Reporting with @MarcJSpearsESPN: Free agent Marcus Morris — who committed to a two-year, $20M Spurs deal w/ player option — is re-considering agreement. Morris is now considering a free agent deal with Knicks, who'll have additional cap space with reworking of Bullock deal.
Backing out of his agreement with the Spurs would not look good for Morris. That’s especially true this far after the moratorium, which ended Saturday. The NBA makes clear that no agreements reached during the moratorium are binding. Everyone treats those agreements as binding anyway, and it’s still a big deal to renege on one. But at least the league rules provide some cover. Now, it’d be even more ruthless.
San Antonio already tradedDavis Bertans, a helpful rotation player, to the Wizards to make room for Morris and DeMarre Carroll. The Spurs would be left in a tough spot without Morris.
Morris has felt betrayed by a team before. He might not mind returning the favor, even if the harmed team isn’t the Suns. Morris could just view it as business after how he was treated.
A $15 million salary gives him plenty of reason to back out. He might also like playing in New York.
But Morris would be joining a worse team with a worse fit. The Knicks already have Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson in line for minutes at power forward. Morris would also surely play small forward, but he’s more effective at power forward. Still, Morris would be one of New York’s better free-agent additions this summer by current production.
The Knicks must clear enough cap space to pay Morris $15 million. Waiving Damyean Dotson would get them close but not all the way there. They could also include unlikely incentives (based on last year’s results) that would be relatively achievable.
Clearing cap room becomes more difficult if Bullock gets more than the room exception, but the way things are trending, that seems unlikely. What a tough break for him.
And maybe San Antonio.
Report: Reggie Bullock agrees to join Knicks on two-year, $21 million contract
This is a nice pickup for the Knicks, Bullock is a guard who can shoot the rock (37.7 percent from three last year) and do a little bit of everything at the guard spot next to Dennis Smith Jr. (or off the bench in a rotation with Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier). Most of Bullocks’ shot attempts are from three, but that’s something New York could use.
Bullock doesn’t exactly make up for the day the Knicks had, but he is a nice get for where the team is right now.
Atlanta Hawks trade two second round picks for cash
The Atlanta Hawks came into this year’s NBA Draft with six picks: No. 8 and No. 10 in the lottery, No. 17 (acquired recently as part of the Allen Crabbe/Taurean Prince trade), plus three second rounders (35, 41, 44). While the Hawks are a young team looking for players to develop on the Trae Young and John Collins timeline, they were never going to use all six of those picks for players they wanted.
So they have sold off two of those picks for cash.
First, the No. 44 pick to the Miami Heat, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Sources: Miami sent Atlanta $1.88M in cash for the No. 44 overall pick in the Draft, which could set the market for picks in that range. https://t.co/WZ0DirXZZw
Now the No. 41 has been traded to Golden State, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the team.
ESPN Sources: Golden State has acquired Atlanta’s No. 41 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft. The cost: $1.3M and a 2024 second-round pick. Atlanta moved No. 44 to Miami yesterday. Hawks have Nos. 8, 10, 17 and 35 tonight. Golden State has Nos. 28, 41 and 58.
Atlanta has been active trying to package a couple of their first-round picks to move up in the draft, something that could come together on a very active draft night. This is shaping up to be one of the most trade-heavy, chaotic drafts in years and Atlanta could be right in the middle of it.
James Dolan says no current Knicks will become centerpiece of team, predicts success in free agency
We hear from people all the time – from players, from representatives – who wants to come. We can’t respond because of the NBA rules, etcetera. But that doesn’t stop them from telling us. And they do. And I can tell you from what we’ve heard, I think we’re going to have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents.
The thing about the team now is that it’s very young. It’s the youngest team in the NBA. You take a look at the some of the players that we have. And they won’t be the centerpiece of the team. But as complements to the centerpieces of the team, we’re developing them right now. And you get guys like Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo and Noah, Dotson, the whole team. They’re getting better.
I wouldn’t bet on Knox, Robinson, Trier, Noah Vonleh or Damyean Dotson becoming the centerpiece of a good team. But I’m not any of those players.
I wonder how they feel about their team’s owner publicly declaring they won’t become the centerpiece. I also wonder how they feel about their team’s owner looking like he needs notes to remember their names.
Likewise, I wonder how anyone who gave New York advance warning about going there feels about Dolan outing that step. Especially if it’s Durant and/or Irving. Those two have beentesty about people connecting them to the Knicks. Dolan’s remark will only increase speculation about Durant and Irving going to New York.
Three Things to Know: Knicks snap 18-game home losing streak, Spike Lee finds out at Oscars
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Knicks snap 18-game home losing streak, Spike Lee finds out at Oscars. The key to the Knicks winning their first game in Madison Square Garden since Dec. 1 apparently was to have superfan Spike Lee on the other side of the country.
Lee was at the Oscars in Los Angeles, winning one for Best Adapted Screenplay for ““BlacKkKlansman” (and not being thrilled with the “Green Book” best picture win) when Samuel L. Jackson informed Lee the Knicks won.
Lee appears to yell back “We’re trying to tank,” which is just what Adam Silver wants for the league on a national broadcast. Not that the tanking has gone great suddenly, the Knicks have now won 2-of-3. Don’t worry about lottery though, the Knicks still have the second-worst record in the NBA, which means a 14 percent chance of Zion Williamson and a 47.8 percent chance of picking fifth or sixth.
Early on Sunday it didn’t look like the Knicks would win, they were doing very Knicks things.
Then things turned around as the Knicks got good games from guys who could be part of whatever future is to come in New York. Damyean Dotson led the way with 27 points, knocking down eight 3-pointers along the way. New point guard Dennis Smith Jr. had 19 points and 13 assists (plus a spectacular missed dunk), and Mitchell Robinson added 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
Everyone talks about Sacramento and maybe the Lakers passing the Clippers for the final playoff slot in the West, but the Spurs are tied with the Clippers for the 7/8 seed and have lost 6-of-7 on the Rodeo road trip (with one game remaining, Monday in Brooklyn). They are the team in real danger of falling out in the West, although fivethirtyeight.com has San Antonio with an 85 percent chance of making the postseason. The Spurs remaining schedule is tougher than the Clippers and Kings, Gregg Popovich and company need o find some wins once they get back home.
2) Raptors fall to Magic, seem destined for the two seed… which may not be such a bad thing. Orlando is suddenly playing good basketball — they have won 8-of-10 and are now just a game out of the playoffs in the East. They have done it with the best defense in the NBA over the last 10, giving up just a point per possession, and the offense has been solid, resulting in a +13.6 net rating. Orlando has simply been good.
The latest victim, the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors — without Kawhi Leonard for the night — scored 98 points per 100 in Sunday’s game. Toronto just could not finish over Orlando’s length, shooting 46.2 percent in the paint for the night. While Marc Gasol (who started) showed some chemistry with Kyle Lowry, the big man the Raptors picked up at the deadline was wholly outplayed by All-Star Nikola Vucevic all game. The holes in Gasol’s game at this point in his career are showing up and being exploited.
Next up for the Raptors is Boston on Tuesday, that should be a real test.
With Sunday’s loss, the Raptors are two games back of the Bucks for the top seed in the East and seem unlikely to catch them. The Raptors are also 3.5 up on the three seed and hobbled Pacers, and 5.5 up on the four-seed Sixers. Which is to say, the Raptors seem destined for the two seed — and that could be a good thing, so long as the Pacers hold on to the three seed. If the standings stay in this order for the top five, the Raptors crush the Pistons/Hornets/Magic in the first round, while the Pacers get a gritty but beatable Brooklyn team, and the Celtics and 76ers have a brutal first-round matchup. In the second round, the Raptors would face the Nets/hobbled Pacers, while the Celtics/Sixers winner gets the Bucks. Suddenly the Raptors are through to the conference finals having avoided the most dangerous teams, they should be fresh. There are 23 (or so) games left and the standings can shift, but things could be lining up well for Toronto.
3) Ja Rule’s halftime show in Milwaukee did not go as planned. On the bright side, it went better than the Fyre Festival.
Ja Rule seems a pretty good get for Saturday night in Milwaukee and a far better option than most NBA halftime shows (not Gary The Amazing Sladek chair stacking good, but good). It didn’t work out that way.
Ja Rule came out on the court wearing a Bucks’ Ray Allen throwback jersey… and after that things got weird. When he wanted to start he turned to his DJ and said “Are we ready?” Then, when the music didn’t start, “I guess not.”
Later, Giannis Antetokounmpo came out and was taking warmup shots while he was still performing… this wasn’t exactly players racing out at All-Star to see J Cole perform.
When Timberwolves official Twitter chimed in, Ja Rule cursed them.
You just jinx yourself talking to the GOD this way… your CURSED NOW!!! You won’t win a championship for the next 30 years… AND KAT IS LEAVING!!! Apologize and I’ll lift the CURSE!!! 😘 kiss of death… https://t.co/RzUn4vKx2Y
Not sure Ja Rule’s curse is anything worse than what Jimmy Butler already did to the Minnesota franchise this season. And he’s wrong about Karl-Anthony Towns, at least for a long while — KAT’s five-year max extension starts next season. He’s locked in for a while. Now, if Ja Rule could get Andrew Wiggins out the door….