Tyson Chandler fires back at Knicks for character allegations

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Upon dealing both Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks, Phil Jackson cited team chemistry issues as one of the needs for a trade.

As a former NBA champion, Chandler came to the Big Apple to serve as the team’s defensive anchor. Rising up as a Defensive Player of the Year and an NBA All-Star over his tenure with the Knicks, it’s safe to say that he made quite an impact.

Tyson ChandlerBut over the course of a season where nothing went right for New York, Chandler’s play was rather underwhelming as he battled injuries this past year.

That was enough for Jackson to want to ship Chandler out of town. Once again a Dallas Maverick, Chandler is now firing back at the Knicks for some of the more recent allegations about his character.

“I did nothing but try to help the culture there the three years I was there,” Chandler told ESPN Dallas in a recent interview. “You can say I didn’t live up to whatever or you didn’t like the way I played or anything. But to ever question who I am and the type of leader I am in the locker room, I don’t even know where that came from.”

“I honestly don’t know where that came from. I don’t know if Phil put that out there or who put that out there, but to me, that was the ultimate shock,” Chandler continued.

Someone who clearly doesn’t back down very easily, Chandler was highly critical of Mike Woodson and the team’s defensive effort last season. He might have been on to something, but many wondered if the big man should have started assessing things by simply looking in the mirror instead.

Chandler likely isn’t a bad leader at all. There’s no doubt that he took charge and helped the Knicks during his tenure in New York. But perhaps being such a vocal character outside of the locker room (taking exception to the team’s play and expressing as much through the media), isn’t exactly the type of leader the Zen Master is looking for.

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ESPN poll puts Knicks at bottom in attractiveness to fans

A new ESPN poll shows that the Knicks are ranked 121 out of 122 major sports franchises in North America in fan attractiveness. The poll includes every team from the four major sports and the Knicks came in second to last. Only the Toronto Maple Leafs trail the Knicks in the overall standings.

They are also at the bottom (last of 122) of specific categories including fan relations, the courtesy by players, coaches and front offices toward fans, and how well a team uses technology to reach them and the players effort on the field and likability off it. Three other New York teams: the Mets, Islanders and Knicks are all in the bottom five when it comes to ownership, though none earned “bottom honors.”

Harris Decker

USATSI_7813999_110579513_lowresObviously, the Knicks have not been a fun team to watch over the past year but it wasn’t long ago that the Garden was filled to the brim and the team was fighting for top honors in the East. Times have changed and this poll reflects that.

I’d be fascinated to see this poll retaken at the seasons end. With Phil Jackson in control, I’d expect the public perception of the team to change drastically. It’s easy to call the Knicks players effort on the court “poor,” but consider the circumstances. They were playing for a coach that was completely lost and under a general manager that didn’t have a handle on his players abilities. Without many big changes, this same team will come back this year and make waves in the East.

The one place the Knicks should take a close look in the mirror is fan relations. Just because the team is bad it doesn’t mean the service and organization needs to treat their fans poorly. Whether it’s true or perceived, the Knicks have a problem with the way they appear to the public. The Charlotte Hornets have made the playoffs just twice in the past decade, yet their overall ranking on this list was 29. It is possible to be a bad team on the court and a good team off the court.

Right now, the Knicks are bad no matter what angle you’re viewing them from. With just over one month before the Knicks tip-off against the Bulls, here’s to those numbers improving under the Zen Master.

Report: Craig Hodges leading candidate to coach Westchester Knicks

Former Bulls guard Craig Hodges has reportedly emerged as a leading candidate to coach the Westchester Knicks (New York Daily News, September 17).

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Such a development isn’t too surprising, though it doesn’t come with as much star power as one would expect.

There are plenty of talented and qualified individuals still available to coach in the D-League, but it’s clear Phil Jackson and co. prefer someone with triangle offense experience to lead their new group of young guns. After playing for Jackson in Chicago and then subsequently working with him for the Lakers through six seasons, it’s safe to say Hodges has sufficient familiarity.

A former head coach at the colligate ranks, Hodges went 8-51 with Chicago State University through two seasons.

Westchester is one of the few NBADL teams to not have found and/or formally announce their head coach heading into this coming season. Open tryouts for the team are set to take place on Saturday, September 20.

Knicks sign former St. John’s big man Orlando Sanchez

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

The Knicks signed 6-foot-9 former St. John’s big man Orlando Sanchez to a partially-guaranteed, one-year deal, his agent confirmed to SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

USATSI_7778824_110579513_lowres“I think that they feel that his overall skillset, his passing ability in particular, will fit very well in the triangle,” Sanchez’s agent, B.J. Bass, told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog.

“Unless you really watched St. John’s this year, you could miss that. This kid is a very, very gifted passer and so my feeling is that they could have a diamond in the rough.”

The Knicks already have a number of bigs signed to guaranteed contracts, including Samuel Dalembert, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Jason Smith, so Sanchez may not last past training camp, which begins Sept. 30 at West Point.

“I think right now their roster is full but that doesn’t necessarily mean  that they can’t make a move at some point,” Bass said. “So more than likely he would end up as an affiliate guy going to Westchester [D-League], but we’re certainly not ruling it out that he could go in there and play very well and force their hand.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez and Monroe (N.Y.) College teammate Marco Bourgault committed to head coach Steve Lavin in April 2012. Eligibility issues soon arose, partly because Sanchez was trying to become a first-year player at the age of 24, but then because he logged time with the Dominican Republic National Team in 2010. Thanks in part to the support of legal counsel in the fight against the NCAA, Sanchez gained one year of eligibility in 2013-14, when he averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the 2013-14 Red Storm.

“At the end of the day, I just want to play basketball,” Sanchez told SNY.tv in the summer. “Basketball has given me the opportunity to do a lot of great things in my life and I just want to continue to play.”

“These teams, they know how I play and I feel like I’ve played well so far for the NBA teams. It was all good feedback. I can do a little bit of everything and they know that,” he said

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

The Knicks’ roster is maxed out at fifteen players with guaranteed contracts. With that in mind, perhaps Sanchez’s most likely destination following training camp is Westchester to play for the Knicks’ NBA D-League team. Having said that, the door is wide open for skillful big men to impress the team this season. Plenty of players in New York’s front court are injury-prone, cracking the window a bit for others to step in and fill voids if need be.

If he impresses enough during training camp, perhaps Sanchez will also get a call and be depended on down the line.

During his senior year at St. John’s, the forward averaged 7.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. What’s more, he shot 51 percent from the field. But alas, the numbers don’t simply tell the whole story for Sanchez. The 26-year-old has high a basketball IQ, even better instincts and is a skillful passer for a player his size.

Knicks brass had an opportunity to see Sanchez up close during more formal competition last month. He spent the past few weeks representing the Dominican Republic in FIBA World Cup play, and hit the hardwood when his team took on Team USA at Madison Square Garden.

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The Knicks Blog Podcast: 42 days and counting…

Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton welcome Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting to the SNY studios. The guys discuss next week’s Media Day and the new additions to the Knicks’ roster. Plus, Anthony and Moke react to the Jim Dolan article in Sunday’s New York Times.

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For the show rundown, click here...

  • Seth Rosenthal of Posting & Toasting joins the show
    • Media Day
    • Jose Calderon
    • Tim Hardaway Jr.
    • Assessing this year’s team
  • Jim Dolan article in NYT (25:45)
  • Team USA wins FIBA World Cup (33:10)

Ed. Note: Knicks Media Day is Monday, September 29, not Friday, September 26, as we mention in the podcast.