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 4 years ago '04        #10561
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Mike Vaccaro

You see him plenty. He is an active owner, he attends games, he lives and dies with his teams the way you do and because he’s the man who signs the checks, his opinions occasionally become mandates, and sometimes controversies. You know James Dolan is in the arena, in both the literal and the literary sense.

You rarely hear him. On occasion, he offers brief remarks at press conferences. You can hear him sing, if you catch his band at a club. But it had been seven years since he sat down for an on-the-record interview about the Knicks and Rangers. He agreed to meet with The Post this week, inside a Madison Level suite at the Garden.

The Knicks and Rangers boss understands he is a lightning rod for the people that support his teams, that when things go wrong — and plenty has in the 15 years of his stewardship — you blame him. He gets it. And make no mistake, he is the boss, and wants to be the boss, and says unequivocally: “On my watch, it is my responsibility. All of it.”

But before we begin, it may help to hear something he had to say about music, his first love, a subject that not only fills his recreational hours but also infuses much of how he feels about his day job, too. And may inform what his expectations for his sporting teams are, and how he wishes they’d be achieved, as well as anything:

“I don’t play any solo stuff in my band,” he said. “I CAN solo. I can play the stuff and if you heard it you might think it’s OK, pretty good. But the other guitar players in my band — one of whom is my son [Aidan] — are much, much better guitar players than I am. To put the best sound out there, they play the solos.”

Mike Vaccaro: We’re inside Madison Square Garden, a place everyone knows you’re personally invested in, not only emotionally but also for $1 billion. With the political movement to relocate it, will we still be sitting here in 10 years?

James Dolan: Yes, I think we’ll be here. I think this building now — I’m obviously prejudiced — but I’ve heard from other people who would know that this is the best [arena] in the world. I’ve been traveling with the Eagles, I’ve seen 25 buildings the last four months, and nothing comes close to this. Some of them are very nice but this is in a whole other category. Putting history aside, just structurally, every seat in the building now, what the experience means. Even the seats way up there (points to upper rows) have a nice, clear view to the stage, have their own screen, it’s a pleasant experience, walk out of your seats into the upper concourse. You remember what it used to be like up there?

MV: Yes …

JD: Now it’s inviting. I do think it’s the best building in the world in the greatest city in the world. And why would you take that apart? We have to work it out.

MV: So you think the political climate will be such in 10 years that it will be worked out?

JD: It’s a long time and we’ll be paying, of course, close attention to it. Moving this place would be like moving the Empire State Building.

MV: I’m sure you heard the chants that have already started to fire Mike Woodson, which comes with the territory, naturally …

JD: Yeah …

MV: How patient will you be with him? He understood when he took the job the expectations that go with it. Will you give him a long rope?

JD: I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players. They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team … that’s when a coach is kind of done.

MV: You’ve shown tolerance as an owner; [GM] Glen Sather had a lot of empty years with the Rangers before he showed success. Do you feel you’re more patient than an average owner?

JD: I really don’t compare myself with other owners. I’ll bet you I’m more patient than Mikhail [Prokhorov] is of his team. Mostly, I think it does not pay to be impatient, because you destabilize your team. It’s not like the players don’t want to win, it’s not like the owner doesn’t want to win; everybody wants to win, so it’s a question of: Can you get there? With Mike, I think he can get us there. Mostly, I think Carmelo [Anthony] can get us there, and the other players can get us there, they’re going to have to jell and I think Mike can do a lot to get that to happen. Because he has their respect.

MV: The Knicks started 18-5 last year and it didn’t end the way you wanted it to; at this point I a.ssume you’d flip that script?

JD: You know what? I wouldn’t take last year’s team for this year’s team, because this year’s team is more designed to be a playoff team, whereas last year’s team was 18-5 but look who was playing: we had Rasheed Wallace who was doing everything for us, right? And we just started losing player after player … by the time we got to the playoffs that 18-5 team wasn’t the team that was playing in the playoffs. If they were I think we would’ve beaten Indiana.

MV: So this bad start …

JD: It’s going right according to plan (laughs) …

MV: A few days before training camp you changed general managers; why do that so close to the start of camp? Did something change from the start of summer to the end?

JD: I didn’t time it, per se, like that. I’m surprised other folks were surprised about this. The general manager’s work doesn’t really occur at that time of year. If you’re going to change general managers that’s probably the right time to do it. The next available trade date is Dec. 15. You’ve just finished free agency and all that. It’s a lull period. The timing didn’t really have much to do with that. It was more about an initiative I have going on with both teams that I hired McKinsey & Company [a Manhattan-based global management consulting firm] for, because as I’ve gotten to look at both our organizations, it’s become apparent that we really need to reprocess both teams. We were using a lot of — not old, but “classic” methods and now with technology, and what’s available to a team to help improve, I didn’t think we were taking advantage of those things.

MV: So in evaluating these business solutions you came to the conclusion Glen Grunwald was lacking and Steve Mills a better fit?

JD: I hired McKinsey in the summer, and Glen is more of a “classic” GM, and he just wasn’t the guy to lead this initiative for the team, and it had to be someone in that position who could do it because I wasn’t going to do it. It needed someone behind it, someone who understood it, and that just wasn’t Glen’s forte. I think he was a good general manager, he’s got a great eye for talent, he knows basketball well, but the job description changed.

MV: I a.ssume you don’t read everything written about you, hear everything said about you, don’t spend time on message boards …

JD: To be honest with you, Mike, I barely read the paper. There’s just too much written … unless Barry [Watkins, MSG’s executive VP for communications and administration] says, ‘Here, read this …’ (laughs) If it’s on the back page, I obviously see it. And the thing is, whether it’s positive or whether it’s negative, it’s rarely insightful to me. My job is to know more than the writers.

MV: And you have sit-downs like this so infrequently …

JD: When it comes to criticism I always think, OK, let’s look back at which New York sports owner was loved by the fans when they owned the team? Do you know any?

MV: Well, people speak reverentially about George Steinbrenner …

JD: But not when he was there … (laughs)

MV: Not until the end …

JD: There you go.

MV: That said, fans have a visceral relationship with their teams, and a lot of the vitriol is aimed at the owner.

JD: Look, it’s all about wins and losses to the fans. They want to believe in their team. They want to believe their team has a shot at the championship. I think you, for example, understand the fan’s perspective, why a fan is a fan. They’re very emotionally involved. And when things aren’t going well they want to understand what went wrong and, inevitably, who’s to blame?

MV: The guy who writes the checks.

JD: Right. And in the end it’s all my responsibility. And when they see a player not playing well they wonder, “Why did we draft him?” or “Why did we trade for him?” and “What was the thinking?” and “Well that was pretty dumb.” And eventually it gets to the point of, well, this isn’t going to change unless somebody changes it and that’s when they look to the owner. Sometimes that isn’t emotionally satisfying for the fans and you get what you get.

MV: Do you think you’re a good owner?

JD: Yeah. I do.

MV: Why?

JD: I think I watch out for my fans. I try to give them a good product. I care for the teams. I’m emotionally involved and intellectually involved. I think an owner needs to be present. When an owner is not present that’s when things tend to go awry. The players, the coaches, the fans know there’s somebody in charge. They may not like what I’m doing but it’s much better than having nobody there. Nobody there just leaves you in despair.

MV: Are you a good boss?

JD: The teams aren’t much different than a lot of the other things I manage. If you’re the kind of person who likes your job, wants to continue to be better at it, wants resources, wants to continue to put out a better and better product, push the envelope, you’re going to like working for me. If you’re someone who says, well, I’ve accomplished what I’m going to accomplish, I want to sit here and do that, you’re probably not going to be as happy with me.
 4 years ago '04        #10562
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
MV: For Knicks fans there’s one word that riles their passion more than any other: Isiah.

JD: Amazing, isn’t it?

MV: And you surely know the panic that ensues when a Glen Grunwald gets fired and people wonder, “Is Isiah coming back?”

JD: I can’t control what’s in other people’s minds. I can tell you that he’s a friend of mine. We speak, but not as often as we used to because he’s really involved in other things now. We’ll message back and forth once in a while. We used to talk a lot more often. He seems to be moving into another phase of his life, he’s not as basketball-centric, he’s doing a lot of charity work, he got his masters [in education, from Cal-Berkeley], he actually uses me to bounce business ideas off of …

MV: Do you still consult him, too, about basketball ideas?

JD: Not really. For Isiah, I don’t know that he’ll ever be able to work in New York. I just don’t know that he’ll ever get a fair shake, going forward in New York?

MV: Do you think that’s unfair? He did lose a lot of games here.

JD: He lost a lot of games! OK. Do I think he deserves another shot? Yeah. It just can’t be here. And I think he’s talented. I think he’s particularly talented at finding basketball talent. But I think he’s probably dismayed at this point. But I don’t see him coming back to New York. I couldn’t do that to him, and I couldn’t do that to the organization. He would probably do it as my friend but I couldn’t do it to him or his family. And you know what the press would do here. We’re interested in getting better and that situation would be such a distraction that it would actually hinder our ability to get better.

MV: If you could take a mulligan on the $100 million Amar’e contract …

JD: Nope.

MV: Because the first year was that important?

JD: We would not be where we are today without Amar’e. That summer, the summer of “The Decision,” there were a whole bunch of free agents, and the guys put their thing together in Miami, and Amar’e agreed to come to the Knicks, gave us a launch pad by which we could convince the other guys like Tyson [Chandler] to come, and ultimately Carmelo to come play with us. Do I think Carmelo would have come if we didn’t have Amar’e? No, I don’t think he would’ve. These free agents, when you get to this level of player — the Carmelos, the LeBrons, the Durants — the first thing they want before the money or anything else is to be on a winning team. They’ve got to believe they have a shot.

MV: So does it sadden you to watch him in a diminished state?

JD: I still have hope. You cannot ask for a guy to be more dedicated, more disciplined, than Amar’e. He does his rehab, he does his workouts, he does everything, he’s on it every day, and that’s worth a lot, too. If there’s justice in this world, his knee will heal up to the point where he can play more minutes and make the contribution he wants to make.

MV: A perfect irony — the Knicks’ last truly great moment came at the L.A. Forum when Bradley jumped into Reed’s arms and they beat the Lakers for the ’73 title. And now you own that building.

JD: I’m having a good time with it. It’s a significant move for the company; other than splitting off Cablevision and the transformation of the Garden, the most significant move we’ve made in 10 years, the company’s expanding to the west coast, focusing on growth, especially in the music and entertainment area.

MV: How important is music to you? Obviously you have the band [J.D. and the Straight Shot], you’ve been trailing the Eagles, you’ve opened for them. How much of that defines you?

JD: You are not what you own. Music is a big piece of who I am. I don’t own music. I create music, and I play it, but I do not own it. So if you want to get to know me, you’ll see music as a big piece of who I am.

MV: The Eagles come to you and say, “Come on up and play one song with us.” Which song do you pick?

JD: Whoa … I love so many Eagles songs …

MV: That’s the curveball question.

JD: They start off their show with a song called “Whatever Happened to Saturday Night” … maybe because I haven’t heard it as much as others but I love that song. And it’s just Glenn [Frey] and Don [Henley] sitting on amplifiers, playing guitars and to me that’s how I grew up playing music.

MV: You own the Garden now. But you were like a lot of kids who grew up around here and took the train to the Garden …

JD: The Old Garden, too.

MV: What does the building mean to you?

JD: I’m really proud of it right now. The money we put into it, this is a building that deserves this kind of investment and it’s a town that can appreciate it and actually expects it. People here have a high bar. And this place raises that bar.

MV: It does seem the Garden, as long as it has existed, has a.ssumed a certain amount of responsibility for reaction.

JD: You have to do things here which sometimes, financially, don’t make sense, in order to honor what the place is. Things like 12/12/12, even to the point you’re bringing in an act that you have to stretch in order to get them here. You need to do all that to keep this place as iconic as it is now. So there’ll be more pictures on the wall. Hopefully we’ll have some of basketball and hockey teams, too. We’re doing our best to do that.

MV: Concerts are easier to guarantee than basketball games.

JD: Which brings me to a point (laughs) …

At this point, Dolan plays a snippet from his iPod of the recent concert at The Cutting Room in NYC. About to play a song called “White Bird” by It’s A Beautiful Day. Dolan, on the tape, says, “Welcome everybody from the Rangers game and thank you for bringing me a win. (applause) It’s too bad you didn’t come to the basketball game. (groans) Actually next game — we will win the next game, it’s guaranteed.”

That’s it. How that turned into what showed up in the papers the next day …

MV: Let’s talk about the Rangers a little bit. Is there a line of succession in place when Sather retires? Will he choose his replacement?

JD: Ultimately it’s got to be my call but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Glen and still feel very lucky to have him. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and I don’t know if there’s anyone else in the NHL that’s better than him, but he’s got to be close to the top. His understanding of the game, his understanding of what makes a great player, and also he’s pulled off some trades I looked at him and said, “How did you do that?” As long as he’d like to stay I’d like to have him.

MV: A few years ago you took the mic at a postgame press conference and proclaimed the Rangers were on the right track for the Cup. Do you still feel that way?

JD: Yeah, I do. This is going to be an interesting year because we have a new coach and a new system. I’m heartened by what I’ve seen, it looks like the team is picking up on the coach’s strategy looks like they’re starting to jell, [Rick] Nash is coming back [Tuesday], we’ll see how that impacts the team. I like what I see. So much of hockey is playoffs, just like basketball, we’ve made the playoffs a bunch of times now but we haven’t … the closest we came was conference finals.

MV: While you’ve owned the Knicks and Rangers, the Yankees, Giants and Devils have all won championships, the Mets have been to the World Series. What do you feel when you see other teams’ successes?

JD: I don’t pay a lot of attention to the other sports. I’ve been here 15 years. So much of it is, it’s rare in a season when you see a team go through a season and dominate and go all the way through to the end. You want to be in those final four teams and then be hot, lucky, healthy … so the goal is to get there and then get the rest of the way.

MV: It seemed as if John Tortorella was on the brink of perfect New York stardom — no matter what, you had an opinion on him, good or bad. Are you sorry that didn’t work out?

JD: I miss John Tortorella. I’d visit Torts before a game and we would trade barbs for 10 minutes, he’d tell me about his [lousy] cable TV service and I’d be sitting there saying, “You can’t clear the puck out of your zone, what the hell’s wrong with you?” and he’d strike back and then play the game and I miss that. I’m developing a relationship with Alain [Vigneault] and he’s also a good guy, but Torts and I had a special relationship. It was fun for me. He banned me from the locker room for a while, all in fun. I miss that.

MV: What are your impressions of Mikhail Prokhorov?

JD: I don’t get to see him much but he clearly wants to win, which is a good thing. He’s the only guy paying more taxes than we are which is a club I wouldn’t necessarily want to be part of with him (laughs). I think he wants to win, I know he wants to win, he wouldn’t be putting the resources in that he is otherwise. But, I mean, he’s still my competitor. As a person I kind of know him, I’ve had lunch with him but other than that I don’t really know him well.

MV: One thing you share is that you’ve both expressed belief your teams can win a title this year. Do you really believe the Knicks can or was that just a usual declaration of high expectations?

JD: I think this team can win a championship.

MV: As presently constituted?

JD: I think there are a lot of teams that could win the championship this year. I think the Clippers can win. Are they going to? I hope not. I hope we win the championship. I think we have the pieces in place to do it. The skill level is there but there’s so much more to the game than that, and it’s really in the hands of the players. They have to believe in themselves, they have to put in the work, the effort, the discipline, they have to listen to the coach, they have to execute a strategy and put an effort in every game. And they have to get themselves to be the best team they can be at the end of March. It’s OK right now not to be the best team you can be. Last year by the end of the year we were struggling. I’d rather see it go the other way. I’m not happy, believe me, about the record where it is now. But the warts that are showing up now are things you can work on, things you can fix. Now you test the character of your team to see if it’s willing or able to do that, if the coach is able to do that, to make those fixes. Can they win the championship? Yes. They definitely can win the championship. There have been other championship teams that weren’t nearly as talented as this one. But they had something that this team needs to develop.

MV: There seems to be some question about the future of the Knicks City Dancers …

JD: Now you know why my band doesn’t play Madison Square Garden (laughs).

MV: How do you describe their status?

JD: When finishing the transformation we talked about all the other things we could do to make this season great for New York. We looked at our in-game experience for basketball and said “It’s tired.” So we went to a whole revamp and part was the Knicks City Dancers. We’ve actually invested more money into them, they’re working on new routines, they’ll be doing a lot more things that relate to Broadway and, hopefully, relate to New York, but it won’t be the old cheerleader squad. Honestly, we watched it the last couple of seasons, the women would go out there and they would perform and they wouldn’t even get applause. It just wasn’t engaging of the fan base. They will now be engaging. And they’re all talented enough to do this so it’s not a stretch for them. They’re not appearing as much right now but as they continue to work on their routines and their choreography you’ll see more and more of them. We try to get them in every home game but they’re going to miss some. But the in-game experience is what we’re looking at.
 4 years ago '04        #10563
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437

Happy Anniversary, Knicks. Not!

Thursday was the five-year anniversary of the Knicks officially embarking on their plan of blowing up the team, ducking under the salary cap and preparing for the 2010 free-agent class. Sources now say their No. 1 goal at the time was pairing LeBron James with Chris Bosh.

On Nov. 21, 2008, then Knicks president Donnie Walsh, with the team off to a 6-5 start, dumped the long-term contracts of his two best players, Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, in two separate blockbuster trades.

It started a dizzying series of deals designed to go as far under the salary cap as possible in order to sign two superstars.

Instead of James and Bosh, the Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire the following summer to an uninsured five-year, $100 million contract and seven months later traded the farm for Carmelo Anthony.

Five years later, after 82 players have graced the 15-man roster since that 2008-09 season, the Knicks are 3-8 and in danger of spending this season battling for the seventh or eighth playoff seed. They don’t even hold a potential lottery pick for the superior draft awaiting this summer if they crash.

Five years later, the Knicks are on their third GM and probably will have a third head coach by next season.

Five years later, they have in Stoudemire a knee-impaired player not permitted to play in back-to-back games or more than 15 minutes a night on a James Dolan-inspired restriction.

Five years later they have a glum superstar in Anthony who could decide to take $30 million less to leave New York this summer to get out of a losing situation.

Five years later, their best playoff showing was a second-round ouster, accomplished last season and which may stand as the highlight of the five-year plan. The previous two seasons, the Knicks were knocked out in the first round.

Five years later, new president Steve Mills already is gathering a new analytics plan and strategy to deconstruct the roster with eyes on the 2015 free-agent class headed by Kevin Love.

Dolan’s intentions were good, he has no regrets, but many mistakes were made along the way. Happy Anniversary, Knicks.

In the semi-annual will-John Calipari-coach-the-Knicks-next-season rumor, the Kentucky coach was compelled to respond via Twitter.

“As I’ve said before, I have the greatest job in basketball any level,” he tweeted. “Why would I be interested in another job?’’

Dolan could be interested down the road because he loves dealing with the CAA agency, which represents Calipari. Calipari also is linked to William Wesley, a friend of Mills.

Lost in the commotion of the Indiana heartbreaker caused by the Iman Shumpert foul was the incident in the huddle between Metta World Peace and Tim Hardaway Jr., caught by MSG Network cameras. World Peace and Hardaway jawed at each other and the former Ron Artest gave the rookie a shove when an a.ssistant got between them. Was it a sign this team isn’t getting along on or off the court? One person familiar with the scene called it “a heat-of-the-battle moment.’’… Woodson said he believes the overtime loss to Indiana was a positive step. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel,’’ Woodson said. “We competed. It was a beautiful sign to see.’’
 4 years ago '08        #10564
AC_89 175 heat pts175
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Wonder how the team would look if we didn't make those trades like would zbo still be here? would we still have gotten melo or amare?
 4 years ago '07        #10565
Chief|m 54 heat pts54
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blow up the roster, sell the team, move them to seattle

 11-22-2013, 03:56 PM         #10566
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I actually like Woodson.
 4 years ago '07        #10567
Chief|m 54 heat pts54
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$20,926 | Props total: 1621 1621
this n*gga Dolan banned Woody Allen from the VIP box in the Garden cause he didn't want to do free promotion for him
 4 years ago '04        #10568
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Chris Broussard (aka he's making sh*t up again)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are actively shopping second-year shooting guard Dion Waiters, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Three teams the Cavaliers are known to have spoken with are the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, the sources said. The Cavs' targets are Iman Shumpert in New York, Evan Turner in Philadelphia and Luol Deng in Chicago, sources said.

It is believed Cleveland has reached out to other clubs as well.

Waiters, whom the Cavaliers drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2012, has a contentious relationship with several teammates, including star point guard Kyrie Irving, and sources say he is open to being traded. In fact, though Waiters has not demanded a trade, he brought up the subject in a three-hour meeting last week with coach Mike Brown and general manager Chris Grant, according to sources.

The Cavaliers are looking to shake things up after a 4-10 start. Part of their problem has been the dysfunction in their locker room. Waiters, a 6-foot-4 guard, got into an altercation with forward Tristan Thompson during a players-only meeting after a 29-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 13, sources said.

Sources described the following account:

Irving called the meeting after the game and every player spoke. When Waiters was given the floor, he criticized Thompson and Irving, accusing them of playing "buddy ball'' and often refusing to pass to him. Thompson took umbrage with Waiters' words and went back at him verbally. The two confronted each other but teammates intervened before it could escalate into a f!ght.

However, Waiters and Irving are not close. Waiters believes the Cavaliers have a double standard when it comes to Irving, sources said. Waiters feels that while Irving is allowed to get away with loafing defensively, making turnovers and taking bad shots, he is taken out of games for such things. Waiters has shared his views with Brown and Grant.

Waiters is slumping after a promising rookie season -- both his scoring and shooting percentage are down.
 11-27-2013, 03:02 PM         #10569
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 4 years ago '04        #10570
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437

LOS ANGELES – It’s Sob City vs. Lob City when the reeling Knicks face the 10-5 Clippers Wednesday night at Staples Center.

But Amar’e Stoudemire made it clear at the Knicks morning shootaround his locker-room complaints in Portland about the lack of ball movement wasn’t finger-pointing. And Stoudemire said he’s certainly was not blaming Carmelo Anthony, who scored 34 points Monday.

After each of the last three losses, Stoudemire has identified the lack of ball movement as the prime culprit. It figured he was referring to Anthony and J.R. Smith, perhaps more the latter since he has been struggling badly during the six-game losing streak that has dropped the Knicks at 3-10.

Stoudemire said he’s not singling out anyone. Anthony didn’t react well to Stoudemire’s ball-movement theory Tuesday, saying the defense is a much bigger problem.

“You guys do that a lot,’’ Stoudemire said. “When we say things like ball movement, [we’re] talking about it as a team as a whole. We all are a unit. It’s not to single out anyone at all. You guys seem to do that. That’s not the case. We’re a team together and united. When we discuss things like defense, we’re discussing team defense. When we’re discussing ball movement, we’re talking about team ball movement.’’

Stoudemire said he hasn’t talked to Anthony to clear up the issue.

“We all know that we’re together,’’ Stoudemire said. “No sense sitting down 1-on-1 with him. We all understand what we need to do. We love each other on and off the court, so we just got to get through this little rut. Once we start winning, everything will be smoothed out.’’

The Knicks will get back starting point guard Raymond Felton to face Chris Paul. Felton, who sat out four straight games with a hip/hamstring strain, took the blame for the club’s poor ball movement when he played.

But Mike Woodson and Anthony are still much more focused on the defensive end, where the Knicks played awfully during a first quarter in which the Blazers were left open from the 3-point line and got to the rim at will for a parade of layups.

“It’s both,’’ Stoudemire said. “Defense is an area we can still win games when offensively we’re not playing well. That’s what Woodson’s saying. We can still win ballgames, win championships, if you play great defensively. That’s what we’re keying in on now.’’

The Knicks went through an extremely long shootaround at Staples that lasted 90 minutes. The shootarounds usually take an hour at most.

“I wanted to work on some things for us and had to go through their stuff,’’ Woodson said. “It’s a little longer than what we normally do but, hell, it’s not going to hurt us.”

Woodson is trying to push the right buttons of his two shooting guards, Smith and Iman Shumpert, who were dreadful in Portland. Smith was 2-of-8 shooting and in foul trouble. Shumpert had arguably his worst game as a pro, going scoreless without an a.ssist, rebound or steal but with two turnovers.

Woodson has spent the last two days quelling the notion he doesn’t like Shumpert, who appeared to quit on Woodson with Monday’s no-show.

“They can’t have any nights off, they can’t,’’ Woodson said. “Last year, they didn’t have many nights off. I got to get both of those guys playing at a high level. ‘’

Woodson said Felton’s not 100 percent and he is worried about the point guard’s conditioning, so backups Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih, who started for Felton, need to stay ready.

“Paul’s not a good match for anybody,’’ Woodson said. “He’s pretty damn good but, hey, Raymond says he’s ready.’’
 4 years ago '09        #10571
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Damn when is Ty comin back? was lookin good like he put some serious work in over the summer
 4 years ago '04        #10572
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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The expiration date on owner James Dolan’s recent vote of confidence for coach Mike Woodson is approaching, according to sources.

While Woodson will coach the Knicks when they play the Nets on Thursday, it is unclear how much longer Dolan will allow this losing streak to go on. It has reached nine straight defeats and the team’s mental instability has become an issue. Dolan is obsessed with the Brooklyn franchise and a blowout loss could trigger changes — whether via trade or a coaching move.

Dolan sat down with The Post’s Mike Vaccaro on Nov. 19 before the Knicks played in Detroit and voiced his support for Woodson, but the Knicks have lost seven straight games since.

“I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players,’’ Dolan told The Post in that interview. “They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team, that’s when a coach is kind of done.’’

The Post has also learned that if Dolan eventually makes a move, old enemy and ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy would not be ruled out as a future candidate — though such a hire seems more sensible in the offseason if Dolan goes with an interim coach.

The Knicks are in shambles, with Woodson even acknowledging after Sunday’s loss to the Pelicans his team is playing scared late in tight games. Carmelo Anthony said the team is f!ghting confidence and “mentality’’ issues, and fixing that often falls on the coach. Anthony has hinted at a fracturing locker room, and there have been an inordinate number of blowups on the bench.

Dolan must be at least mulling whether his public statement still applies. Do the players still respect Woodson? Has he treated the players “relatively equally’’ with the Woodson-Iman Shumpert relationship an issue.

Van Gundy and Dolan were not on speaking terms for the longest time after Van Gundy abruptly quit early in the 2001-02 season. The two exchanged pleasantries at the Garden last season before Van Gundy broadcasted a game for ABC. Van Gundy will be back at the Garden Dec. 11, working the Knicks-Bulls game.

New president Steve Mills worked with Van Gundy for two-plus seasons in his first stint with the Knicks when his title was executive vice president of franchise operations. They got along well.

According to a league source, one issue could be Van Gundy wanting input in personnel decisions in his next job.

A Van Gundy return would also set up the possibility of Bobcats a.ssistant Patrick Ewing coming back as his a.ssociate coach. Dolan and Ewing repaired their broken relationship last season when Ewing worked for MSG Network periodically.

Van Gundy likely would be interested in the Knicks position. In late June, Van Gundy gave a massive mea culpa for quitting on Dolan — remarks that appeared to sit well with Dolan and may have served as an olive branch.

On ESPN Radio, Van Gundy called it “a stupid decision’’ to quit.

“It’s something I regret to this day,’’ Van Gundy said. “I live with it every day and I regret it. And I let my emotions come into it. And I was just emotionally spent. I made a bad decision and I quit….I had a great job with the Knicks.’’

One coach who once worked with Van Gundy said the former Knicks/Rockets coach has never desired taking over for a club in midseason, feeling it’s a tough go.

Van Gundy, whose Knicks record was 248-172, has thoroughly enjoyed his broadcasting gig and it wasn’t until very recently — with his daughter graduating high school — he seriously contemplated a comeback. He last coached the Rockets in 2006-07. He attracted mild interest from the Clippers and Nets last June.

“He’s the No. 1 basketball announcer in the country,’’ said an industry source. “He’s still an important voice. He’s the reason there were rule changes for flopping. But I think he’s got to give coaching one more shot. He has to. It’s in his blood.’’

There are other big names available including George Karl, Mike Dunleavy and Lionel Hollins, who said recently he wants another shot in the NBA after his solid run in Memphis. The problem is he was dismissed by the Grizzlies because of a supposed distaste for the new advanced stats movement. Mills was brought in to take the Knicks analytics a step further.

“I believe I’ve established myself as a head coach and I’d like another opportunity to show that [my success] wasn’t a fluke,” Hollins told “I feel like I’ve proven I can take a young team and develop it, then sustain what I’ve done by what I did in the last five years in Memphis.”

Meanwhile, Woodson has to instill the confidence in his club before it’s too late. The only positive is the Knicks are just three games out of the Atlantic Division lead, despite being tied for the worst record in the East.

“We have to get together and do something and figure it out as a team,’’ Anthony said. “I don’t know what we have to do to come together a group, sit in here for hours and talk, but we got to do something.’’
 4 years ago '04        #10573
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Frank Isola

George Karl can just about forget ever coaching the Knicks as long as Jim Dolan is running Madison Square Garden.

“I watch the Knicks play,” Karl told Denver radio host Dave Krieger, “and I wouldn’t want to be in that hell for a million dollars.”

Of all the insulting, despicable things you can say about Dolan, Karl crossed the imaginary line by calling the Garden boss cheap. One million bucks? Dolan happens to pay his coaches top dollar to put up with his nonsense.

Karl should know since one of his coaching BFF’s is Larry Brown, who pocketed approximately $18 million for one season of that “hell” at the Garden.

“It’s just New York City and the Garden and the immensity of the pressure,” Karl added. “I think Mike Woodson is standing up to it with tremendous integrity.”

Well, Karl is right about that. He and Woodson are also tight and you can bet the two have spoken about everything from Carmelo Anthony to J.R. Smith to Dolan, the eccentric and unpredictable chairman of Madison Square Garden who will decide where and when Woodson “resigns as head coach to become an adviser.” If you haven’t noticed, the Knicks lead the league in advisers as well as workout coaches and, before too long, defeats.

The pressure is most definitely immense right now on Woodson with the Knicks mired in last place in the Eastern Conference, 0-for-November at MSG and riding a nine-game losing streak into Brooklyn on Thursday. A loss to Jason Kidd and the Nets could finally push Dolan over the edge.

The coaches are bracing themselves for the consequences of a 10th straight defeat. Dolan could run them all out of town, or it could be business as usual until the next loss.

That’s how Dolan rolls. He’s like a one-man Mafia. You never know it is coming until it is too late. Well, except for Jeff Van Gundy, who saw the handwriting on the wall and fired himself before Dolan fired him.

It could have been the perfect marriage — the take-no-prisoners workaholic coach and the nutty owner who spares no expense when it comes to his basketball team but needs someone with the guts to say “back off.”

“Say what you want about Jim Dolan but he’s one of about eight owners who is willing to spend money to compete for a championship,” said one current NBA head coach. “There are too many owners who are only in it to make money.”

That is the type of owner Van Gundy, who regrets quitting on the Knicks 12 years ago, could work for. In many ways, he may be the best coach for the job since he understands the shark-infested corporate waters at MSG and is a master at dealing with players and the media.

Two years ago, an intermediary acting on behalf of Isiah Thomas reached out to Van Gundy to gauge his interest in possibly returning to New York. But with Mike D’Antoni still at the helm, Van Gundy refused to entertain the question out of respect for a fellow coach.

That’s why the most recent regurgitated story of Van Gundy returning has more holes in it than the Knicks’ defense. Phil Jackson once discussed coaching the Knicks while Van Gundy was still employed at the Garden and there is no chance of Van Gundy working the back channels with Woodson still on the bench.

“Jeff thinks that is distasteful,” said one of Van Gundy’s close friends. “He also can’t believe how a guy who won 54 games is in trouble when Tyson Chandler has been out and a lot of the other key players are struggling. Carmelo is the one guy playing well but he isn’t getting much help.”

Dolan and Van Gundy have been on speaking terms for a few years now, the peace brokered when Van Gundy returned to the Garden in his broadcasting role. Something tells me Van Gundy’s partner, Mike Breen, helped initiate contact since Breen is also close friends with Dolan’s most trusted adviser, Barry Watkins. That makes sense.

Remember, when Donnie Walsh began his coaching search he said he would consider Van Gundy and did so with Dolan’s blessing. That news is older than Amar’e Stoudemire’s knees.

Would Van Gundy coach the Knicks again? Sure, but only if he got what Woodson wants: better players. Until then, Van Gundy’s current job is better than Woodson’s.

Plus, before I see Van Gundy riding in on a white horse there’s a trusted adviser to Dolan who I’m hearing could be next in line.

No, not that guy.

But Allan Houston, supposedly the GM in training, looms as a potential successor. The word around Knicks camp is that Dolan wouldn’t hesitate to promote him to head coach if the Knicks don’t turn things around sooner than later. Houston’s $100 million contract placed the Knicks in salary cap purgatory for years. Maybe having to coach this Knicks team would be his payback.


Well, if we told you on Sept. 1 that Steve Mills would be back before training camp to run the front office you wouldn’t have believed that either.

At MSG, always expect the unexpected. Based on that history, you’d be a fool to rule out Woodson, Van Gundy and, yes, even Allan Houston.

Karl, however, will never reach the level of “special adviser.”

He’s done.
 4 years ago '04        #10574
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Ian Begley

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- That whole Kenyon Martin-Metta World Peace thing?

Chalk it up to a difference in culinary tastes.

Metta World Peace, as only he can, explained on Tuesday that his recent argument with Martin was the result of a disagreement over pasta.

We'll let him take you through it.

"We were eating pasta -- he had elbow pasta, I had shell pasta, and I told him how my shell pasta is better than his elbow pasta. And he was pretty upset about that," World Peace said. "He loves elbows pasta, but I disagree, I think shell pasta is better. I don't care. I will stand by that. Shell pasta."

ESPN New York reported on Monday that Martin and World Peace got into a "heated" disagreement during a closed practice on Sunday before the Knicks' loss to the Pelicans.

World Peace's playful explanation, of course, is pretty hilarious stuff. But a source with knowledge of the incident said the Martin-World Peace dustup was anything but a joke.

"There was no pushing or shoving, certainly no punches, but it was heated," a source said. "They were jawing at each other, and you're talking about two guys who are pretty explosive, guys you wouldn't want to mess with. It settled down, but nobody was too eager to jump in between them, let's put it that way."

Player inf!ghting, of course, is typical of the frustration that surfaces when teams are losing. The Knicks have lost nine straight games and are tied with Milwaukee for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

For what it's worth, Martin denied that he and World Peace had an argument. He referred to the report as "bull----."

Woody: I didn't bench Shumpert because he yelled at Melo: Television cameras showed Iman Shumpert yelling at Carmelo Anthony in the third quarter of the Knicks' loss to the Pelicans on Sunday.

The incident took place during a break in the action. Shumpert, curiously, did not return to the game following the dustup. He sat for the entire fourth quarter.

Most a.ssumed Shumpert was being benched for what he said to Anthony -- and how he said it.

But Mike Woodson on Tuesday insisted that wasn't the case.

"That had nothing to do with anything," the coach said. "During the heat of the battle -- especially when you're losing games -- everybody points the finger and tries to reach for certain things. I'm not gonna allow that to happen with our group. We have a close-knit group."

Shumpert appeared to be upset with Anthony after Ryan Anderson, Anthony's man, hit an open 3-pointer with 5:51 to go in the third to give New Orleans a 62-58 lead.

Shumpert presumably was angry with Anthony because he felt the Knicks star should have bypassed the screen and stayed with Anderson.

Cameras showed Shumpert standing over Anthony and addressing him in a demonstrative tone as Anthony sat on the bench.

"There was a mistake that happened defensively. When that happened, there were some words exchanged," Woodson said. "But at the end of the day, hey, that's behind us and we gotta move on. That's basketball. That happens in sports. Sometimes it's healthy, I think."
 4 years ago '04        #10575
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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On Sunday, the same night the Knicks lost their ninth straight game to plunge to 3-13, big man Jeremy Tyler finally made his season debut in the D-League for Erie after recovering from stress fracture surgery.

The Knicks are closely monitoring the situation and intend to re-sign Tyler once they think he’s sharp enough and in good enough shape to contribute. He is a free agent, meaning he can sign elsewhere.

According to a source, the Knicks intend to have Tyler play 3-5 games with Erie before re-signing him. That means he could be a Knick by mid-December.

Tyler was cut in training camp because he was still rehabbing and owner James Dolan wanted to keep J.R. Smith’s brother, Chris Smith, as the 15th man in a highly controversial move that triggered the NBA to hold internal talks about the issue.

The question will be whether the Knicks will cut Smith, who is also playing for Erie, guard Tour’e Murry, who is on the roster but almost never plays, or center Cole Aldrich, who has seen almost zero action despite Tyson Chandler’s injury.

Tyler, 22, didn’t have a good debut, picking up three fouls during a rusty first quarter. The 6-foot-10 forward/center, a summer-league sensation, played 27 minutes, scoring nine points on 4-of-10 shooting with four rebounds. But he committed five turnovers. According to one report, he lost the ball a few times after getting pressured on the low block.

Tyler pocketed $200,000 in guaranteed money despite being cut. Because of the Knicks’ luxury-tax bracket, that amounted to an almost $650,000 payout for Dolan, so an investment has been made. The Knicks expect to get back Chandler in two weeks, but they still need frontcourt depth with worries about the long-term health of Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin.
 4 years ago '04        #10576
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Ohm Youngmisuk

GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Jeff Van Gundy is baffled over reports and speculation that Mike Woodson’s job could be in jeopardy.

The Knicks (3-13) are riding a nine-game slide into what will feel like a must-win game against struggling Brooklyn (5-13) on Thursday night. Van Gundy, an ESPN analyst, says the Knicks’ problem is not Woodson but rather “a very limited roster.”

“Listen, Mike Woodson, I believe I have my numbers right, was 18-6 when he took over for Mike D’Antoni,” the former Knicks coach said on “The Mike Lupica Show” on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “Then he won a division title last year. Then they made some roster moves, had some injuries and so now they are starting Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, [Carmelo] Anthony, [Raymond] Felton and [Iman] Shumpert. That is the strength of their team.

“Their depth, with some of these injuries, is non-existent,” Van Gundy continued. “Listen this isn’t a coaching issue right now. This is a roster issue. ... The last problem the Knicks have -- the very last problem -- is a coaching issue. Mike Woodson is an outstanding basketball coach who has done an outstanding job. So how can a guy that went from brilliant, be on the proverbial hot seat 16 games into the next season?”

Van Gundy says the Knicks can still make the postseason but to expect much more might be a stretch.

“To a point [the Knicks can turn things around], they can make the playoffs,” Van Gundy said. “But it is a limited roster, very limited roster, with guys who are on the downside of their career. To do it, [Tyson] Chandler has to come back and be really good.

“Carmelo Anthony has to get really efficient offensively and some of the guys who are really struggling shooting the ball are going to have to spread the floor for Anthony so he has enough room to do his work. And they are going to have to shoot the three-point shot a lot better.”

Van Gundy also shot down any notion of him returning to rescue the Knicks if things go south with Woodson.

“Some people think I am behind the scenes plotting my return,” Van Gundy said. “My goodness.”
 4 years ago '04        #10577
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Marc Berman & George Willis

Carmelo Anthony didn’t exactly say he’s ready to “retire in New York,’’ but denied Thursday he has made the decision to leave the Knicks this summer, saying it would be “selfish’’ to think along those lines right now.

Stephen A. Smith, the outlandish ESPN personality, reported on air Wednesday that Anthony already has made his decision to leave the Knicks this summer after opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent. Anthony would have to take $33 million less to sign elsewhere under the collective bargaining agreement. But his comment Wednesday when he called the franchise a “laughingstock’’ continued a pattern in which he seems grossly unhappy.

“I don’t think nobody goes where [they’re] expecting to lose,’’ Anthony said after Thursday’s shootaround at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’m going through it and dealing with it. As far as me leaving and thinking about it, I’d be selfish to think about it at this point. With us losing and going through the situation we’re going though, I’d be selfish on my part, to my teammates, to the organization to even have that thought come across my mind.’’

Sources have indicated if the Knicks’ collapse continues this season, Anthony is likely to take less money and avoid a losing situation. He alluded Thursday to not wanting to be in a non-winning environment. The Knicks are 3-13 entering the Brooklyn Bridge Bums Battle.

“I’m not even thinking about it at this point,’’ Anthony insisted. “I don’t know who his sources are. I’m not thinking about it at all. It’s not coming from me and it’s not coming from the people I talk to on a daily basis. I don’t talk to anybody about that on my crew, on my team, family. It’s not true.’’

Though Anthony said he has made no decision, his remarks seemed different in tone from ones he made on TNT in Chicago on Oct. 31, when he said he wanted to “retire in New York.’’ The Knicks were 1-0 at the time.

“They pulled all the strings to get me here, and I wanted to be here,” Anthony said in the TV interview. “And I want to retire in New York, let’s be quite frank. I think a lot of people jumped the gun when I said I wanted to be a free agent. And yeah, I want people to come to play in New York. I want them to want to play in New York. I want New York to be that place where guys want to come play in New York.”

Anthony has been morose this season, making comments about the club having “no chemistry,’’ having “no fun’’ and being in “a dark space.’’

“Nobody ever expected this,’’ Anthony said Thursday. “We’re going through it, dealing with it. We got to start winning some basketball games. Everything else is secondary at this point. For us, trying to stay mentally strong, doing what we got to do to win basketball games. It starts tonight, trying to get confidence back as a team.

“I’ve never dealt with anything like this. It’s definitely a challenge for me to stay positive at this time, keep my team strong mentally.’’
 4 years ago '04        #10578
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony didn't want to talk about a report that suggested he's recruiting Boston's Rajon Rondo to New York.

"C'mon, man. In my book, that's tampering," he said.

And he's right. NBA players aren't permitted to recruit any other player under contract to play for their team. But the suggestion that Anthony would be recruiting someone to come to New York is good news for the Knicks.

Anthony will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and test free agency. He's said that he wants to retire as a Knick. But with New York's slow start, some have speculated that he could sign elsewhere next season.

Steve Smith, who coached both players at Virginia's Oak Hill Academy, told USA Today that Anthony was recruiting the point guard to play with him in New York.

"Whether he stays in Boston or not who knows. I know, talking to Melo, he's recruiting Rajon to come to New York," Smith said in the interview. "Melo thinks he'll come too. You never know about that stuff though. I think either way, Rajon will be fine."

Rondo's contract is up after next season. With the Celtics seemingly in rebuilding mode, there is speculation that they will trade their veteran star before they risk losing him in free agency.

Knicks 'unleashed': Perhaps the Brooklyn Nets created a monster.

The inspired Knicks, who crushed the Nets by 30 on Thursday in Brooklyn, continued to look like a juggernaut as they flattened the Orlando Magic by 38 on Friday.

“At some point it was going to get unleashed,” point guard Raymond Felton said when asked if the Nets unleashed something in the Knicks. “Brooklyn is just a team that got the first wrath of it. Everybody else is going to have to feel it later on, too. But one game at a time.”

The Knicks look like a completely different team than the one that had lost nine straight going into Brooklyn. Anthony said a big part of the reason why is that he has shot and scored less on purpose.

“I wanted to do something a little different to see if it worked,” Anthony said. “Me scoring 30 wasn’t working.”

Instead, Anthony, who's averaging 25.9 points and 9.9 rebounds this season, is deftly passing out of double-teams. He has shot a combined 14-of-22 and scored a total of 39 points in the past two wins. During the Knicks’ nine-game losing streak, he averaged 28.6 points while taking 23.2 shots a game.

The Knicks have been moving the ball, and they buried 16 of 27 3-pointers against the Nets, with six players scoring in double figures. Against Orlando, the Knicks went 17-of-34 from behind the arc and had seven players in double figures.

“I knew it was going to eventually happen,” Felton said of the Knicks’ offensive explosion. “I’m glad that it did. It was a good night to happen in Brooklyn, and then we came back tonight and showed that it wasn’t a fluke.

“We came out tonight to really prove that,” he added.
 4 years ago '04        #10579
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Break up the Knicks!

The Knicks have gone from “laughingstock’’ to possibly a top contender in the rotten Atlantic Division in a space of two days. As coach Mike Woodson said before Friday night’s game: “It’s crazy.’’

The Knicks are clicking again. They posted their second straight blowout by 30-plus points, winning two straight games for the first time this season, and the first time since the first round of the playoffs last season against Boston.

They recovered from a lousy start to toast the Magic, 121-83, at the Garden, where they received a standing ovation in the closing seconds. The Knicks’ seven-game home losing streak at the Garden is over after not having won here since opening night on Oct. 30.

Iman Shumpert, who said before the game he was “pissed at the world,’’ made the highlight play. He took out his recent frustrations about trade speculation and losing on the Garden rim with a vicious, right-handed slam on former St. John’s star Mo Harkless late in the third quarter that put the Knicks ahead 79-63.

When asked after the victory what he’s mad at, Shumpert said “everything,’’ mentioning the media.

“The losing, I don’t like losing,’’ Shumpert added. “I felt like people were laughing at my team and I don’t like it.’’

The Knicks may have also benefitted from a color change. The orange alternate jerseys were originally placed in the Knicks lockers before the game but were later replaced by the standard home whites. The Knicks are 0-5 in orange, but a team spokesman said the orange jerseys are supposed to be worn just for weekend home games and a mistake had been made.

The Knicks, who broke their nine-game losing streak with a win in Brooklyn on Thursday, are now 5-13. Incredibly, they are just 2 ½ games out of first place in the Atlantic Division behind Boston, which visits the Garden for a Sunday noon matinee.

“We’re trying to win every game right now,’’ Shumpert said. “We know we dug ourselves a hole. Now we’re trying to dig ourselves out.’’

Carmelo Anthony notched his 10th double-double of the season, matching his total all of 2012-13. He finished with a super-efficient 20 points on 10 shots, grabbing 11 rebounds in 30 minutes to lead seven players in double figures.

In saying he’s trying something “a little different,’’ Anthony shot 6 of 10. It is only the second time in his career he has notched 20 while taking 10 or fewer shots. Anthony was 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.

“Everybody is just doing their job and having fun doing it once again,’’ said Anthony, who called the franchise “a laughingstock’’ Wednesday. “We got tired of losing. Whether we figured everything out in two games, that’s yet to come but we’ll take these two wins the way we’ve been winning these last two. Defensively, offensively, everybody is on the same page,’’

The Knicks finished 17 of 34 from the 3-point line for their second straight bang-up outing from downtown. Woodson said before the game the prior two practices leading into the game against the Nets were dedicated to 3-point shooting.

Have the Knicks turned it around for good?

“It’s still early,’’ said J.R. Smith, who scored 17 points with six rebounds. “We won two games in a row. We’re not going to get complacent yet. We’re still trying to get back to .500 and move on from there.’’

Woodson is already talking about repeating as division champs.

“It’s crazy,’’ Woodson said. “When you look at it, it really is [crazy]. Nobody’s tearing it up. We sit here … 2 ¹/₂ games out of first place. As coach, my job is to preach to our team, we still have chance to get another division title. We got to believe it. You look at some other divisions. They’re seven, eight, nine games out of first place. That’s an uphill climb.’’

Raymond Felton had a solid game and looks healthy once again. He scored 14 points with five a.ssists and four rebounds.

Metta World Peace capped the Knicks’ late third-quarter surge with a buzzer-beating short jumper after cutting into the lane, and the Knicks took a 20-point bulge, 89-69, into the fourth quarter — a lead that grew to as many as 41.

World Peace, out of the rotation the previous two games, was inserted because Amar’e Stoudemire elected not to attempt to play his first back-to-back of the season. World Peace scored 12 points.

“It’s back to playing like I knew we could play,’’ Woodson said. “[The bench] was huge. I can’t say this loud enough.’’

Orlando got off to a 15-5 start, with the sensational rookie point guard Victor Oladipo hitting two 3-pointers and blocking an Anthony layup attempt in the opening minutes. But after allowing Orlando to hit six of its first seven shots, the Knicks rallied and weren’t to be stopped.

“We’re just getting back to our old selves, running our opponent, getting stops,’’ Smith said.
 4 years ago '04        #10580
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Brian Windhorst

NEW YORK -- In the middle of a letdown start to the season with a guaranteed dose of uncertainty to follow, there is one thing the New York Knicks can count on.

Carmelo Anthony is going to do what is best for Carmelo Anthony.

Not the team he's on, not the team he's planning to be on, but himself. He isn't the first player (and won't be the last) to look out for No. 1, but it's a clear principle to constantly keep in mind when examining Anthony's future.

This week, Anthony had to deny reports that he'd already decided he was going to leave the Knicks in free agency next summer. He said he's not even thinking about next summer.

There's no reason not to take Anthony at his word; he probably hasn't made up his mind. But also realize that at some point he is going to, and those choices will not be based on what he can do to help the Knicks a.ssemble a championship roster.

This is what Anthony does.

If the Knicks do not turn around their season when Tyson Chandler returns from injury, you can expect the Anthony issue to become a monster heading toward the February trade deadline. Because if Anthony doesn't think the Knicks are best for him over the next five years, he will make it an issue and possibly force a trade again if he thinks that would be best for him.

The Knicks, sources say, have zero intention of trading Anthony no matter what he says about next summer. Not only did owner Jim Dolan personally seal the deal to bring Anthony to New York, but the front office realizes it has one of the most talented players in the league and won't be able to get fair value in return.

Dolan's Knicks have never made rebuilding trades, and they're sure as heck not going to start with the biggest star they've had since Patrick Ewing. And there's no questioning Anthony is such a star. He was the engine for their 54-win season in 2012-13 and is the biggest reason Madison Square Garden keeps selling out despite huge ticket-price hikes. Give him this: From a monetary standpoint, Anthony is an excellent return on investment. But from a championship team standpoint, that is a different conversation, and it isn't one that will take place with Anthony and the Knicks anytime soon.

The only team that can offer Anthony a five-year max contract next summer is the Knicks. That gives them about a $30 million advantage. That is the team's best chip in the negotiation.

Anthony's history is simple; he does not leave money on the table. When Dwight Howard had the same choice last summer, he left the Los Angeles Lakers and took a four-year deal for less with the Houston Rockets because he felt they were a better team. As Howard put it: "I'm betting $30 million on it." Anthony has never been a betting man.

In 2006, when contemporaries LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh signed three-year contract extensions so they could be free agents in 2010, Anthony was unwilling to take the risk of leaving nearly $20 million in guaranteed money on the table. He took the full five-year maximum salary, thank you.

In 2011, when he was frustrated he hadn't been a free agent in 2010, Anthony demanded a trade from the Denver Nuggets and essentially demanded that the trade be to the Knicks. He could have easily waited until he became a free agent the following summer and signed with the Knicks, but he was concerned that potential changes in the new collective bargaining agreement might cost him money. There was the risk that by waiting until he became a free agent, Anthony might lose a few million in guaranteed money. He was not interested in that, and his agents did a good job of forcing the trade to get him what he wanted.

If you need to be reminded, the Knicks traded the bulk of their roster and a major chunk of their future flexibility to get Anthony in February 2011 instead of signing him outright in December after the lockout ended. Essentially, that's why they're stuck with Amar'e Stoudemire's contract now and why their draft pick this year is headed to Denver no matter where it falls.

Anthony did it so he could sign a contract extension under those more favorable terms with the Knicks immediately after the trade. For their willingness to break off half their roster to acquire Anthony, what did the Knicks get? Two extra years. That's it. And that time frame is nearing its end.

This season always promised to be intriguing for Anthony because he only promised the Knicks those two extra seasons. But instead of at least playing it out, Anthony announced in the preseason that he intends to opt out of his contract next summer no matter what. It wasn't helpful to the team, but that has never been Anthony's prerogative when it comes to the business aspect.

He knows that by maximizing what will probably be his last big contract, he will set himself up to be the NBA's highest-paid player once Kobe Bryant's newly minted deal expires in 2016. Anthony may not have the rings that his 2003 draft-class brethren have, but among them, he's gotten the biggest paychecks from his teams.

Bottom line on all of this: Don't expect Anthony to change his stripes. It has always been all personal business -- whether it's getting the Knicks to get rid of a player who cramps his style (read Jeremy Lin) or forcing a trade to best suit his earning potential, you can count on Anthony.

In a way, such transparency is refreshing.


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