The offseason will be important for the Knicks, and for Craig Robinson to implement his vision and plan to transform their players. Hired last August to be the Knicks vice president of player development and G League operations, Robinson said he really “didn’t get going until training camp” and that “the bulk of the development is done by then.” That was Robinson’s way of saying give it time before you judge him and his work.
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Robinson wouldn’t reveal specifics or give “the special sauce” of his developmental approach that he called “innovative” and “transformative.” But Robinson has little doubt it will work if the players put in the work. “What you’ll see when they come back next year there will have been some growth,” Robinson said. “Without deciding what that will be, look at every aspect of their development. Look at ballhandling, the strength and conditioning, look at shooting, looking at medical, his ability to play more minutes. That’s how you’ll be able to tell what he’s doing is working. It won’t be just because he’s making more shots. It’s a holistic approach. You’ll see our players getting better in the quantitative stuff in making shots and being able to play longer. But I think you’ll also see confidence and basketball IQ and able to handle different situations better.”
Stefan Bondy: Steve Francis, in Player’s Tribune, summing up stint in NY: “It’s definitely not worth talking about those Knicks years. …It was a mess, man. It takes you 5 minutes of being in the locker room before you realize: Nope. No wins here. You can tell in a minute. It’s a culture.”
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter: “The Knicks are paying me money to win games, to go out there and compete and to try to win every game. The Knicks are not paying me to tank.” A reminder that management, not players, enact tanking. I’m sure teammates/coaches appreciate Kanter’s sentiment here
Enes Kanter, whose acquisition just before training camp was at least part of the reason Noah was completely cut out of the rotation, said he’s been in contact with his teammate and, “I guess he’s doing good. He’s just working out somewhere. “Jo’ is a good guy. I like him as a person on the court, off the court, he was really nice to me. He helped me a lot and just, we talk a lot with him. Like I said again, I’ve got no problem with anybody on this team. That’s the front office again, I’m just a player for the Knicks.”
With his team vying for a playoff spot despite trading off Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers has done one of his best coaching jobs and still has strong supporters among the top people in the Clippers’ front office. If he stays on as coach, that could ruin the Knicks’ plans. There is a growing sentiment within New York’s hierarchy to hire Rivers, a former Knicks player, to replace Jeff Hornacek. Sources say Hornacek’s days in New York could be over once the season ends. It hasn’t been all of his fault, but he was brought to the Garden by former team president Phil Jackson and not the current regime headed by Steve Mills.
Jeff Hornacek’s contract is up after the 2018-19 season, and Perry has said that he and Mills will evaluate Hornacek — and all other aspects of the organization — after the season. Hornacek was hired by former Knicks president Phil Jackson, so it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if Hornacek is let go by the club’s new management after this season. […] Some players have privately grumbled about Hornacek’s rotations, according to sources familiar with the matter, but Hornacek was given the freedom to run his own offense and was handed an imbalanced roster and tasked with trying to fight for a playoff spot while developing young players.
Marc Berman: As we’ve already reported, Knicks GM Scott Perry still has his eye on his former first-round lottery pick, Elfrid Payton of Orlando.
Following Sunday’s loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks are 23-31, and sit four games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 8 seed in the East. It looks like the Knicks will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season dating to their 2013 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the second round. “I would definitely try to just acquire as many as assets for the future as I could,” longtime NBA agent Keith Glass told SNY.tv in reference to the Knicks. The Knicks are treating the trade deadline with an “opportunistic” approach, one source familiar with their way of thinking said.
As Knicks brass eyes the future, there’s one striking attribute the club would like to accomplish: Get more athletic. Whether that can be achieved at Feb. 8’s trade deadline is still unclear. The attempts next week to alleviate their glut at center could accomplish that mission.
According to multiple sources, Phil Jackson’s three-and-a-half-year reign included orders to his scouts to look for players who would make good, cerebral fits in the triangle — with the notion that athleticism is not a major priority. In fact, there’s a notorious remark Jackson uttered that backs that claim. “We keep insisting upon the type of players we want,’’ Jackson said at his season-ending press conference last year. “Behind the scenes, we are interested in developing and turning away from just, say: ‘This guy can jump out of the gym, this guy can do a triple-double game or dunk the ball.’ That is not what we are interested in. We are interested in skill players that know how to play together in team form.”
The New York Knicks and center Joakim Noah seem to be at an impasse that may be unrepairable. Noah and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek were reported to have gotten into a very heated exchange that ended up with Noah being sent home. A league source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking suggested New York may be open to giving up their first-round pick this year to offload Noah without needing to buy him out or carry a monster cap hit. The prevailing thought was the Knicks wouldn’t be bad enough to land one of the gems of the draft class, and with so much youth on the roster now, a one year hit to jettison Noah seems to be at least under consideration.
Kristaps Porzingis, unlike the front office, isn’t so concerned about long-term assets. He wants the Knicks to be buyers at the trade deadline in hopes of boosting a push to his first postseason. “Playoff experience for myself, individually, would be huge at this point in my career — the sooner the better,” he said. “And for most of the guys. Most of the guys haven’t felt that playoff experience that everybody talks about — that the guys talk about that have been there.”
While Porzingis said his preference is to upgrade, he has little interest in being involved in the process. “I think they know I want to be in the playoffs and that’s the only thing on my mind,” said Porzingis, who is eligible for a $150 million contract extension this upcoming summer. “I’m not going to go in there and be like, ‘No, we’re tanking.’ Then there’s no reason to play. That’s the only thing I’m focused on. What I need to do on the court to play better, make my team win.”
Luka Doncic is the perfect versatile wing Knicks president Steve Mills craves. The 18-year-old is averaging 15 points in 23 minutes. “I played with him — he’s really a talented guy,’’ Willy Hernangomez said after a rare 18-minute outing in Golden State on Tuesday. “I think people in The States don’t understand how difficult it is to play in European League when you’re 19 years old and playing against 30-year-olds and be the best. Most of the players in college won’t do as well as he is doing in Europe. For him, he’s a top three in the draft this year. He’s my friend. I have a great relationship with him.” “He’s a 2, 3, he can play point guard and he’s really smart, talented,’’ Hernangomez said. “He can shoot. He will really improve because he’s a kid. If you know Petrovic, he was amazing. He’s kind of a player like him. All the European guys in the NBA are excited for him to play here.’’
As speculation about Jeff Hornacek’s job security ramps up, the coach said that he shouldn’t be judged on the team’s recent skid because these growing pains were part of a plan dictated by the front office. Jeff Hornacek also believes he has the backing of GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills, despite being inherited by them as Phil Jackson’s hire. “We were talking about rebuilding and we got off to a good start because we had a lot of home games,” Hornacek said. “Scott and Steve, everybody’s still on the same page of trying to get our young guys opportunities. We’re still trying to win games. We still want to establish an identity where defensively we’re going to get after it all the time and we’re building toward that. It’s great to have their support.”
“You always want to win. We know it’s a process that we kind of got to grow into,” Hornacek said. “Players want to win every game. Coaches want to win every game. Management wants to win every game. But you also have to keep that big picture in mind and always think about are we making strides. Or are we just trying to win games and the strides stop? We always have to keep that in mind.”
The first Frank Ntilikina-Dennis Smith showdown is in one week, Sunday in Dallas. As LeBron James so eloquently pointed out, Knicks president Phil Jackson bypassed Smith at No. 8 for Ntilikina, who is excelling most on defense. “Me and Frank are actually cool,’’ Smith told The Post on Friday in New Orleans. “At the draft — I’ve been playing with a lot of those draft guys since middle school — but I probably talked to Frank more than anybody else other than Markelle Fultz, then at the rookie photo shoot, too. Frank and I are cool.” “We’re going to go out there and compete,’’ Smith added of the showdown. “I wouldn’t expect anything else from him. No beef between me and Frank.”
Hornacek was set up to fail by Phil Jackson, just like his predecessor, Derek Fisher. The idea that an executive could force a coach to run the triangle was folly. For the first time Monday, Porzingis acknowledged it undermined Hornacek in the locker room. “He was maybe forced to run a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Do this, do that. And that’s when you can tell. As a player, you feel that. And when things are not going well, there are a lot of players who are saying, ‘Why are we doing this?'” Porzingis said. “When you believe in something — even if you’re not doing well — sooner or later those things start to work out.”
Stefan Bondy: Knicks have to do something about their center situation by the deadline. They have four centers taking up roughly 40 percent of the cap space. In the last two games Hornacek had them all on the bench in the fourth quarter because, like the rest of the NBA, he went small.
Here’s the issue. The Kings brought in Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter during the offseason and still have Garrett Temple on the roster. These are respected vets who can play. These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive. But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose. Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources And the other veterans can’t be too happy, either. So the Kings have a mess on their hands. I’ve always liked Hill’s game, but when he signed in Sacramento, I questioned the prudence of the Kings bringing him on board when they just drafted De’Aaron Fox, the quicksilver point guard from Kentucky.
Scott Perry on Jeff Hornacek’s performance: “I think Jeff is doing a very solid job for this team, getting an opportunity to add to the culture. He and I communicate on a daily basis. We have a strong relationship. I’m looking forward for him to continue to push these guys in the manner we want them pushed, continue to grow as a defensive team, grow our competitive edge.”
In the wake of the damage done by Phil Jackson on the Knicks franchise though, Scott Perry has picked up the pieces and after 24 games insisted he is not interested in tanking to facilitate a rebuild. “I think it’s very important if you’re playing meaningful basketball late into the season, just for again, the culture which you’re trying to build here,” Perry said. “I would also say wherever we end up in the draft, whether it’s on the playoffs side or the lottery side, whatever, I have extreme confidence in our scouting staff and our front office staff that we’re going to add some talented players to the mix here. But I just believe that it’s important to compete hard, do the very best that you can and then organically let that happen. The amount of wins and losses come out of that versus trying to put your team in a position not to win. I don’t think that’s healthy for any culture. I think if you try to, quote-unquote, institutionalize losing if you will, that’s hard to get out of your building. You may never get that out of your building. We just want to do the very best we can and we’ll live with the results.”
They’ve done it with a new administration led by president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. They were not team owner James Dolan’s first choice. Dolan had one of his most trusted allies, entertainment executive Irving Azoff, talk to Jerry West to see if the NBA legend wanted to take over for Jackson last June, league sources with knowledge of the discussions told Sporting News.
Azoff brought Dolan and Jackson together in 2014, but in this instance, West told Azoff that the time wasn’t right to come to New York. Instead he opted to settle into an advisory role to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
Courtney Lee is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists. The Knicks swingman has been asked a handful of times this season why he seems a different, more active, more consistent player in his second season in New York. And though he didn’t want to diss former president Phil Jackson, Lee explained his production is up because he no longer is maneuvering inside an old-fashioned, intricate offense. “You want me to say it point-blank and clear,’’ Lee said when asked Wednesday about his metamorphosis. “We’re not running the triangle. We’re running a different offense that’s more fast-paced. And it’s more suitable for my style of play.”
Enes Kanter was warned by the Knicks and may even hear from the league about openly telling a teammate to fight the opponent. “The front office told me I cannot say stuff like that,” Kanter confessed Tuesday following practice. “It’s a learning process. This is my second language. When I say fight it means compete, play hard, compete. You get a tech; you get a tech. They told me I cannot say stuff like that. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry NBA, my fault.”
The Knicks were still worried they would strike out on another free agent. The Hawks could have matched the offer with Hardaway a restricted free agent. Atlanta passed and the Knicks got shredded for overpaying a player they traded away in 2015 and who had never been a full-time starter. “There was that concern,’’ Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said of the Hawks’ matching. “Tim had started to turn the corner in terms of being a great player. He finished last season having a very, very good second half. We knew that was the beginning. I don’t think there was concern bringing him back. Mills did a great job of figuring out how to get him and what it might take. There was concern Atlanta might match it. When they didn’t, we were very happy.’’
Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave a thoughtful assessment of the failed Phil Jackson presidential regime, feeling the Zen Master was due bad luck after his record-setting “11 Rings” coaching career, when everything went right. “I felt bad for the way things ended,” Kerr said. “I think Phil did some good things here. Drafting [Kristaps] Porzingis and hiring Jeff Hornacek. I think [Frank] Ntilikina looks like a good player. It feels like they’re on a good path right now.”
Ian Begley: Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who is close with Phil Jackson, was asked about Jackson’s tenure in New York. “I felt bad for the way things ended,” Kerr said. He believes Jackson did some good things in NY and the Knicks are on “a good path now.” Full quote: pic.twitter.com/bSr8AlI1JC
The feud between James Dolan and Charles Oakley continues into the courtroom. After Oakley was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden last February, the Knicks owner responded by briefly banning him from Madison Square Garden, and mentioning Oakley has a drinking problem. Oakley responded to Dolan by bringing him to court for a defamation suit. He says what took place at the Knicks game in February was an unnecessary use of force on the part of Dolan, and MSG, along with calling him an alcoholic. Dolan’s attorneys are now filing a request to have the suit dismissed.
Dolan’s defense is that Oakley’s behavior at MSG that night required removal. He claims that Oakley took his seat and began insulting security. Amy Dash, a CBS Sports Legal Analyst, broke down the suit in detail on her website. In the three page letter to the court, Dolan’s attorneys accuse Oakley of having, “a long, documented history of altercations with law enforcement and security personnel” and called the February 8, 2017 incident at MSG, where Oakley clashed with MSG guards and was hauled out of the Garden screaming during a Clippers game, just the latest example of his “recidivist behavior.” Comparing him to a repeat offender, Dolan’s attorneys directed the court to another lawsuit filed in 2011 between Oakley and the Aria Resort and Casino which details, “prior incidents in which Oakley cursed, punched, kicked, and bit security guards trying to restrain him and threw a bystander’s camera into a hotel pool; punched a guard in the face; and sent a hotel employee to the hospital by throwing dice at his face.”
“We know that is looming,’’ Perry said before the Knicks’ 112-99 loss to the Magic. “We’re going to have to address the roster. We’ve been working through the process for a few weeks. By Sunday at 5 p.m., there’ll be a resolution one way or another. Whether it’s a trade or waive an individual.’’
Knicks general manager Scott Perry wouldn’t address Kristaps Porzingis’ brother/agent’s comments to a Latvian magazine about Porzingis’ future with the team. Janis Porzingis made it seem that it was no slam dunk that Kristaps would sign an extension next summer. “I don’t really want to talk about that right now,” Perry said Wednesday night. “We’re looking forward and ahead. The time to talk about contract extensions, that’s far. We’re living in today. KP is playing some very good basketball right now. He’s playing well and he’s happy with this team. We’ll deal with all that stuff later. But no comment in terms of what was said because I really don’t know.”
Marc Berman: For second straight game, Billups hanging with Perry-Mills. Source said Perry showing his buddy ropes. They were close in Detroit.
Kristaps Porzingis skipped his exit interview to prompt change in the Knicks since Carmelo Anthony never did it himself. And when it comes to Porzingis signing a long-term extension, the Latvian is in no rush and expects to be treated like a superstar. Both those nuggets were revealed by Porzingis’ older brother and agent, Janis, who spoke recently with Latvian website Sportcentrs.
“(Skipping the exit interview) wasn’t an emotional decision,” Janis said, according to a translation from Eurohoops.net. “It wasn’t a spontaneous action. We had been thinking about it for a long time and it was considered an honest, well-thought decision we came up with together. It was a logical next step for us, without which we would’ve been in one situation, but now after we did it – we are in another.”
Janis seemed to find it contradictory that Kristaps was labeled unprofessional while Anthony was lauded for the way he handled last season. “It’s interesting how many people who are even somehow involved in all of this, have criticized it afterward as something so unprofessional!! Just look at Melo, how he is handling things,” Janis said. “And I’m thinking, ‘wait a minute.’ In reality, if he for once decided to fight for something, we wouldn’t be in this situation and Kristaps wouldn’t be forced to take all the damage on himself. It wasn’t done for some personal interest or ambitions or dislike for someone, it was for the sake of overall peace. It should have been a task for the team’s leaders, but Melo and people around him never tried to change anything.”
Knicks president Steve Mills said point guard Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez are keepers. He also dampened speculation about Jeff Hornacek’s immediate future, saying he’s not being judged by a won-loss record, though the Brooklyn victory was a sign the coach was on the right track. “Jeff, Scott [Perry] and I are in this together,” Mills said Sunday.
Regarding his recent conversations with Hornacek, Mills said: “We told him to focus on getting the team better and finding ways to reduce the turnovers and make sure we’re improving defensively. That’s what our goal was. We didn’t focus on the record. Our focus is how we’re improving over the course of the season. If we do all the things from a defensive standpoint, wins will come out of that. I do believe it’s getting better.” And improvement is what Mills wants to see.
Sources said the Suns asked for a combo of Ntilikina and Hernangomez. Mills doesn’t want to part with either. Mills said Hornacek did the right thing in making Hernangomez “earn’’ his minutes. “This is part of Willy’s development,’’ Mills said. “He’s a guy who’s going to be with us the next three years and we have a lot of time to work with him, and he’s going to be part of who we are.”
Though Mills was GM and scouted Ntilikina in France, the final decision on drafting Ntilikina was Jackson’s, with his trusted adviser Clarence Gaines Jr., with the triangle partly in mind. “We’re committed to him and his development,’’ Mills said. “What we’re trying to do with this team, it centers around guys like Frank, Kristaps Porzingis, draft picks moving forward.”
Shane Larkin is now in the Celtics’ rotation, playing 8 minutes per game, averaging five points and two assists. “He’s a great coach — obviously a great basketball mind,’’ Larkin told The Post of Jackson, who was fired after the draft. “Coach or GM, you have to have a great basketball mind. How many rings does he have? He could’ve been a great GM. Maybe he just had a few bad acquisitions. He had great ideas on what he wanted to do with the team. It didn’t work out, but that doesn’t change what he did — still a great coach. If he wants to come back and do it again, I’m sure someone would give him another opportunity and it might work somewhere else.’’
Larkin is now in the Celtics’ rotation, playing 8 minutes per game, averaging five points and two assists. He’s become a quick study under Kyrie Irving and faces the Knicks on Tuesday at TD Garden. “He’s a great coach — obviously a great basketball mind,’’ Larkin told The Post of Jackson, who was fired after the draft. “Coach or GM, you have to have a great basketball mind. How many rings does he have? He could’ve been a great GM. Maybe he just had a few bad acquisitions. He had great ideas on what he wanted to do with the team. It didn’t work out, but that doesn’t change what he did — still a great coach. “If he wants to come back and do it again, I’m sure someone would give him another opportunity and it might work somewhere else.’’
Ian Begley: ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy was asked on a conference call about the Knicks this season and if he thought Kristaps Porzingis was ready to take the next step forward in his career: “I think the Knicks obviously have declared what they want to do, which is rebuild, and so much is going to be — this season is going to be about Porzingis and Hernangomez, their development, and Frank’s ability to learn the NBA quickly at a difficult position and get him significant minutes to grow. This is a great opportunity for Porzingis. Hopefully he can remain healthy. I did not think he made the jump that everyone expected last year. There was a lot of commotion and noise last year that surrounded the Knicks that didn’t have anything to do with winning or development, so this year hopefully it’s a calmer environment, but he’s got to take responsibility and accountability for doing what great players do, which is produce every night and unite your team through your effort and unselfishness.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Jim Dolan made the decision to hire him, and Phil (Jackson) told him what it was going to be, which was, and I don’t think Dolan understood what he meant, which was ‘I’m bringing a system and a philosophy, this core of belief about how’re going to play. We’re gonna play with the triangle, and that’s gonna be an organizational mandate.” And in Phil’s mind, you talk with people around him, Phil somehow believed that the triangle would survive him in New York, that he would leave someday but they would continuing running the triangle, that the Knicks would be a triangle organization.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I’ve heard some horror stories about Phil in presentation situations with players, unprepared, disorganized. And sometimes he’d have Steve Mills there, who’d try to redirect them, but I know a couple of players who walked out of meetings in a couple different free-agent scenarios and saying ‘Wow, that was Phil Jackson. That’s not how I imagined hed’d be.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: I heard some horror stories about Phil in presentation situations with players – unprepared, just disorganized. And sometimes, he’d have Steve Mills in there, who’d try to re-direct him. But I know of a couple players who walked out of meetings in a couple different free-agent scenarios and, “Wow, that was Phil Jackson? That’s now how I imagined he’d be.”
“I truly believe that teams that I’ve been a part of throughout my career,” Perry said, “I’ve just seen how important veteran players can be to younger players just from a mentoring standpoint, for setting the right example on and off the court for guys, being a sounding board for young guys because this is going to be a first for many young people on our team playing 82 games, what’s that like. It’s going to challenge their confidence, it’s going to challenge their physical bodies. To have enough guys in the locker room that had that experience before is very helpful for them to help them grow and help them push through adversity and obstacles.
New Knicks general manager Scott Perry said he believes the team’s fans will be satisfied with any result this season if they witness a franchise “establishing a direction” and fighting every game. “Fans in general respect teams who compete and fight hard every night,’’ Perry said in a pregame meeting with the traveling beat writers before the Knicks faced the Wizards in their second preseason game. “I think fans will respect that. We’ll see where that takes us. Nobody has a crystal ball, what that’s going to mean for results this year. Let that play out.
“The big thing is this team competing, playing hard, playing together, trying to defend every night. If we can do that, they can live with the results. The fans will at least see the proper direction we’re headed. That’s going to be key — establishing direction where we’re headed as an organization.’’
But while Ntilikina, this year’s lottery pick, was rehabilitating a contused knee and Porzingis was getting a rest day, Knicks general manager Scott Perry, entrusted with overseeing this rebuild, was here, getting a close-up at his arduous task. While the Wizards, bound for the playoffs were starting John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat and Jason Smith as if they were in a playoff game, Perry was left with a glimpse of what life could be like this season. “We want to build the right way,” Perry said. “It’s like building a home. It takes time to establish that foundation. I’ve been around the league long enough and have enough experience that I’m comfortable and confident in that approach. “So I’m not going to waver on that. We’ll be opportunistic as we would along the way and just focusing on development and working hard and live with the results as we move forward.”
While general manager Scott Perry said the starting center job will be one of the most important battles of camp, he admitted something could happen in terms of a trade. Who knows if Kanter, 25, becomes more of a two-way player after his 33-pound weight loss and renders Hernangomez a trade chip down the road. Or if Kanter is flipped for draft picks at the trade deadline to a team desperate for inside scoring? “Part of my job is to daily assess our roster, take phone calls and figure out ways to keep getting this basketball team better,’’ Perry said during media day Monday. “So I will continue to do that.’’
Carmelo Anthony: Thank you to All My Fans who supported me through Thick and Thin. And those who continued to support The Knicks regardless of the outcome. Thank You to Jim Dolan and the Knicks organization and all the hardworking people that don’t get the credit they deserve. And most importantly, Thank you to the City of New York for allowing me to represent OUR city. 7eace be with you
Kristian Winfield: Steve Mills announces Knicks donation of $100,000 to Carmelo Anthony’s Hurricane Relief Fund.
There is also the matter of reports, including several from the Daily News that Porzingis’ relationship with Jeff Hornacek is on thin ice. Porzingis, who spoke to The News after he was spotted at a midtown eatery Sunday afternoon, declined to address the circumstances behind blowing off his end of the season meeting with Jackson, Hornacek and Steve Mills. The 22-year-old forward would only say, “Honestly, I would love for this year to be a new start. All I’m looking for is a fresh start and not to talk about that anymore.”
Porzingis, however, does stand by his decision to return to Latvia and workout on his own. “It was important that I disconnected from everything,” he added. “I was working on my game and resting my mind. I kept working hard this summer to put myself in this position. I’m coming in with a fresh mind. I don’t want to carry anything from the previous season.”
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says Phil Jackson “chased” Carmelo Anthony out of New York and that the forward’s addition automatically makes the Oklahoma City Thunder a threat to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA’s Western Conference. “They’ve got two top-10 players [in Russell Westbrook and Paul George] and Carmelo, who’s No. 60 or whatever they got him rated,” Boeheim, who coached Anthony to the 2003 NCAA championship, told SNY.tv by phone on Saturday. “I think he’s still a top player, and I think Russell and Paul George make it easier for him to be able to do what he does.”
Asked if he thinks Anthony regrets not making the Knicks a championship contender after arriving in 2011, Boeheim said he did. “Yeah, he loved New York,” he said. “He wanted to come to New York, he wanted to get it done in New York. And he did everything he could to do it, and I don’t think he ever wanted to leave New York. “I think Phil Jackson chased him out, and didn’t leave him a good alternative. But I think both organizations came out of this good.”
Boeheim told ZAGSBLOG last week he believes Jackson hurt the Knicks’ bargaining position by making it known he wanted to trade Anthony. “I think he did, but I think these guys [Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry] salvaged it,” Boeheim said Saturday. “Everybody knew they had to make a move by Monday. They just couldn’t go to training camp in this circumstance so I think they pulled off a good trade.”
Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Knicks GM Scott Perry had been talking on and off about a possible deal for weeks. Talks intensified in the 24 hours before Saturday’s agreement, league sources said. As training camp loomed next week, Perry increasingly wanted no part of the circus that awaited his franchise with media day and Anthony’s arrival both on Monday. Around the organization and Anthony, there was a belief that the unresolved saga would become a suffocating daily issue. Perry started to feel the urgency of making a deal on Friday, and engaged Oklahoma City in more serious dialogue, league sources said.
Once Anthony expanded his list of teams to include Cleveland and Oklahoma City within the past 10 days, Perry had more flexibility to move Anthony. Perry remained in contact with Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, who had the most versatile array of assets for New York and motivation to make the deal — but, ultimately, Anthony would not accept a trade to the Pacific Northwest. Anthony was intrigued with a potential partnership with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, and the stability and track record of the front office and coaching staff in Portland, but did not want to make such a dramatic geographic shift, league sources said.
Perry, 53, is grateful for the opportunity after 17 years in NBA front offices. “You never know when your opportunity will come, if it will ever come, quite frankly,” he said. “Fortunately it did come in the form of New York, a historical franchise like the Knicks. I feel well-prepared for the opportunity and the job. Thirty years in the business, 13 years as a college coach, 17 years in the NBA, and not having skipped any steps as it relates to this business. It’s an exciting time, an exciting opportunity, one that I worked very hard for over the years.”
Perry had actually completed the move from Orlando to Sacramento when he got a call from the Knicks. “It has been very tough logistically, to put it mildly,” said Perry, who worked for more than a decade as Joe Dumars’s assistant with the Pistons. “When you consider moving cross country twice within a 3½-4-month period, that’s very difficult. Living in and out of hotels, packing, unpacking, selling a home, purchasing a home in Sacramento that I never moved into and have to sell now. It’s been very challenging, but I always take a step back and say it’s very well worth it because I’ve been blessed to get this opportunity. That quickly erases that angst over moving twice.”
Ian Begley: In a blog written on a company website, Knicks GM Scott Perry described how his background as an athlete, coach and executive shapes his views and approach as general manager. He offers some insight into his thoughts on the future of the Knicks. “There are no shortcuts,” he writes. “Reshaping the Knicks as a championship contender will be a step-by-step process, and along the way, the plan will demand patience, as our young core of Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Willy Hernangómez, Frank Ntilikina and Ron Baker mature. But allow me to add a twist. I don’t view my job as an either-or proposition. A general manager — especially in today’s world of free agency and player movement — must always have his antenna up for all possibilities.” Perry didn’t mention any other Knicks in his blog, including Carmelo Anthony, whom the Knicks have hoped to trade.
Jeff Hornacek isn’t the only member of the Knicks’ hierarchy to attend one of Carmelo Anthony’s New York City pickup games. Knicks president Steve Mills also attended a pickup game earlier this month featuring Anthony and other players at the Lifetime Athletic gym in Manhattan, league sources told ESPN. Mills’ and Hornacek’s attendance at these games is noteworthy because the Knicks have been looking to trade Anthony for months and Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, is open to being moved. New York has been unable to find a suitable deal with Anthony’s preferred destination, the Houston Rockets. It is unknown if Hornacek or Mills had any substantive discussions with Anthony on the day(s) they attended games. For what it’s worth, Mills last month wrote a long blog on a company website about his vision for the future of the club and didn’t mention Anthony.
For Scott Perry, the chance to help resurrect the Knicks is a long-awaited opportunity. While analytic-centric general managers with just a fraction of the front office experience were getting GM jobs, Perry was waiting patiently for his chance. Perry, 53, is grateful for the opportunity after 17 years in NBA front offices. “You never know when your opportunity will come, if it will ever come, quite frankly,” he said. “Fortunately it did come in the form of New York, a historical franchise like the Knicks. I feel well-prepared for the opportunity and the job. Thirty years in the business, 13 years as a college coach, 17 years in the NBA, and not having skipped any steps as it relates to this business. It’s an exciting time, an exciting opportunity, one that I worked very hard for over the years.”
“I would first say, look, all these jobs are tough in professional sports,” Perry said. “New York is one of the more legendary, iconic cities in the world, the spotlight is that much brighter on the job. That’s not lost on me, but I’m going to be who I am, apply my experiences, my personality, things I’ve heard over the years, and do my part in making this a successful team again.”
Ian Begley: Madison Square Garden’s statement in response to Charles Oakley’s civil suit: “This is a frivolous lawsuit and nothing more than another attempt by Mr. Oakley to garner attention. We will deal with this accordingly.”
Ian Begley: D-Rose reflects on NYK tenure: “Some of the strategies & all that, I didn’t understand. It was confusing. It was just a learning experience”
Thomas has told confidants across the years his goal is to one day run the Knicks again. Asked if he still wants to be an NBA executive, Thomas said, “I don’t know. I’m having a good time with the Liberty. I’d never say never.’’
Thomas was asked if he still gives Dolan advice on the Knicks. Though Mills and Thomas famously worked together once, their relationship deteriorated in the wake of the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment suit. “I’m involved with the Liberty,’’ said Thomas, in Vegas promoting his new champagne. “I talk to him about the Liberty. I don’t talk to him about the Knicks. I respect authority and lines of authority. It would be inappropriate of me and not respectful of me to whoever’s in that job to voice my opinion about the Knicks – froma personnel or strategic standing. That’s’s not my place. I have to respect those lines of authority.’’
Thomas, also a former Knicks president who had a similarly inept stint, has resurfaced as Liberty president. The Garden’s WNBA tenant clinched their third straight playoff berth this week under Thomas. “There’ve been a lot of us who have come through New York that want to do well,’’ Thomas said in Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor bout and appearing on The MMA Hour radio show. “For whatever reason we didn’t do well. I look at Phil before he got to New York – how he was respected in the game. And that’s the Phil Jackson I choose to remember. That’s on the real.”
Shams Charania: The Los Angeles Clippers are hiring Knicks executive Mark Hughes as assistant general manager, league sources tell The Vertical.
Houston did have kind words for his new bosses, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. “Steve and Scott have been intentional in their language about what we want to be,” said Houston, who played nine of his 12 seasons with the Knicks. “It starts with identifying what you want to be and then going out and doing it.”
“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’
Phil Jackson to Peter Vecsey: Peter, I heard your message via voice mail. I’m glad you’re going to get back in the mix and begin writing again. It’s a new world out there, but I don’t consider it journalism. However, sports writing has always been a mix of opinionating and you were one of the best. For my own part, I’m not able, yet, to begin opining. However, I’m still on hold about WTF just went down the past 3 years of Knick basketball. In that regard, I’m not angry, but disappointed I couldn’t fulfill the mission. Winning is a priority in NY and I couldn’t get those guys into at least a 500% season so we could get some free space to rebuild.
New York Knickerbockers announced today the hiring of the following front office personnel: Gerald Madkins has been named assistant general manager, Craig Robinson as vice president, player development and G League operations, Harold Ellis as director, player personnel, Michael Arcieri as director, basketball strategy and Fred Cofield as scout. “Last month, the day after I was hired, I started a full evaluation of the entire basketball operations staff,” Knicks General Manager Scott Perry said. “My first goal was to build-up the highest level front office in the NBA. We are adding a host of highly-regarded and respected basketball people to work with the Knicks to fortify the franchise for years to come.”
Ian Begley: Scott Perry is working to add Harold Ellis & Michael Arcieri to NYK’s front office, sources tell ESPN. Perry worked with both men in Orlando
Milwaukee Bucks front-office executive Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of former President Barack Obama, has accepted a position with the New York Knicks, league sources told The Vertical.
Williams, the Magic’s co-founder and senior VP, couldn’t imagine Perry’s captivating ride since his Magic departure that followed the franchise’s worst five-season stint in history. “He’s here for five years, working as a right-hand man to [former GM] Rob Hennigan,’’ Williams told The Post. “He was very behind the scenes, the invisible guy. Don’t think he was ever quoted. Suddenly he’s extremely visible. Quoted more in the last two weeks than his entire career.
Ian Begley: Carmelo Anthony on Phil Jackson firing: Says it was a ‘business’ decision & that owner James Dolan has to run his organization.
Brad Turner: Clippers interviewed Mark Hughes Thursday for assistant GM job, per source. Hughes is director of player personnel for Knicks.
Ian Begley: Knicks’ Mark Hughes also interviewed with Milwaukee for the assistant GM job earlier this month. He’s well-respected around the league.
The move could mean either a diminished role for Clarence Gaines or quite possibly his removal from the organization. Neither would be surprising since Gaines was Phil Jackson’s right hand man and his future with the club has been in question from the moment Jackson was fired as Knicks president last month.
According to a team source, Perry is also considering hiring another front office executive who would be responsible for managing the salary cap. Long-time Knicks executive Jamie Matthews is currently the Knicks “capologist.”
Marc J. Spears: Former NBA player Gerald Madkins is departing from the Clippers to be the Knicks’ new assistant GM, sources told @TheUndefeated.
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March 24, 2018 | 5:26 am EDT Update
Think about it. It’s fair to wonder if the Jazz even wanted to win. Put yourself in Dennis Lindsey’s shoes. The Jazz GM has a solid team, a frontline center and an exciting rookie to build around. But he needs another star. The top of the draft looks chock full of them. So maybe, with your team stinking up the joint in January, you sit Gobert a few more weeks and join the race to the bottom. Earlier this week, I asked Jazz coach Quin Snyder if he ever had those conversations. “Never,” Snyder said. “That’s just not how we do things. There was never any kind of suggestion of that. In the larger picture, we’re finding out who we are. This experience right now, having to compete for a spot, there is value in that. Things might happen — you can’t take anything for granted. The result ultimately isn’t the only reflection of where you are. The goal for me is to continue to improve. Not X wins, or how many in a row, but how can we keep getting better. It’s how we started the beginning of the year. It’s how we are now. We aren’t overthinking it.”
“He pays attention to every detail,” Mitchell told Yahoo Sports. “Every little thing. Even at shootaround, if we’re walking through a play, if you’re standing in the wrong spot, he’ll yell at you, he’ll let you know so you are always locked in. That plays a part in development. When you are locked in all the time, you form habits.”
Tom Orsborn: Manu on winning six straight: “Unexpected to tell you the truth. Not that we aren’t optimistic,. But we were a little demoralized, a little down…But we can’t be satisfied. We have to go on the road and keep improving.”
“One thing when you’ve got a bunch of young guys is they don’t understand what it takes to survive in this league,” Bickerstaff said. “If you want to make it there’s a matter of bounce-back, a matter of pride, a matter of mental toughness that you have to show on every given night and every opportunity you get. What happened tonight… there’s no defending the way we played.
Bickerstaff nor Gasol were in the locker room when it opened for media after the game. Perhaps that was a good thing because several Grizzlies players didn’t appear to take the loss hard given the amount of laughter and joking between them.
Curry was not made available to reporters postgame. He wasn’t anywhere in sight once the locker room opened. After his first two ankle injuries, he talked to reporters. After all three that happened in-game this season, he was in the locker room, which gave an early sense of how he was feeling and moving, a peek at Stage 1 of the treatment. But this injury is different, it’s likely more severe and, for the first time during this recent rash of freak accidents to all their main guys, the return timeline is threatening to bleed into the postseason.