On September 25, the Westchester Knicks traded Keels to Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate, for the returning player rights to Matt Lewis and a 2024 first-round pick.
Three days later, the Timberwolves announced they had signed Keels, along with Tyrese Martin and Daishen Nix, to a training camp deal and Matt Ryan to a two-way contract. Keels will compete for a roster spot in the Timberwolves’ backcourt with only Anthony Edwards, Mike Conley, Jordan McLoughlin and free agent pickup Shake Milton as shoo-ins.
Keels, 6-4, was the Knicks’ 42nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. The former one-and-done Duke star was the latest Knicks draft selection, as they did not have any pick this year.
Keels, however, did not have a chance in the Knicks’ crowded backcourt. It became more crowded with the arrival of Donte DiVincenzo, the Knicks free agent signing this summer.
Previously on a two-way contract, Keels only appeared in three games last season with the Knicks. He was a mainstay in their G League team, playing in 24 games (all starts) for the Westchester Knicks. In the G League, Keels averaged 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31.4 minutes per game.
Knicks Linked to Jrue Holiday
The Knicks are expected to be among a handful of teams to look into acquiring Jrue Holiday, who was part of the Portland Trail Blazers’ haul for superstar guard Damian Lillard.
“Two under-the-radar teams that could make good Holiday fits and are expected to have at least some level of interest, sources said: the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks,” Lowe reported Thursday in the aftermath of the blockbuster trade.
The Trail Blazers could be looking to flip Holiday for multiple picks and a young blue-chip player that fits their rebuilding timeline, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
A league executive told New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro that Holiday and Thibodeau “is a marriage made in basketball heaven.”
Knicks’ Asking Price for Mitchell Robinson
The asking price for Mitchell Robinson in any deal is massive, per a Yahoo Sports report.
“The asking price for a player like New York’s Mitchell Robinson, sources told Yahoo Sports, is multiple first-round picks — probably a non-starter for most clubs,” Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill wrote on Friday.
The revelation came after Robinson’s trainer, Marcell Scott, took to social media to plea his client’s case to have a bigger role on the Knicks offense.
“Offseason is officially over! I can say [Robinson] improved his free-throw shooting, his athleticism is back from him buying into the pool workouts! Mitch has developed a few go-to moves with his back to the basket!!! “Please, Coach Thibs, give him that freedom on the offensive end,” Scott wrote on his Instagram story on September 27.
Robinson is entering the second year of a team-friendly $60 million, four-year deal after blossoming into a rebounding demon and a defensive force over his last three seasons — all under Tom Thibodeau.
The source of Robinson’s frustration is the absence of a more defined offensive role, as he was only limited to lobs, dunks and putbacks. He just finished his fifth season with his second-lowest scoring (7.4 points) and field goal attempts (4.7) average in his career.