New York Knicks

Phil Jackson Regrets Not Acquiring Jae Crowder

Knicks president Phil Jackson met with Charley Rosen of TodaysFastBreak.com throughout the 2015/16 season to discuss the state of his franchise, and Rosen has been passing along the Zen Master’s comments in a series called “The Phil Jackson Chronicles.” In the latest installment of the series, Jackson admitted that he passed up on acquiring Jae Crowder in a 2014 trade, and views that as the “biggest mistake” he has made since joining the Knicks.

“One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics,” Jackson said. “In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder.

“I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo [Anthony], so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.”

Either Jackson’s comments or Rosen’s transcript seem a little off here, since the Celtics should have had no involvement in the Knicks’ negotiations with the Mavericks. The second-round pick that ultimately became Early was sent to Dallas by Boston in 2013, and the Mavs traded Crowder to the Celtics a few months after the Chandler deal, but the C’s weren’t involved in that Knicks/Mavs trade at all.

In any case, the main point of Jackson’s anecdote – that the Knicks had a choice of taking the No. 34 overall pick or Crowder – appears accurate, and of course Jackson ultimately choice the pick, using it to select Early.

At the time of the trade, Crowder was coming off a season in which he averaged just 4.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 16.1 minutes per contest. He was a career 40.9% shooter at that point in his career and hadn’t been more than a part-time role player, so it’s hard to criticize Jackson too much for not seeing a breakout coming — or not thinking that he could potentially get a similar player early in the second round of the 2014 draft.

Since then, however, Crowder has developed into one of the Celtics’ most valuable pieces. In 2015/16, he set career highs with 14.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG, and a shooting line of .443/.336/.820. He’s also locked up on an affordable long-term deal through the 2019/20 season.

It’s impossible to know if Crowder would have enjoyed the same success in New York, or if the team would have been able to lock him up long-term, or even how his presence would have affected the Knicks’ other roster moves. But it’s still an interesting “what if?” worth considering, particularly since it may have had a domino effect on the Rajon Rondo trade between Boston and Dallas.

Stephen Jackson Interested In Knicks

  • Stephen Jackson, another longtime NBA veteran attempting to make an NBA comeback, also appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio this week (SoundCloud link). Jackson suggested he has “a good two years left” and named the Knicks, Bulls, and Pelicans as a few teams that would interest him. “I’m not one of those guys chasing the ring,” Jackson said. “I have one, so I’m really not one of those guys that’s looking to be a part of a championship team and try to steal a ring and not really earn it. … I just want to play basketball and do what I love to do.”

New York Notes: Rose, Carmelo, Lin, Nets

Derrick Rose, traded by the Bulls to the Knicks two months ago, referred to his new squad as a “super team” last month, and recently doubled down on the assertion. In a conversation with Nick DePaula of The Vertical, the former MVP continued to rave about his new club and his new teammates.

“I just love the group,” Rose said. “I think everybody is on the same page. I love the culture that Phil [Jackson] is creating. Just the organization and franchise, I love everybody that’s working on it, and they seem like they’re very excited for everything. That just rubs off on people. … I think we have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that’s rare.”

While Rose expects a big year from the Knicks, Hoops Rumors commenters recently named the Nets as the most likely team to be the NBA’s worst in 2016/17. Here’s the latest out of New York on both squads:

  • Carmelo Anthony is riding high after winning his third Olympic gold medal this summer, but his supporting cast with the Knicks this season won’t be as star-studded as the one he enjoyed in Rio. Marc Berman of The New York Post examines the leadership role Anthony will have to assume for the new-look Knicks as they look to return to the postseason.
  • Nets CEO Brett Yormark, speaking at an event in Beijing, admitted that the Nets will market newly-signed point guard Jeremy Lin in an effort to tap into a new, Chinese-American fan base (link via Net Income of NetsDaily). However, Yormark says his team won’t try to recreate the “Linsanity” phenomenon, preferring to let things happen organically.
  • A separate NetsDaily piece focuses on the storylines to watch in Brooklyn with training camp around the corner, including Lin’s arrival, Bojan Bogdanovic‘s contract year, and the Nets‘ youth movement.

Knicks Had Bigger Plans For Wroten

The Knicks had long-term plans for point guard Tony Wroten when they signed him in mid-March, Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak reveals in the latest installment of “The Phil Jackson Chronicles.” Wroten, who was waived in June after New York traded for Derrick Rose, was originally set to get an extended audition this offseason. Jackson, the team president, said the Knicks signed Wroten during the season rather than waiting for free agency because it wanted to have him available for summer league play.

“Signing Tony now also gives us more time to evaluate him,” Jackson said in March about Wroten, who was recovering from surgery on a partially torn ACL in his right knee. “Can he make it all the way back? Can he grasp our philosophy? Tony is only 22 and, if everything does work out, he certainly fits the description of the type of point guard that we’re looking for. It’s a futuristic move for us. A move that gives us another choice. And it’s one of the things we have to do to find suitable talent.” Wroten never appeared in a game for the Knicks. The Grizzlies claimed him off waivers, then released and later re-signed him.

  • Willy Hernangomez, a Spanish center who will face Team USA at the Olympics today, has a chance to be part of the Knicks‘ rotation next season, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. That’s the opinion of ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, who is considered an expert on international basketball. “He does not have ‘starter’ or ‘stardom’ written all over him yet, but he has a chance because of his youth, mobility and size to develop into a good player in time,” Fraschilla said. “If you could find a 6-11 second-round pick who’s only 22 years old and is beginning to prove himself both at the Olympics and in the second-best league in the world in Spain, you’d say it is a bonus for the Knicks.”

Butler Interested In Knicks

  • Caron Butler would be interested in signing with the Knicks, tweets Anthony Donahue of SNY. During an appearance on Donahue’s “33rd and 7th” podcast, Butler said he likes the moves that New York made during the offseason. Butler, 36, spent last season with the Kings and appeared in just 17 games.

Rose Still Believes Knicks Can Be "Super Team"

Derrick Rose caused some eyes to roll when he compared the new-look Knicks to the Warriors, terming New York a potential “super team,” and the point guard isn’t walking those comments back, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. “I still believe that,” Rose said. “Like I said, with that Super Team term, you have to be very careful, I guess, if you’re in the United States. But I feel like if you’re in any team in the NBA — it don’t have to be the NBA, it could be the college level, high school level — you should believe in yourself and have the confidence in yourself that you’re playing on a super team anywhere. So I have a lot of confidence, and I’m not taking that back.

Rose also noted that he plans to share the ball more this season than he has in the past, Begley adds. “We have more options on this team. With the Bulls, we had more options too but the offense really went through me and Jimmy Butler,” Rose said. “With the Knicks, we have [Kristaps Porzingis], we have [Carmelo Anthony], we have [Joakim Noah] rolling to the rim. We’ve got Courtney Lee.

Phil Jackson Discusses Derek Fisher Dismissal

Knicks team president Phil Jackson opened up to Charley Rosen of TodaysFastbreak.com about what went wrong in New York with former coach Derek Fisher, noting the two had markedly different philosophies on how to develop and train players. “Almost from the start, this was a difficult time for Derek. Derek did have a situation that took some focus away from his coaching during the preseason, but I never doubted that his focus was on coaching the team,” Jackson said regarding Fisher’s off the court run-in with Matt Barnes. “A divorce and coast-to-coast move with children does put pressure on a person’s life, but that’s the NBA. However, Derek did move the team forward. He was dedicated and he worked hard. The players hustled and, for the most part, stayed as positive as was possible. And Derek did manage to survive last season and to deal with the heavy pressure of the constant losing, which is probably more intense in New York than in any other NBA city.

Ricky Ledo Will Play In Turkey

Former Mavericks and Knicks shooting guard Ricky Ledo, who spent last season in the D-League, will play in Turkey next season, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. The announcement that he will join the Yesilgiresun franchise was made on social media this morning by Ledo’s agent, Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link).

The 23-year-old was waived by New York in July of 2015 and was picked up by the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate. Ledo, who averaged 21.2 points per game, was a late addition to last season’s D-League All-Star Game. After the season ended, Ledo signed with Santeros de Aguada in Puerto Rico, where he spent two months before being waived.

Ledo was taken by the Bucks with the 43rd pick in the 2013 draft, but was traded to the Sixers and later the Mavericks. He played just 16 NBA games in nearly two seasons with Dallas, making frequent trips back and forth to the D-League. After the Mavericks waived him in February of 2015, he signed two 10-day contracts with the Knicks before inking a deal for the rest of the season. Ledo averaged 7.4 points in 12 games with New York.

Carmelo Anthony Proud Of Career Resumé

  • In an interview with ESPN’s Marc Stein, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony suggested that if his professional basketball career ends without an NBA championship, he’ll still consider it a success if he walks away with three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA title. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals,” Anthony said.

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