The fact that the Knicks failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time in four years is not lost on anyone, but what often gets overlooked is that throughout all the issues of a 37-45 season, the team missed a postseason berth by one game.
One. Lousy. Game.
Mathematically, it was actually two games when you consider they did not have the tiebreaker against the Atlanta Hawks, who got in with a 38-44 record.
Wayne Ellington's career with the Knicks lasted but a few weeks, though he certainly didn't expect much opportunity awaited him in New York with the presence of J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert on the roster.
The Knicks had been shopping the former first-round pick from North Carolina (28th overall in 2009) right after they acquired him to help make the money work in the five-player deal with the Dallas Mavericks before the NBA Draft. They found a taker in the Sacramento Kings, who were looking to unload Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy, who both had similar depth chart issues. The Knicks and Kings completed the trade on Wednesday that sent Ellington and Jeremy Tyler to Sacramento for Outlaw and Acy.
LAS VEGAS -- Derek Fisher grinned at the suggestion that the championship success of the San Antonio Spurs this past season -- winning with a foundation of team play over individual talent -- might have helped him sell the message of the Triangle Offense to Carmelo Anthony.
"It's ironic that the Spurs did anything to help me, as a former Laker,” said Fisher, known well for his "Point-Four Shot," the game-winning basket with 0.4 seconds left in a pivotal Game 5 against the Spurs in the 2004 Western Conference semifinals.
LAS VEGAS -- When Carmelo Anthony officially announced his decision to remain with the Knicks, the headline of his website, thisismelo.com, read, "My City, My Heart."
It should have also read: "My Team."
While the critics will point to the massive five-year contract Melo signed to stay in New York -- more than any other team could offer -- that money represents not just the biggest payday of his career and security for his family for generations to come, but also his position among the hierarchy of this franchise. He is part-owner now and responsible for the direction of this team almost as much as Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher.
LAS VEGAS -- Phil Jackson exited Cox Pavilion after the second day of the NBA Summer League still working on a deal to re-sign Carmelo Anthony. There were reports that suggested the seven-time All-Star had decided to return to the Knicks, but Jackson declined to comment on how close the sides were in completing the anticipated deal.
“We don't have anything yet to stack up, so rather than talk about it, I won't,” he said. “We'll wait. We'll be there."
LAS VEGAS -- Phil Jackson grinned at the inquisition, amused -- as we all are -- at the avalanche of information that continues to pummel NBA Free Agency, which hit its moratorium deadline today.
Since 12:01 a.m. this morning, free agents could be officially signed. But as of 2 PM local time here in Las Vegas (5 PM Eastern), there has been no word from Carmelo Anthony.
"Mercury is in retrograde? I think that’s what happens," Jackson said. "Communication broke down.”
Jackson said he has texted Melo since they last spoke last week, but he has not received any replies. Asked if he expected a decision today, Jackson seemed to be as in the dark as the rest of us.
Derek Fisher, like the rest of us, is waiting.
He made his appeal to Carmelo Anthony last week. As a player, Fisher developed a reputation for his ability to command a locker room and motivate teammates with his speeches. Nick Collison, for one, said that’s what he’ll miss most about Fisher’s departure from the Thunder.
How much of an impact did Fisher leave on the young Thunder? Kevin Durant gave him a glowing endorsement in a conversation with Carmelo while the two worked out in L.A. (why didn’t UCLA tweet about that?), according to our friend Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
There was no chance of getting any sleep.
It was in the final hours of July 7, 2010 when the surrender emerged to the exhausting, relentless pursuit of LeBron James. It had been two years of coverage, speculation and sourcing.
On that final day, the eve of LeBron’s “Decision” show, was one final mosh pit of information about the location of the show and other details. It felt like a victory just to correctly pinpoint Greenwich, CT as the spot. But the Holy Grail, of course, was identifying what team he would choose. At that point, everyone was guessing.
You know when you’ve reached orbit on a story like this? When LeBron’s own PR people start asking YOU where you think he’s going.
It’s been almost a month since Derek Fisher was named head coach of the Knicks, but he has gone weeks without a coaching staff in place and many of you have asked me via Twitter about this. A lot of the hold up had to do with some of the candidates being under contract with other teams (the NBA “year” ends on June 30). So there are still a few dominoes to fall here before a staff can be finalized.
There was signage welcoming Carmelo Anthony to the United Center and a large electronic image of the seven-time all-star in a Bulls uniform. He was met by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and he entered the area by the iconic Michael Jordan statue. And my first thought was if he noticed the large shadow it cast on this sunny afternoon in Chicago.
That’s one of several words that Phil Jackson used to describe the attitude he is seeking from players as he embarks on revamping the roster. Alacrity describes an eagerness, a readiness and, most importantly, a willingness to play the game the right way.
Jackson brought in Jose Calderon, whom he says will “fit into what we’re trying to do” on the court, mainly on offense. There are reports that say the Knicks may attempt to target Pau Gasol, an unrestricted free agent who, at 33, is still considered one of the best passing big men in the game.
Phil Jackson hasn’t been coy when it comes to discussing Carmelo Anthony’s impending free agency, but I thought something he said Thursday night regarding the finances of re-signing Melo should not go overlooked. In fact, it came off as a pretty strong statement intended to clarify some revisionist history about Melo taking less than his max contract that has been perpetuated for public consumption.
Phil Jackson set up his office at the MSG Training Center in a strategic place; some distance from the locker room and training area, but with a one-way window that looked into the gym. It was from there the new Knicks president began his observation.