Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Hey D'Antoni, don't even THINK about Melo and Amar'e

New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni talking

New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni talking to the media at the end of practice. (April 17, 2011) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

 As the NBA headed for a lockout, its teams were instructed to go on lockdown. Not only are players now forbidden to enter their own locker rooms at respective team training facilities around the league, the NBA told its teams they can not have any contact whatsoever with their players during the lockout.

The league then set a stunning precedent by clearing from its website just about every image and reference to all current players and each team website -- the sites are all linked together -- also wiped away all images and references to players.

For instance, on right now, you get a nice color action photo of David Stern. Talking.

[Yet I can still click on the and buy a Carmelo Anthony jersey for $79.99. Just earmark my purchase for the Robert Sarver Relief Fund. Thanks.]

The Knicks website welcomes you to "Knicks University," with an opening feature from John Starks. The Summer of 2010 was all about LeBron. The Summer of 2011 will be a history lesson, because that's all teams are allowed to reference. But if Johnny Rocket shows us how he dunked on Michael and Horace, and does it with a little smack talk, it's all good.

That feature on Carmelo's recent visit to the Garden transformation progress (the place is gutted) didn't last very long. But the NBA has made it clear to the teams: there will be hefty fines -- rumored to be as much as $1 million, or the net value of the New Orleans Hornets (whichever is greater) -- if teams break any of the rules the league laid out. No contact, no access, no references, no kidding. 

Even a re-tweet, according ESPN's Ric Bucher, could cost a team a mil. 

So it's probably not a good idea for @nyknicks to retweet Carmelo's "Prepare for war in the time of peace" tweet from Friday afternoon.

But just how deep does this embargo reach? Does Mike D'Antoni, while drawing up new plays, use "7" or "1" instead of "Melo" or "Amar'e"?

Is D'Antoni even allowed to watch film with the current players in it? Can he watch college film of his new rookies, Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson? Those guys are losing critical learning time in the summer, especially without the valuable NBA Summer League experience and the even more valuable two weeks in Las Vegas at the Wynn. (I can't believe it was only a year ago when I saw a towering blonde kid wandering the casino and said, "You Mozgov?" And he smiled and said, "Da!")

Perhaps NBA coaches can reach to the college roots and get "runners." Hey slick, get this DVD to that Shumpert kid. It's from the Celtics series; how NOT to guard Ray Allen. Tell him it's from "a friend of the program."

Forget about interviews. Team employees have been warned even the slightest mention of a current player or a remark about the lockout will get the million dollar yardstick. This will be the easiest July a Knicks front office executive has ever had, because interim GM Glen Grunwald doesn't have to deal with the New York media.

At least not yet, Glen. The second this lockout ends, your Blackberry is going to blow up like Shawn Kemp during the last lockout. [By the way, who is going to be this lockout's Kemp? Does anyone have Melo in their pool? Personally, I'm going to go with DeMarcus Cousins, though Baron Davis will definitely make it a competition].

Even MSG Network, owned by the same parent company (MSG Sports) as the Knicks, is refraining from engaging in any lockout-related talk out of extreme caution. All of you nostalgia fans will enjoy those Knicks Rewind episodes from the 1980s and early 1990s. It's actually not a total loss because I'm not sure anyone want to watch anything from the 2000s anyway.

Clearly the most devastating result of this lockout is the preemption of last summer's smash hit, Knicks Night Live. Sure, Al, Kelly and I could ruminate about hypothetical transactions the Knicks could make before we even know what the new salary cap system is going to be or how much money, if any, they will have to spend. But then what would I do with my Twitter account?

Actually, what will I do with the Fix?

And, come to think of it, this newspaper is owned by the same owner as the owner of the parent company of the Knicks....

Yikes, anyone have a million bucks I could borrow?


Tags: NBA , Knicks , Mike D'Antoni , Glen Grunwald , John Starks , Iman Shumpert , Carmelo Anthony , lockout

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