Storyline: New York Knicks Turmoil?

467 rumors in this storyline

No matter who he plays on a given night, there will be several players left out of the rotation who came into the season expecting to play. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, per SNY sources, there has already been some grumbling about minutes/roles. Players not being thrilled about their minutes/roles is pretty common in the NBA. All coaches/teams deal with it to a certain degree. But the idea that the Knicks have so many players who – from the outside at least – can make a case for a spot in the rotation makes this something to keep an eye on.

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“Not many people know that, but players talk. From different teams, they talk,” Kanter said on the Full 48 podcast with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “I’m not blaming anybody. I had an amazing time with the Knicks. But other teammates I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing. Everything is so good. But the ownership.’ They always keep saying, ‘But the ownership.’” “I always tell them, the Knicks are amazing. It’s the Garden, it’s the Mecca. If you win in New York, you’re the king of the world. Some of the players are I guess scared to come here and don’t even want to deal with that.”

There were probably a dozen other reasons the Knicks struggled that year. But when Hopla talked to SNY about his time with the Knicks and that frustrating 2013-14 season, he pointed to another factor in the Knicks’ shortcomings: He said McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm hired by Madison Square Garden to work with the Knicks and Rangers, had a negative impact on the coaching staff and was the source of confusion and paranoia among some players. The firm’s influence led to decisions like not having coaches watch film with players and filling out seemingly endless amounts of paperwork, according to Hopla. “We got so fed up with them,” Hopla said of McKinsey & Company, which declined comment for this story when asked about their work with the Knicks in 2013-14.

McKinsey & Company’s influence continued throughout the season. Hopla said the consulting agency advised coaches to stop watching film with players at one point during the year. “The players were like, ‘Why aren’t we watching film?’ (We said), ‘the McKinsey group told us,’ ” Hopla recalled. Hopla said the consultants also told members of the coaching staff to fill out paperwork documenting how players performed in all workouts, a process Hopla felt was time-consuming (a second source confirms that coaches were asked to fill out the paperwork).

Members of the consulting firm attended practices and games at home and on the road, which, according to Hopla, led to concerns from the players. “The players started asking who they were,” Hopla said. “…. They were worried about maybe they were writing reports about them. They were paranoid.” Hopla questioned why a firm without significant experience in pro basketball was allowed to influence how Knicks coaches approached aspects of their jobs. “If the McKinsey group came in and it was Hubie Brown, Bob Knight and John Thompson, you’d listen to them,” he said.

Utilizing his bottomless wealth and familiar bully tactics, James Dolan has attempted to derail the development plans of a low-income city in California and influence its mayoral election from across the country. But as Dolan-led MSG has pumped money into lawsuits to protect its investment in The Forum, Dolan testified in a deposition he knows little about the City of Inglewood that he’s suing, the contractual issues in dispute over a new Clippers arena, or the religious conservative candidate he backed to prevent the community from securing a new NBA arena. More than anything, Dolan, from his deposition, seems comfortable with letting his attorneys, lieutenants and buddy Irving Azoff handle the carpet bomb that he’s bankrolling.

In the article, it is alleged that Dolan is attempting to “derail the development plans of a low-income city.” The MSG Company offered the following statement in response: “It is common knowledge that the Daily News has a vendetta against MSG. This is attributable to a disgruntled former employee that was fired by Mr. Dolan from his position at Newsday. That employee was Timothy Knight who is now CEO of Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Daily News. This story, based on cherry-picked portions of a deposition that are grossly misleading, is just the latest evidence of how low they are willing to go with their attacks.”

Yet interviews with agents and other basketball executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing any future business with the Knicks, bear out the perception that players would rather not deal with an organization seen as dysfunctional, though there are more nuanced explanations for the radioactivity of the team, as well. The Knicks have had very high payrolls and bafflingly low productivity for nearly two decades, a sign of mismanagement in the view of outsiders. But there is also the remote location of the Knicks’ practice facility — in suburban Westchester County, nearly 30 miles from Manhattan, which complicates living arrangements — and most recently there has been the surprising success of the Nets.

Trier’s self-proclaimed nickname is “IsoZo” and Knicks coach David Fizdale levied praise on him as a bright spot, lauding his work ethic and overachievement as an undrafted player. Trier turned a two-way G-League contract into a spot on the 15-man roster in December. But there were warts. “His play on the court was cancerous,” one NBA source said. “A lot of guys didn’t like the way he didn’t play team ball. He cared about himself too much. He looked guys off who were open.’’

The same fans who continue making a huge emotional and financial investment every year when common sense tells them otherwise. Dolan has rewarded their loyalty with one playoff series victory since 2000. And if you don’t like the job he’s doing, you’d better keep that opinion to yourself or run the risk of being banned. That goes for reporters, former players and paying customers. “The commissioner needs to step in and do something, suspend him, something,” Charles Oakley told The Athletic. “He can’t keep getting away with it.”
9 months ago via ESPN

Porzingis, sidelined for nearly a year with an ACL injury, can become a restricted free agent this summer. Increasing tensions on both sides could culminate with the Knicks initiating trade talks prior to Thursday’s trade deadline or in the offseason to move Porzingis out of New York, league sources said. His uncertain standing with the Knicks has been the focus of multiple teams around the league, who’ve wondered if there would be pathway to acquire him, front office sources told ESPN.

They have gone 10-37 since, have already tied last season’s loss total (51) and bring a 27-51 record into their game against the Heat on Friday. “Yeah, man, 100 percent,’’ Lee said of Hornacek stepping up this season. “You got to realize, we were on a run early on, we hit adversity and you can’t blame anybody for that. Injuries happen. That’s the world we live in today. We have to blame somebody, right? You can’t control that.” When told a lot of fans blame Hornacek, Lee got testy. “For what, injuries?’’ Lee said. “For Tim having a stress fracture? For KP going down? How you blame coach for that? That’s a question for you. Can you answer that on the record?”

NBA officials are convinced Mills and Perry will look to bring in their own guy. There’s no shortage of potential candidates — Mark Jackson, Dave Fizdale, Doc Rivers, Jason Kidd, Jerry Stackhouse and David Blatt have all been mentioned in speculation. “That’s part of the NBA,’’ Lee said of the coach’s uncertainty. “Trade deadline, everybody is in trade talks, everybody is in free-agent talks. You got to go about your business. You can’t let that distract you and that’s the same thing for [coaches]. They hear the talk. You still have to go about your job so it’s all the same. It’s all about being professional.”

Courtney Lee takes pride in playing defense. He said not enough Knicks do. One day after the Knicks gave up a season-high 132 points to the Raptors, Lee said some players are letting the team down because they’re not playing with enough effort on defense. “I think you should be mad at yourself if you watch film and your teammates are calling you out,” Lee said after Monday’s practice. “You should not want to let them down, and if you’re seeing that it’s you repeatedly, if you don’t make that adjustment then that’s just telling us you don’t care. So I definitely at points get frustrated with it.”

Courtney Lee also said players should respond when the critiques are coming from teammates. “It’s beneficial that you hear it from your peers and not just always from the coach,” Lee said. “It’s a long season. The coaches continue to talk to you and get on you but eventually human nature, you get tired of hearing their voices. When you hear it from the people you hang out with the most and talk to the most and it’s coming from them, it definitely should have more of an effect on you.”

Knicks center Enes Kanter discounted Beasley’s claim the biggest issue is the offense playing selfishly, as the Knicks allowed 71 points in the second half after holding a three-point lead at intermission. “The first half we shared the ball,” Kanter said. “We just had problems in the second half. If we get it defensively, the offense will take care of itself. We can work on it. Defense is all about communication and trust. We have to trust and make each other better on the defensive end.”

Later on the Western trip, Noah left the club in Denver after a feud with coach Jeff Hornacek, who yanked him during garbage time during a blowout in Golden State on Jan. 23. The next day at practice, according to eyewitnesses, they engaged in a verbal shouting match with Noah being restrained. Hornacek never pushed Noah, according to multiple sources. In fact, indications are the Knicks mulled issuing Noah a suspension for his actions but decided against it. The separation has been called “mutual” by Knicks officials.

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.”
2 years ago via ESPN

New Knicks general manager Scott Perry says he’s keeping an “open mind” about Carmelo Anthony’s future with the club, but he expects to have Anthony on the roster next week during training camp. “Look, Carmelo’s going to be back here,” Perry said Friday at the team’s training facility. “Carmelo has always been a professional. That’s one thing I’ve always respected about him. I think he can set a good example for the young players. He’s been a 10-time All-Star. If he’s back here with the New York Knicks, we expect him to be the professional he’s always exemplified throughout his career and move forward with him.”
2 years ago via ESPN

Both the Knicks and Anthony remain committed to finding a scenario that ends with Anthony on another team, according to league sources. “We’ve just been in constant contact with he and his representatives and I won’t get into (the) weeds of the details of how far or how close we were to any type of deal,” Perry said. “At the end of the day, what we set out and what we said (in July was), if there was something there that made sense both for him and the Knicks’ organization, then we would strongly consider it. Obviously, we sit here today and that did not happen as of yet.”

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

The Knicks’ surprising pre-emptive commitment to Baker is the second free agent agreement handed out by the club that has raised some eyebrows around the league. The Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, signed shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year $71 million offer sheet that the Atlanta Hawks – Hardaway’s incumbent club – declined to match. The contract has been met with shock inside and outside the organization, according to ESPN’s Wojnarowki and Ramona Shelburne.

Though O’Quinn didn’t condemn Porzingis’ blowing off the exit interview, he said he never could have predicted that his friend would do that. Sources told The Post that Porzingis missed the sit-down to protest how chaotically the organization was being run by Jackson. O’Quinn said he has spoken to Porzingis “pretty often’’ during the offseason. “Kristaps is a professional,’’ O’Quinn said. “I was surprised. Of course anybody missing the exit meeting is pretty surprising — like, wow. But as a professional, he has his own choices, and he made that choice and he went through with it. I don’t think personally I would’ve done it. That’s not how I would’ve done it. I’m sure he had a reason why.’’

“It’s tough to see anybody go, but I knew a change was going to be made,’’ O’Quinn said after dropping in on the Knicks summer-league team Wednesday to take photos. “We didn’t know what. We knew something had to be done. That’s what they chose to do. I wish Phil the best, of course. In any organization, no matter who it is, you hate to see somebody go. “[But] you could just sense it. We had a great team last year and things — the media, you blew things up a bit. I think the only way to get that negative stuff out is something had to be done. Not saying Phil was negative, but something had to be done to let the situation be at ease.’’

Either way, with Jackson off to his Montana ranch and general manager Steve Mills in charge for now, the future for Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis as teammates again next season looks a bit brighter. Actually, some Knicks officials believe Anthony’s influence on Porzingis has been detrimental and a key reason why Jackson became adamant about removing him from the roster any way he could. “Phil thought Carmelo was trying to sabotage him,’’ an NBA source said.
2 years ago via ESPN

Jackson was supposed to recruit free agents, and instead he chased them away. One longtime league official said the other day that while he agreed with Jackson’s desire to trade Anthony to start a true makeover, he couldn’t understand why the Knicks president went out of his way to trash the forward at every turn. “Doesn’t he understand that Carmelo still has a really big voice amongst the players in this league?” the official asked. “No, Carmelo isn’t the same player he once was, but LeBron and Chris Paul and a lot of very important stars really like and respect him. So what do you think those guys are going to say when Phil tries to recruit them to New York?”

A somber and shaken-looking Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek thanked Phil Jackson for hiring him 13 months ago and called it “a tough day for us.’’ Speaking at the end of the Knicks’ first summer-league practice in Orlando, Hornacek would not take questions from the media, only willing to make a quick statement about Jackson’s sudden firing Wednesday morning. Hornacek, hired last May, stays in his position as general manager Steve Mills takes over day-to-day operations for the franchise.

Part of his frustration is with the forever-changing scope of the offense, with Jackson recently going all-in again on the triangle. “It is different,’’ Porzingis said in Spain. “It works if everyone believes in it, if everybody knows where to move and where to go and what to do and reads the situation well. You can’t do it with everybody. You have to have the right players, have to have players with sharp minds, that can read the game quickly and make the right cut and pass. I haven’t really been a part of a really good triangle team. We always had some trouble a bit. We’ll see what we do next season.’’

But that’s changed. And this week’s news that Kristaps Porzingis could be on the trading block only made things worse. “I was talking to one of our players the other day, a free agent, and we were looking at our options,” one agent said. “And it used to be, ‘Yeah, get me to New York.’ Even when they were struggling, there are guys who want to be in the city. But he was saying, ‘no, no, not that environment, not now.’ They’re not just alienating their own players, they’re alienating all players. They’re making things hard on themselves there.”

Though Longstaff was only informed recently, the sources stated Knicks brass had decided on Longstaff’s fate prior to Porzingis blowing off his exit meeting after the season, which created a divide between player and team. Those sources state the Longstaff decision was in no way president Phil Jackson’s way of firing a warning shot toward the disgruntled Porzingis. Of all the assistants, Longstaff was closest to Porzingis. Two sources said the 33-year-old Longstaff, for all his acclaim as a good workout guy with young players, had difficulty blending in with Knicks coaches he had not worked with in Oklahoma City during his three seasons at the Garden.
2 years ago via ESPN

Kristaps Porzingis’ brother Janis Porzingis said the Knicks forward wishes to remain in New York but also wants the club to create an environment conducive to player development and winning. His brother made it clear that if traded, Porzingis intends to play out his contract and test free agency. “Kris wants to stay in New York; he feels at home there. There is no question about it. The only thing he wants is for the Knicks to create an environment where he can develop and grow as a player and win,” Janis Porzingis said in an interview with ESPN. “If he were traded, he would play out his contract and head into free agency, where he can choose his own destiny.”

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October 22, 2019 | 2:13 am EDT Update
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