Carmelo Anthony 'surprised' by New York Knicks' coaching change

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 9, 2016 at 8:06 PM
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NEW YORK -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said Tuesday he and the rest of his teammates were surprised by team president Phil Jackson's decision to fire coach Derek Fisher on Monday morning and replace him with assistant Kurt Rambis.

Speaking roughly 90 minutes before the opening tip against the Washington Wizards, Anthony professed respect for his third coach with the Knicks while reiterating he was stunned at the news.

"We was all surprised," Anthony said. "This was something that I don't really know if it was a quick decision or was lingering. I'm not going to try to figure that part out but everybody found out as far as players around the same time yesterday morning. "

The move was made by Jackson after 96 games for Fisher, who went straight from ending his playing career with the Oklahoma City Thunder to becoming a coach. The Knicks dropped 27 of their first 32 games before Jackson decided to trade Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January 2015.

After finishing with a franchise-low 17 wins last season, the Knicks were among the most improved teams through the halfway point. Then New York began a tailspin of nine losses in 10 games, culminating in Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets.

"It's tough," Anthony said. "When I wrap my brain around it and put everything into perspective, it's hard with how many coaches I've been through, how many players, how many different teammates. You just try to find some kind of consistency. The business of basketball is a tough business."

Rambis became the ninth different coach for the Knicks since Jeff Van Gundy suddenly resigned 19 games into the 2001-02 season, one year after Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing was traded. Since trading Ewing, the Knicks have had four winning seasons and played 30 playoff games.

The word playoffs became the source of frustration for Knicks' fans when Fisher said last week "he wouldn't be disappointed if the Knicks missed the playoffs."

Rambis said he told the team they had to figure out a way to reach the playoffs and Anthony said his new coach was "spot on."

"That should be our goal as a team," Anthony said. "It was our goal and it should be our goal now."

The latest change also prompted questions about Anthony seeking an exit from New York. Jackson said Monday he would not deal Anthony, who has a no-trade clause in his five-year contract signed before last season and the 31-year-old said he trusts Jackson and is committed to the Knicks.

"I've been through worse," Anthony said. "At this point, you become kind of immune to all of the (stuff) that goes on and the politics."

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