Destroy And Rebuild

Listen up gangstas and honeys with ya hair done
Pull up a chair hon’ and put it in the air son
Dog, whatever they call you, god, just listen
I spit a story backwards, it starts at the ending

-Nas, Rewind


I’d rather die enormous than live dormant that’s how we on it.

– Jay Z, Can I Live?


No matter how convinced you are that you’re right, there are people who will disagree. And they have a right to. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some opinions are defensible.

I got Zach Randolph for 25 and 15 tnt at MSG. If all goes right, Walsh can sign Zach and Jamal in summer, 2011 with their cap space.

-Marc Berman, via Twitter.

That isn’t one of them. Clearly Marc Berman thinks that Donnie Walsh’s plan is already a meaningless failure.

Always a good plan in designing team for 2 seasons @HowardBeckNYT fans wigging out, apparently forgetting this team wasn’t designed to win.

-Marc Berman, via Twitter, sarcastically referencing Howard Beck’s excellent article urging observers to remember the forest from the trees.

The visceral impatience is understandable because losing is painful. The outlook though is tragically flawed. It’s like criticizing a architect halfway through a project, judging him or her at the premature point when all there is to look at is a pile of materials strewn across a vacant lot. It looks ugly so far and so it was a pointless endeavor to build it. The old decrepit house was better.

Will the new house be better than the old decrepit one? Not sure, but I’ll let the architect finish before I convince myself that it wont.

Steve Adamek tried a very creative approach to getting through to those who are so shortsighted that they would criticize a plan that is in the most unseemly part of its execution phase and instead long for a plan of stasis. Adamek indulges them:

Let’s bring back Jamal Crawford for Al Harrington. And bring back Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.

You’d undo those deals (from November 2008) right now, wouldn’t you?

Let’s even undo the cap-neutral deals of a little over a year ago. Jerome James, Anthony Roberson and Tim Thomas return for Larry Hughes. And Malik Rose makes it back for Chris Wilcox.

Bring Quentin Richardson back and undo this past summer’s deal that brought Darko Milicic to New York.

And finally, undo the ones the Knicks just made. Get back Jared Jeffries, Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill and Marcus Landry. Give back Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez and the rest.

Oh, and Mr. Vaseline Man can return from his sneaker-sales trip to China.

So basically here’s what you’ve got. Crawford, Randolph, Richardson, Rose, Collins, Jeffries, Robinson, James, Mr. Vaseline Man … In other words, pretty much the 2007-08 roster.

Which went 23-59.

Let that sink in for a minute. It’s such simple and cogent logic. If it doesn’t seep through then your judgment must be clouded. This Adamek piece was so good I’m struggling to find things to cut for the sake of blog brevity…

This is what some folks think the Knicks should’ve done, though. Held onto most, if not all of those players. That way, they figure, the Knicks might’ve put up a legitimate playoff run this season. Maybe finished seventh or eighth.

And then, because of those players’ contracts, they could’ve done the same thing next season. Seventh or eighth place. One (round) and done, most likely.

Meanwhile, they would have no chance to take a run at the best player of this generation, as well as some of his subordinate superstars.

If that’s what you would’ve preferred _ Crawford, Randolph, Vaseline Man, et al, still in Knicks’ finery this season, then you’re a fan of mediocrity.

Yes, the Knicks were 6-3 when Donnie Walsh traded Zach and Jamal. It’s foolhardy though to project results off such a small sample, as this season exhibited first when the Knicks were 1-9, then in December when they had their best month in close to a decade. As Adamek astutely notes:

Mike D’Antoni would’ve had to coax 15-20 more victories out of that group than Isiah Thomas did. Could he have done that? Could Red Holzman have?

(For that matter, how many games would Red have won this season with David Lee as his best player?)

I know that I’ll rest easy no matter what happens in July. The Knicks don’t have to get LeBron James, the possibilities are limitless. But if they do get James, I’ll look back at the haters — who criticized the architect before he got the chance to even start rebuilding the decrepit house I lived in before — and I’ll laugh at their folly.

If the Knicks compile some other group of talent and win 50 or so games, I’ll still be happy knowing that I tried to build the nicest house on the block and failed, but that I still have a better house than I had before.


  1. Dan L


    I know what you’re going to say. Your position is much more rational because I think (correct me if I’m wrong), you are in favor of the Jamal and Zach trades, but it is the Jeffries trade whereby the Knicks squandered some future assets that you find somewhat objectionable.

    It’s a more understandable position, certainly a better position than wishing the Knicks would still be completely capped out this summer.

    • Italian Stallion

      Yea, that’s basically it. I have been totally on board with everything Walsh has done until the Jeffries deal. That deal could be a home run if we sign one of the superstars, but I think it was a very high risk gambit that is likely to fail. That would leave us in a weaker position than had we used the cap space we already had for 2010 and then used the Jeffries/Curry cap space in 2011 (or later in 2010 in a trade) and kept Hill and the picks. I guess I’m not a swing for the fence kind of guy because I’ve been negative on the chances of any of the superstars coming here for awhile.

      No matter what though, you are totally correct that we are in a good position to build a very nice team for next year and beyond. Fans need to be patient. We WILL be a lot better next year.

    • EwingOak

      Dan L.- that was an excellent blog my friend. I think you really hit it square with the meanings behind all of it. I agree 100% of two things. One is that it is sometimes painful to watch the poor efforts in way too many games in the past few years. Two is that a plan has been put in place and is being carried out and if you are a true fan of growing a team and becoming a better all around franchise, you would not be so harsh with all of the criticisms. Donnie Walsh has stripped down the entire building and is now placing new foundation materials, but there are far too many “fans” that are critical of the color of the window shutters already. I sit in front of almost every game and watch for the good things. Granted, there are a few games that just don’t present any good, but most of them you can find some combinations of players out there that may be a good fit for future plans. And when you see that type of thing, it really is inspiring. And you can see a difference in the energy D’Antoni brings… then the difference the crowd can show… and then they are rolling and playing harder and showing what could be… and it’s an awesome thing. But unfortunately, the reality is they just don’t have all the pieces necessary for that feeling to be consistant not only for a 10 game winning streak, but for a full 48 minutes. But real fans should know that and instead of giving them hell about it, they should look forward to the next time they can get it back again for a few minutes.

      The Knicks have a long way to go and a huge construction project ahead of them, but at least they have the money to buy the materials.

      • Dan L

        Thanks for the kind words EwingOak. It’s been a long slog for fans of this team but I don’t think people realize how soon things are going to get better. This season was bad but it wasn’t a waste. The Knicks got Bill Walker on the cheap and cleared the path for more substantial additions.

        I think folks really need to take a deep breath, see the big picture, and evaluate the coach and front office next year.

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