SAN ANTONIO - The Knicks had a players-only meeting last weekend to air their concerns about the way 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 worst start in franchise history has led to some expected frustration. According to ESPN.com, Anthony is at the center of some discord on and off the court for the Knicks, who took a 4-19 record and a nine-game losing streak into Wednesday night's game against the defending champion 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 went on to say the players are not 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 that they have a strained relationship. Anthony said the Knicks 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 against the Spurs because of a sore left knee. "We laugh and we joke and we're around each other all day long.
"Whoever the sources are, I don't like to deal with anonymous sources. I'll try to get to the bottom of it so I can diffuse 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 diffuse that because we don't need that right now, especially when we're losing basketball games."
Anthony said the Knicks were at a team brunch Wednesday 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 was being said, none of that came out and about in that meeting," Anthony said. "Everybody had the platform to kind of speak their piece on what they felt about what's going on and how they can better the situation, but it wasn't no pointing fingers or anything like that or solely pointing me out to be the blame for what's going on.
"I accept that. I accepted a lot of things in my career, a lot of things in my life. I accept it now. We need somebody to step up and accept that. I don't have a problem taking that blame."
Amar'e Stoudemire said the purpose of the meeting was to make sure the Knicks were "on the same page," and said the notion that Anthony is shooting too much "wasn't a part of the discussion."
Hardaway said he considers Anthony "a mentor" and that the on-court confrontation is in the past.
"We're a family and we've moved on," Hardaway 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 clearly have some mending and fixing to do.
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 implementing the triangle.
Jackson hired Fisher after Steve Kerr spurned the Knicks for Golden State. Kerr isn't running the triangle offense 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 do 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,'' Fisher 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.''