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Just a few minutes before the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] decided to officially inform everyone they were going to stink up Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] scared the life out of a packed house. Face down, devoid of a step -- let alone a spring in it -- he stayed on the floor for a minute more than anyone would've preferred, courtesy of a twisted ankle. It was a scene that made everyone in the Garden gasp, and nearly stopped the hearts of New York fans everywhere.
In one twisted, contorted moment, rife with the kind of drama this town has absolutely no interest in whatsoever, the Knicks' resident, $100 million franchise player cemented the harsh reality that, for now, one man -- Amare -- is responsible for this franchise's future.
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1050 ESPN/710 ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says New York is where Carmelo Anthony wants to be but don't count out Chicago from the party. Anthony sent New York a message by saying he'd consider Denver's extension.
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Which is why the Knicks must go get [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] as soon as possible.
As in ... today!
Listen to what coach Mike D'Antoni had to say after the Knicks' 116-108 loss to the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]: "I don't think we had the energy out there to be a playoff team. For whatever reason, in the first half we just didn't come out and play. You could see it on our face. The energy level, mostly on the defensive end, but it transferred to the offensive end."
Uh, ya think!
Aren't these the same Knicks who've now lost 10 of their last 14 games? Who kept surrendering dunks to the Clips as if the game was taking place on All-Star Weekend instead of on a night that actually counts? Who yield nearly 47 percent shooting to the opposition nightly? Who get out-rebounded by nearly five per game, and actually consider [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] a legitimate big man at this juncture?
It's time to stop playing games. It's time to stop acting like the Knicks are a solid team just a star away from championship credibility. They are 26-25. A loss removed from .500 status. The epitome of mediocrity, playing little-to-no defense. Flip the proverbial coin around, omit Stoudemire from the equation, and what you have is a duplicate version of this year's [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] trouncing up and down the hardwood off 33rd Street and 8th Avenue.
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The maddening rethoric must come to an end, right now.
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] is good, with promise, but hardly worth holding on to if it means not getting Anthony's services. The same should be said about [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], or the likeable, impressive [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], for that matter. And if two of those three is not enough to woo the Nuggets into making a deal, there are other options to consider -- as I've now learned.
According to league sources, the Nuggets have also inquired about the Knicks' willingness to let go of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in a potential deal, which would allow Denver to unload [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]' contract. The Knicks, obviously, have balked on numerous occasions, no doubt thinking their patience will pay off come summertime, since everyone knows New York is where Melo wants to be. This is what has prevented Anthony from arriving in the Mecca months ago.
No matter which way you slice it, moments of arrogance, ineptitude and dare I say stupidity have infected this entire process. The thing is, it is the Knicks who will suffer the most in the end if they don't get Anthony. As if they haven't suffered enough already.
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To put it bluntly: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] knew he wanted to go to Miami, but that doesn't mean the Knicks didn't blow an opportunity. Donnie Walsh wasn't in the greatest of health at the time. According to sources, he also didn't schmooze as much as he needed to with LeBron's camp in the months leading up to The Decision.
The problem with that little tidbit of information is that some of those folks are hanging around. They are influencing/counseling/advising Anthony -- and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], who ultimately wants to land in New York and, like Melo, is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Both Melo and Paul are friends with LeBron, Dwayne Wade and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
So if Walsh, along with the unprecedented three former GMs/executives on his payroll -- Glen Grunwald (ex-Toronto), John Gabriel (Orlando) and newly hired player personnel director Mark Warkentein (Denver) -- can't manage to put their heads together and get Anthony to New York, then that may mean they won't get Paul, either.
And all of it begs the question: How good will you feel about the Knicks then? In the years to come? Especially with Stoudemire averaging 37 minutes per night right now, always trying to do too much simply because he has no choice? No doubt wearing himself down in the process.
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"We're not playing hard," Stoudemire deadpanned following the loss to the Clippers. "We're not getting loose balls. Seems like we're afraid out there. I said before the game, we've got to have supreme focus. I guess they figured I was talking to the wall because we didn't come out with any focus."
Actually, Stoudemire's wrong. At least in part.
The Knicks came out with limited game because that's all they have. That's who they are. And that is who they'll remain until they get another star in the Garden.
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