Nov 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale watches play against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale watches play against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

We're still more than two months from the trade deadline, but an important date on the NBA transaction calendar is approaching: Dec. 15.

That's the first day that players who signed as free agents last summer can be traded.

Given the Knicks' record (4-13), will management start to look at trading players for draft picks around that time?

 

Or will they keep the roster intact with the hopes of turning things around? If you talk to the players in the Knick locker room and head coach David Fizdale, you'll hear plenty of reasons to keep everyone together.

"We've got ten new guys. How can you build chemistry with ten new guys that you just met?" Mitchell Robinson said Sunday after the Knicks' 103-101 loss to Brooklyn. "… We played a lot of playoff teams (this season) and we've stayed in the game. Think about when we do get that connection? We're going to be all right."

Fizdale also feels his group is capable of turning things around.

He referenced the 2016-17 Miami Heat on Sunday as an example of a team rebounding after a slow start. That team went 11-30 to open the season but finished 30-11 and nearly made the playoffs.

Wayne Ellington was in Miami that season. When asked about it, the shooting guard said he feels that New York is capable of the same kind of turnaround.

"Listen, it takes a lot of character to make a flip like that. I think we've got that in this locker room. We've got the guys for it. We've got the guys that are hard-nosed, guys that aren't going to quit, guys that aren't going to roll over, guys that are going to block out all the outside noise. That's what it takes," Ellington said. "It's tough. It's not easy. It's not easy to win in this league. that's what I continue to tell the young guys. I see a lot of similarities to that team that we went 11-30 and flipped the whole thing and went 30-11 to finish the season. I don't plan on us going 11-30, but I think that we're going to have a breakthrough sooner or later to pull the same kind of turnaround."

To the group's credit, players haven't fractured amid the Knicks' slow start. So there don't appear to be many off-court chemistry issues that can keep New York from reaching its potential.

"That's a positive for our team. Everybody gets along well," Dennis Smith Jr. said. "Now it's just about having discipline, having that trust on the court. Because it's not coming from a bad place."

Another point raised in the locker room on Sunday? The Knicks are three games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

"We still understand if we can get three wins in a row we're right back in the hunt. It's a matter of time about actually getting a win and people don't understand, it's really hard to win in this league," Smith Jr. said. "… We've got a bunch of new guys, some young guys. Everybody is still trying to figure out their strong points and figure out what can they do better."

Just how much time this team will be given to learn on the job is an open question.

New York signed all but one of its free agents to two-year contracts that are not fully guaranteed in the second season. (Julius Randle has a three-year contract.) This gives them potential cap flexibility for this summer.It also makes the free agents attractive to teams looking to add depth for a playoff run.

It seems logical that a team competing for a playoff spot would look to acquire a player like Marcus Morris or Ellington via trade. The Knicks will almost certainly get calls on Frank Ntilikina, but will they be open to dealing him? Unless the Knicks turn things around, these are questions that management will probably be asking itself as Dec. 15 approaches.



Teams screening to move Ntilikina

Something you see often with the Knicks: opponents screening Ntilikina to get him off of their top scorer. Brooklyn did it at times on Sunday to free Spencer Dinwiddie (game-high 30 points).

"It happens a lot. That's the adjustment from their team. I see a lot of screens coming, trying to get another defender on them," Ntilikina said. "But also he beat me 1 on 1."

Ntilikina was referring to Dinwiddie's drive and score with 1:30 to play that gave Brooklyn a four-point lead. Two Knicks possessions later, Ntilikina had a chance to tie the game with an open three in the corner, but missed the shot.

"Great, great look. Great possession. Great pass from Taj. Wide open. Missed it," Ntilikina said. "Now, next shot, I got to go back in the gym and be ready to take that shot the next time."

Robinson didn't say anything to ref

Robinson received a technical foul after he was whistled for a sixth foul with 4:12 to play.

Robinson was asked what he said to the ref.

"I just said I don't want to talk," he said.

You rarely see Robinson get angry on the court, but he was visibly upset with the call.

The Nets shot 18 more free throws than the Knicks on Sunday. Fizdale felt that the Knicks committed too many tick-tack fouls.

Robinson suggested that the Knicks aren't treated equally by officials.

"I just think because we've got New York across our chest -- I don't know," he said.

DSJ conditioning

As you know, Smith Jr. missed about two weeks earlier this season while mourning the death of his step mother.

Recently, he has been running on the treadmill after every game to work on his conditioning. He usually runs for about 10 minutes in intervals, sprinting at the end (15 MPH on the treadmill) to burnout.

Smith Jr. said this is the first time he's worked on conditioning after games and he plans to continue it even after his wind all the way back.

Fizdale on lessons from BKN

Fizdale was asked before the game if he took any lessons from the Nets' rebuild. "We've just got to keep growing our kids," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing, and be patient in free agency. And it'll happen. I mean, it really wasn't that fast. (The Nets) didn't get there until four years into it. It's hard. It's tough when you're starting from a bunch of young guys. But they've done a great job of getting the team to where it's at. A lot of that credit goes to (GM) Sean (Marks) but I just think Kenny Atkinson has done a fantastic job of growing those guys."

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Feb 28, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against Miami Heat power forward Amar'e Stoudemire (5) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 28, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against Miami Heat power forward Amar'e Stoudemire (5) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Former Knicks forward/center Amar'e Stoudemire joined Kazeem Famuyide on The New York Post's Big Apple Buckets podcast to discuss his time in New York, and the big man made some interesting comments.

Stoudemire signed with the Knicks back in 2010 when they had a solid crop of role players and pieces on the team. 

But a large chunk of those guys would end up being included in the blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, which occurred midway through his first season in New York.

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Nov 23, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. (13) shoots the ball during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 23, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. (13) shoots the ball during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

After recently passing the halfway point of the 2019-20 season, the New York Knicks find themselves tied for the third worst record (12-32) in the NBA after 44 games. The franchise is headed for their seventh consecutive losing season and sixth consecutive season with at least 50 losses.

After losing out on star free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last summer, the Knicks front office attempted to save face by adding mid-tier free agents such as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, and Bobby Portis. The result of mixing numerous veterans to a young core has not worked as planned. The Knicks have a multitude of questions to ask as they play out the second half of another lost season. Here are the five most important.

Is Marcus Morris a part of the team's future?

Two seasons ago, the Memphis Grizzlies signed swingman Tyreke Evans to a one-year, $3.3 million deal. Coming off of multiple injuries, Evans' deal was a bargain and the former Rookie of the Year excelled immediately. Though Memphis struggled as a team, Evans posted 19.9 points along with a career-high 39.9 percent from three. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley is joined by NBA trainer Shawn Farmer to break down the strengths and weaknesses of Knicks rookie RJ Barrett's jumpshot. Farmer has trained current Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and other top talent coming out of the state of North Carolina.

One of the main talking points about Barrett's game is his jumpshot. He is averaging 39.3 percent from the field so far this season, and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. 

Getting Barrett to have a more consistent jumper over time is a definite area the Knicks will need to help him work on, and Farmer has some suggestions on how he'll do that. But he also discusses what he likes when Barrett pulls up. 

Farmer also talks about why he believes Barrett's shooting abilities can be compared to that of future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade.

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 (David Richard)
(David Richard)

After a tight first half, the Knicks came out firing on all cylinders to start the third quarter and knocked off the Cavaliers in Cleveland, 106-86, snapping a three-game losing streak. >> Box Score

Six things to know from Monday's game

1) The Knicks trailed by one at halftime, but opened up the second half on a 16-4 run, punctuated by a four-point play from Marcus Morris after he landed on Kevin Love's foot while draining a three-pointer. Though Morris initially remained in the game, he limped to the Knicks' locker room late in the third quarter. He returned in the fourth quarter, however, and finished with 19 points on 8-for-16 shooting.

The Cavaliers cut the Knicks' lead to six after Morris came out of the game, but New York ended the quarter on another run and headed to the fourth up by 15, 79-64. They kept their foot on the gas the rest of the way to come away with the comfortable victory. The Knicks spread the offense around, with six players finishing in double-figures.

 

Tags: Damyean Dotson, Mitchell Robinson
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After the Knicks 90-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, interim head coach Mike Miller spoke to media at practice on Sunday about how the team is trying to move forward.

"This group has been resilient, but they're also looking to move forward," Miller said. "We're not interested in can we play close, we're going to put ourselves in a position to win and find a way to win."

Point guard Elfrid Payton had 10 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in 32 minutes of action on Saturday night. He had a team-best +13 plus/minus, and feels that the team can get back on track before the All-Star break.

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Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) drives against Phoenix Suns guard Billy Garrett Jr (17) during the second half of an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) drives against Phoenix Suns guard Billy Garrett Jr (17) during the second half of an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

The Knicks have assigned rookie forward Ignas Brazdeikis back to Westchester, the team announced Sunday morning.

The team recalled him on Wednesday, though he didn't play against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday or Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Brazdeikis has played in nine games this season, averaging 1.9 points per game in 5.9 minutes of action.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks have dropped eight of their last nine. They're on pace to lose more than 50 games for the sixth straight season. There's uncertainty around the future of the front office and head coach. The young players from last season's team, by and large, haven't taken big steps forward this season. 

So, no, there isn't much reason for the Knick fan to be optimistic at the moment 

Tags: RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Knicks really had a chance in Saturday night's bout with the 76ers at Madison Square Garden, something that seemingly would have shocked just about everyone except the Knicks themselves.

Down as much as 10 points, the Knicks fought back, and by midway through the third quarter they were down by just one point. But the Knicks just stayed around there the rest of the night, failing to take the lead from then on up until there was just 31.3 seconds left to play.

As both sides struggled to shoot the ball in what was an ugly offensive game overall, Marcus Morris put the Knicks up by one with about half a minute left in regulation. 

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The Knicks and Sixers went back and forth in the game's final minute, but the Sixers held on for a 90-87 win. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday's game

1) The Sixers led by just three points after the first quarter, but the Knicks came out freezing cold in the second, shooting 1-of-11 from the floor to start the quarter. The Knicks fought back, though, tying the game 45-45 with two and a half minutes left in the first half. The Sixers finished the first half strong, winding up with a 52-46 lead at the break. The Knicks shot just 40.5 percent as a team and turned the ball over 10 times in the half.

Both teams came out sloppy in the second half, but the Knicks outscored the Sixers 23-18 in the frame, and trailed by just one point entering the fourth quarter. With four minutes to go in the game, the Sixers maintained an 84-81 lead. With just under two minutes to go, a Mitchell Robinson dunk cut the Sixers' lead to just one point.

In the final minute. Marcus Morris knocked down a mid-range jumper to put the Knicks' ahead 87-86 with 30.9 seconds left. Immediately, Tobias Harris knocked down a three to put the Sixers back in the lead 89-87. The Knicks then turned the ball over, allowing the Sixers to hit a free throw and go up three. With 2.7 seconds left, Morris' shot was off the mark, and the Sixers held on. 

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Dec 28, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) shoots the ball during pregame warmups before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Dec 28, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) shoots the ball during pregame warmups before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

At the end of December, a report circulated that members of the Knicks' front office were monitoring Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns as a potential trade target.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks had been on the lookout for potential star players who could grow disgruntled with their current teams, and Towns could fit the mold.

On Friday, though, Towns shot down any notion that he's looking to get out of Minnesota. 

After appearing in his first game back from a knee injury after missing 15 straight, Towns addressed the reports of him being unhappy with the Timberwolves.

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

Thanks to a 22-point effort against the Mavericks on Friday, Trail Blazers forward and former Knick Carmelo Anthony became just the 18th player in NBA history to score 26,000 points in his career.

After playing just 10 games for the Rockets in 2018-19, Anthony has found a new life in Portland, averaging 16.5 points in more than 31 minutes per game. Shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point range, his efficiency has returned to the levels it was at towards the end of his run of 10 straight All-Star Game appearances. 

While the volume of shots has gone down, the 35-year-old has certainly shown he still has the ability to do what he always has, knock down open looks.

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RJ Barrett suffered a right ankle sprain in the Knicks loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

The rookie will be reevaluated in a week, but interim head coach Mike Miller believes Barrett will bounce back quickly from the injury,

"That's what I found out last night, that he's never really had a high ankle sprain like that," said Miller. "He'll bounce back quick."

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Jan 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Allonzo Trier began last season as an undrafted free agent. He ended it with a $7 million contract. Trier's path as a rookie was a testament to his talent and timing: the 24-year-old took advantage of the playing time he earned on a Knicks team committed to developing its young players. 

This season, Trier has been mostly out of the rotation, behind a glut of guards on New York's roster. 

He's appeared in 19 of the Knicks' 42 games, averaging 6.3 points per game in 12 minutes. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Dec 28, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) advances the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Dec 28, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) advances the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

RJ Barrett's X-rays came back negative on his sprained ankle and he will be reevaluated next week, the Knicks announced Friday afternoon.

Barrett injured his ankle late in the third quarter of Thursday's loss to the Suns, after taking a bad step off his right foot while driving to the basket. 

The rookie exited the game after the next possession and left Madison Square Garden with the help of crutches.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

After losses earlier in the season, the Knicks would sometimes say that they just needed more time to develop chemistry on the court. 

After 42 games, that explanation is no longer valid. 

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Late in the third quarter of Thursday's loss to the Suns, RJ Barrett drove to the basket but ended up taking an awkward step off his right foot.

He came up hobbling a bit after the play, and after trying to stick it out and play defense, he asked to come out of the game. 

"I haven't seen it yet. But what I heard was I kind of twisted my left (ankle) a little bit on one step, so then on the right step I tried to fix it," Barrett explained after the game.

"I tried to run down on the other end but then I tried to play defense, and it just hurt too much on both sides so I just decided to call it."

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Jan 16, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) goes up for a shot between Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) goes up for a shot between Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Knicks fell to the Phoenix Suns 121-98 on Thursday night, and have now lost seven of their last eight games. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Thursday's game

1) The Knicks came out of the opening gates strong and lead by seven points after the first quarter. In the second period, though, the tides started to change, with the Suns outscoring New York 33-20 in the second frame. The second half was much of the same, as the Knicks allowed 33 Phoenix points in the third quarter, and the game was basically decided early on in the fourth quarter. The Knicks were outscored by 30 points over the final three quarters of play.

The Knicks were outrebounded by the Suns 53-41 and also turned the ball over 17 times.

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Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock (25) reacts after a three point shot against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock (25) reacts after a three point shot against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran shooter Reggie Bullock (sore neck) will miss the Knicks' game on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns, the team announced.

Bullock missed the Knicks' first 33 games of the season as he recovered from offseason surgery for a cervical disc herniation.

Since his return to action on Jan. 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bullock has averaged 9.9 points per game in 23.6 minutes over eight games.

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Mar 5, 2019; Knoxville, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Lamar Peters (2) during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
		
		NBAHeadshots (Randy Sartin)
Mar 5, 2019; Knoxville, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Lamar Peters (2) during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports NBAHeadshots (Randy Sartin)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Westchester Knicks head coach Derrick Alston wants Lamar Peters to have the freedom to play through mistakes on the court.

"The kid is fast, he can create, he can shoot. So I just try to let him play. And we'll work on (improvement/correcting mistakes) behind the scenes," Alston said. "And then the next time you get out there (in a game), you show me our adjustments. And we won't have a problem. And he's bought into it, so I'm definitely a fan of his."

Alston's approach seems to be paying off for his lead guard.

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Dec 28, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) advances the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Dec 28, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) advances the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

After practice on Wednesday, RJ Barrett was shooting free throws while Knicks assistant coach Keith Bogans rebounded for him. He celebrated after he made his last attempt on Wednesday, as the Knicks front office looked on. 

"Before I leave every practice I've got to make 10 or 15 in a row before I get off the court," Barrett said. 

The extra shooting seems to be paying off. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Ian Begley
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The Knicks officially signed big man Kenny Wooten to a two-way contract on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he was on the practice courts as the team prepares for Thursday's matchup with the Phoenix Suns.

"You see his athleticism," interim head coach Mike Miller said of Wooten on Wednesday. "We saw it during the Summer League, we saw it in the preseason, we saw it in Training Camp. Everybody's aware of what his physical tools are and how he uses them."

RJ Barrett added: "He's a freak. On my visit to Oregon, I (saw) Kenny put tape in his hands, jump and touch the top of the backboard. We had to get a ladder to get the tape down, so he's crazy.

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Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) drives to the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward D.J. Wilson (5) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports (Michael McLoone)
Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17) drives to the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward D.J. Wilson (5) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports (Michael McLoone)

After playing for the Knicks last week, rookie F Ignas Brazdeikis is being recalled once again, the team announced on Wednesday

It's unknown why Brazdeikis has quickly made his way back to the Knicks, but the team could be short-handed. His most recent appearance came against the Jazz on Jan. 8 during the team's west coast trip. He played five minutes where he recorded an and-one for his only three points of the night. 

Brazdeikis has played a scattered nine games with the big club this season, averaging 1.9 points over just 5.9 minutes per game. He's 6-for-22 from the field over those games. 

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The Bucks handled things from start to finish Tuesday night in Milwaukee, sending the Knicks back to New York with a 128-102 loss. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) The Bucks came out hot and all but ended the game in the first few minutes of action, going up 18-4 less than half way through the first quarter. Despite the Knicks coming back to make it 29-23 after 12 minutes, the Bucks went on a 36-17 to take a 25-point lead at halftime. Milwaukee got out to as large as a 35-point lead Tuesday night. New York's offense struggled without its leading scorer in Marcus Morris, who missed his fifth straight game due to a neck injury.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kadeem Allen, RJ Barrett
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Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Kenny Wooten (41) blocks out Washington Wizards guard Isaac Bonga (17) during the first half of an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Kenny Wooten (41) blocks out Washington Wizards guard Isaac Bonga (17) during the first half of an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

The Knicks have officially signed Kenny Wooten to a two-way contract, the team announced.

SNY's Ian Begley confirmed Monday that Wooten would be brought up from the Westchester Knicks and Ivan Rabb would be waived to make room for him. Details of the contract have yet to be released.

Wooten has played 24 games for Westchester this season, averaging 7.7 points per game on 66 percent shooting, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24 minutes a game.

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RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A few notes from the Knicks' practice on Monday ahead of Tuesday's game against Milwaukee...

Mike Miller has coached in college and the G League, so he knows all about the mental approach of young players.

He has high praise for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett's mindset.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ahead of Tuesday's matchup with the 35-6 Bucks in Milwaukee, the Knicks announced that both Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr.. will not be in the lineup.

Morris last played on Jan. 5, when he scored a season-high 38 points in a three-point loss to the Lakers. But will miss his fifth straight game with what the team is listing as a sore neck.

Smith Jr.'s strained left oblique has kept him out since Dec. 23 and will be out of the lineup for his 10th straight game on Tuesday.

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While nothing has been made official, the Knicks have cleared a roster spot to sign forward Kenny Wooten to a two-way NBA deal, SNY's Ian Begley has confirmed. To make room on the roster, the team is waiving forward Ivan Rabb

Wooten has spent the season with in the G-League with the Westchester Knicks. The team was aware that other teams were expressing interest in Wooten, and have now locked him up for the remainder of the season. At least one other team was prepared to make the 21-year-old an offer.

In 23 games with Westchester this season, Wooten is averaging 7.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and a whopping 3.4 blocks per game, good for second in the G-League.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Late Tuesday night in the visitor's locker room at Staples Center, Julius Randle walked to his stall with tears in his eyes.

Minutes earlier, he'd found out that his grandmother died.

As he made his way through the locker room, he was being comforted by teammates, coaches and other members of the organization.

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New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Something worth noting on the trade front for the Knicks: two people in touch with members of the organization in the last few days said that New York remains opposed to sending out any future first-round picks in any trades under consideration.

This could be posturing from New York during trade season.

But if the Knicks are indeed committed to keeping their future first-rounders off limits, that would align with the team's strategy for the past five seasons.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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Aside from spoiling Carmelo Anthony's return to MSG on New Year's Day with a win over the Blazers, 2020 hadn't been kind to the Knicks, who were riding a five-game losing streaking heading into Sunday's matchup with the Heat.

Miami came into the game as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and the Knicks were without their leading scorer in Marcus Morris, so it wouldn't have been all that surprising if the Heat left New York with another win under their belt.

Instead, the Knicks took a 10-point deficit into the fourth quarter and dropped 40 on the Heat, holding on down the stretch in a tight final minute to stun Miami.

Tags: Kadeem Allen, RJ Barrett
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The Knicks outscored the Heat by 13 down the stretch in what became a nail-biting thriller in the final minutes and went on to win 124-121 at MSG on Sunday. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) The Knicks entered the fourth quarter down by 13 points despite the game having a closer feel than that throughout. But New York put up 40 points on Miami in the final 12 minutes to come back and beat one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Butler's mishandled pass to Bam Adebayo, that was stolen by RJ Barrett, all but sealed the win for the Knicks.

Adebayo got a three-pointer up with 0.5 seconds left that connected, but the shot came after the buzzer and was waved off, handing the Knicks arguably their biggest win of the season.

Tags: RJ Barrett
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Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Dennis Smith Jr. says he's ahead of schedule in his rehab from an oblique injury, but there's no definitive timetable for his return. 

"I'm actually healing faster (than projections). I heard people say with the oblique strain it could be two months or however long, so I'm actually healing along pretty fast," Smith Jr. said on Sunday. "I'm going through the process and working at it every day."

Smith Jr. has missed nine consecutive games with the ailment. He's been limited in contact portions of practice. He's been listed as questionable for several games but ultimately ruled out. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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Forward Julius Randle will be available for the Knicks on Sunday against the Heat, the team announced. 

Randle has missed the past two games with what the team called personal reasons. Interim head coach Mike Miller said it was a family issue, and whenever Randle wanted to return, the Knicks would be waiting patiently. 

"It's a personal matter," Miller said. "We'll respect his privacy and give him a chance to deal with this situation. When he's ready to come back, he'll be back.''

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Julius Randle and Marcus Morris have missed the Knicks' past two and three games, respectively. Randle has for personal reasons while Morris has a sore neck. 

The Knicks lost Friday to the Pelicans 123-111, their fifth-straight loss. Their next outing is Sunday at 3:30 p.m. as they'll host the Heat. 

The duo's teammates and coaches are hopeful the two game return to the lineup for that contest. 

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Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins clearly have an unresolved beef that may still need settling.

From The Thread, here's what the disagreement between the former Thunder teammates might have sounded like if it hadn't happened over the internet.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

New York fell to 10-29 after Friday's loss to the Pelicans. That's the third-worst record in the NBA. 

If they continue to play at this clip, the Knicks will be in position for one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. 

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Zion Williamson, the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, is yet to suit up for the New Orleans Pelicans in the regular season as he deals with a knee issue.

But Williamson is nearing a return to the court, and on Friday night he was in attendance at Madison Square Garden as the Pelicans handed a Knicks a 123-111 loss.

In the loss, Williamson's former Duke teammate RJ Barrett scored 16 points to go along with eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

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Just as it seemed that the Knicks were starting to gain their footing under interim head coach Mike Miller, winning three straight for the first time this season in late December into New Year's Day, the team has again fallen into a tailspin.

After that quick three-game streak, the Knicks have since lost five straight games, with the latest loss coming in Friday night's 123-111 loss to the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks are now 10-29 on the season, and while the team has recently been without their two leading scorers in Marcus Morris (sore neck) and Julius Randle (personal reasons), veteran Taj Gibson knows that the key right now is just to stay together so the Knicks can come out of this skid a better team.

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Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New Orleans Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket against New York Knicks power forward Bobby Portis (1) and shooting guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New Orleans Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket against New York Knicks power forward Bobby Portis (1) and shooting guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks dropped their fifth straight game on Friday, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 123-111 at Madison Square Garden. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Friday's game

1) Taj Gibson led the Knicks with 10 points in the first quarter on 5-for-5 shooting, while Mitchell Robinson brought energy off the bench and scored six points on three powerful dunks. However, the Pelicans led the Knicks 33-31 after the first quarter thanks to 10 points from Brandon Ingram and seven points from rookie Jaxson Hayes off the bench.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

No Pistons-Knicks deal for Andre Drummond is considered imminent, but New York's recent conversations with Detroit about Drummond were more than just exploratory talks, according to SNY sources familiar with the matter. 

Trade discussions are always fluid. Plenty can - and will - change between now and the trade deadline, but the Knicks' interest in Andre Drummond is certainly noteworthy. 

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley is joined by NBA trainer Shawn Farmer to break down Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina's strengths and weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. Farmer has trained current Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and other top talent coming out of the state of North Carolina.

Farmer pinpoints good form in Ntilikina's defensive stance, and how he is often in great position, which are both strong traits for a young pro. Farmer also lists various NBA players that he sees as defensive comps to Ntilikina.

Begley and Farmer also reveal the technical issues Ntilikina needs to focus on to improve his defense on the pick and roll, and how his size affects his play against various players in the NBA.

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Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Kenny Wooten (41) looks on during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports  (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Kenny Wooten (41) looks on during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Kenny Wooten's blocks this season have landed him on SportsCenter. But his development in other areas of the game has impressed the Knicks.

"His growth from Summer League to now, he's a totally different player," Westchester Knicks head coach Derrick Alston said late last month. "He's always been, of course, a freak athletically. But now, just, understanding the game. Learning how to roll, where to be on the court, not being in the way, setting screens - all those little things that people assume guys know, but they don't.... Just seeing his growth. How much he wants to learn, it's been really good."

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Knicks put out their injury report Friday morning ahead of their matchup with the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, and it looks like they could be very short-handed.

Julius Randle will miss his second straight game due to personal reasons, which head coach Mike Miller later clarified as being family matters. 

In addition to missing Randle in the starting lineup, Marcus Morris is doubtful to play Friday night due to a sore neck. Morris has missed the last two games.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr.
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Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) goes in for a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) and guard Kent Bazemore (24) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) goes in for a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) and guard Kent Bazemore (24) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Knicks forward Julius Randle (personal reasons) will miss his second straight game on Friday when the team takes on the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, the team announced.

Interim head coach Mike Miller said on Wednesday prior to the team's game against the Utah Jazz that it was a family issue.

Randle is averaging 18.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game through 37 contests in his first season with the Knicks.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson
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Jan 7, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Jan 7, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Kevin Durant has not been hesitant to speak his mind on Twitter, and the injured Nets star was back at it again Wednesday when a radio host suggested that no one cares about Brooklyn's success or failures.

Brandon Tierney, a New York-based national media type for CBS Sports, said on Twitter early Wednesday that "no one cares" about the Nets' seven-game losing streak and that it "speaks volumes" to Brooklyn's relevance in a city shared by the Knicks.

Evidently brought to the attention of Durant, the former Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors forward who signed with the Nets over the Knicks and others for a four-year deal worth more than $164 million, the 10-time All-Star and four-time scoring champ unloaded.

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 (Russell Isabella)
(Russell Isabella)

The Knicks dropped their fourth straight game on Wednesday, falling to the Utah Jazz 128-104 in Salt Lake City. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Wednesday's game

1) The Knicks' starting lineup had a different look on Wednesday. With both Julius Randle (personal reasons) and Marcus Morris (sore neck) not playing, Reggie Bullock and Bobby Portis were insterted into the starting five. The new group didn't get off to the best start, as the Jazz jumped out to a nine-point lead with four and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Utah maintained a 10-point lead after one, but they continued to shoot the lights out in the second quarter, finishing with a 65 percent clip as a team from the floor and a 72-53 lead at the break.

The Jazz controlled the second half, and while the Knicks' second unit made a late run in the fourth quarter, this game was all Utah, as the Knicks dropped their fourth straight game.

Tags: Damyean Dotson, Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett
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Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles the ball against Portland Trail Blazers forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles the ball against Portland Trail Blazers forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks power forward Julius Randle is out for Wednesday's 9 p.m. ET game against the Utah Jazz due to personal reasons, something that New York interim head coach Mike Miller deemed a family issue.

Randle, who is the Knicks' second-leading scorer at 18.5 points per game behind small forward Marcus Morris (19.1), was listed as out among four other updates prior to the final contest of the team's four-game road trip.

Miller did not provide a timeline for Randle's return, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, leaving the door open to Randle for whenever he is ready to make his way back into the fold.

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Dec 20, 2019; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Dec 20, 2019; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bobby Portis was ejected during the second quarter of the Knicks' 117-87 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday the NBA issued Portis a $25,000 fine for his Flagrant 2 foul.

The NBA announced that Portis was fined for "recklessly making contact" above the shoulders of LA's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope went up for a dunk when Portis, who was trailing behind him, swung his forearm, hitting Caldwell-Pope's head.

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Jan 7, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) defends in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 7, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) defends in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

On a three-game losing streak as they wrap up their road trip with Wednesday's 9 p.m. ET game against the Utah Jazz, the Knicks are limping to the finish line.

New York announced a handful of injuries, starting with forward Kevin Knox (sprained right ankle) and center Mitchell Robinson (sprained left big toe), who are both probable.

Rounding out the injury report, point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (strained left oblique) is questionable while small forward Marcus Morris (sore neck) is doubtful. Power forward Julius Randle, meanwhile, is out due to personal reasons.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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