Early Gamesmanship? Hawks Coach Fined $25K for Stating the NBA Wants Knicks in Playoffs

Although the Knicks-Hawks playoff series doesn’t start until Sunday, the NBA officials have already handed out its first “technical” to Nate McMillan.

The interim Hawks coach was fined $25,000 for comments deemed “asserting bias by the NBA relating to the 2020-21 Playoffs,” the league announced on Wednesday.

The comments were as follows:

I’ve talked about that to the team a lot. The league wants this. They need this. New York. It’s a big market for the league, and New York has been out of the playoffs for a lot of years, and this is a team our league wants to see.

And this is a team that our league, they want to see — there’s a huge fan base — and they want to see New York in the playoffs.

While on the surface this is no worse than what LeBron James said on Twitter about the Knicks a month ago, timing is everything. A comment like this less than a week before what most consider a pick ’em playoffs series could be construed as implying the refs might have favorable whistles New York’s way.

But here’s the thing. Conversation like this go on all the time in locker rooms. They can be a great motivational tool, especially for the Hawks who already have been treated as an afterthought in this series (despite being arguably more talented and deeper on paper). In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if McMillan did this purposely just to further show his team the league isn’t in their corner.

Just last year we got the Michael Jordan meme that keeps on giving (“And I took that personal…”). The Atlanta Hawks will likely take that same mentality into game 1 this Sunday, and the Knicks better be prepared to meet it by firing on all cylinders.

[Video] Austin Rivers Probable Against Raptors on NYE, Speaks on Being Ready Despite No Practice Time

The hobbled Knicks backcourt will get a boost tonight with the debut of Austin Rivers. The offseason pickup was sidelined out the gate by a nagging groin injury but is listed as “probable” tonight’s road game against the winless Toronto Raptors.

With Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina and Immanuel Quickley all hampered with various injuries, Rivers’s return can prove timely in providing quality backcourt minutes. Although we can expect rust, Rivers told assembled media following today’s shootaround that he’s focused on effort and hard play tonight.

The one thing that has to be consistent is have to play hard. That’s what our team is symbolized as right now. There’s not [going] to be an off night when you play the Knicks. That’s what we’re trying to establish here.

Listen to Rivers’s entire media session below.

Welcome to the Thibs Era — Knicks Sign Tom Thibodeau to New Coaching Deal

The worst-kept secret in New York basketball is now confirmed. The Knicks have announced Tom Thibodeau as the team’s new head coach.

Thibodeau has been the job frontrunner for the last several months due to his close ties with newly-appointed team president Leon Rose.

“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Rose. “He will bring leadership, accountability, and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.”

Thibodeau’s first stint with the team came from 1996-2003, a period where the Knicks made six playoff appearances, including an historic Finals run in 1999.

“I’m very excited today to be here, this is a dream come true for me,” said Thibodeau. “This is my dream job. I think we have the best city in the world, we have the best arena in the world, and we have the best fans in the world.

“Initial steps would be to contact each player, get in touch with them, and then we lay out the plan. We have to establish a work ethic, and build championship habits each day. The ultimate goal is to bring a championship back to the city.

“I grew up a Knick fan, there was no better place to be than Madison Square Garden. I love challenges, I love the city, the arena, the fans, and I’m excited about the team, I can’t wait to get going.”

Thibodeau’s last head-coaching gig was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where in 2018 he took that team to their first playoff appearance in 13 years. He holds a career head-coaching record of 352-246.


No matter where you stand on this move, it’s a relief to have the first shoe drop on our new direction.

Am I concerned about Thibs being able to institute a modern offense and pace with our current players? Yes.

Am I worried about how he’ll manage minutes and not running our players into the ground? Absolutely.

However, I’m confident Thibodeau will put a competent, well-coached team on the floor without the dysfunction we’ve seen in recent years. And with Thibs and Rose being close friends, I’m also not expecting to see a lopsided roster that’s log-jammed in the frontcourt next season.

Speaking of that, the most promising thing we’ve heard is Thibodeau’s willingness to have the Knicks select his assistants, opening the door for guys like Mike Woodson (our best head coach in recent years) and Mike Miller to keep the offense and defense balanced.

As with every coach, time will tell. But for now, let’s kept cautious optimism headed into the draft and off-season.

The Knicks-Spike Lee Feud Sums Adds More Unnecessary Drama to the Franchise

Spike Lee_Knicks

For us beleaguered Knicks fans, yesterday should have been a rare day of joy. One where we sang the praises of RJ Barrett equaling his career-high (27 points) and Frank Ntilikina rising to the moment on offense and defense to help the Knicks beat the Rockets 125-123 in a thriller. Instead, we were treated to a petty and embarrassing public tiff between our most famous fan ambassador, Spike Lee, and our infamous owner, James Dolan.

Par the course, some people took sides immediately. But from an objective standpoint, it’s clear that both sides handled this in a retaliatory, immature fashion.

Let’s start with Spike. If he wasn’t notified of the entrance change, he had every reason to be upset and it’s understandable if miscommunication with the employees resulted in some choice words. Not for nothing, word has been around for years that Spike isn’t the most personable individual. However, no one has rode harder for the Knicks in my entire lifetime than Spike, and for a lifelong customer who’s spent millions on courtside seats, the heated nature of the below conversation isn’t surprising.

Here’s where things went left on both sides. Spike going on ESPN’s First Take escalated the situation beyond measure. Before that, everyone assumed it was simply a bad decision by the employees since we all observed Spike at his regular seat at halftime. But either the initial confrontation or the subsequent Dolan discussion had Spike still irate.

Next is where the Knicks once again mishandled PR. A statement on this should’ve never been released, especially one with the testy, incendiary language that would only fuel continued media. Does Madison Square Garden not have a policy for handling complaints? A competent mid-level company, let alone a billion-dollar franchise, should never be seen publicly addressing a customer complaint with terms like “laughable.”

Now, after that handshake picture, Spike’s story got a bit inconsistent. Before that, he claimed Dolan curt with him regarding the employee entrance issue. After the pic, Spike retracted and claimed to not remember all the details and that he was still “in shock” about the incident. But he did remain adamant that he wasn’t told beforehand about the entrance change.

In summary, this could have been an unfortunate miscommunication issue that was resolved in-house. But ego and pride made this a media spectacle, one that will be forgotten about today but has possibly caused irreparable harm to the Spike-Knicks relationship. And furthermore, it’s overshadowed our young guys leading us to Leon Rose’s first win as team president.

Maybe Spike is right to sit out for the rest of this season. Heck, an occasional emotional reset is a necessity when you’re a Knicks fan.

Leon Rose Officially Named Knicks President

Leon Rose

Former agent Leon Rose has officially taken over duties as president of the New York Knicks.

The news was confirmed this morning by Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan.

Rose, who will be overseeing all basketball operations and personnel decisions for the team, is leaving his role of co-head with CAA Sports where he managed such stars as Joel Embiid, Carmelo Anthony and Devin Booker.

“New York is the epicenter of basketball and Madison Square Garden has always been very special to me, ” said Rose. “To be a part of the Knicks revitalization and basketball at The Garden is a challenge and rare opportunity, one to be cherished, and I will do my utmost to make the fans, the City and ownership proud. I want to thank Jim Dolan for this opportunity.”

A New Jersey native, Rose became one of the NBA’s most well-known agents over his 25-year career. He also has five years of basketball coaching experience at the high school and college level.


So  (another) new era begins. With a little over a month left this season, pay close attention for a shift in rotations that puts more emphasis on our youth (RJ, Mitch, Ntilikina and maybe even…Trier? *gasp*) over the likes of Randle, Portis and Payton. The rumor is Scott Perry has had a heavy say on who got playing time and I’m sure that extended to who plays were run for.

All in all, a fresh start is sorely needed and I’m hopeful we’ll end the year strong with Mitch’s continued growth and no more freezing out of RJ in the offense.


Knicks Fire Team President Steve Mills


In a move that surprises no one, the Knicks have fired Steve Mills as team president.

Rumblings of Mills’s departure began last Sunday after reports surfaced of him leaving Madison Square Garden upset, presumably following a meeting with team owner Jim Dolan.

Mills previously had several stints with the Knicks, first working with the organization from 2003 through 2009, and working with then-president Phil Jackson in 2014. Mills was elevated to president of basketball operations following Jackson’s firing in 2017.

“Steve and I have come to the decision that it would be best for him to leave his role as president of the New York Knicks,” said Dolan. “We thank Steve for his many years of service to our organization and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as part of our board.”

Current general manager Scott Perry, who worked closely with Mills, will lead basketball operations in an interim role.

Per ESPN, Dolan has already spoken with an unnamed candidate. The Knicks are also rumored to be targeting current Raptors president Masai Ujiri.

“I will always be grateful to Jim for giving me the chance to represent this franchise and I’m disappointed we were unable to achieve success for New York. I would like to thank the staff and players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan.”


While I prefer this was a package deal with Perry (they both put this clunky roster of ill-fitting parts together), I have a feeling more hammers will drop.

Still, I’m not exactly optimistic with Thursday’s trade deadline looming. Was Mills ousted for pushing a bad deal (like trading for Andre Drummond or giving up Mitchell Robinson and picks to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell?) or was he fired for not going along with one?

We have about 48 hours to find out. Meanwhile, we might as well call this season the Knicks 2019-2020 Fire Sale.

The Inevitable Comes: Knicks Fire David Fizdale


On the heels of two embarrassing back to back blowouts, the Knicks have fired head coach David Fizdale.

The move comes with the Knicks in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. The team lost last night’s game to the Nuggets 129-92 at home. Previously, they trailed by over 40 points before losing to the Bucks 132-88.

The Knicks currently have the worst record in the Eastern conference at 4-18.

Fizdale was in the second year of four year contract estimated to be worth $22 million. Assistant coach Keith Smart was also relieved of coaching duties.

At press time, the interim coach has not been announced.


The writing was on the wall last month when Steve Mills and Scott Perry held that surreal post-game press conference following the Cavs blowout. The team has clearly checked out but most damning has been Fizdale’s handling of our young talent, who seem to have all regressed to differing levels.

Be that as it may, Fizdale wasn’t the man who put this haphazard roster together. I’m sure Mills and Perry will attempt to right some wrongs once trades can begin on December 15, but I’ve seen enough. Once this season ends, our GM and president need to follow Fizdale out the organization.

From there, throw a boatload of money and guaranteed complete control at savvy basketball minds (starting with Toronto’s Masai Ujuri) who have their finger on the pulse of what’s needed to excel in the modern NBA.

[Live Stream] Welcome to NYC: Intro Knicks Press Conference for RJ Barrett x Ignas Brazdeikis 12pm ET, 6/21/19


The 2019 Knicks rookies are officially on board! Our two biggest selections in RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis will kick off today’s introductory NY media press conference at 12 pm ET. The stream opens at 11:30 am ET.

Knicks Sign Allonzo Trier for 2 Years, Ron Baker Released


Welcome (officially) to the Iso Zo era. Undrafted rookie sensation Allonzo Trier has agreed to a two-year deal, the New York Knicks announced this morning.

Trier was on a two-way contract that could have made him a free agent at the end of this season. With his breakout performances, the Knicks decided not risk a potential bidding war and used their entire bi-annual exception ($7 million) to keep Trier in orange and blue for the next two years. In 2020, he will enter the market as a restricted free agent.

To make room, the Knicks had to make a roster cut. Guard Ron Baker, in the second year of a deal paying $9 million ($4.5 this year), was the odd man out. The move, combined with the $18.5 million being paid to the waived Joakim Noah, means the Knicks have to take a cap hit of $23 million this year.

But next year, the Knicks will have freed up an extra $3.5 million in cap flexibility. Currently, they’re projected to have nearly $29 million, which is within striking range of max money for a veteran free agent superstar or possibly Kevin Durant with a few more space-clearing moves.

All in all, Knicks fans should be very happy with this move. The way Trier’s progressing, this contract may very well turn out to be a steal.

[Video] Watch Emmanuel Mudiay’s And-1 Slam Over Garrett Temple


Emmanuel Mudiay continued his excellent play last night in helping the Knicks take a hard-fought road win over the Memphis Grizzlies. His most dazzling play happened with under two minutes left when he converted a Trey Burke steal into a monstrous And-1 slam over Garrett Temple. Note the contrast between the Knicks and Grizzlies announce teams.

A few factors made this dunk extra sweet. Garrett Temple fouled out on the play and it put the Knicks up 96-93 with 1:35 remaining. It also took some of the fight out of Memphis. And Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s reactions were the proverbial cherries on top. These are the momentum plays a young team has to learn to execute to pull out close games. We’re slowly getting there…