March 14, 2012
Knicks once again an NBA joke
By Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency
Just when you thought the three-ring circus that’s characterized James Dolan’s run in the Big Apple had ended, Wednesday’s wild events in New York underlined Dolan’s mismanagement of everything Knicks.
What happened in Gotham can only possibly happen when dysfunction and Dolan’s finger prints are able to co-exist in a sporting climate where Dolan shields himself in anonymity and uses back-door channels to facilitate moves.
It was Dolan, after all, with the perceived help from Isiah Thomas that landed Carmelo Anthony in New York, a trade that gutted the Knicks’ roster, but it was a move, on the surface, that made sense given Melo’s big-ticket appeal in a market starving for a winner.
Under no circumstance would Dolan, no matter in what state the Knicks would find themselves, get rid of Anthony.
And with the Knicks in a state of utter confusion amid reports of team disharmony, head coach Mike D’Antoni did the only thing he had control over.
While some have described D’Antoni’s resignation as abrupt and stunning, the writing was on the wall, his time in New York about to come to an end, whether D’Antoni showed himself the exit door or whether the club announced that he would no longer be its head coach once D’Antoni’s contract expired this summer.
D’Antoni’s timing could have been better, but no time would be viewed as ideal with so much crap swirling around the Knicks.
For those still caught up in this media-driven Linsanity, think again.
The Jeremy Lin feel-good story only temporarily disguised issues that came to the surface.
What D’Antoni did on Wednesday represents merely the tip of this iceberg.
As Tracy McGrady so eloquently stated in a hushed Raptors locker room way back in the day: “The ship is sinking.”
In Gotham, the Knicks have yet again become the joke of the NBA.
Pity Mike Woodson, who coached the Knicks for Wednesday’s home date against Portland, a guy who will serve the team as its interim head coach for the balance of the season.
Already, Phil Jackson’s name has been bandied about, a guy who will take any job as long as there’s a $10 million salary attached to it.
When it comes to spending, Dolan is daddy rich.
Jackson’s history is one of being able to manage and coddle egos, but he’s also coached teams that featured Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Pity also Glen Grunwald, the defacto GM in Gotham who has no choice but to take his marching orders from Dolan.
It’s days like Wednesday when Grunwald should pine for the days when he worked in Toronto, be it at the board of trade or with the basketball team.
When egos and agenda clash, you get Wednesday’s events.
Immediately following New York’s loss in Chicago, the Knicks’ sixth straight, reports began to surface that Anthony was looking to get peddled prior to Thursday, upset that D’Antoni wasn’t properly using him.
If anything, D’Antoni’s coaching style demands his point guard having the ball in his hands, first with Steve Nash in Phoenix and now with Lin.
Anthony’s skills are in a half court set, ball movement essentially non-existent when swung his way.
“No, no, no, no,” Anthony said of the rumours that he wanted out. “Let’s nip this in the bud right now. No.”
He’d also say following Wednesday’s shootaround that he had no issues with D’Antoni.
“I don’t want to be traded. I don’t know where that foolishness came from, so let’s put a cap on that and make this the last time I hear about that.”
It’s certainly the last time D’Antoni will hear about it.
Clearly, D’Antoni finally saw a situation that couldn’t be salvaged.
What remains to be seen is how many more changes are in store.
At least D’Antoni had a choice.