Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With Carmelo Anthony set to return to the Garden for the second time as a visiting player on Wednesday, here's an interesting 'What if'?
Before the 2015 NBA Draft, high-ranking Knicks officials strongly considered putting together a package to trade for then-Sacramento Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, per SNY sources. Obviously, if the Knicks traded for Cousins, he would have been the best teammate Anthony ever had in New York. (Was his most talented Knicks teammate a young Kristaps Porzingis? Tyson Chandler? J.R. Smith? Amar'e Stoudemire?)
There's another interesting wrinkle to the Cousins scenario: the package New York was considering sending to Sacramento would have included the Knicks' 2015 first-round pick, per SNY sources. Obviously, if the Knicks had traded that pick, they don't draft Porzingis.
And given how things unfolded for Anthony, Cousins and Porzingis in subsequent seasons, there are a million other 'what ifs' associated with that potential trade.
But it's interesting to think about how Anthony and Cousins would have played as a pairing and what New York could have done with those two together.
Anthony's tenure ended with a trade to Oklahoma City prior to the 2017-18 season, which followed public friction with then-team president Phil Jackson. The Knicks won one playoff series during Anthony's Knicks tenure - the only playoff series they've won since 2001.
While fans seem split on how to view Anthony's time with the Knicks, he's sure to get support from the Garden crowd on Wednesday.
"I think he should get a standing ovation. He did a lot for the city," Knicks veteran Taj Gibson, who has a healthy respect for Anthony, said Wednesday. "(He) came back, did well for the team. Great all-around player, great all-around person."
Some Knicks fans on social media have pointed out that when Marcus Morris wears a head band, his approach on offense sometimes bears resemblance to Anthony. When asked about it on Wednesday, Morris said that he studied Anthony's game as a younger player.
"Growing up, hell yeah. I wanted to be just like him. In college I used to watch a lot of film (of Anthony)," he said. "Coming into the league, go back and watch my first interviews, I was comparing myself to Carmelo. He was a great player. He did a lot for this team. I was happy to be a part of his career and compete against him."
BULLOCK ON THE WAY BACK
Reggie Bullock may suit up for the Knicks for the first time this season on Wednesday. He's been sidelined since the beginning of training camp following neck surgery. Mike Miller said on Wednesday that he sees Bullock giving the Knicks a boost on defense because of his versatility. He also is a career 39 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
"With what we've seen when he's been out here, No. 1 he's a high basketball IQ guy; he's a good defender; he adds more length; he's a versatile defender; he can defend on the ball; he has good awareness off the ball," Miller said. "And then the offensive stuff. Obviously, he shoots the ball really well and has really a good skill package."
When asked about Bullock's potential positions, Miller said he could play the 28-year-old at small forward at times.
Here's Bullock on his potential return: "The injury is something that's behind me. I'm no longer talking about it anymore. I'm just focused on basketball and being back here with my team. The Knicks have done a great job of helping me out through the whole thing, with my family situations and everything. It's been a strong family support from them and they've allowed me to just focus on my recovery. Basketball has been my main focus over these last few months and it's going to continue to stay that way for the rest of the season."
PLAYERS HOLDING EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE
Marcus Morris called a players-only meeting hours before David Fizdale was fired. One of the themes of that meeting was players holding each other accountable. Morris said on Wednesday he's noticed that players are more open to holding each other accountable since the meeting.
"Yeah, a lot more. Everybody is speaking their mind and I think guys are receiving it a lot more," he said. "Obviously, there might be some kickback but that's normal. When you talk s--t to guys on the court and say certain things, it might trigger them. I try to do that just to get them going."
The Knicks are 5-6 since the meeting and since Miller took over as interim head coach.