So it’s Friday, traditionally considered a “slow news day.” If you’re running, for example, the government of the United States of America and you have an item of interest that you want to (or rather, have to) release, but you want to diminish the amount of attention it receives from the esteemed members of the Fourth Estate, you dump it on the world on a lazy Friday (preferably on the eve of a holiday) afternoon.
Because, you see, like the rest of us, the fine gentlemen and ladies who consider themselves journalists are also giddily eager to leave work as soon as humanly possible on this day (let alone hauling their bedraggled, possibly hung over carcasses into their fluorescent-lit, photo-and-ironic-toy-festooned sad little cubicles a Saturday) and would rather not crank up their Woodstein-y investigative juices up to a fever pitch just when they’re preparing to benumb themselves for 48-odd hours, barbecuing or spending time with a loved one or shopping for a nice new pair of slacks at Target or watching 300-kb men incur Dementia Pugilistica.
Basically, no one wants to either be forced to generate or feel some kind of moral imperative to consume 48-point font headlines screeching about corruption or the invasion/black ops bombing of a backwater third world hovel, when the vast portion of one’s cerebral cortex has shifted into put your feet up/kick back/consume beverages in totemic vessels with umbrellas mode
This too-long preamble is to let you know that our new lord and master of spreadsheets, Steve Mills, is aware of this practice, because the Knicks announced their final cuts a few minutes ago. Ready? Gird your loins, you may want to hide all the fire extinguishers and/or purchase an armored transport vehicle…
Knicks announce their cuts. Which means that Touré Murry, Cole Aldrich and Chris Smith have made the team.
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) October 25, 2013
Sure. Murry totally deserved a spot. Yay Toure’! And I totally get keeping Aldrich over, say, Diogu. He is a legit center, if not a particularly skilled one, especially on the offensive end. You cannot teach altitude and whatnot, and he provides a credible presence on defense/the glass. Diogu could score, but he’s an undersized, hustle-y/Tyler Hansbrough-y PF and given the makeup of the rest of the roster, that isn’t what this team needs. Aldrich also checks off the ‘upside’ box. There are not heaps of up to side to, but still.
And then there’s Chris Smith. No, he’s not good enough to be on an NBA roster. We’ve been hearing the nepotism chatter for awhile now, and yes, it does smack of all the gobsmackingly stupid, incestuous ways in which this so-called pro franchise has functioned for going on a decade plus. It also reaffirms all the paranoid musings about “CAA running the team” and/or Dolan having some kind of under-the-table deal w/the Smith
family mafia clan in exchange for one of the two contracts that favorite son JR has signed over the past two offseasons.
Luckily for y’all, I studied at the Glenn Beck School of NBA Roster management (I majored in chalkboards). So here’s my thought: It doesn’t make keeping Smith any less of an atrocity, mind you, but it might make swallowing this fetid sack of derp a tad more palatable, like dousing a fecal fajita in hot sauce.
Here’s my conspiracy — The Knicks are holding on to Smith so his salary’s guaranteed. When Tyler’s healthy, they pick him up and cut Chris
— Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta) October 25, 2013
If the Knicks keep Smith past the 29th, he gets paid. Odds are, no one’s going to sign Tyler while he’s still wheeling around the practice facility on that one-knee scooter of his. When Tyler’s healthy, he rejoins the roster (or they pick up someone else of value who gets cut before Wednesday) and Lil Pipe either gets handed his pink slip or suffers a mysterious ‘injury’ of his own and maybe receives the Baron Davis I-get-to-be-part-of-the-team-but-no-one-really-knows-what-‘work’-I-actually-do role.
All of this though, still stinks. Giving a player a nice sack of consolation prizes just because he’s someone’s brother is bound to piss off the rest of the roster (at least the rest that isn’t related to Chris). I know and you probably know that nepotism/favoritism plays a part in any workplace, but when it happens at your/my job, we get really, really angry. No one wants to think that decisions in life aren’t based on pure merit. Basketball (and all sports) are supposed to be a respite from all that — a place where you succeed or fail on your skills alone, where the rules are clear and enforced, and, at the end of the day, you know exactly who’s won and who’s lost. No vast, unending, indecipherable, morally ambiguous (let alone outright rigged/corrupt/fixed) shades of gray. It’s a number. I have more, I win.
Of course, that’s never wholly the case either. Roster spots are often determined by salary/draft pick status. It’s never a pure Rand-ian meritocracy, but this is such a shameless example, so plaintively obvious, it’s bound to raise everyone’s hackles.
So yeah, this isn’t good. But maybe in a few weeks, it’ll be slightly less not-good. Optimism!
UPDATE [5:48pm] Well, this tweet isn’t definitive, but it certainly doesn’t dispel the tinfoil hat speculation I outlined.
Woodson said #Knicks waived Tyler because they needed a healthy body but team will keep an eye on him.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 25, 2013