Knicks expect ‘close to full attendance’ for upcoming workouts

The New York Knicks could have a strong showing for upcoming team workouts.

While the NBA continues to map out new dates for the 2020 NBA Draft, free agency, and the start of the 2020-21 regular season, the New York Knicks will finally see the basketball court again with several players from their current roster expected to participate in parts of team workouts later this month, according to the New York Post.

The NBA and NBPA reached an agreement in August to allow the “Delete 8” teams – who weren’t invited to play in Orlando – an opportunity to host informal team activities in their home markets.

The Knicks have not played together as a group since their final regular season game on March 11, the same date on which the league was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since that point in time, New York has hired Tom Thibodeau as head coach and several assistants in replacing the staff originally put in place for the fired David Fizdale.

Starting next Monday (September 14), Thibodeau will receive his first chance to work with his new team.

“According to a league source, the Knicks expect most of the team to participate for some part of the three weeks [of workouts]. They will also host a few players who aren’t on the 15-man roster but have G-League contracts.”

~ Marc Berman, New York Post

According to the New York Post, 2019 NBA lottery pick RJ Barrett will participate, along with several other young players and possibly a few veterans. The team will likely invite some players on G-League deals, per the report. Kenny Wooten, who is on a two-way contract, is an obvious candidate to be included.

The Knicks will stay in a hotel as they progress through the different phases of the voluntary workouts, beginning with individual activities on Monday and progressing to practices and intra-squad scrimmages from September 21 through October 6.

New York had been reluctant to participate in a “second bubble” that would have required the team to travel to a centralized location to play alongside the other teams excluded from the NBA’s original return-to-play plan. With several veterans on non-guaranteed deals and team options, there isn’t much incentive for them to leave their homes and/or families to practice with a team that they could soon be leaving.

It’s unclear how active any of the veteran players on the current roster will be during the voluntary workouts in New York. Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, and Reggie Bullock are all on non-guaranteed deals; Bobby Portis and Theo Pinson have team options. The Knicks could potentially create close to $45 million in cap space by moving on from the players listed above.

In addition to Barrett, presumably Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Ignas Brazdeikis, and recently-signed guard Jared Harper will take part in the workouts.

Next: Pros, Cons of trading for Chris Paul

The Knicks have been waiting since mid-March to learn when their offseason can officially begin with the NBA draft. It appears the draft will be pushed to November 18 with the 2020-21 season possibly on hold until Martin Luther King Day (January 18), or later.

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