Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

For­mer UA com­mit Reg­gie Perry finds new school, picks Mis­sis­sippi State.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The New York Knicks’ new regime is ready to move on with or without Carmelo An­thony.

New pres­i­dent Steve Mills said Mon­day the Knicks have been talk­ing to teams about a trade and will con­tinue look­ing for a deal that works for the or­ga­ni­za­tion and its All-Star for­ward.

“But we also feel that Carmelo could eas­ily be a part of our team next year, and we have to un­der­stand how we’re go­ing to play and what the ex­pec­ta­tions of how we’re go­ing to play, and we’re go­ing to move for­ward,” Mills said. “So maybe with Carmelo or maybe without Carmelo.”

Mills also ruled out a buy­out of An­thony’s con­tract, which has two years and about $54 mil­lion re­main­ing and might be an eas­ier route to a breakup than a trade.

Phil Jackson had been ea­ger to deal An­thony be­fore he and the Knicks parted ways last month. Mills was pro­moted to pres­i­dent and the Knicks hired Scott Perry as gen­eral man­ager.

They said the Knicks will fo­cus on youth and ath­leti­cism, which doesn’t seem to leave room for An­thony, 33. But they added that vet­er­ans will still have a place in men­tor­ing the young tal­ent.

An­thony has a no-trade clause and has told the Knicks he would agree to a deal with Cleve­land or Hous­ton. But the Knicks don’t want to take back long-term con­tracts, which makes find­ing a deal dif­fi­cult. Now Mills has Perry to help him find one.

“From our van­tage point, we made a de­ci­sion as we were get­ting closer to hir­ing Scott that I felt it was im­por­tant for us to slow down, re­group as it re­lated to the trade sce­nar­ios of Carmelo,” Mills said.

Perry has served in the front of­fices of Sacra­mento, Or­lando, Seat­tle and Detroit, where he was part of the Pis­tons’ run of six con­sec­u­tive trips to the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals and an NBA cham­pi­onship. It was there where he said he learned the lessons about cul­ture that the Knicks sorely need as they try to dig their way out of the dis­mal Jackson era.

“In terms of Detroit, peo­ple talk about cul­ture all the time, about win­ning cul­tures,” Perry said. “I think the big­gest thing I learned there, you can have a lot of signs and print­outs that have a lot of fancy state­ments, but at the end of the day you’ve got to live cul­ture ev­ery day.”

Mills, Perry and Coach Jeff Hor­nacek de­tailed the vi­sion they have for a fran­chise that em­pha­sizes pride, work ethic and ac­count­abil­ity. It sounds like an­other re­build­ing stage, as Mills sin­gled out the team’s young core and noted that the Knicks have all their first-round picks go­ing for­ward.

But he be­lieves New York fans are open to a re­build if play­ers are com­mit­ted and play with pas­sion. The Knicks barely did that in three years un­der Jackson, go­ing 31-51 last sea­son in Hor­nacek’s first year.

That was over­shad­owed off the court by the An­thony saga and on it by the Knicks’ dif­fi­culty in grasp­ing and stick­ing to an of­fense. Hor­nacek was sup­posed to open things up, but Jackson de­cided mid­way through the sea­son he wanted a re­newed fo­cus on the tri­an­gle that he ran as a coach.

“I don’t think we were re­stricted,” Hor­nacek said. “We were try­ing to meld some dif­fer­ent ways you play bas­ket­ball. We just weren’t able to do it the way we wanted to, but we’re mov­ing for­ward.”

They didn’t talk much about what went wrong un­der Jackson, pre­fer­ring to fo­cus on the fu­ture dur­ing their news con­fer­ence at the team’s train­ing cen­ter. Mills and Perry said they have a strong re­la­tion­ship, with Mills say­ing the first-time GM would be given room to make de­ci­sions and rec­om­men­da­tions per­tain­ing to the coach­ing and scout­ing staff.

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