Phil Jackson rips Bargnani, calls him a ‘big tease’ and a ‘malingerer’

6a94847b45ba068782e033fee5648f0aAdam Zagoria, SNY.TV

Phil Jackson doesn’t have anything good to say about Andrea Bargnani, and really why should he?

Apr 5, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Andrea Bargnani (77) drives to the basket defended by Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks defeated the 76ers 101 - 91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Jackson called Andrea Bargnani a “big tease” and a “malingerer.”  Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports GM Glen Grunwald.

Bargnani was just about a complete bust in his tenure with the Knicks and is now a Brooklyn Net.

The Knicks’ gave up a first-round draft pick in 2016 in the Bargnani deal with the Toronto Raptors executed by former Knicks GM Glen Grunwald — and that pick could well turn out to be in the lottery.

“AB was and still is a big tease,” Jackson told Charley Rosen for ESPN’s The Phil Files. “When he was injured he refused to do simple non-contact activities like dummy our offense in practice. He seemed to be a malingerer and this had a bad effect on the team, and also on the way the Knicks fans reacted to him.”

Bargnani averaged 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 71 games with the Knicks, some down the meaningless stretch of last year’s 17-65 season.

“When he was on the court, he had a hard time staying intense, didn’t hustle back in offence-to-defence transition, wasn’t active enough in defending screen-rolls,” Jackson added. “Still, his offence is perfectly suited to the triangle because he really doesn’t have to work very hard to get shots. He’s another guy we renounced…AB will always be somewhat of an enigma.”

Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.

Carmelo Anthony

Report: Anthony to attend Team USA camp

The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony will be among 34 players who will report to the opening day of USA Basketball workouts Tuesday in Las Vegas, according to ESPN reporter Marc Stein (Aug. 10).

Anthony, who had season-ending knee surgery after playing in the NBA All-Star game in February, is expected to participate in two light practices. Attendance was mandatory for players who want to be considered for the 2016 Olympic team.

Anthony has said his rehab has been going well. Two months ago, he told ESPN reporter Ian Begley that he was “actually ahead of schedule.”

Anthony, 31, has played in three Olympics, winning gold in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2004.


Porzingis praises new teammate Sasha Vujacic

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Signing Sasha Vujacic (who hasn’t played in the NBA regularly since 2011) likely had lots to do with his familiarity with Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher, having won NBA championships with them both in Los Angeles. USATSI_7726369_110579513_lowres

But as fate would have it, his presence in New York looks like it will make the Knicks’ prized rookie, Kristaps Porzingis, much more comfortable as well (Aug. 9).

The big man played against Vujacic in Europe last season, and certainly seems to respect him as a competitor. Now, he’s lucky to have the guard as a teammate.

“I played against him,” Porzingis said. “Very experienced. He’s a cold-blooded shooter. He doesn’t care. He loves the pressure. He’s great. Those situations will help the team in those important moments. For me, it will be great having him. His experience and being European, he can teach me a lot on how hard he works. He’s a hard worker.”

Porzingis, who also worked out with Carmelo Anthony last week, is going to use all the help he can get as he makes his transition into the NBA this coming season. Some already established familiarity with his new teammates could certainly end up paying dividends.

Vujacic, who appeared in two games with the Clippers in 2013-14, boasted better numbers in Turkey last season than he did in Spain, averaging 15.7 points (on 45% from the field and 40% from deep).


Travis Wear not invited to Knicks’ training camp

After spending his rookie season with Knicks last year, Travis Wear has not been invited to training camp (Marc Berman, August 8).

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

This news comes on the heels of Kristaps Porzingis donning No. 6 (Wear’s old number) at the NBA’s rookie photo shoot on Saturday.

Wear, 24, was favored early on due to the Knickerbocker staff’s ties to UCLA, his alma mater, in addition to his knack for picking up the triangle offense. He had a steady jump shot for a player his size (6-foot-10) and was a solid pick-and-pop guy. Beyond that, however, he failed to make much of an impact on the court and fought off injuries toward the end of last season. Wear was all but an afterthought at NBA Summer League last month.

Over the last few weeks, the Knicks have slowly but surely added players who more than likely squeezed Wear out, including Sasha Vujacic, Kevin Seraphin, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Beyond that trio, New York will surely be finalizing a few training camp invitee contracts in the weeks to come. Allowing such players to compete for the final roster spot or two (rather than dishing out a guaranteed contract to a player like Wear and sacrifice some flexibility) is probably the smart thing to do.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Wear is gone from the Knicks’ umbrella completely, however. Much like the team has recently rewarded Antetokounmpo for his patience and playing in the D-League last season, things could work in the reverse order for Wear.

After going undrafted, Wear was given an unique opportunity by New York and managed to stick around (and get paid) for a full NBA season. If no other offers come his way, perhaps Wear could show some loyalty and play for the Westchester Knicks in the meantime. This would allow the team’s big league staff to keep an eye on him while he continues to prove his worth.


Knicks officially sign Vujacic, Antetokounmpo

The New York Knicks have made the signings of G Sasha Vujacic and F Thanasis Antetokounmpo official this afternoon, the announcement was made by team president Phil Jackson (Knicks, Aug. 7).

Vujacic signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.35 million (Aug. 1).

The 6-foot-7 guard has averaged 5.6 points per game on a 39.5 field-goal percentage during his seven-year NBA career. However, he has not seen NBA action since 2014 when he suited up for two games with the Clippers.

Vujacic, who won two NBA titles with Phil Jackson and the Lakers, has spent most of the last four years playing in Europe.

Antetokounmp signed a two-year contract with partial guarantees (Aug. 5).

The Knicks selected Antetokounmpo with the 51st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. He played with the Knicks’ D-League team in Westchester last summer.

In 47 games last summer for Westchester, Antetokounmpo averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.

April 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Arron Afflalo (4) shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Afflalo says Anthony is ‘committed,’ wants to succeed

After working out with Carmelo Anthony this summer, newly acquired SG Arron Afflalo told Newsday that he thinks that Anthony is determined to have a successful, winning season (Aug. 5).

“He’s very committed, Afflalo said of Anthony. “He seems very, very, very hungry to succeed. And we’ll see. It’ll be here shortly.”

Afflalo, who played a year and half with Anthony in Denver, thinks the two will play even better a second time around in New York.

“He’s a guy that draws so much attention and now that I feel like I’m more confident, more effective all over the court I just feel like it’s going to be twice as good,” Afflalo said. “I’m extremely excited to play with him. I know he’s excited that I’m here and we’re going to make it work.”

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

When Anthony and Afflalo played together with one another in Denver, they had pretty good chemistry on the court. The two are very good friends.

Since his time with Anthony on the Nuggets, Afflalo has continued to evolve into much more of a potent offensive player. He averaged a career-high 18.2 points (on 46 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent from deep) for the Magic as recently as the 2013-14 season.

Dating back to the start of last season, a secondary scoring threat behind Anthony is something that the Knicks have craved quite a bit — first, as J.R. Smith struggled to find a rhythm for himself early on, and then again after he was traded to the Cavaliers.

Afflalo will provide that to a certain extent, seemingly taking some of the pressure off of his friend. The Knicks have had success reeling in players who have previously gelled and/or played with Anthony before, including the likes of Smith, Kenyon Martin and others.