Carmelo Anthony

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Shocking news: Carmelo Anthony still doesn’t like triangle offense, wishes they played previous way

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Can we just start another Triangle vs. pace-and-space argument with the obvious: It doesn’t matter what offense the Knicks run when their defense is this bad.

New York has the fifth worst defensive rating in the NBA this season, and it’s been slightly worse since the All-Star break. The Knicks as a team don’t show much effort on that end of the court, they are the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA, and they are fourth worst at creating turnovers. If you don’t get stops and just try to outscore teams, even if your offense is good you don’t win consistently.

Whew. Okay. All that said, the Knicks offense isn’t that good, it’s been pedestrian most of the season. There is talent there — Carmelo Anthony can still get buckets, Kristaps Porzingis is a rising star and scoring machine, Derrick Rose has his moments, and there are role players who can knock down shots. Part of the problem has been the push-and-pull between Phil Jackson (with friend Kurt Rambis as an assistant coach) pushing for the triangle, vs. coach Jeff Hornacek wanting to run a more modern offense. Right now the pendulum has swung back toward the triangle, with that set to be the offense next season.

In a surprise to nobody, Anthony prefers the pace-and-space style offense, and wish the team would just stick with just one offense, as he told the New York Post.

“Early in the season, we were winning games, went on a little winning streak we had. We were playing a certain way. We went away from that, started playing another way. Everybody was trying to figure out: Should we go back to the way we were playing, or try to do something different?…

“I thought earlier we were playing faster and more free-flow throughout the course of the game,’’ Anthony said. “We kind of slowed down, started settling it down. Not as fast. The pace slowed down for us — something we had to make an adjustment on the fly with limited practice time, in the course of a game. Once you get into the season, it’s hard to readjust a whole system.”

Anthony may not need to worry about the Knicks offense next fall as he may well not be with the team.

The question for the Knicks is, how many free agents can they draw willing to play in the triangle? Of course money talks, but guys with options will consider the system and how they fit in it.

Carmelo Anthony on playing for Clippers: “There was an opportunity during the deadline”

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If Phil Jackson had been direct with Carmelo Anthony and his people, come to them back in January and said, “we want to go another direction, and we want to help you find a trade destination that works for both of us” this whole thing could have been avoided. Instead, Jackson played mind games trying to get Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, and Anthony dug in his heels. So Anthony is still in NYC, and the wheels have come off the team.

Could there have been a deadline trade with the Clippers, a destination Anthony would reportedly accept? He suggested so in a conversation with Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“Nah, don’t start,’’ Anthony said when asked if he envisions making L.A. his workplace. “I haven’t thought about it. There was an opportunity during the deadline. There was always talk the last couple of seasons being connected to Clippers or Lakers. Somehow always been connected. First it was the Lakers. Now it’s the Clippers situation. I try not to think about it — especially now when I’m still playing with the New York Knicks and got to prepare to play against these guys.’’

There are 13 games left before Anthony’s critical exit meeting with Knicks president Phil Jackson. According to a source, Jackson hopes Anthony is at least open to seeing if the Knicks can find an agreeable trade in the summer.

There are two things here.

The big one is about the potential of Jackson asking Anthony if he is open to a trade this summer. That has been kind of expected, and Anthony sounds like a guy ready to move on, but Jackson needs to go through the process and work with ‘Melo and his team on this. I expect we will see Anthony moved this summer.

Maybe to the Clippers, which brings me to the second thing out of Anthony’s comments. At the deadline the Clippers were making a lowball offer — no Chris Paul, no Blake Griffin, and not even J.J. Redick were part of a trade. It was Jamal Crawford (at age 37), Austin Rivers, and whatever else is left at the end of the Clippers roster (they don’t have a first-round pick they can trade for three years). Jackson should never have taken that offer.

The Clippers very likely will have a lot of questions to answer this summer, especially after they get bounced in the first round (by the Jazz, that is a toss up series) or the second round by the Warriors. Paul, Griffin, and Redick are all free agents, how much is owner Steve Ballmer willing to pay to bring them all back? Should they bring them all back? Should Doc Rivers give up his GM role and focus on coaching? There is a lot of soul searching for the Clippers to do, and where Anthony does or does not fit into all of that is a separate topic.

Report: Knicks won’t fire Jeff Hornacek

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Has Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek earned the respect of his players? Some evidence suggests no.

Has Hornacek earned the respect Knicks fans? New York’s 27-41 record says no.

Has Hornacek earned the respect of Knicks president Phil Jackson? Hornacek is saying everything he can to make the answer yes.

Newsflash: Appeasing your boss matters.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Despite the Knicks’ brutal record and growing input of Phil Jackson, who reversed the head coach’s offense, Jeff Hornacek’s job is safe, according to an NBA source.

When Jackson fired Derek Fisher in February 2016, during the coach’s second season, it was not because of a poor win-loss record. Sources insist Fisher was dismissed because of his lack of communication with Jackson, failing to respond to Jackson’s emails promptly and a passive-aggressive resistance to Jackson being involved with coaching aspects.

Hornacek, according to an NBA source, gets high grades on both counts — maintaining a strong rapport with Jackson and associate head coach Kurt Rambis, Jackson’s longtime compatriot.

“Phil can’t afford to fire [Hornacek] and bring in a new coach,’’ said another NBA source, who has spoken to Jackson.

James Dolan has pledged to keep Jackson, but that doesn’t mean the Knicks owner will give Jackson carte blanche. Firing another coach wouldn’t reflect well on the franchise (and it’d cost money).

But the problem isn’t firing coaches. Its hiring coaches who should be fired so quickly.

Hornacek might be a solid coach. But how good can he be if Jackson demands Hornacek run the triangle, a scheme Hornacek never coached before? How good can Hornacek be if he’s caught in the middle of the discord between Jackson and Carmelo Anthony?

Leaving Hornacek in place won’t magically fix those issues. It might just delay the Knicks finding a coach who can work successfully with Jackson.

But an even better solution than firing Hornacek: Finding a president who doesn’t have such a shallow pool of coaches who can work well with him.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek: Triangle could attract free agents

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Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose have fallen from their peak levels, but they still provide a star’s perspective. And, falling short of outright rebellion, they’ve made it as clear as possible they loathe the triangle offense.

Yet, the Knicks have re-embraced it anyway.

And maybe that’s OK. Kristaps Porzingis touts the triangle. Rose might not be long for New York, and if Knicks president Phil Jackson gets his reported way, neither is Anthony. The triangle could help New York rebuild around Porzingis, prompting Anthony to waive his no-trade clause. The triangle could even improve the Knicks’ lousy defense by better positioning players to get back on D.

But a drawback to the triangle is how few current players embrace the slow-down scheme. That’s a major issue in New York, which has the market to attract major stars.

Again, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff if it gets Anthony to approve a trade. Porzingis should be the Knicks’ priority.

But, in a franchise where denial runs deep, the Knicks aren’t even acknowledging the tradeoff.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek believes the team’s triangle offense can be a potential draw for free agents this summer.

“There might be players that think [the triangle offense is a deterrent], but there are also probably players out there that say ‘Oh man, I’d like to run something like that,'” Hornacek said Wednesday. “There are guys that may not necessarily like to run around and in [screen] staggers and all that stuff. It’s still an offense where guys, if they’re knowledgeable about the game, should like.”

“It’s a strategy that, almost every time down the court if you’re a player, you’re watching things develop. When you look at it that way, it’s actually fun to run,” he said.

Sure, there might be a good player itching to play in the triangle. But that list, already short, shrunk as Jackson tried to push out Anthony. Jackson’s championship luster has faded considerably.

Speaking of Jackson, did Hornacek have a problem with the president instructing the team’s guards on the triangle on the practice court? Hornacek, via Begley:

“No. We talk about stuff all the time,” Hornacek said of Jackson. “So when he comes out and demonstrates for the guys, he’s so used to being out on the court it’s probably fun for him to do. And the guys get another look at it from a guy who has run it for years and years, so it’s good.”

Everything Hornacek said here, on the triangle’s appeal and Jackson’s involvement, can be seen through the same lens: Hornacek works for Jackson and wants to keep his job. Will he? It’s no guarantee, but Hornacek gives himself the best shot by repeatedly publicly backing his boss.

At least Hornacek gets to speak regularly with Jackson. Not everyone gets that opportunity.

Darko Milicic is finally happy, at peace, working as a Serbian farmer

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You know Darko Milicic as the guy drafted after LeBron James but before Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and a host of other future NBA stars. While he bounced around the NBA for a decade as a big at the end of the bench, his name became synonymous with “bust.” His nickname was “human victory cigar.” A guy who grew up in the shadow of the Yugoslavian civil wars, he was known for being a bit morose during his NBA tenure.

When last we saw Milicic he was trying his hand at kickboxing. While he thought he was great at it, results suggested otherwise.

Maybe he’s at peace now — as a Serbian farmer. Milicic talked about it in an interview with Serbian news website B92.net, transcribed at r/NBA.

I’ve gained 90 pounds since I stopped playing, I’m at 350 right now. I’m working on my farm and enjoying that kind of production. I take walks through my fields and watch the process, which makes me really happy. I’m still pretty inexperienced at this so I like to learn, seek guidance, go to seminars. I’ve created my own peace of mind and I’m enjoying it.

Good for him… well, not the 90 pounds part, that’s not really healthy, but the feeling at peace thing. Everyone deserves the chance to be happy, and if you go read the transcription of the interview he admits he was never comfortable and happy in the NBA.

I was the problem. That initial dissatisfaction probably led to me starting to hate and not enjoy playing. There were some situations where I’ve already scored 20 points, but in my head I’m thinking: “When will this game finally end, come on, let’s pack it up and go home.” I just had to feed my ego, I couldn’t care less what’s going to happen the following week. My whole approach since coming to the US was just wrong. I could say I was too young back then, but I chose to go there myself and I obviously wasn’t prepared for what the league would require from me….

Playing in the NBA is a dream come true for majority of basketball players, and everyone should strive to achieve that. But if you can’t get used to the atmosphere you’re living in, you’ll have a bad time, both as a person and as a player. The lifestyle didn’t suit me at all, I’m a very social guy and I like to hang out. There’s none of that in the US, it’s simply go to work and go home. See you at the practice, see you in the plane, see you in the bus, see you at the gym and that’s it. You live game by game, hotel by hotel.

It sounds like he was never on a team with great chemistry, or when he was (Detroit) he was not ready to fit into that. He admits his mistakes.

Hopefully, now, he’s in a good space.