They’re on a nine-game losing streak and have a pretty big game against Brooklyn coming up. There’s talk of a coaching switch, the players are having disagreements and their starting shooting guard seems to have one foot out the door.
The Knicks are today’s top story, and the second story, and the third story, so let’s get to that right now:
- There’s been trouble in the Knicks’ locker room for quite a while, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post: “Back on Halloween night in Chicago, Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler got into a shouting match on the bench because of a defensive breakdown against the Bulls, according to a source. It would start a trend of bench blowups on the Knicks — a club that seems to be fighting one another instead of pulling together. Carmelo Anthony has made several morbid references during the current nine-game losing streak about the team having to “stay together.’’ It’s the Knicks’ longest losing streak since 2006. Sunday at the Garden against New Orleans, Shumpert could be seen yelling at Anthony during a third-quarter timeout over a defensive breakdown in which Ryan Anderson was left open at the 3-point line. “We had a miscommunication,’’ Shumpert said. “Just a little frustrated about it.’’ It appears Shumpert was angry Anthony didn’t warn him about a screen. Before the recent four-game road trip, Metta World Peace and Tim Hardaway Jr. had a bench incident. World Peace screamed at Hardaway and appeared to shove him. An ESPN New York report Monday said World Peace and Kenyon Martin got into a heated exchange during the walk-through before the Knicks-Pelicans game.”
- Berman also writes that Mike Woodson could pay the price: “The expiration date on owner James Dolan’s recent vote of confidence for coach Mike Woodson is approaching, according to sources. While Woodson will coach the Knicks when they play the Nets on Thursday, it is unclear how much longer Dolan will allow this losing streak to go on. It has reached nine straight defeats and the team’s mental instability has become an issue. Dolan is obsessed with the Brooklyn franchise and a blowout loss could trigger changes — whether via trade or a coaching move. … The Post has also learned that if Dolan eventually makes a move, old enemy and ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy would not be ruled out as a future candidate — though such a hire seems more sensible in the offseason if Dolan goes with an interim coach.”
- But as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes, some of the players think the blame should fall on them: “Dolan recently gave Woodson a public vote of confidence. A loss to the rival Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, however, certainly would turn up the volume of criticism in the direction of Woodson. “Welcome to New York. It happens,” Anthony said. “I mean, anytime you’re in a situation like this, people try to figure out what’s next. Right now [the speculation is about Woodson’s job status]. Yesterday it might have been me. Tomorrow might be me. We’ve got to deal with that. We can’t worry about that. Only thing we can control is what happens in here on the basketball court and go from there. As far as anything else that’s being said, we can’t control that.” Anthony offered support for Woodson by saying the Knicks can turn things around by “playing hard, sticking to the game plan and doing what Coach Woodson says to do out there on the basketball court.” … For what it’s worth, the coach believes his players maintain confidence in him. On Tuesday, veteran forward Kenyon Martin said he and his teammates, not Woodson, were at fault for the team’s poor start. “The man does an excellent job with us. It’s not on him,” Martin said. ” … We’re prepared each and every day. He puts us in the best situation, [with] the best scouting report and everything to go out and perform. We’re just not getting it done on the court, so it’s on us.””
- The crosstown Nets aren’t exactly setting the world on fire with their play, either. Jason Kidd isn’t on the chopping block, but there’s already been one casualty on the coaching staff. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports details it: “After coach Jason Kidd blistered top assistant Lawrence Frank in a staff meeting on Nov. 4, the partnership was irreparably damaged and ultimately spiraled to its end on Tuesday, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Hours after a blowout loss to the – Kidd’s first game on the bench following a two-game suspension to start the season – the entire coaching staff witnessed Kidd lose his temper with Frank and escalate a strangely uneasy and brief coaching partnership together. There had been conversations about moving forward together in recent weeks, league sources said, but the decision to let go of Frank was Kidd’s choice. Kidd told reporters on Tuesday night that Frank – the highest-paid assistant in the NBA – had been reassigned to writing daily reports and would no longer be on the Nets bench. It is unclear if the Nets will actually require Frank to perform those duties to gather the rest of his $1 million annual coaching contract, league sources said. “With Jason,” one league source told Yahoo Sports, “once he turns on you, he turns. That’s how he was as a player, and that’s what we’re seeing again now.””
- Scary news on Giannis Antetokounmpo (a good kind of scary) from Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times: “Not only is Antetokounmpo’s game growing, so is his body. When the Bucks drafted him in June, he was 6-9. Now, just more than five months later, he has added more than an inch to his lanky frame. “I am now 6-10 and one quarter,” Antetokounmpo said smiling. He then paused before adding, “I still have 3½ years to grow.” Indeed, doctors have informed Antetokounmpo and Bucks officials that the former’s growth plate is still open. In all likelihood, he’ll become a 7-footer. For now, Antetokounmpo is content with his role with the Bucks. He believes he’s on track to fulfilling the Bucks’ high expectations, saying he’s already become acclimated to the fast and furious lifestyle of the NBA on and off the court.”
- On Monday night, the Pacers took their second loss of the season, but Paul George scored 43 points. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com got an interesting comparison from one Blazer: “Batum finished with eight points on two-of-five shooting as he focused more of his attention on the defensive end. However, George had a lot to do with that as he hounded Batum all night long. Batum did everything he could. And at the end of the game, he said George’s performance against him was reminiscent of a former NBA superstar. “I remember one guy I tried to guard so much, make him work and he had 30 on me and that was T-Mac,” Batum said. “I felt like I did everything I wanted to do on defense and T-Mac scored anyway. Paul George did that tonight. He did a great job. I tried to be all over him, tried to stop him and make him work. He made some tough shots. You have to give him credit. He’s an MVP player.””
- The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney has everything you ever wanted to know about meniscus injuries: “Rose had his meniscus repaired. There’s no guarantee that Rose’s rehab will go perfectly, though. “It might not heal,” Ochiai said. “The success rate for meniscal tears is not close to 100 percent, but the younger somebody is, being an athlete, a non-smoker—those things help so there is less of a chance of it not healing. If you follow the protocol and limit range of motion, and you brace appropriately, use crutches appropriately, all those things, it is still about an 80 percent chance it heals, maybe 85 percent. If it doesn’t, he has to either do a re-repair or take out the torn part.” That is a possibility for which Bulls fans should be prepared. It would be similar to what happened with Minnesota’s Chase Budinger, who had surgery on his meniscus last November but experienced some discomfort just before the beginning of training camp. Rather than repairing the knee again, Budinger had about 20 percent of the meniscus removed. After Gilbert Arenas had surgery on his left meniscus in April 2007, he tried to come back too quickly and overworked the repair. He would need two more surgeries on the meniscus in the year that followed, and was never really the same player after he returned.”
Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.