Carmelo Anthony believes that the trade that sent J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers was the best thing that could have happened to the former Knicks guard, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I’ve seen him play a couple of games,’’ Anthony said. “He’s playing well. I know the type of game he has and what he can do. He looks comfortable out there, looks like he’s settling in very well. I’m actually happy for him — a change of environment for him, a new thought process, new mindset mentally. It looks like he has some clarity right now. I believe LeBron [James] will help him make that adjustment that much better.’’
Here’s more out of the Big Apple:
- ‘Melo didn’t necessarily dispute Smith’s parting statement that the Knicks’ players were “walking on eggshells” under the franchise’s new regime, Berman adds. “I don’t know exactly what he meant by that,’’ Anthony said. “I’ve heard him say that before in conversations we’ve had. Anytime something is new, trying to incorporate something, everybody’s trying to do the right things, so it can be a tense situation where you can feel like walking on eggshells. Because you don’t want to do the wrong thing. You want to impress the coaches, want to impress the front office, impress your teammates. If that’s what he’s coming from that standpoint, I agree with it.’’
- With 10-day signee Langston Galloway continuing to impress, Pablo Prigioni has seen his playing time wither, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the veteran is done with the team, Berman adds. “I don’t think it’s where we are in the season,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “It’s just continuing to find ways to help the team be successful. Sometimes that means personnel changes and adjustments. It’s the way it’s working right now. It doesn’t mean it will stay that way. It’s just the way the last couple of games have worked. If I feel it’s something that can stay that way for a while, I’d try to pull them to the side and let them know it’s the direction we’re going.” The Knicks are reportedly looking to deal Prigioni for a second round draft pick.
- Clarence Gaines Jr., team president Phil Jackson‘s top adviser, deserves much of the credit for bringing Galloway to New York, Berman writes in a separate article. Gaines first noticed Galloway during a pre-draft camp last spring, and he believed the undrafted rookie fit the profile of the type of player whom Jackson sought, Berman adds.
Despite the Knicks‘ playoff hopes being essentially non-existent at the halfway mark of the season, rookie coach Derek Fisher has no intention of allowing his team to tank for a shot at a higher lottery selection, Peter Botte of The New York Daily News writes. “I’ve only worked for one team in this capacity so I can’t get into what other teams may or may not feel,” Fisher said. “The only way I know how to approach a game is to try to win it every time. So I can’t read other people’s minds and what other organizations are trying to do. That’s not my job. You’re asking the wrong person about that. Maybe if you talk to them you can ask them. But there’s no interest in thinking about which pick we might get based on the way the ping pong [ball] bounces when we play Philadelphia Wednesday night.”
“There’s just no correlation in my mind,” Fisher continued. “Maybe some people see it differently. It’s the NBA. You always will get a chance to have good players. But will you have a foundation, a system, a way of playing that allows for the good players you have or the good players you eventually have in the future to be able to be successful?”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Carmelo Anthony acknowledges that the Knicks‘ recent trades will mean tough times for the remainder of the season, but ‘Melo believes things will turn around for New York in the future, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes.
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens called Tayshaun Prince a “good addition” to the team, and he hopes that the veteran will remain on the roster the rest of the season, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. The Celtics are reportedly going to try to trade Prince or, failing that, discuss a buyout of his contract
- Tony Wroten will be out indefinitely with a sprained right knee, and the player will fly to California this week to consult a specialist about his injury, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Sixers had reportedly discussed a potential deal with the Clippers for Wroten earlier this month, but with Los Angeles having recently acquired Austin Rivers, the chances of Wroten becoming a Clipper are likely nil this season. With Wroten having missed the last five contests, his trade value around the league will have taken a hit as well, though that is just my speculation.
The Knicks own a record of 5-35, which is good for first place in our reverse order rankings. After the trade last week that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavs, the team clearly won’t be buyers at the trade deadline this season. It’s early in the season for most other teams hovering around .500 to make that kind of decision but Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles (Twitter link) has put the Nets in the conversation about potential sellers in the NBA marketplace.
Here’s more from the Empire State:
- Carmelo Anthony wants to be involved in recruiting players to the Knicks, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork. “This is why I wanted to come back, to be a part of the plan,” Anthony says. New York is projected to have room for the addition of at least one maximum level contract, although the exact amount of cap room will be unknown until the salary cap is calculated during July’s moratorium.
- Dwight Howard will play in Brooklyn for the first time tonight and he reminisces on what could have been if he would have been traded to the Nets, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork writes. “Like I said, everything happens for a reason. There was a point in time where I thought this [Brooklyn] was the best place for me to play basketball. I guess things didn’t happen the way I wanted them to,” Howard said. The Nets were once on the shortlist of teams that the center preferred to be traded to when he was still with the Magic.
- Jason Terry will also return to Brooklyn for the first time since being traded from the team last season. The 15-year veteran thought the Nets were going to achieve more over the last few seasons. “I’m surprised a lot,” Terry told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of The New York Post. “For me, when I came here it looked like they were going to put something together a big run for two or three years down the line. But when there’s that much pressure on you to win, and it doesn’t happen, they’re gonna make changes.” As a member of the Rockets, most would consider Terry to now be in a better position to win another NBA title.
One reason that Knicks owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson as team president was for his championship credentials, but Jackson’s winning pedigree hasn’t translated thus far in selling the players on the triangle offense, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “When I played, the credibility Phil and his staff had came when he walked in the door,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “We were all intrigued in wanting to figure it out, knowing they won championships doing this. We wanted to figure out how to win championships within this format. In recent years, Phil wasn’t coaching and there weren’t any teams running this system. So these current players can’t say this team won a championship last year or two years ago doing it.”
Here’s more out of NYC:
- Iman Shumpert says that his new team, the Cavaliers, remind him of of the Knicks circa 2012/13, Berman writes in a separate piece. “It’s going to be different,’’ Shumpert said. “I think it will be like my second year when we had Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. We had a lot of different guys who did a lot of different things.’’
- Shumpert also relayed that he’s happy to be on a Cavs team that is likely to make the playoffs, something that the 5-34 Knicks have little chance at, Berman adds. “Of course everybody wants to win and be in the playoffs and compete more,” Shumpert said. “I didn’t want my season to end early. There’s work to do here, too. We definitely are going to get to work.’’
- With the Knicks’ season all but over, Anthony has to believe that New York’s front office has a plan that will work, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. “When I first committed back to New York, that was something I always said: I had to trust that them guys know what they’re doing and believe in them guys. And that was one of the reasons I wanted to come back,” Anthony said. “Here’s an opportunity with the trust. Everything starts now.”
It’s likely that the Knicks will eventually decide to shut down Carmelo Anthony for the rest of the season so he can rest his sore left knee, a source tells Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. ‘Melo plans to return January 15th for New York’s game against the Bucks, but he acknowledged that if he’s still feeling pain once he starts playing again, he might undergo surgery, as Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. A long season is just getting longer for the 5-32 Knicks, who top our Reverse Standings with the league’s worst record. Here’s more from New York:
- Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, traded Monday to the Cavs, were probably ‘Melo’s closest friends on the Knicks, Berman writes in the same piece. “When I first committed back to New York, it’s something I always said I have to trust they know what they’re doing,” Anthony said today. “That was one of the reasons I wanted to come back. So here’s an opportunity with the trust. Everything starts now.‘’
- The Knicks worried that Smith’s poor work ethic and Samuel Dalembert‘s frequent tardiness to practices would be negative influences on the team’s younger players, sources tell Beck for the above-linked piece.
- Team president Phil Jackson asked Knicks players at the end of last season to identify a reliable second-best player on the team after ‘Melo, and no consensus emerged, Beck also writes.
- There’s a “slight chance” the Knicks will re-sign Lance Thomas to a 10-day contract should he clear waivers, Berman tweets. New York is set to waive Thomas, as well as Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson.
- The D-League affiliate of the Knicks is unlikely to trade for the rights to Toure’ Murry, which belong to Houston’s D-League affiliate, a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twitter link). Murry is reportedly joining the D-League after having been waived by the Jazz this past weekend.
Team president Phil Jackson demanded a five-year deal and a promise that owner James Dolan wouldn’t meddle before the Zen Master agreed to join the Knicks this past spring, and that’s looking like a wise bargain from Jackson’s end, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News believes. Jackson has the leeway necessary for the tear-down he’s undertaking, one that’s necessary for the Knicks to once again contend for titles, Deveney opines.
Here’s the latest out of NYC:
- The removal of talent surrounding Carmelo Anthony makes it more likely that the Knicks will have Anthony miss the rest of the season so he can rehabilitate his sore knee, argues Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal.
- While the return that the Knicks received for dealing away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert was underwhelming, Jackson made the deal because he and his staff feared that if the Cavaliers got hot as a team, they would potentially lose interest in acquiring those players, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. Jackson was also afraid that if Smith’s injury lingered, then he would become untradeable, Berman also notes.
- Jackson’s first season as team president will be remembered for all the cap room that he cleared, but his true test as an executive will be how he puts it to use this coming summer, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post writes.
- The Knicks’ trade of Smith and Shumpert signifies that the franchise is working toward the future once again, instead of angling for a playoff berth, Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press writes. This feels like a repeat of what transpired six years ago, when the Knicks traded Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford to set themselves up for a shot at LeBron James in the summer of 2010, a plan that backfired, Mahoney adds.
- Toure’ Murry is entering the D-League, and the Knicks‘ affiliate is likely to claim him via the waiver process, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Murry, who was recently waived by the Jazz, appeared in 51 games for New York during the 2013/14 campaign, averaging 2.7 points and 1.0 assist in 7.3 minutes per contest.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
It’s time for the Knicks to shut down Carmelo Anthony for the rest of the season, opines Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. New York’s star has missed the past three games with a sore left knee and is unlikely to play against the Bucks today. Coach Derek Fisher said the team hasn’t talked to Anthony about ending his season, but Youngmisuk writes that considering the Knicks have lost 10 in a row and 20 of their last 21, there is nothing to be gained by continuing to play him.
There’s more from New York:
- Fisher said any decision to shut down Anthony will be made with input from both the player and the organization, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. “From the conversations I’ve been a part of, I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar wise, timing wise, that there may come a point that that’s the decision that needs to be made,” Fisher said. “But [we realize] that we can’t force Carmelo to that point yet.” Anthony is in the first season of a five-year, $124MM contract and has said he plans to keep playing as long as the condition of his knee permits.
- The Knicks seem to be “tiptoeing” toward making a final decision with Anthony, writes Scott Cacciola of The New York Times. “I think there will definitely come a time at some point where there has to be a conversation about a longer space for him possibly,” Fisher said. “But it’s just not there at this point.” But with the team stuck at 5-30 and hopelessly out of the playoff race, the decision seems obvious. “As a friend. I’d tell him to take care of his body,” said teammate J.R. Smith.
- Help could be coming from the D-League, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Langston Galloway, a 6’2″ point guard, starred for the Knicks’ summer league team and has reportedly been impressing team president Phil Jackson with his play for New York’s D-League affiliate in Westchester. The organization sees him as the type of outside shooter it needs for the triangle. Ten-day contracts can be issued starting Monday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t want to delve into Rajon Rondo‘s comments that he “hadn’t played defense in a couple of years,” prior to Friday night’s contest against the Mavs and his former player, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com writes. “I don’t know the context of the discussion, I don’t know the seriousness of his answer,” Stevens said. “So I don’t really have a reaction to that. He’s a really good player and I’m certainly not here right now to be critical or analytical of his comments to the media. Like everybody else, I’m excited for him that he has a great opportunity in Dallas.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- It is in the Knicks‘ best interest to shut Carmelo Anthony down for the remainder of the season, Filip Bondy of The New York Daily News opines. Since New York’s season is already lost, it makes little sense to risk chronic knee issues for ‘Melo, plus sitting its best player will aid the franchise in securing a higher draft pick, Bondy notes.
- The Sixers‘ Luc Mbah a Moute is much more than just a mentor for Joel Embiid; he’s quickly become the player that holds Philadelphia’s locker room together with his leadership, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
- Nets rookie Bojan Bogdanovic has been an afterthought in coach Lionel Hollins‘ rotation the past month thanks to the strong play of Sergey Karasev, Roderick Boone of Newsday writes. “It’s not what Bogey’s [Bogdanovic] done, it’s what he’s not done,” Hollins said. “You’ve got to play and compete, and go out and play well, and Karasev has shown me a lot in practice. We were struggling, I gave him a shot and he played well. It’s also a product of Bogey just hitting a wall and just not being aggressive.“
- If Nerlens Noel projects as a center long term, it could throw a wrench into the Sixers‘ plans to pair him and Embiid together in their frontcourt, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. “Look at what a lot of teams do with their four men,” coach Brett Brown said. “They’re away from the basket. Most of the fours nowadays can almost shoot threes. If that’s your world, naturally you’re pulled away from the basket. That was Nerlens’ problem when we played him at four. He’s so used to just running to the rim, he’d lose Dirk Nowitzki, he’d lose perimeter people. It wasn’t natural for him. Maybe he can guard a five player [better]. I don’t know. I think it’s all a work in progress. But he really is a presence at the rim.“
Bucks big man Larry Sanders will be away from the team indefinitely due to personal reasons, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel reports. When asked about a timetable for Sanders’ return, coach Jason Kidd said, “That’s a good question so you don’t have to ask me tomorrow or Sunday or Monday, so there’s no timetable. Being sick, away from the team, guys go on as you see. Charlotte, we played without him. The other night we played without him [in Cleveland]. It’s nothing new to this ball club. Injuries happen. The train keeps moving forward.”
When pressed for details regarding Sanders either being ill, injured, or having personal issues, Kidd said, “It’s just personal. There’s nothing I can give you more. That’s the way the question will be answered.” Sanders has not played since the Bucks’ home loss to Charlotte on December 23rd, Gardner notes.
Here’s more from the East:
- The Magic‘s primary focus in free agency next summer will be to land a power forward, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Orlando needs to improve its rebounding, notes Schmitz, something that drafting Aaron Gordon and signing Channing Frye to a four-year, $32MM deal this past offseason hasn’t fixed.
- Knicks coach Derek Fisher acknowledged that at some point the team might need to shut down Carmelo Anthony due to his ailing knee, Mitch Abramson of The New York Daily News writes. “I think everybody involved is reasonable enough and smart enough as people in this business to come together on that if that time comes,” Fisher said. “I can’t speak for all of the different parties but from the conversations I’ve been a part of- I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar wise, timing wise- that there may come a point that’s the decision that needs to be made but that we can’t force Carmelo to that point just yet.“
- Anthony has stated that it’s ultimately his decision whether or not to continue playing, something that Fisher doesn’t fully agree with, Abramson adds. “There’s a balance between a player and his health and the part that he plays in the decision-making process and then where we are as a team and giving our thoughts and our opinion to it,” Fisher said. “I think our medical staff, our training staff, continue to have conversations with him about where he is. He’s conversing with us about how he’s feeling, what the symptoms are. As each day kind of unfolds decisions are being made. It’s not something that we’re just kind of stepping back and saying, Carmelo, you kind of tell us when you don’t feel like playing anymore.”
The Knicks’ rough start to the season could cost Madison Square Garden shareholders a projected $6MM in profits, Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reports. The estimate was posited by Rich Tullo, director of research for Albert Fried & Company, which covers the MSG stock, Rovell notes. “As the Harlem Globetrotters are the only New York professional [basketball] team winning in Madison Square Garden this season, we cut our estimates to reflect light TV ratings,” Tullo said. “Following more than 20 games highlighted by creative destruction, we think the sample set is large enough to determine lower estimates.” Rovell does note in the article that MSG stock is actually up more than 14% over the last three months.
Here’s more from the Big Apple:
- Carmelo Anthony says that his new $124MM contract and superstar status can influence the Knicks’ winning ways only so much, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I didn’t think it would be like this,’’ Anthony said. “I’m like, why? Time goes by so fast and one thing you realize, you can’t control winning. It’s out of your control. You can control what you do. You can control your work ethic and your mindset when it comes down to winning. Everything has to be synchronized from ownership all the way down to the staff. Everything has to be in sync.’’
- Suns point guard Goran Dragic, who has a player option for next season of $7.5MM that he is likely to decline, would be a perfect fit for the Knicks and the triangle offense, Berman writes in a separate article. Any deal to acquire or sign Dragic would mean the Knicks would have to move Jose Calderon, who has two more years left on his contract after this season, Berman notes.
- TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley believes that the Knicks’ theory that free agents will flock to New York because Phil Jackson is team president isn’t a sound one, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “This theory that [the Knicks] got all these expiring contracts, they got all this money, that people are going just be flocking to New York because of the great Phil Jackson, I think it’s a flawed theory,” Barkley said. “You got to admire and respect what Phil Jackson has accomplished but this notion that all these free agents are going to give up [money]? To think guys are going to turn down $30, $40, $50 million dollars to come to New York just because you got Phil Jackson, I just think that’s a flawed theory.”