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Sunday, April 20, 2014

2010 Free Agency – Day 1 Mid-Day Happenings

OK so it’s about 15 hours into free agency, and so far there are a few minor developments.

* Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Joe Johnson has received a max contract offer (but not yet accepted) from Atlanta, Drew Gooden has signed with the Bucks for $32M over 5 years and that Rudy Gay will stay in Memphis for the tune of 5 years and $86.1M.

* Chard Ford reporting that Darko Milicic has signed with Minnesota for 4 years $20M.

* According to the LA Times, Byron Scott’s agent has confirmed that he will coach the Cavaliers.

The Joe Johnson offer has the most meaning for New York, probably followed by the news that Rudy Gay will stay a Grizzle. Stay tuned for more news…

159 comments on “2010 Free Agency – Day 1 Mid-Day Happenings

  1. Frank

    So actually what I take out of today is some optimism. Rudy F%#$^$%ing Gay got a max contract. Joe Johnson will probably get a max contract. I don’t know much about pro athletes, but I find it very unlikely that the alpha-dogs of this league (Bosh/Wade/Lebron) will take anything less than the max if two players like Gay and JJ, that are so obviously inferior to them, get maxed out. These guys are egomaniacs — and I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily. The reason they’re as good as they are is that they refuse to be less than the best. I just can’t see them getting paid less than guys that are way worse than them.

    And so the only teams that can offer 2 real max contracts? MIA (wade + another) and NYK. And I still believe Wade and Lebron would never play well together. So that leaves us if Lebron wants to play with another max guy.

  2. Brian Cronin

    By the way, I love the meme of “if Joe Johnson is your big signing, you failed” but also “they missed out on Joe Johnson! They failed!”

  3. Brian Cronin

    It’s like “The food there is terrible!” “Yeah, and such small portions, too!”

  4. Ted Nelson

    Thanks for the update, Mike. Regardless of what happens with LeBron, this is truly a great and historic day for the New York Knicks!!!!!!!! No one might remember this in 5 years, but this may have been the day the Knicks couldn’t overpay Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay because someone else did!!!!!!!!

  5. Caleb

    5 years and $80 million (if that’s what it turns out to be) isn’t a max deal for Rudy Gay.. $16 million is aruond the max for the first year but that would be no raises and 5 years instead of 6..

    I am feeling relieved-ish about JJ – no way Donnie offers $120 million. That would solve two of our big problems.

    I have this vague feeling it’s shaking out where Bosh goes to Miami with Wade… which likely leaves LeBron… ?? Nets sound very confident… and we might have overlooked Cleveland – don’t you sort of see him re-signing, but with an option to be a FA again in 2 or 3 years?

    Other vaguely good-sounding news – according to Chad Ford, the Hornets were close to trading Chris Paul for a pretty lame-sounding package. Now, I kind of doubt they’ll trade him at all – they’d be idiots to do it – but if Paul starts trying to force his way out, they’ll be taking bids at the trade deadline – and if that story is true, it might not be totally out of our league.

  6. Thomas B.

    Well at least now I don’t have to apologize for the “maybe we can look into Rudy Gay for much less than the max” statement from Monday.

  7. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    MJ used to take one year deals, if I remember correctly. At least his last couple of years in Chicago. So, maybe LeBron does the same. As well as putting pressure on the organization to contend (which MJ didn’t really have to worry about), it puts pressure on the athlete himself to remain the best player in the game. Might be a little early in LeBron’s career for that, but he’s already taken a shorter deal than possible once before (as did Wade and Bosh, of course).

    I thought Cleveland was the favorite all season, but have sort of gotten caught up in the free agency hype. The Vegas favors Chicago thing is especially convincing. Could try to make some money if he does re-sign…

    Could Atlanta just be establishing the fact that they *would* pay Joe Johnson for 6 years to force his hand in a sign-and-trade? Probably not (they at least have to be willing to pay him), but maybe they know he wants out of Atl but now would have to leave a lot of $ on the table to do it… So, sign-and-trade becomes his preferred option and nets the Hawks an asset or two.

  8. Thomas B.

    If Darko is getting 5 mil per and Gooden 7 million per, what in the world is David Lee now worth?

    Last post for the next 5 minutes i promise.

  9. BigBlueAL

    Just read a report on CBS.com saying a backup plan for Knicks could be signing Felton, Mike Miller and re-signing Lee. Unfortunately probably what is going to happen assuming no LeBron.

    Chad Ford also saying Knicks could offer Hornets Gallo for Paul and Okafor which will use up basically all their cap space leaving them around 7 mill or so left to play with. Again really the Hornets dont have to trade Paul now because they have gotten themselves under the luxery tax for next season with their draft day moves so I would have to assume they would want real players back which is something a team like the Nets could really offer them plus taking Okafor off their hands too.

  10. DS

    Hahn tweets:

    “Meeting w/ LBJ was over 2 hours; Walsh, D’Antoni leave feeling ‘cautiously optimistic’. Walsh called it a ‘non-committal’ meeting and said he expects another.”

    [Another meeting?? Like a second round of interviews? Or to sign his contract in NYC??]

  11. Jafa

    Yahoo says RJ is looking to return to the New York area – either Knicks or Nets – for a multi-year contract betwen $8 – $10 M/yr. With JJ and Gay gone, do you do this if you don’t land LBJ?

  12. Ted Nelson

    One thing the Knicks can consider is signing some guys this offseason to deals with huge signing bonuses. Let’s say they feel a guy is worth 7 mill for 4 years. I don’t know what the max you can give on a signing bonus is, but for example if you give him $3 mill signing bonus on a 4 year $25 mill deal he gets his money and it effectively knocks 1 mill off the cap the next 3 years. If they can give big enough signing bonuses (Millsap got $5.6 mill signing bonus on a deal that averages only in the mid-6s) they could get some rotation players and preserve cap space for 2011 trades (Chris Paul) and FAs (Melo, Nene, AK-47… and some great restricted ones). By that time they might have proven to Melo or the Hornets that their young talent is good or be a bigman (Nene) or defensive 4 (AK) away from the playoffs or homecourt or something.

    Thomas, I think Lee was always worth at least $12 mill. Probably at least $10 mill before this season and he killed it this season… In reality maybe not, but in the crazy NBA free agent market Lee would be a bit of a bargain at $12 mill. Look at what Hedo got last offseason with fewer bidders. Ben Gordon.

  13. Brian Cronin

    I know you have to tell the guy something, but arguing that a Rockets team with Bosh and Yao together would win 60 games? Major reach.

  14. DS

    “D’Antoni on theme of meeting: ‘We hoped we got him in a New York State of Mind.’”

    And WE hope you didn’t follow Jay-Z’s pitch by using Billy Joel lyrics on LeBron.

  15. Thomas B.

    Ted,

    First off, very nice write up on the bargin free agents. Welcome to the team.

    If Lee is worth more than his cap hold then there should be no rush to sign him before you get other free agents right? I mean if his cap hold is 10 and he could get a deal starting at 12, then signing him early just stole an extra 2 mill of cap space does it not?

    Well the nice thing about being under the cap is that you can take back players without salaries matching. So the Knicks could take an Okafor or Al Jefferson if they wanted to.

    I’m not sure how I feel about RJ for 8-10 million. Liked him at 26 but not as much at 29. He really didnt seem to be a good fit for SA. If you must sign him then just don’t do more than 4 years and make the fourth a team option.

  16. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    I will not be a Knicks fan if they overpay Raymond Felton. Just won’t do it. Miller I’d probably be fine with depending on the price.

    What players do the Nets have to offer? The players who won 12 games last season?

    Jafa,

    Given what Joe Johnson just got… RJ at $8-10 mill could be a HUGE bargain. Until last season–when JJ had a career type year and RJ fell of a cliff ala Duhon–they were similarly productive players for their respective positions (RJ probably better), they are the same age, and 1/2 the price or less???? Depends on what else is out there and ultimately if you think RJ is washed up or had a terrible season… May or may not be a good play overall, but I’d call it a better play than Johnson or Gay at the money they got.

  17. Brian Cronin

    You know what irritates me the most about the alleged Joe Johnson deal?

    That the owners could come up with that offer and then cry about money when the CBA runs out. If you can afford to make that offer, you can’t be crying about money!

    Sadly, the owners are smart enough to know that they can likely frighten the players into taking less and that the American public sure doesn’t care about whether the deal is “fair” or not, so long as they get their basketball again.

  18. Ted Nelson

    Brian,

    Houston won 52, 55, and 53 games the three seasons prior to last. They were a top 4 defensive team each of those seasons. Don’t know if they can pull that off with Martin and Bosh playing heavy minutes, but Brooks, Martin, Battier, Bosh, Yao with maybe Scola and Budinger off the bench… pretty tough offense. Yao, Battier, Ariza, Hayes… some defense. Patrick Patterson and/or Jordan Hill (1 or both probably used in s&t, maybe with Scola if Toronto wants to/can sign him) plus 2 Knicks picks that could be top 5-10… Adelman is a first rate coach. I don’t know that they win 60 games in the West, but they’re right in the thick of the playoffs. At least an outside contender.

  19. Caleb

    Nets could offer up Derrick Favors or even Brook Lopez if that’s what it took. I mean, they’d rather keep Lopez but if that’s what you needed for the winning bid?

    Almost anything is a better play than JJ or Gay for the max, but Joe Johnson is a good player – his headline description in the media is being a scorer, and he certainly isnt a great one, but he’s also a good defender – possibly very good, if he didn’t spend 90 percent of his energy with the ball – and as good a playmaker as any wing player in the league except LeBron or Wade. He’s an above average rebounder, and not a bad scorer – he’s just not cut out for the role he was given in Atlanta.

    He’s also extremely durable and gives you extra minutes that with many other players,would go to a backup.

    All that said, he’s at an age where a lot of wings fall off a cliff. I expect he’ll hang on better beacuse he’s a pretty good pure shooter – but Joe Johnson has been a very good player. He’s worth a $40-50 million deal. It’s just that he’s costing $120 million!

    RJ on the other hand has been in fast decline – check out his non-scoring numbers the past 4-5 years. And he used to be a good defender but now the Spurs pull him on that end.. I don’t think RJ is worth much more than the vet minimum, but maybe that’s just me.

  20. JoMo

    Does no one see major similarities between Richard Jefferson and Al Harrington? On top of the fact that they look similar, i feel like RJ is just a younger, more athletic Harrington. Would he play the 2? It seems like we’re only interested in forwards, which, if athletic enough seems like a sound plan so long as they can all shoot and move the ball, but has me worried nonetheless.

    BBA, if that’s the lineup we end up with after this free agency period is over I will be seriously questioning my allegiance in this team. I just cannot fathom how we could whiff on every major FA, knowing that we have legitimate space for 2 max guys.

    Someone loathed the idea of us somehow obtaining Melo, which I couldnt understand because I think his play style and skillset is perfect for NY.

    In regards to S/Ts: is it possible that we S/T Lee, with chandler and curry for a max guy? A la Chris Paul? Or would that be destroying our leverage with Curry’s contract?

  21. Caleb

    Do you think the Rockets would still pay Scola if they sign Bosh? Might not he be part of the S&T?

    I’m also not a big fan of Kevin Martin, or even Yao all that much.

    But I agree – Rockets would be a serious team, maybe a contender.

  22. Brian Cronin

    Houston won 52, 55, and 53 games the three seasons prior to last. They were a top 4 defensive team each of those seasons. Don’t know if they can pull that off with Martin and Bosh playing heavy minutes, but Brooks, Martin, Battier, Bosh, Yao with maybe Scola and Budinger off the bench… pretty tough offense. Yao, Battier, Ariza, Hayes… some defense. Patrick Patterson and/or Jordan Hill (1 or both probably used in s&t, maybe with Scola if Toronto wants to/can sign him) plus 2 Knicks picks that could be top 5-10… Adelman is a first rate coach. I don’t know that they win 60 games in the West, but they’re right in the thick of the playoffs. At least an outside contender.

    I think they’d be an outside chance at a contender, Ted, but 60 wins?

    Note to get Bosh they would have to lose a chunk of the players you mentioned.

  23. Caleb

    ok, I take it back… Richard Jefferson didn’t have nearly as bad a year as I remembered. but he’s still dropped off pretty steadily the past few years. Considering their trajectories, I’d probably prefer Al Harrington. In this market, that puts Jefferson in mid-level territory… he must think he can get that, or better, or he wouldn’t have opted out. (As a couple of guys mentioned yesterday, I’m surprised that he doesn’t seem to have a deal in place)

  24. Ted Nelson

    @17 Thomas

    Thanks.

    Yeah, there’s no rush besides that he’s free to sign with another team while the Knicks wait. (I think the hold is 10.5 = 7 + 0.5*7)

    NO AL JEFFERSON! Also NO RAYMOND FELTON! If the Knicks had this beautiful gift bestowed upon them by Memphis and Atlanta and waste is on jokers like that I WILL jump.

    The thing with RJ is that you *might* be buying low. He’s historically been better than Joe Johnson and the same age. He’s a better defender than Johnson, IMO. Not a guard, but a strong passer on the wing. Good shooter and athlete who has excelled in a motion offense in the past. Would be maybe similar to Corey Maggette at similar money… interesting that the Bucks jettisoned RJ and Chuck last offseason to bring in Maggette and Gooden this offseason. Quite similar guys.
    1/2 the price of Johnson and maybe 2 or 3 less years????? A relative steal at the very least. Good value.
    The flip side is that maybe he’s washed up. I tend to think it was more that he didn’t click in SA and/or just had a terrible season.

  25. Brian Cronin

    If it was just San Antonio, Ted, I’d be with you on RJ, but he already looked on the decline in Milwaukee before he ended up in San Antonio.

    So could he rebound? Sure, of course he could (and yes, his numbers don’t look that bad compared to Johnson’s), but he seems to be way too big of a risk. Is he even a significant upgrade over the guy whose spot he’d likely take, Chandler?

    We just got over a playoffs where the Spurs had to hide him constantly because the Suns were exploiting him on both ends of the court.

  26. latke

    one important thing worth noting is that the grizzlies were only nine million below the cap. In order for this to become a buyer’s market, the total cap space around the league has to go down. If Gay had signed the same contract with the clips, the total cap space available of all teams would have gone down by 14.5 million instead of just 9 million. THe same goes for Johnson and the hawks. The hawks are about $9 million below the cap. They sign Johnson at 17 million, that’s another $8 million more cap space for other teams to compete to spend on the remaining FAs. Dirk has the same thing. If he signs elsewhere then it eats at the total cap space available, but he’ll probably sign with dallas, who is already over the cap.

    Re: Richard Jefferson – He’s terrible. Turnover prone, 30 years old, can’t create for himself. Even in his prime, as soon as he wasn’t with J-Kidd his shortcomings were revealed. He’s also a prick: remember him laughing at alonzo mourning after he’d just had a kidney transplant? He’s always been super snarky in post game interviews as well.

  27. cwod

    @24

    Why don’t you like Martin or Yao?

    @28

    Well, Donnie did go to UNC for undergrad and law school.

  28. Robert Silverman

    Dear Donnie,

    You lucked out on not signing JJ. Gay’s deal is ridonckulous, the Milicic contract is a bad joke. If LeBron (I’m half-sad I can’t call him “SheShmron” anymore), isn’t coming, please don’t throw money at Raymond Felton and/or Richard Effing Jefferson.

    Pretty please?

  29. Robert Silverman

    As a reminder (to myself and everyone else who’s about to start chucking heavy objects at their computation machine at the thought of overpaying the likes of Felton, Richard/Al Jefferson, etc.), the rumors/gossip/misinformation isn’t going to stop just because the clock struck midnight last night.

    For all we know, Berger’s info is based on Felton’s agent dropping a dime on him, letting the world know the Knicks, etc. contacted him to try to stir up interest in his client. R. Jefferson saying he wants to play in NY/NJ doesn’t mean Walsh gives a hoot.

    Breathe.

    It’s gonna be a long few days

  30. Brian Cronin

    Okay, so let’s say the Knicks have $34 million to work with, and that the most logical move (provided you whiff on Lebron) would be to hold off on re-signing Lee then basically beating any offer out there after using your $10.5 million cap hold.

    So that leaves you with $23.5 million to work with. Who can you realistically get with that money, with the understanding that you better improve some area of the team, whether it be scoring, point guard play or defense.

    Would you pair Lee with Boozer? Would you pair Lee with Amare? They both sound like a sort of diminishing returns deal, right? Ridnour? Childress? Miller? Haywood?

  31. Brian Cronin

    You gotta believe that the Knicks are at least still the favorites to re-sign Lee if they whiff on everyone else, right? If only because of the cap hold situation.

  32. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    @22

    Johnson is a very good defender? With Horford and Smith the Hawks were only the 13th defense in the NBA. They were 3.6 pts/100 worse with Johnson out there. I think he’s average at best defensively and maybe worse than that.

    @22 & 27

    I have to disagree seriously about RJ. Sure, he’s declined from his 25 yr old season where he was a legit borderline all-nba (3rd team) kind of guy. His WS/48 have been above .109 the last three seasons, though. His biggest declines last season were in glamor stats: 3P% and usage (usage being why his PER was so bad). His efficiency stayed the same. His ast% has declined, but that’s because he went from a point-forward type role with the Nets to a boring Skiles offense to a 4th option for the Spurs.

    Al Harrington, really?
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=jefferi01&y1=2010&p2=harrial01&y2=2010

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=jefferi01&y1=2010&p2=harrial01&y2=2010

    They had pretty similar seasons last year, except that Harrington was a primary option while on the court and RJ was a 4th option. Harrington was right about at his best last season, there’s no room to improve. RJ had a career low usage and wasn’t used as a distributor at all. He could easily double or triple his ast% next season for D’Antoni. At the 3 he could take a lot of pressure off Douglas as a playmaker. His usage was close to Harrington level with Harrington level efficiency just last season for the Bucks (again, a really bland offense). Jefferson is also a stronger defender. Despite playing the 3 and Harrington the 4, he’s not much worse a rebounder. Jefferson is a better 3-pt shooter.

  33. BigBlueAL

    Brian, biggest hope for Knicks would be for Gallo to blossom into an All-Star real quick as in immediately. lol

  34. Robert Silverman

    I’d rather have Lee than any PF out there on the market not named Chris Bosh.

    Anyone want to bet against Lee hitting 35% or better on 3-pointers next year (no matter which team he’s with)?

  35. BigBlueAL

    In better news, Chicago judge has issued an arrest warrant for Eddy Curry. Unbelievable.

  36. Ted Nelson

    “If it was just San Antonio, Ted, I’d be with you on RJ, but he already looked on the decline in Milwaukee before he ended up in San Antonio.”

    Based on what? That was a perception because they brought him in thinking they were a playoff team and he was the missing piece… they were disappointed and dumped him. His actual season was just as good as the two prior ones (a lot better than two years prior, actually). He’s not the player he peaked at at 25, no. He wouldn’t be paid like he was at $8-10 mill, though. You’re talking average starter money and you’re talking an above average starter. It may or may not be the deal of the century depending how much be bounces back and what the deal is, but to me it’s solid value.

  37. Brian Cronin

    My longshot plan would be to offer the Kings Curry and $3 million for a conditional 2014 second rounder (conditions never to be seriously met). Then offer Chandler and $3 million for a conditional 2015 second rounder (conditions never to be seriously met).

    Your pitch is, “You’re not going to be signing a big free agent this offseason any ways, this way you get Wilson Chandler just for paying Eddy Curry $5 million for one year, and heck, you might even be able to trade him yourself at the trade deadline. Or else next year, when your players have developed more, you then have cap space to sign a free agent.”

  38. Thomas B.

    Lee needs to paired with defensive player in the lane I think. Whats Bill Cartwright up to these day?

  39. Brian Cronin

    Lee needs to paired with defensive player in the lane I think. Whats Bill Cartwright up to these day?

    They will likely have enough money to get Brendan Haywood, if they want him.

  40. latke

    Brian, There has to be a point where you say, “We aren’t going to get the talent necessary to make this investment worthwhile.” It would really really suck to have invested so much in clearing cap space only to not spend it on FAs, but if you want to be rationale rather than emotional you must think, “Alright, well what else can we do with this space?” And the answer is to act as a cap clearer for teams with bad contracts. Philadelphia would be willing to give up a lot I think if we took on Elton Brand’s contract. The wizards would give up a lot if we took Arenas off their hands. At least then you improve your long term outlook by accruing future picks or young players. Signing Richard Jefferson @ 50 million for 5 years, Mike Miller @ 40 million for 5 years, and david lee at $90 million for six years just isn’t going to get you more than a 40 – 45 win team that has no future flexibility. It sets you back to 2000, when things didn’t look so bad because we still won some games, but that allan houston contract was about to wreck our next few years. In two years, RJ would become that albatross.

    I’m not saying we’re in that territory yet, that we have to think about alternatives, but it’s certainly possible that in a week or two we will be. I really hope D Walsh has the backbone to say, “we tried to get cap space. It was an investment that we had to make at the time. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out, and so we’re going in a different direction.”

  41. Brian Cronin

    Speaking of Arenas, is there any chance a healthy Arenas can be the guy he was in his 23-25 years? That guy was a great player. No chance, though, right?

  42. Ted Nelson

    Brian,

    No team in the West won 60 games last season (only 1 team in the league). They could win above 55 games and be one of the top 4-8 teams in the league, though.

    NO RIDNOUR!

  43. Brian Cronin

    Based on what? That was a perception because they brought him in thinking they were a playoff team and he was the missing piece… they were disappointed and dumped him. His actual season was just as good as the two prior ones (a lot better than two years prior, actually). He’s not the player he peaked at at 25, no. He wouldn’t be paid like he was at $8-10 mill, though. You’re talking average starter money and you’re talking an above average starter. It may or may not be the deal of the century depending how much be bounces back and what the deal is, but to me it’s solid value.

    I think his defense fell off when he turned into New Jersey’s main offensive threat his last two years there, and then it really hasn’t rebounded much since then (he’s gotten better than those last couple of Nets years, but not near his heyday). He used to be an outstanding defender (one of the best perimeter defenders in the game), but I don’t see that anymore.

    I think the offensive problems can be fixed, as you alluded to – it’s the defense that worries me, that he will be paid based on his defensive reputation rather than his actual current defense. The Suns were looking for him on the court on the defensive end in the playoffs!

  44. Ben R

    I wouldn’t want Felton or Al Jefferson if they were making 3 mil a year. They are bad players, as for RJ maybe at 3-5 mil he would be a solid pick up but any more than that I say we pass.

    Brian – I think there are options with that 23.5 mil that sound okay:
    Bigmen –
    Amir Johnson
    Haywood
    Biedrins
    Okafor – if they take Curry
    Mahinmi
    Craig Smith
    Wings-
    Childress
    Miller
    Morrow
    Reddick
    Pgs – Pretty thin but if really cheap
    Livingston
    Collison – if we can pry him away
    Lowry
    Cj Watson

  45. Ted Nelson

    @47

    Your argument also applies to Elton Brand, though. He’s taking up 1/3 of your cap the next 3 seasons. Igoudala is also well paid and coming off a season where he wasn’t necessarily better than the devil (RJ… who seems to be the devil around here). Brand and Iggy were average players or worse last season and they’d be eating like 60% of your salary cap the next 3 seasons…. You’re not going to win with Iggy and Brand as your core making 60% of the cap. Brand will be the Eddy Curry of the next 3 seasons.

    Maybe you get a knock out deal… but to take back Brand we’d have to be talking a deal that puts the Knicks into home-court position. Philly cannot and will not make that offer. We’ve been down the “take back bad contracts to get good-but-not-great talent” road before…

    Might be better to go for undervalued FAs and trade pieces. Maybe GS wants to dump Biedrins. A lot of free agents will get overpaid, but there will be some that are undervalued.

  46. Brian Cronin

    No team in the West won 60 games last season (only 1 team in the league).

    Right. Which is all I’m saying – that it’s silly to say “If you played with Bosh we would be a 60 win team.” Just expected smarter than Morey.

  47. Ted Nelson

    @50 Brian

    The Spurs were better defensively with him on the court and the Bucks were even with or without him. According to John Hollinger (mainstream media) and the consensus here he might not be getting paid anything. If the Knicks get him on a 3 year, $24 million deal… to me that’s a smart move if there aren’t better ways to spend the money.
    People yesterday were talking about paying a similar player $20 mill per and a lesser player 12-15 mill per. People were talking about RJ never making $15 mill over the rest of his career. Now he’s

    Maybe the Suns were looking at RJ because he was guarding Richardson, who was their best player in the playoffs? It’s hard to say whether Richardson was just unstoppably hot or Jefferson was terrible. However, the fact that Richardson remained their best player throughout the playoffs, only 1/4 of their games were against the Spurs, makes me think J-Rich was on fire. The Suns could have been looking for him, and not looking to exploit RJ. J-Rich lit up Portland, with Batum, and got the better of LAL in 3 or 4 of their games (Artest and Kobe…).

  48. Brian Cronin

    I checked with my brother, who is a big Suns fan, to ask about the playoffs and he has convinced me that Jefferson’s problems were less defensive and more mental. In the sense of “I hate this team and I hate my coach so I am not going to bust my ass.”

    Add in the fact that Pop did call him lazy during the playoffs, I think that’s believable – so sure, maybe San Antonio really did just mess with him badly. In that case, yeah, he should be able to be acquired at a nice discount.

  49. ess-dog

    There’s not a long track record of San Antonio/Popovich ruining players….
    I’m inclined to believe that RJ is washed up.

  50. BigBlueAL

    Henry Abbot in his latest entry in his True Hoop Blog on ESPN.com with a note that Im sure many of you wholeheartedly agree with although good luck getting the local media (if not the rest of the national media and the Knicks themselves) to buy into:

    “If the Knicks don’t get a big free agent, has this whole cap-clearing experiment been a disaster? I say absolutely not. Being under the cap is a fantastic long-term strategy if you play it strategically. (See Thunder, OKC.) They were loaded down with bad contracts. That’s impossible. Just having nobody on the team is way better than that. I know New York is hungry for a quick fix, and has been focused on LeBron James. But two years from now, getting nobody expensive at all could still lead to a beautiful rebirth of Knicks basketball.”

  51. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Henry Abbot is a smart man. God, I hope people as smart as Donnie Walsh read the right publications.

  52. Brian Cronin

    Oh wait, the Cavs told Brian Shaw that they were confident Lebron was not leaving.

    Never mind about the Nets being confident – this one cinches it, we can forget about Lebron now.

  53. Ted Nelson

    @56

    That’s sort of the script the mainstream media has written in regards to RJ and the Spurs. They were trying to trade him a month or so into the season if rumors were true.

    And what about the J-Rich thing? Richardson lit up Portland a lot worse than he did SA. He also lit up LAL for about 1/2 that series.

    @57

    Based on what? He was just as good last season as he’s been for a few before that. His role in the offense–usage and ast%–are all that declined. If he has the ball in his hands more, his stats should return to where they were in Milwaukee or NJ Nets. In a wide open system he might even get back a little of what he’s lost since 25.

    @58

    “has this whole cap-clearing experiment been a disaster?” Depends how they use the cap space really, which is what Abbot is sort of getting at I guess. The big difference with OKC is how many top 5 picks they’re had in the past few seasons. Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Green… KD, Westbrook, and Green are the only 3 players on the team who averaged 30 mpg last season. So, they didn’t build with cap space nearly as much as they did with high lottery picks. Knicks will not have that benefit for several seasons, and only have themselves and the Rockets deal to blame. That’s the sense it could have been a disaster. If we are being patient, then yes, the Rockets deal was a disaster.

  54. Robert Silverman

    “Speaking of Arenas, is there any chance a healthy Arenas can be the guy he was in his 23-25 years? That guy was a great player. No chance, though, right?”

    Sorry Bri. No chance.

    And Arenas was an overrated chucker even when he was “good”

  55. Thomas B.

    @56,

    If RJ hated it there it could explain why he is opting out now. Why waste one of the last years of your prime in a place you can’t stand with a boss that doesn’t appreciate all the hard work you put in and the late nights you spend fixing all of their stupid mistakes when you could be home playing with your kids and getting ready to watch a knicks game with your wife–whoops drifted into my own life for a sec.

  56. Brian Cronin

    And Arenas was an overrated chucker even when he was “good”

    In his prime, he was rocking some pretty darn high TS% and high assist %.

    Just that since his injury his numbers have been awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwful.

  57. Ted Nelson

    Arenas was a great scorer and pretty much top 20 type guy in his prime. It’s not outside the realm of possibility he regains it, but what do the Wiz offer the Knicks for the privilage of taking that ridiculously expensive risk? JaVale McGee? Not offering John Wall.

    Thomas, sorry to tute my own horn, but I was saying that repeatedly yesterday or whenever he opted out.

  58. BigBlueAL

    It really is amazing to think with all the losing this past decade the only high draft pick we have to show for it is Gallo and sadly at #6 he was actually the highest drafted player by the Knicks since the only other draft pick that they had higher than #6 was the #2 pick the Bulls got from them. So it really has been a combination of bad management and some bad luck as well.

  59. Ted Nelson

    A good play for the Knicks besides giving big signing bonuses on long-term deals could be to overpay a couple high risk/ high reward guys on 1 year deals. Best case could get valuable trade asset in a vet (maybe my buddy RJ bounces back) or a long-term piece (maybe Mahinmi or Amir Johnson). Downside is that they might be terrible next season, but the preserve cap flexibility going forward.

  60. Brian Cronin

    It’s not outside the realm of possibility he regains it, but what do the Wiz offer the Knicks for the privilage of taking that ridiculously expensive risk? JaVale McGee? Not offering John Wall.

    What I love (this goes to the whole “the media giving the Knicks crap” bit) is how Chad Ford had “Eddy Curry for Arenas” as a joke…with the Wizards the ones who wouldn’t do it! For serious!?!?

  61. David Crockett

    Been traveling all day and just got in and online.

    Memphis.

    What the bloody hell?

  62. David Crockett

    Minny

    $20 mill for Darko? Wow. Just wow. We thought he was underutilized in NY too, but dayam.

  63. Ted Nelson

    This is totally unsubstantiable (if that’s a word). Even if it turns out to be true Donnie Walsh may never realize it… Maybe the T-Mac trade will scare the Knicks off a super risky, super expensive rehab project like Arenas. Just seems to go against human nature that Walshtoni would stick their hand into the fire so soon after being burned. (Depends if they actually held out hope for T-Mac.)

    On a related note, I have to be confident Walsh was comfortable with losing out on all the big FAs to make the Rockets trade. There are certainly no shortage of possible strategies, just have to hope Walsh chooses a good game-plan and executes.

  64. Z

    “Memphis…What the bloody hell?”

    I’m not surprised by the Gay contract amount. What surprises me is that people here thought he would sign for anything less.

  65. tastycakes

    The media treats New York as if it is still being run by the boneheads from the last two administrations.

    I have a little bit of faith if only because Donnie kept his cool last year when presented with the opportunity to sign a loser like Ramon Sessions (sorry, Sesh fans) and ultimately deciding it was too expensive.

    I wish we hadn’t dumped those picks for the cap space, because if we do strike out in FA, and we are smart enough not to compound the problem with overpriced long term deals to mediocre players, then what? You need to build through the draft at some point. Maybe we can get some picks off another team for a change.

    I don’t want to talk myself into Gilbert Arenas — but maybe he could have a Sprewell-esque rebirth as a Knick? It’s just his contract is so godawful, and his injury history is bad, so if he doesn’t turn out to be any good, it’d be an unmitigated disaster.

    Don’t trade for guys nobody else wants. Seems like a good rule of thumb.

    Oh and thank God we aren’t gonna sign Rudy Gay.

  66. David Crockett

    “I’m not surprised by the Gay contract amount. What surprises me is that people here thought he would sign for anything less.”

    Just not in Memphis.

  67. Robert Silverman

    In looking at Agent Zero’s numbers, I may have been (channeling my inner Fonzie here)…wrrrr…wrrrrr…wrong. He was really good in his prime.

    But, so much of his game was built on being able to beat opposing PG’s off the dribble. It not only allowed him to get to the line so much, it also gave him space for his jumper. W/o that speed/elusiveness, I think you can’t expect much.

  68. rama

    Ted’s thread about the bargain bin may end up being more integral than any of us would like. I’m sitting here wondering whether we won’t miss on everyone, including JJ. Are we going to be the same team, just with Amare instead of Lee and lots of cap space for…what, exactly, in 2011?

    Ack.

  69. Z

    That Dwyer piece on Joe Johnson’s contract is really good.

    Looks like the Hawks have Koncaked themselves yet again.

    The Grizz are getting Koncaked too.

    So are the Wolves.

    So far, this is going pretty well for the Knicks…

  70. latke

    The whole reason I brought up arenas wasn’t because I thought he’d make us better. If we’re doomed to mediocrity for the next 3 years due to the fact that all the stars are signed up elsewhere then why not just take bad contracts? If Wiz offered two 1st round picks (likely high since they, then you have assets, and at what cost? None, because you were going to suck anyway.

    This is an oversimplification though. I think in reality the best move is to do as Henry Abbott suggests, which essentially means milk your cap space to max value. That may mean you sign 1 yr contracts this year and win 20 games, or waiting around till the trade deadline and a trade requires a third party w/ cap space in order to make a trade work. It might mean you take on a bad salary like Richard Hamilton, Arenas, or Brand if the assets you get alongside them are worth the sacrifice. Arenas’ contract is actually so terrible (22.3 million in 2013/14!!!) that you’d have to get A LOT to make it worthwhile. Brand’s contract is $4 million less per year and ends a year earlier. A safe 40-50 win team with a greatly reduced chance of improving in the future is the last thing I want out of this summer.

  71. KNCIKS2010

    @78, we’ve willingly sucked for two years, three years is a push mentally for fans, but waiting till 2013 to be better is ridiculous. I know you’re not saying this but the last few championship teams had little or no bad contracts. A team will be unable to win or contend for a championship with an aging arenas and grandpa Brand. I’d much rather wait for 2011 or try to trade for melo or cp3.
    We wouldn’t be doomed for 3 years, curry’s contract comes off the books next summer…feel bad for the guy, a judge in chicago issued an arrest warrant for him. As much as we don’t like the guy, he’s had a shitty few years.

  72. Z

    If LeBron chooses NOT New York, here’s a possible scenario that isn’t all that gloomy (except, maybe for Judge Jawles…):

    If we trade Chandler, Douglas, and Gallo for Carmelo Anthony, Ty Lawson, Renaldo Balkman, and Kenyon Martin.

    Then re-sign Lee.

    PG: Lawson
    SG: Walker
    SF: Anthony
    PF: Lee
    C: Martin/Curry

    Then use Martin and Curry as trade pieces during the season or let them expire.

    Team should win more games next year, and preserve flexibility to improve down the road with roughly $25 mil going into next off-season, along with a better core than what we are working with now.

  73. d-mar

    I listened to Chris Sheridan on 1050 today, and for once an ESPN analyst actually talked favorably about the Knicks chances of landing LeBron. His points:

    1) The Bulls roster is overrated, esp. because in order to free up the cap space to land 2 max FA’s, they would have to part with Deng or Noah in sign and trade. Plus (and I know this is a tired point) is Rose really an ideal teammate for LBJ?

    2) Miami’s roster is even more gutted than the Knicks, with the only players under contract being Beasley and Chalmers. Unless they somehow pull off the Bosh/Wade/LBJ scenario, which seems more and more unlikely.

    3) The Nets current roster won 12 games last year, and the Prokorov/JZ thing is way overrated. Plus he may be stuck in NJ for 3 years, not 2 if Brooklyn doesn’t go as planned.

    3) His most important point – the Knicks can offer a PLAN. They’re the only team among the LBJ suitors that will have significant cap space next year thanks to fat Eddy. So the argument that his best chance to win now is in Chicago may be valid, but what’s their plan for next year?

    Listening to Sheridan was very refreshing, I’m starting to believe it’s between the Cavs and us.

    I also just saw a report on Real GM that the in their meeting today, the Knicks laid out LBJ’s earning potential playing in NYC.

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/67707/20100701/knicks_showed_lebron_math_of_how_hed_earn_more_money_in_new_york/

    I’m sure the numbers were fudged, but some company called Interbrand said if he plays in NY there is a 50% chance of earning $1 billion vs. 1% in Chicago and Cleveland and 0% in Miami and NJ. I’m just glad to see the Knicks being creative and pulling out all the stops. (Hopefully, no one will examine those numbers too closely!)

  74. BigBlueAL

    There is NO comparison whatsoever between the Spree trade and a possible trade for Arenas.

    First as much as it pains me to say it since I LOVED Spree, Arenas is 50X the player Spree was (although Spree’s defense made up alot for his offensive inefficiencies). BUT the problem with Arenas is health and contract related. Spree was not coming off a major injury like Arenas and Spree only had a couple of years left in his contract which wasnt anywhere near as lucrative as what Arenas is getting paid. Also Spree was coming to a team with many established, veteran players who were competing for a championship. Arenas presumably would be the major off-season acquisition expected to lead this team to the playoffs.

    Now if a trade for Arenas was made while the Knicks have already signed LeBron or at the least a couple of real good FA’s then maybe taking a gamble on Arenas who is still only 28 and I believe has 4 years left so he would be a Knick until he is 32 might not be such a bad thing. But still I dont really wanna contemplate that right now….

  75. Robert Silverman

    35 Million for AMIR JOHNSON? wow…

    Guess the NBA’s in better financial shape than we were led to believe.

  76. Robert Silverman

    Channing Frye also reportedly TURNED DOWN 5 yrs/25 million.

    If no LeBron, I think the best thing is for Donnie to wait for all these folks to overpay and then pick up some some low-priced pieces who have nowhere else to go.

    And somehow magically get Chris Paul

  77. BigBlueAL

    HOLY CRAP as stated above:

    “Toronto Raptors have reached agreement to sign centre Amir Johnson to a five-year, $34 million deal, agent Kevin Bradbury tells Y! Sports.”

  78. massive

    @81,

    Amen. Glad to know there’s an ESPN analyst out there who isn’t all for Chicago. The Bulls roster is overrated, but mainly because they have no shooters. They’ll draw a lot of fouls, but will be a terrible 3-pt shooting team. To me, its always been Cleveland or us, because the Nets still play in Jersey, Chicago is overrated, and Miami is Wade’s town (I heard they are renaming Dade County “Wade County.” That would be a deal breaker for me).

  79. massive

    Arenas’ game would compliment LeBron’s pretty well. And we’d probably be able to pry Seraphin for the cost of taking Arenas’ deal. Of course we’d have to have LeBron first, so this can’t happen soon.

  80. Brian Cronin

    35 Million for AMIR JOHNSON? wow…

    Guess the NBA’s in better financial shape than we were led to believe.

    And yet in a year they will be crying poverty.

    Man, they piss me off.

  81. Ben R

    I think I might be the only one but I actually don’t think that’s a bad deal for Amir. He is a double double guy with incredible efficiency and 2 blocks a game, plus he is only 22 and is a good defender.

    11 pts 10 rebs 2 blks 62% TS% for his career.

    I think he is a great third bigman off the bench or second bigman next to a star. Gortat got almost that much off one season, Amir has been consistant for the last three years.

  82. Ricky_J

    Prediction:

    JJ’s max contract whets the appetite for the the big 3 who all begin to crave the full 6-year 10.5% raise kit & caboodle.

    One of the few plausible scenarios that could result in that. Knicks/Raps do a double sign & trade with Lee/Bosh. Knicks/Heat do a S&T of Wade for some Galinari/chandler/douglass package.

    What am I missing?

  83. cwod

    Another note on the Miller offer: the Lakers have given him until tonight to decide.

  84. rohank

    WTF – who leaked the interbrand thing? Now Chicago, Miami, Cleveland are gonna get their own “experts” to make a “computer model” that has Lebron having a 100% chance of earning $50 billion in THEIR city.

    ESPIONAGE!!

  85. cwod

    Also, just read that the Suns made another offer to Frye (five years, $30 million), and he accepted.

  86. Kikuchiyo

    Channing Frye is going to stay a Sun, says RealGM.

    Good for both Frye and the Suns. What a great fit! Now let’s hope we find a way to keep our other Class of 2005 big.

  87. Z-man

    Damn, we coulda had a Channing-Nate-David reunion! I agree, good for Channing, he seems like a class act who worked hard to remake himself into a 3-pt specialist big.

  88. TDM

    So with Mike Miller likely going to the Lake Show, how about Anthony Morrow from GS? The Warriors lowballed him and aren’t in spend-mode so the Knicks may be able to pick him up for a song.

  89. nicos

    It’ll be interesting to see what Miller does- he’ll almost certainly get a better offer but he seemed pretty adamant about wanting to go to a winner so he might sign with L.A. If given a choice I’d prefer him to RJ even if he costs a bit more (say Miller at 7-8 vs. RJ at 5-6 though both may be low considering what contracts have already been handed out)- better passer, (slightly) better rebounder, and his 3 point shooting fits the system perfectly. RJ’s still a better defender (especially if their both playing the 2 with Gallo at the 3) and is a better finisher in transition but I question his mental toughness a bit and wonder how he’ll bounce back from an off shooting season.

    I’m glad Gay’s off the market but his contract makes it more likely that Lee will get at least 12-13- I love Lee at 10-11 but I think he’ll get more.

  90. Z

    “the Knicks may be able to pick him up for a song”

    Maybe if the “song” has the words “Mid-Level Exception” in it…

    Honestly, take a look at the top 50 free agent rankings by fanhouse. Gooden and Darko aren’t even on it. Amir Johnson is #36. Channing Frye #40…

    The problem with targeting the mid-level FAs is that they are able to sign with anyone for 5yrs/$30 mil– not just the teams with cap space. “Bargains” are going to be few and far between.

    The bargains are going to be the guys on Ted’s list a few days back, as well as a few guys you probably wouldn’t want to touch, even for the minimum. Guys like Chris Duhon, who will probably make some team very happy as a serviceable back-up with a small price tag…

    Or guys like Joe Alexander, Earl Barron, Jonathan Bender, Kwame Brown, Ike Diogu, Aaron Gray, Adam Morrison, etc…

  91. Ted Nelson

    @74 David

    Memphis had literally not salaries on the books for the season after next season (will have picks shortly and will pick up some options). Certainly I would never have paid Gay that much, but I’m sure part of their reasoning was that they’re going to have a lot of cap space and no one to use it on (no one who wants to go to Memphis).

    @78 Latke

    A. It’s not necessarily true that the Knicks are going to “suck.” It’s a matter of degree. Certainly without LeBron there’s a little shot at immediate contention. However, with a few smart moves they could pull a reverse Bucks are be a solid playoff team with a strong offense and poor defense. Bucks were #2 defense and #23 offense and won 46 games. They’re not going to win a title any time soon, but 46 wins is not what I’d call sucking.

    B. Teams aren’t just going to give away unprotected picks like Isiah did. They’re going to lottery protect those picks and the Knicks will end up with nothing for a few years. Washington is going to try to sell Arenas as if he’s still a legit player, and if they can’t get a reasonable price they’re probably going to hold him (they have cap space already and are using it on Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian… so I don’t think they’re rushing for big name FAs, though Melo has the Baltimore connection).
    The contracts are terrible and long and they are not likely to overcompensate you to take them. You would be dooming yourself for several years.

    C. That’s not at all what Abbot was suggesting. OKC did not take on the worst salaries in the league. They took on smaller contracts occasionally and accumulated a ton of picks. I’m not sure how much those picks actually helped. They got Thabo that way and Serge. But 1/2 of their rotation is from top 5 picks they made. I think Abbot is incorrect in using OKC as a comparison for this strategy actually paying dividends.
    As Knciks2010 says, why not just preserve the cap space for 2011? Are two lottery protected picks worth living through Arenas’ contract?

  92. Ted Nelson

    @100 Nicos

    It’s interesting to me that everyone is so high on Miller and so down on RJ. Miller has seriously declined for the past two seasons. He’s actually only a marginally better playmaker than RJ, and his TOs are through the roof. His TO% was higher than his ast% last season. I think people get wowed by a TS% of .600 and forget that there are other parts of the game as well. I like Miller fine, but RJ has been just as good last season and on his career:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=jefferi01&y1=2010&p2=millemi01&y2=2010

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=jefferi01&y1=2010&p2=millemi01&y2=2010

    I am 95% sure Lee will get more than 10-11 mill per.

  93. Ted Nelson

    @101 Z

    I think there will be some bargains. Not everyone will uniformally get paid x% above what they deserve. A bargain also implies getting value for you investment. You can be highly paid and still a bargain. I have little doubt that LeBron will be a huge bargain for whoever signs him. On the other hand, Morrison, Alexander, and Diogu will be rip offs even at the minimum.
    Miller at the MLE is a pretty good value (which Lakers might get cause they’re a back-to-back champ). The reason I keep harping on RJ is that his stock looks to have plummeted and he might get blacklisted by other teams with space. Who knows how Childress will be greeted after returning from Greece. And speaking of Americans in Europe, hopefully the Knicks have found a bargain in Summer League roster guy Jaycee Carroll.
    Basically, at face value people might not look like values but once they perform some almost definitely will. And some will look like Elton Brand or Arenas or Curry or 90% of the 2000s Knicks… But there will also be the guys that we’re like, “how did no one sign him? It was so obvious.” At least a few probably… or at least, “why did they give that guy so much when this guy is just as good for 1/2 the price?” Relative value (which is what I think RJ may have considering how much Gay and Johnson have been offered).

  94. nicos

    @103 Ted
    I agree Miller’s turnovers are pretty alarming the last couple of years though I chalk them up to being on pretty awful teams- his numbers were still a little high but not alarmingly so when he was on decent Orlando and Memphis teams. I think the decline in scoring can probably be blamed on the same thing- his TS and eFG were still great his usage just dropped significantly-not surprising when Randy Foye is your point guard! I guess my worry is that unless LBJ comes the Knicks will probably have the worst passing wings in the league so having a 2/3 with an assist % in the 18-20 range (provided he gets his TOV% back down in the low teens) would really help, especially when he’s also one of the top 3 pfg% guys in the league.

  95. latke

    “As Knciks2010 says, why not just preserve the cap space for 2011? Are two lottery protected picks worth living through Arenas’ contract?”

    You’re right — I agree that it’d be great if we could just sit on the cap space, but I don’t know that Walsh survives a summer without any significant moves. I do think that arenas and two, say top three protected picks is better than Richard Jefferson, David Lee, and Tyrus Thomas (or whatever third rate free agent the knicks could sign if they swing and miss on the top tier guys), because at least then you’ve accumulated some sort of future assets.

    Here’s the problem: Name me a team that has gone from 20-30 wins to competitive via free agency or trades — without a superstar pick in the draft? The only team to have come close is Boston, and even they already had Paul Pierce, a better player than anyone the knicks have had since I don’t know when. Blazers got brandon roy, OKC got Durant, NO got Paul, Orlando got D Howard, and after that it’s been sensible for them to overpay FAs to try to get over the hump. We don’t have a player anywhere near that caliber, and if we strike out this summer we’re not going to get one, so we might as well do our best to get into the draft and hope we to find a gem.

  96. Brian Cronin

    Wages of Wins has a fascinating “Free Agent Cheat Sheet.”

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AsCknWukkAO3dEQ4bVZ3WlAwQkgyRmE2cW1QcndWUXc&hl=en&gid=0

    They really like David Lee and Mike Miller and they really don’t like Channing Frye (and Richard Jefferson also gets very little love).

    According to them, the Knicks should appear to focus on Lee, Mike Miller and Josh Childress, who actually are all very, very attainable. Going by their calculations, you could use your cap space on Lee, Miller, Childress along with either Steve Blaker or Kyle Lowry and Ben Wallace and make out well.

    PG – Douglas/Blake or Lowry/Rautins
    SG – Miller/Chandler/Walker
    SF – Gallo/Childress/Fields
    PF – Lee/Garcia/someone vet at the minimum
    C – Wallace/Barron/Jordan

    I guess that’s not an insane team – focus on having enough offense for your poor defense not to matter that much. In addition, it also doesn’t appear to lock them in with too many insane contracts (unless they’re talking, like, five years for Ben Wallace).

  97. BigBlueAL

    So I guess Brian no matter what LeBron is going to be severely underpaid. lol

    Raymond Felton wasnt as poorly rated as I thought he would be.

  98. Brian Cronin

    Ha!

    Well, he was on Ted’s bargain list!

    And yeah, I was surprised at how well Felton did, as well.

  99. Brian Cronin

    I am now way too fascinated by Mike Miller. Just the thought of him and Gallo both shooting the lights out – it gives me some glimmer of hope for a Knicks team sans Lebron.

  100. ess-dog

    It sounds like Amare and the Knicks are “working on numbers” at this point. That has to mean Lebron, right? Amare was his first choice at the trade deadline. Plus it looks really good if we can strike first. Of course the idea of Amare without Lebron is not that exciting, but both of them with Gallo make a pretty great Big Three. I hope we can get away with giving him a 5 yr deal because that will be a huge contract. The question is, would Amare play center or would Gallo/Lebrin play guard and then we start a true center (Curry, Jordan, Barron?)

  101. Brian Cronin

    By the way, how the hell did the Knicks let their PowerPoint leak? With that out there, you better believe Miami, Chicago and Cleveland will all now make a point of discrediting the study – a study they never should have been able to get access to!

  102. Frank O.

    Best line of the morning in Berman’s story:

    D’Antoni also was asked about the Knicks being a dark horse behind the Bulls, Heat and, perhaps, the Nets.

    “I know you guys [the media] really well,” he said. “I’m glad we’re not considered a lead horse, nothing personal.”

  103. David Crockett

    Good heavens I hope Walsh doesn’t sign Stoudemire. Bosh or Lee, with Stoudemire a distant 3rd. He didn’t play defense this year on a team that actually had a shot to win.

  104. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    @ 107

    I would be ecstatic with that team. Lots of efficient shooters and a dominant inside man who can O-board and finish on the pick and roll. Diminishing returns aside, Lee and Wallace as your frontcourt could be a great balance of defensive play and offensive efficiency. Now my hopes are up.

  105. Ted Nelson

    @105 Nicos

    I like Miller, my only points (relevant to 105) are that in comparing him to RJ a. RJ was also put up ast% in the 18-20 range, he’s not a great playmaker but he’s a good passer on the wing who has excelled in a free-flowing offense and b. they’re both in a fairly similar place in their careers. Both coming off a bad season and both the same age. The consensus on the board seems to be that Mike Miller is an amazing target and RJ shouldn’t even be in the NBA. I see them as pretty similar in terms of overall value.

    I think part of it might be that Miller has been asked to shoulder too much of the playmaking the past 2 seasons. He’s played on bad teams where I’d expect to see him scoring more but instead he’s scoring less and passing/ball-handling more. Maybe he’s a true team-first guy, maybe his coaches are misusing him (in 2 different spots…?), or maybe his attitude has gone to shit playing for terrible teams (which the Knicks may well be next season… so that’s a consideration if the guy’s going to sulk and phone it in when the team is losing).

    Miller’s shooting and passing (and rebounding) would be a nice addition, no doubt. I think RJ might bring about as much, though. I would also be intrigued by Childress at similar $. Maybe this won’t be the case, but I am wondering if Childress will improve after going to Europe and being a primary scorer. He REALLY struggled his 1st season there and was sort of a bust, but then he got it together in Year 2 and lived up to the hype of being one of the best players in Europe. He clearly improved his game from year 1 to year 2, so I’m wondering if that improvement will translate to the NBA. Not to say that he’ll be All-NBA or something, just perhaps be as effective in a larger offensive role. In that sense I think he has more upside than Miller or RJ… but then again those guys both have upside since they’re coming off down years in some sense.

    I don’t know what order I’d prioritize Miller/RJ/Childress, but if they’re all looking at MLE-to-$8 mill or so I’d be happy enough with any of them. I don’t know that another wing is the best use of cap space for the Knicks, but I’d rather that than Raymond Felton @ $10+ mill per or some of the trade options. (Duhon was bad enough, no Felton: you can’t shoot, you can’t make plays… here, come be our PG for an ungodly amount of money…)

  106. Caleb

    Ted,

    On your 2-guard comparison, I would go for Childress – he is bigger and younger and will have a much better shelf life over the next 5 years, plus he’ll be cheaper (I think).

    I am not sure why you are so down on JJ as a defender – another way to look at it is that the Hawks were above average defensively with backcourt of Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford, with Pachulia and Horford out of position. Of course Horford is still good, and Smith, but no one else on that roster was even close to decent.

    I think JJ and RJ are good examples of players who were good defenders but slipped when they became 1st or 2nd offensive options. If their offensive role was smaller, could they go back? Sort of a psychological question. As my semi-apology suggests, RJ could be an ok signing in the $5-6 million range. You make an interesting point about Mike Miller. re: his TOs, he had a really weird role in Minnesota, doing a ton of ball-handling, basically playing the point and setting up Jonny Flynn and other guys. Totally ass-backwards.

    re: RJ and Harrington I look at that comparison and say, wow, they ARE similar. Obviously RJ is more of a 2/3 and Harrington a 3/4. Jefferson a better passer, Harrington a better rebounder. RJ maybe a slide edge on D but it’s been years since he was good. All in all they had similar value, except Harrington has been ridiculously consistent the past four years while Jefferson has been on a downhill slope. I don’t like the trajectory.

  107. Caleb

    I think we are just seeing the reality of Walsh’s all-in hand. Either we bag LeBron, or we are left holding the bag.

    The Knicks won’t necessarily be awful – if they re-sign Lee or Boozer or even Stoudemire, they’re basically back where they were last year, with the opportunity to add a Miller/Childress/RJ, or throw out a big one- or two-year deal to get a center like Haywood or even Jermaine O’Neal. (O’Neal can still block shots and defend the pick and roll – I’d give him a big contract for one year if we had no other options)

    Worst-case would be filling up the cap long-term with guys who don’t nearly deserve it. Somehow – after all Walsh has preached about cap space – and the way he ran the ship in Indy – I have some faith.

    Dave,
    I would rather have Lee than those other PFs but Boozer or even Stoudemire wouldn’t be a terrible, terrible deal.

    On the other hand if Lee goes to the Nets I’d be one move away from switching.

  108. Garson

    I think if Lebron commits elsewhere its time to plan around Melo , while still putting a team that can compete this year. If we do spend all our money this year, we will not have room for Melo with only Curry coming off (as someone made a good point of contracts increasing making the 11 mil worth less next season)

    Its seems more and more that melo is unimpressed with the offer he has and will opt out. That being said, besides us, who will be able to afford him next year? We thought we would only be competing with Cavs this year for Lebron and we were wrong. Who can emerge next season as our competition for Melos services?

  109. Kikuchiyo

    I love the tags to this thread: Byron Scott, Darko Milicic, Drew Gooden, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay

    That’s a dog’s breakfast if ever I saw one. Let’s be glad that there’s more in the kitchen and Donnie hasn’t even ordered yet.

  110. Ted Nelson

    @106 Latke

    I don’t think Washington is going to give you 3 picks for taking Arenas, let alone 3 1sts that are only top 3 protected. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they are asking for picks to get him. I think they still view him as someone who could come back and be an All-Star-to-All-NBA performer. They’ve been slowly adding salary this summer trying to build a competitive team, not trying to rebuild in the traditional sense of clearing salary. 3 1st rounders would take at least 6 years for them to deliver (a team cannot have no 1st for two consecutive years). Maybe if they want to make a run at Carmelo they’ll ditch Arenas by the trading deadline, but they’re going to try to T-Mac someone and convince them Arenas is still an elite player (which maybe he is… no one knows). A lot of NBA decision makers love the once-a-star-always-a-star thing as much as the media and fans.

    Teams like the Wiz and Sixers who are rebuilding in their own right are unlikely to sacrifice tons of draft picks for salary cap space. They might have more young talent, but it still puts them in a Knicks like position of being bad, having cap space, but having no picks to show for your bad season. The Knicks are the only lottery team I can think of that gives away unprotected picks knowing they have a good chance to be in the lottery. (McHale may have done so in the Wallyworld to Boston trade, actually, but he’s also a laughing stock GM.)

    “Name me a team that has gone from 20-30 wins to competitive via free agency or trades — without a superstar pick in the draft?”

    Not from 20-30 wins, but plenty of teams have successfully rebuilt without high picks. The reason most 20-30 win rebuilding successes go through high draft picks is that most 20-30 win teams HAVE high draft picks. Most do not give away 6 top 10 picks in 10 years the way the Knicks might be about to. It’s a selection bias in your sample.

    Lakers, Pacers, Pistons, Mavericks, Suns… among the best teams in the last decade at various points, and built without high picks. (Boston used #5 pick to get Ray Allen, so not sure that counts, though they stole KG.)

    The Lakers added Shaq, Horry, Fox all through free agency and Kobe through a trade for Divac. They added Odom for Shaq, Bynum #10, Gasol for expiring contracts plus 3 late 1sts and a 2nd. Donnie Walsh rebuilt an Indiana team on the fly without high picks and had a contender until off-court stuff (and on-court brawls) ruined it. Detroit Pistons were built by Dumars without high picks (besides Darko and Rodney White…). Dallas drafted Dirk 15 years ago, but otherwise have re-built on the fly constantly and stayed competitive through trades and free agency. Phoenix Suns didn’t use a top 8 pick to build one of the best teams in the league. Even most of the teams with one brilliant draft pick have built around that guy in large part through trades and free agency and later draft picks. (About the only team that hasn’t is the Thunder whose whole team is top 5 picks, which is why I call BS on Abbot’s example of how the Knicks should use their cap space… he may have a point, but the Thunder are a poor example.)

    Knicks don’t have a Kevin Durant, but Danilo is a former #6 pick who could certainly develop into a #2 or 3 player on a good team… even #1 possibly, but at least a rotation player already. Knicks have a good amount of young players that have yet to prove themselves. Chances are that some will and some won’t. Early returns on these guys are pretty good, though. If the Knicks go into the season with these guys in prominent roles plus a couple of FAs, they might only be as bad as last season (as in 30ish wins… not Nets bad) and some of these guys will likely step up and put up good per game #s in heavy minutes. Knicks can then re-sign them, use those guys (maybe with cap space) in trades mid-season, or maybe s&t Chandler as a restricted free agent.

  111. Caleb

    “I wouldn’t be too surprised if they are asking for picks to get him. I think they still view him as someone who could come back and be an All-Star-to-All-NBA performer.”

    They can ask but in the end I predict they will be paying to give away his contract. I suspect the Wiz know that already…

    but they probably want to get him on the court first. He’s basically been off the court for 3 years, and was only so-so in his one month back, so as of now the Wiz probably don’t have much choice – until he plays a few months, Gilbert probably has the least value of any player in the league.

  112. JK47

    Amare/LeBron looks like a tremendous plan to me. With LBJ, Amare, Gallinari, Chandler and Douglas you’d have all the chrome and leather, and you would just need to collect some nuts and bolts:

    1. A shot-blocking, good defensive big
    2. A decent backup PG
    3. One more good wing defender

    You can get players like that either in trades, for Curry’s expiring contract and for the MLE. You’d have plenty of good jump shooters– Gallinari, Walker, Douglas, Rautins. An LBJ/Amare team would be an instant contender and would really be in position to dominate the league in 2011-2012 and beyond.

  113. Ted Nelson

    Caleb re: 117

    Yeah, Childress is intriguing. I am beyond the point of speculating on what someone’s FA value is, though, because a lot of times I just don’t get it. Raymond Felton is probably going to sign a $10 mill per contract this offseason after Rudy Gay got nearly maxed out.
    (One negative with Childress is that despite being played some at PG in college he’s never been much of a playmaker, even in college… Miller and RJ are both very good passers.)

    I think Horford and Smith is a strong defensive frontcourt. This is the NBA in 2010, I don’t think Horford is out of position and I don’t see what position Zaza would play besides the 5. Smith is also as much a 4 as a 3 or more so a 4… that’s just the reality of the league. Marvin Williams is a solid defender. I wouldn’t call Johnson a liability, but I wouldn’t say he’s a defensive plus either. I believe at one point you called him an excellent defender or something to that effect. He and RJ might be a toss-up, I really don’t watch enough of either to say.

    Miller didn’t play with Flynn in Minnesota… Randy Foye has been his primary PG the past two seasons, which is probably why he’s had to take on too much PG responsibilities. That’s just to say that while he’s a very good passer and would be great on the Lakers or Knicks in that capacity, don’t expect him to effectively run your offense. He can take pressure off a Toney Douglas, but he can’t do his job for him. Same goes for RJ.

    The difference between Harrington and RJ to me is that Harrington doesn’t have a position. He can’t defend the 3, can barely defend the 4, and can’t rebound like a 4. He’s a one-sided coin, and on offense also is just a straight (fairly efficient) gunner. Whatever you want to say about RJ’s defense, he’s guarded the wing his whole career. RJ passes very well for a wing when called upon to do so. I like Harrington a lot more than most Knicks fans, but the guy is a one trick pony. A specialist. Put him on Boston and his role might not be much bigger than Nate Robinson’s. To me RJ is an above average NBA starter, because I assume his usage and playmaking falling off a cliff had to do with playing in SA. His 3pt jumper fall last season, but he had as effective a slashing season as he’s ever had so I don’t think he’s washed up. I assume it’s easier to lose a step and not be able to get to the basket than it is to forget how to shoot. RJ still took 34% inside shots and hit an eFG% close to .700 in SA last season. His FTA/FGA remained pretty high. The biggest problem was his 3P%, which had been at or above 36% the three prior seasons. I think that will rebound. And, of course, his even bigger problem was his role in the offense was much diminished.

  114. Ted Nelson

    @123 Caleb

    I agree 100%. I’m not saying they will get picks/assets back for him. I’m saying they probably think they *should*. So, as you say, that means holding the guy if his trade value is well below his perceived value to the Wizards.

    If you’re holding a stock you bought for $100, has fallen to $1, but you think will rebound… do you really cut your losses at that point (and in fact maybe pay someone $100 to take it in the Wizards case of giving up multiple barely protected picks) or do you wait it out at least to see what this year’s earnings look like?
    To ditch the analogy… what’s the opportunity cost of holding Arenas for the Wiz? They have cap space and don’t seem to want to use it on FAs… so I don’t see the value of not having Arenas on their books being all that great to them at the moment. I could see them making a run at Melo in 2011 since they could use wing scoring and he’s a fairly local guy, but they are so far below the cap at this point that I don’t think they’d have to ditch Arenas to do so. Arenas coul actually be an asset in luring Melo if they can convince him he’s back in form. If, on the other hand, they want to make a splash in 2010 free agency with Tyson Chandler or one of the many mid-levelish wings available, they can still do that while holding Arenas.

  115. rama

    Based on Berri’s list and my guess of where salaries are going to fall, here’s Plan B:

    Miller 10m
    Haywood 10m
    Felton 10m
    DLee 12m (using Bird rights to go over cap)
    (and Gallo at the 3)

    Bench:
    Chandler
    Walker
    Douglas
    Fields
    Jordan
    Barron
    and oh yeah, Curry

    According to Win Shares, that would be a 55-win team! Hard to believe, maybe, and we couldn’t entirely count on Miller not falling off more in the next two years and Felton contining to improve, but DLee has been amazingly consistent, and we all expect Gallo to be better next year. We could shoot from outside, we could penetrate and pick-and-roll, we could actually DEFEND! And we’d board like crazy. And while we’d still be a superstar away from a title, we could sign and trade a redundant player (Chandler/Gallo) and/or package him with Curry’s expiring. Meaning…we could add Melo to be our small forward with Haywood, Lee, Miller, and Felton. And a seriously deep bench with some great shooters and a couple good defenders.

    As intriguing as Childress is, we don’t need another 3. If we had him instead of Miller at slightly less the cost, fine, but the 3 is the one position we should not be thinking about. Thus, no RJ either, who however similar he may be to Miller is still a 3 to Miller’s 2. (And not nearly as good a shooter, which we’ll need with Felton.)

  116. Caleb

    “what’s the opportunity cost of holding Arenas for the Wiz?”

    $20 million a year for the next four years!!!!

    But you are right, Leonsis, the new owner, doesn’t seem to be pinching pennies – he took on Hinrich.

    Seriously, we are on the same page. His stock is so low, it has nowhere to go but up. I really think he might be the most untradeable player in the league, until he shows he can play. I’m just saying the Wiz might have a bargaining position where they ask for Vince Carter back, but in reality, if someone said they’d take him for nothing – they’d do it in a heartbeat.

    re: Harrington and position, IMO your position is defined almost entirely by who you can defend. On offense, your coach can create a lot of different schemes, and find you a role. On D, you have to handle what your opponent gives you. In that light, I don’t think Harrington is awful at the 4. Of course, he is a poor rebounder, so you need rebounding at other spots.

  117. rama

    Looking at my last post, that is a seriously unsexy team. But a solid group with generally excellent complementary parts. With DLee and Miller, we’d only be average defensively, but we’d be very good offensively. Both would be big steps forward. And while maybe Lee gets 14m instead of 12m from someone, maybe Miller gets 8m instead of 10m, and so on. I think it’s reasonable.

    It’s just not sexy. But 55 wins would be unebelievably attractive after all this time in the desert!

  118. chrisk06811

    I’m getting VERY nervous! guys are getting overpaid and are driving up Lee’s value. and, Anthony got an offer from Den that will likely take him off the market next year. Thank god Johnson signed.

    the above scares the crap out of me….miller, haywood and felton all making big $$. Two weeks ago, i wanted no part of amare or johnson for near max deals, or boozer for close to max. Now, I’d rather have Amare at max than any of these three guys, even if it means going amare / lee. Then, if we lose out on Amare, we’re screwed, because I don’t think boozer and lee can play together.

    I don’t see lebron and bosh both going to Miami. We clearly need to get one of these two guys. To do so, i’d even be open to a sign and trade of gallo and chandler with curry for bosh.

    On the plus side, I’m 40 yrs old and I’ve never been this close to being the 2 guard for the New York Knicks.

  119. ess-dog

    @128,

    That’s an intriguing lineup. Especially if Larry Brown was coach. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much the antithesis of a D’Antoni team (besides the good outside shooting.)
    Miller’s age worries me, especially for a 5 year contract. Felton at 10 mil is probably not a good deal, but I still think that could be movable considering what people like Darko are getting. Lee should get more though, no? Probably around 13 or 14. Considering we have a good shooter in Walker, I would probably go after Childress rather than Miller, but it’s a tough call. The only thing lacking is “veteran leadership”. Ray Allen would be nice at the 2, but I think he’s staying in Boston.

  120. Kikuchiyo

    @rama

    Yes, that is a very unsexy team. And I don’t think they win 55 games. No way. Who’s leads this team? Who is, as Simmons likes to say, the alpha dog? There’s something vanilla about this group, and, no, that is not a comment on the rather generous caucasian allotment of the starting five.

    No one’s gonna complain about a 40+ win team for 2010-11, though, if there’s room on that roster for the one or two (really two) BIG PIECES that team still needs to get good.

  121. ess-dog

    Remember, 2011 is the year of the center with Perkins, Nene, Dalembert, and Chandler available with Noah, Horford and Marc Gasol restricted.
    Might make sense to really get the other 3-4 pieces in place and use the Curry contract to nab one of these guys next year…

  122. Z

    I wonder if the new CBA will make today’s max deals easier or harder to trade one or two years in. It’s hard to do long term planning when one year from now the league will be operating with what could be a completely new set of rules…

  123. Caleb

    I have always been a Felton fan (relative to others) but he will be a lead weight at $10 million per – whoever signs him will regret it before training camp.

  124. Frank

    @134 – forgot Horford is a RFA next year. Let’s pray JJ signs the max deal and Atlanta is strapped for cash for the next 6 years. Show me TD, Lebron, Gallo, Bosh/Amare, and Horford and I’ll show you rings.

  125. rama

    Sorry, Chris, I bet Walker can hit 3s better than you…;)

    As said,

    Miller
    Lee
    Haywood
    Felton
    Gallo

    is a seriously unsexy team. But those aren’t crazy prices: each player will get offers near there from multiple teams, and when you look at the numbers, THEY ARE WORTH IT. That’s the point – if we can’t bring home the King, we need to get realistic about building a winner, and that will mean being creative. Before you dismiss that lineup, go look at Berri’s list (all numbers from 2009-2010):

    Miller WP48 .219 Wins 8
    Lee WP48 .275 Wins 17
    Haywood WP48 .182 Wins 9
    Felton WP48 .172 Wins 9
    Gallo WP48 .180 Wins 9
    (had to extrapolate for Gallo based on 2009 WP and stats vs. 2010 stats)

    Miller created fewer Wins last year despite his high metric because he was injured and didn’t play lots of minutes. It’s not unreasonable to assume he could regain his form (and health) of his previous year, when he created 12 wins. But Felton was worst in his previous year, and could regress, so let’s just stick with last year as a projector of this year. Those players create 52 wins. Add a strong bench, with Chandler being average, Douglas being above average, Walker being above average, and you have another few wins.

    A 55 win team. One we could have, today.

    I know that Berri’s metric isn’t the be-all-end-all, but it shows very strong correlation with a small margin of error. Which means…it’s a great tool for helping choose underestimated players. (plus, it has Jared Jeffries at dead last, which seems about right.)

    And as said, that would be a pretty decent team defensively, despite Lee. Felton is a good on the ball defender, Haywood is there almost only for defense, and Gallo is underrated – I think he’ll be a plus defender next year.

  126. DS

    I love how ESPN via the Plain Dealer basically insinuates that Amare or Bosh to Cleveland is feasible. As if Phoenix and Cleveland are pining for JJ Hickson and draft picks in the 28 – 32 range in exchange for their franchise players But OH the Knicks are out of the running. “From what I’m hearing” they have no chance.

    Why do these publications do this? Because you can make a great living saying that good teams will continue to do good things and bad teams will continue to do bad ones. Adrian W. at Yahoo! thinks he can make a name for himself by being the most prolific writer of BS articles this summer. F*** off.

  127. Z

    Another one gone…

    The #46th ranked FA, Hakim Warrick, a third-stringer on the Bucks last year, signs for 4 years/$18 mil.

    Oh, to be an NBA agent this week!

  128. Ted Nelson

    @129 Caleb

    Yeah, we’re on the same page. The asking price another team would attach to Arenas (something like the 3 1st rounders latke mentioned) is going to be too steep for the Wizards to justify, a lot different from their asking price for Arenas. The only way I would see them paying out the nose to dump Arenas is if they had something better to do with the cap space. Surely one could argue that anything is better than Arenas. However, is anything better than Arenas + 3 1st round picks the first one or two, at least, of which will likely to lottery picks? If Washington were capped out or were getting all caught up in the free agency madness I might consider it, but since they have plenty of space and haven’t seemed to keen to use it on big free agents… seems to me they’ll keep Arenas until a. he proves he can play/at least stay healthy or b. his contract becomes something of an asset or c. they have a good use for the cap space almost immediately (a use that they feel is worth 3 draft picks, like the Knicks did) or d. they find a sucker/team that believes in Arenas.

    @127 ess-dog

    Sergio is an unrestricted free agent, so I don’t believe so.

  129. Ricky_J

    Remember the cryptic reference DW made last year about having an extra trick up his sleeve?

    Has it come up again recently? Because um now would be a pretty good time to use it.

  130. Ben R

    I don’t want Felton, especially not for any more than mid-level money. He is a solid passer and rebounder for a PG but is an averge defender and a woefully inefficient scorer. Last year his efficiency took a huge step forward from terrible to simply below average. He is barely better than Duhon for his career and will cost twice as much as other options like Blake or Lowry and probably five times as much as Duhon. I do not want to add any players who cannot score with at least average efficiency.

  131. DS

    @138 I like your analysis but I can’t get over the fact that that team has two starters from the 2009 Wizards opening day roster. And Gallo-Lee-Felton seems to be only a slightly better trio (arguably equal or worse) to round out the lineup than Arenas-Butler-Jamison.

  132. rama

    I wasn’t a Felton fan, either, but that’s before I looked at his actual numbers from last year. I had come to an opinion about him and didn’t adjust to his improvement (could Larry Brown have been an influence!?). But I’m trying to live in Reality Town, life without LeBron. If we could get him for 8m, that would be fantastic…but there aren’t any other better PGs available any time soon, so we’ll have to compete, and I bet he’ll cost. And he does fit in that he’d penetrate, pick-and-roll, and defend. He and WWTDD would make a good tandem.

    I’d be totally happy with Childress instead of Miller, especially at a couple mil less. Miller brings the shooting D’Antoni loves, but Childress isn’t lots worse, is younger, and probably defends better – though I haven’t seen him for awhile and can’t remember well enough to say. Miller would work a little better as a 2 because of the shooting, but they are two workable (and affordable) options.

    Ess-dog may be right about next year being the year of the center, but if we resign Lee (or Amare, who i don’t like as much because of the injury history and lack of boarding), all we’d have available to spend would be Curry’s expiring – about $11m (or lots less, if we sign Amare). And we’d really have even less than that, since we’d have raises due to Gallo and may need/want to resign Walker or even Chandler. Would I prefer almost any of the guys you list? Absolutely. But in the unlikely event Gasol and so on weren’t kept by their teams, could we get any of them for $11m? Nope. Got to do it now…unless we’d plan to trade for a center instead of for Melo. But there’s no guarantee in that situation…and what the team I just put together is all about is a guarantee. WE COULD GET THOSE GUYS NOW, at the prices I suggest (or near to them), and have a winning team. A really good winning team.

  133. Garson

    Ramon Sessions at 4 mil looking good now for us… Its a good thing we didnt sign him last year to keep our cap low. He has the keys to run this offense as showed when he schooled us muliple times.

    Any chance we can trade for him ?

  134. rama

    Ben-

    The guy can penetrate; Duhon could not. Or at least he couldn’t do anything once he did penetrate.

    The guy can D; Duhon was terrible.

    Yes, their numbers are similar, but it isn’t hard to see the difference if you watch the two of them play. Felton is better and has improved substantially each year.

    Again, that said, I don’t really want him at 10m. I want him at 6m. I would be OK with 8m. But looking at the numbers for everyone else, and how the other PG options aren’t as good, and the chances of getting CP3, it’s hard to see how he won’t get paid this year. Is standing pat a better option? I say No.

  135. Ted Nelson

    rama,

    It’s as good an idea as any of the crap we’re all throwing out there. I do have some reservations, though.

    I’m pretty skeptical of just adding up Berri’s WPs in a new context and expecting that’s the team you’ll have. I mean, for example, if Haywood and Miller add a combined 17 wins, why did the Wizards only win 26 games last season? They were the two best players, but did Lee and Gallo really account for 26 of the Knicks 29 wins last season? Berri admittedly uses nothing but box score stats to come up with these numbers, so individual defense and role on team are not at all considered. His metrics may or may not be as good as any, but they’re certainly not perfect.

    I believe this ship sailed the day Walsh tied his boat to D’Antoni. There’s no way D’Antoni’s coaching that team for a full season. He’ll quite or kill himself. Haywood and Felton?

    It’s not like there’s a trend of Felton improving. He was the same crappy player for 4 seasons then had a slightly better season. His 3P% improved but he only made 60 3P all season… the variability on that is huge. A few makes become misses and he’s the same awful outside shooter. Career he’s a below average shooter.

    Overall I see that squad’s potential as middle of the road defensively–Haywood is good but not great defensively, Lee and Gallo are average at best, Miller is bad, and Felton and Chandler and Douglas are good–and probably top 10 offensively but Felton’s awfulness keeping you from getting much higher than 10.

  136. Ted Nelson

    rama,

    I am looking at Felton’s #s… they are terrible. He played on the 24th offense in the league. He’s a bad offensive player, but a very good defensive and peripheral player. Maybe up to the MLE he’s a solid value. There is about a 90% chance, IMO, that last season was a fluke: his first 4 seasons were bad then in a contract year he suddenly hits some shots? That’s a red flag. I know players on average don’t necessarily perform better in contract years, but underachievers often do.

    He turned down big money from the Bobcats last season and there were already rumors they’ve made a big offer again this year. I have no idea, but I bet he somehow wiggles his way into $10+ mill per.

    “Felton is better and has improved substantially each year.”

    That is simply not true. He was the same for 4 seasons and then had one good season.

    “WE COULD GET THOSE GUYS NOW, at the prices I suggest (or near to them), and have a winning team. A really good winning team.”

    Both parts of that are questionable.
    1. We would not be the only teams looking at them. Miller might take the Lakers’ MLE to get a ring. Felton and Haywood have bird rights and old teams that want them. Lee is likely to get more than 12 mill per.
    2. That’s not necessarily a winning team. Only according to Berri. I don’t think it would be a bad team, but 55 wins would tie you for 4th best record in the league. Most of those guys have played on mostly losing teams. You get two starters from last season’s lottery winner. The majority of the Knicks lottery team returning. Plus Felton coming off a fluke year…

  137. rama

    Ted –

    Defense: Haywood is above average, Gallo is above average (not sure why you didn’t see that last season), Felton is above average. Lee is below average (not sure why you didn’t see THAT last season), and Miller is below average. Which, yeah, does mean middle-of-the-road, but that’s better than bottom of the barrel.

    I’d agree that it isn’t D’Antoni’s ideal lineup, but it isn’t so far off as you suggest: the Knicks are reportedly going to offer to Felton, so there’s that, he does like Lee, and Miller is his kind of guy. Haywood, no, but otherwise, it certainly isn’t a team he’d hate. All those guys can pass and playmake. Felton can’t shoot from outside, but otherwise, he has improved A LOT from two years ago – I checked the numbers. I’m not sure why you say there isn’t a trend; go look it up before you judge the guy.

    As for Miller and Haywood on the Wiz, Haywood was traded, so take away half his wins, and they had their fair share of net negative players as well. Plus/minus two games, and I bet Berri was within parameters.

    Lastly, I SAID that Berri’s metrics weren’t perfect. They’re pretty damn good, though. I do think Lee and Gallo accounted for the lion’s share of the wins. Some players, like Duhon and Jeffries, were actually negatives, so if you take into account we had guys getting serious playing time who were costing us wins, and Chandler was average and hurt a lot, and Nate was above average but sat for a long time and was then trade, yes, I would guess the numbers would add up. We had a totally crap team last year but for Lee and Gallo.

  138. Ted Nelson

    @147

    Felton is better than Duhon, but what does that really say? On their careers they’re pretty close. You are taking one season of Felton and assuming he got better, and not that he got lucky or is an underachiever who strapped on his boots in a contract year after turning down what I remember being an $8 mill per long-term deal last offseason…

    PG is one of the easiest positions to fill with someone serviceable. There are tons of guys who are 6′ to 6’5″ and can play basketball. If you can get a real difference maker along the Magic, Kidd, Nash, Paul lines or a bit below that they’re worth it, but it’s not worth $5+ mill per for a marginal difference between someone like Felton and someone like Lowry.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=duhonch01&y1=2010&p2=feltora01&y2=2010&p3=lowryky01&y3=2010

  139. rama

    Again, just going by Berri.

    FELTON

    2008
    WP48 .048 Wins 3
    2009
    WP48 .095 Wins 6
    2010
    WP48 .172 Wins 9

    Looks like steady improvement to me. And again, he is a complementary talent – because he isn’t generally a good shooter, but can penetrate (no one we have can penetrate), and he’s good defensively.

    I didn’t say he was ideal. Chris Paul, you know, he just may be a little better. He also isn’t really available. Kyle Lowry and Steve Blake are, but they are not as good. So it would depend on price. Felton at 8m makes sense to me. I’d rather that then Lowry or Blake at 6m.

    I want none of them at 10m. But…maybe I’d compromise on Felton at that, because he fills a need we aren’t able to get filled any other way soon.

  140. ess-dog

    I would rather see what TD’s got than pay Felton 10 mil. Felton’s PER is only a point or two higher and they’re both strong on D and 3pt%. Can Douglas efficiently distribute the ball? That’s to be determined. We know he doesn’t turn the ball over at least.
    And while we’re at it, is Childress really worth $8-10 mil instead of a Chandler for another year on the cheap? They are pretty similar players although Childress is more efficient. JJ would’ve at least given you a ballhandler if Douglas wasn’t up to the task.
    Frankly, just re-signing Lee and signing Barron and saving the rest of the cap space might be the best thing we could do.
    I would also look into the ‘bargain’ players later in FA like Mahinmi…

  141. rama

    Ess-dog –

    You might be right. It’s just too depressing to comtemplate the same team next year. Which is what resigning Lee would give us. I don’t know that TD can learn to distribute. If he can, fantastic. If he can’t, I don’t know I can take another year of this. It’s so bad I’m making a case for Raymond Felton, for Chrissake.

  142. Ted Nelson

    rama,

    I would be for building a defensive minded team. I preferred hiring Skiles or Avery Johnson to hiring D’Antoni. I just don’t see Walsh suddenly reversing course and cutting out D’Antoni. If it’s the best move I hope he does, but I doubt he will. I just don’t know that giving 5 year 10 mill contracts to Haywood and Felton is the best move.

    I think it is a team he’d hate. He’s going to regret it should they bring in Felton. That’s a huge mistake is the rumors are true. He was also psyched about Duhon, which is why I constantly suggest that the guy is not the genius people make him out to be.
    He will hate playing 2 bigmen together. He hated it in Phoenix. He wouldn’t do it the last two seasons. I doubt he signs off on a guy like Haywood who is lumbering and can’t shoot. Maybe he has no choice, but I think he’s gone by the end of the season if the Knicks bring in Haywood and Lee.

    Please, please, please show me any trend over the last three seasons that suggests Felton has improved consistently. Two and three years ago he was the same player. The same player he was his first 4 seasons.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/f/feltora01.html
    There are the numbers. They’re not hidden info, it’s right there. What category got better from 07-08 and then got better again from 08-09 to 09-10?????? That’s what an improvement would entail. He got better from 08-09 to 09-10… there’s no denying that. What makes you think that was a sustainable improvement and not a fluke?

    Berri’s stats are interesting, but do you realize how many wins 55 is? Do you realize how controversial/unpopular Berri’s metrics are even within the statistical community?

    Basically, I disagree that team would win 55 games. Period. Especially playing for Mike D’Antoni. For Larry Brown or JVG that’s probably a playoff team, but not a 55 win serious title contender.

  143. Ben R

    We all hated Duhon last year, for good reason, but even last year he had a higher TS% than Felton on any of his first four years. Last year Felton’s “breakout year” still had him with a TS% lower than three of Duhon’s six seasons in the NBA.

    Felton is a bad offensive player why is actually not great finishing around the rim and only saw his TS% rise this year because he actually made some three pointers, but as Ted said, his three point shooting improvement could be a fluke and I really don’t want to bet 8-10 mil per for 5 seasons that it was real.

    I would rather roll the dice on Douglas than go all in with a player like Felton. If we are desperate for a point guard I bet we can use our cap space and pry Collison from New Orleans. Say a conditional second rounder and cash for Posey and Collison, or Curry and Chandler for Collison and Okafor. I don’t know, I just know I don’t want to pay big money for average players.

    We need to be smart and even though moving forward with the same team as last year would be frustrating it would be much wiser than handing out bad contracts just so we can say we did something, I mean how well did that work out for Detroit last year.

  144. Z

    “Felton is a bad offensive player why is actually not great finishing around the rim”

    Too bad Felton didn’t know that when he drove the lane and hit the game winner against the Knicks this season…

  145. Brian Cronin

    Too bad Felton didn’t know that when he drove the lane and hit the game winner against the Knicks this season…

    The key part of that sentence was “against the Knicks.”

    Chris Duhon can drive to the basket against the Knicks.

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