The Knicks are bringing in another veteran point guard to camp, just to have a look.
There had been reports before they had interest in veteran Jarrett Jack, and he has convinced them his knees are healthy enough to deserve a shot. Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders was first with the story.
Ian Begley of ESPN added:
The New York Knicks and Jarrett Jack are expected to finalize their agreement on Friday or early next week, sources told ESPN. Jack is the second veteran point guard to join New York, which also inked Ramon Sessions earlier this summer. GM Scott Perry had said that he’d like to have veterans to help Rookie Frank Ntilikina.
Jack was a respectable point guard off the bench a couple of seasons ago, but has played just 40 games over the past two seasons due to knee injuries. He’s had multiple surgeries, the latest of which was last March after he had gotten a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. He’s going to have to prove he is healthy, first.
On paper heading into the season, the Knicks have one of the worst backcourts in the NBA. There is the veteran Ramon Sessions, rookie Frank Ntilikina, and the man they dramatically overpaid Ron Baker, and in a pinch Chasson Randle (his salary is not guaranteed until the first day of training camp, Sept. 26). A healthy Jack could get minutes in that group, but they have him on a non-guaranteed deal for a reason.
The Knicks have the aging veteran Ramon Sessions, the rookie Frank Ntilikina, and the wildly overpaid Ron Baker to play the point this season, all on guaranteed deals. Not thrilling options, but that’s your point guard core (with maybe some Chasson Randle in the mix, too, although his salary is not guaranteed until the first day of training camp, Sept. 26).
But they could add another guard for training camp and Ian Begley of ESPN threw out some interesting names.
Jack is a good veteran but is coming off multiple knee surgeries, the latest of which was last March after he had gotten a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. Burke washed out in Washington as a backup point guard after he had not panned out for Utah, either.
The Knicks are fairly set at both guard spots — Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee will split the bulk of the time at the two — but they are looking for guys for camp. New York has 14 guaranteed roster spots, if Randle is there when camp opens it’s 15 and there are no more openings.
The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.
But New York didn’t stop there.
The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.
But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.
Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.
After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.
Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.
There’s a rift between Knicks president Phil Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis skipped his exit interview in reported protest of the team’s dysfunction. This sure feels like retaliation from Jackson.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
The New York Knicks are not renewing the contract of assistant coach Josh Longstaff, according to a team official.
Longstaff, 34, was well-respected in the Knicks’ locker room, so the decision will likely come as a surprise to players.
Players such as Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Marshall Plumlee credited Longstaff and fellow assistant Dave Bliss with helping them with individual development. He played the same role in the development of Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway.
Longstaff was the assistant coach who was closest to Porzingis.
It’s hard to evaluate assistant coaches from the outside, and Longstaff wasn’t hired by Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek. There could be sound reasons to let Longstaff go.
But most of those players developed well under his tutelage. There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence he did his job well.
The Knicks can’t reasonably trade Porzingis, who’s one of the few bright spots on Jackson’s record. Without Porzingis, Jackson’s already-shoddy reputation as an executive would be completely shot.
So, this feels like a measured response by Jackson – a message that he can hurt Porzingis without resorting to dealing him from New York, where Porzingis says he wants to be. Follow orders, or your Knicks experience will become even worse.
Of course, that might not have been the Knicks’ intent when dropping Longstaff. But they’ll have to convince Porzingis if they want to repair their relationship with him.