Tagged: draft

The Knicks Should Face The Inevitable And Cut Ties With Tyson Chandler While They Can

In 2015 the Knicks will embark on a rebuilding, or retooling, or restructuring process, or whatever McKinsey wants to call it. It is common-knowledge by now that their plan is to surround Carmelo Anthony with a new crop of free-agents, utilizing cap-space. The Knicks will only have significant cap-space if, among other things, they cut ties with Tyson Chandler.

So the Knicks should trade him. I say this as a huge Chandler fan, but an even bigger Knicks fan. The team’s choices for Chandler in light of their 2015 plan are the same as for any player (who has trade value): keep him or trade him. Keeping him entails trying to win with him until his contract expires in a year and a half. But the Knicks cannot win anything meaningful in next year and a half. So they should exchange him for some pieces who can help them win something meaningful beyond the next year and a half.

Doing so could be a real opportunity to reestablish long-term viability, but only if done wisely, in a non-Knicksian manner. Specifically they should not trade Chandler straight-up for an established veteran on a long-term, expensive contract. I recognize that by necessity, such a player must be involved in any trade for Chandler for the cap figures to work. But the veteran should be the secondary part of the trade, an afterthought thrown-in to make the numbers work, and on a deal that expires no later than next year. Otherwise the Knicks will forfeit their 2015 cap space before they get it.

Instead, the centerpiece of the Knicks’ return for Chandler must be a young player who will be on his rookie contract in the summer of 2015. If the Knicks could pull off such a move, they would retain most of the 2015 cap space they are currently scheduled to have, while sporting an additional piece with whom to rebuild around Carmelo Anthony.

I will leave the various permutations to Twitter speculation but some promising young players who will be under contract in 2015 on below-market deals include (with the caveat that I have attempted any analysis here on whether Chandler would make sense for the other team): Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, Jon Leuer, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams, Mo Harkless, Tony Wroten, Miles Plumlee, Alex Len, Terrence Ross, Trey Burke, Bradley Beal, and others.

Additionally, the following players (among others, same caveat) will be restricted free-agents who would be worthy acquisitions despite the risk another team might offer them a contract that the Knicks would have to match: Enes Kanter, Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Markief and Marcus Morris, and Reggie Jackson.

An additional option would be to trade Chandler for a future first round draft pick.

Any of these options would be preferable to letting yet another asset melt away.

Latest Draft Rumblings and Other News

1. The Thunder are reportedly high on Stephen Curry…Honestly, I don’t think he’s a reach at 3, in this draft. The fact that the Bobcats are interested and might trade up has me worried too.

2. Donnie Walsh interviewed Thabeet yesterday. He has one skill but it’s definitely one the Knicks need.

3. Ty Lawson will work out against Stephen Curry for the Knicks. Hahn thinks Lawson has a chance at going 8th. He’s wrong.

4. Eddy Curry might be less fat (Italian Stallion was the first on the net to report this, following Eddy’s tweeting).

5. The Knicks might invite Alex Acker to summer league. They reportedly view him as a potential late bloomer.

6. The Knicks might bring in Carlos Cabezas for a look and also a guy named Fabien Causeur, the starting PG for Le Havre. I don’t know how I feel about having a guy named Fabien on the squad. Just bloggin’.

Prospect Wish List and Ish List

I’m not as saavy as to the college game as Jon, but I do have my opinions. I put together a wish list and an ish list for this year’s draft.

Wish List (only 8 deep, since it’s pointless to go past 8):

1. Stephen Curry: Elite shooter, elite passer, elite basketball I.Q., astute team defender. Talk about fitting like a glove.

2. Ricky Rubio: Jason Kidd to Curry’s Nash. Great defender, elite passer, creative with the ball, not much of a J.

3. Blake Griffin: Beast. Elite rebounder. Polished offensively. Not a shotblocker or much of a defender, even though he promises he’ll defend on the next level. Reminds me of David Lee in that he’ll take a punch, but will he give one? More talented than David Lee but I’m not sure I want the lane to be a freeway to the paint anymore.

4. James Harden: High basketball I.Q., patient, lets the game come to him, knows how to read the D to set up his O without forcing anything.

5. Jrue Holiday: Apparently a solid point guard who played out of position and thus didn’t get to show it off. But it’s clear that he can defend.

6. Jordan Hill: Reminds me of a big Balkman (and not because of the hair). He’s hyperactive, blocks shots, defends, and chases down rebounds. He has size at 6’10 so you can stick him at center where he can be a weakside defender a la Camby. Downside? Chris Wilcox (not because of the hair).

7. Hasheem Thabeet: Shotblocking skills are unquestionable. But what else? Doesn’t have great footwork and isn’t particularly nimble, so I don’t really ever see him becoming a threat on offense. Got pushed around and outrebounded easily by DuJuan Blair in college, who is about 8 inches shorter than Thabeet. Hey, at least Chad Ford notes that he can hit a 10-15 foot jumper…in an empty gym.

8. Johnny Flynn: Great leader, super fast, great passer, intense, a winner.

Ish List:

1. Tyreke Evans: Just what the Knicks need: another guard to pound the ball into the ground for 20 seconds and then bull his way into the paint or chuck up a desperation jumper. Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, I’m looking in your general direction. Poor shooter, not a willing passer. Doesn’t fit into SSOL.

2. Brandon Jennings: Risk/reward just isn’t there, especially with more solid options like Curry, Lawson, Flynn, Maynor, and Calathes. He goes to Europe because he can’t get into college (we need a smart player at PG), and can’t get off the bench, doesn’t seem to have one particularly useful skill that he’s shown in game action, and might get cut from his team for a back-up power forward. You might say, he’s 19 and playing in Europe against top competition, cut him some slack! Yea? Well Gallo was playing against equally tough competition and was a top player on his team. Same with Rubio. Maybe Jennings will be a good pro, but I’d prefer some other team gamble on him.

3. Gerald Henderson: Fancy Shandon Anderson? No thanks. He can defend and he’s athletic but he couldn’t hit the side of a barn with his J. Tell me how that fits into SSOL?

Knicks Like Curry, 3 Other Prospects

Berman scoops today that the Knicks have their eyes on 4 prospects, so far, one of whom is Stephen Curry:

“He’s going to be a really good pro,” D’Antoni told The Post. “But it’s too early to gauge. There’s four of them we’ve looked at [on film], and I’m sure that will expand. I didn’t think it’s disappointing. We didn’t drop back. We could get a good player at 8. Sometimes you make mistakes at 3.”

Last week, the 6-foot-3 Curry hired agent Jeff Austin, who represented his father, Dell Curry. Austin had a strong conversation with Knicks team president Donnie Walsh last week about Curry.

“The Knicks have clearly shown interest,” Austin said yesterday. “And Stephen feels the same way. He has interest in them.”

Chad Ford reported the Knicks’ interest in Curry months ago. Last year he called the Knicks’ drafting of Gallinari months in advance as well. At this point I think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Knicks are going after Curry and workouts of any other prospect represent a fall back option in case someone snatches Curry prior to 8 (though I wonder who they are…I’m sure Holiday is in the mix).

You can talk about Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans (for some reason), Brandon Jennings (ugh) and Gerald Henderson (never happen): It’s fun to speculate. But the Knicks taking Curry is as close to a sure thing as is possible (again, unless some team higher than the Knicks takes him).

Check out our mock draft: Part One, Part Two.

50 Losses Might Be the Only Way to Be Truly Great

We all know that the Post is a muck-raking rag. That comes from its muck-raking management issuing edicts to its muck-raking journalists and editors. Marc Berman will stop at nothing to manufacture a story. According to Steve Adamek, Berman tried to I believe that it was Berman who tried to box Mike D’Antoni into a bad situation by asking him if he’s willing to lose 50 games for the sake of the long term plan.

I don’t recall anyone asking Isiah if he was willing to lose 50 games, though teams under his reign almost always did. My point with that is, at least there is a plan here.

D’Antoni told reporters:

“I think that’s one area, plus there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t be on the same pace if we didn’t make the trades. When made the trades, everybody knows the reasons, keeping the team competitive and we have longer-term goals and plans and objectives.
“Really, that doesn’t enter into the discussion. We’re just going to continue on with what we want to do to get the Knicks at the championship level that they deserve to be. We’re not going to waver from that. It’s not going to be like, in the short term we’ll worry about this. We’re not going to waver from what we said at the very beginning and I’m really comfortable with that.”

Basically, Mike D’Antoni took a roundabout path to yes. He said the Knicks have a long-term plan to be special. Not a short term ambition to be OK.

Let me be clearer than Mike D’Antoni: YES! IF STICKING TO THE PLAN MEANS THAT THE KNICKS WILL LOSE 50 GAMES THIS YEAR, THEN THE KNICKS SHOULD BE WILLING TO LOSE 50 GAMES.

Of course, I hope the Knicks don’t lose 50 games, but look at any contender and how they got to be that way. The Celtics for example won 24 games the year before they picked up KG and Ray Allen. The 24 win season followed several other mediocre years, during which they stocked up on guys like Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Delonte West, and Sebastian Telfair.

The Spurs had to be bad before they got Duncan in 96-97, winning just 20 games before winning the lottery.

The Cavs history is just one big losing season with dashes of mediocrity and first round exits.

Somebody tell me what the Knicks were up to prior to Walt Frazier and also prior to Patrick Ewing…

The list goes on. Almost every good team went through a rebuilding phase to become a contender. The Lakers are the only exception, remarkably having missed the playoffs just five times in their history.

In the NBA you are rewarded for being good with championships and you are rewarded for being bad with draft picks. Still, you can mess it all up with bad management. For instance, you could already be bad or mediocre, then add salary to the point of being capped out, and give away draft picks in exchange for limited, losing players.

The only way to come back from a scenario like that is to completely reset. The Knicks embarked on the above described scenario for 8 years. They are fortunate that it will probably only take them 2 years (one and two-thirds now) to reset.

Update: Jon informed, me, and he’s right, that Steve Adamek never said that it was Berman that asked the question. I just assumed that, figuring, who else could it have been. So I can’t tell you whether it was Berman or not, and if it wasn’t, I apologize.

Thunder 107, Knicks 99.

Ugh. What a waste of two and a half hours of my life. These Knicks are maddening and if you follow them you have to expect to be perplexed. It all started with the same sloppy, unfocused play that the team has exhibited during their recent stretch of poor play (by the way, at some point it stops being a recent stretch and turns into “most of the season”). The ball didn’t move for most of the game. Just guys jacking up contested shots.

In a game like this it is apparent how badly the Knicks miss having a go to scorer, especially in the post. Yes, I miss Zach Randolph, though I’m not sorry the Knicks traded him. I know Heri, I’m a man of contradictions. Anyway, lets see what Eddy Curry can do. I have a feeling he really could have helped tonight. He’ll be an inside option so the team doesn’t always have to live and die on threes and contested jumpers. How sad is this pining for Eddy Curry. He makes Oliver Miller look like Calista Flockhart:

Watching the team try to score inside is just sad. They either got rejected (the Thunder had eight) or just fumbled around and forced it. The futility inside was especially harmful considering the awful outside shooting. The last several games it seems like Nate can’t hit the side of a barn. Indeed, over the last five games hes shot 24.5%, which is atrocious. The Knicks aren’t going to win a lot of games with their best outside shooter shooting that poorly.

No excuse to fall behind by 23 to the Thunder who only managed to beat four other teams this entire season. The Knicks have the dishonor of being the fifth. That’s what happens when you let your opponent shoot 52%, even though the Thunder had no business making some of those shots (Jeff Green, I’m looking at you).

The fact that the Knicks mounted a comeback that they couldn’t finish makes the loss that much harder to handle. They ran out of gas with about 8 minutes left and could never recover. Even if the team won though, I wouldn’t have been too happy with it.

None of the players look like they did when the team was playing well. What happened to Duhon? He was up there in assists to turnovers for a while. Now it seems like 4 turnovers is the minimum for this guy. As mentioned, Nate completely lost his touch. Chandler still isn’t demanding the ball and taking it to the paint. This is a guy that made KG look like an amateur, but cant get to the rack against Robert Swift, Chris Wilcox, Jeff Green, or Joe Smith? Lee put up nice numbers but it seemed like he was the main test subject of a Desmond Mason rejection experiment, and when the team needed offensive boards the most while mounting their fourth quarter run, he was nowhere to be found. Lee was -25 for the game and when Tim Thomas (!) was +21 in relief.

On the plus side, it seems like D’Antoni might be realizing that Jeffries is a net liability out there, as he barely played in the second half. How do you have a system premised on spacing the floor using good shooters when you start a guy who couldn’t throw a pebble into the East River? I’d rather put Air Bud at center, he’d look better on offense bouncing balls into the basket off his snout. If you are going to wear Allan Houston’s number your jumper should look like you’ve at least played pee wee ball. My jumper looks nicer than Jeffries’. I play ball against my girlfriend (she’s a great player…the Knicks should start her at center if they can’t find Air Bud) from time to time and she’ll tell you that I can hit 60% or 70% of my foul shots…Jeffries can’t (not that he took any tonight).

But enough ranting about Jeffries. You all know my thoughts on him. The only guy who looked OK out there tonight was Harrington, though that possession with a few minutes left where he lost the ball and slapped it around on the ground for 5 seconds until the shot clock basically expired was infuriating.

Well, on to Dallas, Houston and New Orleans. Which team will show up? The one that lost to the worst team maybe ever, or the one that beat the best? Just keep in mind that Boston also lost to Golden State this year and they’ve been slumping.

Anyway, has anyone seen Ricky Rubio play this year? Blake Griffin sure looks good (and would mitigate a loss of David Lee via trade by the way).

David Lee Wish List.

The David Lee trade chatter is deafening at this point. Tommy Dee at The Knicks Blog reports that the Blazers have a school girl crush on an Anthony Bonner for David Lee that is on the creepy stalker threshold. He also says that the Bulls and Nuggets are monitoring the situation. I’ve decided to make a wish list of players from each of these teams.

Portland: The Blazers clearly have the best young talent. The Knicks would love to get their hands on any of these guys, who would fit the long term plans and D’Antoni’s style.

  • Travis Outlaw
  • Martell Webster (he’s got a long contract but its real cheap.)
  • Channing Frye (I can still re member that game his rookie year where he shot something like 20/22 from the field. Talk about spacing the floor.)
  • Ike Diogu (if Donnie can get him as a throw-in, why not?)
  • Jerryd Bayless (talented, fast, and a good shooter, but buried on the bench.)
  • Sergio Rodriguez (fast break guard stuck in a half court system.)

Denver: They don’t have a lot of young talent at all. They can mainly offer cap space.

  • Steven Hunter (blah.)
  • Chucky Atkins (blah.)
  • Linas Klieza (nice but will be restricted this year. Resigning him will come cheaper than resigning Lee.)

Chicago: Their horses are mostly busts. They might play better in D’Antoni’s style but are they an improvement over Lee? Also can offer cap space.

  • Larry Hughes (cap space.)
  • Drew Gooden (same, and seems really hurt at the moment.)
  • Derrick Rose (I kid, I kid.)
  • Ty Thomas (he’s been in the league a while now and I think he’s just developmentally disabled. Stromile Swift 2.)
  • Jo Noah (intriguing. Hustler like Lee but also blocks shots. Apparently still has some growing up to do.)
  • Thabo Sefolosha (Versatile 6’5 2 guard who can score. Can’t find time behind Rose, Gordon, Hughes, Deng and Nocioni.)

No matter what we get in terms of players, it would be really nice to grab a draft pick or two, considering the fact that we don’t have one next year. Like Jon, I think Donnie is about to pull a heist.

David Lee Trade Rumor.

UPDATE: Tommy Dee at The Knicks Blog is reporting that Portland is getting aggressive in their pursuit of David Lee. They have no lack of young intriguing talent. If the Knicks swing a Lee trade, I hope Portland is involved in some way. Also, Walsh is proving his mettle, turning down the Denver deal and setting a floor on the Lee market. Any team that wants Lee will have to make a serious offer that beats Denver’s. Thanks to Virgil for pointing out Tommy Dee’s latest blog entry.

***

Heri made a comment on the Curry Comeback blog that I think merits some discussion. Here is what he wrote:

Lee is a stud rebounding hard worker, you can’t continue to throw good talent away in the name of 2010 like we did Zack. You trade for equal or better value, or at least a draft pick.

There was a report on ESPN.com yesterday indicating that the Nuggets offered the Knicks two first round draft picks (one of which probably belongs to the Bobcats) and Chucky Atkins for David Lee. Word is that the Knicks rejected the offer, holding out for Linas Kleiza. I’m very tempted by this deal. The Knicks are rebuilding and first round draft picks, especially when one might be a lottery pick, are hard to come by. Not sure if I’d definitely pull the trigger, but I am intrigued. Holding out for Kleiza is odd to me as well since the Knicks would have to extend him this summer if they want to keep him, just like Lee.

The other major problem with this proposed trade is that it would leave the Knicks completely devastated up front unless Curry and Gallinari are ready to contribute, which is possible.

Discuss.

Rebuild in New York?

The debate continues to rage. I tried to lay it down real clear in the “Lottery Dream or Nightmare?” post, but judging from a similar-type post over at the Knicks Blog and the comments left for Tommy Dee, this debate will continue.

Look, both Isiah Thomas and Scott Layden, perhaps taking their cues from James Dolan, believed that you can’t rebuild in New York. Look where that has gotten the Knicks. Every team goes through cycles, up and down. The Knicks are in an extended down cycle because of their foolish tendency to take on long term contracts for marginal talent, whether its Travis Knight, Shandon Anderson, Howard Eisley, Keith Van Horn, Tim Thomas (first time), Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Jarred Jeffries, or even Zach Randolph (I’m not including Q-Rich in here because we also got Nate as part of that trade, though Nate might not even be on the squad by the time it is ready to really compete again).

Now Donnie Walsh is trying to clear those salaries away so that the Knicks can land someone, or three people (notice I didn’t write LeBron), who deserve the stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena, and a case of short-sightedness spreads like the flu.

I know some people don’t want to listen, but you have to stay patient, and as Tommy Dee says, stay positive. Just remember, the Knicks implemented a similar plan before with great success. Does anybody remember the Willie Anderson Knicks?

New rule proposal: Anyone who bashes Walsh because of the current state of the Knicks, which is a byproduct of a long range plan, forfeits their right to root for the team in 2010 (unless the Knicks stink then too, in which case they can say they told us so).

Discuss.

Lottery Dream or Nightmare?

When assessing the current Knicks, we must be mindful of the long-term plan, which involves the following goals:

1. Clear salary cap space.

2. Hopefully, in doing so, also pick up some talented pieces that don’t compromise the salary cap space.

3. TRY to remain competitive until 2010.

4. Sign two or three marquee free agents.

5. Win a title.

We’re obviously currently attempting to accomplish goals one, two and three. Notice how goal 3 says the Knicks should “TRY” to remain competitive. Failing in goal 3 is NOT the end of the world. In fact, it is likely to aid the pursuit of goal 2 – in the form of a higher draft pick, which in turn would aid in the accomplishment of goal 4, as marquee free agents are likely to be attracted to a team with a great core, perhaps already flaunting a burgeoning superstar (if we draft well this year). Succeeding in goal 4 obviously aids in the pursuit of goal 5 – the higher the quality of the marquee free agents, the likelier the Knicks are to win a title.

In fact, it makes sense to me to get rid of goal 3 altogether.

That’s why I can’t get as outraged as Berman does at the current inferior performance of the Knicks. Berman today wrote that “D’Antoni is losing his grip.” I don’t think that D’Antoni is losing his grip. I just think the players are limited and overworked due to a lack of depth. Hopefully they’ll find their fire again and string together some wins.

As an aside, how bad is the vindictive from Berman going to get? Look at this:

D’Antoni is finally realizing Jared Jeffries is not exactly Boris Diaw. Good call, Mike, almost as savvy a projection as ostracizing Marbury at the start of the season to escape that losing culture. Oh that’s right, you did it because his teammates – who care about two things, their money and their minutes – didn’t like him.

Wow. I mean, whatever Berman. You really think having Marbury on this squad, even with the depth issues, would make them respectable? I think they would be worse. They have been worse. Last year and the year before that and the year before that and…

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Hahn today wrote:

My argument remains that, while I don’t condone tanking, I do not believe making desperate roster moves for middling players to make a run at a playoff berth makes any sense at all for the Knicks. The Plan has to be adhered to, no matter how difficult it is to endure the pain of patience. In 2010, there will be a long list of top-shelf talent available and you MUST be in that game. LeBron James may or may not be an option by then, but he’s not the only player on the list. It is irresponsible for a team like the Knicks and with the Knicks’ recent history to not be in position to have the kind of summer that could compare to the kind of winter the Yankees just had.

Bottom line: you have a first-rounder this season. You don’t have one in 2010. And by 2011, you’re hoping to be well on your way to contending for a championship, so the lottery shouldn’t be an issue.

Yes. The plan “has to be adhered to” if the Knicks are to become a contender again. By being a lottery team this year we maximize goal 2 of the plan. By being an eigth seed, we maximize goal 3, and minimize the rest.