分类目录归档:New York Knicks Store

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Allonzo Trier doesn’t know what the future holds. It’s as big a mystery to him as David Fizdale’s chances of finishing his second season.

The second-year Knicks shooting guard knows the present has not been ideal. The former Arizona star has not played in eight of the last 10 games.

During Monday’s horrific 44-point loss in Milwaukee, Trier made his first appearance in a non-garbage-time situation in three weeks.

Though he scored 10 points in 11 first-half minutes, Trier didn’t see any action during the second half — which was 24 minutes of garbage time.

The embattled Fizdale has not specified why Trier can’t get back in the rotation after his solid rookie season other than saying he has three other shooting guards on the roster (RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington and Damyean Dotson).

It is believed Trier’s isolation-style game is counter to Fizdale’s attempt to install a move-the-ball offense. Dotson, with his defensive energy and selflessness, is for now the better fit.

During training camp, Fizdale said Trier aimed to remove his nickname “IsoZo’’ from the conversation. Apparently, the Knicks coach still views the 23-year-old in that vein.

Enlarge ImageAllonzo Trier
Allonzo TrierNBAE via Getty Images
Trier is trying to remain patient.

“I come in every day, do my job and work on my game to try to get better,’’ Trier told The Post. “When I get in the game, I try to be a factor. If I’m not in the game, I try to spread knowledge and be a cheerleader.”

Trier, who was undrafted out of Arizona and originally signed with the Knicks as a two-way G-League player before his contract was reworked, will be a free agent this summer. Fizdale has been eager to play the veteran marksman Ellington over Trier, though Ellington is shooting just 30.9 percent from 3. Trier is shooting 51.2 percent overall — 46 percent from 3.

It’s a long season and there’s no telling whether Ellington will be either traded or waived at February’s deadline if the Knicks are out of the playoff race.

SEE ALSO

Knicks shockingly aren’t closer to scapegoating David Fizdale
“You take it head on,’’ Trier said of the demotion. “Be prepared whenever that time is, continue to work and get better and help this team if I’m playing or not. I got to accept that. They tell me to stay ready.’’

It’s a far cry from last season, when Fizdale beat the drum for Trier as a glossy part of a rookie trio along with Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. Trier was also known as a friend of Kevin Durant’s from his Oklahoma high school days and perhaps the organization viewed him then as a potential KD magnet.

When asked if he feels he will be a big part of the rotation later in the season, Trier became agitated.

“I don’t know,’’ Trier said. “C’mon. How am I supposed to answer that? It’s hypothetical. I can’t tell the future. I’m being a pro and trying to get better every day and trying to take it day by day.’’

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Kevin Knox doesn’t have to look very far to learn from another recent top-10 draft pick of the Knicks who spent entire games on the bench during his first two NBA seasons.

Frank Ntilikina went through what Knox experienced for the first time in his career Friday night, having a “DNP-CD” (Did Not Play — Coach’s Decision) attached to his name in the box score of the Knicks’ 101-95 loss to Philadelphia at the Garden.

Ntilikina, the eighth-overall pick in the 2017 draft, has started the past 14 games after spending several glued to the bench during his first two years in the league.

“Sometimes they’ve got to go through some tough love to find themselves and watch the game from 25,000 feet, see it, and see the things that I’m emphasizing,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said when asked about Knox after practice Saturday in Tarrytown. “I was tough on Frank last year and I just feel like Frank has come back with a whole different mindset about how he’s going to go about this season.

“I’ve been so happy with the way he’s played and produced. But I do think a little bit of tough love on some of these young guys isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

SEE ALSO

Knicks sink to new depths as Kevin Knox doesn’t play
The 20-year-old Knox, the ninth-overall selection in the 2018 draft, averaged 12.8 points and 28.8 minutes per game as a rookie, but those numbers have decreased to 7.8 points and 19.8 minutes through 19 appearances this season — all off the bench.

Asked what he learned from a similar experience earlier in his career, Ntilikina responded: “To stay with it and control what you can control. And see how I can affect the team even when I’m not playing, talk to teammates, give advice, be a great teammate and keep working in practice, keep working on your game, and the opportunity will come. Obviously it’s a long season. An opportunity will come. Most of it is how can I be a good teammate and still be part of the team.”

Fizdale added that Knox “will be a consideration, for sure,” to return to the rotation in Sunday’s home matinee against Boston, with leading scorer Marcus Morris listed as questionable with cervical spasms in his neck.

Even if Knox doesn’t play, he can learn from Ntilikina, who took Fizdale’s “tough love” to heart and tuned out any outside criticism from fans and media to find his way back into the rotation — and more recently, the starting lineup.

Enlarge ImageKevin Knox; David Fizdale
Kevin Knox; David FizdaleAnthony J. Causi
“Both of us were under scrutiny from you guys. We lived it together and we talked about it a lot together, that despite what people are saying, we’re going to constantly keep working to try to make him the best pro that he can possibly be,” Fizdale said. “Through all that, you find a bond and you build a stronger relationship.

“Now where we’re at, our connection now is really strong. Like I said, I’m so proud of the way the kid has grown up and the way he’s attacking the NBA now.”

Ntilikina, who did not play at all in the Knicks’ game Oct. 25 against the Nets, is averaging 8.1 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals with just 1.1 turnovers per game over his 14 consecutive starts. The 21-year-old point guard credited a meeting with Fizdale in the offseason for helping him “grow up” and return this year with a different mindset.

“There’s a lot of noise with this team, a lot of expectations. Around this city, a lot of expectations,” Ntilikina said. “Obviously, those expectations are for us to get better. But what we have to understand, too, is we have expectations, and [Fizdale] wants us to get better, and he wants us to be the best team possible. He wants us to be the best possible, that’s the same for every player.

“So I just gotta stay locked in, stay focused on us. It’s not really selfish, it’s just learning with the right mind and being able to perform at the best.”

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New York Knicks veteran power forward Taj Gibson says players on the team loved ex-coach David Fizdale.

Gibson says he was able to say goodbye to Fizdale on Friday, who was crying.

Taj Gibson says was one of few players still around yesterday when Fizdale got axe. Hugged him. Saw him tear up but said Fiz still motivating him to end. “Guys loved him,” Gibson said.

— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) December 7, 2019

Fizdale coached the Knicks at practice on Friday and told reporters he wasn’t worried about his job security. A few hours later, Fizdale was fired by the top brass. Life sure does come at you fast when you’re in the NBA.

After missing out on stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, the Knicks used their cap space on Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Gibson, Marcus Morris, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock. That’s a lot of power forwards on one team and guys who don’t really move the needle.

How was Fizdale supposed to win games with the roster he had this season? Fizdale was the fall guy in New York. RJ Barrett, Bobby Portis and Gibson showed their support for Fizdale multiple times, so it is clear the players liked and enjoyed playing for him.

At this point, it probably doesn’t matter who is coaching the Knicks. Their roster just isn’t good enough to compete, and it doesn’t help that James Dolan is universally recognized as the worst owner in the NBA.

New York has the worst record in the East.

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Knicks shooting guard Wayne Ellington is out for Saturday’s matchup against the Indiana Pacers with a sore left Achilles, the team announced.

Ellington has appeared in 18 of the team’s 22 games this season, but is averaging just over 14 minutes per game in his first year with the Knicks. He’s in the midst of the worst year of his 11-season NBA career, averaging career lows in field goal, free throw, and three-point percentage, and has reached double-figures in points just twice.

Allonzo Trier, who fell out of the rotation during the second half of November, has appeared in the last two games and could see more minutes in Ellington’s absence. Damyean Dotson should also get more of an increased role when the Knicks tip-off against the Pacers at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.

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The New York Knicks’ G-League squad recently played their first game, and Ignas Brazdeikis finally received his first steady dose of playing time.
Ignas Brazdeikis‘ 30-point game for the New York Knicks’ summer league team teased yet another second-round success, following in the footsteps of Mitchell Robinson. All seemed well, until the Knicks filled their roster with veteran free agents, limiting an imminent role once the regular season began.

It is hardly unusual for second-round picks to not receive a full role off the bat. They are not all like Robinson, who shined from the start on a worst-record-in-the-NBA Knicks team. Some of them land in the G League for extra playing time, and that has happened with the Michigan product.

On Monday, Brazdeikis began what will likely be a continuous, back-and-forth trip from the Knicks to Westchester, except his first game happened at Madison Square Garden against the Lakeland Magic. He played 29 minutes, finishing with 15 points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals and five turnovers on 6-for-13 shooting and 3-for-5 on three-pointers.

Brazdeikis did not play in Wednesday’s game, but due to the main-roster Knicks traveling to Chicago, where he played two minutes in garbage time.

Look for more Westchester reps for the 20-year-old guard/forward, who will probably not crack the Knicks’ rotation anytime soon, barring a trade or several injuries, even with a 2-9 record, which has shown no sign of improvement. The steady playing time is positive, though, rather than just watching and doing light practices for the next five months.

More G-League notes
Dennis Smith Jr. returned to the court from missed time, at 0-3 from the field, two rebounds, two steals and a -22. He spent two weeks from the New York Knicks, understandably not staying in basketball shape in that time. That opened speculation of the third-year point guard playing in the G League, which coach David Fizdale apparently considered. However, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post, he opted against it:

“We thought about it, but we just felt like it wasn’t an injury that took him out,” Fizdale said Wednesday. “It was more from a conditioning standpoint. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna play him, try to play him in smaller doses to get him back in shape. Obviously he’s doing a lot of court work, three-on-three, two-on-two. Today he had a full practice, which was great. “I don’t see us sending him down. No, he’s back with us now.”

That means Smith will play through his on-court struggles on the main stage, inserting himself into a point guard discussion that includes Frank Ntilikina starting and an injured Elfrid Payton. As long as one misses time, playing opportunities will remain for Smith. Once everyone is healthy, however, that’s when Fizdale’s decision making goes under the microscope, again.

Outside of the NBA links, Andrew White III has played stellar basketball, averaging 29 points in his first two games on 65.6 percent shooting. He had 39 points in Wednesday’s win.

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On Friday, the New York Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale just 22 games into his second season. Unhappy with the 4-18 start to the year, management decided it was time to move in another direction.

What that direction ends up being is anybody’s guess, but in the meantime they pegged Mike Miller as interim head coach. That name might not have the punch of a Mark Jackson or Becky Hammon, but Miller may turn out to be exactly what the Knicks need, and should be considered as more of a contender for the vacancy than a stopgap.

Miller hails from the G League, where he coached the Westchester Knicks – New York’s affiliate – for four seasons. In that stretch he made the playoffs three times and amassed a .540 regular season win percentage.

Miller took home Coach of the Year honors, voted on by fellow G-League head coaches and GMs, in 2017-18 following a 32-18 season in which the Knicks ranked third in defense and second in three-point percentage. He also oversaw the development of numerous G League success stories such as Luke Kornet, Kadeem Allen, Trey Burke, Billy Garrett, and Jimmer Fredette.

Prior to his Knicks stint, Miller served as an assistant with the Austin Spurs – San Antonio’s affiliate – for three years. The G League was Miller’s transition to the pros, but he had already spent over 20 years coaching at the college level, including as head coach for Texas State and Eastern Illinois.

He played collegiate ball as well, winning the 1984 Lone Star Conference Championship with East Texas State.

This resume should stand on its own – Miller is a tried-and-true basketball lifer. His teams emphasized defense and development, which his New York companions could use. But fans may remain iffy entrusting a coach they hardly know coming out of the NBA’s developmental league.

This could ultimately be in the Knicks’ favor.

First, Miller is already in tune to the organization. He’s been around it for four years and was an assistant for coach Fizdale this season. There should be few transition issues here, and other teams have found great success in hiring their head coaches out of the G-League.

Take Toronto, who won their first championship under Nick Nurse, who followed an extremely similar career path as Miller. Terry Stotts and Quin Snyder, coaches of the Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz respectively, each set off their coaching careers in the (then) D League.

Miller’s emphasis on development should be music to Knicks fans’ ears as well. This team is not going to win anything, at least this season, despite what management may be hoping for. This gives Miller a chance to show off his ability to grow young players. There have been too many instances of Kevin Knox or RJ Barrett off in the corner with nothing to do but watch their team’s veterans assume the offense for stretches at a time. Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson, two other intriguing prospects, weren’t receiving any playing time to start the season.

These hiccups for a franchise that wants to rebuild around its young core need to go, and Miller, not the fanciest retread name, is the man to make these changes.

Of course, the Knicks’ front office will have to see how Miller performs in his interim status before finalizing any decisions. Will he run a modern NBA offense after his Westchester teams finished last in three-point attempt rate in three of his four seasons? Can he correct some of Fizdale’s shortfalls such as a lack of identity, lack of creative play-calling and lack of opportunities given to developing pieces? All that is to be discovered.

Miller has a tough proposition in front of him: assume his first NBA head coaching role in the face of an unhappy franchise, a 4-18 hole to dig out of, veterans who want to compete and prospects who need development.

He may not be able to provide the Knicks everything that they want, but if he can come close, he deserves to be more than just the ‘interim’ head coach.

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Knicks forward and Brooklyn native Taj Gibson takes a shot at some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.

Q: Describe your on-court mentality.
A: Intense … real locked-in. And I turn into a different person, other than when I’m outside. I may smile to my family that’s sitting in the stands for one second, then it’s cold turkey. I don’t really know anybody else.

Q: Describe what that person is like on the court.
A: I’m ferocious. I’m gonna hit you. My job is to protect my teammates, set hard screens and just play ferocious. Just whatever it takes — dive on the floor, dive on the ball. It’s kind of like an out-of-body experience. Whatever it takes to get the job done, you don’t really care.

Q: So, you can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the boy.
A: You can’t, you can’t. Because it’s a dog-eat-dog world on that court. Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for you, especially in the pros. You just gotta go out there and just … you gotta headhunt.

Q: Describe the gangs in Los Angeles.
A: When I got to L.A., I didn’t really understand it ’cause I was a kid from Brooklyn, New York, so the New York Gauchos and a good coach in Gary Simms — rest in peace — he was known for taking a lot of guys out of Brooklyn and helping them get to good prep schools, so they sent me to Stoneridge Preparatory in California. … New York had the gangs, too, but it wasn’t too extreme the way it was in California. It was intense, but if you can survive in New York, you can survive anywhere. I didn’t have any problems. The New York in me just kind of protected me.

Q: How tough was it in Fort Greene?
A: Fort Greene has always been tough. … Fort Greene Ingersoll Houses has always been tough. It was a lot of murders, a lot of killings. To this day, I thank my dad personally for some days making me stay in the house, ’cause there was a lot of stuff going on outside. I lost a lot of friends that were just … young, and never got a chance to grow. I think my parents deserve most of the credit for just knowing when to keep me inside and keep me locked in.

Q: How close were the friends you lost?
A: We were real close. One thing about Fort Greene, we’re a tight-knit group. Fort Greene is just tough, I can’t even explain it to you. It was either play basketball, you rap, you sell drugs or you just be in the streets. But lucky for me, I’d wake up early, and back in the day when you used to wake up early, the drug dealers would be out early, and I used to be outside, and my neighborhood was so dope because they never bothered me. The drug dealers never bothered me. Sometimes they would even rebound for me. They’ll be out early in the morning and they’ll hoop with me. They’ll make sure I get my shots, they’ll challenge me, they’ll play pick up, they’ll do everything.

Enlarge ImageTaj Gibson
Taj GibsonAnthony J. Causi
Q: What about all the fights you had?
A: When I first started coming outside, I used to get picked on every day.

Q: Why?
A: Maybe sitting up straight. Maybe talking too proper. Maybe coming out smiling too much. One thing about Fort Greene, they used to beat me up for the smallest things. I got beat up maybe over 50 times. Every day I came outside I had to fight somebody (laugh). Every day! It creates toughness in you, and after a while, you just deal with it.

Q: Was there ever a time that you feared for your life?
A: Of course. You always got a sense of just being a little wary about the gunshots and worry about your safety, but … I had a good friend of mine, his name is Charles Wynn, rest in peace. At the time he was the best player in Fort Greene, in my opinion, in my age group. He used to always tell me growing up, he said, “Man, you got one life to live.” He said, “Where we come from, life’s taken for granted. So every time you come outside and you play ball, it should be a smile on your face knowing where we come from.” I got drafted in 2009. He was at my draft party. I was telling him I was scared. I didn’t really know where I was gonna get drafted. I was kind of crying, I was just a little nervous. He told me, “Whatchu crying for?” He’s like, “Where we come from … this is nuthin’. We already went through the hard part.” And my other best friend, which is coming out of jail after doing 9¹/₂ [years], his name is Tameek Floyd. He gets out of Fishkill Correctional Facility Dec. 12.

Q: How soon after the draft was Charles killed?
A: It was maybe a year or so later. He got shot in Canarsie.

Q: And how do you know Tameek?
A: We grew up together. He took me to the New York Gauchos.

Q: Why was he in prison?
A: He got caught up in the streets [burglary]. He’s college educated — just made a bad decision and ended up having to do 10 years in jail.

Q: Have you visited him?
A: Every year, I got pictures. Every year. I’ve been going to Downstate Correctional Facility and then when he got transferred to Fishkill Correctional Facility, I’ve been going up there ever since. I go up there every weekend almost.

Q: Has he been following your career?
A: He calls me every day. We talk every day for the last 10 years.

Q: What does it mean to you that he’s getting out?
A: It means the world to me, because he’s my best friend. Just ’cause he’s locked up don’t mean I’m gonna change.

For more on the Knicks, listen to the latest episode of the “Big Apple Buckets” podcast:

Q: How often did you go to the Garden as a kid?
A: My dad used to take me there all the time. My dad used to work for a carpentry company, so just like everything else blue-collar, we’d sit up in the rafters all the way up top. After a long day at work, he’d take me.

Q: Who were your favorite Knicks?
A: John Starks and then Patrick Ewing, of course. And then when I got to the league, one of the first people I met was Patrick Ewing.

Q: What was that like?
A: It was amazing. He was real down-to-earth, he was real cool, and to this day, everyone I’ve seen, he always asks how’s my family, how’s my brother doing? He’s a good guy.

Q: What was the first time you played at the Garden?
A: The very first time I played at the Garden was … USC versus Derrick Rose and Memphis [December 2007]. It was nerve-wracking. It was unique because it was one of my first games back home. It was fun, I got to see my friends and family come to the Garden.

Q: Any favorite Knicks memories?
A: The four-point play from LJ [Larry Johnson]. I wasn’t at that game, but I remember watching it vividly ’cause back then most of the people back in New York used to have their TVs outside with extension cords and watching it in front of the building. I remember LJ hit the four-point play, and I remember [former Knicks assistant coach] Tom Thibodeau, to this day, my old [Bulls] coach is on the sidelines screaming the way he always be screaming, yelling.

Q: Why does this city love the Knicks?
A: You’ll probably have to ask my dad and the guys before me, it’s just tradition, it’s what you grow up on.

Q: Describe the rivalry with the Nets.
A: Right now we’re just focusing on us.

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Q: But it’s electric in the building when you guys play the Nets, right?
A: Yeah, yeah. I think the city just loves the competitiveness of the games, and I think it’s good for the city.

Q: Describe Frank Ntilikina.
A: I love Frank. Frank is eager to learn, he’s eager to get better. I think he’s taking the next step, which is understanding what he has to do to become a good professional basketball player in this league. When I first met Frank, he was just a totally different kid. He really didn’t understand it, I think, right then and there. He’s only scratched the surface.

Q: Mitchell Robinson.
A: Pure talent. He’s playing off of pure talent. He’s only scratched a little bit of the surface.

Q: How good can he be?
A: He can be All-World if he wants. He works extremely hard every morning with me, and he’s extremely competitive. And he listens. And you can’t teach those things.

Q: RJ Barrett.
A: Same thing like Mitch and Frank. Super-competitive, eager to learn, always willing to listen. He has a grown man frame already.

Q: What is your best single basketball moment, other than this interview?
A: Other than this interview was going to the [2011] Eastern Conference finals. Just knowing how hard it is to win basketball games in the NBA, but when you’re locked in with a group guys, to have a bond and you’re in the heat of the battle each and every night, especially going against everybody’s opinion on you, telling you you can’t do something, you can’t do this and you overachieve in it, that’s the best feeling in the world.

Q: What was it like beating Kevin Durant and Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007?
A: It was cool. Understanding that you’re competing at a higher level. All these things and dreams as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, you wish to have. You wish to go play for a big school, you wish to go get a college education. You dream all these things while playing on the pickup run in front of your building … late nights when you’re outside shooting on the rim and it’s raining outside.

Enlarge ImageKnicks
Julius Randle celebrates with Taj GibsonGetty Images
Q: Describe the young Derrick Rose.
A: Fast, athletic, just a beast.

Q: Boyhood idol?
A: Ed “Booger” Smith and Omar Cook. They’re both from my neighborhood. They’re both real inspirational as far as just basketball in the whole New York City.

Q: Did you ever run into Bernard King or Albert King?
A: I saw Albert at the Brooklyn Nets game like year before last, and I was astonished ’cause I’ve been trying to meet them almost my whole life. And then I met Bernard during training camp. It was so surreal because I grew up in Fort Greene just always hearing about them, and almost every kid in my neighborhood is just trying to be just like them, so they were like an urban legend that you never got a chance to see.

Q: What did you say to Bernard?
A: It was just like, “Man, I’ve been hearing about you my whole life. A great feeling to finally get a chance to meet you.”

Q: Three dinner guests?
A: Biggie Smalls, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy.

Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Casino.”

Q: Favorite actor?
A: Wesley Snipes.

Q: Favorite actress?
A: Halle Berry.

Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
A: Jay-Z.

Q: Favorite meal?
A: Snow crab legs.

Q: New York or Chicago pizza?
A: New York.

Q: Hobbies?
A: I like to go to museums on my day off. I want to help in my community, I want to bring jobs to my community, I want to build different things around my community and help the next generation move on.

Q: Superstitions?
A: Whatever brings me good luck, we try to remix it (smile).

Q: Has this been the career you imagined as a kid?
A: No, to be honest with you. I thought I was gonna be a carpenter or a firefighter. I really wanted to be a firefighter growing up. The local fire department in my neighborhood was the 110. I’ve been going to that fire station since I was a kid (smile). When I got a flat tire, you can always count on going to the fire stations for flat tires, get drinks of water, maybe have cookies and milk. Those are old memories I remember growing up in Fort Greene doing.

Q: But no regrets not becoming a firefighter?
A: I just got a little too tall for it, I guess (smile), but I really wanted to be a firefighter. My parents’ll tell you that. But my dad was a master carpenter, so that was always in the back of my pocket.
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Q: What drives you?
A: My neighborhood. Knowing that I got people watching me. I got people just depending on me. I want to do the right thing for my neighborhood, set the tone for the next generation.

Q: How much longer do you want to play?
A: However many years the man above allows me to play. Every day I get up I have a smile on my face and I thank the man above, and I just go out there and I just play.
Q: What are you most proud of about your career?
Q: That I was a late first-round pick [26th overall by the Bulls in 2009], and I’m playing in the NBA a whole decade later (smile) after everybody in my draft class kind of weathered off.

Q: Did you want the Knicks to draft you?
A: Of course! I was talking to Allan [Houston] about it. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m here now, that’s all that matters.

Q: What’s it like for you being a New York Knick?
A: It’s amazing, man. Every day I come here I get to look at the retired numbers in the rafters. … I look at the logo on the main court … then I get to walk in the back, I see the weight room, I see all the festivities that’s at my disposal. It still feels like my first year in the NBA for me. I don’t take anything for granted. Every day I come into the gym I smile and I’m super-happy, I’m super-electric and I’m ready to practice.

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In our first look this season at the early contenders for NBA Sixth Man of the Year, we find a mix of new faces and old standbys, but the top is familiar.
When it comes time to hand out the NBA honors sometime a couple of decades after the regular season wraps up (nope, still not a fan of the post-NBA Draft basketball Oscars show), the Sixth Man of the Year honor has almost exclusively rested within the purview of the scoring savants, the players that can come in and instantly start cooking at the offensive end.

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In the 37 years the NBA has awarded the Sixth Man of the Year, there have only been three winners who scored less than 10 points per game — Bobby Jones of the Philadelphia 76ers (9.0 PPG in 1982-83, the first year the award was handed out), Bill Walton of the Boston Celtics (7.6 PPG in 1985-86) and Anthony Mason of the New York Knicks (9.9 PPG in 1994-95).

So it’s been awhile since a bench player not known for offensive firepower has been the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. At the other end of the scale, there have been three winners who topped 20 points per game the year they won.

Eddie Johnson of the Phoenix Suns was the first when he averaged 21.5 points per game in 1988-89 and Ricky Pierce of the Milwaukee Bucks topped that with 23.0 points per game the next season — still the highest scoring average ever for an NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

Lou Williams of the LA Clippers, a three-time winner who has taken the trophy each of the last two seasons, is the other 20-point-a-game reserve, topping the mark each of the last two seasons — 22.6 PPG in 2017-18 and 20.0 PPG last year.

Williams is one of only three active players to have won the award. The others are Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets (2016-17) and Rockets star James Harden, a winner with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12.

In determining how many players who be placed on the ladder, we looked at the last five years of voting results. An average of 7.2 players per year received first-place votes on the last five seasons’ worth of ballots, so the ladder for this season will go seven players deep.

That means close but no cookie for former MVP Derrick Rose of the Detroit Pistons, rejuvenated Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Toronto Raptors and Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards — all solidly in contention, but trailing the group listed below.

Meanwhile, second-year sensation Devonte’ Graham became ineligible for the list by starting Friday night for the Charlotte Hornets in Detroit. Graham now has 10 starts in 20 games; the criteria for NBA Sixth Man of the Year is that a player come off the bench in more games than he starts.

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The Mavericks and the New York Knicks have consummated a six-player trade that sends center Tyson Chandler back to Dallas.

The Mavericks, who immediately made reacquiring Chandler one of their priorities after their first-round playoff exit against San Antonio, completed a trade with the Knicks that was clinched by agreeing to take back the contract of New York’s out-of-favor guard Raymond Felton as well.

The trade cost Dallas two starters — point guard Jose Calderon and center Samuel Dalembert — along with prized young point guard Shane Larkin, reserve guard Wayne Ellington and the 34th and 51st picks in Thursday’s draft.

The Knicks have agreed to trade Tyson Chandler (left) and Raymond Felton to the Mavericks. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
The deal was first reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

Chandler is the player Dallas has missed most since it decided to let go several key contributors in free agency after the team’s championship run in 2011.

Chandler, 31, wound up landing a four-year, $60 million deal in free agency with the Knicks that year, a deal that has one season remaining.

The departures of Chandler and Felton are believed to be just the start of a roster overhaul by new Knicks president Phil Jackson, with Jackson pursing as much salary-cap flexibility as he can in the hopes of convincing star free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony to stay.

“The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues,” Jackson said in the announcement. “We have added players with this move that will fit right in to our system while maintaining future flexibility.

“We would like to thank Raymond and Tyson for their time and hard work with the organization over the past few years.”

If the Knicks keep all players acquired in the deal they will have saved $3 million in cap space for this summer but forfeited $5.2 million in cap space in the summer of 2015, when they are expected to chase big-name free agents. The Knicks are currently over the salary cap and will only be able to use trade exceptions to lure free agents this summer.

The Mavericks will have approximately $26.5 million in salary cap space before re-signing Dirk Nowitzki to a hometown discount deal. A source told ESPNDallas.com that the Mavs’ front office is optimistic that the addition of Chandler significantly increases the team’s odds of successfully recruiting LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, two superstars available in free agency.

“It makes us real players for LeBron and Carmelo,” the source said, adding that pairing one of the perennial All-Star small forwards with Nowitzki and Chandler could give Dallas the NBA’s premier frontcourt.

With Chandler entering the final season of his contract, the Mavs then also would be positioned to make a run next summer at another premier free agent, such as Kevin Love, Marc Gasol or Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge.

“We think Tyson makes our defense better and we still maintain quite a bit of cap flexibility,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com via email.

Chandler was the emotional catalyst for the Nowitzki-led Mavericks when they beat the Miami Heat in six games to win the franchise’s first title in 2011.

Cuban made the much-debated decision not to offer him a long-term contract because of concerns over how the new labor deal would keep Dallas from making other moves. Chandler, who had a history of injuries, turned down a one-year deal worth about $20 million for the security of the four-year contract with the Knicks.

Chandler is going into the final season of that deal at $14.5 million, and Felton has one year at $3.8 million with a player option for another season in the same range.

Calderon just finished the first season of a four-year, $28 million contract with the Mavericks, who also signed Monta Ellis to a multiyear deal last summer. It was the first time Dallas had committed to any player beyond one year since Nowitzki signed his most recent extension in 2010.

Nowitzki will join Anthony in free agency, but he is expected to re-sign with the Mavericks.

The Knicks are getting one of the best 3-pointer shooters and a steady hand at the point in Calderon, but he sometimes sat late in close games because he was a defensive liability. He averaged 11.4 points and shot 45 percent from 3-point range last season.

Felton is coming off a trouble-plagued season that included his arrest in February in a felony gun possession case. He was expected to plead guilty in exchange for community service and a $5,000 fine.

Felton, who turns 30 on Thursday, averaged a career-low 9.7 points and saw a significant drop in his shooting percentage last season.

Dalembert had an up-and-down season in the first year of a two-year deal with Dallas, while Larkin and Ellington were used sparingly.

Larkin, the son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin and a first-round pick a year ago, saw his playing time drop dramatically when Devin Harris returned from toe surgery at midseason.

Harris is a free agent and wants to return to Dallas, but he would like the three-year contract he and the Mavericks agreed to last year before the toe injury scuttled the deal. He settled for a one-year contract.

Information from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon, ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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January 15, 1990: The game that birthed the Trent Tucker Rule

On this memorable MLK day in 1990, Trent Tucker enshrined himself into Knicks folklore with a buzzer-beating shot to defeat the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. With the game tied at 106, Tucker received the inbounds pass and made the game-winning three pointer with 0.1 seconds left to win the game 109-106.

Upon further review, the clock didn’t start until Tucker’s shot was in mid-air. Consequently, Phil Jackson, then first-year head coach of the Bulls, filed a protest with the league. The argument, which is valid, stated that it’s impossible to receive a pass and shoot the basketball in less than 0.1 seconds. However, timekeeper Bob Billings and head referee Ronnie Nunn disagreed with the premise and stated that the calls on the floor were correct. As a result, the NBA disallowed their protest.

Around that time, then-commissioner David Stern recently required NBA arenas to comply with a FIBA rule to register tenths of seconds within the final minute of each quarter. Most of the scoreboards used at the time – manufactured by American Sign & Indicator (AS&I)1 – were not able to accurately register fractions of seconds. In some instances, there would be games where the shot clock would freeze at 0.1 seconds.

After the game, Stern further required all arenas to calibrate their shot clocks. Eventually, most teams transitioned from AS&I scoreboards to the Daktronics models seen in most areas.

More importantly, Stern instituted the “Trent Tucker Rule” where a shot can’t be taken with less than 0.3 seconds on the clock. The rule doesn’t prohibit tip-ins or alley-oops, especially in the case of David Lee’s basket in the 2006-07 season.

January 15, 2001: The Marcus Camby punch that almost connected

In what appeared to be a drama-free blowout on MLK day in MSG, Marcus Camby had other plans on that particular afternoon. With just over 3 minutes left in the game, Marcus Camby received an flagrant (or maybe intentional?) strike from Danny Ferry near his eye after attempting to grab an offensive rebound. As the refs attempted to eject Ferry, Camby lunged into Ferry, causing some refs to restrain him.

After things seemed to dissipate and as Ferry was heading towards the locker room, Camby inexplicably went after Ferry to punch him. Instead of striking Ferry, he instead headbutted Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy needed to receive more than a dozen stitches after the game due to bleeding from a gash above his eye.

After the game, the NBA suspended Camby 5 games for the attempted punch and headbutt. Danny Ferry received a 1 game suspension for his flagrant foul. It was disappointing for the Knicks, especially since the team won 9 of their previous 10 games. It was another instance of a lack of compsure that plagued some of the Knicks (i.e. Chris Childs, Kurt Thomas) during their playoff heyday.