Being a New York Knicks fan typically requires a great tolerance for failure, and a deep, reliable sense of humor. Sincere hope for winning basketball is only going to hurt you in this arena.
That continues to be the case in the early stages of new team president Phil Jackson. Despite his tremendous record as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers (eleven championships), he hasn’t had a touch magical enough to turn the Knicks around just yet. In fact, they may be digging even deeper into the depths of failure.
The latest Knicks folly comes in a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard. According to Broussard, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are at odds and have nearly come to blows on more than one occasion. One instance happened on the court, when the Knicks were losing to the Brooklyn Nets last week.
“Anthony approached Hardaway,” writes Broussard, “and used an expletive to ask Hardaway who in the world he thought he was talking to. Anthony, according to sources, used another expletive in telling Hardaway he was going to beat him up when they got into the locker room after the game.”
Melo has subsequently downplayed that drama, for whatever that's worth:
Melo said no rift. Said there were words with hardaway on the court but he and Tim are great. And said players only meeting Saturday— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) December 10, 2014
Broussard also reports that the team is not fond of Jackson’s storied triangle offense: “One thing Anthony and his teammates do agree on is their disdain for the triangle offense, sources said. For weeks, if not longer, the players have been ready to ditch the triangle and move on to another system. They feel like other teams know what they are going to run and where they are going to go on the court, which makes it easier to stop them.”
This report comes on the heels of Jackson saying New York has a “loser’s mentality” and that the team is more “worried about not losing a basketball game, rather than figuring it out, and figuring out how to win basketball games.”
Nobody thought a Knicks makeover would be easy. But did we think it would get this ugly, this early into Jackson’s tenure? New York never sleeps, and neither does the presence around their media teams, so all kerfuffles around the Knicks are at least a little bit overblown. But the more the Knicks lose and look pitiful doing it, the easier this sort of strife is to believe.
— John Wilmes