Travis Wear

Derek Fisher: High number of expiring contracts challenge Knicks’ chemistry

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No team has fallen further short of its Vegas-based projected winning percentage than the Knicks.

Part of that is probably New York’s large fan base skewing the projection by betting on the hometown team. Part of it just the Knicks stinking.

At 5-21, they’ve looked jumbled on the court. Perhaps, their roster breakdown – beyond a lack of talent – is to blame.

New York has nine players with expiring contracts:

  • Amar’e Stoudemire
  • Andrea Bargnani
  • Samuel Dalembert
  • Jason Smith
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Shane Larkin
  • Quincy Acy
  • Cole Aldrich
  • Travis Wear

Plus, J.R. Smith has a player option, and Pablo Prigioni’s deal is only partially guaranteed.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Derek Fisher’s job of developing the Knicks into a cohesive unit has been compromised by two-thirds of the roster being in the final year of their contracts, according to the head coach.

“That’s a reality of this game,” Fisher said on Sunday. “You have a number of guys that are thinking about how they’re going to provide for their families and where their career is going and whether they’re going to be here or on another team and all the ramifications of those decisions.

“So that’s not easy stuff to process. And then on top of that they’re being asked to sacrifice more and do less in order to win so it’s not a great combination for cohesion and team chemistry but I do think there are enough guys in the locker room that want to do it the right way and so that’s why we’ve had a chance a lot of nights to win. But I don’t think anybody’s giving up on what we’re trying to do at this point.”

I’m sincerely impressed by the way Fisher addressed this topic. He didn’t criticize or belittle his players for being concerned about their next contracts.

Their concern is valid. To the Knicks whose contracts end after the season, counting cap space and speculating about free agents is not a game. It’s real life with major decisions and worries ahead.

Fisher, whose playing career just ended, can relate. Perhaps, he can even help them navigate these difficult waters.

If the Knicks just worry about their next contracts, that won’t help them. They’ll keep losing, and their value this offseason will continue to fall. Winners get overpaid.

Fisher’s understanding is a step. If he can make more logical substitutions and get everyone on the same page with the triangle offense, that would go a lot further.

Report: Knicks to trade Travis Outlaw to Sixers for Arnett Moultrie

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Travis Outlaw couldn’t stick in Sacramento last season (they were nearly four points worse per 100 possessions when he played) and after getting a look at him in training camp the Knicks decided they might just cut him loose and keep undrafted rookie Travis Wear.

Except the Knicks found a taker in a trade — the Philadelphia 76ers. A team that has no use for Outlaw either and will soon cut him free.

Marc Stein of ESPN broke the news.

UPDATE: New York acquired then instantly waived Arnett Moultrie. He could be destined for their D-League team.

The Knicks have Quincy Acy up front, he will get the minutes that it seemed Outlaw might get before camp opened.

Moultrie is unquestionably athletic but after a nice rookie season took a huge step back last season following ankle injuries. He had conditioning issues (and missed five games for a drug suspension last season) but looked a little better in the preseason, putting up solid lines. That was not enough.

What does Philadelphia get out of this? Picks. Sam Hinkie is still hoarding picks. And they get worse on the court. They have no real use for Outlaw, they are going to give frontline minutes to Nerlens Noel, Henry Sims, Malcolm Thomas (who they like) and Brandon Davies.

It’s not likely Outlaw — a stretch four who is a negative on both ends of the court at this point (although he can hit some threes) — will land another deal.

Report: Knicks waiving Travis Outlaw to make room for Travis Wear

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The Knicks accepted Travis’ Outlaw’s salary in a trade in order to get Quincy Acy.

Now that Acy – an aggressive energy player – is in New York, the Knicks have little use for Outlaw. If anything, Outlaw’s $3 million salary could help facilitate a trade, but he hasn’t played effectively in a few years.

So, New York probably planned to keep Outlaw around unless someone emerged in the preseason.

Well, someone emerged in the preseason – Travis Wear, who signed as undrafted free agent from UCLA after playing for the Knicks’ summer-league team.

Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:

The Knicks will keep Travis Wear on their 15-man roster and waive veteran Travis Outlaw, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

Good for Wear earning a roster spot. That the Knicks would eat $3 million to get him speaks to how much he’s impressed Phil Jackson.

The biggest drawback to the move is Outlaw’s $3 million salary is stuck on the cap and can’t be traded. It will still come off the books next summer, when New York projects to have major cap space, but the Knicks lose a little flexibility in the meantime for a mid-season trade.

Knicks sign Orlando Sanchez

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When you can get the second-best undrafted player from  St. John’s signed this week, you have to do it.

When you can get the second-best Dominican Republic national-team player signed this week, you have to do it.

And when both come together…

The Knicks just couldn’t resist. After the 76ers added JaKarr Sampson and the Mavericks grabbed Victor Liz, New York burst into action.

Knicks team release:

New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward Orlando Sanchez.

Sanchez – a 6-foot-9 forward who’s already 26 – averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game at St. John’s last season and 2.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in the World Cup.

He joins Langston Galloway and Travis Wear as undrafted players signed by the Knicks. All three are likely to be waived before the season, and the Knicks will have the option of assigning them to the Westchester Knicks in the D-League.