With a day to process everything that went down on trade-deadline day last Thursday and all medicals completed ahead of Saturday’s matchup between New York and Indiana, it’s almost time to finally watch the pair of new Knicks—Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic—in action donning the blue and orange.
No game was played yesterday in a day Burks and Bogey took to board a plane in Detroit destination LaGuardia Airport as their new teammates and head coach shared some thoughts on what’s coming their way once they put on the Knicks uniforms for the first time later today.
Here is what these gentlemen had to say in the past few hours, and a special cameo by upcoming Slam Dunk Contest participant Jacob Toppin.
On the Knicks' outlook after pulling off a heist in the trade deadline and sitting in the Eastern Conference top four...
“I never want to put a ceiling on what our team is. We can’t look ahead and think, ‘because you do something,’ … we have to understand that the work has to go into it. There’s still 30 games to go, so just approach it day by day and at the end be playing your best. We like the balance that we have.”
On the skill set of the new Knicks Burks and Bogdanovic and what they can add to the team...
“We like the experience those guys bring to the team, we like the way they complement both our starters, and our second unit. We think they’re interchangeable, they play multiple positions.”
“[Bogdanovic’s] ability to play the four, it gives us a stretch four who can really shoot.”
“The thing you guys [know], I’m sure, with Alec, his ability to handle the ball, play the point, play off the ball, play with the starters, play with the bench, sort of a Swiss army knife. He does a little bit of everything.”
“The shooting piece was so important. I just think the more we can open up the floor, particularly as you go forward, that’s a key ingredient. Now teams have to make a decision how much you’re going to load up.”
On the front office of the New York Knicks never running out of completing extraordinary transactions...
“Leon and his staff, their job is to always look at what opportunities are out there, and does something make sense that can make our team better? And if it does, then you take a good hard look at it. And sometimes, the price is too high and you don’t do it. This, it felt like it made sense. It made sense for Detroit, as well, so a good trade for both teams. And it fits what we need right now, but it also fits us going forward.”
On having a 12-man-deep roster for the remainder of the season and one of the deepest teams across the Association...
“Yeah, I like the makeup of our team. A lot. I like our young guys a lot—Jericho and Deuce. Those guys have added a lot to our team. Then if you look at how all it fits together, we added a lot of shooting, which is much needed.”
On what awaits Bogdanovic in New York under coach Thibs...
“(Burks) knows what to expect. Bojan—hoooo, that boy in for it.”
“[Burks] knows what to expect, so hopefully on that [private jet] they’re on right now, he’s giving [Bogdanovic] a couple of tips and pointers.”
”I will say, Thibs got a little bad rap about this, kinda—you know, the practice and all that. He is way better than I thought in the rumors and all what you hear. It’s way better, way more in tune, so he’ll be all right.”
On what makes Bojan Bogdanovic a great player...
“It’s tough to guard. It’s great offensively because obviously he’s able to space the floor and you can’t help in as much, because even if you help in, he’s 6 foot 9 with a quick release. You’re not gonna get back there.”
On how the addition of Burks and Bogdanovic will take some nightly stress from everybody in the rotation...
“You can rely on them to play big minutes. If I’m not playing well, and OG has to play 38, and Bojan’s gotta play 38, [if] I play 15, well, cool. We have the luxury to do that. And that’s what you want: being able to get into adverse situations and have the luxury of guys being able to step up, play big minutes, and have other guys. If it’s not their night, they’re cool with sitting.”
“It’s gonna open up the spacing a lot. Whether that’s for Jalen, OG trying to get to the basket or if they blitz him, then you have me or Isaiah [Hartenstein] or somebody in that short pocket being able to just facilitate. So it’ll help open the court up tremendously.”
“I think that was a really good trade in terms of what we needed. Adding AB, a good scorer and playmaker off the bench, and then Bojan, someone who can knock down shots, a shot-maker who can get guys involved, it was definitely what we needed.”
On Leon Rose and the Knicks trade-deadline operations...
“I think Leon and the front office was cooking.”
On newcomers Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic...
“Proven scorers, proven vets, and proven shooters. Think it will help us with our depth.”
“What gives us a unique lineup this year once we get them is any given night really you might have some play 30, you might have some guys play 16, 17 if somebody has it going.”
“I think we have an understanding going forward, a lot of vets and winning is the most important thing. If everybody believes that, it doesn’t matter.”
On scoring his first two NBA points against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday—with a dunk...
“It was a surreal moment. This is the League, so everyone has to stay ready, and that’s what we did today. Obviously we didn’t come out with the W, but we fought hard, and that’s all you can ask for.”
On the upcoming Slam Dunk Contest where he will try to win the trophy as his older brother Obi did in 2022...
“I’m a great dunker, so I guess the word got around and I ended up getting invited, so I’m excited for the opportunity.”
“People keep asking me if I’m asking him for tips, but I’m the better dunker, so I wouldn’t ask him for tips. But we talked about it and we talked about what I’m going to do, so I’m just excited to be able to do that.”
On potentially facing Obi in a future Slam Dunk Contest...
“Obviously that would be a fun experience. Not a lot of brothers can say they did something like that. So we definitely talked about it, but it didn’t happen.”
On his ankle injury...
“Everything’s good. We’ll see (if he plays on Saturday or soon after that).”
On proving people wrong and becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career...
“For me, I like to say that I’ve proven to myself that I belong. I belong here, I worked this hard to get here. … I worked this hard to be here, so I gotta keep that mindset, keep that confidence, just make sure that doesn’t waver in any way.”
“Hey now, you’re an All-Star. Get your game on, go play. Hey now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid. And all that glitters is gold. Only shootin’ stars break the mold.”
You can reach out and follow Antonio on X / Twitter at @chapulana