The Knicks are back.
It’s the first organized team activity since March 11 when the Knicks won in overtime in Atlanta before the pandemic shut down the league. Last month the NBA granted “The Delete 8’’ — teams not included in the July restart — this opportunity.
According to a league source familiar with the purpose of the three-week minicamp, this will be a good chance for the coach to get a handle on the players for the first time — to teach and also for the club to bond.
As The Post reported last week, the most of the team is expected to participate in at least some of the workouts. In addition, in order to have full five-on-five scrimmages, a handful of G-League players not under NBA contracts will also participate such as guard Lamar Peters.
While the Knicks’ young players are scheduled to show up, including RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, many of their free-agents-to-be who may not re-sign with the team will also participate — including Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.
COVID-19 testing for the players began this weekend, but the club won’t huddle in a hotel in a bubble format for another week when the practices/intrasquad scrimmages begin.
The first week is for “individual’’ workouts only. The Knicks have four courts in their Tarrytown facility so one player is allowed on each court with a coach. That means four players maximum will be on the courts with four coaches at any one time.
Meanwhile, the Knicks’ best chance of upgrading their roster is via trade as they hope to use some of their cap space and young assets to possibly inherit a stud player such as veteran point guard Chris Paul. Cap space gives more flexibility in a transaction.
Ironically, the same youngsters in Tarrytown this week could be on the move for Paul.
Ever since Leon Rose took over as president, Paul became a legitimate option because the Thunder are mostly in rebuilding mode and Paul is Rose’s favorite former client at Creative Artists Agency.
The Thunder confirmed their rebuilding mode after their season ended in the first round last week when they parted ways with Billy Donovan to continue a youth movement.
A trade for Paul, who still is with CAA, may require the Knicks to add Julius Randle’s expiring contract to the deal so the Knicks can still have cap flexibility for 2021. Paul, 35, stands to make $44.2 million in 2021-22.
Rose tried to get Houston to trade Paul to the Knicks last offseason, but former team president Steve Mills wanted no part of reversing his youth movement. The Knicks have stockpiled draft picks for an occasion like this.
The OTAs will be the first time Thibodeau has worked with former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne, former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant and former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. Payne and Bryant are considered player-development gurus and Woodson had a strong stint with the Knicks from 2011 to 2014. Woodson first started as a Knicks assistant to Mike D’Antoni.
Some veterans plan only to participate in the individual workouts and leave before the Knicks go into the bubble, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The downside is that none of the rookies the Knicks plan to draft will be on hand. The Knicks have three picks — two first-rounders — but the draft has been postponed again from Oct. 16 to mid-November. The Post reported last week that the date of the season opener is in such flux that March 1 hasn’t been ruled out to increase the chances of full arenas.