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Carmelo Anthony implies he’s playing harder under Mike Woodson

The Knicks improved to 4-0 since Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach with a 19-point win over the Raptors on Tuesday. Because reports mentioned D’Antoni having a difficult relationship with  Carmelo Anthony, it’s interesting now to follow how Anthony’s play has been affected. And while his numbers have taken a slight dip (credit that to four blowouts), Carmelo has started looking like he actually gives a crap on defense. He notices it, too, and, as he told Newsday on Monday, he says it’s because of a newfound “energy” that just so happened to show up after D’Antoni left town.

“I think in the last three games, my focus was to have an energy that I haven’t had so far this season, especially on the defensive end,” Carmelo said. “Everybody on this team knows, everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball. It’s not that important to me.”

When asked for his reaction to Carmelo’s comments, interim coach Mike Woodson, well, didn’t really have one: “I can’t explain that, I can’t. I wish I could. We probably wouldn’t be sitting in this position that we’re sitting in today, fighting for a playoff spot.”

Maybe Woodson should take more credit. According to Anthony, there’s a fresher sense of accountability since the coaching change.

“When (Woodson) got the job, I told him, ‘Hold me accountable,’” Anthony said. “I don’t have a problem with criticism. If I can do something to help better this team, let me know. And he’s been doing that.”

Carmelo contends that he and D’Antoni had no beef, but, with that said, it is interesting he makes a remark about essentially trying harder than when D’Antoni was around. Then again, maybe a change at the top was enough to influence Carmelo to make his own changes. Or maybe it’s just because Woodson is somebody with whom he’s more comfortable having an open line of communication.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Debby Wong, US Presswire

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t want to be known as a coach killer

After the messy end to the Mike D’Antoni era in New York, Carmelo Anthony wants everybody to know his hands are clean.

Before D’Antoni resigned on Wednesday, he and Anthony were reportedly clashing, with Anthony also relaying a “me or him” attitude to the Knicks front office. Carmelo spoke to the media on Thursday, maintaining he shouldn’t be held responsible for D’Antoni’s departure and that he doesn’t want be known as a “coach killer.”

“Yeah, of course that bothers me because I never want that label on me,” Anthony said, according to the New York Daily News. “I did everything in my power to try to communicate with Coach Mike.”

It was a continuation of the unapologetic Carmelo who on Wednesday desperately tried to convey he and D’Antoni were more buddy-buddy than we thought.

“Me and Mike talked constantly about trying to find out different ways in what I can do and what we can do as a team,” he said after D’Antoni tendered his resignation. “It wasn’t working. We lost games and when you lose games people say it’s not working and of course the blame is on me.”

Once again, Carmelo makes it all about him. When is Carmelo going to learn to check his ego at the door? His ego is what got him to New York. It’s why he’s yammering about himself again now. “Me me me me me!” Rather than worrying about his reputation, Carmelo needs to focus on the team. And yet, for him, that might be asking too much.

But good news for Carmelo: That’s not what the new guy is about.

Photo credit: Michael Ivins, US Presswire

Carmelo Anthony says trade talk is making him sick to his stomach

With the NBA trade deadline only a day away, one rumor that has picked up steam over the course of the week is Carmelo Anthony potentially wanting out of New York. Several reports from the NY Post this week have claimed that Anthony and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni are clashing, and on Tuesday the Post reported that Melo wants to be traded if D’Antoni isn’t fired.

On Wednesday, Anthony did his best to dispel the rumors using his Twitter account.

Another report — which may or may not have been the work of Anthony’s agents — claimed the Knicks have been tuning D’Antoni out and that he has lost the locker room. Naturally, Melo doesn’t want Knicks fans thinking he wants out already even if he does. He was depicted as the franchise’s savior at this time last year, so it would make him look really bad if fans knew he was demanding a trade. At this point, nothing that should happen involving Melo and the Knicks would surprise anyone.

Carmelo Anthony reportedly unhappy with Knicks, wants trade or Mike D’Antoni fired

The Knicks have lost six in a row, 8 of their last 10, and they looks like a mess again. The New York Post reported after Monday’s loss that Carmelo Anthony and Mike D’Antoni were clashing, and they took it a step further a day later, saying Melo wants out if D’Antoni isn’t fired.

According to the Post, Melo has asked for the Knicks to trade him before Thursday’s deadline. He reportedly is unhappy the Knicks haven’t consulted him more on personnel decisions. He also reportedly only wants to remain with the Knicks if Mike D’Antoni won’t be back next season (which would fulfill some fans’ request).

Interestingly enough, ESPN also published a report about the Knicks’ struggles. They reported that players have tuned out D’Antoni. The report seemed like a hit-job by Melo’s agents with the intention of turning up the heat on D’Antoni; if you read the entire thing, most of the report gives examples of how Melo doesn’t fit in with the Knicks, not what D’Antoni is doing wrong.

As dysfunctional as the Knicks appear to be, it’s not too late to regain success. They could trade Carmelo Anthony and admit that signing J.R. Smith was a mistake. The team beat the Lakers and Mavs without Melo and Smith. You have to wonder why they messed with that kind of success.

Carmelo Anthony was reportedly against Knicks signing J.R. Smith

It may not be his fault, but the Knicks have struggled since they added J.R. Smith to the mix back in mid-February. Since Smith made his first appearance on Feb. 19, the Knicks have won just three out of 10 games. J.R. himself has been struggling, shooting only 37 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the arc. According to the NY Post, Carmelo Anthony may have seen this coming. That is why he was reportedly against the Knicks signing his former teammate.

Contrary to popular belief, Anthony was leery of the Knicks bringing in his former Denver teammate three weeks ago and gave a thumbs down to upper management, according to a person close to the Knicks superstar…

…“If it happens, it happens and I’ll be happy,” Anthony said publicly before the signing.

But, according to the source, Anthony was not gung-ho and was “hurt’’ Knicks upper management tossed his advice out the window

As we know, Smith made headlines last week for posting a picture of model Tahiry Jose’s derriere on his Twitter account, which earned him a $25,000 fine from the league. The Linsanity seems to have worn off in New York and the Knicks have reverted to their early-season ways. Smith certainly isn’t the problem, but he doesn’t appear to be a solution either. It looks like Melo is two-for-two regarding personnel decisions this season if you count — you know — him telling Mike D’Antoni to play Jeremy Lin. That happened, right?

Knicks leaked story that Carmelo Anthony told Mike D’Antoni to play Jeremy Lin

Carmelo Anthony has spent the last couple of weeks doing two important things: recovering from injury and trying to convince people he has no problem with Jeremy Lin running the Knicks. Earlier in the week, the team tried to help him by leaking a story that claimed Anthony was the one who told Mike D’Antoni that he should play Lin. If that sounds unlikely, that’s because it didn’t happen.

On Monday, D’Antoni was asked about the story and it was obvious that it was the first he had heard about it. He told reporters he didn’t remember the conversation. It’s safe to assume he would remember it if it actually happened. According to the NY Daily News, it never did.

The Garden also pursued on an image makeover by leaking a story that it was Anthony who suggested to D’Antoni that Lin get a chance. However, D’Antoni denied that account on Monday, which undoubtedly is not sitting well with Dolan and perhaps also with Anthony. It’s like that old Godfather line: “Don’t ever take sides against the (Cablevision) family.”

For D’Antoni to go off script like that was telling and speaks to a larger issue of mistrust between the coach and Dolan, which probably started with Donnie Walsh being fired. D’Antoni could have easily gone along with the tale about Melo advocating Lin but chose not to.

This is yet another example of how desperate Anthony and the Knicks are to convince people he is not a selfish player and will be able to share the spotlight with the NBA’s biggest sensation. No matter what Melo says or how many stories the team tries to plant, the only way we’re going to know for sure is by letting the games play out.

H/T I Am a GM

Jim Boeheim says questions about Carmelo Anthony coexisting with Jeremy Lin are the ‘Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard’

The biggest mystery the Knicks are facing at the moment is how Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony will perform together on the court. When Anthony returns from a strained groin, he will be joining an entirely different team from the one he left. At the moment, this is Jeremy Lin’s team. Can Carmelo deal with that? On Wednesday, Anthony insisted he is not a selfish player and said he’s offended that people think that. His college coach at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim, for whom Melo won a national championship, couldn’t agree more.

“I’ve got to be honest with you, with all the things I’ve heard over the years, and you hear a lot of crazy things, this is the dumbest I’ve ever heard,” Boeheim said during an interview with the Michael Kay Show on Wednesday. “He won a national championship playing with guys here and took shots, but didn’t dominate the ball. He won on the Olympic team and didn’t dominate the ball, so he’s proven he can play with guys.

“I think sometimes in Denver he was put in position where he had to make plays, but he’s always shot a good field goal percentage. … Nobody’s ever said Kobe dominates the ball, I guess, or LeBron or those guys. Of course they do. The best offensive players are going to have the ball. I think the point guard situation will help Carmelo and help Amar’e because it gives them somebody to make plays.

“(Lin has) another weapon coming back. This is a great thing. Instead of passing the ball to a guy that’s a questionable shooter, he’s passing it to a guy that can shoot and score. … There will be no chemistry issue on offense whatsoever. Jeremy Lin’s a good point guard. He sets people up, and the fact that he can score makes him a better passer.”

From the sound of it, Boeheim feels more strongly about it than Anthony does. The questions about the two coexisting are as much a spotlight issue as they are an X’s and O’s concern. If Anthony can embrace the fact that the offense is going to run through Lin, the Knicks will be dangerous. If Boeheim’s prediction comes to fruition, the return of Anthony could make New York the best team in the Eastern Conference.