Archive for the ‘ New York Knicks Blog ’ Category

The New York Knicks tossed head coach Derek Fisher to the curb this morning and put assistant Kurt Rambis in charge. But how long will Rambis get to run the show? For a while, apparently. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Phil Jackson says interim Kurt Rambis will remain head coach

The interim label was firmly affixed to the new head coach, but Knicks president Phil Jackson insisted he has his man in Kurt Rambis and is not seeking candidates to replace Derek Fisher, ousted after a season and a half.

“Kurt Rambis will be the new coach. We’re not in a coaching hunt, looking for anybody else. He’s the associate head coach. I have complete confidence in his ability to coach this team,” Jackson said Monday, indicating Rambis will serve out at least the rest of the season. “He has plenty of experience.”

Now whether that experience or whatever happens in the Knicks’ final 28 games will be enough to bring Rambis back next season remains to be seen. But rolled up in 18 seasons of coaching experience, Rambis said, is his belief there is only one way to right the listing ship: Kurt Rambis’ way.

“It’s not necessarily different,” Rambis said when asked how he will vary from Fisher, fired Monday after compiling a 40-96 record in his first head-coaching job. “The recommendation and advice we all receive from veteran coaches: You’ve got to be yourself. You’ve got to do things your way so if you end up in a situation where you do get fired, you feel like you handled things the way you wanted.”

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that Derek Fisher has been relieved of his coaching duties. Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been named the interim head coach.

Fisher, who was originally hired on Jun. 10, 2014, finishes his Knicks coaching career with an overall record of 40-96 (.294).

According to ESPN.com, “The Knicks are 23-31 this season after going 17-65 in Fisher’s first season. New York’s current losing skid contributed to the timing of the move, but the team was already convinced Fisher was not transitioning from the role of player to coach effectively, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.”

Rambis becomes the 27th head coach in franchise history. Originally hired as the team’s associate head coach on Jul. 7, 2014, the 18-year NBA coaching veteran starts his second-stint as a head coach, after leading the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons from 2009-10 through 2010-11 (56-145). The Terre Haute, IN native was a member of eight NBA Championship teams, all as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (four as a player and four as a coach or executive). Rambis becomes the fifth former Knicks draft pick to coach the team (third round, 58th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft).

The New York Knicks today signed forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo - from the Westchester Knicks - to a 10-day contract. His signing marks the 15th NBA D-League call-up of the season.

Antetokounmpo, 6-7, 205-pounds, is averaging 10.3 points, on 50.2-percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.26 blocks over 27.7 minutes in 27 games (25 starts) for the D-League’s Eastern Conference-leading Westchester Knicks (16-11) this season.

The Athens, Greece-native was originally selected by New York in the second round (51st overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft, attending training camp in 2015 before being waived on Oct. 23, 2015, returning to Westchester for the second straight season. He is the older brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis.

Carmelo Anthony knee issue seems minor

The Knicks are 22-25 this season and are getting 21.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in the 42 games star forward Carmelo Anthony has played this season. Here’s the New York Post reporting on Melo’s knee situation:

Carmelo Anthony knee issue seems minor

Carmelo Anthony won’t play Thursday night in Toronto, but said he’s happy to be out of the woods.

Call off the alarm bells. Most of Anthony’s left knee soreness has gone away and he believes he will play Friday against the Suns at the Garden. He said he has no worries about any structural issues related to his surgically repaired torn patellar tendon.

If the Knicks weren’t playing on consecutive nights, Anthony probably would have given it a whirl against the Eastern Conference-power Raptors, who are looking for the franchise-record 10th straight win. Instead, Anthony will miss his second straight game and sixth of the season. The Knicks are 0-5 in the games he’s missed.

The Knicks (22-24 through Sunday’s games) are getting 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.96 blocks per game from talented 7′3″ rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Here’s the New York Post reporting on his weight fluctuations:

Kristaps Porzingis gets weight changes under control

Kristaps Porzingis realized he would shrink to nothing if he didn’t take the Knicks’ new dietitian’s advice and inhale a grand-style breakfast.

While the rail-thin Knicks 7-foot-3 rookie added 11 pounds from the end of July’s summer league to the start of training camp, Porzingis started to gradually drop weight as the regular season rolled on and his minutes increased.

After going from 227 to 238 pounds over the summer, Porzingis dropped to 233 by December.

“Now I’m maintaining it,’’ Porzingis told The Post on Saturday. “I lost a little bit at the beginning of the season. It was hard to maintain that, but I’ve been staying at the same weight and I got to maintain this weight for sure. Once the season is over, I’ll try to get up to 245 pounds for next season.’’

Knicks frontcourt playing well

The Spurs’ home winning streak nearly ended Friday, when Knicks guard Jose Calderon missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in San Antonio. The narrow defeat is the only loss in the last five games for New York (19-20), which has already surpassed last season’s win total and sits only 1.5 games behind Orlando for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks’ starting frontcourt has flourished in those five games, with forward Carmelo Anthony averaging 20.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists, forward Kristaps Porzingis contributing 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and center Robin Lopez chipping in 13.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Sunday’s home victory over Milwaukee tipped off a stretch in which the Knicks play 12 of 17 at Madison Square Garden leading into the All-Star break.

Porzingis

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

This is the second consecutive NBA Rookie of the Month award for Porzingis, who ranked second among East rookies in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg) and first among all rookies in blocked shots (2.20 bpg). Porzingis posted four point-rebound double-doubles and blocked three or more shots in six games. He also shot 36.6 percent (15-of-41) from three-point range for the month. During a 91-84 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 23, Porzingis made 4-of-5 from three-point range en route to 23 points and added 13 rebounds and four assists.

karl anthony towns

Towns, who also earns his second straight NBA Rookie of the Month award, led all first-year players in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg) and ranked second in blocks (1.56 bpg). He recorded eight point-rebound double-doubles in December and produced eight games with at least 20 points. Towns shot 55.3 percent from the field for the month and made at least half his shots in 14 of 16 games. During a 123-122 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 9, Towns posted 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, the Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Miami’s Justise Winslow and Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.

The Knicks (14-16) are getting 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game from defensive-minded center Robin Lopez. So far, he hasn’t delivered the impact Knicks brass hoped he would. Here’s the New York Post with insight:

Knicks, Robin Lopez chemistry still in development

The riddle of RoLo continues.

It’s little secret why the Knicks have lost two in a row during an 11-game stretch against winning teams. In both losses, to the Magic and Cavaliers, shooting guard Arron Afflalo was lousy (8 of 25). Carmelo Anthony missed Wednesday’s contest in Cleveland, and reserve power forward Kyle O’Quinn was out both defeats with a sprained ankle, showing how valuable he has become to Derek Fisher.

But one of the more under-the-radar issues is the season’s biggest enigma, starting center Robin Lopez, their most expensive free-agent signing at four years and $54 million. Nobody is more confused than Fisher in his attempt to place Lopez in a role that can positively affect the outcome.

Fisher benched Lopez in Cleveland for the game’s final 13:14. On Monday against the Magic, Fisher stuck with Lopez on Orlando center Nikola Vucevic and got burned for it. So Lopez never saw the Quicken Loans Arena court in the fourth quarter despite the absence of Anthony and O’Quinn.

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on Lakers forward Metta World Peace and his long-time interest in coaching:

Metta World Peace has long-time interest in coaching

“It started when I first started playing basketball, I went to five star basketball camp back in 1999. It was fun. I coached Danny Green. He was one of my players. I remember him being the best on the team and I remember him sometimes not shooting. I would tell him to shoot. I was like, ‘Shoot the ball. Shoot the ball.’ It was fun. He remembers it too. That was when I was 19 or 20. I was young.

I always wanted to learn the game because I was never athletic. I picked the triangle offense quick in Chicago. I picked it up pretty well under Bill Cartwright. Then in Indiana, I was picking up everything quickly. I was young. But with all the defensive coverages I faced, was picking up everything. I was also giving input, not verbally but by example. Coach Carlisle said something one day I might be able to be a coach. I was 24 when he said that. I was confident when he said that. I have continued to coach. I have a little league team called ‘Triple Threat.’ I train people. Triple Threat was a team that my foundation funded. It was a team that we funded. I would coach them sometimes.” …

“I want to coach one day. I definitely have interest in coaching. But I want people to know I’m staying in tip top shape. Just because I want to coach doesn’t mean I’m retiring. If something opens up, I might apply for the job. It doesn’t mean I’m not staying in tip top shape. I’m not a player where I want to coach because I’m done playing basketball. I love playing basketball. I’m preparing for both.”

New York Knicks rookie power forward Kristaps Porzingis is averaging 13.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this season, and is improving regularly. He has the attention of the league, and certainly players right nearby on the Nets. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Various Nets compliment Kristaps Porzingis

While Kristaps Porzingis was busy throwing shade at Brooklyn — saying the Knicks had the better fans — the Nets were throwing bouquets at him. And with the rivals set to face off Friday in the Garden, Nets point guard Jarrett Jack tapped the 20-year-old big man as the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year.

“Clearly, I think he’s the clear case for Rookie of the Year right now. I would believe so, with all the naysayers in the beginning, and then him coming out and just playing hard,’’ Jack said. “Sure, he has some skills to go with it, but from what I’ve seen, he puts himself in position to get tip-dunks. I’ve seen him in situations where he’s gotten steals on the break, making plays.” …

“I’ve been watching him. He’s very, very good,’’ said power forward Thaddeus Young, who will start matched up vs. Porzingis.

Knicks recall Cleanthony Early from D-League

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced this afternoon that the team has recalled forward Cleanthony Early from the Westchester Knicks of the NBA Development League.

Early, 6-8, 210-pounds, averaged 17.5 points and 11.0 rebounds over 36.5 minutes in two games with Westchester and is expected to be in uniform tonight when the New York Knicks face the Philadelphia 76ers.

Now this is a huge story that may shake up the entire sports world. It will certainly create drama out in the streets. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Robin Lopez says Brook Lopez`s cat is very two-faced

Leading up to Friday’s Nets vs. Knicks face-off, two of the competing athletes are having a real catfight.

The Knicks’ new 7-foot center, Robin Lopez, has harsh words about his twin brother, Brook, who plays for the crosstown competition.

More specifically, he’s trash-talking his sibling’s pet.

“Brook’s cat is very two-faced,” Robin tells The Post. “Everybody loves Brook’s cat. To everybody’s face, he’s such a nice cat. And it may sound like I’m joking, but I am dead serious. He acts like a lazy, sweet cat when everybody is looking. But when their heads turn, he’ll try to chase after [my cat] Edward. The second I lay eyes on him, he’ll act like, ‘I’m a cherub. I’m innocent.’ I’m not buying it.”

In fact, the brothers don’t live together because of their felines: Brook’s kitty Poupin — French for “chubby” — and Robin’s majestically monikered Prince Edward Zephyr.

DaJuan Summers named D-League Performer of Week

DaJuan Summers of the Westchester Knicks today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Thursday, Nov.12, through Sunday, Nov. 22.

Summers (6-8, 240, Georgetown) averaged 25.3 points on 54.4 shooting (31-for-57), 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals to lead Westchester to a 4-0 start to the season. On Nov. 14, he tallied 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds and two assists in an 83-79 victory over the Erie BayHawks. He posted another double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, in a 107-94 win over the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Nov. 20.

Summers was originally selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He appeared in four games for the New York Knicks during the 2015 preseason. This year marks his second stint in the NBA D-League. During the 2012-13 season he played for the Maine Red Claws and was selected to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Bryce Cotton, Bakersfield’s C.J. Wilcox, Delaware’s Sean Kilpatrick, Erie’s Melvin Ejim, Fort Wayne’s Rakeem Christmas, Idaho’s Brandon Fields, Iowa’s Cartier Martin, Los Angeles’ Manny Harris, Maine’s Jordan Mickey, Raptors 905’s Scott Suggs, Rio Grande Valley’s Raphiael Putney, Santa Cruz’s Elliot Williams and Sioux Falls’ Gregg Whittington.

Kristaps Porzingis the focus of New York

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the most intriguing Knicks rookie in a very long time:

If it feels like Kristaps Porzingis is a breath of fresh air … well, it’s because he is that and so much more than that: He is a gust of fresh air, a gale of fresh air, a 198-mph wind blast of fresh air. He is 20 years old and having the time of his life, and 12 games into his professional career, he has Madison Square Garden chanting his name.

You want fresher air than this, you’ll have to move to Wyoming.

If it feels like this almost never happens to the Knicks, and for the Knicks … well, it’s because it almost never does. The last 15 years may feel like an endless treadmill of bad trades and bad players and bad drafts and bad decisions but in truth, with rare exception, that’s been Garden policy far longer than the Dolan Era, extending all the way back to the Eisenhower Administration.

You can make an argument, and a good one, that Porzingis is one of only 10 truly impactful rookies the Knicks have had going back to Willis Reed’s magnificent debut in 1964-65, and of all the absurd negative numbers the Knicks have assembled over the years, that might be the coup de grace.

Arron Afflalo makes Knicks debut

Wednesday night in Charlotte, the Hornets edged the Knicks, 95-93. Knicks shooting guard Arron Afflako, coming off injury, made his debut and in 28 minutes shot 6-of-13 for 12 points and six rebounds. For more, here’s the New York Post:

Arron Afflalo makes Knicks debut

Lost amid the commotion over the final frantic 30 seconds and Kristaps Porzingis’ near-miracle buzzer-non-beater was Arron Afflalo’s first game as a Knick.

Putting aside the heartbreaking defeat, it went very well. Afflalo, a key free-agent signing for two years and $16 million, had more bounce than rust, hitting three of his first four shots as the Knicks seized control in the first quarter. Afflalo also hit a big 16-footer with 1:27 left to tie the score, but admitted to fatigue after his big start.

“I haven’t played since training camp,’’ said Afflalo, whose last action was Oct. 21 in the preseason finale in Boston. “Mentally, you feel you can take on the world until you get out there and you’re short on oxygen. It was good for a first game, getting tired battling with those guys in a close game. But I expect myself to be much better Friday.’’ …

With Afflalo, the Knicks seem like a different club. Even point guard Jose Calderon looked a lot smoother playing alongside the 30-year-old vet. Calderon had a nice night, shooting 6-of-9 from the field for 13 points. The Calderon-Afflalo pairing makes sense.

Arron Afflalo is one of the key new Knicks. If the team is going to play respectable basketball this season, he’s likely going to be one of the big reasons why. But a bad hamstring will delay that possibility. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Arron Afflalo recovering from hamstring injury

Knicks guard Arron Afflalo insisted he is doing, and would continue to do, everything to get back on the court for the Knicks as soon as possible. He even said he had hoped to be ready for opening night despite his ailing left hamstring.

But that would only work if opening night were in two weeks. The Knicks open Wednesday in Milwaukee.

“I want to say I guess I just have to give it another two weeks or so but it’s hard to judge,” Afflalo said after sitting out the open practice the Knicks staged Sunday at Columbia University. “I’m just going to go based on how I feel and with what the medical staff tells me.”

Afflalo was injured in the final preseason game, Thursday in Boston. He left the game in the third quarter — after coach Derek Fisher debated even using him in the second half — with what was called a tight left hamstring.

Knicks enjoying preseason

The Knicks are enjoying preseason and probably don’t want it to end. But it will. And then the regular season will begin. And reality will set in. But for now, things are good. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Optimism is building out of the Knicks’ 4-1 preseason because Phil Jackson’s team doesn’t look to be as dependent on the rookie production of Kristaps Porzingis as expected. Maybe the Knicks, who went 17-65 last season, will find themselves in a race for the eighth seed in late March and early April.

The Knicks look deep in the frontcourt, and have had excellent preseasons from forwards Kyle O’Quinn, Derrick Williams, last season’s rookie bust Cleanthony Early and, of course, a supremely healthy and defensive-minded Carmelo Anthony.

Nevertheless, Fisher wants Porzingis to be the starting power forward opening night, even if he was shaky Saturday at Charlotte. Rusty from sitting out a week with a quad strain, the 7-foot-3 Latvian shot poorly (3-for-11) from the floor, got blocked by Cody Zeller on a dunk attempt and was pushed around by Hornets post man Al Jefferson, who backed Porzingis in easily for a couple of hoops in the second quarter. Patrick Ewing told The Post that Porzingis’ weight shouldn’t be that big an issue, but it looked like one Saturday.

Knicks now 4-0 in preseason

Preseason is just a warmup for the regular season, so it doesn’t mean anything. But winning is still nice and stuff. And it sets a positive tone, which might help. Maybe. Or not. Anyway, here’s the New York Post reporting:

In topping the Celtics 101-95 at the Garden in their final home preseason game, the Knicks improved to 4-0 and coach Derek Fisher is hopeful that has meaning.

With expectations of the Knicks being mediocre at best, the club looks to be deeper and more efficient than anticipated.

“It depends on what kind of story you want to write,’’ Fisher said. “You can say it means something and these guys are doing great. Or it’s preseason and doesn’t mean anything. For me personally, I’m in the middle. I think the preseason is preparation for the season. That’s what the ‘pre’ stands for. And you have to prepare to win.

“Guys are doing that. That doesn’t always translate when we open up in Milwaukee (Oct. 28). But in getting the idea there’s a certain way to play the game that leads to winning, that’s good to put in guys’ minds. Hopefully it does carry over.’’

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks’ prize rookie, who is racking up all sorts of injuries before his first regular season game gets played:

Kristaps Porzingis racking up injuries early

New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis missed Monday’s game due to a strained left upper quad.

It’s the third non-contact injury for Porzingis in the past four months. Coach Derek Fisher said the Knicks’ training staff might consider changes to the rookie’s workout regimen to try to prevent future injury. “There’s definitely something that we need to try and figure out [to] make sure to try and help him limit the injuries and the setbacks,” Fisher said. “It’s for him, it’s for us, it’s for our medical team. We’ll figure it out.”

The Knicks are optimistic Porzingis will play in their next preseason game Friday.

Here’s the New York Post reporting on Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony taking a positive-minded trip to a place kids should be sure to avoid:

Carmelo Anthony pays visit to Rikers Island

Carmelo Anthony’s preparation for training camp was a little different this year. Instead of taking some time for himself, he got ready for the grind ahead by going to jail.

No, he didn’t get into trouble. The Knicks star forward spent his free time visiting Rikers Island and meeting with a group of inmates with the sole intention to motivate the troubled young men.

“It was a lot of encouragement,” Anthony said, speaking about the visit for the first time following Sunday’s practice at the MSG Training Center. “A lot of the kids that’s in there, they still have a chance to come home in the next couple of years, and they’re still dealing with a court case or trial, so there’s some upside to that. They still have a life ahead of them.”

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