Knicks sign John Henson to 10-day contract

The New York Knicks have signed forward/center John Henson to a 10-day contract.

Henson, 6-9, 222-pounds, holds career averages of 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.44 blocks over 19.7 minutes in 445 games (160 starts) across eight seasons with Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit. Henson ranked in the Top-15 in the NBA in blocks per game four times throughout his career (2013-15; 2016-18). He appeared in 14 playoff games (two starts) for Milwaukee and averaged 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds over 19.4 minutes.

The Greensboro, NC-native, was originally selected by Milwaukee with the 14th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Prior to the NBA, the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year spent three seasons at the University of North Carolina helping the Tarheels reach the Elite 8 twice.

The roster now stands at 17 with two two-way players.

Knicks sign center Norvel Pelle to 10-day contract

The New York Knicks on Friday signed center Norvel Pelle to a 10-day contract.

Pelle, 6-10, 231-pounds, holds career averages of 2.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.21 blocks over 9.4 minutes in 28 games with the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings. Pelle registered two or more blocks in 12 of his 28 appearances, including a season-high four blocks on Nov. 29, 2019 at New York. He appeared in one playoff game for Philadelphia during the 2019-20 season.

In addition to the NBA, the Antigua and Barbuda-native has also played professionally in Italy, Lebanon, Taiwan and in the NBA G League with the Delaware Blue Coats and Canton Charge. In 86 career NBA G League games (38 starts), Pelle averaged 8.8 points on 63.6-percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 2.27 blocks in 18.3 minutes and earned NBA G League All-Defensive Team honors for the 2018-19 season.

The roster now stands at 16 with two two-way players.

RJ Barrett having an impressive season for Knicks

RJ Barrett is having an impressive season, and has been an essential Knick in 2020-21. Via New York Newsday:

RJ Barrett was one of the finalists for Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week when it went to Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, but he has still not gotten over the award he feels he really was slighted by. Last season Barrett was left off the All-Rookie team — first and second team. After being drafted third overall he was confident that there were not 10 players better than him in his draft class and his play this year has stated his case for him.

“I think you see it,” Barrett said. “I think everybody sees it. Been working my butt off, producing on the court. I don’t know what else to say. I still think it’s crazy. All I can do is just continue to play well. The team’s playing well. That’s all that really matters.”

The Knicks are 24-23 this season, which is the 5th best record in the Eastern conference.

Barrett is averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 34.1 minutes per game.

Knicks lose Mitchell Robinson to major foot injury

The Knicks are having a solid season, and must continue without the services of talented center Mitchell Robinson, who is out after undergoing surgery on his recently broken right foot. Via New York Newsday:

The Knicks headed off to Minnesota Tuesday afternoon, still without any additional help as team president Leon Rose and his front office staff searched for assistance to fill the hole left by Mitchell Robinson’s second surgery in a six-week stretch.

But the season doesn’t wait for the search to conclude as the Knicks lost to the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden Monday and there is no break for the Knicks who have three more games in the next four days. So they must make do with what they have and while that means having Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson at center, the Knicks’ bigger need is for the pieces they have to perform at an optimal level.

And no one is more important to that than the player who has carried them through much of this season — Julius Randle.

While the Knicks have shown that they can survive without Robinson, managing a 9-6 record when he was sidelined with a fractured right hand. But now they are without him likely for the remainder of the regular season at best and to continue their playoff push need Randle to be at his best. But Randle wasn’t Monday, limited as he returned to action after sitting out the previous game with a right thigh contusion.

Three-team trade sends George Hill to Sixers, Austin Rivers to Thunder, Terrance Ferguson to Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Ignas Brazdeikis from the New York Knicks in a three-team trade.

Philadelphia sent Tony Bradley and two second-round picks (2025 and 2026) to Oklahoma City and Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, the rights to Emir Preldžić, a 2021 second-round pick and Miami’s 2024 second-round pick (protected Nos. 31-55) to New York.

The Knicks also traded Austin Rivers to Oklahoma City as part of the deal.

In his 13th NBA season, Hill has appeared in 14 games (all starts) with the Thunder, averaging 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game. He’s shot .508 from the field, .386 from beyond the arc and .840 from the free-throw line. Hill posted a season-high 22 points on Jan. 24 at the L.A. Clippers, shooting 9-12 from the field and 3-4 from three-point range and has scored in double figures in nine of his 14 contests this season.

All told, Hill has seen action in 799 career games (463 starts) with Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Sacramento, Utah, Indiana and San Antonio, averaging 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 27.7 minutes per contest. Last season’s NBA leader in three-point percentage (.460), he’s shot .384 from beyond the arc in his career. A two-way talent, Hill has collected more than 700 steals in his career and is one of nine active players shooting at least 38-percent from three-point range in 20,000-or-more career minutes. Hill’s teams have made the playoffs in 11 of his 12 NBA seasons as he’s seen action in 127 postseason games (91 starts), boosting his scoring average to 12.1 points in those contests.

A native of Indianapolis, Hill played collegiately at IUPUI, earning Summit League Player of the Year honors in his final season, before he was selected by San Antonio with the No. 26 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Brazdeikis has played in 13 NBA games over two seasons with New York. Most recently, he appeared in 12 NBA G League games with the Westchester Knicks during single-site play at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. With Westchester, Brazdeikis averaged 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 34.1 minutes per game. He and the 76ers’ Paul Reed were the only two players to average at least 20 points and nine rebounds during the 2021 NBA G League season.

Brazdeikis was originally selected by Sacramento with the No. 47 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, following a standout 2018-19 season at Michigan, during which he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game as he helped lead the Wolverines to a 30-7 record and an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Originally from Lithuania, Brazdeikis grew up in Canada and has represented the country internationally, earning a silver medal at the 2015 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship.

Bradley, Ferguson and Poirier were acquired by Philadelphia prior to the 2020-21 season. Bradley has played in 20 games this season, Ferguson has seen action in 13 and Poirier has appeared in 10. The rights to Emir Preldžić were originally acquired by Philadelphia on Feb. 6, 2019.

Ferguson, 6-6, 190-pounds, has appeared in 204 NBA games (124 starts), averaging 4.5 points and 1.3 rebounds over 19.6 minutes in four seasons with Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. He has appeared in 13 games for Philadelphia this season. The Tulsa-OK native, was originally selected by Oklahoma City with the 21st overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Poirier, 7-0, 235-pounds, has appeared in 32 games, averaging 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds over two seasons with Boston and Philadelphia. The Clamart, France native was originally signed by Boston as a free agent on July 15, 2019.

Brazdeikis, 6-7, 214-pounds appeared in 13 games for New York, averaging 1.5 points over 4.6 minutes over two seasons. He was originally selected by Sacramento in the second round (47th overall) of the 2019 NBA Draft and had his draft rights traded to New York.

Rivers, 6-4, 204-pounds appeared in 21 games (two starts) for New York this season, averaging 7.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 21.0 minutes. He was originally acquired by New York from Houston on November 27, 2020.

Bradley (6-10, 260) has appeared in 20 games (eight starts) with the 76ers this season, recording averages of 5.5 points and a career-high 5.2 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per contest, shooting a career-best 68.0 percent from the floor. The UNC product has made appearances in 90 career games (11 starts) and averaged 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 11.3 minutes, shooting 64.6 percent from the field.

Center Mitchell Robinson set to return for Knicks

The Knicks are set to welcome center Mitchell Robinson back to action. Via the New York Daily News:

The Knicks center, who has missed 15 straight games with a broken hand, was cleared to play ahead of Sunday against the Sixers at the Garden. Robinson was officially listed as questionable because the team wanted to see how he responded to Saturday’s afternoon practice, but then the center tweeted, “I feel toooooo gooooodddd bro I’m ready.”

Coach Tom Thibodeau said the plan is to eventually integrate Robinson back into the starting lineup, even though Nerlens Noel has performed well in his extended absence.

The Knicks are 21-21 this season, which ties them with the Hornets for the 6th best record in the Eastern conference.

Their leading scorers so far in 2020-21 are Julius Randle at 22.9 points per game, and RJ Barrett at 17.2 ppg.

Knicks guard Derrick Rose out due to health and safety protocols

The Knicks were without guard Derrick Rose tonight and likely won’t have his services for the coming days. Via New York Newsday:

The Knicks announced shortly before game time Tuesday that Derrick Rose was out because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, meaning he will be lost to the team at least through the All-Star break.

While the Knicks did not disclose whether Rose had tested positive or if he was subject to contact tracing, even just the tracing would put him out of action. When Frank Ntilikina was sidelined because of it, he had to remain quarantined in a Miami hotel room for a week. Rose will have to remain in the team hotel in San Antonio. The Knicks have one more game Thursday against Detroit before the break.

The Knicks have been playing a better season than anyone expected, and if the season ended today would make the playoffs. There’s a long way to go, of course, but this season has been a big step in the right direction for the squad.

In 10 games played for the Knicks this season, Rose is averaging 12.5 points and 4.9 assists in 24.6 minutes per outing.

In Knicks win over Pacers, Julius Randle continued his fine play

It’s always cool when NBA players admit to being motivated by the team or players they’re up against. Via the NY Daily News:

Julius Randle showed why he was an All-Star selection over Domantas Sabonis.

In a head-to-head physical battle between the two powerful forwards, Randle won the box score and the game, 110-107, pushing the Knicks (17-17) to .500 for the first time since January.

Randle finished with 28 points and 10 boards in 42 minutes, fighting Sabonis on the block and in the paint.

Randle acknowledged he was motivated by the matchup.

“Sometimes there are just individual matchups that you take — not personal or nothing, like you don’t like the other guy, just personal from a competitive standpoint,” Randle said. “So it was that.”

The Knicks are outperforming expectations this season and are now tied with the Raptors for the East’s 4th best record. They’re the most fun-to-watch Knicks squad in recent memory. And they’re doing it with defense: the team ranks 3rd best in the league.

Derrick Rose will initially come off bench for Knicks

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is very happy to once again have Derrick Rose on his team. Via the NY Post:

The Knicks got “one of the elite players in this league’’ for Dennis Smith Jr. That’s at least the take of Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who has a blind spot for Derrick Rose.

Thibodeau said Rose will “initially’’ come off the bench and is happy to hear his favorite player tell him the great shape he is in.

Using the word “initially’’ could mean Elfrid Payton, the Knicks’ starting point guard, should be on alert if his play does not stay up to standards.

Thibodeau has raved about Payton’s defense, but now he’s got one of his favorite players of all time on his side in Rose. Thibodeau has coached Rose in Chicago, Minnesota and now New York…

A Pistons source said Rose’s production dropped off after 25 or so minutes and they kept him on an unofficial minutes restriction. But Thibodeau has always had a soft spot, despite the knee surgeries, for Rose, who won the league’s MVP award in Chicago 10 years ago when he was 22 and Thibodeau was his head coach.

Last season for the Pistons, Rose mostly came off the bench but put up starter numbers: 18.1 points and 5.6 assists in 26.0 minutes per game, shooting an impressive 49% FG.

This season for the Pistons, Rose came off the bench for all 15 games played, but was a less productive, putting up 14.2 points and 5.2 assists in 22.8 minutes per outing, shooting 43% FG.

Pistons trade Derrick Rose to Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr. and draft pick

The New York Knicks have acquired guard Derrick Rose in a trade with the Detroit Pistons for guard Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second round draft pick (via Charlotte).

Rose, 6-3, 200-pounds, has appeared in 611 NBA games (504 starts) recording 18.7 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds over 12 seasons with Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit. In 15 games with Detroit this season, he is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds over 22.8 minutes.

The Chicago-native returns to New York, where he previously spent one season with the Knicks, after being acquired from Chicago via trade on Jun. 22, 2016. He averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds over 32.5 minutes in 64 games (all starts) as a Knick.

Career highlights for the first-overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft include: 2011 NBA MVP; 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year; three consecutive NBA All-Star selections (2010, 2011, 2012); 2009 NBA All-Rookie Team; two-time Eastern Conference Player of the Month; five-time Eastern Conference Player of the Week and three-time Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month.

Smith Jr., 6-2, 205, was the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks and went to New York as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade on January 31, 2019. In 159 career games (122 starts), the 23-year-old has averaged 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals with Dallas and New York. In his rookie season, he averaged a career-high 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.0 steals and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2017-18. He was also selected to play in the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, CA.

“We welcome Dennis Smith Jr. to the Pistons family. Adding another young player who was a high draft pick alongside a draft asset advances our goals in building for the future,” said Troy Weaver, Detroit Pistons General Manager. “We thank Derrick Rose for his contributions on and off the court during his time as a Piston and wish him and his family well as they move forward.”

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Smith Jr. played one collegiate season at North Carolina State University where he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging a school-freshman record 18.1 points and 6.2 assists per game. He also garnered All -ACC Second Team honors.