Photo credit: Jim McIsaac

By: Moke Hamilton, Special to TKB

Without question, the biggest question marks for the New York Knicks heading into the Summer of 2013 were J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin and Chris Copeland.

Smith and Prigioni have both agreed to re-sign with the Knicks. Martin, though he still has something to contribute at the NBA level, is not the most coveted of free agents, and the Knicks would do quite well to replace him with Elton Brand—a scenario the team is very much trying to get to come to fruition.

But after teasing Knicks fans with glimpses of potential in his rookie season, 29-year old Chris Copeland is now the center of the Knicks fans' universe. The most persistent inquiry over the past few days has been what his future holds and what the Knicks can and may do with him.

It is possible to sign-and-trade him, as many have asked. But it is quite unlikely.

Copeland COULD return to the Knicks without costing the team the remainder of its taxpayer mid-level exception.

But as always, the devil is in the details.

Here is all you need to know...

  • How Much Can the Knicks Offer Copeland?
The Knicks have extended Copeland a qualifying offer and thus, have made him a restricted free agent. Under the terms of the 2011 CBA, the Knicks are permitted to offer Copeland the $988,000 qualifying offer without touching its taxpayer mid-level exception. As a restricted free agent, Copeland now has two plausible options that do not require him to sign an offer sheet with another team.

Option 1 - Copeland can sign the one-year qualifying offer, play the 2013-14 season with the Knicks, and become an unrestricted free agent in the Summer of 2014. Next summer, the Knicks would have Copeland's "early" Bird rights, and he, at the age of 30, would then be eligible to sign the same type of four-year, $25 million deal that J.R. Smith just signed.

Option 2 - Copeland and the Knicks could re-negotiate a new deal without Copeland signing an offer sheet with another NBA team. Since Copeland has only played one season with the Knicks, the Knicks do not have Bird rights or early Bird rights by which they may use a Bird exception to re-sign him. Therefore, the Knicks could only re-sign Copeland using either the minimum salary exception (no chance), the non-Bird exception (possible) or the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception (or "mini" mid-level exception). The latter would allow Copeland to re-sign for the most money.

Using the non-Bird exception would allow the Knicks to re-sign Copeland, at most, on a four-year deal worth $4.22 million.

The Knicks could offer Copeland more money using the taxpayer mid-level exception, but it should be noted that the team reportedly used about $1.4 million of the exception to re-sign Prigioni, leaving approximately $1.75 million remaining. Under the terms of the 2011 CBA, the Knicks may offer Copeland $1.75 million in year one of a new deal, and may re-sign for up to three total years.

In other words, using the remainder of the taxpayer mid-level exception, the Knicks could re-sign Copeland, at most, on a three-year deal worth $5.49 million.

  • Can the Knicks Sign-and-Trade Copeland?
In theory, they can. But under the terms of the 2011 CBA, a player CANNOT be signed-and-traded using the mid-level exception, or, in this case, the taxpayer mid-level exception. It is black and white. The Knicks could sign-and-trade Copeland, but only if they re-sign him using the non-Bird exception.

It should also be noted that a team may not receive a player in a sign-and-trade transaction if the team's payroll is over the luxury tax apron, which is expected to be about $75 million. The Knicks, though they are over the apron, would be permitted to sign-and-trade Copeland to a team whose payroll is NOT over the apron, so long as the Knicks are not receiving a player who himself is being signed-and-traded.

As it currently stands, Copeland has reportedly received interest from the New Orleans Pelicans, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Each of those teams are in a position to offer Copeland more than the four years and $4.22 million maximum that the Knicks could sign him to before trading him, so accepting a sign-and-trade to any of those teams would make little financial sense for him, from a business standpoint.

  • The Difference Between Restricted Free Agency and Cap Exceptions
One thing that seems to get confused fairly often is that restricted free agency and having a cap exception to re-sign a player are completely independent.

At its core, restricted free agency simply means that a free agent coming off of his rookie contract has been extended a qualifying offer by his incumbent team. As a restricted free agent, the free agent may sign an offer sheet with another team. Once he does so, his incumbent team has 72 hours to determine whether or not they would like to match the terms of the offer extended by the other team.

To make it simpler, all "restricted" free agency really means is that the incumbent team will have an opportunity to match the terms of the offer signed by the player with the other team. That is the key difference between being a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent. There is no right of first refusal with an unrestricted free agent.

But...

The team must either have cap space, or a cap exception to do so. The reason restricted free agency does not usually warrant a discussion about cap exceptions is because 95 percent of the time when a player becomes a restricted free agent, he has already played at least two seasons with his incumbent team, triggering early Bird rights. In many instances, restricted free agents—such as Tyreke Evans, Jeff Teague and Nikola Pekovic—have played three or more seasons with their incumbent team, triggering full Bird rights.

With Copeland, since he has only played one season with the Knicks, neither of these apply. That is why the Knicks must depend on either the non-Bird or taxpayer mid-level exception to re-sign him for closer to his fair market value.

  • Can the Knicks Lose Copeland for Nothing?
Yes, they can.

Because the Knicks are limited by the exceptions, even though Copeland is a restricted free agent, he can easily sign an offer sheet with another team that the Knicks are powerless to match. Remember, using the non-Bird exception, the Knicks can only match a four-year deal worth $4.22 million (or less).

Using the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception, the Knicks can only match a three-year deal worth $5.49 million or less.

So, if a team signs Copeland to a three-year, $6 million offer sheet, the Knicks will be powerless to match it. Similarly, if a team signs Copeland to a four-year deal worth $5 million, the Knicks will be powerless to match it. Again, the Knicks are simply bound by the CBA.

  • Is Copeland Definitely a Goner?
That is a good question for his agent.

After seeing Earl Clark receive a two-year, $9 million offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers, it is easy to imagine Copeland receiving a two-year deal worth $6 million. If he were to sign an offer sheet with those terms, for the previously mentioned reasons, the Knicks would be powerless to match it.

That he has not been reported to have signed such an offer could mean that he is weighing his options.

Again, it is worth pointing out that Copeland could accept the $988,000 one-year qualifying offer with the Knicks and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Doing so would give the Knicks his early Bird rights in the Summer of 2014 and allow them to re-sign him on a deal for up to four years and up to $26 million.

That course of action for Copeland comes with significant risk, however. He is 29 years old and may not have a higher market value next summer if he does not have a productive season or struggles to find consistent minutes. His time to cash in may be right now.

But the same was said for J.R. Smith. Copeland can get more money elsewhere, but if he wants to remain in New York, he could, in theory, accept a two-year deal with a player option for the second season. Using the taxpayer mid-level exception, Copeland would receive $1.75 million for the 2013-14 season, and have a $1.83 million option for the 2014-15 season. In theory, he could opt out after the 2013-14 season and hit the market again.

And again, like Smith, he can hope to have had a productive enough season to warrant a bigger payday.

Yes, it comes with significant risk, but it is a risk that Smith took, and it paid off.

So, certainly, Copeland has a tough decision ahead of him.

Got Questions for Moke? Shoot Him a Tweet: @MokeHamilton

Tags: Chris Copeland, Knicks, Moke Hamilton, Moke Hamilton
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Feb 4, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; College basketball analyst Jay Williams before the game between the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 4, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; College basketball analyst Jay Williams before the game between the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

On May 14, the Knicks will be praying to land the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, so they would have the chance to take Duke F Zion Williamson as a building block for the future. 

But not everyone wants to see Zion in Madison Square Garden. 

Former Duke star and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams is one of them, and he gave his reasoning to TMZ

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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)

Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are optimistic in the franchise's future heading into the NBA draft and what is expected to be a busy free-agency period.

"We feel good about the summer," Mills said, according to Newsday's Steve Popper. "We feel we're in a position that it gives us an opportunity. We hope we get lucky and we land free agents. And if not, we'll keep building the way we're building. The space gives us an opportunity to be flexible in terms of how we deal with trades. We can take guys into our [salary cap] room in the trade process, it gives us the flexibility to continue to build the team the way we've been building it. But it gives us an opportunity to make it better in a way with free-agent or trade prospects."

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Feb 16, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won 94-78. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports (Rob Kinnan)
Feb 16, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won 94-78. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports (Rob Kinnan)

Duke star Zion Williamson has officially declared for the NBA draft.

The AP National Player of the Year and men's Wooden Award winner, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in June, made the announcement Monday night on Instagram.

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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)

Allonzo Trier was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks this season, but things may not have been so smooth behind closed doors. 

Per Marc Berman of The Post, veterans on the Knicks were displeased with Trier's one-on-one style of play and believed it had an adverse effect on the team's culture. 

"His play on the court was cancerous," an NBA source told The Post. "A lot of guys didn't like the way he didn't play team ball. He cared about himself too much. He looked guys off who were open."

Tags: Allonzo Trier
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Winter is here.

With Game of Thrones set to return Sunday for its eighth and final season, New York athletes gave their predictions and talked about theories for how the saga will end.

Click below...

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Apr 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets assistant head coach Patrick Ewing waves to the crowd during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets assistant head coach Patrick Ewing waves to the crowd during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Knicks got lucky to get the No. 1 pick in 1985 and have the chance to draft Patrick Ewing. Now, they'll hope Ewing can be their good luck charm. 

After Ewing alluded to it in an interview, he confirmed Friday that he will indeed represent the Knicks at next month's NBA Draft Lottery with the Knicks having a chance 34 years later to take another transcendent star at No. 1 in Zion Williamson

The Knicks finished with an NBA-worst 17-65 record, are guaranteed a top-five pick and have a 14 percent chance at landing the top pick in this summer's NBA Draft.

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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving looks on from the bench in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving looks on from the bench in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Celtics star Kyrie Irving can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kevin Durant on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors...


April 12, 11:28 AM:

Celtics president Danny Ainge said nothing that has transpired this season has changed his thinking that he wants to lock Irving up to a long-term deal, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, adding he thinks the Celtics beginning their playoff run may help Irving remember how close Boston was to making the NBA Finals last season.

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Mar 6, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose (25) sits on the bench during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Mar 6, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose (25) sits on the bench during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Derrick Rose never wanted to leave Chicago. 

The former Knicks point guard, now with the Timberwolves, was born and raised in Chicago and playing for his hometown Bulls for the first seven years of his career before he was traded to New York in the summer of 2016. 

On Thursday, footage from a documentary filmed by Stadium titled "Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story" was released and captured the moment Rose found out he was headed to New York and it was tough for the three-time All-Star to take. 

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The 2018-19 season is in the books, and for the Knicks it was tied for the worst in franchise history with a 17-65 record. Things aren't completely bleak for Knicks fans.

The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rumored tandem seems more and more inevitable by the day, and even if that scenario doesn't come to pass, New York has loads of financial flexibility and young talent. The Knicks have been in similar predicaments in the past, which can provide context to their current situation, and expectations for what's to come.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis
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Mar 30, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 30, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

When the Knicks hosted Dwyane Wade for his final game in Madison Square Garden a couple weeks ago, Emmanuel Mudiay tried to swap his jersey with the Heat legend. However, Wade said he was already giving his white and crimson threads away, leaving Mudiay without a momento from the future Hall of Famer. 

But, in typical Wade fashion, Mudiay's request didn't go unnoticed. 

Wade sent Mudiay a jersey and signed it for the young point guard. He showed his gratitude to No. 3...

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Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Georgetown Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing coaches against the St. John's Red Storm during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Georgetown Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing coaches against the St. John's Red Storm during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Diehard Knicks fans will remember the last time the franchise was awarded the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. 

So is Patrick Ewing, the man they took with the infamous pick in the year's first Draft Lottery, going to be there when New York prays they land that pick again? He wouldn't say so, but he hinted that may happen.

"There's a secret that's going to come out in a couple of weeks, but I'm not going to say it yet," Ewing told 247Sports. "They'll see when it happens."

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Dec 1, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) eyes the basket against New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) and center Mitchell Robinson (26) during overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 1, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) eyes the basket against New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) and center Mitchell Robinson (26) during overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

One of the worst seasons in New York Knicks history is over. A 17-65 record will be tough to swallow, but arguably the franchise's biggest offseason ever is fast approaching. This roster made up of raw talent and NBA vagabonds could look anywhere from completely different to mostly the same this time next year. Here's how each key player fared this season, and whether they should stay or go:

Kevin Knox

Barring an Anthony Davis trade, Knox is likely to remain a Knick, and fans should be cautiously optimistic about his future. Although his numbers as a whole were shoddy, there's a lot that is easily fixable, such as taking off a step too early or knowing when to go to the floater vs. attacking the defender's body. He had some solid stretches scattered across an underwhelming season: 43 percent three-point shooting in March, for example. The goal is for him to be a complete player, but we've yet to see tangible improvements much of anywhere,. That's okay, he's very young, and clearly filled with talent.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Lance Thomas, Mario Hezonja, Mitchell Robinson, Noah Vonleh
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Knicks season finally over 00:01:12
New York Knicks had a terrible record during their rebuilding year and why not go out with another loss, this time to the Pistons.

NEW YORK (AP) Luke Kennard scored 27 points, Reggie Jackson had 21 and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 18 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons locked up the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with a 115-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

The Pistons will face the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round.

Jackson scored 14 points and Drummond had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter as the Pistons never trailed and led by as many as 16 points. Neither Jackson nor Drummond played in the fourth quarter.

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Feb 8, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) and guard Ish Smith (14) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Feb 8, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) and guard Ish Smith (14) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Knicks (17-64) are assured of finishing with the league's worst record and have the best shot at winning the draft lottery.

Injuries have piled up and New York will once again play with a short bench on Wednesday. Frank Ntilikina (groin), Allonzo Trier (calf), Kadeem Allen (concussion), Noah Vonleh (ankle), Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder), Mario Hezonja (illness) and Lance Thomas (personal) didn't play against Chicago on Tuesday.

Nonetheless, the Knicks still managed to defeat the Bulls 96-86 behind 25 points from guard Dennis Smith Jr. >> Read More

Tags: Detroit Pistons
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Apr 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) shoots the ball against Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)
Apr 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) shoots the ball against Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)

Dennis Smith Jr. took over in Chicago, as he led the Knicks to a 96-86 win over the Bulls on Tuesday night. >> Box score

Five things to know about Tuesday's game...

1) Smith was the team's leading scorer after dropping 25 points on 10-of-23 shooting. He also had five assists and one rebounds in 34 minutes on the court.

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Damyean Dotson, Mitchell Robinson
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Apr 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson speaks to the media before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Apr 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson speaks to the media before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

Magic Johnson stunned the NBA world on Tuesday night when he made an abrupt announcement that he was stepping down as president of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

In what was an emotional, impromptu press conference, Johnson spoke about the importance of being a "Laker for life" and recalled how he turned down opportunities to join other franchises, one of which was with the Knicks. 

"I could have led the Knicks when Steve Mills called me," he said. 

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New York Knicks shooting guard Allonzo Trier controls the ball against Chicago Bulls small forward Justin Holiday during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks shooting guard Allonzo Trier controls the ball against Chicago Bulls small forward Justin Holiday during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Numerous injuries, trades and a coaching change have bridged the Chicago Bulls' first home game of the season with their 41st and final one.

Chicago's rotation for Tuesday night's regular-season home finale against the New York Knicks looks markedly different than the group that opened the season, although one new face is familiar with the whole "rebuild" drill.

Forward JaKarr Sampson, a recent call-up from Chicago's G-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, played with the Philadelphia 76ers for 121 games over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The Sixers won just 26 times during Sampson's tenure.

Tags: Chicago Bulls
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Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Warriors star Kevin Durant can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kyrie Irving on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors...


April 8, 2:28 PM:

With rumors continuing to swirl that the Knicks are the favorites to sign Durant, Frank Isola of The Athletic reported Monday that some NBA executives and agents are so sure Durant and Kyrie Irving will team up in New York that one agent said Durant and Irving "are debating on who will sign first."

The reason that matters, according to Isola, is that the player who signs second will look like the follower. 

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Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Mario Hezonja wants to be a Knick next year. 

The pending free agent, whom David Fizdale said will continue to play point guard the final two games, has hopes of returning with the Knicks for the 2019-20 season. 

"I'm ready to talk to [James] Dolan," he said, per Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. "If he gives me that call on July 1, we're done."

Tags: Mario Hezonja
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New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja puts up a shot in the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja puts up a shot in the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

Mario Hezonja followed his triple-double by scoring a career-high 30 points as the Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 113-110 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. >> Box score

Five things to know about Sunday's game

1) Hezonja, who had a 16-point, 16-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in Friday's loss to the Rockets, surpassed his previous career high of 29 points, which he set last Wedesday, by making 12 of 21 field goals in 35:31.

Tags: Mario Hezonja, Mitchell Robinson, Washington Wizards
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New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson dunks against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson dunks against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Center Mitchell Robinson has set several Knicks rookie records this season, and has caught the eye of Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.

"I love his game," Olajuwon said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "He has a presence in the middle. He can close down the middle with his energy, skill level, how he moves. Not too many players have that impact as a shotblocker."

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Apr 5, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Luke Kornet (2) makes a slam dunk against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)
Apr 5, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Luke Kornet (2) makes a slam dunk against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

Two teams looking ahead to next year will meet when the Washington Wizards visit the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

The Knicks lost for the eighth time in their last nine games when they were beaten 120-96 in Houston on Friday night as James Harden had 26 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in just 29 minutes.

New York was without point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (sore left shoulder), so Mario Hezonja made his first start at the position. He finished with his first career triple-double -- 16 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in an emergency role.

Tags: Emmanuel Mudiay, Kevin Knox, Mario Hezonja
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Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Former Knicks great Carl Braun was posthumously elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee, according to Mike Vaccaro of The Post. 

Braun, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 82, played 12 seasons with the Knicks between 1947-1961, spending two of those years in the Army. 

The guard averaged 14.1 points and 3.8 assists per game and led the Knicks in scoring for seven of those seasons. He was a five-time All-Star and two-time Second Team All-League player.

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Apr 5, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket while New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas (42) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)
Apr 5, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket while New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas (42) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

The Knicks were mauled by the Rockets on Friday night, losing 120-96 down in Houston. >> Box score

Five things to know about Friday's game...

1) A game after dropping a career-high in points, Mario Hezonja had a career-high in rebounds and assists on his way to his first career triple-double. The Croatin forward tallied 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 12 assists in a 6-for-11 shooting performance. Hezonja, who is on a one-year deal, is certainly making a case for another one this offseason.

Tags: Houston Rockets, Mario Hezonja, Mitchell Robinson, Scott Thompson
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Mar 14, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts after a dunk in the first half against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)
Mar 14, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts after a dunk in the first half against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Zion Williamson is ready for the next phase of his life and if that phase includes playing for the Knicks, he's ready for it.

"Yes, if they draft me, I would love to play for them," the 6-foot-7 Williamson said at the Final Four as he received both the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Associated Press National Player of the Year Award.

The Knicks (15-63) own the NBA's worst record and currently have a 14 percent chance of landing Williamson with the No. 1 pick, as do Cleveland and Phoenix. The NBA Draft Lottery is May 14 in Chicago, while the NBA Draft is June 20 in New York.

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New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, left, and general manager Steve Mills answer questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, left, and general manager Steve Mills answer questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)

As the Knicks close out what may ultimately be the worst season in franchise history, they are trying to instill hope and faith into the fan base.

In a letter to season-ticket holders, Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak of an "extremely bright" future for the team and mention their financial flexibility to "potentially sign up to two max free agents."

The letter, which was obtained by Marc Berman of The Post and a screenshot was shared by a season-ticket holder on Twitter, opens by calling the current season a "difficult one from a win-loss perspective" before painting a picture of the future.  

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Jan 23, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) and center Mitchell Robinson (26) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 23, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) and center Mitchell Robinson (26) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Over two months ago, the Houston Rockets needed all 61 of James Harden's points to eke past the New York Knicks.

With three games remaining before the postseason, the Rockets hope they will not need that many points from Harden Friday night when they host the league-worst Knicks.

The Rockets (51-28) enter Friday in third place in the Western Conference with four straight wins and 18 wins in their last 21 games since Feb. 21. Houston is a 1 1/2 games behind second-place Denver, a half-game up on fourth-place Portland and 2 1/2 ahead of fifth-place Utah.

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Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

It's Super Mario season in New York. 

After a career-best performance against the Magic on Wednesday night, Mario Hezonja will start at point guard for the Knicks on Friday against the Houston Rockets. 

The Knicks are without four point guards -- Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Kadeem Allen and Dennis Smith Jr. -- because of injury and Hezonja, typically a forward, will play the position for the first time since his rookie season with the Magic. 

Tags: Mario Hezonja
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Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson reacts against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the semifinals of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson reacts against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the semifinals of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

If the Knicks win the NBA draft lottery and land the No. 1 pick, chances are they'll draft Zion Williamson, who was named AP Men's Player of the Year on Friday.

Williamson, the expected No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft, received 59 of 64 votes after averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for Duke, which lost in the Elite Eight to Michigan State on Sunday.

The 18-year-old Williamson, with his electrifying dunks, highlight-reel blocks and overall presence on the court for the Blue Devils, has yet to officially declare for the draft. 

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Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) fist pumps after a three point basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

The Knicks may have lost yet again, but Mario Hezonja walked off the Amway Center floor in Orlando on Wednesday night with his own personal win. 

Facing the team that drafted him fifth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, Hezonja came out of the tunnel with a vendetta and it resulted in a career-high 29 points on 11-for-22 from the field as well as nine boards, five assists and two steals. 

Head coach David Fizdale said he told Hezonja to get ready to put on a show for his former fans, and he certainly answered the call over 33:56 minutes on the hardwood.

Tags: Mario Hezonja
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Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) shoots a three point shot over New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Apr 3, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) shoots a three point shot over New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

The Knicks could have spoiled the Magic on Wednesday night, but they dropped the ball in a 114-100 loss in Orlando. >> Box score

Five things to know about Wednesday's game...

1) Playing against his former team, Mario Hezonja dropped a career-high 29 points on 11-for-22 shooting, and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. He also had nine rebounds and five assists over 33 minutes on the floor. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Mario Hezonja, Mitchell Robinson, Orlando Magic, Scott Thompson
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Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Orlando Magic, locked in a tight battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, won't get an easier opportunity in their final four games than the one they have at home against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

The Knicks (15-62) have the worst record in the NBA and are one of three teams headed to have the best lottery odds -- 14 percent -- of landing the top pick in the draft.

But here's the catch: The Knicks beat Orlando in the teams' most recent meeting, 108-103 on Feb. 26 in New York. >> Read more

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Charles Oakley Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)
Charles Oakley Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

Charles Oakley would certainly like to see James Dolan sell the Knicks and he may have some inside information on a potential buyer. 

In a video with Bill Simmons and Jason Concepcion of The Ringer, Oakley said he has "heard" Amazon owner Jeff Bezos wants to buy the Knicks. 

"He was trying to do Amazon (HQ2) in Long Island, went to Virginia, right? So he still wants to do some real estate in New York, why not buy the Garden?" Oakley said. 

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Mar 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Denver Nuggets power forward Mason Plumlee (24) fight for a rebound during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Denver Nuggets power forward Mason Plumlee (24) fight for a rebound during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Knicks rookie C Mitchell Robinson celebrated his 21st birthday with some shots.

No, not those shots. 

Instead, the neophyte was in the team's practice facility taking jumpers around midnight before he became legal for his first drink. He was preparing for his birthday game against the Bulls at The Garden, where he posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. 

Tags: Mitchell Robinson
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Jul 8, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks guard Billy Garrett (17) dribbles during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 8, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks guard Billy Garrett (17) dribbles during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

The most prolific scorer in Knicks G League history is getting his chance in the NBA. 

The Knicks signed Billy Garrett, who is the Westchester Knicks' all-time leading scorer, to a 10-day contract Tuesday to finish out the regular season. 

The 6-foot-6 swingman has played 98 games across the last two seasons with Westchester, where he's averaged 14.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. 

The DePaul product went undrafted in 2017 and was named Big East Freshman of the Year three years prior to that. 

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Reaction to Knicks 113-105 win 00:01:30
David Fizdale was happy with the progress shown by his young team in a 113-105 win over the Bulls. Mitchell Robinson continues to shine.

It turns out Knicks wins aren't as rare as seeing Halley's Comet. They managed to defeat the Bulls on Monday night, 113-105. >> Box score

Five things to know about Monday's game...

1) Another game, another impressive stat line from Mitchell Robinson. On his 21st birthday, Robinson had 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Robinson has blocked at least two shots in 25 consecutive games, tying him with David Robinson for the second-longest such streak by a rookie in NBA history.

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Damyean Dotson, Mitchell Robinson
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New York Knicks shooting guard Allonzo Trier controls the ball against Chicago Bulls small forward Justin Holiday during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks shooting guard Allonzo Trier controls the ball against Chicago Bulls small forward Justin Holiday during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Walt Lemon Jr. still is trying to wrap his mind around his debut with the Chicago Bulls.

Lemon Jr., who grew up on Chicago's South Side and starred at Bradley, made an immediate impact Saturday in his first game with his hometown team. He had 19 points, six assists and four steals in 31 minutes on the floor.

Now, the 26-year-old will get ready for game No. 2 when the Bulls visit the New York Knicks on Monday night. Lemon Jr. spent several years playing overseas and in the G League before a five-game stint with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, followed by his promotion to the Bulls this month.

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Michigan State shocked the NCAA Tournament on Sunday when they took down No. 1-seeded Duke to move on to the Final Four. With that, Zion Williamson -- the projected No. 1 overall pick -- is likely to have played his last game for the Blue Devils as he will prepare for the NBA Draft. 

So, with Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Ja Morant all out of the tournament, who should Knicks fans look forward to seeing in the Final Four? Look no further than Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver

The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard has been the focal point of this Red Raiders team all season long, and many have him as a Top-5 talent. He is only solidifying that fact in the Tournament, where he is averaging 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks over his four games. Culver is also shooting just shy of 42 percent from the field...

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Mar 21, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) sits on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports (Sergio Estrada)
Mar 21, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) sits on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports (Sergio Estrada)

New details have emerged in the alleged Kristaps Porzingis sexual assault case, which include the woman making the claims reaching out to the Knicks to "mediate" the $68,000 payment Porzingis had promised her, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The new information comes from emails obtained by ESPN between the accuser and the Knicks' legal department, as well as text messages between her and Porzingis.

The emails show the 29-year-old woman communicated with the Knicks in late October through early November -- eight months after the alleged assault and prior to any criminal complaint filed with New York police.

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Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson reacts after losing to the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson reacts after losing to the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Zion Williamson's college career came to an end here in the Elite Eight against Michigan State on Sunday night.

And the next game he plays will be for an NBA team.

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Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson dunks the ball against in the championship game of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson dunks the ball against in the championship game of the East Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Zion Williamson may have played his last game with Duke.

The freshman phenom and potential No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft had his season end with a 68-67 loss to 2-seed Michigan State on Sunday in the Elite Eight.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson, who averaged 22.6 points and 8.7 rebounds with the Blue Devils, scored 24 points and brought down 14 rebounds, however the ball wasn't in his hands late.

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Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver (43) has his shot blocked by New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 22, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver (43) has his shot blocked by New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

In the first half of the Knicks' 100-92 loss to the Miami Heat Saturday night, Goran Dragic found himself open for three in the corner. Mitchell Robinson, the 20-year-old second-round pick, closed out on the shifty guard, dissuading the shot while being in position to guard the ensuing iso. Dragic tried to speed by Robinson, then fake him out, but the neophyte was steady, and smothered Dragic on his forced attempt.

On the night, he finished with nine points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. This type of stat line and defensive performance has become ordinary for Robinson since the All-Star break, providing a silver lining to an otherwise bleak season -- 62 losses and counting, owner-fan feuds and a midseason deal shipping away your best prospect (who is reportedly under NYPD investigation for a rape accusation.) But Knick fans can rejoice over one takeaway: Robinson is a building block for this franchise's future.

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Mar 30, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 30, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket against New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Knicks gave the Heat a good battle, but Miami came out with a 100-92 victory in Dwyane Wade's final game at The Garden on Saturday night. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game...

1) Coming off the bench, Wade dropped 16 points on 6-for-16 from the field. He also had seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal on the night. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Miami Heat, Mitchell Robinson, Scott Thompson
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Oct 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis looks on during a second half time out against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis looks on during a second half time out against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The NYPD is reportedly investigating a claim by a woman who says former Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis raped her merely hours after he suffered his torn ACL against the Bucks back on Feb. 7, 2018. 

The allegations, which cops say are "credible" according to The Post, detail Porzingis inviting the woman back to his luxury apartment at the Sky building in Midtown West Manhattan, which she agreed to. When they entered the apartment, the woman claims Porzingis held her down and raped her. 

It was discussed that Porzingis was going to offer $68,000 to pay for the woman's brother's college tuition to keep her quiet. However, that fell through. The woman admitted that she kept quiet this long because of the money Porzingis had promised. 

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Scott Thompson
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Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) controls the ball against New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) controls the ball against New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Miami Heat, whose comeback win on Thursday landed them in playoff position -- for the moment at least -- hit the road on Saturday to play the New York Knicks, who have the worst record in the NBA at 14-61.

The Knicks are playing out the string this season as they dream of a summer bonanza in which they could potentially draft a difference-maker such as Zion Williamson, Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, and sign free agents such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker.

Meanwhile, with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, there are five teams closely bunched in the Eastern Conference playoff race -- the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets and the Heat...

Tags: Miami Heat
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Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) reacts to fans chanting "let's go Heat" during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) reacts to fans chanting "let's go Heat" during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Dwyane Wade wants nothing but the best for his friend and former coach David Fizdale, which is why the retiring Miami Heat guard will be rooting for the Knicks in free agency this summer. 

Wade, who will play his final game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, has faith Fizdale can take the Knicks in the right direction and hopes the head coach can lure the top free agents to New York this summer. 

"We'll see," Wade said at Saturday's shootaround. "It's his second head-coaching job but first time in a role like this in New York. You hope so. I'm a big fan of his, he's a good friend of mine. I hope so."

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Mar 29, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) dunks the ball against Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ahmed Hill (13) during the second half in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)
Mar 29, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) dunks the ball against Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ahmed Hill (13) during the second half in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)

Zion Williamson was electric again.

The likely No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft and potential future Knick continues to thrive in the Big Dance, leading Duke to a 75-73 Sweet 16 victory Friday night over Virginia Tech. Duke will play Michigan State on Sunday in the East Regional final.

Williamson scored 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting, adding six rebounds and three blocks. One of those blocks came with 5:27 left after he was beat one-on-one but closed down at the basket anyway, keeping Duke ahead by five.

But Williamson's most noteworthy play of the night came in the form of a thunderous two-handed, alley-oop jam off a fast break midway through the second half to give Duke a six-point lead.

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Apr 12, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) talks to assistant head coach David Fizdale during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Heat win 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 12, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) talks to assistant head coach David Fizdale during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Heat win 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Dwyane Wade's "One Last Dance" is coming to New York, and Knicks head coach David Fizdale couldn't be more honored to be a part of his final game at Madison Square Garden.

Fizdale and Wade were extremely close during the former's time in Miami as an assistant coach. They won an NBA title together, and when Fizdale took the job with the Knicks, Wade had nothing but praise for one of his good friends in the league. 

That doesn't mean Fizdale doesn't want to hand Wade and the Heat a loss on Saturday night. 

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Robinson's bright NBA future 00:00:54
New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has vastly improved during his first season in the NBA but what could be his ceiling?

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has shown a lot of promise during his rookie season, but just how good of an NBA player can the second-round become? The crew on SNY's new show The Thread examine the 20-year-old's potential. 

Tags: Mitchell Robinson
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