Hawks deal Cam Reddish to Knicks

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired forward Kevin Knox II and a conditional future first-round pick (Charlotte’s protected first-round pick) from the New York Knicks in exchange for forwards Cam Reddish and Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick and cash considerations, the teams announced Thursday.

Because of what Atlanta has in terms of wing players(Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter), Reddish became expendable. Atlanta(17-23), who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season, brought the whole team back this season, but they are struggling, and they needed to make a change, and there could be more moves on the way.

Also, it should be interesting to see if Knox, who was buried on the Knicks bench, will benefit from a change of scenery.

Regarding the Knicks(21-21), they, too, are off to a slow start, and getting a talent like Reddish, who reunites with his former college teammate at Duke, R.J. Barrett, can help, but we’ll see how he fits with New York going forward as they are also crowded at the wing spots.

This season, the 22-year-old Reddish, who was the 10th overall pick by the Hawks in 2019, is averaging 119. points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per contest.  

Knox, 22, is averaging 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game. The former Kentucky star was the ninth overall pick by the Knicks in 2018.

Suns’ Williams on Booker: ‘He likes to kill; That’s who he is’

The Phoenix Suns are rolling and playing some big-time basketball right now. That train rolled into Madison Square Garden on Friday night for a quick stop, they handled business, and now it’s off to Brooklyn as the Suns routed the Knicks 118-97 to win their 15th straight game. 

Phoenix(16-3) led New York(10-9) by as many as 17 points in the first half and had a 13-point halftime lead. The Suns dominated the second half and led by as many 22 points in the third and by as many as 24 points in the game.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Suns’ win over Knicks at MSG:

The Great for the Suns:

-Devin Booker loves New York, and he balled out on Friday night. Coming into this game, Book was averaging over 30 points and shooting over 50% a contest at MSG. On Friday, Booker had 21 of his 32 points in the first half on 14/27 from the field, including four threes. 

“A lot of guys say they want to play on this stage, [Booker] really does,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said post-game. “He likes to kill. That’s who he is.”

-Chris Paul was his usual self. Paul, who is leading the NBA in assists per game, had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. The Point Gawd just knows how to play the point guard position at an elite level. Paul got everyone involved as Phoenix had seven players in double figures.

-Deandre Ayton had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. This was Ayton’s third consecutive double-double.

Shooting: Phoenix shot 55% from the field against the Knicks, including 46% from downtown(13/28). The Suns have shot 50-plus percent from the field in five consecutive games and eight times on the season and are 8-0 in those games.

Defense: The Suns turned 16 Knick turnovers into 25 points. In addition, they held New York to 37% shooting from the floor. During their 15-game winning streak, Phoenix has held teams below 100 points seven times.

The Not So Great:

You win 15 straight; you dominate pretty much from start to finish. It’s all great for the Suns right now.

Bottom Line:

The Suns have everything clicking right now. They had seven players in double figures, including all five starters; their big three of Booker, Ayton, and Paul are playing well, and again, they have won 15 straight(second-longest in team history). It should be interesting to see if they can keep the streak alive and equal the franchise mark of 17 consecutive wins by the 2006-07 Suns, as they have the Nets and Warriors next. 

What’s Next:

Phoenix finishes off their four-game road trip in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Best of the Rest:

Kemba Walker led the Knicks with 17 points, and Immanuel Quickley had 16 points off the bench.

-Cam Payne had 12 points and six assists, and Cam Johnson added 10 points off Phoenix’s bench.

-The Suns have now won seven consecutive games over the Knicks, the longest winning streak over New York in franchise history.

Watch Below as Booker and Paul react to Suns’ win over Knicks:

Mavericks sign free agent G Frank Ntilikina

The Dallas Mavericks have officially signed free agent guard Frank Ntilikina, the team announced on Thursday.

Ntilikina, 23, was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and was selected one pick before the Mavs selected Dennis Smith with the ninth pick.

Last season in New York, Ntilikina averaged 2.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.6 assist per contest.

After four seasons with the Knicks, he holds career averages of 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 19.5 minutes in 211 games (55 starts).

Before being drafted by New York, the French native began his professional career in 2015 with SIG Strasbourg of the French Pro A League. Ntilikina was named the league’s Best Young Player in both seasons he competed for Strasbourg.

Ntilikina recently competed with the French national team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, bringing home a silver medal.

With the addition of Ntilikina, the Mavericks training camp roster to 20 players.

 

Knicks’ Thibodeau named NBA Coach of the Year

The New York Knicks made a tremendous turnaround this season, and because of that, their head coach Tom Thibodeau received the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced on Monday.

This is the second NBA Coach of the Year Award for Thibodeau, who earned the honor in the 2010-11 season with the Chicago Bulls in his first season as an NBA head coach.  Now honored in his first season as the Knicks’ head coach, Thibodeau has become the first person to be named NBA Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach with two different franchises.

With Thibodeau as head coach, New York finished tied for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference (41-31) and made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.  The Knicks won 16 of their final 20 games to complete a turnaround from last season’s overall record of 21-45.

Thibodeau received 43 first-place votes and earned 351 total points to edge Phoenix head coach Monty Williams, who finished in second place with 340 points (45 first-place votes).  The 11-point difference between the first- and second-place finishers marks the smallest margin since the current NBA Coach of the Year voting format was introduced in the 2002-03 season.

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder finished in third place with 161 points (10 first-place votes).  Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.

Thibodeau is the 10th head coach to win the NBA Coach of the Year Award more than once and the eighth to do it with multiple franchises.

New York hired Thibodeau as its head coach on July 30, 2020.  Before joining the Knicks, he served as head coach of the Bulls for five seasons (2010-15) and the Minnesota Timberwolves over three seasons (2016-19).

Mavs’ Carlisle: When his(Randle) shot-making is like it was tonight, it’s just very, very difficult’

Before Friday’s showdown between the Knicks and Mavericks, Rick Carlisle had this to say about Dallas native and Knicks All-Star Julius Randle.

“Randle’s an All-Star,” Carlisle said. “He loves coming back home and playing here.” 

Boy, was Carlisle right about Randle on Friday night.

Randle had a season-high-tying 44 points (16-29 FG, 6-11 3FG), added 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Knicks(30-27) defeated the Mavericks(30-25) 117-109 at American Airlines Center.

The Knicks have won five straight, which is their longest winning streak in seven seasons.

Randle became the first Knick with 40-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists in a game since Bernard King in 1985.

“I always love playing at home in front of my friends, in front of my family,” Randle said after the game. “I never take those moments for granted.”

R.J. Barrett chipped in with 24 points for New York. Former Knick Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas and Luka Doncic had 22 points to go with eight rebounds and a career-high-tying 19 assists, but this night was about Randle.

“He(Randle) got going early tonight,” Carlis said after the game. “I think he may have hit one shot early, and then we were able to keep him at bay… When his shot-making is like it was tonight, it’s just very, very difficult.”

Dorian Finney-Smith, who spent time defending Randle and finished with 13 points, added: “Obviously, he has stepped his game up. He has been working, and you are seeing it. He is like a totally different player out there. Right before halftime, he hit me with a tough step-back 3. That is not a shot that he was shooting a couple of years ago, but he has all that.”

In their last meeting at Madison Square Garden back in March, where Dallas won 99-86. The Mavericks held the Knicks to 36% from the field, including 31% from downtown, and held Randle to 14 points(5-20 from the field). However, on Friday night, the Knicks shot 51% from the field, including 50% from three-point range.

“We needed to do more to make it harder on their whole team,’ Carlisle said. “They shot over 51%, and they shot 50% from three. We just didn’t take much of anything away.”

Dallas did not defend well enough to win on Friday night, and much credit goes to the play of Randle and the Knicks, but if the Mavericks want to move up in the standings and be the team that they want to be, they have to take advantage of home(13-13).

Dallas continues their five-game homestand on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings.

Porzingis on win over Knicks: ‘Defense won us this game’

It was not the prettiest of games, but in the NBA, a win is a win, and the Mavericks(26-21) got another road win as they defeated the Knicks(24-25) 99-86 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Dallas was without their head coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning. However, Carlisle, who stayed back at the team hotel, revealed that he was fully vaccinated in January and believed the test was a false positive. 

After the game, it was disclosed by assistant Jamahl Mosley that the 61-year-old Carlisle was cleared to travel to Washington with the team as they finish up their five-game road trip against the Wizards on Saturday night.

Without Carlisle, Mosley coached the game for the Mavericks, and he got an enormous effort out of Luka Doncic and the team on the defensive end.

Doncic finished with a game-high 26 points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter and Jalen Brunson added 15 points. For the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley led the way with 20 points.

Dallas had a workmanlike performance on Friday night, which got it done against the Knicks. 

“Sometimes you’re going to win ugly,” Doncic said after the game. “You gotta win ugly. That means when things don’t go right, you gotta step up together and win the game. I think Maxi(Kleber) did an amazing job today with (Julius)Randle(5-20 FG, 14 points). He was tremendous.”

Dallas led by three going into the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks were able to push the lead to as much as 15 in the final quarter. The Knicks were held to 17 points in the quarter and shot 26% from the field, and according to Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 14 points on Friday night, the defense was the reason for the victory.

“In the end, defense won us the game,” he said. 

Porzingis, who was selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and spent three seasons in New York before demanding a trade and being shipped to Dallas in 2019, was booed every time he touched the ball by the Garden faithful, which he expected.

“The reaction is what I expected again, of course,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy we got the win.”

The Mavericks have now won three straight, and it appears they may have found themselves at this point of the season, which is a good sign with 25 games left. 

Oakley on Dolan: ‘Why would you bury the hatchet with someone who dragged you out of the place?’

Former Knicks legend Charles Oakley has no love for the owner of the Knicks James Dolan, and who could blame him. Oakley was arrested and charged with assault after an altercation with security at MSG during a Knicks’ game back in 2017.

Oakley, 54, would eventually reach a plea deal, which allowed him to have the charges removed from his record if he stayed out of trouble. Also, it called for Oakley to be banned from the Garden for one year.

This was an ugly incident, and quite frankly, very sad.

Recently, when asked by TMZ Sports if he is willing to make peace with Dolan, Oakley had this to say:

“Why would you bury the hatchet with someone who dragged you out of the place?” Oakley told TMZ Sports.

You can understand Oakley’s take on this situation. Oakley and Dolan had been at odds for years. However, legends like Oakley, who spent 10 seasons in New York, should always be welcomed at MSG. While the Knicks did not win a title during Oakley’s time in New York, he was apart a great era of basketball. Hopefully, the Knicks can make this situation right in the near future.

Report: David Fizdale to be named Knicks head coach

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the New York Knicks will hire former longtime Miami Heat assistant and former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale.

Fizdale is expected to sign a four-year deal with the Knicks, according to the report.

After the leading the Grizzlies to the playoffs in 2017, Fizdale was fired by the Grizzlies after the team got off to a slow start this season.