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 4 years ago '04        #9841
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — During a quiet moment, in the locker room in Toronto, on the eve of his 40th birthday in March, Jason Kidd asked a group of Knicks beat writers if they thought he would make a good coach and whether he would enjoy being one.

Kidd said jokingly that dealing with the media several times a day would be one drawback. Kidd’s potential coaching career might be coming into sharper focus as he goes through a perplexing and historic nine-game scoreless streak.

That day in Toronto, Kidd admitted he wasn’t sure he would finish his entire three-year contract. Most a.ssumed, though, he would come back next season and the Knicks really hope so. But after this season, there’s no telling if Kidd wants to jump-start a coaching career and forgo the $6 million left on his deal.

Kidd’s playoff struggles have been well documented, and coach Mike Woodson benched the veteran the entire second half of the Knicks’ 85-75 Game 5 win over the Pacers.

“Jason’s going through a tough stretch,’’ Woodson said on Friday’s conference call. “But do I have confidence in putting Jason on the basketball floor? Absolutely. That will never go away.’’

Woodson limited Kidd to just 5:20 of playing time before a quick hook after he blew a layup and let a rebound bounce off his hands. Woodson said he would have a similar rotation for tonight’s potential final game of Kidd’s career as the Knicks-Pacers battle in do-or-die Game 6.

Nevertheless, Woodson also said he still thinks Kidd has some big moments in him.

“Jason played early on in the game and our lead grew when he was in the game,’’ Woodson said. “Those are the things that go unnoticed. Everyone’s so focused on him making a shot. Eventually he’s going to pop loose and make a big one. And we’re all going to say, ‘OK, that’s the Jason we know.’”

Kidd has been scarce with the media recently. Perhaps he is playing with an undisclosed back injury. Or dead legs. Kidd is arguably the smartest player of his generation, but it’s not inconceivable tonight is his last game as a player in a Hall-of-Fame career.

“It’s the other intangible things he brings to the table, the leadership that’s more important to me when he’s on the floor than making a shot,’’ Woodson said. “I know he’s capable of making it. He’s had his struggles but still I’m not going to be hesitant on putting him in the game.”

* Even after a nice summer league with the Knicks, Woodson said he didn’t think 29-year-old rookie Chris Copeland would make the team out of training camp.

“All of our coaches have had a hand in dealing with Chris this season since the summer,’’ Woodson said of his development from camp long shot to saving the Knicks season in Game 5. “He was a young man we didn’t think had a chance to make our ballclub. We didn’t think he was physically equipped to play at this level. It took him a while. He sat and learned patiently.

“We played him sparingly here and there. Each time he played he’s been productive.’’

The Knicks may need to use their $3 million mini-mid-level exception to re-sign him and could be outbid.
 4 years ago '04        #9842
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Mark Hale

INDIANAPOLIS — More like Out-dianapolis for Raymond Felton.

In the Knicks’ 106-99 season-ending Game 6 loss to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night, Felton, who struggled in Game 3 in Indianapolis, delivered another miserable performance. The point guard missed all seven of his shots from the field, scoring two points.

Though Felton dished out a game-high-tying six a.ssists, his floater — a huge weapon for him — was off the mark. He missed on multiple drives and only got two free-throw tries — both in the first quarter.

“[The floater] wasn’t falling,” Felton said. “My jump shot was going in and out at the rim. It’s frustrating, especially when it’s a big game like this.”

Felton’s Game 6 flop was almost an identical to his Game 3 disaster, in which he shot 1-for-8 and scored six points.

Felton did rebound in Game 4 with a 14-point effort (7-of-16 from the field), and he was terrific in Game 5 at the Garden, putting up a second half of 10 points, five rebounds, four a.ssists and three steals.

But when it mattered most, Felton was brutal.

In the final two games of the series, the Knicks were called for a whopping 64 fouls, while the Pacers were whistled 34 times, but Felton declined to comment on the officiating.

“No comment on that,” Felton said.

In Felton’s return campaign to New York after being shipped out to the Nuggets two years ago in the Carmelo Anthony deal, he enjoyed a strong regular season. He replaced fan favorite Jeremy Lin and helped to lead the Knicks to the Atlantic Division title and 54 wins.

Putting aside his Indiana struggles, it was a strong postseason for Felton. The point guard arguably was the Knicks’ MVP in the series against the Celtics.
 4 years ago '04        #9843
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Mark Hale

INDIANAPOLIS — After it ended, J.R. Smith said he looked at his Knicks jersey and thought about how he doesn’t want to leave New York.

“I want to retire a Knick,” said Smith, who can opt out of his contract this offseason, in the aftermath of the Knicks’ season-ending 106-99 Game 6 defeat. “I don’t want to go anywhere else.”

As it was last postseason against Miami, when Smith ended his campaign with a miserable playoff series that cast doubt about his future with the Knicks, Smith did the same last night. Smith began the night 1-for-7 from the field and finished a brutal 4-for-15 en route to 15 points.

Smith had an atrocious Pacers series. When the Knicks were down 3-1, he said, “I take the blame for this whole series.” Smith finished the series shooting a woeful 26-for-90 (29 percent). Counting his last two games against the Celtics, he ended his playoffs in a 34-for-117 (29 percent) shooting slump.

“They tried to rely on me, and I didn’t step up,” Smith said. “Regardless of what that says about me or my game, that won’t happen again.”

Smith, a New Jersey native, averaged a career-high 18.1 points in the regular season, developing into the Knicks’ second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony and earning him the Sixth Man Award honors. In a silent postgame locker room last night, Smith walked over to Anthony’s locker and clasped hands with him.

Smith hit a huge 3 to tie the game at 72-72 in the third quarter, capping the Knicks’ stunning 12-2 game-changing surge. Other than that big bucket and 10 rebounds, his shot was simply too erratic.

“Unsatisfied,” he said of his emotions. “I hate losing more than I like winning.”

After professing his desire to stay in New York, Smith said he had not considered whether he would give the Knicks a discount in free agency.

“I haven’t even thought about all that,” he said. “I’ve still got to talk to Leon [Rose, agent] and see where we’re at.”
 4 years ago '04        #9844
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — After being benched for the second half for the second straight playoff game, Amar’e Stoudemire is confused with his role with the Knicks going forward.

His injury-wracked season never included a single start and ended with coach Mike Woodson not trusting the $100 million man after the first two quarters.

When asked if next season he should come back as a starter alongside Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire made his loudest statement.

“We didn’t give it a chance,’’ Stoudemire said after the Knicks’ season ended in heartbreak in a 106-99 loss to the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “We need to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table. It’s something I have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.’’

Stoudemire played just 5:47 of the first half in his fourth straight playoff game after missing nearly two months following his second knee debridement surgery. Stoudemire scored just two points and picked up two bad fouls.

Stoudemire donned a black yarmulke leaving yesterday’s morning shoot-around at Bankers Life Field House. Stoudemire, who claims to have Jewish roots on his mother’s side, hoped to unleash his talentsin the do-or-die Game 6 but his opportunity never materialized as he didn’t see the court in the second half for the second straight game.

But last night, Stoudemire, hoping for better fortunes, played an ineffective first half (1-of-3, one turnover) again.

Stoudemire played just 29 regular-season games this season. Ultimately, Anthony didn’t have enough help in the playoffs as J.R. Smith — who had just 15 points last night on 4-of-15 shooting (2-of-9 from 3-point range) didn’t rise up as the Knicks’ secondary scorer.

Asked about the injuries, Stoudemire said late last night, “It’s pretty much been the season for me. Without a doubt. There’s no doubt about it.’’

Asked about his wearing of the yarmulke for spiritual luck, Stoudemire said, “Shabbat Shalom, buddy.’’

Earlier in the day, when asked about his second-half benching in Game 5, Stoudemire said, “It’s alright — as long as we won the game. That’s all that matters.’’

Stoudemire said Woodson hadn’t explained his predicament. Now he definitely would like to talk with his coach with the season finished.

* Woodson said he probably played a few times with concussions during his playing career, from 1980-91. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the NBA has new concussion rules in which a player must pass a series of tests before the league clears him to play. Pacers point guard George Hill was indeed cleared last night, and scored 12 points and added five rebounds and four a.ssists .

“Back in the day, I know I’ve taken some blows,’’ Woodson said. “You could easily call it concussion but, hell, you just play. But that’s the policy. And it’s a good policy.because again this is still a basketball game and you have to deal with your health. That’s more important.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9845
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — Carmelo Anthony was finally having his bust-out game, carrying 35 points into the fourth quarter. Melo went bust in the final period, though, and the Knicks season went right along with him.

The Pacers are headed to South Beach with a 106-99 Game 6 victory last night at euphoric Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Knicks are headed home well short of their goals.

In their first Eastern Conference semifinal appearance in 13 years, the Knicks underwhelmed as their 40-year championship drought extends another year. They failed to meet lofty expectations in losing the best-of-seven series 4-2 and failing to get to Miami. Pacers fans chanted “Beat the Heat’’ at the final buzzer.

Anthony finished with 39 points, but missed his first five shots of the fourth and committed three giant turnovers. Anthony’s fourth quarters in the three games in Indianapolis were awful, with just two field goals total.

Anthony still called it “a hell of a year.’’

“We took steps forward as an organization,’’ he said. “We’ll take that. We’ll be back better and stronger, that’s for sure.’’

That might be a tough sell as the premier free agent, point guard Chris Paul, is unattainable because the Knicks aren’t permitted to do a sign-and-trade this summer.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson wouldn’t call a second-round flameout an underachievement.

“This is the first time this team has ever been a.ssembled,’’ said Woodson, who again benched Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd in the second half. “We did a lot of special things this season. To walk away from tonight and say this was a disaster, absolutely not. We had high expectations when we set out at training camp and our goal was to win an NBA title. We played like it throughout the season.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done. Me being the head coach, I take full responsibility.’’

Anthony scored just four fourth-quarter points, but he hardly got help. Point guard Raymond Felton sputtered through a nightmare 0-for-7, two-point evening and J.R. Smith’s shooting slump carried on with a 4-of-14 outing.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson k!lled his hometown team with a monstrous performance, 25 points, going 9 of 13, and making the Knicks pay for not drafting him in the second round three years ago.

“It’s tough to be out of the playoffs,’’ Felton said. “There’s a lot of emotions. It hurts right now.’’

In a huge momentum-killer midway through the fourth, Anthony roared down the right baseline and rose for a big dunk when 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert met him at the rim and blocked it squarely.

“It was a hell of a block,’’ Anthony said. “It shifted the momentum.’’

Indeed, things unraveled from there for Melo, who then was called for a charge. Tied at 92, Anthony’s pass was picked off by Stephenson, who sprinted all the way for a layup and was fouled by Smith. Stephenson completed the three-point play, the Pacers led 95-92 and that was that.

“We all know what the goal was,’’ Anthony said. “Everybody wanted to go to the championship [round]. Unfortunately our run has to stop here. We regroup and come back better next year.’’

Hibbert outplayed center Tyson Chandler all series. The big center is now Miami’s problem. Hibbert finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Chandler fouled out with 3:12 left on a drive by Stephenson to finish off the Knicks center’s lousy series.

The Knicks committed 34 fouls to the Pacers’ 16 — a huge disparity. Asked about the officiating, Kenyon Martin said, “I’ll save my money, man.’’

Anthony scored his first points of the fourth with 2:08 left on a drive, but then gave up a bucket when Stephenson scored over him in the post with 1:53 left.

Anthony finally got help from Iman Shumpert, who hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter to help with the comeback as the teams entered the fourth tied at 81.

“We wanted to put ourselves in the finals and roll the dice and we didn’t do that,’’ said Shumpert, who chipped in with 19 points.

Anthony had an excellent 20-point first half, but got no help from Smith, his wingman, in the half or in the series.

“We felt all year we were in the top two in the East,’’ Indiana’s David West said. “Coach [Frank] Vogel talked 2 1/2 months ago, you’re going to have to beat the Knicks to get where we want to get.’’

The Pacers did. And the Knicks don’t even get to a Game 7.
 4 years ago '04        #9846
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Peter Botte & Frank Isola

Stoudemire, who had knee surgery in October and again in March, was limited to 29 regular-season games and four in the postseason. He came off the bench in all 33 games and became a forgotten man in Games 5 & 6 against Indiana as Woodson elected to bench the $100 million forward in the second half of both.

INDIANAPOLIS – Amar’e Stoudemire knows his contract won’t allow him to go anywhere and he wants Mike Woodson to make a commitment to make a frontcourt of Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler work.

“We never gave it a chance,” Stoudemire said after Indiana’s 106-99 victory eliminated the Knicks from the postseason. “So I think just the opportunity of allowing them to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table is something that I think I’m going to have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.”

Stoudemire, who had knee surgery in October and again in March, was limited to 29 regular-season games and four in the postseason. He came off the bench in all 33 games and became a forgotten man in Games 5 & 6 against Indiana as Woodson elected to bench the $100 million forward in the second half of both.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” he said. “It’s never easy to sit there and watch. But again, it’s Coach’s decision.”
Stoudemire has two years remaining on his uninsured contract and is nearly impossible to trade. He produced one field goal and zero rebounds in six minutes on Saturday.

KIDD & NO PLAY
Jason Kidd’s future with the Knicks is also unclear after the 40-year-old point guard ended the playoffs by failing to score in nine straight games.

Kidd was benched in the second half for the second straight game and did not meet with reporters afterward. Kidd, who has two years remaining on his deal, told the Daily News in March that he was not ruling out retirement.

FAVORITE MARTIN?
Kenyon Martin says he’d like to return to the Knicks but understands “that’s not up to me.” Martin was a good addition after being signed in February and eventually moved ahead of Stoudemire in the rotation.

In Game 6, Martin had five points and four rebounds before fouling out in 22 minutes.

MIXED RESULTS
Game 1 of the Heat-Pacers series is Wednesday in Miami. The Knicks went 3-1 against the Heat during the regular season. They also lost five games to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season.

FOURTH RATE
Carmelo Anthony, who failed to make a field goal in the fourth quarter of Games 3 and 4, went 2-for-7 in the final period of Game 6 with three turnovers and zero rebounds.

“No, no. I don’t think it was fatigue,” he said. “I don’t think they made any adjustments. I know one shot, a couple shots, I felt that the ball was almost in. We got some great looks in that fourth quarter, especially coming down the stretch, shots that we normally take and normally make. We got what we wanted in that fourth quarter. It just didn’t go in for us.”

KING OF THE HILL
After missing Game 5 with a concussion, George Hill was cleared to play seven hours before tip-off. Despite missing eight of 10 shots from the floor, the Pacers’ starting point guard did hit all seven of his free throws, including four in the final 55 seconds.

“I was very excited,” Hill said of being cleared by team doctors. “This was a game I couldn’t miss. I had to get out there and help my teammates.”

PACERS KNICK ERASERS
Indiana, which missed 14 free throws and committed 19 turnovers in Game 5, went 34-for-46 from the line and had just nine turnovers in Game 6.

Lance Stephenson grabbed 10 rebounds while the Knicks’ starting five combined for 19.
 4 years ago '04        #9847
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Isola

Carmelo Anthony and Knicks have season end to Lance Stephenson and Pacers in Game 6 loss PACERS 106, KNICKS 99

There won't be a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Monday or a trip to Miami this week, either.

The Knicks blew their shot at a date with LeBron James and the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals because the team that was built to win now crumbled at the precise time when superstar players surrounded by veteran leadership are supposed to thrive.

The Knicks’ best season in more than a decade ended on Saturday night with the franchise now 40 years removed and counting from its last championship and facing a long summer of uncertainty.

“It’s tough. We all know what the goal was,” Anthony said after the Pacers captured Game 6, 106-99, to eliminate the higher-seeded Knicks. “Everybody wanted to go to the championship. That’s the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, our run has to stop here.”

The Knicks’ run concluded with Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd all on the bench. Chandler, who was dreadful throughout the series, had fouled out as had Martin. Meanwhile, Stoudemire and Kidd both did not play in the second half for the second straight game.

It was also a bitter ending for Anthony, whose most complete game of the postseason — he scored 39 points on 15-for-29 shooting — was ruined by three disastrous minutes in the fourth quarter. It was a sequence that will haunt Anthony until training camp because it changed the momentum and ultimately ended the Knicks’ season.

“I really don’t know (what happened)” he said. “I have to sit back and think about it.”

Anthony’s career year ended with a thud with a little help from Pacers center Roy Hibbert and Brooklyn’s own Lance Stephenson. After the Knicks had taken a 92-90 lead on J.R. Smith’s three-pointer with five minutes left, Anthony had a chance to extend it, but Hibbert — who ruled the paint — blocked Anthony’s dunk attempt after Anthony had spun past Paul George along the baseline.

“That was a big play by Hibbert,” Anthony said. “It kinda shifted momentum a little bit.”

Over the next three minutes, Indiana scored nine unanswered points while Anthony imploded. He committed three turnovers, starting with an offensive foul, and also missed a pull-up jumper.

“We didn’t make plays coming down the home stretch,” Mike Woodson said after the Knicks finished 6-6 in the postseason but lost six of their last eight. “We had our chances.”

The catalyst was the Pacers’ Stephenson, who scored nine of his 25 points after Indiana fell behind 92-90. Stephenson, who like former Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury attended Lincoln High School, gave the Pacers the lead for good when he picked off Anthony’s pass and converted a layup as he was fouled by Smith.
 4 years ago '04        #9848
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Isola

Anthony had been playing with minor discomfort since Game 5 of the Knicks first round series against Boston when Kevin Garnett yanked his arm while setting a screen.

Carmelo Anthony will have his ailing left shoulder re-examined by team doctors to determine the extent of the injury and how to treat it, according to a Knicks official.

The club is hopeful that Anthony's injury is not serious and that it will improve with rest and therapy and won't require surgery. Anthony had been playing with minor discomfort since Game 5 of the Knicks first round series against Boston when Kevin Garnett yanked his arm while setting a screen.

Anthony originally injured his shoulder during an April 14th win over the Indiana Pacers. When the Knicks eliminated Boston in Game 6, Anthony reported that his left arm "popped in and out."

He refused to use the injury as an excuse even though Anthony, the NBA's scoring champion, struggled to make shots.

In the Knicks second round series loss to the Pacers, Anthony made 65 of 150 shots including 39 points on 15 for 29 shooting in Game 6.

Also, Anthony had fluid drained from his right knee two months ago but according to the team official Anthony's knee has improved and won't need arthroscopic surgery.
 4 years ago '04        #9849
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Ian Begley

The New York Knicks face an offseason full of questions after bowing out in the second round of the playoffs.

Here's a look at five pressing issues they will need to deal with:

J.R. Smith's free agency: J.R. Smith said that he wants to retire as a Knick. To do so, he'll probably have to take a pay cut.

Smith has a $2.9 million player option for next season and is expected to opt out and test free agency. The Knicks likely will make it a priority to re-sign Smith, who won the NBA's Sixth Man Award but struggled in the postseason.

New York has Smith's Early Bird Rights and can offer him a four-year contract starting at approximately $5 million with standard raises.

But they may have competition for Smith's services. Another team with significant cap space can offer Smith more than $5 million. But how does Smith's poor postseason affect his market value? We'll find out soon enough.

Define Amar'e's role: It's clear that Amar'e Stoudemire is best suited coming off the bench for the Knicks. But it's unclear if that's what he'll do in 2013-14. Don't forget, Knicks coach Mike Woodson planned to start Stoudemire at the beginning of the 2012-13 season before he went down with a knee injury.

So will Woodson want Stoudemire to return to the starting lineup next season? Or will he continue to bring him off the bench?

No matter what he chooses, Woodson would be wise to be delicate with Stoudemire, who is owed $45 million over the next two seasons.

Stoudemire said after the Knicks' season-ending loss on Saturday that he wanted to sit down with Woodson to discuss what he brings "to the table." Woodson would be wise to take the lead in that conversation and define exactly what he needs from Stoudemire in 2013-14.

Go big or small? The Knicks succeeded in the regular season with a small-ball lineup that relied heavily on 3-point shooting. But we saw the flaws of that model in the postseason, when just two Knicks regulars hit more than 33 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Woodson showed in Game 4 against the Pacers that he has no problem playing big. He went with a tradition front line in the Knicks' loss to Indy.

Despite the ugly result, there is a possibility Woodson will switch gears and try to go with a big lineup next season.

After all, injuries forced him to play with a smaller lineup in 2012-13. His intention coming into the season was to start Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the same front line.

No matter what Woodson chooses for next season, it would behoove both himself and the Knicks if he did so sooner rather than later. This would force the front office to tailor its offseason plans around Woodson's chosen style.

The point guard situation: Jason Kidd is under contract for the next two seasons, but he has said that he may not come back for 2013-14. He said earlier this season that he will decide over the summer about his status for next season. Most Knicks fans who watched Kidd struggle in the playoffs would probably like to see him retire. But Kidd is unlikely to leave guaranteed money on the table. He is owed $6.1 million over the next two seasons. Maybe he agrees to a buyout?

Regardless of whether Kidd or Pablo Prigioni return next season, the Knicks need to upgrade at point guard. They will likely look to add a young guard through the draft or free agency (they will have the veteran's minimum or the mini-mid-level exception to offer free agents) or via a trade. Ideally, they'd find a guard who can excel on both ends of the floor. Outside of Iman Shumpert and Smith (when he's engaged), the Knicks don't have many two-way players.

Find a young power forward/center: The Knicks thought they had a great backup to Tyson Chandler when they traded for Marcus Camby last summer. But due to injuries, Camby was limited to just 24 games.

So the Knicks need a player on the interior to help Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin (if he re-signs) rebound and protect the rim.

With Carmelo Anthony starting at power forward and Stoudemire presumably behind him, the Knicks lack a solid defender at this position.

They may choose to re-sign Earl Barron to help fill the void. Or maybe they can find a young big via free-agency or the draft?
 4 years ago '08        #9850
AC_89 168 heat pts168
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If that report is true it looks like jr might be coming back would love to see us draft a pg or C with the 1st round pick we have kidd and camby not coming back could be huge too i guess we will re-sign kmart and cope we need another 3 man too imo we obviously have to get younger too
 4 years ago '04        #9851
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His former head coach has picked a side, and it's squarely in the corner of his one-time star forward. Jim Boeheim maintains little hope that former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony can win an NBA title with the New York Knicks. "Not on that team," Boeheim said. "He did what he can do. ... Everybody's k!lling him but Tyson Chandler just didn't try to catch the ball. He threw him the ball and Tyson Chandler went like this (Boeheim dodged in a chair in his office in the Carmelo K. Anthony Center). He was wide open. He should have been looking for the ball right here. Kenyon Martin should have been looking for the ball. They both went like this (Boeheim dodged again)."
 4 years ago '04        #9852
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Berman & Mark Hale

The truth hurts, and it was delivered yesterday not by Carmelo Anthony but by the Knicks’ youngest player, 22-year-old Iman Shumpert.

Shumpert branded the Knicks season a failure after Saturday’s heartbreaking, second-round KO in Indiana. The Knicks’ young swingman could almost taste South Beach and a matchup against the Heat and now he can only go there to vacation.

“I think we failed,’’ Shumpert said yesterday at the Knicks’ Tarrytown compound. “We failed to do what we were supposed to do. We know we were supposed to go farther and we didn’t. So it’s a fail.”

Asked where they needed to be for him to change his tune, Shumpert said, “At least to the Eastern Conference finals. I feel like we put ourselves in a position to do that, getting the second seed. It was set up for us to get to the Eastern Conference finals and then see what we could do from there.’’

Instead of preparing for a Game 7 last night at the Garden, the Knicks were having their exit meetings with coach Mike Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald, who will face the music today in a state-of-the-franchise press conference.

One by one, the players filed into the facility’s press room, mostly to offer up a forecast of sunny skies. Except Shumpert, who drilled four 3-pointers in the frantic third quarter Saturday that looked to be the spark of a comeback victory. Shumpert bravely returned Jan. 17 from knee surgery to repair an ACL torn in the first game of the playoffs last April.

Shumpert, who is buddies with Anthony, may have been taking aim at J.R. Smith, whose playoff performance was disastrous.

“Just we’ve got to hold each other accountable, come next year,’’ Shumpert said. “Little things like not playing hard should never come into play. Letting a game slip at home [in Game 1] should never come into play. Getting beat on the boards when we know that’s a point of emphasis in the series shouldn’t happen. We’ve got to take care of the little things, and we didn’t. It finally caught up with us.”

Perhaps Shumpert is still naïve, has not experienced as many playoff disappointments as Anthony, who has gotten out of the second round just twice in 10 seasons. Anthony had a completely different viewpoint, repackaging his spin from Saturday, when he called 2012-13 “a hell of a season.’’

Anthony, who played through a bum left shoulder, feels the club will be on the verge of something special next season, though Grunwald’s flexibility to make moves will be strangled by the new CBA that hampers big-market teams willing to spend.

“We’re right there,’’ Anthony said. “We’re right there. We look back and recap this whole season, just some detail-oriented things we got to fix. But we’re right there, I believe we’re right there as a team, as a unit. I’m a big believer in that and very confident. I don’t think we underachieved.’’

When told of Shumpert’s critique, Anthony agreed — to a point.

“Shump is right, it’s time to hold each other accountable,” he said. “But it’s easy to say that after the fact, sitting on the outside looking in.’’

Perhaps Shumpert recognizes the urgency of this past season and next. Anthony can opt out of his contract after next season and Amar’e Stoudemire will become a trade chip with his expiring contract. It might be time to gut the roster in the summer of 2014.

Point guard Raymond Felton also cued up the positive rhetoric and said he hopes the entire crew returns.

“It was a great year, great run, definitely a huge step from years in the past,’’ Felton said. “Something to build on. Definitely not satisfying, but can’t really be too upset.”

Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who had a brutal postseason, was more tempered than Anthony but optimistic about 2013-14.

“We’re further along than we are last year, but we’re still not there yet,’’ said Chandler, who included the coaching staff in a list of facets that need to improve. “I think we have to be more efficient in all areas. My goal next year is to be No. 1. I definitely think we can do it.’’

Smith, Stoudemire and Jason Kidd, all of whom had second-round playoff stumbles, did not address the media.

“We set a standard,” Anthony said. “We kind of teased the city of New York. Because now everybody expects us to play at this high level. That’s how we hold ourselves accountable to come back and be at that level and even better.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9853
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

Next season could conceivably be the last as a Knick for Carmelo Anthony — who has a player opt-out clause in his contract he can use after the 2013-14 season.

If he does opt out next summer, he sounded as if he intended to re-sign a long-term deal with the Knicks.“I’m going to be here for many years,’’ Anthony said.

That is, if the Knicks wish to, if the club takes a step back next season. Anthony will be 30 when he decides whether to opt-out.

When asked directly of his opt-out clause, Anthony said: “I can’t think about that right now. That would be selfish on my part to even sit back and think about the situation like that. When that time comes, I’ll deal with it. Right now it’s all about as a team moving forward.’

Anthony played through a strained left shoulder suffered late during the first-round series against the Celtics. Anthony revealed he played through pain in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Pacers.

“It was bothering me since it happened,’’ Anthony said. “There was pain. It came to the point you try not to think about it.’’

Anthony, who will be reexamined by team doctors this week to make sure no other damage exists and doesn’t think he needs surgery.

“We just checked it and everything’s stable,’’ Anthony said. “I think it’s a matter of just rest and letting it heal on your own.’’

* It seems hard to believe Jason Kidd will pass up $3.1 million next season and retire, but his buddy, Tyson Chandler, said he didn’t know whether the veteran guard will return. Kidd’s flameout in the playoffs could push him into retirement, despite having two years and $6.2 million left on his pact.

Kidd, 40, didn’t meet with reporters after Games 5 or 6, nor was he available after his exit meeting yesterday with coach Mike Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald.

He ended the postseason on a 10-game scoreless streak and was benched in the second half of the final two contests.

“I don’t know,’’ said Chandler, Kidd’s teammate in Dallas. “I don’t know where his mind is now. I think he’ll do his thing as far as allowing his mind to think and settle in. Right now everything is so emotional, fresh off this series. It’s hard to get that out of your mind. I think he’ll take some time with his family.’’

Asked if Kidd had another season in him, Chandler said, “I think so, but it’s not up to me. It’s up to him. At this point of his career, it’s a balancing act on what’s important to him.’’

Raymond Felton said he wants to go to the Hamptons to visit Kidd, “work out with him and pick his brain.’’

“We’re human. Everyone goes through periods of slumps where they can’t shoot the ball,’’ Felton said. “It’s unfortunate he was missing shots at that time.’’

Chandler also had a bad series against the Pacers, getting outmuscled by center Roy Hibbert. He blamed the strep throat he had late in the regular season for not having the strength to compete under the boards. He lost 10 pounds during his sickness that coincided with resting his neck for the playoffs.

* Chandler took a veiled shot at the Knicks’ coaching staff yesterday.

Chandler has already criticized the whole team for “playing like individuals,’’ against Indiana.

Yesterday, Chandler said, “A lot of things we’re going to have to address. Everybody to a man is going to have to come back better, including the coaches.’’

Chandler also took a poke at the offensive strategy.

“I would like for us to develop some consistency with the offensive game plan,” he said. “Right now, we’re a jump-shooting team. I would like us to have a free-flowing offense that we all can be comfortable with.”

* Anthony apparently doesn’t believe Rihanna and wants J.R. Smith to re-sign as a free agent. Smith probably will be back in a convenient package deal with his brother, Chris Smith, who just changed reps to J.R.’s and Anthony’s agent, CAA superagent Leon Rose.

“J.R. is a special player,” Anthony said. “He made a huge step as a basketball player. We look forward to that to come out and be focused the way he was to win the Sixth Man Award, help us win a division title. He’s definitely a plus to this team. I definitely would love him back here.’’

* Anthony acknowledged Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t 100 percent upon his return against the Pacers.

“At this point, coming from a friend more than a teammate, I would love to see him back 100 percent,” Anthony said. “I don’t know how hard it is to get back 100 percent and be injury-free.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9854
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim went on a verbal tirade against Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks teammates, shocked his former player is receiving blame for the team’s second-round flameout to Indiana.

In the Syracuse Post-Standard, Boeheim ripped Tyson Chandler, whom he coached on the U.S. Olympic Team, point guards Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni and even coach Mike Woodson in trying to defend Anthony’s honor.

When asked if Anthony can lead the Knicks as constructed to an NBA title, Boeheim told the paper: “Not on that team. He did what he can do. He played very well the final game. Everybody’s k!lling him but Tyson Chandler just didn’t try to catch the ball. He threw him the ball and Tyson Chandler went like this” and the paper said Boeheim dodged in his chair.

“[Tyson] was wide open,’’ Boeheim added. “He should have been looking for the ball right here. Kenyon Martin should have been looking for the ball. They both went like this [Boeheim dodged again]. Carmelo gets turnovers and the announcers aren’t smart enough to even think, ‘Well, the guy should try to catch the ball.’

“Tyson Chandler claims he never gets the ball,’’ Boeheim continued.” He doesn’t try to get the ball. He had two points and Hibbert had [21].’’

Boeheim went on his diatribe at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center in Syracuse, which Anthony helped pay for. The Syracuse coach catches most of the Knicks’ games on television to watch his former player.

“What was the difference in the series?,’’ Boeheim said. “Raymond Felton was 0-for-7. Lance Stephenson had [25] points. They’re going to blame it on Carmelo? I told him when he went to New York, ‘They’re going to blame it on you.’

“They have no chance to win,’’ Boeheim continued, according to the Syracuse daily. “Pablo Prigioni has never scored against [Team USA]. We played Argentina six or seven times in different events. He hasn’t scored against us. You have to have players to win in the NBA.”

Boeheim said J.R. Smith and Felton “weren’t great players where they were and now they’re asking them to be second and third options.”

Boeheim said the Heat have second, third and fourth options of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen and have Shane Battier, too.

“The New York Knicks have who?” Boeheim asked.

Anthony, for his part, scored four points in three fourth quarters during the three losses to the Pacers at Bankers Life Field House. When asked about Woodson’s offensive scheme, Boeheim said: “I said to my son, ‘[Carmelo’s] going to have to get 50 for them to win.’ That’s what he needed. Fifty. You’re not going to get that against Indiana.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9855
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Ian Begley

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Tyson Chandler struggled on defense in the Pacers series. But he had no trouble defending himself Monday in the face of questions about his performance.

When asked if he felt he let his team down in the series against Indiana, Chandler said, "No, no. You can’t let the team down if you give them 100 percent. I gave my teammates everything I had and I’m fine with that."

A large segment of the Knicks' fanbase may disagree with Chandler there. The Knicks' center was thoroughly outplayed by Roy Hibbert over six games.

For the series, Chandler averaged 6.2 points, 6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 29 minutes per game.

Hibbert averaged 13.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, including a 21-point, 12 rebound performance in Game 6.

Chandler admitted Monday that he wasn't 100 percent healthy during the series. He suffered back, wrist and knee injuries in Game 5. He also struggled with his conditioning and timing early in the playoffs after missing 16 of the Knicks' final 20 regular-season games due to a neck injury.

"I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wish I could have got a couple games in before the playoffs started," said Chandler, the center on the NBA's first team All-Defense. "I feel like I never really got in a rhythm. But that’s just kind of how it went. I tried to give the team everything I had. I gave them 100 percent, gave them what I had. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough."

Chandler said his neck wasn't an issue after the Celtics series. But his timing just wasn't there after the long layoff. He was missing "the rhythm you get in with (teammates) being used to me being on the court, used to me, feeding me in certain positions, defensive rotations, all of that."

Chandler doesn't anticipate needing surgery to heal his injuries. He also hopes to work on his offense in the offseason.

"I definitely want to be more involved, more consistent on the offensive end," he said.

NOVAK 'FRUSTRATED': Sharpshooter Steve Novak played seven minutes or fewer in all but two of the Knicks' playoff games. He played a total of nine minutes in the Pacers series.

He admitted Monday that he was frustrated with his role.

"It was definitely frustrating for me not to be a bigger part of it but those are the rotations and decisions that Coach went with," Novak said. "I understand that he's always faced with tough decisions when it comes to guys and playing time and that kind of thing.

"It was frustrating but we've talked and we talked during that series as well," Novak added. "It didn't work out the way we wanted so you can always look back and question everything but that's how it goes."
 4 years ago '04        #9856
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Peter Botte & Mitch Abramson

J.R. Smith has received an important endorsement to return to the Knicks next season, from longtime teammate Carmelo Anthony.

Smith, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer despite a prolonged shooting slump that contributed mightily to the Knicks’ six-game ouster by Indiana.

“Without a doubt,” Anthony said Monday when asked if he hopes Smith stays in New York. “J.R. is a special player. To me, and to everybody on this team, he’s made a huge step forward as a basketball player. We look forward to that, for him to come out and be focused, the way he was focused this season, win the Sixth Man of the Year, help us to win another division title, helping us to win 50-plus games. He was a big help to this team and I definitely would love him back here.”

The most the Knicks can offer Smith is an “early Bird” exception starting around $4.9 million and escalating over four years, but another NBA team with more salary-cap room might be willing to offer a bigger deal.

Smith was not made available Monday, but the Jersey product said following Saturday’s loss in Indiana that he hopes to “retire a Knick.”.

Asked about Amar’e Stoudemire, who played limited minutes against Indiana after making his second comeback this season from knee surgeries, Anthony added, “At this point, coming from more as a friend than a teammate, I would just love to see Amar’e get back to 100% healthy … I just want him to be completely healthy before he starts thinking about anything else.”

COPE HAS HOPE
Fan favorite Chris Copeland hopes the expanded role he earned late in the Indiana series because of his well-rounded offensive game will translate into a new contract with the Knicks.

If Copeland is extended a $900,000 qualifying tender, the Knicks can match any offer the 29-year-old rookie receives as a restricted free agent. He made the league minimum $473,000 this season after playing the previous year in Belgium.

“To be here has been a dream come true, but to stay here, this place means the world to me,” Copeland said. “As a guy that took forever to be (in the NBA) and on the outside looking in, this is the first team to really give me a shot and believe in me, so to come back would mean the world to me. I’d be lying if I said (money) wasn’t a factor, but if you look at my career overseas, I’ve never chased the highest bidder … I love it here. The finances play a part, but I have a lot of emotional ties here and it would be hard for me to go.”

K-MART SHOPPING
Kenyon Martin had a simple message for Knicks GM Glen Grunwald. “It ain’t my call. But if I say anything, it’d be: Bring Kenyon Back,” said Martin, a pending free agent. “That’s all I’d have to say.”

Signed in February to bolster an aging and injury-laden frontcourt, Martin provided the team with much-needed toughness and was a catalyst late in the season when Tyson Chandler went down with a neck injury.

SHUMP AROUND
Iman Shumpert revealed that he will play for the Knicks in the Las Vegas summer league for the first time after missing it last summer while rehabbing a torn ACL and the year before because of the lockout. “They want to see me be more decisive offensively, which I already knew, but that would be big for me to work on this summer…and come in for training camp ready to do that,” Shumpert said.

KIDD ‘N PLAY?
Jason Kidd finished on a 10-game playoff scoreless streak and was benched in the second half of the Knicks’ final two games. The 40-year-old former All-Star might retire despite having two years and $6.2 million remaining on his contract. “I don’t know where his mind is now,” said Chandler, who won a title with Kidd in Dallas. “Right now everything is so emotional, fresh off this series. It’s hard to get that out of your mind. I think he’ll take some time with his family … It’s up to him. At this point of his career, it’s a balancing act.’’

LACK OF ’VAK
Steve Novak missed Game 6 against Boston and the opener against Indiana with back spasms, but the three-point specialist played just 8:29 in five appearances against the Pacers. “It was definitely frustrating for me to not be a bigger part of it but those were the rotations and the decisions that (Mike Woodson) went with,” said Novak, who has three years remaining on his contract. “I do think I could have made an impact, but it’s hard to look back and question it.”
 4 years ago '08        #9857
AC_89 168 heat pts168
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So u not gonna say what u think might happen in the offseason born? u know u the godfather
 4 years ago '04        #9858
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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 dj ac said:
So u not gonna say what u think might happen in the offseason born? u know u the godfather
just waiting for the draft lottery sh*t tonight and for the playoffs to be over before i bother with that stuff
 4 years ago '04        #9859
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Ian O'Connor

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Maybe Iman Shumpert should have been the one conducting the exit interviews. Maybe the 22-year-old should have been interrogating the 50-somethings running the New York Knicks, Glen Grunwald and Mike Woodson, who refuse to see what Shumpert and right-minded fans of all ages can see.

This team isn't building toward anything. The core Knicks aren't getting one year better in the spring of 2014, just one year older and slower. In fact, an executive who has done business with the Knicks predicted they wouldn't win 50 games next season, never mind 54.

"Not with all the injured stars returning to other teams in the East," he said. "Derrick Rose, Danny Granger, Rajon Rondo -- the Knicks aren't getting back anyone like that. I think they'll take a small step backward next year."

Now you know why Shumpert keeps calling a season that ended in a second-round loss to the Indiana Pacers "a failure." The kid looked up and down the league's oldest roster, saw how devastating injuries in other Eastern Conference places opened a clear road to Miami, and came to the sensible conclusion that the earlier exit is unacceptable, and that it isn't getting any easier from here.

The Knicks aren't the Golden State Warriors, with a young and gifted backcourt, or the Oklahoma City Thunder, with two superstars who haven't seen their 25th birthdays. Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar'e Stoudemire debuted in the NBA as teenagers and have played a combined 33 seasons. Expecting them to flower into better players at this point is like expecting J.R. Smith to honor a 10 p.m. curfew.

No, it's not happening. So as Grunwald, the GM, and Woodson, the coach, sat at a conference table surrounded by reporters inside the team's practice facility Tuesday and insisted that a) this was the start of something special; and b) keeping this group intact makes sense because there's real room for improvement, they sounded a lot less convincing than Jim Boeheim sounded in The Syracuse Post-Standard when unloading on Anthony's supporting cast.

Somehow Woodson spoke of a "wonderful season" that was "a major step in the right direction." Grunwald said the franchise focus would be "to get our existing players better," neglecting to add that this focus is required because the Knicks are luxury tax payers locked into at least two more years with four players (Stoudemire, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak) they no longer want.

The Knicks can't acquire a Chris Paul in a sign-and-trade, not after Grunwald abandoned the once dreamy, Big Three plan of Melo-Stoudemire-Paul in New York by paying big for Chandler. And just when Grunwald amnestied Chauncey Billups to get Chandler, compromising the point guard position for a frontcourt that would theoretically stand as the league's best, Billups told ESPNNewYork.com the Knicks remained "probably a couple of pieces short" of being a true championship contender. Turns out he was right.

Anthony desperately needs a complementary star, and the veteran in-house candidates aren't up to the job. Stoudemire is a broken-down mess, and Smith -- a free agent expected to be re-signed -- unraveled in the postseason in every way you can unravel.

"When you really needed J.R., he was off chasing Rihanna or whatever," said one widely respected NBA executive. "All he did was reaffirm what everyone thought about him. The Knicks need a reliable second scorer, and it can't be Smith. It sure can't be Stoudemire, either."

So who will be that second star, if there is to be a second star at all? Several league executives said Shumpert had a chance to develop into Melo's best supporting actor, but those polled agreed that the Knicks' most glaring need is a big man who can score.

"They got absolutely nothing out of the 4 and 5 positions offensively against Indiana," said one, "and that k!lled them. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin have no offensive games outside of the lob dunk, and when they're facing big players like Roy Hibbert and David West who do, that's a problem."

A second executive pointed out that all four teams in the conference finals -- Indiana, Miami (Chris Bosh), Memphis (Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol), and San Antonio (Tim Duncan) -- deploy big players who can score. Counting Anthony as a power forward in title only, and counting Stoudemire as another injury waiting to happen, the Knicks have no credible options in the post.

They have to find one, and preferably before Anthony decides whether to opt out of his contract next summer. With the capped-out Knicks a non-factor in free agency, and with Stoudemire's contract unmovable, the polled executives were asked to come up with realistic scenarios in the team's pursuit of a second star, preferably a skilled post guy. Here are their thoughts:

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. An offer of Chandler and Shumpert for Love would work under NBA cap laws. "If I'm Minnesota I would definitely think about that one," said one executive. "I don't know if I'd do it, but I'd consider it. Love's had injury issues and he can opt out in the summer of 2015. I don't know if he wants to spend the rest of his career there."

A second executive cautioned that such a deal would be more likely if the ousted Timberwolves president, David Kahn, were still in place rather than the newcomer, Flip Saunders. Minnesota also has a talented center in Nikola Pekovic, a restricted free agent, whose signing would eliminate any need for Chandler. "People in the league still value Chandler, despite what happened in the Indiana series, and Shumpert is a very good young player with a very good contract," said the second executive. "The Knicks could package those two, but I don't see Flip doing anything. Love sees himself as a big star, he wants the big stage, and he's got the personality for New York, but I don't see Minnesota considering something like that now. Maybe in February at the trade deadline."

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers. Like Love, he's a star on a losing small-market team, and one who also becomes a free agent in 2015. "Portland's trying to renovate their team and build around Aldridge," said one executive, "so I don't think they'd do it because of his age [27]. I don't think Chandler and Shumpert would get him, but it might be worth a shot."

Another long-time league official said Chandler's disappearing act against Indiana would hurt the Knicks' chances of landing a player of Aldridge's caliber. "You generally don't win with defensive centers, but with offensive centers and people who put the ball in the basket," the official said. "Shumpert is definitely movable, but Chandler's a hard move."

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike Love and Aldridge, he's on the back nine of his prime. Gasol turns 33 in July. "I'm sure the Knicks can probably get him if they want him," one executive said, "assuming the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard. But do the Knicks really want to add another older guy?"

Perhaps they do. Before the start of the season, Woodson made a point of telling reporters, "Young guys aren't winning an NBA title." This was before his old guys crumbled around him.

Woodson hasn't proven he can reach a conference final, never mind the Canyon of Heroes; he's now 2-12 in the conference semis in Atlanta and New York. It was no accident that Chandler said everyone around the Knicks had to improve, "including the coaches," or that Shumpert felt compelled to indict Woodson's offense as one full of "dead possessions" where the players "don't really have any cohesiveness."

The coach has a ways to go, and so does his roster. Grunwald can't swing and miss on the three-million-plus mid-level exception this time like he did on Kidd last time, and the Knicks can't make the mistake of believing that Chandler will get better by hitting the weight room, and that Stoudemire merely needs a few more classroom sessions with Hakeem Olajuwon.

"I think we can be creative," Grunwald said Tuesday in a break from his stay-the-course bunk. The Knicks had better get creative, or they'd better get busy praying Iman Shumpert explodes onto the scene next year the way Paul George did in Indiana this year.

Carmelo Anthony needs another star. He doesn't need a couple of 50-something men telling him a little time will heal this wound.
 4 years ago '04        #9860
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

It’s risky business, but Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said Tuesday the major core of the roster will be back next season as the franchise banks on Amar’e Stoudemire’s knees and J.R. Smith’s head healing.

Grunwald confirmed the Knicks are unable to do a sign-and-trade for free agents Chris Paul or Dwight Howard because of new collective bargaining agreement rules forbidding luxury taxpayers from partaking in free agency. They only have the $3.1 million mini-midlevel exception, plus the 24th overall pick in June’s draft.

That $3.1 million exception could partially be used to keep their own free agents, Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni. The Knicks are permitted to deal Copeland or Prigioni in a sign-and-trade, however, but can only get back a trade exception, draft pick or cash. The Knicks can then use the trade exception, worth say, $3.2 million, to acquire another player under contract at that dollar amount.

So there’s not a whole lot of big stuff for Grunwald to do other than pray Stoudemire and Smith come back repaired. And the window is closing fast.

“We’re focused on now,’’ Grunwald said. “We’re trying to get to a championship as soon as possible. That’s where our strategy is right now.’’

Smith will opt out of his contract and become a free agent July 1 and the Knicks likely will re-sign him under the early-Bird rights rule for a contract starting at $5.4 million. Smith became the goat of the playoffs, losing his shot and reputation amid Rihanna’s allegations his on-court troubles were due to being “hung over.’’

“It’s best to maintain the continuity if there’s a reason you think you can get better,’’ Grunwald said in a state-of-the-Knicks press conference at the team’s Westchester County practice facility. “I think we can get better. I think we can play better than we did in the playoffs. That’s not to say we won’t explore all our alternatives. That’s my job.

“I’m disappointed in the season but I’m not discouraged about this team. I’m very excited about the future. Obviously we’ve got some work to do. We’re not where we want to be.’’

The Knicks’ championship dreams ended in the second round versus the Pacers, and a major roster upgrade is nearly impossible.

“We can be creative,’’ Grunwald said, referring to the signing and trading of the Knicks’ own free agents. “We’ve got ideas what we can do. We have to be aggressive, not only in players but in terms of existing players getting better.’’

Grunwald said he feels Carmelo Anthony can improve — he declined to say how — but mentioned the major key is Stoudemire, the $100 million man, staying healthy all season and returning to near All-Star form. Coach Mike Woodson wouldn’t rule out starting the six-time All-Star next season and shifting Anthony to small forward.
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