LAS VEGAS — The Knicks finally announced the signings of five free agents, but in naming those players a mystery emerged about just who else might join the team.
The Knicks officially welcomed Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis and Wayne Ellington. But the sixth member of the class of free agent agreements, Reggie Bullock, was not part of the party. A league source confirmed an ESPN report that the two sides were still negotiating terms of a deal.
The original two-year, $21 million deal for Bullock was off the table after a reported problem with his physical exam that could keep him from playing an entire schedule next season. But it apparently was not just the health issue which had the Knicks seeking to change the terms of the contract.
Bullock sat out eight of the final 10 games of the season while suffering a plantar fasciitis issue.
Marcus Morris, who had spent the last two of his NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, had come to an agreement with the San Antonio Spurs on a two-year deal worth $20 million. But ESPN reported that the Knicks had put a deal worth approximately $15 million for one season on the table and he was considering reneging on the Spurs agreement and jumping ship to join the Knicks.
Morris is a talent upgrade for the Knicks, starting 53 games last season for Boston and averaging 13.9 points while connecting on 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. But in the event he skips out on the Spurs deal and joins the Knicks it would complicate the cap status for both teams.
The Spurs used a full $9.3 million midlevel exception to sign him, trading Davis Bertans to Washington and reworking a deal with DeMarre Carroll — adding a third season to the deal — to make the numbers work. The Knicks, if they sign Morris, would no longer have the room to offer Bullock the deal that they originally had agreed to and would have to squeeze him into the $4.8 million room exception.
Morris also would complicate the roster since the Knicks already added three players — Randle, Gibson and Portis — who are primarily power forwards. Morris started 53 games last season for the Celtics and all of them were at power forward.
The Knicks also attended a workout Monday in Las Vegas for Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been retired from the NBA, or what he called, “a sabbatical,” for the last three years. Stoudemire played in Israel and currently has been participating in Big 3 games.
“I had a workout yesterday with about fifteen teams, a proper work out here in Las Vegas,” Stoudemire said in an interview with MSG150. “I’ve been working out and have been training in the past. I also played last year in Israel and I’ve been training all summer to keep myself in top shape. My body feels amazing, so we’ll see if the opportunity becomes a reality.
“A lot of the teams have a lot of young players and a lot of players that can learn how to train, how to become professionals and how to become great basketball players. And leadership goes a long way with teams in order to get from a playoff team to a contending championship team. So from that standpoint I have a lot to offer. And also as a basketball player, I still have a lot of game left. I can help a team in any way they need.”
Notes & quotes: RJ Barrett had a solid line with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, shooting 6-for-14 from the floor Tuesday night, as the Knicks fell for a third straight time, this one an 85-73 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Kevin Knox struggled through a 3-for-15 shooting night.