Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, September 22, 2014

6-on-5 Roundtable: Melo and Beyond

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Knicks and Carmelo Anthony agreed to a contract this weekend, a 5-year deal for $124 million, a player option on the final year and a no-trade clause.. The deal–which will color every move the organization and new president Phil Jackson make over the next half-decade–was such big news that we had to break out the roundtable; an illegal roundtable in basketball terms, in fact. We’re going 6-on-5 to discuss whether the Knicks overpaid, what the move says about Jackson’s reign, and what to expect from the team this year and beyond.

1. Is 5 years, $122.5 million (or so) an overpay for Carmelo Anthony? If so, was it worth it to sign him anyway?

Dan Litvin: Objectively, I don’t think it was an overpay, because salaries for the best players are artificially capped. In the context of the CBA however, his contract does create challenges. It’s going to escalate in cost at the same time he’s likely to be declining in skill, and that inflation will limit the team’s ability to add pieces around him. On the other hand, I think fans should be pleased (if initial reports are correct) that he decided to take less to help management facilitate additional moves, particularly next summer. He didn’t have to do that but he clearly understands some of the burdens the CBA (unfairly) places on the league’s best players.

Jonathan Topaz: In a vacuum, this will likely prove to be an overpay. An average annual salary of more than $24 million a year is a lot for a one-way player on the wrong side of 30, regardless of his brilliance on offense. Melo is somewhere between a top-10 and top-15 player in the NBA — if you like PER, he’s more a top-7 player; if you prefer win shares, he’s more like a top-15 guy. He’s a great and flawed player, a perennial All-Star but not a once-in-a-generation talent, a player you hate to give up but whose contract is bound to get ugly when he is a 34-year-old making $27 million a year. The last two years of this deal will almost certainly be painful. And Melo isn’t quite special enough to make up for it value-wise in the first three. I still think it’s worth it (more on that in a bit).

David Vertsberger: Perhaps, but it was worth it. The Knicks aren’t in a dead-in-the-water position, they have a first round pick this year and a handful of young pieces with upside. Their books are almost completely wiped clean next summer, and Anthony’s still got at least two to four years left in his prime. There’s no reason to begin a complete rebuild when one of the league’s elite is at your doorstep ready to sign.

Robert Silverman: Since the Lakers did have an offer for 4 years/97 million, I have to say no. Of course, I wish he would’ve re-upped for something in the neighborhood of 5/100–that’s still a Gramercy Park duplex-level neighborhood–but the market determined what Melo’s value is/was, and in the end, I’m glad that he’s back. If you’d like to read more as to why I’m so tickled, I wrote a bunch of words over at VICE Sports.

Gus Crawford: Overpay? Yes. Worth it? Compared to the alternatives, it looks like it was the right path to take. Melo’s options narrowed down to Chicago and New York, and with the Bulls toeing a fine financial line and unlikely to fork out any assets of significance in a sign-and-trade scenario, retaining him for that price steadies the Knicks’ position ahead of the 2015 free agency window.

Kevin McElroy: Prices are market-determined and there were multiple teams in this market prepared to max Melo out.  I don’t believe that the Knicks paid much/any more than they had to pay to keep him.  

2. Let’s say you were the Knicks GM, and you couldn’t get a sign-and-trade deal worked out or convince Melo to sign for less than this contract. Would you have signed him for the (almost) max or let him walk for nothing?

Litvin: I vacillated greatly on this subject over the last several months. Coming off a dreadful 37-win campaign, I thought the Knicks could be terrible without Melo, and the best course may have been to bottom out rather than tread water. I stuck with that view into free agency but with every day that passed I felt more uncertain. Every time I read that Melo was giving serious consideration to another team a sense of dread enveloped me. I don’t know if that is because being spurned by a superstar who couldn’t handle incompetent management would have been embarrassing and quintessentially Knicksian, or because I genuinely wanted him to stay. But I think if push came to shove I would have given him every cent. Whatever the reason, I’m glad he’s still here.

Topaz: I would have signed him, but it’s complicated. A very tricky part of this deal is Melo’s depreciating value. He is a 30-year-old entering into his 12th NBA season who led the league in minutes per game last year (the rest of top 5 were all players 25 or under — thanks, Coach Woodson!) In other words, the Knicks have to get better fast to maximize their chances before Anthony’s performance declines. It’s a tall order, but the Knicks will have cap room next summer and a more thoughtful front office running the show. This contract isn’t an ideal situation, and ownership likely missed a major opportunity to trade Anthony during last year’s comedy of errors of a season. But letting an elite player walk for free — particularly when the market this summer indicated the team will likely be able to trade him at some point if they so choose— would have been unnecessary.

Vertsberger: I’d sign him. Again, I like the position the Knicks are in. It’s one primed to have at the very least a Playoffs team in 2015-16, maybe something better. While teams continue to struggle putting together a package suitable for Minnesota to give up Kevin Love and lose out on this summer’s top free agents, the Knicks have their guy, one whose talent is very difficult to replace.

Silverman: I don’t think letting him walk and getting zip back would’ve been good, so no.

Crawford: Key word there is “almost.” It sounds as if Melo has agreed to a slightly below max-level deal — which is nice — but the most important detail will be his salary for 2015-16. If the Knicks were able to convince him to stagnate or slightly reduce his Year 2 figure, then re-upping him was the right maneuver. Slapping a five-year, $129M full-max albatross atop an already messy cap sheet is a whole other matter, though.

McElroy: I would have signed him.  As I wrote over at The Cauldron, Melo’s skill set makes him a better fit for the primary perimeter role in the triangle offense than anyone else the Knicks would have been likely to sign with the cap space they would’ve saved over the next five years by letting Melo walk.  More than that, the value that the rest of the market seemed to place on Melo bodes well for what he represents as a trade commodity if the Knicks decide they want out of the deal at any point.  If, 2 years from now, the Knicks are still mired in mediocrity, you’ve gotta think the Knicks and Melo would both be amenable to a trade and you would hope that they’d be able to get at least a couple of minor assets for him.

3. With all due respect to Derek Fisher, how to deal with Melo was far and away Phil Jackson’s biggest decision in his first summer in charge. How’d he do? And does his handling of this shed any light on what type of executive the Zen Master might be?

Litvin: I can only speculate, but it seems Phil played the game shrewdly. Melo opened the door to taking less, and Phil jammed his foot into it by pressuring Melo to actually follow through. He also seemed to have taken leverage away from both Melo and Chicago by making it known that he would not engage in sign-and-trade discussions should Melo have chosen the Bulls. I think Phil has done a good job as President and his handling of the Melo negotiations bodes well for the future.

Topaz: It was an odd scene last week: Phil Jackson — winner of 11 NBA championships, master of Zen, tamer of nature, wearer of backpacks — telling reporters Melo hadn’t returned any of his recent text messages. It was a reminder that in today’s NBA, even the most royal of senior citizens takes a backseat to the league’s superstars, who wield an almost unprecedented amount of leverage. We’ll see how much money Melo ends up leaving on the table, but given his many attractive suitors and seemingly predetermined decision to opt out, I’m not sure if this ordeal tells us much about Jackson. If anything, it tells us a bit more about Anthony — namely that Jackson, who has coached wing players named Jordan and Bryant to multiple NBA titles, thinks Melo is worthy of the max.

Vertsberger: We obviously don’t know in the inner workings of Phil Jackson’s negotiations with Anthony, but I like how he handled the situation with the public. Confident, assuring, not afraid to say “if we lose him, we lose him.” It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t get Anthony to take a smaller deal, but I’m not so sure any GM could. Some may have not even been able to re-sign Anthony. If this tells us anything about Jackson though, is that he must either think highly of Melo as a star, or wants to avoid a total overhaul at all costs.

Silverman: I think the Chandler-Calderon trade actually says a lot more about his GM’ing skillz. He got good value for a player that I kind of think is about to enter a serious decline; considering how much of Tyson’s game is built on speed and athleticism, he could drop off pretty quickly. We already saw what happened when he was a half step slow this season, and he’s never going to be the DPOY that prowled the lane like a wild-eyed, ravenous tiger shark again. Considering his injury history, I think dumping him now was absolutely the right thing to do. Netting two picks in a loaded draft, a nifty prospect in Larkin and dumping Felton? That’s a pretty darn good first step.

And then he brought back Aldrich. No one’s talking about that (understandable, given the hurly-burly of the last 48 hours) but I think he’s going to be really valuable this year. I loved watching him operate in the Triangle in the first SL tilt, and it’s always worth it to roll the dice on a lottery pick “bust.”

But to the question at hand. It wasn’t an ideal situation. If he really tried to squeeze Melo to take a serious cut, I think he would’ve walked—taken his talents all the way to Sunset Boulevard, if you will. He got him to take less and while that’s not the absolute idea result, in this instance, I think perfection is the enemy of progress.

Crawford: Jackson has always made the public forum his domain, peppering the press corps with salty one-liners and teetering between backhanded compliments and his trademark Zen wisdom. From Day 1, his candor on the media front has instilled an authoritative presence for the organization, and signalled a shift away from the days of the Knicks grovelling at the feet of agents across the league. Sure, his private stance may have (and likely did) differ, but I couldn’t find much fault in the first flirtations in the Melo-Phil romance. If that’s any indicator of his executorial MO, sign me up.

McElroy: Jackson did his job here but I don’t think it was a particularly difficult decision.  Clearly, his sales pitch was good enough but that’s not the toughest thing to do when you can outbid the competition by a couple dozen million dollars.  Once Melo was willing to come back, his retention was a formality; I doubt any other current NBA GM would have behaved differently.  In my opinion, the Chandler trade was far more illuminating of Jackon’s creativity and team-building philosophy.

4. With this signing and the Tyson Chandler deal, next year’s roster is basically set, though the Knicks still have a mini-MLE available. It’s obviously very early, but how does next year’s team look?

Litvin: Very Melo-centric. He still needs help. Phil’s best triangle teams always had a top-notch second fiddle. Who is the Knicks’ second best player? Try not to think too hard about that because the answer may scare you. That said, I still think the Knicks can field an efficient offense. Their defense will be a serious concern though. There is going to be a heavy toll on Iman Shumpert, Dalembert will have to limit his tendency to gamble for blocks and Cole Aldrich is going to have to be physical. Most importantly, Melo is going to have to set an example.

Topaz: Not great, but it could be fun. There will certainly be some ugly moments — young rotation players, a potentially rocky adjustment to the Triangle, and a first-year head coach. This team will really struggle on defense without Chandler (and with an injury-prone Samuel Dalembert taking his place). But they could surprise people on offense. Calderon is a high-efficiency, low-turnover point guard and a wonderful shooter, and the smaller team and lack of frontcourt depth will likely push Melo back to everyone’s favorite spot for him at the power forward position. Those changes alone, plus a coaching change that might mean fewer minutes for Andrea Bargnani and better lineups in general, will likely bump this team up from last season. They seem like an on-the-bubble playoff contender in the East.

Vertsberger: Terrible, but at least it’ll be fun terrible unlike last year’s “I want to put something sharp in my eye” terrible. We’ll get to see Carmelo in an actual NBA offense, with Calderon – an actual NBA point guard – commanding the floor and bombing home threes. I imagine the young guys will get loads of playing time, if only to become more intriguing trade assets. That’s going to be fun to watch too. Now I just have to pray that Andrea Bargnani doesn’t play, unless he’s in to get in Kevin Garnett’s grill.

Silverman: It’s interesting. I’ve been chatting with some fine hoops minds on the Twitter about whether or not this is a playoff team as presently constructed. Right now, I’m going to say no. The East has gotten kind of deep all of a sudden. Indiana (assuming Stephenson returns), Cleveland, and Chicago are all pretty evenly matched at the top. And then there’s the somewhat equally ranked Toronto-Washington-Atlanta-Charlotte-Miami quintet. The Knicks certainly could bust into that grouping, but right now, this looks like a lottery team, even if they’ll be improved over last season, while winning about the same number of games.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Getting a stab at a top-3 draft choice, working to learn Fish’s system and seeing which players on the roster actually do make sense together is hardly a wasted year.

Crawford: It’s an improvement on the inferno of this past season, but there are still gaping holes. The roster is scarily thin up front, and not much has taken place to shore up the defensive side of the ball. I don’t think 2014-15 is going to mean much, in context. One positive of the makeover is the role of José Calderón, which I covered here.

McElroy: If they don’t sign anyone for the Mini-MLE, I think they’ll be 5 or 6 wins better than they were last year. I’m building in a likely coaching upgrade (although that’s entirely based on Woodson’s incompetence; Fisher remains an unknown quantity) and a much better fit of personnel to system.  I’m offsetting those improvements with the downgrade from Chandler to the center-by-committee that they have in place right now as well as the potential for worse injury luck than they had last year (or, frankly, BETTER luck with Bargs’ health; the fewer games he plays, the better).  Put me down for 42 wins, although there’s certainly some upside there.

5. The front office and coaching staff has gone through a major, major change this summer. What do you think their long-term plan is beyond this year? How will (or should) the organization approach the next several years?

Litvin: This time next year is obviously a fulcrum in Phil’s plan. The Knicks will likely have maximum salary cap space to get Melo some help. Marc Gasol is obviously everyone’s main target, but I’m worried the well may dry up before the summer comes around. That said, you can do more with cap space than just spending it on free agents. For example the Lakers just landed an expiring contract in Jeremy Lin and a first round pick because they were able to help the Rockets clear room. Another event that shouldn’t be overlooked is the expected jump in the salary cap associated with the NBA’s new forthcoming TV deal. If the cap jumps because of a rich new broadcast deal, look for the Knicks to have additional cap space beyond just 2015.

Topaz: As I said above, Melo is only getting older. In this five-year window, the team’s best shot might be in 2015, when Anthony will just be a year older and the Knicks will have maximum-level cap space (and perhaps a lottery pick from 2015.) Melo’s declining age is the real downside of this deal. The Knicks have an excellent star; some fun young pieces in Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early, and Iman Shumpert; impending cap space; and a young, new coach. But Anthony’s contract could be a real liability at age 33, and as fun as it is to have some young talent and lowered expectations in 2014, this team needs to start winning and winning quickly in 2015. Things might not look so chipper in 2017 or 2018. As this five-year journey begins with Melo and Fisher, it is Jackson’s tall order to build a roster that miximizes his star’s years on the back end of his prime before things turn sour.

Vertsberger: From what I can tell, the plan is to score Carmelo Anthony some surrounding pieces in 2015 free agency to create a contender. Apart from this, I’m not so sure. I assume the plan B is trading Melo if the Knicks swing and miss that summer, and it may not even be Jackson’s choice. Carmelo has his max contract, now it’s just about getting his championship. If he thinks the Knicks can’t get it done, he may look for an out. At which point it’ll probably be time for the Knicks to go through a true rebuild from the ground up. Whatever the case, I’m pretty darn excited.

Silverman: Build a winning culture. Yes, it’s such a hoary sports cliche it practically is analog, but the thing about cliches is, if you stare at them long and hard enough, you’ll realize that there’s some seriously sharp teeth of truth. You can miss it, what with those canines being hidden behind a yellow smiley face button of a saying, but a winning culture is a real thing–getting a disparate group of individuals to work and sacrifice towards a common goal, often at the expense of the component parts’ individual happiness takes time.

The Spurs have it. The Heat have it. The Pacers had it before it all came tumbling apart in a venomous see of finger pointing and possible girlfriend bedding.

So yep. That’s the plan. Should be fun to watch.

Crawford: TRIANGLE. Uh, sorry. It’s encouraging to see some degree of harmony between the front office and those on the sidelines, at very least. Even if you’re skeptical as to whether Phil can ride out the entirety of his five-year deal, you’ve got to be optimistic about the foundations that he is laying. Aside from personnel changes, the introduction of a single affiliation D-League team is the priority. The Westchester Knicks can evolve into the fertilizing system not just for future Knicks players, but for the style of play that the franchise wishes to adopt long-term. 

McElroy:: I would expect that if the Knicks’ plan was to try to improve this year’s team at the expense of the future, their notoriously leaky front office would have let some rumors slip by now surrounding the the divesting of Bargs’ and STAT’s contracts. My expectation, and hope, is that they will allow those contracts to expire after this season, make a push for Kevin Love or Marc Gasol next summer (if either is a realistic option; if not, getting a quality big will remain priority #1) and try to acquire and develop a young point guard, likely through the draft.

217 comments on “6-on-5 Roundtable: Melo and Beyond

  1. DRed

    The market doesn’t determine Melo’s value. The market sets his price. What Melo does on the court determines his value. That’s why its a bad idea to give him a near Mega Max Melo deal.

  2. ephus

    I do not have firm expectations for the Knicks in 2014-15. If everything goes right, they could be a threat in the East. The biggest issue is constructing a defense with Calderon, Hardaway and Amar’e getting rotation minutes. I could see Phish asking JR/Shumpert/Hardaway to create a lot of ball pressure.

    Miami and Indiana have clearly been weakened by departures.
    Toronto is not going to sneak up on teams this year.
    Chicago should be stronger if Rose is healthy, but could be quite bad if he is not.
    Washington will go as far as Wall and Beal take them.
    I think the Nets are likely to be a mess, because I do not trust the health of Williams or Lopez.
    Charlotte is going to be better, so long as Lance Stephenson stays under control.
    Atlanta could be quite good if Horford is healthy.
    Cleveland is a playoff team.
    Detroit, Milwaukee, Boston, Orlando and Philadelphia figure to be non-contenders.

    So I see the Knicks finishing anyplace between 1 & 10 in the East. Your guess is as good as mine on where.

  3. Aten

    If you don’t have anybody on the side of letting Anthony walk instead of giving him the max, it ain’t a round table. It’s a pep rally.

  4. er

    how the fuck is it a pep rally? Its people who agree that letting Melo walk would have been worse which it would have been. All you need to do is look at Houston. They had Harden AND Dwight and still couldnt get a marquee FA. So you are telling me that the Knicks with no Melo could have?

  5. Nick C.

    What marquee free agents have the Knicks gotten or even gotten to talk to them with Melo? (yeah yeah I know I don’t know who called I don’t know about because I’m random dude on the internet etc.)

  6. The Prescient Cock Jowles

    er,

    Shh.

    Also, would you have said the same about Howard back before the Rockets got him?

    “How are they going to land Dwight? All they have is Harden!!!!”

    Or, “How are they going to land Harden?!?! All they have is Luis Scola!”

  7. Z-man

    What are the odds that all of the following players are on the roster on opening day?
    Melo
    Amare
    Bargnani
    Shump
    Hardaway
    Prigioni
    JR
    Calderon
    Smith
    Dalembert

    Obviously, if they are all back, it will be hard for the following to get meaningful minutes:
    Aldrich
    Larkin
    Early
    Tyler
    Thanasis
    Brown

    Someone is gonna be dealt.

  8. stratomatic

    I think a sign and trade that included pieces that would have helped us build from scratch would have been the best long term approach. I’m pragmatic enough to understand why that probably wasn’t going to happen even if Phil agrees with me. In a world without pressure from fans, media, and owners, IMO that was the best approach. In this world, maybe it was too tough a call to make.

    Letting him walk for nothing and signing him to this contract are both bad ideas UNLESS in the latter case Phil believes he is the one coach that can turn Melo into a more efficient play making center of the offense.

  9. er

    @9 exactly. Phil believes in Melo as a player and as an attracter of other guys

    @7 they Traded for Harden because OKC were being cheap bastards.

    “The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal that was completed Saturday night. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston.”

    The Rockets traded 3 number one picks including Lamb. It was a once in a lifetime fuck up by OKC. Its not likely to happen again.

  10. Bruno Almeida

    Letting him walk for nothing and signing him to this contract are both bad ideas UNLESS in the latter case Phil believes he is the one coach that can turn Melo into a more efficient play making center of the offense.

    Well, I don’t think PJ has much of a choice.

    I hate the Carmelo deal and I think it’s a terrible basketball decision, but considering the situation, I think Phil felt that he had no other choice. The team was going to be terrible in the short term no matter what, and remember, Phil has a 5-year contract and will probably want to be in New York for the long run.

    So my reasoning is that he felt his only chance to build a somewhat contending team would be resigning Melo, with the intention of working hard on turning him into a different player, better on defense and more efficient overall.

    It doesn’t mean that I agree with the decision, but I think Phil felt this was the only chance he had to be relevant. If he goes for a full rebuild not only it might go wrong (and those 5 years would be wasted) but if it did end up going well, he probably wouldn’t be in New York for the later part of the process.

  11. Donnie Walsh

    I’m disappointed that nobody said they’d have let Anthony walk for nothing.

    At least a few of the blogging elite here at KB have said for months that the worst case scenario is re-signing Melo at the Max. Letting him walk for nothing rather than saddling up with a horrible contract to a one-dimensional volume scorer was preferable then. But now that it’s happened, everybody agrees it was the right thing to do?

    3 years from now we’re going to look back at this thread (as we just did the Bargnani one), and everyone will look pretty silly on it, which is too bad, because I know that, in truth, all of you know it’s better to let him walk for nothing than relive the Layden/Isiah years for a second decade running.

  12. stratomatic

    @12

    Letting him walk for nothing would be a bad idea because it seemed like there were S&T options available even if they included renting Boozer for a year. As long as the Knicks got anything of value back (a pick, Butler, a combination, several picks…), that’s better than nothing.

  13. lavor postell

    The Layden/Isiah years didn’t involve overpaying a very good player (I think despite his flaws most everybody here thinks he’s at least a very good player).

    They involved trading away future cap space and picks for Marbury and the corpse of Anfernee Hardaway. It involved trading away future cap space for Eisley and Shandon fucking Anderson. It involved trading away picks that became Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge for Eddy Curry. It involved trading for an expiring contract and Channing Frye. It involves having an embarrassing sexual harassment lawsuit in which you try to pressure the plaintiff.

    I can see the view that giving Melo this contract is an overpay and a bad move, but equating Phil’s overall short tenure so far to fucking Layden and Isiah is bullshit. I think even for the biggest pessimists here it’s been a mixed bag with the bad being the Melo extension and the good being hiring a rookie coach over a retread, dealing Chandler and Felton and getting back a pretty nice package for them, implementing an actual system of play if SL is in indication and not dealing any of our young players to dump an expiring contract for some instant gratification.

  14. er

    relive the Layden/Isiah years for a second decade running.

    See, this is just unreasonable.

    from 01-10 the Knicks had > 37 wins one time

  15. GoNyGoNYGo

    @8
    Look for Thanassis to go to the D-Leauge, Brown to be cut and for 2 SGs to be traded for a big body.

  16. KnickfaninNJ

    The Lakers traded for Howard and then let him walk for nothing. Look how good they are now. Their best player is probably Jeremy Lin or Jordan Hill. (I’m leaving out Kobe, because I find it hard to beleive he will actually be the old Kobe and actually be able to play a full season’s worth of minutes.) Are posters proposing we should have emulated the Lakers by letting Melo walk? OKC got three number one picks for Harden and everyone says OKC made a mistake, but posters here are saying we should just get two number one picks for Melo. People would then probably be saying what a mistake NY made.

    There are a lot of risks to rebuilding. Keeping Melo means we are more competitive this coming season and in the next season we have just as much flexibility or more as many teams who are free agent players this year. The future’s not necessarily bad.

  17. SJK

    I’m going to assume that Melo is willing to buy into the triangle. Some might see this as a big assumption. That’s fine if you do, there’s no way to know if he will until the season starts, but given that assumption this is what I think Phil is trying to do:

    It hinges around the idea of system basketball. Phil wants to install the triangle as the basis for our entire organizational outlook hopefully for decades to come. I don’t think it can be understated how important it is to have a strong system. For example, it helps with game to game strategy, and in talent development and in maximizing role players because players know exactly what they should and should not be doing on the court. It’s why teams like the Spurs are so successful.

    I would argue that all of Phil’s decisions since he got here have been about installing a system. He hired a young coach who he could mold and who could implement the triangle. He traded an older, less-than-enthusiastic player in Chandler for two rookies and a guy who really only played 50% of his rookie year because of injuries. Look at the way these young guys have been playing in the summer league; it’s been all about the system.

    That brings me to the Melo signing. Since I’ve just been talking about youth and player development, it might seem counter-intuitive to bring back a 30 y/o player at the end of his prime. But consider the two key guys over 30 he’s brought in: Melo and Calderon. Both are considered PERFECT fits for the triangle. Having these two guys, will help Phil and Fisher implement the triangle because they both will be able to play it effectively. The young guys will be able to learn around them, rather than being thrown into the fire.

  18. Donnie Walsh

    “See, this is just unreasonable.”

    It’s not unreasonable at all, because there is one thing constant. It’s James Dolan, who, admit it or not, is Phil Jackson’s boss.

    Somebody here at KB– somebody who I respect a lot (perhaps Ephus, perhaps Cronin or one of the other fair and “conservative” voices here)– said that if Melo is offered the full $129 million it indicates that Dolan is the one dictating the offseason, which everyone agreed was a bad thing… Then Phil offers him the full $129 million and the same contributors say it’s not Dolan’s instruction but rather Phil playing his Jedi mind tricks… Then Melo accepts the offer and everybody agrees that it’s a good thing?? Why, because he didn’t take the max pay raise in 2015 (but still took a raise that year, none the less)? Or because Phil is the best coach ever?

    It makes no sense.

  19. Nick C.

    What? You know the Knicks havent had cap space yet right?

    I wonder who could have contributed to that. It didn’t stop endless conversation insinuating that Melo would be a draw, you know the famous wedding toast talk, nor does it stop conversation even in here about how without Melo no one would ever come here. Look he is a damn good player who seemed to bust his ass last season, but most of what has been said about him otherwise he makes teammates better, he has always been burdened by crappy teammates, he will be a star magnet, will take less than the max, just wants to win, have been largely BS or the types of things that can never be proven or disproven. In fairness I also don’t thing he sucks or is as lazy as he has been made out to be and the ball stopper meme seemed to come into being when George Karl guest announced on TNT while he was recuperating from cancer and spread like wildfire even though he is far from unique in that regard or the worst offender on his own team.

  20. Jonathan Topaz Post author

    @12 — I think that’s a fair point, Donnie, and I’ll respond to it, partly because I was in the “let him walk for nothing” camp up until very recently. There are many smart arguments in favor of letting him walk, not the least of which is from Nate Silver, who makes the very astute point that the only way to build championship teams is to get bargains (i.e. players who outperformed their salary.) These usually come in the form of players on rookie contracts (2014 Kawhi Leonard) or superstars whose play is worth more than a max salary (2012-2013 LeBron). I was in fact planning a “let him walk” post that took a look at every NBA Finals winner in the past decade and showed that they all had at least one very dramatic example of a player overperforming his contract. When people say the NBA is a superstar league, that might be true, but it’s not really precise. The NBA is really a market inefficiency league, and true superstars give teams an easy way to exploit the salary cap because A) they outperform a max contract and B) they convince good players to take salary decreases to play with them.

    This is all relevant to Melo because superstar or not, he certainly won’t outperform this contract, which leaves the Knicks committing a huge pile of resources to someone who won’t give them that market efficiency leg-up. I didn’t like the idea of this contract for the longest time because giving the max to a 30-year-old one-way player felt like the Knicks for the past 15 years — deluding themselves into thinking they are a piece away.

    So I get all that. But frankly, this isn’t close to Isaiah or Layden. Look at Kevin Pelton’s breakdown of the contract, he seems Melo is worth $133 million. The Knicks will have max level cap space next summer, a first-rounder and lots of flexibility.

    [1/2, next one coming shortly, long comment!]

  21. Jonathan Topaz Post author

    More importantly though, just having a barren roster with cap space (and no 2016 first-round pick) isn’t at all an enviable situation. We laud the Sam Prestis of the world when they make the dream scenario work — tons of cap space; load up on picks; make all the picks turn into Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook; have all the young guys come into their prime together, build a sustainable winner, etc. But that’s insanely difficult and the exception that proves the rule, and while the idea of the Knicks bottoming out and tanking is extremely appealing, it is way less appealing if it isn’t in the form of a sign-and-trade when they can get some assets. I don’t like this contract. I just like it more than losing a top-15 player for nothing and having few, if any, assets left other than cap space.

    The Knicks absolutely should have pursued and tried to execute a sign-and-trade during last season, but that was never going to happen. In this choice between two evils, I’ll take the asset who still gives me max-level cap space in 2015, instead of cap space wasteland. The oasis always looks more appealing when you’re far away.

  22. Nick C.

    Er, somehow I spaced on the timing of Chandler’s arrival. Point taken. Of course this board contained much dispute as to whether Tyson came for the reasons you quoted or the highest bid. So the more things change the more things stay the same.

  23. Bruno Almeida

    I love how hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    People say that Carmelo’s deal is obviously better than trading for Marbury because Melo is a good player are pretty much the same people that would have hailed Marbury as a star who had been in terrible situations, with worse teammates and coaches.

    Marbury lead a Phoenix team that had a rookie Amare, a 2nd year Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion and no one else to the playoffs (they started washed up Penny and Bo Outlaw for large stints, for gods sake), with the immortal Frank Johnson as his coach, someone who has never landed another head coach job and was promptly fired the year after, and stil averaged 20 and 8 assists while “carrying the load and creating every single shot opportunity for his team” (and, of course, Kobe assists galore)

    And now that history has proven it was a terrible deal, it’s cool to say it was a terrible decision at the time.

  24. BigBlueAL

    Regarding next season, the best part is the Knicks have their 1st rd pick. So if they dont make the playoffs, great they have a lottery pick (although I assume the Knicks at worst finish 9th or 10th in the East so the odds for the lottery pick wont be great and would probably end up in the 11-14 range). If they do make the playoffs it bodes well for the future.

    So unlike last season’s disaster where missing the playoffs and not having your own 1st rd pick was the worst case scenario that isnt the case this upcoming season. It will actually be fun watching this upcoming season where either scenario (making or missing the playoffs) will be a positive lol.

  25. Mike Kurylo

    Let’s say you were the Knicks GM, and you couldn’t get a sign-and-trade deal worked out or convince Melo to sign for less than this contract. Would you have signed him for the (almost) max or let him walk for nothing?

    I’ll say it. If he wouldn’t have budged, I wouldn’t have signed him to that contract and risk letting him walk.

    Granted I don’t think it’s an awful move, as what the Knicks next moves are most important. I don’t think Carmelo Anthony sunk this team as much as Amar’e Stoudemire did (and toss in Bargnani, Felton, and Woodson). In fact I think the Knicks can build a winning championship level team with Carmelo Anthony signed to this contract.

    That said, I’m not sure that letting him go is such a downside. Wouldn’t it be more attractive in 2015 and 2016 to have a ton of cap space? I just think that would be as attractive as having ‘Melo.

    I mean do we really know that guys are dying to play with Carmelo Anthony? Do we know that some prospective FA isn’t looking at ‘Melo’s contract thinking, sure I can get mine, but after me & ‘Melo, who else can they bring in? Maybe someone really wants to play with another NBA star & having enough space for 2 is more attractive than being Carmelo’s sidekick? Who knows maybe some guys just don’t like him?

    And maybe playing hardball can still result in a discounted deal or a sign & trade. If ‘Melo really covets the money, a S&T is the only way he gets that delicious 5th year. And if he really wants to win in New York, then maybe he does sign for a little less.

    Yes there could be a long drawn out ugly media battle, but I think a good team could say “Listen ‘Melo we just don’t think it’s best for our team to do this mega-deal. So let’s all play nice in the media & we’ll help you get whatever you want. You want that 5th year – we won’t rake the next team on an S&T. You want to leave outright, we’ll take out an ad thanking you for your years in NY.”

  26. er

    Wouldn’t it be more attractive in 2015 and 2016 to have a ton of cap space? I just think that would be as attractive as having ‘Melo.

    Thats fair, but the question is attractive to who? In that scenario you would just end up in the Amare position right? Who ever cant get max offers else where would come to the Knicks. There is no special reason to come to the Knicks. So the fact that alot of people like Melo and want to play with him adds some incentive.

  27. Bruno Almeida

    And really, I just think people overrate how much stars want to play with one another because of the Miami thing.

    Basketball players are either smart or advised by smart people, and people have been watching the Heat, the Spurs and everyone else with a critical eye… it worked because it was Lebron; Bosh had a chance to go to the Rockets to team up with two stars, Howard and Harden and passed it up to go back to a less talented team. There were reports that Wade was being courted by the Bulls, and yet he resigned in Miami.

    Stars want two things – money, and titles. Playing with their buddies might be cool, but never in a situation where it doesn’t seem likely it will bring one or either of the aforementioned priorities.

  28. Hubert

    Letting him walk for nothing would be a bad idea because it seemed like there were S&T options available even if they included renting Boozer for a year. As long as the Knicks got anything of value back (a pick, Butler, a combination, several picks…), that’s better than nothing.

    Exactly. It was the wrong question. The way it was worded, no one should have voted for that option. Not when there was a S&T to be made.

    Can we represent the question to the roundtable? It should be:

    Would you rather have him back, or would you have preferred trading him to Chicago and taking back Boozer in order to maximize the package you could have received in return for losing him?

  29. JK47

    “Jackson believes he has too many guards and may have to cut Wayne Ellington if he can’t trade him for a big man.”

    UGGGGG. Ellington seems like such a good fit here– good defensive guard who has played in the triangle and is a deadly three-point shooter. Why would you cut that guy?

  30. Bruno Almeida

    @31

    Carmelo probably saw his box scores from last season and saw a useless player.

  31. GoNyGoNYGo

    @27

    So, we let him walk, and next year we let Stoudemire and Bargnani walk. And Shumpert decides to go home to Chicago. And we have 1 draft pick in the next 2 years. We are left with Calderon, Early Prigiono and Hardaway. JR has a player option and opts out. What free agents are coming to the team? I wouldn’t. Is that how you rebuild?

    On the flip side, we add Melo to the mix and add 2-4 players for the $30M that comes available. Now you have a team. Unless Anthony gets hurt, he’s draw other players here. Without him we might as well be the Milwaukee Bucks.

  32. JK47

    Ellington is pretty much unanimously considered an above average defensive player, and has pretty good size for a SG at 6’5″, 200 lbs.

  33. Hubert

    Somebody here at KB– somebody who I respect a lot (perhaps Ephus, perhaps Cronin or one of the other fair and “conservative” voices here)– said that if Melo is offered the full $129 million it indicates that Dolan is the one dictating the offseason

    I hate to disappoint you but that was me, and it was slightly different in an important way. I said if Melo left, one of the best things about it would be that we’d know for sure that Phil is in total control.

    But just because Melo was re-signed for the max doesn’t necessarily mean that Phil isn’t in complete control. It remains unclear. Phil could have wanted this, it could have been market forces that dictated the price, etc.

    Melo leaving would prove Dolan isn’t meddling. Melo staying doesn’t prove anything.

  34. stratomatic

    That said, I’m not sure that letting him go is such a downside. Wouldn’t it be more attractive in 2015 and 2016 to have a ton of cap space? I just think that would be as attractive as having ‘Melo.

    Great point. Cap space IS an asset.

    I think the question then becomes what are the probabilities of using it better than Melo at this price.

  35. GoNyGoNYGo

    @33 +35
    The hoopshype profile says: Three-point shooting is his strength… Doesn’t drive to the basket much… Hasn’t shown much in the NBA.
    The ESPN pre-draft (granted, it was a while ago) eval:
    Positives: Big-time scorer, Deep NBA 3-point range, Can shoot off the dribble or on the catch-and-shoot, Solid athlete
    Negatives: He’s a little undersized for a 2-guard, Needs to add strength, Looks a little one-dimensional right now, Not a great defender

  36. Hubert

    . If ‘Melo really covets the money, a S&T is the only way he gets that delicious 5th year

    Could he get 5 years in a S&T? I think the last CBA took that option away and limited it to 4 years in a S&T to further help teams keep their players. I think you actually have to re-sign with your team and stay to get the 5th year. That’s why there is speculation that he signed with us to get the 5th year and plans to force a trade later.

  37. The Prescient Cock Jowles

    Yes. Cap space is better than Melo. This isn’t LeBron, guys. This isn’t even close to LeBron.

    I wish Melo went to the Heat this offseason. I would have loved that.

  38. lavor postell

    @JK47

    Look I haven’t watched a ton of Ellington, but I do think it’s a little weird that he completely fell out of Carlisle’s rotation when he could shoot the 3 that well and if he was an above average defensive wing. I know he had an injury, but he also came back after that and was barely used. He averaged 8.7 MPG in 45 games and has a career DRtg of 112 and posted a DRtg of 110 last year.

  39. JK47

    @41

    There are plenty of talented players who don’t get minutes for one reason or another. See: Aldrich, Cole.

  40. Hubert

    Here is the alternative scenario that I was touching on in the other thread:

    1. You decide to move on from Carmelo Anthony and end the compounding cycle of short term moves that began when we signed Amar’e Stoudemire.

    2. You work with Chicago & Melo to get Melo where he wants to go. Be willing to take back Boozer. Melo uses the Lakers for leverage like he did anyway and like he did with Brooklyn for Denver 4 years ago. In exchange for taking back Boozer and giving them Melo we could easily have walked away with their two picks in this draft, Mirotic, and a future pick.

    3. You spend this year pumping up JR & Shumpert so you can move them & Calderon for the best package of picks or young guys you can find.

    4. Suck this year (wouldn’t have been hard), ensuring that our pick is in the lottery.

    5. Use the cap space next summer to do smart things like pick up more assets next summer when teams will be desperately trying to sign Love, Gasol, Rondo, etc. Or pick up guys whose market dries up on good deals.

    That could have been achieved in one year. You’d have a long road ahead from that point, but that was a viable alternative and I don’t think we gave it enough consideration because I don’t think Phil felt like he could sell us on that. You don’t pay Phil Jackson $12 million a year to do something a first time GM plucked off of the Presti staff can do for a fraction of that cost. Phil probably felt he had a mandate to keep Melo and build around him. And I can understand that.

  41. bobneptune

    I’m disappointed that nobody said they’d have let Anthony walk for nothing.

    At least a few of the blogging elite here at KB have said for months that the worst case scenario is re-signing Melo at the Max. Letting him walk for nothing rather than saddling up with a horrible contract to a one-dimensional volume scorer was preferable then. But now that it’s happened, everybody agrees it was the right thing to do?

    Look, letting Melo walk for nada would be an unmitigated disaster. For example, we have exactly ONE #1 pick for the next 35 months, No FA of any note is coming to a team headed by Shump, and THjr.

    There are 2 Melos: the one that guns it up when playing for coaches (pringles, woodenhead and karl) he doesn’t respect and a top of the line player that plays for POP and the Olympic team.

    He is now playing for a front office headed by big chief 13 rings., and coached by a highly respected contemporary. A contemporary so highly respected by the players, he was assigned to advocate the player’s wallet position at the last CBA.

    Also of interest was how Phil yesterday in his interview made a point to play up Fischer’s chops by saying he was the guy who when players (shaq and kobe) got out of line gunning it up, Fischer , not Phil got in their grills and brought them back to the program.

    I’m guessing Phil sees the olympic Melo as a top 5-ish player and worth the investment. But letting Melo walk for zero was a non starter for obvious reasons.

    Just to play the devil’s advocate, how do you fill out a competitive playoff roster with Melo walking for nothing? No top free agent is signing. Are you prepared to pay a couple of Chandler parsons 15M a year?

  42. JK47

    Just to play the devil’s advocate, how do you fill out a competitive playoff roster with Melo walking for nothing?

    You wait. You slowly build from the ground up. You collect young players and draft picks, and teach them the ways of the triangle. You build a good organization with payroll flexibility and the assets to acquire the RIGHT free agent or veteran star when he becomes available. No need to “fill out a competitive playoff roster” right away. Aim for 2-3 years down the road.

    Giving a max contract to the wrong player, hoping he will somehow attract a better player somewhere down the road is the less patient, and less likely to succeed option.

    But one thing I have learned from this blog over the past few weeks is that the cliche “you can’t rebuild in New York,” as much as I hate it, is true. The vast majority of Knick fans– even many of the very intelligent ones who populate this board– are not willing to do a true rebuild. So instead, it’s the “lifetime of mediocrity” option. We’re at what, 15 years and counting now? If it’s broke, don’t fix it, I guess.

  43. ephus

    And maybe playing hardball can still result in a discounted deal or a sign & trade. If ‘Melo really covets the money, a S&T is the only way he gets that delicious 5th year. And if he really wants to win in New York, then maybe he does sign for a little less.

    This is wrong. Under the new CBA, if a player is sent out in a S&T, he cannot get more than a four year deal with 4.5% max increases, the same as if he had signed directly with a new team.

    Apparently, the only things Chicago was willing to give in a S&T were Boozer (worse than nothing) and picks. The pick might well have been the Sacramento first round pick that is top ten protected for the next two years, so there is a big possibility that it would evaporate to nothing.

    I had hoped that Carmelo would take less (5/103 or 5/115) but I believe keeping him on 5/124 is likely to be better than letting him walk.

  44. Kevin Udwary

    I’m guessing Phil sees the olympic Melo as a top 5-ish player and worth the investment.

    Paying for potential rather than actual production is a horrible strategy, especially when the player you are talking about has a decade of evidence as to what kind of player he is. NY is one place you absolutely can do a long rebuild. Even when the team is horrible MSG still fills up every night. Fans may bitch and moan, but how would that be any different than any other season for the past 15 years? Let’s face it, the Knicks don’t have many bandwagon fans to lose by now.

  45. SJK

    @JK47: the thing is, we can still build from our current position by “collect[ing] young players and draft picks, and teach[ing] them the ways of the triangle.”

    In fact, having Melo will actually help us develop the young players we do have as they will be able to learn and fill specific roles around him. I don’t think we have filled out a competitive roster right now. I do think we are 2-3 years away. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but there also hasn’t been any indication that the Knicks are focused solely on attracting that one other player. That’s been thrown around by some posters here, but it’s just conjecture really. We don’t have to use the 2015 cap space on one guy. We don’t have to use the 2015 cap space at all.

    The only way having Melo effects the slow build is that he makes it less likely we have a lottery pick this year. But even with Melo we’re still looking at a pick in the 15-20 range, which is not necessarily that much less than valuable than a mid-late lottery pick anyway. If we scout and draft well, as good teams absolutely must do, having Melo on the team will not negatively effect our ability rebuild.

  46. bobneptune

    You wait. You slowly build from the ground up. You collect young players and draft picks, and teach them the ways of the triangle. You build a good organization with payroll flexibility and the assets to acquire the RIGHT free agent or veteran star when he becomes available. No need to “fill out a competitive playoff roster” right away. Aim for 2-3 years down the road.

    The only problem with the scenario you espouse is we only have the single draft pick for the next 35 months. Going 16 and 66 isn’t going to do you any good next season. Can you lease out cap space for an expiring and maybe the 25th pick in next year’s draft, sure.

    Then you can revisit 1996 when the Knicks had three…. yes three middling #1 picks and ended up with the immortal Walter Mc Carthy, John Wallace and Donte Jones!!!

  47. JK47

    Name a true rebuild that worked. Name how many years it took.

    I would, but you’ll have some arbitrary definition of what counts as a “true rebuild,” so when I tell you that the Clippers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Raptors, Warriors and Bulls were all built around assets they acquired in the draft you’ll say “No, that’s not a true rebuild.”

  48. JK47

    The only problem with the scenario you espouse is we only have the single draft pick for the next 35 months.

    Well, I’m sold! Let’s build around the one-way player heading into his decline phase in hopes that he reaches a new plateau of greatness in his 12th season. Instead of, you know, acquiring more draft picks to replace the ones we lost. Sounds like a plan!

    Going 16 and 66 isn’t going to do you any good next season.

    Actually, it would do some good since the Knicks own their pick.

  49. DRed

    If Wayne Ellington is a plus defender it doesn’t show in the stats. He seems like a league average/slightly below average 2 guard. Which might be better than tim Hardaway and some versions of JR Smith. But he’s pretty much just a guy. But saying we need to cut a decent player to make room for a big makes yesterday’s signing of a shitty, injury prone (literally the last thing we need is a big man who can’t stay healthy) 4/5 all the more mystifying.

  50. DRed

    As for those people asking who we’d sign if we let Melo walk, the answer is it doesn’t matter. We don’t know who will be available. Maybe we sign no one, rent cap space for picks, and trade for a star who wants out somewhere, ala Dwight or Shaq. The point is we’d have flexibility to do a number of things that would make the team better.

  51. Donnie Walsh

    The Chandler trade was a good trade because it turned an aging player into 4 younger players. But it did nothing to improve the team this year.

    Unless you really believe that Cole Aldrich is going to play 32 mins a game and put up Tyson Chandler production, the Knicks are going to be worse going into this season than they were ending last season. Dalembert is an 18 minute guy. So it’s either Cole, Jason Smith, or Bargnani filling the void.

    So, it’s possible that Phil sold Melo on taking a year off of contention to retool, which is cool and I’m down with. And maybe the concession he have Melo was the max deal, and the eto, and the no-trade clause. But it’s really hard to see how Melo at the Max fits into a retool, as he’s only getting older and more expensive as the years go on…

  52. DRed

    And finally, for those who think Melo is going to be worth his contact because Bradford Doolittle and Nate Silver say so, be aware those guys are assuming Carmelo is going to age very gracefully. That’s possible, but that’s also a best case scenario. I obviously think they over value Melo’s high volume approach, but even if I’m wrong, you don’t want to sign a long term, big money deal that will only be worth it in a best case scenario.

  53. Brian Cronin

    I had Melo walk for nothing and Melo getting the max as pretty much 1b and 1a on my list of worst case scenarios, but I admittedly had Mega Max Melo as slightly worse than him walking for nothing. Since he did give the Knicks some discount, I am going to claim that walking for nothing moves slightly ahead of “Melo at the slightly less than max rate” for the worst case scenario. They’re both really bad scenarios, though.

  54. hoolahoop

    . All you need to do is look at Houston. They had Harden AND Dwight and still couldnt get a marquee FA. So you are telling me that the Knicks with no Melo could have?

    @ er
    So, I get it. The knicks thought that by overpaying Melo, other players will want to come here for less than they’re worth just so they can play with Melo.
    Funny stuff.

  55. Brian Cronin

    I think Melo will age well, though, as his greatest asset right now is that he is a big guy who you can’t push around who can shoot threes efficiently so he will be able to stay on the floor even as he loses his explosiveness. Basically like a worse version of Dirk. When he came here the main thing I wanted to see him do was become a three-point threat and he sure has done so!

  56. er

    @59 NO. My point is that players would rather play with other good players, and even that is not guaranteed that they want to play with your player. But you dont even give yourself a shot if you have filth on the roster.

    @51 I have no arbitrary anything. I sincerely want to hear your examples and how long it took.

  57. thenamestsam

    I posted it the other day, but almost every good team in the entire league has a star level player drafted (generally with a high pick) and developed by that team – Spurs (x4), OKC (x3),Clips (Blake), Portland (x2), GS(Curry), Memphis(Conley), Dallas(Dirk), Miami (Wade), Chicago (Noah, Rose), Washington (Wall, Beal), Indy (George). That’s basically the entire selection of good teams in the league other than Houston. And in that group the only guys that weren’t very high picks are the Spurs guys. Everyone has their own definition of rebuilding but I would love to hear someone dispute the idea that almost every good team in the league got that way via the route of drafting a star in the lottery at some point. Which almost always requires being very bad in order to get that pick.

  58. johnlocke

    For those advocating letting Melo walk, you are then highly dependent on getting a draft pick, and sucking badly enough to get at least a Top 3-5 pick and hopefully lucking into drafting a true superstar, generational talent and building around that player. It’s a long shot but I could understand saying we are not winning a championship with Melo so might as well see if we get lucky in the draft or acquire a true superstar. Looking @ history only one team (modern day Pistons) won a championship w/o having drafted the top 1-2 players on the team, and only 2 (Heat w/ Lebron and Lakers with Shaq) got a free agent who was the best player on a championship team. But it’s still a long shot
    —————–
    In the modern era, champions:
    ’89-90: Pistons (drafted Isiah Thomas #2 Pick, HoFer + drafted Joe Dumars, #18, + added pieces)
    ’91 -’93: Bulls (drafted MJ – #3 pick, GOAT, traded for Pippen on draft day + added pieces)
    ’94-’95: Rockets (GOAT retired, drafted Hakeem, HoFer, true superstar + added pieces)
    ’96-’98: Bulls (GOAT returns, see above)
    ’99: Spurs (drafted Duncan, true superstar, future HOFer + added in draft smartly)
    ’00 – ’02: Lakers (drafted Kobe, future HOFer) + somehow got Shaq in prime (greatest free agent acquisition pre-Lebron)
    ’03: Spurs (see above)
    ’04: Pistons – anomaly (did not draft Billups, Rasheed Wallace), no clear Superstars, drafted Tayshaun Prince, undrafted player turns into all-star (Ben Wallace), acquired Hamilton (luck? GMing?)
    ’05 – Present:
    Spurs: Duncan + co, Heat: Wade (drafted by Miami) + Shaq, Lakers: Kobe + Pau (acquired for peanuts somehow), Dallas: Dirk (drafted by Dallas) + co, Big 3: Heat: Lebron (greatest FA acquisition ever?), Wade and Bosh, Spurs: redux

  59. johnlocke

    @thenamestam — looks like we were thinking the same thing, but if you look at champions, the bar for a “good” draft pick and a “star” rise to a whole other level — lucking into drafting once in a generation talent.

  60. Donnie Walsh

    Miami “bottomed out” twice in recent years, and followed each with a championship.

    Boston bottomed out and followed it with a championship.

    Lakers let it bleed for a bit, then came back with a championship.

    The Knicks never let it bleed. And they are perpetually unhealthy because of it.

  61. JK47

    I have no arbitrary anything. I sincerely want to hear your examples and how long it took.

    Okay, here’s one off the top of my head: the current LA Clippers.

    They were a .500-ish team middle of last decade, built around Elton Brand. In 2007-2008 they cratered, falling to 23-59. Rebuild time.

    In the 2008 draft, they took Eric Gordon with their first round pick and DeAndre Jordan with their second round pick. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette exercised their ETOs. Year one of the rebuild, Clippers were even worse, going 19-63. They get the #1 pick in the draft, Blake Griffin. Griffin misses his whole rookie season with an injury, but the following season they pick up Eric Bledsoe in a trade for a future #1 that ended up being a low pick, because the Clippers soon after started to get awesome. They also drafted Al-Farouq Aminu that year, so they had the following assets: Blake Griffin (21), Eric Gordon (22), DeAndre Jordan (22), Eric Bledsoe (21) and Al-Farouq Aminu (20). They used Gordon and Aminu, along with Chris Kaman and a 2012 Minnesota first round pick they acquired for Marko Jaric, to acquire a true superstar, Chris Paul.

    BOOM. Rebuild over. They were bad for four years, and now they’re set up to be really good for a long time.

  62. er

    Miami “bottomed out” twice in recent years, and followed each with a championship.

    Boston bottomed out and followed it with a championship.

    Lakers let it bleed for a bit, then came back with a championship.

    You do realize that these teams had Wade, Pierce and Kobe on them before and after right?

  63. DRed

    Yeah, people forget Miami won like 16 or 17 games post Shaq. 3 years later they were in the finals.

  64. er

    Okay, here’s one off the top of my head: the current LA Clippers.

    They were a .500-ish team middle of last decade, built around Elton Brand. In 2007-2008 they cratered, falling to 23-59. Rebuild time.

    In the 2008 draft, they took Eric Gordon with their first round pick and DeAndre Jordan with their second round pick. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette exercised their ETOs. Year one of the rebuild, Clippers were even worse, going 19-63. They get the #1 pick in the draft, Blake Griffin. Griffin misses his whole rookie season with an injury, but the following season they pick up Eric Bledsoe in a trade for a future #1 that ended up being a low pick, because the Clippers soon after started to get awesome. They also drafted Al-Farouq Aminu that year, so they had the following assets: Blake Griffin (21), Eric Gordon (22), DeAndre Jordan (22), Eric Bledsoe (21) and Al-Farouq Aminu (20). They used Gordon and Aminu, along with Chris Kaman and a 2012 Minnesota first round pick they acquired for Marko Jaric, to acquire a true superstar, Chris Paul.

    BOOM. Rebuild over. They were bad for four years, and now they’re set up to be really good for a long time.

    Ok thats a rebuild. But you have to admit that some crazy/lucky things happened here.

    1) Griffin missing a whole season, setting them up nicely with another high pick
    2)Blake as a #1 pick started to blossom
    2) Dave Stern voiding the CP3 trade to LAL

    Other than that the Clips had alot of assets as you correctly stated. Im not sure where the Knicks would get comparable assets. As you point out here, things have to fall completely perfectly. And even still LAC has 1 second round appearance to show.

  65. er

    Yeah, people forget Miami won like 16 or 17 games post Shaq. 3 years later they were in the finals.

    Yep D Wade began his long string of missing games and they tanked and ended up with Beasley. Ooops. See they were trying to rebuild. lol

  66. Donnie Walsh

    The Clippers even gave away the #1 pick in the draft during their rebuild. Point is, you can make mistakes in a rebuild and still come out on top… But if you make mistakes in FA you’re screwed for years.

  67. Brian Cronin

    Miami “bottomed out” twice in recent years, and followed each with a championship.

    Boston bottomed out and followed it with a championship.

    Lakers let it bleed for a bit, then came back with a championship.

    The Knicks never let it bleed. And they are perpetually unhealthy because of it.

    Yeah, my concern is that they haven’t given rebuilding a real shot in decades. They tried clearing out the cap room for big free agents once (just once!) but haven’t tried to build through the draft since the early 1980s (which worked out really, really well).

  68. Mike Kurylo

    “Without him we might as well be the Milwaukee Bucks.”

    Right. New York City is exactly like Milwaukee, with the exception of everything.

    @45 Name a true rebuild that worked. Name how many years it took.

    Cleveland. Clippers. Oklahoma. Indiana. Portland. Chicago. I mean look around the league, and most teams start off with home grown talent and then add superstars/veterans. The Spurs are the big exception.

    But how many teams are successful signing 30 year old non-defending scorers to multi-year deals? I can think of the Pierce Celts as the most recent main example. And they still had to luck into Garnett and Rondo to be successful.

  69. Hubert

    Ok thats a rebuild. But you have to admit that some crazy/lucky things happened here.

    Something crazy/lucky happened in every rebuild ever. The point is putting yourself in position for those things to happen to you.

    You want another example? The Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron left. They did so many things wrong but they got overall gist right. Keep your picks. Use your cap space to acquire assets from desperate teams. And don’t lock into long term deals that aren’t good value. Be patient.

  70. MSA

    Memphis also rebuilt nicely

    They got rid of Pau Gasol and broke a decent team, got Mark Gasol, drafted Mike Conley and other players that became assets like OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay (although they didn’t turn out anything special).

    They even had some space for some risky moves like Randolph.

    4 years later they are a .600+ team in the west…

  71. er

    Cleveland. Clippers. Oklahoma. Indiana. Portland. Chicago. I mean look around the league, and most teams start off with home grown talent and then add superstars/veterans. The Spurs are the big exception.

    But how many teams are successful signing 30 year old non-defending scorers to multi-year deals? I can think of the Pierce Celts as the most recent main example. And they still had to luck into Garnett and Rondo to be successful.

    Dallas. Also , the point is that if you have a player you dont tear it down to ” see what happens” You can become the Thunder or become the Bucks.

    Bucks are more likely

  72. er

    You want another example? The Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron left. They did so many things wrong but they got overall gist right. Keep your picks. Use your cap space to acquire assets from desperate teams. And don’t lock into long term deals that aren’t good value. Be patient.

    This is your example? Really? The team with it seems like 5 top 5 picks and havent done shit?

  73. Mike Kurylo

    This is your example? Really? The team with it seems like 5 top 5 picks and havent done shit?

    You do realize that Cleveland just signed the best player on the planet? And the Knicks will be looking up at them for the next 2 years. They enticed him with cap space, and young prospects, the exact opposite of what the Knicks will have.

  74. er

    This team has literally had 3 number 1 overall picks in 4 years. If we could do that, sign me up

    And as far as enticing Lebron, isn’t that a special situation ?

  75. DRed

    “Without him we might as well be the Milwaukee Bucks.”

    You mean a consistently poorly run team that’s gone to the playoffs 3 times in the last decade? We are the fucking Milwaukee Bucks, except we spend a lot more money for the same type of “success”.

  76. yellowboy90

    So what exactly are you guys defining a successful rebuild. IS it an overall improvement from season past in the regular season, trips to the playoffs, 2nd rd appearance, final 4, or championship game?

  77. Brian Cronin

    I think it depends on what you view as success. If you want to just make the playoffs, then of course you go with a guy like Melo. Odds are that you’ll be in the mix for the playoffs every year. If you want to contend for a title, you are better off bottoming out first. Especially in New York. Being in New York is what separates it from the other teams like Milwaukee or Orlando, which need to have transcendent drafting to become contenders (Orlando had it while Milwaukee did not – and even there, Milwaukee drafted high enough in the 1990s to put together a facsimile of a contender).

    Think about the Ewing Knicks if they played in the modern CBA era – they would have surrounded Ewing with such an amazing team. They still ended up surrounding him with a very good team, but nowadays – wow.

    But yes, odds are you don’t sign a 70-year-old head of your team if you’re planning on ever bottoming out. So we have to hope that Jackson is just really, really good at surrounding Melo with free agents (of course even there, as Hubert pointed out, Jackson might be “forced” to go after a single max guy instead).

  78. GoNyGoNYGo

    @76 @83
    OK. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through too many rebuilding phases, where we didn’t have players but we had high draft picks, that I feel the way I do. I remember the last championship, but not well. It was a long time ago. I was 15. So I lived through a lot of crap and I don’t want another rebuild when I think we can make a playoff run.

    So I’m selfish. I want to enjoy basketball and I have hope for this season. You seem to have none. I would rather have my attitude, even if it’s for a short while, even if it ultimately leads to me being crushed again.

  79. er

    . Being in New York is what separates it from the other teams like Milwaukee or Orlando, which need to have transcendent drafting to become contenders

    How? What’s so special about NYC?

    Who is a big time fa? Like in knick history I can only think of STAt who only came for money, not cuz of ny

  80. er

    @86 I’m with you but I think the crux of the debate is Melo. The guys who want to “rebuild” don’t think he’s good enough to be a focal point

  81. Will the Thrill

    How? What’s so special about NYC?

    Big market, more press, more attention. A guy like Melo would much rather play in NYC than Milwaukee.

  82. er

    @89 Melo is the only guy I’ve ever heard say that ironically enough. Other players love playing at the garden but don’t want to deal with ny media for 41 games

  83. GoNyGoNYGo

    ER, I do think he’s good enough to be the focal point. I agree with your conclusion about the crux of the debate. Silly me, but I think that last year an aberration and I place most of the blame on a horrible coach that lost the ear of the team. So, I believe that there are other players on the team that will either rebound or develop further.

    JR Smith was quoted today:

    We had a lot of confusion going on as far as what we’re gonna do, as far as schemes and stuff like that. Some people didn’t agree with it, and it just caused confusion. Before you know it, people were just doing what they wanted to do,” Smith said. “We just didn’t agree. We agreed to disagree a lot of times. And everybody knows in order for five guys to be on the same page, like the Spurs were, move the ball well, to do things exceptionally well like they did to win, what it takes, everybody has to be on the same page, and we weren’t.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/smith-understood-jackson-traded-article-1.1869428

    So, it’s fun to debate and we know why there is one now.

  84. lavor postell

    I don’t understand why it’s impossible for us to keep Melo and accumulate assets like young players on cheap rookie contracts. I feel like you can balance being competitive and building your team with young players (assets) and maintain a relative amount of cap flexibility at the same time.

    Also Jim wrote a pretty nice piece today over on Bleacher Report

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2132285-carmelo-anthonys-contract-all-about-ny-knicks-2015-offseason

    I understand why people feel Melo is overpaid or overrated, but I think some of the vitriol towards him in general has gone quite overboard.

  85. Brian Cronin

    At his old cap number, sure. Not at this new number unless the cap does, in fact, jump 30% in a couple of years.

    Remember, after all the talk of clearing out cap room for next year, the Knicks will currently end up with less than $20 million in cap room next season if they keep Shump and JR opts out. That’s less than a max contract!

    And remember – Melo’s contract goes up by 7.5% every year from year 3-5 while the cap typically raises by similar percentages – so even as the cap rises, his salary rises proportionally.

    If the cap jumps by 30%, of course, that’s a different story. Of it there is another lockout.

    But as this happens, Melo doesn’t only get more expensive, he gets worse (and I say that while believing he is likely to hold his value better than most stars due to his skill set – he is still going to get worse, just not as bad as other players get at the same age – see Dwyane Wade).

  86. DRed

    I don’t understand why it’s impossible for us to keep Melo and accumulate assets like young players on cheap rookie contracts.

    Well, it’s definitely possible. It would help if we had more draft picks. (BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. The problem is that building with kids takes time, and Melo is probably going to start getting worse in the next year or two.

  87. lavor postell

    The problem is that building with kids takes time, and Melo is probably going to start getting worse in the next year or two.

    This is a problem, but becomes less of one if we keep our picks and actually hit on a couple of them. Idk I’m an optimist, but I’ll wait until I actually see what this team looks like come training camp and when the real games start to begin making judgments on the direction of the franchise.

    My initial instinct is that Phil didn’t hit a homerun, but a leadoff double is still pretty good and leaves us with some work to do. I generally feel that the attitude around the franchise has changed though and that we will have a team that actually gives a shit on a game-to-game basis which is a big step in the right direction. Just watching the Summer League games and seeing actual movement of players and the ball has been very encouraging. Baby steps, but at least there are small signs of progress.

  88. hoolahoop

    er:
    “NO. My point is that players would rather play with other good players, and even that is not guaranteed that they want to play with your player. But you dont even give yourself a shot if you have filth on the roster.”

    We’ll put that under category (2) below:

    The Prescient Cock Jowles July 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Just like a household budget, whether you’re researching to buy a car or tv or whatever. We’re all cap restricted. If we see a tv, the one we really want, for $75o in store A, why pay $1000 at store B? It just leaves less money for everything else.

    The prevailing arguments tends toward:

    1) That buying the TV for $1000 will ensure that the TV remains happy, and not feel disrespected, in your home.

    2) That buying the TV at any cost, $750 or $1000, will attract other high-priced electronics to join the TV in your home.

    3) That — forget the opportunity cost — the TV is still worth more than $1000, so why not be happy that you’ve got it?

    Blech, blech, and blech.
    The Prescient Cock Jowles July 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Just like a household budget, whether you’re researching to buy a car or tv or whatever. We’re all cap restricted. If we see a tv, the one we really want, for $75o in store A, why pay $1000 at store B? It just leaves less money for everything else.

    The prevailing arguments tends toward:

    1) That buying the TV for $1000 will ensure that the TV remains happy, and not feel disrespected, in your home.

    2) That buying the TV at any cost, $750 or $1000, will attract other high-priced electronics to join the TV in your home.

    3) That — forget the opportunity cost — the TV is still worth more than $1000, so why not be happy that you’ve got it?

    Blech, blech, and blech.

  89. Donnie Walsh

    isn’t that a special situation ?

    er– this is exactly what JK47 said you’d say about every example. Way to prove him right (as usual).

  90. ephus

    I think that it is exceedingly likely that the cap is going to have a major escalation in the summer of 2016 with the new national media package. Right now, the national media pays the NBA around $900 million per year. About 50% of that falls into the salary cap, so around $450 million (or $15 million per team).

    The expectation is that package will double to $1.8 billion. Some of speculated that it will hit $2.1 billion. At $1.8 billion, the salary cap would go up by $15 million per team (from $66 million (estimated) for 2015-16 to $81 million (very estimated) for 2016-17). At $2.1 billion, the salary cap would go all the way to $86 million in 2016-17.

    In either case, Carmelo’s salary in 2016-17 ($24.5) would be well below 1/3 of the salary cap. At 81 million, it would be 30%. At 86 million, it would be 28%. In other words, the Max for a 7-9 year veteran. Assuming he makes it through to free agency, the Knicks would have ample room to offer the same starting salary to Kevin Durant, even if they signed Marc Gasol to a Max contract next summer.

    I wanted Carmelo to take less. Taking as much as he did requires BCT to make virtually no mistakes in roster construction. But there is a plausible path to a great roster under the expected salary cap expansion.

  91. Donnie Walsh

    “I don’t understand why it’s impossible for us to keep Melo and accumulate assets like young players on cheap rookie contracts.”

    If NY had a reasonable number of future picks, I’d feel much different about the Anthony contract. But you can’t round out a roster with cheap young talent when your left with purchased second round picks, euro-leaguers, and undrafted FAs.

    Teams that trade draft picks for expensive vets need to spend some time collecting picks first. Otherwise, you get the NY Knicks of 2001-2014.

  92. hoolahoop

    Miami “bottomed out” twice in recent years, and followed each with a championship.

    Boston bottomed out and followed it with a championship.

    Lakers let it bleed for a bit, then came back with a championship.

    The Knicks never let it bleed. And they are perpetually unhealthy because of it.

    Exactly. And the list goes on and on of teams that go from good to bad to good again (Indiana, Chicago, now Cleveland) . . . while the knicks are stuck on bad – always trying to be good. That’s one of the most frustrating parts of being a knicks fan.

  93. GoNyGoNYGo

    @85 Brian Cronin

    If you want to just make the playoffs, then of course you go with a guy like Melo. Odds are that you’ll be in the mix for the playoffs every year. If you want to contend for a title, you are better off bottoming out first.

    So we have a fundamental disagreement. I believe that to win you must collect the rare superstars when you can and then try to find a sidekick or two and try to surround them with solid, smart players. You hope to hit on your draft picks and keep them.

  94. lavor postell

    Lakers let it bleed for a bit, then came back with a championship.

    When did the Lakers let it bleed? They missed the playoffs in 04/05 and then hired Phil Jackson back the next season and went to the playoffs every year after that with much of the same crew in place. They got lucky that Chris Wallace had a hard on for Javaris Crittenton and an inkling about Marc Gasol and sent his brother Pau to LA.

    I agree with the overarching point that bottoming out can be good, but the Lakers are a shitty example.

  95. er

    er– this is exactly what JK47 said you’d say about every example. Way to prove him right (as usual).

    Lol. K Lebron went to Cleveland for it’s assets, ok believe that if U want.

  96. er

    @101 this is just so odd. We are arguing because your crew don’t think we are bad enough. So odd.

  97. hoolahoop

    This is a very interesting thread. Most of the guys that are wrong most of the time want instant gratification, minimal suffering, overpaid superstars, and are content to squeeze into the playoffs, rooting vociferously all the way, under some absurd notion that the knicks, year in, year out, are really much better than their inevitable outcome. Fan boys.

    And that’s the crowd the knicks now cater to.

    One of the most common, big mistakes sports organizations make is that they think fans come to see superstars. Fans come to see winners.

  98. er

    Most of the guys that are wrong most of the time want instant gratification

    Lol. U sound crazy. Fan boy. Hahah my fav term here.

  99. ruruland

    Melo won’t get worse as he ages (by metrics that don’t value volume), he’ll get better (obviously not forever) because he won’t be able to attempt to carry 30-35 percent of the offense every game.

    I don’t think he’ll actually get better, but much like Paul Pierce, he’ll look better statistically.

    The guy just finished a season with the highest rebound rate of his career (his total rebound rate actually dropped with Bargnani on the floor), the fourth highest assist rate of his career, the second lowest to %, and the second highest TS of his career. His at rim percentage was right near career average despite a stark reduction in transition attempts.

    He’s getting better when he’s supposed to be getting worse.

    As Silver, Doolittle and others have pointed out, Melo is going to reach and probably exceed value in the next few years.

    Given how large of a role he plays and how much offense he carries, that’s a huge plus. Do the Knicks have to get lucky and have guys throughout the roster exceed value to make the Knicks a contender?

    Of course, every championship team void of a transcendent player like Lebron, Durant or an in-prime Duncan have to get that.

    Can Melo have a Dirk like season alongside another high level max guy where most of the rest of the roster plays above value? Of course.

  100. ruruland

    And BTW, Chandler may be missed some offensively for his screening, offensive rebounding and finishing (though as I’ve pointed out he’s like the 7th or 8th best big finisher in the league), but last year was the second in a row the Knicks were better defensively with him on the bench.

    The Knicks aren’t going to miss Chandler defensively by any stretch.

  101. bobneptune

    You do realize that Cleveland just signed the best player on the planet? And the Knicks will be looking up at them for the next 2 years. They enticed him with cap space, and young prospects, the exact opposite of what the Knicks will have.

    I am assuming this is an elaborate level.

    Cleveland is the precise example of the dangers of building through the draft. They had the #1 pick in 2011, the #4 pick in 2012 and the #1 pick in 2013 and finished a nice crisp 16 games under .500 last year with no relief in sight.

    If a certain star was born in Peoria or Flagstaff rather than Akron, is there any chance at all he would have signed with Cleveland?

    And it is particularly difficult to build through the draft when you have given your 2014 and 2016 #1′s away and your 2015, 16 and 17 second round picks.

  102. ruruland

    THJ, Calderon, Melo, Amar’e is going to be filthy offensively in the triangle.

    By Synergy, Melo and Amar’e might be the best/most efficient post-up scoring duo in the league. Combine them with a really low turnover and great shooting play from the guards, and it should be elite offensively, very similar to the 54-win team.

  103. Will the Thrill

    The Knicks aren’t going to miss Chandler defensively by any stretch.

    Well, how could they if he is replaced by Bargs? I mean, if you say Bargs was bad at defense last year, you’re full of shit :)

    But really, I see the Knicks improving from last year just because of the change in coaching and schemes. I don’t know if we should try to scrape by for a 7 seed or for Melo to fake an injury and try to acquire the best draft pick possible.

  104. flossy

    THJ, Calderon, Melo, Amar’e is going to be filthy offensively in the triangle.

    And positively horrifying on defense.

  105. Will the Thrill

    If Fisher plays Bargs and STAT over Cole at center I may stop watching this season even earlier than I did last season. It’s nice to have such a clear sign as to when I can stop watching and know that I should not bother.

  106. hoolahoop

    Melo won’t get worse as he ages (by metrics that don’t value volume), he’ll get better (obviously not forever) because he won’t be able to attempt to carry 30-35 percent of the offense every game.

    I don’t think he’ll actually get better, but much like Paul Pierce, he’ll look better statistically.

    The guy just finished a season with the highest rebound rate of his career (his total rebound rate actually dropped with Bargnani on the floor), the fourth highest assist rate of his career, the second lowest to %, and the second highest TS of his career. His at rim percentage was right near career average despite a stark reduction in transition attempts.

    Oh boy, here we go again with all your pick and choose Melo stats, most, I think, you make up as you write. Would you even be reading this blog if Melo walked? And talk about being wrong – it’s a good thing for you that stats are not kept about blog postings.
    ruru, you seem like a genuinely nice guy, but as a long long time knicks fan, your Melo obsession kills me.

  107. lavor postell

    though as I’ve pointed out he’s like the 7th or 8th best big finisher in the league

    Just curious. Which bigs do you think are better at finishing than Chandler? Also when you say finishing are you talking strictly off of PNR rim runs or also in the sense of being able to be a bit more creative around the rim and increase their volume?

  108. Mike Kurylo

    Cleveland is the precise example of the dangers of building through the draft. They had the #1 pick in 2011, the #4 pick in 2012 and the #1 pick in 2013 and finished a nice crisp 16 games under .500 last year with no relief in sight.

    If a certain star was born in Peoria or Flagstaff rather than Akron, is there any chance at all he would have signed with Cleveland?

    Right but he wasn’t. Cleveland doesn’t have what New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, (and now Milwaukee) etc. have. But they knew they had an advantage with LeBron, and knowing there was outside shot at him, they kept the door open for his return. And it happened. Had Cleveland decided they weren’t going to go rock bottom & just filled their cap with whatever was out there in 2013 (David West & Josh Smith) would that have been a good move? Would even signing only one of those guys to make the team respectable enhanced their chances at getting LeBron? Apparently not.

    My point is for every positive people/writers see in Carmelo Anthony drawing a second superstar, there are at least the same (or more) detriments. It’s just as likely that a player likes Carmelo as it is he doesn’t like him. It’s just as likely that he wants Carmelo as a second fiddle, as it is that he’d rather choose his own second fiddle. LeBron going to Cleveland shows that maybe the “get an established superstar” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

    The Knicks have something to attract marquee free agents: New York City. They just need to keep the door open.

  109. lavor postell

    Bargs or Cole is a tremendously important litmus test for the new regime.

    I agree. I really don’t care what we do with our bigs so long as Cole gets real minutes and extended run even if he’s struggling. I also think Phil and Fisher aren’t complete idiots when it comes to basketball so even if Bargs gets a shot to play and repair any trade value he has, if he’s a complete detriment to the team he’ll get a quick hook.

  110. max fisher-cohen

    The “we’ll just end up overpaying someone else” argument is a false dilemma. There are other ways to use cap space beyond signing the best player you can, regardless of the price. Teams want cap space. Teams want to lower their salaries. Every year that you have cap space, if you don’t give a crap about how good your team is, you can cash it in by absorbing bad contracts.

    Honestly, I’m fine with the Knicks giving Melo his deal as long as there’s an agreement that the Knicks will move him next summer if they are unable to pull off the miracle of crafting a core that can contend for a title.

    If we are going to be Melo’s hostages for the next five years though, which to me is not only possible but likely, this is a nightmare move which could set the Knicks back through the end of the decade.

    One simple thing to consider:

    Which do you prefer?

    $23m of cap space extra cap space and ~3rd overall pick next summer

    Melo and ~14th overall pick next summer

    Put another way, do you think another team would trade the 3rd overall pick next summer for Melo and the 14th pick without giving back any salary?

    Put another way, what the Knicks give up by re-signing Melo is very similar to what they gave up for him in 2010, no? Why is it that that trade has been widely condemned as foolish while this move is not?

  111. er

    The Knicks have something to attract marquee free agents: New York City

    You keep saying this with no proof

  112. er

    If we are going to be Melo’s hostages for the next five years though, which to me is not only possible but likely, this is a nightmare move which could set the Knicks back through the end of the decade.

    Your hyperbole is breathtaking .

  113. ruruland

    “Oh boy, here we go again with all your pick and choose Melo stats, most, ”

    Please.

    He had a career year last season (statistically), his 11th in the league, at an age and minute number where he was supposed to decline.

  114. max fisher-cohen

    It’s not hyperbole. It’s a possibility, one we’ve witnessed before. Melo wants to win now, won’t wait. The Knicks want to keep Melo happy. They trade more future picks for the best players they can get. They still don’t compete for title. Melo gets old and leaves. Now they’re out alternating picks through 2021? Now they “can’t rebuild” until 2021 because “they don’t have picks”.

    Orlando was heading down this very path before Dwight finally left. If Kobe had had his way back when he briefly demanded a trade, the Lakers may have gone down that path.

  115. er

    @125 if you can trade picks for the harden equivalent package of 2 ones. Would you do it or do we need to keep the picks?

  116. lavor postell

    It’s not hyperbole. It’s a possibility, one we’ve witnessed before. Melo wants to win now, won’t wait. The Knicks want to keep Melo happy. They trade more future picks for the best players they can get. They still don’t compete for title. Melo gets old and leaves. Now they’re out alternating picks through 2021? Now they “can’t rebuild” until 2021 because “they don’t have picks”.

    Oh my bad was Phil Jackson the president of basketball operations then? Did he not just trade our “best player” and Felton for some young assets? Didn’t he turn down trade offers for Shump? Didn’t he hire a rookie head coach to develop rather than a retread?

    You’re just making assumptions based on what previous Knick front offices have done rather than judging Phil on what he’s done so far. Maybe he sucks at negotiating contracts, but he did a pretty good job in negotiating his first trade. He’s probably going to make mistakes, but from what he’s demonstrated so far those mistakes don’t seem likely to involve us dealing picks, expiring contracts and young players for instant gratification and players that will cripple our future cap flexibility.

    I don’t doubt he could have moved STAT for THJ and Shump and picked up Gasol with the full MLE, a move previous front offices would have made in a heartbeat and a player that Phil obviously coveted. Even so he didn’t pull the trigger on that deal.

  117. Mike Kurylo

    Bargs or Cole is a tremendously important litmus test for the new regime.

    +1

    The Knicks have something to attract marquee free agents: New York City
    You keep saying this with no proof

    Not sure what you’d consider proof for this? Do you think that Orlando, Memphis, Charlotte, and Milwaukee have equal chances of signing big name players as New York, Los Angeles, or Miami?

    It seems fairly obvious that the best players choose either a premier American city, or an already established winning team. For the former, Shaq to L.A., LeBron to Miami are good examples. I’m not sure that franchises like Milwaukee, Orlando, and Charlotte operate the same as New York, thinking that they have the same opportunities to offer the league’s best players.

    If Shaq or Dwight Howard were drafted by the Knicks, and made the Finals like they did in Orlando, do you think they would have orchestrated a trade out of New York?

  118. lavor postell

    Howard did leave Los Angeles for Houston. For the most part though I would imagine stars wouldn’t leave a city like New York if there was even a relative chance for success which is why criticism of Melo for staying by the mainstream media is amusing to me. Most people aren’t going to pass up $50m and the chance to be the franchise player for the Knicks.

    Just to be clear the reasons why people on this board are critical of him are very different and a lot more legitimate.

  119. er

    Not sure what you’d consider proof for this? Do you think that Orlando, Memphis, Charlotte, and Milwaukee have equal chances of signing big name players as New York, Los Angeles, or Miami?

    If those teams were good then yes. There is no way to objectively measure “equal” The media in NY is borderline abusive and they revel in the teams failing. The NY taxes are Opressive. So I wouldn’t put la and Miami in the same breath as NYC. Those are destination cites with no winter and Better tax codes for millionaires. NYC is not for everyone. Even native NYers get out and move south etc.

  120. Brian Cronin

    Put another way, what the Knicks give up by re-signing Melo is very similar to what they gave up for him in 2010, no? Why is it that that trade has been widely condemned as foolish while this move is not?

    I don’t think that move was widely condemned as foolish at the time. There were plenty of people arguing for the trade. In fact, I’d say that everyone who condemned that deal is condemning this deal.

  121. lavor postell

    In a contract year.

    Really dude? You can say a lot of things about Melo but it’s not like he just turned up this season in a contract year. Give me a break.

  122. DRed

    If Melo wanted to win and get paid, he could have looked at a team like Charlotte or Atlanta. But he wanted to play and live in a big market. He’s not the only player to think like that.

  123. Brian Cronin

    Was Melo last season even all that different from the previous year? He rebounded better, but otherwise, he had a very similar (very good) season to 2012-13, with the biggest difference being that he played a lot more minutes while maintaining the same efficiency, so he was very valuable last season. From a value standpoint, it was his best season ever. But on a rate basis, I think he was just as good and probably better in 2012-13.

  124. Brian Cronin

    By the way, yes, I think it is fair to knock Jackson on the Jason Smith signing now that Ed Davis just took a two-year/$2 million contract. Davis is clearly a superior player than Smith (and is three years younger). There seems to be little doubt that Davis would have taken $3 million for one year vs. $2 million for 2. I was all about Jason Smith only because I felt that the Knicks needed another big man and couldn’t afford someone like Davis with the way salaries have been increasing. I was wrong. Smith is a bad pick-up if Ed Davis is going for 50% less.

  125. JK47

    Really dude? You can say a lot of things about Melo but it’s not like he just turned up this season in a contract year. Give me a break.

    Okay fine. I’ll admit that’s just me being unable to resist taking a jab or two at the expense of Melo’s hagiographer, who has returned to the board after disappearing when it was apparent he was dead wrong about many things, and now blithely returns to once again offer his rosy prognostications about how Mr. MegaMax is going to get better as he ages, like a fine Chenin Blanc.

  126. JK47

    By the way, yes, I think it is fair to knock Jackson on the Jason Smith signing now that Ed Davis just took a two-year/$2 million contract (and is three years younger). Davis is clearly a superior player than Smith. There seems to be little doubt that Davis would have taken $3 million for one year vs. $2 million for 2.

    UGGGGGGGG

    WHY CAN’T WE EVER HAVE NICE THINGS

  127. lavor postell

    Maybe there’s a reason Ed Davis went for $2m/2yrs with a second year player option. He’s had 3 head coaches now who have all given him a majority of DNP-CD’s.

    http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2014/3/5/5473276/Memphis-grizzlies-ed-davis-disappointing-season

    This does a lot better job of expounding on what his issues are as a player. Admittedly the guy is very talented, but he seems like a complete headcase. There’s no question he’s a better prospect than Jason Smith, but maybe Phil erred on the side of caution here betting that a guy who could get his act together and be professional in Memphis is unlikely to do it in New York.

    He’s tremendously talented and the fact that 29 other teams in the league could have had him for the vet. minimum and passed indicates that something is up with a guy this talented.

  128. DRed

    Jason Smith sucks tho. Give me a productive headcase with a bad attitude over an injury prone replacement level guy every day of the week. Ed Davis’s disappointing season is much better than any year Jason Smith has ever had.

  129. er

    Not a big diff. But we are comparing NY to LA. Sorry to say that Lakers win on legacy and weather and media harshness

  130. DRed

    So, er, to sum up your argument, the Knicks can’t attract free agents and they also shouldn’t try to rebuild. At some point maybe you should reflect on why you’re wrong so often.

  131. Mike Kurylo

    Those are destination cites with no winter and Better tax codes for millionaires. NYC is not for everyone. Even native NYers get out and move south etc.

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Yankees, Celtics, or Red Sox. I’d argue that warm weather year around isn’t for everyone either. My wife hated Southern California, and missed Fall and Winter. Lots of people don’t like the heat.

    I’d also argue that New York fans are more interested & loyal. No way we go 2 decades without an NFL team. No way MSG empties out like Miami does.

    There are differences between the major cities, but for each preference, there are two sides. We’re with Miami and L.A. (and Chicago). Not with Milwaukee or Orlando.

  132. Brian Cronin

    Jason Smith sucks tho. Give me a productive headcase with a bad attitude over an injury prone replacement level guy every day of the week. Ed Davis’s disappointing season is much better than any year Jason Smith has ever had.

    The free agent market for power forwards is dismal this year, though. I literally cannot think of a single guy out there that would sign for one year for the mini-MLE that’s better than Smith other than Davis. That’s how bad things are.

    The market is essentially Blatche (too expensive), Mike Scott (too expensive since he is restricted), Brand (I’d rather have Smith), Big Baby Davis (I’d rather have Smith), Charlie V. (I’d rather have Smith), Kevin Seraphim (too expensive since he is restricted), Ryan Kelly (too expensive since he’s restricted), Ivan Johnson (didn’t even play in the NBA last year – I’d rather have Smith) and Jan Veseley (I’d rather have Smith).

    Ed Davis I’d rather have, but I suppose there might actually be something to be said for him having mental problems, in which case Jackson might want to steer clear. I’d sill rather have Davis than Smith, but that’s about it (as far as guys you could get for the mini-MLE).

  133. JK47

    Maybe there’s a reason Ed Davis went for $2m/2yrs with a second year player option. He’s had 3 head coaches now who have all given him a majority of DNP-CD’s.

    That article makes it seem like he kinda got a raw deal in Memphis, that Lionel Hollins wouldn’t play him because he was butthurt about the Rudy Gay trade.

    But I think that Davis might not have wanted to come to NYK anyway. On the Lakers he’ll get a really good chance to get starter’s minutes, so the two-year deal with the player option makes a lot of sense for him. He probably would not have gotten as many minutes here.

  134. Brian Cronin

    Los Angeles is putting together such an odd team. It’ll be fascinating to see who the coach will be. I presume the lineup is:

    Lin/Marshall
    Kobe
    Swaggy P
    Possibly Boozer/Davis/Kelly
    Hill/Sacre

    with Randle backing up at the 4 and the 5 and possibly earning a starting job quickly.

    Such a strange team.

  135. er

    So, er, to sum up your argument, the Knicks can’t attract free agents and they also shouldn’t try to rebuild. At some point maybe you should reflect on why you’re wrong so often.

    You sir need to improve your reading comprehension. I never said any of those things. The banter between Brian and i was about selling NYC to free agents. My claim was simply that not everyone sees NY the way Melo does and that i dont think that its that big of a tool to lure free agents. I could be dead wrong, but i dont call myself prescient or anything of the sort. And what was i wrong about? Knick wins last year…..? So were a whole lot of ppl lol. I dont really make any prognostications here so i dont know what the hell you are talking about.

  136. Farfa

    Lin/Marshall
    Kobe
    Swaggy P
    Possibly Boozer/Davis
    Hill/Sacre

    With that awful starting five (not even a passable defender – Kobe is a bad defender since 2012) the best scenario is a collective effort to make Kobe score like gangbusters to assault the Abdul-Jabbar record.

    I also would love to hear from the Lakers fans about a Kobe 40.0 PPG, 3RPG, 2APG season with a TS of .490 and a usage of 42%.

  137. Brian Cronin

    By the way, gotta give some props to Chicago for actually biting the bullet and amnestying Boozer.

    He’ll be an interesting pick-up for whatever team picks him up (only nine teams are currently under the cap, so very few teams can make a claim on him – The Lakers are one of them and I bet they will make a claim, hence me including him in their lineup).

  138. Z-man

    Re: Melo, once we committed to Phil, there was no chance that he would voluntarily jettison Melo in favor of a complete rebuild, not at age 68. He either had to make a killing in a S&T or do whatever it took to get Melo to return. So as fans, we either come to grips with that or we don’t. It doesn’t change anything, he’s here and he’s staying for the rest of the decade. Will it work? If a title is the benchmark, probably not. But I bet we’ll see fewer JR’s and Feltons and more guys, young and veteran, with high B-Ball IQs. Regardless of the signing, a guy with 12 titles and a world-class leadership resume is horse-whispering to Melo that he has to change his game if he wants to win big. Regardless of the money, Melo’s window is rapidly closing as an alpha dog. I am cautiously optimistic that he will listen and respond positively.

  139. Z-man

    That’s why I like the Smith signing over Ed Davis. If Davis is not being sought after because of his attitude, why bring that in? Smith seems like a good “system” guy.

  140. Hubert

    Oh my bad was Phil Jackson the president of basketball operations then? Did he not just trade our “best player” and Felton for some young assets? Didn’t he turn down trade offers for Shump? Didn’t he hire a rookie head coach to develop rather than a retread?

    None of these things counter the idea that Max (and I, earlier) put forth that Phil is likely to favor moves that help Melo win over moves that our best for the long term health of our franchise.

    1. Phil’s sweet spot for winning is going to be years 2-4 of Melo’s deal. Chandler won’t be around for them, so he moved him for players who would be. It was a smart move, but it doesn’t counter the idea that he’s going all in with Melo from 2015-17. It actually sets him up better to.

    2. The trade offer for Shump was first round pick. Turning down a first round pick for a player you’re going to have to overpay in a year actually supports our side, not yours.

    3. Fisher’s inexperience doesn’t mean much either way. He knows the triangle, and there aren’t any good coaches with experience who know it as well as him. There was just no way Phil was going to hire a Van Gundy brother regardless of his intention.

  141. Hubert

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Yankees, Celtics, or Red Sox. I’d argue that warm weather year around isn’t for everyone either. My wife hated Southern California, and missed Fall and Winter. Lots of people don’t like the heat.

    The Yankees and Red Sox can’t even be factors because they have more money than everyone else. You could get LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to play in Maine if there was a team up there that could offer them double what another team could pay.

    And when was the last time the Celtics signed a marquee free agent? Xavier McDaniel? (still bitter we lost him, by the way.) They love believing that NBA players want to come to them, but they’ve always relied on one-sided trades with stupid GM’s.

    I don’t disagree about NY being a destination, but warm weather climates and low state income taxes has proven to be a very attractive feature for NBA free agents over the last 20 years.

  142. lavor postell

    @Hubert

    You can build a team around Melo without making moves that fuck over your long-term future. The assumption is we will just max out somebody next summer even though Phil during the SL game on Monday said he’d like to spread the money out to 2 players. If you do that and you keep your draft picks and let your young guys develop that is exactly what good organizations do. Having Melo doesn’t preclude you from looking to make your team immediately to contend and build for the future through the draft.

    I don’t doubt he could have moved STAT for THJ and Shump and picked up Gasol with the full MLE, a move previous front offices would have made in a heartbeat and a player that Phil obviously coveted. Even so he didn’t pull the trigger on that deal.

    This was the trade I was referring too. Phil wanted to move STAT’s contract to make a play on Gasol and Philly asked for Shump and either THJ or a 2018 pick. No dice and we moved on. This after rebuffing Shump for OKC’s No. 29 pick, which IMO was a good move, but the jury is out on.
    My point in him hiring Fisher was simply if all he cared about was winning now, he wouldn’t have been consistent in his desire to hire and mold and develop a first time head coach. He wanted it to be a player that he coached, since they would understand the Triangle and so that their views would be aligned with who Phil as the head of the Knicks’ FO would be looking to add to the roster. We’ve seen plenty of cases where the front office’s ideas on roster and personnel doesn’t mesh with the head coach and how that can lead to friction. That is unlikely to be an issue with the Knicks.

  143. KnickfaninNJ

    I don’t think that move was widely condemned as foolish at the time. There were plenty of people arguing for the trade. In fact, I’d say that everyone who condemned that deal is condemning this deal.

    Not true at all. People on this board mostly condemned the trade because we gave up too much, but there were certainly those outside the board who said that it’s always worth trading ordinary players for starters (Bill Simmons, for example). But trading two starters, a backup center and draft picks is completely different from just signing someone and giving them a raise. I condemned the deal for Melo, but I don’t condemn signing him as a free agent. The two cases are completely different. Even if we were getting someone through free agency, having bottomed out, we’d have to play close to the annual salary we’re playing Melo, just for four years instead of five.

    Most or all of the people here who doesn’t like the signing is saying that we will get some hypothetical players who are better bargains than Melo through the draft. But almost all the examples given of teams building through the draft are teams that didn’t make it past the second round of the playoffs (OKC did). We did that two seasons without building through the draft, so there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

  144. Hubert

    The assumption is we will just max out somebody next summer even though Phil during the SL game on Monday said he’d like to spread the money out to 2 players. If you do that and you keep your draft picks and let your young guys develop that is exactly what good organizations do. Having Melo doesn’t preclude you from looking to make your team immediately to contend and build for the future through the draft.

    The problem with spreading the money out to two players is that the NBA’s middle class is arguably the most overpriced tier in the entire league, so it will be difficult (though not impossible) to find value there. If you nab two guys on deals like Millsap and Stephenson got, then bravo.

    But the point my side is trying to make is that one of the best things to do with cap space is to not use it on a free agent, but to keep it and use it to extract assets by acquiring bad contracts. That’s how the Cavs got Kyrie, for example. Signing Melo signals to me that we don’t intend to explore that strategy.

  145. DRed

    “I also don’t think it’s always the case that players are what they will always be at age 26 and can’t adapt to a new situation. Melo hasn’t played with the likes of Amar’e before, and not for D’Antoni either. From all accounts, when he played in the Olympics, he was outstanding.”

    “Hopefully Melo realizes that he will have to work on his game. Not passing, refining shooting mechanics and not rotating on defense is not acceptable for a max player that wants to compete with Miami, Boston and Chicago”

    “I think Melo can improve his efficiency quite a bit – at least, get it back where it was early in his career, when he actually cracked a 58 TS% while at a similarly high usage rate.”

    “In comparing the TS% of each player on the Nuggets with and without Carmelo on the floor, Silver does locate some data that supports the idea that Melo’s high-volume leads to increased efficiency of those around him. We can only hope that the Fields, Stoudemire, etc. experience a similar increase.”

    “D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy (getting guys on the move when they have the advantage, with most jumpers being spot-up off of passes) controls Melo’s Iso-tendencies, and we get the best of both worlds – a guy who can score with the shotclock going down if necessary, but not a guy who holds the ball making jab-steps for 1/2 the shot clock”

    Mostly the discussion around the time of the Melo trade was us complaining about the Nets getting Derron Williams (whoops!). But the Melo stuff-boy, that sure sounds awful familiar.

  146. lavor postell

    But the point my side is trying to make is that one of the best things to do with cap space is to not use it on a free agent, but to keep it and use it to extract assets by acquiring bad contracts. That’s how the Cavs got Kyrie, for example. Signing Melo signals to me that we don’t intend to explore that strategy.

    This is a fair point. I would have definitely pursued this strategy if we hadn’t re-signed Melo or had dumped him for assets. I think the main disagreement is that I’m fine with re-signing Melo and I think we can still build a contending team with him in the fold, while still building and developing talent for the future and others think not only will we not contend, but we are doomed to repeat past mistakes. I can definitely understand the opposing view, but I feel people have been hyperbolic (which I do a lot too!) in condemning Melo, Phil Jackson and the direction the franchise is taking based on a lot of assumptions that may well not even turn out to be true.

  147. DRed

    I mean, just look at that shit.

    Melo is good in the Olympics, so he’ll be great with the Knicks for some reason (check)
    Melo will realize he needs to work on his all around game (check)
    Melo will improve his efficiency significantly (check)
    Melo makes everyone else better (check)
    New offensive system will result in totally new Melo (check)

    Only now he’s 4 years older, and none of that shit happened. So let’s just double down on the bet.

  148. johnno

    “Only now he’s 4 years older, and none of that shit happened. So let’s just double down on the bet.”
    If you are fair and objective, I think that you will have to acknowledge that, to at least some degree, 4 of the 5 predictions have absolutely come true. His last 2 years are arguably the best in his career, he has improved his outside shooting dramatically, his efficiency numbers (like PER and TS%) have improved, and his game has evolved considerably (playing the small-ball 4, much less mid-range, more 3 pointers, etc.) One legitimate knock is that he hasn’t made everyone better (or maybe he has, since Tyson Chandler had arguably his two best and most efficient years playing with Melo).

  149. Hubert

    Good work DRed.

    2010: “D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy (getting guys on the move when they have the advantage, with most jumpers being spot-up off of passes) controls Melo’s Iso-tendencies, and we get the best of both worlds – a guy who can score with the shotclock going down if necessary, but not a guy who holds the ball making jab-steps for 1/2 the shot clock”

    2014: “Triangle not only creates far more passing opportunities in Melo’s sweet spots, but his passing decisions will be more like a quarterback making reads than an improviser relying on instincts. If Phil/triangle can shift about 10 percent of Melo’s offense away from isolation contested jumpers and into passes, those efficiency numbers are easily achievable.”

  150. Bruno Almeida

    @167

    And with 4 of the 5 predictions supposedly coming true, we won 37 games in the eastern conference.

    Awesome! can’t wait for next season.

    At least ruruland is back to tell us how we’re all terrible fans of this franchise for not believing in Melo’s godlike powers.

  151. Unreason

    You could get LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to play in Maine if there was a team up there that could offer them double what another team could pay.

    Don’t I know it! Damn Red Claws owners! Lolling about idly atop their buttery mountains of crustacean cash instead of using it to woo the talent. So what if it’s the D League. Forget warmth, tax breaks, glamour, and media exposure. Lust for lobsters combined with the allure of lucre; that’s the irresistible hook for reeling in franchise stars. If only the Red Claws FO wasn’t so blind.

  152. Farfa

    And with 4 of the 5 predictions supposedly coming true, we won 37 games in the eastern conference.

    Awesome! can’t wait for next season.

    Yes, but that is not Melo’s fault. At the same time, it illustrates the core issue: Melo is a great offensive player who does not help his team to win more games. With Melo alone, you lose the games you should lose and win two thirds of games you should win. So the problem is not “should/will Melo change?”, but is “who will help us win games and justify the presence of Melo on this roster”? And by justify I mean: give a reason to spend all this money on a great offensive talent who is not that useful by himself.

  153. GoNyGoNYGo

    @144 er
    When looking at payroll taxes, take into account that not all of the players will live in NYC or even NY. The actual rates will vary depending on that. Also, with athletes, they pay taxes EVERYWHERE they work. That means that when they play in Boston, they must file there too. However, trying to compare NY to LA is simple – both are expensive.

    #147 Mike Kurylo

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Yankees, Celtics, or Red Sox.

    Weather is a bit of an issue for some free-agents in basketball because it’s a winter sport. There are free agents that have refused to come to NY. Greg Maddux comes to mind. Cliff Lee too. The major factor in those cases is the poison that is NY media.

    I’m sure that most of you cringe when you listen to talk radio. I like discussing things here because, whether or not we agree, I think most of you know what you’re talking about.

    @155 Z-Man

    Melo, once we committed to Phil, there was no chance that he would voluntarily jettison Melo in favor of a complete rebuild, not at age 68.

    Truth. Clearly, my age is one reason why I have no patience for a rebuild.

    @163 Hubert

    If you nab two guys on deals like Millsap and Stephenson got, then bravo.

    I think that’s the stategy. I actually think that there are some relative bargains at that “B” tier. If the Knicks can find 2 good players next year in the 8-12M range to surround Anthony, we’ll feel much better, I think. Guys like Andre Iguodala, Brandon Bass and the Morris brothers fit that bill.

  154. DRed

    Any GM paying 8-12 million dollars for 30 year old Brandon Bass should immediately be fired. Out of a cannon.

  155. johnno

    “Melo is a great offensive player who does not help his team to win more games.”
    Couldn’t the same be said for Kevin Love, whom everyone here seems to think is terrific?

  156. Farfa

    @176

    Not really, but apart from that I agree that Love is probably not a leading man on a championship contender as of now.

  157. DRed

    Kevin Love is better at pretty much everything than Carmelo. We would have waltzed into the playoffs last year if you’d replaced Melo with KLove.

  158. massive

    I know what the stats say, and I know that Kevin Love is a remarkable talent. I also know that Kevin Love has never been to the playoffs, and that his team with Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Pekovic was better than the one we fielded around Melo last year. I don’t know how much better this team would have been if Melo was replaced by Kevin Love. The stats say much better, but his team success speaks to the contrary.

  159. lavor postell

    Kevin Love’s teams have never once in his career finished above their expected W/L. He’s a really good player, but apparently he doesn’t move the needle that much either.

  160. Farfa

    I also know that Kevin Love has never been to the playoffs, and that his team with Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Pekovic was better than the one we fielded around Melo last year.

    Um, ok, but he plays (maybe for just a few weeks now?) out West. That team would have easily made the playoffs this year in the Eastern Conference. That said, I too think he doesn’t move the needle that much (absurdly high WP48 aside) in a bad team. I think he could be absolutely devastating in a good-to-great team.

  161. DRed

    Put that Wolves team in the east last year and they cruise easily to the playoffs, even with their weird close game failings. Then nobody says that Kevin Love can’t get his teams to the playoffs. But Kevin Love is the exact same player. See how weak a criticism that is?

  162. DRed

    Speaking of Love, there’s a roundtable discussion on grantland debating whether or not to trade Wiggins for Love. It’s funny people think that’s a topic worthy of debate.

  163. JK47

    Kevin Love’s teams have never once in his career finished above their expected W/L.

    I don’t even know what this means exactly. Last year the Wolves performed 8 games under their pythag– this is somehow Kevin Love’s fault? Like, he causes them to lose close games? Conversely, great players should cause their team to overperform their pythag projections, right? Last year, the Heat, with the great LeBron were… right at their pythag. OKC, with Durant, were one game above their pythag. The previous season, the Thunder were 4 games under pythag. Underperforming your pythag is generally the result of two things: 1. bad luck 2. bad coaching.

    Furthermore, the Timberwolves bench last year was a vast wasteland. They got good to decent play out of their starters, but the bench was JJ Barea, Dante Cunningham, Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexei Shved, Chase Budinger and Gorgui Dieng, and Dieng was the only one that didn’t completely suck. I think Love is a little overrated in the advanced stat world, like many players whose main weakness (defense) is hard to glean from a box score. But he blows Melo’s doors off.

  164. Farfa

    Speaking of Love, there’s a roundtable discussion on grantland debating whether or not to trade Wiggins for Love. It’s funny people think that’s a topic worthy of debate.

    Yes, I don’t understand it either. You have LeBron, dammit! You don’t need to wait… go get Love and field Irving-Allen/Miller/Dellavedova-James-Love-Varejao as your starting five with Scrap Heap PG-Allen/Miller/Dellavedova-James Jones-Thompson-Haywood-Powell-Felix. Yes, I take for granted Ray Allen is gonna end there if they get Love. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to… the Spurs.

    Are you kidding me? BTW: Delly is perfect to start at the 2 in that configuration. He could have a breakout year as a Danny Green type.

  165. lavor postell

    All I’m saying is that for such a great player he’s never even been able to lead his team to outperform their expected W/L even when it hasn’t been all that high and he’s played a lot of minutes.

    08-09: Expected W/L 27-55, actual 24-58, 2048 MP 5th on team
    09-10: Expected W/L 17-65, actual 15-67, 1714 MP 6th on team
    10-11: Expected W/L 24-58, actual 17-65, 2611 MP 1st on team
    11-12: Expected W/L 28-38, actual 26-40, 2145 MP 1st on team
    12-13: Expected W/L 34-48, actual 31-51, 618 MP (only 18 games) 11th on team
    13-14: Expexted W/L 48-34, actual 40-42, 2797 MP 1st on team

    You talk about Durant and Lebron meeting or coming up short of expectations, but those guys are also on teams with a lot higher standards to meet. A player like Love who is supposedly a bonafide superstar should be able to help his team exceed or at least meet their expected W/L one season. OKC’s pythag was 58 wins last year, they played 2 months without Westbrook and they exceeded the total in the brutal Western Conference. Miami’s pythag was 54 wins and they matched it despite Wade missing 28 games. Love’s not the only guy dealing with injuries (both Durant and Lebron) and bad coaching (Durant).

    I think Love is a little overrated in the advanced stat world, like many players whose main weakness (defense) is hard to glean from a box score. But he blows Melo’s doors off.

    I agree with the first part of your statement, but not the second part though I think he’s almost certain to pass Melo in the next year or two.

    Either way I think it’s dumb to suggest that either Melo or Love is somehow the sole factor in their teams’ on court struggles. As their franchise’s leading men though it comes with the territory and while Melo gets killed for that stuff, Love has consistently got a pass.

  166. Hubert

    We would have waltzed into the playoffs last year if you’d replaced Melo with KLove.

    No fucking way. There isn’t a damn thing about Kevin Love that suggests he could drag the carcass that was last year’s Knicks into the playoffs.

    Neither Melo nor Love is a great guy to build around, despite both being excellent.

    People love Love, but they also talk about him teaming up with LeBron or Durant, or joining an already excellent team in Golden State or Chicago. Love in those situations would be tremendous. So would Melo.

    Building around Love as your top player the way we are trying to build around Melo, though? You’d end up with, well, Minnesota.

  167. johnno

    It’s not just that Love hasn’t made the playoffs, it’s the fact that, in his team’s best year, their record was only 3 games better than Melo’s team’s worst record.

  168. DRed

    There isn’t a damn thing about Kevin Love that suggests he could drag the carcass that was last year’s Knicks into the playoffs.

    He’s significantly better than Carmelo. We missed the playoffs by one game. I think that’s one damn thing, at least.

  169. lavor postell

    He’s significantly better than Carmelo. We missed the playoffs by one game. I think that’s one damn thing, at least.

    What?

  170. Hubert

    I like Love as a basketball player more than Melo. But I would not say he is significantly better. And I think he is far more suited to being an excellent 2nd gun than a top guy (which is exactly what I think about Melo).

    You give me the opportunity to trade Melo for Love right now, and of course I’d do it. But I still think we’d be in the same place, locked into a really good basketball player who can’t outproduce a max contract like Durant or LeBron.

  171. yellowboy90

    I hope people want use if Melo’s Denver teams were in the eastern conference…

  172. Hubert

    Speaking of Love, there’s a roundtable discussion on grantland debating whether or not to trade Wiggins for Love. It’s funny people think that’s a topic worthy of debate.

    From Chuck Klosterman:

    That letter James “wrote” to SI? Idiotic. It was totally idiotic.I’m not interested in constructed apologies or histrionic aphorisms.

    Yeah! Chuck is with me on Team I Ain’t Buyin’ That Bullshit.

    Still got room.

  173. lavor postell

    Hubert,

    I’m with you on that too. Lebron’s not an idiot and he’s not going to make the same mistake twice. Amazing how people act like the guy is some kind of saint now because he abandoned a situation that looked to be deteriorating for a better one that had the added bonus of him selling it as a homecoming and a redemption story. I don’t begrudge him that, but it’s not anything IMO that deserves praise.

  174. DRed

    Love is better than Melo any way you want to measure it. Per 36 minutes, Melo was better than Love in three point percentage (.026), blocks (.1), turnovers (.1), steals (.3) and taking shots. Love was better, and often significantly better, at everything else. He’s better than Melo at WS, WP, real plus minus, xRPAM, and even PER. EVEN PER. We would have won one more game last season if you’d replaced Love with Melo.

  175. JK47

    I think it’s a pretty open and shut case that Love is significantly better than Melo.

    Let’s look at last year’s numbers:

    TS%
    Love .591
    Melo .561

    WS48
    Love .245
    Melo .172

    TRB%
    Love 18.7
    Melo 12.3

    AST%
    Love 21.4
    Melo 15.8

    TOV%
    Love 10.3
    Melo 9.5 (score one for Melo!)

    Total Win Shares
    Love 14.3
    Melo 10.7

    How is Melo at the same level– because his stellar defense and high basketball IQ trumps all of Love’s statistical advantages?

  176. Hubert

    You’re putting a lot of faith in predetermined outcomes, DRed. As if everything else would be the same if you swapped Love and Melo, except Love would produce exactly the way he produced for Minnesota and it would win us an extra game. Way, way too many variables. As much as I like Kevin Love and admit his stats were better, you can’t just transfer everything over and say it would have gone down the same way.

    Our team was really fucking terrible last year. I’ve never seen Love do anything that would make me believe his impressive production could carry a shit team into the playoffs.

  177. JK47

    You’re putting a lot of faith in predetermined outcomes, DRed. As if everything else would be the same if you swapped Love and Melo, except Love would produce exactly the way he produced for Minnesota and it would win us an extra game. Way, way too many variables.

    Actually Love would have won us more than just the one game. It would have been more like 4-6 more wins. And the variables are less significant than you think. Love consistently scores more efficiently and consistently pulls down way more rebounds, year after year.

  178. DRed

    The Knicks were bad so they couldn’t have won one more game if they replaced Carmelo with someone better?

  179. Hubert

    And the variables are less significant than you think.

    No, they’re really not.

    Variable #1 -Rick Adelman vs Mike Woodson. “ISO is a big part of what we do here, Kev, so stop spacing the floor for your teammates, I need you to break down your man one on one because I can’t devise an offense that makes the most of your skills.”

  180. JK47

    Melo has been in the league 11 years, and he has never, in any system, for any coach, ever put up numbers that approach a standard Kevin Love season. Is he like the unluckiest guy in the league, or is he maybe not as good as Kevin Love?

  181. Hubert

    He’s not as good as Kevin Love.

    But that doesn’t mean Kevin Love would have been just as good playing with Felton & Bargs as he was playing with Rubio & Pekovic, or that he could have dragged last year’s team to the playoffs.

    Synergy matters. Other players on the court matter. The offense you’re playing in matters. Love was on a decent team in an extremely hard conference. The Knicks were a steaming pile of shit that could have made anyone’s numbers fall off.

    I think Love is better than Melo, that doesn’t mean I think Love could have gotten last year’s Knicks into the playoffs.

  182. DRed

    Kevin Love was about as good last season as he’s been 3 out of the last 4 years. The other one he was hurt. Considering he’s 25, you’d basically expect him to have improved a bit every season he was healthy. And that’s what we’ve seen. Maybe that was because of some synergy or some system or something, but considering it’s pretty much consistent with the career of most NBA players, it’s more likely he’s a really good basketball player. He put up better numbers than Melo ever has playing with an assortment of shit players on bad teams for poor coaches. His ability to play well despite having terrible teammates should really not be in question at this point.

  183. thenoblefacehumper

    Anyone attributing Love’s success to his teammates, specifically Rubio and Pekovic, is conveniently forgetting that Love’s first elite season was 2010-2011. Rubio was in Spain and Pekovic played 887 total minutes. The second best player on the team was…Anthony Tolliver? Lo and behold, Love still managed 20-15 with a .593% TS. He’s made some strides since then, at ages in which improvement is common. Love is not a product of any teammates or system.

  184. Mike Kurylo

    “The Yankees and Red Sox can’t even be factors because they have more money than everyone else. ”

    But they have to compete with the Dodgers and Texans and Braves. How come the Yankees and Red Sox are able to compete at the same level as these teams when the cost of living, weather, etc. work against them?

    BTW what about the Patriots? They’ve seemed to attract some big names via trade and free agency. Mike Vrabel, Eric Welker, Randy Moss, Revis, Asant Samuel, etc.

  185. johnno

    This year, Melo was a much better shooter than Love on any shot more than 10 feet from the basket. On shots 10-16 feet, Melo was .443, Love .354; on 16 feet – <3pt, Melo was .447 and Love was .400; on 3 pointers, Melo was .402 and Love was .376. Love’s TS% is skewed by the fact that he took 42% of his shots from 3 feet from the rim or closer, while only 26% of Melo’s shots were that close to the rim. They are different types of players. Love is more of a stretch 4 and Melo is a hybrid 3-4.

  186. johnno

    My screwup — I meant to say that 42% of Love’s shots were less than 10 feet from the rim, not less than 3 feet.

  187. Hubert

    Anyone attributing Love’s success to his teammates, specifically Rubio and Pekovic

    No one did that.

    I did, however, imply that a pick and roll involving Rubio & Pekovic likely created different 3PAs than the one that involved Felton & Bargs. I cited that as one of many (too many) variables that makes saying: “if you switch Melo & Love we’d have made the playoffs because Love’s numbers are so much better” difficult for me to accept.

    I believe our entire team situation, from coach to teammates, last year was terrible enough that Love would have had a hard time replicating the numbers he put up in MN here, and that citing those numbers and acting as if they could be transferred seemlessly to last year’s Knicks and propel us to the playoffs is not something I’m buying.

  188. DRed

    Love has played better than Melo did last year with shittier teammates than Melo had last year. I think you’re all pretty badly underrating how good Love is. Not many guys in NBA history can score, rebound and pass like Love.

  189. Brian Cronin

    Love is an interesting case, because I was just meaning to use him as an example the other day of how bad this Melo deal is. To wit, while Love is better than Melo, I wouldn’t want to lock in a 30-year-old Kevin Love for five years/$124 million either. Unless you’re pretty much on the same level as Lebron and Durant, a five year/$124 million contract for a 30-year-old player for a non-playoff team is not going to give you the surplus value you’ll need for how much it hamstrings your cap. It’s not a shot at Melo or Love or whoever, it’s just how the restrictive cap works. Again, right now the Knicks will not even have max money to spend next offseason (unless Shump is renounced or unless JR Smith opt in).

  190. thenoblefacehumper

    I believe our entire team situation, from coach to teammates, last year was terrible enough that Love would have had a hard time replicating the numbers he put up in MN here, and that citing those numbers and acting as if they could be transferred seemlessly to last year’s Knicks and propel us to the playoffs is not something I’m buying.

    The problem I have with this is Love put up better numbers than Melo ever has on a 17 win team. Reasonable debate can be had about interaction effects and the like, but Love seems to produce regardless of his teammates.

  191. lavor postell

    Love has played better than Melo did last year with shittier teammates than Melo had last year. I think you’re all pretty badly underrating how good Love is. Not many guys in NBA history can score, rebound and pass like Love.

    Love didn’t play with shittier teammates. I’m not going to get involved in this Love/Melo debate any further since I think people’s minds are made up one way or the other but there is no chance Love’s supporting cast was as shitty as Melo’s last season.

  192. thenoblefacehumper

    Love didn’t play with shittier teammates.

    He certainly did in 2010-2011, and still was better than Melo ever has been. Not a knock on Melo, he did better than most players ever have.

Comments are closed.