Al Iannazzone Newsday Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone.

Al Iannazzone joined Newsday in January 2012 as the Knicks’ beat writer, after covering the NBA for 11 years for The Record. Al covered the Knicks and Nets in that time, and also reported on the U.S. Open tennis tournament and other major sporting events. Al appeared regularly on the YES Network’s Nets pregame show from 2005-2011.

Follow him on Twitter @Al_Iannazzone.
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Derrick Rose loves New York, wants to re-sign with the Knicks, and they’ve been happy with his play thus far. But it’s too early to start talking about an extension for Rose.

This isn’t because of a lower back issue that has kept Rose out of the last two games. It’s because of Rose’s overall injury history.

He’s a former MVP and Rookie of the Year, but he’s only played in 21 games as a Knick. Rose has to prove he can stay healthy and play with the same explosiveness as the season wears on.

That’s always been what this year is about for Rose, who can become a free agent in July. He’s a special talent and has done things at the point guard position that hasn’t been done by a Knick in decades. But they can’t overlook that he’s missed 228 games over the previous five seasons.

Rose gets that, and he isn’t concerned about when he gets paid. He just wants to play and help the Knicks get to the playoffs.

“My job right now is to just go out here and play as hard as I can to win these games,” Rose said. “It’s the only thing I care about. Just going through my injuries, being 28 and knowing who I am and knowing what I want and achieving my goals, that’s the only thing I worry about.

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“Who wouldn’t want to play in New York for the rest of their career? But time will tell.

Rose is not thinking about his contract. He’s just been asked about it lately because the Knicks had been winning, he’s played well, and his contract is nearly up. The two sides haven’t spoken, and Rose said he would have no problem if the Knicks waited until then to begin talks.

“It’s cool,” Rose said. “It’s no bad blood if they were to wait until after the year, it wouldn’t matter to me. I’m not worried about money. Whatever they decide to do it’s in their hands.”

With the salary cap rising this summer, he would make more if he waits until free agency rather signing an extension by June 30. A number of point guards, including Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, will be free agents this summer. So the Knicks could have options, and you can’t blame them if they explore them.

Ex-Bull B.J. Armstrong, who played for Phil Jackson, said on SiriusXM NBA Radio that there’s “a good possibility” Rose remains with the Knicks. In the same interview Armstrong said, “let’s just see how it plays out at the end of the season.”

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Armstrong is exactly right. Rose’s focus, as it should be, is getting healthy and helping the Knicks get to the playoffs. If he does those things, he’ll get paid, whether it’s by the Knicks or another team.


Carmelo Anthony’s reaction to Golden State’s Klay Thompson scoring 60 points in less than three quarters Monday against Indiana: “Unbelievable. Unbelievable”

Anthony scored a Madison Square Garden record 62 points against Charlotte in 2014, but he said it didn’t come as easily as it seemed for Thompson, even if their stat lines were similar.

Thompson shot 21-for-33 overall, 8-for-14 on threes and made 10 of 11 free throws. Anthony was 23-for-35, 6-for-11, and 10-for-11. Thompson played nine fewer minutes — 29:03.

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It was the most points scored by someone who played less than 30 minutes. Larry Bird is next with 43.

More impressive stats: Thompson had 46 touches, dribbled 11 times and had the ball just 1.5 seconds per touch.

“He should’ve had 80,” his teammate Kevin Durant said. “We talked about it on the bench. He said he should’ve had 70. I said you could’ve had 80-plus.”

The Warriors on the bench loved it. Steph Curry jumped up and down like a little kid when Thompson got the ball, and got so excited he ran for the tunnel after one of his makes.

“I wish I was part of that,” Anthony said. “I probably would have ran in the tunnel too.”

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The debate that waged afterward was whether Thompson should have stayed in the game. Coach Steve Kerr made the right decision to pull him. It was a blowout. No need to humiliate the Pacers or risk injury.

After winning a record 73 games last season and losing in the NBA Finals, the Warriors’ only goal is winning a championship — as it should be.


The Cavaliers already were embarrassing the Knicks Wednesday night and then LeBron James and a few teammates embarrassed themselves.

James, Kyrie Irving and other Cavs flipped water bottles on the bench in the fourth quarter while the game was being played. The best player and the reigning champs ought to show some dignity. Neither did.

“Oh man, it’s just a social media craze,” Irving said. “The water bottle is just like, if you land it, you are just like a legend.”

It’s all in good fun, but the timing was poor and it was disappointing to see, especially from James.

He tries to hold himself to a different standard and talks about how much respect he has for the game and the league. But he totally disrespected the game, the league and the Knicks Wednesday.


* LeBron James believes Russell Westbrook (30.9 points, 11.3 assists, 10.8 rebounds) could average a triple-double for the season. “He’s capable of doing it and he’s showing it. He’s like the Energizer Bunny.”

* Things have been so bad for Dallas that in two different games coach Rick Carlisle called timeouts in the fourth quarter to stop other teams’ runs or get on his players — and he had no timeouts left. Automatic technical fouls. One of the games was against the Knicks.

* Before the Warriors buried the Clippers Wednesday, beating L.A. for the seventh straight time, Doc Rivers tried to put an end to the ‘super team’ talk: “They’ve only won one title, by the way.”