Early (hamstring) hasn't suited up for the Knicks' entry in the Orlando Summer League, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. The injury, which Early suffered in a pre-Summer League practice, is especially costly considering the former second-round pick was playing for a contract after the Knicks chose not to extend him a qualifying offer last week. Unless he heals up quickly, Early may struggle to earn a guaranteed contract from any team before training camps open up in the fall.
Early wasn't extended a qualifying offer by the Knicks prior to Thursday's deadline, making him an unrestricted free agent, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports. It was also revealed earlier in the day that Early was nursing a strained hamstring that prevented him from practicing with the Knicks' summer league team, according to Steve Popper of The Record, but that likely didn't factor into the organization's decision not to extend a qualifying offer. Instead, it was Early's lack of impact across 56 games in his two seasons with the Knicks that had the most influence, as the forward averaged just 4.3 points (on 34.6% shooting from the field) and 2.2 rebounds over 14.3 minutes in those contests. Once he shakes of the hamstring ailment, Early will still suit up for the Knicks in the summer league, and there's a good possibility he'll end up re-signing with the club in free agency.
Early played 30 minutes and finished with seven points (3-7 FG, 1-3 3Pt) and three rebounds in Tuesday's 102-90 loss to the Pacers. In the Knicks' season finale, Early entered the starting lineup in place of a resting Carmelo Anthony, but didn't see much usage while he was on the floor. He ranked last among the Knicks' starters in shot attempts on the evening, and looks like he'll continue to hang around the league as little more than a role player. Through his first two NBA seasons, Early has made just 56 appearances and is averaging 4.3 points (on 34.6% shooting), 2.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists across 14.3 minutes.
Early had seven points (3-10 FG, 1-2 3Pt), six rebounds, and three assists in 23 minutes during the Knicks' 105-91 win versus the Nets on Friday. Early committed three turnovers, but this was his first appearance in an NBA game since Dec. 12. Given that the Knicks have been eliminated from playoff contention though, Early could be a part of the regular rotation over the team's final five games.
Early was assigned to the D-League on Monday. Early, who continues to work back from a gunshot wound to the leg in December, has appeared in three games for the Westchester Knicks this season, averaging 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in just over 29 minutes. He'll continue to focus on recovery and development over the final month of the season, with the Knicks well out of contention.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||28||44||34.6||13||26.0||20||76.9||120||4.29||7.8|