By Frank McLean
Thursday night the Washington Wizards hosted the New York Knicks for the NBA’s latest version of guaranteed win night which is what a team gets when they host the Knicks.
The Knicks didn’t disappoint as they lost 106-103 to drop their season record to 30-wins and 49-losses leaving them with only three more agonizing games left in their regular season schedule for their battered and bruised fans back in New York City.
If you remember back on December 22nd the Knicks were 16-13 and they looked like they were on their way to their goal of making a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
So what went wrong? How did the train fall of tracks?
Before Thursday’s night’s game the Wizards Brandon Jennings weighed in on what went wrong with the New York media saying that once the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors started from Phil Jackson in January it all fell apart.
Jennings started the season with the Knicks after signing a deal with the club in the offseason.
After playing just 58-games averaging 8.6-points a game he was waived by the Knicks on February 27th and then signed with the Wizards on March first for the remainder of the season.
Anthony as we all know has a no trade clause in his contract and it’s known that Jackson was actively trying to move Anthony before the trade deadline. Jennings said that it definitely was bothering Anthony.
“It definitely took a toll, I think, on the team. Because it wasn’t even about basketball anymore, it was more about what was going on with Melo,” Jennings said. It was one of the wildest situations he has been in during his eight seasons in the league.
Jennings added that it was “cool” playing with Anthony, but went on to say that Anthony had “a lot of pressure on him dealing with stuff with Phil.” Jennings went on to say that it just wasn’t fair what Anthony had to go through.
“I think it was just a roller coaster, an emotional roller coaster for him this year with everything he had to deal with, which isn’t fair,” he said. “For a player to wake up every day and you’re hearing trade rumors and you might be gone and this and that. It was like a two-week span where everybody was hitting your phone about Melo leaving.”
Jennings has a point. The Knicks were in Toronto playing the Raptors in January just a couple of days after the first Anthony to be traded out of New York started when a story came out attributed from a former Jackson colleague that Anthony has to go because he can’t play the triangle offense.
By the time the Knicks came back to Toronto in March you could see that the rumors had taken their toll in the locker room and on the court.
Other factors have to be considered too. The roster mix just didn’t fit, they couldn’t play a simple defense and the fact they couldn’t or wouldn’t play the triangle.
But Jennings hit it on the head that once the Anthony trade rumors started that pretty well killed their season.
Of course the rumors won’t go away as speculation has it that the Knicks will pursue a trade in the offseason and Anthony has hinted he may agree to one. Meanwhile things have worked out well for Jennings.
When he was waived by the Knicks it was a mutual parting of the ways by both parties.
“I’m on my contract year so I didn’t want to go home in April,” Jennings said about the matter. “I have a chance to go to the playoffs, so I’m really excited about that.”
Who wouldn’t be excited (to leave the Knicks this season)?