Ian Begley

Ian Begley is SNY's NBA Insider.

Dennis Smith Jr. breaking out? 00:00:58
SNY NBA insider Ian Begley on whether Dennis Smith Jr.'s outstanding performance against Dallas could be a sign of things to come

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

After the Knicks' win over the Mavericks on Thursday, Dennis Smith Jr. spent some time reflecting at his locker. 

"It was kind of bittersweet for me, beating the team that traded me but my stepmom wasn't here to see it," Smith Jr. said. "…. I had to take some time out to myself and really digest something like that. She watched every game. Every single game. Even when I was in college.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A couple weeks ago, Frank Ntilikina walked into David Fizdale's office, unannounced, and delivered a message: 

"He just said, 'Coach, I've been through a lot in my two years. I feel like I finally understand what the NBA is about. I know I haven't shown it yet, but I'm a dog, too,'" Fizdale said. "It was so cool to hear him say that. And (Thursday against Dallas) he showed that he is really a junkyard dog when it comes to competition."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Porzingis reacts to MSG boos 00:02:11
Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks lost 106-103 to the Knicks. KP reacts to the passionate crowd in his return to MSG.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Marcus Morris thought the boos and 'KP sucks!' chants at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night affected Kristaps Porzingis' performance in the Knicks' win over the Mavs. 

"It was just at another level. It looked like he was a little rattled, too. So it kind of helped us," Morris said after hitting a game-sealing 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter of New York's win. 

Porzingis heard boos during warmups, player introductions and throughout the game in his first night back at Madison Square Garden since being traded to Dallas last January. 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Breaking down the Knicks at MSG 00:00:49
Ian Begley reacts to David Fizdale's comments that the new Knicks might be pressing too much at Madison Square Garden

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks are 1-3 at home and have lost their last two games at Madison Square Garden by a combined 42 points. David Fizdale thinks he knows at least one reason why the club has struggled at home. 

"Honestly I think they want to do so well for the fanbase I think they get tight. I really do," he said. "I've looked at all of the different things that have happened and I just feel like sometimes -- they really want to do well for the city. 

"With everything that's happened over the course of the last year, these guys want to play hard for the city, they want to win for the city. I just think sometimes when it starts to go the other way, they play not to lose instead of playing to win."

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Knicks will always feel pressure 00:01:04
Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis knows the pressure Knicks players face because the city is hungry for a successful franchise.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Kristaps Porzingis isn't sure what to expect from the home crowd when he returns to Madison Square Garden on Thursday. But based on what he's seen from Knicks fans on Instagram and Twitter, he's bracing for a cold reception (which he's sure to get).

"Social media is mostly negative. But we'll see. It's going to be a lot of emotion," Porzingis said Wednesday after Mavs practice at the National Basketball Players Association offices in Manhattan.

Porzingis was back in New York City on Wednesday for the first time since he was traded -- at his request -- to Dallas last January.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks. 

Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks 'showed progress' this season. 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Steve Mills/Scott Perry/David Fizdale (Brad Penner)
Steve Mills/Scott Perry/David Fizdale (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A few notes about where things stand with the Knicks after an awkward, uncomfortable 24 hours for the organization: 

IS FIZDALE THE FALL GUY?

Yes, the impromptu press conference from team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry on Sunday night made it clear that David Fizdale's job is under scrutiny amid New York's 2-8 start. If the Knicks continue to struggle, no one would be surprised if Fizdale were let go in the near future. 

ESPN reported on Monday that Mills was laying the groundwork internally to fire Fizdale. This could lead you to believe that Mills will not be held responsible if New York fails to meet expectations. That's not accurate though. 
 

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May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri answers questions during Media Day before the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports  (Dan Hamilton)
May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri answers questions during Media Day before the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Let's start here with the Knicks: because of the team's poor record and the impromptu press conference given by president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry on Sunday, there will be speculation about the job security of David Fizdale and the Knicks' execs.

As SNY reported Sunday, there is no indication that any executive or coach is getting fired in the next few days. But an in-season firing shouldn't be ruled out if the losing and non-competitive stretches continue, people familiar with the matter say.

A factor to consider in all of this are the contracts of Mills, Perry and Fizdale.

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Begley talks Knicks team unrest 00:02:59
SNY NBA insider Ian Begley on yet another poor performance by the Knicks at home and a surprise media appearance by the team's management

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

At some point during New York's 21-point loss to Cleveland, Knicks owner James Dolan spoke to team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry about the state of the club. It's fair to assume he wasn't happy.

The Knicks dropped to 2-8 with Sunday's loss -- the fourth time they've lost a game by at least 20 points.

Afterward, Mills and Perry addressed the media -- which is extremely rare.

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

David Fizdale hasn't decided yet if Frank Ntilikina will start at point guard when Elfrid Payton is healthy. But it certainly sounds like Fizdale will keep Ntilikina in the starting lineup when Payton returns -- as long as he and the Knicks are playing well. 

Here's what Fizdale said when asked on Sunday if Payton, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury, will start at point guard when he returns to the lineup:  

"I'm going to base it on how things are going for us at the time when he gets back," Fizdale said. "If things are going well, we'll probably stay with what we're doing. If for some reason it's not, maybe we'll look at putting him back in there. But we won't make that decision until the time comes."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Knicks edge Mavericks 106-102 00:01:39
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina praises his teammates support which helped lead to his big performance against the Dallas Mavericks.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

DALLAS - Kristaps Porzingis' first game against the Knicks turned into a coming out party for Frank Ntilikina

The 21-year-old had 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks in New York's win over Dallas. 

"This was his best game since he's been in the league," David Fizdale said after the win. "Just what he's been doing is getting better and better. Every game he becomes more confident. I'm really happy for the kid."

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Oct 23, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris (13) blocks out San Antonio Spurs forward Trey Lyles (41) during the first half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports (Daniel Dunn)
Oct 23, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris (13) blocks out San Antonio Spurs forward Trey Lyles (41) during the first half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports (Daniel Dunn)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

DALLAS - Marcus Morris says he's going to spend some time guarding Kristaps Porzingis on Friday night. 

He's six inches shorter than the Mavs forward, but he plans to use his strength as an advantage. 

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Kristaps Porzingis (Kevin Jairaj)
Kristaps Porzingis (Kevin Jairaj)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

DALLAS - David Fizdale was asked on Thursday about the Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis trade. He said it's too early to fully judge the transaction.

"Well, we don't know what Dennis Smith is going to be. He's 21 years old. At the end of the day we've still got two first-round picks out of that," Fizdale said a day before the Knicks face Porzingis and the Mavs in Dallas. "Who knows who that's going to be? We won't know exactly what comes out of that for a year or two."

The Knicks essentially received Smith Jr., cap space and two future first round picks from the Mavericks.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Knicks need to start winning 00:02:14
SNY Insider Ian Begley doesn't see anything imminent but if the Knicks underachieve more, owner James Dolan could make front office changes.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks are in Dallas to play Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs on Friday for the first time since the trade. So there will be plenty written and said about the deal over the next couple of days. 

Below, let's try to separate fact from opinion: 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Fizdale going back to Robinson 00:01:47
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale will go back to starting Mitchell Robinson at center especially against Pistons' Andre Drummond

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Mitchell Robinson will start at center on Wednesday against Detroit. The Knicks want Robinson defending Pistons big man Andre Drummond. This will be the fifth different starting lineup for New York in eight games. 

Some of the lineup shifts are due to injury (Elfrid Payton) and others are the result of David Fizdale and his staff trying to figure out New York's optimal player groupings. 

Experimenting with different lineups during the season isn't ideal. In a perfect world, teams have lineups and rotations set coming into the season. But that's rare in today's NBA, where there's so much roster turnover every summer. Depending on the night, the Knicks (1-6) could have six players in their rotation who weren't on the team last season.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Knicks overusing RJ Barrett 00:01:39
SNY Insider Ian Begley cites lack of ball movement and overuse of RJ Barrett's minutes as a couple of the Knicks' many glaring issues.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Depending on how you view these things, you may have found value in RJ Barrett playing late in the Knicks' blowout loss to Sacramento, or you may have found it absurd. 

Barrett, as you'd imagine, didn't have a problem with it. 

Tags: RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Nov 1, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30) drives to the basket while Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Nov 1, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30) drives to the basket while Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks are asking Julius Randle to take on some new responsibilities. 

In addition to scoring, New York wants Randle to defend, make his teammates better and help lead a young group. 

"It's a lot that we're asking of him," David Fizdale said last week. "(Previously in his) career all he's been asked to do - for the most part - is score. And so now he's juggling (the additional responsibilities) and trying to figure it out. And I think step-by-step, he'll get there."

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Nov 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale reacts to play against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale reacts to play against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Early in the third quarter of the Knicks' blowout loss to Sacramento, the home crowd grew restless. There were boos. Loud ones. There was even a brief chant for the team to fire head coach David Fizdale.

If you ask Marcus Morris, though, none of the blame for the Knicks' slow start rests with Fizdale.

"At the end of the day, Fiz is putting us in the best position to be successful," Morris said on Sunday night after scoring 28 points in the Knicks' loss. "I think it's us, we've got to execute the game plan better. He's been nothing but a great coach for us, he's been giving us what we need. Just today, we didn't hit many shots. They were the better team."

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Knicks remain positive in defeat 00:00:45
SNY NBA insider Ian Begley on the Knicks optimism despite a tough loss in Boston

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

BOSTON - The Knicks are 1-5. That's not the start that anyone - from management on down - was hoping for coming into the season. But several players said after Friday's loss in Boston that they believe the on-court success will come.

"Once we figure out the offense, teams are in trouble," point guard Elfrid Payton said in an interview with an SNY late Friday.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina passes the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina passes the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON - David Fizdale wants to put his best defensive group on the floor Friday against Boston, so he's starting Frank Ntilikina at point guard for the first time this season. 

"I just felt like, especially the way Kemba (Walker)'s playing, having Frank out there to start gives us a better chance," Fizdale said Friday morning.  

Ntilikina began the season essentially out of the Knicks' rotation, playing just three minutes in the opening game of the season, 18 seconds in the third and not playing in the second. But since Elfrid Payton's hamstring injury, Ntilikina averaged 25 minutes in the next two games.

 

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Nets turnovers lead to loss 00:01:52
It was an even game through the half, but turnovers led to the Nets 118-108 loss despite a team-high 28 points from Kyrie Irving.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Kyrie Irving responded to an ESPN report that stated some in the Nets' organization are concerned over his 'infamous mood swings.' 

He said he isn't worried about other people's perceptions and isn't going to respond emotionally to the report. He added that he expects reports like this to surface about him and he doesn't 'have to be perfect' for the Nets or anyone else. 

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Oct 28, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Bobby Portis (1) celebrates with center Julius Randle (30) after shooting the go ahead three point shot against the Chicago Bulls during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 28, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Bobby Portis (1) celebrates with center Julius Randle (30) after shooting the go ahead three point shot against the Chicago Bulls during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

We talked to scouts about RJ Barrett and their early-season impressions of the Knicks. Here are their thoughts on the team:

The Knicks' most-used lineup through four games is Barrett, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. That five-man group has been outscored by 21 points over 39 minutes. The next most-used lineup features the four places above but replaces Robinson with Bobby Portis. It has outscored opponents by 13 points over 27 minutes. 

One scout who watched Monday's Knicks-Bulls game -- when Portis went off for 28 points -- suggested that Portis and Randle or Portis and Morris could be a combination worth looking at. But the scout suggested that having Randle and Morris on the court together would lead to inefficiencies on offense. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington, Ian Begley
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RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A Western Conference scout who watched the Knicks throughout Summer League came away wondering if RJ Barrett would be able to compete in the NBA as a rookie. 

He had questions about Barrett's shooting, ability to get by defenders and overall athleticism. 

Tags: RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Speaking from his own experience, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said on Tuesday that he's never had any concern over star point guard Kyrie Irving's mood. 

"That is completely false. In strictly speaking in my observation and my experience with him so far, it's absolutely not true," Aktinson said when asked about an ESPN report that stated the organization has concerns about Irving's mood swings. "I'm the moody one, I really am. I'm cranky and I have my ups and downs. If there's just natural human behavior where guys are up and down, that's different. From my perspective, I give Kyrie an A-plus in his consistency and his spirit. It's been great." 

In a profile on Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan and the Nets, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, reported that the Nets are 'queasy' over Irving's changing mood. It's a part of his personality that has reportedly been brought up multiple times over his career. 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Nets are reportedly experiencing Kyrie Irving's mood swings, according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. It's a part of his personality that has reportedly been brought up multiple times over his career. 

MacMullan's story, which is a detailed look at Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan's decision to sign with the Nets, is well worth your time. Important to note for context: the story also suggests that Irving and the Nets are largely on the same page at this point. 

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Breaking down the Knicks 1st win 00:01:02
Ian Begley breaks down the Knicks win where Bobby Portis was clutch and everything clicked including defense to end the game on a 15-0 run.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In the NBA, teams usually get the day off after playing two consecutive games. But the Knicks lost in Brooklyn on Friday and were embarrassed at home by Boston on Saturday, so they lost the luxury of an off day on Sunday. 

"Coach Fiz was on our tails yesterday," Bobby Portis said. "We were supposed to have an off-day….We came in and still put the work in."

The work wasn't apparent early on Monday against Chicago. But a key adjustment in the second half - and some timely shooting from Portis - helped New York rebound from a 18-point deficit to win for the first time this season. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Dennis Smith Jr. will miss Monday's game against the Chicago Bulls due to the death of a family member over the weekend, according to an SNY source.

Smith Jr. was incredibly close with the family member, who had helped raise him from a young age, per a source.

It's unclear when the guard will be back with the team while he mourns the loss, an SNY source said, which, of course, is understandable.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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 (Joe Camporeale)
(Joe Camporeale)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In a first for the organization, the New York Knicks' G League team -- the Westchester Knicks -- will hire former New York Liberty player Lisa C. Willis as an assistant coach, SNY has learned.

Willis, who played two seasons with the Liberty after being selected fifth overall in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Sparks, will join the staff of first-year Westchester head coach Derrick Alston.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated that he'd like the NBA -- and, by extension, the G League -- to welcome more women's coaches. There are believed to be eight women coaching in either assistant or player development roles in the NBA at the moment.

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Oct 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Three games into the season, David Fizdale already has a tough issue to sort out: how to get Dennis Smith Jr. going. 

The Knicks' backup point guard has missed 10 of 11 shots to start the season.  

"It seems like he's overthinking it. And he's pressing," Fizdale said after the Knicks' 24-point loss to Boston on Saturday. "It's funny how it works when you work on something so much, and it doesn't click for you right away how that can get to you. But he'll keep working at it and getting better at it."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Oct 25, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) reacts after getting fouled during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Oct 25, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) reacts after getting fouled during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Celtics point guard and New York City native Kemba Walker said he considered the Knicks in free agency before signing with Boston this summer. 

"It was (a consideration). It was. They were definitely one of the teams I was looking at in free agency. But I picked Boston. I just felt it was a better fit for me," Walker said before the Knicks home opener against Boston on Saturday. 

New York had enough cap space to sign Walker and another max free agent, but Walker agreed to sign with the Celtics as soon as free agency began. 

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Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30) shoots against Brooklyn Nets small forward Rodions Kurucs (00) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30) shoots against Brooklyn Nets small forward Rodions Kurucs (00) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Here's how David Fizdale assessed what he saw from Julius Randle on Friday night: 

"He's pressing. I thought he was really pressing. He's one of our horses. I think a lot of it was just he was so hyped up for the game," Fizdale said. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Begley gives possible lineup 00:01:16
SNY Insider Ian Begley says the Knicks could start Elfrid Payton at PG on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets and see Mitchell Robinson return.

Knicks head coach David Fizdale spoke on Thursday as New York prepared for game 2 of the 2019-20 season -- Friday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Here are the takeaways...

Mitchell Robinson is getting better

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Danny Abriano, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

David Fizdale says he has to watch the film of Wednesday's 120-111 loss to the Spurs before he decides who will start at point guard for the Knicks on Friday.

But it sounded like Elfrid Payton had earned the job.

"Elfrid absolutely put his foot forward, took it to heart and ramped up the competition," Fizdale said after the Knicks lost in San Antonio. "Like I said, I'm going to keep an open mind of this and whoever fights their way out of the pile, that's who's going to get the nod."

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) reacts after making a basket during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) reacts after making a basket during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

SAN ANTONIO - All the players battling for the Knicks' starting point guard spot will be coming off the bench to start the season. 

David Fizdale is going with a starting lineup of RJ Barrett, Allonzo Trier, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and Bobby Portis to start the season.

"I just like that combination of RJ and Allonzo Trier together," Fizdale said before tipoff of the Knicks' season-opener against the Spurs.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale looks onto the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale looks onto the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

SAN ANTONIO -- Mitchell Robinson will miss Wednesday's season-opener with a right ankle injury but there is reason to believe the injury isn't serious. Robinson, the second-year center, is wearing a walking boot, but he said Wednesday that it was just a precautionary measure.

David Fizdale is optimistic that Robinson can return for Friday's road game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Jan 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks may have to change their lineups for opening night due to Mitchell Robinson's ankle injury.

Robinson sprained his right ankle in practice on Monday and is questionable for the Knicks' regular-season opener against the Spurs on Wednesday.

Prior to the injury, RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris and Julius Randle were expected to start against San Antonio. That may remain the case, but if Robinson can't play, Randle could slide to center. The Knicks could also start Bobby Portis at center in place of Robinson. Taj Gibson is another option, but he is currently questionable with a sore right calf.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale looks onto the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale looks onto the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

No decision on PG 

David Fizdale plans to name his starting lineup on Wednesday prior to the season opener against San Antonio. He said that scrimmages during the Knicks' final practices on Monday and Tuesday will factor in to who he chooses to start at point guard.

Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton are competing for the position.

Smith Jr. missed nearly 10 days of training camp/preseason and showed some rust in the Knicks' final two preseason games. Fizdale said Smith Jr. has made shots during scrimmages, and the idea that he's a bit out of rhythm will factor in to Fizdale's decision on the starting point guard.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Ntilikina talks about option 00:00:31
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is happy the Knicks chose to pick up his option keeping him with the team through 2021.

The Knicks' front office has decided to pick up the option on Frank Ntilikina's contract for the 2020-21 season, the team announced.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox, New York's 2019 first-round pick, also had their options exercised. Ntilikina will make around $6.2 million next season, while Smith gets $5.6 million and Knox receives $4.58 million.

Because of his performance in his first two NBA seasons, the decision surrounding Ntilikina's option was a question for the Knicks heading into the new season.

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Jalen Rose talked about the Knicks, Nets and Kevin Durant with reporters at a Puma eventin Brooklyn on Saturday. The ESPN analyst said he loves what the Nets are doing. He also thinks Kevin Durant's free agency would have unfolded differently if Durant never tore his Achilles.Here are Rose's thoughts on those subjects, what bothers him about James Harden's preseason and who he sees competing with the Lakers in the Western Conference: 

Here's what Rose thought about the Knicks' offseason and the team they've put together: "The goal is always to sign the top-tier player. If you're Duke, if you're Arizona, if you're Kentucky, you want to sign the McDonald's All-American. But if you can't do so, then you've got to recruit a team - like Gonzaga, like Michigan was doing before - where you develop the players," Rose, a Puma ambassador/consultant, said. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Jalen Rose talked about the Knicks, Nets and Kevin Durant with reporters at a Puma eventin Brooklyn on Saturday. The ESPN analyst said he loves what the Nets are doing. He also thinks Kevin Durant's free agency would have unfolded differently if Durant never tore his Achilles.Here are Rose's thoughts on those subjects, what bothers him about James Harden's preseason and who he sees competing with the Lakers in the Western Conference: 

Here's what Rose thought about the Knicks' offseason and the team they've put together: "The goal is always to sign the top-tier player. If you're Duke, if you're Arizona, if you're Kentucky, you want to sign the McDonald's All-American. But if you can't do so, then you've got to recruit a team - like Gonzaga, like Michigan was doing before - where you develop the players," Rose, a Puma ambassador/consultant, said. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks may not know who their starting point guard is yet, but it's seems like they have shooting guard figured out. 

Rookie R.J. Barrett locked that position up with a strong performance in the Knicks' preseason finale on Friday. He had 19 points (9-for-12 shooting), six rebounds and three assists in a loss to New Orleans. 

"He's a very good player," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Friday night. "…. Good scorer. He's obviously worked on his body and gotten stronger. I think that's gonna help. He's a playmaker. He's a kid that's learning the game and I think you can see he's going to be a really really good player in this league for a lot of years." 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Mar 10, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Mar 10, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale 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 | 

Frank Ntilikina will likely sit out of Friday's preseason finale on Friday so the Knicks can see more of Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. at point guard. 

"Frank has played three (games), Elfrid has played two, Dennis is now going to play two, so I feel like I'm getting them all (playing time)," David Fizdale said Thursday. "… I feel like I gave all three guys ample opportunity to show what he can do."

Fizdale is choosing among Ntilikina, Payton and Smith Jr. for his starting point guard. Smith Jr. missed about ten days with a back ailment during preseason and looked rusty during his preseason debut Wednesday. He should get plenty of minutes on Friday against New Orleans. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Wednesday's game didn't provide much clarity in the Knicks' starting point guard competition.

Dennis Smith Jr. was out of rhythm in his preseason debut, shooting 1-for-5 in 20 minutes. Elfrid Payton was a DNP, by design. And Frank Ntilikina defended well but didn't provide the offensive spark that David Fizdale said he's looking for in his starting point guard.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and guard Caris LeVert (22) react during the second half time out against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and guard Caris LeVert (22) react during the second half time out against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Nets saw their trip to China as a bonding experience and didn't want to discuss the off-court issues between the NBA and one of its biggest foreign markets.

"In four years here, I've never commented on a political issue or a social issue. I'm just going to continue that way," head coach Kenny Atkinson said Wednesday. "I would love to keep it to our Nets and the on-court stuff, anything you want to know about how we played, our rotations, our pick-and-roll defense, I'd be more than willing to answer that."

The Nets and Lakers were in the middle of a tense geopolitical storm during their stay in China. It started, as you know, with a tweet from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressing support Hong Kong demonstrators protesting a number of issues related to China.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Ian Begley
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Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

When Dennis Smith Jr. takes the floor on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks, the stakes will be a little higher than your average preseason game. His performance in the Knicks' final two preseason games will factor heavily into who New York starts at point guard on opening night. Smith Jr. -- who missed the Knicks' first two preseason games with a back ailment -- is competing against Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for the starting position.

On Wednesday, New York will get a chance to evaluate Smith Jr.'s new shot for the first time in a formal game setting. They'll also see how he plays with a lighter frame.

Below, Shawn Farmer, Smith Jr.'s former trainer and an ex-pro himself, discusses Smith Jr.'s shot, his new frame and some other topics, including the NCAA recruiting scandal: 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Knicks prep for pre-season game 00:01:03
David Fizdale, RJ Barrett and Frank Ntilikina on points of emphasis in practice ahead of Wednesday's night's pre-season game vs Atlanta

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

We'll learn a lot about the Knicks starting point guard position this week (more on that below), but don't be surprised if you see RJ Barrett handling the ball at times for New York. 

"I've thrown him at that position a couple times already," David Fizdale said Tuesday. "He played some of that in college. I think it adds another layer to how dynamic he can be. Especially having somebody that big that can switch things do some different things defensively. So yeah, I'll sprinkle that in."

Fizdale has mentioned Barrett, Julius Randle and Marcus Morris as potential non-point guard ball-handlers in his offense.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

If you've seen LeBron James' comments on the NBA-China controversy (and the reaction to those comments), you know that the ripple effects of Daryl Morey's tweet in support of demonstrators in Hong Kong will be felt for some time. 

There's plenty to unpack with this story: free speech issues, the NBA -- and many other companies -- conducting business with a country that critics say has a history of oppressing dissent, and the potential financial fallout for the league and its players from losing revenue from the business they do in China. 

It's way too early to predict how much revenue the league may lose in the aftermath of last week's events. But the lost revenue -- if it's high enough -- will have a tangible impact on the Knicks. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Sean Marks answers questions during a news conference where he was introduced as the new general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, before the Nets' NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)
Sean Marks answers questions during a news conference where he was introduced as the new general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, before the Nets' NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

If you've seen LeBron James' comments on the NBA-China controversy (and the reaction to those comments), you know that the ripple effects of Daryl Morey's tweet in support of demonstrators in Hong Kong will be felt for some time. 

There's plenty to unpack with this story: free speech issues, the NBA -- and many other companies -- conducting business with a country that critics say has a history of oppressing dissent, and the potential financial fallout for the league in the form of lost revenue from the business they do in China.

It's way too early to predict how much revenue the league may lose in the aftermath of last week's events. But the lost revenue -- if it's high enough -- will have a tangible impact on the Nets. 

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Knicks on roster changes 00:01:21
Knicks coach David Fizdale and forwards Julius Randle and Kevin Knox talk about this year's roster coming together

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to make his preseason debut on Wednesday against the Hawks, which adds a layer of intrigue to the Knicks' starting point guard competition.

Smith Jr. missed New York's first two preseason games due to a back strain. He returned to practice over the weekend and, barring a setback, will make his preseason debut on Wednesday.

The Knicks had taken a cautious approach with Smith Jr.'s ailment.

Tags: Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Oct 9, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Justin Anderson (7) dribbles the ball against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Oct 9, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Justin Anderson (7) dribbles the ball against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Did Justin Anderson have any extra motivation against Marcus Morris and the Knicks on Friday night?

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about (Morris hitting him in the head with the ball). My biggest thing is making sure I go out there and whatever opportunity I get, making sure I play hard defensively, compete defensively," Anderson said. "And offensively, I told my brother, I'm just trying to kill. So I'm glad I played that way and maintained my composure and handled it like class."

Anderson had 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench for the Wizards, who knocked down 46 percent of their 3-point attempts in a 16-point win. Earlier in the week, Morris was ejected from a game against the Wizards for hitting Anderson in the head with an elbow and then hitting Anderson in the face with the ball.  

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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