Turmoil continues with Knicks ahead of visit to Chicago
The New York Knicks are up to their old tricks as they prepare to face the Bulls on Tuesday at the United Center.
Following a blowout loss to Cleveland on Sunday, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry held an unexpected news conference to express disappointment over the team's 2-8 start.
"We still believe in our coaching staff," Mills said, according to the New York Post. "We believe in the plan Scott and I put together and the players that we assembled. But we also have to acknowledge that we haven't played at the level we expected to play at."
Why they were expecting a better performance after trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, then striking out on all the major free agents -- that part remains a mystery.
The Knicks opened cap space hoping to land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant this summer. When that pair opted for the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks signed a flurry of leftover free agents, such as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton and ex-Bulls Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.
Sunday's comments led to speculation management is getting ready to fire coach David Fizdale, who is in his second season. So who knows what sort of mindset the Knicks will bring to Tuesday's game?
"This team is my responsibility and if they're not playing up to that level, I take full responsibility for that," Fizdale said Monday before the team left for Chicago.
Portis time returns:
One of New York's two victories this season came against the Bulls on Oct. 28 at Madison Square Garden. The Bulls led that game by 18 points after one quarter but allowed the Knicks to finish the game on a 15-0 run.
Former Bulls forward Bobby Portis had a big night, with 28 points, 11 rebounds and most of the key baskets down the stretch. Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. sent a friendly message to Portis on Monday.
"No words need to be said. We're not letting that happen," Carter said. "Bobby, he's going to come on, he wants to put on a show. I'm not going to have it. I hope he's watching this, so he know I ain't having it."
The Bulls traded Portis and Jabari Parker to Washington last February for Otto Porter. Both players moved on as free agents over the summer.
"Those are some of my closest friends in this league, so I'm happy for them," Carter said. "They're doing their thing. But we can't have no all-stars when it's go time."
Otto Porter will be sidelined with a left foot sprain for the second-straight game. Lauri Markkanen (oblique) didn't practice Monday, but is expected to play. ... Coach Jim Boylen remained elusive when asked Monday why Denzel Valentine hasn't been in the rotation. "I think he needs some seasoning and he needs to play and he needs to grow," Boylen said. Grow in what areas? "All areas."