Tagged: Andre Miller

Knicks and Blazers Should Talk

Watching the Knicks dismantle the Blazers last night, it was impossible to ignore the Blazers’ lack of depth up front and their poor chemistry in the backcourt. In fact, those were two of the team’s three most glaring shortcomings (the third being poor perimeter shooting).

The Blazers are clearly a playoff contender but, given their depth and chemistry problems, it does seem like there might be a deal to be made with them for Jared Jeffries. Here’s the rub, though: Any deal sending Jeffries to Portland would probably require the Knicks to take back Andre Miller. Thus far, Miller has been a poor fit in Portland and, judging from last night’s game, things don’t seem to be improving on that score.

Miller’s and Jeffries’ deals are a wash. They earn basically the same amount and both deals expire after 2011 so a trade would be cap neutral. Basically the Knicks would be adding Miller while still having the ability to add a max player this summer and one more player for a salary starting around $8-9 million.

I’d consider this type of trade if there was no other opportunity to unload JJ for an expiring contract, if only because I think Miller fits an urgent need–the Knicks won’t be successful long-term depending on Duhon to play 37 high quality minutes a game– and Miller has a long track record as a winning PG in uptempo systems.

But given how well JJ has played recently, I think the Knicks may actually find a taker at the deadline that’s willing to surrender an expiring contract. During this streak his value to a winning team has become much more apparent. There could be playoff teams that have interest. A Miller trade should only be an “if all else fails” proposition.

On the other hand, if the Knicks and Blazers could agree on something like JJ and Chandler for Miller and Rudy Fernandez, I’d definitely do that today.

UPDATE: Ok, scratch that, as it was just revealed that Rudy will undergo back surgery today to relieve pressure from a damaged nerve.

I’m not sure I’d feel the same enthusiasm to take back Miller and Bayless instead.

Seems like the Knicks and Portland should at least talk.

Knicks Met With Andre Miller

Frank Isola of the Daily News is reporting that the Knicks met with Andre Miller today at the team’s training facility but made no offer to the free agent PG.

According to Isola, Miller is seeking a salary greater than the mid-level exception and would likely be obtainable only via sign-and-trade, perhaps for incumbent starter Chris Duhon.

This news seems to fly in the face of recent reports coming out of Milwaukee that have the Knicks preparing a full midlevel offer for Ramon Sessions in the next few days. It’s certainly possible, though, that both reports are true and that the Knicks are looking at both players and met with Miller merely to keep the lines of communication open between the parties.

The Problem With Boozer, or Odom, or Paul, or Roy, or Miller, or Lee

There are currently impact players available, potentially available, or unhappy with their current situation.

Boozer, Miller and Odom appear to be available. Additionally, Chris Paul indicated that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Hornets traded him (though I, and Chris Alvin0 would be).

Meanwhile, Brandon Roy has expressed dissatisfaction with the Blazers for not extending him a max contract extension this summer.

Finally, as we all know, David Lee wants a big bucks extension that the Knicks aren’t willing to provide.

For this exercise, lets just assume that the Knicks have the talent to land any of these players (other than Lee) in a trade, which is pretty questionable.

Out of all of these players, the ones that haveto interest Donnie Walsh the most for this coming season are Miller and Boozer. This isn’t because Miller and Boozer are the best players of the bunch, but because they are a excellent players with either an expiring contract (Boozer) or the apparent willingness to sign for one year (Miller).

The problem of taking on any of these other players is that without unloading Jeffries or Curry, the Knicks are damaging themselves for the Summer of 2010 (they already have to some extent, through the draft). Donnie has indicated strongly that he just won’t shell out significant money on a free agent in a deal that goes past this upcoming season. If the Knicks bring in any of these guys other than Miller for a year or Boozer, they have to clear out salary. This probably includes Lee, who is asking for about a $8-$10 million raise over his previous, cap-friendly salary.

The offseason has a ways to go, but I just don’t see a deal being made for Odom (as Isola suggested today) or anyone else, including Lee, if the deal goes beyond this year, unless Jeffries or Curry are part of it.

Berger: Knicks Receptive to Miller Trade

Ken Berger of CBS Sports is reporting that the Knicks do indeed have interest in acquiring PG Andre Miller from the Sixers in a sign-and-trade for incumbent starting PG Chris Duhon.

Contrary to reports earlier today, Berger is reporting that it’s Miller’s agent who has been working to orchestrate a deal. Since Duhon is already under contract, that makes much more sense, although I suppose it’s possible that both agents are working on a change of address for their clients.

Berger says that the Knicks would only be willing to offer Miller a 2 year deal. I’d presume that it’d be for something in the neighborhood of $15 million.

Striking Out in Free Agency

Donnie Walsh took his best shot with Jason Kidd and he’s made two fairly substantial offers to Grant Hill in his efforts to give the Knicks some veteran leadership and bolster the team’s credibility. But with news emerging this morning that the Suns have improved their offer and are making a late recruiting push to bring Hill back into the fold, it seems very possible that the Knicks are going to miss out on both players.

Frank Isola wrote this morning that the Knicks could turn to Andre Miller next should Hill decide to re-sign with the Suns. While I don’t think that would be an awful move, it’s certainly not the Knicks’ best option (more on that below) and I don’t see Donnie landing him anyway. As is the case with the Knicks and David Lee, the Sixers’ position vis a vis Miller has come together beautifully. The teams with substantial cap space are seemingly unwilling to meet Miller’s asking price leaving him with no other option but to accept a deal from Philly or try to orchestrate a sign-and-trade. Barring a fantastic offer, the Sixers can just sit on their hands and wait this out, basically daring Miller to sign somewhere else on a mid-level deal. In the end, I think he goes back to the Sixers on a 3 year deal for $7-8 million per.

So if these are the Knicks’ only targets, it’s starting to look like we may just whiff completely in free agency. Now, there’s still plenty of time and none of the restricted free agents’ situations have been resolved, including Lee’s and Nate Robinson’s, so I’m not necessarily suggesting that Donnie will just rest on his laurels and go to camp with this roster (though he might).

That said, I don’t want to see the Knicks haphazardly trying to add veteran players anyway. While I understand the virtue of Miller, he doesn’t offer the same cache or credibility that Jason Kidd would have and I just don’t see the same value in the incremental improvement Miller would provide. While I do think he’d help the culture, the Pedro Martinez analogy certainly doesn’t apply here because he’s not going to be a major draw to the big-time free agents the way that Kidd might have been.

If the Knicks can’t add Hill, I’d much rather see the team target Ramon Sessions than Miller. I still think Sessions would be a great add and I just have a feeling that the Bucks’ financial struggles have been underestimated and their willingness to match a substantial offer (the full midlevel?) has been overstated. Sessions is 10 years younger than Miller and offers a similar skillset. He’s the kind of young, promising PG that can grow with the team and add long term value regardless of whether we land Lebron or Dwayne Wade.

Short of that, I’d even prefer to see Nate go in a sign-and-trade for a young PG who’s reputation is a little bit tarnished like Sergio Rodriguez or Jordan Farmar over a Miller signing. Each of those players thrive in the uptempo game (Farmar’s main problem is that he’s miscast in the triangle) and are young enough where, given an opportunity, they could still blossom into good players.

We’re all starting to come to terms with some of the biggest challenges the Knicks will face in executing a fast rebuild. If Donnie can pull it off and make us instant 2010 contenders, fantastic. But he shouldn’t force it. This is where his trademark restraint figures to come in handy. Because if the Knicks aim for the fast rebuild with third and fourth tier players, as we all know far too well, in no time we’ll just find ourselves back in the dumpster. It’s time to start getting our heads around the concept of “slow-and-steady”, even if it’s only a fallback.

Knicks Look To Andre Miller?

Frank Isola is reporting that if the Knicks strike out on Grant Hill, they could turn their attention to Andre Miller, and offer him either a one or three year deal at the full midlevel.

I like Andre Miller. He’s a very good point guard, but, as Isola points out, he’s not necessarily a SSOL PG because his long range jumper is suspect.

Despite the questionable jumper though, Miller is an intelligent, saavy veteran, who could do most of what Coach D’Antoni needs.

So while going after Miller wouldn’t be a terrible move, if the Knicks are going to offer a point guard a multiyear deal, I’d prefer they offer it to Ramon Sessions who is younger and probably fits the SSOL mold a little better.

Sixers 116, Knicks 110

The Knicks weren’t bad at all tonight but they weren’t quite good enough either as they hung tough on the road and got more great play from their bench. The truth is (and I don’t think this is controversial), the Sixers are the better team right now and the Knicks didn’t have enough answers down the stretch, particularly for Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala.

The Knicks were right there in the fourth quarter and had a narrow lead midway through the period but they couldn’t hold it due to a combination of careless ball-handling, reckless shot selection and too many fouls that put the Sixers in the bonus too early in the period. By the time the Knicks got their bearings again, time was running out and they were down by 6.  A couple of times they got within 2 points but just couldn’t get enough buckets or enough stops to take back the lead.

Once again, the bench severely outplayed the starters as no starter netted a plus in their plus/minus rating for the game. In fact, the best plus/minus ratings posted by any Knick starter tonight were achieved by Chandler and Duhon at -8 (and Chandler only played 19 minutes). At some point, the starters need to pull their weight. They can’t keep putting the team behind the 8-ball every night and then hope to get bailed out by the bench.

That said, the Knicks once again got an outstanding contribution from the bench despite having to go without Danilo Gallinari. Presently, the Knicks’ plan is to hold Gallo out on the second night of back-to-backs and in this game the Knicks did seem a man short. Gallinari might well have been the difference between a win and a loss.

A few more odds and ends:

  • With the Knicks trailing 100-98 in the fourth, Duhon had a terrible and costly sequence. First, after getting a step he drove the lane but then just flipped up a careless layup at the basket hoping for a foul. He didn’t get the call and on the Sixers next trip down the court he played lazy defense committed a dumb foul himself to put Andre Miller at the line where he knocked down both shots. That was a pivotal moment and it gave the Sixers some much needed momentum.
  • One of these days, David Lee needs to get a body on someone. He’s great at going after the ball and obviously he racks up the rebounds but, too often, he doesn’t box out, especially on the defensive glass, and taller or more athletic players just go up over the top of him to grab the offensive board or get a put-back. Dalembert was able to do this to Lee several times tonight (including a costly instance with time winding down in the fourth). I love his effort and energy, but at some point a big man needs to get physical.
  • Al Harrington just has to take smarter shots. I like Harrington though I recognize that he’s flawed (not as athletic as he looks, dribbles too much, listless defender etc.). He’s got heart and balls and the Knicks can use more of both. Also, when he’s right, he can keep a team in a game. On the other hand, when he throws lazy passes or just flips guarded three pointers up at the rim, he can take a team right out of a game too. At some point, he’s got to rein in his shot selection and start showing more discipline in the offensive system.

We should try not to lose sight of the big picture though. The Knicks played very well on the second night of a back to back even in losing. And because they’re playing so much better, expectations are naturally higher. After all, if Gallinari was available tonight, they might have won this game. Still though, if the Knicks are going to make noise later on this season, they’re going to have to figure out how to execute down the stretch so they can pull out a few of these close roadies.