Marc Stein: New York Knicks

NBA's all-time 10-team club

January, 10, 2015
Jan 10
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The New York Knicks, by signing Louis Amundson to a 10-day contract Saturday, have just expanded the NBA’s all-time Ten Team Club to an even dozen.

Amundson was promptly waived by the Knicks earlier this week after they acquired him from Cleveland as part of the three-team swap with Memphis and Oklahoma City headlined by J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Dion Waiters. But by re-signing him, New York has given Amundson the opportunity to join the following exclusive list.

Below are the only 12 players in league history to have played for at least 10 different teams:

12 teams: Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith.

11 teams: Mike James and Kevin Ollie.

10 teams: Lou Amundson, Earl Boykins, Mark Bryant, Drew Gooden, Damon Jones and Aaron Williams.

Of those, only Amundson and Washington’s Gooden are active, although veteran guard Mike James is on the hunt for potentially his 12th different NBA employer if he can land a D-League call-up. James, 39, is currently playing for the Texas Legends in the D-League.

Amundson is still only 32 years old, which means he theoretically has plenty of time to add to his total of teams and potentially become the NBA’s first 13-team player. But he’s not the youngest player to get to 10 teams. That would be current Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Damon Jones, who was just 29 when he hit the 10-team mark before spending the next three seasons in Cleveland and then returning to Milwaukee to finish his career.

Amundson’s 358 career regular-season games, though, are by far the fewest of anyone on the list. His longest stay in one spot in terms of games played was Phoenix, where he played 155 games over two full seasons. His travels around the league include a two-minute stint in Utah, three minutes with the Bulls spread over two stops and his 12-game cameo with the Cavs this season. Those travels technically do not include the Sacramento Kings, who were the first NBA team to sign him out of UNLV but let Amundson go before the start of the 2006-07 regular season.

The full list of teams Amundson has played for: Chicago, Cleveland, Golden State, Indiana, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Utah.

Golden State’s Shaun Livingston, meanwhile, is the only other active player who has played for at least nine franchises. He’s in the first year of a three-year deal with the Warriors, so don’t expect the The Team Club to grow again anytime soon.
Curry/CousinsGarrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesCurry's Warriors and Cousins' Kings are off to red-hot starts. How long can they keep it up?
As we inch closer to another Power Rankings Monday, your faithful committee (of one) is already starting its computing.

And it sure helps when your Sunday brunch includes a surprise heads-up from a research-minded pal like ESPN.com's Adam Reisinger, who has helpfully passed along a handy list that puts some of the good (and bad) starts we've seen into some historical perspective.

Entering Sunday's play:

The highs

Golden State Warriors: 5-0 start is the Warriors' best since they went 5-0 in 1994-95. They finished 26-56 that season.

Memphis Grizzlies: 6-1 start is the Grizzlies' best in team history.

Houston Rockets: 6-1 is the Rockets' best start since a 6-1 launch in 2007-08, when they went 55-27 and reeled off an unforgettable 22 straight wins in one stretch.

Toronto Raptors: 5-1 start is the best in franchise history.

Sacramento Kings: 5-1 start is the Kings' best since they opened up at 9-1 in 1999-2000, when they ultimately faded to 44-38.

Washington Wizards: 5-2 start is the Wizards' best since they went 5-1 in 2005-06, when they finished 42-40.

Chicago Bulls: 5-2 start is the Bulls' best since a 7-1 start in 2011-12. They finished 50-16 in that lockout-shortened season.

The lows

Denver Nuggets: It's actually the Nuggets' second straight 1-4 start.

Oklahoma City Thunder: 1-5 is the Thunder's worst start since they went 1-14 in 2008-09 in the club's first season in OKC.

New York Knicks: 2-5 is the Knicks' worst start since a 1-9 start in 2009-10 that set the tone for a 29-53 season.

Indiana Pacers: 1-6 is the Pacers' worst start since they went 1-6 in 1993-94, when they rallied to post a 47-35 mark.

Los Angeles Lakers: 0-5 is the Lakers' worst start in Los Angeles and their worst since they went 0-7 in 1957-58 in Minneapolis.

Philadelphia 76ers: 0-6 is the Sixers' worst start since a 0-15 start in 1972-73 ... which, of course, was Philly's 9-73 season.
Miami's Dwyane Wade and New York's Carmelo Anthony are the latest stars to secure a no-trade clause rarely seen in the NBA, according to sources familiar with their new contracts.

NBA rules dictate that players can add a no-trade clause to a new contract only if they have a minimum of eight years of service time and four years with the same team.

Wade easily qualifies under those conditions after spending his entire 11-year career with the Heat, but Anthony is the beneficiary of a favorable rules interpretation to join Wade, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett in this exclusive club.

Anthony hasn't spent a full four seasons with the Knicks, but because he has finished each of the past four seasons in New York, it was ruled that Anthony qualifies to have a full no-trade clause added to his new five-year, $124 million contract with New York.

Bryant, Duncan, Nowitzki and Garnett were the only four players in the league last season to possess a full no-trade clause in their contracts.

Bryant and Nowitzki retained their respective no-trade clauses in their new deals, with the Los Angeles Lakers' star about to start a two-year, $48.5 million extension this season and Dallas' Nowitzki having finalized a new three-year, $25 million deal Tuesday.

Garnett's no-trade clause, meanwhile, carried over from Boston to Brooklyn after he waived the clause in July 2013 to allow the Celtics to deal him with Paul Pierce to the Nets in exchange for a package that included three first-round draft picks.

No-trade clauses are harder to secure in basketball than they are in other sports because they can be introduced into new contracts only. League rules preclude no-trade clauses from being added to extensions.

The star players with the leverage to negotiate a no-trade clause, furthermore, often sign lucrative extensions before they have the requisite service time. Had Wade, for example, signed an extension with the Heat in June instead of opting out, going onto the open market and then landing a new deal, he would not have been eligible to receive one.

In Major League Baseball, by comparison, players automatically earn veto power over trades through the "Ten and Five" rule, which stipulates that players with at least 10 years of service time and five in a row with the same team are granted the power of consent on trades.

Knicks targeting Melo-Gasol combo

June, 28, 2014
6/28/14
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The New York Knicks are increasingly optimistic about their chances of re-signing star Carmelo Anthony even as he readies himself to talk to other teams next week, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that Knicks officials, while not willing to trumpet it publicly with free agency fast approaching, are quietly confident about their odds of retaining Anthony thanks in part to the idea that new team president Phil Jackson and the high-scoring forward have "connected" to some degree.

Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.

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The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of reacquiring center Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks, who immediately made reacquiring Chandler one of their priorities after their first-round playoff exit against San Antonio, soon will complete a trade with the Knicks that they will clinch by agreeing to take back the contract of New York's out-of-favor guard, Raymond Felton, as well.

The trade is expected to cost Dallas two starters -- point guard Jose Calderon and center Samuel Dalembert -- along with prized young point guard Shane Larkin, reserve guard Wayne Ellington and future second-round draft compensation.

Sources tell Stein that the teams are in the process of setting up a call with the league office to get the requisite approval on the trade.

Read the full story here »

Knicks eyeing pick for Shumpert?

June, 23, 2014
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The Knicks nearly traded Iman Shumpert at the February deadline, and according to the latest personnel whispers, have explored the possibility of moving him for a late first-round pick in Thursday's draft proceedings.

The Knicks are said to prefer to buy a late first-rounder or early second-rounder, but that might prove difficult, especially because they can't spend the full $3.2 million allowed by league rules in trades until July, having burned $1.4 million in the transaction with Toronto to acquire Andrea Bargnani.

Some of the teams that previously expressed interest in Shumpert also have picks in the range New York is said to be targeting ... and in some cases multiple picks. Oklahoma City currently holds the 21st and 29th picks; Phoenix is said to be willing to part with No. 27, because it has two other turns (Nos. 14 and 18) in the first round; and the Los Angeles Clippers are picking 28th.

Grantland's Zach Lowe, meanwhile, tossed out a warning via Twitter on Monday morning to keep an eye on Miami trying to tempt the Knicks by offering the No. 26 pick for Shumpert.

Deadlines loom for Knicks

June, 22, 2014
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The coming week is filled with deadlines for the New York Knicks.

The big one, of course, is Monday's buzzer for Carmelo Anthony to inform the Knicks, once and for all, whether he is opting to become a free agent on July 1 or play out the final season of his contract at $23.3 million.

New Knicks president Phil Jackson has been lobbying Anthony for weeks to opt in and give him more time to retool the roster, but the expectation throughout the league remains that Anthony will head to the open market to test free agency.

There is no such mystery, though, when it comes to veteran forwards Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.

Stoudemire and Bargnani have Tuesday and Wednesday deadlines in their contracts, respectively, to let the Knicks know whether they plan to play out their contracts or opt for free agency. Sources say both players have already made it known to the Knicks that, as expected, they intend to stay right where they are.

Stoudemire is due to earn $23.4 million in 2014-15; Bargnani is owed $11.5 million.

After injuries caused him to miss 70 games over the past two seasons, Stoudemire has vowed to train as much as he can this summer to try to re-establish himself as a productive player after showing flashes of his old offensive touch when he did play.
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat's immediate focus remains overcoming a 2-1 NBA Finals deficit to the San Antonio Spurs, but discussions have begun within the organization about trying to grow their so-called Big Three into a Big Four, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that Heat officials and the team's leading players have already started to explore their options for creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony this summer in free agency.

The mere concept would require the star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to all opt out of their current contracts by the end of the month and likely take further salary reductions in new deals that start next season to give Miami the ability to offer Anthony a representative first-year salary. The Heat also are prevented from making any formal contact with Anthony until July 1 and can do so then only if he opts out of the final year of his current contract. Anthony has until June 23 to notify the Knicks of his intentions, according to sources.

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Phil Jackson fined $25K

June, 2, 2014
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New York Knicks president Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for tampering with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher, sources tell ESPN.com.

The sources said Jackson was fined specifically for statements he made at a news conference last week about possibly hiring Fisher as his new coach.

The league's 30 teams were notified of the fine by league memo Monday afternoon, the sources said.

Read the full story here
Here's the latest on the Knicks' open coaching position ... co-authored with ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne:

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson continues to send out signals that he's in no rush to hire a coach until he can seriously discuss the position with Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com on Sunday that Jackson is planning to proceed with a deliberate coaching search after the Knicks, convinced they were getting Steve Kerr, watched their runaway No. 1 candidate choose the Golden State Warriors instead.

Fisher's interest in coaching remains a matter of debate, with Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks telling the New York Daily News over the weekend that it wouldn't surprise him if the 18-year-veteran decided to play on for one more season. Either way, Fisher is trying to deflect all questions about his future -- as a coach or front-office executive -- until after the playoffs, hoping to limit distractions as the Thunder prepare to face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals starting Monday night.

During the last round of the playoffs, Fisher said, "I would tell people to allow me to finish my career as a player before they give me another job after that. It's humbling, just to think about people thinking of me in that manner, especially while I'm still playing. [But] I promise you this is the last thing on my mind at this point. I really haven't thought about it that much. Hopefully there's a lot of basketball left to be played this season for sure. Once that's done we'll go from there."

Sources say that in addition to Fisher, the Knicks still have interest in Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw but do not currently plan to ask the Nuggets' permission to speak with him. Because league rules restrict teams to offering only cash or draft picks as compensation for coaches, and not players, sources say New York fears it likely can't meet the Nuggets' demands if it were to try to get Shaw out of his contract.

Jackson is a longtime Shaw fan who, sources say, would have had the Nuggets' coach atop his wish list (along with Kerr) had Shaw been a coaching free agent this summer. But the Knicks' barren cache of draft picks would appear to snuff out any hope of extricating Shaw from the last two years of a three-year contract that averages roughly $2 million per season. Shaw posted a 36-46 record this season with the injury-riddled Nuggets. New York, for the record, doesn't have a first-round pick to offer any team in any deal until 2018.

Jackson's preference since ousting Mike Woodson has been hiring a coach he's worked with in the past, either as a player or a former assistant like Shaw. But sources say that the limited options at his disposal after missing out on Kerr could prompt the 11-time champion coach to start broadening his approach.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported over the weekend that Jackson has discussed the vacancy with veteran NBA coach Mike Dunleavy. Sources say Jackson has not ruled out a sit-down with Knicks fan favorite Mark Jackson, who has rejoined ESPN as a broadcaster after his dismissal by the Warriors.

Former NBA head coach Kurt Rambis, who worked as an assistant to Mike D'Antoni with the Lakers last season, and current D-League developmental coach Luke Walton of the L.A. D-Fenders are on Jackson's short list as well. But sources say Rambis and Walton are more likely regarded as potential assistants for the eventual head coach, with another of Jackson's former players with head-coaching experience -- Bill Cartwright -- having already received an interview for what was presumed to be a spot on Kerr's bench.

Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue, who played briefly under Jackson as a Laker, has also been mentioned repeatedly as a name on Jackson's radar.

Read the full story »


The New York Knicks are trying to complete a deal with TNT's Steve Kerr that would install him as their new coach after the first round of the playoffs, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the intention of new Knicks president Phil Jackson is to try to secure Kerr as his first coaching hire by early next month, which would theoretically soften the blow for the announcer's current employer to withstand losing its No. 1 analyst in the midst of the playoffs.

It remains to be seen whether Kerr is willing to make the jump so quickly.

But sources say Jackson has made significant progress in his longstanding plan to convince Kerr that the time is right to make the jump from broadcasting to accept one of the league's most high-profile coaching jobs without any prior bench experience.

There has been considerable speculation since the playoffs began that the delay also stems from Kerr waiting to see what other jobs might open depending on playoff results.

NBA coaching sources have maintained for weeks that the Golden State Warriors have strong interest in Kerr, should they elect to part ways with Mark Jackson after a 50-win season, given Kerr's strong relationships with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, son Kirk Lacob (who works in Golden State's front office) and Warriors president Rick Welts, with whom Kerr worked closely in Phoenix.

But sources reiterated that the Knicks, because of the former Chicago Bulls guard's close relationship with Jackson, are the clear front-runners to land Kerr.

Sources say that the opportunity to be mentored by the winningest coach of all time, along with Kerr's deep fondness for Jackson, have established New York as Kerr's most likely landing spot.

Read the full story here »

Latest on Knicks' coaching situation

April, 16, 2014
4/16/14
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The latest on the Knicks' coaching situation and various playoff angles are on the table for discussion from our latest visit to the NBA on ESPN Radio pregame show.

Listen here Listen

Sources: Knicks eye Lamar Odom

April, 11, 2014
4/11/14
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The New York Knicks have expressed interest in signing veteran free agent Lamar Odom, according to sources close to the situation.

lastname
Odom
Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks, at the behest of new team president Phil Jackson, have been looking into the possibility of signing Odom since the 34-year-old's short stint playing in Spain came to an end and are weighing whether to go through with adding the Queens native to their roster before the regular season ends.

Among the options the Knicks are considering, sources said, is signing Odom before Wednesday's regular-season finale to a contract that includes a team option for next season. Doing so would enable the Knicks to work with Odom throughout the offseason before deciding if he's ready to play -- physically and mentally -- in time for the start of the 2014-15 season.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported during the telecast of last week's Knicks/Nets game that Jackson met with Odom during the contest. It was initially believed the meeting was more personal in nature, but sources told ESPN.com this week that Jackson is interested in pursuing an on-court reunion with the former Laker if Odom convinces the Knicks he's serious about a comeback.

Read the full story here »
A few dribbles of chatter from the NBA's coaching and GM grapevine:

A new coach isn't the only significant hire Phil Jackson is expected to make as he starts to revamp the team and organization that operates out of the renovated Madison Square Garden.

The consistent word in league circles is that Jackson is looking to make at least one significant addition to the front office to assist him and Steve Mills, who has been retained as Knicks GM (for now) to work under the new president of New York.

Said one source close to the situation: "Phil knows he needs a good, young executive in there who can make deals and really knows the [salary cap]."

Far less obvious at this juncture, though, is the list of candidates Jackson plans to choose from.

The most qualified executive from Jackson's very small circle of NBA pals is former Phoenix Suns personnel boss Steve Kerr, but Kerr has made it clear he wants to coach in the NBA, as opposed to GM-ing, if he decides to leave television. That's one of the reasons NBA coaching sources have maintained for weeks that the Knicks coaching job is essentially Kerr's to accept or reject, should Jackson oust Mike Woodson at season's end, as widely expected.

And it's a struggle, beyond Kerr, to manufacture names that make sense … unless Jackson makes it known that he's prepared to go outside of that small circle and open up a broader search.

Jackson maintained a healthy distance from the various personnel men he worked with during his two stints with the Lakers, which is why there are no L.A. execs of recent vintage who strike you as an instant nominee. Ex-Lakers official and current Suns scout Ronnie Lester has been mentioned, but Lester and Jackson don't have anything resembling the sort of bond that the Zen Master has with the likes of Kurt Rambis, Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and the still-active Derek Fisher. The reality, though, is that those four Phil disciples don't possess the sort of experience and/or proven front-office versatility that Jackson could surely use to lean on.

So …

One of the latest theories in circulation, among rivals coaches and executives, suggests that Jackson will lean on Kerr for guidance if Kerr indeed winds up replacing Woodson. And that would presumably thrust a longtime Kerr associate, such as Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin, into the mix.

Yet, it's also widely believed that Jackson wants to put off any searching, even for a new right-hand man in the executive suite, until after this season plays out. The Knicks, after all, badly want to snag the East's No. 8 seed if they can manage it. And Jackson would presumably prefer not to create anything resembling a distraction that the Knicks could point to as an excuse if they start backsliding again.



The Houston Rockets, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking, recently began looking at the point guard market -- domestically and abroad -- just in case they need a late-season replacement for defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley.

To the Rockets' relief, though, Beverley is vowing to play again this season after finding out that the torn meniscus in his right knee suffered late last month will not require surgery. So Houston, at the moment, is leaning against bringing in anyone new.

But sources said that Rockets officials indeed reached out to Bayern Munich point guard Malcolm Delaney to see if prying him away from the German champions at this late-in-the-season date was feasible. Delaney has yet to play in the NBA since leaving Virginia Tech in 2011 but has turned heads with a strong season in the Euroleague.

The Rockets, of course, also continue to hold out hope that they'll someday be able to bring Real Madrid guard Sergio Llull over, having acquired the coveted Spaniard's NBA rights on draft day in 2009 once Llull was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 34th overall pick that year.

Llull is a big and internationally seasoned guard whom the Rockets, I'm told, believe is a definite NBA rotation player. But negotiating an in-season buyout for Llull with Real Madrid, even had Beverley been lost for the season, was never a possibility. Impossibility is more like it.

Plus, Llull himself has consistently been publicly lukewarm on the idea of leaving the Spanish ACB for the NBA. Real Madrid signed Llull, 26, to a monster contract extension in 2012 that runs through 2017-18.



One of the more interesting (but untold) stories of the Washington Wizards' return to the playoffs after a five-season absence is the presence of assistant coach Ryan Saunders on Randy Wittman's bench.

Saunders made his way to Washington as an assistant for his father, Flip, and became a coaching free agent last summer after a season and a half under Wittman.

But, instead of following Flip to Minnesota, where the elder Saunders became the Timberwolves' new team president and part owner last May, Ryan was retained by the Wizards, who didn't want to surrender the contributions he makes on the scouting and analytics side as well as his presence on the floor as one of Wittman's aides alongside veterans Don Newman, Sam Cassell and Don Zierden.

So the Wiz signed Saunders to a new deal entering this season that kept him next to Wittman, who unexpectedly has Washington in the mix for the fifth seed in the East after a playoff drought stretching to Gilbert Arenas' D.C. heyday in 2007-08.

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