Al Iannazzone joined Newsday in January 2012 as the Knicks’ beat writer, after covering the NBA for 11
Lost in some of the events, and lopsided losses, of the past week was Mike Woodson starting the frontline of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler last Monday against Dallas.
That frontcourt was supposed to be the nucleus that challenged the Big Three in Miami and Boston. Then it was disassembled. That Big Three never came close to living up to the hype or what the Knicks had hoped. But that's nothing new here.
Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler started 36 regular-season and four playoff games together during the 2011-12 season. Their record was 17-19 and 1-3. They didn't start another game together until last Monday, another loss.
Before this season, it turned out that playing Anthony at power forward worked better for the Knicks. In 2013-14, though, nothing has worked or gone right for them.
In a nine-day span, the Knicks blew two double-digit second-half leads, lost to Dallas at the buzzer on Dirk Nowitzki's jumper, saw Raymond Felton arrested on felony gun charges, got routed on national television on back-to-back nights, and had Anthony injure his shooting hand.
Now they're a season-worst 17 games below .500 and six games out of a playoff spot with 23 to play.
If they had it to do over again, they probably wouldn't have acquired Chandler and amnestied Chauncey Billups. They would have been in position to make a run at Chris Paul by amnestying Stoudemire, who despite his hard work continues to be half the player he once was because of a series of back and knee injuries.
No one questions the organization's desire to have a winning team or a championship contender, but little has gone as planned since the Knicks acquired Anthony in February 2011.
They had that enjoyable season a year ago, when Anthony was an MVP candidate and 54 wins earned them the Atlantic Division title and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. But they still ended up 10 wins shy of an NBA championship.
Today the Knicks are further from winning a title.
Anthony leads the league in minutes, and few stars have as much on their plate as he does this season. What does he have to show for it?
Last weekend, he said his optimism is "definitely being tested.'' After scoring 44 in the Dallas loss -- his second 44-point night in three games, both losses -- he said, "You kind of ask yourself, is it worth it?''
With free agency looming, surely this has to be on Anthony's mind.
He keeps saying winning is all that matters and that he'll take less if it helps the Knicks. But he must look with envy at what LeBron James has in Miami, what Kevin Durant has in Oklahoma City and what Paul has with the Clippers. They don't have to do everything for their teams to win.
After Thursday's loss in Miami, Anthony was asked how often he feels he has to do too much just to keep the Knicks in a game, and he said, "A lot. It's a lot.''
Anthony has to decide whether he wants what some of his contemporaries have -- and it sounds as if he does. If so, does he really believe he will have it with the Knicks?
Little they have tried has worked to this point. Anthony is well aware of that. He has to ask himself if he believes that will change. He probably already has asked that, and the Knicks might not want to know his answer.
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Jason Collins is a winning player
The Nets signed Jason Collins for basketball reasons, of course. They weren’t trying to make a statement by signing the first openly gay professional athlete. They were trying to win.
Coach Jason Kidd, one of the most unselfish players in NBA history, knows how selfless Collins is and how valuable he is. They played together for 6 1/2 seasons with the Nets and won four Atlantic Division titles.
Collins never was and never will be a big stats guy. But all of his former teammates loved playing with him because it was never about him. He never needed shots or touches.
Collins sets picks, blocks out and defends in the post. He grabs, pushes, shoves and flops, too -- all the things that don’t show up in the boxscore that lead to wins.
In the developmental stage
The Knicks will own and operate an expansion NBA Developmental League team in Westchester County starting next season. They'll play in White Plains and likely will practice at the Knicks' facility in Greenburgh.
Their "hybrid"’ affiliation with the Erie BayHawks -- the Knicks ran the basketball side while someone else owned the team -- will end after this season.