March 3: The Knicks have been fined by the league for Phil Jackson’s comments about Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, SNY’s Adam Zagoria confirmed.
Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
Phil Jackson will “likely face a league fine” for commenting on Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell on Thursday night, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank told SNY.tv he had no comment on the matter as of Friday morning.
Jackson, pictured here with Buckeyes coach Thad Matta (courtesy of ElevenWarriors.com), saw the 6-foot-5 Russell put up 11 points and 6 assists before leaving the game with cramps as Ohio State crushed Nebraska, 81-57.
“He’s a great-looking kid,” Jackson told Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com. “Great prospect.”
NBA executives are not permitted to comment on college underclassmen, a rule that Jackson was apparently unaware of.
“He’s obviously at the top of the profession of what we do,” Matta told the paper of Jackson, “and it was good to finally meet him.”
The Knicks currently own the NBA’s worst record (10-46) and have a 25 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor is the projected No. 1 pick, but they may also want to “Show a Lack of Hustle for Russell” because Russell is projected as a top-5 pick.
“I will go out and see some games in the last part of the season here, a lot of them are conference games,” The Zenmaster said last week. “We like to see teams and players play and their status in the team, how they play with their team, their relationship to their coach, those type of things.”
Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston scouted Russell earlier this month at Rutgers when he went off for for a triple-double of 23 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a 79-60 victory.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
This isn’t the first time Jackson has found himself in hot water for expressing interest in a commodity that is currently considered somewhat of a forbidden fruit. Late last season, he was fined for identifying Derek Fisher as a potential head coaching candidate
for the Knicks, all while the former point guard was still playing for the Thunder during the Western Conference playoffs.
It’s one thing to suggest Jackson is unaware of certain policies or regulations because he is a “first-time” executive. But time flies when you’re having fun (or not so much of it, in the Knicks’ case), and don’t look now, but this is Jackson’s second go-around with the Knicks during the NBA Draft. He was hired as President back in March. We’re approaching a full year of Jackson being in power.
Alas, it’s much less his awareness (or a lack there of), and probably more so a disregard for remaining tight-lipped when certain situations call for it. Clearly, Jackson is someone who speaks his mind. When he initially joined the Knicks, he (early on) expressed interest in having a more open communication with the media. While that may still be a work in progress, he does speak every now and then. He’s obviously also been known to let his Knickerbocker-related thoughts be heard on social media as well.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that Jackson doesn’t exactly shy away from these situations. Having said that, perhaps it would have been more worthwhile to really get his money’s worth on Russell, as opposed to just simply calling him a “great prospect.” After all, even that is likely to cost him.
Recap: The Knicks were blown out by the Kings on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Need to Know: With the Knicks showing little energy midway through the first quarter, Derek Fisher subbed out the entire starting lineup, but that was of no help as the Kings finished the quarter with a 35-19 lead.
The Knicks were marginally better in the second quarter, but Sacramento outscored them by 10 to take a 65-39 lead into the half.
Things got really ugly in the third quarter as the Kings opened on a 27-9 run to take a 92-48 lead to turn a blowout into a complete embarrassment.
Alexey Shved was the leading scoring for New York with 15 points.
The loss was the Knicks’ most lopsided of the season.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: The Knicks travel to Indiana to face the Pacers on Wednesday night at 7.
Former Knicks guard John Starks appeared on the TKB Podcast Monday with host Anthony Donahue to share memories of teammate Anthony Mason, who died Saturday. Starks spoke of his friendship with Mason, who like Starks was unheralded when he came to the Knicks before becoming a fan favorite for his effort and intensity.
“He was a huge man, 6-7, 6-8, cut up,” Starks recalled of his first meeting with Mason. “I didn’t know what kind of game he had until we got on the practice court. I saw very quickly he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. . .He was a great ballhandler for a man his size and really had a good IQ for the game.”
Starks recalled Mason’s early encounters with Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Xavier McDaniel and Anthony Bonner in practice.
“It was bodies clashing all over the place. It was who was going give up first, who was going to back down. None of those guys was going to back down and that’s what endeared Mace to our front line. He was a young player who wanted to make a mark and he wanted to show he belonged.”
One moment that epitomized the Starks-Mason relationship was a photo taken in 1994 as they embraced after the Knicks beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.
“It was an incredible moment and the picture was indicative of our relationship. He was more than a teammate, he was like a brother to me, because of our past and what it took for us to get (to the NBA).”
The Knicks will try to win three in a row for the second time this season Tuesday night at home against Sacramento.
The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on MSG and ESPN New York.
The Kings (20-37) are 2-3 under new coach George Karl. They are 2-15 on the road and without DeMarcus Cousins (sprained ankle) and Darren Collison (core muscle injury). Sacramento will be trying to sweep the season series from the Knicks for the first time since 2009-10.
For the Knicks, Langston Galloway, Tim Hardaway Jr., Andrea Bargnani, Lou Amundson and Cleanthony Early are expected to start.
Dec. 27, 2014: Sacramento won 135-125 in overtime at home. Cousins had 39 points and 11 rebounds and Collison had 27 points and 10 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and 11 boards for New York, which was missing Bargnani.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
When he shipped Tyson Chandler to Dallas last summer, Phil Jackson did so while hoping the subsequently acquired Jose Calderon would not only give the Knicks a quality point guard, but also a potential building block for Carmelo Anthony and Co. as they look towards the future and aim to recruit quality free agents.
Unfortunately, Calderon has logged one of the worst seasons in his career while battling injuries throughout — including a sore Achilles that will keep him out for at least two more weeks. He certainly hasn’t been the guiding light in the triangle offense Jackson and coach Derek Fisher were expecting and/or hoping for.
Because of this, Calderon’s name has been tossed around in trade rumors all season. That only figures to continue as Jackson hopes to rid his team of all negative contracts while maximizing the cap space available to him.
Nevertheless, Calderon not only still believes he’s part of New York’s future plans, but also wants to remain a Knick come next season, too.
“I want to be here, I want to be a part of this. But at the end of the day, there is nothing you can do [about it],” said Calderon, 33. “It’s stuff you cannot control. So, yes, I want to be here after this summer for sure. There’s always going to be something that can happen during free agency, during the draft nights. … It happens. That’s what I meant about you don’t know. Yes, I want to be part of this and I think they want me to be part of this but you never know.” (Kerber, March 2).
Judging on how things have been, the Knicks would be smart to deal Calderon if they can. He hasn’t performed and/or met expectations (averaging 9.1 points and 4.7 assists in 42 games). Should the team ultimately lose faith in him as a starter, he’s too expensive to serve as a backup.
Having said that, should the team believe in him (or, perhaps more likely, get stuck with him following this offseason), it’s best he treats this latest nagging injury with caution and care. Like Anthony, Calderon should consider shutting it down for the rest of the season.
After all, it’s not as though he’s been able to pull his weight when actually on the court.
A public viewing for former Knicks forward Anthony Mason will be held Thursday March 5 from 2-5 p.m. at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York at 11031 Merrick Blvd. in Queens (Knicks, March 3).
Funeral services for Mason, who died Saturday, will be private.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even with the Knicks only winning 12 games this season, he said he doesn’t think that will stop the team from attracting the top talent in the NBA (ESPN, March 2).
“There will be a ton of really, really good players that — based on where they are in their careers — they would be interested in something that is being built from the ground up with some really successful people involved that have been able to build success in the past,” Fisher said Monday. “…. We have some numbers going into free agency; we’ll be able to sign some really good players.”
Not to mention, Fisher still has the draft to look forward to. But with all the things that haven’t been working for the Knicks this season, the coach isn’t focusing on bolstering one specific position.
“I don’t think we’re trying to prioritize a position per se,” Fisher said. “We obviously have money and resources invested in Carmelo [Anthony] at the wing position so that’s covered. But I think everywhere else, we’re not looking at our system as if we have to have that prototypical, dominant point guard. We don’t have to have the new era Wilt Chamberlain. It’s really just putting together a team that has the right balance.”