Tagged: NBA

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.

Note To Peter Vescey: Easy To Second Guess, Harder To Propose A Better Alternative

It’s easy to second guess.

I think most people are on board with the 2010 plan, recognizing that the team Isiah constructed was going nowhere fast anyway. There are differences around the fringes, such as, did the Knicks give up too much to clear Jeffries and Hill when they already had max cap room? Fine. Fair enough. The New York Post‘s Peter Vescey makes the point in his typically carmudgeony way:

Judging by their reaction, Walsh’s latest moves had gone over big with New York’s renowned “sophisticated” fans. Potentially, he had traded three pristine picks to the Rockets for a micro-surgically repaired 30-year-old (Tracy McGrady) in order to build for the future, yet they anointed him with oil.

It’s fine to disagree with the Jeffries move. There is an intelligent and rational way to do it. We have a great reader/commenter (Italian Stallion) who does it all the time. But the way Vescey did it is just wrong. The Knicks traded a single pick: the 2012 one, which is protected. They also traded Jordan Hill, who may or may not be a contributor in this league. They also gave Houston the right to swap 2011 picks. Depending on how things go, this right may or may not be exercised.

But the Post has taken its penchant for revisionist history to new levels with a decidedly faulty outlook at what-might-have-been:

Despite the reality, had Walsh selected his draft picks more prudently and chosen a path of resistance vs. concession, the Knicks’ current starters would be Randolph, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Brandon Jennings and Crawford . . . and they would own their own first-rounders in 2011 and 2012 instead of the distant hope of landing James, Wade or both.

But wait a minute Peter, surely an astute basketball mind like you would realize that a playoff caliber squad like the one D’Antoni inherited [sarcasm] wouldn’t have had a lottery pick two drafts ago, so they wouldn’t have had a chance to draft Lopez, the “dominant” center on a 6 win team.

But playing Vescey’s game, Lopez would only improve the Knicks with his dominating play and therefore they surely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to draft the amazing Brandon Jennings [sarcasm]. If you want to be completely honest rather than trying to have it both ways, I’d grant you that the Knicks could have been Ty Lawson, Crawford, Lee, ZBo, and Roy Hibbert. AWESOME!!! Move over Raptors!

Anyway, the completely mythical lineup that Vescey proposes has Lee as a small forward (surely he’s capable of containing athletic NBA wings out on the perimeter), two ball dominating guards with poor shot selection and another ball hog at power forward. Surely the recipe for success right?

I dont know as much about Lefty McCorish, Patches O’Barnaby, Solomon “One Foot” Bilzheimer, or Moishe “48-minute clock” Rothman as the venerable Vescey does, but to my novice mind, if my options were Vescey’s impossible fantasy line-up or a roll of the dice coupled with future cap flexibility that has value well beyond Plans A-C that Vescey purports to be privy to, I go with the latter.

Framework For TMac Deal In Place

The unparalleled Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has sniffed out a significant scoop. Apparently the Wizards, Rockets and Knicks have the framework of a deal in place that would land Tracy McGrady in New York:

The centerpieces of the trade would include the Washington Wizards shipping forward Caron Butler and center Brendan Haywood to the Rockets. The Knicks would send Al Harrington to the Wizards. For the Wizards’ part, they would still need another player, as well as a draft pick and cash to make this a workable scenario, sources said.

The first thing I’ll note (as did Wojnarowski) is that this trade doesn’t work. http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yk2aly2. One variation that does: http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yjyflq6.

The next item of note is that, assuming Jeffries is not going to be included, it seems like someone at MSG thinks the Knicks are going to make the playoffs this year. But if the Knicks have the chance to shed Jeffries in this deal, it would be the height of folly not to pull the trigger. Is it possible that TMac will return from his year off and average 27 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, and lead the Knicks to the playoffs? Anything is possible, but don’t hold your breath.

Besides McGrady, hopefully the Knicks have something else in the work to address some of my other grievances.

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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Knicks 99, Pistons 91

The Knicks aren’t dead yet. Behind a very solid game from Nate Robinson, the Knicks were able to topple the Pistons in a rematch of Saturday’s debacle. This time though it was the Knicks that jumped out to a big first half lead only to have the Pistons stage a furious comeback. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Knicks were faced with a 2 point deficit, having scored just 11 points in the third. The Knicks atoned in the fourth though scoring 31 to the Pistons 21, and finished with the win.

The Knicks built a 57-43 lead in the first half, led by strong play from Wilson Chandler, who attacked the basket aggressively and hit some midrange jumpers. Nate Robinson started his hot streak in the first half and it seemed like one of those games where he might carry the Knicks to victory. I wouldn’t give him all the credit for this win, but he had one of his typical “good” games where it didn’t matter that he missed open teammates at times and took ill advised shots, because today, they went in. He also played decent D. On one play, he even went over a screen (shock!) and drew an offensive foul.

On another night, I might be killing Nate his decision making, which still wasn’t the best, but he didn’t hurt the team today and he deserves some props. He even did a slightly better job sharing the ball today. On one play in the fourth quarter, he came off a nice pick from Al Harrington, turned the corner, and instead of taking a contested lay-up, found a wide open Gallinari for 3. It was a nice play by all three guys involved.

Nate’s good day was a particularly key for the Knicks considering how ineffective Chris Duhon was again. Chris Don’t Du-Nothin’-hon had 0 points in 20 minutes. He did have 5 assists, but also 4 turnovers. If Nate didn’t bring his A-game today the Knicks would have gotten absolutely nothing from their backcourt.

And D’Antoni seems to be noticing that his best players are all forwards. During Saturday’s game, D’Antoni at one point went with a line-up consisting of all forwards. Today, in the fourth quarter, D’Antoni went with four of them plus Nate. It was an interesting look, and why not? Lately Duhon and Hughes have been invisible.

Other game notes:

*David Lee had another all around impressive game, on offense, with 11 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists, and a +12. For those of you keeping track, over the last 5 games, David Lee has averaged 19.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. However, Ben Wallace had a throwback night against D. Lee. Wallace went wild for 16 points and 14 rebounds. You can understand Ben Wallace getting 14 rebounds but he should never be lighting you up, especially these days, for 16 points.

*Wallace was giving the Knicks such fits on the glass that in the second half, D’Antoni brought in Jordan Hill to try to shake things up inside. It didn’t really work. Hill, who had an impressive and active first half had a nondescript second half that featured one play where, with a clear path to the ball, instead of fighting to secure the rebound, he inexplicably tipped it forward to Austin Daye under the Knicks’ basket for an easy layup. I still think that Hill deserves to see 7-10 minutes a game. I saw enough out of him in the first half – including a nice outside jumper and a tip in, as well as some activity in the paint – that he should be in the game to develop rather than riding the pine.

*Gallinari proved again to be a big time fourth quarter player. He scored seven straight dagger points in less than 2 minutes about halfway through the final frame, including two big jumpers and a psuedo-slam that really catapulted the Knicks to the win. The Knicks’ lead extended from 4 to 9 during that stretch.

*When the Knicks struggled in the third quarter, I had the distinct feeling that this sustained run of success, easily the longest in recent years, was just a mirage. It seemed like the team was ready to fade out of the playoff race like they did last year with bad losses to Nets and Kings teams in March that they needed to beat. Maybe the Knicks will still let their fans down, but that time hasn’t come yet.

The Knicks currently stand 2.5 games behind Chicago for the last playoff spot. I think they can forget about catching up to the Bobcats, who are looking very impressive these days, having won 7 games in January, including against Miami and Cleveland on the road and against Chicago,  Memphis, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix and Sacramento at home. The Bobcats’ only loss this month? Against the Knicks at MSG.

The Bulls have been playing much better as well of late (7-3 in their last ten, 4 game winning streak). The Knicks’ other main competition, the Bucks, are going in the opposite direction.

Knicks Roster Rumors: TMac, Nate, Arenas

A flurry of roster rumors hit the press today. Lets analyze:

1. Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears reports that recently the Rockets have spoken to the Knicks about Tracy McGrady:

…the Rockets want to get a young, athletic big man to put alongside center Yao Ming next season. The Knicks would gladly part with seldom-used rookie forward Jordan Hill in a package for McGrady, but the Rockets don’t seem too interested.

Should the Knicks do it? It seems moot anyway, since Houston, according to Spears, is not interested in Hill. But if the Rockets change their minds, the Knicks should consider a deal contingent on who else the Rockets are taking back to make the contracts work. If it’s Larry Hughes and Darko Milicic, I’d say what’s the point. I’d rather keep the young prospect than rent T-Mac for half a season.

The only way the Knicks should make a T-Mac trade, especially if they are giving up on a young big man who can shoot from the outside, is if the Rockets agree to take back Eddy Curry, or more realistically, Jarred Jeffries. Hill, Mobley and Jeffries not only nets the Rockets a young prospect and a defensive specialist, but potentially tens of millions of dollars in savings. It would also save the Knicks almost $9 million in salaries (Hill and Jeffries) for this summer.

2. Spears also reports that the Lakers and the Celtics have interest in Nate Robinson.

The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams who have expressed some interest in New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson, league sources said. Robinson’s base-year status, however, makes it difficult for any trade and the Knicks are said to be reluctant to ship Robinson to an Eastern Conference team, further complicating the Celtics’ efforts to land him.

Seeing as how, according to Alan Hahn, the Knicks were willing to trade Nate to the Grizzlies for bench-warmer Marcus Williams and what Hahn subsequently reported was probably a second-round pick, it seems like a deal could possibly be arranged.

As to the base year status issue, it’s a hindrance but not a roadblock. Especially if the team trading for Nate has cap space, like the Grizzlies do. The only other team with cap space right now though is Portland (OKC used theirs in the Maynor/Harpring swap). Also, don’t forget about trade exceptions, many teams in the league have sizable ones (although any trade involving a trade exception would net the Knicks nothing other than cap space, as trade exceptions cannot be combined with anything else). This is key to keep in mind because as Spears reports the Celtics and Lakers are “among” the teams interested in Nate, meaning there are others.

Should the Knicks do it? Anyone who has read this space knows that I think the Knicks should cut ties with Nate and never look back. To recap, while Nate has tremendous talent on offense, can win a game single handedly with a heroic performance on any given night, and has unparalleled work ethic, he unfortunately plays the game – for lack of a better term – stupidly. His decision making is abysmal, whether he is looking to shoot or pass. His defense is nowhere to be found. He takes a full 52% of his shots in the first 10 seconds of possessions (the most of any Knick), and ties Darko for the worst winning percentage in games he’s played (33.3%), other than Eddy Curry. His assist/turnover ratio is 1.476, which ranks him below Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, Andre Iguodala, Shane Battier, and at least 45 other point guards in the NBA (yet some fans out there think the key to the Knicks woes is making Nate the full time starter at the 1).

If the Knicks can land a real point guard like Jordan Farmar for Nate Robinson, they should try to make it happen.

3. Chris Sheridan asked Donnie Walsh if the Knicks are interested in Gilbert Arenas, because, hey, why not?

Should the Knicks do it? I mean, come on…

The first and by far most important factor to consider is that Arenas still has 4 years on his contract after this one, and by the end of that contract he’ll be making $22,346,536 (!!!). Most observers have noted that it is unlikely that the Wizards will be able to void that deal, but I don’t think Arenas was worth that kind of money even when healthy/not pulling stunts like the whole gun fiasco or taking craps in his teammates’ shoes (what a hysterical “prank”! That lovable prankster.).

Not to mention that he’s a classic ball pounder in the Starbury/Iverson/Francis mold, which doesn’t exactly work for the current coach. Which is one reason why the Sprewell comparisons are off base. Spree had the heart of a champion and was committed to defense. He fit with what Jeff Van Gundy’s Knicks wanted to do. Can’t say the same for Arenas.

A telling quote from Sheridan’s piece:

“I don’t know if [Arenas] available, and I don’t know if he’s going to be able to play. There are a lot of questions, and we’ll have to see as time passes what the story is, but I know this: When I had guys [Stephen Jackson, Ron Artest] in the same situation, I traded all of them,” Walsh said.

Sheridan was using that quote to suggest that Donnie was able to develop a market for his sociopaths. But let’s put it in a different context: Donnie traded his sociopaths because he didn’t want them on his squad.

If the Wizards void Arenas’ contract, maybe the Knicks should consider signing him to a modest deal. Otherwise, pass.

Chris Bosh Loves MSG. NYPostDailyNewsNewsday, Not So Much.

Courtesy of Raptor’s Republic (via National Post (I think it’s “Canadian”)):

“I like the Garden. The Garden has always been a fantastic place for me to play,” Bosh said. “It was sort of the first big stage I ever played on in the McDonald’s [all-star] game when I was in high school. I’ve been there every year since then. It’s kind of special to me. A lot of greats have played there. It’s just one of those special courts.”

That sounds nice doesn’t it? But hold your horses. Bosh also spoke in not so glowing terms about the renowned New York media that probably makes so many athletes shrug their shoulders about the possibility of playing in New York:

“Who is ready for the New York media?” Bosh asked rhetorically. “Who knows?”

Von Wafer Update

Hes taller than Nate.
He's taller than Nate.

Yes, the summer is going by so slowly that we’ve resorted to Von Wafer updates:

Von_Wafer_freee agency is wearing me down — clippers, knicks or even maybe rockets are in the game — but I don’t like greek food.

I don’t know a ton about Von Wafer except that he’s a 2 with size and he can score. He can probably be had on a one-year deal or even a very cheap multiyear deal. I suspect he’s way down on the Knicks list of priorities in the backcourt behind Sessions and Nate.

Anyway, there’s your Von Wafer update.

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.

Situation To Monitor: Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy apparently is unhappy with either the pace of extension talks with the Blazers or the amount they have offered (You mean they didn’t just say, “Hey Brandon, here is the max.”?)

Brandon Roy told KJR radio in Seattle today that he’s frustrated and disappointed with the Trail Blazers handling of his contract extension negotiations. He talked a lot about the hard work he’s put in, and all he’s done to make his dreams come true, and about being patient as he watches the good days and bad days come down the pipeline.

He wants to get a deal done and is confused as the rest of us as to why the left brainers in the organization are standing in the way.

On watching the negotiations: “I sit back and think about all the hard work I’ve put into my dream… excited about the opportunity to provide for my family. I go in… knowing that I’ve come into the league and I’ve done everything I can do to get a max contract.”

On how he feels about the negotiations: “It’s 50-50 right now… I’d love for something to get done so I can move forward and meet free agents…”

On whether he was involved in the Hedo Turkoglu recruitment: “Not playing much of any role. It’s hard for me to go out and recruit Hedo for five years when I have only one year on my deal.”

Well played by Roy’s camp. It’s absurd that the organization is misplaying this negotiation so badly. Sign the guy already.

Brandon Roy is a max player in the league and I’m sure the Knicks (and many many other teams) would love to give him max money in 2010 if the Blazers don’t come to their senses. Of course the Blazers could always match any deal next year.