Carmelo Anthony doesn't like being the butt of any jokes, but he said that's what the 3-13 Knicks are.
"We are the laughingstock of the league right now," Anthony said after practice Wednesday. "It's nothing to hide. We are. Do I like being laughed at? Hell no. I don't like that feeling."
The Knicks can start to change that Thursday night against the Nets in Brooklyn. But their struggles, and Anthony's remarks, should give Charles Barkley even more ammunition before the game that airs on TNT.
When the schedule came out, this was viewed as a game between two bitter rivals competing for the Atlantic Division title. In reality, the two teams are struggling to find their way, combining for an 8-26 record.
One already made a change on the bench and there is speculation Mike Woodson could be out of a job if the Nets extend the Knicks' losing streak to 10 games.
Former Knick and current Nets coach Jason Kidd, who took lead assistant Lawrence Frank off his bench and reassigned him on Tuesday, said, "Both teams stink." The Knicks agreed that they stink.
"We do," Anthony said. "He wasn't lying about that. We do. For us we've just got to figure it out and try to change it around ASAP."
J.R. Smith added, "Right now we do. I think everybody in this gym would agree. We just got to put it all together. Individually we have great talent. We just haven't put it on the floor yet."
At least the Knicks are in sync on some things -- and they're also still following Kidd's lead, even though he's not on the team anymore.
"We both do stink," Woodson said ESPN New York radio Wednesday. "We have stunk it up in the early part of the season."
Kidd was a leader on last year's Knicks and a major reason they won 54 games. Anthony and Smith have said the Knicks miss Kidd. It probably would be better for both teams if Kidd were still playing for the Knicks.
The Nets had a better offseason than the Knicks, made the splashier moves, including hiring Kidd and acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. It led to plenty of trash-talking in the summer. Smith said they still don't like each other, but that's secondary now.
"There's so much animosity between the two teams but our record, for the team we have, isn't really doing any justice," Smith said. "Right now we have to put the rivalry on hold and focus on each individual team as opposed to focusing on we don't like them and they don't like us.
"Right now we're both three wins, five wins, it's tough. It's tougher for us to look at it us versus them as opposed to just working on us."
The Knicks know they have to start winning and doing it consistently or it could cost Woodson his job. Snapping their skid Thursday night would be a big help.
Not many NBA coaches can survive a 10-game losing streak. But the players continue to come to Woodson's defense. An indication that the Knicks are still playing for him is that most of their games have been competitive -- the last two have been decided by a total of six points.
"To me if it was a sign of quitting, I don't think you would be in any game," Woodson said. "We have had some games where we have been right there and haven't been able to close it. No, I don't think our players are quitting. I still think they are trying to figure out how to get off this slide."
Smith's status. Smith was held out of practice because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. Woodson said he isn't sure if Smith will play against the Nets, but Smith said he expects to.