SAN ANTONIO - The Knicks held a players-only meeting last weekend to air concerns about how they're playing and to try to figure out how to turn things around. Carmelo Anthony said they may need to have another one to figure out who is airing some internal matters.
The frustration from the worst start in franchise history is at an all-time high, and everything that happened Wednesday couldn't have helped matters.
According to ESPN.com, Anthony is at the center of some discord on and off the court for the Knicks, who dropped their 10th straight game Wednesday night and became the first team with 20 losses after falling, 109-95, to the Spurs.
The story, citing anonymous sources, said Anthony threatened to fight Tim Hardaway Jr. during a game last week, and that several Knicks let Anthony know they don't think he's playing team basketball or trying hard defensively.
The report also claimed the players aren't happy with Derek Fisher's insistence on running the triangle offense and holding full practices the day after games.
Neither Anthony nor Hardaway Jr. denied that something happened in "the heat of the battle,'' but refuted they have a strained relationship. Anthony said the Knicks (4-20) are committed to the triangle, and what was said in the meeting will stay in-house. But he said none of his teammates said anything about how he's playing.
"If somebody feels like I need to take less shots . . . I'm with these guys every day,'' Anthony said before sitting out the game because of a sore left knee. "We laugh and we joke and we're around each other all day long.
"I don't like to deal with anonymous sources. I'll try to get to the bottom of it so I can defuse that or sit down and talk to my team as a team. Maybe have another meeting if it is somebody in here that's putting the stuff out there, we need to figure that out and defuse that because we don't need that right now, especially when we're losing games.''
Indeed, the Knicks have enough problems. The last time they lost 10 straight was 2005-06 under Larry Brown. They were missing Anthony and J.R. Smith, but the Spurs were without their four best players -- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard -- and led by 25 in the second half. Seven Spurs scored in double figures.
Anthony said the Knicks were at a team brunch when he heard what was being reported. He disputed it, yet said he would take it on his shoulders.
"The things that I'm hearing that were being said, none of that came out and about in that meeting,'' Anthony said. "Everybody had the platform to speak their piece on what they felt about what's going on and how they can better the situation, but it wasn't pointing fingers or anything like that or solely pointing me out to be the blame for what's going on. I accept that.
"We need somebody to step up and accept that. I don't have a problem taking that blame.''
Amar'e Stoudemire said the meeting was to make sure the Knicks were "on the same page'' and Anthony shooting too much "wasn't a part of the discussion.''
Hardaway Jr. said he considers Anthony "a mentor'' and that their confrontation is in the past.
"We're a family and we've moved on,'' he said. "It happened last week, a week ago, so I don't know why it's out right now. It's in the past and we've moved forward.''
But the Knicks are stuck in the mud. Mike Woodson, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler and Beno Udrih were among the fall guys for last year's disappointing season. They're all gone and the Knicks are in worse shape.
Team president Phil Jackson said Monday that there's been "some resistance to discipline and order and culture change.'' He could have been referring to the Knicks' feelings about the triangle, which hasn't been as effective as he or Fisher hoped.
Jackson hired Fisher after Steve Kerr spurned the Knicks for Golden State. He's not using the triangle and the Warriors are an NBA-best 18-2 with a far better roster than the Knicks have.
"We're all committed to the triangle and to this system,'' Anthony said. "We do have times when we get frustrated. But are we committed as a team to doing what's right by it? We are committed. We said it from day one.''
Fisher said he isn't concerned.
"I don't know if it's a lack of belief in the triangle per se, I think too much has been made of the triangle anyway,'' he said.
"I don't think it's about the triangle offense per se, or even a lack of commitment to winning. Guys want to win. You don't make it to the NBA without wanting to win. It's how you do it together, though, and that's what we're learning as a group.''