Tagged: stephon marbury

Destroy And Rebuild

Listen up gangstas and honeys with ya hair done
Pull up a chair hon’ and put it in the air son
Dog, whatever they call you, god, just listen
I spit a story backwards, it starts at the ending

-Nas, Rewind

***

I’d rather die enormous than live dormant that’s how we on it.

– Jay Z, Can I Live?

***

No matter how convinced you are that you’re right, there are people who will disagree. And they have a right to. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some opinions are defensible.

I got Zach Randolph for 25 and 15 tnt at MSG. If all goes right, Walsh can sign Zach and Jamal in summer, 2011 with their cap space.

-Marc Berman, via Twitter.

That isn’t one of them. Clearly Marc Berman thinks that Donnie Walsh’s plan is already a meaningless failure.

Always a good plan in designing team for 2 seasons @HowardBeckNYT fans wigging out, apparently forgetting this team wasn’t designed to win.

-Marc Berman, via Twitter, sarcastically referencing Howard Beck’s excellent article urging observers to remember the forest from the trees.

The visceral impatience is understandable because losing is painful. The outlook though is tragically flawed. It’s like criticizing a architect halfway through a project, judging him or her at the premature point when all there is to look at is a pile of materials strewn across a vacant lot. It looks ugly so far and so it was a pointless endeavor to build it. The old decrepit house was better.

Will the new house be better than the old decrepit one? Not sure, but I’ll let the architect finish before I convince myself that it wont.

Steve Adamek tried a very creative approach to getting through to those who are so shortsighted that they would criticize a plan that is in the most unseemly part of its execution phase and instead long for a plan of stasis. Adamek indulges them:

Let’s bring back Jamal Crawford for Al Harrington. And bring back Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.

You’d undo those deals (from November 2008) right now, wouldn’t you?

Let’s even undo the cap-neutral deals of a little over a year ago. Jerome James, Anthony Roberson and Tim Thomas return for Larry Hughes. And Malik Rose makes it back for Chris Wilcox.

Bring Quentin Richardson back and undo this past summer’s deal that brought Darko Milicic to New York.

And finally, undo the ones the Knicks just made. Get back Jared Jeffries, Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill and Marcus Landry. Give back Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez and the rest.

Oh, and Mr. Vaseline Man can return from his sneaker-sales trip to China.

So basically here’s what you’ve got. Crawford, Randolph, Richardson, Rose, Collins, Jeffries, Robinson, James, Mr. Vaseline Man … In other words, pretty much the 2007-08 roster.

Which went 23-59.

Let that sink in for a minute. It’s such simple and cogent logic. If it doesn’t seep through then your judgment must be clouded. This Adamek piece was so good I’m struggling to find things to cut for the sake of blog brevity…

This is what some folks think the Knicks should’ve done, though. Held onto most, if not all of those players. That way, they figure, the Knicks might’ve put up a legitimate playoff run this season. Maybe finished seventh or eighth.

And then, because of those players’ contracts, they could’ve done the same thing next season. Seventh or eighth place. One (round) and done, most likely.

Meanwhile, they would have no chance to take a run at the best player of this generation, as well as some of his subordinate superstars.

If that’s what you would’ve preferred _ Crawford, Randolph, Vaseline Man, et al, still in Knicks’ finery this season, then you’re a fan of mediocrity.

Yes, the Knicks were 6-3 when Donnie Walsh traded Zach and Jamal. It’s foolhardy though to project results off such a small sample, as this season exhibited first when the Knicks were 1-9, then in December when they had their best month in close to a decade. As Adamek astutely notes:

Mike D’Antoni would’ve had to coax 15-20 more victories out of that group than Isiah Thomas did. Could he have done that? Could Red Holzman have?

(For that matter, how many games would Red have won this season with David Lee as his best player?)

I know that I’ll rest easy no matter what happens in July. The Knicks don’t have to get LeBron James, the possibilities are limitless. But if they do get James, I’ll look back at the haters — who criticized the architect before he got the chance to even start rebuilding the decrepit house I lived in before — and I’ll laugh at their folly.

If the Knicks compile some other group of talent and win 50 or so games, I’ll still be happy knowing that I tried to build the nicest house on the block and failed, but that I still have a better house than I had before.

Nate Coming Back? Lee to the Jazz?

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Nate Robinson will take a one year, $5 million offer from the Knicks. That’s about as good as Nate could have hoped for on the open market in terms of money, but I think we should expect to see Nate in me-first mode as he tries to “get his”. When has that not been the case though?

I think this re-signing means one of several things. Either the Knicks aren’t bringing on Sessions, or they think Douglas isn’t quite ready, or Hughes is a goner.

Also, The Deseret News reported that the Knicks and Jazz are in sign-and-trade talks for David Lee, with Boozer coming the other way. I’d be in favor, but I just don’t see it. The Jazz are trying to clear salary, not add it, and that’s what they would be doing if they traded for Lee. Lee would be a base-year compensation player, which to my understanding means that his salary is halved for purposes of a trade, but not with respect to the salary cap hit the team trading for him takes.

Let’s assume the Jazz want to sign Lee for $10 million. For trade purposes that gets cut to $5 million. Boozer is making about $12 million. To make the trade work the Jazz would have to take on Jeffries. Or Hughes, but if Hughes were included the Jazz would also have to throw in Matt Harpring. Either way, the Jazz are taking in more salary, by a significant amount, than they are sending out. One way around this problem would be for the Knicks to trade the $4 million exemption for Kyle Korver in a separate trade (it can’t be combined with a player), but do the Jazz really want to lose Boozer, Korver, and maybe Harpring just for Lee?

If the Knicks trade for Boozer, I think involving a third team makes more sense.

***

Finally, on an unrelated note, I know some people out there don’t want me to write about Marbury, but have you seen Marbury TV? It’s hysterical. Right now he’s talking about how he’s going to build a house with some kind of roller coaster that takes you from the front gate to the garage at 200 miles per hour. “Talk to me! Is that dope or what??!?!”

No, I’m going to keep writing about Steph, thank you very much.

End of the Road for Marbury?

Bill Ingram at Hoopsworld thinks so:

Coming off the bench for the Boston Celtics seemed like the perfect scenario for Stephon Marbury to get back on track. Surrounded by stars, few real expectations, Boston was a situation that provided Marbury with exactly the opportunity he needed to show the world he could still play basketball at a high level.

Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way.

Even after Marbury had a couple of months to get his rhythm back and work his way into the Celtics’ rotation, he still didn’t look anything like the player he was before the New York Knicks started paying him to stay away. His last full NBA season was 2006-07, in in which he averaged 16.4 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 42% from the field. It was a far cry from his peak years in New Jersey and Phoenix, but he was still a solid contributor. After what essentially amounted to two seasons off – he played 24 games in 2007-08 and none until he logged 23 for Boston this season – Marbury looks like a player who’s well past his prime. He managed just 3.8 points per game for the Celtics, and very often turned down open shots or committed turnovers when chances to shine came his way. After averaging roughly 20 minutes per contest in April, Marbury’s minutes dropped off severely in postseason play. He wound up seeing just 12 minutes of action per game against the Orland Magic shooting 36% from the field and 1-7 from three-point range in those games.

It’s not hard to see the writing on the wall for Marbury, who is now facing the reality that he may have to continue his career in Europe.

“I got to wait and see,” Marbury told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I’m not going to make any hasty decisions. But I loved playing here. Being a Sixth Man coming off the bench is not a bad thing. I know I’m a starter so it really doesn’t matter as long as I’m the court.”

His skills may have fallen off, but Marbury’s opinion of himself hasn’t seen a similar decline. He knows he’s a starter, he loved being a sixth man . . .yet his numbers don’t reflect his ability to do either job at this point in his career. Not in the NBA, anyway.

It’s a sad ending to what was a promising and even occasionally dominant NBA career. Barring some kind of miracle comeback, the NBA has seen the last of Stephon Marbury.

I think Marbury will get another job in the NBA if he wants one. However, Marbury was awful for Boston, and it was odd that he could never get his game together despite having a long time to get into gear.

NY Post on Marbury “Breakthrough” Game: Worst. Blog Entry. Ever.

The Post’s web editor gets the above noted distinction for the latest entry, entitled “Marbury has Breakthrough Game”, reproduced in its entirety, below:

Here’s the latest on our blog lightning rod, out of the first round for the first time in his career..

The Boston Globe did a story on Stephon Marbury after he scored eight points in the Celtics Game 1 loss to the Magic.

That’s the whole entry. 8 whole points? Yaaaaaaaaay…

Let’s recap Marbury’s contributions to the Celtics escaping the 7th seeded Bulls in 7 games…

Game 7: 12 minutes, 2 points. Somehow manages to net a +11.

Triple OT game 6? Surely he’d at least get minutes? No. 8 minutes. 0-3. 1 foul. 0 points. -3.

Doc Rivers didn’t even play him in the second half in game 5.

He was a -17 in 5(!) minutes in game 4.

He was a -15 in 10 minutes in game 2.

He scored 0 points and had 2 turnovers in 10 minutes in game 1.

Arguably he had an ok game in game 3 when he got all the garbage minutes in the Celtics blowout.

As for his 8 whole “breakthrough” points in the LOSS to the Magic, I’ll just point you to Steve Adamek:

Boy, The One Who Won’t Be Mentioned Here sure looked like his old self running the Celtics on Monday, swishin’ and dishin’, as Clyde might say and getting the announcing crew all excited.

Oh, and the Celtics were a minus-7 while he was on the floor. Brian Scalabrine? Plus-22.

Just the facts.

Way to go Post, proving yourself as useless as ever.

Marbury Madness Strikes Boston

Marbury hasn’t even signed with the Celtics yet, but already the infection is starting to take its toll. Let’s start a list, which I will update as things inevitably digress in the future.

1. 2/26/2009: Is it just a coincidence that Gabe Pruitt, whose spot in the rotation Marbury will certainly take, drank himself into a stupor and got caught behind the wheel on the same day Marbury obtained his freedom from the Knicks? I contend, no.

2. 2/26/2009: Marbury hasn’t played a game for the Celtics but already they’ve turned into losers awaiting his arrival, folding to the Clippers 93-91.

3. Stay tuned.

What of Berman?

Yesterday’s buyout of Stephon Marbury raised an interesting question that got lost in the rare moment of shared glee amongst Knicks fans and Steph that accompanied the Knicks’ grant of clemency: What becomes of Marc Berman?

Berman was already fading into total irrelevancy in the aftermath of Steph’s banishment, but at least he was still able to interject Steph’s unsettled situation into seemingly every innocuous story about the Knicks all season long.

Now, he’s got nothing. He gets to cover a team that thinks he’s a joke because he’s Steph’s lackey and he gets to travel with a press corp that thinks he’s a joke because he’s willingly turned himself into a glorified publicist.

Oh, I’m sure he’ll give us the occasional update  on how things are going with Steph and the Celtics (probably more than occasional because, again, he has nothing else to offer), but that’s all. He’s become so lazy and incompetent at his job that he brings almost nothing to the table (other than a plethora of typos). Moreover, his inability to adequately cover the team will only become more obvious now that he can’t disguise it with the occasional “Steph Exlusive!”.

So we’ll be keeping an eye on Berman, watching to see exactly what his deal with the devil hath wrought. Will he continue his gradual fade towards irrelevancy? Or will he find a way to pull himself back from the abyss?

The bet here: He finds a new player to leech off in another mutual arrangement to raise each other’s profiles. Why? Because old dogs have a hard time learning new tricks.

You can take that to the bank.

Knicks Reject Miller and Thomas for Steph? Bad Mojo Rising?

UPDATE (2/19, 9:32 AM): According to Frank Isola, the Knicks rejected the Marbury deal because they are trying to keep their luxury tax payments to a minimum next year. That moderates my bewilderment, slightly.

This I just don’t understand. Marc Stein is reporting that the Kings offered Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas for Steph and the Knicks rejected them. I understand rejecting that proposal if you can get more than that for Steph, like say, Shaq or Iverson, but barring that, why wouldn’t you take on Miller and Thomas, both of whom expire at the end of next year.

For one, Miller can contribute, albiet marginally at his age. He can pass, shoot, and has height.

In addition, both Miller and Thomas can be flipped for assets over the summer or next February, or just come off the books.

I find it wasteful to not use Steph in a trade if there is one to be made that would improve the squad, even if marginally.

If the Knicks are being vindictive, I think it’s a mistake. Sure Steph deserves the treatment he’s been getting, but management shouldn’t put that over the health of the franchise. If the Knicks trade, him and he’s released and signs with the Celtics, well, sanity dictates that you just have to deal with it.

Time will tell whether Stein’s information is reliable, but if it is, and the Knicks don’t get anything else for Steph, then I think management dropped the ball here.

One caveat. I don’t think the Knicks are in cost-cutting mode, but if they are, they can justify letting Steph’s contract expire rather than replacing it with two other contracts that are just as large in the aggregate, but extend over a longer time.

2010 Free Agents Hate the Knicks?

Many have taken the position that the Knicks have mishandled the Marbury situation, and undoubtedly, it could have been handled better. Tommy Dee sees the danger that the entire situation could be a giant turn-off to free agents, driving a potential stake through the heart of the 2010 plan:

Believe it or not, Stephon has a lot of friends in the league, most of whom are veterans, and they aren’t too happy with how Marbury has been treated by Mr. Dolan’s Knicks.

That could very well be true. Tommy has already noted how Nate Robinson does not approve of management’s handling of Steph. I don’t know who else likes Steph. Probably not too many of his former Nets teammates, who left him “all alone” during his days in New Jersey. That’s “the sort of thing teammates remember.” I also doubt Marbury has too many friends on the Knicks, though few have made any disdain as apparent as Q-Rich has.

There is one person in particular though, who doesn’t like Marbury: LeBron James, who once said about Marbury, “I don’t know him that well, but I couldn’t have a guy like that on my team.”

Really, that’s the only person’s opinion on Marbury that matters. I don’t care what KG or Kobe (who appeared on Stars-on-Stars) think about Marbury, because they’ll never be Knicks.

Further, even if there are a slew of veterans, who might be free agents in 2010, and who feel the Knicks botched the Marbury situation, many of those guys have stated their love for D’Antoni, who inflates stats by 20% like so many balloons. And aside from D’Antoni, there will always be someone who every player in the NBA likes more than Marbury, someone who will always be around the Knicks, and New York.

On AmareMania

Since the Suns dropped the bombshell that they might be open to dealing Amare Stoudemire before the trade deadline next week, there’s been rampant speculation concerning what kind of deal teams would have to put together to satisfy Steve Kerr and get their hands on one of three most devastating combinations of speed and power currently playing in the NBA (Lebron and Dwight Howard being the other two).

Friday, ESPN put up a column by Chad Ford discussing what Kerr might be looking for and which teams might have the assets to get a deal done.  According to Ford, in any trade for Stoudemire, the Suns will be looking for luxury tax relief going forward (For one of the 10 best talents in the NBA?!? Sheesh!), a young player or two that *could* potentially blossom into a star, and perhaps draft considerations. Yup, that’s all. (Really. Just. Incredible.) Thumbing through Ford’s theoretical offers, it becomes clear that there’s not really a winner in the bunch. Each trade is a significant downgrade from Amare and, ultimately, could even get Kerr fired. But this is the best the Suns can expect under the circumstances.

Why is the price tag so low? Well, because Amare is a big pain in the butt, that’s why. It’s something of a risk to trade for him because he’s a high-maintenance superstar that needs to be coddled and given special treatment by the team. In short, his team often needs to look the other way on his BS and say, “Ok, that’s absolutely ridiculous but he did put up 35 points and 17 rebounds last night.”

Now as I’m sure most everyone is already aware, the Knicks did make Ford’s list of teams that have the assets to satisfy the Suns in a trade. Chad’s formulation was Amare and Leandro Barbosa for Lee, Marbury and Nate. In my estimation, of the various proposals he generated, the Knicks’ offer was second best (to Miami’s which was Shawn Marion and Beasley). However, I don’t think the Suns would do the trade (even if the two teams were willing to deal with each other at all – more on that in a minute) because both Nate’s and Lee’s are expiring deals. That means that after trading for them, the Suns would have to re-sign both guys this summer to reap value from the trade and that would use up most or all of the tax savings they gained from the deal in the first place.

As Chris Alvino over at the Knicks Blog noted, if the Knicks wanted to trade for Amare, one way or another they’d have to be willing to include a more fixed asset. By that I mean Wilson Chandler, Gallinari, or their 2009 1st round pick. Because then the Suns would be getting a talented player that’s under contract instead of just a bunch of expirings with the option to re-sign. A trade like Chandler, Marbury and Nate or Lee for Amare and Barbosa would likely satisfy the Suns. But this assumes that either team would ever do any deal on Amare with the other.

The truth is, the Knicks are probably at the very bottom of the list of teams that the Suns would consider dealing with. D’Antoni and the Suns didn’t exactly part amicably and the feelings there are still pretty raw. It doesn’t help that Suns players are constantly criticizing the current state of the franchise by way of saying how much better things were when Coach D was around.

Likewise, there’s a lot of reasons the Knicks would want nothing to do with Amare. For those of you that have read Seven Seconds or Less, you know that D’Antoni was always ambivalent about Stoudemire. Coach D loved his talent and was the best at bringing it out but always felt that Amare was pulling in a different direction than the team. The book covers the season that Amare was out with his knee injury, and the coaching staff is captured constantly wondering whether Amare is bothering to do his rehab or even cares at all. (UPDATE: Tommy Dee is reporting this morning that, despite speculation to the contrary, at least from Amare’s prespective, he has no problems with Coach D.)

Moreover, from Donnie Walsh’s perspective, if he trades for Amare now, to great extent he’s defining who the Knicks are going forward. He’s using up one of the spots he has for a max free agent (no way you trade all that talent for Amare and then not re-sign him) and putting at least half his chips on the table. At that point, whether or not we get Lebron is really a function of whether he wants to team up with (and put up with) a mecurial star like Amare. After going to the trouble of getting far enough under the cap to lure the best player in basketball, a player who seemingly loves New York and could very well call it home in 2010, that’s a huge gamble to take.