Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers

Let’s hope that this time next year it is the New York Knicks winning Game 7 of the NBA Finals at home on 32.5% shooting from the field, 20% from three and 67.6% from the free throw line!

Whenever the next “Player X doesn’t have a ring!” argument starts, please look back and note that DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Josh Powell, Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar now all have two rings apiece and Derek Fisher now has five.

A ten-pack of notes from the game:

1. How amazing was it that one of the most hated players in the game, Sasha Vujacic, was shooting important free throws at the end of the last game of the NBA season?

2. How impressive was that three-pointer by Rondo?

3. Which was more impressive – the Rondo three or the Artest three? I almost think that the Artest three was more shocking. I mean, good golly miss molly, I don’t think a single Laker fan wanted him taking that shot.

4. I cannot believe the Celtics’ final play – what was the plan there? It looked like it was drawn up for a Rondo corner three, which makes some sense as the Lakers would not expect it, I guess, but then he just seemed lost when he got the ball.

5. If it were up to me, I’d have drawn the final Celtics play up for Nate from three. A. We know he can hit it and B. Who would expect it?

6. Speaking of Nate, I was shocked at how tentative he was. Obviously, Doc Rivers decided that Nate was only in there strictly to give Rondo a spell, but besides one good look (which he missed), Nate did not seem explosive at all – almost as if Rivers had told him “Do not try to do anything explosive!” Which, well, sort of defeats the purpose of having Nate on the court, right? You don’t go to Nate and say “Play a half-court game!” Weird.

7. As ugly as the game was, I think the defense was outstanding. It is quite fitting that this took place on a night forever associated with the OJ Simpson Car Chase and the Knicks/Rockets, as this was a very much 1994-esque game, so I liked it!

8. Where will Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson be working next year? Same teams? Different teams? Not coaching?

9. How is Pau Gasol not the MVP of the series?

10. If Kobe gets MVP for this series (in a “eh, he’s the most famous player and Gasol is just working off of him” sort of way), then how the heck did Tim Duncan not get the MVP for the 2007 series? I’m still bitter about that – the Cavs decide that they will not let Duncan beat them so they double him all series and Parker exploits the coverage and he‘s the most valuable player? Not the guy who the other team fixated their very good defense around to the point where they left Parker open routinely? That was like Jeff Kent winning MVP the year that Barry Bonds set a record for most times getting intentionally walked…in front of Jeff Kent (who then got the runs batted in that netted him his award)!!!

Anyhow, congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers! Let the offseason begin!! I eagerly await the Knicks signing Rudy Gay and Carlos Boozer and trading Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas!

77 comments on “Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers

  1. Robert Silverman

    “I eagerly await the Knicks signing Rudy Gay and Carlos Boozer and trading Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas!”

    Blarg! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little at the thought of THAT being the Nix “big three.”

    The horror…the horror…

  2. Brian Cronin

    I was going to go with Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay, but I don’t think even Isiah would do that particular pairing, so it wasn’t realistic enough to work (the above scenario is also not really realistic, but I could at least fathom Isiah doing it).

  3. Owen

    So irritating. Another Laker title, another MVP for Kobe, more “evidence” he is one of the top five all time. At least I can point out in the future that the “closer” went 6=24 in the deciding game, and had to get bailed out by the refs with 15 free throws…

    The NBA, where Kobe happens, and Mark Jackson tells you how amazing he is….

  4. kaine

    Watching the finals, I wonder if Lebron has the mindset to take his team to this level.

  5. massive

    So the Lakers won, and more importantly, the Celtics lost. Now all of the attention is on Free Agency. Ehh let’s just hope Donnie Walsh is what he seems, a level-headed, basketball-savy GM. I have faith he and his superstar fan-based recruiting team (Chris Rock, Spike Lee, etc) will get us one of the top 3 free agents, and not that atrocious team.

  6. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Since the Knicks have squandered another few drafts already, I don’t have high hopes for the future. I know it’s a cynical approach, but I just can’t see two superstars and 7 minimum-or-rookie-contract players matching up with twin seven-foot all-stars, a hall-of-fame shooting guard, a former DPOY, and a sixth man who would start on twenty-eight other teams.

  7. xduckshoex

    The Celtics were very poorly coached in the last two games. Obviously their defense was great in each game but they were completely clueless on offense. I’m not really surprised though, I’ve always thought that Doc Rivers was overrated.

  8. Z-man

    Finally, the 2010-2011 season has officially begun and all teams are tied at 0-0 again. Hpoe springs eternal, at least until early November.

    Now DraftExpress has the Knicks taking Jordan Crawford and Mikhail Torrance. Both seem like intriguing prospects, but won’t both be gone by then? Opinions on Torrance?

    I am going on record as predicting Pittman will be the steal of the draft. Would love to get him and one of the above guys.

  9. Jafa

    Brian,

    Your point #9 hit it right on the head. I think Kobe was great and its hard to argue with his numbers, but Pau Gasol deserved that MVP trophy. He was the best big man in this series. Many times late in the fourth quarter of these finals, they went to him and he delivered. And he played physical with KG, Perkins, Davis and Rasheed Wallace, scoring and defending against them well.

    Also, big shout out to Artest. He totally locked down Paul Pierce in that Game 7, taking him out of the game completely. And then he was the high man in points for the game, hitting 3′s late in the fourth like he’s Derek Fisher. Really happy for him.

  10. Jafa

    I just had a thought. This has to be so depressing for other western conference teams. How do they ever get past the Lakers? I mean, these guys won the title last year with Ariza, they switched Ariza for Artest and won another title. If they trade Bynum for Bosh this off-season, they will probably be favored to come out of the west next year again.

    I mean, it like they can just change some parts, and as long as they still have Kobe, Gasol, Fisher and Phil, they are coming out in the West. Everyone else is playing for second place. The Lakers don’t even have a good bench!!!

    They have now defeated the best two teams in the East for the past 3 years – the Magic and the Celtics. Cavs don’t count because they couldn’t even get to the Finals the last 3 years. Totally depressing.

    This is like the MJ years. You have to wait for Phil Jackson to retire, Fisher to retire, or Kobe to slow down to have a shot at winning the title. Because so far, none of the good teams out West or the ones in the East can beat them. Even when they play as badly as last night. Depressing.

  11. David Crockett

    A ten-pack of notes from the game:

    1. How amazing was it that one of the most hated players in the game, Sasha Vujacic, was shooting important free throws at the end of the last game of the NBA season?

    :: Not amazing that Phil went to him, but amazing that he didn’t even touch rim on either shot coming off the bench cold.

    2. How impressive was that three-pointer by Rondo?

    :: That 2+ minute stretch there were some really good shots hit. Rondo’s was the most impressive of all because it came off a scramble.

    3. I don’t think a single Laker fan wanted him taking that shot.

    :: If you haven’t, you really MUST link to the Artest presser in my comment above and watch the whole 10 minutes. (I haven’t watched TV today but I suspect it’s all over ESPN.) He talks about hearing Phil’s voice in his ear telling him not to take the shot, and he responds, “whatever.” Hysterical.

    4. I cannot believe the Celtics’ final play – what was the plan there?

    :: Looked like Rondo was THE last option and the only guy really open at all. Everything else was covered up. The Lakers weren’t letting Pierce or Ray touch it. This was the moment the C’s REALLY needed ‘Sheed.

    5. If it were up to me, I’d have drawn the final Celtics play up for Nate from three. A. We know he can hit it and B. Who would expect it?

    :: Doc really spent the better part of Nate’s time on the team beating that out of him, for better or worse.

    6. Speaking of Nate, I was shocked at how tentative he was.

    :: Ditto above. It really took Rondo three seasons to figure out where his offense should come from. I’m not terribly surprised Nate was tentative, given how he was used.

    7. As ugly as the game was, I think the defense was outstanding.

    :: By game 7 the defenses really should be good. Each team has, by definition, demonstrated that it can beat the other. Each team knows what the other wants to run. There was just very little space. Add to that the officials basically said from jump street that they weren’t going to call much.

    8. Where will Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson be working next year? Same teams? Different teams? Not coaching?

    :: Can’t see Doc going anywhere, especially now that Thibideaux is staying. Phil might retire, but why would he?

    9. How is Pau Gasol not the MVP of the series?

    :: Most famous player on the winning team has to lose it, and Kobe came close. I have defended Kobe at times because, even though I agree with many of his detractors, I have often felt he doesn’t get enough credit as a defender and rebounder. But, he was at his worst in this game; a menace until the last 10 minutes or so. He flat refused to run the offense through Gasol even though they got something good out of it every single time, forcing Phil to call him out publicly and bench him at the start of the 4th quarter.

    On the flipside, the “book” on Gasol as not-tough-enough should change once and for all.

    :: Sometimes I think series MVP and the Nobel Peace Prize should not automatically be awarded. Some years no one should get it.

  12. villainx

    “I eagerly await the Knicks signing Rudy Gay and Carlos Boozer and trading Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas!”

    You left out the part where the signings would be sign and trade and all the trades would require giving up first round draft picks till 2035.

    Or the Knicks don’t do that anymore?

  13. DS

    “You left out the part where the signings would be sign and trade and all the trades would require giving up first round draft picks till 2035.

    Or the Knicks don’t do that anymore?”

    Oh the Knicks def. did that 4 months ago to get rid of Jeffries’s contract.

  14. Thomas B.

    Ah sweet vindication.

    After being roundly abused by posters and the writing staff alike for stating that Kobe Bryant was my pick for MVP, it is so nice to have proof positive that Kobe truly is the MVP of the NBA.

    And nothing proves this more than to listen to the Kobe haters do everything possible to take this away from him. They talk about his 6-24 shooting but they ignore the rebound effort AND the huge bandage of his finger that would impact anyone’s shooting AND the fact that he was facing the best defensive team in the playoffs. They say he was bailed out by the refs for getting to the line in a very physical game. Ah they hate him so.

    They call him a bad teammate but ignore the fire he lit under his team to get them to step up to win 2 elimination games. They ignore how praised Gasol and Artest. And he gave all the credit to his coach.

    To me, the MVP isnt the league stat stuffer. The MVP is the player who best helps the team win. And Noone did that better this year than Kobe.

    I await your hate.

  15. ess-dog

    You’ve got to give Kobe some credit – what did he have, 15 rebounds? That’s David Lee-esque!

    Great series. It will be hard to field a Knick team like those EVER, but we can try. Btw, this from Hahn re: Bosh comments:

    “…Hmmm….Draft night?

    It could have been a simple statement to mean the NBA Draft still has to take place before the Free Agency period begins, but I *have heard that the Knicks are trying very hard to make a trade happen on draft night that will be a tone-setter for July 1 and beyond.* There is some thought that it involves Tony Parker, but he could be just one possibility among many.

    For instance, Bosh – like all of the opt-out players – could be traded on draft night, as well. In this scenario, the Bird Rights go with the player, which changes the game dramatically because now you can re-sign this player after capping out, though they do take up room on your payroll as a cap hold so it’s not like you would still have room for two maxes.

    The issue for the Knicks is that if the Raptors start taking offers for Bosh on draft night, the Knicks best asset, David Lee, can’t be moved until July 1. Lee is a pending unrestricted free agent, but his rights can’t be traded on draft night because he was a one-year contract. Here’s where Donnie Walsh would have to get creative in working with Bryan Colangelo, who will certainly want to get the most he can out of the Bosh asset…”

  16. Ted Nelson

    Great stuff all around, Brian! As much as Arenas/Gay is a horrible worst case, maybe the Knicks could at least make the playoffs…

    “Watching the finals, I wonder if Lebron has the mindset to take his team to this level.”

    Seriously? I assume you’re serious, but it works well as a joke.

    “Since the Knicks have squandered another few drafts already, I don’t have high hopes for the future.”

    You don’t have to win the title to have a bright future. If the Knicks can win 50+ games and their only problem is they can’t beat the Lakers (who might lose if Perkins plays and may have a hard time replacing Kobe as he ages/retires) in the Finals… I’ll take it.
    Cap space, Danilo, Douglas, WC, Walker, 2 early 2nds… the future has potential with or without 2 max free agents.

    “The Celtics were very poorly coached in the last two games. Obviously their defense was great in each game but they were completely clueless on offense”

    I thought their offense looked good in Game 7 for the most part. They moved (the ball and people) as well as any team in the league. They blew it when it mattered most, but I thought they did a great job all post-season. Their last play was poor, but otherwise it’s convenient to blame misses on bad coaching. Ray Allen took an awful shot on a wide open lay-up towards the end, and Rondo and Nate blew like 3 lay-ups combined in the 4th I believe.

    “If they trade Bynum for Bosh this off-season, they will probably be favored to come out of the west next year again.”

    Maybe this was your point, but if they don’t trade Bynum for Bosh they’ll also be favored to win.
    If Fisher retires it might help the Lakers.
    If you’re another team I don’t think you worry about what the Lakers are doing: you just take care of your own business.

  17. Ted Nelson

    With the draft approaching… Knicks had picks just before Artest, Bynum, AND Rondo… I know there’s no point in thinking of that, but an interesting “what could have been” as a fan.

    Z-Man, why do you think Pittman will be a steal? What about him do you like?

  18. BigBlueAL

    If we are to believe Stephen A. Smith things are looking up for the Knicks and their chances of signing LeBron.

  19. DS

    Stephen A. Smith shouted “hallelujah” when we traded for Z-Bo. I think he’s willing to say whatever to get the spotlight.

  20. d-mar

    “If we are to believe Stephen A. Smith things are looking up for the Knicks and their chances of signing LeBron.”

    I saw his report. This is the one time that I want something that blowhard says to turn out to be accurate, but with him it’s always “my sources tell me” Who exactly are these “sources” and why are they always wrong?

  21. Ted Nelson

    Thomas B.,

    Vindication? Is that a joke? I know you use humor a lot in your posts… Kobe was awful in Game 7. He was jacking up bad shots that didn’t go in. When your feet aren’t set and two hands are in your face it’s hard to blame your finger for the shot not going in. To his credit he did keep it together at the end, but he lost his cool for a while in the middle of the game and looked visibly frustrated.

    Kobe is the best player on the best team, I would agree with that. That does not mean he’s the best player overall in the whole league. He is just not as good as LeBron. From a completely objective point of view (unless LeBron comes to NY I don’t particularly like either of them) LeBron is just a better basketball player. I think Howard is better too. Chris Paul was better in 08-09, but struggled/was injured in 09-10. I would put Wade pretty close to Kobe.

    Bill Russell had 40 rebounds in a finals game, by the way. That’s impressive. 15, less so. As far as all-around game, hard to argue that Kobe did ALL the little things when Artest took Boston’s top perimeter scorer.
    As far as Boston being the best defensive team in the playoffs, the Lakers were a better defensive team in the regular season than Boston (and a much better defensive team than offensive). I don’t have playoff numbers, but the Lakers looked just as tough as Boston.

    “The MVP is the player who best helps the team win. And Noone did that better this year than Kobe.”

    You are completely ignoring the teammates. Lamar Odom would have been the #2 Cav or #2 Heat and probably #2 Magic. He was the #4 Laker. LeBron, Wade, and Howard (and Chris Paul, though he had a bad year) have ZERO teammates the quality of Gasol OR Bynum between them, Kobe has two. No one is saying Kobe is not good, just that he’s not the best.
    Derek Jeter is a very good player who has helped the Yankees win a lot of games and a lot of rings… he’s just not as good a hitter as someone like Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds, though. He’s very good, but he’s not the best.

    Maybe you could look at this rationally and realize that basketball is a team game where having the best player is a huge advantage, but doesn’t win you the title unless you have the best team. That the Lakers won a defensive slug-fest despite poor performances by their best scorers because they’re a great defensive team… Or you could spit in the face of logic and say that Kobe is the best because he plays on the best team and I like him the best. You can join all the teenie-booper Yankee fans who think Derek Jeter is the best hitter in baseball.

    ess-dog,

    re: Hahn’s comments… Given his take on cap holds it’s hard to imagine he has any idea what he’s talking about… The cap hold is for more than the previous season’s salary, so as far as I can tell that particular aspect of it would not benefit the Knicks: they would have less money to spend before re-signing/losing/renouncing Bosh, not more. The aspect that would be a game changer is that the Knicks could now sign Bosh to the 6 year, max raises deal he wants, and no other team could do that (though Florida’s no income tax may more than make up for it if you want to get down to it). The first year salary would be the same, so it wouldn’t impact their ability to sign LeBron/Wade/etc.
    I don’t know anything about trading players before they opt-out… could be interesting. I assume whoever trades for Bosh’s rights would have to match salaries with non-expiring deals if they’re capped out. Since I believe the Knicks are still technically capped out, but have few non-expiring contracts, I’m not sure Toronto trading Bosh now helps them at all. More likely it helps a Dallas or some other capped out team.
    I find it hard to imagine Toronto gets the best value for Bosh now, since whatever team trades for him risks losing him before he plays a game. Maybe some capped out team takes a huge gamble, but seems more likely that the team Bosh is ready to sign with would throw a prospect or two Toronto’s way to get it done. The capped out teams would theoretically also be willing to offer more when they know Bosh will definitely sign-and-trade with them, rather than just for the chance of signing him.

  22. Ted Nelson

    The one huge advantage to trading Bosh now if you’re Toronto is that you definitely get something and you have more control over what it is. He can leave you high-and-dry if he signs with another team straight up. Or you might get someone you’re not too crazy about in a s&t.

  23. Ted Nelson

    “They call him a bad teammate but ignore the fire he lit under his team to get them to step up to win 2 elimination games. They ignore how praised Gasol and Artest. And he gave all the credit to his coach.”

    Don’t know if you’re aware, Thomas, but the Lakers won the NBA Championship. Kobe Bryant did not win the NBA Championship.

  24. ess-dog

    I give about a 5% chance of Bosh being traded at the draft. There just hasn’t been enough time for Toronto to explore it’s options… I highly doubt that would happen also b/c of the cap hold Ted mentioned that will hamstring the other team. Miami is the only team flush enough with cap space to possibly pull this off. Hmm. Bosh did have that meeting with Wade… Miami could offer Beasley, a 1st, and 2 2nds… or they could take Turkoglu back. Another advantage that Miami presumably has, is that Wade seems committed and can work with management and hold off signing until the other parts are in place.
    I was more interested in the idea that the Knicks would make a spalsh at the draft. Probably with Curry’s contract. I’m not sure who would want that contract at this time… I don’t see the Parker thing working. Maybe Okafor or Beidrins if we want one of them. I could see a Baron Davis/Agent zero deal going through, but again… is that better than just letting Curry run out or trading him at the trade deadline?

  25. Z-man

    Ted,

    Re: Pittman
    1. His physical stature is very impressive. He is a legit 6’9+”, 7’6″wingspan, which makes DeJuan Blair look puny. He also has the biggest hands in the draft, which means something to me.

    2. He appears to be somewhat spry at 300 lbs. in the youtube videos I examined vs. very tough competition and looked to have a mean streak. Obviously these clips are hand-picked, but he nevertheless reminded me of Blair in the way he just overpowered everyone in his path and had a mean streak. Nobody is backing him down if he doesn’t want them to.

    3. He averaged 2 blocks in 21 mpg, again in a tough conference. Can’t do that and not be athletic or defensive minded.

    4. He lost 100 lbs in college, which takes lots of dedication and says he’s coachable. Can he get down to 280 and in better CV condition? Why not?

    5. He’s smart, as evidenced by getting academic all-conference as a sophomore.

    6. The feature I attached was compelling in terms of his intelligence, character and work ethic.

    7. He scores efficiently and seems like he can pass.

    Ted, I was a big advocate of the Knicks taking Blair with our FIRST pick last year. I think this guy will (at worst) be a bigger version of Blair with better knees and better defensive potential. Why would you think he would not be a better pro than Eddy Curry, Big Baby, Oliver Miller, Jahidi White, Tractor Traylor and the other fat guys from college? He is smarter, more athletic and more coachabe, and he is lower risk as a mid-2nd rounder. The problem is that D’Antoni wouldn’t give him a chance, he’s clearly not a SSoL guy.

  26. Thomas B.

    Oh Ted,

    I love the little novels you write. Mary Higgins Clark has nothing on you. Yes Bill Rusell-a center-pulled down 40 boards in a game. So when a SG pulls 15 yeah that means the SG sucks. Most SGs average 26 rebounds a game in the finals. What was I thinking? Also what was the pace of the Rusell 40 reb game. I think the final score of that game was 122-103 how many possessions were there in that game? Keep in mind this is an advanced stats site. Sheesh why not compare Kobe to George Mikan while youre at it?

    Ted Nelson: :”If Kobe had to wear glasses like Mikan, there is no way he would have been as dominant so there. And furthermore….(5000 words later)….and that’s why Kobe isnt as great as you say.”

    hee hee.

    I never said Kobe was the best, i said he was the most valuable. LBJ kills him in terms of stats maybe even raw production. But Kobe has that je ne sa qua, that X factor that cannot be measure by advance stats, GOTME’s, Win Scores, Clutch stats, or the famous Nelson Metrics System. Kobe is a winner. And in this game winning is the most valuable thing.

    And I am deeply flattered that you would use the word humor to desribe my posts. I do try to entertain.

  27. massive

    So according to Posting and Toasting, Jeff Foote signed a deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. The Knicks even gave him a 2nd workout, I guess he thought he would go undrafted.

    About LeBron leaning towards the Knicks, just as Walsh said on a 1050 Radio interview, I’m not believing it unless this came straight from the guy. The only thing I’m honestly hoping for is packaging Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry to Toronto for Bosh’s new 6 year contract. Very unlikely, but I’m crossing my finger for this.

  28. Z

    “as far as I can tell that particular aspect of it would not benefit the Knicks: they would have less money to spend before re-signing/losing/renouncing Bosh, not more.”

    I think the cap hold for Bosh is moot. The Knicks cleared cap space specifically to sign two max FAs. If a draft-day trade occurs, Bosh would be the first, with enough left over to sign Lebron, or whoever.

    Walsh doesn’t even need to be creative. If Toronto decides Lee is the guy they want, a sign-and-trade can be agreed to in principle, then executed at 12:01 on July 1st. No one can be signed until the moratorium ends a week into July, but contracts can be agreed upon. By 12:02 he can have a max deal in place, at which point the cap hold means nothing. Walsh will be working with real numbers, and will have $16.6 mil burning a hole in Dolan’s pocket…

  29. massive

    Here’s a little problem with that Lee for Bosh S&T. Lee has the same power as Bosh in that he doesn’t have to agree to go to Toronto. Why would he go there to play alongside Bargnani and be the worst defensive front-court in the NBA, and probably miss the playoffs? Lee has said that he wants to win, and I think the only chance of him going to Toronto is to be overpaid, like 13-14 starting instead of 10-11 starting, and I’m not sure if Toronto will agree to that.

  30. Ted Nelson

    Thomas,

    The Russell thing was one line of the whole novel. All I meant to say is that while 15 rebounds is a very good effort for one game, it’s hardly mind-blowing for a 6-8 guy to get 15 rebounds in a game. No one is calling David Lee the NBA MVP.

    My main point is that the Lakers have the best team. I don’t think they win because Kobe has some intangible mean stare he gives that scares the other team into submission. They have 3 of the top 20 or so players in the entire league, plus a former defensive player of the year, plus a 6th man who is a borderline All-Star caliber player. The only other team that can claim anything close to that is Boston, and it’s not a coincidence they were also in the Finals. Give LeBron or Wade or Durant Gasol, Bynum, Artest, and Odom and I think they have just as good a chance. Remember that Wade also had the intangible French stuff when Miami won the title. Give Kobe a weaker supporting cast and history has proven he can miss the playoffs all together.

    I do not think being the best player on the best team makes you the MVP. That’s too arbitrary for me. It’s not LeBron’s or Wade’s fault they play where they do, though it will be more so next season.

  31. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    Good call on Miami… Would make a lot of sense for them.

    Also agree re: Knicks draft trade scenarios. Parker expires same time as Curry. Spurs would have to be in love with another asset. A C would be a good play in a lot of ways because it would begin to address the defense issues before LeBron can bring them up on July 1.
    I will literally cry if the Knicks get Baron Davis or Arenas. At least Arenas had at least a couple of good seasons. Arenas would be too similar to McDyess, and Baron to Marbury/Francis. I would lose it (I’d I have it to lose).

  32. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    Just to be clear, I have no problem with PittmanM was just wondering why you’re so high on him.

    I saw a bunch of Texas this season (with all the nationally televised b-ball games they got, I’m not surprised they stayed in the Big 12). At times I was impressed by Pittman, at other I didn’t even notice him. (Damion James I like a lot in the 2nd half of the 1st, Avery Bradley I was totally unimpressed with… but I guess everyone was and he’s all about potential.)

    I think Blair was a significantly better college player off hand, but I guess I should check out the stats. After the rookie season Blair had, it’s very hard to say the worst case scenario for Pittman is to be BETTER than Blair. If that were the consensus he’d be a top 5 pick. How does Pittman do in the draft ratings? The thing that was so frustrating with Blair was how well he did in the draft ratings… Anyone with any basic knowledge of stats could see he was a good prospect.

    There’s reason to believe Pittman might keep his weight under control, but I can’t act like it’s not a concern (literally couldn’t stay on the court in college…) And I wouldn’t assume he gets in better shape as a pro than he is right now with millions of dollars clearly at stake.

    Just getting a contributor in the 2nd is big, so I wouldn’t be TOO worries about Pittman maybe having a lowish ceiling (assumption of 20 mpg max lowers your ceiling). I think he’d be worth a look (though I also doubt D’Antoni does).

    I would say you’re overrating him athletically. He moves well for a big guy, but so does every big guy in the NBA. Against the best of the best I would call him a solidly below average athlete. I’ll have to check out his stats more.

  33. Ted Nelson

    Z,

    I agree that the cap hold is moot, but Hahn presented it as if this was some huge advantage for the Knicks. As if being able to go over the cap to re-sign Bosh helps the Nicks, completely ignoring the reality of the hold. A signal to me that despite being paid to cover the NBA Hahn knows less about the CBA and cap and free agency than most commenters here… Hard to feel bad for the newspaper industry when they pay “experts” with less knowledge than common fans.

    If Bosh is going to come to the Knicks and Lee is going to go to Toronto… I think it will take both more than one or two minutes to decide, but who knows.

    Massive,

    Too bad about Foote. Wonder if he’s got any provisions in his contract to play Summer League or opt out if drafted… If nothing else it gives the Knicks a chance to see him against top level European comp and him a chance to develop.

    I doubt the Knicks can get Curry included in a s+t when they’ve got the cap sPace to just take Bosh back, but would be nice.
    I also don’t know that Lee will go to Toronto. Depends on the market for him, and Toronto can sell him on sliding right into Bosh’s spot on a good offensive team that I’m quite sure will look to address D this offseason.

  34. massive

    Ted,

    I too doubt that Toronto takes Curry back, but if Bosh says “sign and trade me to New York, or I’ll take a 5 year deal without you guys,” then we can lowball them and make our best offer Eddy Curry and Will/Bill. It all depends on what Bosh wants to do, though. And Lee could go to Toronto, but that Lee/Bargnani thing is not pretty on defense. Defense off the bench won’t work when both Lee and Bargnani command 30+ minutes a game.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. I’m relatively new to this whole thing, so I don’t get why everybody is down on Baron Davis. Is it his production, his age, his contract, work ethic? I always thought he was a good player.

  35. Z-man

    Ted,
    I loved Blair and think he is an excellent x-factor kind of player and a monster rebounder, esp on offensive end. He is diminished somewhat by being a ‘tweener, not really tall enough to be a shot-blocker or to play center. Pittman is simply much bigger and his wingspan/reach/bulk make him a much neater fit at the 5.

    From DraftExpress.com:

    Height w/o shoes: Pittman 6′ 9.5″, Blair 6′ 5.25″
    Wingspan: Pittman 7′ 6″, Blair 7′ 2″
    Reach: Pittman 9′ 3″, Blair 8′ 10.5″

    Blair was absolutely the better college player and much less of a project. That being said, absolutely nobody had him going as late he did and he shouldn’t have. I think the combination of his knees, his height and minor character/work ethic concerns scared lots of GMs off earlier on in the draft. I don’t think he will develop much further, which is fine since he is already a pretty good player. Pittman is effectively 4-5 taller, already a good shot-blocker, smart, has no character issues, and has a similar game to Blair’s. That’s why I think he has more upside, although probably more downside as well.

    What do you think of Mikhail Torrance?

  36. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    massive,

    Baron Davis is a player whose popularity is from his stylish play and big smile. When I googled his B-Reference site, the common query “Is Baron Davis Married?” came up. Good-looking players tend to get more Sportscenter time than the Greg Odens of the world.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/davisba01.html

    As a player, Davis is overpaid and terribly inefficient. His .502 career TS% is among the worst I’ve seen of any player, much less a guy 2 years into his second multi-year $10M+/yr contract.

    I think Davis’ stigma comes from his torrid ’06-’07 playoffs, in which he played 445 minutes with an outstanding PER of 26.8 against the best team in the league, the Mavericks, followed by a second-round blowout at the hands of the Jazz. In Game 1 of the Mavs series, he put up 33, 14, and 8 against 3 TO. That kind of thing earns the intense fellation of more than one sportscaster.

    He’s not as overpaid as, say, Juwan Howard, but he’s up there. His PER would suggest he’s a slightly above-average player, but PER isn’t much of a metric to stand behind anymore, especially since it’s possible to post a good PER while being an abysmally inefficient shooter. He’s a volume scorer, and people eat that up.

    Did I mention that he’s owed $40M over the next three seasons?

  37. massive

    Is DeAndre Jordan worth trading for? He’s an athletic center who should still has a good amount of upside to his game. He averaged 2 blocks per 36 this season, which is more than I can say for any power foward on the market. And he’s rather cheap, not sure if he’s worth Wilson Chandler though.

    I hear Chicago is looking to trade their pick for cap space, this could be trouble for us. The Lakers could look to trade an expiring for Kirk Hinrich AND their pick. So the Lakers get another guarantee at a Finals trip barring injuries, and the possible heir to Kobe’s throne (Xavier Henry). And Chicago gets more cap space, which is not good news for us.

  38. stratomatic

    I think Lee is in a decent position. He probably has an option to go to NJ if NY wants to sign someone else. So to convince him to be part of a sign and trade to go anywhere other than NY or NJ the team is going to have to agree to pay him a premium. Lee wants to play in the metropolitan area. Furthermore, I think the tax rates in Canada are worse than here. So IMO it’s going to take a huge premium to get him to go to Toronto. I can’t see a Lee/Bosh S&T getting pulled off. Tha goes double because I see Lee/Bargnani as an even worse coupling than Bosh/Bargnani.

    I can’t see Curry going to Toronto either. They aren’t crazy in Toronto. They would be better off allowing Bosh to walk unless we included some good talent in addition to Curry and accepted a horrible contract from Toronto back.

  39. Z

    “I hear Chicago is looking to trade their pick for cap space”

    You can’t trade for 2010 cap space any more. That was why Walsh made his move at the deadline. Contracts that expire July 1st 2010 can’t be traded anymore. Anyone looking to trade picks for cap space has to be looking at 2011 because salaries have to match up.

    I suppose, technically, it’s possible for the Bulls to trade Luol Deng or Kirk Hinrich to a team with cap space for nothing in return, but would any team with space really want to throw away all their hard earned cap space for the #17 pick?

  40. massive

    PG: Douglas
    SG: Johnson
    SF: Gallo
    PF: Stoudemire
    C: 2nd rounder

    Why does everybody around the league see this as what the Knicks will look like next season? I read an article on ESPN, and it said Donnie Walsh will be looking to give two max deals to who ever. Walsh was on ESPN radio when he said he wouldn’t give away max deals just for the sake of giving away max deals. How quickly people forget. At this point, I just hope we get Chris Bosh. That’s enough success for me.

  41. Robert Silverman

    Mario “Fanta Pants” Batali offers to cook for LeBron whenever he wants if he’ll sign with the Knicks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69sV3g0sUOQ&feature=player_embedded

    Damn. That plus the free lap dances at Scores, what’s next?

    The NY Philharmonic offers to play concerts in his home on demand?

    Tommy Hilfiger offers to daily hand-stitch/design a new pair of underwear?

    Trump offers to construct a new luxury building every week for LeBron?

    Bloomberg buys the entire city of Akron, constructs an island between Manhattan and Brooklyn and somehow uproots the city of Akron, placing it on-top of the mechanical hover-island thingy on the East River, thus allowing LeBron to play as close to home as he would if he remained w/Cleveland.

  42. massive

    Does anybody think there’s a strategy not named Joe Johnson (say he signs in Jersey with David Lee) if Bosh says yes, but LeBron and Wade say no? We need to address two things this offseason, that’s play-making and post-defense. I think Donnie Walsh is going to blow up New Orleans’ phone for Chris Paul, or try his hardest for Rubio. I just hope he can do better than Arenas/Baron/Okafor, because Eddy’s expiring deal is more valuable (possible shot at Melo) than anything they’ll be able to do for us. Something interesting to think about.

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Like I wrote in my above post, Baron Davis has $40M over the next three years remaining on his contract. There is no way Donnie traded another two drafts away so that he could lock up an aging, overpaid, overrated scoring guard with a multi-year, nine-digit contract.

  44. ess-dog

    Quote from Bosh now saying he wants to be somewhere where he is “the man”.
    This can’t be good. Is there any chance of getting Lebron w/o Wade or Bosh? I don’t think Amare would come to NYC and I don’t think Boozer or Lee would be enough for Lebron. The only option that I can see working for him would be Johnson.
    It’s not ideal, but a Douglas, JJ, Bron, Gallo, center lineup would work for me.
    Also, DX now has us drafting Ebanks and Lawal. Yuck. More 6’8″ guys? No thanks. I think we should give Prestes a look. His #’s in the top intl league were very good. And he’s a big banger. More likely we go after Brackins, who I think is ok. Hobson, Brackins, Zoubek, Vasquez, and maybe Gallon are all guys I think could help right away. Not really ‘starter’ potential, but good 6-9 men.

  45. d-mar

    “Quote from Bosh now saying he wants to be somewhere where he i”s “the man”.”

    Ess-dog, I wouldn’t take too much from that statement. He’s not going to come out and say “I’m looking to be the 2nd best player on the team”. It’s a little bit of a macho thing, IMO, and if he’s given the opportunity to play with an LBJ or D Wade and go deep in the playoffs, I’m sure he’d take it. Look, he’s been “the man” on the Raptors for the last few years, where did that get him?

  46. Caleb

    re: Curry, the only way he gets traded this summer is if he absolutely has to go, to make the salary work. e.g. we package him with Gallo, for a Bosh trade.

    It doesn’t help the other team (because he’s awful and makes $11 million) and it doesn’t help the Knicks, because they’re better off with Curry as a pawn for a separate deal (e.g. Okafor, Biedrins, Iguodala (!)) Or letting him expire and spending $12 million on a FA next summer.

    re: the draft, there are a lot of bigs on the board, and it would be nice for one to slip. I would love to see Stanley Robinson slide. I don’t understand how he could drop that far, as a 6’9, super-athletic shot-blocker with an ok outside shot – but most mock drafts have him lasting into the 30s. (though RealGM pegs him at #20).

  47. DS

    Ess,

    I think IF LeBron is ready to sign with the Knicks that Bosh won’t necessarily say “if I can’t be the man on this team, then forget it.”

    If his option are; rejoining Toronto, being marginally the best player on the Bulls, joining the Nets, or heaven forbid the Clippers, playing 2nd fiddle to Dwayne Wade (and poss. another FA) or joining the Knicks w/ LeBron, Gallo, and Curry’s expiring I think he’d give NY a hard look.

    By ruling our playing w/ LeBron in NY, he would pass up the chance to stuff his stats under D’Antoni and to share LeBron’s glory. And I can’t imagine (and I don’t think he could imagine) any of those teams winning a championships by building around Bosh. Maybe, MAYBE he could be like ‘Sheed on the Pistons team that won it all. But you can’t say Detroit built a championship team AROUND him.

    He knows he’s not the best player in the NBA and that Gasol and Pippen have had their egos petted enough while having to be #2.

  48. Ted Nelson

    massive,
    “if Bosh says “sign and trade me to New York, or I’ll take a 5 year deal without you guys,” then we can lowball them and make our best offer Eddy Curry and Will/Bill.”
    Or they just let him walk… You’d effectively be paying Chandler or Walker 13 or 12 mill next season and then have to re-sign them after that, or you could probably sign a comparable player for half that or less using the MLE…
    So, if that’s the only way the Knicks will s&t the Raps basically say to Bosh “fine take 5 years” or if the Knicks need the s&t to get Bosh, Toronto tells the Knicks to just give them Chandler/Walker/whatever straight up without Curry.

    “everybody is down on Baron Davis. Is it his production, his age, his contract, work ethic?”
    All of the above. His career TS% is .502 (hhorrible with 2 hs http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/davisba01.html) and he’s not a Jason Kidd level defender (or even playmaker) to make up for that. He’s on the wrong side of 30. He’s due a ton of money. He clearly under-performs (since he tends to turn it on in the playoffs), isn’t always in the best shape, has turned into a malcontent in both of his previous stops (Hornets and Warriors, probably Clippers too I guess), and there are indications his personal life and “movie business career” come before basketball. There’s an upside in that he’s a very good playmaker and above average defender who could thrive under D’Antoni, but there are SO many downsides. If the Knicks felt like they were a playmaking PG away and limited ability to add big contracts then maybe Baron would make sense. Since they’re a lot further away and have a nice cap-space/geography combo going for them I would list Baron as a backup-backup plan.

  49. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    If you take two equally productive players at a similar position and one is 4 inches taller, more times than not the taller guy has an advantage. My question was whether Pittman is as productive as Blair.

    Blair was such an intriguing prospect because anyone who watched him play knew he could play, but anyone who looked at his stats also knew he could play. Blair was #7 on Hollinger’s draft rater and Pittman isn’t in the top 35. I believe Hollinger includes height/weight so I don’t know how much we can take from these ratings. Blair was short, Pittman is short and fat (I realize both have long arms, but from what I remember Hollinger just looks at raw height)… so who knows how Hollinger’s rater looks at those things. Can’t find Doerr’s ratings.

    The reason I don’t understand your Blair comparison is that their games are so much different. Per minute on their last NCAA seasons (Blair a sophomore, Pittman a senior), Blair had much better rebounding, steal, foul, assist, and TO #s (rebounds translate really well to the NBA level from the college level). Pittman had much better scoring efficiency and block #s. Pts/min were close, with Blair having a slight advantage. Blair was clearly a PF prospect, while Pittman is clearly a C prospect. Blair was a much better rebounder, which is his #1 NBA skill. Pittman was a terrifically/exceptionally efficient college scorer, while Blair was merely efficient or very efficient.

    I’m not saying Pittman can’t be a 2nd round steal. His scoring ability may translate and make him an exceptional NBA scorer. While his blocks, rebounds, defense are all average or better. It could be that he’s finally getting together the conditioning/skills mix and will only get better.
    However, there’s also a flip side. He could balloon back up to 400 lbs and just be a non-factor. Even in shape in college he couldn’t stay on the court, so even in shape he might be a 15 mpg specialist. Even in shape, he could have a much harder time scoring and rebounding against NBA bigmen who are bigger and more athletic than what he saw in college. He might not be quick enough on D. His TOs and fouls are a concern.

    I’m definitely intrigued by Pittman and by the Knicks pick he very well could be the best prospect on the board (I think you’re right about his potential value as a 2nd rounder). The D’Antoni factor does seem to come into play here, though.

  50. Ted Nelson

    @42 massive

    “Is DeAndre Jordan worth trading for?”

    Intriguing, but risky. I would at least entertain Chandler-for-Jordan under the right circumstances. Depends a lot on what the Clippers think about Jordan, too.

    @43 stratomatic

    If a winning team makes a play for Lee he has to consider that compared to losing probably at least 50 games in NJ next season. If NJ drafts Favors or Cousins they also might not be interested in Lee. What are you basing your comment that Lee WILL base his decision on geography?

    @44 Z

    “You can’t trade for 2010 cap space any more.”

    The Hinrich part doesn’t work, but I think if you sell your draft pick you avoid the hold/contract on the books.

    “would any team with space really want to throw away all their hard earned cap space for the #17 pick?”

    If you’re Minnesota and you don’t think any reasonably priced FAs are coming your way maybe you see Deng as a more attractive option to get a legit wing player and team leader. #17 then becomes another asset in their apparent quest to move up the draft board. They could probably even squeeze more than that out of Chicago. Doubt it happens, but maybe.

    @45 massive

    Walsh won’t give away max deals to guys he doesn’t feel are worth max deals… the question then is who does he feel is worth a max deal. Amare and Joe Johnson are both former D’Antoni guys who put up big numbers and have played on winning teams. To a lot of people those are max guys. I don’t know if Walsh is one of those people or not. You also have to consider that whether he thinks so or not, going all in on offseason 2010 is going to influence Walsh’s decisions. If he still had those 2 1st round draft picks, Jordan Hill, and Jeffries’ expiring his hand would be a lot different. He has limited assets to build other than the cap space at this point. Unless he wants to seriously risk losing 60 games next season he’s going to use that space.

    “At this point, I just hope we get Chris Bosh. That’s enough success for me.”

    Bosh isn’t THAT much better than Lee… Swap Lee for Bosh and the Knicks probably don’t make the playoffs again (without some very good peripheral moves: 2nd rounders and cheaper FAs who work out).

    @49 ess-dog

    There are new rumors everyday, and they all have varying levels of credibility. Let’s wait to see what actually happens.

    By the 2nd round you’re looking for anyone who can play in an NBA rotation at some point. There are maybe a handful of those guys in the average 2nd round. Ebanks and Lawal would be a dream scenario for me… both have 1st round talent and some 1st round skills/some question marks. Getting a 7 footer is worth nothing if he can’t play in the NBA.
    With all due respect to your opinion on the 2nd round picks (not saying you’re wrong), I’ll wait to see what Walsh and his scouts think. Gallon might eat his way out of the NBA and Zoubek might go undrafted.
    Prestes was decent in Spain. Have to seriously question whether he has NBA ability, though. Strong rebounder, as good as anyone in Spain on the glass but the other top guys are NBA flunkies like Estaban Batista and James Augustine. Not at all a shot blocker and probably a low volume scorer in the NBA. Could be a Kendrick Perkins type, but might not be an NBA player.

    @51 Caleb

    “it doesn’t help the Knicks, because they’re better off with Curry as a pawn for a separate deal (e.g. Okafor, Biedrins, Iguodala (!))”

    Not true. Immediate cap relief in a lop-sided deal is 10x better than paying Curry for a year.

    I’m not a huge Robinson guy, but by the 2nd round maybe. The questions are about the head on his shoulders. On the con side, he was an underachiever in college, what are the chances he suddenly becomes an overachiever in the NBA? Also on the con side, he’s an athletic swingman… that’s not a value position… I can name you a lot of similar prospects playing in Europe. On the pro side, he would likely be given a small role in the NBA while he was asked to be the man or one of the men at UConn. Asked only to focus on his strengths maybe he can be a valuable role player, which is what you’re hoping for in the 2nd round.

    @52 DS

    I agree with your sentiment, but I would say you can build a top offense around Bosh because Toronto has. He’s a very different player from Rasheed Wallace. Wallace is a strong defender and average (though versatile) offender, while Bosh is the opposite.

  51. ess-dog

    I can’t say I love the idea of signing ONLY Bosh this offseason. We’d still need to acquire a ball distributor (Douglas only works right away at the point next to a Lebron-type guard or forward.)
    The problem is, aside from Wade and Bosh, I don’t think there are a lot of other swingmen that are worth cap space this year. It has been discussed before that Johnson is only a mild upgrade from Chandler but at a steep price, and the same could be said for Rudy Gay. It is almost an impossibility that these two guys will not be overpaid. Frankly, the next best options after Bosh would be Amare and Lee, which would be redundant. You could argue that Ray Allen is the best swingman option out there, despite his age.
    The same goes for the draft re: swingmen. Whether it’s a late first or early second rounder, I just don’t see a lot of talent at the 2-3 that could compete with Chandler/Walker/Gallo. Of course we need to draft the best player available (which is hardly obvious) but when something like Zoubek’s rebound rate glaringly stands out, I think it’s something one should strongly consider.
    The mocks really vary wildly this year, so I’m sure it will flesh out in a way that nobody is expecting. Are we doing the live chat Thursday this year?

  52. Garson

    I dont understand that if lebron wade and bosh all sign elsewhere , why you wouldnt give max to johnson and amare. Who are we saving our money for anyway? Melo? We could get him by letting curry go and freeing up some dollars. And even so, hes not a guarante to come next season as he said hell negotiate an extension.

    I agree that johnson / Amare / Boozer type are not worth max , however the only players can see in the future worth max are paul and durant (Dont know dirt situation yet), and durant has some years left. Paul is obtainable even if we give 2 maxes.

  53. Caleb

    Not true. Immediate cap relief in a lop-sided deal is 10x better than paying Curry for a year”

    As a fan, I never ever want to see a team give away a player just to save money – that’s what Curry for Bosh would be (Not that Toronto would even consider it, but still…) Sure, if Rod Thorn wants to take Curry for nothing, go for it. What are the odds of that? (Rhetorical question alert, rhetorical question alert.

    The point is that Curry’s expiring contract is an asset – or, worst-case, you have cap room next summer.

    re: Robinson, I don’t think he’s a top-tier prospect but he has a lot more upside than most players outside the lottery. I’m not totally sure where he got the underachiever tag – he’s been pretty good, in college. And I think he’ll be a better pro, just because of the way the game is played – he’s a defensive specialist, an open court guy, and he will match up well in the pros. In the 30s I think he’d be great value. And, his other skills are good enough that I could at least see the possibility of becoming an impact player.

  54. Caleb

    p.s. Anyone know if there’s any cap rule to prevent the Knicks from massively front-loading a contract? For example, they whiff on LeBron, Bosh & Wade. They sign one PF – Lee, Stoudemire or Boozer. Could they also sign, say, Tyson Chandler for $16+ million for 2010-2011, with his salary dropping to the $8 million range for 2011-2012?

    There are a lot of players who aren’t worth the max, IMO, but might be the best the Knicks can do for 2010-2011. Front-loading the deal might be a way to sign those guys, without sabotaging themselves down the road. (If it’s legal!)

  55. DS

    Caleb,

    I just saw Okafor on the #6 train at 51st st. (w/ cheap looking UConn shorts and an NBA Finals duffel) It took all my restraint to not ask him to nag his agent for a trade for Curry.

  56. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog

    If Joe Johnson is a “mild” upgrade over WC, then LeBron is a “mild” upgrade over Joe Johnson:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=jamesle01&y1=2010&p2=johnsjo02&y2=2010&p3=chandwi01&y3=2010

    Rudy Gay may be only a mild upgrade over Chandler, if you assume Chandler is getting/has gotten better. They probably will both be overpaid, though, I agree. Ray Allen isn’t any better than Joe Johnson at this point: more efficient scorer but that’s about all he does.

    Josh Childress, Mike Miller, Dorell Wright, Kelenna Azubuike, Tony Allen (doubtful after the playoffs), Rasual Butler, Matt Barnes, Travis Outlaw, Roger Mason, Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, etc. could be (some have options others restricted) cheaper options if the Knicks strike out on LeBron/Wade and have cash to burn. Some would replicate what Gallo/Chandler/Walker do, but others might be good complements.

    I agree that overall the wings are not a need for the Knicks. As their roster currently stands, it’s literally where all their players are. If you have good players at reasonable deals, though, you can always move someone to rearrange. Plus, D’Antoni played a ton of wings in Phoenix. A Devin Ebanks, for example, might eventually fit into a role similar to Boris Diaw in Phoenix… who played the 5 or the 4… (Ebanks has a lot to work on, including strength… just throwing that out there.) Lazar Hayward or Stanley Robinson might end up at the 4 for D’Antoni…

    The thing you have to consider about college 7 footers is that they often have 1/2 a foot on the guy guarding them/that they’re guarding, or they’re going up against a stiff. A 22 year old 7 footer with borderline NBA skill/athleticism should be crushing 19 year old 6-8 guys without a prayer of making the NBA. Even in the ACC, how many NBA Cs did Zoubek face this season? (Alabi and ………) In the tournament? When you’re talking about wings and guards the competition would seem to be a lot more even.

    I tend to agree that this draft might be the place to take a shot or two on bigs, but if you’re talking Zoubek vs. someone who is actually a good basketball player… You have to consider that Zoubek can rebound, but seriously you also have to question whether he’ll ever play an NBA game. 38/39 might be just out of the range where a slidder falls (Blair went 37 last season, for example, DeAndre Jordan 35, the Euro signability guys often go early 30s), but it could happen in this draft. Whoever they take 39/39 is going to have to have some serious questions, or they would have gone earlier. May be attitude, size, athleticism, a certain skill…

  57. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    As a fan, I don’t consider Eddy Curry a player.

    My point is that Curry’s expiring contract is not as much of an asset as straight cap space. Here are two scenarios to demonstrate:
    1.
    A. Use Curry in Bosh s&t.
    B. Offer a team straight, immediate cap space in another trade for a good player with a big contact.
    2.
    A. Sign Bosh straight-up, or use only WC in a s&t.
    B. Offer Curry’s expiring contract for a player.

    Scenario 1 is infinitely better than scenario 2 for the Knicks (though I think 1 is never going to happen). I honestly don’t understand your objection. In part B you can either tell a team you will immediately clear their books of a fat contract or you can tell them they have to pay a fat player $11 mill for a year. You can also take back a player with a 2011 expiring in scenario 1, whereas that doesn’t make sense for the other team in scenario 2. San Antonio, for example, will not trade Tony Parker for Eddy Curry (since they expire at the same time and Parker actually plays NBA games), but might trade him for straight financial relief.
    And in scenario 1, again, you can have cap space next summer. Though, the worst case in either scenario is using that cap space stupidly.

    You can front-load a deal, but not that much. I don’t know the exact rule, but the maximum decrease is probably the same as the maximum increase. Kirk Hinrich and other players have front-loaded deals.

  58. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Here’s a question: What happens to Boston if Rasheed Wallace retires and they don’t resign Ray Allen for the $10M he’ll ask for? Does that put them in a position to sign a max FA?

  59. massive

    I read on ESPN New York that Walsh is planning to buy low 2nd round picks to fill out the roster with people to take those roster holds. As it stands, we can expect 7 players on the roster on June 25th. He’s probably going to take a low 1st rounder (Sanders, Crawford, Warren, Johnson etc), the 38th and 39th, and maybe 2-3 mid 40s picks. I really like this idea, we might land a guy like Andy Rautins, who could be the next Steve Kerr. Glad we have Walsh running the team now, sounds like a good move.

  60. Loathing

    @63: No. The only way this happens is if Paul Pierce opts out, and we all know that ain’t happening. They will be roughly even to 4 million under the cap, based on current salaries.

  61. Z

    THCJ– If Wallace retires his contract is still on the Celtics books. Only a medical retirement wipes the slate clean, and that takes over a year for the paperwork to process.

    Caleb/Ted– re: frontloading

    Honestly, it seems like the 8% raise rule would be in effect for the inverse, but Paul Millsap’s contract dips from $10.3 million this year to $6.2 million next year (a 40% cut), then follows 8% raises from there. So I really don’t see why that Tyson Chandler example you gave couldn’t be reasonably argued…

  62. Z

    THCJ– If Wallace retires his contract is still on the Celtics books. Only a medical retirement wipes the slate clean, and that takes over a year for the paperwork to process.

    But even still, they are capped out for next year with no chance of signing anyone higher than the mid-level (unless Pierce opts out, but has he even hinted that he may?)

    Caleb/Ted– re: frontloading

    Honestly, it seems like the 8% raise rule would be in effect for the inverse, but Paul Millsap’s contract dips from $10.3 million this year to $6.2 million next year (a 40% cut), then follows 8% raises from there. So I really don’t see why that Tyson Chandler example you gave couldn’t be reasonably argued…

  63. Caleb

    David West has a contract that declines each year, but only by about 10-15 percent. You’d think more teams would employ this strategy, but they don’t. That makes me think it’s illegal – but I can’t find a provision, making it so..

    Ted, I agree that getting rid of Curry now would be good, but it’s a total fantasy. Most of the realistic trades are for someone like Elton Brand, where we use the cap space immediately on someone we’d rather not have.

    But yes, in this fantasy-land, I would be glad to trade Eddy Curry to the Nets for their #3 pick, and use the extra $11 million to re-sign David Lee alongside LeBron and Dwyane Wade.

    I guess I could be less of a smart-ass about it. I know you are making a theoretical point.

  64. ess-dog

    re: 68, yes Curry’s “expiring is relatively worthless unless we take back a pretty undesirable contract.

    For instance, here are some other players that expire in 2011: Caron Butler 10.8 mil, Tyson Chandler (opt in) 13.2 mil, Kenyon Martin 16.5 mil, Tayshun Prince 11.1 mil, Troy Murphy 12 mil, Zach Randolph 17.3 mil, Michael Redd 18.3 mil, Richard Jefferson 15.2 mil, AK47 17.3 mil… why not just trade for these REAL expiring players who can PLAY?

    Even duds like Dunleavy and Stojakovich are more desirable than Curry.

    If we’re trading Curry it’s for a ’12 or ’13 expiring like Richard Hamilton or Okafor. And it would probably be straight up, maybe with a draft pick…

  65. Caleb

    I could imagine a combo trade, like Curry + Gallo for Iguodala.

    But the offers are going to be awful until the trade deadline… at that point, some teams will be more desperate, Curry will be less expensive (only 2 months to go) and there might be a worthwhile deal.

  66. Jafa

    Caleb,

    Can you please explain your “man crush” on Iguodala? You mention him in at least every other post you put up. I’m am a novice when it comes to advanced stats, but I looked up the numbers and he is pretty much the same player as Wilson Chandler.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=iguodan01&y1=2010&p2=chandwi01&y2=2010

    Chandler vs. AI Advanced Stats:
    Usage: 20.2% vs. 19.9% (same base line)
    TRB%: 8.9 vs. 9.0 (small delta)
    TS%: .519 vs. .559 (small delta)
    eFG%: .487 vs. .501 (small delta)
    AST%: 9.6 vs. 19.7 (ok, you got a point here)
    TOV%: 10.5 vs. 14.9 (but what about this?)
    BLK%: 1.8 vs. 1.0 (edge Chandler)
    STL%: 1.2 vs. 2.5 (edge AI)
    PER: 13.1 vs. 17.0 (ok, point for you)

    You see what I’m saying? Looks like the same guy, only one has a huge contract and the other doesn’t (AI made $12.2 M last year vs. Chandler, who made $1.3 M). And both are not very good from 3 point land (around 30%). Why would you ever want to trade Curry + Gallo for this guy, and then pair him up with Chandler, who has the same game as he does?

  67. Z

    I think Caleb’s point is that there are no good offers for the Knicks that include Curry.

    And to follow up on the Millsap front-loading: teams can give players signing bonuses up to 20% of the entire contract. So for a $50 million contract, a team can pay out $10 million up front (so the length of the contract would look like: $16, $6.48, $6.96, $7.44, $7.92, etc…)

    And to answer your question: “You’d think more teams would employ this strategy, but they don’t. That makes me think it’s illegal.”

    Apparently teams don’t do it because they are in collusion, and when Pritchard did it last summer it irked GMs around the league, breaking some unspoken business etiquette that exists among front offices.

    Here’s an interesting piece I found while investigating: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/steve_aschburner/07/15/millsap/index.html

    The summary being:

    “The league’s collective bargaining agreement limits signing bonuses to 20 percent, 17.5 percent for restricted free agents. For salary-cap purposes, the bonus is allocated against the guaranteed years in the player’s contract, so it’s a cash-flow and timing mechanism rather than additional pay.

    “Frankly, it’s something I don’t really want to know about because it usually only favors the player,” [a] GM said.

  68. Ted Nelson

    @68

    Z’s Millsap example is a good one, maybe you can do this. Any rational player would favor this, considering time value of money. So, if it’s legal (and Utah didn’t use some loophole) the Knicks might do this should they strike out with the Big 3.

    I agree that Toronto isn’t taking back Curry. I misread #51 and took part of what you said out of context.

    I don’t know the financial state or plans of any NBA teams, so I don’t know who will be desperate enough for cap relief or high enough on WC to maybe deal with the Knicks… but the deal probably does have a lot more value at the deadline.

    @69
    “why not just trade for these REAL expiring players who can PLAY?”

    Their teams have to be willing to a. part with them and b. take back a long-term contract(s). Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. (If the Knicks or some other team pulls off a huge FA haul… watch… cap space will be all the rage among NBA GMs… the herd mentality in the NBA is ridiculous.)

    @71

    I’m not as high on Iggy as Caleb, but I don’t think Chandler has been nearly as good to date as Igoudala. .559 v. .519 is the difference between solidly below average and well above average. Double the ast% is a huge difference (Iggy’s ast% last season was just below Duhon’s… he can pretty much run an offense, while Chandler is a liability as a ball-handler and not much of a playmaker outside the drive-and-kick). Not only do TOs tend to increase the more you handle the ball, but Iggy is also hurt by two really bad TO seasons early in his career. These are some of the reasons aggregate stats like PER, WS/48, and WP48 favor Iggy by a wide margin over Chandler. That said, I’m not huge on Iggy’s contract (he was reportedly on the block this season and no one seemed to jump at the chance and overwhelm the Sixers with an offer… so Philly may not have much leverage in moving him) and Chandler is only as old as Iggy was his 2nd year in the league so could be as good or better in a couple of years. That’s the real key to it, as always: future expectations. How much better will Chandler get? Can Iggy get back to his best level after an off season? Can Iggy even put it all together and get better? Will WC flatline here and prove his .688 eFG% on inside shots while not drawing fouls unsustainable? Is Iggy washed up? There’s no sure answer to those questions, but the right answers ultimately determine who you want.

    I also don’t think Caleb was necessarily advocating trading Gallo for Igoudala, just saying that to use Curry’s expiring contract at this point (this offseason) that might be the kind of deal another team is going to demand. Time will tell if that’s true. Teams seem pretty desperate for cap space and also place different values on young players. Maybe some team is dying for future cap space and/or loves one of the Knicks youngsters.

  69. Ted Nelson

    Great stuff, Z.

    Hopefully Donnie is willing to break ranks if it’s good for the Knicks… but, he is pretty old school. Would be slightly different from the Millsap case, assuming the Knicks are not trying to “steal” another team’s restricted free agent (Gay or Childress perhaps). (Personally, I have no problem with Portland’s offer to Millsap, just used “steal” because I guess that’s what other GMs think.)

  70. Caleb

    Well.. I DO have a man-crush on AI #2. Would I rather have him at $12+ million or Gallo at $3 million? Close…

    A few things… his TS% this year was a career low. He’s been around 56 the past few years. 58-59 percent when he was a low usage player, like he’d be if we signed a FA stud or two.

    Also, his TO rate was only 10.9 percent – not 14.9 percent.

    He is also a great defender – as good as Paul Pierce or LeBron, IMO. Can defend 2 or 3 spots, depending on the matchup.

    Put it all together and there’s really no comparison to Chandler (no offense, Wil). True, he’s not the best running mate for Chandler, but you can worry about that later.

    fwiw, Dave Berri’s WP metric has had Iggy as a top-10 NBA player the past few years… slipped a bit this year, but I won’t hold that against him.

    All that said… I would offer Curry & Chandler for Iggy.. probably hold off on Gallo, see how the summer plays out.

  71. Caleb

    And I am starting to like our new salary strategy… of course it only works as a backup plan, if we don’t get our top targets. But could be a way to make Plan B work, while preserving some 2011 cap space.

    The only thing standing in the way is a skinflint owner and that’s one problem we don’t have.

  72. rayhed

    for anyone who thinks gasol deserves the mvp, rewatch game 7 and see how poorly he played on defense- he got burnt over and over again

    also, he didnt shoot that much better of a percentage than kobe in game 7, and if u watch many of the key plays down the stretch, pau benefited from kobe patiently drawing the defense and hitting pau in good open spots where he got fouled and went to the line (in which case, it doesn’t help kobe’s box score)

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