GREENBURGH, N.Y.- While the Jimmy Butler trade talk has picked up steam around the NBA, the Knicks -- one of the three teams initially reported to be on Butler’s wish list -- have faded mostly out of the picture with the front office insisting they won’t trade picks or assets for a quick fix.
That may split the fan base into the followers of the process and patience and the side that would like to see a two-way standout such as Butler plugged in next to Kristaps Porzingis. But the players are happy to hear it.
“It makes everybody feel a lot better as a team,” said Tim Hardaway Jr., the player whose contract and skill set likely would have to be included in any package for Butler. “But at the end of the day if a big name comes off, the front office, they have to take care of that, whatever they want to do. We can’t control what they do in the front office. All we can do is control what we do out here on the floor and just go out here and work.”
Take that for data
David Fizdale’s viral moment came when he abruptly ended a post-playoff game news conference by shouting, “Take that for data." Despite that quote, Fizdale actually is a statistic-driven coach.
Asked if he looks at the numbers on combinations of two- or three-player groupings, he said, “All the time, all the time. That’s an old [Erik Spoelstra] stat that I stole. Looking at that plus-minus. Two-man groups, three-man groups, four-man groups, five-man groups.”
But he knows the numbers relating to the Knicks from last season may not be a good indicator of what to expect now.
“I did [look at them],” Fizdale said. “But you know, we’re playing different and I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to judge those, my groups compared to those groups, because it’s such a different style, for better or for worse. I want to kind of give this a clean slate and then maybe 25 games into it, look at that body of work and see where we are from that standpoint. And make adjustments if we need to and if not stick with it.”
No Noah decision
As the Knicks move through camp, there still is no resolution on the status of Joakim Noah, who has been kept away from training camp but remains under contract. Fizdale said he had been in contact with Noah by phone, but that it is out of his hands to work out a mutually agreed upon parting.
“It is what it is. A lot of that stuff happened before I was here,” Fizdale said. “So I try not to get too engaged in that. I really got a lot of respect for the guy just because of the relationship and combat we’ve been through. I’m going to keep leaving up to [general manager] Scott [Perry], [team president] Steve [Mills] and his representation to take care of it.”