Tagged: Trade Deadline

Trade Deadline: Morning Roundup

The Knicks are involved in two rumors this morning.

1. Jeffries to the Wizards. This would be a terrific salary slashing move that would go a loooooong way towards enabling the Knicks to keep Lee and sign Lebron. The salary matches in this deal (assuming it’s a one-for-one) are one of Mike James, Brendan Haywood, or Etan Thomas. Who cares which, honestly.

2. Larry Hughes to the Knicks. Various iterations of this trade have made the rounds. In one form, the Knicks send back Jerome James and Malik Rose. In another, the deal expands to include Lee and Jeffries, and the Knicks take back Joakim Noah. I’d be ecstatic if this happened. For one, Jo Noah would quickly put up Lee numbers or better, but with more blocks and toughness on D. What’s more is that the Knicks wouldn’t have to extend him this summer or even in the summer of 2010. So not only would the Knicks replace Lee with a tougher, younger version of Lee, they’d save money by not having to re-sign Lee and also would lose Jeffries.

At that point, the Knicks wouldn’t have to worry about finding a taker for Curry. They would be far enough under the cap even with Curry to sign two max free agents in 2010, while fielding a core of Gallo, Chandler, Noah, and the 2009 draft pick. Unfortunately, the buzz is that this deal is dead. I hope it gets revived.

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.

Time To Make Some Tough Choices

As you all know, I have a great deal of respect for Tommy Dee, but I have to disagree with his negative take on an article Chad Ford posted this morning suggesting that the Knicks should make the following trade:

3. Knicks send David Lee, Malik Rose and Jared Jeffries to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas and Larry Hughes.

View this deal in the ESPN Trade Machine

Why should the Knicks do it?
It would help the Knicks tremendously in the summer of 2010. Not only would it clear the last $6 million of Jeffries’ deal off the books, but it would ease the Knicks’ worries about losing Lee for nothing this summer in free agency.

If Thomas were to keep developing, they could pay him in the summer of 2010 along with LeBron. If he were to struggle, they could let him go and bring in two big free agents with all of their cap room. In the meantime, Hughes would help shore up a big hole at the 2 and he too would come off the books in 2010.

Why should the Bulls do it?
Lee would bring a change in culture to the franchise. He’s a double-double machine and a good locker room guy. They’d have to pay him this summer, but given the horrific financial market, it probably wouldn’t cost them a fortune. It also would save them some money heading into the summer; getting Hughes off the books would clear an extra $7 million or so under the cap.

Will it happen?
Maybe. The Knicks don’t want to lose Lee for nothing and they would love to move Jeffries’ contract. The Bulls need a shake-up and adding Lee would help get the team back to its winning ways.

Tommy thinks Lee is worth more and, the truth is, he’s probably right. But that’s only one piece of the story. The problem is that the Knicks simply cannot pay David Lee and get Lebron James in 2010.

Chris Sheridan posted an article over on ESPN.com this morning explaining that the cap is going to be lower in 2010 than expected. The highest it will be is $60 million but it could be as low as $54 million. If the Knicks want even *one* max free agent, let alone two, they’re going to either need to unload Curry and Jeffries (and it just doesn’t look like there’s going to be a taker out there for those guys, especially if you’re not packaging their deals with Lee or Nate) or allow Lee and Nate to walk away this summer.

Now, Donnie can choose to wait until the summer to see if he gets better offers for Lee and Nate in a sign and trade but, if anything, I’d expect the offers in the summer to be worse. Those guys won’t be under contract then whereas a team that acquires them now would at least have the option to match an offer from another team.

Frankly, I think this is a fair return for Lee because the trade also eliminates Jared Jeffries from the 2010 books. The Knicks aren’t getting as much proven talent back as they’re giving up, and they’re clearly giving up the best player in the trade (at least at present). But the truth is the Knicks are faced with a choice, and it’s time that we all faced that and reconciled it in our minds. Do we want a shot at Lebron (and the other elite 2010 FAs), or do we want to keep David Lee? Because, realistically, we can’t have both. To me, it’s an easy decision. Lebron 20 times out of 10. But, however you come out, if we’re being real about it, this is the choice the Knicks face.

I think Chad’s trade is a good deal for the Knicks in that accomplishes several of the team’s goals. My only quibble with it is that I’d prefer Joakim Noah to Ty Thomas because his deal runs past 2010 (we’d have to figure out a way to bring back Thomas in the summer of 2010 whereas Noah would still be on his rookie deal). Check out Noah’s per 40s. In time he’d replace 80-85% of Lee’s production (plus defense and shotblocking) on a summer-of-2010-friendly contract.

Bill Ingram Giveth…

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m participating in the ongoing Bill Ingram chat over at HoopsWorld.

Bill’s already answered a couple of questions concerning the information he has about the Knicks’ deadline dealing plans, including this reassuring response to a question from your-friendly-neighborhood bloghost:

jon@knicksfan.net in NY, NY:
Does Donnie Walsh have any deals brewing for the Knicks? Things have been strangely quiet, especially for New York.

Bill Ingram:
Don’t bet on NY standing pat. They have a lot of work to do and there are plenty of deals that could help their situation.

Eerily Quiet

I’ve been scouring the rumor mills daily, as I’m sure most of you are as well, and scuttlebutt surrounding the Knicks is somwhere between scant and non-exsistent. Now, we know from the Crawford/Z-bo trades that DW is a stealth bomber (no one knew either of those guys were about to get dealt until about 10 minutes before it happened, but the difference is that at that time I don’t believe that the vast majority of the national basketball media were canvassing all their sources like they are right now), but I haven’t seen reporters publish many substantial rumors connecting the Knicks to anyone.

It’s not for lack of effort as, our favorites, the always reliable Tommy Dee and Alan Hahn, are certainly working their sources trying to get the goods. It just seems that either (a) the Knicks aren’t really into much of anything heading into the deadline or (b) Donnie Walsh has plugged every single leak that sprang forth from the shiny but crappily built luxury liner that was the Isiah Thomas era.

As always, we’ll keep our eyes out for anything interesting (and plausible) that emanates from the rumor mill (just this morning Chris Alvino picked up on an article in the Sacramento Bee discussing the Kings and Bulls potentially hooking up on a Malik Rose/Brad Miller trade — not sure how much sense that makes unless we plan to flip Miller) and I’ll be trying to ask Bill Ingram about the Knicks during his Hoopsworld chat beginning at noon today (It starts in about 20 minutes. Definitely go check it out — he often has intersting information.). Right now, though, it’s hard to say whether the Knicks plan to make a deal or not. I think it makes sense for Donnie Walsh to make use of some of his assets but, as of this moment, there simply isn’t any great indiciation that he’s going to.

Donnie Looking to Deal?

Donnie Walsh did a couple of radio interviews today over at the Fan and ESPN discussing the Knicks’ plans for the trade deadline (compiled here by Tommy Dee). In the interview with WFAN  he said he doesn’t want to make a “sideways move” and would only make a trade if it improved the club in the short term as well as the long term.

Walsh’s comments are obviously a function of the Knicks being in playoff contention at the moment, but I think he’s also a sending a message to other teams that the Knicks aren’t just giving anyone away and they’re looking for value in a trade (never forget DW’s a lawyer). I still expect Donnie to make at least one deal–you can’t just let Nate walk in the summer, let alone Lee–but it’s obvious that there won’t be any salary dumps this time around. That is, unless he finds a sucker who’ll take Eddy Curry off his hands.

Not Buying Lee Long Term

Alan Hahn’s other story and blog post today discusses rumors that it’s becoming increasingly likely that Donnie Walsh will sign David Lee to an extension instead of trading him. While I don’t doubt that Hahn’s sources are good and this is what they’re saying, I’m not buying it for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lee wants $10 million per and, while he fits in the system and continues to improve year after year, he’s not worth that and I think Donnie knows it. What’s more, in building a lasting contender, a team’s cap structure is very important. That is to say, it’s very important that players make what they should be making. The best player should make the most money, the second best player make the second most and so on. Not surprisingly, the teams that are best at maintaining a proper cap structure are the Spurs and, until the recent Iverson trade, the Pistons (of course, they made the Iverson trade to secure future cap integrity, a wise move indeed). Paying David Lee $10 million is the same as saying that you’re comfortable, in the long term, with competing for titles while having David Lee as the third best player on your team. I think Donnie knows this too and I doubt he’d be comfortable saying that.
  2. To me, this just sounds like posturing. Lee is an ideal candidate for a deadline trade because, if you’re a contender, you want to trade for a player that will give you something you need while not disrupting the chemistry that has put you in position to contend in the first place. Any team that needs a skilled, energy 4 is going to look at David Lee as the epitome of a player that can work himself in seamlessly. As a result, I believe that as we get closer to the deadline, the offers are going to improve markedly. But Donnie needs teams to understand that the Knicks don’t have to trade him. If the right deal doesn’t materialize, other GMs need to understand that Donnie isn’t just going to give Lee away. Unless they understand that, Donnie won’t see their best offer.

All in all though, assuming Donnie does get a good offer, I’m still expecting a Lee trade before the deadline and, frankly, if it didn’t happen I’d be a little disappointed because I think it’s the right thing to do for the long-term health of the franchise.

Update – For the opposite perspective on the Lee question, check out Tommy Dee over at the Knicks Blog. Tommy raises an important point noting that Lee, as a restricted free agent, has the ability to short-circuit a potential deal simply by telling the other team that he won’t re-sign there long term. It’s certainly possible that it could diminish Lee’s value although I still believe, when push comes to shove, there will be good deals out there to be made with teams that want to make that big playoff push. And the bottom line remains, I just don’t think you can re-sign Lee for $10 million per.