GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The coaching switch from Derek Fisher to Kurt Rambis might very well be the only big trade the Knicks pull off before this year’s deadline.
Though they aren’t privy to the inner workings of team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills, both Carmelo Anthony and Rambis said things have been very quiet in anticipation of Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Quiet enough that Anthony said he wouldn’t be surprised if things stay exactly as they are.
Of course, when you’re nine games under .500, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“If you didn’t hear nothing as of now, I doubt that we’re probably even doing something,” said Anthony, who added that players usually have a feeling when a trade is going down. “This game over the years has done some weird things and we still have until 3 p.m. tomorrow to try to figure some stuff out. I haven’t been hearing anything. The guys on the team seem like they haven’t been hearing anything.”
Coming into this week, the Knicks reportedly were open to parting with Jose Calderon, and their need for an upgrade at point guard was no secret. Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague’s name has been bandied about, as was Brandon Jennings, before the Detroit Pistons traded him to the Orlando Magic. The Knicks, however, don’t have too many chips to play with. Anthony has a no-trade clause — any trade involving him would be building for the future, anyway — and Jackson has said that Kristaps Porzingis is untouchable. Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson also have to agree to a trade in order to be moved.
“Those guys made a move that they believed that they needed,” Anthony said of the Magic and Charlotte Hornets. “You haven’t seen or heard of any blockbusters that’s happened or any sort of game changers that’s happened. The only thing I’m worried about is us at this moment and what we do here on out.”
But with the Magic amping up their backcourt and the Hornets improving with the acquisition of Courtney Lee from Memphis, it could very well be that the Knicks get left behind — and that their rapidly diminishing playoff hopes get left behind with them. There are only 27 games left in the season, and after their recent skid, the 23-32 Knicks would have to go 18-9 to finish at .500.
“I wanted them to know that I was approaching this like I’m getting this team ready to play,” Rambis said. “That’s it. This is the team that’s here.”
Trade talk, he added, is “for Steve and Phil. There hasn’t been a lot of activity from our end that I’m aware of and that’s for them to assess. If it comes up, I’m sure that they will address it with me and ask the opinion of the coaching staff and what they think, but nothing has come out.”
The Knicks should prepare themselves for the possibility that nothing will.
No vacation hideaway for KP. Kristaps Porzingis is feeling the burn — and not from any All-Star break suntan. After spending part of the break in a sunny island locale, a ghost-pale Porzingis learned that he’s not quite “a normal person anymore,” he said. “There were a lot of people that recognized me, but there were a lot of people that just wanted to take pictures because I’m tall, so I can’t really hide . . . I didn’t really have that much space. There was a lot of people from New York and I was taking a lot of pictures and whenever I walked out, there was a lot of autographs and pictures. I didn’t really get a chance to just relax just 100 percent.”
Porzingis, who stayed at a hotel with family, said he would have to amend his vacation plans in the future. Disguises, he said, are out of the question. “Cut off my legs,” he said, laughing.
“I was thinking I’m going to go there, I’m going to relax, nobody is going to bother me, everyone is on vacation, but no,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to have to deal with now for the rest of my life.”