Storyline: Derrick Williams Free Agency

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What is something you would tell a front office looking to sign you? Derrick Williams: I’ve always been a team player. I’m young in the basketball world. I have a lot of time to really get better, too. I’m going to focus, that’s why I’m here in China. Sometimes, people just get too comfortable in the NBA. I wouldn’t say I went that route. But the reason I got to the league was that I was comfortable with being uncomfortable. I was the No. 2 overall pick but it was wild considering I wasn’t ranked in the ESPN Top 100 coming out of high school. But two years later, I was right there. The things you dream can come to fruition. I’m a prime example of working to your goals. I’m not in the spot I want to be in but sometimes you do things you don’t want to do. I want to be in the NBA. I’m an NBA player with NBA talent. Things happen for a reason and when I get a call back to the NBA, I won’t take it for granted. I will live like this until the day I can’t play basketball any longer.
3 years ago via ESPN

But he is realistic. While it appears he has already acquitted himself well, there was sizable risk involved to coming to Cleveland on a non-guaranteed deal with a team that has been open about its search for an additional point guard or rim protector. “I kind of put myself in this predicament,” Williams said. “I asked for the release from the last team, and I put myself in a 10-day. So I’m not worried about anything after that. I just want to take every day at a time and put myself in a position I’ve never been in, and that’s what I want to do, and that’s why I chose to come here.”

In the strange twists and turns an NBA season can take, Derrick Williams concedes now he is a bit surprised to be here. In order for that to happen, he had to clear waivers. Before he approached the Miami Heat and asked for his release, his agent, Rob Pelinka, warned he was taking a big risk. Teams with cap space such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Saturday’s opponent, the Denver Nuggets, could’ve claimed him. But Williams struggled with the Heat and fell out of the rotation, not to mention the $4.6 million cap hit he would’ve cost a team that claimed him. So he passed through unclaimed by 29 other teams. “I took that as a little disrespectful,” the former No. 2 overall pick told the Beacon Journal. “I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder now.”
3 years ago via ESPN

Derrick Williams on Knicks' radar?

Ian Begley: If forward Derrick Williams clears waivers, it’s worth noting that he still has some fans in the Knicks organization. Williams was with the Knicks in 2015-16 and signed with Miami over the summer, declining a player option to remain in New York. He will he waived by Miami, according to multiple reports. Sources say the Knicks will indeed have some interest in Williams if he clears waivers. The club, of course, will have to waive a player to make room for Williams.

The 25-year-old is averaging 6.8 points on 42.2 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 16 minutes per game this season. Williams signed a one-year, $4.6 million contract with the Heat as a free agent this past summer, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season. “I’m just waiting for my opportunity,” Williams said of his approach. “Whenever coach calls my number, calls my name, I’m ready. Whatever it might be, whether I’m starting, coming off the bench, playing three minutes, playing 30 minutes – I’ll be ready.”

Ian Begley: The Knicks have their backup point guard in Brandon Jennings. Jennings’ deal is one year and approximately $5 million, league sources confirm to ESPN. CSN Chicago first reported the terms. The Knicks will likely have to renounce their rights to free agents Derrick Williams, Lou Amundson, Sasha Vujacic and Kevin Seraphin to fit Jennings’ deal into cap space. The club should still be able to sign restricted free agent Langston Galloway and free agent Lance Thomas by going over the cap to do so via the Early Bird exception.

Ian Begley: The Knicks have their backup point guard in Brandon Jennings. Jennings’ deal is one year and approximately $5 million, league sources confirm to ESPN. CSN Chicago first reported the terms. The Knicks will likely have to renounce their rights to free agents Derrick Williams, Lou Amundson, Sasha Vujacic and Kevin Seraphin to fit Jennings’ deal into cap space. The club should still be able to sign restricted free agent Langston Galloway and free agent Lance Thomas by going over the cap to do so via the Early Bird exception.

Williams is a different story. A source told the News that the 25-year-old forward, while sometimes a little reckless and inconsistent, developed into a favorite of Knicks president Phil Jackson. Williams, the former second overall pick, averaged 9.3 points in 17.9 minutes off the bench. He is due $4.6 million next season but can more than double that over multiple seasons by opting out. The Knicks do not hold Williams’ Bird Rights so they’d need to dip into their cap space to re-sign him.

Now Williams, the University of Arizona product, will be back home. He’s one of many Knicks with Los Angeles ties as the club faces the Clippers on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday. Williams revealed the Lakers, founders of Showtime, exhibited strong interest in him last summer, and they could be a threat to the Knicks if he opts out this July. “That’s my home,’’ Williams told The Post. “I’m from L.A., Orange County. I love it but at the same time I’m here, love playing in New York, home away from home. This weekend will be great. I haven’t been home since August. It’s always great to play before family and friends. I can’t wait to go back.’’

Williams told The Post he is undecided, pending how he finishes out the season. He is one of the few Knicks able to create his own shot — he made one lovely layup off a spin/drive — and is good at drawing fouls. “I’m just worried about playing well and helping this team win,” Williams said. “I love the atmosphere here. When we’re not at our best, the fans are still there. I’m just worried about the last [19] games. I’m really trying to push, man. If we do that, everything will be good.”

And for the Knicks it made little sense to make the second year an option for Williams, rather than to try to make it a team option. The $5 million deal, if he opts in, could be the difference between the Knicks being capable of making a maximum-contract offer to one of the free agents on the market this summer. In a free agent summer in which more than half the teams can offer the max, and some, such as the Lakers, have more than $60 million in cap room, the Knicks could be left on the outside looking in. But Williams explained that he didn’t want it any other way. “That was pretty much the whole plan all along,” he said Saturday morning. “I knew that I wanted to prove myself and prove my worth. I wanted a two-year deal with a player option after the first year.”
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Walton, who now coaches the Sacramento Kings, had adamantly denied wrongdoing — claiming Tennant, was the person who initiated their meet-up, insists it was “platonic” and nothing sexual ever occurred. Now, Tennant has filed new court docs calling off the suit — asking a judge to dismiss with prejudice, which means she can’t refile it. Unclear if Walton and Tennant struck a settlement — but it’s not uncommon in situations like this.
The Boston Celtics’ disastrous 2018-19 season came to an end on a Wednesday in May. The dejected squad dressed quietly in a Milwaukee locker room, then flew back to Boston the next morning. A few players talked to the media, but they didn’t have any answers. Nobody really did. The next morning, Celtics assistant coach Tony Dobbins got a text: Could he get to the practice facility? Jaylen Brown wanted to get in the gym.
Part of Brown’s urgency was due to his schedule. He had a trip to Egypt planned, and he wanted to make sure he got in the gym before he left in case finding a gym overseas proved difficult (ultimately, a basketball star doesn’t have much trouble finding a place to workout, even in a foreign country). But one thing was clear: After enduring one of the strangest seasons in recent NBA memory, Brown didn’t want to waste time.
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Welcome to the opening weeks of the NBA’s coach’s challenge. ESPN asked head coaches from almost half the league’s 30 teams for their input on the challenge system. The views ranged from hostile to constructive, but there wasn’t an endorsement to be found. But for all the frustration and bewilderment the new rule has created across the league, don’t expect it to go the way of the NBA’s synthetic basketball.
Storyline: Officiating Complaints
Even still, Ellis is fine with all that. Those who remember and appreciate how good he was, what he meant to the organization, they remember. Those who don’t, that’s fine, too. Peace won’t let that bother him. Because he remembers. “Everything, even through my bad times, I still enjoyed it,” Ellis said in a phone interview this week of his time with the Warriors. “Because at the end of the day, they gave me my shot. They took a chance on drafting a high schooler, 152 pounds of out Jackson, Mississippi. … So I was always grateful and thankful for that. It went down the way it went down. I guess that’s part of the business. And it just happened the way it happened. But my whole experience, the time that I was there for seven and a half years, I loved every bit of it.”
When the Warriors drafted Curry, a player just as slight as him, Ellis didn’t think it could work. And he said so, which created controversy. He laughs about it now, that character trait of his that stirred that pot. Ellis doesn’t talk much. But when he does, he says what he believes. And the straight-talking young man from the Dirty South only knew one way to tell it. “I ain’t gon’ lie,” he said over the phone. “I’ve done some things when I was young that bite me in my butt. But it is what it is, a part of life. “Just some people didn’t take, when they ask me an opinion, they didn’t really want to accept the reality of it, the truth. Because, you know, I don’t know how to be fake with nobody.”
He was getting dressed in the visiting locker room at Arco Arena, ready to take on the Kings, when Dominic McGuire broke the news to him. He saw it on the ESPN ticker on the locker room TV. Ellis was traded to Milwaukee. Just like that, he was no longer a Warrior. He was pissed. “Not only so much that they traded me,” Ellis remembered, “just how they went about trading me. If they would’ve traded me and let me know the process of everything that was going down, it would’ve been a whole lot better. I mean, that was a career-changing experience right there. ‘Cause when I went to Milwaukee, it was totally different.”
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