Mike Woodson
Mike Woodson

The last coach to have a winning season at Madison Square Garden -- heck, the last coach to lose less than 50 games -- was Mike Woodson. It's been six years since Woodson coached the Knicks to 54 wins and an Atlantic Division title. Six years since the Knicks have had a winning product. Woodson says that that season in New York is one of the highlights of his 30-plus years in the NBA. 

"There isn't anything like winning in New York; it's just different," Woodson says. 

We'll find out in the coming months if this year's Knicks team can recreate that feeling. 

But before we look ahead, Woodson took some time to look back on his coaching tenure in New York. He talks with SNY about why he enjoyed coaching Carmelo Anthony and working for James Dolan and his desire to coach again in the NBA: 

Q: How do you reflect on your time in New York?

A: Looking back on it all, it was fantastic. And you probably want to know why. It's because I got an opportunity to coach an NBA franchise that drafted me. I experienced New York as a No. 1 draft pick, playing for Red Holzman and was able to circle back and, luckily, fall into an opportunity to coach here. (Woodson took over the Knicks in 2012 after Mike D'Antoni stepped down). (Knicks owner) Jim Dolan gave me an opportunity to coach his franchise and that was like a dream come true. It was a wonderful experience because I was able to do something that a lot coaches hadn't done (in New York). Getting things turned around, getting this team in the playoffs and get them back to playing some pretty good basketball. Knicks fans fell in love with what we were doing.

Q: What are your fondest memories of your tenure? 

A: There's not one particular thing that stands out. The fact that Jim Dolan and (then GM) Glen Grunwald were in my corner in terms of letting me coach and do what I do was great. There was some negativity around us at that time. People were saying, 'They haven't won in so long. What's going to be different now?' But we excelled. Those are the best memories. And the players excelled. Tyson (Chandler) getting Defensive Player of the Year and J.R. (Smith) getting Sixth Man of the Year, Melo in the running for MVP -- these were positive things that hadn't happened to those players and hadn't happened to the New York Knicks in a while. But it wasn't really about me. It was about the players and the fans. It was giving the fans something to be excited about, something to watch. That's probably my fondest memory. When we were winning, the fans were like our Sixth Man. There isn't anything like winning in New York because of the fans. It's just different.

Q: What's your involvement in the game now?

A: Well, this is the second time in 33 years that I've been away from the game. I've spent half my life in the NBA. And I've loved it. I still think I have a lot to offer, because I've been on both ends of the spectrum (building a successful team in Atlanta and winning with a veteran group in New York). I'm going to visit some NBA camps next week, which I'm looking forward to. It's going to be a little weird for me because I've never really been in that position. I'm used to running my own camps and people coming in to see how we do things. But I think it's good for me at this stage in my career. I'm always eager to learn and see how other people do things. But, ultimately, I want back into league. I think I belong there. I have a strong track record in this league and I can help a franchise win basketball games and help young players get better. (Heat president Pat Riley invited Woodson to visit Miami's training camp; Kurt Rambis and Frank Vogel invited Woodson to visit the Lakers training camp; Woodson also plans to visit the Hawks' training camp.)

Q: Going back to your Knicks tenure, what was your experience like coaching Carmelo Anthony?

A: It was the best. I think the world of Carmelo. We spent three years together and I was able to coach him and push him and I thought he responded in a big way. That's all a coach can ever ask for. I think Carmelo is misread sometimes. I can't say anything but good things about Carmelo Anthony. When I took over the ballclub, I said in the locker room that he was going to be held accountable along with Tyson (Chandler) and Amar'e (Stoudemire). And they all bought in and they put up with a lot of things I did and said. And I put up with a lot of things that they did and said. And we were able to win basketball games and get the team back to respectability. I have the utmost respect for Carmelo in terms of what he did for me during my tenure in New York. And I wish him nothing but the best.

Q: You said Carmelo Anthony is misunderstood. What about him do you think is misunderstood? 

A: I don't know what happened in Denver, I wasn't there. Sometimes the media can take things and spin them and it can help you and sometimes it can hurt you. What the media said about him in Denver, I didn't see that in New York. I can only base my opinion on what I saw, how it unfolded for me. So I can't say anything bad about Carmelo. I just can't.

Q: Do you think he can still contribute to a team?

A: Absolutely. I just think it's gotta be with the right team. If you're going to put him on your team, you've got to utilize him. He has a knack to put the ball in the hole and you've got to utilize the strengths. And if you're not going to do that, why have him?

Q: What was it like coaching J.R. Smith?

A: J.R. was different. I think coaches sometimes get lost in terms of how we perceive players based on what others say about them. When J.R. came to New York, people said, 'Wow, you're not going to be able to coach this guy.' And when you tell me I can't coach a player, I try to prove you wrong. I also think J.R. needed me as much as I needed him at that particular time. I took him under my wing and said, 'Hey, everybody's saying these bad things about J.R., that you can't be coached. Well, I'm gonna coach you. And I'm going to see how you respond.' 

It wasn't pretty a lot of times with J.R. and Mike Woodson. But the beauty of that relationship and that run that we had with J.R., his parents were fantastic. His mom and dad said, 'You've got to do whatever you can do make my son a better player. And you've got to push him and coach him.' He fought me some nights. And it was a heavyweight blow. He'd throw a punch and I'd throw a punch back (laughs). And that's okay when you're coaching players. But at the end of the day, I was in J.R.'s corner and he knew it and he allowed me to coach. There were some nights when I looked at him and I was like, 'What are you doing?' But for the most part I think J.R. became a better player, a more of a complete player (in New York)….

We just tried to put him in the best position possible. And sometimes it didn't look pretty, but at the end of the day, he got better as a player. The league rewarded him for it (with a Sixth Man of the Year Award). And he helped us win our division, win 54 games. He was a big part of that.

Q: What was your experience like with Jim Dolan? 

A: Listen, I've worked for a lot of owners as an assistant coach and then two times as a head coach. When I got my head gig in Atlanta, we had three different ownership groups and we had some problems within our ownership group. It didn't affect me in terms of allowing me and my staff to do our job. They gave us a budget, we stuck with it and we won. But they (ownership) were somewhat dysfunctional. Though they stayed out of my way and allowed me to do my job, which is all you can ask for. And then when I came to New York, Jim gave me an opportunity to coach the team. And he gave me everything I needed from a coaching standpoint. He allowed Glen Grunwald and I to put a team together after my interim season. That next year we brought seven, eight new players in. And Jim gave us the freedom to do that. And Glen did a fantastic job with constructing that roster. 

We caught a lot of hell at the beginning of the season because a lot of those guys were older guys... But ultimately, we won and I've got to thank Jim Dolan for allowing Glen and I to do things the way we wanted. (Dolan) could have easily said, 'no that's not going to happen,' but he didn't do that. He allowed me to coach and do what I thought was best for the team, which is all I could ask for. I don't care about what people are saying in the media, I can only base my opinion on how Jim treated me. And he's treated me well. He really has. I could always talk to Jim and Jim could talk to me. And it was always a great conversation.

Q: It's worth revisiting that there were some changes going into 2013-14, starting with Grunwald getting fired before training camp. 

A: Yeah, we were kind of surprised by that. We really didn't see that coming. I don't know exactly what happened but maybe Jim got some bad advice from someone when Glen was let go. It was a major surprise to all of us.

Q: The roster also changed a lot that summer. Steve Mills took over as president and GM and, later Phil Jackson was hired as president. What are your reflections on that? 

A: When you're working in these franchises, things happen that you can't control. We got off to a bad start (that season) and made a big run at the end after getting healthy, and got back to playing like we were capable of (at the end of the season). (But) we fell short in terms of making the playoffs and Phil and Steve decided to go in another direction at the end of the year. I wished them well before I left and I moved on.

Q: The Knicks have struggled on the court since then and dealt with on- and off-court drama during some of those seasons. What have you made of all of that from afar?

A: I'd rather not comment on that. 

Q: Dave Hopla, an assistant on your staff, said recently that he thought the McKinsey & Company consulting firm hurt the team in 2013-14. Did you feel that way?

A: I think each coach and player and front-office person have their own way of viewing things and that's what he thought. I look at it a little bit differently. Analytics now plays a major role in our league. I thought there were some positive things that came from the McKinsey group. They helped us look at the numbers behind our lineups. When you can look at those numbers and see, 'This group works well together in so many minutes on the floor.' Or you see that your shooting well from a certain side of the floor with one group - that's helpful. But at the end of the day, you still have to be able to coach and put players in position to be successful to win basketball games. That's what it's all about. And it doesn't hurt if you have talent (laughs).

Q: What's it like coaching in New York?

A: I have coached in a lot of markets and the New York market is by far the toughest. The fact that I played in New York as a rookie helped prepare me for the market in terms of being able to deal with the media. I thought for the most part, the media was great for me. It really was. it might not have been great for my two daughters and my wife when we hit tough times in the third season. Coming into the arena, you hear the fans booing and things of that nature. And you don't want your kids or your wife to experience that. But it's part of the sport. You would think your home crowd would not boo, but, hey, that's what they do at the Garden. They did it when I was a rookie and we won 50 games (laughs). But I understood the media in New York and maybe that's why I didn't affect me or let it get under my skin. Some coaches or front office people may have struggled with the media in New York. But I didn't let it affect my job. If I let the media effect what I do as a coach, then I can't coach. And I never would allow the media to do that.

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Knicks prep for pre-season game 00:01:03
David Fizdale, RJ Barrett and Frank Ntilikina on points of emphasis in practice ahead of Wednesday's night's pre-season game vs Atlanta

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

We'll learn a lot about the Knicks starting point guard position this week (more on that below), but don't be surprised if you see RJ Barrett handling the ball at times for New York. 

"I've thrown him at that position a couple times already," David Fizdale said Tuesday. "He played some of that in college. I think it adds another layer to how dynamic he can be. Especially having somebody that big that can switch things do some different things defensively. So yeah, I'll sprinkle that in."

Fizdale has mentioned Barrett, Julius Randle and Marcus Morris as potential non-point guard ball-handlers in his offense.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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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 | 

If you've seen LeBron James' comments on the NBA-China controversy (and the reaction to those comments), you know that the ripple effects of Daryl Morey's tweet in support of demonstrators in Hong Kong will be felt for some time. 

There's plenty to unpack with this story: free speech issues, the NBA -- and many other companies -- conducting business with a country that critics say has a history of oppressing dissent, and the potential financial fallout for the league and its players from losing revenue from the business they do in China. 

It's way too early to predict how much revenue the league may lose in the aftermath of last week's events. But the lost revenue -- if it's high enough -- will have a tangible impact on the Knicks. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Knicks on roster changes 00:01:21
Knicks coach David Fizdale and forwards Julius Randle and Kevin Knox talk about this year's roster coming together

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to make his preseason debut on Wednesday against the Hawks, which adds a layer of intrigue to the Knicks' starting point guard competition.

Smith Jr. missed New York's first two preseason games due to a back strain. He returned to practice over the weekend and, barring a setback, will make his preseason debut on Wednesday.

The Knicks had taken a cautious approach with Smith Jr.'s ailment.

Tags: Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Presidential candidate Andrew Yang
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been sounding off on the Knicks for months. Here's the latest...


Oct. 14, 11:44 AM:

Once a big Knicks fan, Yang has grown increasingly agitated with the direction of the team. And he is now saying that he "prefers" the Nets.

"Better than the Knicks, man," Yang told Forbes about why he now prefers the Nets. "The (Knicks) ownership is just too. ... too s--ty."

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Oct 9, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Justin Anderson (7) dribbles the ball against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Oct 9, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Justin Anderson (7) dribbles the ball against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Did Justin Anderson have any extra motivation against Marcus Morris and the Knicks on Friday night?

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about (Morris hitting him in the head with the ball). My biggest thing is making sure I go out there and whatever opportunity I get, making sure I play hard defensively, compete defensively," Anderson said. "And offensively, I told my brother, I'm just trying to kill. So I'm glad I played that way and maintained my composure and handled it like class."

Anderson had 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench for the Wizards, who knocked down 46 percent of their 3-point attempts in a 16-point win. Earlier in the week, Morris was ejected from a game against the Wizards for hitting Anderson in the head with an elbow and then hitting Anderson in the face with the ball.  

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

The Knicks fell to the Wizards 115-99 in their preseason home opener. >> Box Score

Six things to know from Friday's game...

1) Right off the opening tip, Julius Randle showed off his ability as a point-forward. Off of a Washington miss, Randle hauled in the defensive rebound and brought the ball up the court himself, something that Knicks fans can expect to see often this season. Randle then backed down the much smaller Ish Smith, and then kicked it out to an open Marcus Morris, who drained the three. Randle finished the night with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In response to Kevin Durant, Marcus Morris tweeted on Thursday that he was never a fan of doing what was cool. 

He expanded on that idea when asked about it on Friday. 

"That's just me personally. Me reading what KD said, or listening to what he said about the cool thing," Morris said on Friday before the Knicks-Wizards game at MSG. "I just never was a real fan of that. Being cool and being in the NBA. Me personally, I get what he was saying. I actually have a good relationship with KD. But the cool part about playing somewhere. Playing in all cities - playing in Utah. Is it cool to play in Utah? It's cool to play in other places. It's cool. I just never was a fan of the cool thing. Making a decision off of what's cool."

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Steve Mills/Scott Perry/David Fizdale (Brad Penner)
Steve Mills/Scott Perry/David Fizdale (Brad Penner)

If the current rift between the NBA and the Chinese government continues, it could have some adverse effects on the league next season. 

Teams are already preparing for that scenario. 

According to Yahoo! Sports' Keith Smith, "at least five NBA teams" are beginning to plan for a scenario where the NBA salary cap for the 2020-2021 season could diminish because of the NBA-China situation. Smith has it potentially falling between 10 and 15 percent. 

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Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris (13) shoots over Washington Wizards guard Ish Smith (14) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris (13) shoots over Washington Wizards guard Ish Smith (14) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A day after Julius Randle responded to Kevin Durant's critique of the Knicks, teammate Marcus Morris chimed in. 


 (Raj Mehta)
(Raj Mehta)

Kristaps Porzingis made his Mavericks debut on Wednesday night, marking his first return to NBA action following a 20-month absence.

The Latvia native scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and was a team-leading +13 in 19 minutes on the night, as the Mavericks fell to the Pistons 124-117.


Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) dribbles as New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30)] defends during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) dribbles as New York Knicks center Julius Randle (30)] defends during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets first face each other in the second game of the regular season Oct. 25 at Barclays Center, and the intrigue has already begun with off-court comments from both sides.

After Kevin Durant said that "the cool thing right now is not the Knicks," Julius Randle, among others, had a response for reporters Wednesday when asked about the new Nets star's thoughts from Tuesday on Hot97 FM's Ebro in the Morning Show.

"S--t, I feel cool in blue and orange," Randle told reporters. "I don't know about everybody else but I feel pretty cool wearing my Knicks gear every day. It's a dream come true for me. Everybody has their own opinion."

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Marcus Morris talks his ejection 00:00:55
New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris speaks about his ejection during the Knicks first preseason game and possibly being suspended

Marcus Morris has avoided any suspension by the NBA.

A league source confirmed to SNY's Ian Begley that Morris won't be suspended for Monday's incident.

The nine-year veteran had a very strong preseason debut against Washington, going off for 17 points in the first half.

Early in the the second half, after some back-and-forth with Justin Anderson, Morris hit Anderson in the head with the ball as Anderson guarded him. He received a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game.

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 (NICOLE SWEET)
(NICOLE SWEET)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn't want to comment on the international controversy between the NBA, the Chinese government, the Houston Rockets and Houston GM Daryl Morey

"It was unfortunate that the events were cancelled today but we're not experts in that field," Jordan said on ESPN's The Jump on Tuesday from China, where the Nets are scheduled to play the Lakers. "The field that we are experts in is basketball. We wanted to come here to play basketball and see all our fans in China."

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

David Fizdale plans to use several different lineups in the preseason. So we may see a different starting five when New York plays Washington on Friday at Madison Square Garden. 

But Fizdale gave some interesting insight when he answered a question about his starting lineup for Monday's preseason opener.

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In an interview on the Ebro in the Morning Show on Hot97 FM, Nets star Kevin Durant talked about several topics, including his decision to sign with the Nets and why "it's hard" for the Knicks to attract top players. Here is the full interview.

Here are some highlights:

ON HIS DECISION TO SIGN WITH THE NETS

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Frank Ntilikina
Frank Ntilikina

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Frank Ntilikina spent some time in Dallas over the summer, training for the NBA season and the FIBA World Cup. David Fizdale flew to Texas for a visit with Ntilikina in July. At one point, the coach shared a simple, poignant message with his young guard: "We've got a lot of confidence in you, play free, leave everything behind you."

Ntilikina seemed to do just that with the French National team. He started at guard for the club and his play -- which included a clutch performance against Team USA -- propelled them to a bronze medal in the World Cup.

"It gives you a lot of confidence," Ntilikina said of his World Cup success. "But I say now: it's a new start with a new team with the Knicks. So it's another competition."

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Marcus Morris talks his ejection 00:00:55
New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris speaks about his ejection during the Knicks first preseason game and possibly being suspended

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Marcus Morris said his decision to hit Justin Anderson in the head with a ball early in the second half of the Knicks' preseason win over the Wizards was "unprofessional" and "a bad move." 

Morris received a flagrant-2 foul on the play. The sequence started when Morris hit Anderson in the head with an elbow when he swung his arms through to create space. He then hit Anderson with the ball.

Morris said afterward Anderson said something to provoke him, though he didn't use that to excuse his reaction. He and the Wizards forward had to be separated after the play.

Tags: RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) reacts after making a basket during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) reacts after making a basket during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Here are a few takeaways from the Knicks' 104-99 win over the Wizards:

MORRIS EJECTED: Marcus Morris was ejected 13 seconds into the second half for doing something you don't see often. First, he appeared to hit Justin Anderson, his defender, with an elbow when he swung his arms through to create space. That happens regularly in the NBA. Here's the odd part. He then hit Anderson in the head with the ball and started jawing with him. He received a flagrant-two, presumably for the whole sequence.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Fizdale announces starting five 00:01:25
David Fizdale announced his starting five ahead of the preseason matchup with the Wizards. Dennis Smith Jr. elaborated on his back injury.

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Based on what we've heard from players at Knicks training camp, defense has been a priority this week. You'll get your first look at the Knicks' defense in action on Monday when they open the preseason in Washington.

Something to expect? Ball pressure. That's been a point of emphasis during camp.

"Me and all my teammates, we pay a lot of attention to pressuring the ball on defense. And not letting the opposing team be comfortable offensively," Frank Ntilikina, one of the team's top defenders, said Sunday. "So yes, you will see that from the Knicks."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Jul 7, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks 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 center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks 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 | 

Veteran Knicks big man Taj Gibson has been impressed by Mitchell Robinson so far.

"He has a lot more to offer than what you see. He's only scratched the surface," Gibson said Friday. "He's real talented and athletic but he shows a lot more in practice. He can shoot the ball. He's a great shot-blocker. He has so much to offer. It's up to us to bring it out of him."

Robinson will likely start at center for the Knicks this year. You can argue that his progression in Year 2 -- and beyond -- is one of the Knicks' most important tasks. Robinson established himself as one of the top young shotblockers in the league this season. He plans to start shooting from the perimeter this year. If he can continue to develop on both ends of the court, the 21-year-old could give the Knicks something every NBA team covets -- a shot blocking 7-footer who can shoot threes.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) shoots against Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) 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 Allonzo Trier (14) shoots against Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, Knicks fans naturally felt spurned, having held out hope that the 10-time All-Star would bring the magic back to Madison Square Garden.

But what about Allonzo Trier? The second-year Knicks guard has a relationship with Durant that dates back to Trier's days as a high schooler in Oklahoma City, when Durant was a member of the Thunder.

Tags: Allonzo Trier
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Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards 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 RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A few notes and observations from Knicks training camp on Thursday:

RJ Barrett spent some time talking to Hall of Famer Bernard King on Thursday.

King didn't want to reveal too much about the conversation, but he seems impressed by the Knicks' No. 3 overall pick.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Morris wants 'Old school Knicks' 00:01:07
Marcus Morris laid it out there when he said the Knicks will be 'Old school Knicks and protect the Garde' as their identity this season.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks are three days into training camp, so it's probably too early to say anything definitive about the team's identity. But Marcus Morris knows exactly what he wants it to be. 

"Old school Knicks. Protect the Garden. My biggest thing is no one's coming in there and disrespecting us," Morris said Thursday. "If anything, if you come in here you're going to get a hard-fought game. The better team going to win but we're not tolerating no disrespect and no one coming in here thinking it's going to be easy. That's the first and foremost."  

Other Knicks have delivered similar messages in the past. But more often than not, they haven't followed through on them. This instance is probably different; it would be hard to find a player in the league who thinks Morris won't back his words up.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

David Fizdale plans to use Julius Randle all over the floor this season. 

"I'm gonna have him handling pick-and-roll. I'm gonna have him setting pick-and-rolls. He'll post and (isolate) and I'll run pindowns for him, cross-screens and pindowns. For a guy like that with that kind of talent I wanna move him around and utilize the skillset from different parts of the floor," Fizdale said Wednesday. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Film director Spike Lee during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Film director Spike Lee during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Spike Lee has added to his Knicks memorabilia collection, and he spent a pretty penny to do so.

According to the Associated Press, Lee recently purchased 13 Knicks-related items from an auction, held by the family of the Red Holzman, the former Knicks coach who passed away in 1998. The family had put 35 items up for auction, with Lee purchasing over a third of them.

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Frank Ntilikina ready for season 00:02:20
New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina feels some added confidence in his game after competing in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Frank Ntilikina learned something important about himself during France's run to the bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup:

"How good I can be playing basketball," the guard said on Wednesday. "It's simple on both sides of the court. A competition like that brought me a lot of confidence."

If Ntilikina can play with the kind of confidence/competence in New York that he showed with the French National Team last month, maybe he earns a spot in David Fizdale's rotation.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Ian Begley
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Evaluating Frank Ntilikina 00:00:56
Ian Begley addresses the strong showing from Frank Ntilikina after a good summer playing for France. Also, Dennis Smith Jr. turned heads.

A lot has changed for Knicks PG Dennis Smith Jr. this summer. And it wasn't just his jumper. 

Smith spoke to the media at practice Wednesday, and he admitted being down about 15 pounds since the end of last season. The Knicks had told him to cut weight, and he did just that. 

Of course, that came with some food sacrifices.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Scott Thompson
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Apr 3, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis practices before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Apr 3, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis practices before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

After the Knicks missed out on landing the big names during the NBA's offseason, the star player they traded away in January now says he's in the best shape of his life. 

Speaking to reporters at Mavericks Media Day, Kristaps Porzingis said he's as healthy as he's ever been on the court.

"I feel great physically," Porzingis said. "I feel 100 percent. I feel probably better than I ever have in my life."

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis
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Breaking down Knicks practice 00:00:45
Ian Begley breaks down the Knicks first day of Training Camp. Robinson says he's ready to hit 3's while Barrett is working on everything.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

How does Dennis Smith Jr.'s new shot look in five-on-five scrimmages?

"It's a lot better," David Fizdale said on Tuesday. "It's a lot less movement, it's more efficient. He put in a lot of time on the fundamentals this summer. But it's a process. He'll have days where it's not as great. But I think consistently now he's got a shot that has a better chance of going in."

Smith Jr. has worked extensively on his shot this summer with Knicks assistant coach Keith Smart. He shot 42 percent overall and 32 percent from beyond the arc this season. The Knicks, obviously, would like to see those percentages increase in Smith Jr.'s third NBA season.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Knicks hold intense practice 00:01:16
The Knicks held a very focused practice centered around defense and Mitchell Robinson let everyone know he's ready to shoot 3's.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

After working on his 3-point shot all summer, Mitchell Robinson plans to let it fly from beyond the arc this season. 

"Why work on something you're not going to use? I'm looking forward to it," the second-year center said after the first practice of Knicks training camp. 

Tags: Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Heading into his sixth NBA season, Julius Randle is excited to be playing for the Knicks. It will be Randle's first season with New York, after signing a three-year $63 million contract with the team over the summer. He spent his first four years with the Los Angeles Lakers and the 2018-2019 season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Randle acknowledged that he's going to be a leader with his new team, and is focused on helping center Mitchell Robinson take a leap forward in his second season in the league.

"That was one of the things I talked to Fiz about, that I was extremely excited about. Mitch has no clue how talented he is, how good he can be," Randle said. "Me being a leader of this team, I'm definitely going to push him, to try to maximize his potential. That's a kid I'm extremely excited to play with day in and day out."

Tags: Mitchell Robinson
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Kevin Knox (Brad Penner)
Kevin Knox (Brad Penner)

Kevin Knox's rookie season has came and went, and though the numbers may not be what he wanted to see at the end of it, he still showed flashes of that first-round pick type of talent.

Now it's all about improving off that rookie year, and turning those flashes into consistent performance. Speaking at the Knicks Media Day on Monday in Tarrytown, NY, Knox said that he was watching tons of film this summer to see what he can improve on.

"I think with this first season going by, I think this summer I had some film I could really watch," he told reporters. "Going into last year, I had no film really on myself, but this year I could really watch and see where I can grow, get better. Obviously have to get better at the defensive end and that' something that me, Fiz, and a lot of coaches have been working on this summer. Being more consistent, more efficient on the floor. Knocking down open shots."

Tags: Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Scott Thompson
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Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter reacts during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter reacts during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Since being released by the Knicks, Enes Kanter has alternated between bashing them and praising them and their future. On Monday, the dice landed on "bash."

Asked why he chose to sign with the Celtics during the offseason, Kanter was succinct.

"That's why I chose Celtics. They don't tank," he said Monday, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

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Knicks media day 00:01:21
New York Knicks players Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, RJ Barrett, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox speak at media day.

Knicks first-rounder RJ Barrett was all smiles in his No. 9 jersey during Media Day on Monday. But when the lights turn on at Madison Square Garden in his rookie season, it will be all business for the No. 3 overall pick. 

His true first day at work begins on Tuesday during his first training camp practice. Barrett is excited to get to work with his new teammates in Tarrytown, NY -- something he's already been doing since being drafted by the Knicks. It has been so far, so good as he continues to get acclimated to his new team.

"It's been great so far," he told reporters. "Just really enjoying being around the guys, enjoying working out so just trying to get to know everybody."

Tags: RJ Barrett, Scott Thompson
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Knicks front office speaks 00:02:21
New York Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry explain their offseason roster construction and why they missed on big free agents.

It's Knicks Media Day out in Tarrytown, NY, and it's also the first time team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry discussed their free agency moves. 

The result wasn't what Knicks fans were hoping for, as the superstars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and others found their way to different teams. However, Mills and Perry had multiple plans in place if something like this were to go down. 

So the roster that they have put together with training camp kicking off tomorrow is one that they did envision when prepping for free agency.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Scott Thompson
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Leading up to free agency, the Knicks, Warriors, Clippers and Nets all had serious interest in signing Kevin Durant. People around the Knicks felt that they still had a chance to land Durant in the days leading up to free agency. 

Did Durant share that interest?

When asked on Friday how seriously he considered signing with the Knicks, Clippers or Warriors before deciding on the Nets, Durant said, "I thought about it for a couple seconds to see how my life would look in all of those places for a minute. But ultimately, I wanted to be here."

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Dec 16, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Carmelo Anthony (7) plays the ball against New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 16, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Carmelo Anthony (7) plays the ball against New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Count Lance Thomas among the NBA players who are surprised that Carmelo Anthony isn't on an NBA roster. 

"I think he deserves to end up on a team. A guy of his caliber is someone who has always been a standup guy in the league. He's given amazing basketball memories to the NBA, has affected almost every teammate he's ever had in a positive way, and always has a smile on his face," Thomas said Friday at Nets Media Day. "I think he does deserve to play on a team. I think it's unfortunate what's happening. But you're not going to take the smile off his face even if you tried."

Thomas signed with the Nets on Friday. His addition puts Brooklyn's roster entering training camp at 20 players - the maximum allowed under NBA guidelines. So the Nets would need to waive someone to add Anthony, which seems unlikely at this point. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas, Ian Begley
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New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jeff Green during the first half at Capital One Arena. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jeff Green during the first half at Capital One Arena. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets have agreed to terms with forward Lance Thomas, the team announced ahead of Friday's media day. 

SNY's Ian Begley had previously reported that the team was in conversations with the former Knick, who will look to serve as a stopgap in the Nets' rotation while Wilson Chandler serves a 25-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy at the start of the season.

Tags: Lance Thomas
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Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)
Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Discussions between Lance Thomas and the Brooklyn Nets have centered around Thomas having a regular season roster spot, per SNY sources.

The Nets have 15 players on guaranteed deals, but can add an extra player after the fifth game of Wilson Chandler's 25-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Nets GM Sean Marks acknowledged on Tuesday that the team will look into adding a 16th player on the roster during Chandler's suspension.

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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)

The Knicks will have a new uniform option for the 2019-20 season, according to Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net, and that uniform was recently spotted and shown via Instagram.

According to Creamer, the new uniform that was spotted is the "Statement Edition" uniform.

Check it out below:

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Get to know Iggy Brazdeikis 00:02:39
Knicks rookie Iggy Brazdeikis sat down with Ian Begley ahead of training camp to open up about playing in New York and his upbringing.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

A few days ahead of his first NBA training camp, Knicks rookie Ignas Brazdeikis sat down with SNY to talk about basketball, his upbringing, and how he's adjusting to life in New York so far.

Brazdeikis, selected 47th in the 2019 NBA Draft, says he isn't looking to prove any doubters wrong in his first season in the league.

"I'm just here to prove myself right," he says. "I don't really care about anyone else, proving them wrong, whatever. I know who I am, I know how good I am, and I know how much I can help this team. I'm going to prove it, I'm going to do my thing. And I don't hold anything against anyone (who may have overlooked him). It what it is, but I'm definitely ready to go."

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Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett
Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett

The NBA is entering a season where there are numerous teams in contention for a championship and even more poised to push for a long playoff run. With the Knicks being perhaps the only team in the division out of contention, the Atlantic Division features some heavy hitters.

In a league built on stars, the Atlantic has All-Stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. There's also players on the rise and poised to eventually make an all-star team in Pascal Siakam and Jayson Tatum.

Player movement is at an all-time high, so don't expect any of these teams to look exactly the same five years from now. All five teams in the division feature interesting rosters with numerous questions about how they look currently, as well as where they will be in the next five years. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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Fertitta on Carmelo Anthony 00:02:14
Ian Begley talked to Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets on Carmelo Anthony's tenure and Knicks owner James Dolan.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke to SNY on Friday to promote his new book, 'Shut up and Listen', which provides advice for business entrepreneurs. He answered questions about the book, ex-Knick Carmelo Anthony's Rockets tenure, Knicks and Nets ownership and other topics. 

Below is a Q&A with Fertitta, condensed and edited for clarity.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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Apr 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls 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 guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Dennis Smith Jr. has several goals coming into his second season with the Knicks. One of them? To help R.J. Barrett win Rookie of the Year. 

"I'm treating that as one of my focal points just to help him win Rookie of the Year. And whatever I can do, I'm willing to do it," Smith Jr. said in an interview with Chris Henderson. "It's important for us and it's important for our team and it's important for our morale moving forward so I think it would be major if he won that."

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after a play during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Nets open training camp in 10 days and several Brooklyn players remain fully in favor of the club signing free agent Carmelo Anthony, per SNY sources.

The Nets enter camp with 15 players on guaranteed contracts, which is the maximum regular-season allotment. But there is an avenue for the club to sign Anthony to a traditional NBA deal during the regular season.

Wilson Chandler is suspended for the first 25 games of the season for violating the league's PED policy. After the fifth game of Chandler's suspension, the Nets can move the veteran forward to the inactive list.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett
Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

When people talk about the Knicks-Nets rivalry these days, they talk about what the Nets did this summer -- and what the Knicks didn't do.

That narrative serves as motivation to this year's Knicks team.

"Of course, the Nets got two big superstars this summer but it's just fuel to the fire for us," Knicks forward Kevin Knox said at an event on Monday to debut Puma's new sneaker line, which features the Puma Clyde Hardwood.

Tags: Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards 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 RJ Barrett (9) is pictured during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Washington Wizards at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

The 2019-20 NBA regular season begins Oct. 23 for the Knicks against the San Antonio Spurs, but RJ Barrett might have his calendar circled for Nov. 8 when New York plays the Dallas Mavericks.

In a Monday AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Bleacher Report, the No. 3 overall pick by the Knicks in June's draft was asked whom he would want to posterize -- among all-time and current players -- if given the chance.

Barrett went with a rather recent and well-known figure for Knicks fan, name dropping former New York power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who spent three-plus years at Madison Square Garden.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, RJ Barrett
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks rounded out their roster heading into training camp by signing guards Amir Hinton and Lamar Peters along with forwards VJ King and Kenny Wooten.  

New York now has a maximum of 20 players under contract heading into camp, which begins at the end of the month. 

The club has 15 players on traditional NBA contracts and one player (Kadeem Allen) on a two-way deal. Teams can carry up to two players on two-way deals, so New York can add one of the players above - or any other player not under contract - on a two-way deal if it chooses.  

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