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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Articles tagged: New York Knicks

Do Knicks have locker room leadership problem?

Julius Randle smiles

The New York Knicks are having a difficult time following up last season’s playoff berth, and their biggest problem may not have anything to do with what actually takes place on the court.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Sunday on the dynamic within the Knicks’ locker room, quoting a source who believes that leadership has become a problem for them. Berman adds that Julius Randle and Derrick Rose, two of the team’s biggest stars, are not natural-born leaders and are instead self-admittedly quiet types.

The report also states that Randle specifically can occasionally be a loner in the locker room and is often moody with the media.

The Knicks are now 12-15 on the year. That is not terrible but has them ranked just 12th in a surprisingly competitive Eastern Conference.

Leadership duties usually fall on the leading scorer, which would be Randle here, or the most respected veteran player, which would be Rose here. Both of those guys can definitely be vocal at times. But it is starting to seem like a problem that neither is apparently up to the task of truly leading the Knicks.

Photo: Nov 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Kerr explains what led to his famous decision to coach Warriors over Knicks

Steve Kerr

Very few decisions have aged better than Steve Kerr choosing to coach the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks. Now Kerr is explaining what led to that famous choice.

In a recent interview on “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” Kerr discussed what exactly drew him to the Warriors instead of the Knicks in 2014.

“I talked to coaching friends of mine,” said Kerr. “They all said the same thing. They said, ‘Your talent is everything in coaching.’ And it’s true.

“You know, [then-Knicks president] Phil Jackson is my guy,” Kerr went on. “One of my good friends said, ‘Which job do you think Phil would take?’ And I was like, “Ooh, man.’ And that kinda got me. Think about it, Phil Jackson takes the Bulls job when he’s got Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and his career takes off. Pat Riley takes the Laker job when he’s got Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We’re all dependent on our talent as coaches. The Warriors were already good. They were a 50-win team, all this young talent.”

It is obvious in hindsight that Kerr made the right choice. He led Golden State to five straight Finals appearances from 2015 to 2019, winning three championships. After a brief downturn, the Warriors now once again have the best record in the NBA in short order.

But the decision was probably a bit tougher at the time that Kerr made it. He ultimately bet on young players such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State over veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in New York. The bet paid off, and Kerr ended up taking the Warriors from first-round exit to an eventual dynasty. Meanwhile, the Knicks hired Derek Fisher instead and went 17-65 the next year. Fisher was fired in the middle of his second season.

Kerr has openly admitted that he would not have lasted in New York either. It sounds like Kerr definitely has his friend to thank for giving him proper perspective ahead of what ended up being a life-altering decision.

H/T NBA Reddit

Photo: Jan 18, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard would only seek trade to 1 team?

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard trade rumors are officially back like Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator.” That could prove to be good news for one team in particular.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said this week on “NBA Countdown” that the Portland Trail Blazers star, thought he would like to stay put, has the New York Knicks in mind as the one destination he would entertain a trade to.

“Damian Lillard does want to stay in Portland,” said Smith. “If you talk to him, his whole thing is, ‘I wanna be here. This is where I wanna be. This is where I wanna retire.’ The only thing that would really really tickle him and make him entertain leaving Portland, believe it or not, is going to the New York Knicks.

“There are people in his camp that would like to convince him to give [the] Philadelphia [76ers] stronger consideration,” Smith added. “But when he thinks about the New York Knicks, he thinks about going to the top market in the country, thinks about, obviously, marketability … Damian Lillard knows that if he were in the Mecca, it would be far easier for him to recruit teammates to wanna come and play with him as opposed to him being in the Pacific Northwest. The New York Knicks would be his No. 1 preference.”

It wwas inevitable that Lillard trade rumors would return with Portland’s rough start to the 2021-22 campaign. They are now under .500 on the year, have a rookie head coach in Chauncey Billups, and are going through some organizational turmoil right now. Lillard is also dealing with an abdominal injury that will now keep him sidelined through mid-December, putting the Blazers at risk of really coming apart at the seams.

The Knicks have had noted interest in Lillard for several months now. Their associate head coach, Johnnie Bryant, is also famously close with Lillard as a fellow Oakland, Calif. native. Now it sounds like the interest could be starting to teeter towards mutual for the six-time All-Star guard.

H/T Ahn Fire Digital

Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks, Rockets interested in swap of former All-Star players?

John Wall in a suit

Two of Jeff Van Gundy’s old teams may find themselves linking up via trade.

Bleacher Report’s A. Sherrod Blakely reported this week that the Houston Rockets could have a potential trade partner for John Wall in the New York Knicks, who might be looking to deal Kemba Walker.

The Rockets and the Knicks are in a very similar pickle with their respective former All-Star point guards. The former continues to sit out Wall while they unsuccessfully search for a trade. As for the latter, they just pulled Walker from the rotation, signaling that he is not part of their future plans.

Matching salaries could be difficult though with two years and $91 million left on Wall’s contract but two years and just $18 million on Walker’s. But both players seem to be rather disgruntled with the status quo right now, so a general framework based around swapping headaches with one another could make some sense for the Rockets and Knicks.

Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks players frustrated with Tom Thibodeau’s offense?

Tom Thibodeau

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has never been known as an offensive whiz, and that may be proving true again this season.

Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reports this weekend that a couple of top Knicks players have privately expressed frustrations about how the team’s offense has played out this year. Begley adds that the offensive performance of the Knicks’ starting lineup has been particularly underwhelming.

While the Knicks are 12th in the NBA in offensive efficiency this season, they are a bottom-ten team when it comes to pace. Begley notes that the Knicks scored just 13 points in the first quarter against the lowly Houston Rockets on Saturday. It is not clear which players specifically may be frustrated. But leading scorers Julius Randle (19.6 points per game this season, down from 24.1 last season) and RJ Barrett (15.3, down from 17.6) are both in the midst of scoring downturns.

The sky is not exactly falling for the Knicks, who are still a respectable 9-7 on the year overall. But this is not the first time that we have heard of frustration from within about Thibodeau’s offense.

Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

Video: Magic player clowned Knicks after beating them

Cole Anthony saying bing bong

New York Knicks fans probably wanted to kick a hole through the television after what they saw on Wednesday.

The Knicks lost 104-98 to the Orlando Magic on their home floor to fall to 8-7 on the year. Magic guard Cole Anthony put up 15 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, including a clutch jumper late in the fourth quarter to put Orlando up by four.

Anthony also had the viral moment of the night when he dissed the Knicks by using their own “bing bong” line against them after his postgame interview. Take a look.

If you are not familiar with the legend of “bing bong,” you can read about it here. It has become a major rallying cry for the Knicks and their fans this season. But it has also left them vulnerable to troll jobs by other teams whenever the Knicks lose.

The 21-year-old Anthony, who has been balling out this season with nearly 20 points per game, is the son of former Knick Greg Anthony. That had to make the disrespect that much more painful for Knicks fans.

Pacers diss Knicks on Twitter after beating them

Domantis Sabonis

The Indiana Pacers are doing Reggie Miller proud by dunking on the New York Knicks.

The Pacers topped the Knicks by the final of 111-98 on Wednesday. After the game, they tweeted about their victory by writing, “Bing Bong.”

It was a pretty brutal diss from Indiana because “Bing Bong” has become the new rallying cry of the Knicks and their fans. If you are not familiar with the backstory, you can read about it here.

Save for one meeting in the 2013 postseason, the Pacers-Knicks rivalry has largely been dormant ever since the days of Miller. The two teams play each other three more times this season though, and this might be the shot that reignites the bad blood of years past.

Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer Dinwiddie responds to report claiming he did not want to play for Knicks

Spencer Dinwiddie

Spencer Dinwiddie may have come from the Brooklyn Nets, but he insists he does not have anything against their crosstown rivals.

The new Washington Wizards guard responded this week to a report by Marc Berman of the New York Post. The report claimed Dinwiddie did not find the New York Knicks to be an appealing fit as a free agent destination.

“Why y’all still writing this stuff about me?” Dinwiddie tweeted. “I never said that. “I’m just happy to be on the @WashWizards.”

Dinwiddie, 28, agreed to a three-year, $54 million deal with the Wizards in a sign-and-trade with the Nets. He is coming off surgery for a partially torn ACL but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

As for the Knicks, Dinwiddie did once throw some shade at them. But the notion that he did not want to play for the Knicks seems to be inaccurate.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0

Kemba Walker to sign with Knicks after Thunder buyout

Kemba Walker

The New York Knicks have been looking to add a star player to their backcourt, and Kemba Walker certainly fits the bill.

Walker, who was traded from the Celtics to the Thunder in a blockbuster deal earlier this offseason, has agreed to a buyout with Oklahoma City. He will now sign with the Knicks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Walker had two years and $74 million left on the deal he signed with Boston prior to the 2019-20 season.

Walker is from The Bronx, so playing for the Knicks will be a dream come true for him. The 31-year-old point guard has always spoken about what it means for him to play at Madison Square Garden, and he will now call the storied venue home.

Injuries were a problem for Walker in Boston, but he is still one of the better point guards in the NBA. He averaged 19.3 points and 4.9 assists in 43 games with the Celtics last season. If he’s healthy, he should be a great addition to a young Knicks team both on the court and in the locker room.

Report: DeMar DeRozan, Knicks have mutual interest

DeMar DeRozan

The New York Knicks are expected to once again pursue just about every top free agent and star player available via trade this summer, and DeMar DeRozan is not surprisingly on their list.

DeRozan and the Knicks have mutual interest in a potential deal, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

DeRozan has been mentioned as a potential fit for the Knicks for quite some time now. New York is looking to improve its backcourt following a successful season in which they went 41-31 and secured the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs, but it was their first trip to the postseason in eight years.

While he was not really known as a facilitator early in his career, DeRozan changed his game with the San Antonio Spurs. He averaged a career-high 6.9 assists while still scoring an impressive 21.6 points per game last season. Reggie Bullock, who was New York’s starting shooting guard, is also a free agent.

Some reports have claimed DeRozan would be willing to give the Lakers a discount, as he is from Los Angeles and wants to play there. However, that seems unlikely given how much money the four-time All-Star would have to give up.

If the Knicks do try to sign DeRozan, we know they will have plenty of competition.