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Derrick Rose no longer has the added burden of playing for his hometown team. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
Derrick Rose no longer has the added burden of playing for his hometown team. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

It's been fun to really break down Derrick Rose the player since the Knicks acquired the former NBA MVP in June just prior to free agency. It's clear that he has fans marking their respective calendars in great anticipation for Oct. 25 in Cleveland.

The numbers don't support Rose as a "willing passer," a term that has taken meaning in the NBA replacing "ball hog," but when you dig a little deeper the highlights suggest that Rose is willing to find the open man. Plugging him in the "modern triangle" that the Knicks will be implementing under Jeff Hornacek could create more passing opportunities.

Since his 2011 MVP season, Rose has only averaged over seven assists per game once, and that was in just 39 games before his devastating knee injury in 2012. Since then he's been much more reliant on scoring and in the 121 games following his major surgery Rose has never averaged more than 5.9 assists per 36 minutes according to Basketball-Reference.com.

I'm not sure I'm buying the idea that Rose is a ball hog as much as he's not willing to pass to players who aren't great shooters. Why pass to below average three point shooters when you can explode to the basket to try to make a play? I think that's been the same thinking Carmelo Anthony has had over the past few seasons in New York. To be fair, that's a superstar's mentality. Of all the people I've talked to in and around the NBA regarding Rose, there seems to be one common theme surrounding him: stubbornness.  

"It's far less about his physical abilities. From what I've seen he's pretty close to being the guy with the explosiveness of 2011," one NBA scout recently told me. "He's just not any good off the ball and when he gets it he feels like he has to attack. When defenses adjust he stubbornly sticks with it. He has to move it."

Moving the ball is much easier when you have confidence players will make open shots. Rose has had little issue passing the ball to the likes of Mike Dunleavy over the years. This is exactly where the Knicks season lies in the balance and why Rose's future is still very much uncertain. When you look at the Knicks roster it's filled with players who are adept at being effective without the ball, Anthony aside. Courtney Lee, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas and Joakim Noah all can be effective, efficient and productive without the basketball and they are very capable with it.

How Rose manages touches for Anthony will be critical as to how quickly he gets up to speed with the offensive philosophy, which will be predicated on pushing the ball in transition for early scoring attempts followed by secondary half court sets.

This bodes well for Porzingis in particular, who you'd expect to play a ton of pick-and-roll with Rose in those secondary situations and if Pau Gasol's effectiveness is any indicator then Porzinigis should get a ton of open looks. In 2015-16 Rose assisted on 100 of Gasol's 319 assisted made Field Goals and the vast majority of those were mid-range jump shots and layups according to NBA Stats. 

It obviously wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in The Windy City last year. Perhaps the biggest factor behind the Bulls missing the playoffs last year was injuries and not just to Noah. Losing Dunleavy severely impacted the team's spot shooting and it's a role that the Knicks hope Lee, Thomas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas can fill in a similar manner to Dunleavy. Having players to kick out to should allow Rose to make better decisions off of drives, something he continues to do at an elite NBA level and an element the Knicks have severely lacked since Phil Jackson took over the team in 2014.  

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Brandon Jennings (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
Brandon Jennings (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Brandon Jennings hasn't even stepped onto the NBA hardwood as a Knick yet, but he's already on his way to becoming a fan favorite.

Upon joining New York, Jennings quickly took to social media to declare how excited he was to play in the world's most famous arena. Now, he already has a championship in his sights and seems to understand how special it would be to win one in the heart of New York City.

If that weren't enough, he's most recently been participating in a discussions amongst fans about which player had the better career: Reggie Miller or Robert Horry. Knicks fans have a certain disdain for Miller for obvious reasons, and Jennings' motivation to favor Horry's career stems from the fact that the forward won seven NBA champions. Miller came away with none.

Jennings is going to serve as quite the offensive spark plug off the bench, and as such, fans are going to love him and take very quickly to his style of play. Someone who can score in bunches, Jennings is going to embrace all of the pressure-filled crunch time moments. A 39 percent shooter from the field and 35 percent shooter from deep over the course of his career, consistency is certainly something he's lacked over the years. Still, he's also proven to be a clutch player when his team needs him most. That should bode well coming off the bench, or even filling in, if and when Derrick Rose's health become a cause for concern this coming season.

Jennings himself has plenty to prove. After an injury-riddled campaign of his own last season, he will assume a reserve role in New York, more or less for the first time in his career. After signing an one-year contract, he's will almost certainly be out looking for redemption. 

If the Knicks can bottle up that certain clutch gene from Jennings and channel it in a more positive direction, they'll reap the benefits. He's a hot-and-cold player, but when he gets going, there's very little that can slow him (or his respective team) down. Much of what Jennings brings to the table, especially figuring as he steps into the sixth man role, is similar to what J.R. Smith provided the Knicks. At this point, that would certainly appear to also include his mannerisms on social media as well. 

So far, this is all good news. As much of a wild card as Smith was, the Knicks have since lacked many of the positive things he provided since his departure. There aren't too many players who can assume this role in such a way, but if Jennings can give his new team and its fan base a similar taste, he'll catapult his way into becoming a fan favorite mightily fast. 

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Future Knicks teammates Willy Hernangomez, left, and Carmelo Anthony, middle, got to know each other during the Olympics when Spain played the U.S.
Future Knicks teammates Willy Hernangomez, left, and Carmelo Anthony, middle, got to know each other during the Olympics when Spain played the U.S.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Though the New York Knicks look to be much improved on paper following a solid offseason, it's worth recognizing that chemistry takes time to develop. With so many new and/or moving pieces coming together, the team will need to put the work in to get to know one another, both on and off the court, to be successful.

Carmelo Anthony, Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas are all fresh off the Olympics. They all deserve time to recuperate before even thinking about early team meetings and workouts. But a good chunk of the rest of the squad has gotten a head start on building some of that necessary familiarity and camaraderie with one another.

Obviously Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are close from their time together with the Bulls. That said, in recent weeks the pair has also embraced some of New York's other fellow new additions. Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, have previously frequented workouts, and just last week, Sasha Vujacic joined in as well. Such proof can be found on Los Angeles based trainer Robbie Davis' Instagram account, where it looks like the group participated in pool exercises.

As mentioned, it's good to see Rose and co. not only simply working out and staying in shape, but doing so together. What's more, Vujacic's underperformance last season led to his re-signing being quite a questionable move. Aside from his triangle knowledge however, the guard is highly regarded as a positive locker room presence. He's a good friend to Kristaps Porzingis, and constantly seems to be involved in plenty of these unofficial team workouts. That's worth something. To his credit, it appears as though he and Davis have a long standing relationship back to their days together with the Clippers.

All in all, this early development is a good one for the Knicks as training camp approaches.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Sasha Vujacic

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Say what you want about Phil Jackson, but when the time comes around to tell it like it is you can count on him to be transparent.

In the latest edition of the Jackson Chronicles written by his friend Charlie Rosen on Today's Fast Break, Jackson talks about a tough decision he had to face when trading former center Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks in 2014.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson said.

"In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn't get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder."

Wow, there's a lot to this quote. First, you have to respect the accountability as Phil would love a mulligan. And if you've watched Crowder develop in Boston under Brad Stevens, you understand why.

Secondly, there's a reference to a question that I've had and that revolves around the future of Cleanthony Early, who Phil refers to as "valuable." That would mean he could be candidate for a roster spot.

As far as Crowder goes, he's a glue guy who would have helped the Knicks. Would his presence have made them better? Hard to say. Would they have been good enough to miss out on Kristaps Porzingis? You wouldn't be wrong if you looked at it that way.

I was a huge proponent of trading Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks in 2014 and I thought the 34th pick was a valuable one at the time. If you're looking at a player who they missed out on drafting, the Nuggets took Nikola Jokic of Serbia 41st overall and Jokic is on the verge of superstardom.

In terms of the rest of the article, Jackson talks about the team from the mid-point of the season on and how they had to rely on youth to try to sustain some modest early-season success. This should give Knicks fans hope as they've added veteran players who have the proven ability to log heavy NBA minutes despite health concerns surrounding Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

On the topic of health, one veteran NBA scout recently told me that when your front office is faced with a decision of talent versus health questions, you take talent every time and worry about health if and when there are issues.

"You can't base a decision on health," the scout said. "Obviously every decision is different but when you're dealing with players like Rose and Noah, you worry about health later. Hopefully, you have the depth to get through it until they get back."

Last year, the Knicks didn't have the depth or the players to log the front-end minutes to hold up over 82 games. Jackson, as well as Knicks fans, hope they've built a roster that can stand up an entire season this time around.

Having Crowder on that roster sure would help.


 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

One massive change for the Knicks that has been overshadowed quite a bit this summer is the hiring of Jeff Hornacek.

The 2013-14 runner-up for the NBA's Coach of the Year award is a tremendous upgrade from Derek Fisher, and even Kurt Rambis.

The team has also reshaped their roster.

However, plenty of people, both in the media and the Knicks' fan base, believe the team did not do enough to significantly improve and/or make the playoffs this coming season.

The concern and criticism often starts with Carmelo Anthony. Much like in years past, it's unlikely that the same Melo that just helped Team USA win a gold medal will step foot on the NBA hardwood this fall.

What's more, there are questions surrounding the health of Derrick Rose, as well as the health of Joakim Noah and the thought process behind the lucrative contract he received.

First things first, it's important to remember that the dollar amount and respective duration of Noah's contract will have no bearing on how the Knicks perform this coming season. Whether he lives up to that value over a longer period of time will be debatable, but shouldn't be taken into consideration for performance in year one.

It's hard to argue that after all the moves the Knicks made this offseason they don't look considerably better on paper. That's step one. Surely, staying on the court may be a concern for a couple of key pieces, but there are other components in play here.

Hornacek isn't likely to get lost and/or confused late in contests during the crunch time and/or high pressured moments. Though Fisher himself lived through those moments as a player (much like Hornacek did), he didn't have the experience guiding others through the same ordeal.

Not only has Hornacek done it well in the past, he's learned and looked on from the sidelines as some of the greats did it as well. Fisher didn't even have the luxury of being an assistant beforehand, and clearly, the confusion and frustration he wore on his face night after night proved his distress.

Hornacek had mentors to learn from both as a player and a coach. What's more, his time in Phoenix not only allowed him to gain experience in experimenting with different lineups, but managing different personalities and egos. 

His words resonate with younger and older athletes alike. He knows how to get the most out of underrated talent, and isn't afraid to take risks. A good coach knows how to make adjustments, despite crushing injuries. He proved all of this and more with the Suns.

Talking about improvements, a seasoned head coach is a huge asset for any team. The Knicks' roster is much improved, but even already existing pieces like Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis should benefit and be better from Hornacek's guidance.

Is Hornacek the second coming of Phil Jackson? Not likely. But his qualifications supersede that of Derek Fisher's in almost every sense of coaching. That in itself should be recognized when talking about New York's potential.

We likely haven't even seen the best of Hornacek as a coach yet, and the Knicks have given him quite a roster to lead.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Truth be told, I've warmed up to basketball metrics over the years. I still hold them in the same manner I did when they first busted out on the scene and that is that they were conversation statistics that assisted in making an overall judgement.

I still value actual production stats i.e. minutes played, field goals made, turnovers etc, in very high regard, which brings us to the discussion happening in NBA circles and on NBA Twitter surrounding Derrick Rose.

The narrative surrounding Rose is that he's not the player he was before injuries -- that is unless you speak to his trainer Rob McClanaghan and Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook.

"I worked out Derrick and Russell (Westbrook) together," McClanaghan told reporters last summer. "It's amazing how competitive those guys are in workouts. Unlike many guys in this league, those guys together push each other. It was like getting back to pre-draft '08. Like Russell said (of Rose), everything is back to where it used to be. Derrick's timing is back and mentally he's in a very good place."

After an injury set him back early in the year, Rose had moments where he looked as physically dominant as ever and at only 27 years old, he's poised for a very productive year following his 66 game, 2,000 minutes played effort from 2015-16.

Critics will point to his advanced stats and his overall point guard rankings as signs that he'll never be the player he was and that the Knicks made a big mistake in acquiring him for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon this past June.

Last year, Rose ranked 44th in Player Efficiency Rating among point guards, which is misleading on several fronts. First off, he's not a point guard, he's a scoring guard who triggers the offense with his penetration. PER rewards players who shoot, and make, a lot of three point field goals like Stephen Curry -- whose 31.56 PER led all point guards.

Secondly, PER doesn't do a great job of accounting for minutes played. Being more efficient in less minutes isn't all that impressive. It's hard to take anyone seriously if they try to tell you T.J. McConnell's 14.52 PER in 19.8 minutes per game makes him a better basketball player than Derrick Rose.

Heck, Knicks favorite Toney Douglas is 26th overall in PER among point guards and I'm pretty sure he's not a point guard, either. Either way, Rose ranked 22nd in PER among point guards who actually played more than 30 minutes per game.

Which brings us to one of the more talked about advanced metrics these days, VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player, a statistic made popular in baseball comparing a player to a fictitious, minimal-cost player. Basketball Reference defines VORP as "a box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level (-2.0) player, translated to an average team and prorated to an 82-game season."

In layman's terms, it's the metric theoretically comparing a player who hasn't actually produced at the same level based on what they've already proven to produce. You can take any player off the bench and give them Rose's minutes and they'll be as effective as Rose.



If you're into comparing real, living players to imaginary ones, by all means knock yourself out. But the line has to be stopped at production in my mind. Rose was the lead guard on the Bulls' best five-man unit last season in terms of both winning percentage and plus/minus.

The effectiveness and productivity are there regardless of what you want to prove about inefficiencies. There's an element of common sense lost among the analytic-heavy crowd and it's that coaches and managers will always play players who produce, regardless of "efficiencies." And the highest-paid players will always be paid as such because of their productivity.

Rose may not be the ideal player to lead your team, but this idea that he's not an NBA-caliber player is laughable at best regardless of what the formulas tell you.

Health concerns are legit as is the idea that the Knicks may be plotting a backup plan with Chris Paul should Rose not work out here this year. Distractions are always part of the gig in New York, but in terms of on-court productivity. it is clear that Rose is still a very valuable piece to any basketball team.


 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

The Knicks added Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and others this offseason, but Sports Illustrated gave their offseason an overall grade of D.

According to SI, the Knicks' best move was 'trying' to put a good team around Carmelo Anthony and their worst move was signing Noah, which they say "already screams disaster."

The "skinny," says SI, is that the Knicks are living in 2016, not 2011 -- when their biggest acquisitions were at their best.

SI refers to the signings of Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings as more "agreeable" than the acquisitions of Rose and Noah, but adds that the safe money is to bet on "something going wrong."

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The irony here is that if one were to consider the Knicks "mediocre," that would already be an improvement from last season. After enduring a franchise-worst campaign back in 2014-15, things weren't much better last season. Thus, there's still a lot of room to improve.

But that's a good thing. Trading Robin Lopez's excellent contract and a promising youngster in Jerian Grant is a risk, but if Derrick Rose can remain relatively healthy and productive, the Knicks will benefit immediately.

This season is about making progress so that they can get the most out of Carmelo Anthony while he's still pretty much in his prime. They made improvements to put themselves in the best position to do so.

When talking about roster improvement, the length of respective contracts is irrelevant. Any time a team adds players like Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings, that's likely to be a positive development.

The Knicks have also held on to players who added to the positive aspect of their culture, most notably Lance Thomas. The continued rise of Kristaps Porzingis is another positive thing.

Factor in a much more competent coach in Jeff Hornacek, and things should be looking up. How high that ceiling is obviously remains to be seen.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Lance Thomas , Danny Abriano

 (Jason Getz)
(Jason Getz)

Having just come off celebrating a gold medal with his former star, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says he doesn't think Carmelo Anthony will ever win that elusive NBA title.

"He's unlikely to win an NBA title,'' Boeheim, an assistant coach under Team USA and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, told reporters in Syracuse on Tuesday, according to the Post-Standard. "He's never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title. As a player, all you can do is try to make your team better and every team he's been on he's made them a lot better. Denver hadn't done anything prior to him getting there and he took them into the playoffs. They weren't going to beat the Lakers or the Spurs. In those years, they won the championship most of the time."

Boeheim did praise the 32-year-old Anthony, who won an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal to go along with the NCAA championship he won at Syracuse in 2003, as the "unquestioned leader" of the Olympic team.

"Carmelo was the unquestioned leader of this team,'' Boeheim said. "I thought he did a great job.''

It was Boeheim who urged Anthony to play in his fourth Olympics in order to enjoy a positive and successful basketball experience coming off the Knicks' third straight season without a playoff appearance.

"I think it meant a lot to him because he's had a couple bad years obviously in New York,'' Boeheim said. "The reason I wanted him to go was to have a good basketball experience for himself and to be the leader of this team, which we felt we needed with all the other veteran guys either being hurt or just choosing not to play. I think it was important for him to go. He did a great job. He really did a great job throughout the whole tournament.''

Looking ahead to the 2016-17 season, Boeheim, who watches a lot of Knicks games, believes the additions of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah should make the Knicks relevant in the East -- where LeBron James and the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to keep dominating.

"He wants to win in New York," Boeheim said. "I know the general opinion is if Noah and Rose are healthy then they'll be a better team. It's just a question of if they will be healthy. They've been off and on the last two years. They've both been hurt. I think if both those guys are healthy, it certainly would make a big difference and [Kristaps] Porzingis continuing to progress. If those things happen, they can be better.''

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

As much as he's served as Anthony's mentor over the years, Coach Boeheim is very blunt, and arguably negative when it comes to his career.

On one hand, of course, he's praising Anthony for his role on Team USA. What's more, it appears as though Boeheim believes Anthony has done all he can to help his respective NBA teams. But in the interest of being optimistic and aiming to uplift the star forward, perhaps it's not best to say he's unlikely to win an NBA title at a time like this. Anthony should be able to ride this respective high.

The Knicks will be better this coming season. As Boeheim alludes to, just how much better is obviously contingent on the health of their varied newcomers. But more important for the team's long term hopes is Porzingis' ceiling. He arguably holds the keys, more so than any other player. If Anthony can continue to play at a high enough level despite getting older, he'll be around to contribute to the ride. How far they go can't really be predicted until Porzingis really comes into his own.

Boeheim chooses to focus on the more seemingly short term pieces, and as such, his comments would appear premature and close-minded. That has to be tough love for Anthony. If a mentor doesn't believe in the chances of their star pupil accomplishing a task (regardless of the reason), that has to resonate or settle in somehow. It's unfortunate, because if Boeheim is talking that way to the media, he's almost certainly had a similar conversation with Anthony already. Getting in his head like that can't be good for the Knicks' chances.

Tags: Adam Zagoria

 (Nelson Chenault)
(Nelson Chenault)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

In many ways 2016 has been The Summer of Melo. From using his star status to try and achieve social changes, to becoming the most decorated Olympic player in Team USA Basketball history, the optics surrounding Carmelo Anthony have undoubtably changed. This idea gained even more momentum yesterday after some very impressive quotes about Melo from Warriors superstar Kevin Durant.

If you know me, you know that I firmly believe that the "selfish" narrative surrounding Anthony was extremely unfair. He's been labeled as a "me" player, who only cares about himself, his stats and money. Conflicting reports to my own have painted Anthony as some sort of mastermind who ushered Jeremy Lin and Mike D'Antoni out of town during his early days in New York.

That said, the tides of change are starting to shift in the media and now the questions being asked are focused more on Melo the leader, a story that has just begun to be told. Credit Phil Jackson in large part for this paradigm shift, as when the Knicks President first stepped foot back in town his first order of business was to make Melo into a leader. Despite the standard whispers of a rift between the two, Melo has been fully committed to Jackson's mental approach and completely bought in and despite not making the playoffs the past three seasons Anthony hasn't wavered. It's a change that Team USA brass took notice of as well.

"More mature," Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo told NBA.com's David Aldridge. "'Melo was a different kind of guy. He'd been around the track a few times. This was, he wasn't sure he was going to do it. I think in retrospect, he's happy he did."

With Team USA in the rearview mirror and another Gold Medal in tow, Anthony has one thing left on his resume to achieve. It's the last goal in his quest and what he accomplished this summer should allow him to take a bit more pressure off of himself and build up his teammates to support him and this starts with Derrick Rose. A huge part of who the Knicks become this year starts and ends with Rose, who Jackson acquired after asking Melo his thoughts on the roster following the season. Rose has an eerily similar skill set to Anthony's running mate this summer, Kyrie Irving, and if Anthony can mesh with Rose the way he did Kyrie, the Knicks fans are in for a major treat. Adding Kristaps Porzingis to that duo would give the Knicks one of the most feared trios in all of basketball. But it will take all the leadership skills that Anthony has accrued since Jackson's arrival to connect his skills with those of Rose.

To me, that's the number one storyline coming into the preseason. Rose is a heck of a talent, but the narrative surrounding him coming out of Chicago is one centered around being a "me first" player as well. Building chemistry between the two quickly will be the biggest task for new coach Jeff Hornacek. Can Rose take it upon himself to learn and grow as a leader in the same way Melo has so that he can achieve what he wants to achieve at the NBA level?

It remains to be seen, but those who truly know Rose seem to believe that he's at his best when he has something to prove and that many of the criticisms he faced in Chicago were downright unfair. Like Melo, Rose can quickly gain favor from fans and teammates by coming into camp ready to learn and embrace the culture and environment that the Knicks have been quietly building internally for the past few years. The Knicks are ready to make a huge leap forward this year and Rose can exhilarate that process by following Melo's lead.

Indeed, camp can't come fast enough to see if this can be achieved. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony walks away from international play after winning his third Olympic gold medal.  (Jeff Swinger (USA Today))
Carmelo Anthony walks away from international play after winning his third Olympic gold medal. (Jeff Swinger (USA Today))

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Over the course of his Knicks tenure, Carmelo Anthony has been under plenty of scrutiny as the subject of a variety of criticisms. As New York has continued to struggle over the years, of course, some of it has been justified. But alas, some of the more exaggerated criticism simply comes with the territory of playing in one of the biggest markets in the world. 

Anthony has watched from home, long after his Knicks have been sent packing for the offseason, as friends like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have gone on to win multiple NBA championships. Kobe Bryant, one of Anthony's mentors, will go down in history as one of the greatest winners in the game. Even his buddy Kevin Durant has helped the OKC Thunder fight much further into the postseason than Anthony himself has ever gotten. Only 27, Durant's window for an NBA title is still wide open, especially after joining the Golden State Warriors.

In any event, from a team standpoint, that championship ring continues to elude Anthony. As such, his NBA accomplishments could go on to pale in comparison to some of his counterparts.

Much of this conversation will pick right up and be in full swing, as Anthony gets poised to lead the Knicks through yet another training camp next month. But for now, it's quite alright for everyone to take brief solace in what he accomplished this weekend.  

Alas, New York too employs a winner, one that has succeeded on quite the special stage, unlike anyone before him. After logging seven points and seven rebounds in Team USA's gold medal game win over Serbia on Sunday, the Knicks' forward became the first male basketball player in Team USA history to win three Olympic gold medals. 

Coincidentally enough, Anthony is now the envy of many of his friends and rivals for a different reason. He holds a distinction that no one else does. Even if Durant or someone else comes along to do as Anthony did and follow in his footsteps, it will be clear that the 32 year old set the precedent. 

Anthony, the Knicks, their fans, and media can all let that settle in, albeit it, for a brief period of time. He knows what it takes to win on a grand stage. Whether or not that ultimately translates to the NBA hardwood remains to be seen, but the awareness and sense of accomplishment is there. That's valuable to have. Other players will look up to Anthony for that reason.

Following Sunday's victory, Anthony was clearly and visibly emotional, and rightfully so. It means something to win and do so as a representative of your country. But perhaps even more importantly for the Knicks, Anthony not only basked in the opportunity to win, but to lead.

"I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be a leader, not only of this team, but of our country," he said.

"I'm excited, for me, but also for the guys that have never experienced anything like this," Anthony later added. 

It's time to appreciate this sense of accomplishment, because for all that others do during the NBA season, Anthony is the first to accomplishment this specific feat as one of the greatest USA Basketball Olympians of all time. Hopefully he'll carry that sense of pride with him into this coming season.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

Carmelo Anthony, left, and Team USA teammate guard Kyrie Irving celebrate another U.S. men's basketball Olympic gold. (David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports)
Carmelo Anthony, left, and Team USA teammate guard Kyrie Irving celebrate another U.S. men's basketball Olympic gold. (David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports)

Critiqued for its perceived lack of dominance despite winning Group A, the United States saved its best for last on Sunday in the gold medal game.

Kevin Durant continued a career full of monster gold medal games, finishing with 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting and four assists to lead the Americans to a 96-66 throttling of Serbia on Sunday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro. The gold medal is the United States' third straight and sixth in the last seven Olympics.

Playing in his record fourth and final Olympics, the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony became the third American men's basketball player to win three gold medals. His first Olympics, the infamous 2004 Athens Games, yielded a bronze.

"We fought, it wasn't always pretty," a clearly emotional Anthony said on NBC shortly after the final buzzer. "We came together July 17 and we all committed for this one reason. It was a special moment for me.

"This is the end, this is it for me. I committed to this in '04. I've seen the worst and I've seen the best, and I stuck with it, we stuck with it. I'm here today, three gold medals later."

In this era of USA Basketball, beginning in 2005 when Jerry Colangelo was named managing director and Mike Krzyzewski coach, the Americans have often displayed dominance, but group play in Rio was different.

The United States blasted China and Venezuela to open the Olympics, but then defeated Australia by 10, and Serbia and France by three. Those last two wins, especially, brought to the forefront the notion that the United States was vulnerable.

That notion, despite the United States not having a full A-squad assembled in Rio, proved false. A six-point win over world power Spain in the semifinals on Friday was sandwiched between routs of Argentina in the quarterfinals and Serbia on Sunday.

Like Anthony, Krzyzewski's time with the national team has come to an end, having produced three Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016), two FIBA World Cup gold medals (2010, 2014) and a Worlds bronze (2006).

Between the Olympics and World Cup, Krzyzewski, 69, finishes with a record of 60-1, including 53 straight wins dating back to a semifinal loss to Greece at 2006 Worlds.

"Coach K, myself, Jerry Colangelo and everybody else who's been a part of this situation, who's been a part of USAB since I've been here, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be one of the leaders, not just of our team, but of our country," Anthony said

"Despite everything going on in our country, we've got to be united and I'm glad I did what I did. I stepped up to the challenge, but this is what it's about."

With Krzyzewski stepping down, Colangelo named San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich as his successor last October. Popovich has USAB experience, having been an assistant during the organization's darkest days, in 2002 when it finished sixth on home soil at the World Championships, and in 2004.

The next global competition in which the United States will take part is the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Unlike past Worlds, the Olympic champion does not gain automatic qualification, which means the United States will have to qualify via the 2019 FIBA Americas Championship.

There have been early concerns that since the FIBA Americas, plus other Confederation qualifiers, would be held mid-year, they would be unlikely to include NBA players.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Josh Newman

Caron Butler (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports Images)
Caron Butler (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Add Caron Butler to the growing list of veterans interested in joining the Knicks.

Talking with Anthony Donahue on an episode of "33rd and 7th", the 14-year NBA vet raved about the moves the Knicks made. In addition to expressing optimism around Derrick Rose and others, Butler made note of how much easier the team's new additions should make things for Carmelo Anthony. His role on this summer's Team USA Olympic squad is mere validation of just that.

But of course, Butler, currently a free agent, wouldn't mind joining the party, either. 

"Steve Mills and those guys have done a great job, particularly in this offseason," he said. After spending last season with the Kings, Butler spoke highly of the chance to play in New York next. "That would obviously be a great scenario as well, playing in that market and MSG, so we'll see what happens," he added.

What makes Butler special? He's obviously an accomplished and experienced player who has been through a lot and persevered, both on and off the court. Winning an NBA championship and being able to have called the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade teammates doesn't hurt one's resume, either. Still, as previously stated, he'll have to get in line. There are a variety of veterans who would covet the chance to join the Knicks this coming season.

Unlike last season, this coming campaign's squad certainly has its fair share of veterans already. Though the team benefitted from having its core of veterans to lean on back in 2012-13, this year's dynamic is set to be different, even while aiming for similarly successful results. Butler said he thought the Knicks were "definitely a playoff team" as currently constructed.

Still, with a fair share of veterans already in tow, it wouldn't be a bad thing to have a few hungry youngsters competing for New York's final roster spot going into camp. Bringing in Butler, however, would not only provide such young guns with guidance, but light the fire under them as well. Though both Marshall Plumlee and Maurice NDour have full (albeit it, minimum) guarantees towards the upcoming season, perhaps the Knicks wouldn't mind biting the bullet to release them, if a veteran like Butler outplays one of them by a large margin. They could simply roll out a few options during camp, and let the best man win. The wealthier a team's talent base is, the better.

Butler's interest in the Knicks is worth noting, especially as he talks about cementing his legacy and helping his career come to a close on the right note. The changes New York has made are providing veterans with the belief that they'll compete, and are potentially worth joining. If nothing else, yet another veteran's interest should give Knicks brass something to debate in the coming weeks. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

One of the key points from last month's introductory press conference was Knicks GM Steve Mills pointing out that the front office was focused on signing players who really wanted to be here.

Of all the players who the team signed during free agency, perhaps the one player who was most adamant about being a Knick was forward Lance Thomas.

"I really think what happened with a guy like Lance Thomas is indicative of how players were feeling about our team," Mills said. "Lance called me probably four times from the time we made the [Rose] trade and then on July 4, we were in Orlando and he called me to wish me a Happy Fourth [of July] and he also told me, 'Listen Steve, I talked to my agent and I told him I want to be with the Knicks. So that was sort of the general feeling that players had about what we wanted to get accomplished, so for us that was a really positive sign."

Thomas represents a player who can help pull the offense and defense together. He can play 30 minutes or he can play 10. He can guard four positions and always seems to be in the right spot defensively. And when he's knocking down his open shots, like he did in December and early January, the Knicks played their best basketball of the season.

Thomas shot 52 percent from the field in the month of December, including 48 percent from three -- helping the Knicks to the .500 mark and competing with the league's best.

His game reminds me of a fellow Duke alum, who was perhaps the game's best glue guy for the better part of his 13 seasons which saw him win two NBA championships. And that's Shane Battier.

What Battier was able to do for the Miami Heat at the end of his career is exactly what the Knicks need, which is to do all the little things the team needs to win and make open shots. If he can stay healthy, he just may be able to and that will be invaluable to the Knicks this season.

The biggest question mark for Thomas, 28, is health. And that question mark is one that looms high above both Mills and Phil Jackson on a team that already has injury concerns attached to the money they are spending on Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

The Knicks could have re-signed Derrick Williams, whose exciting style in transition helped them get easy baskets, but they decided Thomas fit what they are building more than the former number two overall pick. Thomas must prove he can be durable or that decision could prove extremely costly.

Last year, Thomas appeared in a career-high 59 games in what was his breakout year after spending several years with the New Orleans Pelicans and one year with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

His 2015-16 season was limited due to a knee injury he suffered in practice. While there wasn't any structural damage Thomas missed significant time and that is something that simply cannot happen this year if the Knicks hope to make a serious run at the playoffs and beyond.



Perhaps Thomas' biggest asset offensively is his ability to knock down the all-important three pointers from both corners. The corner three is essential to an offense as it is critical to the dribble penetration process.

When a point guard attacks the basket after beating their man off the dribble it forces the defender guarding the corner to help allowing for a kick out. It also is often the last pass on a full ball reversal that keeps the help defense moving and out of position to cover all spots.

Last season, Thomas shot 18-for-40 from the left corner and 7-for-20 from the right corner for a combined 40 precent, per vorped.com. Combining Thomas and Courtney Lee gives the Knicks solid spot-shooting but also two players adept at attacking closeout defenders. Thomas was 46-for-87 (53 percent) from15 feet and in and along the right baseline last season.

One of the most little discussed advantages that Miami had when Lebron James decided to play there was that it afforded them the ability to sign the best role players in Battier and Ray Allen. Once the Heat had those final pieces, they were able to win another championship with Dwyane Wade and win Lebron's first.

Battier was by far the game's best glue guy when he signed in Miami at 33 years old and the Knicks may have landed a gem in Thomas, who is currently five years younger than Battier was when he landed in South Beach.

It's a big gamble to put that sort of responsibility on Thomas, but you know he's been prepared having played at Duke and having watched and learned from the greats before him like Battier.

If Thomas can stay healthy, he can make the Knicks a major threat against the best teams in the conference and potentially help vault the Knicks into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Tags: Lance Thomas

Which Melo will return from Rio? 00:03:38
The panel discusses whether or not Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony can replicate his form at the Olympics when he returns to the states.

The panel discusses whether or not Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony can replicate his form at the Olympics when he returns to the states.


Courtney Lee (1) steps out of bounds while dribbling the ball against the Miami Heat during the first half in game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)
Courtney Lee (1) steps out of bounds while dribbling the ball against the Miami Heat during the first half in game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

There was a moment during the free agency process when Courtney Lee was in limbo.

The free agent guard, who was high on the Knicks wish list, had been talking with Joakim Noah about joining the team for a few days before July 1. That was before the Dwyane Wade divorce from Miami had started, which is when things briefly got very interesting. The Knicks inquired about Wade and ultimately passed on the future Hall of Famer before closing their deal with Lee during the team's Summer League appearance in Orlando.

It was an amazing haul for Jackson considering that the Hornets held Lee's "Bird Rights," which generally results in the incumbent team keeping their free agent. The Knicks recruitment, led by Noah, ultimately sold Lee on calling Madison Square Garden home.

In Lee, the Knicks got their "3 and D" perimeter player and his signing may be the most underrated of all of Phil Jackson's offseason moves. Ironically, it was Lee's defensive effort against Wade that stood out to me most this past post season as the Hornets gave Miami all they could handle over seven games. A few months back, Lee was dealt to the Charlotte Hornets from Memphis to bring more perimeter defense to Steve Clifford's team. The results following the trade were staggering for the Hornets as they finished the regular season winning 20 of 28 games, and 48 wins overall, their most since the 1999-00 season.

Lee, 30, is the type of player who is easy to root for as his effort defensively will instantaneously make him a crowd favorite. He seems to possess the clutch gene and his offensive efficiency seems to perfectly fits a team that already has the makings of a supremely talented offensive group. Lee is a spot shooter who is adept at attacking the closeout, something Jeff Hornacek loves to see in his players dating back to his days in Phoenix. Lee benefitted from kick outs off penetration, playing off Mike Conley in Memphis and Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin in Charlotte, making him the perfect compliment on the perimeter. Of his 639 field goal attempts during the regular season last year he attempted 504 jump shots while making 82 of his 217 three point attempts. In addition, he attempted 153 shots at the rim per NBA stats making 92 (60 percent).  

He's not a volume shooter either, which perfectly suits what the Knicks need from a 4th or 5th offensive option. Last yea,r Arron Afflalo, who spent the year playing on a contract with a player option, tended to try to do too much offensively and that isn't what the Knicks need from Lee. They need a guy who can knock down open shots and attack contesting defenders before either finishing the play or kicking the ball to an open man. Lee had an overall field goal efficiency of 56.2 percent in catch and shoot situations and shot 40 percent from 3 point range off the catch. If the Knicks wanted to go small and efficient they could tinker with a Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis unit to try and create some space. Adding Lance Thomas to that group wouldn't be a bad idea either, the way he shoots threes from the corners.

Defensively, Lee can guard three positions, which helps them in rotations should they be forced to switch on ball screens. At 6'5", he can spend time at small forward on both ends and that versatility should benefit what Hornacek likes to do on both ends. Lee had a -1.7 Diff%, which measures the difference between a shooter's average field goal percentage and when a player was guarding them. Lee's Diff% on field goal attempts greater than 15 feet was a terrific -2.9 showing a strong ability to close out and cover shooters. He struggles off the dribble and on the interior, +8.5 Diff% on field goals inside 6 feet, which means Hornacek will have to protect him from guarding faster ball handlers and bigger post up guards and forwards. 

In addition to being versatile and efficient another thing that comes to mind when talking about Lee's game is durability. He's played in over 70 games in six of his eight NBA seasons and has averaged 78 games played over his last two seasons. On a team where the narrative being driven by detractors is all about injury concerns, Lee's durability is very important story to tell. The Knicks need for this trend to continue as they hope their core offensive players namely Anthony, Rose and Porzingis can play in at least 70 games together.

There's a lot to like about the Lee acquisition and it starts with his efficiency, versatility and durability. What I can gather from his work thus far is that he very much possesses many of the endearing qualities that "Old School" Knicks fans can quickly embrace. He plays on both sides of the ball, plays with heart and passion, doesn't need the ball constantly to be effective and isn't afraid of the big stage.


Phil Jackson smiles during a news conference. (USA Today)
Phil Jackson smiles during a news conference. (USA Today)

Phil Jackson is an optimist when it comes to the Knicks chances of becoming a contender this season, CBS Sports' Matt Moore writes.

With the hiring of head coach Jeff Hornacek and the additions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee to a roster that already includes veteran All-Star Carmelo Anthony and rising star Kristaps Porzingis, Jackson is hoping for a best-case scenario season. 

In spite of the injury concerns that surround Rose, Noah and Jennings - the Knicks should see team growth even if they receive positive contributions from only a few of their new faces.

Jackson is banking on the Knicks fortunes turning around in terms of "things working out."


Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Changing of the guard is a good thing. Following two underwhelming seasons, the type of splash that has previously been unfamiliar to Phil Jackson's tenure with the Knicks was much needed. 

Acquiring Derrick Rose was a good move, even if it meant giving up what stands as a very competitive contract to Robin Lopez in the seasons that will follow. Rose is a high-reward player, and with only one year remaining on his contract, comes with a low enough risk aside from dealing Lopez and young gun Jerian Grant. Best-case scenario would be to see Rose succeed and his play thrive from his previously injury-riddled campaigns. This would hopefully lead to a long-term relationship between he and New York. Worst-case scenario is the Knicks have more flexibility to make improvements when his contract off the books next summer should he underwhelm in his short tenure. 

Moving quickly to trade for Rose, rather than waiting things out to see what was available in free agency, set the tone for the rest of the offseason in quite an aggressive and assertive way. Afterward, in came Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee and other young talents as well. The (albeit, near) future looks bright because change has occurred.

And that seems to be the general consensus across the league -- from fans, to the media, and rival NBA personnel. The Knicks made (seemingly positive) moves that resulted in some very refreshing splashes. They're going for the gusto, and perhaps that type of effort is exactly what's needed after so many slips and falls. This is a welcomed change, and even if the team subsequently fails, at least they were proactive in attempting to switch things up.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

Orlando Magic guard Brandon Jennings (55) dribbles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Dallas Mavericks 110-104. (Kim Klement)
Orlando Magic guard Brandon Jennings (55) dribbles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Dallas Mavericks 110-104. (Kim Klement)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

A source close to Phil Jackson told me early last month that of all the moves the Knicks president made, getting Brandon Jennings on a $5 million dollar deal ranks right on top. The reason why was that the Detroit Pistons, who Jennings played with before being dealt to the Orlando Magic in February, were actively shopping him and were aware of Jackson's fondness. The talks got so close, I'm told, that the Pistons showcased Jennings when the Pistons played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, which was his first game since injuring his Achilles tendon. As the season progressed, the Pistons wanted Jackson to part with rookie Jerian Grant and potentially include a draft pick. Jackson ultimately refused, utilized Grant to secure Derrick Rose and signed Jennings as a free agent.   

All things being equal, it's easy for basketball fans to get excited about the prospects of Carmelo Anthony being paired with Rose. Rose can trigger the offense with his ability to push the ball and attack the basket, leaving Melo to be the recipient of secondary action. But when you look at a few key examples, it just may be Jennings that is the team's most important piece.

The first example is the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns. According to 82games.com, the Suns' "best five player unit" was Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee. In 436 combined minutes together this group had a win % of 62.8 with a 1.08 offensive rating, a 0.96 defensive rating and a ridiculous plus/minus of +116. This is interesting because the narrative surrounding this team, and Jeff Hornacek, is that they were most successful in a "space and pace" system using Frye at the stretch center position and relying on drives something that Knicks fans hope Hornacek implements in a big way this year. The team's second best five player unit, albeit in less minutes, was Ish Smith, Gerald Green, the Morris Twins and Frye at the five. This group, in 57 minutes, had a 62.5 win % with a 1.21 offensive rating, a 0.82 defensive rating and a plus/minus of +45.

What does this mean? First and foremost, the Suns were at their best with a two-headed point guard lineup, something that I'd be fascinated to see Hornacek attempt with Rose and Jennings in a HORNS/Triangle mashup. Rose is not a player who has proven comfortable off of the ball, but Jennings can be and that can be a lethal offense off the dribble opening up shots for Anthony and Porzingis. Both Rose and Jennings are comparable to Bledsoe and Dragic statistically, and Anthony is head and shoulders better than Tucker. If Porzingis can match Frye's shooting ability from distance and Noah can be the rebounder and screen setter that Plumlee was, this offense can be every bit as dynamic. The 2013-14 Suns were 21st in the NBA in two pointers made and 4th in three pointers attempted finishing sixth overall in made three pointers per basketball reference.

So where does Courtney Lee fit in all of this? He's not the dynamic athlete Gerald Green is, but he is a very efficient spot shooter shooting over 50% in catch-and-shoot three pointers last year. He will benefit from the space created from penetration and kicks off closeouts. If history teaches us anything about the cerebral Hornacek, I envision Lee starting with Rose, Anthony, Porzingis and Noah with Jennings as sixth man and the Knicks going smaller with the second unit. The Knicks should be very effective in late 1st and early second quarters, which are critical minutes that must support the starting five to start the game. 

The one potential negative to a Jennings/Rose backcourt if you want to see Porzingis score more this year was the lack of shots for Frye. This may not be the best news for Porzingis if Anthony is on the floor. Frye was used as a screener who was more comfortable popping out to create space as he averaged 5.3 there pointers per game. Both Dragic and Bledsoe were so adept at driving there wasn't much need to pick and pop meaning the benefactors off of drives were Green and Markieff Morris who combined for 22.7 field goal attempts per game to Frye's 9.5 FGA per contest. If Porzingis can continue to excel at attacking the close out, which Frye cannot do, then the sky is the limit for Porzingis if he's paired with Jennings and Rose.

If you're looking for a more recent example of what the Knicks offense could look like from a personnel standpoint factoring in the nuances of the "modern triangle" I'd offer last year's San Antonio Spurs with Porzingis in the Lamarcus Aldridge role, Melo as Kawhi Leonard and Rose as Tony Parker. No, I do not believe the Knicks will win 67 games this year, but they have the tools to be a top 10 offensive team in terms of rating as they shift to play a faster pace while shooting more three pointers.

In the world of "space and pace" the Spurs led the NBA in two-pointers made and were 26th overall in three pointers attempted in accruing those 67 wins. With Anthony and Porzingis, you have to anticipate that the Knicks will often live in mid range, especially if they don't pair Jennings and Rose and want to create more shot attempts for Porzingis. Parker and Rose aren't a perfect match as Parker passes off of his drives far more than Rose does (42.2% vs. 23.3%) but both create exceptional penetration off pick and rolls. Last year Rose ran pick and roll 43% of his possessions as the primary ball handler to Parker's 51% with Rose running 563 total to Parker's 469. 

Per 82games.com the Spurs best 5-man unit was Parker, Danny Green, Aldridge, Leonard and Tim Duncan. This group, in 697 minutes, had a 58.6 win % with a 1.07 offensive rating, a 0.98 defensive rating and a plus/minus of +130. The Spurts also greatly benefitted, as they had during their dynasty years, with the combination of Parker and Manu Ginobili attacking off of drives together in the same fashion that Dragic and Bledsoe did. This also gives credence to the idea of playing Rose and Jennings together.

When you look at history and the pieces the Knicks now possess, there is a lot to get excited about. In my mind, there's nothing more exciting than the prospects of pairing Rose and Jennings in the backcourt with Jennings as 6th man in Hornacek's Modern Triangle hybrid. History shows that teams who can pair elite pick-and-roll penetrators can really create opportunities for other scorers in their lineup. In Anthony, Porzingis, Lee, Lance Thomas, Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas the Knicks can score from virtually every part of the floor in both transition and in the half court and that balance should make them an extremely dangerous offensive team this season. 


Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

According to the latest NBA MVP odds released by Bovada Las Vegas, Carmelo Anthony stands the best chance at winning the award for the Knicks with 33/1 odds, followed by Derrick Rose at 100/1, and Kristaps Porzingis at 300/1. 

The likelihood of Anthony winning such an honor seems a bit generous, but should just about everything go right for the Knicks this coming season, who knows? Anthony has certainly been in the MVP conversation earlier in his career, most notably when he stood as the NBA's scoring champion back in the 2012-13 season. It was then, of course, that New York also won the Atlantic Division championship as the second seed in the East.

The team appears to have its best roster on paper, this coming season, since then. Anthony will have the support he needs if those around him stay healthy enough. That dominant and consistent scoring ability needs to be present, but so does a certain trust level in his teammates. Over the least two seasons, though the Knicks have fallen flat overall, Anthony has developed into more of a team player and generous passer. If all of this comes together and New York begins to really make some noise in their respective conference, Anthony will likely be largely to thank. Perhaps MVP consideration could follow.

Of course, there would appear to be a higher likelihood that some of the Knicks win other awards. Primed to come off the bench as Rose's backup (for the first time as a healthy player in his career), Brandon Jennings should be a favorite for Sixth Man of the Year. Undoubtedly someone who basks in big moments with the ball in his hands, the 26 year old can score in bunches and could still be found playing important crunch time minutes for the Knicks. After an injury-riddled campaign last season, he's hungry to prove himself during another contract year. His impact and respective numbers should reflect that, and Sixth Man honors would put a nice exclamation point on his efforts.

After emerging as the runner-up for Coach of the Year honors back in 2013-14, Jeff Hornacek could receive consideration yet again if he helps elevate the Knicks. Surely, New York has made notable improvements this summer. They look like a playoff team on paper. But after a dismal campaign last season, Anthony and Porzingis still remain the squad's two best players. There are a lot of moving parts and new faces, so chemistry could be an issue. There are injury-plagued players sprinkled across the roster. Guys will need to come together, remain consistent and relatively healthy. It's largely up to Hornacek to ensure that happens. If he can lead New York to a decent playoff seeding, say anywhere between fourth and sixth (wishful thinking on the team's part, of course), he'll deserve to be in the COY award conversation.

Without any notable rookies, the Most Improved Player award will probably be the last one any of the Knicks actually have a shot at. 300/1 odds for MVP is a long shot, so Porzingis' best chance at a year-end award might be the MIP. It was clear as he begun to come into his own last season that the young gun is clearly on the cusp of something special very early in his career. Even at 21 years old, the Knicks already trust him quite a bit, and will need to rely on him. He's very talented offensively, and isn't afraid to get down and dirty on the boards or defensively, either. His decision-making (and respective shot selection) will need to improve, but if the Knicks are rolling and Porzingis is making a notable impact, he'll likely garner All-Star consideration. Perhaps that could also propel him into the MIP conservation as well.

New York may have a trio of players in Las Vegas odds for the NBA's highest individual honor, but it would certainly appear that there's a better chance at other players winning different awards this coming season instead.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

 (Jeff Swinger)
(Jeff Swinger)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

There was a distinct moment during Team USA's eventual victory over France this past weekend where I thought to myself that Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks are going to surprise NBA teams this year. Kyrie Irving took an outlet pass and zipped up the court in transition, forcing the defense to stop his penetration while Anthony and Kevin Durant lumbered down their respective fast break lanes. Durant went to the strong side elbow as Irving found his way near the right block near the basket and Anthony sat patiently on the weak side wing completely unguarded. As Irving was stopped he passed the ball to Durant who immediately reversed the ball to Anthony for a wide open three. This is a play that should present itself time and time again for the Knicks with Derrick Rose replacing Irving and Kristaps Porzingis replacing Durant in the three-man scenario.

As exciting as that thought is for Anthony and fans, this offseason has been an active one for Melo both on and off the court. Whether taking a hardline stance on social issues and urging others to be more vocal and proactive, or emerging as a team leader and viral video sensation for Team USA, Anthony has been in the limelight in a big way this summer. Unfortunately it hasn't all been great, and last week really presented the worst in sports media in how they cover the Knicks superstar. And if we're telling the complete truth here, it's why playing on the big stage under the brightest of lights has caused players like Lebron James, Durant and Russell Westbrook to shun New York, leaving Melo all alone on an island both literally and figuratively.

That notion is one that sparked a very solid and fair take about Anthony. One that was perfectly delivered by ESPN's Scott Van Pelt and one that is absolutely worth sharing.

Unfortunately, this past week also saw a boisterous beat reporter-turned-sports entertainer and critical sports curmudgeon take aim at Anthony. Both were such completely outrageous takes that they won't be linked here to draw attention to them. Both attacked Melo in such unprofessional manners it's hard to fathom how athletes deal with such hateful and manipulative criticisms. It begs the question. How did Melo become this type of target? Is it simply because this is what you ask for when you choose to become the highest paid player on an underperforming team in the world's greatest city? Is this the cost? If this is the case then this needs to change because it's downright childish and the way to change it is to win.

Anthony has the opportunity to silence all of his critics and make even more fans this year if he can pair well with Rose and continue to help Porzingis develop. The pieces around him are there and now is the time for him to step forward and make it all worth it. It's time for people to stop crafting negative narratives that cause folks like me to have to revert to the other side to support him. I shouldn't have to defend Melo with thoughts like "he'd be a top 50 all-time player if he played with Westbrook" or "imagine if he took the easy route like Lebron and went to Chicago as a free agent."

It's Melo's time to start telling his own story so that the people who get paid to loudly and unfairly criticize him can shut the hell up for once.

What a day that will be.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) high fives forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Jennifer Stewart)
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) high fives forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Jennifer Stewart)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

With the release of the 2016-17 season NBA schedule, here's a look at what figure to be some very key matchups for the new-look Knicks. 

Oct. 25 -- visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Knicks have the luxury of opening up their season against the defending champions. This may certainly be a steep order to start things off, but LeBron James always seems to bring out the best in Carmelo Anthony. Hopefully the Knicks star can rise to the level of the three-time NBA champion, if only for one evening. Starting off the season on the right foot for New York is crucial. A win would be nice, but just a very competitive effort would be a step in the right direction.

Nov. 4 -- visiting the Chicago Bulls

If there wasn't already plenty of past history between these two squads from over the course of time, this summer's activity will make the Knicks/Bulls an interesting matchup to watch right off the bat. After spending his entire career in Chicago, new Knick Derrick Rose won't have to wait very long to return to his roots. He's surely to be celebrated with a warm reception by the fans, as should Joakim Noah.

Nov. 9 -- hosting the Brooklyn Nets

This game will mark Jeremy Lin's return to MSG as a member of the Nets. Regardless of how much time passes, Lin will always be a fixture in The World's Most Famous Arena. There will be talk of what he accomplished, how he took the world by storm, how and why his Knicks tenure ended, etc. The fact that he now dons a Brooklyn uniform should only reignite this still relatively burning fire. 

Dec. 2 -- hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves

With Noah in town, Kristaps Porrzingis is likely to play more of the four than five this season. Still, as the veteran rests or sits out due to potential injury, Porzingis could certainly still see some time at center over the course of the year. Regardless of where his general position will be, expect him to get some reps defending Karl-Anthony Towns when Minnesota comes to town. The match up between last season's two rookie studs was an entertaining one to see, so watching the pair continue to go at it after more growth should be even better.

Dec. 15 -- visiting the Golden State Warriors

New York hasn't been known to play the Stephen Curry-age Warriors competitively at all in recent years, but this game should still be an interesting watch for even the most casual NBA fans. It'll be the Knicks' first glance at the new-look Warriors featuring Kevin Durant. Even by mid-December, the season will be in swing long enough to see if the superstar's arrival has been making a positive impact on the 2015 NBA champions.

Dec. 25 -- hosting the Boston Celtics

With an improved roster, a new head coach, and an overall revived winning mentality, the Knicks are hoping for a return to relevancy as well. Being front and center while hosting a Christmas Day matchup on national television is a big step. It's proof that the league is taking note of New York's positive direction. The Knicks and Celtics both bolstered their rosters this summer, hopefully reviving what was a heated rivalry between the squads. Isaiah Thomas has always given Knickerbocker point guards fits, but perhaps the arrival of Rose will put an end to that. 

Jan. 16 -- hosting the Atlanta Hawks

Al Horford may have gone to Beantown, but things will still be interesting when New York hosts the now Dwight Howard-led Hawks. Playing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (at home, no less) has become a refreshing and entertaining tradition for the Knicks. This should be a fun matinee.

Feb 25 -- hosting the Philadelphia 76ers

As the Knicks have aimed to rebuild and retool in their own way, the future in Philadelphia is looking as bright as ever. This not only marks the professional MSG debut of Ben Simmons, but could also be the Big Apple debut for the oft-injured young sensation, Joel Embiid. 

March 20 -- visiting the Los Angles Clippers

Knicks-Clippers matchups aren't usually too meaningful, especially when one considers how poorly New York has performed in recent years. This LA squad has had the Knicks' number. Still, this will be a national game in the schedule on TNT. With a new look squad, hopefully the Knicks will have some momentum at this point in the season to put forth a respectable effort. Perhaps the playoff picture will be a hot topic of conversation as well. In any event, an opponent featuring stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is fun to watch as well.

The month of April

Out of six games in this shortened schedule month, the Knicks will be featured three times on national television when counting the one NBATV game. Of course, this could change, but it will be interesting to see if New York remains healthy and relevant all the way through this point in the regular season. It would be refreshing to see the playoffs represent a still brightly lit light at the end of the tunnel. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Boston Celtics , Cleveland Cavaliers , Golden State Warriors , Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) laugh on the court during second half time out against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 106-94. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) laugh on the court during second half time out against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 106-94. (Noah K. Murray)

The New York Knicks will open the 2016-2017 NBA season in Cleveland as they take on the defending champion Cavaliers on October 25 at 8pm, according to the schedule released on NBA.com.

Here are some other notable games coming up this season:

The home opener will take place on October 29 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Knicks will visit the Bulls for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah's first trip back to Chicago on November 4.

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will play in the Garden on November 28.

Lebron James and the Cavaliers come to New York on December 7.

Boston travels to MSG on December 25 for a Christmas Day showdown at 12pm.

New York will spend New Year's Eve in Houston as they battle the Rockets.

The Knicks welcome Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors to New York on Sunday, March 5 at 3:30pm.

New York closes its regular season schedule on April 12 at home against the 76ers. 

 

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Judging by the schedule the Knicks have a REAL chance to get out and get more than a few games above .500 this year early in Oct/Nov. That will go a long way in building momentum and confidence early in the season. I'm particularly interested in seeing the first 7 games of November with games against Chicago, Brooklyn, Boston and Toronto. If I'm Jeff Hornacek, I'm preaching early momentum starting Day 1.


USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) reacts against Australia during men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. (John David Mercer)
USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) reacts against Australia during men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. (John David Mercer)

Over the course of his Knicks' tenure, Carmelo Anthony's emotional role has changed (or arguably, evolved) quite a bit. When he arrived, New York was clearly Amar'e Stoudemire's team. It wasn't long after, however, that STAT's inability to remain on the court phased him out relatively quickly. The Knicks were then Anthony's team, but the star forward still had others to lean on. Such players included a much more vocal and outspoken Tyson Chandler, but also players that Anthony could look up to like Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace. The list goes on.

But as these veterans have departed, the quality of play for New York has also decreased. Anthony has gone on to shoulder much of the blame, not only because his own consistency has wavered, but because he's failed to take charge of the new-look Knicks. Simply leading by example is just not enough anymore.

Respect is earned, not given. Even through the Knicks' struggles, Anthony has begun to put himself out there more. Going out of his way to specifically mentor Kristaps Porzingis is huge. During New York's exit meetings at season's end, Anthony let his voice be heard and campaigned for an upgrade at the point guard position. Phil Jackson listened, and in came Derrick Rose. The 32 year old also made it clear this summer would be different, and that he would be a part of the team's recruiting efforts. Based on the way the roster looks, they collectively did something right. Anthony was likely a part of that in some way, shape, or form.

His evolution has only continued with Team USA. An unprecedented participant, Anthony is going for his third gold medal in four attempts. If that weren't enough, he also emerged as the country's all-time leading scorer following Wednesday's victory.

All of this stands as the equivalent of being old and gray for Team USA. But more importantly, Anthony has finally embraced his role as elder statesman. Much like he has with Porzingis in New York, Anthony has made himself available to the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeMarcus Cousins. Not only is Anthony an Olympics veteran, but he knows what it means (and entails) to be a star. It's one thing to be a star in the NBA, but now the whole world is watching. Perhaps playing in New York, the pressures, criticism, and the media are all similarly as pressing. Either way, Anthony is experienced. He has the knowledge and credibility that other star players are hoping is contagious. Of course, he's still setting the tone with his play. That said, it's clear Team USA looks for him to lead on the court, off of it, from the bench, etc.

But the budding superstars of today's NBA aren't the only ones learning, Anthony still falls under that umbrella as well. This summer has thus far been an opportunity for him to get accustomed to trusting his teammates. There are players he can rely on. This coming fall, the Knicks roster will obviously be much improved from the previous campaign. But none of it will matter if Anthony doesn't realize that. 

But as fate would have it, he no longer has to carry the Knicks on his own. His role on Team USA is surely showing him how to succeed while embracing others, as well as the perception they have of him: someone to learn from. It's all healthy practice for Anthony to be open to a changing landscape. He now has the players around him he needs. He has to be their veteran. The incoming players should know how to pull their own weight, much like those on Team USA do. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

United States forward Carmelo Anthony and United States guard Kyrie Irving (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports Images)
United States forward Carmelo Anthony and United States guard Kyrie Irving (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports Images)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Dribble-drive penetration with the basketball is not a new idea in 2016. But it is a relatively new concept for New York Knicks fans since Phil Jackson took over in the front office.

With the acquisition of Derrick Rose, one of the game's most prolific penetrators, he may be able to have the same impact on Carmelo Anthony;s scoring that Kyrie Irving is having as part of Team USA. While it may be hard to get overly excited when factoring in Rose's injury history, but Rose played 66 games last season -- 13 more than Irving did in the regular season -- and with Rose heading into a contract year, it's safe to assume he'll come into camp in the best shape of his career. 

Anthony and Irving carried Team USA to a victory over Australia on Wednesday in a game in which the majority of players, including Kevin Durant, came out flat. Coach Mike Krzyzewski ran a series of pick-and-pop actions using Anthony as the screener for Irving, which freed him for a handful of 3-pointers. The results, and Anthony's overall scoring prowess, were the difference in a 98-88 victory. In the end it was Anthony, who passed Lebron James as the all-time leading scorer in USA Basketball Olympic history, who scored 31 points, brought down eight rebounds and went 9 for 15 from 3-point range.

Many have intimated that Anthony's game fits FIBA rules better than the NBA, and it's hard to agree. FIBA tournaments fit his game better because he's rarely double-teamed and he's impossible to stop one-on-one when his jumper is falling like it was yesterday. Factoring in the penetration that Irving gets, it opens the floor by causing the defense to have to make a decision. In layman's terms, penetration causes help defenders to have to stop the ball from going to the basket. When a defender has to help off of their man, other help defenders have to help them. That's what creates open, easier looks, which the Knicks simply haven't had over the past three years. The last time the Knicks made the playoffs (ironically following the 2012 Olympics when Anthony played great), they were led by the penetration of Raymond Felton.

And certainly Rose is an upgrade over Felton.

Is there a team that contains a driving, dynamic point guard and a lethal shooting combo forward that isn't good? Al Horford will be a great pair with Isaiah Thomas in Boston, but he doesn't have Anthony's range. Goran Dragic and Chris Bosh help combine for 48 Miami Heat wins. Heck, Felton and Deron Williams, paired with Dirk Nowitzski, managed 42 wins in the brutal Western Conference. Rose, paired with Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, should prove to be a lethal trio, with Rose's penetration causing the proper defensive reactions to create open looks.  

As Anthony continues to lead Team USA toward a gold medal, he's getting a taste of something he hasn't had much of in New York. Keep a close eye on how he plays with Irving, especially in halfcourt sets, as it may just provide a snapshot of what it will be like playing with the dynamic Rose.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

Ray Allen, who is interested in making an NBA comeback, is one of many veterans on the Knicks radar.  (Steve Mitchell (USA Today))
Ray Allen, who is interested in making an NBA comeback, is one of many veterans on the Knicks radar. (Steve Mitchell (USA Today))

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

As the Knicks sign a handful of young guns to partially guaranteed deals, it's worth noting that the team's final roster spot is seemingly up for grabs. Having not yet committed to one player in particular, New York is setting up for a healthy competition between an array of rather hungry players.

Technically speaking, the likes of Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, and JP Tokoto all stand a chance at securing that spot. That said, the team has already dished out guaranteed contracts to Marshall Plumlee, Maurice Ndour, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Willy Hernangomez. Each of the aforementioned players is yet to play in an NBA game.

With that in mind, perhaps the Knicks will desire a more experienced veteran to help balance things out a bit. As luck would have it, there is an increasing amount of notable players looking to catch on with an NBA team after taking some time off. They could potentially be good fits for New York as the organization looks to field a team that could compete right now.

Though 41-year-old Ray Allen is a two-time NBA champion (and a sure-fire Hall of Famer when his playing days are officially over), he's interested in another shot at contention - but the chance to feel wanted and be given an opportunity to contribute appear to supersede the absolute highest likelihood for a championship. While his former teams the Celtics and Bucks are intriguing options, perhaps the Knicks also stand a chance because they can offer the type of role he wants.

"Spike Lee has been trying to recruit me," Allen told the Hartford Courant. "We've been texting." The sharpshooter appeared in the super fan's film, "He's Got Game."

Whereas Allen would undoubtedly provide a more calming veteran presence, Stephen Jackson is also said to have potential eyes for the Knicks as well. 

"The Knicks are a great team too. Anytime you can play with a great player like Carmelo Anthony and a young, up-and-coming star like Kristaps Porzingis… Also they have Joakim Noah. They are going in the right direction. I want to be part of a team that wants to win. Guys that are trusting each other, guys that don't mind playing hard," Jackson said in a recent interview with HoopsHype.

After multiple seasons out of the NBA spotlight, it might take a veteran like Jackson a little while to find a rhythm again. Thus, he might need to grind it out without a guaranteed contract, or the money he's been accustomed to making. That, however, does not appear to be much of a concern. 

"There's a lot of guys in the NBA right now that are making money but they really don't care if they win or lose as long as they are getting the paycheck and I've never been like that," he added. "That's the sad part of the NBA right now, that there are some players that are making a lot of money but they don't really care about winning games and bringing the championship or a winning season to the organization, and that's what the fans are complaining about. And that's why a lot of fans want me back in the game. Because they know I appreciate the game, I'm not just there to get a paycheck."

Allen and Jackson each have early ties to the Knicks, but the options don't dry out there. The likes of Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, and Emeka Okafor are all reportedly amongst the list of veterans hoping to make NBA comebacks.

In any event, New York has held off from making a firm commitment to one player in particular for that final spot. While that will certainly set up a healthy battle between intriguing youngsters, it also helps them maintain the flexibility of adding a veteran who could potentially contribute right away. Such a deal could go down sometime in the near future, or the team could instead opt to wait until later on in the season to assess more options as needs arise. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser

United States forward Carmelo Anthony tips the ball in against Venezuela during the men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. (USA TODAY Sports)
United States forward Carmelo Anthony tips the ball in against Venezuela during the men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. (USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony passed Michael Jordan for third-most points in USA Basketball Olympic history in Team USA's 113-69 win over Venezuela on Monday.

Anthony scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting to up his Olympic total to 258 points, passing Jordan's 256.

Anthony can pass David Robinson's 270 points and LeBron James' 273 points in Team USA's game against Australia on Wednesday.

 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Lithuania small forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas (19) shoots a free throw against Brazil in a mens preliminary basketball game at Carioca Arena 1 during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. (Robert Hanashiro)
Lithuania small forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas (19) shoots a free throw against Brazil in a mens preliminary basketball game at Carioca Arena 1 during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. (Robert Hanashiro)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

It's a point that I plan on driving home often.

There are players who you want on your roster, like Derrick Rose, who can produce big numbers any given night. Guys who just know how to put the ball in the basket and know when to involve others if all five defenders make it a point to stop them from getting to the basket. These are your middle of the lineup hitters in baseball, your work horse running backs and possession receivers with game-breaking ability in football. In the end, the game of basketball is about working as a team, but ultimately relying on your horses to bring you home. It's still a "star" league, and the best players are the most productive, efficiencies or not.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas, the 26-year-old Lithuanian forward that the Knicks signed this off season, fits this notion perfectly, and his 8 point, 5 rebound, +16 performance yesterday in Lithuania's 82-76 victory over Brazil in the Olympic games showed just what he's capable of adding to the Knicks this season. 

Kuzminskas came off the bench and played a very "efficient" 20 minutes of high level basketball. He was able to find his spots from the perimeter, making a three pointer and getting fouled on another where he was able to convert the subsequent three free throws. What he clearly brings is a deep understanding of team basketball and how his shooting prowess can impact a half court possession. He's always a threat from deep and that certainly will benefit the likes of Rose, Brandon Jennings and any other member of the Knicks who can utilize the lane to penetrate and make plays.

What stood out even more for me yesterday was Kuzminskas' ability to read the defense on the weak side of the floor off the ball. He reads help defenders well and has good enough footwork to find openings and create open looks for himself, or keep possessions alive with offensive rebounds. Three of his five total rebounds came on the offensive end, including a key, put-back layup that stifled a furious Brazil run in the fourth quarter. Those type of back-breaking plays, triggered by pure smarts, are immeasurable.

Is he a player who can produce at a high level in the NBA? I don't think so at this point. But what the Knicks appear to have in Kuzminskas is a player who fits the team game that they are trying to achieve under Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek, and he's someone who won't really hurt you in the minutes that he's on the floor.

The Knicks have and pay players handsomely that they need to be the producers of big time numbers. What they've added in Kuzminskas, and Courtney Lee for that matter, are players who can fit seamlessly with those producers and be positive and efficient team players in their minutes. As Jackson continues to build this roster, those types of players have been on the wish list of fans who have entrenched themselves in the numbers aspect of the game.

Phil has appeared to have done well here in Kuzminskas as players who don't need the ball to be effective are individuals anyone would want to share the floor with.  


New York Knicks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

As Carmelo Anthony chases a gold medal with Team USA in Rio, all else has been relatively quiet on the New York Knicks' front over the last week or so. That said, as last season's minor league prospects continue to cash in on international deals for the coming campaign, four of the better players from New York's D-League affiliate in Westchester have recently signed abroad.

Instead of remaining stateside, the likes of Jimmer Fredette (Shanghai Sharks)Thanasis Antetokounmpo(Basquet Club Andorra S.A. in Spain)Darion Atkins (Hapoel Holon in Israel) and Travis Trice (Cairns Taipans in Australia) have all opted to benefit on their strong showings from last season and make more money elsewhere. Of course, Fredette and Antetokounmpo each played out a 10-day contract with the NBA club last season. Much like Antetokounmpo, Atkins and Trice each spent training camp with the NBA club as well.

Fredette is obviously a well-known NBA veteran. After drafting him in the second round of the NBA Draft in 2014, New York obviously had a decent enough look at Antetokounmpo over two minor league campaigns as well. Well before the Knicks bolstered their front court depth with a couple of international signings and Maurice Ndour, it would have been nice to see them build from within and give the 23-year-old Atkins an NBA contract. He was arguably more deserving, whereas Trice could still use a bit more seasoning. In any event, none of the aforementioned players participated in Orlando Summer League with the Knicks.

What this all means is that it's time for New York to replenish its talent in the D-League ranks a bit. As the minor league becomes more prevalent across the NBA landscape, the Knicks have undoubtedly found value in utilizing this tool for themselves. Having a team play as locally as Westchester gives the organization a chance to develop prospects right in their own backyard. It doesn't hurt that both clubs practice out of the same facility in Westchester as well. What's more, Mike Miller also coached the NBA club's Summer League squad last month. 

The Knicks' most important acquisition via Westchester came in the form of Langston Galloway back in 2015. After giving him a place to hone his skills, New York plucked him right up to become a key contributor for much of the next two seasons. Thus, it's important to keep the talent stream flowing out there.

So how does the team go about doing that? As Chasson Randle and Ron Baker fight for what would appear to be New York's final roster spot, it wouldn't be surprising to see one (or maybe even both, depending on who else the team goes on to sign) subsequently end up in Westchester. After playing in the D-League last season, the Knicks would need to trade with the OKC Blue for JP Tokoto's minor league rights if they want to keep him in town, but that's easy enough to do. Instead of being jettisoned to Westchester as an affiliate playing following NBA camp, Fredette was actually acquired via the D-League Draft. The team could find talent that way again this fall as well. 

Interestingly enough, a familiar face could also find his way to Westchester. After spending the last two seasons with the Knicks, Cleanthony Early remains unsigned. He played rather well in the D-League as an assignment player. The youngster could opt to to remain close to home and still have a chance to really strut his stuff in ample playing time for all NBA teams to see. Accepting a training camp gig with New York and then a full-time opportunity in Westchester could allow him to do that. The Knicks were interested in having Travis Wear do that last fall, but he declined and signed in Spain.

Nevertheless, developing players in Westchester has proven to be a relatively successful strategy for the Knicks, even if only by means of keeping options open. But with so many talented young guns signing abroad, the organization is ready to bolster its minor club once again. They're primed to do so, and with more training camp deals to dish out, there could be even more prospects on the way.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Carmelo Anthony, left, boxes out China's Peng Zhou. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)
Carmelo Anthony, left, boxes out China's Peng Zhou. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

RIO DE JANEIRO --Kevin Durant looks ready to lead a new group of Americans to the gold-medal podium.

Durant picked up right where he left off in the 2012 Olympics with 25 points, and the U.S. men's basketball team routed China 119-62 on Saturday night in its opening game.

The new Golden State Warriors star scored 30 points four years ago in the gold-medal game, when the Americans held off Spain for the championship. Only he and Carmelo Anthony returned from that team, but the new guys were plenty ready for their Olympic moment.

Anthony finished with nine points and made by history becoming the first U.S. male to play basketball in four Olympics. He will become the first three-time gold medalist on the men's side if the U.S. wins.

"We just wanted to send a statement to the rest of the world," Anthony said. "Come out this first game and let everybody know that we're focused, we're locked in and we're about business on this trip."

DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and Paul George 15 for the U.S., which is a heavy favorite to win a third straight gold and won't change any opinions after this performance.

LeBron James and Chris Paul passed on searching for more gold with Durant and Anthony, and plenty more top players who would have been on this roster also declined. But coach Mike Krzyzewski said this squad has already bonded as much as any of the three U.S. teams he has led in the Olympics.

"Just because they aren't here today, we've got another batch of guys that's walking around on the streets saying they want to win a gold medal and we all have something in common," Durant said. "It's cool to have a fraternity of guys who have won a gold medal. It's rare."

>>Read more at SNY.tv. . . .

Tags: Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony drapes himself in the American Flag during Olympic play.  (Charles Krupa)
Carmelo Anthony drapes himself in the American Flag during Olympic play. (Charles Krupa)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

If you're a fan of Carmelo Anthony you have to be pleasantly surprised at the positive attention he's getting this summer, particularly as part of Team USA. Even Melo's moments of perceived negative energy, like when he appeared to go all Grumpy Old Men on his younger teammates on a recent flight that went viral, Anthony was extremely well received.

 Coach Mike Krzyzewski has made Melo the team's leader, and Anthony, 32, has taken that role to heart. You can see it in how he communicates defensively, and in how he's moved the ball to teammates.

"Carmelo's been sensational really as a leader and as a player, too," Krzyzewski recently told reporters. "This is his fourth Olympics and his fifth USA competition. For him to use his experience. He wants everyone to be good. He knows us. He knows the international game and everyone on the team respects him. I think he's been terrific. I thought he would be good and he's been better. Because he's a smart guy and he gets it."

We've said here numerous times that job one of Phil Jackson was to form Melo into the all-time great player his talent, and fans beg, him to be. With greatness comes responsibility and since Jackson got to New York there has been a distinct change in who Melo is. Melo may have always felt that he was a leader, but it's clear he wasn't leading. It's why he needed players like Rasheed Wallace and Jason Kidd. But what Phil has taught him, according to multiple sources, is to live in the moment and become more vocal and as he heads into his 14th NBA season Knicks fans hope that leadership continues to grow.

On the court, it's clear that Anthony benefits from playing with talent. The International format allows for more pace, more pick and roll, and certainly less double and triple teams of which Melo has seen a steady diet of over his time in the NBA. Most importantly, it would appear Melo can be featured as the second or third option on Team USA, not the main option, like he is in New York. Its clear Melo is a tremendous spot up shooter and is able to get shots off penetration from great dribble drive players like Chris Paul, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving. Other than Raymond Felton, and a few months of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks haven't had any players who could penetrate and kick out forcing Melo to create his own shot late in the shot clock and from mid-range. Per bballbreakdown.com:

This is clearly why the savvy Knicks fans are so excited about the possibilities of having Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings driving the basketball with Carmelo, Courtney Lee and Kristaps Porzinigis standing by to receive and make in catch-and-shoot opportunities. Melo shot a solid 38 percent in catch and shoot three-pointers last season, but only took them at a rate of 13.9 percent. Lee is more than adept off the catch having made 41 percent and shooting at a 31.5 percent frequency having played with Mike Conley, Kemba Walker and Lin. Porzingis proved at a young age he can make off the catch as well taking three per game, making 34 percent and shooting them at a 25.4 percent frequency. You can expect these numbers to climb when you consider Rose and Jennings at their collective peak combined to drive almost 20 times per game, while Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon combined to average 5.7 drives per game in 2015-16.

As Anthony continues to grow as a leader, it's clear he's becoming comfortable as a second option, meaning Rose will have the keys to drive the offense with the dribble or pass. Expect the Knicks offense to spread the floor more and allow Melo to continue the momentum of his solid play on Team USA. Should the Knicks spark their offense properly, you can immediately expect more wins to start the season. If they can get a few games above .500 out of the gate, that momentum can shoot them up the standings and ultimately secure a playoff berth for the first time since 2013, the last time they had an above average penetrator. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis

Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday moves the ball down the court during the second quarter of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. (Matt Bush/USA Today Sports Images)
Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday moves the ball down the court during the second quarter of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. (Matt Bush/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

As the Knicks continue to fill out their training camp roster with the likes of Chasson Randle, Ron Baker and J.P. Tokoto, it's easy to understand why there's so much interest in the acquisitions at a time like this. As we come into the heart of August, not much else is going on with the Knicks except for Carmelo Anthony's participation with Team USA. 

While Anthony's quest for another gold medal is certain to earn more fanfare as competition gets underway, the fact of the matter is that this is a slow time for basketball news. Fans clearly need a player (or two or three) to get behind and begin to root for. In terms of fan interest, there's something sexy about the unknown. A potential hidden gem provides them with an opportunity to learn more. Fans have always had an infatuation with the 15th or even the unofficial 16th (someone who merely has a chance at making the roster) man on a squad. 

Taking that into consideration, it makes sense Justin Holiday, otherwise an afterthought in the Derrick Rose trade, continues to be forgotten. At the very least, there's no denying he's far less talked about, not only than Rose, but seemingly New York's training camp invitees as well. But the fact is Holiday has a guaranteed contract for this coming season. While so many others fight for rosters spots, his is more or less assured. That might not be as exciting to talk about, but he stands to make more of an impact because of it.

What can Holiday do for the Knicks this coming season? That remains to be seen. He shot 43 percent from downtown in his last 27 games of last season with the Bulls and gains plenty of favor for his defensive awareness. Still, over the last three seasons with the 76ers, Warriors, Hawks, and Bulls, Jrue Holiday's brother is yet to really receive ample opportunity to strut his stuff. There's plenty more to scratch the surface with.

At 27, Holiday's "older" age may work in his favor. As certain youngsters fight to prove themselves, he has already gone through the maturing phase quite a bit. Not only has Holiday been around the NBA and its respective lifestyle long enough, but he had to grind in order to make it. He came up through the D-League ranks and played international ball before eventually breaking down the NBA's door. He knows what it means to be hungry and humble.

Such an attitude, coupled with a rather grounded demeanor, are two things that made him a quick locker room favorite on Golden State's 2014-15 championship squad. Thus, a certain ring that Holiday owns adds to his respective value in New York as well. He knows what it's like to win even if he wasn't on the court all that much. He was around that type of atmosphere throughout the entire run.

There's plenty of intrigue around Holiday, his game, and what he can provide for the Knicks. It'd be worthwhile to think about and give him a bit more attention, even as these training camp invitees have the spotlight shed on them a bit. In many ways, he's still an underdog, much like the team's other youngsters. The difference is he stands to obtain minutes in the rotation even sooner.

Holiday has a chance to make more of an immediate impact off the Knicks' bench. That is, if he's given the opportunity.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The Knicks have agreed to a partially-guaranteed deal with PG Chasson Randle, the team announced Thursday.

Randle, 23, went undrafted out of Stanford and spent last season playing in Europe.

He recently played in the Orlando Summer League.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

It's about time. Randle has been on the immediate radar of not only the Knicks, but also their entire fan base for weeks now. In the midst of a rather disappointing Orlando Summer League session for this team, the Stanford product quickly emerged as a very rare bright spot.

He's a versatile player with plenty of potential, spearheaded by his aggressive first step when attacking the lane. Randle penetrates well, which can either lead to easy scoring opportunities for himself, or a chance for others to spread the floor around him. He's a smart floor general.

As reported by TKB last month, the buzz among agents and rival team personnel during Las Vegas Summer League was that Randle would in fact end up with the Knicks for training camp.

New York would be lucky if he sticks around as a D-League affiliate player in Westchester after camp. He could certainly follow in Langston Galloway's footsteps. But the fact of the matter is Randle could legitimately compete for an NBA spot as well. The team does need a third guard on the roster.

If nothing else, Randle's presence means Ron Baker's spot (the fellow young gun otherwise occupied the team's final roster spot when he signed his partially-guaranteed deal) is not safe by any means. He's probably not the favorite, but Randle very well could be at this point instead.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Former Knicks head coach Derek Fisher might be eyeing a return to the NBA ... as a player.

Fisher posted a workout video with the hashtag "#ImNotDoneYet":

Fisher is "exploring options and expressing interest in playing again," a source told ESPN's Ian Begley.

He turns 42 next month and would become the oldest player in the league if he does return to playing.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Fisher's foray into coaching was premature. Throughout much of his tenure with the Knicks, the former NBA guard made poor decisions, and/or failed to execute any decision at all at various points. Much was left to be desired, but apparently that's how Fisher feels about his playing career at this point.

It helped that Fisher had an existing relationship with a confidant in Phil Jackson. That initial trust led to him being plucked right from the hardwood into coaching. Players making the transition directly to head coach isn't as uncommon these days. That said, someone coming out of retirement, after being a head coach, is in fact rather unprecedented.

Much like any older player, it remains to be seen what, if anything, Fisher has left in the tank. Furthermore, however, it'd be interesting to see if his first failure as a coach (and all that came with it both on and off the court) will hurt and/or impact the perception many have of him, after rising up as an NBA champion player.

After being a head coach and answering only to a front office, one has to think the transition back to player and looking to a coach once again for direction might be a bit strange as well. Time will tell, but don't expect Jackson and the Knicks to come calling for his services.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Brandon Jennings (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
Brandon Jennings (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The last two dismal campaigns for the New York Knicks have been treacherous, to say the least. While this coming season's group stands to be a new-look squad, players like Carmelo Anthony and some of the other returning faces will be looking for redemption.

Ironically enough, redemption should be a recurring theme for many players across the board. Much like his new teammates Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings is also looking to prove himself all over again as he continues to regain form following a ruptured Achilles. 

Still just 26 years old, Jennings has been a well-known starter throughout much of his career, but has failed to reach star status. Much of that could very well have to do with the fact he hasn't been a part of many winning atmospheres. The guard boasts some impressive individual career highlights, including a 55-point game and a separate 21-assist outing. He can score in bunches and loves the big moment. He'll embrace the Garden crowd with ease. That said, he's generally failed to find consistency. A rather overzealous offensive player, Jennings has struggled (and his team has, too) when he stands tall as a squad's best player.

By the time he returned from injury last season, Jennings was clearly underutilized by both the Pistons and Magic. They didn't trust and/or know if he could handle a more substantial role upon return just yet. This undoubtedly went to hurt his value in free agency because prospective teams didn't know whether or not he'd be able to return to his previous level. Even then, as mentioned, there are deficits in his game that may make a player like him difficult to take a chance on when considering the currently aggressive market.

Alas, Jennings has opted to take the high road with the Knicks. He was he one of the few notable players who ended up taking a pretty sizable pay cut from last season in this new age NBA economy. Plus, with all of the pressure in the word on Rose, a backup role will be a much different one for Jennings to embrace.

Jennings, without a doubt, will be playing with an internal chip on his shoulder. That said, there will be so much more pressure on the likes of Rose, Phil Jackson and Anthony (from those expecting the Knicks to improve) that perhaps the guard's play won't be as heavily criticized. 

The current Knicks squad on paper is unquestionably the most talented one Jennings has ever been a part of. Being around such talented and otherwise polarizing figures should make the game come much easier to him. By coming off the bench, the seven-year vet will be able to just do what he does best: score. New York is in desperate need of that offensive spark plug off the bench, which is something Jennings can easily provide. Not starting will mean he won't necessarily be looked to serve as the type of floor general that gets players involved; he can just play his game and let things come naturally. 

This situation may be a comfortable one, but the stakes are still rather high. Jennings needs to prove himself as he plays for his next contract. He's looking to make a living and get the biggest cash return on his talent. An upgraded role is on the line as well. Can he regain form and become the player he once was? He'll not only be looking to play for his next contract, but also to maintain a certain reputation as a quality player in this league. There's no doubt that Jennings wants to be a starter in the long term.

But that's good news for the Knicks. In Jennings, they get a tough player who is hungry for redemption. It already seems as though he's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve such satisfaction. For this price, in this convenient role, they stand to benefit immensely, even if it's just for one season. If he wins the Sixth Man of the Year award, he will look smart for taking advantage of an opportunity to regain some notoriety. Furthermore, the Knicks' front office will come off looking rather savvy, too.

Jennings can certainly accomplish all of the above while doing what's asked and contributing to what the Knicks hope will be a winning atmosphere. That will go a long way toward proving he can be trusted in familiar situations as his career continues.

Tags: Brandon Jennings , Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)
New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)

With training camp right around the corner and the Knicks beginning to add players to vet camp, having signed Ron Baker and J.P. Tokoto to partial guarantees, fans are clamoring for answers heading into camp.

I took to Twitter to see if I could find the answers to some of these questions...

Melo had better rosters in Denver. I always felt the best pair with Melo was Kenyon Martin, along with Chauncey Billups. KP needs another year before becoming Melo's best pairing and, obviously, we're interested in seeing what he and Rose can accomplish.

As far as Rose, those 2011 and 2012 Bulls teams were really good, but he will have more space to work this year and that should really benefit him. Is it the most well-rounded? No, the Bulls had more depth, but this should put him in his best chance to succeed since those years.

I would expect a lot of it. It has to be the first option off transition. They will feature a lot of post-entry, but if they find chemistry immediately then expect it to be their foundation with high/low post entry as the end of possession option- especially late in close games. Joakim Noah and Rose also have great two-man synergy so expect that too.

I think it depends on the situation, frankly and that will depend on who has the best match up. Rose can drive on anyone and that triggers defensive reaction, which will lead to wide open shots. Melo can demand double teams and that also creates open shots. I think it's something they will monitor and play with as the season goes on.

Have Knicks questions? Send them to me on Twitter @ThomasCDee


J.P. Tokoto left a impression on the Knicks with his Summer League play.  (Chris Szagola)
J.P. Tokoto left a impression on the Knicks with his Summer League play. (Chris Szagola)

The Knicks have signed guard J.P. Tokoto to what is expected to be a partially guaranteed training camp deal, according to ESPN's Ian Begley.  

Tokoto, 22, was selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. After appearing in five preseason games, Tokoto was assigned to Philadelphia's D-League affiliate and later traded to Oklahoma City's affiliate, where he played out the season. 

This summer Tokoto had been playing with New York's Summer League team in Orlando. He averaged 10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in five games played. 


Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

While playing in Orlando, Tokoto had a relatively underwhelming Summer League session, but perhaps that was due to a lack of on-the-court opportunity. Even during practice and scrimmages, it had to have been easy for the Knicks to recognize his potential.

Tokoto is an athletic freak, who can subtly fit into any number of different lineups. He can drive through the lane, but otherwise doesn't need the ball to get involved. He makes smart plays defensively, and if nothing else, showed an aptitude for making good passes and helping the offense maintain a certain flow in Orlando. His agility and constant awareness keeps an opposing defense on its toes.

Given his youth and raw abilities, Tokoto is worth exploring, but it's also important to know that the OKC Blue owns his minor league rights. In order to see to it that he plays in Westchester after training camp, the Knicks would have to acquire his D-League rights first.

Tags: Keith Schlosser

Mar 17, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Wichita State Shockers guard Ron Baker (31) holds the ball against the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of a first round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. Wichita State won 65-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports (Mark L. Baer)
Mar 17, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Wichita State Shockers guard Ron Baker (31) holds the ball against the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of a first round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. Wichita State won 65-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports (Mark L. Baer)

The Knicks have announced that they have signed Ron Baker.

From the Knicks: Baker, 6-4, 220-pounds, played four seasons at Wichita State University, averaging 13.2 points, on 43.3-percent shooting, with 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.31 steals over 30.6 minutes in 124 games.

He was a part of three Missouri Valley Conference championships (2013, 2014, 2015), nine NCAA Tournament wins, two trips to the Sweet 16 (2013, 2015) and a trip to the 2013 Final Four. As a senior (2015-16), he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.51 steals over 31.6 minutes in 35 games. His postseason honors included: John R. Wooden Second Team All-American; USA Today Second Team All-American and 2015 finalist for Jerry West Award.
 
The Hays, KS-native, appeared in five games for the Knicks entry in the 2016 Orlando Pro Summer League to average 14.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.80 steals over 29.6 minutes.

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It would appear the deal includes only a partial guarantee, so you'd expect Baker to have a chance to stick on the opening day roster. If they so choose, they can place Baker in Westchester where he can get D-League minutes.

Baker can shoot, which is always a need, but it makes me wonder even more -- what happened with Cleanthony Early? Time to hit the phones.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Without any draft picks this summer, the Knicks acted quickly while coming to an agreement with Baker early on -- he was their first post-draft acquisition.

Marshall Plumlee came shortly after. Now Baker's pact is official. That said, whereas the big man has a fully guaranteed contract for his rookie campaign, Baker is more likely to end up in Westchester following training camp.

Still, this will give New York an opportunity to keep an eye on him. They can develop him much to their liking, and then call him later if/when the time is right.

There are evident holes in Baker's game, so more time to come into his own is necessary. He's a raw prospect worth exploring. The guard certainly showed some potential in the Summer League.


Amar'e Stoudemire (5) laughs during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)
Amar'e Stoudemire (5) laughs during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)

Amar'e Stoudemire, who retired from the NBA last week, will continue his basketball career as a member of Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel according to international basketball reporter David Pick.

Stoudemire is a co-owner of Hapoel Jerusalem and a frequent visitor to Israel. "The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and I'm still in great health, it would be great." Stoudemire told the New York Post's Marc Berman in 2014.

Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over 846 games for Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Miami.


Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

This report obviously comes on the heels of Stoudemire's forthcoming press conference at Madison Square Garden. On Monday, the big man formerly known as STAT is set to make a "major announcement" about the next phase of his career.

Given the formality of officially ending his NBA career as a Knick, and the choice to hold his press conference in New York, perhaps it would have been safe to assume his first post-playing career move would keep him more involved with the guys wearing orange and blue. The Knicks have often made efforts to keep fan favorites around long after they hang up their sneakers. But alas, Stoudemire doesn't appear done playing after all.

Stoudemire obviously has religious ties and has previously been a positive presence in this community. This will give him an opportunity to enhance his outreach even further. Staying healthy is key. That said, the international season is shorter and arguably much less daunting than the NBA one. What's more, there's certainly potential for Stoudemire to assume a more dominating role again against this new level of competition. He not only has an opportunity to end his career on a respectable note, but perhaps even to elevate it again, much like Stephon Marbury has done in China. Stoudemire is only 33 years old.

As he looks to continue hitting the hardwood abroad, perhaps a formal NBA retirement announcement wasn't necessary. But STAT has always been known to make big splashes as he remains relevant. 


 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

Derrick Rose's motion to have the civil sexual assault case against him dismissed has been denied, with the trial scheduled to begin in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, reports Ian Begley of ESPN

Rose has been accused, along with two friends, of raping the female plaintiff and breaking into her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 27, 2013.

The woman -- referred to in court documents as Jane Doe -- also accused Rose and his friends of slipping a drug into her drink prior to the alleged criminal sexual acts.

Rose has denied the allegations.


 (Gary A. Vasquez)
(Gary A. Vasquez)

Tommy Dee | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

I'm not a fan of the forced or lazy narrative. I prefer history, trends and facts. So, from observing the evolution of the game of basketball for years, I'm hesitant to say that "small ball" will be the way the game will be played forever.

With that being said, it should give Knicks fans hope that the player that fell to them at #4 in the 2015 draft is indeed what the future looks like at the five position. The future of the NBA is centers with complete offensive skill sets who can get out and guard pick-and-roll, which Kristaps Porzingis has already proven adequate at.

I agree with Kevin Yeung of FanSided in talking about the need for a Swiss Army knife, two-way big being the biggest commodity in defeating small ball teams (such as the Golden State Warriors) going forward. And while the prospect of Porzinigis playing mostly the center position with Carmelo Anthony at the four excites all Knicks fans, it's important not to rush KP into that role too quickly.

Basketball is a business that focuses on the legs and Porzinigis has to prove he can firmly supplant his base against bigger defenders. If you're rooting to see more Porzingis at the five this year, then root for the other team to go small. It's something that we should see more of in the Eastern Conference this year and will only benefit New York.

In the end, the Knicks appear to be ahead of the game on where basketball is headed thanks to their selection of Porzinigis, and that's something that hasn't been said around 4 Penn Plaza since the days of another franchise big man named Patrick Ewing.

If you allow yourself to look a little down the road, all signs are pointing to the fact that the future is certainly bright at Madison Square Garden.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis

Jeff Hornacek watches from the sideline against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im)
Jeff Hornacek watches from the sideline against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im)

While Keith Schlosser tackled this topic on Tuesday, Tommy Dee adds his thoughts on Derrick Rose, Jeff Hornacek and the new-look triangle today...


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Perhaps the biggest question attached to the Knicks after their extremely active off season is centered around Jeff Hornacek and Derrick Rose. Can the duo, arguably the two biggest moves of the Phil Jackson Era, co-exist in what figures to be an updated version of the triangle offense? To answer this question in succinct video form there literally is no one better than my friend Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown.com.

The thing that stands out to me immediately is just how much Hornacek's offense in Phoenix mirrors many of the foundational principles of The Triangle. Ideally, the Knicks wouldn't need much Triangle as they'd get the lion share of their points in transition and early in the shot clock thanks to the ability of Rose to push against the defense off of misses. Since they'll have to settle for their fair share of half court action, it's great to see that Rose and Noah should have no trouble integrating into the Triangle having run it in Chicago. In fact, I'm not sure there's a big man better suited for it than Joakim Noah.

When you factor in those pieces, the next player who seems to fit is Courtney Lee. He's a spot shooting specialist in a more efficient way than Arron Afflalo was and that should help Rose when he drives and draws attention from the defense. Lee averaged 3.7 points per game off the catch making one three pointer and shooting 40.5 percent from three. More importantly he had a 56.6% effective field goal percentage. While Afflalo averaged more points off the catch (4.1) he shot just 38% from the field including 36.6% from three and finished with just 50.5 eFG%. Defensively, Lee would appear to be a slight upgrade as he finished with a 109 defensive rating in comparison to Afflalo's 112 per basketball-reference.com. Granted, the Knicks were a much worse defensive team than the systems Lee played in last year in Memphis and Charlotte.

A big part of this offensive integration is the continued development of Kristaps Porzingis and it's clear to see that he can be utilized as a face-up player as well as in the post. Rose hasn't played with a big man who shoots with Porzingis' range in his career. He had great chemistry with Pau Gasol, but now has a player who can space the floor making his drives even that much more effective. Porzingis can pull rim defenders away from the basket clearing the lane for Rose to exploit. One pet peeve Coach Nick has is Rose's propensity to make jump passes, which is a major flaw for any point guard. But, in Porzingis, Rose has a safety net in the form of a 7'3 player to retrieve Rose if he gets himself in trouble by leaving his feet.

As always, the offense begins and ends with Carmelo Anthony and what's very encouraging is what type of shots Melo can get later in the shot clock off of early action from Rose and the other pinch post players like Noah and Porzingis. At this point in his career the safe bet is that Melo is a mid range, mid-shot clock player and that's why the "modern" version of the Triangle should fit him like a glove. Last year, 41% of Anthony's shot attempts came between 7-15 seconds left on the shot clock and 605 of his 1,307 total field goal attempts (46%) came in the mid-range area per NBA stats. What Rose can give get early in the shot clock should pair perfectly with what Anthony can get mid-to-late in the possession. Getting off shots in the early and mid part of the clock creates more possessions, which will increase PACE statistics, as well as create more second opportunities and we've seen what Porzingis can do with those.

If Hornacek, who I'm told is already getting rave reviews from players this off season, can integrate the modern version of the triangle expect the Knicks offense to take a major step forward this year. Should they find a way to surge towards the top half of the NBA in offensive rating without sacrificing the growth they've made defensively (18th last year) then the wins should quickly pile up.


Amar'e Stoudemire (5) laughs during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)
Amar'e Stoudemire (5) laughs during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell)

Amar'e Stoudemire has announced his retirement from the NBA after signing a contract with the New York Knicks.

"I want to thank Mr. Dolan, Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] for signing me so that I can officially retire as a New York Knick," Stoudemire said in a release.

"I came to New York in 2010 to help revitalize this franchise and we did just that. Carmelo [Anthony], Phil and Steve have continued this quest, and with this year's acquisitions, the team looks playoff-bound once again. Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple. Once a Knick, Always a Knick," he said.

Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over 846 games for Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Miami.

"As a member the Knicks, Stoudemire averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 255 games and helped win the 2012-13 Atlantic Division title. From Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 2010, Stoudemire broke the franchise's 48-year record held by Willie Naulls by scoring 30-plus-points in nine consecutive games," the Knicks said in an announcement.

"For parts of six years, Amar'e Stoudemire was the face of the New York Knicks franchise because of his excellence on the court and his dedication to our community and our fans across the world," Mills said. "When Amar'e asked us to retire as a Knick, we were honored to oblige."

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Interesting that Amar'e would choose to retire a Knick when his best years were definitely in Phoenix with Steve Nash. Amar'e was at the heart of Mike D'Antoni's innovative offense, and proved small centers could be dominant in pick and roll.

Amar'e's career in New York was more of a disappointment due to health issues and a large contract, but fans didn't treat him like a Eddy Curry. He was a beloved figure by many fans who feel his legacy, in part, was the moment he declared the Knicks were back in 2010.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Stoudemire was a fan favorite, despite his continued setbacks. He wanted to help the Knicks achieve greatness just as badly as the fan base wanted to see him do it.

He certainly had his moments. His eight game streak of 30 points or more still stands as a pleasant highlight. Though New York didn't quite reach the plateau everyone expected while Stoudemire was here, it's well worth giving the man otherwise known as STAT credit where it's due.

It was Stoudemire who arrived in New York City and declared "the Knicks are back." From there on out, the team tried to make improvements, and in came Carmelo Anthony. Without STAT, Melo probably wouldn't have been interested in coming to town.

If nothing else, Stoudemire was a courteous and considerate player to both the media and fans. He was an easy guy to root for. His Knicks tenure ended rather abruptly, but this gesture could be his way of making up for it. He wants to be remembered as a Knick.


Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) looks on during first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) looks on during first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

There's a whole lot of triangle offense going around.

For as often as some of the more pressing critics may attempt to knock Phil Jackson's offensive philosophies as old fashioned and/or complicated, it's worth noting that teams across the league incorporate elements of the triangle into their version of success.

As BBALLBREAKDOWN goes on to point out in their latest video, Jeff Hornacek's fast-paced offense with the Phoenix Suns featured many pinch-post plays and pass handoffs that resembled the triangle. Much like the Knicks' offense, the key to Hornacek's offense was constant flow. The ball (much like the players on the court) was constantly moving. There was rhythm,. While New York has struggled to execute certain things effectively over the last two seasons, perhaps they can take solace in knowing Hornacek and the Suns had a bit more success carrying out some very similar elements of their desired offense. 

Of course, much has been made about the fact that Jackson doesn't appear as hell bent as in past seasons to centering things around the triangle. That's likely because, however, Hornacek's principles aren't so different after all.

It certainly helped that prior to last season, the Suns were led by Goran Dragic. Someone who can excellently get through the lane, Dragic penetrates well and usually has an even better read on opposing defenses. Utilizing Rose in a similar way, with plenty of pick and roll action, mini-weaves, and blind-pig plays should open up higher percentage opportunities for the Knicks. Finding success here comes down to putting the team's best players in optimal positions to show off their talents in convenient ways. With an offensively versatile squad, such high-percentage looks could end up serving as layups through the lane, high-post jumpers, etc. The possibilities are endless if the flow never stops.

Luckily for Rose, BBALLBREAKDOWN also asserts that former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau too ran plenty of elements of the triangle in his offense. Much of what the Knicks will likely try and incorporate into their offense this coming season should come rather naturally to the 2011 NBA MVP. 

Still, that same extra pep in his step and respective explosiveness in his game hasn't returned just yet for Rose as he fights his way back from injury after injury This has ultimately derailed his desire to continue playing at a high level. Having said that, the spacing in the Knicks' offense should give him a little bit of room to do as he pleases and cash in on better scoring opportunities for himself. 

When running the break and/or attempting to slice the lane, Rose, interestingly enough, has a tendency to leave his feet when looking for the open man. Attacking the basket is one thing, but such penetration is only effective when the floor general knows how and where to get his teammates involved. Leaving one's feet can often lead to off balance and/or erratic passes. Anyone who listens to MSG Network's Knickerbocker broadcasts knows leaving your feet mid-pass is one of Walt "Clyde" Frazier's cardinal rules. Don't do it.

Taking all of this into consideration, one thing is clear. Whether it's Phil Jackson, Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Hornacek, or nearly any other coach in the NBA, elements of the triangle remain. There's real potential for Rose and the Knicks. He's a big upgrade at the point guard position, and could end up serving as the previously missing link for the Knicks to find success the way they want to. 


Rose: Knicks are a super-team 00:03:04
Jon Hein and Chris Carlin discuss Derrick Rose's comments concerning the Knicks being a super-team.

New Knicks point guard Derrick Rose recently classified his new team as one of the two "super teams" in the NBA, along with the Golden State Warriors.

The Knicks starting five now features Rose at the point who won the NBA MVP in 2011, 10-year NBA veteran Courtney Lee at shooting guard, nine-time NBA All Star and 2013 NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony at small forward, 2015 Rookie of the Year runner-up Kristaps Porzingis at power forward and Joakim Noah at center, the last player from the Eastern Conference not named Lebron James to finish in the Top-5 in MVP voting.

Tags: Derrick Rose

A close up view of Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) hairstyle prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Jeremy Brevard)
A close up view of Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) hairstyle prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Jeremy Brevard)

Jeremy Lin will forever be a staple in the heart of New York City and Madison Square Garden. And while he's tried to develop a reputation as a dependable NBA player following the outbreak of Linsanity for the last several years, similar questions are resurfacing as Lin goes through the motions with the Big Apple media as the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets.

"I was really, really sad. I was sad the way everything went down, 'cause nothing happened the way I thought it was going to. I had wished that they had offered me a contract just in the beginning," Lin told Steve Serby of the New York Post in a recent Q&A of his Knickerbocker ending.

Of course, the Knicks opted not to offer Lin a contract. Instead, they conveniently blamed the "poison pill" contract offer from the Rockets as the reason for not retaining him. Much like Lin alludes to, the team could have made an offer early on. Regardless of the reason, New York didn't appear interested in bringing him back.

There's been talk, even recently, as to what those very reasons were. Some believe Lin's star was shining too brightly, overwhelmingly overshadowing the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. In his conversation with Serby, Lin not only opted to take the high road, but also made a very classy move in praising Anthony and looking at the big picture of what's going on in the world today. Things are bigger than basketball.

"I've had a lot of questions about [Carmelo Anthony] and whatever. If you want to talk about what Melo's done, talk about what him, LeBron [James], [Dwyane] Wade and Chris Paul when they got up there and they said what they needed to say, and when they're asking our nation to stand and be more united," Lin said of the stars' joint speech at the ESPY's.

Moving on, it's worth noting that the power of Linsanity (and the connections the point guard made from it) clearly lives on. The decision to play in Brooklyn may initially appear to be a daunting one, with the pressures and and the bright lights of the Big Apple once again focused in the 27 year old's direction. That said, a big reason as to why he's returning is former Knicks' assistant coach Kenny Atkinson. 

One of the most well respected and highly regarded assistants to come through the Knicks organization in the last decade, Atkinson's dedication and development skills are largely in part to thank for Lin's big break. 

"He's a big part of my success in New York. I know the way he works, I know the way he views life, views the game. We see eye to eye," he said of Atkinson.

Lin went on to add, "he's someone that reminds you of someone who has that ability to rise above his circumstances and figure it out..." Now the new head coach of the Nets, Atkinson clearly knows how to get the most out of his new point guard.

Elsewhere in the interview, Lin was asked to evaluate some of the Knicks' newest acquisitions. Perhaps most relevant is his take on a former teammate, Courtney Lee.

"I've been on two teams with him. Really like that guy. Ultimate competitor. Simple game, he just makes the right play," he asserted. "He's a two-way player, he'll make it happen on both ends of the floor as we saw in the playoffs as we saw this past year."

Lee is widely regarded as a defensive specialist, but the Knicks are hoping to cash in on his versatility on both ends of the floor, much like Lin makes note of.

Lin's adjustment back in New York, and first time returning to The Garden as a rival Net, should be very interesting.  

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser

Derrick Rose no longer has the added burden of playing for his hometown team. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
Derrick Rose no longer has the added burden of playing for his hometown team. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

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Word out of Chicago is that Derrick Rose is no stranger to saying things like he did the other day, which made headlines across the basketball world. In essence, Rose compared the Knicks to the Golden State Warriors in that he feels the Knicks have also built a "super team." In order for the Knicks to be "super" Rose, himself, has to be superlative, and judging from his confidence, he just may end up being healthy enough to be that good.

We've seen Rose's best, but can Rose return to the Russell Westbrook-esque athlete he was as a young player in the NBA? That remains to be seen, but if he does the league needs to watch out.

Young Derrick Rose, the player who won MVP in 2011, was one of the players you paid to see play. He was a highlight every night, and the thing that blew you away was the combination of athleticism and strength with the ball. We've talked about his impact off the drive, a category that the Knicks were ranked near-dead last in last year. Rose averaged 8.9 drives per game, per NBA Stats, which just started tracking drives in 2013-14. He was flat unguardable off the dribble in 2011.

Rose's drive ability in 2015-16 was similarly explosive, but his added pull-up game gives him an added arsenal off the bounce and this is key to saving wear and tear on his legs. Rose averaged 5.3 points per game off of 6.7 pull-up jumpers per contest, shooting 39 percent. Rose has lost more than a bit of athleticism impacting him at the rim.

In 2011 he had 32 dunks, while last year he had just one, which tells you last year he was conserving and trying to rebuild strength back into his legs. Another potentially negative sign is the fact he shot just 51 percent inside three feet, down 10 percent from 2011 when he shot 61 percent. This coincides with what we've said as it relates to the need to improve free throw attempts a few weeks back. If he can add the finish-to-the-drive ability in 2016-17, the Knicks will thrive and judging from highlights last year that ability is still in there. 

Another element that needs to be considered is how Rose fits into the triangle. What the Knicks need from Rose is for the ball not to "stick," which could be a challenge, but judging from his usage numbers (27.3 percent) last year Rose spent more time without the ball in his hands than in previous years, according to basketball-reference.com.

Rose has a career 28.2 percent with a career high 32.2 percent in his MVP season of 2011. If Rose can learn to cut off of post entry passes, he will merge perfectly with Carmelo Anthony when Melo needs to be featured in the post. Both Melo and Kristaps Porzingis combined for five post touches per game and 9.5 pinch post touches, per NBA stats. Adding Joakim Noah to that mix will increase the chances for Rose to have plays like this next year. 

Knicks fans would love to see Rose, 27, return to the athletic freak that dominated the NBA off the dribble after coming out of Memphis. What they are getting is a less athletic version, who has added a very solid mid-range and floater game that can be very effective in the triangle.

What they've also added is a player who, if he can simple cut when he doesn't have the ball, can find himself the benefactor of great passing from Noah, Porzingis and Anthony, who will be looking to add more easy baskets to a team that struggled mightily getting them this past season. 


Stanford Cardinal guard Chasson Randle (5) celebrates after the game against the Washington Huskies in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Cardinal defeated the Huskies 71-69. (Kyle Terada)
Stanford Cardinal guard Chasson Randle (5) celebrates after the game against the Washington Huskies in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Cardinal defeated the Huskies 71-69. (Kyle Terada)

Free agent guard Chasson Randle has narrowed his search to a list of three teams, which includes the Knicks, his agent told the New York Post

Randle, who played with the Knicks in the Summer League, averaged 18.3 points and five assists per game. 

"We're in discussions with the Knicks, and he's narrowed it down to two other teams,'' agent Kevin Bradbury told Marc Berman of the New York Post. "For a young guy, it's all about situations. He's trying to figure out what's the best fit and how he'd work with the Knicks."

In four years at Stanford, Randle averaged 16.5 points per game and shot 42.8 percent from the field. He became the school's all-time leading scorer during his final season. 

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

In talking to a few rival agents and player personnel representatives at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, many seem to expect Randle to sign a training camp contract with the Knicks.

After going the overseas route last season, Randle was likely able to net a respectable deal and put some money in the bank. Now, he can take a year to focus on getting more exposure while remaining stateside. That process obviously began when he impressed in Orlando for the Knicks earlier this month.

Any situation Randle could enter would seemingly begin with some sort of partially guaranteed contract through training camp. This would provide him with some financial gain up front, before a team like the Knicks eventually jettisons him to Westchester as an affiliate player after obtaining his D-League rights.

With that type of arrangement in mind, it would make sense that the two other teams Randle's reps are talking with also own a respective minor league club as well. It wouldn't pay for Randle to put in the time at camp with a team that couldn't subsequently continue to keep an eye on him and develop him through the D-League.

The fact that the Knicks have already shown an interest in him via his Summer League audition should help. What's more, the team has called up three players (Langston Galloway, Jimmer Fredette, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo) from Westchester over the last two seasons. They undoubtedly see the value in using the affiliate squad to explore and potentially develop talent for the future.

If the contract Galloway just cashed in on with New Orleans is any indication of the potential such a respective path holds, then Randle should trust the process and choose the Knicks. 


Derrick Rose (Nelson Chenault/USA Today Sports Images)
Derrick Rose (Nelson Chenault/USA Today Sports Images)

Newly-acquired guard Derrick Rose hopes he, Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the New York Knicks can make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season.

Rose told NBA.com's Lang Whitaker in a one-on-one interview he feels "rejuvenated", that he has already worked out with Kristaps Porzingis, Brandon Jennings and Sasha Vujacic, and that he is comfortable working with new head coach Jeff Hornacek.

"You could put Brandon at the 1, put me at the 2 certain times, and have Melo, KP and [Joakim Noah]," Rose said. "So I could move off the ball with them and bring them to the mix. ... It don't matter if I have the ball in my hands or not. I feel like if I'm out there, I'll find out a way to get out the way or make it a positive while I'm on the floor."

The Knicks acquired Rose from the Chicago Bulls in a trade in mid-June in which the Knicks traded away Robin LopezJose Calderon and Jerian Grant

Now that he's with New York, Rose said he and others are holding the team to high expectations for the 2016-17 season.

"We just want to win," Rose said. "Talking to Melo and all the guys who've been around. You've got Brandon who just signed for one year, he's got to show why he's there. I've got to show why I'm there. Joakim has to show why he's there. Everybody's trying to prove themselves. When you've got a group like that, it's like, alright, I know everybody wants to do that, but we're going to break this down as simple as possible, and try to win every game."

Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Sasha Vujacic

NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the conclusion of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. (Jerry Lai)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the conclusion of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. (Jerry Lai)

The NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

The league had expressed its opposition to the law known as HB2 since it was enacted in March, and its decision Thursday came less than a month after state legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.

"While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2," the league said in a statement.

The league added that it hoped to announce a new location for next February's events shortly. It hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte if there is a resolution to the matter.

"We understand the NBA's decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so," Hornets chairman and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said. "With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019." >> Read more

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