Phil Jackson Breaks Silence to Slander Melo on Twitter

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If you were expecting Phil Jackson to break his media silence with a professional press conference, think again. The Knicks president took to Twitter to take a thinly veiled shot at Carmelo Anthony and gave further fuel to the chaotic atmosphere that has become the Knicks since Melo hit the trading block.

The tweet centers around Jackson’s response to a highly critical article from Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding that questioned Melo’s will to win and alleged infatuation with the spotlight. Phil gave his seal of approval while comparing Melo’s shortcomings to 80s CBA journeyman named Michael Graham.

Graham played on the 1984 champion Georgetown Hoyas. His academic career was mired by off the court issues. Graham was drafted by the Supersonics but failed to make the final roster. He played four years in the CBA averaging 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.

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Yeah, this is the player Phil Jackson is comparing his star athlete to.

Never in a million years did I think Phil Jackson could turn the Knicks into a bigger joke than what we saw in the Isiah Thomas years. We have a toxic atmosphere where neither the players nor the coaches know what’s going on. Every day they’re out there trying to make sense of the rumors being leaked from Phil’s office or his minions in the media. It is clearly a major factor in the team’s recent tepid play, including last night’s debacle at home against the Lakers.

So what does Jackson do as our leader? Trashes the player he’s allegedly trying to get teams interested in trading for. It remains to be seen if this disrespect is enough to get Melo to trade his no-trade clause and essentially get ran out of town. And we wonder why most elite free agents have no interest in joining this mess.

Carmelo Anthony’s IG Post Hints at Rejecting Knicks Trade Talks?

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Today’s news on the Carmelo Anthoy trade front comes courtesy of a cryptic Instagram post from Melo himself.

The Knicks veteran’s picture caption speaks on not “running away” from difficult situations.

My first reaction when reading this is that Melo, who already told Phil Jackson face to face that he wanted to remain a Knick, does not plan on being ran out of town and won’t waive his No Trade Clause. And that he’s willing to endure more losing seasons until Porzingis develops and a better team is constructed.

However, we’d be remiss to not look at the other possible angle — that Melo’s “unpleasant” reality is realizing that he won’t be able to contend in New York and the time has come to part ways.

Kudos to Melo’s PR team because the wording is vague enough to make both interpretations valid depending on your feelings about the polarizing Knicks star.

Tell me your take in the below comments.

Cavs Turn Down Knicks’ Melo for Love Trade Inquiry

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The Knicks’ first trade inquiry for Carmelo Anthony did not gain traction as the Cleveland expressed no interest in a proposed swap for Kevin Love.

According to ESPN, the Knicks contacted Cleveland’s front office earlier today to gauge interest. The plan was if the Cavs were receptive, the Knicks could approach Anthony about waiving his no-trade clause for the opportunity to play for a contender.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, this idea comes about two years too late. Anthony, while still a formidable player and borderline all-star, is a 32-year-old whose explosiveness and lift have been permanently damaged from season-ending knee surgery in 2014. Although Love has struggled recently, he’s still in his athletic prime at 28 with no significant injury history.

Rumors of a potential Melo trade heated up earlier this week when the Cavs lost in embarrassing fashion to an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans, prompting LeBron James to tell the media the team’s personnel was lacking and they needed “a fucking playmaker.”

Next on the Knicks’ list will probably be the Clippers (Blake for Melo) and the Celtics (Melo for a pick). The Clippers will probably give the same answer as Griffin also has youth on his side. As for Boston, I can’t see them parting with a 1st round pick since a Melo acquisition wouldn’t be enough to put them over the Cavs or possibly even the Raptors in a playoff battle.

Love him or hate ’em, Carmelo is very likely to at least finish out the year in New York.

Knicks Pick Up Derrick Rose in Surprise Trade

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Phil Jackson didn’t waste any time securing the first big trade of the NBA off-season by acquiring former MVP Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant.

According to league sources, the Bulls will also send guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second round pick to the Knicks.

The 27 year old Rose has been plagued by severe knee injuries since his 2010 MVP season. He underwent surgery for an ACL tear on his left knee in 2012. In 2013, Rose suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee that required season-ending surgery. Last season, he averaged 16 points (42% FG) and 5 assists over 66 games.


I won’t act like I’m absolutely thrilled by this move, but I’m not mad at it either. Since the season ended, the Knicks front office has made it clear they want to contend over tanking. New coach Jeff Hornacek also made it clear that we needed an upgrade over Calderon at point guard.

So the options were to overpay Mike Conley to a max contract, or pay less but gamble more with a combustible character in Rajon Rondo. In Rose, we get a player that will be motivated in a contract year. Should Rose fail, he’s off the books next year and we have max money available to go after a franchise player like Russell Westbrook.

Make no mistake, it’s still a question mark if Rose stays healthy. And I’m sad we had to give up one of last season’s best contributors (Robin Lopez) and a promising young talent (Grant) to make this happen.

For now, does this look like a competent Big Three to you?

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Melo Addresses Rumors of Cavs Trade: “I’m not going anywhere.”

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This weekend was abuzz with trade rumors after a story broke that Knicks, Cavs and Celtics were in preliminary talks about a trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland, Kevin Love to Boston, and high draft picks to New York.

The crux of the piece is that Anthony, who is aging and suffering from recurring soreness on his surgically repaired left knee, would want to join forces with his close friend LeBron James in hopes of winning an NBA title. Another theorized trade includes Anthony going to the Clippers, where he would also be teaming with a close friend in Chris Paul.

There’s only one problem — Melo loves New York and has no desire to leave. Much like two summers ago when everyone claimed his best shot to win a title was going to Chicago, now the rumblings from media and some fans is the Knicks need to go into rebuild mode. Last night, Melo emphasized his commitment to the Knicks and doubled down this morning in an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio:

There’s always some trade shit going, I don’t pay attention to those rumors. I’m not going anywhere.

So there you have it. Melo is staying, just as Knicks President Phil Jackson said going into All-Star weekend. The irony is Melo has been the one elite player in five years that’s wanted to play and win in New York. And here we have some fans and media that want to run him out of town and start over. Have you forgotten the Dark Ages that were the early to mid 2000s already?

 

Knicks Trade Pablo Prigioni to Rockets for Alexey Shved

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While other NBA teams are mulling over franchise-altering trades, the New York Knicks made a low-key deal at the trade deadline in moving veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni to the Houston Rockets for Alexey Shved and two second round draft picks.

The 37-year-old Prigioni spent 3 seasons in New York, averaging 4 points, 3 assists and 1 steal in 18 minutes. From the field, Prigioni shot 44% (41% from three).

The 26-year-old Shved was acquired by Houston from Philadelphia earlier this year. In 9 games with the Rockets, he’s averaged 3.2 points, 0.3 assists and 0.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game. For the season, the Russian point guard is averaging 7.6 points, 1.9 assists, and 1 rebound on 39% shooting.

Before the All-Star break, Prigioni had not played in eight of the last 12 games, fueling rumors he was on the trade block.

Prigioni  will be joining a play-off bound Rockets team that is currently fourth in the Western Conference with a 36-17 record.

 

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No more sneaky steals and spot-up three-point shooting in NY. Prigioni will be missed, but this is yet another move that benefits both parties. The Knicks get another young point guard to try to mold, and Prigioni gets to join a contender where his sticky hands and floor leadership will be well-served in spot minutes.

Shved is a 6’6 point guard and I’m sure we can put that to good use. His recent teams have given up on his potential, so hopefully he views this as a “last shot” of sorts to show he’s a valuable player.

A toast to Prigioni.

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JR Smith and Iman Shumpert Traded to Cavs

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In biggest move of Phil Jackson’s tenure as president, the Knicks have agreed to dump over $20 million in salary by trading guards JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Per the Associated Press, New York will get a second pick in 2019 from the Cavs. The Knicks will acquire filler players that they plan on immediately waiving. So far, the only confirmed one is rookie center Alex Kirk. The Oklahoma City Thunder will acquire Dion Waiters from Cleveland.

Shumpert is currently sidelined with a dislocated shoulder and averaging 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Smith, who was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2013, is averaging 11 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists on the season.

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So long, homies. I have a lot of love for JR and Shump. At their best, I loved the brash, young swagger they brought to the veteran lineups we’ve had in recent years. But if I’m honest, it is very apparent that both players have reached their ceilings in New York. We’ve been waiting for about 2 years for Shumpert to make that “leap” as a second option which just isn’t his game (nor fair to expect from him). Since JR’s excellent 2013 season, we’ve only seen erratic flashes of the focus that made him the Sixth Man of the Year.

A change of scenery will be beneficial for both guys. Shumpert will get to focus on being the lock-down, wing defensive specialist that was his calling card. And JR can be a secret weapon/gunner off the bench. The Cavaliers at the very least get more entertaining with JR on their roster.

I’ll remember the good times. Once a Knick, always a Knick.

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Bon Voyage! Knicks Complete Six-Player Dallas Trade for Felton and Chandler

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Yesterday, the Knicks completed their first big trade under the Phil Jackson regime, shipping out starters Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler for point guards Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin, guard Wayne Ellington, center Samuel Dalembert, and the 34th and 51st picks on tonight’s NBA draft.

Chandler missed over 30 games last year with injuries and has struggled in recent years to meet the level of play that made him the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He has one year remaining on a four-year, $60 million dollar contract.

Felton had one of his worst seasons last year, shooting 39% from the field and posting a career-low in points (9.7). Felton was plagued by off the court problems as well — he was arrested on felony gun charges and last week plead guilty, receiving a $5000 fine and 500 hours of community service.

“The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues,” said Phil Jackson in a statement about the trade. “We have added players with this move that will fit right in to our system while maintaining future flexibility. We would like to thank Raymond and Tyson for their time and hard work with the organization over the past few years.”

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Sorry Tyson Chandler — any trade that gets Felton off this team gets the stamp of approval from me. While I’m not particularly crazy about Jose Calderon on the defensive end, he can hit open threes, which makes him ideal for the triangle offense Fisher and Jackson are looking to implement. Shane Larkin also has a lot of potential. I can see him becoming a fan favorite and having a string of breakout games next season. I’d be surprised if Dalembert makes it onto the roster. Ellington I’m not well-versed on, but at least he’s not an injury-prone old vet like most of our signings in recent years.

As for Chandler, I loved him when he was healthy and giving full effort. But when is the last time we’ve actually seen that from him? He seemed to always be injured or sick during the playoffs, and his rim protection has taken a severe nose-dive. Not to mention, the man still struggles to finish point-blank shots at the rim.

Chandler also did a lot of finger-pointing last season, taking jabs at Mike Woodson and subtle ones at Carmelo Anthony. His body language and effort told me Chandler had mentally checked out so a change of scenery, especially back to where he had his greatest success, should be a huge motivator and do him good.

All in all, this is a very good trade for the team. And can you believe we actually got picks back?! In Phil we trust…

Knicks Owner James Dolan Puts Lowry Trade on Ice (For Now…

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Knicks owner James Dolan has reportedly cooled talks with the Toronto Raptors regarding a potential trade for Kyle Lowry.

According to the NY Post, Dolan’s decision was influenced by the fact terms of the potential deal leaked. Per unnamed industry sources, the trade would have required the Knicks to give up Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace, either Iman Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr., or a 2018 first round pick to make the deal.

Dolan was not keen on giving up the pick and has preference to keep rookie Hardaway. Dolan and Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri previously worked together in 2010 when Ujiri, then GM of the Denver Nuggets, worked out a trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Felton, $3 million in cash, plus a 2014 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

“Dolan didn’t want to get fleeced again by Masai,” an unnamed Knicks source to the Post about Dolan’s reluctance. “They had a deal ready.”

At press time, the Knicks still may reconsider the trade as rivals the Brooklyn Nets are also in the running.

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Dolan showing restraint?!!! I’m shocked. As much as we desperately need stability at the point guard position, that is definitely way too much to give up. The Raptors are trying to clear space and tank for next year’s loaded draft, so it’s not like they are in a big position of power. Metta just got here and we’re already thin in our frontcourt. Even with him currently out the rotation, his toughness comes in handy when we’re matched with bruising frontcourts. Hardaway Jr. is damn near our only guard that can shoot so it’d be idiotic to move him as well.

Even though this “restraint” is squarely due to Dolan’s bruised ego about the whisperings on how the Melo trade went down, we’ll take it if it means not throwing away another pick nor trading young players with growth potential.

Let our little brothers in Brooklyn take this on if they want to blink first. In the meantime, free Toure Murray at point guard and let him split time with Prigioni.

NY Trades Novak & Camby to Raptors, Acquire Andrea Bargnani

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With crosstown and division rivals the Brooklyn Nets shaking up their core with the acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the New York Knicks made their first big move of the off-season in trading veterans Steve Novak and Marcus Camby to the Toronto Raptors for their much-maligned center/foward hybrid Andrea Bargnani.

My initial reaction was one of disgust. After last season, where we saw literally every big on the roster fall due to nagging injuries, the last thing the squad needed was another injury-plagued 7-footer. And in Bargnani’s case, why pick up a big man who doesn’t rebound well (averaging just four over his seven-year career) and is coming off his worst year last season? Bargnani played just 35 games due to season-ending elbow surgery.

But the more I thought about it, the better I felt. Make no mistake, I’m not happy, but Bargnani can’t be any worse than what we got from Novak and Camby last year. Novak’s shooting went down and defensively he was a huge liability on every play. Camby couldn’t stay healthy for any stretch of the season to justify the multi-year contract he was sitting on. It remains to be seen if Bargnani can remain healthy, but at least we get a guy who can space the floor and create his own shot (that’s huge in preventing the offensive stagnation that plagued the team). And while his contract ugly at first glance ($23 million over the next two years), Bargnani be off the books like everyone else in 2015 when the Knicks can blow up the team if needed.

The Raptors will also get Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first round pick, and two second rounders (2014, 2017). It’s an ok deal, but only if Bargnani can be reliable enough to contribute 12-15 points a night. It would seem like a given based on his career, but we all know players all of a sudden like to turn into complete trash when they come to New York.

Will the change to a winning culture and a no-nonsense coach make Bargnani a valued contributor and a crowd favorite in New York City? Us Knicks fans can only hope so (and pray this isn’t the last big off-season move from NY…).

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