BTIG analyst Brandon Ross wrote on Monday that trades and player moves this summer could have a “significant impact” on the Knicks as well as Madison Square Garden Co. and MSG Networks. “The situation is much more pressing for MSG Networks, which is fighting strong industry headwinds with a weak product carrying a high price tag,” Ross said in a note to clients. “If the Knicks can transform into a winner, ratings should follow, and MSGN’s affiliate negotiations should become easier and advertising revenue could increase substantially.”
May 31, 2023 | 12:39 pm EDT Update
Bulls, Nikola Vucevic have opened up extension talks
In Chicago, I’m told that the Bulls have opened up extension conversations with their starting center Nikola Vucevic. Sources tell me there is mutual interest in getting a deal done. Both sides have until June 30 to get an extension done. If there is no agreement by that point, Vučević would enter free agency and be one of the top centers available on the market. Vučević had the third-most double-doubles in the NBA this year (51), averaging 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds with a 52.0 field goal percentage at a usage rate of 21.4.
Lakers want to use D'Angelo Russell in sign-and-trade?
My read on the situation is that the Lakers would prefer to use D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, but I’m not sure the market is there. Landing Kyrie Irving for Russell is shaping up to be a pipe dream, especially with Dallas unlikely to help Los Angeles out. Fred VanVleet, a Klutch client, looms as a possibility, but adding him would require Toronto to agree to terms with Russell (or take on the Beasley and Bamba contracts). Where, exactly, is the free-agency and trade market for Russell? I just don’t see it.
Pistons heavily pursuing Monty Williams to be next head coach
Nearly two months after Dwane Casey stepped down from his role as head coach, the Detroit Pistons are heavily pursuing Monty Williams, the NBA’s winningest coach since 2021, to be their next man in charge, league sources tell The Athletic. The Pistons are preparing to offer Williams in the range of $10 million per year, league sources said, which would put him among the league’s highest-paid coaches. Detroit has been hopeful over the past several weeks that Williams would consider accepting the job, sources added.
If Williams declines the proposal, Lee, a Bucks assistant since 2018, is expected to emerge as the likely choice, league sources said.
Since the start of the first round of the NBA playoffs, four coaches — Williams (Suns), Mike Budenholzer (Bucks), Doc Rivers (76ers) and Nick Nurse (Raptors) — have been fired. Williams, immediately, was on Detroit’s radar, per league sources. Milwaukee, too, heavily pursued Williams, per league sources.
Duncan Robinson grew up in New Hampshire and was a Celtics fan throughout his childhood so it was a little surprising to see the New England native pour salt in the wound of Boston fans in Game 7. In an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast on Monday, Robinson revealed the entertaining reason that motivated him to do the taunt.
“I don’t know how this happened but maybe someone I went to high school with but my number got put in a group chat somewhere,” Robinson said. It was a massive group chat so after we lose Game 6, my phone is randomly blowing up from a bunch of random New England numbers. They are saying, ‘Get ‘F*****’, Celtics in 7, sending me memes of Curt Schilling’s bloody sock.’ It’s just all these random numbers, 70 texts. “So I’m like what is going on and I’m also pissed since I’m on the heels of this bone-crushing loss, not to mention I missed some shots down the stretch I’d like to have back. I’m like really worked up about it. So then I’m like thinking, creating all these scenarios in my head, if I get the chance in the Garden, I’m going to do something.”
Robinson got that chance in the fourth quarter as the Heat put the game out of reach following his layup, leading to a Boston timeout. “I wanted to do it,” Robinson admitted. “There was a little of internal conflict because you are playing on the floor that you grew up being fortunate to go to some games on and grew up in Celtics country. You have this idea you want to do it but I have to be relevant enough to warrant that and I toed the line on that.”