ATLANTA -- As word spread Saturday that the Knicks had been in discussion to negotiate buyouts with Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, some of their soon-to-be former teammates were a mixture of surprised and resigned to the business side of life in the NBA.
Before the Knicks lost 107-98 in Atlanta, New York head coach Mike Woodson confirmed what several NBA sources suggested: that the team seeks to part ways with the rarely-used veterans. They were not with the team in Atlanta.
“They weren’t in the rotation, and I’m not going to linger on it,” the coach said. “We’re buying them out and as a coach when guys work for me I wish them nothing but the best when they move on. And we’re going to move on.
“We’re going a different direction, and we’ve got to figure out another spot or two for our ball club.”
Woodson said he would meet with general manager Steve Mills and ownership on Sunday to discuss which players are available.
Carmelo Anthony was caught off guard, especially since World Peace had played more than seven minutes in Friday’s double-overtime loss in Orlando.
“It’s sad to see them go, but this is the business of basketball ... it happened, and we’ve got to move on,” he said. “The buyouts kind of surprised me because [Friday] Metta seemed like he was in a good place. He was happy, he played . . . he was a different Metta.”
Amar’e Stoudemire said, “I’m going to miss those guys. They want to play, they want to compete, they want to contend.”
Felton Feeling Fine, Sort Of: For all the times that guard Raymond Felton’s name came up in speculation, he’s put together solid back-to-back games since Thursday’s trade deadline passed.
Saturday, he had 16 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Against Orlando, he had 15 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
After the loss in Atlanta, however, Felton was not happy about another loss, nor being whistled for five fouls while trying to keep Teague out of the paint.
“No question,” he said. “It’s always hard when you lose a game and you had a [big] lead and you feel like you’re going to go away with it. It’s been tough like this all year. It’s tough. You touch a guy nowadays, and it’s a foul.”
Thanks For The Space: After Mike Scott’s career-high 30 points on 11-for-14 shooting and 6-for-7 from distance, the second-year forward from Virginia said, “I think in the first half, they were giving me a little room. In the second half, I started hitting more shots. I was shooting anywhere, just letting it go. It was good defense. I just made some shots.”
Knick-nacks: Tyson Chandler’s 23 rebounds were a season high, and five off his career high. That came when he grabbed 28 against Golden State on Feb. 27, 2013.
He played despite suffering a thigh bruise Friday in Orlando, and has led New York in rebounding in 17 of the 32 games in which he’s played.
Keep pushing: Woodson said he’s not giving up hope that the Knicks can catch the Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. New York (21-35) trails Atlanta (26-29) by 5.5 games with Detroit and Cleveland between the teams.
“It’s my job to do that, and I’m going to keep pushing until I get them over the hump. This was basically a carbon copy of last night’s game,” Woodson said. “I’m going to keep pushing, and if it means being naggy, that’s my job. I’ve got to get them over the hump, out of this funk that we’re in.”