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April 18, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jared Zwerling

Jared Zwerling
  (11:59 AM)

Hey guys, let's get this chat going ...

Jeremy (New York )

Will amare when returns defer to melo or will he try to prove he is an Alfa dog to

Jared Zwerling
  (12:02 PM)

I believe he'll defer to Amare. First of all, Amare's not an ego type of player. He's already sacrificed a lot this season, and he hasn't complained once. His sole focus is winning a championship, and he's ready to buy into how the Knicks have been winning: on defense. Secondly, Woodson's offense caters to Melo. And Melo's been on fire, averaging 30.4 points per game since March 26. The last thing Amare wants to do is get in the way of that.

Alex (Anaheim)

How effective do you expect Amare to be upon his return?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:06 PM)

A lot of that depends on Amare. Coming back from a bulging disk injury, that has career implications, it could be a mental challenge for him in regards to how he wants to absorb contact. I spoke to a couple of doctors, and a bulging disk is something that can reoccur very quickly. He may not look to be as physical in the post initially, and for that reason, I expect him to be more effective from midrange offensively. That's his sweet spot. It'll definitely take him a few games to get adjusted to the bumping and grinding. If he comes back this Friday or Sunday, that will be good because he'll get a few regular-season games under his belt before the playoffs start.

Larry (Meaford, Canada)

A lot of Knicks come off the books this summer; are we looking an an entirely new team? or familiar faces?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:09 PM)

It will be a very intriguing offseason obviously because the Knicks don't have a room to sign players. They're locked in huge hefty contracts with Amare, Tyson and Carmelo, and star players cannot restructure their contract to take less money so the team can sign more players. The Knicks will have one mid-level exception to spend and that will likely be used for Jeremy Lin. James Dolan is not going to let him go anywhere, for what he did on the court and especially off the court (the buzz he created around the world). J.R. Smith, who has a player option, could likely be gone to get more money elsewhere. A couple of insiders I spoke with say J.R. was basically broke before he signed with the Knicks. He want to the Knicks because they offered him more money than the Clippers (only the veteran's minimum). The way he's playing right now could mean his market value just went up, and that's not good for the Knicks. Besides Lin and Smith, Steve Novak could also demand more money. But I spoke to his agent who said Steve loves the Knicks and New York, so I think he's going to try and stay. But we'll see.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:11 PM)

Besides those guys, there's Baron Davis, Mike Bibby, Jared Jeffries, Bill Walker and Landry Fields. I think out of all those players, you'll probably see Landry Fields back in New York, for no other reason than if Jeremy Lin re-signs, he'll want Fields, his best friend on the team, to do the same. The other players have been too banged up this season, and I don't see them being high on the priority list.

Marcos (Levittown)

It is very obvious that baron davis is clearly still not 100% but do you you feel that with not having a 100% percent starting point guard will be a negative in the playoffs? that's until lin comes back but also than he won't be be 100%

Jared Zwerling
  (12:13 PM)

Not having a healthy starting point guard will be an advantage for opposing teams. It's quite simple: Look around the league, and the best teams have the best point guards. The Thunder and Russell Westbrook, the Bulls with Derrick Rose, the Spurs with Tony Parker, the Celtics with Rajon Rondo. It's not a coincidence. These guys make their team's offense so much easier. Carmelo Anthony can do it alone, but a healthy and effective starting point guard (which would be Jeremy Lin) would benefit all the players on the court.

Jason (NY)

I know with his inury concerns and huge contract it will be difficult but is there any chance Amare is gone after this season? Melo seems to play much much better without him and the team looks better

Jared Zwerling
  (12:14 PM)

Amare will be a Knick next season, next question.

Elliot Adjmi (brooklyn ny 11221)

Why does it seem like the Lin injury is kept so secretly? It really should not take so long for him to come back from this type of injury. I had it worse and I was able to get back on the court in about 2 weeks.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:16 PM)

Hold up, hold up. There are different degrees of meniscal tears, first of all. And I was told Lin's was a bit more severe. Don't just look at Grant Hill and say, "What the hell?" We don't know the full extent of Lin's injury -- only the orthopedist who operated on him knows that. But likely Lin's was worse. There's also another factor. Doctors sometimes want young players to rest longer so they can regrow and retain their meniscus for a longer period of time. So that could be another reason. The secrecy behind the true extent of the injury is something that will always be between Lin and his doctor.

Nick (CT)

What do you make of Novak's three point shooting, even on his misses it looks like it is going to go in, his accuracy is pretty amazing to say the least.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:19 PM)

Novak shoots like 500 to 1,000 3-pointers a day, depending on how much time he has. I talk to him all the time and he always wants to keep shooting to keep his rhythm. He probably shoots in his sleep too haha ... He said something interesting to me the other day. I asked him if the shortened season affected him at all. He said he actually likes it because when the games come so quickly, as a shooter, he's able to stay in rhythm without too much rest time in between games. That's helped him a lot. Also, confidence goes a long way. He loves the Knicks and New York. He's very happy. Give a lot of credit to Mike D'Antoni and Glen Grunwald for bringing him in. Mike Woodson has just kept it going and going and going ...

Tim (Morristown, NJ)

How can the Knicks upgrade the starting lineup so they can run iso with Melo and he can kick it to competent shooters like they were doing in the 2nd/4th quarters yesterday? Shump, Fields, Davis are not cutting it.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

Right now, there is a good balance. Melo scoring in the starting five and the bench (Novak, Smith, etc.) doing their thing. Mike Woodson has talked about wanting that balance in scoring. And because they're 14-5 since he took over, he doesn't want to tweak it, except for, of course, inserting Amare into the starting lineup. I think that will give the Knicks more up-front isolation scoring, and then instant offense off the bench. It should work as a good balance.

Brian (Brooklyn ny)

Hey Jared, how is Lins status? Is he running yet?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

Not running, but I hear he's on the stationary bike, etc. His time table hasn't really changed. I would say second round of the playoffs still.

Jay (NYC)

What do you think of our chances to move up to the 6 seed? It looks like ORL has a "magic" number of 2 whereas Boston's magic number is down to 1 (given they would win the tiebreak on conf record - so no real chance at the division). We could, however, win out and the Magic go 1-4...

Jared Zwerling
  (12:26 PM)

I like the Knicks' chances of maybe getting to that sixth seed because they have a slightly easier schedule the rest of the way. They're finishing with New Jersey, Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles Clippers and then Charlotte. That's four definite winnable games. On the flip side, the Magic are playing Boston, Utah, Denver, Charlotte and Memphis. That's four pretty challenging games. And the Magic are without Dwight Howard, who's out indefinitely with a herniated disk. Advantage: Knicks. Anything to avoid playing Miami or Chicago in the first round would be huge, of course.

Ricky (Lancaster, PA)

I know this is way premature but what are the chances of Melo and Amare restructuring their current contracts to clear up cap space for the off season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:26 PM)

Can't happen. The CBA doesn't allow stars to do that in order for the team to sign other players.

Drew (New York)

u think the knicks should give up some players and get steve nash? since nash is getting old and doesnt have a championship yet so he will be working his butt off for that ring.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:28 PM)

Jeremy Lin is the guy. I answered a similar question earlier. I've heard Steve Nash wants a three-year deal and I don't see the Knicks locking themselves up into another semi-pricey contract with a guy who's nearing 40 years old. They're already locked up with Amare, Tyson and Carmelo.

Ian (Atlanta, GA)

Even though it is clear Amare returns as a starter, he won't be playing more than 20-25 mins anyway until the playoffs, so the ppl who are concerned about whether he and Melo can play together will be happy b/c Melo will still have long stretches playing the 4. (I hope Woodson plays him there whenever Amare is on the bench) Right?? FYI, I'm with you since I notice that 6-1 with Woodson is good evidence that they can only get better together with time and proper coaching!

Jared Zwerling
  (12:30 PM)

Yes, when Amare sits, Woodson said he'll go back to Melo at the four. But keep in mind this: Many of his defenders have still been small forwards (like Paul Pierce Tuesday night). The change has been more with Melo on the defensive end, and he's been playing well there, guarding the opposing power forward. At the end of the day, and Melo basically said this himself after the Celtics game, he'll play well against anyone.

Elliot Adjmi (brooklyn ny 11221)

If the Knicks draw the Heat in the playoffs they need Amar'e and Lin. The Knicks are a deeper team if they are healthy. They proved they are able to beat the Heat last season. Why do you think they are having such a tough time this season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:32 PM)

Well, the Heat were playing well before the All-Star break. Here are some reasons why they've been struggling lately ... Like a quarterback under pressure, the Heat are in a scramble right now literally and figuratively. They have some issues on the defensive end that leaves them vulnerable to 3-point shooters like Steve Novak. The Heat try to leverage their athleticism on the wings to create turnovers and fireworks in the open court, but when their energy is sapped, they get run over. The Heat are at their best when they're creating turnovers and wreaking havoc defensively. In a condensed season, they're finding it harder than ever to sustain the requisite energy.

yusef (brooklyn)

How much of Melo's drastically improved production do you think is due to him playing the 4? That is to say, could we expect a drop-off in lineups with Melo, STAT, and Chandler together, and better offense with only 2 of those 3 players on the floor?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:33 PM)

I just addressed this ... Keep in mind this: Many of his defenders have still been small forwards (like Paul Pierce Tuesday night). The change has been more with Melo on the defensive end, and he's been playing well there, guarding the opposing power forward. At the end of the day, and Melo basically said this himself after the Celtics game, he'll play well against anyone.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:36 PM)

After the Celtics game, Mike Woodson credited the team's pace and pick-and-roll playmaking picking up for enabling Novak and Smith to get more open looks, and enable the guys to find Tyson rolling to the basket."Our pick-and-roll offense was really working," Woodson said. "Our spacing was great and guys were finding the right guys, and they were open. It was just a total team effort." Against the Heat on Sunday for most of the game and down the stretch, they suffered from a lack of pace and pick-and-roll playmaking. They stayed in the game because of Carmelo and their defense.

Tommy (Jacksonville)

How soon until Amare is on the trading block?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:36 PM)

Not happening until maybe next season. Depends on his health, how he's playing, etc. Way too soon to know.

Steve (Chester Springs)

Don't you think Lin is the more important return watching the point play of last nights game? Bibby was a little more effective passing, Baron looks awful and both together look like they should be on their way out of the NBA...

Jared Zwerling
  (12:37 PM)

I debated this question here: http://espn.go.com/newyork/hot/?id=7823498 ...

Elliot Adjmi (brooklyn ny 11221)

To me it is very clear. If the Knicks play Chicago they will win if they can beat them off the glass. If they win the battle of the boards they win the series. The Knicks are more talented period, do you agree?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:42 PM)

Limiting the Bulls on the offensive glass, definitely. The Bulls are No. 1 in the league in offensive rebounds per game (14.1) and No. 1 in the league in second-chance points per game (16.0). If they also want to win, Iman Shumpert has to play his best defense ever against Derrick Rose. The biggest question mark heading into that potential series would be Rose's health. Because if he's 100 percent and he's in sync with his teammates, the Knicks could be in for a long few days.

Ryan (NYC)

5 minutes to go in a tie playoff game. What 5 do you want on the court? Is it absurd if a healthy amare isnt on that list?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:46 PM)

Shumpert, Smith, Melo, Amare and Tyson. Shumpert and Smith can alternate point-guard duties. Novak can also be in there for Shumpert for more shooting, with Smith running the point. He does a little better job right now. He has that veteran experience.

Deven (New York)

Hi Jared. Hope I'm not to late to ask a question. Can the Knicks win the division title this year after beating the Cs last night?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:48 PM)

Yes, the division title is still up for grabs.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:57 PM)

Thanks guys for your time. Stay tuned for all of your Knicks coverage here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/ ...