Carmelo Anthony

Knicks Notes: Hornacek, Walton, Fisher, ‘Melo

Jeff Hornacek and Knicks team president Phil Jackson share a rapport and a respect for each other, leading one source to tell Howard Beck of Bleacher Report that it’s worth keeping an eye on the recently fired Suns coach as the Knicks consider candidates for their newly vacant head coaching job (Twitter link). One of the reasons the Knicks fired Derek Fisher today is because they wanted to get a head start on recruiting Luke Walton, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports says in a video report, but Walton is reportedly determined to remain with the Warriors through the rest of the season. See more on a noteworthy day in New York:

  • Fisher strayed too much from the triangle offense, Jackson believed, and players were increasingly upset with Fisher over confusion about their roles, Wojnarowski says in the same video, citing additional reasons why the Knicks made the change.
  • Jackson said members of Fisher’s coaching staff weren’t on the same page with each other, suggesting a chasm that had experienced hands Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons on one side and relative neophytes Brian Keefe and Joshua Longstaff on the other, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily notes. “I was able to surround [Fisher] with some very experienced coaches, and he had support staff, that was really important too. If he didn’t take advantage of it, maybe that’s part of it, too,” Jackson said. “Kurt, Jim Cleamons, some of the guys that have experienced, detailed experience. Derek hired some young guys who have helped him, have great work ethic and kind of meet the standard that he likes. But there wasn’t a consensus in our staff and we decided we needed to have a real good consensus in our staff, interchanging of ideas and communication.”
  • Rambis, in one of his first comments as interim coach to reporters today, said making the playoffs this season is the goal for the team, notes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link). That’s in stark contrast to Fisher’s remark last week on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN 98.7 FM that failing to make the playoffs wouldn’t be disappointing.
  • Jackson cited Carmelo Anthony‘s no-trade clause when asked if ‘Melo is off-limits for a trade, and the Zen Master also dismissed any notion that he’d trade Kristaps Porzingis, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of (ESPN Now link).

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Knicks, Magic, Pacers

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has drawn criticism from his players at times, but his job is safe, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, adding that GM Gar Forman has been acting as though his own job might not be as secure. Forman has been working to distance himself from the team’s shortcomings lately in an effort to polish his resume for his next job, knowing that he wouldn’t win a power struggle with executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson if it came to it, Cowley wrote in an earlier piece. Former coach Tom Thibodeau, who notoriously feuded with management, had more respect for Paxson than Forman, feeling as though Paxson was more up front with him, Cowley hears. Still, both Forman and Paxson appear safe for the time being, Cowley adds. See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Thibodeau has long had his heart set on the Knicks head coaching job, a source close to him tells Ian O’Connor of (Twitter link), as we passed along amid much more news in the wake of the team’s decision to fire coach Derek Fisher.
  • Carmelo Anthony has had not one but two MRIs in the past three weeks as his surgically repaired left knee continues to bother him, a team source tells Isola, but Anthony said Sunday that doctors have assured him the lingering soreness is simply part of the recovery process, notes Ian Begley of
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo‘s 10-day contract with the Knicks and Keith Appling second 10-day deal with the Magic expired overnight, making them free agents. New York can re-sign Antetokounmpo to another 10-day pact, but that’s not the case with Appling. Orlando can’t ink him to any more contracts this season without signing him for the balance of 2015/16.
  • Pacers coach Frank Vogel has been impressed with lottery pick Myles Turner, who’s tamped down fears over his running style and come a long way from a disappointing season at the University of Texas last year, as Mike Mazzeo of examines.

Eastern Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Anthony, Mayo

Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to be out of action until after the All-Star break due to a strained core muscle, David Mayo of MLive relays (Twitter links). The team is still awaiting the results of an MRI, but Detroit coach/executive Stan Van Gundy didn’t rule out making a deal before the trade deadline as a result of Caldwell-Pope’s injury woes, Mayo adds. If the young swingman’s injury is deemed to be a long-term one, it would significantly increase the chances that the Pistons will make a move, though it is doubtful that any deal will net a significant player in return, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press relays (on Twitter).

Here are the latest happenings in the East:

  • has left the team to accept a position with the
  • The Bucks would likely find suitors willing to acquire shooting guard O.J. Mayo prior to the trade deadline if the team is willing to take back a player-friendly contract in return, Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports writes in his deadline primer for the franchise. Mayo, who is earning $8MM this season, will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Also having trade value is Miles Plumlee, who could fit the bill for a team seeking bench depth, Marks adds.
  • Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony has been dealing with knee issues, but a recent MRI revealed no structural damage and the team says the knee is merely sore and not a new injury, Ian Begley of writes. “There’s no injury or new injury in terms of a traumatic or acute situation,” coach Derek Fisher told reporters. “I think he’ll be fine long term. We just have to get into these next set of days into the [All-Star] break and hopefully we can kind of re-evaluate him from there in terms of it not being something that’s reoccurring.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Larkin, Lowry

Knicks coach Derek Fisher envisions Carmelo Anthony evolving into more of a facilitator from the forward spot in the team’s offense, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. “I think there’s some more playmaking opportunities that will continue to be a part of his maturation in how we play,” Fisher said. “I think there will be times when we can put the ball in his hands more and allow his size and his ability to create shots for other people to be more of a feature. And that’s a part of our offense that we really want to get to. We’re looking forward to being able to play Carmelo at the top of the floor at times. I think he can average a pretty high number of assists because of how aggressive teams are defending him.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The friendship that has developed between Raptors backcourt mates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan has helped both the players and the team be successful, Jessica Patton of The Toronto Sun writes. “I think when they first got here, I think they looked at each other like ‘OK’, ” coach Dwane Casey said. “But then as things went on and as the games went on and winning went on, they saw that they could co-exist together. I think the trust has been built, the friendship built, and they [have] a good thing going.”
  • Nets point guard Shane Larkin is still trying to prove that he belongs in the league amid the team’s difficult season, notes Andy Vasquez of “I haven’t established myself as a proven backup — whatever you want to say,” Larkin said. “And that’s what I’m trying to do. So every single night I go out there, I have that kind of mentality. And even though lately I’ve been struggling, I’ve just got to stay confident, keep playing and get back to what I was doing.”
  • If the Sixers return to prominence in the coming seasons the credit is likely to go to new team executive Jerry Colangelo and not to GM Sam Hinkie, despite the GM having laid much of the foundation, Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine opines in his mailbag. While Hinkie’s plan certainly has its flaws, the GM should share in the credit for any inroads the team makes, Bodner adds.

Atlantic Notes: DeRozan, Hollins, Mills, ‘Melo

DeMar DeRozan has made no secret of his affection for Toronto, and he tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post that just because the Raptors have a history of star players leaving doesn’t mean he’ll follow suit. DeRozan is poised to turn down his player option worth only slightly more than $10MM and hit free agency this summer.

“One thing I never did was look at anybody else, what they did or what they followed, honestly,” DeRozan said to Lee. “I always stuck to what I believe in and what I’m comfortable with. If I see a hundred people walking left, that don’t necessarily mean I’m going to walk left. I may see this clear path and want to stay right.”

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets higher-ups were angry about the way former coach Lionel Hollins would pin blame on his players, sources tell Brian Lewis of the New York Post, and several sources who spoke with Andy Vasquez of The Record couldn’t identify a single player on the team who was fond of Hollins. Many players thought the coach talked down to them and found it hard to respect him because of that, Vasquez writes.
  • Knicks GM Steve Mills is very much involved with player personnel in his role under team president Phil Jackson, as agents tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Mills is the go-to guy when they talk to someone from the Knicks. James Dolan has done little meddling with Jackson around, and the team hasn’t had substantive talks regarding a Carmelo Anthony trade this year, Deveney adds.
  • Nerlens Noel has long been a fan of Ish Smith, but the point guard has helped Jahlil Okafor‘s offensive game, too, observes Keith Bodner of Philadelphia magazine. The No. 3 overall pick has put up impressive numbers, albeit in a small sample size, since the Sixers traded for Smith on December 24th, as Bodner examines.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, Roberts, Noah

The Pistons intend to keep point guard Spencer Dinwiddie with their D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids for the remainder of the season, Peter J. Wallner of MLive relays. “I landed on red eye and was headed to the practice facility and [GM] Jeff Bower called me and said I was going down for the rest of the season, and I said OK,” Dinwiddie told Wallner. As for his reaction to the news, Dinwiddie may not agree with the decision, but he understands it is part of his development process, Wallner adds. “There’s nothing really more to say about it,” Dinwiddie continued. “A lot of people ask me for extended thoughts and I honestly just said, ‘OK.’ When you have a job and your employer tells you to do something, you go do it. You don’t have time to second-guess it because you like your job and want to keep it.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • A number of NBA teams have expressed interest in Raptors preseason cut Ronald Roberts, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports relays (Twitter links).  The power forward turned down an offer to join the Israel club Maccabi Tel Aviv in hopes of landing an NBA deal, Spears adds.
  • The return of Bulls center Joakim Noah from injury could aid in the development of rookie forward Bobby Portis, Vincent Goodwill of opines. Goodwill notes that pairing Noah and his passing skills alongside Portis’ outside game could make for a potent combo, an assessment that coach Fred Hoiberg agrees with. “They’ll be out there some, together in the second unit,” Hoiberg said. “I think they’ll play well with each other. They’ve developed a really tight relationship and a good bond. Jo has really taken him under his wing and taught him a lot early in Bobby’s career, so I know those two are looking forward to playing with each other.
  • The presence of rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who has exceeded expectations thus far with his play, has allowed Carmelo Anthony to become more of a team player, which has the Knicks heading in the proper direction as a franchise, writes Kevin Kernan of The New York Post.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Porzingis, Lopez

Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony is playing with unexpected maturity and unselfishness this season and the primary difference from 2014/15 is that Melo has faith in the roster around him, writes Steve Popper of “I’ve always been asking for the help to take that burden off me, to have to go out there and score 25, 30 and 35 points a night just to have a chance to win the basketball game,” Anthony said. “That becomes a big burden on your shoulders. I realize the guys that are on this team; they can take some of that burden off. It’s not going to be every night. Some nights it calls for me to have a game like I had at home against Atlanta – 11 points, [nine] rebounds and [five] assists. There’s going to be some nights where I have to score the basketball. It’s a fine line between that and I have to kind of gauge that throughout the game.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Anthony also noted that he’s willing to pass the torch as the franchise’s marquee player, much like the way Tim Duncan has done with Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio, and all signs point to that player being Kristaps PorzingisAl Iannazzone of Newsday writes. “If I have those players on my team, somebody to pass the torch, of course I’m willing to do that,” Anthony told the Newsday scribe. “I think [Duncan] realizes that he wasn’t going to be able to do it by himself. Some days he has it, some days he doesn’t, but I don’t think he worries about that because he’s got other guys on his team who can carry that load. You have to want to do that. You have to be willing to do that. If you talk about sacrifice, that’s the ultimate sacrifice.”
  • Center Robin Lopez is still adjusting to being used as a post player in the triangle offense, a role he wasn’t tasked with by his previous teams in the NBA, Marc Berman of The New York Post notes. “I hadn’t posted up since college,’’ Lopez said. “It had been awhile. I was learning everyone’s tendencies and learning the triangle. I still have a lot to learn. I thought I rushed myself in Atlanta. They have a lot of confidence in me. My teammates are putting me in good position.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Battier, Smart

Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony‘s willingness to reduce his role in the offense shows that he trusts in his teammates to execute, which is a major step forward from the Melo of last season, Ian Begley of relays. “I probably wouldn’t have been at ease because I was the guy who always had to go out there and score 30, score 40 points to even have a chance to win the basketball game,” Anthony said of his willingness to shoot less. “Now, with the makeup of this team, I don’t really have to do that. I feel a lot more comfortable now with … letting somebody else have a breakout game and letting other guys get involved [to] get their confidence up. I feel more comfortable with that now.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Retired forward Shane Battier met with members of the Sixers today, Derek Bodner of relays (via Twitter). Battier has a relationship with GM Sam Hinkie that goes back to their time spent together in Houston, and all indications are that the team was merely meeting with him to pick his brain, not to discuss a potential contract, Bodner adds.
  • Despite their offseason focus on improving defensively, the Raptors are struggling on that end of the court, and the issue goes beyond the loss of DeMarre Carroll to injury, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “We’ve got guys that have been here with us, that should know the defensive schemes, that do know the defensive schemes,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We’re trying to get guys back in, [but] health and injuries are part of this league,” he continued. “All those are excuses. Next man up, everybody wants an opportunity, that’s what it’s all about. One guy goes down, the next guy has to take up the slack.”
  • Celtics point guard Marcus Smart is rounding back into form after missing time with a leg injury, and his recent play has sparked the team on the defensive end, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes.

Knicks Seek Backcourt Help

Some within the Knicks front office recently said they’re interested in adding a young scorer or a shooter to the backcourt, sources told Ian Begley of Still, New York isn’t near any significant move and don’t intend to bring in anyone who would significantly impinge upon their future cap flexibility, Begley also hears.

Knicks team president Phil Jackson apparently likes Jimmer Fredette, Begley writes, but the former 10th overall pick who’s playing for New York’s D-League team said in the days following his initial arrival to the Westchester Knicks roster that he hadn’t heard from Jackson or coach Derek Fisher. Ticket sales, and not strictly Fredette’s on-court ability, fueled the team’s decision to select Fredette in the D-League draft, as Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote at the time.

Few Knicks players are thought of as all that valuable on the trade market, a group that includes only Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez, Begley writes. Carmelo Anthony is presumably part of that group, too, but the Knicks have given no indication that they’ve thought about trading him, according to Begley. Anthony has a no-trade clause.

New York reportedly expressed interest in Jamal Crawford this summer, and the Clippers have apparently surveyed interest in him around the league in recent weeks. The Timberwolves have apparently made Kevin Martin available in trade discussions, though it’s unclear if the Knicks are eyeing him, and he has a player option worth nearly $7.378MM for next season, a number that could cut into cap flexibility. Brandon Jennings is on an expiring contract, but he’s only now returning from a torn Achilles tendon and Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said a few days ago that he’d yet to have a single trade conversation about him with other teams.

The Knicks have more than $55MM in guaranteed salary for next season. The team also has an open roster spot, giving them a measure of flexibility most of the league doesn’t have.

Who do you think the Knicks should target? Comment to share your ideas.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Brown, Joseph

Sixers coach Brett Brown has already developed a solid relationship with new team executive Jerry Colangelo, who was officially hired on Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. When asked how often he communicates with Colangelo, Brown responded, “All the time. I think for me to be able to call upon somebody like him and say, what do you think of that, is a priceless sounding board for me. I love it. I respect his history. When answers come out you immediately respect the history of which that opinion was formed. It’s amazing.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is frustrated by the team’s struggles this season and isn’t hiding his displeasure, Ian Begley of notes. “Losing is frustrating,” Anthony said. “I don’t want this to be an ongoing situation or an ongoing feeling where we have to come into the locker room and explain why we’re losing basketball games.” Anthony is also upset with New York’s pace of play, and wants the team to increase its tempo, a team source tells Begley. “He [Anthony] felt like they were stuck in the half court too much,” the source told the ESPN scribe.
  • The Raptors are hoping to imitate the long-term success of the Spurs as an organization, which is one reason why Toronto signed Cory Joseph this past offseason, writes Michael Grange of “You can’t go through a program like that, I don’t care what program you are with in college or the pros, if you’re from a successful program some of those habits come away with you,” said coach Dwane Casey of Joseph. “That’s why bringing a guy in like that from a winning program, that’s won a championship, knows what it takes to win. Those qualities have rubbed off on him.
  • The Celtics have once again assigned power forward Jordan Mickey to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Mickey’s sixth trek to Maine this season, as our tracker shows.

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