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SportsColumnistsAl Iannazzone

Knicks and NBA insider: Melo waited too long

Carmelo Anthony looks on late in the 2nd

Carmelo Anthony looks on late in the 2nd overtime against the Denver Nuggets. (Jan. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Melo waited a tad too long

The decision for Carmelo Anthony to sit and rest his wrist, ankle, thumb and ultimately his head was the right one. But the timing was wrong.

At the very least, Anthony should have made last Saturday's 10-for-30 performance against Denver his last game. Perhaps he should have skipped the first two games on this trip at Charlotte and Cleveland, then possibly returned Friday at Miami.

He would have had five days off. By sitting in Miami and Saturday in Houston, Anthony will have five days off before the Knicks play again.

Besides, the Knicks need him more in those two games than the former two.

Anthony, who has struggled physically and mentally, wanted to keep playing to help the Knicks win some games and he believed he would "turn the corner" and start making shots. But if the Knicks can't beat Charlotte without him -- which they essentially did since he scored a career-low one point -- then their troubles go way deeper than what everyone sees.

The Knicks battled against Miami but weren't winning the way they played. They're one of the league's worst-shooting teams, yet 16 of their first 24 makes were from three. The Knicks were going to stop hitting them and they did.

Maybe if Anthony took some time off before that game and came back sounder in body and mind, the Knicks could have beaten the Heat.

This was mostly Anthony's call, too. When he talked about taking time off, on at least two occasions he said "I" decided, then corrected himself and said "we."

No one is saying Anthony didn't need to take a break. He did, and does. He just should have done it sooner.


Phil Jax leaves door open

One former Knicks coach wants to return to the bench in the worst way and one potential future Knicks coach isn't entirely sure yet.

Phil Jackson has made some rounds lately and has been consistent with his message: He doesn't think he wants to coach again, but that doesn't mean he won't.

Of course, Jackson is leaving the door open. After how things ended for him with the Lakers, a Jackson-Clippers marriage would be interesting. They have star power with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but owner Donald Sterling would have to pay big money.

You can never rule out the Knicks if the job opens up. In an interview with The New York Times, Jackson said, "New York is special."

You can rule out Larry Brown, who was 23-59 in one season in New York. But he told Comcast SportsNet Chicago that he hopes he gets another NBA job.

"I want to get back badly," Brown said.


The Howard market

A recent ESPN report said the Magic inquired about Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in a possible deal for Dwight Howard. The Knicks would be crazy not to jump all over it, if it were true. Orlando probably can't absorb those contracts, though.

After this season, Stoudemire has three years and $67.2 million remaining and Chandler is owed $42.3 million in that same time. Although Stoudemire is from Orlando, it's unlikely the Magic would want his uninsured contract.

Chandler, who can't be moved until March 1, anyway, was asked about the report and said: "It comes with the territory. It's always going to be something that comes up."

Howard will be moved by the March 15 trade deadline because the Magic can't risk letting him walk as a free agent without getting something for their franchise player. They're going to wait for the right deal and hope the Lakers offer a package including Andrew Bynum.

Howard spouted off Saturday and questioned his teammates' desire. Howard is the one who asked for a trade. Someone should question his desire to the organization. Wait, it's known. He desires a one-way ticket out of Orlando.


Silas, Scott bullish on Davis

This Knicks trip has been like a Baron Davis reunion tour. It started in Charlotte, where Davis' career began and continued in Cleveland, where he played the end of last season.

Charlotte's Paul Silas -- Davis' first NBA coach -- and Byron Scott, who coached him in New Orleans and Cleveland, both said the Knicks could become a threat if he returns to form from his back injury.

"If he's healthy, they can be very dangerous, no doubt about it," Scott said.

Davis said he was happy he reunited with Scott because they mended their relationship. Davis and Silas remained on good terms.

"He's a very smart guy," Silas said. "You have to come at him straight. You can't come at him with a lot of nonsense -- he's not going to deal with it. If you come at him and have him understand what you want and it's what the team needs, he's all for it."


James sympathetic to Anthony

LeBron James and Anthony spent the lockout playing in basketball exhibitions and continue to talk every week. James said he was disappointed that Anthony didn't play Friday in Miami and for what he's gone through this season.

"As a brother to him, I feel for him," James said. "You hope things will turn around for him with the injuries, the wrist, the thumb, the ankle. You definitely don't want to see one of those injuries, and his team is struggling, as well, right now. But I think he'll figure it out. I think his team will figure it out."

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