GREENBURGH, N.Y. (WFAN/AP) — Carmelo Anthony insists he isn’t selfish and certainly not a guy who gets coaches replaced.
“Of course that bothers me, because I never want that label on me,” Anthony said Thursday.
Anthony said his only problem with former head coach Mike D’Antoni was on the court. He tried to play the way his coach wanted, even though it was uncomfortable for him and ultimately unsuccessful.
“It wasn’t working,” Anthony said. “I mean, we lost games, and when you lose games and people say it’s not working, of course they come, the blame is on me.”
Now Anthony gets a chance to get it right, with a new coach and the same teammates.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan believes in his underachieving roster that’s tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and when it became obvious the Knicks needed a change, D’Antoni chose to resign.
So as expected, the Knicks were silent before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
“Mr. Dolan was perfectly clear in his message that no one is going anywhere. We need to give this team a chance to succeed and that’s what we’re going to do,” Amare Stoudemire said.
Dolan repeated that message at a news conference Wednesday to announce D’Antoni’s departure, so none of the stars were worried about a move, even though all of their names have been linked to rumors at some point.
“I wasn’t planning on going nowhere, so we didn’t have no plans on making any trades,” Anthony said. “This is the team that we have, this is the team that we’re going to stick with.”
Interim coach Mike Woodson ran his first practice Thursday, putting in some new offensive sets that Anthony may prefer.
Anthony and Stoudemire were having perhaps the worst seasons of their careers, but both played well Wednesday in a 121-79 rout of Portland and should get plenty of chances to pick it up under Woodson — who’s known better as a defensive mind — over the remaining 23 games.
“I just think he’s just going to utilize his leading scorers,” Stoudemire said. “With myself and Carmelo, he’s going to utilize us to make sure that we take advantage of our every opportunity out there on the court. We’ve been profound scorers all our career, so we’re going to make sure we take advantage of it.”
Yet it’s a risk to move away from an offense that so many other players were comfortable in with so little time left. Jeremy Lin became a star, and players such as Tyson Chandler, Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries were all flourishing in February while Anthony was out.
“It’s going to be a different style, a different rhythm, but we still need to figure it out because we don’t all have it figured out just yet right now,” Lin said.
Despite playing in it for three years with the U.S. national team, Anthony had become the rare player whose numbers didn’t improve playing in D’Antoni’s wide-open offensive system. He said D’Antoni had come to him while he was injured and Lin had taken control of the team, asking him to make sacrifices when he returned so the offense wouldn’t lose its rhythm.
Anthony said he agreed and never thought of doing otherwise.
“I’m not a ‘do what I do’ type of guy,” Anthony said. “Me and Coach never had that problem where I come out and say I’m going to do what I do and he’s going to do what he do. I always went to him and asked him what can I do to help the situation and vice versa.”
Anthony said his communication was always good with D’Antoni, yet he still doesn’t know why the coach decided to resign Wednesday. Though some players were in contact with D’Antoni on Wednesday afternoon, Anthony still hadn’t reached out to him by the end of Thursday’s practice.
So Anthony doesn’t know why D’Antoni might have felt he lost support in the locker room, nor does he understand why the coach thought he couldn’t get the best out of him.
“I think it’s false,” Anthony said. “Me and Mike talked constantly about just trying to find out different ways, and what I can do and what we can do as a team.”
The one thing Anthony does realize is that he’s been targeted for blame for everything from messing up the offense to messing with Linsanity. He’s aware of it and says it bothers him, but said he is focused only one winning games.
“If I’m the one that messed coach Mike’s system up, you all want to blame me, I’ll take it,” Anthony said, “along with everything else.”
What do you make of Anthony and Stoudemire’s comments? Share your thoughts in the comments section…
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