Saturday, July 6, 2013
Melo to train with Olajuwon
By Jared Zwerling
Amar'e Stoudemire isn't the only Knick who will be training this offseason with Hakeem Olajuwon, whose ranch outside of Houston has become one of the hottest summer destinations for NBA players because of the Hall of Famer's post-up and defensive coaching.
Carmelo Anthony, who moved to power forward regularly this past season, will also be working with "The Dream," as first reported by Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports on Twitter. It's not clear at this point if Melo will join Stoudemire in the same one-week workout session in August. Their frontcourt teammate Tyson Chandler will not be coached by Olajuwon, according to his reps.
Anthony's decision to work with Olajuwon is another hint that the Knicks star will see even more time at power forward. Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani would also get time at that position.
Out of all traditional small forwards last season, Anthony had the most post-up plays with 391 -- scoring 364 points, according to Synergy Sports. He shot 43.8 percent on the block, averaging 0.931 points per play.
Melo's big moment: Last week, Brooklyn's finest returned to the Red Hook Houses, the largest public housing development in the borough where he spent his early life, to unveil two new refurbished basketball courts.
"I couldn't be more thankful enough and more blessed enough to be in this situation that I'm in -- to be able to donate and dedicate a basketball court right in my backyard," he said. "Red Hook is my home. This is where it started, and I will never, ever forget where it all started."
Anthony said he spent every morning before school and every day after classes playing basketball at the Red Hook Houses. Now that he's returned as a Knick, he called it a "dream come true" to be able to give back to his old community, working on the courts' development with Spike Lee. They are painted red with white backboards that have the Melo logo.
"It's like a 360 for me to come back to New York and play for the Knicks, for me to put a basketball court right in my backyard," he said. "That means so much to myself, but, more importantly, it means so much to the community."
Melo has previously donated basketball courts in Baltimore, where he grew up, and Puerto Rico, where his father's family is from. He said he's planning to renovate six more courts in New York City.
Before he departed, he had a message for the kids in the neighborhood who came out for the momentous occasion.
"I want you guys to utilize this court. I want you guys to use it every day, as much as you can," he said. "If it gets messed up, there's no problem; we'll repaint it. Don't worry about that. When it's messed up, that means you guys are using it."
Free agency update: Here are a few notes on some players (from sources): The Knicks are still in play for Elton Brand, but other teams are interested and could offer more money. His decision could come this weekend. The Spurs are in pursuit of Kenyon Martin, and they have more funds (in the range of $5 million) to offer him than the Knicks (who only have about $1.7 million). Sebastian Telfair and Carlos Delfino are on the Knicks' radar. Telfair is from New York and Delfino is close with Pablo Prigioni, with whom he played on the Argentine national team.