Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony says players can’t worry about Mike Woodson’s job status


The Knicks got an important victory on Wednesday over an undermanned Bulls team, because despite the fact that New York blew a 23-point lead before hanging on to win over the final few possessions, it relieved some of the pressure on head coach Mike Woodson.

New York has been without key players due to injury all season long. But being on the wrong end of a 41-point loss Sunday and following it up with another slow start Tuesday in a 15-point loss to Cleveland speaks to effort and preparation, and whether it’s right or not, the blame for that will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the head coach.

The players can’t focus on that, however, if they’re going to improve the situation by winning, and Carmelo Anthony said as much on Wednesday.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

“When we win, the heat is off. When we lose, the heat is on. That’s just our business, that’s our society, that’s New York,” Anthony said after scoring 30 points in an 83-78 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. “It happens. He can’t worry about that. We can’t worry about that.”

Woodson himself may not be worried necessarily, but he did defend himself a bit by detailing the injury issues.

“We’ve had restrictions on certain players, you know, we went through that phase. We’re kinda starting to grow out of that. Guys couldn’t play back-to-backs. Now, here’s Amar’e being able to play back to back. … [So] we’ve got to get our core guys back, No. 1. We’ve got to get Tyson back and see what our team is really about. [Because] I don’t know. We’ve had so many injuries, coming out of camp, I don’t know what this team is about if we had a full deck and everyone was playing. … I don’t know.

“I’ve never got to experience that [this season].”

Woodson is in a similar position as Jason Kidd with the Nets, in that even if you don’t like some of his lineup choices and substitution patterns, it’s difficult to judge him fully without seeing what he can do with his full complement of players.

And then, there’s this little issue that people seem to conveniently forget about when discussing making a midseason coaching switch: If you fire Woodson, who comes in to replace him?

That last part won’t matter, of course, if the Knicks continue to have lapses in energy that cause them to suffer more embarrassing blowout losses. But coming off of a much-needed win, the fury surrounding Woodson’s status has subsided a bit, if only until the team’s next game.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.