Tagged: Eddy Curry

The Centers Of Attention

We previously examined what point guards [1, 2] could be available this summer. Let’s turn our attention to the pivot-men.

Marcus Camby would have been perfect but I didn’t envision the Knicks competing with a 2 year, $20 million offer for a 36 year old. But the fact that Camby banked that much cash speaks to how thin the market is for legitimate defensive centers. Alan Hahn put together a list of bigs for the Fix yesterday and it’s pretty exhaustive. The list included was populated with power forwards and centers and included Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Amir Johnson, Ty Thomas, Chris Kaman, Brendan Haywood, Sam Dalembert, Emaka Okafor, Tyson Chandler, Brad Miller, Shaq, and Jermaine. I’d add the Warriors’ Andris Biedrins, the Rockets Luis Scola, and Tiaggo Splitter, the Argentinian center currently playing in Europe whose rights belong to the Spurs, to the list.

Marc Berman wrote that the Knicks fallback could be Brad Miller. Miller is slightly younger than Camby but is still a very slow 34. Unlike Camby, he does not block shots and he does not accumulate rebounds. It’s true he’s a gifted passer and shooter but so is David Lee. Those weren’t the Knicks’ problems last year. The Knicks need defense in the front court and if the Knicks do come away with only Miller, Berman is going to kill Miller and Donnie Walsh once he realizes that signing Miller accomplished nothing to address that need.

I won’t address every player on the list above but here is my take on a few of them:

  • I’d be happy with either Amare or Bosh. Amare isn’t much of a defender either but he brings an intensity and a nasty demeanor that the Knicks have been lacking.
  • Amir Johnson would be a good get for the bench. He oozes potential and was once compared to a young Kevin Garnett. We’ll see. He can’t be the only guy the Knicks get for their front court.
  • I could see the Knicks addressing their two main needs in one fell swoop by trading for Kaman and Baron Davis. I wouldn’t make the trade unless Eddy Curry was a part of it so that the Knicks retain some flexibility.
  • Haywood is a tough, shot blocking, rebounding defensive big. I’d like to see him here.
  • If it is unlikely that the Knicks would give Camby $10 million I can’t see them being willing to give it to Dalembert unless the Sixers really make it worth the Knicks’ while somehow.
  • I like the idea of trading for Tyson Chandler who will be in the final year of his contract so concerns about his injury history are somewhat mitigated. I’d try to expand the package and get Gerald Wallace. A front court of Chandler, Wallace and Gallo would be pretty nasty.
  • Splitter belongs to the Spurs but he isn’t signed to a contract. According to DraftExpress, Splitter has a reputation as a ferocious defender and rebounder who is nice around the basket on offense. He has an opt-out this summer with his European team and if the Spurs can’t put together a financially impressive deal they might lose him for many years if he chooses to sign an extension overseas. The Spurs are over the cap and can only offer Splitter their mid-level exception. That may very well be enough to get him to the States but if it isn’t the Spurs could explore moving him to a team that is under the cap rather than getting nothing for him for several years or maybe ever. That begs the question though, not having played in an NBA game, how does one gauge whether he is worth more than the mid-level?
  • Don’t forget about Eddy Curry…[vomit].

While it seems like the market is slowly drying up and certainly its discouraging that the Knicks won’t be able to woo the likes of Manu Ginobili or Marcus Camby, there remain options to improve the team.

If Only The Knicks Had Darko, Kurt Rambis, Or Both

We liked Marc Berman’s latest blog entry over at the New York Post so much that we asked him to come over to our site and expand on his thoughts (Note, this is a parody, Marc Berman did not write the entry below, but I’m in tune to his special brand of propagandistic muck-raking, so I know that if the Bermanator did write a guest spot for us, it would go a little something like this:)

Darko Milicic has exactly one more ring than Mike D’Antoni, so who would have been more crucial to the Knicks’ success going forward? The guy with the ring obviously. The second overall pick behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmello Anthony earned that ring playing a key role for the Detroit Pistons during their 2004 championship run. He averaged 4.6 minutes, 1.4 points and 1.3 boards. Without those contributions, the Pistons might not have even made the playoffs. But the Pistons, for some reason, gave up on Darko. What a waste. They traded him to the Orlando Magic where he averaged career highs in points (8) and rebounds (6.1). Then the Magic inexplicably gave up on Darko Milicic. Who knows why. Morons. He signed a free agent deal with Memphis, where the Grizzlies gave up on him. For some reason. I bet they wish they still had him, since now they are left with second overall pick Thabeet “patrolling” the paint. If only the Knicks had Thabeet. Alas, that’s a topic for another day.

Anyway…

Then after all those teams gave up on Darko, Mike D’Antoni made the inexcusable, indefensible coaching decision to give up on Darko. D’Antoni apparently thought Darko was lazy and mailed it in. There’s no credibility to that assertion. I know Tommy Dee routinely noticed that Darko was always the first player off the court after practice, but what does he know, he’s just a blogger.

What was D’Antoni thinking???

Sadly, since D’Antoni folded his hand, Donnie Walsh traded Darko to the Timberwolves, a team Darko has powered to a STAGGERING 1-15 record since the trade while averaging 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN OURS!!!! If Mike D’Antoni knew how to properly value his players the Knicks could be more like the 14 win Timberwolves, who astutely drafted Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio.

And Darko has found so much success in Minnesota because they know how to treat their players. In fact, Darko, who was pining to get back to Europe when he had to collect his mammoth game checks to do nothing in New York, now wants to stay in the NBA. But only if the team guarantees him the 30-35 minutes he’s earned by carrying them to a .062 winning percentage.

If D’Antoni only had a clue, the Knicks would probably have at least 50 wins by now, all due to Darko’s dominant scoring and boardwork. And if he never planned on using the guy, at least the Knicks could have still had Quentin Richardson, who is averaging a Darko-esque 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in a shade under 30 minutes for the Heat. Another chance at 50 wins squandered! Ugh!

Donnie put together a title contender for Mike D’Antoni. But D’Antoni didn’t play the studs. Darko? Banished! Hughes? Banished! Nate? Banished during Nate-gate (“haters” might say the Knicks had their best month in close to a decade during this time. But that is just a “fact”, which we don’t value over here at News Corp.)! Curry? Banished! Here’s what the Knicks could have been if not for that know-nothing D’Antoni:

PG: Duhon or Marbury

SG: Nate

SF: Hughes

PF: Darko

C: Curry

You mean to tell me that this squad wouldn’t have more than the 26 wins the currently mismanaged group sports? Please. The problem in New York isn’t the lack of talent of the players, it’s the lack of talent of the head coach, who should’ve played Darko at center for his added 5 boards instead of their current all-star center. Case closed. I’m smart.

Who Would Want To Play For THAT Team?

It’s getting a little tiresome trying to defend the Knicks from the same old criticisms. I mean, the Knicks have 21 wins and just lost to the 7 win Nets for the second time this season. But as often as folks keep bringing up the same arguments (and it’s become even more fashionable, somehow, to pile on), I’ll keep responding the same way.

The latest volley comes from Mitch Lawrence who posits:

Once he saw the score from the Garden Saturday night, LeBron James must have said to himself, “That’s it. There’s no way I’m leaving Cleveland for that disaster.”

Once he saw that the Knicks had allowed 113 points to a Nets team that’s dead last in scoring in the NBA, Chris Bosh must have thought, “How am I going to turn that team around at the defensive end?”

(emphasis mine).

What is that hypothetical team Lawrence writes about? Is he referring to Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas? Because those players are the only ones with more than just a coin toss’ chance to be around after the summer.

In response to LeBron’s hypothetical dismissal, I think the team is certainly a disaster, but in part it’s because LeBron or another star caliber talent isn’t on it. To illustrate, last night LeBron James sat out, and the Cavs, who have the best record in the NBA, couldn’t beat the Bucks, who, at 4 games over .500 currently occupy the 6th seed. Even with LeBron though, the Knicks wouldn’t have Shaq to protect the paint, or even Anderson Varejao for that matter.

To answer Bosh’s question, I’d say something like “Fake Bosh, I never realized you had such a low opinion of your defensive abilities.” I think it’s likely that Bosh would answer Fake Bosh’s question by saying, “Well, if someone gets by LeBron on the perimeter, I’ll contest the shot inside.” Obviously that’s if Plan A prevails. But the concept remains the same if its Joe Johnson outside and Marcus Camby and/or others inside.

But Lawrence’s article is more about Mike D’Antoni. The thesis is that free agents are scared that if they join Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks, their defensive abilities are going to wither, brown, and crumble to dust. I think they know that’s not true.

Earlier this week, Frank Isola took a shot at D’Antoni’s coaching by asking hypothetically whether the Bucks have so much more talent than the Knicks. Maybe, but what they definitely do have is Andrew Bogut. A legitimate 7 footer who blocks shots and protects the paint, and abuses guys like David Lee on the offensive end too. And they have Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who actually takes pride in his defense and doesn’t care about his numbers. [1] And yes they have Scott Skiles, who has made a career out of squeezing 5 or 6 extra wins out of low-talent teams by employing a no-nonsense boot-camp strategy that inevitably grates on players who in turn quit on him after about three years.

I’m trying to make the point that when someone smokes Eddie House or Nate Robinson or Sergio Rodriguez or Al Harrington or Chris Duhon, and then David Lee just stands there, what is Mike D’Antoni supposed to do? Yell? Make practice 2 hours longer? Replace Lee with Bender or Eddy Curry?

D’Antoni has a reputation as an offensive innovator whose style doesn’t translate into wins in the playoffs. Two trips to the conference finals say differently. In one of those trips, the Suns lost to the eventual champion Spurs in 7 games in a series where game three was horribly officiated by Tim Donaghy. [2][3] Also the numbers say differently. The Suns, when D’Antoni coached them, were always near or at the league average for points allowed per 100 possessions, a statistic that adjusts for pace.

But that is also besides the point because the only opinions that matter are those of the marquee players in this summer’s free agency bonanza. And they already know what kind of coach Mike D’Antoni is. They’ve all already won a championship playing for him.


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[1] The Knicks did have Jeffries, but he was getting paid too much. Plus, they looked a lot better with him on the defensive end didn’t they?

[2]From Bill Simmons: “Congratulations to Greg Willard, Tim Donaghy and Eddie F. Rush for giving us the most atrociously officiated game of the playoffs so far: Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series. Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington and Violet Palmer must have been outraged that they weren’t involved in this mess. Good golly. Most of the calls favored the Spurs, but I don’t even think the refs were biased — they were so incompetent that there was no rhyme or reason to anything that was happening. Other than the latest call in NBA history (a shooting foul for Ginobili whistled three seconds after the play, when everyone was already running in the other direction), my favorite moment happened near the end, when the game was already over and they called a cheap bump on Bruce Bowen against Nash, so the cameras caught Mike D’Antoni (the most entertaining coach in the league if he’s not getting calls) screaming sarcastically, “Why start now? Why bother?” What a travesty. Not since the cocaine era from 1978-1986 has the league faced a bigger ongoing issue than crappy officiating.”

[3] Judge for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvkKdXLwt0U

If You Think The 2010 Plan Is Just About LeBron, You Don’t Know How Deep This Rabbit Hole Goes

Updated 12:04

In a little less than two years, Donnie Walsh did what everyone thought was impossible. He traded away the likes of Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford and Jared Jeffries, all grossly overpaid. Was he able to improve the team in his tenure? Well, the record will most likely not improve from last year’s, but Donnie’s presidency has so far been about accomplishing two goals. One was cleaning away the messes of the previous regime. Another was making his own mark.

The first is a precursor for the second. Just as Isiah systematically removed every Layden player from the Knicks roster and then remade it, Donnie Walsh has wiped out all remnants of the Isiah era except Lee, Chandler and Curry, the latter not for a lack of trying. He told you all along that he would do this and that he would do it in time to sell the idea of playing at the Garden to arguably one of the best players to ever play the game. Even if that one player does not choose to suit up in the orange and blue, the Knicks will be able to make a run at other guys who would be at home amongst legendary forerunners. This is where the imagination of many Knicks fans probably ends. Anything short of nabbing one or more of the big 3 free agents would be a failure to them.

But this terminal point in the imagination of some is also probably where Donnie’s imagination starts. If Donnie doesn’t execute plan A, I have no idea what he will do. But there is one thing I doubt he will do and that I hope he does not do: overspend for lesser “stars”. Donnie Walsh should not give Joe Johnson the max. He shouldn’t give Rudy Gay $10 million. He shouldn’t give Carlos Boozer $11 or $12 million. He shouldn’t spend all his money for the sake of spending it.

I know what you’re thinking: If the Knicks don’t spend every single penny they earned through the trades (about $10 million) then they wasted Jordan Hill and a draft pick (some in the blogosphere and in the media sensationalize and assert imprecisely, that the Knicks will have wasted “three picks”). To an extent, you might have a point. Obviously the Knicks could have let Jeffries simply come off the cap in 2011 and retained Hill and the one future pick they traded. But that would have given them less of a chance at LeBron James and a max buddy. It would have diminished the chances for the plan to succeed.

There are reasons to maintain the cap space instead of spending it unwisely aside from just the welfare of plan A though: The benefits of cap space do not vanish if you don’t use it all at once. Sure, the gamble in the trade was primarily about 2010 but if 2010 doesn’t work out it doesn’t follow that Donnie should sabotage 2011 and beyond. If the alternatives are to preserve cap space or spend it all on Rudy Gay the Knicks would be better off preserving it, regardless of the heavy sacrifice they made to get that extra $10 million a year early.

Detroit lost the gamble last year. They traded Chauncey Billups for cap space. They didn’t come away with any star free agents. But instead of preserving the cap space that they freed, they felt they needed to justify the trade. They compounded their gambling loss by taking on two long term contracts for role players (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva). It destroyed their cap flexibility and gave them little room to improve. Had they been patient they could have had max money this summer. Instead they’ll be at the cap.

So then where does that leave the Knicks?

Even without LeBron, the cap space gives Donnie infinite options. The Thunder used their cap space this year to absorb Matt Harpring’s contract and for their trouble were able to pry Eric Maynor away from the Jazz. Would the cash-strapped Hornets part with Darren Collison to lose the last year of Morris Peterson’s contract? Conceivably. How badly would the perennially in-the-red Pacers want to shed TJ Ford’s last year? Enough to part with a lottery pick? I’m sure Detroit would like to get out from under Tayshaun Prince. Would the Warriors be desperate enough to unload Vladimir Radmanovic that they would let go of…who am I kidding on that one (a man can dream, but I think they realize they have a superstar in the making at the 1).

A lot of people rag on James Dolan and deservedly so. He’s clearly been a destructive force for most of his reign. One good trait that he possesses from a fan’s standpoint though is that he has never been afraid to spend money if he’s convinced it will help the team win. In the past he’s been convinced that it was a good idea to spend it on Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and Steve Francis, but it wasn’t Donnie doing the convincing. And that’s why its also a blessing that Dolan swims around in cash like Scrooge McDuck. With cap flexibility the Knicks can be a predatory team like the Thunder that turns cap space into first round picks by absorbing a year of Kurt Thomas, or into Eric Maynor by absorbing a year of Matt Harpring. Donnie has been distinguished from the likes of Sam Presti but the two may have more in common that a facial glance might reveal.

There are so many other options too including Lee sign and trade scenarios, thousands of combinations of outright signings, and other possibilities that I can’t list because only a seasoned hand like Donnie Walsh can fathom them.

Don’t be short-sighted by declaring this summer the end-all-be-all of the Knicks rebuild. There’s the simple plan. But if that fails, there are other plans. When it comes to those other plans, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Donnie is one of the few people who knows his away around the rabbit hole.

***“[W]hat I do not know I do not think that I know either.” –The Apology of Socrates***

Knicks Fan’s EPIC Poll

We’ve gotten a lot of demand to bring back our defunct confidence rating. We’ve wanted to, but we also wanted to do something different. Well here is what we’ve decided to do.

We are going to have many polls designed to gauge the fans pulse about various and specific Knicks topics. Rather than just a confidence rating (which we’ll still have), we are going to assess and track your thoughts on the following categories:

  • Overall direction of the team
  • Backcourt
  • Frontcourt
  • Starters
  • Depth
  • PG
  • SG
  • SF
  • PF
  • C
  • Specific players
  • Coaching
  • Management
  • Media coverage

We’ll update the polls once per week and track them graphically. You have until Friday of each week to vote on the previous week.

If you ever need to find the poll page, you can click the “POLLS” in the page links above or the new “Knicks Fan’s EPIC Poll” link on the sidebar.

Let us know in the comments if there is anything else you’d like to see measured.

We’re kicking off this ambitious project right…now!

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Is Monta The Answer?

Word out of the Bay Area is that the next Warrior to be shipped out of town will be Monta Ellis. Ellis, who has 3 years and $33 million remaining on his contract after this year (and a fourth year player option, thanks @thisistraps) and thus would obviously represent a departure from the 2010 plan if Walsh acquired him without shedding equivalent cap space.

Tommy Dee, for example, suggests a Ellis/Turiaf/Claxton for Curry/Chandler/Mobley swap. This would add about $1.6 million to next year’s cap number, and I’d be surprised if Donnie were willing to do this because so far he hasn’t shown a willingness to add a single dollar to the 2010 payroll. D’Antoni reiterated that sentiment today, saying, “Whatever it takes to make us competitive and to win right now, I think we’ll do as an organization but we’re not going to mess up 2010. We’ve come too far to mess that up.”

Also, let’s be honest, it is going to be damn near impossible for Donnie to trade Eddie Curry before other teams see what he can do.

There are other combination that would work in a trade but none without adding salary. For example a Duhon/Chandler/Jeffries for Ellis/George deal works. It eats into the 2010 cap room by about $2 million.

What the Knicks would have instead of that $2 million though is an eminently more useful player than they have had in a while and one that, when in place, could convince a free agent or two to join a core of Ellis, Gallinari, Douglas, and Hill. But it wouldn’t be two max free agents.

Under this scenario the Knicks will have $29 million committed next year. Add to that their second round draft picks that number should go to around $31 million. A doom and gloom cap of $50 million would be enough to land a max free agent. If the cap stays where it is at $57 million Donnie still couldn’t add a second max free agent. Even if you scrap the Ellis deal subtract that extra $2 million that his salary adds, it’s still probably not enough for two max guys.

Realistically you probably need over $30 million, probably a little more, to add two max free agents, and the only way to do that is to trade Jeffries and/or Curry in deals that would lower the 2010 salary commitment. It is possible, but unlikely to happen in an Ellis swap.

One final note to consider though. Taking advantage of the Warriors desperation to move Ellis could work out for the Knicks because Ellis is much more tradeable than Curry or Jeffries, meaning that the Knicks could flip him in the beginning of the summer for, I don’t know, someone who wants out of their current situation in a place like New Orleans.

Eddy’s Money

I never thought I’d be able to say this but…Eddy Curry isn’t fat. Judging from the video over at TKB.tv, Eddy looks like he did in his Chicago days, and it’s likely that he will be able to contribute to this squad very shortly.

But what will that contribution look like? Everyone remembers Eddy’s “all-star” year, where the Knicks forced the ball into the post, stood around, and let Eddy do his thing. Isiah wanted to play that way. D’Antoni doesn’t. Many have rightfully argued that Eddy does not fit into this system, which is predicated on ball movement and sharp cuts that lead to good looks.

But honestly, D’Antoni has adjusted his style a bit. The team has run a lot of halfcourt sets lately, and there has been a lot of standing around watching Al Harrington or Larry Hughes or Wilson Chandler trying to score.

I think this is mainly because the Knicks have no basketball IQ, are flat out unwilling to move without the ball, are a bunch of known chuckers, and most importantly, because they do not have a point guard capable of slicing up defenses and exploiting their weaknesses in order to get teammates good looks.

Well if every possession is going to be an isolation or a 20 footer I think I’d rather put the ball in Curry’s hands and let him score in his highly efficient way. If my choices don’t include a quality look owing to a proper SSOL possession, but instead are limited to an Al Harrington/Larry Hughes contested layup or an Al Harrington/Larry Hughes 20 footer with 20 seconds on the shot clock, I think I’d rather go with an Eddy Curry dunk or layup attempt.

Let’s not forget Curry is a career 55% FG shooter, led the league in True Shooting % in 2002-03, and was near the top in these categories many other times. In other words, the Knicks will potentially be getting something they lack, a very high efficiency scorer (Stallion tell me if I’m missing something here).

So, does Curry have his faults? Obviously (rebounding, blocks). Will he help? I think he’ll be the best scoring option the Knicks have if he is able to regain his old form. If he does, it will be safe to say that Eddy’s money. Do I hope he’s good enough to allow Donnie to trade him, and get the Knicks off the hook from paying Eddy’s money? Hell yes!

Can Curry Be Cut?

Alan Hahn doesn’t think the Knicks will look to get out from underneath Eddy Curry’s weighty, crushing, contract for “failure to perform”, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. Here is some food for thought (hopefully Eddy won’t eat it before we’re done with it).

The following is from the NBA’s Uniform Player Contract:

16. TERMINATION

(a) The Team may terminate this Contract upon written notice to the Player if the Player shall:

(i) at any time, fail, refuse, or neglect to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character (defined here to mean not engaging in acts of moral turpitude, whether or not such acts would constitute a crime), and good sportsmanship, to keep himself in first class physical condition, or to obey the Team’s training rules;

Is there any doubt that this could apply to Eddy?

Other Teams To Step Up Bids For Sessions

Word out of Gery Woelfel out of the Milwaukee Racine Times, and rebroadcast by Tommy Dee, is that the Clippers and Kings are set to step up their pursuit of Ramon Sessions. If the Knicks miss out, it would be a harsh blow, with the perception that Donnie Walsh is dragging his feet and/or is being entirely inflexible about the 2010 plan.

There have been some indications that Donnie doesn’t want to add to the salary by signing Sessions, without subtracting from it first by getting rid of Jeffries or Curry. I’m selling that. What difference does it make what order the roster shuffle takes. If Donnie thinks he can move Jeffries, then surely it doesn’t matter that he’s already signed Sessions. And if Donnie could really move Jeffries that easily, you’d have to think he’d have done it by now, rather than let the Sessions situation come precariously close to leaving the Knicks with no point guard of the future.

I haven’t been as frustrated as some, because I’ve just been of the opinion that Donnie is “smoking the terrorists out of their holes”. But if the Knicks lose out on Sessions because Donnie didn’t want to throw in an extra half a million, I’d be pretty perturbed.