Courtney Lee has made significant recovery from neck spasms and will begin non-contact court drills.
Lee was re-evaluated by the team physician, who determined the Knicks forward is “progressing well” from the neck problems that have kept him sidelined all season.
At press time, Lee’s workouts will be limited to running drills on the court.
With Lee’s name being floated in trade talks, the Knicks are hoping he gets healthy sooner rather than later. If he comes back and maintains his usual numbers, contending teams will be intrigued by his solid defense and perimeter shooting (38% career shooter from three). And with next year’s free-agent class, the Knicks would be ecstatic to have the additional $12.75 million from Lee’s salary.
For all their dysfunction in recent years, the Knicks continue to be the league leaders in one category — turning a profit.
The New York franchise had been crowned the most valuable team in the NBA by Forbes.com. The Knicks are reportedly worth $3.6 billion, making them the seventh most profitable sports franchise in the world (Note: The Dallas Cowboys top the list for the third straight year at $4.8 billion).
A big contributing factor to the fiscal windfall is the $1 billion dollar renovation that Madison Square Garden completed in 2013. According to Forbes, the additional suite rentals account for over $1 million per year.
And we wonder why James Dolan isn’t interesting in selling. Think about it this way — New York has one playoff series win in 18 years. Imagine the profits when we actually get good?
After four Summer League games, Kevin Knox has achieved his first NBA milestone.
The Knicks rookie was the only team member selected to the Summer League’s All NBA First Team. He averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 32 minutes per game. Knox’s scoring average ranked fourth among all Summer League players.
The one glaring improvement area is the 35% field goal percentage, exacerbated by poor shot selection.
Overall, it was promising Summer League campaign and gives us a lot to forward to in preseason.
In a shocking move, the Knicks have waived the rights to forward Troy Williams.
Williams was an energy spark off the bench in Summer League play, averaging 11 points (46% FG), 4 rebounds and 1 steal on 20 minutes per night.
Williams joined the Knicks in February via a 10-day contract. He signed a multi-year deal in March and played 17 games before a broken jaw ended his season. He averaged 6 points a game in 17 minutes
Fizdale and company must have immense confidence in our frontcourt because I was sure Williams would be back. In Summer League, he was arguably our most consistent bench player and always picked up the tempo when he was on the floor. If I had to guess, Williams’ lack of shooting probably made him a liability.
Coach Fizdale echoed the widespread consensus that Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson exceeded expectations in their Summer League debuts yesterday against the Hawks. Fizdale lauded Knox’s decision-making and Robinson’s mix of aggressiveness and patience in picking his offensive spots. A final note to keep in mind is Fizdale’s defense of Frank Ntilikina, whose performance was largely panned for his lack of initiative on offense.
“I thought late he really attacked,” said Fizdale. “Be aggressive but I don’t want him getting to a point where he stops being who he is. I know everyone has this vision of what he should be. But he’s got some things he already does well that he brings to the table. I want him to keep those attributes while being aggressive.”
Free agent and former Knicks forward Kyle O’Quinn has come to terms with a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.
O’Quinn’s free agency began two weeks ago when he declined a $4.2 million player option with New York.
He joins a Pacers team that finished the season 48-34 and took the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers to seven games in the first round. O’Quinn adds depth to the center position as a backup for Myles Turner.
O’Quinn averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds on 58% shooting for New York last season.
While I’m not surprised O’Quinn picked another squad, the price is eyebrow-raising. You’d figure to leave his hometown it’d require more than a $300k raise. However, with New York’s the emphasis on youth, O’Quinn may have gotten the impression he wasn’t in New York’s long-term future. Also, we can’t overlook Enes Kanter deciding to opt-in greatly impacted the money New York has to work with.
Over the last few seasons, O’Quinn has been of our hardest worker and arguably the most consistent bench player. He was the only one who possessed the physical toughness we’ve sorely lacked for years. His game will be missed.
On the second episode of Kristap Porzingis’ Comeback series, we catch up with New York’s favorite unicorn post-surgery. There’s a lot of promising quotes, such as the doctor stating our star has the best prognosis for full recovery due to no other ligament damage. Also, note the doctor telling Knicks President Steve Mills the importance of working on KP’s overall strength and body mechanics to diminish the likelihood of another severe injury.
To achieve that goal, we get a thorough look at KP’s physical therapy. It’s tough keeping the rest of his body strong while not overworking the repaired ACL, but it appears KP has found that delicate balance. And on the food front, we get a breakdown of his high protein, low carb diet.
Based on how he’s progressing, don’t be surprised to see KP back by January or February.
24 hours removed from the last game of the season, the Knicks are back on the head coach market. The team announced this morning that head coach Jeff Hornacek and associate coach Kurt Rambis have been fired.
Knicks President Steve Mills confirmed the news in a statement to media this morning.
“Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons,” said Mills. “We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
The Knicks also confirmed the release of associate head coach Kurt Rambis, marking the departure of the last remnants of Phil Jackson’s tenure as Knicks president.
“Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both associate head coach and interim head coach,” added Mills and General Manager Scott Perry. “We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”
Hornacek posted a record of 60-104 over his two seasons in New York.
I’m not one of those people who blames all of the Knicks’s woes at Hornacek’s feet. However, back to back 50+ loss seasons and the lack of respect he’s garnered in the locker room make this a necessary move.
The public spats with Noah, Porzingis and O’Quinn, not to mention his previous contentious player history in Phoenix, reveals a guy who struggles with leading players. And more troubling was a shaky offense predicated on long two-pointers, weak three-point shooting, and even worse three-point defense (dead last in the league).
Now comes the more scary proposition — can the Knicks nail their next head coach pick? Can we finally get someone that not only preaches sound defense, but also has a modern offense that emphasizes ball movement and three-point shooting? We’ll soon find out if Mills and Perry can break the cycle of futility we’ve had since the 50+ season in 2012. This is without question our most important offseason since the Amar’e signing in 2010.