- Last Updated: 12:54 PM, January 21, 2011
- Posted: 1:26 AM, January 21, 2011
SAN ANTONIO -- The more the Knicks falter, the likelier team president Donnie Walsh will attempt to give up enough pieces for Carmelo Anthony to entice the Nuggets, sources say.
Yesterday, it was quiet on the Anthony front in the aftermath of the quake that shook the NBA on Wednesday when Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov pulled out of the sweepstakes.
In an e-mail yesterday, Walsh responded, "There is nothing going on."
Not true. The Knicks are on a four-game losing streak and have the daunting task of facing the revenge-minded, league-best Spurs (35-6) tonight.
But it is not just the losing streak. The Knicks are 6-7 over the past 13 games. Some in the organization feel that 13-game stretch is probably representative of what they are -- a .500 club that needs major help before they are a championship contender.
Mike D'Antoni made a telling remark yesterday about what he feels about the roster's capabilities when referring to their 22-19 record at the season's midpoint.
"We're in a good spot halfway through the year," D'Antoni said. "We would've probably signed on to this in July."
D'Antoni added the Knicks can play their best tonight and still lose to the Spurs' juggernaut. But with Prokhorov's decision to pull out of the sweepstakes, the door to Anthony has swung wide open for the Knicks to exercise leverage, despite Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri saying yesterday he is talking to "a lot of teams."
Even if the Nuggets trade Anthony to Dallas or Houston as a rental, that leaves Anthony a free agent this summer when the Knicks would be overwhelming favorites to sign him.
Anthony said late Wednesday night he still expects to be dealt before the Feb. 24 trading deadline.
"I think so, I think so," he said.
If Anthony winds up with the Knicks, Prokhorov should wear a dunce cap at his next press briefing, as he personally helped a team he is trying to destroy obtain a superstar. Even if Prokhorov is bluffing, Anthony and the Nuggets could feel rejected enough not to deal with the Nets again.
Knicks brass knows its greatest need is a big center to balance the roster, but it also needs a second prime scorer down the stretch to go along with Amar'e Stoudemire.
D'Antoni sounds as if he is getting nervous.
"We've really reverted offensively to when we were 3-8," he said.
D'Antoni said that recently Stoudemire has not had the scoring help he needs as point guard Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari have hit the mid-season wall.
The Knicks have scored fewer than 90 points in three of their past six games. Chandler looks to be wearing down the most. There is concern because he has tread on the tires, with two ankle surgeries and one hernia surgery on the resume.
Asked if he has a second reliable scorer, D'Antoni said, "We don't. We have to have two or three to win on the road. We haven't had that.
"Some guys were shooting at a phenomenal clip and came back down a bit," D'Antoni said. "Even Amar'e is slipping from 55-60 [percent] range to 45-to-50. Raymond went from 40's to low 30's and Wilson's come down. It all hit at one time."
The Knicks were at their best on Jan. 4 when they ripped San Antonio 128-115 at the Garden. They nowadays hardly resemble that squad and D'Antoni made an emphasis on practicing the pick-and-roll during yesterday's practice.
"We have to establish our pick and rolls," D'Antoni said. "It's been a while since we've had great exchanges. Whatever reason, we tried to establish that today and get back to it. The ball wasn't moving. Guys taking bad shots. We're not sharp offensively."
Plus, the Knicks can't sneak up on anyone -- like San Antonio -- anymore.
"They know what's going on and what kind of team we are," Stoudemire said. "Teams are now ready to play us. There's no more sneaking up or surprising. We have to make sure we retaliate."
There is a certain spectacular scorer in the Rocky Mountains who can solve all that -- not a great 3-point shooter but a great scorer.
D'Antoni said the club must listen to Stoudemire's warning it can't let the Anthony cloud distract it.
"It's part of the business," D'Antoni said. "You have to put it in different compartments. New York is New York. We can be competing for a championship and there'll be rumors we need this, need that. You got to be able to handle it."Follow @NYPostsports