Metta World Peace has been largely silent about everything that has been going on with the New York Knicks this season. He has been cooperative and never once had anything bad to say or complain about the situation he was in.
He still doesn’t have any ill-feelings towards anyone, but now that he is no longer with the team, many things on his mind – including Carmelo Anthony’s leadership, James Dolan’s impact and Mike Woodson’s coaching ability – were finally shared with Frank Isola of New York Daily News:
On Anthony’s leadership:
“There were times when me and Kobe (Bryant) would be yelling at each other,” Metta said. “I once told the greatest player ever, ‘You suck.’ Our practices got intense and the next day we’d go out and take it out on the other team.
“But here we are more cautious. In practice with the Knicks I would address some of the issues we were having because I wanted to win. I didn’t hold back. I addressed it. I won’t tell you what it was. But there is a more cautious atmosphere in New York. The players have to be meaner than the media and the fans. You’ve got to be more aggressive and meaner.”
“Kobe doesn’t give a (bleep), he just wants to win,” Metta said. “Melo needs to be more demanding and he needs to see results. The only difference between him and Kobe is that Kobe saw results. When Kobe said something people did that (stuff). Carmelo has no choice but to make it his personality because he’s a great player. There are not too many guys like him.”
On Dolan’s ability to coach:
“In my opinion, Mr. Dolan has the right personality to be a coach from this standpoint: he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind,” Metta said on Monday. “He commands attention when he speaks to us. And it’s not like if he wanted the job he couldn’t have it. He owns the team.”
“He gave some great speeches,” Metta said. “One time he said something that confused me but for the most part he was great. In Memphis the other day he spoke to us and I was thinking, ‘This guy would make a great coach.’ Hey, when Larry Bird coached Indiana he had Rick Carlisle doing everything behind the scenes. Obama is our President but he has a team of people working behind him. Mr. Dolan could do the same. Why not? I’m going to miss him.”
On Woodson’s need to take better control:
Metta says he enjoyed playing for Woodson but says the Knicks’ coach needs to “learn how to tell people to shut the hell up. He’s too receptive to opinions.” In fact, Metta believes Woodson can learn a lesson or two from Dolan, whom Metta enjoyed working for.
SCOUT’S TAKE ON THE WESTERN CONFERENCE:
Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report has a scout’s take on what is going on in the West and which teams could go far or fail come playoff time:
Scout on the Clippers: “They have a strong chance because of one reason: Chris Paul. He’s the most fierce leader in the league. Combine that with his basketball skills, Blake Griffin and Doc Rivers, they have a solid chance. Their offense is good enough to carry them to the Western Conference finals, but their defense may hinder them from winning it. Griffin will also have to dominate during the series. Right now, he’s playing like he can, but the game becomes a lot more physical in May and June.”
Scout on the Blazers: “They are talented offensively, but I’m not sure if they are tough enough, nor is their defense good enough to make it to the Western Conference finals.”
Scout on the Warriors: “I can’t see the Warriors getting past round one. They don’t defend well enough and much of their offense is predicated on (Stephen) Curry and (Klay) Thompson making threes. They can’t rely on that in the playoffs.”
The Warriors are only the third best defensive team in the league, so of course it would make perfect sense (?) for a scout to say they don’t defend well enough.
GASOL AND D’ANTONI IN DISAGREEMENT WITH PHILOSOPHY:
After an embarrassing loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, Pau Gasol went off about his dislike of playing too small against bigger teams. Mark Medina of The Daily News has details:
“If we want to continue to play small, we have to play to that advantage and utilize our quickness,” said Gasol, who had 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, nine rebounds and four blocks. “If you get outrebounded by 20 rebounds, I don’t care who you are or what you do it’s not going to work and we’re not going to win.” Gasol then chuckled on the possibility the scrawny 6-foot-7, 215-pound Johnson could defend the 6-9, 260-pound frame of Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph when the Lakers (19-37) play tonight in Memphis (31-24). “Good luck,” Gasol said, sarcastically. “Let’s see what happens tomorrow if Wes continues to start or if we actually match up and utilize our size. We have guys with size who can do well.”
How did Mike D’Antoni feel about the notion that size was the issue against the Pacers? Here is what he had to say:
“It absolutely means nothing,” D’Antoni said. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t move the ball.”
Unfortunately for Gasol, this is a battle he is never going to win as long as he plays for D’Antoni. At the very least, he can voice his displeasure, which he did plenty of on Tuesday:
“You have to be disciplined and implement discipline,” said Gasol, who added Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash didn’t bear the responsibility of imposing that considering they stayed in Los Angeles to heal their respective left knee and back injuries. “I don’t think there’s a lot of discipline right now.”
BUTLER AND GRANGER EXPECT TO JOIN TITLE CONTENDERS:
Caron Butler and Danny Granger are expected to complete a buyout today with their respective teams. Once they do, both will look to join a title-contending team. Here are the details for Butler, from Marc Stein of ESPN:
Milwaukee Bucks swingman Caron Butler is scheduled to complete a contract buyout Wednesday that sets him up to become an unrestricted free agent by the end of the week, according to sources close to the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com that Wisconsin native Butler, who is earning $8 million this season on an expiring contract with his home-state Bucks, is on course to be released by Milwaukee on Wednesday and thus clear waivers Friday, well in advance of the Saturday midnight deadline by which time he must be set free to be eligible to play in the playoffs with another team.
The two-time defending champion Miami Heat, sources said, will be at the front of the line to sign Butler, who spent his first two seasons in the league with the Heat and is expected to verbally commit to a team before clearing waivers.
David Aldridge of NBA.com lists the options for Granger here:
Sixers, Danny Granger finishing buyout today, per sources. Teams in hunt: Clips, Bulls, Heat, Rockets, Spurs.
Butler still has plenty left in the tank and should provide some much-needed scoring punch and toughness for any team he joins. Granger, however, hasn’t done much with the Pacers this season. Despite Aldridge’s report, there are some around the league who believe the forward may not much have left in the tank, from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio:
Danny Granger completing buyout, but interest not as high as reported. One GM went as far as to say zero interest. “He’s done.”
The latest update from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is that the Clippers are the favorites to land him:
The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as the frontrunners to sign forward Danny Granger, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Once Granger clears waivers in the next 48 hours, the Clippers’ ability to offer him significant playing time and championship contention under coach Doc Rivers makes them the most attractive destination, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Still, the San Antonio Spurs remain a viable possibility for Granger. The Spurs are selling Granger on a modern-day variation of the Robert Horry role in San Antonio, league sources said. Granger is expected to speak with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford in the near future, sources said.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Granger reached agreement on a contract buyout Wednesday, clearing the way for the former All-Star forward to become a free agent. Once Granger clears waivers Friday, he becomes one of the premier targets on the NBA’s free-agent market.
CLIP OF THE DAY:
Dwight Howard has been bullying little kids this season on the court (all in good fun, of course), and that appeared to be the case again in this clip. Keep watching, though, and you’ll see that this boy gets the best of Howard in awesome fashion:
OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE: