Taj Gibson

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Report: Knicks would’ve considered signing Carmelo Anthony if they landed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

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Carmelo Anthony wants a better sendoff than his odd end with the Rockets. The problem: It’s hard to find a team that wants him. So, people are reverting to old ideas.

Team USA? Not happening.

Knicks?

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Meanwhile, if the Knicks had acquired two major free agents, such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, this summer, the franchise planned to consider bringing back Anthony on a contract, league sources said. At that juncture, the Knicks would have been at a contending stage with a team built around veterans. Now, New York is rebuilding around a blend of young talent and accomplished players and has a full roster.

This sounds a lot like the situation with the Lakers last year. It seemed they never wanted to sign him. So, they kept coming up with excuses not to.

If the scenario were New York signing a healthy Durant and Irving, how would Anthony have fit? Durant and Irving would’ve supplied plenty of shot creation, ostensibly what Anthony would bring. And Durant and Irving would’ve done it far better. In that alternate timeline, maybe we’d be reading article with the gist: Meanwhile, if the Knicks hadn’t acquired two major free agents in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer, the franchise planned to consider bringing back Anthony on a contract, league sources said. At that juncture, the Knicks would have been rebuilding young talent and could’ve used Anthony as a veteran mentor. Now, New York is at a contending stage with a team build around two stars and complementary supporting players.

Maybe – maybe – if they signed Irving and the actually injured Durant, the Knicks would’ve considered adding Anthony. Anthony could’ve filled Durant’s role stylistically while Durant recovers. But I suspect in that version of events, New York would have found a different reason not to sign Anthony.

Even in this reality, the Knicks signed 34-year-old Taj Gibson. They wanted veterans. They just didn’t want Anthony.

Everyone keeps talking about Anthony’s fit. It’s the polite way of saying he’s just not good enough anymore.

Report: Marcus Morris considering backing out of Spurs deal to join Knicks

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The Knicks’ two-year, $21 million contract with Reggie Bullock might fall through.

That has Marcus Morris – who agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Spurs – looking at New York.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

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 traded Davis 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: Knicks canceled meeting with Kawhi Leonard

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The Knicks put out pathetic spin about why they didn’t get Kevin Durant.

Now – with Kawhi Leonard considering the Raptors, Lakers and Clippers – the Knicks are trying to control the narrative about their pursuit of him. Leonard and the Knicks didn’t even meet despite the team’s confidence it’d get a meeting.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source, Leonard agreed to meet with the Knicks, but not until Wednesday after finishing with the Clippers and Lakers.

That plan was scratched by Knicks’ brass over logistics.

The Knicks had spent almost all of their $70 million cap space in the first 20 hours of free agency, knowing if they waited until the Leonard meeting Wednesday, the players they did sign could be off the market. It was too big a risk, knowing they likely would finish fourth behind the Raptors, Lakers and Clippers.

I think the Knicks are correct: Leonard almost certainly wouldn’t have picked them. Best we can tell, Leonard likes winning and the West Coast and dislikes the spotlight. New York fits none of those parameters.

But it’s not as if the Knicks pivoted to some great plan by not waiting on Leonard. They’re instead signing Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton to expensive, but at least short, contracts. That underwhelming collection of players will likely lead to another losing season. If one or two become keepers or get traded for positive value, that’d be nice.

Chasing Leonard would have offered far more upside. He could’ve immediately vaulted New York into a strong playoff team.

But, again, it seems highly unlikely the Knicks would’ve landed Leonard.

So, it’s amusing to watch the Knicks spin like this. Their offseason went poorly.

That probably would have been the case whether or not they met with Leonard.

Report: Knicks signing Wayne Ellington to two-year, $16M contract

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The Knicks continue with their plan of not signing Kevin Durant and instead signing other guys.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

At this price, Wayne Ellington might be the Knicks’ best signing of the summer. He’s a good outside-shooting wing, and teams need those. Ellington is 31, so he probably won’t get any better than he is now, especially defensively. But he’s a helpful player with a reasonable salary.

Since raising concerns about their floor spacing by signing bigs Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson to expensive deals, New York has added two shooters in Reggie Bullock (two years, $21 million) and Ellington. Bullock and Ellington will help spread the floor. But spacing is determined more by the quantity of must-defend shooters in a lineup rather than the overall shooting ability of that lineup. The Knicks still look like they’ll fall short of quality spacing.

Report: Knicks signing Bobby Portis to two-year, $31M million deal

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The Knicks didn’t get Kevin Durant.

Their backup plan leaves plenty to be desired.

After agreeing to sign Julius Randle (three years, $63 million with a team option) and Taj Gibson (two years, $20 million), New York is adding yet another expensive big – Bobby Portis.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Fred Katz of The Athletic:

Portis reportedly rejected a $40 million-$50 million extension from the Bulls last year, believed to be over four years. It’s astounding he’s going to recover so much money over the next two years and could very well come out ahead.

But Knicks.

New York also has promising young big Mitchell Robinson. How will everyone get enough playing time? Plenty of two-big lineups that will limit spacing for R.J. Barrett, Kevin Knox and other perimeter players.

At least Portis can stretch the floor some. But he’s more impressive as a stretch center than a stretch power forward. The Knicks’ offense could get clunky.