangement, should the Knicks use the prospect as a recruiting tool to Kevin Durant, who is interested in building his brand off the court.

Meanwhile, the Warriors are moving towards content creation, themselves, in what could become a “West Coast MSG,” as Patrick Murray of Forbes calls it:

  • Think a West Coast Madison Square Garden-style sports and entertainment mega-company, complete with its own broadcasting platform, situated in the heart of Silicon Valley and you might be getting close.
  • Warriors COO Rick Welts: We’re spending a lot of time thinking about now that we’re in the live entertainment business are there things that we can create ourselves that we have ownership of that we then can scale way beyond what’s happening at Chase Center.”

Why this matters: As existing television rights deals expire, tech-driven teams are eager to move toward a system in which they own more of their content. Steve Balmer has talked about this concept for the Clippers. We are still some years away, but the business opportunities tied to a NBA franchise are only going to increase in the future. And that prospect is not limited to the New York market. Something to consider in hoping the business side of the game is what draws Durant to the Big Apple.

Beer: Knicks have legitimate reasons to be optimistic this summer

Tommy Beer released a piece on Sunday that does a great job outlining why the Knicks’ confidence in attracting free agents this summer is justifiable.

  • A new world order: “As proof of the change in perception in and around NYC, consider that just three years ago, when Durant became an unrestricted free agent for the first time, KD didn’t even extend an invitation to Knicks president Phil Jackson to helicopter out to the Hamptons. Whereas today, many of the NBA’s most plugged-in reporters and league personnel alike, consider it all but a fait accompli that Durant will sign with New York three months from now.”

Knicks Salary Cap Outlook

As the Knicks head into one of the most important summers in franchise history, let’s take a deep dive into their 2019 salary cap outlook. 

The Knicks offseason can be broken down into two significant timeframes as far as accounting is concerned: before July 1 and after July 1.

  • Before July 1, the Knicks are operating over the cap. They are approximately $548,147 below the tax line. Since they used their mid-level exception to sign Mario Hezonja, they are hard-capped at the apron of $129.8 million.
  • After July 1the Knicks can create up to $73.2 million in cap space, assuming a projected $109 million cap, given their current roster, and including the cap hold for the number three lottery pick. 
  • Knicks need $70.85 million to sign Kevin Durant and another 7-9 year veteran free agent to max contracts. Durant is eligible for 35% of the salary cap on a max contract as a 10+ year veteran. That equates to $38.15 million on a $109 million cap. Kyrie Irving (or any 7-9 year veteran) is eligible for 30% of the salary cap on a max contract, which equates to $32.7 million.
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Opera Man pleas for Durant to come to the Knicks

Adam Sandler hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time (hard to believe), and made sure to make a plea for Kevin Durant to come to the Knicks, adding “and bring Kyrie.”

  • Sandler was a crew member on SNL from 1991-1995, when he originally portrayed the character “Opera Man” several times.

Ntilikina signs with Comsport

Frank Ntilikina has signed with Comsport to represent him for the 2019-20 season after leaving CAA back in March (as first reported by Mike Vorkunov).

  • Comsport is led by Bouna Ndiaye who represents several French players, including Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum.
  • Ntilikina was seen working out with Gobert last week.