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December 14, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jared Zwerling

Jared Zwerling
  (11:59 AM)

Let's get this chat going ...

Deven (Buffalo, NY)

Did you expect to hear that reaction from the fans when they introduced Coach D'Antoni last night?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:01 PM)

Absolutely. Just look at Woodson's record since taking over the team. 35-11 overall. 20-1 at home.

Tyler (Athens,GA)

Jared Are the Knicks legitimate Championship contenders this year?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:04 PM)

No doubt about it. I still think the Heat will still be dangerous further into the season. The biggest question is: How will Wade's health hold up? But the Knicks, when Stoudemire and Shumpert return, will eventually be the deepest team in the league -- and they should have enough perimeter defensive pieces to give guys like Wade, Rondo, Westbrook, Kobe, etc. a hard time. Even J-Kidd has stepped up defensively. He showed that last night against Kobe. So a lot of positives and, yes, I see them as legitimate championship contenders. They're playing hard, consistently and efficiently.

Patrick Ewing himself [via mobile]

If ward doesn't get flipped by pj brown in 1997 do we beat Miami and then finally defeat Jordan's bulls? Also do u think the Knicks can keep this up or do u think their will be a letdown in the 2nd half of the season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:06 PM)

Who knows? That's the beauty of sports, though -- the what ifs. As for the second half of the season, absolutely. Because they'll be deeper with Stoudemire and Shumpert, that should make the guys play even harder and more aggressive. If some guys get caught in foul trouble or they're tired/banged up some nights, they're deep enough to compensate.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Did you think that Mike D'Antoni was an absolute Terrible Head Coach when he was coaching the Knicks?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:09 PM)

First of all, D'Antoni said yesterday he knew coming to New York they'd have two losing seasons to start. Look at the roster he was dealt with. I do have issues with him defensively, but he started doing some nice things with the roster offensively in 2010-11. And to prove that, Woodson has incorporated a lot of D'Antoni's offensive schemes. That includes pick-and-rolls and spacing the court to get shooters going. In fact, the Knicks are on pace to break the single-season record for 3-point attempts. So you've got to give some credit to D'Antoni for how Woodson has adapted a lot of that offense.

TK (Philly)

How close is Amare? We could certainly use him NOW if Melo is out for a week or so? Once he does come back...does Melo head to the 2 guard and Kidd to the bench?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:10 PM)

Amar'e is looking better each day. He's making some hard cuts and things like that. If I had to guess, I would say he's back to practicing next week. A return on or around Christmas could be accurate.

That Guy (New York)

How do you think Shump will fit in when he returns? Will he be starting and either Felton, Kidd, of Brewer get benched? Or is he a spark off the bench until he gains chemistry with the starting unit?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:12 PM)

He definitely won't start right away. Kidd is playing great. Also, you've got to keep in mind that even if he returns in January, he really won't find his groove until February/March. He's coming off one of the most serious sports injuries, and every NBA is different. Some are fast-paced, others are grind-outs. It's a big challenge at first for a reconstructed knee to go through night-in and night-out changes like that. But because the Knicks are deep enough, they don't have to rely so heavily on him. The best part is that come April, he should be back to being himself, and he'll be needed against guys like Wade, Rondo and D-Will.

Matt (Livingston)

Whats your take on Felton's performance this year so far? On many of these off shooting nights he seems to be heavily relied upon to create off the PnR and teams are gladly giving him the open 15-18 footer. Many times it seems like a good shot, but is there some other option if the Chandler lob isnt there?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:13 PM)

See this story I wrote last night -- http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/30684/felton-starts-and-finishes-strong-in-win

DEJON JACKSON (Atlanta, GA)

Rest Melo. We need him for the long haul. No since taking chance on aggravating an injury that could make him unavailable between now and playoffs. Besides, other teammates need playing time to be prepared for late-season. Thoughts?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:14 PM)

I probably agree with you. After the game, he said he was also feeling pain in his hip and leg. Fortunately, the Cavaliers game Saturday is a night game, so he has more rest from now until then. But it's too early in the season to mess around with Melo. Likely give him the rest he deserves right now.

Eugene (Union, NJ)

Jared, what do you think is the likelyhood Melo misses Saturday's game against the Cavs?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:15 PM)

As of right now, he's day-to-day. We'll know more tomorrow after shootaround, around 11 a.m. or so.

Justin (NY,NY)

If the whole team is healthy, who are your starting guards?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:16 PM)

Same as now, Felton and Kidd. They're working so well together. Why mess with it? D'Antoni was talking yesterday about how great that combination is. That goes for a lot of people around the league.

Tony (Millburn)

I'm just curious as to why it appears Amare is distant from the team? Obviously he could sit with the team during games but he doesn't...isn't that alarming?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:18 PM)

Understandable question. Not sure why he's not. But he definitely appears to be working hard and getting back on track. He's close with the guys on the team. I'm not worried about any chemistry issues. But let's see what happens on the court. I do think Kidd and Felton will help Melo and Amar'e play better together. D'Antoni said yesterday, "Without a doubt."

Mikey (New york)

i completely agree with colin cowherd that NY is a basketball city. How amazing are the vibes in the garden right now? Thanks You Mike Woodson!

Jared Zwerling
  (12:19 PM)

A league-best 9-0 at home -- the only undefeated mark! There you go ...

tyler (westchester)

If amare starts does brewer or kidd go to the bench?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

I would have to think Brewer. The two point-guard backcourt has been too good. Even though the Knicks are deep and versatile, I think Woodson should find a consistent starting five, so guys are very aware of their roles and where they should fit in based on how the game is flowing, etc. Repetition is key. Don't want to throw guys off every game.

Alex (Anaheim)

It's surreal to see the Knicks stomping teams like the Heat and Lakers. Do you think they have a shot at holding onto the 1 seed, or is Miami eventually going to be too tough?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:23 PM)

Absolutely. As I said before in this chat, they're only going to get deeper when Stoudemire and Shumpert return. And perhaps even Camby will get better soon.

RODNEY (BROOKLYN)

What else do the knick have to do to become favorites to win the title?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:24 PM)

Rebounding and interior defense. Hopefully Stoudemire and Camby help out in that area.

Mikey (New york)

When Melo got hurt the game changed last night. He really is the Mvp right now, is he not?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:25 PM)

Yes, I think so. He's playing hard on both ends of the floor consistently and making big play after play. It's that simple. What more can you ask for? But I think we should quiet down this MVP talk just a little. It's gotten out of hand in the last few weeks. It's only early December.

Ron (poconos)

Long time fan here Jared and love reading your blogs. The rebounding seems to be a BIG problem. what can the knicks do to get better on the boards?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:26 PM)

Thank you. Agreed. Rebounding and interior defense, as I just mentioned.

Westsidehustler (Bronx)

Ya man I been hearin the rumors bout Knicks dishin amare to the suns, getting taj Gibsos, amare goes back to suns and bulls get gortat. Is this really a possibility?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:26 PM)

No trade talk right now, guys.

Danny Borst (South Florida)

What do you think of the chances of a possibly Amare for Pau trade. And If so, would it work out?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:27 PM)

Not going to happen. Sources tell me that the Lakers would prefer to go after Josh Smith. As I've mentioned plenty, Amare's contract is a bad one. It's uninsured with a lot of money left. Plus, the guy hasn't even played this season, recovering from his left knee injury. Why would there be that talk going on?

Gabe (Tallahassee, FL)

Any further update on Melo's injury? Is it mainly the ankle (and not the knee/hip)?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:28 PM)

A combination of the three. He's day-to-day. As I mentioned, we'll know more tomorrow after shootaround, around 11 a.m.

Daniel (Manhattan)

Who is responsible for putting stickers of the Championship Trophy on everyone's locker?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:28 PM)

I believe it was Woodson's idea.

James (Fort Lee, NJ)

Are we going to see much of Marcus Camby this season ? Or do you expect these injuries to be a recurring problem & his time on the court to be extremely limited ?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:30 PM)

Camby says he feels good, but I still think he's dealing with some plantar fasciitis. Overall, Wallace has moved up the depth chart quickly because he not only can defend -- did you see that rip he had on Kobe last night that led to a steal -- but he can shoot the 3, which has been the Knicks' main working staple on offense.

Daniel (Manhattan)

Now that the Knicks have come down to earth a bit defensively, do you fear them plummeting to the bottom half of the league on D when Amare gets back?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:31 PM)

Stoudemire and Camby would help. Their interior defense needs an upgrade. Too many times, Chandler is all by himself down low. Fortunately, Shumpert will enhance the Knicks' perimeter D, which should close the gaps even more, and hopefully limit teams from getting into the paint.

RODNEY (BROOKLYN)

To piggy back off of Tony's question...Amare gets married the other day and no teammates are present at the most important day of his life? How can you be so sure he's close to the guys on the team?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:32 PM)

It's the middle of the season, guys. Don't knock the guy for getting married. It's a special day in his life and let him celebrate. It's one day, done, move on. Next.

Jeff (Wellington FL)

Hey Jared, did Carmelo show the world in the first quarter yesterday why he is front runner for MVP as well as starting in the ASG?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:33 PM)

Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. A lot of yes's for Carmelo Anthony this season.

Eugene (Union, NJ)

I need a refresher on the rules. How many players can be active for a game: 12 or 13? Full healthy roster, who do think would be the inactives?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:33 PM)

The active roster size is 13, changed from 12 in February.

Felton (NYC)

If during the offseason Chris Paul tells the media how much he loves New York, should i be worried again?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:34 PM)

Clippers are in the championship hunt this season. I would say Chris Paul is pretty happy in Los Angeles, especially with the Lakers going downhill -- for now, at least. He's got to be feeling pretty good about his team's chances out west.

Jeff (Wellington FL)

Amare went and worked on his inside game with Hakeem over the summer, why didn't he work with a defensive legend to work on that as well?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:35 PM)

LOL ... Hakeem is not a defensive legend?

RODNEY (BROOKLYN)

If season ended today Woody for coy? melo for mvp? grunwald for etoy? alsooo possibly felton for mip and jr for 6th man?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:35 PM)

If the season were to end today, yes, I like all of those picks.

Deven (Buffalo, NY)

How impressed are you with J-Kidd? He's assisting less, but scoring more and even making game winning shots.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:38 PM)

Kidd has been everything and more for the Knicks. He looks like he's 25 years old out there. I honestly didn't think this season he would hit 3s at the rate he's doing it and be able to D up some of the best shooting guards, like Kobe last night. Listen to this: When Kidd guarded Kobe on 18 of his 32 plays, Kobe had four of his five turnovers and averaged 0.89 points per play while Kidd was on him, compared to 1.07 points per play against all other Knicks defenders.

Jeff (Wellington FL)

LOL... what I meant was why didn't he (Amare) work with either Hakeem or another defensive legend? I should of said why didn't he work with him on D as well.. Thanks for making me laugh this early afternoon...

Jared Zwerling
  (12:38 PM)

They worked together on D. Amar'e has talked about that a lot.

RODNEY (BROOKLYN)

Do you see the knicks winning 60 games? or do you think that age and injuries will prevent that?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:40 PM)

Definitely doable. Initially I said something like 48 to 54. I'll move that up to 52 to 58.

Rolando (roselle)

Will Melo go into the hall of fame?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:41 PM)

Great question. I definitely think so. One of the best scorers we've seen in the past decade, come 2013. And he's led both of his teams, the Nuggets and Knicks, to the playoffs.

Danny Borst (South Florida)

DO you think Amare will start, or come off the bench, as a permanent role when he comes back. My opinion is off the bench, bring more spark, we dont need him to start since melo is straight beasting.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:45 PM)

I think he could come off the bench initially, but I wouldn't be surprised if he starts eventually. I think Woodson is going to test out to see how he and Melo work together with Felton and Kidd. It's a unique point-guard backcourt that the stars haven't played with yet during their time in New York.

ken (wallington, nj)

If the knicks were able to by some chance make the finals and play okc I don't see them winning against them...is okc their biggest challenge outside the conference?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:47 PM)

Definitely OKC. Westbrook and Durant are scary dangerous, and they're inside Ibaka and Perkins is really good. In fact, Ibaka has improved offensively this season. And they have Maynor back and Martin's shooting well. I can't wait for that matchup this season, and we have a long way to go for that. March 7 at the Garden.

Manny (elizabeth, nj)

Amare for bargnani...do you make that trade?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:48 PM)

No. Bargnani is injury-prone like Stoudemire. Also, the Knicks already have a prominent perimeter scorer in Melo.

Nick (New York)

Do you see the league taken action with Rasheed and Carmelo's "three-to-the-dome" celebration? It seems to be picking up heat around certain media outlets.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:49 PM)

I love that stuff. Smith has one, too, with the three fingers, and obviously so does Novak. The Knicks are shooting the 3 so well that each player should have their own celebration. They deserve it.

Adam (Tampa)

I know it's early to be thinking about playoffs but I'd say the teams the Knicks would want to stay away from in the first two rounds would be the Heat and the Bulls. Do you agree?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:51 PM)

... and the Nets and Celtics. Boston still has the Knicks' number.

K.C. (Former NY'er : - {)

Kidd & Billips are true warriors. Can Kidd hold up all season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:53 PM)

With Shumpert returning in January perhaps, he won't have to play as many minutes looking ahead. Kidd is being asked to guard guys like Kobe, and that can be taxing on your legs. Shumpert should relieve some pressure off Kidd defensively, to allow Kidd to be more of a passer and shooter.

Eugene (Union, NJ)

Does Dave Hopla have anything to do with the Knicks' proficiency from beyond the arc? (Side note: Ronnie Brewer could use a few extra side sessions with him to work on his FT shooting.)

Jared Zwerling
  (12:55 PM)

Yes! I wrote this last month, but it still bodes true -- http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/27680/hopla-helping-knicks-shooting-consistency ... I've met and spoken with Hopla. He is awesome! Hopefully everyone at some point gets to as well. He has an infectious personality.

Eugene (Union, NJ)

Do you think we'll see Steve Novak in the 3-point Shooting Contest during All-Star weekend?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:56 PM)

Yes! The same could be said for Melo and Kidd.

Eugene (Union, NJ)

Love Melo's hustle this year, but superstars should not be flying into the stands and risking their bodies. Do you think Woody mentioned anything to him about that, or does he let things be since Melo is setting such a great example?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:57 PM)

That's instincts, man, and that's why you've got to like Melo this season. He's playing with that extra instinctual effort. You don't tell your star player not to play hard. What's the difference with diving after a loose ball into the stands vs. on the ground? Both can result in an injury, but you can't think that way.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:58 PM)

Hey guys, thank you for your time ... If you have any additional questions or thoughts, hit me on Twitter @JaredZwerling ... Thank you!