Knicks president Phil Jackson does not have an opt-out in his contract this summer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (Feb. 11).
Additionally, Berman cites a source close to Jackson who says it's "ridiculous" to believe Jackson can leave the Knicks for the Lakers after this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on Tuesday that Jackson, who became president of the Knicks in 2014, is not expected to stay on as team president beyond the completion of his five-year deal (Feb. 9).
Earlier this week, Jackson fired head coach Derek Fisher and said that Kurt Rambis will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Jackson opting out would allow him to save face somewhat should things continue to go south for the Knicks. Jackson has already accomplished so much in his career, so he's otherwise earned the right to ride off into the sunset and spend more time closer to his fiancee.
But there's no denying that his fire to compete still burned (or burns, in fact) upon him joining the Knicks. After winning a championship in New York as a player, he understands how hungry this fan base is, and subsequently, how celebrated he would be if he is, at the very least, able to lay the groundwork down to lead them back to the promised land.
To be fair, a lot of what Jackson has done has been very positive. Hiring Fisher was obviously not one of those things. There's potential under Jackson's guidance and his respective vision, but he needs to continue connecting the dots and see things through.
Jackson departing before his contract is up would be an admission of failure. And if whoever succeeds him has to fix certain mistakes and/or doesn't believe in the vision that Jackson started, Jackson would potentially be leaving the Knicks in a position worse than they were in before he came aboard.
Tags: Keith Schlosser
Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton dedicate the entire episode to the firing of Derek Fisher.
The guys discuss why the second-year head coach was let go, and who should be the man to replace him.
After firing Derek Fisher, one of the leading candidates for the Knicks' head coaching job is said to be Luke Walton, who Phil Jackson and Co. were in discussions with back in the summer of 2014 before they hired Fisher.
Walton was targeted to join a coaching staff led by Steve Kerr (Jackson's first choice). But when Kerr opted to stay closer to home in a much better situation with the Warriors, he, took Walton with him.
And while Walton may have been interested in the Knicks' head coaching job at the time, it obviously went to Fisher instead. Since then, New York has seemingly hit rock bottom, and Walton has gone on not only to win an NBA championship last year, but also lead Golden State to a 39-4 record as interim head coach earlier this season.
In essence, Walton has undoubtedly bolstered his resume a ton, and Jackson is no longer one of the only people privy to his immense potential as a head coach. Of course, the Warriors are a very talented team, but Walton excelled embracing a role change that may have been difficult for others to adjust to. What's more, he developed, grew, and learned during his 43 game stint leading the charge.
Walton is a smart guy, as evidenced by his recent success and initial decision to join Kerr's staff. And heading into last season, Walton boasted more coaching experience than Kerr and Fisher combined (at the college and D-League ranks, respectively). He may have been passed over previously, but there is no doubt he'll have plenty of suitors this coming summer.
The NBA veteran turned assistant will certainly have his pick of some desirable situations. There will surely be some west coast teams, which would allow Walton to position himself closer to home. What's more, while the talent obviously won't be at the same level of the Warriors, more than a few teams with head coaching vacancies are sure to provide more stable situations than New York can offer.
Walton is a triangle guy, just like Jackson desires. But he's become accustomed to embracing the positive elements of a few other systems that Jackson may not be in favor of. If Jackson proves to be resistant to Walton's openness, that would potentially create somewhat of a hostile working environment.
All of these factors could play into why Walton would prefer to go somewhere else besides New York.
There's also a chance that Walton is simply comfortable where he is, contributing to an ideal and healthy situation in Golden State, all while continuing to learn and improve as an assistant.
In any event, Walton to New York shouldn't be considered that much of a sure-thing. Jackson should be ready to broaden his horizons.
Tags: Keith Schlosser
Grizzlies PG Mike Conley, who is a free agent this summer, said he would be open to signing with the Knicks (Feb. 10).
Additionally, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN cited a source who said that Conley would be more receptive to playing for the Knicks than most think.
Conley also weighed in on whether the firing of Derek Fisher would have any impact on his decision.
"I don't think it will," Conley said. "At the end of the day, I'll give everybody the same attention, regardless of the situation, and just hear everything out."
Conley, 28, has averaged 14.8 points and 6.1 assists while playing 31.5 minutes per game so far this season for the Grizzlies.
Conley wants to win, and at 28, the veteran is very much in his prime. He's ready and able to contribute to such a squad, but luckily for him, he already owns the luxury of running the show for the Grizzlies. Much like the Knicks learned with Conley's teammate Marc Gasol last offseason, it'll be difficult to pry him out of Memphis.
But there's no doubt (regardless of how likely or unlikely his acquisition may be) that Conley stands tall as someone who could help New York tremendously. This team is a talented one. And though they've obviously experienced more recent woes with Derek Fisher steering the ship in a negative direction, the potential to compete is still there. The Knicks are a savvy and smart veteran floor general -- especially one who penetrates and runs the pick and roll well -- away from really being able to make some noise.
At this point, Conley is publicly keeping all of his options open. It seems he would at the very least be receptive to the Knicks. Given the big market, the bright lights, and how celebrated he would be if he were to help New York turn things around, entertaining the possibility is in his best interest.
The team's coaching situation will be punctuated by a question mark later this summer. But perhaps such a void being open-ended will be better than having Fisher in town when appealing to Conley.
Tags: Keith Schlosser
Former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy discussed Phil Jackson's philosophy but wouldn't address whether he'd be open to taking the Knicks' head coaching job should Jackson reach out (Feb. 10).
During an appearance on the Michael Kay show, Van Gundy said he wouldn't discuss the Knicks job out of respect for interim head coach Kurt Rambis, noting that he would never discuss a potential job that's filled by an interim head coach.
Van Gundy also weighed in on a few other topics, such as whether or not it's a disservice if Jackson is only willing to hire a coach who will run the triangle.
"The basic vision has to be the same," Van Gundy said about the style of Jackson and a potential head coach. "So it depends on what he feels is most important -- his priorirty list. If it is vastly important to him that that be the style of play, I think it's smart to hire someone that's already familiar with it, has taught it, and has been successful with it."
Regarding whether he'd coach a team if he had to run the triangle, Van Gundy said that you have to "have flexibility or authority to do what you feel is in the best interest of the group."
On Tom Thibodeau, who is reportedly interested in becoming the Knicks' head coach, all Van Gundy would say is that he knows Thibodeau "loved his time in New York" when he served as an assistant coach.
On the surface, the Knicks' defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards could simply look like more of the same of what the team has displayed all season long. A loss in the closing seconds to a superior squad equals the same result, despite a different coach in Kurt Rambis stepping up to the plate.
But digging deeper, subtle but positive changes could be found throughout the course of Tuesday's contest. Though New York fell behind early, perhaps a halftime chat from Rambis was enough to light the necessary spark. The Knicks came out of the locker room looking like a much different team. They played with energy on both ends of the floor, moved the ball better in the second half, and didn't get easily discouraged as a group. Despite trailing, they didn't just merely lay down and take the loss. The Knicks fought relatively hard for the final 24 minutes of the game.
Under Derek Fisher's tutelage, regardless of how a game started (whether they were up or down), his Knicks would constantly struggle late in games. Perhaps this was also due to a lack of guidance, but there was more likely a lack of belief that they could climb back and narrow a given deficit. One could tell that New York truly believed a victory was within grasp on Tuesday. That could have been because Rambis knows how to instill such perseverance and keep players focused. Still just a year and half removed from his playing career, maybe Fisher hadn't understood how to separate the two identities and motivate his team with a different prospective or view on certain situations.
As for the rotation, not too much was different. Jerian Grant remained seated in Rambis' first game. On the court, the team seemed to rely upon Langston Galloway more so down the stretch, and Kristaps Porzingis appeared to be featured a bit more offensively. Minutes were distributed in similar fashion, but the way players were utilized appeared to be different. Rambis also turned to Kevin Seraphin for fifteen quality minutes off the bench, over the likes of Kyle O'Quinn and Lou Amundson.
It'll be interesting to see which trends continue to stick moving forward, but for once, it was nice to see the Knicks finish a game a hell of a lot stronger than the way they started it. The team displayed some necessary fight and refreshing hunger. Now that he knows it's there, it's up to Rambis to channel such effort into a positive direction moving forward.
Knicks rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis said he was surprised at the firing of head coach Derek Fisher, but also appreciated his brief time as Porzingis' coach.
"I saw Coach right before he was leaving [and] I said goodbye to him," Porzingis said about his final encounter with Fisher on Monday. "It was a shock for me at that moment when he said he wasn't going to be my coach anymore. He said some good words to me, and I am very thankful for what he did for me and I told him that."
Porzingis has averaged 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds in his first season in New York and earned himself a spot on the World Team during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.
However, the Knicks' recent struggles have clouded his individual success.
New York has lost 10 of its last 11 games after a 22-22 start. After Tuesday's 111-108 loss to the Wizards, the Knicks head into the All-Star break five games back of the Pistons for the No. 8 spot in the playoffs.
"It has been a tough last few weeks obviously," Porzingis said. "Nobody is happy, everybody is kind of depressed that we are losing, but we are trying to stay positive at the same time, and now we lost our coach so a lot of stuff going on."
Tags: Kristaps Porzingis
NEW YORK -- Kurt Rambis brought a refreshing blend of levity and honesty to his first game as interim head coach of the Knicks.
But he did not bring a victory.
The Rambis Era began the same way the Derek Fisher Era ended -- with a loss.
John Wall dropped 28 points, 17 assists and 5 rebounds and Bradley Beal added 26 points as the Washington Wizards' backcourt dominated their Knicks' counterparts in a 111-108 win at Madison Square Garden. After making a three-pointer to bring the Knicks within 107-106 with 8.5 seconds remaining, Langston Galloway missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer that would've tied the game.
The Wizards shot 16-for-26 (62 percent) from deep, with Beal, Wall and Jared Dudley combining to make 12 three-pointers.
"Our defense has to continue to get better," Rambis said.
The Knicks (23-32) have now lost six straight and 10 of 11 heading into the break.
On Jan. 20, they were 22-22 and in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Now they are five games back of the No. 8 Detroit Pistons (27-26).
To finish at .500 (41-41), the Knicks would need to go 18-9 after the break. A year ago, the Nets finished in the eighth spot at 38-44. To finish with that record this season, New York would have to go 15-12 the rest of the way.
"We have to go get it," Carmelo Anthony, voted a starter in Sunday's All-Star Game in Toronto, said after putting up 33 points and 13 rebounds. "We have to take this break, reboot mentally and physically, be ready for a dog fight. Everyone needs to be prepared. This is a test for us. It will show if we really want this."
Part of the reason Fisher was fired, President Phil Jackson said, was because of the team's habit of getting off to slow starts.
Yet in Rambis' first game, the Knicks trailed 35-21 after the first quarter and 63-50 at the break.
"It was disappointing," Anthony said. "It came fast. The way they got the ball up on misses and makes. We really had to make an adjustment and a commitment to stop them. Once we got them in the half court it changed the game."
Whereas Fisher rarely spouted anything but cliches and platitudes about needing more energy and effort, Rambis has already brought a refreshing change.
He made a Grateful Dead reference on Monday when a reporter's phone rang with a ring tone by The Dead.
And after Tuesday's loss, he openly talked about the defensive deficiencies of point guard Jose Calderon and forward Derrick Williams.
"We know that real quick, explosive point guards are going to cause Jose some problems," he said of Wall, who at times was defended by the 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis. "We have to continue to find ways to support him and help him defend pick-and-rolls and quick guards. No team is perfect at all your defensive positions. You have to figure out where the weakness and matchup problems are and then you have to support your teammates."
Calderon went scoreless and managed just 6 assists and 3 rebounds.
"I've got to continue to urge Jose to be aggressive offensively because I want him to be not only a faciltator and an organizer, but he's gotta be a scorer for us, too," Rambis said.
The truth is, no matter who the Knicks coach is, if their guards are outplayed by opposing backcourts more often than not, they are not going to be a very good team.
Calderon, Galloway and Sasha Vujacic are just not as athletic and explosive as most teams' guards. And Rambis may have given an early indication about his rotation preferences by giving rookie Jerian Grant a DNP-Coach's Decision.
Rambis made similarly frank comments about Williams' defensive liabilities -- something Fisher would never have done.
"He's does have to do more things and be better connected to his teammates," Rambis said. "There's time defensively where he misses his assignments."
Asked what it felt like to be back on the sidelines as the head man, Rambis said, "It is a lot of fun, it really is."
But the fun won't last if the Knicks continue to fall from the playoff race. And Rambis said he cautioned his guys about sitting around and not staying in shape over the break.
With 10 days off before their next game in Brooklyn, Rambis had a strong message for his guys.
"My message to them was to make sure that they just don't lay around over the break," he said. "They've gotta continue to keep up their cardiovascular conditioning and they've gotta be able to get into a gym. I don't expect them to pound themselves and go through two-a-days, but they can't just lay around for 10 days and then come back and expect to get off to a great start."
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Adam Zagoria
John Wall had 28 points and 17 assists, Bradley Beal scored 26, and the Washington Wizards beat New York 111-108 on Tuesday night in the Knicks' first game under Kurt Rambis.
Wall made four free throws in the final 6.6 seconds and the Wizards held on when Langston Galloway's 3-pointer at the buzzer was just short.
Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and 13 rebounds, but the Knicks lost their sixth straight in their first game since firing Derek Fisher on Monday. They have dropped 10 of 11 and started Rambis' era the same way Fisher's ended, by quickly falling in a huge early hole.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis
Carmelo Anthony says he was surprised by the firing of Derek Fisher on Monday, but has no plans to abandon the Knicks and waive his no-trade clause.
"I done been through worse," he said with a laugh when asked if he was convinced he wanted to stay in New York. "I done been through worse, man. At this point, you become kind of immune to all of the BS that goes on and the politics, you become immune to that. So my goal is to continue playing basketball, focus on the group of guys that I have in there and leave that faith to management and to the front office."
Anthony, who signed a five-year, $124-million deal with the Knicks in the summer of 2014, is now onto his fourth coach in New York -- Mike D'Antoni, Mike Woodson, Fisher and now interim coach Kurt Rambis.
Anthony said the whole team was surprised by Fisher's firing.
"We was all surprised," he said. "I really don't know if it was a quick decision or if it was lingering, I'm not even trying to figure that part out. But everybody found out as far as players around the same time [Monday] morning."
Knicks President Phil Jackson said Monday it was easier to fire the coach than 15 players, and communicated to the players that some of the onus of the team's 23-31 record was on them.
"I mean, we know that," Anthony said. "We haven't been playing well over the last couple weeks, so it will always come down to what the coach is doing and what the coach is not doing. It's an unfortunate situation that I've been a part of multiple times throughout my career and you become kind of immune to it at this point and understand that this is part of the business. This is the bad part of the business, these things happen."
Jackson said Monday that it was his decision, and that he consulted with GM Steve Mills for several days before informing owner James Dolan.
"This was totally on management, they made that decision," Anthony said "It's unfortunate but we have to move on."
Rambis said pre-game that the team had to find a way to make the playoffs despite their current five-game losing streak and overall record.
"We've got to figure out a way to get into the playoffs," Rambis said.
Said Anthony: "I don't think that's even a question for me, as far as playoffs or not. My goal every season is to try to get to the playoffs and try to win a championship so despite all these things that should be our goal as a team. It was our goal and that should remain our goal."
Anthony said his job was to help the younger players, presumably including prized rookie Kristaps Porzingis, focus on the task at hand.
"Nobody wants to lose their coach, especially the young guys, this is an experience that they have to go through," he said. "So for me, having to keep those guys intact, keep them in line, let them know it happens. Unfortunately, it happened to us right now."
Fisher went 40-96 in one-plus seasons in New York after never having coached at any level.
Anthony said he spoke "briefly" with Fisher on Monday after the firing.
"He understands that things like this does happen," Anthony said.
"For me, in my short stint with Fish, my hat goes off to him as a coach, as a player," Anthony added. "I respected him a lot, especially for coming in and taking on this seat, here in New York coaching the Knicks. First-time coach so it was a new experience for him. I'm pretty sure me knowing him, he will learn from this experience and he will be on somebody else's sideline pretty soon, if that's what he wants."
Fisher, meantime, issued this Tweet on Tuesday evening.
Anthony and the Knicks missed the playoffs last season and now have a major hill to climb to make the postseason this year. Asked how tough the situation was for him, he said: "It's tough. I mean, at night when I wrap my brain around it and put it into perspective as far as how many coaches I've been through since being here, how many players, how many different teammates since being here, we trying to find some type of consistency when it comes to that. But like I said, the business of basketball is a tough business."
Asked if he's worried about the direction of the franchise, Anthony said he has to put his faith in Jackson.
"This was something that I didn't see coming, nobody saw coming," he said. "You have to continue to put your trust in Phil. At this point what could you do? You can't shy away from that, can't go against it. So I have to trust him. I decided to stay there, I decided to make that decision to trust in the Knicks and trust in Phil and I have to continue doing that."
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Adam Zagoria
The Knicks host the Wizards on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.
According to STATS...
- The Knicks won the first matchup between these teams this season back on October 31, 117-110. Washington has won each of its last four road games against the Knicks, last losing there back on April 9, 2013.
- The Wizards have just two wins in their last eight games overall and will be looking to snap their current two game road losing streak. Washington has not dropped three in a row away from home so far this season.
- The Knicks have lost nine of their last 10 games overall and will be looking to snap their current season-high five-game losing streak.
- Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 37 points in the first meeting between these clubs this season and has scored at least 34 points in each of his last two games against the Wizards.
- Bradley Beal has scored 18+ points in four consecutive games, while putting up exactly 22 in each of his last two outings. Beal is averaging 20.3 points in his career against the Knicks -- the second highest scoring average in his career versus any opponent (minimum 5 games).
- John Wall, who had 25 points in the first meeting between these clubs this season, has posted a double-double in three straight and in seven of his last 11 contests.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony
When Oklahoma City Thunder PG Russell Westbrook becomes a free agent in 2017, the New York Knicks have a "real chance" at landing him, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
In a column detailing the Knicks' next steps after Phil Jackson fired head coach Derek Fisher, Wojnarowski says what the Knicks do next -- with the coaching staff, with their triangle system and in the front office -- will have a significant impact on what the franchise can do in free agency in the coming years.
Knicks rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis has already caught the attention of Thunder forward Kevin Durant and may be able to help the Knicks lure Durant to New York, and he could possibly do the same with Westbrook.
Durant, who is a free agent at the end of this season, has been linked to the Knicks, Thunder and Washington Wizards, among other teams. But while he headlines this free agent class, the group of free agents in 2017, is much, much deeper
LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard and Jeff Teague are all also expected to become free agents next offseason.
Westbrook, who has eight triple-doubles this season and averages 24.1 points, 10 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game, will be 28 when he enters free agency.
Tags: Kristaps Porzingis
Derek Fisher had just finished a long playing career when Phil Jackson picked him to coach the New York Knicks. Just 1 1/2 seasons later, Jackson decided he needed someone else.
Fisher was fired Monday, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"It's time for us to make a change, turn this team around and move forward and get some wins and keep going down the road we had started here at the beginning of the year," Jackson said at the team's practice facility.
Associate head coach Kurt Rambis was promoted to interim head coach at least through the rest of the season. Rambis, like Fisher an ex-Laker player and a former assistant under Jackson, went 32-132 as Minnesota's coach from 2009-11.
He'll take over the reigns for the first time Tuesday night when New York takes on the struggling Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks have fallen to 23-31, dropping Fisher's overall record to 40-96. Jackson hired Fisher in June 2014, just weeks after Fisher was done playing.
"It's a huge transition from being a player to a coach at any point in time, let alone the season after you retire from playing," Rambis said. "I think he was laying the foundation of doing things the right way and turning this franchise around."
But Fisher wasn't winning lately, and though Jackson praised his work ethic, he had seen enough of the Knicks' slow starts and faulty finishes. The Knicks went 17-65 last season but upgraded their roster during the summer with the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis and the signing of veterans Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez.
They had the look of a playoff team most of the season but are stumbling into the All-Star break. Fans loudly booed when they fell behind by 19 points during Sunday's 101-96 loss to Denver. >> Read more…
Tags: Aaron Afflalo , Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis
Phil Jackson is not expected to stay on as Knicks team president beyond the completion of his five-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Feb. 9).
Jackson, 70, is in his second season at the helm of Knicks organization. His tenure has gotten off to a rocky start after a franchise worst 17-65 record in year one and a 23-31 record so far this season.
On Monday, Jackson relieved head coach Derek Fisher of his duties and named Kurt Rambis interim head coach (Feb. 8).
With Jackson's departure believed to be inevitable in the near future, Wojnarowski believes current GM and team vice president Steve Mills or New York Liberty team present Isiah Thomas could be next in line to replace Jackson.
Mills has held various high-ranking executive positions within the Madison Square Garden Company since 2003. He is considered a disciple of owner James Dolan and was one of the few carry overs within the Knicks front office when Jackson was brought in as team president.
Thomas is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the New York Knicks. He served as president of basketball operations for the Knicks from 2003-08 and coached the team from 2006-08. Thomas' tenure was full of turmoil,to say the least. While a return to the Knicks was thought to be highly unlikely, his hiring as team president of the New York Liberty, also owned by Dolan, could be a sign of Thomas moving one step closer to a return.
Tags: Tim Reilly
On Monday, Knicks' interim head coach Kurt Rambis discussed his main objective for the rest of the season, as well as the importance of setting a postseason goal for the players.
As Derek Fisher's negligence proved, it's imperative to keep a team motivated by putting such a suggested expectation in place. But now that some of the major damage has been done, will such a rejuvenated push prove to be too little, too late for the Knicks?
At 23-31, New York certainly has an uphill battle ahead of them. Fisher's ousting and Rambis' subsequent appointment will undoubtedly spark a change in the team's mentality, strategy, and the way they carry themselves. Phil Jackson has continuously discussed the importance of instilling a healthier culture from top to bottom within the organization. Given Fisher's failure, it's almost certain that Rambis gets the Knicks closer to accomplishing that than his inexperienced predecessor did. Just how much further along, however, remains to be seen.
Making the playoffs would be a positive step, but only time will tell if there's enough of a chance to turn things around this season. The window of opportunity might be closing relatively soon. If one thing is for certain, it's that Carmelo Anthony needs to remain healthy down the stretch. New York is a .500 team with him, but winless (0-7) without him this season. Given his recent struggles to stay on the floor, and based on how his body has tended to hold up in previous seasons as a respective campaign continues, one would have to think Anthony will miss more time.
In each of the past three seasons, the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference owned a 38-44 regular season record heading into the playoffs. As such, this would be a reasonable benchmark for the Knicks to set for themselves to reach the rest of the way. That being said, competition in the usually weaker Eastern Conference is tougher this year than it has been more recently. Whereas winning 38 games by season's end would net a team a .463 winning percentage, the Pistons currently own the conference's eighth spot with a .509 winning percentage.
As the Knicks look ahead, they would need to amass a 15-13 record the rest of the way to earn 38 victories. That's obviously been enough in past years to secure a postseason berth in the East, but given the upgraded standard this time around, even that may not prove to be sufficient enough.
There's no doubt that Coach Rambis is going to make a strong push to right the ship and subsequently alter some of the bad habits the Knicks have fallen into. Moreover, it would appear rather reasonable that this team has the potential to change things up and get going in a positive direction. Nevertheless, going 15-13 to close out the year is going to be difficult, even if Anthony proves to be relatively healthy over the remaining 28 games.
A playoff berth may be just out of reach for New York at this point, but striving towards that common goal will certainly light the fire up from under this team. Such a push will give Jackson the opportunity to further evaluate, while examining which players have that type of fight in them, and figure out who (Rambis as head coach, included) is worth holding onto as the team continues build and more forward next season.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser
Derek Fisher reportedly "lost" the Knicks locker room, according to an in-depth column by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and Yahoo! Sports (Feb. 9).
Fisher's trip to California during training camp -- which led to the incident with Matt Barnes -- reportedly didn't help, but players were confused by "discombobulated rotations and revolving roles," Wojnarowski wrote.
The player management issue also signaled a possible impact on development of young players, specifically Kristaps Porzingis, to those higher up, including team president Phil Jackson.
Jackson also reportedly had concerns that Fisher was leading the Knicks away from the triangle offense that is the basis for Jackson's success in the NBA.
In choosing to show Derek Fisher the door, Phil Jackson came to terms with his own poor decision to hire him in the first place. Fisher's failure is a complete reflection upon Jackson. Not only did it expose the bad judgment he had from the onset, but also an inability to stop the bleeding when things first started going downhill. Much like Fisher, Jackson proved to be content with a lack of progress for quite some time.
His decision to fire the former Lakers' point guard is better late than never. The pressure is on Jackson to get it right, either by letting interim Kurt Rambis see things through and show some signs of progress, or instead hiring the right man for the job this coming offseason. And while there's very little room for error, that may not be a reason to lose faith in Jackson just yet.
Beside the Fisher hiring, Jackson has done his own job relatively well. He's improved the Knicks personnel by identifying and beginning to carry out a certain vision. He has a standard with regard to talent and player demeanor and has shown a willingness to stuck to it with the team's roster flexibility. This team is seemingly paced by a healthy mix of proven veterans and a handful of promising youngsters. They are all high character individuals.
What's more, Jackson didn't go overboard or prove to be overzealous during last season's free agency period. While some expected the Knicks to make more of a splash, Jackson quietly made subtle improvements without anchoring the team down financially or taking risks that could have potentially dug the franchise into a bigger hole for itself that subsequently proved too difficult to climb out of. Of course, Jackson hit a home run by drafting Kristaps Porzingis. The rookie, perhaps arguably more so than Carmelo Anthony, will endear the team to prospective free agents this coming summer.
One of Fisher's biggest problems as a head coach was his failure to learn from his continued mistakes. Hopefully Jackson is more open to changing things up and making necessary adjustments than his pupil. The Knicks need to find a more experienced (or at the very least, seemingly more mature) candidate as their next head coach. They need someone who can roll with the punches and react accordingly to the different obstacles that may subsequently stand in their way. Proven coaches -- at least, the previously successful ones -- obviously know how to do this well.
It's up to Jackson to go out on the prowl and find this individual. Whether or not this individual happens to have experience with the triangle shouldn't weigh too heavily on Jackson's decision. Fisher merely proves to be the next in line of players and/or assistant coaches from Jackson's respective tree that have gone on to fail as head coaches. The list is long, and New York's President should take time to reflect and understand that before making another mistake.
Jackson has succeeded in other aspects of his job. Hopefully if he can learn from his previous flounder in hiring Fisher, he can continue to right the ship and all will be forgotten. But if the triangle is such an easy system to learn and is one that all should want to openly embrace (much like Jackson promotes it to be), then he should have plenty of options for the team's next head coach.
If Jackson has to step out of his comfort zone a bit by selling himself, his abilities as an executive and the triangle itself to prospective coaches, then so be it. He wants to hire a coach with whom he has a pre-existing relationship, but given his track record, it may be time to make new relationships and add some different colored branches to his otherwise limited tree.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser
While the Knicks TV ratings have improved from last season, they are still among the 10 lowest in franchise history.
The Knicks have averaged a 2.17 rating on MSG this season, up 31 percent from last season, according to Sports Business Daily. At this point last year, the Knicks averaged a 1.66 rating, according to Sports Media Watch.
However, according to Stat Muse, the Knicks' net rating for the 2015-16 season is -2.3, which is the 10th lowest in franchise history. By comparison, the Knicks' net rating for the 2014-15 season was a franchise-low -10.1.
The Knicks average 160,000 viewers per game, which ranks second in the league behind the Golden State Warriorss (209,000) and is a 29-percent increase from last year.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have seen a 15-percent drop in rating since last year and now average a 0.47.
Kurt Rambis has been coaching in the NBA for 17 years and was a player for long before that. As he steps into the role of Knicks interim head coach, there won't be any time for a learning curve. But he certainly won't need it.
And while New York is looking forward to continuing watching Kristaps Porzingis develop into the budding superstar that he appears to be, this is in no way a young team. The rookie big man may be a centerpiece for the future, but this veteran squad's time to begin proving itself as a cohesive and competitive unit is now.
Though Derek Fisher was content allowing things to move at a snail's pace and finding satisfaction in moral victories (even they were seemingly few and far in between), Rambis likely won't be.
He understands how important it is to set a bench mark and to give players something concrete to strive for. Nurturing players' respective development is one thing, but that in itself often comes along with instilling a winning mentality. Taking that into consideration, Rambis undoubtedly has the postseason in his sights. That much was clear in his first media session as head coach.
"I'm going to do the best job I can to finish out this year and get into the playoffs," Rambis said. "That's my goal."
Further discussing the importance of making the playoffs for the players (both those present ones, and future prospective ones), Rambis added, "Looking back at when I was player and a coach, you've got a goal of making the playoffs. It's not only for the benefit of the players with how they learn and how they grow [in] that level of competition, but also for the franchise. You've got to send the right message to the free agent-world and the fans."
How exactly Rambis plans on ensuring the Knicks right the ship is another story. There are many things that need to addressed and fixed, but he seems to have a handle on what many of those appear to be: An added focus on the team's defensive intensity, better execution late in games on both ends of the floor and improved ball movement.
"This is a franchise and fan base that is used to winning," he said. "We're a much better team than what we've been showing lately."
Rambis essentially hit a home run in his first public appearance as Knicks head coach. As Fisher continued to guide this team into the ground over the last season and a half, many of the team's deficits were crystal clear. He either didn't have a pulse on what those were or was simply resistant to accept that everything he was doing (as a first- and subsequently second-year head coach) wasn't always the proper way. Phil Jackson said earlier Monday that he thought Fisher wasn't utilizing the veteran coaches around him.
But in giving Rambis a platform, it's refreshing to see that such shortcomings are as easily recognizable as they seem with the right person in place. It'll be interesting to see if his execution as head coach is as impressive as his overall vision for what needs to follow.
Tags: Kristaps Porzingis , Keith Schlosser
Derek Fisher is out. Kurt Rambis is in. At least that'll be the case for the Knicks' head coaching situation for the rest of the season.
And while Rambis is a long-time confidant of Phil Jackson and a well known teacher, preacher, and practicer of the triangle offense, his 54-145 record as a head coach in two and a half NBA seasons doesn't make his chances of sticking around as the main man for too long. Only time will tell, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of being a head coach under the bright lights in the Big Apple.
Nevertheless, even assuming Rambis himself will be a candidate to keep the position next, here's a reasonable look at who else Phil Jackson could consider, given his preferences.
Like Rambis, Shaw is another unsuccessful NBA head coach who has branched off from Jackson's coaching tree following time as an assistant.
Shaw was long considered Jackson's right hand man and star pupil. Though he may have had a future in Los Angeles succeeding Jackson, he followed a path to Denver. It was there where things went south for him. Shaw didn't have the best looking roster, but those around him thought he didn't have the best command, either. Like Fisher, he may be resistant to change and/or guidance along the way.
Seeing how he may be considered a top choice for Jackson in New York, it would be beneficial to bring him on as an assistant before this season ends to get him acclimated with the players and vice versa.
When Steve Kerr spurned Jackson for Golden State, the Knicks' President should have made a hard play at Walton (instead of Fisher) as his second choice for the team's head coaching job. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.
Walton has undoubtedly bolstered his resume since then with another NBA championship ring and a hot start as interim head coach with the Warriors while filling in for Kerr this season. Of course, any number of coaches could have done well in that situation, but Walton was praised for his demeanor and subsequent reactionary moves during crunch time of games, which was clearly a weak point of Fisher's. Walton is a young coach, but he has more of a track record and some recent exposure may endear him even further to Jackson, his former head coach.
Thibodeau is arguably the most successful and desirable head coaching candidate on the open market right now. He posted a .647 winning percentage with the Bulls, won an NBA championship as an assistant with the Celtics, and has experience as an assistant with the Knicks. Many things add up in Thibodeau's favor, but one thing distinctly does not: he is obviously not a triangle/Jackson disciple.
But Thibodeau is one hell of a defensive guru, can hold guys accountable, and already has a built-in relationship with Carmelo Anthony after working together on Team USA. He has to have Jackson's respect after finding success in Chicago. If Jackson is willing to build a foundation with a head coach a bit more, this pairing could work.
Patrick Ewing and Kobe Bryant
These are obviously two outside of the box and perhaps unlikely candidates, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to see each come in for interviews.
Hiring Bryant straight out of retirement (much like Jackson did with Fisher) wouldn't be the most savvy move, and it would prove Jackson is merely a glutton for punishment. But given Bryant's status and the respect Jackson has for him, it wouldn't be the craziest hire.
Hiring Ewing would be a home run for the fans. The type of experience he boasts as an assistant over the years trumps most of the other candidates Jackson will consider. Ewing played against the triangle and obviously knows Jackson fairly well because of it. An extra endorsement from Michael Jordan (currently the owner of Ewing's Hornets) may help get him in the door once again. Experience should undoubtedly be a key desirable component this time around, and Ewing has plenty of it.
Tags: Keith Schlosser
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Phil Jackson won't return to the sidelines to try to resuscitate the Knicks, and is looking for a coach with whom he has a solid "relationship."
In the long term, that coach could turn out to be interim head coach Kurt Rambis, Brian Shaw, Luke Walton, Tom Thibodeau or someone else altogether.
Asked if he considered returning to coaching after firing Derek Fisher on Monday, the 70-year-old Jackson said, "Not one second. But the instinct is still there but it's not in my physical capabilities to do that."
Jackson, who has dealt with numerous health issues, said he informed owner Jim Dolan upon his hiring in 2014 that a return to coaching wasn't in the cards for the Zenmaster.
"No, that was understood when I took the job, that I wasn't going to be coach," Jackson said.
Jackson said he and GM Steve Mills made the decision over the last few days to fire Fisher, who amassed a record of 40-96 in one-plus seasons -- including 23-31 this year -- after never having coached before. The team has lost five straight and nine of 10.
Jackson said they informed Dolan of the decision on Sunday.
Fisher is owed $8.5 million over the next two years, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported.
Rambis, 57, has a career record of 56-145 in two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and part of a season with the Lakers. In his last season in Minnesota, Rambis went 17-65, the same record Fisher had last season when posting the worst record in Knicks' history.
"I've got to do things my way, in a way that I feel will be right for this team," Rambis said.
Rambis said the coaching staff would remain the same but noted there was a "slim chance" he might add someone.
Jackson said Rambis will serve as the interim for the remainder of the season and beyond that he is looking for someone who understands the principles of the triangle offense -- which would seem to favor Rambis, Shaw or Walton.
"It's not paramount but it's important," Jackson said of the next coach understanding the triangle.
He added: "It's always good to have a relationship. It's not paramount, but it's something I'm going to have to have a relationship with someone if they're going to coach this team, That's just how it works. Communciation has to be there in a job like that."
Thibodeau, who went 255-139 (.647) in five seasons with the Bulls, is available and a source close to the former Chicago coach said he would love the Knicks' job.
"He would walk here for that job," the source said.
Asked if he was familiar with the triangle, the source said, "Thibs would definitely run concepts of the triangle. He did in Chicago."
Asked specifically about Thibodeau, Jackson said: "I respect Tom as a coach, he's a really good coach. But I'm not out soliciting coaches right now."
Tags: Phil Jackson , Tom Thibodeau , Adam Zagoria
Knicks President Phil Jackson said it was his decision to fire head coach Derek Fisher and that interim head coach Kurt Rambis will coach the team for the remainder of the season.
Fisher, who was hired prior to the 2014-15 season, was fired earlier on Monday.
While noting that it's "a lot easier to fire a coach than 15 players," Jackson said the fact that the Knicks have lost 9 of 10 games was a big factor in letting Fisher go.
As far as the incident Fisher had with Matt Barnes, Jackson said it was "embarrassing" for the organization but had nothing to do with the firing.
Jackson ruled out the possibility of coaching the team himself, saying that it's not within his "physical capabilities."
Jackson also said the Knicks are "looking to improve" as the trade deadline approaches, while noting that Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause.
The team Jackson put together is a talented one. There have been evident holes all season long (a need for a more up-tempo point guard and added depth in the second unit, among them), but New York's most glaring weakness had long been Derek Fisher.
Triangle or no triangle, the Knicks should experience immediate improvements. Rambis may not be the total solution, but it's very clear Fisher was the problem. One could argue Jackson took too long to remove him, because now there isn't much time to reassess things and see how the team can perform with a competent coach in place. The trade deadline is steadily approaching and Jackson will have to gauge things completely based off what he's seen with Fisher leading the way.
It's great to see Jackson ready to explore and/or be receptive to respective offers and/or potential changes being made, but the window of opportunity -- at least with regard to finishing out this season strong -- isn't open all that wide. Nevertheless, regardless of whether or not the Knicks opt to make any adjustments leading in to the deadline, it'll be really refreshing to see what they're capable of with a different voice leading the charge.
Interim head coach Kurt Rambis is running his first practice just hours after Derek Fisher was fired by the team.
A look at Kurt Rambis running his first practice as Knicks interim head coach ... pic.twitter.com/A63J1x3mSk- Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 8, 2016
Kurt Rambis running his first practice as interim head coach pic.twitter.com/RCAEoMPoJT- Justin Tasch (@J_Tasch) February 8, 2016
The Knicks have fired head coach Derek Fisher, the team announced.
Fisher, 41, had been hired by the Knicks prior to the 2014-15 season.
Kurt Rambis, who was the head coach for Minnesota from 2009-2011, will serve as the Knicks' interim head coach.
Fisher led the Knicks to a 17-65 record last season and a 23-31 record this season.
The Knicks have struggled mightily this season after a solid start, going 1-9 over their last 10 games.
Fisher released a statement after the news broke:
"This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed," Fisher said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it."
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Brian Shaw and Luke Walton are among the Knicks' top choices as a long-term replacement for Fisher (Feb. 8).
Tom Thibodeau, who was fired by the Bulls last May, has always wanted the Knicks job, a source told Ian O'Connor of ESPN (Feb. 8).
Meanwhile, Shaw would "love" to be the Knicks' head coach, according to Stefan Bondy of the Daily News (Feb. 8).
The writing was on the wall. It was just a matter of time before Knicks President Phil Jackson acted.
There have been tons of signs and plenty of reasons as to why New York should have fired Fisher, some much clearer than others. There were games that looked as though he didn't have a clue, but worse than that, Fisher wasn't someone who could adapt, or at the very least, look as though he ever wanted to. He made mistakes over and over, and without him being shown the door, the bleeding may have never stopped.
It's better late than never, and this proves Jackson not only has his finger on the pulse, but a commitment to righting the ship. Fisher's struggles and inability or refusal to change left his former head coach no choice.
It'll be interesting to see if the Knicks can turn things around from here. Given how low Fisher's lack of progress has set the bar thus far, it won't be difficult to go up.
Rambis, too, has been in New York's locker room for the last season and a half, which may lead some to suggest that he -- like others on the staff -- was part of the problem as well. Still, it's clear he was committed to deferring to Fisher at times. With more authority, perhaps he can make some smarter decisions along the way.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy made a very interesting point about the Knicks last week. They're not a young team, and as such, should be working towards putting a competitive effort forth on a nightly basis rather than remaining content with not always evident development. This team is also arguably in need of a veteran coach: someone who knows how to react in a timely manner with better decisions in crunch time. Rambis will likely know how to manage personalities, motivate them, and light the fire up from under them better than Fisher did.
Rambis may not be the Knicks' ideal long-term head coach, but if he's able to help the team progress a bit more over the course of the rest of this season, it'll only be further proof that a change was in fact needed. This is for the best.
Dennis Rodman sent a tweet to Knicks president Phil Jackson, lobbying for consideration in New York's head coach search after the team fired Derek Fisher on Monday.
Knicks F Carmelo Anthony has been told by doctors that the continued soreness in his left knee is a regular part of his recovery from the surgery he had last February (Feb. 8).
"It's not going to heal in a week or a couple days or two weeks," Anthony said on Sunday. "The process I had is going to take time to heal."
Anthony returned to the lineup on Sunday against the Nuggets after missing Friday's game.
Anthony has missed three of the Knicks' last eight games due to the knee, and said he might strategically take some games off in order to rest it.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony
The more the Knicks lose, the more questions seem to surround them. But the ironic thing is that they are consistent in one specific area: the fashion in which they suffer such defeats.
With their latest loss, a 101-96 defeat against the Nuggets on Sunday, the Knicks displayed a number of behaviors that are becoming all too familiar now. They lack a killer instinct, and players to fail to sense when they can kick it up a notch and go on attack mode. They aren't assertive around the basket. Players aren't showing urgency on the offensive boards, following up shots and creating second chance opportunities. The team's overall defensive intensity is lacking, as is their ability to put up a worthwhile fight for a full 48 minutes over the course of a given contest. Regardless of the circumstances, the Knicks seem to constantly fade away and ice over when the game is on the line in the final minutes. Despite a +13 third quarter that saw New York take the lead, they fell to Denver following an all too forgettable fourth. But unfortunately for the Knicks, such woes are all too evident in what is becoming a recurring nightmare.
Here are more observations from the matinee loss.
- Though they relinquished their lead with time winding down, the Knicks were actually able to hang around and stay within reach of a one possession difference. Despite having the ball with just over 19 seconds left, Derek Fisher opted not to call a timeout (he had two remaining) in order to ensure his team fought back and set up a proper play, Instead, Carmelo Anthony took a difficult and contested shot (with his foot arguably on the 3-point line) with the team down three. He missed, and their opportunity to come back faded away.
- Without Lance Thomas, Kyle O'Quinn, Kevin Seraphin and Lou Amundson (in that order) were Fisher's first three reserves off the bench. The Knicks offense was flat to start the game, and they could have really benefitted from an offensive boost spearheaded by the likes of Langston Galloway and Derrick Williams. Without such a spark, their respective deficit only grew.
- A rare bright spot for the Knicks was the play of Kristaps Porzingis, whose 13-point, seven-rebound, third quarter was arguably the best of his young career. With Anthony sitting out, the rookie not only kept the Knicks afloat, but helped them obtain a key lead. Watching Porzingis headline and carry an offense was very refreshing. It was great to see him prove he was capable of it after finding a rhythm. His versatility makes it difficult for an opposing defense to slow him down.
- Anthony was successfully used as a decoy (seven assists) despite struggling with his own shot, but it's clear he could have continued benefitted from some extended rest. As the Knicks continue to flounder and their playoff hopes dwindle away, doing what they can to not over-exacerbate their star forward will be a key managing factor in the rest of New York's season.
- All in all, the Knicks created a large hole for themselves early on, but the decisions Fisher made in reaction didn't make things any easier. It's time to reassess things and figure out what changes needed to be made to right the ship before it sinks.
Kings point guard Rajon Rondo said he won't consider the Knicks in free agency because of the triangle offense. Knicks coach Derek Fisher said Sunday the feeling is mutual.
"You can't ask a guy that wasn't very successful playing against it whether or not he wants to come play in it," Fisher told reporters Sunday. "So that's his opinion, that's fine. He doesn't play for us. So we're not concerned about his opinion about us at this point."
Fisher also challenged a reporter who called Rondo "elite". "That's your decision on whether he's elite or not," Fisher said.
Rondo, who turns 30 Feb. 22, faced the Lakers' triangle twice in the NBA Finals, going 1-1. In the Finals that Rondo's Celtics lost, he averaged 13.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
When asked about playing for New York, Rondo said: "The triangle's not really a good look for me, I don't think."
NEW YORK -- Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay scored nine of his 15 points during a decisive fourth-quarter run, and the Denver Nuggets beat the fading Knicks 101-96 on Sunday.
Former Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton each had 19 points to lead the Nuggets, who won for the third time in four games. But it was Mudiay, who was just 2 for 12 through three quarters, who delivered nearly all the points during an 11-2 spurt that put the Nuggets in control after the game was tied at 86-all.
Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost five in a row and nine of 10 since they were 22-22 and looking like a realistic playoff team.
Carmelo Anthony returned to face his former team after missing a game to rest his sore left knee, finishing with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. But he shot just 7 for 19, missing a rushed, long jumper with the Knicks trailing by three and about 10 seconds left.
Denver ended a four-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden.
On this week's show, Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton discuss the Knicks' recent slide and Derek Fisher's comments about making the playoffs.
Plus, the guys chat with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders about Fisher's job status, and the trade rumors surrounding Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony will be back in the Knicks lineup today when they host the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden at 1 p.m., according to reporter Al Iannazzone (Feb. 7)
Anthony has missed seven games this season with knee soreness, and the Knicks are 0-7 without him. Anthony had an MRI last week that showed no structural damage.
Anthony had left knee surgery last February to repair a torn patellar tendon after chronic left knee soreness.
Anthony's ongoing knee issues are putting a drain on the Knicks' offense.
Making matters worse, he's being outperformed by a player they gave up to obtain the All-Star's services.
In the midst of arguably the best stretch of his career, Danilo Gallinari leads the Denver Nuggets into Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon attempting to deal the sagging Knicks a season-high fifth straight loss.
Anthony has gone 8 of 34 from the field over his last two games and shot 32.6 percent over his past six, part of a 1-8 run that's dropped New York (23-30) to 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The 31-year-old has missed three of those games due to recurring tendinitis in his surgically repaired left knee, an injury that's led to Anthony registering a career-low 42.4 field goal percentage.
"He's carrying a big load night to night," coach Derek Fisher said. "I think he'll be fine long term. I think we just have to get through this next set of days into the break and hopefully re-evaluate him from there in terms of something that's not reoccurring."
The Knicks have shot just 38.7 percent while averaging 93.0 points during their swoon. They struggled again with Anthony held out of Friday's 91-85 loss to Memphis, falling to 0-7 in games he's missed and 1-18 when scoring 93 or less.
"We need a guy like 'Melo who you can give him the ball and he will score, he will get to the line and he will make plays for others," forward Kristaps Porzingis said. "I think that's what we're missing."
Anthony's return is a positive for a team that had other encouraging signs in its latest defeat. Jose Calderon had 18 points in his second game back from a groin injury and Porzingis compiled 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. The rookie averaged 9.0 points on 33.3 percent shooting over his previous four games.
Gallinari has often been sidetracked by injuries since being part of the package New York sent to the Nuggets in the February 2011 trade for Anthony. The Italian has been healthy and productive since returning from a sprained ankle Jan. 2, averaging 23.4 points in 18 games to help Denver (20-31) split its last 16.
Gallinari had a season-high 33 and hit all 18 of his free throws in Friday's 115-110 comeback win over injury-plagued Chicago. He's shot 89.3 percent from the line while leading the NBA in free throws made and attempted since Jan. 6.
Denver, which has topped 100 points in 10 of its last 11, had several other contributors in rallying from an 18-point deficit late in the third quarter against the Bulls. Rookies Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic each recorded 10 points during a fourth quarter in which the Nuggets outscored Chicago 42-21, with Mudiay finishing with 22 points and sixth man Will Barton 18.
The Nuggets begin a four-game trip seeking to end a three-game skid at Madison Square Garden. Anthony had 28 points in New York's 109-93 home win last season but did not play in a 106-78 loss in Denver on March 9, 2015.
Jeff Green scored 16 points, including two free throws with 6.2 seconds left, to help the Memphis Grizzlies hold off the New York Knicks 91-85 on Friday night for their fifth straight win.
Matt Barnes had 12 points and Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol each had 10 for Memphis.
Jose Calderon led the Knicks with 18 points. Kristaps Porzingis had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Grizzlies led by nine points in the fourth quarter but could not pull away from the Knicks, who were playing without Carmelo Anthony.
Arron Afflalo's 3-pointer brought New York within 87-85 with 35 seconds left. After Gasol missed a layup, Afflalo missed a potential tying jumper with 8 seconds remaining. >> Read more…
Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas will be unavailable for Friday's Knicks-Grizzlies game due to injuries.
Anthony will be unavailable as he has battled a left knee injury that has forced him to miss four of New York's last 12 games.
Thomas suffered a mild concussion and will be out until at least Tuesday while he's in the league's concussion protocol. In addition to Friday's game, Thomas will miss Sunday's matchup against the Denver Nuggets.
New York hosts the Washington Wizards on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Lance Thomas , Memphis Grizzlies
The New York Knicks host the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
According to STATS:
- The Grizzlies defeated the Knicks 103-95 in Memphis on January 16. It was their fifth straight victory in this series; the Grizzlies have held the Knicks to 95 or fewer points in each game during this streak.
- Memphis has scored 100 or more points in nine straight games, which is tied with the Thunder for the longest active streak in the NBA. Memphis has gone 8-1 in those contests.
- The Knicks have shown solid improvement on the boards, going from grabbing 40.4 per game last season compared to 43.8 so far in 2015-16; that +3.4 improvement is second best in the NBA (Mia, +3.9)
- Jeff Green has scored 20 or more points in each of his last four games, coming off the bench in each of these contests. That is a franchise record for a bench player.
- Marc Gasol had 37 points in the Grizzlies' January 16 win over New York; 24 of the 37 points came after halftime (11 in the fourth quarter).
- Of Robin Lopez's 330 total rebounds this season, 147, or 44.5 percent, have come on the offensive glass; that is the highest percentage in the NBA (minimum 200 total rebounds). He has 17 offensive rebounds in his last two games.
Tags: Memphis Grizzlies , Robin Lopez
The Knicks are now losers of seven of their last eight games. Such defeats have come in the form of either blow-out romps, or on the flip side, heartfelt comebacks that fell just short of the mark as the team could only fight so hard and for so long. These losses could have equally demoralizing effects' on a team's collective psyche. Couple that with Derek Fisher's now notorious remark that the playoffs are not a must and the team is still developing, and New York finds itself in a tricky (and perhaps unsurmountable) spot.
The team's recent struggles and lack of urgency from Fisher may call for a "State of the Knicks"-like address by team president Phil Jackson.
The likes of Fisher, Jackson, and even Carmelo Anthony steered relatively clear of expressing any playoff-related predictions or goals at this past fall's media day, but it's important to understand where the Knicks are headed. Clearly, they want to want to compete; building around Anthony in the relative short-term, and utilizing Kristaps Porzingis as another starring attraction to reel even younger pieces in to further set a foundation for an even brighter future.
That broad question is an easy one in comparison to the more pressing ones that lie ahead because of it. How exactly will the Knicks get there? How long will this process continue to take? What moves, or respective changes, need to be made in order to ensure the team continues to move in a steady, progressive, and positive direction toward that general goal? What can New York accomplish in the meantime along the way?
If one thing is clear, it's that whatever the Knicks have been doing over the last few weeks isn't working. It's poor practice of bad behavior, but unfortunately, it doesn't appear as though anyone (more specifically, Jackson) is lighting the fire up from under them to spark a change. There should be an explanation as to why the team appears so content, or a reasonable dismissal of such a notion, with an assertion that a change (be it from a personnel -- player or coach -- or behavioral standpoint) is coming.
Jackson needs to address these issues.
Fisher's coaching record now stands at 40-94 through just over a season and a half. There's no doubt he hasn't always had it easy with the Knicks' talent level or team makeup, but it's also clear his vulnerabilities as a coach are impacting New York (especially more recently) just as much as they did last season, regardless of which players are actually gracing the roster.
Ideally, Jackson wants to give Fisher as much time as he possibly can to right the ship. After all, Fisher's failure will be considered Jackson's failure to a large extent, as well. Turnings things around would be an opportunity for both staffers to save face. But there's only so much time left for Jackson to relieve Fisher of his duties before he himself is more so to blame for not knowingly stopping the bleeding while he still could.
If Jackson indeed supports Fisher, even amid his recent comments and the team's latest skid, he needs to spell out what he believes the real problem may be, and how he plans on helping the Knicks fix it.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Keith Schlosser
Mike Conley will be the only max-money point guard on the free agent market this summer and as he visits New York for tonight's game with the Knicks, he's wisely keeping his options open.
"Everything will be on the table when the time comes. I haven't committed to anything," Conley told reporters Friday at shootaround, according to ESPN's Ian Begley.
When asked if there was a pact to re-sign and pair up with Marc Gasol, Conley himself added said, "There is no pact," according to Stefan Bondy of the Daily News.
Gasol last summer agreed to a five-year extension with the Grizzlies worth up to $110 million.
Memphis big man Zach Randolph, a former Knick, also joked: "Mike Conley's not coming here, man."
The 6-foot-1 Conley is averaging 14.6 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the Grizzlies (29-20), currently the No. 5 seed in the West.
Tags: Mike Conley , Adam Zagoria
The reeling New York Knicks had no answer for Marc Gasol last month and will face him Friday night after a difficult loss in the first of back-to-back games. They're looking to avoid a sixth straight loss in this series and deny the visiting Grizzlies their longest winning streak in a year.
The Grizzlies have a chance to extend their surge against a New York team that has allowed 107.9 points over its last 13 games. The Knicks (23-29) rallied from 27 points down and took the lead with 2:14 left Thursday before running out of gas in a 111-105 loss at Detroit.
"We dug ourselves the kind of hole where everything has to go right for you to have a chance," coach Derek Fisher said.
Robin Lopez set season highs with 26 points and 16 boards in New York's third straight defeat and seventh in eight games. Arron Afflalo had 24 points and Carmelo Anthony, who missed the first meeting with Memphis, added 19, 11 rebounds and eight assists but missed 14 of 18 shots.
Matt Barnes is questionable for the Grizzlies after sitting Monday due to a pulled hamstring. He stayed away from Fisher last month after the NBA had suspended Barnes for two games for his role in a physical altercation and threatening the coach in October. >> Read more…
Tags: Carmelo Anthony , Memphis Grizzlies , Robin Lopez
The Knicks spirited comeback, down from 27 points against the Pistons, fell short Thursday night in what proved to be another demoralizing loss. And while Derek Fisher has said this season isn't just all about wins and losses, and that making the playoffs isn't a must, Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy doesn't agree with his opposition's vision.
"I laugh a little bit when I see them referred to as a young, developing team. I wasn't aware Robin Lopez, Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo are that young. I read that," Van Gundy said to the New York Post. "Wow. I guess in society at large, guys in their 30s are young."
Despite their record and recent struggles, one could make a very strong argument that the Knicks are not an inferior team with regard to remaining competitive in the Eastern Conference. But they sure look like it as of late. For any other coach in this league, the makeup of New York's roster would be worth enough to guide them towards putting a promising effort forth into making the postseason. But for Fisher, not so much. This is a playoff roster. They just don't have a playoff coach, so to speak.
Van Gundy is known for his blatant tone and sometimes radical takes. He certainly isn't one to hold back with the media. What's concerning, however, is how simply he confirmed or legitimized the belief of outsiders from all angles who are watching Fisher lead the Knicks right into a tail spin.
The veteran coach wasn't disregarding New York's roster by any means. If anything, his comments should be further evidence of what should be considered the team's ceiling at this point. It's come as a surprise to many how any roster featuring Carmelo Anthony could be considered to still be in rebuilding or developing mode.
Given the solid pieces around him and the rise of Kristaps Porzingis, this team should be striving for something specific. It's one thing to suggest this team needs more time to continue finding a rhythm (as one could argue Fisher has alluded to when discussing development), but it's time to set a specific goal and not leave things regarding their more near-future so open-ended.
Tags: Aaron Afflalo , Carmelo Anthony , Kristaps Porzingis , Robin Lopez , Keith Schlosser
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Anthony Tolliver and Reggie Jackson made a trio of big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter, and the Detroit Pistons avoided a colossal collapse, beating the New York Knicks 111-105 on Thursday night.
The Knicks rallied from a 27-point second-quarter deficit, finally taking a 97-95 lead on a layup by Robin Lopez. Tolliver's 3-pointer put the Pistons back ahead, and Jackson added another to make it 101-97.
After a dunk by Lopez cut the margin back to two, Jackson added another 3-pointer, and the Pistons were able to hold on.
Lopez had 26 points and 16 rebounds.
The Knicks need an upgrade at point guard, a fact that seems plainly obvious to virtually everyone watching the team.
Count Charles Barkley among them.
"I think the Knicks, they're gonna be there [in the playoff mix]," Barkley said on a conference call Thursday to promote the upcoming All-Star Game, according to the Daily News. "I think, listen, Carmelo (Anthony) has had a solid year. I think he's really been trying to fit into the system they're running. (Kristaps) Porzingis has shocked everybody. He's shocked everybody. Right now, he's right there, him and Karl-Anthony Towns, they're the two leaders in the clubhouse as far as Rookie of the Year. It could go either way.
"But the one thing that surprised me was their point guard. I thought the (Jerian) Grant kid would be playing a lot more, earlier. But let me tell you something, I hear there are rumors they can get Jeff Teague. If they can get Jeff Teague, the playoffs are a lock. I love Jeff Teague. If you put him with Porzingis and (Arron) Afflalo and Carmelo, they will make the playoffs. That's the one weak spot they have to fix in the next year, the point guard.
"They need a point guard; that's the only thing they're really missing to be a playoff team."
Still, league sources told SNY.tv the Knicks are unlikely to land Teague because they simply don't have enough assets to give the Atlanta Hawks in return.
The Hawks are said to be shopping Teague ahead of the Feb. 18 trading deadline, with teh Utah Jazz among other spots he could possibly land.
Heading into Thursday's game in Detroit, the Knicks are 23-28 and five games under .500 for the first time this season.
Tags: Adam Zagoria
The New York Knicks swarmed Andre Drummond to key a December win over the Detroit Pistons, but haven't shown signs of being able to replicate that effort recently.
The slumping Knicks will try to tighten things up as they try to avoid their fifth straight road loss Thursday night against a Detroit team that will likely be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who owns the second-longest active games played streak.
Drummond leads the league with 15.0 rebounds per game and is a big reason why the Pistons (26-24) pace all teams with an average of 15.8 second-chance points and rank among the leaders with 44.7 paint points and a plus-4.0 rebounding margin.
New York's game plan was obvious the first time it faced Drummond this season after he had averaged 17.2 rebounds over the previous six meetings. The club threw multiple bodies at the All-Star, holding him to just nine boards while outscoring Detroit 46-36 in the paint en route to a 108-96 victory Dec. 29 at Madison Square Garden. >> Read more
Regardless of what they happen to achieve this season, it's important that the Knicks are able to recognize what is going right and carry it over with them to next season as they continue to build.
Despite some inconsistencies, both Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams continue to do positive things. Each one has endeared themselves to New York, so much so, to be considered a part of the team's "core," meaning the Knicks hope they both opt in to their player options for next season (New York Post, February 3).
Retaining Afflalo and Williams' services would obviously be a smart basketball decision, but it would immediately eat into much of the expected cap space the Knicks could potentially have this coming summer.
With that in mind, encouraging such players to opt in would limit the team's ability to upgrade the point guard position via trade or free agency. This would put the pressure on Phil Jackson and Co. to seek out trades to rid the team of the contracts of Jose Calderon, Kyle O'Quinn, or others.
But as evidenced last season, Jackson can be persuasive and effectively find teams to bite on his salary dump bait. Moving such aforementioned players before this month's trading deadline would set the Knicks up to fully and freely explore more promising options this coming offseason. On the flip side, however, it could very well disrupt chemistry and effect the team's chances for playoff contention.
With the trading deadline just weeks away, Jackson will need to decide relatively quickly what's more important, and if he believes allowing the team to see this season through as currently constructed (as a means of developing some rhythm and respective confidence to build upon for next season) is the way to go. Gaining more flexibility for next offseason could be a good thing, but it may come at the cost of rocking the boat and leading to an unfortunate and demoralizing demise for those players expected to still be a part of next season's core.
Of course, there would be obvious motivation to explore a deal sooner, rather than later. While a veteran like Calderon and serviceable big man like O'Quinn may be appealing for teams currently looking to make a playoff push, they may not stand as desirable come the offseason. Teams, much like the Knicks, will obviously have cap room and there are set to be other options available to choose from at the time.
In essence, if the Knicks truly want to hang on to Afflalo and Williams next season (and they should), the pressure is on to make other moves in the more recent future. This would allow them to prepare to make other potential improvements along the way as well.
Tags: Aaron Afflalo , Derrick Williams
Following Tuesday's loss to the Celtics, the Knicks have now lost six of their last seven. Still just four games out of a playoff spot, the collective attitude of the team does not look like that of a winner right now. Amid the most recent struggles, the team has looked dejected, confused, and unaware of how to snap out of the funk.
One could even go as far as suggesting New York is in a bit of a tail-spin, which wouldn't bode well at all for any remaining playoff hopes. Even so, Derek Fisher isn't all too concerned about securing such a spot, more so than he is seeing the team continue to develop.
"There is no end point or endgame,'' Fisher said to the New York Post. "One win. One position. One seed doesn't do anything. There's still so much work to do. We have to focus on the work part and not get caught up in thinking we have to work hard in order to get something. Instead enjoy having to work hard, period."
While it's safe to say New York wouldn't stand much of a chance in a seven game series with a team like the Cavaliers, breaking through and reaching the playoffs, generally speaking, would mean something. What's more, it would give the players (especially those who have been around for both this season and last) a sense of accomplishment. It wouldn't only be a sign of progress (anything better than the worst season in franchise history technically would be), but also a firm step in the right direction.
Regardless of how far they could go or how much they'd compete with a first seed team, fighting hard in the playoffs would also be a learning experience for this group as they continue to grow. It may bring them together even more. Striving for a certain bench mark is a positive thing. Praising them for "development," without anything concrete to show for it, could be considered a poor excuse for failure.
Not making the playoffs would be a reflection upon Fisher's own progress and respective leadership skills (just as much as actually making the playoffs would be), but his recent comments raise another question as well. How is he able to motivate this team?
It may be not necessary just yet, but no individual Knicks' player has specifically come out and said they continue to buy everything Fisher is selling. They certainly don't practice everything he preaches on the court. Do they support him? Do they believe in his abilities a coach? Should the Knicks continue to struggle, and Fisher appears to remain content in their development, nonetheless, he'll be the one to blame for their struggles once again.
The NBA season is now more than midway through, but there's still plenty to play. Given how promising things looked for the Knicks early on, changing things up may be necessary, should Fisher continue to remain satisfied. Whether that would occur in-season, or whether he would have the opportunity to finish things out and then be let go, remains to be seen. It's important to assess, however, which direction he appears to be taking them, in the meantime. The progress they made early on could have merely been a result of the players, and not something he has done specifically.