Carmelo Anthony


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Last Thursday night in Miami the Knicks played a complete game from start to finish, without star and 27.5 PPG contributor Carmelo Anthony, and blew out defending Champion Miami Heat at United Airlines Arena 112-92, in what may have been their best regular season performance in the new millennium.  Since then, the Knickerbockers went toe to toe with the Bulls in Chicago and lost, and posted wins over Denver and NJ…um, “Brooklyn” that is, 2 games that have been labeled by some as a Carmelo revival tour of sorts.  Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey, as must a win as there can be in mid December, was made possible by Anthony’s 45 pts, and was delivered by a 3 pointer by new team leader Jason Kidd (shown above) in the final minute which was also the game’s final tally.

Prior to the South Beach business trip, the Knicks played a mostly lackluster game in Charlotte, looking ahead to the Heat, in all likelihood.  While Anthony put up 20 in the 1st half, he had zero field goals in the 2nd.  But his low output did not hinder his effort.  With only a few minutes to play, Anthony followed a loose ball into the Knicks’ bench, lacerating his finger, and causing him to miss the next two games.

Without Anthony on the floor for the final minutes in Charlotte, the Knicks capped the impressive comeback (8 down with 6 minutes to play) win with a 5 man unit consisting of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd.  Felton and Smith teamed for a huge steal in the final minute and swarming team D led to a 5 second violation for another key turnover, in part aided by a mental error by city product and NCAA champ Kemba Walker.  The pride of UConn failed to present himself on the inbounds pass, as he was the likely option on the throw in.  Felton scored with approximately a minute to go on a sweet drive, which gave the Knicks a 98-98 tie, and then JR Smith, after failing to go hard to the rim for a layup that would’ve won the ball game, instead called a TO and then promptly won it with a fall away from behind the elbow as time expired.

The Knicks performance last week, marked by strong defense and execution, have been hallmarks of the team this year–especially 2nd half defense–traits notably absent during Mike D’Antoni’s failed tenure, but traits once again associated with the Knicks under Mike Woodson, now 35-12 as HC of the NYK.  Another refreshing quality the Knicks now have in spades, which was noticeably absent during the D’Antoni era is effort, which, to a man, has improved under coach Woodson.

It couldn’t have hurt to have added so many serious veterans with winning predigees, like Rasheed Wallace and “rookie” Pablo Prigioni, who, in 13 minutes against the Heat, recorded 7 pts and 6 boards.  Prigioni has a serious nose for the ball via the steal and the long rebound, a perfect reserve on a club that shoots so many 3s (last night the Knicks made 14-28 3PFGAS).  Kidd has also shown a knack for loose balls and long rebounds, but to be honest, what hasn’t he shown a knack for since coming to NY’s real team?

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who truly puts the color in color commentary, recently discussed Kidd’s impact on the Knicks this year.  In doing so, Clyde recalled Kidd led NJ teams that went to the finals, along with players like Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, who ‘have been practically nothing without him.’  It’s easy to understand why Kidd’s departure so enraged Dallas owner Mark Cuban.  In fact, we were even apoplectic that Kidd was out for the 1st game the Knicks played against the Nets in Brooklyn.  Something tells us the Knicks finish that business off with Kidd on the floor to steady and martial the troops.  We’re pretty certain that Knicks point guard Ray Felton would be the first guy to cite Kidd’s impact, as Felton is enjoying a career season with Kidd as his 2.

In that game against Miami, Felton made 6 3s, led the team with 27 points, and turned it over only 3 times, and only once through 3 quarters.  Felton’s play against Miami prompted one local beat man (props to Steve Popper) to Tweet, “Feltonsanity.”  Too bad Jeremy Lin didn’t stick around, as he would have greatly benefitted from Kidd’s tutelage, as opposed to Houston, where he shares the ball handling duties with, wait for it…Toney Douglass.  Oh, the hand of fate!

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Even if Kidd is not showing up on the score sheet, his contributions are great. In Miami, Kidd was a staggering +31 in his minutes.  Kidd has taken charge of most huddles and is perfectly suited to, for what player on the Knicks or in the league anywhere, for that matter, would not defer to Kidd’s wisdom in a crunch situation?  When JR Smith failed to go in for that layup to beat the Bobcats, Kidd was visibly irate with Smith, but then appeared to instruct Smith to shake off the play.  So Smith went out and made the buzzer beater, all net, no rim, splash.

Having 2 point guards on the floor, one being Kidd, has manifested itself in another winning attribute: TO ratio.  This year the Knicks have a +5.5 TO margin, which, at the moment is not only tops in the league but is also on pace for an NBA team record.

Back to the +/- stat for a moment, a stat which is also distinguishing the Knicks as an elite regular season team.  The Knicks 5 man unit of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd is the top +/- group in the NBA. The 4 man unit of Chandler, Felton, Novak, Kidd is the top foursome in the league, and the 3 man unit of Novak, Felton, and Kidd is the top 3 man unit, at a staggering +19 avg.

Novak has been worth every penny of his 20+M/4 yr deal so far.  Even last night, when he recorded zero points, he was a +12 in his minutes, which indicates that he plays sound ball regardless of his stroke and scoring numbers.

As presently constituted, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic at 16-5.  They should be wired on Thursday when they play the Lakers, a struggling team, now coached by Knicks’ castoff Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire, especially considering that Phil Jackson was set to return to LA when D’Antoni agreed to take his woe is me act to SoCal.  Only time will tell as to D’Antoni’s success in LA, though not only aren’t we counting on it, but we’re actively rooting against it.  The Knicks would be wise to jump all over LA at MSG, where Kobe usually puts up immense numbers.

The Knicks should be further buoyed by the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire, who looks to be in great shape right now, and who is expected back around Christmas.  And when Iman Shumpert returns, hopefully in January, the Knicks will have the defensive presence to throw at quick guards like Rondo and Deron Williams, which should further boost the play of Raymond Felton, an absolute bargain at 3M per, and taken with Kidd’s approximate 3M salary, the winning pair come in at the same approximate salary as former Knicks’ savior Jeremy Lin.

KNICKERBOCKERS!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

It’s true that Mike D’Antoni (above) is no longer a Knick, but we never counted him as one to start with.

Oh happy happy days. Our beloved Knickerbockers have dropped that tired, heartless “7 seconds or less” program, Wednesday firing coach Mike D’Antoni in what was a move long past due. Despite whatever shadowy shenanigans were reported otherwise about resignations and mutually agreed upon resignations and spontaneous, unplanned mutually contrived resignations, the Knicks did what they had to do and fired D’Antoni’s ass, at the behest of their star, Carmelo Anthony. Whether he spoke the words out loud “get this guy out of here” or not is of little consequence. He didn’t have to. We still have to thank Melo, Glen Grunwald, of course James Dolan, our major domo, and even Mike Woodson, who we do not like much better than Mike D’Antoni, but who stepped in and played one hell of a game of charades at The Garden Wednesday, and who will always play right along, making that nice Knicks assistant coaching and interim HC money, green as ever, for playing his part as house boy to the hilt.

Is that harsh? We really don’t mean it like that. We are thrilled to have Woodson as our HC. For the next 23 games. Couldn’t have been any happier unless one of the other holdover coaches, preferably Herb Williams or Kenny Atkins, had gotten the nod. But that’s okay. This Knicks rebuild is a process and a half, and in the long view, we also knew that D’Antoni was just a guy to point free agents to as being easy to play for during the recruitment part of the process, and that once the players were recruited, more or less, that a coach who is more than just a signpost would need to come aboard to do the heavy lifting, making a collection of players into a bona fide NBA squad that this city is desperate for.

So we won’t even quibble with yesterday’s grand folly at MSG, led by the major domo himself, out from behind his silk curtain, it seems, for the first time in a year. Remember the last time? After the consummation of the Anthony deal when James Dolan got up, lied through his teeth about Donnie Walsh’s pumped up but truly non existent role in the trade, and gritted out a tirade about Isiah Thomas and the foul lies of the whore media (that lives in the realm outside his own media empire). Once again, Dolan did not disappoint, aside from a tiny bone sliver we have yet to pick. First, get a little load of this press engagement:

To start it with a bang, Dolan says, “today we have mutually agreed with Mike D’Antoni that he will no longer coach the Knicks. Mike came in this morning and he met with Glen and Allan (Houston) and then they called me and I came up to the training center and met with Mike. It was not an event that was planned in any way. It just happened. This morning.”

What’s the over/under on lies in that paragraph? Today…that’s one lie. We have mutually…that’s two. Agreed…three. And what about this whopper? “It was not an event that was planned in any way.” Right. Hey there, kind sir, do whatever the flip you like. You do own these premises and the TV station bringing us all this fine spectacle, and it was your divine checkbook and never say die attitude that got Anthony here in the first place, and he’s truly the guy with a presence enough to advance the Knicks cause with this addition by subtraction, because of the failure between player and coach to get along and work together in D’Antoni’s system. No real Knicks fan has ever wanted anything to do with Mike D’Antoni, his southern drawl, and his very, very say die attitude, so pervasive that it’s caught fire with the very same foul whore media that James Dolan is so right to spurn, taking more care with the toilet paper stuck to his $3000 tassled loafer.

Should mega billionaire mogul James Dolan really be slumming with the sordid likes of dolts on par with Frank Isola and Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News, two guys who believe Mike D’Antoni didn’t get a real chance here, in 4 painfully long years, for reasons like this one: he never had a true point guard? Are these morons for real? When exactly have the Knicks had a true point guard? Walt “Clyde” Frazier graced us four decades ago and not since. The Knicks never promised D’Antoni a certain roster, a Steve Nash clone, an adequate big, that he’d never get booed, that they wouldn’t trade his boy toy Danilo Gallinari, or any owner–beat scum rendezvous for that matter either. What they promised him was a fat $24M, which he’s getting, and apparently some shallow ruse to save face, perhaps feeling some obligation to protect D’Antoni from embarrassment even though his team quit on him. Maybe the king of the realm felt truly bad for D’Antoni, the boo-ee, or maybe he was just giddy that this fantasy actually played out, enough to not publicly fire him.  Maybe Dolan is so media conscious and disturbed by the possible bad press that he had Glen Grunwald author this Shakespearian comedy.

For Grunwald as interim GM of the club also does not wish to be seen as a guy who fired the great Mike D’Antoni.  But Grunwald, as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations does have the authority to scheme up a mutual half resignation plot, thereby saving James Dolan the perceived indignity of the vile stupid whore media which would have rained down upon him had he been so cold as to publicly discharge Mike D’Antoni, media darling and millionaire many times over, no doubt recovering his hurty feelings in one of his mansions or luxury apartments right now.

Dolan should’ve fired him when he first wanted to, after the Knicks blew a 15 point lead with 6 minutes to play at MSG last year at the same time when the owner was entertaining a party of friends.  But since Dolan doesn’t fire millionaires short of embarrassing public sex trials, he sent Donnie Wheelchair to do it.  Since Donnie doesn’t roll like that, Dolan planted a similar circumstance on Walsh at the end of his contract.  But he didn’t fire him.  He just didn’t retain him. He didn’t fire him.  He simply refused to negotiate with him on a new contract.  Well, not actually but rather mutually they decided together that Walsh would no longer be president of the Knicks anymore, quite obviously.

Grunwald and Dolan could never have orchestrated this delightfully demeaning hoax without Carmelo Anthony, who is not losing any sleep over these events.  D’Antoni foolishly picked a passive aggressive media war with Melo, perhaps forgetting that Anthony rest some 15M points higher than him in the pecking order of the Knicks power structure.

When the press would ask the coach if Stoudemire was doing all he can this year, the answer was always yes, without hesitation.  When asked the same question about Anthony, there was much hemming and hawing. D’Antoni simply didn’t have the “thrust” to beat Anthony at that game.  Is Anthony a coach killer?  Damned good thing he is.  His actions spurred the necessary change here that sprung the elaborate two party mutually consented upon resignation of Mike D’Antoni.  Anthony blew up a franchise just last year.  Why would he have any qualms about statements like “the Knicks could learn a lot from the Heat” because the Heat “practice so hard” and he “wished the Knicks practiced like Miami.”  Kudos sir.  Or when constantly hounded by the press about D’Antoni’s beloved system, Melo called it “just another system” and suggested it was a system that hasn’t won anything on this side of the Atlantic.  Kudos again.  When that wasn’t enough, Anthony resorted to back channels, or for the NBA, whispers from one’s entourage.  BTW, since this source works in the Knicks front office, it’s not a stretch to deduce that Anthony’s entourage and the club’s management are linked very closely, if they are not actually part of the same circle.  Did Anthony speak the words that he wished to be traded?  Of course not. Did someone suggest to the stupid whore media that Anthony wasn’t happy which the stupid whore press then re-interpreted as a trade demand to squeeze out one more cheap headline, NYC style? Indeed.

As the fiction goes, Mike D’Antoni was so despondent lately that he could barely keep down his rigatoni, yet the other day was in spirits high enough that when asked about a defined role for Knicks whipping boy Toney Douglas, he laughed and said, “he doesn’t have any role. It doesn’t get more defined than that”. Class right until the end.

An end, which despite Wednesday’s farce was classier than this coach deserved.  The Knicks were 45 games under .500 for his tenure, and the only identity the team built was that they were lazy and apathetic.

There’d have been absolutely nothing wrong with the Knicks standing up and saying, “You know what? We suck and we’re tired of it.  It starts with the coach.  We get embarrassed at home and away, and guys aren’t trying.  We spent 230M on a front line and this coach did not make it work.  This is New York, this is the NBA, the big leagues, and it is just unacceptable.  The front office rebuilt the team.  The coach failed and was given ample time and resources, contrary to fucking ludicrous media reports.  Therefore we had to shit-can this shitbird.”

But alas, it all supposedly went down much more mutually and spontaneously, like a quality one night stand with a fine piece of ass, because Dolan and Grunwald and Allan Houston don’t fire great coaches.  And as for Phil Webber and Dan D’Antoni, they must have just spontaneously combusted.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Carmelo Anthony (above), who gave the Knicks the lead twice in the final minute of regulation yesterday in Boston, only to see it wasted by inscrutable coaching decisions.

Just because a guy has a system, it doesn’t make him a good coach.  Just because a guy emerges as a superstar point guard, basically out of nowhere, it doesn’t mean that coach had much, if anything to do with it.  And while we know that James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, doesn’t love Mike D’antoni, denying him a contract extension that made the coach a lame duck this year, a rarity in sports, we hope that yesterday’s final 18 seconds of regulation did nothing if not reinforce such a decision.  Because as we’ve been saying from the get go,  the Knicks are in need of more than just a system.  The Knicks need a coach, and have needed one ever since Jeff Van Gundy left town 11 years ago.  Finding Jeremy Lin has done nothing to diminish this fact of life.

Jeremy Lin is not responsible for the Knicks loss in Boston yesterday, their 10th consecutive loss in Boston without a win since D’antoni has taken the helm.  Not even with Rajon Rondo handing out 17 assists and grabbing 18 boards.  Rondo had 17 assists because the guys he was passing to were open, and he had 18 rebounds because the Knicks, even with Tyson Chandler, stand around and let teams play volleyball under the rim.  Perhaps Amar’e Stoudemire, D’antoni’s guy, should grab a rebound once in a while.  That would be nice.  Or even finish off a play around the rim, where he has missed what seems like hundreds of simple finishes this year, accounting for his nearly 10 point per game drop off in scoring average.  Stoudemire’s best move of the season in fact came off the basketball court, showing immense class by buying all Garden employees breakfast on Christmas morning.  Now if he could only keep a guy nine inches shorter than him off the boards here and there, or make a layup.
Jeremy Lin, in what was not his best game by any means, did still score 6 big points in the final moments of regulation, including a huge 3 down the stretch in regulation, and had a tenacious steal, that had the Knicks in position to win, until D’antoni took over. Actually, Carmelo took over first, scoring two huge buckets to give the Knicks a slim lead with 39 and again with 18 seconds left.

After the Knicks got a stop and a rebound though, D’antoni took a head scratcher time out.  While he obviously made the move to get Novak, an impressive foul shooter in the game, and while Novak was fouled and made 2, there was no guarantee that he’d have even touch the ball.  With the ball and the lead and with Boston out of TO’s, the move, as any novice knows, is to keep the clock moving.  Instead, Boston had time to scheme, and after Novak made his free throws, Paul Pierce came down and made a giant 3 to tie the game.

Now why was Pierce even allowed to take that shot?  Since putting him on the line would have all but guaranteed that the Knicks, if they could have been counted on to grab one defensive board, would have had the game locked up.  The win was all but academic at that point, save for D’antoni having his club more ill prepared for a final sequence than we have ever seen any ball club.

Knick fans should not delude themselves into thinking that D’antoni had anything to do with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the coach’s savior.  Lin was all but cut, and began to get a little run only when Carmelo Anthony, worn from running the point which is not his job, went to D’antoni and suggested Lin play.  In D’antoni’s banana republic where the assistants had already asked for the same thing but were ignored, D’antoni takes his lineup cues from Carmelo.

And what of the dark days before Lin’s emergence when the club ran it’s mark to 8-15, and reeked of a lack of compete?  When asked for answers, the coach kept saying “let’s wait for Baron Davis to come back.”

So that’s the solution?  Wait for a guy to come back who hadn’t even yet played for the team, ever?  It’s really no wonder that they find new ways to lose all the time, and that they haven’t produced one win up in Boston in more than 5 years.

Despite so many cries to the contrary, when Donnie Walsh’s contract expired, James Dolan saw fit not to give him a new one, and exactly no harm was done to the club which is stronger today because of some excellent moves made by the front office sans Walsh.  We sincerely hope Dolan considers that bit of history when this season is over.  The next great move the Knicks make should be not retaining D’antoni, and there will be quality coaches salivating to get their hooks into this roster, which is now better than most in the league, though not without a few saddlebags still.

Especially since a 7th or 8th seeded Knicks team is unlikely to win 1 playoff game, let alone upset the Bulls or Heat. And with 2 playoff misses and 2 playoff failures on the resume in his 4 year tenure, D’antoni should be taking that resume elsewhere to find a job for next season.  If he’s still here, we predict more of the same.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

College is college, and you can never trust a draft eligible player’s listed height, and we’ve all heard how Kenneth Faried (above) of Morehead St. can’t shoot a jumpshot, and never even attempts any.  For a four, he’s a midget, right?  At 6’8, 225 lbs.  While we’re at it, should we throw those college stats out the window, even though this young man has averaged 13, 13, and 14.5 rebounds a game since sophomore year?  Thankfully team president Donnie Wheelchair has been watching closely, and hopefully, he is in love with Faried as many outlets are reporting.

We’ll tell you what.  We’ve seen the Knicks blow it in this spot a million times.  The too short four.  Michael Sweetney?  Ouch.  But Sweetney was fat.  How about the too short free agent four?  We’ve seen that a million times too.  Clarence Weatherspoon?  We shudder to recall.

This kid has been the best rebounder in the nation for 3 years, was the best rebounder at the Portsmouth Invitational, and if you put him on the Knicks right now, he’d be their best rebounder by a mile and would rebound Amar’e Stoudemire under the table.  Did anyone notice how little energy Stoudemire played with and how poor his rebounding numbers were since Carmelo arrived?  He’s not the best rebounder to begin with, but 6 a game?  This particular draft seems to be the ideal situation for the Knickks, who can draft for need and pick up the best player in 2 years at that need, if it’s true Faried isn’t expected to go until late in the first round or later.

The Knicks got killed in the paint, especially on the boards, and if they draft this kid from Moorehead St., it’s no longer an issue.   Let the scorers score and let this rebounder from Newark, who’d love love love to be here, rebound.  Not a comparison in any way, and we couldn’t care if this kid doesn’t shoot 5 times a game, but he isn’t that differently sized than Blake Griffin.  For what the Knicks need and will be asking of their four, Faried is going to give it to them: hustle, energy, defense.  And of course, rebounds.  The Knicks will be playing small ball a good deal for D’antoni, which means Faried would be working between Stoudemire and Anthony, and when D’antoni’s gone, the intense Mark Jackson (we hope it’s him so much) will love having Faried on the team.

The Knicks need to forget about Europe and little men.  Especially since they only have 1 pick.  If they can buy themselves another, sure, we’d still rather a big, but we’d understand the logic behind taking a point guard.  But not at the expense of Faried.  And yes, we were the ones who were giddy about Kemba Walker and the Knicks during the Big East Tournament, but that’s understandable.  If that type of lottery talent and home town product is available at 17, jackpot.  But where the Knicks are picking, it is highly unlikely they are going to have a shot at a small man talent great enough to make them pass on their greatest need.

FARIED!!!!!

Let’s get this taken care of.  We need at least 8 guys who are ready and able to roll.  Faried makes a solid 3rd of the 8.  The Knicks can address the point after Billups is gone.  They must get a rebounder at 17.  And if Dolan wants to buy us a few extra picks, then we can talk about the lanky kid from Florida or the young one from Michigan.

And please please please no Jimmer Freddette. 

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

On a buzzer beater by Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks salvaged a win last night in Memphis after blowing another ten point lead, this time with 3:37 to play.  Melo, after popping the jumper, had some interesting interplay with the Grizzlies’ bench.  Defensive “stopper” Tony Allen, did little to contain Anthony overall, who put together another great stat line (31 pts, 5 reb., 6 assts).  Anthony, who an excited Memphis bench regaled with sentiments his game winning shot was off when it left his hands, went back at the Memphis sideline and said simply, “I do this” when the shot fell.

Exciting times for the Knicks indeed.  Don’t mistake our silence on the Carmelo saga and on the beginning of this era as a lack of excitement for what’s going on.  We stated here months ago that Gallinari, probably Chandler, and a pick swung from Minny for Anthony Randolph was going to Denver.  We wrote–months ago–that Melo was engineering a trade to NY and that privately he had shot down the Nets.  Even publicly, he couldn’t even fake being lukewarm toward the proposition of NJ.  He could’ve had a deal to the Nets at any point since June.  Instead, when Denver obviously begged their disgruntled star to thow them a bone in the form of some leverage, Anthony spoke not of New Jersey but of perhaps signing the extension with Denver.

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https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/carmelo-anthony-to-nets-pipedream-crushed/

We’ve had a big picture view on the Knicks dating back about 6 years now.  The Anthony acquisition is a major step, but part of a much larger long term process.  First, we rooted for Thomas to do enough damage to get himself fired, which finally happened with an assist from Stephon Marbury who testified about pressuring a young female Garden employee into giving him a blowjob.  Then, Thomas had to be replaced with a quality hire.  Sure, we’ve made fun of Donnie Wheelchair, and we hate his draft acumen, but he is a pro.  He had a plan and stuck to it, giving the Knicks the chance to slot in stars the magnitude and calibre of the ones now on board.

These exciting times and last second wins?  Great to be excited, but putting teams away when up 10 or 12 in the 4th quarter is a lot more gratifying in our minds.  Still, it’s a long view.  You know our feeling on Mike D’antoni.  We’d never hire him.  Ever.  Not for the Knicks, not for a Division III school, not for an AAU gig, not even to mop up court sweat.  We’ve never seen any facsimile of speedball win big on any level.  Showtime out in LA and all fast break basketball is predicated on stops, rebounds, and turnovers that lead to easy scores.  Remember the Riley credo: “No rebounds, no rings.”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/before-they-can-worry-about-free-agents-knicks-need-a-coach/

The next step in the Knicks progression is probably going to be growth from within.  Fields and Douglass have upside and are improving.  We expect 7 or 8 guys from this squad to return next year and that they’ll improve as a group.  Seven foot pivot Jerome Jordan, a 2nd round pick last year, will probably be imported from Europe.  He’s a big who showed polish and promise in college, and who is currently showing a knack for scoring down low overseas.  The Knicks must draft wisely in round 1 this year (BTW, did anyone hear Kemba Walker lobbying this week to come to NY?), and may be served to buy another pick, ala the Toney D. selection, which they acquired for cash from the Lakers.

But Mike D.?  If we could only sell him off.  Short practices, disinterested walkthroughs and shoot arounds.  Mishandled player relations (Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill, etc.)  We guess Walsh can live with it so far.  But all the late blown leads and not running plays late in the games?  Our media is already tiring of this act.  The Post this week had a snappy headline in which they referred to him as “Done-toni.”

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/after_season_mike_may_be_done_toni_EoEp0beiA3opwRMF02MkyJ

If Garden management is so slow to take care of Walsh, who always represents the team in a respectful fashion, why would they be in a rush to extend the coach?  Especially one whose rationale for not calling a timeout to set up a play at the end of games is along the lines of ‘we basically know what to do.’  Really?  Did they know what to do in Phily weeks back when they blew another double digit lead in the 4th, went down 10, and cut it to 2 in the closing seconds?  D’antoni didn’t call for a timeout, the Knicks had no play, ran something we’d describe as chaos, and watched Shawne Williams, fresh off the scrap heap, force a drive when the Stoudemires, Chandlers, Gallos, and Feltons of the world watched.

We will suggest right here that D’antoni is also mishandling Chauncey Billups and his injury situation.  Billups hurt his quad 6 games ago.  D’antoni has termed him day to day the whole while.  How is a guy not named John Abraham day to day for 2 full weeks?  Not only do we not think D’antoni is being honest, we also don’t feel he and Billups are on the same page.  Billups said of a Sunday return, “not looking good.”  D’antoni said Billups is “coming back Sunday.”  We think D’antoni is afraid to tell the media the truth about Billups, in part.  The guy is a self preservationist, and he must know that a 3rd free pass in a row, at $6M per, is unlikely, even from the imminently wasteful Madison Square Garden Co. 

And here’s what a good coach says: ‘So and so’s not playing.  Injuries are part of the game.  Out of sight, out of mind.  We’re gonna play without him and we’ll be ready.’  A good coach doesn’t clutch at excuses.  A good coach wouldn’t be afraid to go up to the 5 seed and face Orlando.  He wouldn’t be making excuses about how hard it is to lose Billups, or how unrealistic it is to think the Knicks are more on a level with Atlanta than Charlotte.  The Knicks took it to the Magic for a chunk of their last meeting in Orlando, in what was another second half debacle.  A very quick Jameer Nelson killed them off the dribble and with the shot.  How about at least pretending you have a shred of confidence in Toney Douglass as another option against Nelson? 

Another local beat guy, Alan Hahn of Newsday, has been maligning the Knicks execution, an obvious shot at D’antoni.  Hahn’s a guy you should pay particular attention to.  Why?  Because the Garden owns Newsday, and MSG Network has been giving Hahn lots of air time of late, featuring him on Knicks broadcasts in a prominent role.   

BTW, be sure to tune in tonight when the Knicks face the Mavs wearing their “Nueva York” jerseys for some NBA Spanish night nonsense.  The Knicks have the worst winning percentage of any club over the last 9 seasons.  But something about these Nueva York jerseys might bother us even more than that.

Are we critical much?  Crack do this!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/carmelo-anthony-no-to-nets/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/carmelo-anthony-to-nets-pipedream-crushed/

So the Nets, Pistons, and Denver virtually agreed on a 3 team blockbuster 2 or 3 weeks ago that would see 17 players and hundreds of millions in salary change hands, including the apple of our eye, New York native Carmelo Anthony, and have stood on this monumental precipice in limbo for almost a month?  We’ve always thought this nonsense, pathetically and desperately spun by lazy, stupid reporters who have made mountains out of the wishful daydreams of Denver novice GM Masai Ujiri, Joe Dumars, and Net GM “he aint won a thing” Billy King.

We can’t even blame Dumars or Ujiri that hard.  If you’re Dumars, who has rings as a player and team builder, and 2 teams come to you presenting you the chance to shed a 33 year old Rip Hamilton with 2 years and $25M remaining on his contract, you’d have to jump all over that.  You’d want it to go down so badly you might even hold Hamilton out of the lineup for over a week to facilitate the fantasy.  Butlet’s be real.  This would not be a basketball trade for the Pistons.  It’s a money trade.  Hamilton could run a marathon, contract malaria, become pregnant, and get hit in the eye by a bow and arrow and he’s still going to Newark in this twisted vision.

Ujiri?  Not gonna kill the poor guy.  In his first task of substance as a big league GM, he is left to  sort through this mess.  It’s like getting called up from double A to face Babe Ruth with the bases loaded.  He must do his diligence and try to make the deal that’s best for his club, which is Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and the Nets lottery pick in 2011, plus 2 other 1st rounders.  At the end of the day though, it was a whole lot of leg work for naught.

Chris Sheridan, like us, has maintained all along that Anthony will be traded to the Knicks.  Some of his most pointed remarks on the topic came yesterday when Sheridan told ESPN radio that Anthony unequivocally refuses to sign an extension with any team other than New York.  Bottom line, Anthony holds all the leverage, and the Nets, and no one, for that matter, will trade 5 out of 6 of their top assets for a rental player.  The Nuggets and Pistons can arrange whatever deals they like, but Ujiri has no way of convincing ‘Melo to accept the trade, and Dumars can do no more than sit on his hands and pray for the impossible in Detroit. 

Carmelo is the trade.  If he is not held out of games for fear of injury, then no deals are imminent.  Anthony is playing tonight against OKC.  He has done better than pronouncing his intention to participate in all games for the foreseeable future.  He told Ujiri not to grant permission to Nets ownership to speak to him about the trade and the extension.  Against his wishes, they granted the Nets permission to speak to Anthony today.  Supposedly, Prokhorov and Jay Zee flew to Denver today to make their pitch.  Then ESPN runs the newsflash that the Nets have stopped pursuing Anthony and that the deal is forever dead.

So what happened when Prokhorov and Mr. Hip Hop finally got their chance to meet with Carmelo?  Here’s what happened: Anthony sent them home unceremoniously with an emphatic no.  Now ESPN reports that Anthony is not even a definite free agent this summer, that he has 1 year to go on his deal at $18M and will opt out of the deal if he is traded to a team (not New York) dumb enough to trade for him sans the extension.  By the way, how many guys is Jay Zee going to try to woo here and strike out with in his little amatuer NBA owner hour?  Embarrassing.

Look for the Nuggets, absolutely desperate to unload the disgruntled star and come away with something, to take back from New York Landry Fields, Danilo Gallinari, Minnesota’s pick (acquired for Anthony Randolph), and a first rounder the Knicks will purchase for cash money from a team like the Spurs or Blazers.  And as for Amar’e’s proclamation that he hasn’t spoken to Carmelo at all through this process?  He’s telling the truth.  They don’t talk.  They just text each other constantly.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO!!!!!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Rising Knicks’ star Wilson Chandler (above).

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/with-various-reports-linking-lebron-to-miami-knicks-rumored-to-have-agreed-to-trade-david-lee-to-golden-state/

We are not ashamed to say that we had the Knicks projected at 10-24 at this point, and that we had major problems with the construction of the roster.  The David Lee trade?  Awful.  To get back perpetual dog house resident Anthony Randolph as the centerpiece of a deal in which you trade a 20/10 guy, and to also recieve Kelenna Azabuike–yet to play and who may not recover from a serious knee injury in time to ever play for the team–is akin to letting Lee walk for nothing.  Well, at least we got back scary looking Ronny Turiaf, who has had a positive effect in his minutes, and who becomes a downright essential cog for the thin Knicks in the absence of Gallinari.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/thin-knicks-to-host-spurs-tonight-without-gallinari-spurs-ny-730-pm-est/

What about our good friends Roger Mason and Timofey Mozgov, 2 players the Knicks alotted cap space to, who, well, suck it hard?  Between Randolph, Azabuike, Mozgov, and Mason, the Knicks have tied up 1/3 of their roster with totally unusable players.  Not to mention Eddy Curry.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/knicks-sign-guard-roger-mason-discuss-trading-curry/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/knicks-lavish-10-m-on-unknown-russian-center/

Shawne Williams?  We like him fine and think the former first rounder and journeyman deftly rescued himself from the scrap heap by shooting the lights out in limited action, and continued to shock us in a rousing win versus the Spurs by making plays with his back to the basket.  Very nice.  But let’s be real.  He wasn’t brought here to or expected to contribute. 

Are we upset that first Shannon Brown and then the absolutely awful Roger Mason were pretty much guaranteed starters’ minutes by D’antoni at the virtual expense of Wilson Chandler, who just kept his head down and played hard?  Yes.  In looking at this woeful roster, we clearly identified Chandler as 1 of the 4 guys with actual basketball talent on this team (along with Stoudemire, Felton, and Douglass).  Since then, we’ve upgraded our assessment.  This team has 5 players with basketball talent (all credit goes to the surprisingly gifted hard work guy from Stanford, Landry Fields, currently leading all guards in rebounding).  Chandler, the 2nd or 3rd best, has thoroughly impressed us and we’re not surprised at all.  Tuesday night, W.C. had 31 pts. on 13/19 from the field, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, and was too much for Richard Jefferson to handle.  The fact is, on most nights and even against some very good teams, a few players can carry the multitude of bad ones.  The Knicks also channeled that Garden energy left up in the rafters from the previous night’s incredible St. John’s victory.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/st-johns-stuns-13-georgetown-61-58-madison-square-garden/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

The NBA is a star driven league, and Amar’e is playing like an MVP calibre, 1st team All NBA guy.  Raymond Felton is playing the best ball of his career (17 pts, 7 assts per), and out-played Spurs star Tony Parker most recently (28/7 vs. 26/6) in the Knicks’ banner win at MSG.  Chandler, who proved early on he could not be driven from the lineup, has been so good that Donnie Wheelchair has now vowed to re-sign him, even with the player in line for perhaps a $ 60M contract.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/donnie_wilson_fan_PQcGtNh4lCpbTVfAIEIQ9J

The Knicks big 3 of Stoudemire, Chandler, and Felton is proving so good that they can carry the team, even against some top squads.  Even in the absence of Gallinari, who we think sucks anyway.  Face it.  How many teams have a triumvirate that it out producing the Knicks’ big 3?  As we see it, it’s something only elite teams can say.

We also see a silver lining with Gallinari’s injury.  While we are totally unimpressed with Italy’s finest, and while we especially pan his supposed strength–his perimeter game–he does seem to be developing a better repertoire as a guy who can put it on the floor and get to the rim.  For all his faults, he’s a young guy, at 6’10, playing major minutes on a winning team.  Denver, who seems intent on getting back 1-2 players and picks for Carmelo, might be willing to take Landry Fields, as well as the young talent and picks that a Gallinari and an Anthony Randolph could bring back, since we’re hearing the Nuggets aren’t big on either.  For now, we’ll kindly hold off on the bust tag for these guys.

As for the immediate future, Amar’e returns to Phoenix Friday night.  We look for our captain to be extra motivated against his old squad.

GO NY GO NY GO!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

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