New York Knicks Fire Coach Jeff Hornacek and Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis

Jeff Hornacek won't be coaching the New York Knicks anymore.

ESPN reports the former coach was fired after a flight back from Cleveland, where the Knicks won against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-98. However, his overall record was under par. During his time as their coach, the Knicks gained their sixth-worst record in the NBA by going 60-104. Although Hornacek still had one year left on his contract, it seems this was enough to push him out. 

“Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons,” said Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry in a joint statement. “We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The Knicks' associate head coach, Kurt Rambis, was also fired.

“Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both an associate head coach and interim head coach,” said Mills and Perry. “We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”

Former team president Phil Jackson hired Hornacek ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Now Perry, who started as a GM in July, will be able to hire his own coach.

The Knicks will also be entering an enticing free-agent market in the summer of 2019. As for a new coach, they're reportedly looking to replace Hornacek with David Fizdale, David Blatt, or Mark Jackson.

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Joakim Noah May Be Traded From Knicks After Heated Exchange With Jeff Hornacek

Joakim Noah and New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek were involved in a “heated verbal exchange” during practice last week, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports, and the fallout now has the team actively exploring ways to move the disgruntled center.

Last Tuesday, Noah got into a shouting match with Hornacek during the fourth quarter of a game against Golden State. The following day at practice, still frustrated, the 32-year-old confronted the coach again. Though the situation stopped short of turning physical, Noah was sent home afterward on a “leave of absence.” Now, it looks like the former All-Star might've suited up for the last time in a Knicks uniform.

Noah has been reportedly upset with his role all season. He's played in only seven games, seeing less than six minutes per contest behind New York basketball luminaries like Kyle O'Quinn and Willy Hernangomez. Noah still believes he can provide legitimate minutes for somebody out there, though his time in New York hasn't offered much validation. He played in just 46 games last year before undergoing season-ending knee surgery and then received a 20-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

This season, he's seen the floor so few times that it's difficult to imagine anyone trading for him since he's owed nearly $38 million over the next two years (including a ridiculous $19.3 million in 2019-20). Charania reports that New York has yet to approach the former Defensive Player of the Year about a buyout.

New York fans don't want to hear it, but Twitter is aflame with basketball pundits everywhere saying, “I told you so.” When Noah signed a 4-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks in the 2016 offseason, it not only confirmed that Phil Jackson never should've been hired, it left the rest of the basketball world laughing. It was peak Knicks. From Jerome James to Eddy Curry, this team has a habit of overdrawing the ATM account. In an age where teams have gotten somewhat smarter (besides Michael Jordan's Hornets) about not throwing money around like Jordan Belfort, Noah's deal has been so bad that some have argued it's the team's worst ever.

The amazing part? Despite knowing this, Knicks fans were still willing to go all in. I mean, just look at some of these tweets from 2016. (Thanks to @SnottieDrippen for doing some digging.)

Ugh. At the end of the day, even the most staunch New York fans had to see this one coming. Blame the front office for offering such a stupid deal. Noah was a fading star that never should've been given that much money anyway, especially not in New York. A huge contract with a former “star” playing limited minutes on a rebuilding team, there was really only one way this was going to end.

Whether it's through trade (unlikely), through a buyout or stretch (probably the best course of action) or even just through offering unlimited sick days for the next three months, we've probably seen the last of Joakim Noah in a Knicks uniform.

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Kobe Is Getting His Own NBA Analysis Show on ESPN

More post-retirement perks are on the way for Kobe Bryant. After getting two jersey numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and a brand new Lakers uniform inspired by his legendary nickname unveiled last month, there is now word that the Black Mamba will be getting his own basketball analysis show on ESPN.

The show, which is titled Detail, will be written, produced, and hosted by Bryant and is a creative venture between ESPN and Kobe's Granity Studios. The show will be a simple enough premise. One of the best players in NBA history will be providing game analysis. What could be better than a generational talent critiquing other players on their game? Almost nothing. 

“Studying game film is how the best get better. It’s the university for a master’s degree in basketball.” Bryant tells ESPN. “I learned how to study film from the best coaches of all time – Phil Jackson and Tex Winter. Detail provides an opportunity to teach that skill to the next generation on large platform with ESPN.”

Detail is scheduled to premiere in March 2018 and will begin with an initial 15 episodes, starting at the tail end of the regular season and concluding during the NBA Finals.

Imagine Bryant breaking down a missed LeBron or KD game-winner in the playoffs? Incredible.

“Having an all-time great like Kobe share the same analysis he offers current players will be a tutorial for elite athletes around the world and the ultimate inside access for viewers,” says ESPN vice president of original content Kevin Wildes.

Bryant's Granity Studios has worked with ESPN in the past on Canvas City, which featured a purple snake puppet named Little Mamba as Kobe's sidekick, and the MuseCage Basketball Network segments as well.

Kobe has definitely remained busy post-retirement. Does this foray into analysis mean coaching could be in his future? He might be the key to getting Lonzo Ball and the Lakers back on track if LaVar runs current head coach Luke Walton out of town

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Migos, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj’s “MotorSport” Is Here

After months of relentless teasing, the first single from Migos' Culture II has finally landed. “MotorSport” premiered Friday morning on the Breakfast Club shortly after the hosts endured a peculiar conversation with the Hillsong Church guy, just hours after a preview of the track landed on YouTube. 

Migos also teased the new track during their performance at Power 105.1's Powerhouse at Barclays Thursday night.

 

A post shared by Power 105.1 (@power1051) on Oct 26, 2017 at 8:17pm PDT

Check the full version of the soon-to-be-everywhere collaboration, featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, below via Spotify. Murda Beatz and CuBeatz provide production.

Though we still don't have a formal Culture II release date, the arrival of “MotorSport” means we should likely expect the project soon. Judging by Quavo's recent headline-spawning social media activity, the collection may include a variety of additional top-shelf collaborators.

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Donald Glover, Lil Yachty, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla Sign, Big Sean, Travis Scott, and Kanye West have all been either been seen in the studio with Quavo or heard in frustratingly brief clips of already completed collabs. Culture II also boasts a mystery executive producer, with many album hype theorists predicting their identity as being synonymous with 🐐.

 

A post shared by QuavoHuncho (@quavohuncho) on Oct 24, 2017 at 6:09pm PDT

Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, thankfully, also have new projects on the way. For Cardi B, the release will mark her debut studio album and arrives on the wave of hype cultivated by one of the best (and biggest songs) of 2017. 

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Carmelo Anthony’s Son Is One of the Main Reasons He Ended Up on the Thunder

When Isaiah Thomas got traded to the Cavaliers as part of the Kyrie Irving deal this summer, he wasn’t happy about it. At all. In fact, he’s still not all that thrilled with the way things went down, and he has committed himself to not speaking to Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge for the foreseeable future. But there was one person who was ecstatic when he found out Thomas had been traded: His own son James.

“LEBRON! LEBRON JAMES!” his son yelled when he found out about the trade, according to a piece Thomas penned for The Players’ Tribune. “Dad—Dad. You get to play with LeBron James!”

And it sounds like there’s another famous NBA player’s son who was also incredibly happy when he found out that his dad had been traded to a contender.

Carmelo Anthony spoke with The New York Times this week, ahead of the Thunder’s season-opening game against the Knicks on Thursday night. He revealed that long before he considered waiving his no-trade clause to accept a trade that would take him to Oklahoma City, his son Kiyan came to him and told him that he should consider making a move to the Thunder. Carmelo hadn’t thought about it much up until that point, but he said it definitely played a role in his final decision to go to OKC.

“My son said he wanted me to play for OKC,” Carmelo said. “Even before OKC was in the picture.”

Carmelo suggested it wasn’t the only time he had discussed the possibility of a trade with his son, but he said Kiyan was pretty adamant about the idea of him playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

“My son has a basketball mind,” he said. “So I will always throw little topics at him. He was like, 'Dad, where are you getting traded to?' I told him, 'I don’t know, where do you think I should go?' He said: 'You really want me to give you my opinion? I think you should go to OKC.' It worked out.”

It sure did—and OKC fans have Kiyan to thank.

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Elsewhere in his interview with the NYT, Carmelo addressed the fractured relationship he had with Phil Jackson. He admitted that he only spoke to Jackson twice all last season, and accused Jackson of trying to trade him away from the Knicks “for a bag of chips.” He also spoke on how difficult it was to deal with it all while also trying to focus on playing basketball.

“When I signed with the Knicks, I wanted to be in New York and I believed in Phil,” he said. “Then last year it went to: I was being pushed out. There were things being said about me that I didn’t know where they were coming from. And I still had to go to the gym and play and practice and deal with the media, answer all those questions every day.”

You can check out the Times’ full piece on Carmelo ahead of his game against the Knicks here.

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Stephen A. Smith’s Bizarre History of Beefing With NBA Players

Stephen A. Smith has criticized LeBron James for all kinds of crazy reasons over the course of the last decade. From the time he ripped him for tweeting about playing in the NFL rather than worrying about winning his first NBA title, to the time he said LeBron will never be able to match Michael Jordan’s legacy, SAS has gone in on James early and often, on TV shows like ESPN First Take and on his various social media accounts.

Despite all of the shots SAS has taken at LeBron over the years, though, there has never really been any “beef” between the two men because, for the most part, LeBron has steered clear of responding to anything SAS has said about him. Even though some of the stuff has no doubt gotten under LeBron’s skin, he's shied away from responding to almost everything SAS has said and reported about him, so tensions between the two haven’t escalated.

But that all changed on Tuesday when LeBron decided to respond to a report that SAS put out earlier this week. If you somehow missed it, SAS was doing his daily ESPN Radio show on Monday when he revealed that “sources” in LeBron's camp told him that LeBron is “tempted to beat [Kyrie Irving's] ass” as a result of the recent trade rumors swirling around Irving and the Cavaliers. SAS reported that a source told him LeBron wasn’t necessarily upset with Irving because of the rumors, but rather, he was upset because his name was being dragged into the discussion and he was being cited as one of the reasons Irving wanted out of Cleveland.

LeBron took to Twitter to shoot down that report. He used the hashtag #NotFacts and told people to “get another source” if they want the truth about the state of his current relationship with Irving:

SAS very well could have just taken to Twitter himself and said that he was standing behind his original report. But if you know SAS, then you know that he would never do something that quietly. So rather than going in that direction, SAS unloaded on LeBron during a 15-minute rant on his radio show on Tuesday. He reiterated what he said in his original report on LeBron and Irving.

“If LeBron James was in front of Kyrie Irving, I was told, quote, he would be tempted to whoop his ass,” SAS said. “That’s what was told to me. I did not speculate, I did not put that out there, it was told to me. Verbatim.”

SAS also seemed to threaten LeBron during his rant; he said if LeBron wanted to play hard ball with him, he was prepared to tell “the real story about what happened with LeBron James against Boston the spring before he decided to leave Cleveland and take his talents to South Beach.” It was a reference to the struggles LeBron endured during his final playoff series as a Cavalier prior to his signing with the Heat in 2010.

You can listen to SAS go off on LeBron here:

SAS followed that up with another rant on First Take Wednesday morning. Even though he’s on vacation from the show right now, he made a special appearance to continue ripping LeBron:

He went on The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz and continued his anti-LeBron rant there, too:

Does the idea of one of ESPN’s leading NBA analysts/reporters going off on the best basketball player in the world seem crazy to you? Us, too. While we admit we’ve been entertained by the SAS vs. LeBron drama—especially since this is traditionally a pretty dead time of year for sports—it seems strange to see a beef like this playing out on ESPN.

But we really shouldn’t be all that surprised by it. SAS has, after all, spent quite a bit of time beefing with professional athletes in recent years. From Arian Foster and Josh Gordon to Martavis Bryant and Michael Bennett, he has refused to fall back when pro athletes have called him out for one reason or another. But in particular, SAS has been involved in some really bizarre beefs with NBA players.

Back in May 2014, SAS was involved in a brief beef with then-Warriors center Andrew Bogut, one that was pretty tame when compared to his most recent beef with LeBron. It started after SAS accused Bogut of having “no heart.” He went as far as to suggest Bogut’s teammates called him the “Tin Man” behind his back:

SAS also referred to Bogut as “Andrew Bogus.” At that point, Bogut decided he had heard enough. A few weeks later, Bogut made an appearance on a podcast in Australia and said that SAS is “just a wanker.”

A few months later, SAS also got into it with then-76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams after Carter-Williams wrote a lengthy article for The Players’ Tribune. In the piece, he touched on the time the Sixers set a new NBA record by losing their 27th game in a row in the spring of 2014. He accused reporters like SAS of suggesting that the Sixers were losing games on purpose.

Carter-Williams also said he believes SAS is “playing a character” every time he goes on TV. That prompted SAS to fire back at him on social media, where he seemingly warned Carter-Williams by telling him to “be careful who you try and call out”:

But SAS’ most notable beef with an NBA player—prior to his beef with LeBron, at least—took place in the fall of 2015 when he got into a war of words with Kevin Durant. During the NBA offseason that year, SAS reported that he had heard KD might end up on the Knicks alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. KD responded to that report by saying SAS was “lying.” He also said SAS didn’t know anyone in his inner circle, as he had suggested in his initial report.

KD's comments led SAS to go on a now-infamous rant on First Take that included him saying, “You do not want to make an enemy out of me”:

SAS added: “This implication that I don’t know stuff? Y’all better think twice about that. Because when these NBA games come, you’re going to see me at these arenas, and remember what I said to you: I can find out more in 10 minutes at a basketball arena than I can on the phone with 50 different people inside of two weeks. Think about that, and ask yourself: Do you really want to go there?”

Some people might have toned down their act after all of the controversy that the situation with KD caused. But SAS has continued to beef with NBA players since then.

In early 2016, SAS engaged in a back-and-forth with former NBA star Glenn Robinson. According to an interview Robinson did with TMZ Sports, the beef started back when he was still playing in the league, after SAS wrote something about him that he didn’t like. It reignited after SAS appeared on SiriusXM’s Karen Hunter Show and accused Robinson of not following the pro-black agenda he preached during his playing days:

“I saw this man march lock step with what [former Bucks head coach] George Karl wanted to do…but Randy Ayers became the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers…you treated this man like trash,” SAS said. “But you’ll come and talk to reporters about how brothers need to facilitate brothers being hired, but you had one and how’d you treat him?”

That beef ended with Robinson proposing a cage match between him and SAS:

And as recently as June, SAS got tangled up with former NBA player Lamar Odom after he made a wildly disrespectful comment on First Take. While criticizing then-Knicks team president Phil Jackson on the show, SAS pointed out that one of Jackson’s first moves with the Knicks in 2015 was to sign Odom, who was, in his words, “on crack”:

Odom fired back through his lawyer, who sent a letter to ESPN concerning SAS’ comments about his battle with drug addiction. “To say his conduct was outrageous and unacceptable does not scratch the surface,” the letter said. “We hope those at ESPN will actively voice their disdain for Mr. Smith’s inappropriate statement and take the proper action to support those that are fighting this disease.”

SAS responded by issuing an apology of sorts, in which he said that the comments he made were meant to be directed at Jackson and “were NOT to put any more focus on Lamar Odom’s much publicized drug use and addiction.”

He added: “Lamar Odom was not the focus of my ire. My comments were entirely, totally, meant for Phil Jackson.”

If all of this proves anything, it’s that when you spend as much time as SAS does debating sports on TV, on the radio, and on social media, you’re going to upset athletes eventually. They’re going to take issue with some of the things that you say and report, and they’re going to call you out for it. It comes with the territory, especially when you're as vocal about your opinions as SAS often is.

But it’s still pretty crazy to see just how willing SAS is to beef with some of the biggest names in the sport that he covers the closest. And after seeing how far he’s been willing to take his beef with LeBron this week, we can’t help but wonder how long he’s going to keep this up.

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Lonzo Ball Knew He Was Going To Be a Laker and (Maybe) Made NBA Draft History

If he was tipped off, he didn’t say. But if Lonzo Ball truly didn’t have assurance from the Lakers that he was going to be the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, he felt it in his bones. Or more accurately his feet.

Because sitting in the green room, off to the right of the podium where commissioner Adam Silver announced all 30 first round selections, Ball decided to switch shoes once the Lakers were on the clock.  

Gone where the black hard bottoms he was sporting earlier. Out came a pair of the infamous Big Baller Brand ZO2s that retail for $495. Only these weren’t all black, like the ones that infamously debuted back in May. This pair was gold and purple—Lakers colors. And before Silver could say Ball’s name, he casually slipped on the sneakers because he just knew suiting up for his hometown team was his destiny.

“Just had a good feeling, and changed them five minutes before when they was on the clock, and I'm glad they called my name,” said Ball, in typically understated fashion.

The NBA’s signature fashion event, where 19-and-20-year-old kids get decked out in suits that would put every prom outside of Beverly Hills to shame, usually does not feature any wardrobe changes, other than the addition of a team hat once Silver calls your name. But Ball just might have authored an NBA first when he switched shoes in the middle of the draft.

Magic Johnson and the Lakers got their point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.”

Ball told Complex he changed “when [the Lakers] had the pick, right after Markelle” Fultz was chosen first by the Sixers. The Ball family had them hidden “right under the table” and Lonzo “had a feeling” he was about to be next selection. And that’s when he slipped into something way more comfortable and way more marketable than a pair of black dress shoes.

And really, Lonzo rocking a brand new colorway of the ZO2s was arguably one of the more interesting subplots to come out of the NBA Draft that didn't revolve around the Jimmy Butler trade to the Timberwolves or the prospect of Phil Jackson asininely shipping Kristaps Porzingis somewhere. Because the top part of the draft didn’t veer far from most projections. It was short on suspense and very predictable. 

Fultz went to the Sixers. Lonzo to the Lakers. Jayson Tatum to the Celtics at No. 3. Josh Jackson to the Suns at No. 4 and De’Aaron Fox, the guy who was rumored to be ahead of Ball on the Lakers’ draft board about a month ago, went to the Kings at No. 5.

In the end, LaVar Ball, with his swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion at Barclays Center, could do his damn thing, talk his talk, and most especially walk his signature walk. His son was drafted to the only team he ever wanted him to play for, the team he predicted months ago would wind up with his son. LaVar proved to be a prophet.

Lonzo Ball LaVar Ball Green Room NBA Draft 2017
Image via USA Today Sports/Brad Penner

The man behind Big Baller Brand was surprisingly absent as Lonzo made his way through the arena's bowels, talking to reporters, taking part in NBA sanctioned obligations, and getting hounded by little kids for autographs. Usually, new draftees are paraded all over the arena with their handlers and based on how hands-on LaVar has been, it wasn’t out of the question to expect him to tail his son. But maybe it was by design that he didn’t, or maybe it was just happenstance that papa Ball had to stick around with the rest of his brood and babysit the younger LiAngelo and LaMelo while Lonzo basked in his crowning achievement of his 19 years of existence.

We didn’t really get to witness the bragging and boasting of LaVar afterward, which would have been gold. But he got what he wanted, what he predicted. And we, as NBA fans, got what was basically expected from the darft.

With the rest of the top 10 relatively bereft of drama, Lonzo winding up with the Lakers was arguably the biggest draft-specific story of the night. Lakers exec Magic Johnson got his point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.” Predictably, Lonzo was about as emotive as a robot, barely smiling or acting like a giddy teenager you’d expect most kids in his position to be.

But at least he was rocking the freshest kicks in the house, the ones nobody else was wearing or could get their hands at the time, the ones that he can most definitely afford now that's he's a Laker. 

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Stephen A. Smith Made a Wildly Disrespectful Remark About Lamar Odom on ‘First Take’

Like most Knicks fans right now, Stephen A. Smith is pretty upset about all of the Kristaps Porzingis trade rumors that are flying around at the moment. But don’t just take our word for it. Instead, check out how animated he got at the start of his The Stephen A. Smith Show on Tuesday afternoon when he launched into a passionate tirade against Phil Jackson right at the top of the show:

And believe it or not—OK, you believe it…—SAS has only gotten more upset over the Porzingis rumors since then, especially since Jackson is now talking like a guy who is actually considering the idea of trading Porzingis at some point in the very near future.

But on Thursday morning’s episode of ESPN First Take, SAS let his emotions get the best of him, and he said something that’s probably not going to sit real well with former NBA star Lamar Odom. While discussing some of the questionable transactions Jackson has made since joining the Knicks in 2014, SAS brought up one of Jackson’s very first moves as Knicks team president, which involved him signing Odom—who hadn’t played in the NBA at all during the 2013-14 NBA season—to a contract with the Knicks. It was a confusing move at the time, and it looked even more confusing when the Knicks waived Odom less than three months after signing him.

But while talking about Jackson’s decision to sign Odom, SAS said this:

“His very first move as executive was to sign Lamar Odom,” SAS said, “who was on crack!

Odom’s drug issues in recent years have been well documented, and Odom himself has acknowledged that he had a serious problem that he’s still dealing with today. But the way SAS chose to bring it up was questionable, and there were quite a few people who called him out for doing it:

The New York Daily News has also pointed out that signing Odom was not Jackson’s first move as Knicks team president as SAS said. He actually signed Shannon Brown to a contract through the remainder of the 2013-14 NBA season about a month before extending one to Odom. So outside of being disrespectful while discussing Odom, SAS was also just plain wrong.

SAS went on to try and downplay his comment about Odom. “I love Lamar Odom the person, and God bless him, and we’re wishing nothing but the best,” he said.

But something tells us that love might not be reciprocated the next time SAS and Odom cross paths.

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Where Can Carmelo Anthony Go?

It's going to be an interesting summer for Carmelo Anthony no matter what ends up happening to the Knicks star.

There's the potential of a divorce hanging over his head (check the gossip pages), and Melo knows Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants nothing to do with the future Hall of Famer and would gladly pack Melo's bags if he could find a taker for his services. The only problem is Melo owns a no-trade clause—which Jackson gladly gave him three summers ago—and a 15 percent trade kicker that means whatever team acquires him will have to pay more for his services than the Knicks currently are. 

So Melo's options are kind of limited, to say the least. But there are a few teams out there that could make a play for the dynamic scorer. Some are obvious and have been widely discussed. One is kind of under the radar. Four of them should be contenders next year. The other is a wasteland featuring epic amounts of dysfunction, paranoia, and a future void of success. 

While he hilariously gets to call the shots in the process, we can't wait for the full-blown melodrama—pun intended—to play out over the summer. So before all the wheelings and dealings start popping when free agency begins, familiarize yourself with the likeliest destinations for Carmelo Anthony's services next season.


  • New York Knicks

    Odds Melo Stays There: 2-5

    Melo isn’t going anywhere because Phil Jackson isn’t going to get shit for him, and Anthony isn’t going to waive his no-trade clause unless it’s for a contender. So, Melo for like a couple vets and a 15th man? No thanks. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. Carmelo doesn’t deserve to be treated this way and Phil clearly could give two shits about how Melo feels with the way he’s handling the situation publicly. Phil has bigger fish to fry, like running Kristips Porzingis out of town.

    Why anyone would want to be a Knick in the year of our Lord 2017 is beyond me, but both Carmelo and Porzingawd wanna stay in the Rotten Apple. Leave it to the Knicks to somehow always stay relevant, whether good or bad; this circus is here to stay. James Dolan should do his job and fire Phil Jackson right now! I would have my bags packed if I were Melo. Who needs this? Anthony’s feverish need to win in New York and have a statue erected in his likeness could be the only reason. That or his brand. #StayMe7o —A.D. 

     

  • Los Angeles Clippers

    Odds Melo Ends Up There: 5-1

    The easy thing for the Los Angeles Clippers to do would be this: re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to max deals, find a young, inexpensive shooter to replace an aging J.J. Redick, and go out and try it again. This would be a terrible idea. Yes, the Clippers have had a degree of success with their current lineup—if not a Western Conference Finals appearance—and yes, they could easily blame injuries for early exits like this year’s. But there comes a point when a core has run its course, and for the Clippers that time is now. The Griffin-Paul-DeAndre Jordan triumvirate has been together for seven seasons without as much a conference championship to show for it. And, at 32, Paul is entering the tail end of his prime. What he needs is a pure scorer who wants the ball in his hands at the end of games. Who he needs is Carmelo Anthony. —R.B. 

     

  • Washington Wizards

    Odds Melo Ends Up There: 10-1

    The Wizards haven't heavily been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Anthony because it's a dicey cap situation trying to make Melo fit, but if you look at Washington's roster and remember one high-profile signing made in the past, maybe it's not so far-fetched. Once upon a time, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld brought in Paul Pierce to provide veteran leadership and valuable scoring. The Pierce experiment, or whatever you want to call it, only lasted one season and it wasn't exactly a raging success—Washington lost to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semis. At age 37, Pierce started 73 games, averaged 16.3 points per, and hit 38.9 percent of his threes. You don't think Melo could put up better numbers than that next year? You don't think a team that easily could have been in the Eastern Conference Finals this season could use another weapon like Carmelo to battle LeBron and Co.? Slot in Anthony with John Wall and Bradley Beal and that's easily one of the most potent threesomes in the league.

    Of course, there are hypotheticals. Would Melo and his ball-stopping ways screw up the Wizards? Would he whine about not getting enough shots with Wall serving as the focal point and Beal the clear No. 2 option? Would Phil Jackson be cool with Otto Porter and a pick in return for Melo? Does anybody on the Wizards roster even appeal to his antiquated tastes? We don't have the answers, but the more we think about it the more we think Washington makes a lot of sense for Melo. A.C. 


  • Boston Celtics

    Odds Melo Ends Up There: 25-1

    The Celtics are going to lose the Eastern Conference Finals, and once they do Danny Ainge will have some big decisions to make like what to do in June's NBA Draft with the No. 1 pick and whether making a move for Carmelo Anthony is smart. We all know Boston isn't going to get over the LeBron James hump until they either get more scoring help or Bron slows down. With guys like Jaylen Brown, Markelle Fultz (when they draft him), and the Nets 2018 first-round pick, plus Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens, the Celtics have an extremely promising nucleus for the future.

    Yes, they have Isaiah Thomas for another season, but does he become expendable if Boston drafts a point guard? Would Ainge seriously entertain an offer if Phil Jackson wanted a haul in return? We know Jackson covets Jae Crowder, but would Ainge feel comfortable giving up one of his best defenders and something else for Melo's offense? From Anthony's perspective, #StayMe7o shouldn’t hesitate to waive his no-trade clause if Boston comes calling. —J.F. 

     

  • Cleveland Cavaliers

    Odds Melo Ends Up There: 45-1

    Because Carmelo and LeBron James are boys, the idea of the two talented scorers playing together will always be brought up. And when LeBron was complaining about not having enough talent around him earlier this season, and the relationship between Melo and Phil Jackson really started to break down, speculation was running rampant that Melo could very likely find himself in Cleveland. Well, that obviously didn't happen, but reports surfaced that LeBron wanted Melo—even if it meant sacrificing Kevin Love. Cavs management didn't want to pull the trigger at February's trade deadline, and with Love playing so well in the playoffs what makes you think they're suddenly going to change their mind this summer?

    Offense isn't the issue with the Cavs. We know that for sure. And do the Cavs really have any other pieces that would intrigue Jackson, because we know he wants nothing to do with Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith? The more likely scenario is that Dwyane Wade opts out in Chicago and teams back up with LeBron, leaving their boy Melo on the outside looking in at another run to the NBA Finals. Who needs enemies when you've got friends like that? —A.C. 

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Phil Jackson Still Wants to Trade Carmelo Anthony

They say time heals all wounds. Last month, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson suggested Carmelo Anthony “would be better off somewhere else” after the team finished the 2016-17 NBA season with a disappointing 31-51 record. So after receiving considerable backlash from Knicks fans for his remarks, maybe Jackson has turned over a new leaf when it comes to Anthony’s future with the organization? Maybe the Zen Master has realized that 'Melo is still an important piece of the Knicks roster going forward? Nope, and nope.

On Friday, Jackson spoke with reporters during the NBA Combine about his stance on 'Melo, and it appears that he still wants to part ways with the 10-time All-Star. “We'd like him to have success,” Phil said, per ESPN. “The opportunity is narrowing. We'd just like him to have success somewhere. We're not going to be there. Hopefully, we'll be maybe a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us a possible champion.”

When asked if he wants to see Anthony in a Knicks jersey next season, Jackson didn’t back down on his stance, mentioning 'Melo’s no-trade clause, which has created an impasse in trade talks. “He has a no-trade contract,” he said. “I think I expressed what I felt. I can't express it any better. I thought it was well-said, even though a lot of you didn't feel quite that way.”

With Jackson still determined to send 'Melo packing, it would be in the best interest of both parties to figure out some sort of resolution this summer. This feud between Jackson and Anthony cannot last for another entire season in New York. 

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