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Tom Thibodeau knows Knicks team may change quickly

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Credit: AP/Butch Dill

With $18 million remaining in salary cap space, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged that the team he put on the floor for the first full-squad practice Sunday might not be the one he has by the time this season ends.

"Well, I think improving your club never ends," he said. "So for me, I'm focused on the players that we have here. And I think Leon [Rose’s] job and the front office is every day to look at what opportunities we do have. Obviously, we can use the cap space to get a player. We can trade. There's a lot of things that we can do, and I don't think that ever stops.

"Each and every day we all have to ask ourselves, ‘How can we make the team better?’ It's not any one particular area, it's all of those areas. It's player development, it's the draft, it's free agency, it's trades, and the good teams in this league focus on all four of those each and every day, and that's what we're striving for."

Ntilikina watch

Thibodeau was asked his first impressions of Frank Ntilikina as workouts began.

"I like Frank," he said. "Obviously, we didn't have a lot of time this summer to spend around each other, but getting to know him now and there's things that he does very, very well. He's got good size, he's versatile defensively and he works hard, so I want to see what he can do."

Slam dunk

High-flying rookie Obi Toppin was asked if he has thought about joining the NBA Slam Dunk competition — although with All-Star Weekend called off this season, he will have to wait for the chance.

"When the time comes, I’ll start thinking about it more," he said. "But right now I’m really focused on getting through these next couple of days leading up to our preseason and helping the guys as well as them helping me. When the time comes, I’ll be ready to answer that."

The Godfather

RJ Barrett was asked how he thought Steve Nash, who is his godfather, will handle the transition to head coach of the Nets.

"He’s always been a leader," Barrett said. "He led all his teams in the NBA, a two-time MVP. So I think he’ll be fine."

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