The best news for the Knicks is Anthony Davis didn’t leave the Big Easy.
The Knicks didn’t make a trade at Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, didn’t get Davis and proceeded as expected on a buyout for Enes Kanter and Wesley Matthews.
“We should get a separation done today,” a person in Kanter’s camp told The Post. Indeed, shortly after the deadline the Knicks waived Kanter and Matthews.
Davis didn’t wind up a Laker, and the Knicks should be in play for him if they get either the first or second pick in the lottery. Duke’s Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett are considered the two stars of the draft.
Kanter showed up to the Knicks facility Thursday and met with coach David Fizdale, and it was agreed he would not practice nor would he be flying to Detroit when the Knicks take a 14-game losing streak to Motown. The Knicks were unable to get an asset for Kanter at the trade deadline because of his $18.6 million contract.
Kanter became the fourth-string center after the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster trade brought in DeAndre Jordan. But Fizdale had toyed with his role — beginning after five games when he first promoted Mitchell Robinson to starting center.
“It was definitely a tough spot for Enes,” Fizdale said. “I’ve been saying that from the beginning. Anytime you’ve got a guy who can do what Enes does on the court and you have to go in another direction for the betterment of the organization, that’s always a tough spot for a guy. What we talked about, I won’t tell you that.”
Kanter was a thorn in Fizdale’s side the last several weeks. The beginning of the end came when Fizdale benched Kanter in favor of Luke Kornet to begin the West Coast trip last month.
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Matthews practiced but was not made available to the media. He was obtained in the Porzingis deal and is looking to go to a contender. The Post first reported in Thursday’s editions Matthews would be bought out if the Knicks couldn’t trade him, and the Warriors were highly interested. Another report has placed the Pacers as favorites. Matthews played just two games for the Knicks.
The young guys stayed put, but there’s a chance they will be offered for Davis when the sweepstakes start again on draft night in June. Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and newcomer Dennis Smith Jr. will share the point-guard role. And the Knicks will have three spots on the roster to fill.
Fizdale said he hopes the club can relax now, keep improving the defense and start getting some wins. The Knicks have a chance of setting the worst record in franchise history as they stand at 10-43. The record for futility is Derek Fisher’s 17-65 club from 2014-15.
“It’s good for everything,” Fizdale said of the deadline passing. “There’s not a team in this league when once that deadline is past, everyone’s [not] like, ‘OK, we can get to work now and not have to stress about getting traded.’ It’s the same for everybody in the building. When the guys’ names come up in rumors, I always preach empathy for our players. It could be any of them at any time, so everyone will take a deep breath.”
Ntilikina (groin) and Mudiay (shoulder) likely won’t return until after the All-Star break. Knicks forward Noah Vonleh, a free agent, stayed put after receiving interest. The Knicks don’t have Vonleh’s Bird rights so they have to use cap space to re-sign him.
Source: Read Full Article