The New York Knicks are in the final stretch of the 2018-19 NBA season and find themselves in position to be very much in the mix for the No. 1 pick. Although the rebuild for the team has been tough, fans have a reason for optimism with the Knicks holding two max contract slots this coming offseason. But before we get there, the team has 23 games remaining, one of which is against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Head coach David Fizdale has opted to tweak his lineups and rotations often this season, and due to the potential for DeAndre Jordan to sit in this game, it may be changing once again. The Knicks have opted to get somewhat of an extended look at both Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson regardless, and in turn, it’s led to Jordan being rumored as a potential buyout candidate.
We’re going to take a look at the Knicks projected roster and starting lineup for the game against the Spurs, along with the latest on Jordan’s status.
Knicks Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Spurs
*Notates expected starter
C: Noah Vonleh*, Mitchell Robinson
PF: Luke Kornet*, Lance Thomas, Henry Ellenson
SF: Kevin Knox*, Mario Hezonja
SG: Damyean Dotson*, Alonzo Trier, John Jenkins
PG: Dennis Smith Jr.*, Emmanuel Mudiay
While Emmanuel Mudiay had been holding down the starting point guard duties before an injury, the Kristaps Porzingis trade which brought Dennis Smith Jr. has changed that. Interestingly, Mudiay logged more minutes than his backcourt mate last game, playing just over 26 to Smith’s 22. How that situation shakes out in this game will be worth monitoring, but it seems Fizdale wants to continue to get Mudiay solid minutes down the stretch.
Robinson should have a significant role even if he doesn’t draw the start in place of Jordan, but foul trouble has been a major concern for him this season. Considering Noah Vonleh plays a decent amount of power forward, we could see plenty of lineups with those two sharing the floor together. This especially stands true if Kornet’s minutes remain around the 11 we saw against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
DeAndre Jordan’s Status & Potential Buyout
While Jordan is listed as doubtful for this game due to a sprained left ankle, it’s unlikely he winds up playing due to the injury. The Knicks are obviously playing for nothing more than draft position at this point and getting the rookie in Robinson some additional minutes would make sense.
Beyond that, the March 1 deadline for teams to add players who are playoff eligible is approaching, and the subject of a potential buyout for Jordan has been a hot-button topic. As Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reported, the Los Angeles Lakers “are eyeing” Jordan before that deadline.
According to Pincus, there’s a reason to believe the team could hold onto Jordan, and it has to do with the potential recruitment of upcoming free agent Kevin Durant.
ESPN.com’s Tim Bontemps tweeted one theory on why the Knicks may hold on to Jordan: “He’s also good friends with Kevin Durant—whom the Knicks are hoping to land as a free agent this summer.”
Whether anything comes of it or not will be worth monitoring, but for now, it seems he’ll likely remain a member of the Knicks. As far as playing against the Spurs on Sunday, that sounds like a longshot.