NEW YORK -- The consensus is that when Jeremy Lin turned the sports world on its head, he also may have saved coach Mike D’Antoni’s job in the process.
Even though New Orleans halted the Knicks' seven-game winning streak on Friday, 89-85, the Knicks at least have a bonafide point guard in Lin, two prolific scorers, and have now added another scoring threat in J.R. Smith. The conversation has moved away from D’Antoni’s job status to the Knicks' chances to contend for an NBA championship.
“Mike and I have been working together, along with our staffs, to get this team where it needs to be,” interim GM Glen Grunwald said. “I know expectations were high and we had high expectations too. So Mike and I are focused on trying to get this situation as good as it can be, so we can have the best team that we can have and that’s all we’ve been worried about so far.”
On paper, the Knicks appear to have one of the deepest rosters in the league and will have an infusion coming. In addition to Smith, Carmelo Anthony is expected to return from a strained groin Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. D’Antoni also said the team will make a decision next week on whether Baron Davis can finally join the team. Josh Harrellson could also rejoin the rotation in early March. He was expected to miss six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery Jan. 24.
The Knicks cut Renaldo Balkman to make room for Smith, but Grunwald said he doesn’t anticipate any more roster moves before the trade deadline March 15.
“As a GM, you’re always looking to improve the team but I don’t foresee any further changes at this time,” Grunwald said before the game Friday. “We’ll see how it all plays out but we’re hopeful that this group will come together and play basketball and hopefully exceed expectations that were set for them at the beginning of the year.”
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