Charles Oakley slams current Knicks for not trying hard in last year of contract

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DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Sunday, November 15th 2009, 4:00 AM

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Former Knicks forward Charles Oakley thinks lack of communication on Knicks' defense has contributed to the team's worst start in franchise history.

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<!-- ARTICLE CONTENT START --> [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] has only seen the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] play two games this season and for him that's two games too many.
"It's not good," Oakley says. "I don't know what's going on there."
The Knicks are off to the worst start in their history and their 1-9 record tells only part of the story. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s team has already established itself as a defensive unit that either can't or won't play hard and play together.
The Knicks' defensive woes were a main topic of discussions when Oakley met with team president [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] last April. Oakley was critical of the Knicks' defensive philosophies and came away with the understanding that the organization would make a greater commitment to defense in 2009-10.
"There is no communication on defense," Oakley, the former Knicks power forward, said Saturday over the telephone. "They don't dive on the floor for the ball. They should be getting five to six charges a night. But I don't see that.
"I'm going to put this on the players because it's up to them to fight every night. The coach can't fight for you. You can't just let teams get layup after layup."
When Oakley was reminded that most of the Knicks are in the last year of their respective contracts and probably won't be around next season, Oakley said that should give the team more incentive to play hard. "They're getting paid, right?" Oakley said. "My thing is, if they want a contract next season they should start playing for one right now."
Oakley has made it clear that he'd like to coach in the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. There were preliminary talks between Oakley and Walsh about a possible position but nothing ever materialized. Oakley is considering running a big man's camp during the offseason because "I feel I can help. It's not for the money."
Last week, Oakley was in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] working with the area's [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Oakley, an avid chef, cooked meals for the families of sick children staying at the house. He then attended [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s games in Orlando and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and spent quality time with another famous [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] athlete, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Oakley, who owns a home in Cleveland, has mixed feelings about LeBron's future. He wants to see the Knicks do well but he also has strong feelings for his home state. "I think it will be hard for him to leave," Oakley said. "But you never know."
Oakley did not feel comfortable addressing Mike D'Antoni's job performance except to say that he feels the Knicks have better talent than a 1-9 team. "Look at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]," he said. "They don't have much talent but they are winning. Look at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]."
The Knicks are off until Wednesday, when they play at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and D'Antoni is using the next three days to identify which players he can trust and which combinations of players he can win with. Of course, that is what training camp and preseason are supposed to accomplish, but the Knicks are back to the drawing board in more ways than one. "The next three days," D'Antoni warned, "are going to be important through practice to find a group that I want to go with."
D'Antoni will use the practice time as a minicamp or better yet open auditions to "see who wants to come forward."


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I would love to see Charles Oakley be our defensive assistant coach to teach these players how to play in the paint.