Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bargs. Now and Forever…

ayoub-bargnani

INT. RUSTED HULK IN THE BOWELS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN — CONTINUOUS

They pass into a huge hold. In the middle: 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS. The pile is thirty feet high. Standing on top- Masai Ujiri. At his feet, bound, is Glenn Grunwald. Dolan laughs.

DOLAN
Like Joe Walsh says,

(begins singing)

“They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.
I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime
Life’s been good to me so far”

Ujiri jumps from the top, slides down the pile.

UJIRI
I told you- I’m a man of my word.

(looks around)

Where’s the Italian?

Dolan shrugs. Pulls out a cigar. Lights it.

DOLAN
What you do with all your money, Mr. Masai?

Ujiri GRABS a can of GASOLINE from his thug, Tyler Hansbrough.

UJIRI
I’m a man of simple tastes. I like…cap space. Dynamic point guards…

He is SPLASHING gasoline onto the money.

UJIRI (CONT’D)
…gasoline…

Dolan, FURIOUS, steps forwards. Ujiri turns. JABS his gun in Dolan’s face. Dolan’s bodyguard, Herb Williams, REACTS. Tyler Hansbrough DRAWS his gun on Herb.

UJIRI (CONT’D)
And you know what they have in common?
They’re cheap.

DOLAN
You said that Bargnoodi was a former 1st overall pick and that he could shoot and was big…You said you were a man of your word.

Ujiri PLUCKS the cigar from Dolan’s lips.

UJIRI
I am.

Ujiri tosses the cigar at the pile.

UJIRI (CONT’D)
I’m only burning my half.

Dolan watches the money catch fire.

UJIRI (CONT’D)
All you care about is money. This city deserves a better class of criminal…er…owner, and I’m going to give it to them.

It’s not about money. It’s about sending a message…

Ujiri watches the towering FLAMES. Glenn Grunwald screams.

FIN.

You know, I’d almost forgotten what bug-eyed, gobsmacked Knick-based incredulous rage felt like. They’ve been more or less out of the news, saved for a sort of weird, rumor-and-innuendo filled couple of months that was the Kerr/Fisher/Phil love triangle (see what I did there?), but on a lovely Sunday, word was leaked that the ‘Bockers did not, in fact, have nearly as much money as we thought; money that we hope(d) might be used to say, buy a draft pick.

Why?

Bargs.

Bargs?

BAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGGGSS!!!

It really has reached Baxter and the Wheel of Cheese-levels at this point. I’m not even mad; I’m impressed. The Knicks (or Grunwald or Mills or Dolan or CAA the Illuminati or whom/whatever was actually in charge Pre-Phil) not only thought it was necessary to send three picks to Toronto for #BARGS!!!!1!, they felt it was necessary to add money to sweeten the pot. Srsly.

At this point, I kind of hope my little bit of bowdlerizing of The Dark Knight screenplay above is actually what took place, and Masai just went full Heath Ledger Joker and burned the sweet, sweet pile of greenbacks in front of Dolan just to prove a point.

So yes, the Knicks went from the relatively slim hope of a cash-poor or draft-pick resplendent team being willing to sell a first so they can snag P.J. Hairston or Kyle Anderson or Mitch McGary or whatever tasty prospect has the right vibes, mang for Pappa Phil, to hoping someone good drops into the second round (maybe).

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a humongous loss, but it is so freaking Knicks. After a few months of generally pleasant sports-watching, whether it was the Rangers, or the Spurs’ decimation of the Heat or the World–you know, fun things that didn’t leave you without questioning the logic of fandom altogether–hearing about this is like the sound of record needle being violently snatched from its place in the midst of blissfully listening to one of Chopin’s Etudes. (Unless you root for the Mets. Then it’s been same ol’ same ol’. Yes, I’m a Mets fan. Shocker.)

The sheer, unimaginable stupidity of it brought me right back to those awful, soul-sucking first few months of the 2013-14 season in one feel swoop. And like a recidivist criminal or addict falling off the wagon, I just want to bellow, “NO. Not again. I thought we were past this. Why, oh fickle and cruel and capricious God, WHY?” Because the Bargs trade is forever. An immutable sin that will haunt our children and our children’s children and the sentient robots that eventually take over the planet.

Or, Like Jared sez:

So I’m just gonna laugh, because the only other option is screaming obscenities (possibly while speaking in tongues) and pounding nails into the floor with my forehead.

I leave you with this. I made it just for you, die-hard Knicker-backers. You (and I) deserve better.

BARRRRRRGGGS

49 comments on “Bargs. Now and Forever…

  1. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

    OUTSTANDING. I do wish that Ujiri sang a little more, though.

  2. ephus

    The Bargnani trade is like the Butt-fumble (Jets), the Miracle of the Meadowlands (Giants) and the Tom Seaver trade (Mets). Such an awful event, it’s hard to imagine how it happened.

    Thanks, Robert, you have penned the unthinkable.

  3. Zanzibar

    I will say this: the second-round draft picks, the cash, and the fact the 1st round pick was not somewhat protected is bizarre. I believe CAA really pushed Dolan to give too much. The way it turned out, is there any way CAA feels they owe us? I mean aren’t Mills and Wark still there? Maybe then they make sure we get Mills (Patty, that is) for the mmle. Maybe they tell Melo his image (and theirs) would take too big a hit if they don’t force a S&T?

    So maybe we salvage something from the ruins. Likewise, maybe Woodson not playing Cole allows Phil to sign him to 3 year/1.5m per year deal (team option)? Cole seems like the type who might be susceptible to Phil’s zen charms. Two gawky white guys bonding.

  4. JK47

    I’m a Mets fan. Yeah, I know.

    The Bargs trade was, to me, exactly like when the Mets traded for Jeff Francouer. Francouer was my least favorite player in the league when he was with the Braves, a guy who had one hot streak as a rookie and then used that to stay in the lineup forever, racking up 600+ plate appearances a year and ruining the Braves’ lineup with his sub-.300 OBP. Worst player in the league.

    Then the Mets traded for him. I knew he was terrible, and I knew there was no way it would work out, and I knew he would get every chance to fail spectacularly, and he sure as hell did. I had to suffer through 2 1/2 years and 1300 plate appearances of Jeff Francouer sucking giant ass, and it was horrible because I knew it was the inevitable outcome. When I watch Bargs fail to rotate or not even try to get a rebound or brick a wide open 3, it’s like watching Jeff Francouer swing at a first-pitch face-high fastball and pop it up to second base all over again.

  5. Owen

    “a guy who had one hot streak as a rookie and then used that to stay in the lineup forever, racking up 600+ plate appearances a year and ruining the Braves’ lineup with his sub-.300 OBP. Worst player in the league.”

    But that arm!!!!

    After the way the US blew that game today, (Michael Bradley, just kick the ball into the effing stands), I can’t even process this new Knicks factoid.

    Just the thought we paid money on TOP of the picks. It’s too insane…

  6. BigBlueAL

    Bradley has been AWFUL so far this World Cup. Similar to Donovan’s disastrous 2006 World Cup with the difference being this USA team is better so they have been able to handle Bradley’s awful play so far. Sucks too cause I like the kid alot and he is for the most part regarded as the best player in this country right now but man he has been brutal in both games. Hopefully Germany takes it easy on Thursday and settles for a draw lol.

    That .gif of Bargs is amazing btw.

  7. steveoh

    Ugh.

    from @ESPNSteinLine
    Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late first-round pick heading into Thursday’s draft

  8. BigBlueAL

    I think the reason Shump is on the trade blocks would be because he becomes a RFA after next season. Might as well trade him and get a player on a rookie contract instead if possible.

    I would prefer to keep Shump mind you and see how he plays under Fisher next season but I certainly understand the point of trading him especially for a 1st rd pick in this draft regardless of how low it would be.

  9. massive

    I’m starting to think Glen Grunwald lost his job because of the Mike Woodson, JR Smith, and Andrea Bargnani deals. I’m not sure that he had much to do with any of those three, but it’s good to see that somebody lost their job behind those three moves. The Knicks really traded two firsts and two seconds along with millions of dollars for Marcus Camby and Andrea Bargnani. That is so difficult to think about. I’m pretty done with this team as currently constructed.

    Here’s to hoping we sign Patty Mills.

  10. Donnie Walsh

    I think Grunwald was fired because he didn’t want to make the Bargnani deal, no? (At least Steve A Smith reported something like that)

  11. Brian Cronin

    That was the rumor, but with the Knicks’ cone of silence, we’ll never know for sure.

    I also think that Grunwald was pro matching on Lin. But, again, cone of silence.

  12. Brian Cronin

    The Knicks really traded two firsts and two seconds along with millions of dollars for Marcus Camby and Andrea Bargnani. That is so difficult to think about. I’m pretty done with this team as currently constructed.

    The Camby deal was definitely a bad one. Not because they got Camby, as I was definitely pro getting Camby, but because they gave up so much for a guy that Houston was fine getting rid of (to be fair, there was some competition from Miami for Camby). So while I liked getting Camby, they spent way too much on the deal. The Bargs deal, as noted, was obviously horrible from the get go.

    That said, it was just one first. Four seconds, almost five million bucks and a couple of useful players, but only one first round pick.

  13. Brian Cronin

    Man, that is just the epitome of how shitty sports journalism can be. Lawrence writes a column with pretty much no facts or even quotes (including the now legendary “Rose hasn’t called Melo, which proves he doesn’t want Melo. Oh? He hasn’t called Love, either? Well, that doesn’t matter” bit) and then suddenly that worthless column gets reposted as if it said something and now it is just “Rose doesn’t want Melo.” Such nonsense.

  14. Nick C.

    You mean like the first sentences including ‘according to those in Love’s camp’ then paragraphs of speculation concluding with this “And while Rose’s comments likely will be blown out or proportion” without a single quote by Rose in the article?

  15. Frank

    Grunwald did some good things and also some god-awful things.

    Good:
    1- picked up Lin off scrap heap
    2- picked up Novak off scrap heap
    3- picked up Copeland off scrap heap
    4- signed Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas
    5- drafting THJ

    Bad:
    1- terrible Camby trade as noted above
    2- terrible Felton trade
    3- not getting a team option 2nd year on Copeland
    4- basically signing all 40 year olds in 2012-13 to back up our starters

    Unforgiveable:
    1- giving Felton a deal that would impinge on 2015 plan
    2- giving Novak a deal that would impinge on 2015 plan
    3- letting Lin leave for zippo (granted, once the offer sheet was signed there was nothing he could do if Dolan wouldn’t let him match — but he should have at least given Lin an offer instead of letting the market come to him)
    4- signing a pre-surgery post-braindead postseason meltdown JR to a deal that would impinge on our 2015 plan
    5- being anywhere near the Bargnani trade without pre-resigning before the trade was announced.

    What we’re left with is a guy who is great at finding talent, but terrible at making deals. Grunwald is not a general manager. He’s a director of scouting, or a director player personnel. He’s a benign Isiah Thomas. A GM has to be able to make good deals, see value, pocket small victories, avoid huge defeats, understand when the other guy is bluffing, etc. Honestly, I’d be super happy with a structure like this: Phil deciding on the types of guys/system he wants, hiring Grunwald back as a player personnel guy, and then hiring Phil Ivey or John Juanda or some other poker guy as dealmaker. Not only would the Morey types be like schoolgirls at a John Mayer concert facing off against Ivey, we’d also definitely get better deals out of them.

  16. GoNyGoNYGo

    Of all the moves ever made, the trade for Bargnani was the stupidest, by far. Ever. It will set the Knicks back a decade.

  17. johnno

    “Of all the moves ever made, the trade for Bargnani was the stupidest, by far. Ever.”
    I don’t know, the Knicks have set the stupid bar pretty darn high. Are you forgetting the ’05-’06 juggernaut that had a payroll of over $124 million (a league record that stands to this day I believe) and went 23-59? You don’t achieve something that profoundly bad unless you make a whole series of really stupid moves.

  18. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

    I don’t think the Bargnani trade sets things back by a decade, but it’s the basketball equivalent of hitting on 20 on a $11.8M hand.

  19. Farfa

    If Cleveland deals us the #1 pick for Carmelo, they are beyond hopeless. What do they fear? That they will lose Irving? So what? If they draft Jabari Parker they will have a simil-Melo for the next 7 years at a cheap price.

    If they do this, I’ll be super happy and they’ll be superstupid. Anyway, not happening since LaLa doesn’t know what to do in the mistake by the lake.

  20. johnno

    Maybe LeBron and Melo have talked about teaming up in Cleveland? The pessimist in me says that such a deal WILL happen — and the Knicks will promptly pick Embiid, and he will turn into the next Samgreg Bowoden. My favorite Red Aurbach line of all time — right after the Ewing lottery, a reporter stuck a microphone in Aurbach’s face and asked him what he thought of the Knicks’ winning the lottery. He grinned and said, “Knowing them, they’ll pick Tisdale.” As I said, the Knicks have set the stupid bar pretty high…

  21. Farfa

    If I had the number 1 pick in this draft, I would draft Embiid anyway and would make certain that he doesn’t play next year.

  22. CaptainB

    How was the Bargs trade set the Knicks back by a decade? It was a bad trade but come on.

  23. johnno

    “I would draft Embiid anyway”
    You’re not concerned about a stress fracture in his back and a stress fracture in his foot (a stress fracture that took 2 screws to fix?) within 5 months of each other? I could see if they were freak accidents like he got kicked or fell or something like that, but stress fractures are “wear and tear” type injuries. His body couldn’t take the stress of half a college season and some pre-draft workouts and it’s going to hold up for a full NBA season. I would take a chance on a guy like that with a #12 pick, but not the first pick in the draft.

  24. johnno

    By the way, Marc Stein is reporting today that he’s hearing that the Knicks have explored trading Shumpert for a first round pick? I wouldn’t exactly call this world class detective work by Stein. Didn’t we all hear two weeks ago that the Knicks were exploring trading Shumpert for a pick?

  25. SJK

    IMO, trading Shump for a first is a great idea. He’s gonna be a restricted free agent next year, and we haven’t really seen anything out of him that makes me feel like we should match an offer if some team decides to take a chance on him. If we can get OKC’s 21, or maybe even their 29, and go for a player like Tyler Ennis or Kyle Anderson on a rookie salary, I’m all for it.

  26. Frank

    I’m semi-ok (but sad) to trade Shump for 21. #29 not so much. Guaranteed contract for relatively poor expected return.

  27. Farfa

    You’re not concerned about a stress fracture in his back and a stress fracture in his foot (a stress fracture that took 2 screws to fix?) within 5 months of each other?

    Yes, I’d be very concerned. Mind you that I’m talking about what I would do if I had the #1 pick as the Knicks. I understand that Cleveland is in a sort of “win now” mode, so if they keep their pick they are gonna draft Parker for sure, since he’s the most sure thing in this draft.
    But if I were the Knicks I’d draft Embiid, I wouldn’t play him any minute next season (not that uncommon; Blake Griffin – I know, he got injured in Summer League, didn’t got drafted already injured) and Nerlens Noel come to mind) so that his health status could be properly assessed and, most of all, I’d hire a much better medical staff than what we have now (countless blunders on multiple injury cases).
    That would mean that in 2014-15 we could properly assess things with a bad roster, have another high pick in 2015 alongside lots of cap room. If the right situation presents itself, good. If not, rinse and repeat and go balls to the wall for Durant in free agency in 2016 (if he hasn’t already won a title by then; I would bet he won’t).

    Just my two cents about something that’s definitely not happening (Melo to Cleveland).

  28. Farfa

    If we have to trade Shump and we can’t trade him for #21, then it’s better to trade him for two second rounders in the #31 to #40 range.

  29. Frank

    Chad Ford now also jumping on the PJ Hairston bandwagon for us if we end up with a mid-late first rounder.

    I’ve never seen Hairston play, but by all accounts he’s a great shooter and gets to the rim. TS 60 and 59 in his last 2 seasons (UNC and D-League). Draftexpress thinks he can be a good defender. And re: his passing, he average 2.1 and 2.3 assists/40 at 2 UNC years so my guess is that his poor assisting in the D-League was related to role and system as opposed to inability to pass. Draftexpress seems to to think he has pretty good basketball IQ too in terms of defensive instincts and ability to move without the ball on offense. If we end up trading Shump for Hairston (and his smaller/longer contract) I guess we could do worse depending who’s on the board.

    And re: his off-court stuff? Kid’s only 21 years old. Hopefully he can put it behind him.

    Speaking of– sounds like Raymond Felton will avoid jail time – plea bargained today. Good for him personally, bad for the anti-gun crowd in general, and for the Knicks.

  30. Hubert

    I honestly had no idea we gave them money in the Bargs trade until just this moment.

    Motherfucker.

  31. Hubert

    The way it turned out, is there any way CAA feels they owe us?

    When you swindle a mark, you don’t pay him back.

    I just hope this whole experience has taught Dolan a lesson about his loyalty. You don’t get in bed with agencies.

  32. Farfa

    And re: his off-court stuff? Kid’s only 21 years old. Hopefully he can put it behind him.

    Let’s hope so for him. But why not start with a guy who has no character issues? I admit that 21-year-old me was much more stupid than 30-year-old me and the kid could mature, but we already have JR…

  33. lavor postell

    Hairston’s off court issue was using a car that was paid for by a booster who was also a convicted felon. He didn’t commit a crime, abuse drugs, piss off teammates and his coach, etc. He used a car which is some kind of major violation because the NCAA says so even though I think most people wouldn’t see it that way. He’s a good kid who Roy Williams and basically everybody on the team vouched for after he was officially kicked off the team.

    Also defensively Hairston would immediately become our only guard capable of playing PNR defense. He is extremely adept at fighting over screens and stick with the ball handler and he’s an absolute beast physically in terms of size and speed. Defensively he’s not a great off the ball defender and is susceptible to back cuts, but I think his on the ball defense is damn good and having just one guard that wouldn’t look shocked anytime somebody set a pick on him would be nice.

    Hairston can also flat out shoot the ball. He’s a good straight line driver to the rim and can finish through contact, but he’s not very good at getting past his man and to the rim in straight isolation situations. He’s not a great passer, but a lot of it also has to do with what his role has been. Teams know that he can fill it up and have put him in a lot of situations where that’s what he’s supposed to do. I like Hairston and think his game is like a cross of Shump and JR.

  34. johnno

    “He used a car which is some kind of major violation because the NCAA says so even though I think most people wouldn’t see it that way”
    I remember that, somehow, LeBron James was driving an Escalade or some comparable vehicle when he was a senior in high school. Not sure how he got it, but my guess is that he didn’t pay for it by working evenings at Burger King. I’d be willing to ignore that character issue for LeBron if he came to the Knicks.

  35. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    If we have to trade Shump and we can’t trade him for #21, then it’s better to trade him for two second rounders in the #31 to #40 range.

    That would limit the market to Milwaukee (#31 and #36) or Philadelphia (#32 and #39). I’m not sure either have much interest in a player like Shumpert at the moment, but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    I’ve never seen Hairston play, but by all accounts he’s a great shooter and gets to the rim. TS 60 and 59 in his last 2 seasons

    Hairston’s college stats are almost identical to Eric Gordon’s stats at Indiana. Gordon was also a shooter who got to the rim and to the free throw line a lot. (Gordon’s pre-draft projections turned out true– his efficiency translated to the NBA, but so did his injuries.)

    I wouldn’t shy away from Hairston because of a fear of having too many JR Smith’s on the roster. But I would fear having too many Tim Hardaways. Hairston had the worst assist rate in the DL last year. Is it worth trading into a draft just to draft a player you already have?

  36. lavor postell

    Difference between Hairston and Hardaway is that Hairston is a far better defensive player in just about every which way. There offensive skillset is similar, but I think overall Hairston brings a lot more to the table. I’d be very ok if the Knicks started guaging THJ’s value around the league.

  37. JK47

    I see an awful lot of red flags when it comes to Hairston, and it’s not because of cars or convicted felons or any of that.

    Hairston is a guy who likes to shoot– a black hole on the court. His assist rate was the lowest among guards in the NBDL. He had 21 assists in 800+ minutes. You pass the ball to him, it ain’t coming back. He is not a good passer or decision maker, and I’ve never seen him described as “high IQ.” He’s physically very imposing– he’s thick and strong– but he’s not super quick and not a plus athlete. When he has his head in the game he can play pretty good defense, but there are major questions about his work ethic, conditioning and attitude. Maybe Jackson and Fisher figure they can get the guy to stay in shape and keep his head in the game, but I don’t understand why they’d want a guy who can’t or won’t pass the ball.

  38. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

    His assist rate was lowest among guards in the NBDL, but Frank says it’s probably a system thing, so we’ll be okay.

    Frank was definitely right about Bargnani’s woes being a system thing in Toronto, so, y’know: we’re good.

  39. johnno

    “Frank was definitely right about Bargnani’s woes being a system thing in Toronto, so, y’know: we’re good.”
    And, according to a lot of people here, Shump’s woes this year were a “system” thing (i.e., Shump stank this year but it was everyone’s fault but his own), so we’ve got that going for us…

  40. GoNyGoNYGo

    @22

    I don’t know, the Knicks have set the stupid bar pretty darn high. Are you forgetting the ’05-’06 juggernaut that had a payroll of over $124 million (a league record that stands to this day I believe) and went 23-59? You don’t achieve something that profoundly bad unless you make a whole series of really stupid moves.

    Yes, but as you said, that was a series of moves: Marbury, Curry, Jerome James. Also, the Bargnani trade is worse because the Knicks repeated the stupidity.

    @28

    How was the Bargs trade set the Knicks back by a decade? It was a bad trade but come on.

    They traded Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a 2014 2nd round draft pick, a 2016 1st round draft pick and a 2017 2nd round draft pick to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani. They gave up 3 picks and Novak for the guy and killed the salary cap in one fell swoop. Oh, and as Hubert said, we also gave them money! Amazingly bad!

  41. GoNyGoNYGo

    Did Shumpert have a 1-year slump or will he turn things around in year 3? I would love for the Knicks to turn either Shump or THjr for either a pick or a starting PG. I’m torn about which one I would trade. Both have a lot of value. At this point I would trade THjr because all he can do is shoot. I think Shump can turn things around but we could lose him after next year. It’s a tough call.

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