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Friday, October 24, 2014

Afro-Samurai Goes to Greece

Sekou Smith, the excellent Hawks beat writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is reporting that the man with the maddest ‘fro this side of the Afro-Samurai will sign with Olympiakos, and for more than the above-the-mid-level contract Atlanta was offering (rumored at $33 million). Atlanta retains his NBA rights for two years, and the contract contains opt outs at the end of each season.

Considering Childress’ deal alongside Brandon Jennings’ recent deal with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma raises the question of whether this is a trickle in what could become a steady stream of players leaving the NBA for other pro leagues under the FIBA umbrella. It is difficult to know, but any seasoned NBA fan can tell you that the path from the NBA to overseas leagues is already well-worn; but mostly by foreign-born and US-born fringe NBA players (e.g., Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker respectively). Jennings and Childress represent a somewhat different (though perhaps not categorically different) kind of US-born Euroleague signee. They are highly-regarded talents who walked away from two entrenched institutional practices that have quasi-legal status: the NCAA’s virtual monopoly on entry to the NBA for US-born players and the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement (specifically restricted free agency). Although a direct comparison between Jennings and Childress to baseball’s Curt Flood would put too fine a point on it, their their willingness to move outside–way outside–the NCAA/NBA nexus could ultimately take on similar significance. (Rather than challenging a clear violation of the law as Flood did Jennings and Childress have exposed a clear point of vulnerability for both the NCAA and NBA: competition.)

Since KB has already written about Jennings I’ll limit my remaining comments to the Childress signing. First, globalization doesn’t just work for the US. Legitimate competition for US-born athletic talent is to my mind a good thing. In fact, sports may be one of the very few arenas where it’s possible for those who labor to gain enough leverage to negotiate salary and working conditions on a vaguely equal footing with management. When one of these guys wins at that game I can’t help but root for him. Second, at the risk of engaging in some Schadenfreude, this couldn’t have happened to a more deserving ownership group. The Atlanta ownership situation continues to be an embarrassment. Their players, to their everlasting credit and Mike Woodson’s, have developed in spite of the considerable obstacles created by ownership. As a Knicks fan I have complete empathy for Atlanta’s fans who think, “What did we ever do to deserve this?” Or, my personal favorite, “What else can go wrong?” Third, I hardly anticipate a mass exodus of US-born players to the various European leagues beyond what we currently see. The culture shock is considerable, and at the risk of stereotyping, many athletes are if nothing else creatures of familiarity and habit. If anything, I expect to see even fewer European stars jump across the pond to the NBA. The dollar is just too weak. If the structural weaknesses in the US economy aren’t the sort of thing you pay attention to, consider the Childress signing as yet another indication that the economy will probably get a lot worse before it gets better.

I eagerly anticipate the owners’ response to this and then Billy Hunter’s. This isn’t just about losing Childress, who may not be worth what he’s getting. (I’ll leave that to another post.) The bigger issue is that Childress and Olympiakos exploited the NBA’s failure to really consider that talent pipelines can travel in both directions. Olympiakos works without salary cap restriction and Atlanta has no “right” to match Childress’ offer (the essence of restricted free agency); a point of vulnerability that had up to this point only impacted foreign-born draftees and fringe players. Now you can bank it that the owners will use this issue to push for any number of unrelated concessions in the CBA under threat of lockout; it’s what they do. More to the point however, I expect that some teams will now look to place buyout clauses in player contracts where possible.

99 comments on “Afro-Samurai Goes to Greece

  1. caleb

    Does the biz professor know — will Childress owe U.S. taxes on his salary, if he lives in Greece more than six months of the year? Would any taxes be pro-rated?

    That would make the Greek offer much more valuable.

    Otherwise — as reported, “more than $20 million,” it looks like similar dollars to the Atlanta offer. For less work and the pleasure of sticking it to your old boss.

  2. foliveri

    I would so go to Europe if I were a young player.
    It’s the only place these days where they can truly learn how to play basketball the right way…and make a lot of money doing it.
    Perhaps the European leagues will replace the CBA…

    And then these guys can get a little education, maybe get a bit more worldly and less thuggish…

  3. Jose B

    My understanding is that Olympiakos has agreed as part of the contract to pay any taxes on Childress’s salary, the way it plays out Childress is making somewhere around 2.5MM-3MM extra a year by moving to Greece and taking this offer. Financially it is a very wise decision on his part, and as far as life experience this is definitely a very intriguing opportunity for someone like Childress, who is not your stereotypical NBA player. He definitely excelled academically, as one does not end up in Stanford by mistake. Anyone who is shocked/surprised by this move is simply ignoring most of the variables here.

  4. d

    I see this as a major shifting point in the league.

    as it stands, the leagues cba, salary cap, lux tax, and draft rules prevent players from being able to negotiate the best deal from any nba team it chooses. in the two cases, jennings and childress, i am sure an nba team would have been willing to employ them if there were no rules preventing them (the under 19 rule and salary cap respectively)

    the nba has become a large corporation and is not 30 organizations. at some point there has to be a shift away from salary caps, and lux taxs and in return, the players are going to have to surrender guaranteed contracts. in that system, the teams that are the most profitable would be able to sign players at their real value.

  5. caleb

    “at some point there has to be a shift away from salary caps, and lux taxs and in return, the players are going to have to surrender guaranteed contracts. in that system, the teams that are the most profitable would be able to sign players at their real value.”

    What do guaranteed contracts have to do with that equation?

  6. Owen

    I don’t think there is anything surprising in Childress’ decision. The dollar is extremely weak right now at .62 to the euro. He isn’t married. It’s sort of a no-brainer from a financial perspective, especially since he can come back in two years in an advantageous negotiating position.

    What is surprising to me in this is that Olympiakos sees that kind of value in Childress. As a WOW guy, I believe he is highly underrated. However, he is a low usage guy through and through, and I am amazed the Greeks will cough up that much dough for a swingman whose game may not even translate that well. Traditionally, the role of the American is either the scoring role or the dominant inside bruiser. They aren’t getting either of those things.

    Overall, I think we should see more of this. Going to make salary negotiations much more interesting.

  7. caleb

    “It’s sort of a no-brainer from a financial perspective”

    Every report I’ve seen quotes the Greek offer in dollars, and doesn’t explain the tax situation. Has anyone seen a better article?

  8. hoopinion

    Their players, to their everlasting credit and Mike Woodson’s, have developed in spite of the considerable obstacles created by ownership.

    David, I’ve got to disagree with this as part of my on-going campaign to insure that Mike Woodson does not receive undue credit. Childress and Horford are the fine players they arrived as pretty much fully formed from good college programs. Smith has developed some despite Woodson’s intransigence w/r/t to start running the offense through Smith in the low- or high-post rather than pinning him on the perimeter (where he’s useless) while Joe Johnson operates in isolation on the wing or in the post.

    Marvin Williams has not developed at all and may have regressed. He’s a very poor NBA player at this point and it’s difficult to see how he could turn himself into a league-average starter at this point. Still, he played more minutes than the truly useful Childress last year in both regular season and (until his ejection in Game 7) the playoffs.

    Woodson made a conscious effort not play Acie Law IV last year in an attempt not to get fired. I’m not especially bullish on Law but I’m far more skeptical of the Hawks using resources to acquire a better future option at point guard so Woodson gladly wasted a year of Law’s development for selfish reasons that have gone on to harm the franchise stupid enough to sign him to second contract to be its head coach.

    Hawks fans are generally happy for Childress today, believe it or not, and would not hold it against Josh Smith if succeeded in getting out of town. Some are even rooting for him to be delivered unto an NBA team interested in something greater than standing pat with a 37-win team that got blown out of four first-round playoff games.

  9. Owen

    I can’t find the dollar figure, but I found this….

    “He said he agreed to terms Wednesday morning on a three-year contract with Olympiakos of Greece that is worth far more than $20 million initially reported.”

    In every way this is a financial no-brainer. Getting locked into a five year 33 million contract would have been a real disaster for Childress.

  10. Caleb

    I’m not a fan of Woodson at all — agree with the point about misusing Smith and underusing Childress — but Acie Law is a career backup, so I can’t blame him there. And I don’t think Marvin Williams is bad, much less for a guy who should have been a college senior last year.

    I’d say coaches like Woodson who model themselves on Larry Brown are way, way overrated. Larry, too, for that matter.

  11. hoopinion

    Caleb–

    Marvin seems like a good guy who tries hard but the only thing he can do successfully right now is make a stationary 18-foot jump shot. He doesn’t rebound, play good defense, or possess the ability to create his own shot. The Hawks were -27 points per 100 possessions with Williams on the floor in playoff series against the Celtics and that’s with him missing most of Game 7 after getting himself ejected.

    I agree with you about Acie Law but I would have liked to have seen him used as such last year when the alternative was a fatigued Mike Bibby, a hobbled Tyronn Lue, or Joe Johnson dominating the ball even more than usual–which demonstrates that watching a significant amount of Hawks basketball probably isn’t healthy as one ends up seriously advocating such hypothetical scenarios of such limited value and interest.

  12. Owen

    Anthony – That was my understanding as well. It sounded like it was 6.5 million post tax, versus 6 million pre tax. But they also said “far more.” In sum, Looks like he will make roughly twice as much money overseas than he would have signing the Hawks offer….

  13. Caleb

    Well… looking at the stat sheet, Marvin scored 17 points per 40, and was (slightly) more efficient than average. He’s a below average rebounder for a power forward, but above average for a SF, where he spends a lot of time. I’ve been disappointed by his playmaking ability — he was pitched as a point forward, but doesn’t show that kind of creativity and barely has more assists than turnovers. He seems like a mediocre defender — not terrible, but no great shakes. Overall I’d say he’s a bit below average…

    BUT he’s still just 21! And definitely above average for a 21-year-old — check out Ted Nelson’s list on the last thread, for comparisons.

    He’s no #2 and will never live down Chris Paul, but I think he’ll have a long career as an above-average NBA starter – at least an average one. Since he’s due for an extension and the Hawks already have Horford and Smith — they should try and move him for a real prospect at the point, or center. Or a lottery pick. But if they can’t find a decent trade, IMO hehas plenty to contribute. I’d extend him in the $6-7 million range.

  14. David Crockett

    “David, I’ve got to disagree with this as part of my on-going campaign to insure that Mike Woodson does not receive undue credit. Childress and Horford are the fine players they arrived as pretty much fully formed from good college programs.”

    :: I’d definitely concede the point to a more dedicated Hawks fan on Woodson. In fact I recall thinking during the first round against the Celts, “I wonder why he doesn’t just let Childress bring it up the floor all the time? He really pushes the tempo well for them. Joe Johnson is putting dents in the floor.” At the same time, from the outside looking in you might be hard-pressed to find another coach without a big brand name who really develops kids. I’m basically a “there’s not enough variance between coaches to matter much” (except at the absolute extremes) kind of guy.

  15. Owen

    The Hawks are in trouble. It’s difficult to see how they make the playoffs, or what their future is going forward.

    Not drafting either Paul or Williams was an absolutely decisive turning point. In the NBA, there really is no recovering from that kind of mistake. It is probably going to condemn this team to mediocrity for the foreseeable future.

    Johnson and Smith are simply not star players in the NBA, and they are being paid, or will be paid, as such.

    The only hope is that Horford, who was the best player on the team last year, makes a leap and becomes an elite NBA player. That is the only way I see them being decent next year.

    But even if he does that, they still wouldn’t be a great team.

    The NBA is really tough. If you don’t have a legitimate star to pay max money to, or a legitimate low usage star who you don’t have to pay a lot of money to, it’s very difficult to be good.

  16. Ted Nelson

    I’m very interested to see what happens with this whole issue. I was thinking about starting a site dedicated to European players entering the NBA–mostly a preview of Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Danilo, Ricky Rubio, etc–but haven´t had the time. Now it definitely seems like an interesting idea, with the flow of traffic moving both ways more than ever.

    My take is that, as others have said, the richer owners will use this to do away with the salary cap (potentially great news for the Knicks). Whether either Jennings’ and/or Childress’ route becomes popular would seem to depend on how they actually do. There’s a good chance no one in the US will hear about Childress unless he wins Euroleague Final Four MVP or returns to the NBA, but Jennings should be heard from again draft time next year. A precident for Jennings´ route could be the JD Drew, etc. route that Scott Boras clients take when they´re drafted by a team they don´t like. Those guys generally retain their value. If Jennings goes in the top 5, seems like every prospect would have to consider that route. Then again, if he plays well enough to go in the top 5 does he sign a hige deal over there? That would really get the NBA´s attention if a top 5, US-born pick opts for Europe.

  17. Caleb

    I think the rookie salary scale is more vulnerable than the salary cap itself. It’s always been a disincentive for foreign players to come over, because their buyout clauses wipe out the low value of a rookie contract for all but the very highest picks. Of course it’s even worse, with the weak dollar — that’s why guys like Tiago Splitter aren’t coming over, and guys like Navarro are fleeing back to Europe. They don’t even have the mid-level as an option — the ceiling under the rookie cap is so much lower.

    If it turns out that likely lottery picks like Jennings can make several million a year, tax free, while they’re 19-23 — instead of $1-3 million, taxed, in the U.S…. well, that takes it to a whole new level.

    Of course Jennings is making nowhere near that, and we have no idea what he’ll earn over the next few years — but it’s hard to imagine that he or someone else won’t try that route.

  18. Caleb

    “The Hawks are in trouble. It’s difficult to see how they make the playoffs, or what their future is going forward… Not drafting either Paul or Williams was an absolutely decisive turning point.”

    Sort of, yes, yes, sort of.

    Probably no playoffs this year, but they could squeeze in if Smith stays and keeps improving, and everyone is healthy. Anyway, trouble is relative. Their two best players are just 22, I think you’re underselling JJ and if they don’t do anything crazy they’ll have big cap space in two years.

    Not to diminish the Chris Paul screwup (Why don’t people hate on the Bucks, too?) — but the gradual bleeding is just as big a problem. In the last few years this team has completely blown a #5 pick, mostly blown a #11 and given away two picks for nothing in the Joe Johnson trade — a ludicrous move, when they were already overpaying JJ to a point there wasn’t a chance in hell that Phoenix would match the offer.

    So let’s set aside the Chris Paul move; expert opinion was split about 50-50 at the time, anyway:

    Option A (Good Management): Josh Childress, Boris Diaw, Brandon Roy*, Thaddeus Young**, JJ Hickson*** & a 2010 1st-rounder.

    Option B (Hawks management): nothing, nothing, Shelden Williams, Acie Law, nothing, nothing.

    That’s not cherry-picking; the “Option A” squad includes draft picks who weren’t just available, but pretty much consensus favorites. Of course the Hawks would have had to make some trades, but the overall talent level… They did turn Williams into Mike Bibby but in terms of roster-building that’s barely an improvement.

    *Williams went ahead of Roy and Rudy Gay. And Rondo, but one else had Rondo that high, either.

    **Law went ahead of obvious options like Young, Julian Wright or Rodney Stuckey

    ***this pick went to Phoenix – if not Hickson, maybe Mareese Speights, Robin Lopez, even Roy Hibbert.

    2010 pick is going to Phoenix, too.

  19. PeteRoc

    I don’t ever get to watch Euro games, but I’d be interested to see if Childress becomes a star over there, alas Kobe’s pop and D’Antoni. If things work out, he’ll be treated like a god (no pun intended). If soccer is any indication, the fans (and the ladies) might be even more supportive of their teams. Aside from family and familiarity, which are the result of chance and not choice, I don’t see why players in Childress’ category would choose the NBA over playing overseas.

  20. Captain Merlin

    I would be interested to see if this move and the Jennings move help to open the door to inter-league trades and transfers, like in international club soccer. Also, I wonder if there is a way to gain cap relief by selling/giving the rights to an overseas team. I’m not totally sure whether this is explicitly outlined in the Nba’s CBA.

  21. Caleb

    “I wonder if there is a way to gain cap relief by selling/giving the rights to an overseas team.”

    Randolph to Siberia for a dozen pallets of seal meat. I love it.

  22. hoopinion

    Caleb–

    That’s a great summation of the missed opportunities to improve the franchise though, if one were being especially critical, you could include Billy Knight’s second-round picks and the signing of Speedy Claxton on the list of resources utterly wasted.

  23. Phyr
    “I wonder if there is a way to gain cap relief by selling/giving the rights to an overseas team.”

    Randolph to Siberia for a dozen pallets of seal meat. I love it.

    A dozen pallets? Let’s not be unreasonable.

  24. jaredrutledge

    z-bo would sabotage the deal by eating the seal meat. walsh would find him on the river in a warehouse in NYC, gorged on the flesh of water mammals in a carnivorous haze.

  25. Alec

    Josh Childress couldn’t get a good deal because of this year’s cap situation. No teams had a lot to blow on him. Other years won’t be like that, so I don’t see a huge movement of players swarming overseas. Not yet at least.

    What if he hates it and wants to come back next year? Typical, you need a jumper to be good overseas and Josh doesn’t have one.

    I do think that agents will use this to their advantage. Look at Carl Landry today. If he doesn’t get a good deal he is gone.

    I still think the NBA is the basketball league of the world. When that doesn’t ring true anymore, we will see less foreign born players here and more Americans there. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  26. Brian Cronin

    I think this is certainly a momentous occasion, but only because we are seeing an NBA player using the European League to avoid getting “screwed” by the collective bargaining agreement.

    But I think that’s really the only way this will come into play – as a way for players to avoid getting “screwed” by the system. Otherwise, I just don’t think American players want to play anywhere but the NBA, mostly on the whole talent-level thing.

    It’s only worth it for Childress because it was play for a marginal NBA team that he was pissed at for small money or go play in Europe for a few years for big money and then play for whatever NBA team he wants.

    There are very few American NBA players who are in a situation like that.

  27. Ted Nelson

    The NBA is still the league’s premier league, by far, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. However, I see some problems with your guys’ comments.

    “Josh Childress couldn’t get a good deal because of this year’s cap situation. No teams had a lot to blow on him. Other years won’t be like that, so I don’t see a huge movement of players swarming overseas. Not yet at least.”

    Apparently he’s getting paid the equivelant of 10.8 mill USD a year (probably depending on exchange rate fluctuations, unless he’s pad in USD), other players considering the difference between 82 games at 7 mill and 40 games at 11 mill may reach the same conclusion.

    “What if he hates it and wants to come back next year? Typical, you need a jumper to be good overseas and Josh doesn’t have one.”

    First of all, the statement’s not true. Second of all Childress has a career .360 3p% and .599 TS%. He didn’t have a jumper coming out of college, but has clearly developed one.

    “There are very few American NBA players who are in a situation like that.”

    It seems to be that a lot of guys are in this situation. Half the teams in the NBA are relatively worse than the Hawks were last season, 1st rounders are screwed for 3-4 seasons, and then screwed as restricted free agents. Unrestricted free agents looking to leave are constantly looking at 3 or 4 teams with cap space or the MLE, especially as sign-and-trades seem to be out of fashion (? IMO). The top players are very unlikely to leave (even the top international players), but a 50% pay raise to play less games is pretty attractive for solid NBA players like Childress.

  28. Ray

    Its a good move for him. Maybe it will force the NBA to rethink NBA salaries and adjust the cap more so that the Knicks can sign more free agents like the YAnkees do.

  29. retropkid

    yeah, these guys get screwed, they hardly make any money playing ball for a living, getting half the year off…the NBA sure is a tough hell and thank God there is a way to make more millions across the pond for middling players…

    this isn’t such a new phenomena — Roosevelt Bouie, probably 25 years ago, didn’t even attempt to go to the NBA after a solid four years at Syracuse…he went to Italy, lived a nice life over there and a pretty good career.

  30. Alec

    Sorry Mr. Cronin that I beat you to it at 630 in the morning. Most bloggers are suppose to be asleep

  31. Ted Nelson

    retrokid,

    Relatively screwed. You´re right: their lives are still sweet.

    The new parts of the equation are the Dollar being (much) weaker than the Euro and European salaries increasing as basketball´s popularity increases. The NBA is still miles ahead of the competition, but the competition is clearly getting stronger. If the NBA doesn´t adress the issue, I think it will only be hurting itself. (If Jennings becomes a journeyman in Europe rather than a high pick he´ll likely serve as a cautoinary tale, but 4 year NBA veteran free agents who have already proven their NBA worth seem like a different case to me.)

    Caleb,

    I agree that the rookie salary scale is vulnerable, but I´d say the NCAA and restricted free agency/ the cap are on the same level. Tiago is the only guy I can think of who seems to have stayed in Europe for purely financial reasons after being drafted in the 1st round, just like there is one example against the NCAA (Jennings) and restricted free agency / the hard cap (Childress). (I’d say Weis and Vazquez stayed for more personal reasons.)

    It´s a reach at this point to say Brandon Jennings will open the floodgates of high school seniors going to Europe instead of college, but we´ll have to see how it plays out.

    I don´t believe Navarro was effected by the rookie salary scale, as he was a former 2nd round pick and a free agent. His background / circumstances were different from Childress´, and more common: one year removed from being a hometown star and one of the best players in Europe vs. American born and raised. Still, those are two rotation players who could have gotten NBA contracts but opted to make more money in Europe.

    There´s still a tremendous draw to play in the NBA among international stars young (Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Danilo) and old (Scola, Navarro last offseason, Sarunas). Once they´ve proven to be among the best in Europe they want to show what they can do against the best.
    However, for a guy who´s already proven he can hang in the NBA but isn´t anything special at that level, like Childress, the chance to be the go to guy on a winning team and compete for Euroleague MVP might be more attractive. Especially if the pay is 50% higher.

  32. kilolo

    I’m glad players are booking for Europe so that the NBA revisits some of its policies. Am I ignorant in thinking that basketball would be better if NBA players could be signed in spite the cap like its done in baseball? Obviously this favors bigger markets but makes the game healthier because big markets drive professional sports. A luxury tax would help smaller markets when teams spend unwisely.
    The other issue I have is the guarenteed contract. Why is it that J. James has a choice to take the medical retirement? He cant play! and there is evidence of this. I dont believe a team should be saddled with a player for years because they got hurt. Imagine Lebron came to NY and got hurt. Maybe he is entitled to some or all his money but that should not impede NY from using that injury as cap space and getting another player. The penalty might be losing the rights to the player but there has to be an option. A team has to stink because a GM was unable to predict a freak injury…come on its not logical. Additionally, it send a horrible message to our youth that their idols can be lazy, difficult, unprofessional and still keep their jobs. I like how football cuts players. Basketball would be much improved if players could get cut.
    Help me out, have these issues been discussed for change.

  33. Jose B

    I think that if either/both of these scenarios play out we are headed for some major changes:

    1) Jennings gets some burn against high-level competition, shines, develops his jump shot/passing/etc. and is a top 3 overall pick in the draft.

    2) Childress becomes a go to guy for his team and excels against the competition, opts out next off-season like his contract stipulates he may, and gets a multi-year deal in the 8MM/year range.

    It is important for at least one of these scenarios to play out, and I think both are at least 40% likely, if not much more. I think we are headed to both the death of the guaranteed contract and the salary cap as we know them, and also to a reduction of frequency the Durant/Oden/Beasley/Rose one-and-done NCAA stars. Anytime a top high school senior has even an iota of doubt as far as academic ineligibility or if the college program he has committed to becomes unstable (i.e. Eric Gordon), you will see young talent bolt for Europe where they learn a different aspect of the game, one that was not taught to the in AAU and will not be taught to them in NCAA.

  34. caleb

    A minor point — Hawks still own Childress’ rights next summer, so in terms of NBA options he’ll still be at their mercy, unless they arrange a sign and trade. From everything I hear he’s pretty pumped about spending time in Greece, so I don’t expect to see him stateside before 2010-2011., if then.

    Anyway, scouting these days is pretty sophisticated; scouts on both sides of the Atlantic have a good idea of who can play. Whether Childress really blows up, or falls on his face, I don’t know that it matters — there are plenty of examples of guys playing in both leagues.

    Jennings is more interesting — 18-year-old Americans are a wildcard. But I still don’t think his Euro-time will matter to his draft stock. If he can play, and does well in the camps, he’ll go high. If he can’t, he won’t — but NBA teams won’t hold it against him if he spends a lot of time on the bench. Obviously, if he looks truly, truly awful it won’t help, just like if he sucked at Arizona. At the same time, no pT probably would help discourage other young players from going that route — even if it doesn’t hurt his draft status. Compared to Childress, teenage stars are going to be more prone to homesickness anyway, and less worldly. They won’t just see the business angle — they want to be on TV — the idea of rotting on the bench will be scary.

    Of course, I don’t think Jennings will rot — he’s not in a very high-level league, is he? Ted, correct me if I’m wrong.

  35. Moneymarl

    what about kobe? he has a bigger recognizable factor than Lebron and he’s the best in the league. Imagine some big time Euro league team owner offering KB about 90 million Euro over 5 years to sign with an Euro team. He’d get endorsements which might be nother 30-40 million euro if not more. at minimum that’d be 120 million Euro with less taxes and that will leave him with about 100 million Euro for himself, about 150 million US dollars. now thats crazy!!!!

    NBA should be very scared. Now should they offer those contracts to Lebron, Kobe and Wade at the same time??? the league as we know it would be over.

  36. retropkid

    tempest in a teapot….the NBA survived the ABA. I don’t love the cap rules either, but if Kobe or another star gets lost to Europe, either the NBA will buy those leagues (or merger, or get bought — dollar is weak and the whole league could be swallowed if it gets weaker) or just says goodbye….

    The NBA was pretty great without a ton of ABA stars, it will still be great without a few more….there is a ton of talent internationally to keep the quality up….or better stated, match today’s quality, which with so many teams now, might be diluted versus year’s past.

    Rosie Bouie, by the way, was one of the first guys to launch Euro league tryouts in the US a couple of years ago….so his experience over there is relevant, he’s help accelerate this issue, then and now.

  37. Dave

    Childress doesn’t have a jump shot. This past season he shot only eFG% at 39.7% on his jump shots, the year before he shot only 38% on jump shots. This past season 25% of his shots were jumpers, the year before 37%.

    Looking at hotspots

    Shots in the paint – 461 shots taken, hit 63% of them
    6-15 feet zone – Only 23 shots taken, only 2 made
    15-22 feet zone – Only 29 shots taken, made 11
    His three point percentage was mentioned which was oddly good but he took few attempts on the season, less than 60.

    Here’s another stat … Childress played 30 minutes a night in the 7 game series against Boston. Have a quick guess how many jump shots he took? Okay got a number in your head, here’s the answer, he took three shots outside of the paint all series and missed all three.

  38. Dave

    I don’t like Childress. I think he’s grossly overrated as a player and wasn’t worth the money Atlanta were reportedly offering (over MLE). I don’t like perimeter players that are garbage men which is what Childress is, I’m not wild about players with that skill set at the best of times but I really don’t like them when they’re below par defenders and poor shooters.

    So I don’t mind too much about him leaving. It’ll be interesting to see how he does in Europe because he’s not exactly a go-to guy.

  39. foliveri

    Is it any wonder that players are looking to bail on the NBA?
    The money is good in the NBA, but you have teams peopled with criminals and thugs who are so spoiled, so selfish, the game suffers and skills steadily decline. And the money is better in euros anyway.
    Is it any wonder that among the minority of players that come from Europe or elsewhere are some of the top 10 best players in the NBA?

    And the crap European players get from U.S. players makes it all the more ridiculous.
    In that context, it’s a wonder players from Europe come here at all and a wonder more players from the U.S. don’t go to Europe.

    This is what happens when you have a marketing guy running your league. You get a lot of style from Stern, but the substance doesn’t live up to the hype.

    The best thing about the Knicks these past seven years appears to have been the dance team, the light show, and the clips of eras gone by.

  40. DS

    I predict the league will survive the departure of Josh Childress. Now if Carl Landry bolts too I may have to become a hockey fan.

  41. Owen

    Biedrins can’t leave. That would destroy my fantasy team.

    And Jon, Monta Ellis got his big deal, just as you said he would. After the way he played last year, he deserves it.

    And re Monta Ellis, interesting piece by Alan Hahn, (especially if like me you want Jamal out of here as fast as possible). Here is what he had to say.

    “And this is why I think Jamal Crawford might have a big year this season with Mike D’Antoni at the helm.The up-tempo will only make Crawford a more dangerous player on the offensive end and also hide (or at least overshadow) his defensive issues. What we know is the guy can score in bunches and when he’s on, he’s impossible to defend.

    Crawford is five years older than Ellis (who turns 23 in October), but you have to think he should be able to command a similar contract – similar, I said, not exact – if he puts up the kind of season this year that D’Antoni thinks he can in his system. D’Antoni has told me and others that he thinks Crawford can reach all-star status playing in his system.

    And if Jamal can become an all-star and drop 20 per for a second straight year (of course winning would help, too, not to mention a playoff appearance for the first time in his career), it wouldn’t be surprising to see him opt out of his current contract next summer. He would walk away from the final two years and over $19 million if he knew he could get $11 mil per in his next contract. Pushing 29, time isn’t on his side.

    So what do you do, Fixers? Let him walk or lock him up?

    Difficult to answer until you see what he can do under D’Antoni.”

    This is the true upside to the arrival D’Antoni. He inflates Crawford’s perceived value in a league that makes no pace adjustment distinctions in player’s statistics and ignores scoring efficiency. Crawford opts out, finds a new home. Suddenly, our situation is a lot more flexible. We unload Randolph as Caleb says we are capable of doing, and Curry is our only killer contract.

    Wildly optimistic?

  42. jon abbey

    a little, let’s see it actually happen. Crawford is wildly talented, as we all know, but his main problem on offense has always been his putrid decision making. I’m not sure how much D’Antoni can actually help with that, and I like Duhon, but he’s no Steve Nash, to state the obvious.

    among the NY players that everyone hates, I have to say I have a soft spot for Jamal and would love to see him blossom into an All-Star type talent. I just keep thinking of him dropping 52 on Miami (most of it in a two quarter span!), and I think the only thing holding him back from doing that more frequently is his brain or lack thereof, and maybe D’Antoni really can help with that somehow.

    FWIW, I actually had more hope of JC blossoming under Isiah than any other player, with his talent level and the fact that Isiah was a roughly similar player and could maybe take him under his wing. we all saw how that worked out, so I’m not holding my breath this time.

  43. caleb

    IMO Crawford is a (somewhat) above average offensive player anyway, and I think he (and everyone else) will play better and more efficiently under D’Antoni. And like Owen says, if he gets big minutes, his per-game numbers will look terrific. Given his weak D, and the fact he’s be turning 30 when he signs that deal, I don’t know if he can find $11 million a year — but he might.

    I disagree with Owen that this is good. I don’t think Walsh would extend him at a higher salary (at least I hope not!) so if he opts out, it’ll be to leave — and I’d hate to lose him for nothing; of our inflated 2010-2011 contracts, he’s the one guy who would bring back something good, at least a first-round pick, assuming we take back a worse player with a shorter contract.

    btw did you forget Jared Jeffries? $7m a year isn’t chump change!

  44. retropkid

    Caleb, I don’t think we all know Crawford is wildly talented. I don’t know that.

    I know that he is wildly erratic. True talent sustains itself with some consistency…occasional bursts of production is something almost any player is capable of, and all he has ever been capable of…he belongs on the bench, with far fewer minutes, leave him in if he is having one of those hot nights, but as soon as he bricks a few, he sits it out from there…

    Crawford can’t shoot consistently — his bad decision making is mostly bad when he decides to shoot!!! If D’Antoni cuts Crawfords’ shooting down by 10 shots a game, and replaces them with a FG% of 45% from other players, very do-able, the Knicks average 1 point more per game. Voila! Who needs D, who needs more shots by running….just take the ball out of Jamal’s hands and you have made some strides…he hurts the team more than Randolph, imo, and that is saying something.

  45. retropkid

    oops, sorry Caleb, my post above should’ve been pointed to Jon Abbey’s post, not yours. I get worked up against Crawford — he’s a bum most of the time and it’s a joke he led the team in shot attempts.

  46. Owen

    Caleb – You would keep Jamal through 10-11 rather than let him leave without compensation? The difference between his real value and his contract value is that close?

    To me, any scenario in which Jamal is gone after next year is preferable to keeping him on the roster.

    Jeffries has a terrible contract. But he has been reasonably productive in the past. I can envision a scenario where he is again, and that contract isn’t a total albatross, although it takes some imagination.

    Ultimately, we want to find ways to get rid of Crawford, Curry, Randolph, and Jeffries. To me, the thought of being able to unload Craw without having to give up a worthwhile asset is good news.

  47. Caleb

    “You would keep Jamal through 10-11 rather than let him leave without compensation? The difference between his real value and his contract value is that close?”

    No, but we can trade him for a first round pick so letting him walk is a bad scenario. Since he has the opt-out power, he has some veto power over a trade but I still think he’d be easy to move.

    Randolph and Curry are one thing — Crawford actually has some real value, and a good deal of perceived value.

  48. foliveri

    The Knicks can’t drop Crawford quickly enough. He’s a 41 percent shooter, as has been noted over and over again.

    His shot selection sucks.
    His stroke from 3 sucks.
    His defense…well, saying it sucks would suggest somehow that he plays defense. His defense is non-existent.

    He’s a sixth man who deserves maybe 10 shots a game, and slightly more if he heats up. He’s John Starks with a little more height, a little less strength, and no guts and defense.
    Send him to Memphis. He’d be a star for that team, and they would be well under .500…a perfect match.

  49. Italian Stallion

    My feeling is that Crawford’s FG% and the “perception” of his decision making will both improve if a few things work out well.

    If Duhon is passing and playmaking well, Crawford will get more easy shots.

    If the Knicks as a team are moving the ball more effectively “someone” on the team will get a good shot BEFORE the 24 second clock becomes an issue more frequently. That will reduce the number of times Crawford finds himself in a position of HAVING to take a bad shot.

    If Gallinari and/or Chandler are getting minutes AND being effective shooting from the outside, that will also improve the chances of Crawford getting better shots and taking fewer bad ones because there will be more solid outside threats on the court than there have been in recent years.

    I really think a lot of what Crawford’s season looks like this year will depend on the effective passing and outside shooting of some of the newer/younger players.

    IMO, it has been difficult to use Crawford properly on past Knicks teams because of the mix of talent.

  50. caleb

    You paid $800 for your couch. Now it’s lumpy and doesn’t match your new girl’s curtains. And you’re pissed because you just saw the same one on sale, new, for $600 Do you try and sell it on Craigslist or $300? Or do you throw it out on the street? btw, your girlfriend is visiting her college roommate and out of town until July, 2010.

  51. Caleb

    My feeling is that Crawford’s FG% and the “perception” of his decision making will both improve if a few things work out well.”

    Whether they were bad or good, every player on the Phoenix roster had a career year under D’Antoni — in raw production, but also efficiency-wise.

    Even Grant Hill — how many people thought he was completely washed up before last year? I don’t know if Mike D is good at teaching skills, good at finding matchups, good at calling plays or what… but the results speak for themselves. He will maximize everyone’s potential, whatever that is.

  52. Owen

    Grant Hill did post a 58.2% ts% in Orlando in 06-07, which was actually better than his 57.6% ts% last year in Phoenix. His turnover numbers fell precipitiously though and his rebounding increased. I would attribute that mostly to Steve Nash and Dwight Howard rather than Dantoni, but who knows.

    I think this is definitely the emerging debate, Does D’Antoni Matter? I am going to hue to my usual line, which is basically no, once you adjust for the positive perception of pace.

  53. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    If the Knicks as a team are moving the ball more effectively “someone” on the team will get a good shot BEFORE the 24 second clock becomes an issue more frequently. That will reduce the number of times Crawford finds himself in a position of HAVING to take a bad shot.

    I think I’ve debunked this before. Crawford doesn’t take a higher percentage of shots because the 24 second clock is winding down than any of the other Knick guards. Crawford takes a higher percentage of shots in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, comparatively.

  54. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Is it any wonder that players are looking to bail on the NBA?
    The money is good in the NBA, but you have teams peopled with criminals and thugs who are so spoiled, so selfish, the game suffers and skills steadily decline. And the money is better in euros anyway.
    Is it any wonder that among the minority of players that come from Europe or elsewhere are some of the top 10 best players in the NBA?

    And the crap European players get from U.S. players makes it all the more ridiculous.
    In that context, it’s a wonder players from Europe come here at all and a wonder more players from the U.S. don’t go to Europe.

    This is what happens when you have a marketing guy running your league. You get a lot of style from Stern, but the substance doesn’t live up to the hype.

    This is maybe the dumbest thing I’ve read on this site in a long time. And not because the word “people” was turned into a verb.

  55. Caleb

    “I would attribute that mostly to Steve Nash and Dwight Howard rather than Dantoni, but who knows…”

    Hard to separate effects of D’Antoni/Nash in Phoenix, but I’ll note that Nash had the best years of his career, too — starting at age 32, when you really wouldn’t expect it.

    In the same vein, Grant Hill at his age would be expected to decline significantly, and he didn’t. Of course that’s one player’s one season which could easily be random chance.

    “Does D’Antoni Matter? I am going to hew to my usual line, which is basically no, once you adjust for the positive perception of pace.”

    Well, the efficiency numbers are all better, too.

    But don’t worry — I’m not losing perspective. The players are much more important than the coach. Even with an excellent coach like D’Antoni, this stuff is nibbling around the edges.

    But no matter – he’s also an excellent coach in a more important way: he plays his best players. People talk about the short rotation in Phoenix, but you can look at that a different way — there was a huge talent falloff, after the first 7-8 bodies. He was never one to play Marcus Banks, just because he had a big contract. When he had bench players who were even decent — say, Steven Hunter – they played a few, appropriate minutes.

    The Knicks situation is different in a million ways, but among them: there’s a relatively small spread in talent. The #3 guy isn’t THAT much better than #8, or even 10 — at least not compared to most teams. And different players offer different strengths. For all those reasons, I think people will be surprised when D’Antoni plays 9 or 10 guys, at least the first couple months. Sort of like when Hubie Brown first came in to Memphis, and basically did tryouts during games, for 3 months.

  56. Caleb

    That was some interview.

    I don’t know if it was their fault – maybe it’s on some scheduler – but I wonder if those guys know how bad that makes them look.

  57. Z

    “D’Antoni is also an excellent coach in another more important way: he plays his best players.”

    I don’t think he was ever in a position where he had to put $70 million worth of players on the bench. Especially if he’s trying to amp up over-paid players’ values. He can’t do that AND play the best players…

  58. Caleb

    Especially if he’s trying to amp up over-paid players’ values. He can’t do that AND play the best players…

    I think he has the confidence of the GM; they seem to be on the same page, and the overpaid slugs aren’t THIS GM’s guys, anyway… so I don’t think there’s pressure in that sense.

    But no doubt it’s a balancing act. I have a feeling there will be a mix, probably tilted toward the veterans, at first… showcasing at least one or two of the older guys. In the very short term they might be as good or better than some of the young ‘uns (Chandler, Gallinari)… and their value does need to be propped up, to move them. At the same time, I don’t see him giving big minutes to Randolph, Curry, Q, Jeffries, Crawford, Marbs, all at the same time.

  59. Italian Stallion
    If the Knicks as a team are moving the ball more effectively “someone” on the team will get a good shot BEFORE the 24 second clock becomes an issue more frequently. That will reduce the number of times Crawford finds himself in a position of HAVING to take a bad shot.

    I think I’ve debunked this before. Crawford doesn’t take a higher percentage of shots because the 24 second clock is winding down than any of the other Knick guards. Crawford takes a higher percentage of shots in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, comparatively.

    IMO the Knicks as a team found themselves in that position too often because the team didn’t pass well or have a good playmaker. It’s not just Crawford.

    We were discussing Crawford, but IMO several Knicks that are thought of as bad decision makers and mediocre shooters could show an improved FG% in a well run team, with good playmaking, and complimentary outside shooters etc.. because they will get better shots and fewer of them will be late in the clock.

    Last year the offensive burden was placed heavily on the shoulders of Crawford and Randolph because Curry was out of the loop, Q Rich couldn’t hit the ocean, Marbury was out, and the Knicks bench (Jeffries, Collins, Lee, Balkman etc…) didn’t contain a lot of sharpshooters either. Crawford and Randolph (and even Robinson off the bench) took a lot of mediocre shots because the alternatives were worse or not even available. Sometimes it was even early in the possession.

    IMO, this is exactly what you are seeing being addressed by our draft choices and two signings. Walsh and D’Antoni are looking for playmakers, passers, and outside shooters to take the scoring burden off guys like Crawford, Robinson, and Randolph (assuming Randolph is still here) to make them all more efficient.

    It’s very easy to tell that the new management is looking at the stats, but they are also looking at the reasons the stats are what they are in an effort to improve them.

    IMO, this is also why we are hearing that D’Antoni plans to use Curry a lot more. Curry was an efficient inside scorer two years ago and not all that terrible last year either. He should touch the ball more often when the fast break fails and the team falls into more of a half court possession. Isiah went away from that last year and it was a huge mistake, but part of the problem with making that effective was the lack of outside shooting (which is being addressed).

    I am 100% convinced the Knicks will be a much more efficient team next year because the new management and coach understand how to build a team and put complimentary pieces on the court at the same time. They are going to get a more out of guys like Crawford, Robinson, Curry (and even Randolph if he’s still here) if guys like Duhon, Gallinari, Chandler etc… are effective.

    We’ll see if I am right.

  60. Z

    “At the same time, I don’t see him giving big minutes to Randolph, Curry, Q, Jeffries, Crawford, Marbs, all at the same time.”

    I’m going to guess the opening day lineup. It will be Marbury, Crawford, Q, Randolph, and Curry.

    This is a very slow moving, deliberate regime at work. I think the plan really is to say “we can compete with this team”, play at a faster pace, bump up stats, and when the team is going nowhere in January start picking it apart. That’s the most optimistic I can be about the way the team looks to be headed.

    It doesn’t really matter to me, though. I won’t be watching any of those games. Not until Zach Randolph is at least as far away as Jersey…

  61. Captain Merlin

    As much as it pains me to say so–disregarding trade or injury–that too is how I see the opening game lineup. As much as I’d love to see some sort of combination of Chandler, Balkman, and Lee mixed in, I feel as if the team is bound to ride such a lineup as long as they can, regardless of how awful it is. Really, for the past 6 or 7 years it’s all been the same–different faces, same lineup.

  62. Thomas B.
    Is it any wonder that players are looking to bail on the NBA?The money is good in the NBA, but you have teams peopled with criminals and thugs who are so spoiled, so selfish, the game suffers and skills steadily decline. And the money is better in euros anyway.Is it any wonder that among the minority of players that come from Europe or elsewhere are some of the top 10 best players in the NBA?
    And the crap European players get from U.S. players makes it all the more ridiculous.In that context, it’s a wonder players from Europe come here at all and a wonder more players from the U.S. don’t go to Europe.
    This is what happens when you have a marketing guy running your league. You get a lot of style from Stern, but the substance doesn’t live up to the hype.

    This is maybe the dumbest thing I’ve read on this site in a long time. And not because the word “people” was turned into a verb.

    Yeah I think he or she should have used the word “populated” rather than “peopled.” At any rate, the NBA is not populated with thugs and the like. I dont think the number of criminals in the NBA is greater than the rate of criminals for the general population. I find the NBA to be tame compared with what I see in the NFL. Hey Mike K., can you author a layman’s guide to advanced criminal statistics for the uninformed?

  63. Reebok1303

    With regards to the criminal element in the NBA, this link should be pretty useful. http://www.shamsports.com/content/pages/data/character.jsp

    The guy compiled a list of all the criminal transgressions committed by NBA players. For example, if you click on Zach Randolph’s name you see this.
    ——-
    Zach Randolph

    Forward
    1995: Spent thirty days in a juvenile detention centre for shoplifting. (Note: that kinda reads two ways, but you get the idea.)
    Undated, in high school: Spent thirty more days in a juvenile detention centre for possession of stolen property (namely, guns, one of which he sold.) Also served thirty days of house arrest on a battery charge.
    May 2002: Arrested for underage drinking. He had the equivalent of one pint when aged 20 and 329 days. What kind of crazy bastard is he?
    April 2003: Punched team mate Ruben Patterson in the face, causing some heavy blood loss. Earned himself a suspension. It is not known whether Ruben deserved it.
    December 2003: Arrested for driving whilst under the influence of marijuana. Also done for driving without a license.
    December 2007: Sued for sexual assault. No criminal charges brought.
    —–

    At the very least, it’s pretty interesting and a time waster at work.

  64. Captain Merlin

    It was psionically generated by the powers that be in order to allow us to enjoy a few happy hour drinks or to form a more perfect union or some shit like that maybe. The time between Summer League and the start of Exhibitions–the true doldrums of the slow days of summer.

  65. Z

    “The time between Summer League and the start of Exhibitions–the true doldrums of the slow days of summer.”

    Or, as Donnie Walsh calls it: “trading period”.

    “I don’t know why everyone’s talking about [trades] right now. There’s a certain pecking order how you do things. You get a coach, the draft, then summer league, then trading periods.” (Walsh, 7/21/08)

  66. Ted Nelson

    Dave,

    Fair point about Childress’ jump shooting. I was only looking at the 3p% not 3PAs, but 14 pts/36 at a .647 TS% last season still makes him a terrifically efficient scorer on the wing.

    I don’t think a jump shot is anymore critical in Europe than the NBA, anyway, I’d say a lot of it has to do with the fact that the athleticism is 10 steps behind so guys who do tend to have better jumpers have to rely on them more.
    Very good athletes like Marcus Haislip and Quincy Lewis really stand out in Europe, although Lewis is still not a very good player (I saw him play a couple seasons ago and he literally tried to take the ball to the hole every single time he touched it, he usually managed to get there but didn’t always finish, he’s basically a rotation player on a bad team these days). Pepe Sanchez and Raul Lopez aren’t very good shooters, but are the 2 best known veteran PGs in Spain and play for Barca and Real Madrid respectively. Zoran Planinic is part of a sick 3 guard rotation for Tau and his jumper is weak.
    The closer line combined with the significant step down in defense and athleticism should make Childress a very good player in Europe. Maybe he shows some of the PG skills he had in college and becomes Olympiacos’ Theodoros Papaloukas.
    ———————————
    Caleb,

    I don’t follow the Italian league closely. It’s one of the better ones in Europe, but strikes me as a step down from Spain’s in terms of depth (I may be biased and I think the Italian league was considered better 7-10 years back but I’d say that’s no longer the case) and lacking the elite teams of Russia, Greece, and Isreal (Bennetton has been an elite team historically, but failed to even qualify for the Euroleague last season… Siena made the Euroleague Final Four last season along with champs CSKA Moscow, Tau Ceramica from Vitoria Spain, and Maccabi Tel Aviv). There are four Italian teams in the Euroleague every year (same as Spain), and Virtus was one of them last season. (I think that’s where Jennings signed.) Former Michigan State guard Alan Anderson was their best player last season. They finished 2 and 12 in the Euroleague and, obviously, failed to make the Top 16. (No idea if they qualified for the Euroleague in 08-09, but I would assume they did if Jennings signed there.)

    http://www.euroleague.net/main/statistics/teams/accumulated?ctl02_ctl00_ddlTopics=3

    There’s a link to last season’s Euroleague regular season team stats.
    ———————————
    Overall, one things we can’t discount about Europe is that there’s just not as much money around as in the NBA. If a team signed an NBA star to a huge deal they’d almost definitely operate at a loss, which I think Greek and Russian teams with relatively huge payrolls do anyway. A team like FC Barcelona might be willing to take a financial hit because they make a ton of money on soccer to sign a hometown star like Pau Gasol, or maybe a multi-billionaire owner who wants to have Kobe Bryant on his team for ego reasons. I do think a few Childress/Nachbars might turn into a few slightly higher level free agents and mid-late first round picks, at which time the owners are going to get frustrated that the system’s not working.

  67. Ted Nelson

    ““Does D’Antoni Matter?”

    Mike D also coached a terrible Denver team that actually had a bit of talent that doesn’t seem to have been used very well (let’s just say Chauncey Billups’ career year wasn’t in Denver). We’ll have to see. I do think a good coach can make a difference, especially on a (young) rebuilding team that’s lacked leadership and a coherent system, but he can only do so much.

    “But no matter – he’s also an excellent coach in a more important way: he plays his best players.”

    Good point. I think, however, that it will be important to have a fairly short rotation on the Knicks. Figure out who the players you like are and play them. I don’t know about the cause and effect of bad teams using long rotations, but I would really like to see Walsh and D’Antoni work together to put the best rotation out there and get rid of guys who don’t fit.

    Wasn’t Hubie Brown’s whole philosophy in Memphis to play a really deep rotation to have fresh legs on the court? Maybe something like that could work for the Knicks, but the egos on the team make me question it.

    re: Crawford

    Crawford had a decent season last year after a terrible 06-07, but he’s clearly not worth 10 mill per until his mid 30s. Unfortunately, if he’s the best guard on the team (especially if the team is half way decent, but probably even if they’re terrible) I think he’ll get a fat extension to stay in NY. Walsh’s apparently passing on the chance to move Randolph for cap space has changed my perception of him at the moment.

  68. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    They actually keep stats on when in the shot clock someone shoots at 82games.com. I’ve never spent too much time studying it, but if you feel Crawford takes more shots late in the shot clock than the average SG you can actually see if you’re right (I think we’ve done this before, right after he made a comment that this was the case, and saw that he doesn’t).

    In regards to when Curry should touch the ball, in my opinion the traditional half-court set isn’t it. The Knicks structured their entire offense around Curry 2 seasons ago and we all saw the results (in a season when Nate and Q had a very good 3p%). He can’t pass at all (he literally throws lob passes out to the perimeter) and he turns it over too much (which I think is related because the defense knows exactly what Curry’s going to do when he gets the ball), so the result was that he scored efficiently but the offense was inefficient.
    Get him the ball quickly and try to use him as the new generation of athletic bigmen (Amare, Howard) are being used.

    I also don’t think the solution Walsh/D’Antoni are looking for is to surround Crawford and Randolph with other scorers (that was Isiah’s strategy if I remember correctly), but to put together some guys who can play as a coherent offense. The offense should be creating open shots, not the individual players. This has been the problem on the Knicks: 5 guys going 1 on 5 independently not playing as a team. Duhon and Danilo are both guys considered to have high basketball IQs. If it works out Crawford and Randolph and whoever else will look better, but I don’t think it’ll be because there are more scorers around them.

    Z and CM,

    We’ll have to see. I could see that lineup, but I could also see something like Duhon, Crawford, Balkman, Chandler, and Lee (something completely different).

  69. Brian Cronin

    If Delonte West goes to Russia, then I change my mind and I’ll agree that this is a major change in the NBA.

  70. Captain Merlin

    Personally, I’m waiting for Nate Rob to jet for a Kazakh B-league team before I get my panties in a bunch over this matter. Either that or for good ol’ Zeke to fall on hard financial times and wind up playing in the great big white of Siberia. Imagine him giving the native Siberians lessons on the proper usage of the word “sunt”

  71. Thomas B.

    Wow. I can actually see electronic tumbleweed blowing through this site today.

    Now i can hear electronic crickets on this site. Donnie, give us a trade. We are dying here.

  72. Captain Merlin

    Yes, that would be lovely. I think at this point I’m willing to sacrifice the overall quality of the deal for its actual occurrence. Something, almost anything–horrendous, brilliant, maybe in between–to break this stuporous boredom and allow space for incoherent babble to return…unless we’re giving up mardy, because I mean really–talk about franchise player.

  73. Owen

    Speaking of franchise players, here is something surprising (to me) from the Wages of Wins…

    “And then there is Carmelo Anthony. A few weeks ago I noted that there are signs that Melo is finally the productive star people have always envisioned. In the first half of the 2007-08 season Anthony posted numbers quite comparable to what he did in 2006-07. This means that Melo was a bit above average.

    In the second half of this past season, though, his shooting efficiency improved. Plus his rebounding increased, his turnovers were down, and his steals were up. As a result, Melo’s second half WP48 in 2007-08 was 0.245.”

    Did not realize he made such a dramatic leap….

  74. Thomas B.

    Mardy Collins is a franchise player…a fast food franchise.

    CM,

    I could not agree more. Sure he signs Roberson but how many people saw him play prior to this summer? What can we say about Duhon? Not much too say. He hated his coach and the organization. It brings to mind the raving of one Scott Williams, former Bull, and with apologies to mark Madsen, one of the least talented players to secure a multiple title rings.

    Following a contract negotiation in which the Bulls displayed their trademark cheapness, Scott declared that the “Chigaco Bulls organization has treated me like shit.” Scott mentioned that he wished to sign with a young team that valued his championship experience, which consists of handing gatorade and fresh towels to the regular players on the team. Oh, and the high-fives, cant forget those. Anyway, Scott went on to sign a free agent deal with the 76ers in 1994. He sucked big time in Philly. It seems to me that when a player leaves Chi-town angry, they dont become a very productive player again. Ben Wallace, Pippen, Tim Thomas (that Laker playoff series was a fluke comparable to our own Jerome James’ last playoff apperance), ect. I hope that Duhon is not repeate the pattern.

  75. Captain Merlin

    Really, I’m just looking forward to the point where he breaks and makes a move that causes mass hysteria–either the good or bad sort–on the board. I think it’s safe to say that I am withdrawal from the fast paced, wheeling and dealing, fuck-me-freddy days of IT and now that the post-Walsh hiring period of contentment is coming to a close, I neither have anything to gripe much about nor grovel for about this reign, so it’s just a touch droll. It’s sort of like how I’d imagine having been a daily cokehead for a few years then just stopping cold turkey…only less so. Hopefully this soon will pass and I will be content to bide my time like everyone else for that big 2010 payday in the sky. Until then, nothing would make me happier than seeing Mardy Collins get serious rotation time on a team that scores 120 a game, gives up 140 and piddles away another year.

  76. TDM

    I read a rumor on Ken Berger’s (Newsday) blog today that the Knicks have been discussing a trade with Denver sending Balkman for Taureen Green (another Florida guy) and Bobby Jones.

    http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/basketball/nba/blog/

    I like Green, but that would mean the Knicks would have 17 on the roster. Maybe buy out Jones and get Jerome James to take a medical retirement?

  77. jon abbey

    you didn’t read the whole entry. from the bottom:

    “A person familiar with the situation said Green and Jones both expect to be waived by the Knicks, which would put a damper on parlaying this into a bigger deal. Both players have non-guaranteed contracts, which means it’s simple accounting to waive them and get back to the 15-player limit. If the Knicks can shed another body, they wouldn’t mind bringing Green to training camp to have a look-see. So it appears that this is simply a move designed to get rid of Balkman and save $1.32 million in cap space next season.”

    WTF? insanely stupid if true.

  78. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, that would, indeed, be insanely stupid.

    Walsh has got us all on edge, no one knows which way he’s going to go – I would not be surprised by either awesome moves or terrible moves.

    So now I really sorta want him to actually MAKE a move already, just so I can have some basis to judge the guy.

    Signing Duhon is fine, turning down the Clippers deal…not so fine (unless he has something else up his sleeves).

  79. caleb

    Oh yeah, definitely, they’re giving away Balkman to save $1 million by cutting two guys. C’mon buddy, let’s go home, I think you’ve had one or five too many.

    I’m also suffering a few withdrawal symptoms but I think this is just how thenon-Isiah NBA does business – at least a few weeks between major roster moves. It’s been so long I can barely remember.

    In other NBA news, Jon can rest easy – Biedrins just signed, $63 million over 6 years.

    Josh Smith has got to be steaming – Hawks have only offered $57 mil. Yes Owen, I know that Biedrins is good and a virtual superstar in Berri-land :)

  80. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    That trade rumor doesn’t make sense. The Knicks have a team option on Balkman next year, meaning they’re really not tied into him past this season. Why would we trade him to another team for 2 guys we’re going to cut? It doesn’t seem to make sense that the team has become instantly frugal that they’d give away an NBA player to save $1M.

    If the Nuggets were sending back a draft pick, I might buy this rumor. And that may very well be the case. Look at the Randolph trade rumor – the initial reports failed to mention that the Clippers wanted a first rounder. It’s possible there’s more (or less) to this rumor than is currently reported.

  81. mastermind

    Yeah, this trade would make sense if the Nuggets were sending a pick. They have their own as well as a future Charlotte pick from the Ajinca trade. Plus, picking up Balkman would cover them somewhat if they don’t want to match an offer made to Smith or to re-sign Kleiza next year. It makes sense for the Knicks since Balkman’s rookie deal ends in 2010; they would be better off picking up a draft pick who will be under a rookie contract at that point (if they even get the pick by then), especially if D’Antoni isn’t looking to play Balkman much. It would be pretty similar to the Marcus Williams trade, which seemed pretty solid for the Nets.

  82. TDM

    I agree that this trade rumor makes little sense if they intend to buy out both Green and Jones. If the Knicks wanted some depth at pg and were keeping Green, maybe. Here’s a scary thought: the Knicks buy out Marbs and have Duhon, collins and Green to man the point. Not a very intimidating group…

  83. Caleb

    The one thing that makes me wonder… for two years, there have been these little hints that maybe Balkman doesn’t get along with his coaches, or that there’s something weird about him. Maybe it’s really a bad situation. On the other hand, it’s just as likely that it’s beat writers who can’t get their hands around the notion that a player might have value, even if he averages 3 or 4 points a game.

    Of course I’m Balkman’s biggest fan, so maybe I’m overly sensitive.

    Another thing — this post makes a lot of hay out of Balkman supposedly not having a “high basketball IQ.” That just seems weird. I don’t get to see the Knicks as much as I’d like, and even less of Balkman, but whenever I see him he looks perfectly savvy. It’s not in the numbers, either — he’s not a high turnover guy, and he’s a good enough ballhandler that he was playing point forward all last summer league. What seems to be the problem, again?

    Anyway, if they swapped him for a first round pick, it wouldn’t be the end of the world — but we’d probably regret it. He’d be absolutely perfect for George Karl.

  84. Z

    “It doesn’t seem to make sense that the team has become instantly frugal that they’d give away an NBA player to save $1M.”

    It really doesn’t make sense, especially knowing that they could have saved $43 million by taking the Clipper offer. Frugal teams sell 1st round picks for $3 million. That would have been a $40 million pick!

    Caleb– you raise a good point about the writing on the wall re: Balkman. There was definitely conflict last year between he and Isiah, but at the same time, everybody was having conflict with Isiah. I think you are right to finger the beats as culpable at the most and hugely unhelpful at the least. They asked Isiah “why doesn’t Balkman play” and he said “ask Balkman”. They asked Balkman and he said “ask Isiah.” For writers who complained that they had nothing to write about, they sure didn’t put much effort into getting to the bottom of that story…

  85. Caleb

    For writers who complained that they had nothing to write about, they sure didn’t put much effort into getting to the bottom of that story

    I have to remind myself: Balkman is much more interesting to KB bloggers — me, particularly – than the basketball-fan public at large. So I can’t read too much into it. At least I hope not.

  86. Dave

    Both Green and Jones have non-guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. Green needs to be cut before Aug 1st or else his contract becomes guaranteed, and Jones’ deadline is Aug 15th. Considering the timing of this deal (28th July) …. this is a pure salary dump.

    Denver were already very likely to cut both players so Donnie could have picked up either player in free agency on the minimum if he wanted. Green had reportedly struggled in summer league while Bobby Jones was heavily outplayed by Dahntay Jones.

    Looks like a straight forward salary dump

    Personally I’d rather the Knicks try to pick up a 2nd rounder or two for Balkman (I don’t think they’d get more than that) that a salary. It’s not like the club can’t afford to pay this small contract for 12 months. Look for the draft picks.

    Either way Balkman is getting pushed out of the rotation by Gallinari and Chandler. It isn’t totally surprising that the Knicks are looking to move him.

  87. jon abbey

    “A person close to LeBron James said Tuesday that the Cavaliers’ superstar would strongly consider playing overseas if he was offered a salary of “around $50 million a year.”

    James’ current contract expires after the 2009-10 season, and while several NBA teams are working to create salary cap space for his impending free agency, none could offer a contract beginning at even $20 million a year.

    The Russian team CSKA Moscow and the Greek team Olympiacos, which recently gave Josh Childress a contract approaching $30 million over three years, have already contacted James, according to the person close to him. The person added, however, that no monetary or contractual discussions have taken place.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3520860

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