Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Atkinson, Larkin

Former Knicks swingman Landry Fields noted that New York could have evolved into an Eastern Conference power if it had waited to sign Carmelo Anthony when he hit free agency rather than gutting the team to acquire him from the Nuggets, Ian Begley of relays (ESPN Now link). “It would have been a major, major play for New York if we had kind of the young talent of [Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler] and Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo. It would have been a team that just would have been so impactful throughout the league and one that probably could have created a dynasty,” Fields said. “But I don’t want to speak too much to that because you don’t want to get [into] all of this, ‘Rah rah, what could have been’ because that’s not what happened. There were possibilities there for such an incredible team to be assembled but at the same time, we can’t harp on what never happened.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Jeremy Lin, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, had all positives to say about new Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant with the Knicks when “Linsanity” broke out during the 2011/12 season, NetsDaily relays. “I’ve kind of been saying it was just a matter of time for him because I know how good he is, I know how much he was there for me in New York,” Lin said. “When you’re around him, you kind of understand there’s something different about him: his energy, his passion, the juice he approaches his work with. He doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He’s always the first one in, and I’m saying first one in by, like, hours.
  • Nets point guard Shane Larkin, who has a player option for 2016/17 worth $1.5MM, says the coaching change from Lionel Hollins to Tony Brown this season hurt his development, notes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “It’s tough, especially as a point guard because you’re an extension of the coach on the floor,” Larkin said. “I mean, at the beginning of the year, there were several articles saying, ‘Oh, it’s Larkin’s breakout year, he’s finally found himself, averaging this and that, shooting well from the three.’ I was really comfortable with Coach Hollins. But after 37 games, to be exact, Coach Hollins was out of here and Billy King was released or whatever it was so it was like we didn’t really have a lot of direction. Coach Tony was kind of just handed the job like, ‘All right, here you go.’ It was kind of like, ‘Just like go play basketball.’ It’s just difficult, when I’ve now been with four coaches in three years. It’s definitely easier when you’re with a team for a while and you know what your coach wants and you know what he expects from you. He knows what you can do, he knows the pros and cons to your game and he could put you in a position to be successful.”
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