Knicks Morning News (Tuesday, Jul 31 2012)

  • [New York Times] Women’s Basketball | Preliminary Round: U.S. Women’s Basketball Star Is Mindful of Past and Present (Tue, 31 Jul 2012 05:58:46 GMT)

    Things are looking up for Seimone Augustus, who well remembers the dark moments brought on by the career-threatening tumors found in her abdomen.

  • [New York Times] Sweet Dreams 20-Years Later as U.S. Rolls (Tue, 31 Jul 2012 00:46:40 GMT)

    It was 20-years ago that the original Dream Team was introduced to the world with the 116-48 destruction of Angola. The United States women’s basketball team got their shot at the African nation at the London Olympics on Monday, and were no less charitable.

  • [New York Times] U.S. Women Outclass Angola (Tue, 31 Jul 2012 00:25:40 GMT)

    The U.S. women’s basketball team, evoking memories of the men’s Dream Team of 1992, put on a hoops masterclass in routing African champions Angola 90-38 at the Olympics on Monday.

  • [New York Post] 1st Lady â??a Melo fan’ (Tue, 31 Jul 2012 01:47:31 -0500)

    LONDON â?? Carmelo Anthony doesn’t think Michelle Obama is a Knicks fan, but the First Lady apparently likes Melo’s style.
    After a photo of the pair hugging appeared on the front page of yesterday’s Post, Anthony revealed Michelle Obama whispered nice words of encouragement to him in the…

  • [New York Daily News] Kobe puts Christmas wrap on Knicks (Tue, 31 Jul 2012 07:42:40 GMT)

    Kobe Bryant can’t think of a better way to enjoy Christmas than to be spending it with Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. “We actually might win on Christmas Day for the first time ever,â? Bryant says.

  • Knicks Morning News (Monday, Jul 30 2012)

  • [New York Times] Basketball | Men’s Group A: U.S. 98, France 71: In First Olympic Test, U.S. Men’s Team Makes Winning Look Easy (Mon, 30 Jul 2012 09:42:24 GMT)

    After a slow start, LeBron James and Team USA trampled France in their first game at the London Games.

  • [New York Times] Photo Sharing Shows All Sides of USA Basketball (Mon, 30 Jul 2012 05:50:05 GMT)

    Members of the United States men’s basketball team have taken to the photo-sharing service Instagram in a big, not always flattering, way.

  • Knicks Morning News (Sunday, Jul 29 2012)

  • [New York Daily News] Pablo brings own sanity to PG spot (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 05:59:44 GMT)

    Pablo Prigioni is not aware of the uproar Jeremy Lin’s stunning departure created in New York, but James Dolan’s newest point guard did try to lend a sane voice to Linsanity by assuring Knicks fans that they are in good hands.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Bad by Design, Rockets Gamble on Long-Term Payoff (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 05:24:04 GMT)

    The Houston Rockets look to be among the worst teams in the N.B.A. this season. They are angling to acquire Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard down the road.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Vaughn Will Coach Orlando Magic (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 05:30:07 GMT)

    Jacque Vaughn was hired as the Orlando Magic’s coach, the team announced. He will be introduced at a news conference Monday afternoon.

  • [New York Times] Essay: The 3 Seconds of the Munich Olympics That Never Seem to Run Out (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 05:47:02 GMT)

    The United States’ disputed loss to the Soviet Union in the men’s basketball final at the 1972 Summer Games is generally regarded as the game that changed the face of the sport.

  • [New York Times] Men’s Basketball Group A Result (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 10:19:34 GMT)

    Nigeria beat Tunisia 60-56 in their Olympic men’s basketball Group A match at the 2012 London Games on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] U.S. Women’s Basketball Team Beats Croatia in Olympics (Sun, 29 Jul 2012 04:05:01 GMT)

    Tina Charles scored 14 points and Angel McCoughtry added 13 to lead the United States women’s basketball team to a rough 81-56 victory over Croatia on Saturday in their Olympic opener.

  • Knicks Morning News (Saturday, Jul 28 2012)

  • [New York Post] Deron: Nets fans will show (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 03:42:01 -0500)

    LONDON â?? Deron Williams delivered a prediction yesterday from the Olympic Games â?? count on more Nets fans than Knicks fans being at Barclays Center for the team’s first home game in Brooklyn on Nov. 1.
    The Nets superstar point guard despised playing in Newark, where Knicks and Heat fans invaded…

  • [New York Post] Melo a ‘supporter’ of Lin, but says Knicks made right offseason moves (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 03:04:26 -0500)

    LONDON â?? Carmelo Anthony says he can juggle both sentiments, feeling great about the Knicks’ offseason while also being a “true supporter” of banished point guard Jeremy Lin.
    Before Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies, Anthony was in true Olympian form, leaping past the notion he was instrumental in the Knicks not…

  • [New York Times] Basketball Preview: LeBron James and Krzyzewski Grow Closer Through Olympics (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 06:47:02 GMT)

    As the United States basketball team climbed from bronze medal disappointment in 2004 to heavy favorite at these Olympics, LeBron James and Mike Krzyzewski went from relative strangers to trusted confidants.

  • [New York Times] Robin Lopez Traded to Hornets (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 03:20:13 GMT)

    The Hornets, Suns and Timberwolves have completed a three-team deal that will send 7-foot center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, while moving forward Wes Johnson and a future first-round draft pick from Minnesota to the Suns.

  • [New York Times] China Beat Czech Republic in Women’s Basketball Group A (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 10:19:34 GMT)

    China beat Czech Republic 66-57 at the Basketball Arena in London in the Olympic women’s basketball Group A at the 2012 London Games on Saturday.

  • [New York Daily News] ‘Melo denies helping run Lin out of Big Apple (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 04:07:54 GMT)

    Carmelo Anthony dismissed the notion that he helped to run Jeremy Lin out of New York, saying “believe it or not I’ve been one of the true supporters of Jeremy Lin.”

  • [New York Daily News] Brooklyn will Net fans in opener, Williams says (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 03:19:54 GMT)

    Deron Williams is okay if Knicks fans invade Brooklyn for the season opener for both teams on Nov. 1 for one simple reason.

  • [New York Daily News] Robinson stays mum on Rucker Park shooting (Sat, 28 Jul 2012 00:23:04 GMT)

    Nate Robinson refused to go into any details about what he witnessed late Wednesday night when he was caught in gunfire at Rucker Park and escaped without being shot.

  • Superstar Power Play

    I have written before about how the NBA holds an unfair amount of power in comparison to the Players’ Association. Strict tampering rules, the collective bargaining agreement, and the NBA’s monopoly as the premiere professional basketball league give the NBA a technical advantage, and the brevity of the average players’ career along with many players’ immaturity in handling their finances gives the league a financial one.

    However, there is one person, with the help of perhaps the most powerful agency in the NBA, who appears to be fighting back, at least for a handful of the league’s superstars. Henry Abbott, founder of TrueHoop, has written extensively about William Wesley, AKA Worldwide Wes. According to power agent David Falk, Wesley is “one of the two or three most powerful people in the sport.” That comes from an article written five years ago, back before in-depth reports (i.e. reports that had teeth) about Wesley mysteriously petered out. One can only assume that he has risen in the ranks since drawing players such as Carmelo Anthony (and La La Vasquez), Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Chris Paul to his friends at Creative Artists Agency.

    Some view Wesley as an underhanded negotiator, a guy who for years had no official relationship with players, agents or teams, allowing him to escape NCAA and NBA tampering restrictions and do “favors” for NCAA programs, teams, and agents by developing private “friendships” with burgeoning stars and guiding them to his cohorts. Others, such as Henry Abbott, the one journalist who has actually had an on the record interview with Wesley, believe him to be pure in intention. According to Abbott, Wesley knows that one of the players’ big shortfalls in terms of their earnings is their youth and immaturity, and so Wesley treats them like family, helping them accept the challenge of developing their potential while using his connections to build a team around them that can help them succeed both on and off the court. Family, though, has certain darker connotations. The Tattaglia family, for example.

    The Miami Heat, a team with six players represented by CAA, seems to confirm both of these angles. On the one hand, the 2012 playoffs featured a Lebron James who for the first time seemed to escape the self-consciousness and egotism that plagued his early career and play to his maximum potential. Perhaps James has Wesley and the team Wes put around James to thank for this newfound mentality.

    Likewise, one could point towards the shady way the team was assembled, with James, Wade and Bosh flirting with other teams for months leading up to and into the free agency period of 2010. Some might call their debutante-esque behavior part of CAA’s power play. The Bulls, Clippers, Heat, Wolves, Nets, Knicks, Thunder, Kings and Wizards all, either by coincidence or through years of planning, arranged to all be at least within arm’s length of the cap space necessary to offer a maximum contract. Rather than harmless flirtation, some might describe Bosh, Wade and James’ dalliances instead as a hostage situation with CAA holding the gun. What wouldn’t a team do for Lebron James? And with rumors swirling that two or three of CAA’s free agent-to-be stars hoped to join up, the temptation had to be huge for teams to coddle CAA in any way they could.

    Now that we’ve all lived through “The Decision” and its aftermath, Melodrama, and whatever puns you want to make about Chris Paul’s trade/free agency sagas, what is important to know about CAA and its influence on the League?

    1) Four of their five top-paid clients have been traded in the last three years. The only un-traded player is Dwyane Wade, and we all know why he didn’t go anywhere.

    2) They have only been involved in representing athletes for six years, making the fact that they are the fourth largest representer of NBA players rather remarkable.

    3) They started out as and remain primarily in the business of representing entertainers. These entertainers include people like Drew Barrymore and Robert Downey Jr. along with many ESPN personalities such as Chris Broussard, Michael Wilbon and Jim Rome. They also represent Madison Square Garden.  While other agencies represent media figures in addition to athletes, none come close to CAA in their specific concentration of on and off court power players in the NBA.

    These are the details that arouse conspiracy theorists.

    But in the end this all may not be worth calling a conspiracy. Reality might be the better term as CAA doesn’t need to make demands of the press in order to encourage the kind of stories they desire. The real transactions in sports are built around access. Imagine how much more traffic KnickerBlogger would get if we KnickerBloggers had Carmelo Anthony’s private cell number, or were connected with Amar’e Stoudemire on Skype. Access = information = traffic = money. Ever wonder why Stephen A. Smith, whose career was on the downswing, knew about Lebron, Bosh and Wade’s plans more than a week before any other journalist? Perhaps it’s because he’s made nice with CAA. And he has reaped the benefits with exclusive interviews with the biggest NBA stars. Such a formula, again, is not groundbreaking, but CAA wields more chips than we’ve seen anyone else hold in the NBA and so, as with any corporate interactions, they hold more influence.

    Likewise, if you accept the reality that agencies are going to influence the league in a way proportionate to their power, and you know that according to the New York Post, less than one month ago, Jeremy Lin refused to sign with CAA, you start to understand why journalists would look for ways to trash Lin (playing into CAA’s desires, looking to earn more access), and why word might somehow sneak into Dolan’s office that CAA preferred to see Lin go.

    There is no hard evidence, but a few things make the Knicks’ behavior in free agency appear shady. The first is their refusal to tender anything more than Lin’s $1.24 million qualifying offer, excusing such a choice with a (reasonable at the time) claim that they would match any offer. The second is their seemingly immediate decision to pursue other guards. Felton seemed confident he was joining New York as early as July 4th and Kidd officially signed one day later. Why pay two point guards $20 million when you’re “sure” you’ll sign a third for $25 million?

    The answer seems to be that the Knicks never intended to sign Lin, choosing instead to play to the interests of Creative Artists Agency.

    Now comes the part where your interests will decide where you stand. CAA has a brief but impressive track record of aiding in the assembly of championship level teams for their superstars. The reason why doesn’t even have to be selfless. Their goal is to build an international brand for their players, the type of recognition-level that will leave those stars with sponsorship income like Jordan, whose name still sells $200 sneakers nine years after he retired and fourteen after his last championship. On the one hand, this seems like a “most people win” situation. The fans get to watch juggernaut teams battle for titles, and the players and league both benefit from the increased coverage of the league. Lastly, with the guidance of Wesley, the players get guidance without an agenda, which might help them grow into mature adults (instead of narcissists like Dwight Howard).

    In the big picture, that seems like a fair deal, but then there’s the smaller picture: the game itself. What is it about games that makes us hold them so close to us, to scream at televisions, to write 2,000 word articles? My feeling has always been that it’s about the rules. There is the cliché, “It’s complicated.” That “it”? It stands for life. Life is rife with complicated decisions, choices whose implications are a mystery to us when we make them and often remain so long afterwards. A game, however, is simple. Your goal is to use the rules as a guide to win. In basketball, that means scoring more points, and scoring more points is always good. That fact that rules simplify the difference good and bad, in my opinion, is a critical piece of what makes people hold games so close to themselves.

    The problem is, CAA isn’t playing by the rules. It’s making things complicated. Now, you may be thinking “but free agency is different from the game.” Well, for many fans, such as myself and the millions of fantasy sport players out there, and the millions of fans who plug trades into ESPN’s trade machine when they are feeling hopeless about their team, the process of building a team is as much a game as the game itself. It’s a huge part of the thrill, the thing that keeps fans’ chins up when they are stuck rooting for teams like last year’s Bobcats… or the Knicks from 2002-2010.

    What happens if CAA continues to grow more powerful – and likely will as the more they earn for their players, the more players will be drawn to them – is that player movement becomes a sham. The entire process of building a team gets moved from a matter of working the cap and drafting wisely – playing by the rules – to a series of underhanded deals that only a tiny handful of people are privy to.

    This all leaves me feeling very conflicted. On the one hand, it feels right for an organization with real muscle to be working on behalf of the players, but on the other, I feel disenchanted. I wish that this power struggle could have been resolved at the negotiating table, that the team-building element of the game is something more than a fantasy.

    What leaves me most conflicted, however, is the thought that CAA and Wesley have played the Knicks. After all, every time someone succeeds in making a power play, someone else gets played. Yes, the Cavs and Raptors were the obvious losers in 2010, but what rewards, exactly, have the Knicks reaped by acquiring Anthony, playing nice with Eddy Curry and keeping ties with Isiah Thomas (whose major draft flub was selecting Balkman and Collins, both CAA clients)? With the team Walsh constructed, we were headed for a first round exit, and these last two years have looked the same. Perhaps this year will be better, but will it be thanks to CAA? The only deal I can think of that could be considered a clear winner is J.R. Smith’s frugal contract – not exactly a mind boggling benefit considering the sacrifices.

    No, in my opinion, the jig should have been up for CAA and its relationship with New York as soon as Lebron James and company went to Miami. CAA played its biggest chips right there, and as soon as that happened, the Knicks should have given up on the CAA dream. Walsh, in fact, seemed intent on doing this, signing Stoudemire (not a CAA client), waiving Curry, and playing hardball in negotiations for Carmelo Anthony. If CAA’s desires for Anthony (or, indeed, Anthony’s own desires) was to be on a contender, why wouldn’t he join the Knicks as a free agent, just as the Heat’s stars did? James and Bosh’s coyness about their future seemed tailored to keep their teams from trading them, allowing them to jump to Miami without bankrupting them of assets. Why wouldn’t Anthony play things the same way?

    I certainly can’t answer these questions, but they cast doubt on Abbott’s lovey-dovey storyline. Maybe we’ve learned a little something though: that it’s conceivable that Dolan really did do all this for money, that those sponsorship deals CAA negotiates for him are worth more to MSG than Lin. Then again, perhaps we’ve come full circle and all this hullabaloo is really just a result of a stupid and arrogant owner who cannot conceive of the fact that anyone would dare take advantage of him.

    Without access, however, none of us will ever know for sure.

    Knicks Morning News (Thursday, Jul 26 2012)

  • [New York Daily News] Battle for New York: Nets host Knicks in opener (Thu, 26 Jul 2012 05:53:21 GMT)

    If the Nets truly found a home in Brooklyn â?? and not just an extension of Madison Square Garden â?? they’ll find out on the first day of the season.

  • [New York Post] Nets will open Barclays Center vs. Knicks (Thu, 26 Jul 2012 05:23:51 -0500)

    The NBA didn’t waste any time in getting its newest version of a Subway Series rivalry off the ground.
    The Brooklyn Nets will play their first regular-season game at home in the Barclays Center against their in-city rival Knicks on Thursday, Nov. 1, league sources confirmed. The game will…

  • Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Jul 25 2012)

  • [New York Post] Lin says he didn’t ask for more $ (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 02:11:26 -0500)

    Jeremy Lin says not to blame him for the surprisingly quick end to his Knicks career.
    In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Lin said he had nothing to do with the Rockets’ decision to restructure their offer sheet with Lin, which raised the value of the contract…

  • [New York Post] Knicks sign shooting guard (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 02:11:26 -0500)

    The Knicks addressed one of their biggest remaining needs yesterday when they agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent shooting guard Ronnie Brewer.
    “New York Knicks lets get it!!!â? Brewer tweeted yesterday afternoon.
    Brewer’s agent, Henry Thomas, confirmed the move, which gives the Knicks a second veteran at the…

  • [New York Times] U.S. 100, Spain 78: 2012 London Games — U.S. Men’s Basketball Team Waiting for the Real Games to Begin (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 05:20:05 GMT)

    The U.S. men’s basketball team easily beat Spain in a warm-up game on Tuesday ahead of its Olympics opener on Saturday against France.

  • [New York Times] Lin Follows Yao in More Ways Than One (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 05:24:05 GMT)

    Jeremy Lin considers the retired N.B.A. star Yao Ming a mentor, and having joined Yao’s former team, Lin can help the Houston Rockets continue their popularity in China.

  • [New York Times] American Strength Begins in Defense: Paul (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 02:37:33 GMT)

    Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James can all rack up the points, but the ability to stop opponents scoring is what separates the U.S. Olympic team from the rest, according to point guard Chris Paul.

  • [New York Times] Spain Coach Sees Positives in Defeat to U.S. (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 01:37:32 GMT)

    Spain gained some useful pointers as to how they might overcome the United States if they meet at the London Olympics despite Tuesday’s drubbing at the hands of the 2008 gold medalists, coach Sergio Scariolo said.

  • [New York Times] U.S. Rally to Rout Spain in Warm-Up (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 01:40:32 GMT)

    Spain stood tall early but sharp-shooting Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James helped the U.S. team overcome a shaky start for a 100-78 win Tuesday in a potential preview of the gold-medal game at the London Olympics.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Knicks Add Another Point Guard (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 01:07:59 GMT)

    The Argentine point guard Pablo Prigion is known for his passing and his ability to run pick-and-roll plays. He is expected to help the Knicks off the bench.

  • [New York Daily News] Jeremy allowed Linsanity craze to get to his head (Wed, 25 Jul 2012 01:12:21 GMT)

    Former Knick Jeremy Lin went from a no-name couch-surfer to an international superstar overnight. So it’s only natural that the phenomenon that became known as Linsanity got to his head.