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Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011

NBA REPORT

Knicks hiring of Warkentien a real mystery


NEW YORK — Hopefully nobody halfway coherent honestly believes Donnie Walsh's hiring of former Nuggets' VP Mark Warkentien as a glorified pro scout for the remainder of this season helps the Knicks in any way, shape or form to get Carmelo Anthony.

For those who do subscribe to that infantile theory and disbelieve Walsh's contention (and mine) to the contrary, allow me to remind you the Nuggets control what team Melo represents for the next 31 games.

What's more, Melo has made it exceedingly clear (privately) to one and all from the get-go that the Knicks are his first choice.

So, should he chose to become a free agent this summer, please don't insult our common sense by telling us Warkentien — if even employed by the Knicks — had anything to do with New York signing him.

Other than rounding up the Jail Blazers for Bob Whitsitt what exactly does Warkentien do best?

He is, by far, the league's leakiest spout.

If Walsh wants his business on the street, he hired the right PR man. Moreover, Mark is a journalist's dream. If you're willing to promote him, he's a fountain of information; sometimes it's even accurate.

The most recent example of this occurred before Warkentien officially had been hired for the Knicks' cushy job.

Unable to contain himself, he leaked his impending appointment to Yahoo, where he regularly drops information that enhances his personal agenda and/or makes other team executives look bad.

Walsh's command decision — not the call by the head of marketing, as some dope put out — is beyond baffling.

Not that long ago, Walsh stated if he could hire a GM it would be Chris Mullin. OK, I get it; he's not being allowed to hire one.

So why not engage Mullin, or Billy Knight, another of his longtime trustworthy confidants, for this position until he knows whether he'll be back as Knicks president next season?

I suspect the New York-born/San Francisco-based Mullin might have given up ESPN to cover the West Coast (a reason for hiring Warkentien, said Walsh, because he lives in Portland) or opened up room on his dance card for scouting and consulting.

Instead, Walsh short-leased Warkentien, someone he has almost no relationship with and knows precious little about, especially why he was dumped by the Blazers, Cavaliers and Nuggets.

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, back on the court, perhaps the Knicks should have been fined for not conducting nearly enough illicit workouts.

Nine Knicks' losses in their last 13 outings — including Friday night's gettable game in Philadelphia — have altogether agitated the ambience.

It's almost like the "statement win" against Miami never happened — but more about that on the next edition of "The Mike D'Antoni Show."

The stat of the NBA's 12-game schedule last Friday: Andre Iguodala's 16 assists and zero turnovers.

Naturally, Madison Square Garden's post-game interviewer, whose nightly questioning is so sophomorically scrawny she doesn't even deserve dishonorable mention in this space, did not ask the small forward anything about his staggering career high achievement.

Too bad; it might have alerted permanently unimpressive studio cohost Kelly Tripucka to Iguodala exceeding his seasonal assist average by 10.1.

* * * * *

My reaction to the 10th showing of Blake Griffin's mid-air collision with Al Horford was no different than when I saw it live; it was not remotely close to being a Flagrant 1 foul, as the referees appraised.

Coming off a perfectly planned play by Larry Drew during a time out with 4 seconds left on the game clock, Hawks down one to the Clippers, Horford faked a handoff to Joe Johnson, the inbounds passer, and darted to daylight for a dunk. Griffin came fast from the left side and met Horford at the top of the stairway to the stars.

Both of Griffin's arms were extended toward the ball, which he almost blocked. The force of their entangled arms resulted in Horford crashing to the floor on his back.

It was a horrifying fall. Yet Griffin did nothing wrong other than commit a foul. I'll be horrified if the league doesn't rescind his flagrant.

* * * * *

Just when the Celtics were about to be given an automatic bye to the finals, the Mavericks ran Friday's last 10 points to vanquish them in Boston.

"It was a shot to the groin," Kevin Garnett said.

Tell me it isn't true that Celtics fans are complaining about Rajon Rondo's inability to shoot! What about everything else he does for everyone else and the team!

* * * * *

The Warriors honored Al Attles as part of Hardwood Classics Night at Oracle Arena last week. Anyone with a deeper voice than "The Destroyer" got in free.

I refuse to retire until Attles is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Peter Vecsey cover the NBAfor the New York Post.


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