Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Knicks are 4-20. So it's safe to say that, outside of RJ Barrett, no player will be off limits as teams discuss potential trades over the next two months.
As of last week, New York was looking at several different players who may be available in an attempt to improve its roster.
But the club also could start to move some of the veterans they've signed to short-term deals.
With that in mind, we talked to three teams about how they value Marcus Morris, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Knicks over the summer after reneging on his agreement with the Spurs.
The consensus among those teams -- not all contenders -- was that Morris could return a first-round pick, depending on the following factors:
Does the team have championship aspirations and believe Morris helps push them toward that goal? Does the team see value at the back end of the first round of the draft? If not, the club would be willing to give up a first-round pick for Morris.
"Teams love his leadership and he's been shooting incredibly well," a representative for one Eastern Conference team said. "You can easily see them getting a late first-round pick for him if that team feels Marcus pushes them over the top."
Former head coach David Fizdale was effusive in his praise of Morris' leadership. He used to text Fizdale nightly asking how he could help the team the next day. Morris is well-liked in the Knick locker room and called a players'-only meeting before practice Friday -- hours before Fizdale was fired -- to talk about holding each other accountable and sharing the ball.
So the Knicks value Morris both on and off the court (he's shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc, but just 38 percent from inside the arc, and is a strong contributor on the other end of the floor).
But Morris isn't under contract for next season, so New York risks losing him for nothing if it keeps him beyond the deadline and don't re-sign him this summer.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
In 2003-04, Bobby Gonzalez's Manhattan College team finished No. 1 in the country in free-throw percentage. A Gonzalez-coached team was top five in the country in free throw percentage twice and finished seventh in another season. With the Knicks struggling with their free throws this season, we asked Gonzalez about the techniques he used to get his teams to thrive at the line.
"I know it's a little easier when you're a college coach to get guys up at 7 a.m. to shoot 100 free throws before practice. It's a little different in the NBA," Gonzalez says with a laugh.
Players on Gonzalez's team would make 100 free throws every morning before practice, six days a week. In practice, the Jaspers would have free-throw drills where misses had consequences: if a player didn't make five out of seven in a one-and-one situation, the team ran.
Gonzalez's Manhattan teams pressed, so making free throws was essential for that team to set up its press. But Gonzalez says there's no magic formula for becoming a strong free-throw shooting team. "Guys don't want to practice free-throw shooting -- it's boring, it's mundane. But that's how you get good."
To be clear: Gonzalez isn't trying to tell Mike Miller and his staff how to do their jobs. He was simply answering our questions about his own experience coaching free-throw shooting.
The Knicks are last in the NBA in free-throw percentage (67 percent entering play Wednesday).