By Ryan Chatelain
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This Knicks‘ season was a spectacle fit for reality television, if for no other reason than that no script writer on the planet is creative or twisted enough to have concocted a story line like it.
The twists and turns of the team’s last six months have made “Jersey Shore” look like “Leave it to Beaver.” There was sex, violence, a heist and a whole lot of delusion.
The closing credits on this bizarre campaign will mercifully run Tuesday night when the Knicks visit the Indiana Pacers.
When you look at all the strange incidents collectively, it seems unfathomable that all of them could happen to a single franchise in a single season. It makes you wonder if the Knicks, who last won a title 43 years ago, just might be cursed.
In hindsight, we probably should have seen this trainwreck of a season coming when their head coach was already the subject of salacious tabloid stories weeks before the team had played its first game. It’s not entirely clear what happened in Los Angeles in October, but we do know that some sort of altercation went down between Derek Fisher and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Matt Barnes as the Knicks coach was moving in on his former teammate’s estranged wife, who I should point out is literally a reality TV star.
This wasn’t the sort of triangle Phil Jackson had in mind.
Then around Christmas, a couple of Knicks found themselves playing the roles of unwilling Santa Clauses. Reserve forward Derrick Williams brought a couple of women home from a nightclub. The next day, he was out $750,000 in jewelry.
A week and a half later, forward Cleanthony Early was leaving a Queens strip club when he was robbed by masked men and shot in the knee. The robbers made off with some gold chains, some gold teeth caps and a couple of cellphones, a fairly paltry take. They obviously weren’t the smartest crooks because everyone knows a man leaving a strip club is more broke than MC Hammer.
On the court, the Knicks were actually playing OK for a while. They were 22-22, but then things started to unravel. As that was happening, Fisher began giving the press some of the most head-scratching quotes imaginable for an NBA head coach. He said the Knicks “don’t run plays.” He said the team lacked “readiness.” He said he wouldn’t be disappointed if the Knicks didn’t make the playoffs.
It almost seemed as if he was trying to get fired. And in early February, he was.
Not really. He was only a year and a half into a five-year, $25 million contract that the Knicks must still pay out, money he’s undoubtedly using, in part, to lavish Barnes’ ex.
Fisher wasn’t the only one saying odd things. In March, with the Knicks in third-to-last place in the Eastern Conference standings, Jackson, the team’s president, told reporters: “What I wanted to accomplish, I think we accomplished this year.”
A month earlier, the “Zen Master” took to Twitter to post a rambling statement on what he’s looking for in his next coach.
“The style of leadership that I’ve been put in a box with is: transformational as juxtaposed to transactional,” the statement read, in part.
Speaking of Twitter, interim coach Kurt Rambis briefly found himself in the center of a social media scandal when his account “liked” a pornographic tweet. He and the Knicks blamed it on hackers or spammers, but they never explained why the coach was following an account called “@GreatAssDaily.”
Meanwhile, the more that things spiraled out of control during the season, the more Carmelo Anthony’s frustration level appeared to red line. That hit its crescendo in March when he instructed a heckler to ask owner Jim Dolan for his money back.
On most professional sports teams, the brass tries to limit distractions. The Knicks, however, seem to be gunning for a Guinness record on a weekly basis.
While some of the peculiar incidents from this season might be chalked up to bad luck, the reality is that these types of things just don’t happen in places like Golden State and San Antonio.
This isn’t exactly a news flash, but the Knicks are a disgrace. The only thing that is surprising is the new and imaginative ways they exasperate their fans.
Not long after Fisher got canned, Dennis Rodman publicly declared his interest in coaching the Knicks. Practically everyone instantly dismissed it. Can you imagine the circus, they said.
But honestly, could it be any worse?
At least Rodman would bring reality TV experience.
Follow Ryan on Twitter at @RyanChatelain