3. Rotation roulette leads to Manhattan malaise
The New York Knicks have all the trappings of a team struggling to balance playing young players, keeping veterans happy and preparing for the future.
Amid reports the Knicks are looking to move veterans Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr., per Greg Joyce of the New York Post, Kanter was extremely unhappy in the wake of New York’s 114-110 loss at home to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
Kanter told the press he was told he would start against the Rockets before he took his first career DNP-CD. Afterward, he told reporters he has had enough, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.
"“I think what they’re doing to me is pretty messed up. They told me this morning that I’m starting. Now I come to the game and I didn’t even play. I’m trying to be a good teammate, but I want to play basketball. If you’re going to play me here, play me. If not, just get me out of here.”"
Coach David Fizdale laughed when asked whether Kanter’s situation could become a distraction for the team, per Joyce.
"“What are we gonna do, lose some more games? I shouldn’t make light of that. Sometimes you gotta laugh.”"
Fizdale then explained his side of the Kanter confusion.
"“Nothing was set in stone in the morning, first off. “But I have to go into games with the right to be able to change what I need to change to help our team, so that’s why I made the decision with the lineup. I do that all the time. … (Assistant coach) Keith Smart‘s my messenger when I have to make a change.”"
Hardaway is similarly displeased and is not talking about the trade deadline or the potential he could be moved.
Hardaway is averaging a career-high 19.6 points per game this season, but is doing so on a career-high 16 shots per game, with shooting percentages of 39.2 percent overall and 35.6 percent from 3-point range in the 42 games he’s played.
The veteran Lee has played just 10 games. He missed the first 24 games of the season with a neck injury and has been a DNP-CD the last 10 games. He last played on Dec. 27 in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Knicks have the second-worst record in the NBA at 10-36, better than only the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-40) and would be one of three teams, along with the Phoenix Suns, with a 14 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The odds formula was changed for this season to equalize the chances for the bottom three teams.
Miscommunication, unhappy veterans and lots of losing. It seems like the more things change across the river, the more they stay the same.