Ian Begley

Ian Begley is SNY's NBA Insider.

Apr 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)
Apr 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Dennis Smith Jr. has several goals coming into his second season with the Knicks. One of them? To help R.J. Barrett win Rookie of the Year. 

"I'm treating that as one of my focal points just to help him win Rookie of the Year. And whatever I can do, I'm willing to do it," Smith Jr. said in an interview with Chris Henderson. "It's important for us and it's important for our team and it's important for our morale moving forward so I think it would be major if he won that."

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Nets open training camp in 10 days and several Brooklyn players remain fully in favor of the club signing free agent Carmelo Anthony, per SNY sources.

The Nets enter camp with 15 players on guaranteed contracts, which is the maximum regular-season allotment. But there is an avenue for the club to sign Anthony to a traditional NBA deal during the regular season.

Wilson Chandler is suspended for the first 25 games of the season for violating the league's PED policy. After the fifth game of Chandler's suspension, the Nets can move the veteran forward to the inactive list.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Nets open training camp in 10 days and several Brooklyn players remain fully in favor of the club signing free agent Carmelo Anthony, per SNY sources.

The Nets enter camp with 15 players on guaranteed contracts, which is the maximum regular-season allotment. But there is an avenue for the club to sign Anthony to a traditional NBA deal during the regular season.

Wilson Chandler is suspended for the first 25 games of the season for violating the league's PED policy. After the fifth game of Chandler's suspension, the Nets can move the veteran forward to the inactive list.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett
Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

When people talk about the Knicks-Nets rivalry these days, they talk about what the Nets did this summer -- and what the Knicks didn't do.

That narrative serves as motivation to this year's Knicks team.

"Of course, the Nets got two big superstars this summer but it's just fuel to the fire for us," Knicks forward Kevin Knox said at an event on Monday to debut Puma's new sneaker line, which features the Puma Clyde Hardwood.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks rounded out their roster heading into training camp by signing guards Amir Hinton and Lamar Peters along with forwards VJ King and Kenny Wooten.  

New York now has a maximum of 20 players under contract heading into camp, which begins at the end of the month. 

The club has 15 players on traditional NBA contracts and one player (Kadeem Allen) on a two-way deal. Teams can carry up to two players on two-way deals, so New York can add one of the players above - or any other player not under contract - on a two-way deal if it chooses.  

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David Fizdale
David Fizdale

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Knicks training camp has some intriguing storylines.

We'll all be keeping an eye on RJ Barrett, the position battles (Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton at point guard, for one), Mitchell Robinson's progression, Frank Ntilikina's status, etc.

It will be interesting to see who starts and who comes off the bench in preseason games and who earns a spot in the regular-season rotation.

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Frank Ntilikina
Frank Ntilikina

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Prior to the NBA Draft this past June, the Knicks talked to several teams about trades involving Frank Ntilikina. One of those teams said New York discussed a deal that would have returned an early second-round pick for the guard, per SNY sources.

Obviously, the Knicks didn't end up with an offer that they liked for Ntilikina. But it seemed then that the organization was set on jettisoning the 21-year-old.

Has that stance changed over the last few months? That's unclear.

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April 28, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
April 28, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Here are a few takeaways from a great profile of Kevin Durant in the Wall Street Journal...

Durant's decision to sign with Brooklyn surprised one of his closest friends

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Jan 15, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) passes the ball during a 116-101 loss to Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 15, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) passes the ball during a 116-101 loss to Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Derrick Rose believes his decision to go AWOL before a game with the Knicks in 2017 has hurt his reputation - and his earnings potential.

"MY SEASON IN NEW YORK WAS TOUGH, and I know how I fu--ed up by going home that one time without telling anyone first. That's on me. It's one of the reasons I've had to take these minimum contracts. I know what some teams think about me because of that," Rose wrote in his book, "I'll Show You," coauthored by Sam Smith, according to an excerpt obtained by SNY.

After his lone season in New York, Rose signed a minimum contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant

It's still unclear if Kevin Durant will play this season or if he'll sit it out the entire year while rehabbing from Achilles surgery.

Durant said in an interview with Yahoo Sports last month that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing in 2019-20. He again left open the possibility of playing this season in an interview over the weekend with Chris Henderson.

The interview, published on YouTube, was focused mostly on music, sneakers and video games (Definitely worth checking out if you're interested in those topics/seeing an NBA star in a relaxed setting). Durant also talked briefly about the Nets.

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Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell
Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Even in the wake of Wilson Chandler's suspension, the Nets have plenty of depth. 

First, there's the returning young core of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris and Rodions Kurucs. Then there are the are the Nets' less heralded offseason additions: Taurean Prince, Garrett Temple, and David Nwaba.

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Carmelo Anthony will attend the Knicks' informal 5-on-5 scrimmages today in Manhattan, SNY sources confirm.

Anthony, a former Knick and 10-time All-Star, has also worked out with the Nets in an informal setting during the offseason.

Anthony is a free agent and said in a recent interview on ESPN's First Take that his representation has been in touch with several teams about a potential landing spot, including the Clippers and Lakers. He was waived by the Houston Rockets last season after playing 10 games.

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Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has been participating in informal scrimmages with some of the Knicks in New York City this week and is expected to be with the club for at least the next few days, per SNY sources.

New York currently has 19 players under contract -- one fewer than the maximum of 20 for training camp. So they have room to add Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 center, to their training camp roster if they choose.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Apr 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Nets big man Jarrett Allen was a few blocks from the Barclays Center on Tuesday, giving haircuts to local kids through his foundation. He took a few minutes to talk about the upcoming season, USA Basketball and a few other topics during the event. Here are a few highlights from his chat with reporters. 

 

Tags: Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Ian Begley
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Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Caris LeVert's extension leaves the Nets with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and LeVert all under contract through the 2020-21 season. That's a strong group to build around -- and one that doesn't even include Jarrett Allen, who can sign an extension with Brooklyn next summer.

But the Nets' core group is also an expensive one. And the LeVert extension -- which was necessary for Brooklyn -- leaves the club with a little less flexibility in future offseasons.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Julius Randle talking Knicks 00:03:16
SNY's Ian Begley goes one-one-one with new Knicks forward Julius Randle about his expectations for the coming season.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

New Knick Julius Randle isn't going to make any big predictions about the upcoming season. And he's not going to make any bold statements about what he will or won't do in his first year as a Knick. 

What Randle is promising Knicks fans in Year One is simple: 

"I'm just going to bring it every night, man," he said in an interview with SNY at his backpack giveaway at Rucker Park on Saturday. "I'm not going to promise stats, I'm not gonna promise anything. Just bring it every night and do everything I can to help my team win. And I'm going to get better as a player. You're never going to have to question my commitment, my effort. You're never going to have to question where my heart is. It's for this team, it's for this city, and that's what it's about." 

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Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) looks on during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports  (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) looks on during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Last week in New Jersey, several Knicks were in attendance for the NBA's Rookie Transition Program, a four-day event that the league and the NBPA put together to help rookies adjust to life as a pro athlete. Players listened to experts, ex-players and their peers discuss topics ranging from sexual health to social media.

"At the core of what we're doing is, 'How are you the best professional you can be? And how are you clear and concise in what your decision-making process is?" says Greg Taylor, the NBA's Head of Player Development. 

Second-year Knicks Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier were among the players in attendance this year. Rookies RJ Barrett and Iggy Brazdeikis were there as well. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Knicks, Nets schedules released 00:01:18
SNY's Ian Begley reveals some key dates for both the Knicks and Nets including Kyrie Irving's return to Boston and Porzingis' return to MSG.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks will get a look at Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets early in the 2019-2020 season.

New York travels to Brooklyn for the first time on Oct. 25 -- the second game of the season -- and hosts the Nets for the first time on Nov. 24.

Irving and Kevin Durant -- two of the Knicks' top targets in free agency -- signed with Brooklyn in July. So the Knicks-Nets rivalry will matter again this season after being mostly dormant for a few years.

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Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers will be in New York to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 22, per SNY sources.

James' visits to the Garden are usually entertaining. Last season, James' Lakers lost to a struggling Knicks team in a game that ended with him getting rejected by Mario Hezonja.

Knicks fans will also have the chance to show a warm welcome that night to Davis, one of the top free agents in the class of 2020. Of course, Davis is likely to re-sign with Los Angeles, unless things go horribly wrong for the Lakers this season. But in the unlikely chance that Davis decides to leave Los Angeles next summer, it's worth noting that Davis' agent, Rich Paul, said on the record that he sees New York as an attractive destination.

Tags: Mario Hezonja, Ian Begley
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 (Jeff Blake)
(Jeff Blake)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

TEANECK, NJ - One of the bigger questions around the Knicks entering the season is what should the expectations be for rookie R.J. Barrett?

"(Knicks fans) can expect that they're getting a killer," Zion Williamson said in an interview with SNY at Panini's NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on Sunday. "For the people that are trying to look down on him, RJ's been through worse. He knows how to battle through it and he's going to bring the city everything he's got."

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, is a close friend of Barrett's. Williamson and Barrett formed a strong bond while playing together at Duke last season. So you'd expect Williamson to offer a strong statement about his friend. But Williamson referencing Barrett's ability to battle through adversity is noteworthy.

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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

As you'd expect, the Nets aren't providing any timetable for Kevin Durant's return to the court. 

"We're certainly not going to rush him back," GM Sean Marks said recently on a WFAN interview. "There's going to be absolutely none of that. We have far too much invested in him, and we owe it to Kevin to get him back to 100%."

Will Durant ever be fully healthy after tearing his right Achilles? And can he return to the court next season? 

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Jan 9, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives against Atlanta Hawks power forward John Collins (20) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 9, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives against Atlanta Hawks power forward John Collins (20) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Spencer Dinwiddie isn't going to sneak up on anyone this season. He's doubled his scoring over the last three seasons and established himself as one of the most important players on the Nets. So, opponents will key on Dinwiddie this season when they go over defensive plans for a game against Brooklyn. To counter that, Dinwiddie's added a few more wrinkles to his offensive repertoire this summer. 

Below, Dinwiddie's trainer, Olin Simplis, takes us through some of Dinwiddie's new finishes, what Caris Levert has worked on during sessions with Dinwiddie and Simplis and how Dinwiddie and LeVert can thrive alongside new Net Kyrie Irving. 

 

Tags: Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) dribbles during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) dribbles during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Knicks rookie RJ Barrett will not participate in the FIBA World Cup for Team Canada, SNY sources confirm.

Barrett suffered a mild calf strain -- not believed to be significant -- during Summer League in Las Vegas, which may have factored in to the decision.

Barrett, a Toronto native, played for Team Canada regularly as a younger player.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

New Net DeAndre Jordan shed a little light on his decision to sign with the Nets over the Knicks in free agency.

 

"Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating," he said during an a promotional appearance for Dunkin', according to Gothamist, "but we like what [Nets coach] Kenny [Atkinson]'s doing and [general manager] Sean [Marks] has been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great. So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something."

 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Ian Begley
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Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

New Net DeAndre Jordan shed a little light on his decision to sign with the Nets over the Knicks in free agency.

"Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating," he said during an a promotional appearance for Dunkin', according to Gothamist, "but we like what [Nets coach] Kenny [Atkinson]'s doing and [general manager] Sean [Marks] has been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great. So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something."

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Ian Begley
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Feb 14, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks guard Kadeem Allen (0) dribbles against Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre' Bembry (95) during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
Feb 14, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks guard Kadeem Allen (0) dribbles against Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre' Bembry (95) during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Kadeem Allen has spent most of his offseason in North Carolina, working out in preparation for his second season with the Knicks. He's looking forward to making an impact in training camp.

"Just trying to show coach that I can compete at the highest level and I can play at the highest level," Allen said of his goals entering the season. "Just trying to get out there and earn a permanent roster spot."

Tags: Kadeem Allen, Ian Begley
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Clyde Frazier on Knicks and Nets 00:03:07
SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley chats with Walt "Clyde" Frazier about the Knicks offseason, and the big free agents that ended up in Brooklyn.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Knicks great Clyde Frazier was 'shocked' when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. But he doesn't see those moves as a sign that the Knicks have ceded their title as the most relevant NBA team in New York. 

Frazier thinks the Knicks pivoted well after missing on Durant and their other top targets - and he doesn't see these Nets teams having more success than the Jason Kidd/Kenyon Martin Nets clubs that reached back-to-back Finals in the early 2000s. 

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the first half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronoto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the first half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronoto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Locally, RJ Barrett will garner a lot of attention this season. He's the Knicks' highest draft pick in more than 30 years. And the team didn't sign any top free agents this summer. So Barrett's progress as a rookie will be one of the most important storylines of the Knicks' season.

Trae Young can relate. The Hawks guard dealt with a heavy dose of attention in his first year in the NBA.

And he believes Barrett will handle the scrutiny that comes with being a top pick in NBA just fine.

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Jan 31, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots over Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) during the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)
Jan 31, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots over Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) during the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)

There's some fallout between the Knicks and the Spurs over Marcus Morris' decision to renege on his agreement with San Antonio and sign with New York. 

The Athletic published a story quoting a GM who said the Spurs were "pissed" about Morris backing out of his verbal agreement with San Antonio to sign with the Knicks. 

It's understandable that the Spurs would be upset with Morris' decision to back out of the deal. It's also understandable if the Spurs were upset with the Knicks for giving Morris an alternative option. 

 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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May 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (33) reacts during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game six of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
May 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (33) reacts during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game six of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Sixers star Tobias Harris has a message for the Nets - and any other revamped team in the East with hopes of making a deep playoff run.
 
"We're for sure at the top in the East," Harris said Thursday at the NBPA/Five-Star Camp at Basketball City. "With that being said, it's the NBA. It's hard to win games in the NBA. We know it's going to take a lot of chemistry. It's going to take work from every single guy on the team. We have big goals for ourselves, our team, our organization. We're ready for it."

Harris, who signed a five-year, $180 million deal to stay in Philadelphia, re-joins a Sixers core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Philadelphia also added Al Horford and Josh Richardson

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Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) gestures after scoring a three point basket during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) gestures after scoring a three point basket during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Ignas Brazdeikis was the 47th pick in the NBA Draft, so the casual fan may have been surprised to see him knocking down threes, executing spin moves and finishing around the rim in the Summer League.

But those that know Brazdeikis well weren't.

"He's always been able to score," Andrew Saulez, Brazdeikis' coach at Holy Trinity High School, says. "…. Some of the stuff that you saw at Michigan and at Summer League, the buckets that he gets at weird angles, using the glass, getting into the lane, spinning and scoring -- he's been doing that since Grade 6 or 7."

Brazdeikis averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists for New York in the Summer League. He also knocked down 11 of his 22 three-point attempts. It was only Summer League, so those who are penciling Brazdeikis in as Rookie of the Year are getting ahead of themselves.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Bryan Mitchell, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Mar 4, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Reggie Bullock (35) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Mar 4, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Reggie Bullock (35) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

New Knicks free-agent signee Reggie Bullock underwent surgery on Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery for a cervical disc herniation, the team said.

Bullock initially reached a two-year $21 million agreement at the beginning of free agency, but re-worked the agreement in wake of the disc herniation. Bullock agreed to a two-year deal for less than the $4.7 million exception, his agent David Bauman told SNY.

"(The) Knicks were fantastic through this process," Bauman said.

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Nets general manager Sean Marks said in an interview with WFAN on Tuesday that Kevin Durant - and Durant alone - will decide when he returns to the court for Brooklyn. He also said the club will give Kyrie Irving a 'clean slate,' rather than pass judgement on what may or may not have happened with Irving last season in Boston.

Marks touched on those topics - and several others - during his interview with WFAN's Evan Roberts. 

Here are some highlights:

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Apr 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Apr 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

We'll never know if the Knicks were interested in trading for Russell Westbrook. They never had the chance to make an offer. 

The Rockets and Thunder stunned the league on Thursday by agreeing to a deal that moved Westbrook to Houston in return for a package that included Chris Paul and first-round picks, per ESPN. 

The Knicks didn't have the money to match salaries in a Westbrook trade at the moment. They would have had to wait until Dec. 15 to include the free agents they signed the summer in a deal.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Nate Robinson reflects on Knicks 00:01:24
Nate Robinson joins Ian Begley and says 'They're building a team that's a real team' when describing the Knicks offseason moves.

Nate Robinson played his first five NBA seasons with the New York Knicks. 

Speaking on Tuesday with SNY Insider Ian Begley, Robinson gave his take on the current state of the team, including the players they couldn't land and the one that they have brought in.

When asked about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving spurning the Knicks for deals with the cross-town Brooklyn Nets, Robinson spoke from his own experience on why he enjoyed his time in New York.

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Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports  (Jeff Hanisch)
Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Knicks' pursuit of Marcus Morris has reportedly paid off. 

League sources confirmed to SNY's Ian Begley that Morris plans to sign a one-year deal with the Knicks worth roughly $15 million. 

Begley reported earlier on Thursday that the Knicks believed that obtaining Morris as a free agent and re-working Reggie Bullock's deal was a likely scenario, per SNY sources.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports  (Jeff Hanisch)
Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As of Thursday morning, there was still mutual interest between the Knicks and Reggie Bullock to negotiate a new deal after a medical issue hampered their original agreement, per SNY sources.

Bullock's agent, David Bauman, and the Knicks continue to work together on a new agreement for the six-year veteran.

The medical issue that caused a hiccup is unclear, but Bullock has dealt with plantar fasciitis in the past. The Knicks originally agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with Bullock that contained a player option in Year 2.

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Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports  (Jeff Hanisch)
Apr 28, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks and Reggie Bullock's agent, David Bauman, are working together to reach a new agreement after a medical issue arose that caused the team to question his ability to play a full season, a league source confirmed to SNY.

The Knicks originally agreed on a two-year, $21 million deal with a player option. The medical issue holding the deal up is unclear, but it could lead to New York landing another free agent.

An ESPN report stated that Marcus Morris is reconsidering the two-year, $20 million agreement he reached with the San Antonio Spurs. Morris, according to the report, is considering signing with New York. The club is expected to have additional cap space if it re-works its deal with Bullock, and one SNY source said Tuesday that the team was hopeful of landing Morris in wake of the Bullock issue. 

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Knicks forward RJ Barrett (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Knicks forward RJ Barrett (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS - If you're making sweeping conclusions about RJ Barrett after two Summer League games, you're overreacting.

"Of course the Knicks would like to see him come out and dominate in these games against guys who won't be in the NBA. That's what you'd expect from the No. 3 pick. But there's no reason to sound any alarms," one veteran scout said Monday. "He's 19 and this is what Summer League - and his rookie season, really - is for. It's about development and getting comfortable on an NBA floor."

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Brazdeikis scores big in Vegas 00:01:15
Knicks rookie Ignas Brazdeikis talks about scoring points in Summer League, and developing his game with Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter|

Iggy Brazdeikis believes he's the best player on any court he steps on.

That was certainly true at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday night.

Brazdeikis, the Knicks' second round pick, scored 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting and had eight rebounds in New York's overtime loss to Phoenix.

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New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS -- Frank Ntilikina was visiting with the Knicks' Summer League team on Sunday night, unfazed by his involvement in recent trade rumors.

"I'm happy to be a Knick," Ntilikina told reporters at the Thomas and Mack Center before New York's overtime loss to Phoenix. "I still take as much as I can get from every situation that I can. I'm in their jersey. I'm happy to be a Knick. I'm happy to be here. I'll work very hard to make this situation successful."

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Apr 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Apr 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Unless they want to renege on agreements with their new free agents, the Knicks can't complete a trade for Russell Westbrook prior to December 15. They only have $4 million in cap space, not close to enough to absorb the $38.5 million he's scheduled to make next season. 

It would be incredibly damaging to the Knicks' relationships with agents if they reneged on free-agent agreements to acquire Westbrook, so you can forget about that option. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Begley's Knicks analysis 00:01:01
SNY's Ian Begley reports on Dennis Smith Jr.'s improved jump shot and RJ Barrett's debut

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS - RJ Barrett isn't going to make too much of his shooting in the Knicks' first Summer League game. 

"I haven't played a game in three months. I was fine. Shots didn't fall, but I'm good," the Knicks' No. 3 overall pick said on Saturday. 

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Knicks rookie, vets on new look 00:01:35
RJ Barrett, Dennis Smith Jr. and Julius Randle on the Knicks youth and new additions

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS - Dennis Smith Jr. is entering his first full season as a Knick and his third in the NBA. He sees it as an important year for him. 

"I think it is. I honestly felt like I was supposed to be (drafted No. 1 overall). Probably like everybody else in the class. I feel like this is the perfect time to come out and prove why I feel that way," Smith said on Saturday after the Knicks practice in Las Vegas. 

Smith said he's been working on his shot extensively with Knicks top assistant coach Keith Smart and that he feels fully healthy after he was hampered by a back injury late last season. He also likes the Knicks' new additions, feels ready to compete with free agent point guard Elfrid Payton for the starting job, and isn't worried about the Brooklyn Nets' big haul. 

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Mar 20, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 20, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Kawhi Leonard signing with the Clippers makes it official: the Knicks have missed out on all of their top targets in free agency. But the biggest free agent they landed, Julius Randle, believes that fans will grow to appreciate the 2019-2020 team. 

"We've got dogs. We've got dudes who don't back down, who have killer mentalities. And that's what we need," Randle said on Friday night. "Getting back to the old school. Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, all of those guys. Toughness. A fight breaking every night. So, we're excited about that. That's our identity of our team, not backing down from nobody."

Randle offered his thoughts on several topics in a chat with reporters in Las Vegas: 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Kawhi Leonard stunned the NBA early Saturday morning, committing to the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency and bringing Oklahoma City star Paul George along with him.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard pushed the Clippers to obtain George via trade. The Clippers sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Galinari, four unprotected first picks, one protected first round pick and two protected first rounders in exchange for George. Wow.

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Summer League rocked by quake 00:01:43
SNY's Ian Begley reports on the earthquake that occurred during the Knicks Summer League game in Las Vegas

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS -- RJ Barrett didn't shoot the ball well in his Summer League debut, but Knicks Coach Jud Buechler had a simple message for the rookie after the game: don't stop shooting.

"There were ups and downs in the game for him, which you expect out of a rookie. We saw a lot of things we liked," Buechler said, via the Knicks, after Barrett missed 14 of his 18 shots in 25 minutes against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. "We will continue to encourage him to keep shooting and aren't worried about his shot not falling."

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton gestures while dribbling the ball during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. (Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton gestures while dribbling the ball during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. (Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Unless you're an elite player, starting jobs in the NBA aren't handed out in July. So it's way too early to predict who will be starting at point guard for the Knicks next season.

But at the moment, the plan is for new Knick Elfrid Payton to get "every opportunity" to win the starting point guard position next season, per SNY sources familiar with the matter.

The Knicks signed Payton to a two-year, $16 million deal with a team option for the second season.

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Kyrie Irving (11) Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Kyrie Irving (11) Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

In a post on Instagram earlier this week, Kyrie Irving shed some light on his decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.  

"In my heart I always knew I wanted to play at home. Home is where my heart is," he said in the video posted to his account. "….Home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. I'm happy to be in Brooklyn." 

Irving, who grew up in West Orange, N.J. and attended high schools in Montclair and Elizabeth, was a Nets fan growing up.

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Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Kevin Knox has worked on his strength, efficiency and passing, among other things, so far in the offseason. And he's eager to get on the court in Summer League following a few weeks of training.

"I just feel so much more comfortable on the court now. I just feel stronger, have a (better) head on my shoulders," Knox said of playing in Summer League after going through his first NBA season. "Just having a year underneath my belt, I can watch a lot of film of what I need to work on and what I need to get better at. I just feel a lot stronger, a lot better on the court, a lot more confident, and more of a leader so I'll be able to talk and help the other guys out."

Knox, 20, said he's spent time in the weight room to add strength to his frame. The 6-foot-9 forward weighed 215 pounds at the start of last season.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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