NY Daily News: Kenny Atkinson is on Knicks coaching list: report

From Stefan Bondy:

The former Nets coach will be among the candidates interviewed for the Knicks position, according to The Athletic. As previously reported, Tom Thibodeau and Mike Miller are also expected to sit down with team president Leon Rose for consideration.

Atkinson unexpectedly became available after being fired by the Nets in March, just about a week before the NBA season shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 52-year-old Long Island product had Brooklyn in a playoff spot despite the absence of his two best players — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, Atkinson never connected with Irving, in particular, and owner Joe Tsai consulted with players before making the decision not to retain his coach.

Atkinson’s strength is development, and the Knicks remain in that phase with a young group highlighted by RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox. They’ll also have a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

Some surprisingly nice news.

It’d be pretty cool if they hired him.

NY Post: Knicks mailbag: Talking NBA Draft plan and if LaMelo Ball fits

Marc Berman has some interesting draft thoughts:

Should the Knicks go for the best fit or the best player available in this year’s draft? — Yaron Rahmani

The Knicks need to go for the best fit and that’s a point guard for the future because it’s so difficult to snare an elite one in free agency.

It is a weak draft in which some believe there’s not a whole lot of difference among the top-12 rated players. That’s highly unusual. Might as well go for need.

The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.

That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.

Enlarge ImageLaMelo Ball
LaMelo BallAP
The Post already has reported league insiders believe father Lavar Ball will attempt to steer him to the big-market Knicks. What does that entail if the Knicks stay at the sixth spot in the draft? They’d probably have to trade up into the top 3 with a club not so hot on either LaMelo or Lavar. Hopefully that team won’t ask for a king’s ransom.

If the Knicks remain at No. 6 after the lottery drawing, Ball is not expected to fall to that slot. Keep an eye on the Pistons and Ball in the lottery. Detroit is one of the few teams dying for a point guard, too.

If the Knicks are in the 6-10 range, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, Tyrese Maxey — maybe even trading back for R.J. Hampton or Kira Lewis — will all be in play.

I wonder if Cole Anthony will room with RJ Barett on the road next season.

NBA: League Is Planning To Re-Open In Late July

The NBA released this an hour ago:

The following is a statement from NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass:

So I guess we’re going to actually see some basketball in a couple of months!

Let’s hope that the Knicks go 0-5!

ESPN.com: Knicks legend, Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing tests positive for coronavirus

From Jeff Borzello:

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school announced Friday. The Hall of Famer is under care and isolated at a local hospital

“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” Ewing said in a statement. “I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.”

The school said Ewing is the only member of the Georgetown men’s basketball program to have tested positive for the virus.

Here’s hoping for the best for the great Patrick Ewing!

NY Post: Mitchell Robinson is showing off skills we’ve never seen before

From Howie Kussoy at the Post:


Mitchell Robinson has been the big man the Knicks envisioned, becoming one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA, while holding what would stand as the best single-season field goal percentage (74.2) in league history.

But the 7-footer isn’t satisfied living in the paint.

One week after video was posted showing Robinson drilling a pair of 3-pointers — one via step-back — the 22-year-old center has shown off his previously unseen ball-handling skills again, before hitting a fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point line.

At the start of this season, Robinson — coming off an All-Rookie Second Team selection — said he planned on shooting more from the perimeter.

“Why work on something you’re not going to use? I’m looking forward to it,” Robinson said. “I’m shooting the thing now.”


Hey, I’m all for Mitch Robinson, three-point threat.

SNY.com: NBA scouts and execs on new Knicks hires Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin

Ian Begley has a great look at Perrin and Zanin:

On Perrin:

“He’s been operating at a high level with Utah for a long time,” one member of an opposing team familiar with Perrin’s work said. “This is a really good hire. Really good.”

Said someone else familiar with the scouting/executive community in the NBA: “He’s a really good guy. No nonsense guy.”

In Utah, Perrin was most recently the VP of Player Personnel. Throughout his 19-year tenure in Utah, Perrin was regularly involved with Jazz drafts.

Utah has had plenty of strong picks during that time, including Paul Millsap (late second round, 2006), Gordon Hayward, Mo Williams (late second round pick in 2003), Rudy Gobert, and Donovan Mitchell.

The Jazz, of course, haven’t gotten every pick right during Perrin’s tenure (Trey Burke, Dante Exum), but the club’s hit rate with Perrin on board is impressive.

It’s rare that one person is solely responsible for a team drafting a player. It’s usually a collaborative process that ends with top decision-makers having the final say.

But it’s worth noting that Perrin was a driving force behind Utah selecting Mitchell in 2017. The Jazz traded up to the 13th spot in the draft to select the New York native. The Knicks had worked Mitchell out shortly before the draft but passed on him to select Frank Ntilikina.

Mitchell has blossomed into an All-Star. Perrin’s role in Utah’s decision to draft Mitchell has been well documented. But two people familiar with the dynamic said this week that Perrin “stuck his neck out” and “pushed really hard” for Utah to select Mitchell.

“Walt believed in him, and he wasn’t afraid to make a push for him,” one person familiar with the matter said.

And Zanin:

Zanin has been a scout with the Thunder for the past four years. Like Utah, the Thunder are respected throughout the league for their scouting on the college and pro level under Sam Presti.

“If Presti hires you, it says something (about your ability),” one opposing scout said when asked about Zanin.

Prior to his stint with Oklahoma City, Zanin worked closely with Billy King in Brooklyn. Zanin was an assistant GM with the Nets and elevated to acting GM after King’s dismissal. He stepped down after the Nets hired Sean Marks as general manager.

Zanin, who began his career with King in Philadelphia, was described by one opposing scout as a hard worker who doesn’t seek the spotlight. During his tenure as acting GM, Zanin was in the spotlight for a brief time — but not from his own actions.

Kobe Bryant and Zanin played at rival high schools in the Philadelphia area. The late Bryant endorsed Zanin for the full-time Brooklyn job with a tweet:

From the talk, it sure seems like Perrin has the better rep, as Zanin’s rep seems to come down to, “Well, Presti hired him, so he must be good” and “Kobe Bryant thought he would be a good GM, which means nothing, but it is nice to hear, I guess.”

But hey, positive things are still nice to here overall, right? Let’s hope that they do a good job with this year’s draft.

So, what number do you think Cole Anthony will wear?

Newsday: Knicks finalizing deal with Frank Zanin to be assistant GM, source says

From Steve Popper:

A day after adding Walt Perrin to serve as assistant general manager with a focus on college personnel, Knicks president Leon Rose will bring on former Nets assistant general manager Frank Zanin to pair with Perrin.

According to a league source, Zanin is finalizing a deal to serve as the Knicks assistant general manager/pro personnel. He joins Perrin and Brock Aller, who signed on earlier this month to serve as chief strategist, handling the salary cap

Zanin most recently served as a scout for the Thunder, a role he held the last four years. Prior to that, he served a variety of roles for the Nets, joining Billy King, who he had worked for with the 76ers, as a pro personnel scout and then earning promotions to director of player procurement and then assistant general manager.

He began his NBA career with the 76ers, serving as a scout for nine years in the city where he grew up – and played high school basketball where he developed a relationship with Kobe Bryant, who played for a rival school. Zanin got an endorsement for the Nets’ full-time GM job four years ago from Bryant, who tweeted, “Hope to see you in the GM seat for the @BrooklynNets @F1E2Z you have a great basketball mind and it’s time you get your shot #gogetit.”

Would I prefer the Knicks to be hiring some of the hot executives out there? Of course, but eh, at least so far Rose has been bringing in non-offensive guys, as well. It’s not like he’s bringing on Stephon Marbury as Assistant GM. These guys are all probably competent enough.

I also suspect that Rose will go for a big name next season,anyways, and these guys could just as easily serve that new big name.

Anyhow, just normal hires is a good day for the Knicks these days.

EDITED TO ADD: Stefan Bondy notes that Craig Robinson, Gerald Madkins and Harold Ellis will not be retained. Robinson was clearly way too close to Mills to stick around and I barely recall the other two guys, sadly.

NY Post: Knicks mailbag: They may have ruined their Giannis Antetokounmpo chances

We needed a new thread and I just had to share one of the most perfect examples of a New York newspaper “news” story that I’ve seen in quite some time.

From Marc Berman:

There is so much talk about Giannis (Antetokounmpo) being a free agent in ’21 and his being available to the Knicks. Do you think he’d really be interested in the Knicks given that he hates the team after the fiasco with his brother? — Sam V

The season’s potential cancellation will most hurt Milwaukee, which had a league-best 53-12 unit that many experts felt had the momentum to win the championship. Antetokounmpo seems to want to stay in Milwaukee when he becomes a 2021 free agent, but only if the Bucks stand as a title contender. Sources indicate the pandemic has changed things so drastically, it’s hard to pinpoint Antetokounmpo’s future plans.

Who knows what could happen with next season’s rosters — potentially Antetokounmpo’s last season in Brew City.

The Knicks’ lure is the bigger stage but they probably won’t be a winner in 2020-21. And we know Antetokounmpo was disappointed with the franchise when it didn’t give his brother, Thanasis, a 2013 second-round pick, a chance. Thanasis, who played just two games with the Knicks, is now with the Bucks.

Before the Knicks faced Milwaukee in London in 2015, Giannis told The Post, “I thought he [would] get called up before the game. I’m a little disappointed he’s not going to play tomorrow against me.”

Then came a weird remark in a documentary last season from one of Giannis’ agents, Giorgos Panou, who stated the Knicks were the lone team not to send a scout to Greece to watch Giannis play. The Knicks denied the charge.

Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother, has decided to skip college to play in Europe. The Knicks may have another chance to make good with Giannis in the 2021 draft.

I am sure Giannis is not coming here, either, but the idea that his mediocre brother not getting to play on the Knicks five years ago has any impact either way is laughable. For it to get a HEADLINE is just New York sports media at its finest.

For good measure, Berman later suggests that Cole Anthony could be a good draft pick if the Knicks miss out on Ball. Oh, Berman, never change. Wait, I didn’t mean that. I meant please change!

ESPN: Adam Silver preps NBA players for challenges ahead

It sure sounds like we’re actually going to see a playoffs, but the crazier thing will be what the NBA looks like next season, money-wise. We’re probably looking at a CBA where everyone agrees to pro-rate salaries next season, with player taking sizable pay cuts.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver prepared players for a potentially grim landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting there are no guarantees when fans could fully return to NBA arenas next season.

Silver said that 40% of the league’s revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas.

“This could turn out to be the single greatest challenge of all our lives,” Silver told the players.

ESPN acquired an audio replay of the National Basketball Players Association call, which included executive director Michele Roberts, NBPA president Chris Paul and several players asking questions of the commissioner in an hour-long session.

The tone was respectful, but Silver was asked some hard questions about safety issues, return-to-play ideas, how future seasons would be impacted and the financial realities of future salary caps and basketball-related income. Silver said no decision on returning to play this season needs to be made in May, nor immediately into the start of June.

Silver said returning to play this season at one or two potential sites — including Orlando and Las Vegas — made the most sense, and that no decision on the league season needed to be made before June.

“There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” Silver said. “We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start.”

Silver allowed that there would need to be some restrictions in place at a single or two-site scenario, but he told players: “The goal isn’t to have you go to a market for two months to sit in hotel room.”

Silver expressed a desire that the NBA complete its season with a traditional playoff structure that includes seven-game series in each round of the playoffs, but he left open the possibility of play-in tournaments to accommodate more teams in a shortened season resumption. Silver also told players that the start of next season could be pushed until December, regardless of whether this season was completed or not.

Through it all, Silver reminded players that these were issues that needed to be collectively bargained with the NBPA. Among those issues, he said, included how future basketball-related income and salary caps would be impacted with massive decreases in revenue.

He flatly told players about the current Collective Bargaining Agreement: “The CBA was not built for extended pandemics.”

SI.com: Five Alive: Jonathan Macri’s Perfect Knicks 2020-21 Starting Five

Jonathan Macri is a talented writer, and he delivered his perfect Knicks 2020-21 Starting Five to SI.com, opening with Chris Paul (who he would suggest that the Knicks get for the Charlotte second rounder, Dennis Smith Jr. and Julius Randle and “several expiring contracts,” but would the Thunder really want the Knicks’ dredges just to get out from Year 2 of Paul’s deal? That’s why Ian Begley’s proposed deals involved the Knicks dumping all of their salaries and accepting Paul into their cap space and thus only trading the Thunder Bullock and a young player, because why would the Thunder want to pay the Knicks’ garbage the same amount they were paying Paul?). He then hopes for the Knicks to win the lottery and get Anthony Edwards.

Might he be a train wreck on a team that gives him too much responsibility and can’t properly reign in his less desirable tendencies while he learns the lay of the land? Oh yes. Yes yes yes.

But would that be nearly as much of a worry with Chris Paul as the floor general? Not in the slightest.

I see no reason why Danilo Gallinari wouldn’t want to extend his time playing with the best point guard of his generation, so let’s say he comes back home to play the four on a two-year deal (second year partially guaranteed for $5 million) with whatever is left of New York’s cap space.

And of course that leaves Mitch to man the five.

I don’t get why Gallinari is accepting a partially guaranteed second year in this scenario.

Anyhow, that’s something for people to talk about. Macri is a good writer, but I don’t think our ideas of “perfect starting fives” match well. That said, I do like it when people call Barrett a three. That recent Post article about RJ Hampton that suggested an all-RJ backcourt? Argh!