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D’Antoni on way out? Trade ‘Melo? Welcome to Knicks implosion.

Mar 14, 2012, 10:11 AM EDT

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards Getty Images

It was just more than a year ago, near the trade deadline, when the Knicks — specifically owner James Dolan — decided to trade away key players who kind of fit Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system to get Carmelo Anthony immediately. Couldn’t wait until the off-season, it had to happen right then. Following that up, last summer they let Donnie Nelson walk out the door (or pushed him out, depending on who you want to believe).

This is the Knicks those decisions hath wrought.

A franchise that has lost six in a row and eight out of 10, where the players have tuned out coach Mike D’Antoni, some players want the coach gone, there are cliques in the locker room and among team brass, and there is even talk of trading Anthony in some offices of Madison Square Garden.

Just what this trade deadline needed — Carmelo Anthony trade rumors.

Multiple reports across multiple publications have the Knicks imploding. They are a team put together without regard for how the pieces might fit together and now that the square pegs will not go in the round holes the entire Knicks organization is on edge. The season is collapsing. Ugly losses will do that to you. Here are the highlights.

• The players have tuned out Mike D’Antoni, according to Chris Broussard at ESPN.

The players like Mike as a person,” one source said. “They think he’s a good guy. But he doesn’t have the respect of the team anymore.”

D’Antoni is in the last year of a four-year deal and all indications are that he will not be brought back after this season; that is, if he survives the rest of this season…. In addition to questioning D’Antoni, players are complaining about playing time, and confused about the offensive and defensive schemes.

It is lost on no one that the Knicks’ free-fall coincides precisely with the return of Anthony. While Anthony was out with a groin injury, the Knicks won 6 of 7 games, including victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and defending champion Dallas Mavericks. With Lin leading D’Antoni’s offense, the Knicks played fast and free, spacing the floor, hitting the open man, and even improving defensively.

• Anthony — the guy Knicks fans and owner James Dolan just had to have — is at the heart of everything. And according to the New York Post, ‘Melo is frustrated too and is putting together an exit strategy.

According to a person familiar with his thinking, Anthony’s disillusionment stems most from a belief coach Mike D’Antoni and interim GM Glen Grunwald do not trust him. He is surprised that after all the Knicks gave up to trade for him, he has not been asked for more input on personnel decisions, as Deron Williams has with the Nets.

“The organization makes believe his opinions don’t matter,’’ the source said.

However, Tuesday night, a source said Anthony and D’Antoni spoke in an attempt to reconcile their differences and made headway. On Monday night, Anthony only wanted to remain a Knick if he had assurances D’Antoni wouldn’t be back next season.

• Anthony is not going to request a trade, according to multiple reports.

But that has not stopped some people in the Knicks organization from talking about it, reports the New York Daily News.

According to a team source, at least one member of James Dolan’s inner circle wants to trade Anthony for the same reason the Knicks acquired him 13 months ago: money.

Part of that thinking is Jeremy Lin‘s meteoric rise from anonymous bench warmer to international phenomenon. “Linsanity” has created a financial windfall for the Knicks unlike anything they’ve seen before….

There is a feeling inside the organization that it makes business, and to a lesser degree basketball sense, to severe ties with Anthony, the perennial All Star who has struggled since returning from a groin injury.

The lesson here folks is NBA team building 101 — you can’t just throw a collection of stars together. There has to be a grand plan. The Knicks, from the moment they hired D’Antoni as coach, chose the path to be a “seven seconds or less” team — then they went out and got few pieces to fit that style. And the ones they had that did work (like point guard Raymond Felton and forward Danilo Gallinari) had to be traded for ‘Melo.

The Knicks need someone to come in with a plan and — without ownership interference — put the train on some tracks. Doesn’t matter that much what the system is, just pick one and go with it.

You know who could do something like that? Donnie Walsh. Oh, yea, forgot. Sorry.

Of course, this is Dolan’s Knicks, so they are probably closer to bringing back Isiah Thomas…. nah, it can’t be that bad. Can it?

  1. tomossriceenoughsaid - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I have never seen a player hold a team down more than Melo

  2. muskyhunter2542 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Thats stupid!!!

  3. mjbulls45 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    trade melo & Chandler for Dwight

    straight up,

    ur 5 would be perfect for the Knicks

    • stadix093 - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      How is that perfect for the Knicks? Who plays SF? Your 2 guard is okay and Amare is on the decline, and plays no D. Amare has less blocks than John Wall and yes I checked that stat it’s real. He also has less rebounds than Lebron James. That is not what you want in a PF.

    • thebartonian - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Except it wouldn’t work with the cap unless you take Hedo Turkolgu’s ridiculous contract. Now if you do Stat and Chandler for Dwight and Hedo and trade Hedo’s contract for an expiring contract now you’re talking about a good move.

  4. mr9teen - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I think the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. You can blame Melo for the losses all you want but there are a collection/comedy of errors all the way around. Melo has tried to fit into this new system with Lin running the point. However there are many times throughout the game where Lin misses Melo on simple entry passes because he doesn’t know where to get Melo the ball yet. He also has the same problem with his passes to Amar’e. He seems to have no problem with Landry or Tyson. It’s just a matter of time before they mesh. The fact of the matter is trading away Melo would be foolish. They got Melo for the same reason that most teams get a “Superstar”, for the playoff run. 7 seconds or less is fantastic for the regular season but the Playoffs are about halfcourt ball. The Knicks problems are also compounded by the fact that we have lost Jared Jeffries who anchors the second team defense and Tyson Chandler has been hurt.

    • aigraiders - Mar 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      I’ve been watching every game since the Lakers game in NY. Melo is a huge problem. It’s a mistmatch of system. Dantoni deploys a free flowing game and Melo just stops everythign. He is taking the most shots and getting less free throw attempts than Lin. Amare got 3 rebounds in a game where the Bulls got 22 offensive rebounds. Amare and Melo must go if the Knicks want to be successful.

  5. ihatecomingupwiththesenames - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    That would be Walsh. Not Nelson.

    • arrabin56 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      ahh, you beat me to it

  6. arrabin56 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    “Following that up, last summer they let Donnie Nelson walk out the door”

  7. gpatrick15 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    If the Knicks trade ‘Melo, a few teams would be lining up to get him. However, they won’t get back the value that they lost by getting him to begin with. The best thing for them to do would be to keep him. The Knicks are still a better, more frightening (they aren’t too frightening to begin with) team with ‘Melo than without him. The smart thing to do would have been to just sign him in Free Agency. But no, Dolan had to have him now, at the expense of his team. You can win with Melo and Stoudemire as your two best players. You can’t win consistently with a PG that turns the ball over as much as Lin does.

    • jasonallen17 - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      You know, because the Knicks were tearing up the league with just ‘Melo and Stoudemire. That Jeremy Lin kid? He was terrible before ‘Melo came back.

      Seriously, what basketball games have you been watching?

      • gpatrick15 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        I wasn’t completely clear. You can’t judge any of this Knicks stuff fully given only a small sample size. They were winning without Anthony, true, but over an entire season I believe that Melo would have a more positive impact on the Win Loss record than Lin would. People overreacted to the whole Linsanity BS because the media fed into it. Carmelo Anthony is a better basketball player than Jeremy Lin. That much cannot be disputed. Since Linsanity ran its course, Jeremy Lin has declined drastically. Basic law of averages. Its a great story, mind you, but once Lin’s game got put on film for everyone to study and the numerous holes in his game were figured out, he hasn’t been nearly as effective. That’s not Carmelo Anthony’s fault.

      • limonadamas - Mar 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        It’s a system issue. If the Knicks continue with SSOL, Lin IS a better player than Carmelo, believe it or not. If they go another route, then Melo is probably better.

        Melo’s undisputedly a better talent, but the Knicks’ problems are all about fit, spacing, and comfort level.

  8. ihatecomingupwiththesenames - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Knicks should make a run at Brandon Jennings. Melo is our problem. Coach Pringles or not. With him around, we ain’t going far.

  9. brianjoates - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Go ahead and trade Melo, send him to Washington- just about 45 minutes south of his real home, the place where he really grew up and calls home. Melo in DC would be great for the team and ticket sales.

    How can New York actually think they have the most knowlegable fan base, if they really think Melo is the issue with their team? You don’t trade Melo, because Lin had a few good games. Now Amare is another story, he is the guy who doesn’t fit on the Knicks.

    • astro1018 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      i agree with trading Amare before Melo. Amare is washed up (shots getting blocked alot) and cant coexist with another big. (ie. tyson, shaq etc)

  10. vikingsinla - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    B-b-but Linsanity?

  11. jagwar73 - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Yes that would be Walsh. The problem is painfully obvious though, trade Carmelo for team oriented guys that can run. Getting tired of some of the divas also…looking at you also Dwight “can’t make a FT” Howard!

  12. prosourcetalk - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    The implosion won’t be complete unless they rehire Isiah

  13. skids003 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I guess if it isn’t the refs fault, it’s the coaches, never the divas ( I mean players). Anthony is a ball hog who isn’t as good as he thinks, and why should he be consulted about personnel decisions. Maybe he needs to wash cars for a living, if he couldn’t convince idiots like the owner he can shoot baskets he would be more worthless than he is.

  14. fm31970 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Trade Anthony to Pheonix for Nash + whomever else. Lin could learn from watching Nash, and Lin could spell Nash from playing too many minutes. I think Nash has shown he plays well with Amare, too.

  15. shockexchange - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Denny Green on Melo: “He is who we thought he was!”

  16. HitsDingers - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM


    Amare lost his legs, Melo is overrated, Lin can’t carry a team. Maybe blowing it up isn’t such a bad idea.

    • astro1018 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Lin can carry the team. not a team with both Amare and Melo on it.

      • gpatrick15 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Lin can’t carry a team.

  17. lakerluver - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Mike D is one of the most overrated coaches in sports history. How can a team expect to ever win anything without playing tough defense?!

  18. chicagofan - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    D’Antoni sucks as a coach, with all these peices he should be able to do better than this. Fire him and play some damn defense and they will be very good.

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      They are actually playing good defense, it’s their offense that’s horrible.

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