Tagged: NBA

[UPDATE] Ariza: LeBron “Had nothing to say about his future”.

Trevor Ariza has contradicted a “source” “close to him” that ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard relied on when reporting that LeBron told Ariza that LeBron would stay in Cleveland past 2010. According to Ariza though (not his sister’s cousin’s friend’s friend Lil’ Pookie),

“He had nothing to say about his future,” Ariza said. “He just told me that if I was to come there, we would have a good chance of winning. That’s all you want to do is win.”

Might Ariza be covering up for LeBron now? Maybe, but the fact remains, LeBron can put pen to paper and ink an extension in 9 days, 1 hour, and 30 minutes.

Donnie Has a Secret

What could it be?

The Associated Press got an email from Donnie Walsh cryptically stating:

I have a little leeway which will leave me in good position for next year…I know what it is but do not talk much about it.

The context of the article was speculation that the Knicks would offer Jason Kidd a multiyear deal this summer, with a view as to what that would do to the Knicks cap situation. Without this “leeway”, a full MLE deal with Kidd would jeopardize the 2010 plans.

Unclear from the article is whether Donnie was responding to a specific question or whether he sent an impromptu, unexpected email.

If Donnie has a deal in place for Eddy Curry or Jeffries, signing Kidd would be a 2010 salary wash or better. If there is a deal, expect to hear more about it after the free-agent moratorium next week.

I also want to address the Kidd situation. If Donnie can clear the salary necessary to make the Kidd signing a wash for 2010, I think Knicks fans should be very pleased. First, Kidd, even in his old age, instantly becomes the best player on the squad. Second, the Knicks get credibility, a chance to show the other players in the league that they are a serious destination again. Third, it could be a harbinger of things to come: remember Kidd said in January that he thought the Knicks could get “two and a half” free agents for 2010. Well, if Kidd, who played on the same Olympic team as LeBron, Bosh, and Wade, comes, you have to think he is the half.

[Finger point to Slumdog Baller and Virgil]

[UPDATED] Knicks About To Buy Another First?

P & T, via Hahn’s Tweet, reports that the Knicks have purchased the 28th pick from the T-Wolves. Possibly included is the trade exception the Knicks got in the Balkman deal, which I forgot about, but expires in July.

Hahn seems to have backtracked a little since his initial Tweet announcing the purchase/trade, so it’s not a done deal, but the game is afoot.

UPDATE: Tommy Dee, citing 1050 AM reports that the deal for 28 is done and speculates that number 4 is still in play. We agree.

Tommy also speculates that 18 could also be in play for the Knicks.

UPDATE 2: Looks like the Wolves didn’t sell 28 yet.

Knicks Talking Trade With Thunder for 3rd Pick?

[via @ AlanHahn]

According to The Racine Journal Time’s Gery Woelfel, the same source who broke a possible promise from the Warriors to Stephen Curry (a scenario Hahn acknowledged the Warriors are “salivating” over), the Knicks are in trade discussions with the Thunder for the 3rd overall pick. They’ll have to compete with Minnesota, which is offering up the either the 5 or 6, coupled with 18 for the 3, according to Chad Ford.

What could the Thunder possibly want from the Knicks if not the 8th pick and Chandler? Another option is a later swap of the 8th pick and Nate or Lee, but both of these restricted free agents would have to agree to go from New York City to Oklahoma City for such a deal to work.

LeBroptimism Up.

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.

2010 Cap Competition

By now everyone knows the Knicks are trying their hardest to get under the cap for 2010. The free agent class is terrific, so why wouldn’t they. Trouble is, everyone knows the free agent class is terrific, and lots of teams are employing the same strategy. Here are the teams that represent the Knicks main competition (in alphabetical order):

Atlanta:  The Hawks have Josh Smith signed to a big contract that extends past 2010, Al Horford, Mo Evans, and Acie Law also extend past 2010, but their contracts are not cap destroyers. The Hawks should be able to make a run at 2010 free agents.

Cleveland: The Cavs have Mo Williams, Delonte West, Boobie Gibson, JJ Hickson and Darnell Jackson under contract in 2010. They should be able to make a run at a top free agent.

Houston: The Rockets have Shane Battier, Joey Dorsey, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes and Aaron Brooks signed through 2010. Not a lot of cap space eaten up by those guys.

Miami: The Heat have James Jones, Michael Beasley, Mario “super nintendo” Chalmers, and Daequan Cook signed through 2010. Watch out for the Heat.

Minnesota: The T-Wolves should have some cap room, with Al Jefferson and several guys with smaller contracts extending through 2010 (Ryan Gomes, Kevin Love, Ronnie Brewer, Sebastian Telfair).

Oklahoma City: The Thunder have Nick Collison, Nenad Kristic, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green under contract through 2010. Most of these are rookie contracts. They should have space.

Portland: The Blazers only have a few guys under contract through 2010, but they probably wont have cap space, since they have to make decisions on Aldridge and Brandon Roy.

Spurs: The Spurs have basically only a couple marginal contracts on the books past 2010. Except of course for Duncan and Parker, who are already their two max guys. They might have some room, but I don’t see them as major competition for the top prizes.

Utah: If the Jazz can move Kirilenko for an expiring deal, they’d be in real good shape, with just Deron Williams taking up significant cap space in 2010.

Of course, some teams are still jockeying for position in the 2010 race and can get themselves in good position through trades (Toronto – if they trade Kapono for an expiring – and Chicago – if they can move Hinrich – for example). Some, like the Clippers, Warriors and Pacers, have not shot.

Lee and the Qualifying Offer

Alan Hahn speculates today that David Lee might take the qualifying offer from the Knicks this summer. Then, when he’s an unrestricted free agent, “for the Knicks, who have his Bird Rights, he could be signed up to a max deal, even if they are over the cap.”

Sure, this is true, and I’ve speculated as much before (like in January, and yes, I know the linked analysis is somewhat flawed too).

Problem is, under the CBA, the Knicks have to sign their own guys first, before signing any outside free agents, or completely renounce their own guys, and lose their bird rights. We know the Knicks won’t be over the cap in 2010 if the plan proceeds as we expect, but in considering the strategy Hahn set forth today (and I set forth in January), you have to factor in the fact that you need a significant amount of space to sign LeBron (or whoever) first, and then sign Lee (enough to fit Lee’s cap hold under the cap after signing LeBron).

The bottom line is, don’t overpay for Lee, bird rights or not.