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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Phil Jackson criticizes Knicks on Twitter after latest loss 02.23.15 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Suns, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Raptors at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Louisville at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Delaware State at Norfolk State, 7 pm. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Xavier at St. John’s, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Kansas at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Alabama State at Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Red Wings at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Beanpot championship. Boston University vs. Northeastern, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)


— Knicks fans who were hoping team president Phil Jackson would rescue the franchise got another dose of reality (and humility) Sunday, as former Knicks J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert helped the Cavaliers roll to a 101-83 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Jackson, whose team is a league-worst 10-45 as it prepares for a Wednesday night game against the Celtics in Boston, tweeted his disapproval.

Wrote Jackson: Each NBA game is an opportunity for players to show their “best” nature and please the basketball gods…and those who know “it” takes. Today’s game vs Cavs gave bb gods heartburn an those that know what “it” takes/means a smh.

The Knicks now are 0-15 when playing without Carmelo Anthony, who underwent season-ending knee surgery last week.

Sunday’s game was never in doubt, as the red-hot Cavaliers led 62-38 at the half en route to their 16th win in 18 games. New York has lost seven straight and doesn’t have much reason for hope.

“It’s the same thing occurring over and over. It’s nothing new,” Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “We need a better start to games, point blank.”

— North Korea has never been known as a haven for tourists, but one of the few events that has appealed to foreigners is the Pyongyang marathon in April. However, authorities are banning foreign runners this year due to concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus.

The country tightened its restrictions in October, suggesting Ebola is a biological weapon created by the U.S. military. Any foreigners allowed in the country have been subjected to a 21-day quarantine.

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Read More: Eddie Shore, Phil Jackson, Pyongyang marathon,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Former NFL QB Jeff Blake says ‘every team’ deflates footballs 01.29.15 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Canadiens at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Ducks at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Nuggets at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Bulls at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Dayton at UMass, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Maryland at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UConn at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kentucky at Missouri, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Murray State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colorado at USC, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Utah at UCLA, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: San Francisco at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 3:30 a.m. (ESPN)


— A former Jets quarterback has come to the Patriots’ defense — sort of — claiming deflating footballs is such a common practice that “every team does it, every game.”

Jeff Blake, who started his career with the Jets in 1992 and went on to play for the Bengals, Saints, Ravens and Bears before retiring after the 2005 season, made his claim during a radio interview Wednesday with Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone.

“I’m just going to let the cat out of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played,” said Blake, who made the Pro Bowl as a Bengal in 1995. ” ‘Cause when you take the balls out of the bag, they are rock hard. And you can’t feel the ball as well. It’s too hard.

“Everybody puts the pin in and takes just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it’s not the point to where it’s flat. So I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not something that’s not been done for 20 years.”

Blake said he used to order ball boys to let the air out of his footballs just before games throughout his time in the NFL.

“Well, I would say [to a ball boy], ‘Take a little bit of air out of it. It’s a little bit hard.’ ” Blake said. “And then he’d take a little bit out and I’d squeeze it and I’d be like, ‘OK, it’s perfect.’ That’s it.”

Added Blake: “I guess it wasn’t a big deal back then, but it is now.”

— While we’re on the topic of Deflategate, apparently the practice is not limited to football.

Knicks president Phil Jackson admitted in a 1986 Chicago Tribune article that his Knicks championship teams of the early 1970s used to deaden the basketballs in order to compensate for New York’s lack of height.

Jackson claimed it helped the team’s rebounding.

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Read More: Deflategate, Jeff Blake, Phil Jackson, Ronaldo
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson endorses tanking, ‘I hope the Lakers lose every game’ 12.10.14 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Hornets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pelicans at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Columbia at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Utah at BYU 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington State at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Roma, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Magic Johnson, who helped build the Lakers into a dynasty, threw his support behind his old team to tank the season.

The Hall of Famer, speaking at an event in New York City, encouraged his club to lose for the sake of getting a high draft pick.

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” he said. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious.”

The Lakers, who improved to 6-16 with Tuesday night’s win over the Kings, are coming off the worst season in modern franchise history in 2013-14 when they went 27-55. That netted them the seventh overall draft pick, which they used on Julius Randle.

“If you’re going to lose, you have to lose because you can’t be in the middle of the pack,” Johnson said. “You either have to be great or you have to be bad to get a good pick. … I’d rather be all the way bad than be in the middle.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott, who played alongside Johnson in the 1980s, dismissed the comment.

“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something that you want to do,” Scott said. “We’ve got to go out here and win every game possible. I mean, if you lose games, that’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there that it’s going back to that losing mentality. We don’t we want to create that here.”

Dennis Rodman can’t understand the Knicks’ struggles learning the triangle offense that Phil Jackson brought to New York.

Rodman, who played for Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers, explained at an event in New York City: “I learned that in probably 15 minutes when I was in Chicago. It’s not that difficult. It’s a triangle.

“Everybody has an opportunity to touch the ball and shoot it. It seems like it goes back to Carmelo Anthony and then everything stops. What are you going to do?”

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Read More: byron scott, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Magic Johnson
Phil Jackson: ‘[Knicks] not ready for primetime’ following 24-point loss 10.30.14 at 9:21 am ET
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The Knicks did not get off to a good start to the season, falling 104-80 to the Bulls Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Knicks president Phil Jackson wasn’t impressed with the performance.

“Not ready for showtime, were we guys?” Jackson told reporters after the game before getting into his SUV.

The 24-point spread wasn’t indicative of just how bad the game was for the Knicks as they trailed by 35 points at one point in the second half. This is Jackson’s first full season as Knicks president.

“I can’t say how long it’s going to take,” Jackson said when asked how long it would take for the Knicks to be competitive this season.

He did add he expected the team to struggle in its season-opener: “Sure did,” he said.

Jackson was hired last March and is looking to turn the Knicks around after they did not make the playoffs last year, finishing with a 37-45 record.

Read More: New York Knicks, Phil Jackson,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Giants WR Victor Cruz suffers serious knee injury in team’s embarrassing loss 10.13.14 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Avalanche at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB playoffs: Orioles at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: 49ers at Rams, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Iceland vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— An embarrassing night for the Giants got even worse when wide receiver Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while trying catch a pass in the third quarter of a 27-0 loss to the Eagles. And then it became even more embarrassing for a Philadelphia sports radio host.

Cruz, the former UMass star who became a 2012 Pro Bowler, cried as he was carted off the field with what is expected to be a season-ending injury.

“Huge loss,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “It wasn’t a good situation, a grim scene.”

Said Giants safety Antrel Rolle: “You just wish him the best. He’s a fighter.”

Cruz was attempting to catch a pass in the end zone when he went down.

“Something wasn’t good,” fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “He was in a lot of pain. As hard as it was, you have to go on and move on to the next play. ‘€¦ It was heart wrenching. Not much needs to be said. ‘€¦ It’s Victor Cruz, period.”

Following Cruz’s injury, controversial Philadelphia sports talk radio host Mike Missanelli sent out a classless tweet that read: Hey Giants fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.

After immediate criticism from both New York and Philadelphia, Missanelli deleted the tweet and tried to claim he only was referring to Cruz failing to catch the pass.

Tweeted Missanelli: I apologize for the Cruz tweet. I didn’t see that he got hurt on play. Was outside the stadium and saw [on the big screen outside] he dropped it walking to my car. ‘€¦ I would never have tweeted that had I known he got injured. Please know that.

— Actor and director Spike Lee, known for his allegiance to the Knicks via his frequent appearances in his courtside seat, apparently has not made a good impression on Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Lee announced that he plans to make a documentary about the triangle offense, which Jackson used when he won 11 championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Asked about Lee, Jackson said: “Spike is an avid Knicks fan who doesn’t know anything about basketball.”

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Read More: Chandler Parsons, Mike Missanelli, Phil Jackson, Rick Carlisle
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony ‘a New York Knick at heart,’ puts faith in Phil Jackson 07.14.14 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)


Carmelo Anthony made his return to the Knicks official Sunday, signing a five-year deal reportedly worth more than $120 million.

Anthony, a nine-time All-Star who averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season — his third full season with the Knicks after being traded from the Nuggets — announced his decision on his website Sunday morning.

Wrote Anthony: A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.

In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.

The 30-year-old passed on the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers and Mavericks for an attempt to build a winner with new Knicks president Phil Jackson.

MASHUP POLL: Now that the major free agents have signed, who will win the Eastern Conference next season?

  • Cavaliers (32%, 31 Votes)
  • Bulls (29%, 28 Votes)
  • Pacers (21%, 20 Votes)
  • None of the above (11%, 11 Votes)
  • Wizards (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Raptors (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Nets (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Knicks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Heat (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

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“We’€™re glad that Carmelo has seen that we have the vision, trusted us with what we anticipate,” Jackson said. “He plied and impressed upon us his desire to win, to be on a competitive team.

“Our message to him was we are going to be a competitive team. It may not be instantaneous. He may not just be able to drop in and win a championship. It’€™s going to be something that we’€™re goal-oriented, and that’€™s the direction we’€™re going. We’€™re really happy he came through and agreed to ply his talents with us.”

Anthony agreed to structure his deal in a way that gives the team more financial flexibility in one year, when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani expire and the team will be able to make a splash in free agency.

“Carmelo did exactly what we kind of asked him to do, give us a break in the early part of his contract,” Jackson said. “So when we have some wiggle room, which will be hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it and provide a more competitive team for our group.”

— When Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith had a run-in with police late Saturday night at a bar in Towson, Md., he became the fifth player on his team to be arrested this offseason.

According to Baltimore County police, Smith was helping an intoxicated woman in the bathroom of the bar when medics arrived to help. Smith repeatedly refused an officer’s order to leave the bathroom. He was arrested and given a criminal citation.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Thorpe, Jimmy Smith, Phil Jackson
Report: Carmelo Anthony opts out of Knicks contract to test free agency 06.23.14 at 10:06 am ET
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Knicks forward and Brooklyn native Carmelo Anthony has been the epicenter of New York basketball for 3 1/2 years, but that may not last for much longer.

Two sources told The Associated Press Sunday that the seven-time All-Star filed the paperwork Friday to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks so that he can test free agency.

While Knicks president Phil Jackson told Anthony after the season that it likely would be in his best interest to play out his final year in New York, earning him $23.3 million, Anthony reportedly told Jackson, Knicks general manager Steve Mills and new coach Derek Fisher during a recent meeting in Los Angeles that he was indeed going forward with his plans to opt out.

The Bulls, Rockets and Heat are expected to be major players for Anthony, who is eligible to negotiate with teams on July 1.

While the Knicks can offer $20 million more than any other team, Anthony said that he would be willing to take less money if it means that he can play with a championship contender.

Anthony missed the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year NBA career this past season, as the Knicks went 37-45 — good for third place in the Atlantic Division. While New York has talented players in Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway, Jr., the team does not have much wiggle room to improve the team, as the Knicks are already facing salary cap issues due to the albatross contracts of Amar’€™e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Derek Fisher, Knicks, Phil Jackson
New Knicks coach Derek Fisher: Focused on ‘bringing a championship back to New York’ 06.10.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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It’s official: Derek Fisher is the new coach of the Knicks.

The 18-year NBA veteran was introduced as the 26th head coach in team history Tuesday at a news conference at the team’s training facility. The hiring reunites Fisher with Knicks president Phil Jackson, who coached Fisher while with the Lakers.

The pair won five championships together in Los Angeles. Now they hope to bring that same magic to a New York franchise that hasn’t won a title in 41 years.

“I’m excited to embark on the next phase of my basketball career and look forward to coaching a Knicks team that fans can be proud of,” the 39-year-old Fisher said in a statement Tuesday morning. “It’s an honor to work alongside Phil Jackson, who is both a legend and friend, as we strive together to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship back to New York.”

Jackson expects he and Fisher to work just as well together as they did with the Lakers.

“Today marks the next step of this journey for the New York Knicks franchise as we name Derek to lead the team as its head coach,” Jackson said. “Our relationship began 15 years ago, and over time, it has come clear to me that he and I can form a great partnership once again.”

The terms of Fisher’s deal were not announced. Yahoo! Sports reported the contract was worth $25 million over five years.

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Read More: Derek Fisher, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Dan Marino files concussion suit against NFL 06.03.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (WGN)
College softball: World Series, Alabama vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Atlanta Dream, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 8 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is one of 14 former NFL players who filed a lawsuit last week against the league over concussions.

That ups the total to 41 Hall of Famers (or their estates) among about 5,000 former players who have filed suits against the league.

Marino, 52, did not submit specific information about symptoms he is having, but the complaint indicated that he “sustained repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts during NFL games and/or practices.”

Marino was not talking about the suit Monday, but he did share some comments about close friend Jim Kelly, whom Marino visited Sunday in the hospital where Kelly was wrapping up chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer. Marino and Kelly are both Western Pennsylvania natives who were in the highly regarded 1983 draft.

“It’s hard to even understand what he’s going through,” Marino told reporters before playing in Kelly’s charity golf tournament in Batavia, N.Y. “Jim is a dear friend. You just wish the best for him.

“He’s a tough guy, you know? He’s at a point in his life that — he’s won a lot of football games and whatever — he’s in the fight for his life. He’ll win.”

— Thunder guard Derek Fisher, who said one day after Saturday’s season-ending loss to the Spurs that he has to decide if he will retire, reportedly will meet with Knicks president Phil Jackson this week about New York’s coaching vacancy.

Fisher, 39, acknowledged Sunday that he sees coaching in his future, saying: “In the last maybe decade or so, I’ve really felt that my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people. Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people’s lives.”

Jackson, who was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering — expressing interest in Fisher while he was under contract with Oklahoma City — reportedly is interested in hiring a young coach he can mentor. He said last week that he had a verbal commitment from Steve Kerr before the Warriors stepped in and hired the TNT analyst. Both Fisher and Kerr won championships playing under Jackson.

Lance Stephenson made more news with his curious behavior than his play in the Pacers’ series loss to the Heat, but team president Larry Bird said the free agent guard would be welcome back.

Stephenson made news for first talking trash to and about LeBron James, and then blowing in James’ ear during Indiana’s Game 5 win. Bird made it clear he did not approve of Stephenson’s antics, but he sees the potential in the 23-year-old who was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Cincinnati.

“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird said. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

Added Bird: “When it comes down to it, it’s up to him. [Once he matures] his game is unlimited.”

Bird said Stephenson’s behavior is not what he wants to see from his players.

“I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot, and after the game everyone was talking about all the nonsense,” Bird said. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 3, 1952, as part of a nine-player trade, the Red Sox sent Johnny Pesky, 1950 American League Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo and three other players to which American League team?

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Read More: Dan Marino, Derek Fisher, Jim Kelly, Lance Stephenson
After being spurned by Steve Kerr, Knicks reportedly looking at Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw, Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue 05.19.14 at 12:26 pm ET
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The Zen Master’€™s slow and steady mindset already has taken hold in the Big Apple, as Knicks president Phil Jackson will not rush the process of hiring a new coach, according to reports out of New York.

Jackson reportedly is waiting to discuss the vacant coaching position with Thunder point guard Derek Fisher, who played for Jackson for nine seasons with the Lakers.

Fisher’€™s possible interest is unclear, as the 17-year veteran has deflected any questions regarding his future until after the playoffs. Fisher’€™s Thunder will take on the Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night.

“€œI would tell people to allow me to finish my career as a player before they give me another job after that,” Fisher said during the last round of the playoffs. “€œIt’s humbling, just to think about people thinking of me in that manner, especially while I’m still playing. [But] I promise you this is the last thing on my mind at this point. I really haven’t thought about it that much. Hopefully there’s a lot of basketball left to be played this season for sure. Once that’s done we’ll go from there.”

Reports also indicate the Knicks are interested in Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, a former assistant coach under Jackson, but have yet to ask for Denver’€™s permission to interview him. While Shaw is said to be high on Jackson’€™s wish list, the Knicks have little to offer the Nuggets in an effort to pry away the former NBA guard from the Rocky Mountain state, as the team has exhausted most of its future draft picks in deals for Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani.

ESPN’€™s Chris Broussard reported that Jackson also has been in contact with veteran coach Mike Dunleavy, while former Warriors coach Mark Jackson likely could be lured away from his analyst job at ESPN.

Other names on the Knicks’€™ radar reportedly include former Timberwolves and Lakers coach Kurt Rambis, D-League coach Luke Walton and Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue.

The Knicks reportedly had identified former NBA sharpshooter and current analyst Steve Kerr as their top candidate, but the five-time NBA champion spurned the team by signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the Warriors last week.

Read More: Brian Shaw, Derek Fisher, Knicks, Phil Jackson