Carmelo Anthony and two other Knicks starters have volunteered to give up some minutes in favor of younger players, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Anthony convinced point guard Jose Calderon and center Robin Lopez to join him in the effort, and interim coach Kurt Rambis agreed it’s a good idea. Beneficiaries should include rookie Jerian Grant and second-year player Langston Galloway, along with veteran reserves Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin and Kyle O’Quinn. “I still would like to be out there playing and competing,” Anthony said, “but at this point if we can build guys like Jerian and Langston and [Williams] and [O’Quinn], and just give those guys that opportunity they wouldn’t have had or haven’t had in the past, I think it’s good for them. I think it’s good for the morale of the team, I think it’s good for their confidence.”
There’s more tonight from New York:
- Rambis offered encouraging words for Grant, a first-round pick who is largely considered a disappointment, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Grant has averaged 4.8 points and 2.2 assists in 70 games, all as a backup. “He’s getting better,’’ Rambis said. “He has tremendous speed. We’re encouraging him to use speed and quickness at point guard, [but he] still has to be concerned with organizing of the offense. That’s where he falls short.”
- The players’ confidence in Rambis and overall team morale are on the decline, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The displeasure in the locker room bubbled over this week when Arron Afflalo went public with complaints about being demoted to a reserve role. Bondy said the ill feelings stem from team president Phil Jackson’s decision to fire Derek Fisher in the middle of the season and replace him with an interim coach who needs to win right away to keep his job.
- Jackson set a poor example this week by taking a vacation to Woodstock so close to the end of the season, charges Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Isola also warns of an upcoming showdown over the coaching situation, with Jackson wanting to keep Rambis and owner James Dolan preferring an outsider such as Tom Thibodeau, David Blatt, Mark Jackson or Scott Brooks. The columnist suggests Dolan should require that Jackson commit to two more seasons in New York before letting him hire Rambis.