GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Anything can happen in the hours leading up to the NBA trade deadline, but the New York Knicks weren’t on the verge of making any major deals as of Wednesday evening, according to head coach Kurt Rambis.
“Anything that comes up, I’m sure [Phil Jackson and Steve Mills] will address it with me and ask the opinion of the coaching staff and what they think, but nothing’s come out,” Rambis said after Wednesday’s evening practice.
Carmelo Anthony echoed the same sentiment after the Knicks’ first practice following the All-Star break.
“If you don’t hear anything as of now, I doubt we’re probably even doing something. But you never know,” Anthony said. “This game over the years has done some weird things. We’ve still got to 3 p.m. [Thursday] to try to figure something out. I haven’t been hearing anything. The guys on the team, seems like they haven’t been hearing anything.”
Of course, it's unlikely that Rambis or Anthony would publicly divulge anything about potential trades on the eve of the deadline, so their comments should be taken in context.
The Knicks would like to upgrade the backcourt, according to sources, and will likely continue to pursue their options on that front Thursday.
The New York club made veteran point guard Jose Calderon and young forward Kyle O'Quinn available, according to the report by Stein and Windhorst, who wrote that the Knicks had been talking up Calderon’s leadership qualities to opposing teams and were offering the 25-year-old O'Quinn in some packages to "sweeten proposals."
Executives around the league believe the Knicks’ assets, or lack thereof, might prevent them from making a trade for Teague or another elite guard. One player who is off limits, according to Jackson, is Kristaps Porzingis.
"They know I want to be here," Porzingis said. "I want to be here for the rest of my career. So hopefully I'm not going anywhere anytime soon."
Rambis bold on playoffs: The coach reiterated that his “No. 1 goal” for the Knicks is to make the playoffs. He has imparted that message to the players on several occasions.
“That’s what we’re shooting for. That’s our goal,” Rambis said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s what I told the team. That’s our No. 1 goal. We have no other goal than making the playoffs. It’s going to take a lot of effort, focus and determination. We got to improve.
"Our defense and offense have taken a step back, and that has to be corrected. Every individual has to assess themselves and look at themselves, and we have to do a great job as a coaching staff to bring that competitiveness out of them to give ourselves a chance."
The Knicks enter the final two months of the season five games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
According to the ESPN playoff odds tracker, the Knicks have just a 0.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.
“It's going to be challenging, but we believe we can do it,” Anthony said. “We feel that we can do it. You look at 12 through 6, 7 in the East, 5 in the East, you’re not that far off. Even though we’re 12th, we’ve just got to put some games together, win some games, and we’ll be right there. But we’ve just got to do it. We can’t talk about it. We’ve got to do it.”