Tag: Carmelo Anthony

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is optimistic about Knicks coming season, except the start


The 2015-16 Knicks will be better than last season’s version.

Which is admittedly a pretty low bar to clear, but there are reasons to be optimistic. Carmelo Anthony should be healthy. The additions of players such as Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo will help now, the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis brings hope for the future.

Just maybe not the start of the season. Phil Jackson is a little concerned about how everything meshes to open the season, he told Charlie Rosen in the last of the Phil Files posts at ESPN.

“We have a number of new players, so they may struggle early as they learn how to play with each other,” he says. “Where we end up as the season progresses is an unknown, but we have improved our roster and have a chance to be a good team.”

Define good. Does Jackson mean good as in better than last season? Then sure. Good as in a playoff team? That’s not an easy road for the Knicks — it would take a 21-game improvement in the win column to reach last season’s eight seed, and the Knicks likely need to do better than that. That said, it’s not impossible. Good as in a .500 team? That would take a 24-game improvement, and while that does happen it is also rare (and usually involves bringing in an elite player). Don’t bet the rent is what I’m saying.

However, Jackson is optimistic, and he lavishes praise on his new players in speaking to Rosen. Look at what he said about Afflalo.

“Some NBA watchers have questioned whether or not Arron has anything left as he nears his 30th birthday, but I’m positive that he does. He has a gym in his Las Vegas home and he works out religiously. Actually, he’s such a hard-worker that he holds his teammates accountable if they try to cut corners in any way. I look for Arron to be a leader on this team. He wanted us and we wanted him, so Arron and the Knicks is a very good match.”

I’ll buy that, I think Afflalo is a bit underrated. Of course, when Jackson heaps praise on the signing of SashaVujacic, you know he’s spinning.

“Except for a 10-day contract with the Clippers in 2014, Sasha hasn’t played in the NBA for four years, but at age 31 he still has plenty of game. He’s a classic streak-shooter who, when he’s zeroed in, can totally change a game in three minutes. He’ll be a significant force for us coming off the bench.”

Vujacic does know the triangle offense. So there’s that. But when a guy’s out of the league through his prime and you bring him back after that… it’s not traditionally a recipe for success.



Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James, Chris Paul and I talk ‘all the time’ about winning gold medal in 2016 Olympics

NBA All-Star Game 2015

LeBron James has a spot on the 2016 Olympic team if he wants it, but he has been mum on whether he wants it.

Carmelo Anthony offers a clue about LeBron’s and Chris Paul’s desire to play in Rio.

Melo, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“We talk about it all the time,’’ Anthony said of winning another gold medal with James and Paul. “Just about how we want to go out and end it the next year with the Olympics, just how much we want to take from this experience. I’m going on four [Olympics], LeBron is going on four. Paul going for three. We’re connected by the hip.’’

LeBron, Melo and Paul won gold medals in 2012 and 2008, and LeBron and Melo took bronze in 2004.

But Melo will be 32 and LeBron and Paul 31 in 2016. LeBron’s Cavaliers will very likely make a long playoff run this season. Paul’s Clippers are good enough to, though the tough Western Conference makes it less likely. Melo… the Knicks will probably give him a longer break before Rio.

I’m sure they all like the idea of playing in the 2016 Olympics. The more enthusiastic they are about it now, the more likely they follow through. But Rio is still a long way off, and aging goes only one direction.

Michael Jordan and Nike plan first-ever all-Jordan Brand store in Chicago

Michael Jordan

30 years after getting his own shoe with Nike, Michael Jordan is getting his own store. After the wild success of the Air Jordan line of sneakers, Jordan’s name has been spun off into its own separate brand under the Nike umbrella, which counts Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony among its endorsers. Now, for the first time ever, Jordan Brand is going to have its own store, separate from the rest of the Nike family. This location in Chicago will exclusively sell Jordan products.

From ESPN.com’s Scoop Jackson and Darren Rovell:

“I’ve been on these guys [at Nike] for some time, [saying] ‘We need to do a Jordan Brand store, and we need to do it in Chicago first,'” Michael Jordan told ESPN.com.

In the past year, a partnership between Nike and Footaction yielded Flight 23 stores in New York, in Las Vegas and two in suburban Chicago. But the new downtown location, named after its address, 32 South State Street, is the first that won’t be a co-branded location. It will be all Jordan.

The idea behind the store is not only to offer a wider selection of Jordan-branded product but also to tell the Jordan story and become part of the community. A space above the store can be used for Jordan-sponsored athletes or as a promotional space.

Chicago obviously seems like the ideal location for a flagship store for Jordan. Even though he’s now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, he still has deep ties to the city of Chicago, where he won six NBA championships and became arguably the greatest player of all time.

Charles Barkley predicts Knicks will make the playoffs


Last season, the Knicks were 11 games out of the playoffs. In the East, where a rotation of warm bodies and a couple of guys where you say “they’re not bad” gets you in the playoff conversation.

After a solid free agent summer — despite Carmelo Anthony’s frustration — are the Knicks now a playoff team?

None other than the Round Mound of Rebound Charles Barley said yes they are, in an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

This isn’t crazy. Or even wrong.

Let’s do a surface breakdown of the East:

Tier 1) Cleveland Cavaliers. They are the best team in the East. Maybe one of the teams in tier two can rise up and challenge them, but the Cavaliers set the bar and are the team to beat in the East.

Tier 2) Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks. This may be the most interesting grouping in the NBA next season (either them or the top five in the West) — each team has both potential and real questions. Maybe one rises up and challenges Cleveland (not Milwaukee yet), maybe a team falls, but they are all likely playoff teams.

Tier 3) New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic. One, maybe two (depending on injuries), of these teams make the playoffs next season, and you can make a case for or against any one of them. There are questions about the roster and development in each case, and with veterans such as Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez, the Knicks may be ahead of the curve.

Personally, I think Detroit and Boston are ahead of the Knicks, but that is opinion, not fact. If the Knicks prove me wrong and finish higher on this curve, that is not a huge shock. Picking them to make the playoffs is not out of line.

Don’t worry, Charles Barkley will say something wildly out of line soon enough. Just be patient.

Carmelo Anthony says he thought LaMarcus Aldridge would sign with Knicks, threw his headband when he found out how Knicks pitched Aldridge

NBA All-Star Game 2015

LaMarcus Aldridge said he strongly considered the Knicks in free agency – until they asked him to play center to accommodate Kristaps Porzingis at power forward.

True? Maybe.

I still think Aldridge would have chosen the Spurs – who are better, play in his home state and play in a state without income tax. But it’s at least possible Aldridge would have chosen the Knicks if they pursued him as a power forward.

One person who believes New York could have gotten Aldridge with a power forward pitch: Carmelo Anthony.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

the Knicks forward learned only recently, through a conversation with Aldridge at Team USA training camp, why a meeting never happened. As the Daily News reported, the Knicks wanted Aldridge to play the unfamiliar position of center to free up minutes at power forward for rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

“I didn’t know that. When he told me that, I didn’t know that. I took my headband and threw it across. . . . I honestly didn’t know that,” Anthony said.

It should be noted that Anthony — who was in an exceptional mood during the two Team USA practices this week — was playful and smiling while recalling the headband toss. But his belief was sincere that Aldridge, who signed with San Antonio for $90 million, would’ve chosen New York.

“I think we could have gotten LaMarcus. I believe, the conversations me and him had, it was a big chance that he was going to end up in New York,” Anthony said. “So I don’t really know where the playing the center position came in. I know from when I was talking to him we had a greater shot of getting him.”

Again, I don’t believe this matters. I think Aldridge would have signed with the Spurs either way, and I think other teams – including the Suns – would have also appealed to him more than a Knicks team offering a power forward spot.

But for those who thought New York would lure Aldridge – apparently including Melo – this has to be infuriating to hear. It’s no secret Aldridge prefers not to play center. When he’s picking his team, that matters.

Melo has clearly stated he’s happy with the Knicks’ offseason and supports Phil Jackson. Whether Melo truly feels that way or is just toeing the company line, I don’t know.

Whether he’ll continue to say he’s happy with New York’s direction… I don’t know that, either.