Tagged: Kobe Bryant

In The News: McGrady, Toney, LeBron, Kobe, Mullin

Here’s my own skewed view of recent Knicks news:

  • Apparently Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want Tracy McGrady back because he has to far to go in his recovery and is an injury risk. Come on Mike. I mean, he’s better than Penny was when he was a Knick. But seriously, I can’t wait for Berman to approach T-Mac and ask him: “Do you have any reaction to Mike D’Antoni saying he hates you and thinks you’re a an awful basketball player?”
  • In other T-Mac news, according to the New York Post, the Knicks let his body guard, Harveaire Berrien, have access to the locker room. That’s cool, just don’t let him cross paths with Hassan Gonsalves.
  • When Toney Douglas was drafted by the Knicks, he didn’t know who Walt Frazier was. He learned about him though, and I’m glad to see that Toney plans to pick Clyde’s brain. Clyde’s a legend and should be able to teach Toney a lot about offense and defense.
  • LeBron James said he “won’t stop” until he brings a championship to Cleveland. I’m not sure what that means. After he brings Cleveland a championship, he stops? At any rate, I think this means I’m supposed to be rooting for Cleveland, although I hate them. I hate their city, I hate their teams, I hate their faces. Honestly, as badly as I want LeBron to come to the Knicks, I want to see the Cavs get knocked out by Orlando again.
  • Frank Isola updates us on the Chris Mullin situation, which, so far as I’ve been able to tell, hasn’t changed since a year ago. Also, way to be creative with your headlines Daily News.
  • Kobe Bryant just signed a roughly $90 million extension to stay with the Lakers. Kobe, can I just have $1 million? I won’t tell anyone, I swear. And it’s not like you’ll even realize it’s gone. In all seriousness, Kobe was eligible for so such a monumental contract because he’s stayed with the same team for so long. That made him eligible to receive a fixed percentage raise every year and with every new contract. If he had hypothetically decided to switch teams he could only sign for roughly $16 million in his first year, which is roughly the max salary for free agents who switch teams (unless he switched in a sign and trade, in which case he could’ve gotten his $90 mil). At any rate, LeBron and other future free agents will likely never see that kind of money, even if they stay with their current teams, because under the forthcoming collective bargaining agreement, not only will the maximum salary likely go down, but there will also be a hard cap, meaning teams won’t be able to exceed the cap, even to re-sign their own players.

On LeBron’s Nike Contract

So apparently it doesn’t have a bonus clause for the King should he choose to switch to a big market. But it does have a royalty clause.

New York is a larger market than Cleveland. The larger market would lead to increased sales. Increased sales would lead to a larger royalty.

Marc Berman also notes that Kobe Bryant sells more shoes in China than LeBron. Berman never wants to cut the Knicks even a modicum of slack so he says it’s because of Kobe’s rings. If that’s the case, why doesn’t Tim Duncan, who has as many rings as Kobe, also outsell LeBron (I’m assuming he does not)? Could it have something to do with the large market Kobe plays in, with its large Chinese population?

Let’s disregard market size though and just assume that winning is the primary driver of shoe sales. I’m with Tommy Dee in the sense that I don’t see how anyone can say just yet that the Knicks won’t be capable of winning a title next year with LeBron. It just depends on the type of team they put around him.

I would have liked to hear that LeBron’s Nike contract has a specific incentive for New York. It apparently doesn’t, but I’m not ready to lower the LeBroptimism meter because of that.

Kobe: New York Ripe For A “Flashy, Marquee Guy”

Last night, during an interview with some NY beat writers, (including Alan Hahn), Kobe Bryant observed that 2010 free agency “will be interesting” because the Knicks “[ha]ve never had one of the flashy, marquee guys, going back even to the teams that won championships. They were always teams that kind of never had one star. So this would be the first time they had one of those guys.”

Now, this is a sensitive topic because we all love Patrick, and fans of my dad’s generation cherish the Holzman, championship teams and everything they stood for, but I think it’s a fair point and, incidentally, it’s something that Dan and I have discussed in the past when assessing the likelihood that Kobe himself would come to New York.

If you all remember it was only a couple years ago that Kobe demanded a trade because he was furious with the Lakers and totally dissatisfied with the direction of the team. And despite the ridiculous circus surrounding the Knicks, Kobe expressed interest in coming to New York and the Knicks were even perceived in some corners as a serious contender for his services.

At the time, I thought (and still think) that Kobe’s interest in joining the Knicks was legitimate. And it made perfect sense to me for precisely the reason that he cited to the Knicks beat writers yesterday: though the Knicks have a rich history and have experienced great success as a franchise, the franchise has never had that singular, transcendent player as its centerpiece.

I don’t mean that as a slight to the many great players that have donned orange and blue, and I don’t think Kobe meant it that way when he spoke yesterday either. The Knicks of the 60s and 70s played some of the best team basketball in NBA history, but their identity was that of a consummate team. And Ewing was a franchise player and a warrior, but no one would suggest that he was in the same class as Jordan, Magic, Bird, and Kobe. Those players are basketball messiahs. They bring a unique salvation, and the trajectory of franchises and their fan bases are forever altered by their coming. Ewing was billed to be that when he was chosen first overall in 1985, but he was not that.

Lebron could be that. The question is where.

In 2007, when Kobe thought he might leave the Lakers, I think he took a look around the league and percieved that there had been no Kobe-esque basketball messiah in the history of the NBA’s flagship franchise, which also happens to reside in the biggest media market in the entire world. He surmised that he could be to New York what MJ was to Chicago. Unsurprisingly, for someone like Kobe Bryant, the prospect of filling that void for the most zealous (and thirstiest) congregation of basketball worshippers in the world was incredibly alluring.

So when Kobe assesses the landscape for 2010 knowing that the void still exists, I believe he views NYC as the only place for Lebron. And you can bet that if Kobe were standing in Lebron’s shoes this summer, he’d be Broadway bound.

Now we just have to hope Lebron sees it that way too.

Reggie, with all due respect, you’re no Jordan

Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of changes around the Garden that I feel have taken away from the hallowed character of the building, pop music during possessions and thunder sticks for example, but I feel that as someone who grew up at, and steeped in, Garden tradition, my opinion means something. But when a gnat like Reggie Miller criticizes us, I kind of wish he’d just flop towards silence.

Miller, whose idea of D was flopping and getting under people’s skin to draw techs, was clearly bitter that he never got cheered at the Garden. He had this to say of the Garden accolades that Kobe received:

How the mighty have fallen. Because I remember in times past, I never got cheered. I’m sure Jordan never got cheered. And now they are chanting “MVP!” for Kobe?

Reggie, you’re right and you’re wrong. You’re right that the Garden crowd never cheered for you. We hated you. You were a little pesky pest who was one dimensional and did the one thing you did extremely well. You impeded the Knicks progress in the playoffs in one or two series (most of the time we got past you) but you weren’t a transcendent talent. You’re not Kobe. You’re not Jordan. You’re not a champion.

Which brings me to what you were wrong about. The crowd did often cheer for Jordan. In the double-nickle game, which I was at, the crowd cheered for Jordan. They recognized that he was the greatest and they showed him love.

We never felt that way about you. We didn’t give you that respect that we reserve for the rarefied talents of a generation. You were just a nemesis, and a particularly acerbic one. As a matter of fact, you still are.

I should add though, that the Knicks never cheered “MVP” for Jordan. That’s because we had what we considered to be our own MVP. We don’t have that pride in this group of players, but rest assured if were an elite team, you wouldn’t hear those MVP chants.

Additionally, I wasn’t at the game on Monday, but from what I read, it was mostly Lakers fans cheering “MVP” for Kobe. From what I saw and heard on MSG, Knicks fans were trying to drown  out the Lakers fans most of the night, but when it was all over, respectfully cheered the remarkable performance they had witnessed from one of the best to ever play the game.

Kobe goes Krazy on KNew KYork Knicks

My goodness. That was quite a show. Kobe rolled into the Garden and announced, “Hey LeBron, beat this!” And also “Hey, Bernard King, I got your 60 right here!” and pointed to his crotch.

This was one of those rare performances that make me a basketball fan. Its rare that a regular season game finds a spot in my rotation of top Knicks memories as all the best moments come in the playoffs, but this one, along with Jamal’s game against the Heat last year where he hit 17 shots in a row, and Jordan’s double nickel, which I was lucky enough to witness first hand as a present for my 15th birthday (thanks Dad!), are 3 of them.

As Jon said in the comments of the last post, this just shows how essential a star is to compete (unless you are Larry Brown’s Pistons). The Lakers toyed with Knicks all game behind Kobe’s heroics. The only way to answer that is with someone on your own squad who can carry you on every possession. Short of that, you can compile several stars one notch below, like the Celtics did. The Knicks don’t have either yet, but hopefully in a year and a half they’ll get there.

Anyway, let’s see if LeBron takes this as a personal message. I’m definitely looking forward to Wednesday.

EDIT: I want to add to my favorite regular season games Allan Houston’s two 50+ point games. I was at the game where he did it against the Bucks, and he lit up Kobe in LA for the other one. Maybe I was a little too harsh denigrating the regular season. I remember Sprewell’s 49 point game, missing a free throw at the end that would’ve put him over. I guess all I was saying is that the games that truly stand out are the playoff games: The put back, the 4 point play, the play, the dunk, the fights against the Heat, Pippen “fouling” Hubert Davis on a 3 in the final seconds of game 7 (thanks (K)Nick Bavetta). This doesn’t even count the heartbreakers, which I won’t get into here, ‘lest EZ might yell at me, but are still more memorable than most regular season games.

Reason 4,197 Why Isiah Thomas Was a Great GM…

The Knicks drafted Channing Frye with the 8th pick in the 2005 draft. Frye got off to an auspicious beginning before having a much more ordinary sophomore campaign, but that’s not the reason why Isiah is great.

Isiah traded Frye, along with Steve Francis’ expiring contract (which he acquired in exchange for Trevor Ariza and Penny Hardaway’s expiring contract) in exchange for Zach Randolph and Fred Jones. Randolph had a fairly uninspired Knick tenure but Donnie Walsh dealt him, rather suddenly, to the Clippers 12 games into this season for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.

Now (bear with me here), in the same 2005 draft in which Isiah selected Frye, the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum was available. Isiah passed on Bynum and Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak scooped him up at 10. Since that time, Frye has slowly begun to flame out while Bynum is gradually evolving into an All-Star caliber center.

Today, though, the Lakers found out that Bynum will be sidelined for up to 3 months with a serious knee injury that resulted from a freak collision with Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile, Tim Thomas is healthy and active.

Thus when the Knicks face off against the Lakers tonight, they’ll be without their 2005 lottery pick, but the Knicks will have Tim Thomas. So you see, that’s only the latest reason why Isiah was a great GM.