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.

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.

Woeful Shooting Continues as Knicks Fall to Sixers 117-91


The Knicks collectively built a brickhouse and couldn’t stop the post dominance of Joel Embiid, who posted an NBA-best 21st double double as the Sixers dominated at home to a 117-91 win.

Now that the fun of the 3-game win streak is over courtesy of these abysmal back to back losses to Detroit and now Philly, New York once again has to experiment with the lineup and monitor a few alarming trends.


IS TIMMY HEXED?: While he’s still averaging a team-best 22 points on the year, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been horrific over the last five games. He’s shooting just 29% from the field and the three-point arc. Against Philly, he shot 1/11 in 27 minutes.

We’ve come to expect 2-3 dumb shots per game from Timmy, but lately he’s rushing everything and not reading the defenses, as if expect one Hail Mary bomb will get him going. Coach Fiz needs to remind him that much of his early season success was predicated on the variety of his game in attacking the rim and not chucking.

WEARY LEGS: The defense was shredded inside out by Philly. They had a 41-point opening quarter led by JJ Redick, who hit his first 6 shots and finished with 24 points (4/6 from 3). The post play was no different with Embiid dropping 26 points and nabbing 16 boards.

Deep into the second quarter, Philly was still shooting over 70% and finished at a robust 57% at halftime. They finished the game at that percentage and went 12/25 from downtown (48%).

BRIGHT SPOTS: Damyean Dotson had another solid night and was the only player that lodged significant minutes to have a positive +/- (+5). He played within the offense and shot well (6/11, 16 points). He was also a pest defensively in getting 3 steals.

Kanter battled with Embiid and was our lone inside threat, getting 17 points and six rebounds.

Our struggling rookie Kevin Knox showed signs of life in garbage time. He was less reckless and got better looks, finishing with 9 points and 7 rebounds. I’d like to see him focus on getting more controlled with his drivess — he’s still out of control and throws up desperation heaves hoping for a ref bailout.

THE GUARD LOGJAM: We are in desperate need of a competent PG. We have too many iso scorers and the ball doesn’t get moved. Between Mudiay, Burke and Ntilikina, their total combined assists was 4. And it wasn’t like any of them was lighting up the scoreboard either — Mudiay was 1/5 (3 points), Burke 1/6, (7 points) and Frank another goose egg (0/5).

The shooting guard situation also gets more clogged with Courtney Lee coming back in a few weeks. There’s still more games to be played before deciding who gets shipped, but I expect at least two guys to be gone by the trade deadline.


The Knicks get to lick their wounds for a few days before facing the Bucks at home on Saturday.


Kanter’s 21pts, Career-High 26 Rebounds Lead Knicks Over Grizzlies

Knicks Grizzlies Basketball
New York Knicks center Enes Kanter (00) drives against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

The Knicks extended their win streak to a season-best three games with a come from behind road victory against the always tough Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

The Knicks had every reason to pack it in when they went down 13 points early in the third quarter. Instead, they began chipping away at the Grizzlies’s defense behind a massive effort from Enes Kanter, who dominated the boards with a career-high 26 rebounds to go along with 21 points. Kanter’s efforts were an integral part of a 25-5 run to get the Knicks in front headed into the fourth quarter.

Tim Hardaway would chip in 22 points, including a late clutch three-pointer that gave New York a one-point lead with 2:20 left. Others found different ways to contribute. Although Trey Burke didn’t shoot well (3/15, 15 points), but he hit clutch shots down the stretch and secured a key steal that lead to a Mudiay And-1 dunk to put the Knicks up three with 1:35 remaining.

What I’ve enjoyed most about these wins is the young guns finding ways to win as opposed to the myriad of ways they stumbled into losses during the six-game losing streak. You can see the confidence building every game in guys like Burke and Mudiay.

Coach Fizdale tried to downplay the importance of this game, but we all know he took immense satisfaction in beating the team that fired him. Think he and Marc Gasol exchanged any pleasantries after the game?

Next up is another road test on Tuesday against Blake Griffin and the Pistons.


[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…

Lance Thomas to Miss 4 Weeks After Knee Surgery


Lance Thomas will miss the rest of November and part of December after undergoing left knee surgery yesterday (November 8).

The procedure, which was done to remove “loose bodies” in the knee, was conducted at the Hospital for Special Surgery by Dr. Answorth Allen.

Thomas has already begun rehab and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Thomas has started 5 games this season and is averaging 4 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes


Knees are always a concern when it comes to surgeries, but this doesn’t appear too serious at the moment.

If anything, this provides a great opportunity for Kevin Knox and Mario Hezonja to get more minutes and experience.