Jose Calderon

Report: Kevin Durant considering Knicks, being recruited by Carmelo Anthony


When Carmelo Anthony was a free agent last summer, Kevin Durant recruited him to the Knicks.

Durant reportedly pitched Melo on the virtues of New York coach Derek Fisher, who was previously Durant’s teammate with the Thunder.

Now, Melo – who re-signed with the Knicks – is reportedly returning the favor.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:

I know for a fact that Carmelo Anthony has been and will continue to recruit Kevin Durant until the cows come home. I’m also hearing that Kevin Durant is giving the New York Knicks consideration.

For what it’s worth, Melo strongly denied Smith’s last major report about him, that the star forward was upset about the Knicks drafting Kristaps Porzingis. That doesn’t mean Smith was wrong, but it’s something.

To the matter at hand, I believe Durant is considering the Knicks. I also believe he’s considering the Thunder and Wizards and…

I doubt Durant has made up his mind about 2016 free agency. Why would he this soon?

But outside Oklahoma City and Washington – the two major favorites for Durant – New York would be my pick to land him. That’s still a small chance, though.

First, the Knicks must prove they have a legitimate chance of winning. I believe the New York market still appeals to players, maybe including Durant. But that’s not enough. Seventeen wins in Phil Jackson’s first full season – especially when he appeared to be targeting a playoff berth – is concerning.

The Knicks should be better this year, though. Melo will likely be healthier, and the roster has improved around him. Free agent center Robin Lopez is a significant upgrade.

Respectability on the court won’t be enough, though. New York also needs to clear cap room.

The Knicks have $67,964,567 committed to eight players. With roster charges, that puts New York $18,861,549 below the projected salary cap of $89 million.

Durant’s starting salary projects to be $25,136,700.

Player options for Arron Afflalo ($8 million) and/or Derrick Williams ($4,598,000) could clear more room. If Durant wants to come, the Knicks would surely do what it takes to dump Jose Calderon ($7,708,427), Kyle O’Quinn ($3,918,750) and/or Jerian Grant (   $1,643,040). The salary cap could also land higher than projected, though that would also raise Durant’s max salary.

Clearing cap space is an obstacle, not impossible.

New York’s market can open the door for free agents considering the Knicks. Durant’s fondness for Fisher only helps, and Melo’s recruiting could help lay the groundwork. But it ultimately falls on Jackson – the team he assembled this season boosting New York’s credibility and his ability to clear cap space and sell Durant on his vision for the Knicks.

Report: No Jose Calderon trade imminent


Jose Calderon implied the Clippers and Timberwolves are interested in him.

Was the Knicks point guard revealing accurate information or just tired of hearing his name in trade rumors involving Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio?

The distinction probably doesn’t matter, right now at least.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Calderon remains an important trade chip – not because of his ability on the court, because he’s the only player making more than a minimum salary the Knicks can trade right now without his permission. Calderon’s $7,402,812 salary is important for matching purposes.

But he’s also owed $7,708,427 in 2016-17. Nobody wants to pay him that much when he’s 35.

That – more than anything, including the Knicks’ desire to play him –  is the biggest reason no Calderon trade is imminent.

Jose Calderon implies Clippers and Timberwolves are interested in him


The Knicks are reportedly interested in Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio.

Trading for either guard would almost certainly mean dealing Jose Calderon, New York’s only player making more than a minimum salary it can trade right now without his permission.

It’s practically impossible to match salaries for Crawford ($5,675,000) or Rubio ($12.7 million) without Calderon’s $7,402,812.

But do the Clippers or Timberwolves want Calderon?

He implies yes.

Maybe Calderon knows something. If the Knicks are shopping him, they might extend him the courtesy of clueing him in on trade talks.

But it’s just as possible Calderon is tired of seeing his name in trade rumors, listed as a piece New York wants to dump. He might just want to change the public perception of him, whether or not facts support it.

Calderon’s $7,708,427 salary for 2016-17, when he’s 35, would be a burden for either the Clippers or Timberwolves. But it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Calderon would be a better version of Pablo Prigioni as a reliable, non-Austin Rivers option behind Chris Paul at point guard for the Clippers. But Calderon would be more expensive, and the Clippers are already in the luxury tax. If they see him as the missing piece to a championship, though, that’s a small price to pay.

In Minnesota, Calderon would be a cheaper and older replacement for Rubio until Zach LaVine Tyus Jones is ready. The Timberwolves already have that in Andre Miller, though. But if the Knicks send back better assets – draft picks, young players – Calderon’s salary would probably be necessary to facilitate a deal.

Would the Clippers or Timberwolves take Calderon in a trade? Probably. Are they actually interested in him? That’s a much tougher question to answer.

Knicks say Carmelo Anthony doesn’t sit on bench due to fear of player diving into him


Carmelo Anthony is out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

As one of only four Knicks with a fully guaranteed contract for next season – with Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early – Melo should be back on the court for New York next season (though that’s not an absolute lock).

In the meantime?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony has shown up at the Garden for the last three weeks to rehab before games in the trainer’s room. He goes on the court briefly for light stretching and to talk to teammates before retiring to the locker room to mingle some more. But he still hasn’t sat on the Knicks bench as rehabbing Kobe Bryant has for Lakers games.

Coach Derek Fisher said he wasn’t sure of the reasons, but a Knicks official later said it was due to the fear of a hustling player crashing into the bench where Anthony might be sitting.

Melo played through his injury just so he could participate in the All-Star game in Madison Square Garden. Yet he can’t even sit on the Knicks’ bench now?

Of course, taking one risk does not mean taking another is wise, even if that second risk is lesser.

This also might make sense. Maybe injured players unnecessarily put themselves in harm’s way, and Melo is ahead of the game. Maybe even active players should wait in the tunnel or locker room until they check into a game.

Or maybe this is going a bit too far.

And remember, this wasn’t necessarily Melo’s choice. Someone else in the organization could be instructing him on where to watch games.

But I know this: Whoever revealed this reason did Melo no favors. This just makes Melo look soft.

Former Knicks coach Mike Woodson criticizes Phil Jackson for trading Tyson Chandler


When Phil Jackson took over as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations last season, he made a series of sweeping changes. He replaced head coach Mike Woodson with Derek Fisher, and dealt former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks for Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and other pieces.

Woodson, now an assistant under Doc Rivers with the Clippers, spoke to reporters Wednesday night following the Clippers’ 111-80 blowout win over the Knicks, and criticized the move to trade Chandler.

From the New York Post‘s Marc Berman:

One thing is for sure: Woodson would have fought to keep center Tyson Chandler, whom Jackson couldn’t jettison fast enough the day before the NBA draft.

“Had I stayed on board, I probably would’ve pushed to keep Tyson and keep the core group together because that’s what won the 54 games two years ago,’’ Woodson, now a Clippers assistant, said Wednesday night before his new team clobbered the Knicks, 111-80. “But people change. You got to live with it. They’ve had a tough season so far.

“Hopefully they can rebound this summer and put some pieces together and get back to winning basketball games.’’

That’s easy for Woodson to say now that he’s moved on, but after the way last season ended for the Knicks, big changes were in order regardless. Chandler wasn’t going to be a long-term part of their future, and trading him also allowed Jackson to get rid of Raymond Felton’s contract. Chandler has been great in Dallas, but he’s more valuable there than he would have been on a rebuilding Knicks team.