Did it occur to anybody the Knicks might be "tanking" the season by placing guard Stephon Marbury on the inactive list to increase their chance to win the draft lottery or get a high pick to select an impact player?
Now, it goes without saying that coach Mike D'Antoni or team president Donnie Walsh would never publicly admit that. But sometimes actions speak louder than words.
It was reported the Knicks put Marbury on the inactive list at his request. But D'Antoni made it clear that Marbury and Eddy Curry weren't part of the plan, future or present.
Maybe this is D'Antoni's attempt to separate himself from the Isiah Thomas era. Am I accusing the Knicks of playing to lose? Not at all. But the possibility crossed my mind after reading D'Antoni's comments following a 116-87 loss to the 76ers Friday Night.
"This is the direction we're going and there will be some nights like this," D'Antoni said about not playing Marbury. "If I was playing everything for tonight, you'd do things differently. But we're trying to build a base for going forward."
Sure sounds as if the Knicks are biting the bullet, something New York sports fans aren't accustomed to seeing their teams do. Knicks fans don't tolerate losing any more than Yankees, Mets or Rangers fans.
The Celtics, Bucks and Grizzlies were all accused of trying to lose toward the end of the 2006-07 season in hopes of drafting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Just last season there was talk about the Knicks going in the tank to get the No. 1 pick. If that was indeed the case, then why can't a team with no shot to make the playoffs do it at the start?
That's enough reason for anybody to keep an eye on the Knicks this season. Especially David Stern.