How far away (or how close) are the Knicks from becoming a contender?

Keith Schlosser

Any time a team trades an NBA All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year Award recipient and an All-NBA Defensive Team member all in one, some would assume they’re sure to suffer some sort of loss.

But by trading Tyson Chandler, the Knicks not only upgraded the point guard position, but also received a much-needed injection of youth. Each acquired asset allows Phil Jackson & Co. to continue setting a strong foundation for the future.

USATSI_7855769_110579513_lowresAnd as New York aims to rebuild (or otherwise retool, rather) perhaps building blocks for the future are simply what they need. Without cap flexibility until next summer, it would appear unlikely that the Knicks make other drastic changes to the roster, or better yet, have the assets necessary to reel in another marquee star via trade.

With that in mind, the 2014-15 season would stand to be a transitional period for the team as they wait for what’s to come.

Just don’t tell Carmelo Anthony that.

Upon choosing to re-sign with the Knicks for the next five years, the star forward has his sights set on competing for a championship. How far off the team is from doing so remains to be seen, but Anthony doesn’t believe the team has that far to go.

“I don’t think we’re that far away,” he recently told ESPN.com. “People use ‘rebuilding’ too loosely.”

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Pablo Prigioni

Prigioni high on Knicks’ chances

Pablo Prigioni, as he trains for the FIBA World Championship with Argentina, spoke about the Knicks over the weekend (NY Post, July 26).

Prigioni played with new Knick Jose Calderon in the Spanish League and looks forward to teaming up with him again.

“He is a great player and very good professional, a great 3-point shooting guy,” Prigioni said.

He also said that new head coach Derek Fisher is a “perfect” leader for the Knicks this year. Prigioni sees these developments as the tools for a successful Knicks season.

“I’m very excited with the changes that the team is doing and I’m completely sure we will play much better,” he said.

Is Steve Mills still in the running for NBPA Executive Director job?

Keith Schlosser

Upon re-emerging in the Knicks’ organization and meeting with the media at the start of training camp last fall, Steve Mills asserted that he was a man in high-demand. If he hadn’t joined the team as President of Basketball Operations, Mills would have still been considered a likely candidate for the Executive Director position in the NBPA.

But with the arrival of Phil Jackson (and the re-assignment of Mills to General Manager), many initially wondered if the two could work together. Known for reeling in and relying upon his own familiar confidants, would Jackson even want to work with Mills?

Steve MillsAs the thirteen-time NBA champion came into power with the Knicks, Mills’ name once again resurfaced as a potential candidate for Executive Director of the NBPA. A highly regarded individual known for his ability to build relationships and personable demeanor, Mills is well-liked by all. He’d be more than able to help keep the peace between the players and the league. What’s more, whereas Mills’ handle on the basketball side of things in an organization has been questioned by some, his savvy nature as a successful businessman could undoubtedly aid him in such an alternative role.


July 27: Mills replied to the story…


As the NBPA inches closer towards naming its new fearless leader, Mills is not among the three finalists reported by Yahoo! Sports. Having said that, there are still rumblings (as recently as this past week) that the Knicks’ G.M. could still have a shot at the job, nonetheless.

By now, as fate would have it, Jackson and Mills have developed a strong working relationship in recent months. The two could be seen together at NBA Summer League, and as Jackson’s right-hand man, Mills is seemingly the ying to his yang. Whereas Jackson knows basketball better than just about anybody in The Association, Mills knows what it takes to maintain relationships across the league. He’s a schmoozer, which is clearly something Jackson is not. As a fierce competitor, sometimes one has to put their foot on the neck of their opponents to pull away with meaningful victories. As a coach, Jackson wasn’t necessarily concerned with keeping his opponents happy.

Alas, that’s where Mills comes in. He fits in that role as a liaison of sorts between the Knicks and others across the league. As such, Jackson and Mills have been able to find a successful balance of power, or better yet, responsibility.

Surprisingly enough, it would appear as though New York would feel the loss, if Mills happens to pull ahead as a likely candidate for the NBPA gig yet again.

Knicks made bid for Love

The Knicks tried to get in on Kevin Love.

With the Minnesota Timberwolves looking to deal their disgruntled star the Knicks and president Phil Jackson offered Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire (for contract matching purposes) in exchange for Love (Herring, July 25th).

It was a longshot chance to begin with, and the Timberwolves shot it down.  Minnesota has had extensive talks with Golden State, Chicago and Cleveland. The Cavaliers are reportedly putting No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins on the table in exchange for Love.  The Cavaliers signed Wiggins on Thursday and can’t trade him for 30 days.

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks aren’t that far away from championship

Sam Spiegelman

Deciding between New York and Chicago, Carmelo Anthony didn’t believe either team was too far away from competing for an NBA championship.

Anthony told ESPN New York the deciding factor in free agency was his faith that Knicks president Phil Jackson would church out a championship contender.

“I want to win. I don’t care about the money,” Anthony told ESPN.com. “I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that. I don’t think we’re that far away. People use ‘rebuilding’ too loosely.

“I was flip-flopping,” he said. “It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago — and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That’s a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years.”

In the Eastern Conference, the Knicks must deal with a LeBron James-led Cavaliers squad, a defending conference champion in the Heat which returns two of its big three, as well as the Pacers, which last year earned the No. 1 seed in the East. In addition, there’s a Bulls squad which should have a healthy Derrick Rose, a Bobcats team that added Lance Stephenson and Toronto, which re-signed its best player, Kyle Lowry.

The Knicks have a first-year coach and a first-time team president. This offseason, it traded away Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, and brought in Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin. Returning is Tim Hardaway Jr., Amare’ Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani.

Will Jose Calderon be the Knicks’ X-Factor next season?

Keith Schlosser

Upon opting to re-sign with the Knicks earlier this month, it was clear that Carmelo Anthony had been sold on Phil Jackson’s vision to build a championship contender in the Big Apple.

And although by the summer of 2015, New York is poised to have the flexibility necessary to target other quality players to put alongside him, the goal of Jackson and Derek Fisher is still to build around the star in hopes of creating a winning squad. Anthony will lead the charge as the team continues to surround him with talent. He’ll be the star of the show, and in the heart of New York City, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll have to compete for stage time with another big name or two.

USATSI_7896654_110579513_lowresClearly, the Knicks aren’t exactly in the Kevin Love race, and though the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James stand to be free agents in 2016, one has to wonder if James’ recent return to Cleveland will slow down or otherwise put an end to the forming of super-teams going forward.

Alas, New York will continue to re-frame its roster in the years to come. Proving to have quite a few tricks up his sleeve already, Jackson is sure to continue surprising everyone as he aims to do so.

But in the meantime, Anthony and the Knicks hope to remain competitive. And although the team will assumedly have to play the waiting game a bit, Jackson actually began bridging the gap to an extent by acquiring Jose Calderon.

There’s a good chance that the point guard will be able to handle the pressures of serving as Anthony’s right-hand man this coming season.

No, Calderon won’t be one to drop twenty points per night. He isn’t exactly the second superstar the Big Apple craves, nor is he a defender that will put fear into forthcoming opponents.

But what he does do successfully, he does quite well.

Calderon is one of the best floor generals in the game. A veteran of international competition as well, he plays intelligently and knows how and when to make the right plays at the right times. When he isn’t dishing out efficient dimes, the 32 year old likes to take a step back and nail the long ball, and/or better yet, draw fouls while penetrating to the basket.

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TheKnicksBlog Podcast: ESPN’s Amin Elhassan calls in

Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton take a look at the rise in popularity of the NBA’s Summer League, including Moke’s own experience in Las Vegas. Plus, the guys chat with ESPN’s Amin Elhassan about two of the league’s biggest stories – the trade rumors surrounding Kevin Love and the Clippers’ ownership fiasco.


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For the show rundown, click here...

  • NBA Summer League recap
  • ESPN’s Amin Elhassan (13:15)
  • Kevin Love trade rumors (26:30)
  • Hating on the new jerseys

Knicks waive Shannon Brown

The Knicks have waived Shannon Brown, President Phil Jackson announced.

Brown was signed to a 10-day contract, then signed through the remainder of the season, in February and March, respectively.

He scored 2.1 points, with 0.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 7.8 minutes per game, over 19 games with the Knicks last season.


Previously: For Shannon Brown, a reunion with Phil Jackson is the perfect fit

Keith Schlosser

At the very least, now the Knicks have a spot open for Cleanthony Early.

Brown was actually initially signed by New York before Jackson came to town. When his former coach was named President of Basketball Operations, the Big Apple seemed like a decent fit for Brown.

And though the veteran had a nice moment or two over the course of last season, his level of play was nowhere close to what many (Jackson included) had become accustomed to over the years.

Brown did something quite admirable this month by participating in NBA Summer League with the Knicks in an attempt to prove his worth. He undoubtedly served as a triangle-offense mentor of sorts for the young guns in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough to secure a spot for him moving forward.

The Knicks have more pressing needs and could use an injection of youth in their roster this coming season (a la Jeremy Tyler and a perhaps soon to be formally signed Anthony, among others), which makes Brown the obvious odd man out.