But then, like most everything involved with the Knicks these days, a dream dissolved amid losing, confusion and, of course, the triangle. “It was just too much going on behind the scenes that I didn’t understand,” Jennings told the Daily News, less than a month after he was waived by the Knicks and signed with the Wizards.
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“I think what just happened was they were just going in a different direction. I wanted to play fast. I didn’t really understand the triangle,” Jennings said. “I think that was my biggest thing. I really didn’t understand it. I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I just felt like the way the game is being played today, I just felt like you got to score. You got to score. You got to get up shots. When I came to New York, I wanted to put on a show every night. I wanted to put up shots with nice passes and things like that. So I guess it just wasn’t the right timing.”
“Obviously if we go into it like we did this year — no,” Hornacek told reporters in Utah when asked if the Rose-Anthony-Porzingis trio can be a playoff team. “If we turn around and have a different way we start, go right at however we’re going to run it next year, if it’s full triangle, it’s possible. You never know how these things will fit. Maybe a second year is helpful for us.”
Hornacek also said he made a mistake in the beginning of the season by trying to blend the triangle with a more up-tempo style of basketball and reiterated that personnel decisions this summer will be based on the triangle.
“Do we have the right fit of guys running the system?” Hornacek said. “If we think that we can somehow — with a fresh start of training camp and go to it right off the bat, if that helps us and Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] — we think maybe the same guys on this team could have a different outlook on it, then we’ll stay the same. If not, they’ll look at other guys.”
In what could’ve been a dig at the Knicks’ Big 3 of Carmelo Anthony, Porzingis and Derrick Rose, Hornacek feels the team’s downfall partly stemmed from not being unselfish enough on the offensive end, settling for “good shots’’ but not “great shots’’ as elite squads do. “You see teams — open guys always end up with the ball,’’ Hornacek said at Monday’s morning shootaround before the Knicks faced the Clippers at Staples Center. “Here we do it in spurts. Then we have spurts where it sticks. One guy will take a shot that maybe he can move it on for a better shot. That’s probably the biggest key is we get the good shots. We don’t get the great shots. If we make one extra, we’ll get a great shot. You see the good teams out there, they pass it up for better ones.’’
“I think it was pretty easy to tell from the inside that we’re not that good of a team,” Porzingis said at the team’s hotel here. “We can win games based off of our talent but that’s not going to last long and that’s exactly what happened.”
Kristaps Porzingis was the first to see something and say something when he expressed that despite the Knicks early season success that something was missing. The second-year big man proved to have great foresight. “I think it was pretty easy to tell from the inside that we’re not that good of a team,” Porzingis said following Sunday’s practice. “We can win games based off of our talent but that’s not going to last long and that’s exactly what happened.”
A lack of defense has been the Knicks most glaring deficiency, but Porzingis delved a little deeper about what he saw that was missing. “Just more work, attention to details, keep growing as a team,” he said. “Obviously, a good team needs some time to play together. This was our first year for most guys playing together. It never happens like that: You trade a couple of players and there you go, you’re a championship contender.”
Rose lamented that they never developed chemistry. “We didn’t click,” Rose said. “We didn’t have that connection that we wanted throughout the season. You need that to go far in this league.”
Some Knicks also feel that the offense is easy to defend. Opposing players have told the Knicks that they can predict where they’ll be when running the triangle, and one Eastern Conference coach last season told friends that defending the triangle was one of the easiest assignments in the league because of that. The return to the triangle is one reason why several veterans have started to lose faith in Hornacek recently, sources say.
Jackson may eventually be able to find players who excel in — and appreciate — the triangle. But the majority of current Knicks aren’t comfortable in — and don’t care for — the offense, according to sources.
These players often point to the amount of midrange shots the offense produces (the Knicks lead the league in midrange attempts, per NBA.com) and the tight spacing, which makes it difficult to drive. They also question the amount of contested shots taken (New York ranks in the top 10 in contested two-point field goals, per NBA.com).
Some Knicks also feel that the offense is easy to defend. Opposing players have told the Knicks that they can predict where they’ll be when running the triangle, and one Eastern Conference coach last season told friends that defending the triangle was one of the easiest assignments in the league because of that.
Jeff Hornacek said he didn’t feel undermined by team president Phil Jackson conducting a triangle tutorial last week, and doesn’t seem concerned about someone being the fall guy if and when the season ends with the Knicks missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. “No, we’re all going through this,” Hornacek said after practice Wednesday. “Every single guy, every single coach, every part of management — everybody’s to blame. We’re all in it together. I don’t think there’s been any other talk of anything [like that].”
“I didn’t care about my stats,” Rose said. “It was the fact I was coming to a new team, having a huge opportunity in front of me to come here and try to spark something. It’s messed up that it’s gone the way that it’s gone.”
Derrick Rose understood Kristaps Porzingis saying mass confusion exists within the Knicks because of their recent refocusing on the triangle offense. “I just think that it’s hard when there’s 50 games in,” Rose said. “It would be hard for anyone or for any team to be 50 games in and the coach changes a few things in the offense. I think for any team that would be kind of hard. But it’s our job as professionals to go out here and do the things he wants us to do.”
Alan Hahn: Jeff Hornacek in pregame media address conceded the playoffs as a long shot for his team. Hardly breaking news with 15 games to go. #Knicks
Hornacek believes the Knicks didn’t show effort Sunday because of the dead playoff run. “The realization, going out the last game and playing like it doesn’t matter, that’s not what we’re going to do,’’ Hornacek said. “Whether we’re in the playoffs or not in the playoffs, we’re going to play hard the whole time. The playoffs may not be in reach, but this especially could be for other young guys to get some time to show what they really can do.
Jeff Hornacek: “Until you’re mathematically done, you’re always going for it, but sometimes it’s realistic. Are you going to be able to make up seven games in ? Many, many things would have to happen for that.’’
Ian Begley: Carmelo Anthony says it will be challenging to keep frustration out of the locker room in the final few weeks of the season. “I think it’s just the accumulation of losing games and the way we’re losing games. It’s challenging to kind of keep it tight, to keep everybody positive knowing that the frustration (could seep) in the locker room. That’s the challenging part, trying to keep it all together in the locker room this next month.”
Only Porzingis sounded nine kinds of miserable afterward. Like this: “There’s a lot of confusion. A lot of times it’s basically one-on-one. Whoever, me, myself, Carmelo [Anthony], Courtney [Lee], we try to make something happen, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.” In case the point wasn’t plain enough, there was also this: “The situation is tough. We’re not doing the right thing. We’re just not working together right now.”
In case his frustration still wasn’t crystal clear, there was this, speaking specifically about the Knicks’ offense, which should come with an NC-17 rating: “It’s pretty random. We have some plays that Jeff draws up, but most of the time it’s after free throws or so, we’re running triangle. But we never really got it all together and were able to execute the way we should have. It’s been a lot of confusion.” And then, the kicker: “First of all, we don’t know the triangle that well.”
What Anthony and Porzingis said about the state of the Knicks on back to back days over the weekend was telling. Both players have questions about the coach, the offense, Jackson and the direction of the franchise.
One player said that Anthony was so distraught following Wednesday’s loss in Milwaukee that he headed directly for the shower after the game and was cooling down as Hornacek addressed the team in the post-game locker room. By Sunday, Porzingis described the Knicks as being a bundle of confusion.
The word around the league is that Jackson believes he built a solid roster that has simply under-performed. That is an indictment of the coach.
What Anthony and Porzingis said about the state of the Knicks on back-to-back days over the weekend was telling. Both players have questions about the coach, the offense, Jackson, and the direction of the franchise. One player said that Anthony was so distraught following Wednesday’s loss in Milwaukee that he headed directly for the shower after the game and was cooling down as Hornacek addressed the team in the postgame locker room. By Sunday, Porzingis described the Knicks as being a bundle of confusion.
The Knicks have operated this season under a haze of confusion, alternating between different schemes, different identities and a weak triangle. That’s according to Kristaps Porzingis, who described the confusion in his organization as all-encompassing. “From top to bottom, everybody,” he answered. “So it’s hard to play like that.”
Porzingis, who has applauded the increased focus on the triangle, is also not impressed with the Knicks knowledge of Phil Jackson’s system. “First of all, we don’t really know the triangle that well. We’re really basic with what we do,” he said. “So a lot of times, it’s basically one-on-one. Whoever it is. Me, Carmelo, Derrick, Courtney. We just try to make something happen. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be. It’s very random.”
Odds are that Porzingis will remain a Knick, and he views this dreadful season as a stepping stone. “I think this is really good experience for me, actually. It’s a tough year, it’s a tough everything. There’s a quote, ‘If the sea is smooth, you’re never going to become a great sailor,'” Porzingis said, invoking Franklin D. Roosevelt. “So that’s how I always take it. As a challenge.”
Steve Popper: Kristaps spoke of confusion: “It’s top to bottom.”
Charles Oakley sat courtside for the Knicks-Nets contest at Barclays Center on Sunday to promote the new three-on-three old-timers league. Speaking at halftime, the former Knicks enforcer was asked if the Knicks had shown enough effort. “I don’t know — you’re watching the game, so,” Oakley said. “[But] I have nothing to say about the Knicks.”
Barbara Barker: Carmelo Anthony: “Middle of march and we’re still talking about the system we’re running instead of playing basketball.” #Knicks
Al Iannazzone: Hornacek on the Knicks’ struggles: “We’re all to blame.”
Rose remains reluctant in his embrace of Phil Jackson’s system. “S–t, do I have a choice? Do I have a choice?” Rose said when asked if he’s warming up to the triangle. “I just want to win games. Winning takes care of every category for an athlete.”
On one hand, Rose said Thursday he’s confident in his greatness. On the other hand, he said he doesn’t want to shoot 3-pointers out of fear for criticism. “I could shoot them now, I just don’t want to,” he said. “I don’t have time to be dealing with the critics that come with all that. So I’d rather be efficient than just try things.”
Rose, who has logged more minutes since his backup Brandon Jennings was waived, expects to succeed despite the triangle. “I still don’t have the feeling yet of the entire offense, but I pick and choose while I’m out there. You think, ‘Don’t F’ up the game.’ That’s a great way to put it,” he said. “Just don’t mess up the game and looking at a lot of film, you learn. That’s what great players do. I believe that I’m great. Great players find a way no matter what situation they’re put in.”
Carmelo Anthony wants to sit down and chat with Knicks president Phil Jackson later rather than sooner. “I don’t think right now. Right now we’ve got to sit down and kind of finish these games and go back down to the drawing board after this season. But not right now,” Anthony said about hashing out all things Knicks with team brass. So after the season, “I’m pretty sure we’ll sit down and talk.”
When the trade deadline passed and Anthony changed neither uniform nor zip code, as he suspected all along, it seemed logical to assume the drama was done. “Nah, this is New York. There’s always drama,” Anthony said.
After the trade deadline passed Thursday, Anthony admitted he didn’t see Jackson’s vision for the team. Monday, he also noted he was unencumbered by clue about the waiving of Jennings. But he wasn’t upset with no prior knowledge. “Not really. That situation doesn’t bother me,” Anthony said. “I still don’t know if it was more Brandon or the organization or a mutual agreement.”
Who knows if Jackson is even thinking about tanking the rest of the season. No one ever knows what he’s thinking because he doesn’t speak with the media like he doesn’t speak to opposing executives. One NBA general manager told me last week in New Orleans that his team “can’t get a hold of Phil. It’s crazy.”
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said he doesn’t understand management’s vision for the future after the club’s inactivity at Thursday’s trade deadline. “No, not now. No, to be honest with you,” Anthony said late Thursday night. “I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline, whether they were trying to make moves. I think that was one plan. Now they’ve got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team.”
Anthony said he had “no reaction” to the team’s lack of moves but acknowledged that it is frustrating to be unsure of the approach that management, namely team president Phil Jackson, will take with the team at this point. “Yeah, I mean, nobody likes to be in limbo,” Anthony said. “We all want to know kind of what’s going on, especially when it’s involving you. But that’s not the way it is in sports. I don’t think I’m the only one that’s going through that or feeling that way. I think there’s other players who feel the same way, that they want to be involved — not involved, but at least up to date with what’s going on. I feel like I’m kind of up to date as far as when it comes to me what’s going on.”
Less than two months prior to the election – and after Trump revealed his divisive plans to build a wall and ban Muslims – James Dolan pledged $300,000 to fundraising committee ‘Trump Victory,’ according to public records reviewed by the Daily News.
Dolan, however, opened his wallet to Make America Great Again. He split his donations to ‘Trump Victory’ for $250,000 on Sept. 27, and $50,000 on Sept. 1. He also pledged the maximum of $2,700 to Trump’s campaign alone.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is “disheartened” that the meeting he brokered between Charles Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan didn’t lead to a positive resolution, but he remains hopeful that peace can be reached. Silver said Oakley and Dolan apologized to each other when they met Tuesday, but Oakley was “emotional” and not ready to return as a guest at Madison Square Garden.
If Tracy McGrady were in Carmelo Anthony’s shoes, the reaction to Phil Jackson’s subliminal shots would be a lot different and a lot more confrontational. That’s according to the recent Hall of Fame nominee, who on Saturday unloaded on the Knicks president for his handling of Anthony.
“Melo’s better than me because all that s–t that’s going on with Melo and Phil, and Phil has the arrogance to sit in the stands, at these games, and I’m playing great basketball — I’d be looking at him every trip down the court or something. Just gazing at him, like, ‘You see the s–t that I’m doing out here like every night? Nah.’” McGrady said. “Some players can play through that, others can’t. Obviously Melo is showing his mental toughness because playing in the Garden is not an easy place to play. Especially for Melo there. And he’s been doing his thing lately.”
Tracy McGrady: “I think it affects (the Knicks) in free agency. Not only in that situation but all the things that have accumulated over this season. Phil Jackson going at Melo publicly. Like, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be on the same team. Like you’re supposed to be encouraging your brother and giving him some of you expertise and helping him become a better player. And it’s just an unfortunate situation. I feel bad for Melo. But he’s handled it so well. Me in that situation? It probably would be a different story.”
The Crossover: Charles Oakley: James Dolan is on the “same level” as Donald Sterling. pic.twitter.com/SD4bO12Lmm
Maggie Gray: “Charles, what’s your reaction to that and do you see it that way?” Charles Oakley: “He’s definitely a control freak. He’s got everybody in the Garden on pins and needles. The other owners know this. That’s the bad thing about it. They’re going to let this end up like something that happened to the L.A. Clippers. It’s that bad, but they won’t talk about it. It’s that bad.”
Maggie Gray: “Do you consider James Dolan on that same level as a Donald Sterling?” Charles Oakley: “Yes.” Maggie Gray: “Do you believe that he’s a racist?” Charles Oakley: “He’s on the level. The level can be according to you building a house or you building a pyramid. This man has been around for a long time, and I ain’t heard nothing good about him.”
To make matters worse, the handling of Charles Oakley and the way Jackson has treated Anthony has stained the franchise’s reputation amongst players. Anthony said he hasn’t tried to recruit free agents this year and acknowledged that the off-court issues could deter players from considering the Knicks. “That could be a case in some situations. I think the way the deals are structured now, even if you don’t want to come there’s an opportunity for you to make more money,” Anthony said. “A lot of times players look at that, that kind of overshadows other situations.”
On an episode of his “Dray Day” podcast with Uninterrupted, Green sounded off about Dolan’s treatment of Oakley. The outspoken Warriors forward said Dolan had a “slave master mentality” with the situation. Green had an issue with how Dolan was fine with Oakley’s confrontational personality when it helped the Knicks, but not when he spoke out against the organization. “You doing it for me, it’s all good,” Draymond Green said. “You doing it against me…you speaking out against my organization, it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous. It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now all of a sudden when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem.”
Charles Oakley hasn’t ruled out settling his feud with James Dolan but he wants more time to process everything that transpired over the past tumultuous week. In a brief interview with the Daily News, Oakley revealed that an immediate resolution would be difficult only because “some of the things that were said about me hurt.” Oakley is referring Dolan insinuating that the beloved Knick is an alcoholic.
Oakley met with Dolan and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Monday at the league’s Manhattan headquarters. Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan joined the meeting via conference call.
A source close to Oakley says he is particularly upset over Dolan’s accusations that he has a drinking problem. Legal experts say that Dolan could be hit with a defamation lawsuit.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and his civil rights organization, the National Action Network, released a statement Monday calling for Dolan to lift the ban on Oakley. The NAN threatened to protest outside the Garden if Dolan does not comply with the demand.
Alex Kennedy: Adam Silver comments on the Dolan/Oakley situation:
Frank Isola: Adam Silver & Michael Jordan were on a conference call today with Jim Dolan & Charles Oakley, Daily News has learned
Latrell Sprewell was asked at the Knicks’ charity bowling event tonight about the perception that he was brought back on Sunday as a reaction to the Charles Oakley incident. “It is what it is,” he says. Sprewell said he found out on Saturday that he was coming back to MSG, though he had been talking to a Knicks official about a return for months.
The NBA may be ready to step in to help resolve the ugly feud between James Dolan and Charles Oakley. According to a source, the league office is considering having NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan step in to mediate a reconciliation. It is unclear when that meeting, likely via a conference call, would take place but there was a chance it would be either Monday or Tuesday. Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is Oakley’s former teammate in Chicago and Washington, and the two are close friends. Dolan announced on Friday that Oakley is banned indefinitely from the Garden following an altercation with MSG security last Wednesday.
Charles Oakley remains banned indefinitely from Madison Square Garden, but there has been “some momentum toward a resolution” between Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan, thanks to recent conversation between both sides, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN’s Ian Begley on Monday. It is unclear whether Oakley and Dolan have talked directly since Oakley was ejected from Madison Square Garden and subsequently arrested last Wednesday.
But there is a desire among people close to both parties to bring the public dispute between Oakley, one of the franchise’s most popular players, and Dolan, to rest, sources say. Both the Knicks and Oakley’s spokesperson, Akhtar Farzaie, declined comment when asked Monday afternoon about any potential resolution between the Knicks and Oakley.
Spike Lee was in the Garden hallway where Charles Oakley was arrested last week, and said there were tears in his eyes watching his friend get taken to jail. Four days later, Lee showed up in a #34 Oakley jersey, courtesy of a skilled stitch artist. “I went home (after Oakley was ejected), I got every jersey, game-worn, but I couldn’t find an Oakley jersey,” Lee said. “But I had three Landry Fields jerseys. So I took it to my guy, and he hooked it up. So officially, this is a Landry Fields jersey.”
“I’m not mad at any of the Knicks that showed up today,” Lee said. “I stood up for everybody, gave them love. Applauded. I stood up for everybody. So I’m happy to see them. Under better conditions, yes. But I’m happy to see them regardless. But it just looks so obvious to me. …I don’t know, you got to ask the Garden. I’m just happy to see these guys. I know all of them.”
Stefan Bondy: James Dolan is flanked by Latrell Sprewell and Bernard King.
Frank Isola: Interesting that neither Jim Dolan nor Phil make themselves available to talk Knicks. But if there’s a petty feud to spin, well then…. And the Knicks don’t appreciate anonymous sources….unless they’re in statements provided by paid employees to help their petty fight.
Larry Johnson finds himself in the most uncomfortable of places — caught between loyalty to an organization and boss that have been good to him and supporting a former teammate who always had his back. “It’s hard to work at the Garden when Oak is not part of the family,” Johnson told the Daily News on Saturday
Johnson is considering not attending Knicks games until the feud with Charles Oakley and Garden management is resolved. “I love the Knicks and Mr. (James) Dolan is my guy,” Johnson added. “But I feel as if I’d be disrespecting Oak if I go to the Garden.”
Charles Oakley wasn’t the only fan ejected at the Knicks game Wednesday. According to a Garden source, a fan was thrown out for yelling obscenities at Knicks team owner James Dolan, before the Oakley incident. Though Oakley’s incident escalated and resulted in the arrest of the Knicks legend, the ouster of the unidentified fan did not cause a ripple.
“It’s not the first time,” the source said of patrons being ejected for derisive comments about Dolan. A source confirmed there was an additional ejection from Wednesday’s game.“Over the years, other fans have been thrown out for cursing Dolan.” One source said the fan shouted “Dolan sucks,” but another maintained it was far more distasteful: “[Expletive] you Dolan, you suck!”
Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski released an essay on The Vertical Twitter last night that destroys Dolan, painting the ultimate picture of the Knicks owner as an incompetent and undeserving owner. “Dolan has terrible judgement in people and gets easily manipulated. His instincts are horrible. His circle of advisers as rudderless as Dolan himself. Mostly Jim Dolan is surrounded with sycophants and henchmen who help him carry out his petty grudges and person feuds. Forever feeding his bottomless pit of paranoia.”
Frank Isola: Love this line from Dolan: “It had gotten easier to do that, to have my hands off.” Oh, so you now finally admit you were once “hands on.” Funny, but for years if anyone ever insinuated that Dolan was heavily involved in the Knicks -which he was – it was “off with his head.” Like the time Dolan refused to listen to Donnie Walsh and be patient in the Melo trade talks. Instead, he gave them everything they wanted. Like the time Dolan traded a first round pick to Toronto for Bargnani and then killed a trade with Toronto for Kyle Lowry. That’s 0 for 2.
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March 25, 2017 | 3:19 pm EDT Update
“Us old-school guys, we don’t like it,” former Knicks and Hall of Fame point guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier told The Tribune earlier this week. “We didn’t have that luxury when I played. We had to play through commercials, back-to-backs, whatever they told us to do. We paved the way for these guys and they are biting the hand that feeds them. The reason the league is so big today is because of the TV money, and now they are sitting out?”
The rest issue is one of those complex subjects where each side can put forth a valid argument. Yes, the NBA is hurt when players sit during nationally televised contests. At the same time, coaches are operating with championship aspirations and are gearing up for long playoff runs. And former players are steadfast in believing that today’s players are sullying a league they helped build. “It just seems like the players today don’t have the love for the game that we had,” former Jazz forward Bryon Russell said. But the fans have the biggest gripe. They are the ultimate losers, the ones who shell out the money to see their favorite stars.
Calvin Watkins: Rockets forward Ryan Anderson will not play in Sunday’s game against the Thunder with a right ankle sprain. This will be the fifth game Anderson has missed this season due to injury. Last year, Anderson missed 16 games to health reasons when he played with New Orleans.
“I’m out of the boot, second stage of my rehab, ahead of schedule and feeling good,” the 30-year-old wing told CSN California’s Kayte Christensen. According to Gay, he is able to due weight bearing exercises, including some light squats. The 11-year NBA vet is still a ways away from returning to the court, but if he’s ahead of schedule, that means he might be ready for training camp come late September.