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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Easter Famine: Celtics end series, Knicks’ season

On an Easter Sunday that had New York praying for its own basketball resurrection, Boston’s sweep-clinching 101-89 win instead sent the Knicks back to an untimely tomb – and into a summer that will pose as many questions as fond looks forward.

Will Chauncey be resigned? Donnie Walsh? Will Mike D’Antoni be patrolling the Garden sidelines next season? What are the Knicks’ draft priorities? What about the six players whose contracts are up? Can we expect improvement from TD and Fields?

All questions that will be answered in due time. Today, it’s about licking wounds, what-ifs, and attempts at perspective – something that’s not always easy to summon after a four-game sweep.

As he had been throughout the series, Carmelo Anthony was the Knicks’ only semi-reliable option, finishing with 32 points on 10-24 shooting and nine rebounds.

Anthony averaged 26 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists for the series, leading the Knicks in all three categories. And while his 51% TS% certainly left much to be desired, his game 2 performance alone – “possessed” is a term that comes immediately to mind – left little question what kind of weapon he can be, given more time under D’Antoni’s tutelage.

Despite more Celtic double teams on Melo, the Knicks were unable to make Boston pay from the outside, finishing just 8-27 from behind the arc. It was the fitting statistical end to a series in which the Knicks netted an underwhelming eFG% of just 43%. The Celtics, meanwhile, finished just a hair under 50.

Amar’e Stoudemire, whom many thought would err on the side of caution and sit out New York’s swan song entirely, gutted through a horrendous first half (not to mention a few untimely fourth quarter turnovers) to finish with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Toney Douglas again struggled to find his groove, finishing with a team low -14 to go along with six points, three rebounds and just two assists in 23 minutes.

Anthony Carter’s second half spark helped make up for TD’s lackluster play – he scored 7 straight points during a key fourth quarter stretch – but it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for a point guard deficit as glaring in this game as it’s been all series, as Rajon Rondo posted yet another sparkling stat line with 21 points, 12 assists and five rebounds.

Like Game 3’s more convincing blowout, the Knicks once again put up a horrific first half stat line, shooting 22% and falling behind 55-38 at the break.

For a while it looked like the Knicks might end up bookending with boos a weekend that started with an energy and enthusiasm not seen in the Garden in years, particularly when they fell behind by 23 early in the third.

Instead, they would make one final push, cutting the Celtic lead to four mid-way through the fourth. But key baskets by Boston’s Big Three down the stretch – coupled with a questionable charging call negating a potential three point play by Shawne Williams that would’ve cut the lead to two – kept the ‘Bockers at bay.

Hobbled, harried and humbled, the Knicks’ last stand wasn’t lost on the Garden crowd, who thanked their heroes with a classy chorus of cheers as the final buzzer sounded. In a series where almost everything seemed to go wrong for the orange and blue, it was a welcome showing of perspective and appreciation — one that will do more than any press clipping or highlight reel in proving to our two new stars that they brought their talents to the right place.

Only a week ago, many saw a series destined to go the distance. Instead, the Celtics laid bare exactly how far these New York Knicks have to go before the mantle of Eastern Conference contender can be theirs.

Still, for Knick fans, the fact that there’s a mantle to grab at all will no doubt become a prospect as welcome as the challenge of seizing it.

245 comments on “Easter Famine: Celtics end series, Knicks’ season

  1. TheRant

    I really need to see Donnie thanked profusely and re-signed immediately. And I so know it isn’t going to happen.

  2. tenebrous

    It’s funny but if the heat beat Philly than the heat might beat the celts while the Knicks would have probably beaten the heat and lost to Chicago but beaten Atlanta and lost to the Lakers / okc / Dallas but beaten the other if any? – 3 stars on the Knicks = good season – will it be matched next year? Who knows?

  3. njasdjdh

    Someone on the last thread said…”That said, if Paul (or D-Will, who is nearly as good as Paul) doesn’t come here, then yeah, the trade was a disaster.” and I just needed to vehemently disagree with this. Chris Paul is so far and away ahead of the PG field that I think this is a patently ridiculous sentiment.

  4. Frank

    I really hope there already is an under-the-table deal for CP3 — the way our front office pretty much said, ok denver whatever you want is fine maybe makes it seem like we already knew something? (wishful thinking)

    And like Jim wrote in the recap, I thought Melo played great this series. Obviously he didn’t shoot well in games 1 and 3, but he rebounded the ball, played committed D – except for one crazy game 3 performance, he pretty much shut down Pierce in what looked to be mostly a 1-on-1 matchup. He’s also a MUCH better passer than I thought he was, and for the most part made good basketball plays. If not for the incompetence of the people trying to finish his passes, he probably could have averaged near a triple-double in this series.

    One thing that stood out in this series to me (on both teams) is how little the regular season may mean in playoff basketball – which is interesting because on this board, we JUDGE guys based on reg season stats, when for the most part, they are not trying their hardest in games that don’t really matter other than homecourt for the top 4 seeds. Do we really care how good Douglas looks in January at Charlotte? Yes, a little, but not really. What we DO care about is how he will do against Rondo and how he runs the team/shoots against good defenses in games that matter. Do we care that according to Dave Berri, Fields is the greatest rookie since David Robinson? Not if he looks like a D-League player when the games really count.

    This series turned on injuries and on the truly awful performances of two guys who are considered our young up-and-comers. Anyone can have a bad shooting night, but when TD gets DOMINATED (on defense, no less) and when Fields looks like he doesn’t even belong on the floor… I dunno about these two. Especially Fields — I really hope he just hit the rookie wall.

    Then there’s J O’Neal, who by all accounts took the reg season off on purpose to be healthy for playoffs.

  5. Frank

    Case in point:

    Fields regular season: PER 13.5, TS 59.8, TRB% 11.7, WS/48 0.100, TO-R 13.8%

    Fields playoffs: PER 0.4, TS 19.8, TRB% 4.0, WS/48 -0.172, TO-R 18.5

    Small sample, but wow, was he awful.

    Douglas’s stats are not as overtly ugly, because his horrible-ness was mostly on the defensive end. Even so, in the 3 competitive games, he shot 3 for 8, 5 for 16, and 3 for 11. As the starting point guard he had 7 assists total in 3 games.

    One last thing – I know Amare shot terribly from the field in game 4, but as someone who also has back issues, I have to give the guy props for the effort he gave in game 4. For anyone here that doesn’t have back issues — your back is involved in just about any athletic move you make, and the idea of playing top-level professional sports with a locked up back is just crazy to me. It’s no wonder that he couldn’t finish or shoot normally. BUT – the EFFORT he put in was outstanding. 12 rebounds, 6 offensive, diving for balls etc. 5 for 20 from the field is obviously terrible, but it was still a captain-worthy performance IMHO.

  6. njasdjdh

    Frank:
    but it was still a captain-worthy performance IMHO.

    Except for the numerous plays, on O and D, where he or Melo or both said “hey, you know what, I don’t feel like running past the FT line in an elimination game, let me just hang out here and see what happens.” This was INCREDIBLY frustrating to watch in person.

    Is this site the only place that sells the D’antoni Pringles shirt? If so, hello to the one other guy at the game wearing the shirt.

  7. ess-dog

    Frank:
    Great article about coaches by Ziller at SBnation:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/4/25/2131421/mike-dantoni-stan-van-gundy-nba-playoffs-2011

    Nice to remember amid all the ongoing slobbering over Doc Rivers that he was once thought to be a totally overmatched and terrible coach.Then he got 3 HOF-ers and on-his-way-to-HOFer in Rondo, and now he looks GREAT!!!

    Totally agree Frank. People have short memories.

    I hate that we’re in the position of pining away for someone again, but it really IS our best move to wait for Chris Paul. Since 2011 will probably be partially locked out, it makes even more sense. And the dude is soooo good.

    Since he was the one that made the infamous toast, I’d like to think it’s possible. I also think that in the new cbs, it’s more likely that the players will agree to a lower max salary than to a lower cap, so that might work in our favor towards getting Paul a.k.a. we keep our cap space, but don’t have to pay Paul as much.

    Sorry if I’m being redundant, but when you spell it out, it really does seem like just riding half a season with Billups so that we can get a chance at Paul seems to be the clear cut move.

  8. DS

    How would it be possible to get CP3 and not lose Amar’e or ‘Melo??

    New Orleans would prob. try until his contract expires to re-sign him (assuming the NBA as the Hornets’ current owner don’t screw them over) rather than taking say a package of Fields and Douglas in a trade. And the Knicks won’t have room under the cap in ’12 with STAT and Melo making $20 mil./year apiece, right? Esp. If the cap stays under $60mm in the new CBA.

  9. KnickfaninNJ

    DS,

    One or more of the big three would have to make less than max salary. Max salary is 35% of cap so 3 absolute maxes are 105% of cap. And that doesn’t count cap holds. Cap holds mean you have to assume you are paying at least minimum salary for 12 players, so if have you want three players close to max you have to assume 9 others making from $500,000 to $1,000,000 (depending on whether they are rookies or not), which means realistically your top three players can’t command more than 90% of the cap even if you have a team of total scrubs along side them.

  10. ess-dog

    Well it’s not impossible that the max could be lower by then and that the cap could be at 60 mil or at least exactly the same. But aside from Melo and Amare, we *could* likely sign CP3 to a max contract and have btwn .5 mil and 3.5 mil left for everyone else depending on what happens with the cba.

  11. ess-dog

    KnickfaninNJ:
    DS,

    One or more of the big three would have to make less than max salary.Max salary is 35% of cap so 3 absolute maxes are 105% ofcap.And that doesn’t count cap holds. Cap holds mean you have to assume you are paying at least minimum salary for 12 players, so if have you want three players close to max you have to assume 9 others making from $500,000 to $1,000,000 (depending on whether they are rookies or not), which means realistically your top three players can’t command more than 90% of the cap even if you have a team of total scrubs along side them.

    Wouldn’t it be 30% of the cap for Paul? But yes I forgot about cap holds. We’ll likely keep our 1st rounder, that’s a mil right there. Plus there’s Fields and TD, who could be traded. I forget is Fields restricted or not? Even with a max reduction and a cap enlargement, Paul might have to take a little less…

  12. Jim Cavan Post author

    ess-dog: Even with a max reduction and a cap enlargement, Paul might have to take a little less…

    Considering it was his toast, I feel like he will. I don’t know the guy personally, but of the three, he seems like the most likely to understand that he’d be able to make up for the haircut with a hell of a lot of media / marketing money. How we round out the roster after that is going to be an enormous crapshoot, but if I had to put money on it, he’ll be wearing the orange and blue come summer of ’12. D12 will be in Boston or L.A.

  13. ess-dog

    And we’ll still have Balkman on the books for almost 2 mil at that time unless we trade him. Basically there will have to be a lot of maneuvering and luck involved in getting Paul.

  14. Count de Pennies

    I keep seeing references here to the so-called “opportunity cost” of the Melo trade. That school of thought holds that the allocation of talent and salary used to acquire and sign Melo was such that it has essentially hamstrung the team for the foreseeable future.

    I’d humbly suggest that we should just put that canard to rest, once and for all. The whole argument that the Melo trade was some wrongheaded deviation from the one true path to basketball nirvana is deeply flawed. As they say in the law, it “assumes facts not in evidence.” In this case, the fact assumed is that the team’s owner and, yes, chief decision-maker, is able to resist wetting himself any time one of the league’s marquee “names” so much as bats an eyelash in his direction.

    The whole “opportunity cost” argument makes a lot more sense as a hypothetical approach that should be taken by a hypothetical NBA team. But to assume that Jimmy “Straight Shot” Dolan would have sat patiently by while Walsh quietly and methodically pieced together a beautifully balanced team with just the right mix of stars and role players and a sensible salary structure flies in the face of recent history and everything we have come to know about the Knicks’ owner.

    Time to face the cold, hard facts, Knickerbloggers: We are all fans of a team whose owner has always preferred – and will continue to lust after – those players who get more praise on Sportscenter than in article by Dave Berri. It is what it is. Rooting for poorly constructed teams with unbalanced rosters is simply part and parcel of being a Knicks fan during this reign of Dolan the Younger; it’s our cross to bear. In the context of this worldview, getting Melo didn’t cost us some future opportunity; getting Melo was THE opportunity, post LeBron snub. Now, it’s up to St. Donnie (or whomever) to somehow make it work for the best.

  15. KnickfaninNJ

    Ess Dog,

    I got the 35% figure from –

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q11

    but this may be out of date.

    Clearly someone will have to take a little less. But I wouldn’t rule out Amare or Melo doing so. Anyway, I am not convinced the cap amount will go down. Last year was a lousy year economically… If the economy went up since then, there may be more money in the cap, which will definitely help the Knicks. Of course the new CBA could change all this. But I think the new CBA is more likely to have a harder cap rather than a smaller one.

    Mark

  16. jon abbey

    njasdjdh:
    Someone on the last thread said…”That said, if Paul (or D-Will, who is nearly as good as Paul) doesn’t come here, then yeah, the trade was a disaster.” and I just needed to vehemently disagree with this. Chris Paul is so far and away ahead of the PG field that I think this is a patently ridiculous sentiment.

    this is a perfect example of how basketball stats distort reality and then people (implicitly in this case) cite them as if they are reality (like the Dishonorable Cock Tease saying in the other thread that Landry Fields was our best player this year).

    the Chris Paul of games 1 and 4 is indeed as good as Derrick Rose, but he is physically incapable of doing that every night anymore. gun to my head, same price, I take Deron Williams (I think), and I’d definitely take Rondo or Rose or Westbrook (all younger and healthier).

  17. KnickfaninNJ

    Ess-Dog

    I just noted that max cap depends on the players years of service. Chris Paul’s service may be less than 10 years, so then you would be right about the 30% or it could even be lower than that,

    Mark

  18. d-mar

    If there’s a lockout and next season is cancelled, how does that effect contracts? For instance, does CP3’s contract expire next year or the year after?

    Also, there’s been references to Amare and Melo “taking less” to get CP3 here, don’t think that’s allowed under the current CBA.

  19. Count Zero

    I’m surprised to find you all so positive today.

    I confess to being confused on the Chauncey Q — i.e., why in hell’s name would we even consider picking up that option?

    The only reasoning I can fathom is that you are pretty much resigned to mediocrity next season and will use that $14.5 million to hold open a spot for CP3 next summer??? I can’t see an aging Billups as being worth anything approaching $14 million…

  20. Brian Cronin

    If there’s a lockout and next season is cancelled, how does that effect contracts? For instance, does CP3?s contract expire next year or the year after?

    Contracts are not affected, so Paul would still be a free agent in 2012.

    Also, there’s been references to Amare and Melo “taking less” to get CP3 here, don’t think that’s allowed under the current CBA.

    You are correct. And really, in the end, that’s something that makes me wary about the CP3 thing. Neither Amar’e nor Melo were willing to leave a penny on the table when it came to their contracts, but they would both need CP3 to take a pay cut (or at least convince New Orleans that he would be willing to do so). So, essentially, they want CP3 to do what neither of them were willing to do (and heck, Melo’s refusal to do so resulted in the Knicks giving up way too much to acquire him). That’s kind of annoying.

    That said, if they traded for Paul, he could get the max.

  21. Brian Cronin

    The only reasoning I can fathom is that you are pretty much resigned to mediocrity next season and will use that $14.5 million to hold open a spot for CP3 next summer??? I can’t see an aging Billups as being worth anything approaching $14 million…

    I am sure that the Knicks feel that a healthy Billups makes them closer to 50 wins than 41, and his presence is the only way they even have a shot at Paul, so yeah, they’re definitely re-signing him (and we’ll find out in 4 days, by the way, which is when the Knicks have to decide whether to pick up his option).

  22. cgreene

    Brian Cronin: Contracts are not affected, so Paul would still be a free agent in 2012.

    You are correct. And really, in the end, that’s something that makes me wary about the CP3 thing. Neither Amar’e nor Melo were willing to leave a penny on the table when it came to their contracts, but they would both need CP3 to take a pay cut (or at least convince New Orleans that he would be willing to do so). So, essentially, they want CP3 to do what neither of them were willing to do (and heck, Melo’s refusal to do so resulted in the Knicks giving up way too much to acquire him). That’s kind of annoying.

    That said, if they traded for Paul, he could get the max.

    it is possible that going into a new cba that had a hard cap that teams would be allowed to renegotiate with its players on contract one time so as to allow players to stay with their teams. with a hard cap of say $60M wouldn’t all Miami’s cap be tied into 3 players within 2 years?

  23. Frank

    Count Zero:
    I’m surprised to find you all so positive today.

    I confess to being confused on the Chauncey Q — i.e., why in hell’s name would we even consider picking up that option?

    The only reasoning I can fathom is that you are pretty much resigned to mediocrity next season and will use that $14.5 million to hold open a spot for CP3 next summer??? I can’t see an aging Billups as being worth anything approaching $14 million…

    We clearly never got to see Billups play like Billups because of one non-age related injury (getting kneed in the thigh by Dwight Howard doesn’t qualify as an age-related injury in my book), and possibly one age-related injury with the strained tendon. But it’s not like he’s 34 years old with Stoudemire’s knees. These are injuries that will heal. He’ll have a whole summer +/- lockout period to rest up and get strong again. Then he’ll have a real training camp to learn SSOL as well as he can. Assuming no catastrophic injuries, I think this team will win around 48-50 games next year and maybe more.

    On top of that – as mentioned by multiple posters above, there really isn’t an upside to letting Billups walk. We won’t have any significant room to sign any good FAs (anyone worth signing for , and even if we did sign one, that would be goodbye to the CP3/DWill/Howard fantasies of 2012. The 2012 plan depends on Billups being available to us as either an expiring for trade purposes or just so he falls off the cap as CP3 comes on. On top of that, TD is clearly, CLEARLY, not ready to run this team full-time.

  24. njasdjdh

    jon abbey: this is a perfect example of how basketball stats distort reality and then people (implicitly in this case) cite them as if they are reality (like the Dishonorable Cock Tease saying in the other thread that Landry Fields was our best player this year).

    the Chris Paul of games 1 and 4 is indeed as good as Derrick Rose, but he is physically incapable of doing that every night anymore. gun to my head, same price, I take Deron Williams (I think), and I’d definitely take Rondo or Rose or Westbrook (all younger and healthier).

    What stats do you think I’m implicitly citing? I don’t think it takes a look at any numbers to see/know that Chris Paul is just A LOT better than the PG field (inability to go 100% at all times included).

  25. Count Zero

    @26, 28

    Interesting. So then you believe that (a) Billups will be better at age 35 than he was at 34 (b) $14-16MM will be enough to land CP3 in the summer of ’12 (although the exact number available depends heavily on the new CBA) and (c) that an all-star PG is more important to the Knicks chances to be an actual contender than a legitimate post defender?

    I question all three of those assumptions. Not saying I am completely sold the other way either, but that seems like an awful lot of maybe. (No way D-Will accepts anything below max.) I could argue that the addition of a serviceable PG and C would go further than adding CP3. I guess a lot also depends on what comes of that first round pick this summer.

    I hear you on the lack of FA options, though.

  26. Frank

    @30 – I guess all I’m saying is that a healthy Billups at 35 with a training camp in SSOL will be better than no Billups and $5MM worth of 1 year free agent deals.

    My assumption from what Walsh has already said post-trade is that they believe they will be able to sign a max player in the summer of 2012. Since he is far more privy than we are as to what the owners will ask for in the new CBA, he probably should be believed. So presumably 14-16MM is enough for CP3. Or Dwight Howard, although I think #12 is headed to LA to take over the franchise when Kobe eventually retires.

    And I talked about this in the other thread — I think going the direction of signing CP3 and finding serviceable post defenders/rebounders is a reasonable way to go. If anyone can eventually convince MDA to hire a real defensive coordinator, that would be even better.

  27. jon abbey

    njasdjdh: What stats do you think I’m implicitly citing? I don’t think it takes a look at any numbers to see/know that Chris Paul is just A LOT better than the PG field (inability to go 100% at all times included).

    if there was a league-wide dispersal draft right now for all PGs, there is no way in hell Paul would go first, and I doubt he’d go top three. it’s a great discussion, factoring in age and health, but I’d personally definitely take Rose and Westbrook over him, and probably Rondo also.

  28. Count Zero

    Fair enough.

    “…Walsh has already said post-trade is that they believe they will be able to sign a max player in the summer of 2012. Since he is far more privy than we are as to what the owners will ask for in the new CBA, he probably should be believed. ”

    I tend to agree with the sentiment except that I look at the math and just don’t see how that’s possible. I look at the numbers and see the Knicks have $41MM committed to three players in ’12-’13. Assume another $1MM for this summer’s pick, and that you fork up another $3MM or so to hold onto Fields and Douglas. You now have a six man roster with STAT being the only 4/5 on the team and $45MM in payroll. Say the cap remains soft and the number is $65MM. You then have $20MM available, but the max is going to be over $21MM. Assume CP3 agrees to a back-loaded structure and thus takes $18MM in ’12-’13 — no way you are picking up a serviceable big man with what you have left.

    Like you said, ODB has forgotten more than I will ever know, but I am confused nonetheless. Any CP3 scenario I can envision rounds out with TDDWTDD, Balkman, Fields, this summer’s pick and some flotsam and jetsam. We better get awfully lucky with that pick…

  29. Count Zero

    I should add in case it wasn’t obvious that lowering the soft cap below $65MM only makes the situation worse as our available goes down one-for-one while the max only goes down one-for-three in the current structure.

    So in order for ODB to be believed here, either the cap is going to hit $70MM or the max contract will be reduced to something like 27% of the cap? Not sure I believe the players will accept the latter…not sure the owners would accept the former.

  30. Frank O.

    I love Billups’ game. I love his mental toughness and his willingness to mentor. But the fact that he suffered two injuries in such a short period of time makes we wonder if his age isn’t reflected in part by the injuries.
    Frank is right that Howard’s knee into Billups thigh isn’t an age-related injury. But the time it took to recover from the injury and then get back into game shape was age-related. His knee strain also appeared to be simply age-related in that there was no real distortion that caused the injury. It just appeared to give out. And perhaps it gave out because of the way he tried to come back after the earlier injury. An older player trying to play himself back into shape is hazardous. The body just isn’t as resilient.
    So, I’m torn about the Knicks picking up his contract. I mean, there are plenty of retired, accomplished point guards you can hire as mentors. What the Knicks need is a starting point guard who can play the rigorous schedule. After what we have seen of Billups, management might want to pause before picking up his $14 million contract, especially for a guard that doesn’t love D’Antoni’s system to begin with.
    I also read in a few places that the Knicks think they may need a shooting guard. I was struck by how poorly Landry Fields has played over the past several weeks. Perhaps it was a rookie wall. Maybe he hit a wall mentally too. But he was a genuine liability out there.

    At the end of the day, despite all the great trades, it was quite apparent that the Knicks glaring needs before the trade, existed after the trade: Center and point.
    But the trade added another problem: lack of depth, not just at point, but everywhere else.
    This draft is going to be huge. The Knicks need to add depth and it needs to be inexpensive. And they probably need to trade up.
    Walsh will be challenged.

  31. Frank

    jon abbey: if there was a league-wide dispersal draft right now for all PGs, there is no way in hell Paul would go first, and I doubt he’d go top three. it’s a great discussion, factoring in age and health, but I’d personally definitely take Rose and Westbrook over him, and probably Rondo also.

    That IS an interesting discussion – I think depending on the team, one could make an argument for any of the 3. Rose is great for Chicago because they don’t really have any other real scorers, or anyone else that really wants to score, so Rose can go and have his 30+ usage rate and everyone’s happy. It would be very interesting to see how Rose did on a team like New Orleans though…with not much else in terms of talent.

    I think as a pure offensive PG in the sense of the word, Nash is still the best, but he’s obviously the oldest.

    Rondo is great, but I agree with D’Antoni – it’d be great to see how he did if he wasn’t playing with 3 HOFers and had to do more of the heavy lifting himself.

    Assuming CP3 is healthy, I think I’d probably still take him over Rondo and Rose. He truly makes everyone around him better, and his +/- numbers are truly crazy — a net +13.8 this year (with a reasonably good Jarrett Jack behind him — it’d be even greater if he had an average backup PG… like in 2008 when Devin Brown and Antonio Daniels as his backups, and he was a net +19.8!). +/- numbers are easily confounded of course, but Rondo was a solid +7.4 and Rose was only a +2.

  32. Frank O.

    jon abbey: this is a perfect example of how basketball stats distort reality and then people (implicitly in this case) cite them as if they are reality (like the Dishonorable Cock Tease saying in the other thread that Landry Fields was our best player this year).

    the Chris Paul of games 1 and 4 is indeed as good as Derrick Rose, but he is physically incapable of doing that every night anymore. gun to my head, same price, I take Deron Williams (I think), and I’d definitely take Rondo or Rose or Westbrook (all younger and healthier).

    @jon abbey

    Deron is probably more rugged than Paul. I think Paul is more steady than Deron. I also think Paul is a better leader at this point.
    Not sure how Deron’s surgery will go.
    I agree that Paul’s wheels will always be a worry.
    I think the Knicks would be fortunate to land either, but I suspect Deron is a better longer term selection.
    But I will shed no tears if Chris Paul is in blue and orange. We are talking shades of great. :)

  33. Frank

    btw, according to basketballvalue.com, Rose and Westbrook aren’t even in the top 50 in adjusted +/- as a 2 year sample (if you believe in that stuff). In terms of a 1 year sample, Rose was #9 with an adjusted +/- of +9.54. Westbrook was #46 with a +2. Rondo was not in the top 50.

    CP3? #2 in the 2 year sample behind LBJ with a +10.5.
    #1 (by far) in this year’s sample with a +19.6. Second place was +12.

    This is seriously a FWIW, though. #2 this year was Jeff Foster, although the usual suspects (Garnett, Dirk, Howard, Ginobili, etc.) round out the top 10. And Jared Jefferies was #21 which immediately makes me want to never look at the site again.

  34. dsulz

    Frank: We clearly never got to see Billups play like Billups because of one non-age related injury (getting kneed in the thigh by Dwight Howard doesn’t qualify as an age-related injury in my book), and possibly one age-related injury with the strained tendon. But it’s not like he’s 34 years old with Stoudemire’s knees. These are injuries that will heal. He’ll have a whole summer +/- lockout period to rest up and get strong again. Then he’ll have a real training camp to learn SSOL as well as he can. Assuming no catastrophic injuries, I think this team will win around 48-50 games next year and maybe more.

    This is one of the most hilarious quotes I’ve ever read. What you just saw these last 30 games with Chauncy is what you can expect for the regular season. Him being “healthy” doesn’t matter. He’s 34 years old, that means that he gets injured more easily and it takes his body longer to heal. This should be obvious, but I guess some people prefer the fantasy that the Melo deal was fantastic because age and cap space doesn’t matter. Luckily, we have an owner who shares your delusions.

  35. Brian Cronin

    At the end of the day, despite all the great trades, it was quite apparent that the Knicks glaring needs before the trade, existed after the trade: Center and point.

    I don’t understand how “great trades” is being used here. Which great trades?

  36. Brian Cronin

    Looking at Nash’s this year stats…the dude hasn’t lost much, has he…

    It was a mockery of a sham that he missed the All-Star Game. There is no way that Westbrook is better than Nash. He should be very soon, but not yet.

  37. Frank O.

    dsulz: This is one of the most hilarious quotes I’ve ever read.What you just saw these last 30 games with Chauncy is what you can expect for the regular season.Him being “healthy” doesn’t matter.He’s 34 years old, that means that he gets injured more easily and it takes his body longer to heal.This should be obvious, but I guess some people prefer the fantasy that the Melo deal was fantastic because age and cap space doesn’t matter.Luckily, we have an owner who shares your delusions.

    Unnecessarily hostile, dude.

  38. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin: There is no way that Westbrook is better than Nash.

    Westbrook is an infinitely better defender, but we’re talking about going forward anyway, not past or even current results.

  39. Frank

    dsulz: This is one of the most hilarious quotes I’ve ever read.What you just saw these last 30 games with Chauncy is what you can expect for the regular season.Him being “healthy” doesn’t matter.He’s 34 years old, that means that he gets injured more easily and it takes his body longer to heal.This should be obvious, but I guess some people prefer the fantasy that the Melo deal was fantastic because age and cap space doesn’t matter.Luckily, we have an owner who shares your delusions.

    If this is one of the most hilarious quotes you’ve ever read, you seriously need some real comedy in your life.

    All I’m saying is that Billups has a history of being very durable. He’s not Derrick Rose that needs his athleticism to do what he does. He does what he does (CBDWCBD) based on great shooting, knowledge of angles, and just knowing how to play. Billups has played 70+ games every year for the last 10 years. While that might mean he has more tread on his tires than most, I think it’s reasonable to expect him to play at a pretty high level for 70-75 games, averaging 30-34 minutes/night.

    And meanwhile – I’ve covered this over and over and over – I wasn’t FOR the Melo trade. I thought we gave up too much. So this is not some fantasy for me. I just choose not to dwell on the fact that it was a bad trade. We have to do whatever we can going forward. Moping about it is not going to reverse anything.

  40. Frank O.

    jon abbey: Westbrook is an infinitely better defender, but we’re talking about going forward anyway, not past or even current results.

    Agreed. You would need to take Westbrook now. You can build a franchise around the guy. Nash is nearing a decline, as great as he still is

  41. Doug

    dsulz: This is one of the most hilarious quotes I’ve ever read… This should be obvious, but I guess some people prefer the fantasy that the Melo deal was fantastic because age and cap space doesn’t matter.Luckily, we have an owner who shares your delusions.

    Don’t be a dick. You could have made all of your points without talking down to people.

  42. Brian Cronin

    Westbrook is an infinitely better defender, but we’re talking about going forward anyway, not past or even current results.

    I was just talking about the All-Star Game this year.

  43. Frank O.

    Frank O.: great trade…typo made it incorrectly plural.

    And even that isn’t a good explanation. I was thinking the trade, but they gave up several players in the trade…oh hell,
    What I meant to say was despite the great trade, in which the Knicks gave up a lot and got two very good players in return, their needs were comparable. Meaning the trade didn’t necessarily address their underlying weaknesses.

  44. Brian Cronin

    Nah, it’s cool, it was clear – it was just a typo. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it was a great trade, but I would have totally gotten what you meant.

  45. SeeWhyDee77

    this may sound a little radical but f it..here go it. Because Billups, for as great a leader as he is, will be 35 next season. I say dump him. Unless there is a way we can use in a trade to get a better fit at the PG spot(CP3). Billups is a worse fit with what D’Antoni’s tryin 2 do than Melo is. And at 35, what more are we gonna get out of him? So I guess I shouldn’t say dump him solely because he’s 35, but u get the point. Here’s where my thinkin gets wacky. Option 1, try 2 find a way to reacquire Felton. He’s not happy bein a backup. Option 2, try an pry Hinrich away from ATL. Option 3, try an pry one of the 3 PG’s away from Minny. Let’s face it, they’re problee gonna get the top spot and we all know who they would draft. Option 4, Lou Williams. Very adept at scoring. Would be a quality 3rd scoring option on this team. Still young enough to be coached up. More potential as a point guard than Douglas. But we CANNOT do most of these options without bringin Anthony Carter back. As far as option 4 goes, can u imagine the quickness and defensive possibilities at the point with a combo of Williams/Douglas. I’m not a big fan of landing Deron Williams as most would be because I feel like he’s too much of a scorer to be a 3rd wheel. He’s made an all star career out of it so it would problee be harder to get him to blend in with our big guns. And we get PLEN-T of scoring from Stat and Melo. Obviously CP3 is flat out the best option at the PG spot to have becuz he doesn’t have 2 score to dominate and control a game. But it’s gonna be hard to land this guy. So I had to think about “easier” possibilities. Aside from Billups, the guys on the roster I can live without are Rautins, Walker (becuz he upped his trade value I believe), and Balkman. Everybody else can stay. We can work with those left..as long as we get a big man. One of the Jordan’s(Clips version and our version), Robin Lopez or even Pachulia would do. Just big enough to pound and do dirty work for…

  46. Frank

    what’s a little ironic about the DEN and NYK postseasons is that this was a lose-lose trade for both. Denver is at least partially losing because they don’t have any sort of a go-to guy in the 4th. We lost because we had no depth. It’s too bad we couldn’t undo the trade just for the playoffs.

    Meanwhile, as much as we all loved our departed guys – Felton, Gallo, and Chandler – they are ALL posting negative WS/48 in these playoffs. Felton has the HIGH PER of 10.5, with WC at 3.5 and Gallo at 8.8. Blech.

  47. Frank O.

    Interesting that Stat again is begging for a center so he can play his natural position.
    By the way, I think the Knicks should use Shawne Williams and Bill Walker and even TD and Landry as trading pawns to see if they can move up in the draft. Aside from Fields, I’m not sure I want to see any of those other guys returning. And I think I’ve read it elsewhere the question: you mean there weren’t better players in the D league than Walker and Williams and TD…? Really?
    I think Bill Simmons wrote that. At the time, I felt defensive.
    But in hindsight, I have to wonder how we couldn’t find a center in the D league who would have been better, or a back up point.
    The bench was frustrating.

  48. SeeWhyDee77

    Of course we are a much better team with a healthy Billups and Stat than we showed against the C’s tho. I won’t deny that. But his “fit” troubles me. D’Antoni’s offense can survive with a “ball stopper” like Melo. But not with Melo and Billups thriving more in iso type plays an such. Billups veteran leadership and fight is the main reason y we’d have to re-sign Carter if we dropped Chauncey.

  49. SeeWhyDee77

    @ my 54..the last line was sposed to end with “25 mpg or so without breaking down”

  50. Brian Cronin

    The crazy thing is that Extra E might be too good for the Knicks to even bring back! They can’t give him more than a one-year deal, and I think he might be able to get more on the open market. The Knicks can give him a lot for next season, though, provided it is a one-year deal, so I guess they can keep him.

    One interesting thought I had was to overpay a mediocre center the entire mid-level exemption, but only for one year. Someone like Aaron Grey.

  51. Jim Cavan Post author

    @56

    I disagree. We obviously won’t be keeping all of them, but this draft just isn’t strong enough to justify giving up roll players in order to move up a few spots. I guess it depends on how far we’d be moving up, but unless it’s a top 10 or 12 pick, I’d just assume stand pat and let Donnie try and recapture last year’s touch.

    The bench was definitely frustrating, but all three of those guys are at least serviceable, and young enough to where marginal improvements aren’t out of the question.

    If it comes down to a choice between Walker and Williams, I have to say I’d take Walker. He’s more versatile, and you could argue he has yet to get his knees back to full strength. Extra E proved he belongs in the league and can stay out of trouble, so he’ll get another shot somewhere else. It’s a tossup though.

  52. jon abbey

    Frank:
    what’s a little ironic about the DEN and NYK postseasons is that this was a lose-lose trade for both.

    no, it wasn’t, both teams would have lost in lopsided series anyway, this trade was never about this season for either team.

  53. Frank

    Jim Cavan:
    @56
    If it comes down to a choice between Walker and Williams, I have to say I’d take Walker. He’s more versatile, and you could argue he has yet to get his knees back to full strength. Extra E proved he belongs in the league and can stay out of trouble, so he’ll get another shot somewhere else. It’s a tossup though.

    Agreed – as much as I love Extra E, his 3 point shooting fell off a cliff as the season went on (63% in Dec, 44% Jan, 26% in Feb, 36% in Mar, and 32% in April) making him very replaceable. I thought Walker showed some signs of becoming an interested defender (even though he was definitely one of the culprits in all the wide open Ray Allen 3’s).

    And he’s under contract.

  54. BigBlueAL

    jon abbey: no, it wasn’t, both teams would have lost in lopsided series anyway, this trade was never about this season for either team.

    I dunno when this trade was made for Denver then. Chandler has been horrible for them in both the regular and post season. Im not sure if they will even re-sign him. Felton has already talked about wanting to be traded in the summer if he isnt starting (which he wont be because Lawson is 100X better than him).

    Gallo is the only player with a future for them and all he has done for Denver is be hurt half the time and done nothing in the playoffs so far. Mozgov hardly played until he got hurt.

    What makes it worse for Denver is they have 4 of their own players as FA’s. Nene, Afflalo, JR Smith and Kenyon Martin.

  55. David Crockett

    Brian Cronin:

    One interesting thought I had was to overpay a mediocre center the entire mid-level exemption, but only for one year. Someone like Aaron Grey.

    That reminded me of a paraphrased quote from the movie “Twelve Monkeys” where the woman goes: There are levels of depredation we are prepared to tolerate.

    Anyway… I was really disappointed that Zeller, the kid from UNC, decided to stay put. I went to the opening round pod in Charlotte and I thought he was the best player in the Friday/Sunday games.

  56. Brian Cronin

    dunno when this trade was made for Denver then.

    If they can’t re-sign the guys they want back, they will have trouble, true. But Nene seems willing to re-sign. And if they re-sign the guys they want, they’ll be in good shape next year as they won’t have to play OKC in the first round since they’ll have a high seed. Also, Kenyon Martin, if he re-signs, will be back at a substantial discount, making up for the increases Afflalo and Smith would get (if they chose to bring Smith back, of course, they could easily just give Gallo his minutes). Nene actually already is making a lot of money. So their cap picture is quite rosy, with lots of good young players (and extra draft picks coming).

  57. Frank

    This whole phenomenon of kids staying in school is a little weird to me. Don’t they realize that now the 2012 draft is stacked and they will make less money because of it? Another year not in the draft is another (relatively) unpaid year in their lives and another year of wear on their bodies for (officially) zero $. And as my previous mentors have told me, starting your work career one year late means one less year at your MAXIMUM salary, since you’ll still retire at about the same age, but have one year less at your maximum earnings – so for guys like Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes, etc. who will likely get extended past their rookie contracts – this is a $10MM+ decision for them.

    I understand them wanting to work on their games in case of a lockout, but I think it is extraordinarily unlikely the whole season will be lost, and besides, a lot of them can go and intensively work on their games with personal gurus like that Tim Grover guy – all without worrying about pesky things like schoolwork and grades. They’ll already have been drafted, so it should be easy for them to get loans (either from agents or regular banks) to get by monetarily.

    I just don’t get it. Especially some of these guys who will probably be fringe 1st rounders next year or the guys who would certainly be top 10 picks (Barnes, Jones etc.)– I would totally leave and get guaranteed 1st round money.

  58. David Crockett

    Frank: Agreed – as much as I love Extra E, his 3 point shooting fell off a cliff as the season went on (63% in Dec, 44% Jan, 26% in Feb, 36% in Mar, and 32% in April) making him very replaceable.I thought Walker showed some signs of becoming an interested defender (even though he was definitely one of the culprits in all the wide open Ray Allen 3?s).

    And he’s under contract.

    I have substantial doubts about a market forming for Extra E. Haven’t rival GMs figured out that you don’t pay good money for the 3 point specialist in SSOL? And God bless him, but Extra E doesn’t bring anything to the table other than perimeter shooting. He’d have to play the 3 anywhere but NY and Phoenix, which he cannot play.

    Extra E might need to be banned from the practice facility. He has no value I can see outside NY. Maybe he gets a competing a 1-year deal from a team desperate for perimeter shooting, like CLE. But I can’t see a bidding war.

    I may be wrong…

  59. jon abbey

    BigBlueAL: I dunno when this trade was made for Denver then.

    they didn’t want to trade Melo, he forced them into it. they made the best of a situation they didn’t like, that’s one reason it took so long.

  60. jon abbey

    David Crockett:

    Anyway… I was really disappointed that Zeller, the kid from UNC, decided to stay put. I went to the opening round pod in Charlotte and I thought he was the best player in the Friday/Sunday games.

    same here, I was hoping NY would get him.

  61. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin: If they can’t re-sign the guys they want back, they will have trouble, true. But Nene seems willing to re-sign. And if they re-sign the guys they want, they’ll be in good shape next year as they won’t have to play OKC in the first round since they’ll have a high seed. Also, Kenyon Martin, if he re-signs, will be back at a substantial discount, making up for the increases Afflalo and Smith would get (if they chose to bring Smith back, of course, they could easily just give Gallo his minutes). Nene actually already is making a lot of money. So their cap picture is quite rosy, with lots of good young players (and extra draft picks coming).

    Wouldn’t Nene look fantastic in blue and orange?

  62. Frank O.

    BTW, I think the performances of WC, Felton and Gallo since the trade have shown something about the way D’Antoni’s system inflates players’ numbers.
    I suspect any Knicks player viewed as a role player likely will be seen with some skepticism. Each of those guys were pretty damn productive as Knicks and significantly less so in Denver

  63. SeeWhyDee77

    Weird thought. If Orlando was CONVINCED they wouldn’t be able to keep Howard, do u think they’d consider a swap involving Stat for Howard? I like our 2 big guns just fine so i’m not suggesting the Knicks pursue it becuz I kinda think Melo would hafta switch his game up a lil to accommodate Howard’s presence. I worry that Melo would become 2 reliant on 20 footers and 3’s.

    Frank O.: Wouldn’t Nene look fantastic in blue and orange?

    No. I don’t think he does enuf “dirty work”. But I wonder if Oden is worth a shot. If Chris Kaman’s salary wasn’t so high, I’d take him in a heartbeat over Nene.

  64. Brian Cronin

    Each of those guys were pretty damn productive as Knicks and significantly less so in Denver

    Only Chandler was significantly worse as a Nugget, and he was trending downward as a Knick, too, wasn’t he?

    Gallo was roughly the same (.140 WS/48 as a Knick and .133 WS/48 as a Nugget), as was Felton (.094 as a Knick, .097 as a Nugget).

  65. Brian Cronin

    By the way, does anyone know of a site that tracks WS/48 by month? Heck, I’d settle for pre and post All-Star break.

  66. Robert Silverman

    Frank O.:
    BTW, I think the performances of WC, Felton and Gallo since the trade have shown something about the way D’Antoni’s system inflates players’ numbers.
    I suspect any Knicks player viewed as a role player likely will be seen with some skepticism. Each of those guys were pretty damn productive as Knicks and significantly less so in Denver

    Really? Which #’s are you looking at? Gallo was better in Denver than in NY. Felton played fewer mins, but performed at the same rate, and Chandler was up and down, which was his MO his entire NY career.

    True, the Knuggets have had a lousy first 3 games in the playoffs, but during the reg. season they were key members of the 2nd best team in the league (record-wise) post All-Star break.

  67. Jim Cavan Post author

    I really hope Donald Sterling pulls a Donald Sterling and lets DeAndre Jordan walk. Obviously it makes no sense on just about every level: they have perhaps their best young core ever, Kaman isn’t getting any younger, and Jarron Collins is only the second best Ja. Collins in the league — which isn’t saying much. But few non draft related moves he’s ever made have really made much sense. So who knows? Still think the kid has a pretty high ceiling. But he’s got to command somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 million a year at this point. Not sure if we can / would want to swing that.

  68. Owen

    “if there was a league-wide dispersal draft right now for all PGs, there is no way in hell Paul would go first, and I doubt he’d go top three. it’s a great discussion, factoring in age and health, but I’d personally definitely take Rose and Westbrook over him, and probably Rondo also.”

    Jon – I am surprised you are so down on Paul. I suppose if you are doing a injury risk adjustment it’s possible to see things that way. Vis a vis Rose and Westbrook, it’s not like they project to have Andre Miller like durability. They are both high fliers that do a lot of high contact business in the lane and make a living at the free throw line. Neither is built like JKidd either. Deron is built that way, but he has had injury issues also.

    Personally, I’d put a healthy Chris Paul in the same super elite tier as Lebron and Dwight Howard as the best players in the league currently. I think the stats show that, certainly all the +/- numbers show that and most readings of the box score stats. And I think the results show that. NOH played in the toughest division in basketball giving major minutes to Willie Green and Marco Belinelli, with Trevor Ariza carrying a major offensive load, and won 46 games. I like Okafor more than most but he and David West don’t strike me as a particularly talented 2 and 3. Yet they still managed to post a better defensive efficiency number than the Thunder. Westbrook played next to the preseason MVP favorite and what I would say is a pretty capable bunch of young players in Harden, Ibaka, Collison, etc.

    And Rose plays with a far far more talented cast than Paul. I mean seriously, can you imagine the damage Chris Paul would do playing next to Boozer, Deng, and Noah with a group of role players like Gibson, Thomas, Brewer, and Korver (who have all rated out very highly on different teams.)

    It’s up for debate no question but I would be shocked if we looked back five years from now (or whatever the max length contract is) and said any point guard was better than Chris Paul over that span. To me, the dominant factor in the perception of Paul is that he plays in the smallest market in the US and the best player he has run with in his career is David West, who no one in their right mind would say was a top ten big man over that span. That makes him pretty criminally underrated.

    Which just leaves the injury issue. With a player of his talent, it would be more than worth the risk….

  69. Frank O.

    SeeWhyDee77:
    Weird thought. If Orlando was CONVINCED they wouldn’t be able to keep Howard, do u think they’d consider a swap involving Stat for Howard? I like our 2 big guns just fine so i’m not suggesting the Knicks pursue it becuz I kinda think Melo would hafta switch his game up a lil to accommodate Howard’s presence. I worry that Melo would become 2 reliant on 20 footers and 3?s.

    No. I don’t think he does enuf “dirty work”. But I wonder if Oden is worth a shot. If Chris Kaman’s salary wasn’t so high, I’d take him in a heartbeat over Nene.

    Wait…you’d risk Oden, who can’t stay on the court at all, but Nene can’t do the dirty work?????

  70. Frank O.

    Robert Silverman: Really? Which #’s are you looking at? Gallo was better in Denver than in NY. Felton played fewer mins, but performed at the same rate, and Chandler was up and down, which was his MO his entire NY career.

    True, the Knuggets have had a lousy first 3 games in the playoffs, but during the reg. season they were key members of the 2nd best team in the league (record-wise) post All-Star break.

    Chandler
    Knicks TS% .548 eFG% .521 FG% .461
    Knugg TS% .505 eFG% .473 FG% .419

    You’re right about Felton and Gallo. Their changes were less radical. Apologies.

  71. Brian Cronin

    I only put Deron close to Paul because of the injury issues (and yes, Deron has had injury problems, as well, but nothing is as scary with an NBA player than a bad knee – bad back, perhaps).

  72. Frank O.

    Frank O.: Chandler
    Knicks TS% .548 eFG% .521 FG% .461
    Knugg TS% .505 eFG% .473 FG% .419

    You’re right about Felton and Gallo. Their changes were less radical. Apologies.

    Although Gallo’s TS% and eFG% also has shown not insignificant decline:
    TS% from .600 to .587
    eFG% from .496 to .489
    His 3 pt shooting % has greatly improved since leaving the Knicks.
    He’s taking more foul shots as a Knugget, but his FT% is way down: .893 to .772.
    Of course he only played 12 games as a Knugget…

  73. David Crockett

    Frank O.: Wait…you’d risk Oden, who can’t stay on the court at all, but Nene can’t do the dirty work?????

    Oden might come super cheap though, right, and then as part of a multi-center rotation with low expectations?

  74. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Frank O.: Although Gallo’s TS% and eFG% also has shown not insignificant decline:
    TS% from .600 to .587
    eFG% from .496 to .489
    His 3 pt shooting % has greatly improved since leaving the Knicks.
    He’s taking more foul shots as a Knugget, but his FT% is way down: .893 to .772.
    Of course he only played 12 games as a Knugget…

    Those damn Denver rims.

  75. Brian Cronin

    I don’t think Oden will be super cheap. He’s still only, what, four years removed from being the #1 overall pick? There just has to be a ton of teams willing to take a chance on him (for not inconsiderable money).

  76. nicos

    David Crockett: Oden might come super cheap though, right, and then as part of a multi-center rotation with low expectations?

    You have to figure Portland will at least make him a qualifying offer- somewhere around 8.5 if I remember correctly- so they don’t lose him for nothing. Even if we renounced Billups we couldn’t make an offer big enough to force Portland’s hand and don’t really have any assets for a sign and trade. Healthy, he’s a top five center (maybe top three) and still very young at 23- so you have to figure somebody’s going to roll the dice and make a bigger offer than the Knicks could. That said, I’d love it it if he somehow fell into the Knicks hands.

  77. jon abbey

    you make good arguments, Owen, but Paul is just too passive a bit too often for my taste (in terms of putting him in the top few players in the league). I also think his health issues could be major, similar to Brandon Roy (apart from his miraculous 4th quarter the other night).

  78. SeeWhyDee77

    Frank O.: Wait…you’d risk Oden, who can’t stay on the court at all, but Nene can’t do the dirty work?????

    Absolutely, if the price is right obviously. I like Nene. He’s big, strong and nimble. He even has a decent face up J. But he’s not much of a rebounder or shot blocker. Which is what we need more than anything. Like I said, if Kaman’s salary wasn’t so high, I’d take him over Nene right now. Sterling can’t possibly pull a Washington Bullets(Webber, Sheed, Strickland-though we did it 1st) and let Jordan get away right? Which is sad becuz his “emergence” makes Kaman expendable. Now, if Portland tenders Oden, then my answer changes quicker than Clyde can say serendipitous. Has anyone but me realized how much “under the rim” Nene plays considering his supposed athletic gifts?

  79. Brian Cronin

    The opening of Stephen A. Smith’s piece on why the Knicks should fire D’Antoni:

    Now that the broomsticks have been unleashed and it has been emphatically established that the New York Knicks, for all their bluster and bloviating, are nothing more than an average franchise with an exorbitant payroll, it’s time to move forward.

    A. Who, exactly, defines the phrase “bluster and bloviate” better than Smith?

    B. The Knicks’ payroll is 16th in the NBA. Yes, so exorbitant that it is not even in the top half of the payrolls in the NBA. The fifth, sixth, tenth and twelfth highest payrolls all missed the playoffs.

  80. Brian Cronin

    Some more gems from the piece:

    Notwithstanding the tremendous effort displayed in Games 1 and 2, the New York Knicks cannot play defense, folks!

    Notwithstanding when they played defense, they can’t play defense!

    Even folks like Charles Barkley have characterized D’Antoni’s refusal to recognize the futility of his ways as “pure stubbornness.”

    What? Even Charles Barkley said so? Then never mind, you’re right, Stephen!

    What’s not open for debate is that it’s time for D’Antoni to go.

    Stephen A….man….what a jerk. The guy pushes the Melo trade to the nth degree, then when it doesn’t work out the way that he assumed it would (and we all figured it wouldn’t, even if you liked the trade you knew it wouldn’t work out the way Stephen A. thought it would), he can’t possibly say, “Oh wait, maybe this trade wasn’t a great idea.” Noooo…he has to find a scapegoat that can make it so that he was obviously right, some other guy just messed up.

    What a hack.

  81. Robert Silverman

    Guys, I think we should put the likes of DeAndre/Oden out of our minds.

    We’re going to be picking through the bargain bin — Think McRoberts, Nazr Mohammed, Joel Pryzbilla, Kurt Thomas, Ryan Hollins, etc.

    One player I’d target is Alexis Ajinca. He’s tall/long, athletic, can knock down an open shot. Still very young

    Oh, and please, pretty-please, draft Kenneth Faried if he’s there at 17 or Bismack Biyombo if he drops

  82. David Crockett

    Robert Silverman:
    Guys, I think we should put the likes of DeAndre/Oden out of our minds.

    We’re going to be picking through the bargain bin — Think McRoberts, Nazr Mohammed, Joel Pryzbilla, Kurt Thomas, Ryan Hollins, etc.

    One player I’d target is Alexis Ajinca. He’s tall/long, athletic, can knock down an open shot. Still very young

    Maybe Donnie can find us another off-the-radar third world center?

  83. Brian Cronin

    Thing is, even guys like Mozgov have to be off the table. The Knicks can’t sign anyone to longer than a one-year deal, which is why Robert is correct in noting that guys like Nazr Mohammed are more likely candidates – guys who would be willing to sign a one year deal. You’re not bringing over a guy like Mozgov for a one-year deal.

  84. Brian Cronin

    Jerome Jordan, on the other hand, would qualify, as his salary is so low that he’d basically be a cap hold, so he wouldn’t affect the Knicks’ cap room for 2012.

  85. nicos

    Brian Cronin:

    One interesting thought I had was to overpay a mediocre center the entire mid-level exemption, but only for one year. Someone like Aaron Grey.

    It might make sense if D’A’s not back- if D’A’s still here I might consider doing a one year type deal for Kenyon Martin (not sure what his market value is going to be considering his age and injury history) – he’s basically a better rebounding JJ who can finish around the basket. Probably not a big difference maker but if he can stay healthy would contribute more than someone like Grey.

  86. Frank

    Hate to say it but I have a funny feeling our center position next year is going to look much like it did this year except with two JJ’s instead of one.

    Assuming Billups is back next year and that plan is to chase CP3 and D-will in 2012, clearly our biggest need is a longterm solution at the 5. Has anyone heard or seen anything (outisde the usual draftexpress sources) about these draft-able guys in terms of being big enough to play C for us:

    Morris brothers from Kansas
    Jeremy Tyler
    Keith benson

  87. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, sure, that’d be fine, nicos. One year, full mid-level would be a fair offer for Martin and he definitely would fit in here. I think he returns to Denver, though. They want him and he seems to like it there.

  88. steveoh

    Just a random thought: Considering how we’re all worried about Chauncey wearing down through SSOL (especially defensively) but still wanting to take advantage of the fact that’s he’s a helluva shooter from deep, any thoughts about resigning him to play 2-guard and then go hunting for a younger, cheaper, rental PG who can defend and pass-first?

    Why this could work: He played off-the-ball for the Olympic team. It gives us another ballhandler on the court. He’s free to spot up and look for his shot. And he can swing over to the 1 when TD comes in (and Landry, for that matter).

    Again, just thinking out loud.

  89. Robert Silverman

    Here’s an idea…If Minnesota snags Kyrie Irving in the draft, (I know, I know, they’d NEVER take ANOTHER PG, but Irving’s got to be the 2nd best prospect to Derrick Williams in the draft w/Sullinger & Barnes out) I’d offer them a Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and a (bought like the DWTDD pick was in ’09) late 1st for Ricky Rubio.

    Maybe it’s a large, economy-sized longshot, but A Rubio/Billups/Anthony/STAT core would be unreal…

  90. rooster_douglas

    Landry, TD, and $3 mil for Rubio?…
    It seems like a lot to me. Our floppy-haired Spanish friend averaged 6 3 and 3 on 31% shooting this year. I know he’s only 20…
    Maybe.

  91. tenebrous

    Rubio? Are you serious? Rubio? This is not europe Mr. Silverman and who ever else likes Rubio. Anyway, if we can get Evens why not? I would take Evens and Caspi for TD, Def Feilds has to go (I don’t see Feilds becoming an ariza or camby or the 3 point shooting 7′ on the suns) and SW. Than we can possibly look for a Jordan, Magee (how much is Magee) or even Blatch from Washington and Fried or another big in the draft. Can’t believe we kept Feilds over Galo or even chandler who actually played some D without complaining about anything while playing D – what a talent. Too bad Felton won’t sign with us or will he – we can’t pay him anyway – right? Same for Galo probably won’t want back in NY – Italian restaurants or not – maybe he’ll sign with the nets though and get to go to those restaurants. How about the Bigs in the College finals there were a few tall peeps who can be developed. A sharp shooter or two from Europe might be good as well.

  92. rooster_douglas

    Rubio is so confusing. He’s such an enigma. He looked great as an 18 year old but his development seems to have stalled in recent years and he looked terrible from what I remember of the World Basketball Championships in Turkey. Still, he’s young. I guess I’m just not so ready to give up so quickly on Fields (he hit the rookie wall) and TD (struggled with his shoulder) just yet. I think they are both legit NBA starters next season… I don’t mind giving away Dolan Dollars and Id include either of them in a deal for Rubio but I don’t think I’d include both.

  93. tenebrous

    Steven A – how do people have the energy to listen to him??? Anyway it’s his job to cause a ruckus Regardless, This does fall on the coaching and trainer staff – sorry but it does. Having said that, is there a chance MDA stays and a defensive coach is added??? MDA would have to be the background coach though – no? Will he do that??? Will some one sign him? Is caliper a defensive coach I think him and MDA can actually work if Calipari is defense first. I think the trainers have to do more work and perhaps you need 1 trainer for each player.

  94. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    tenebrous:

    Do you actually believe that Calipari would come to the NBA to be an assistant? He’s got one of the highest profile jobs in college basketball and everyone seems to consider him some kind of recruiting genius. You think he’d come to NY to take a big paycut and teach overrated volume scorers how to box out?

  95. ess-dog

    Taj Gibson straight up for TD works. Gives Chicago a killer 3rd guard and us our starting center. He’s a younger Kurt Thomas type D’Antoni center.

    Also (and this is total dreamland) but Odom and Fisher for Billups, Balkman and a pick works. Odom would be amazing at center for D’Antoni. But Billups would be perfect next to Kobe.

  96. tenebrous

    I don’t know H. Someone said he might be a possibility and I thought perhaps Dolan is his new best friend. Other than that I believe I said MDA as the assistant – provided he wants to – to a defensive head coach. If it’s adelman and MDA who would be head and who assistant??? I still like Clyde and a bunch of trainers.

    Anyway – draftexpress #23 Lucus Nogueira as a developing center is not bad – I think.

  97. Mulligan

    Anyone watching San Antonion / Memphis? Really digging this Memphis team right now. Also, Kevin McHale’s enthusiasm as a broadcaster is kind of endearing.

  98. Mulligan

    Whoa. I would love to watch a game with a McHale / Walton combo calling it. How weird would that be? Is Walton doing any games this playoffs?

  99. TheXman

    rooster_douglas:
    Galllllllllllllllllo!

    lol came here to post some gallo love too, GALLLOOOOOO

    Felton looks kinda bad out there, I haven’t seen him make an outside shot. But GALLOOOO

  100. Brian Cronin

    Have you ever seen one team own another team as much as OKC owns Denver? Denver was up, like, 10 points with 90 seconds left and you knew that the game wasn’t over. Luckily, OKC missed the possible game-tying three. But yeah, Denver has no shot in this series. Good to see them give Gallo more looks in this game. He opened cold in this game just like games 2 and 3, but they kept giving him the ball and it paid off. You don’t go away from a shooter because he starts off 1 of 6.

  101. BigBlueAL

    Chandler goes scoreless in 8 mins. Gonna be very curious to see what kinda contract he can get next season. He was pretty awful in the regular season for Denver and has been even worse in the playoffs.

  102. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Have you ever seen one team own another team as much as OKC owns Denver? Denver was up, like, 10 points with 90 seconds left and you knew that the game wasn’t over. Luckily, OKC missed the possible game-tying three. But yeah, Denver has no shot in this series. Good to see them give Gallo more looks in this game.

    Im beginning to think OKC wont be able to get to the Finals this year with the way Westbrook is playing. He takes as many stupid shots as Rose but the difference is Rose kinda has to but Westbrook has Kevin freakin Durant on his team.

  103. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I am amazed (amazed) that Westbrook thought him taking a 27-foot three made more sense than Durant taking the shot.

  104. TheXman

    Westbrook and Durant don’t really play that well together, or they haven’t figured it out yet.

  105. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Yeah, I am amazed (amazed) that Westbrook thought him taking a 27-foot three made more sense than Durant taking the shot.

    Westbrook took 30 shots tonight!!!

  106. Brian Cronin

    Better still, Westbook at the time was 0-5 from three and Durant was 4-5, so Westbrook take the shot. What a moron. Then Durant makes a three to make it a 2 point game and Westbrook again takes the final shot (and misses).

  107. BigBlueAL

    TheXman:
    Westbrook and Durant don’t really play that well together, or they haven’t figured it out yet.

    Amazing, they have been playing with each other for 3 years and they havent quite figured it out yet. But Melo and Amar’e have played less than 30 games with each other and yet everybody is quick to say they will never be able to play with each other!!

  108. Brian Cronin

    Denver might make Chandler play for the Qualifying Offer.

    If you’re Denver, what do you do? Obviously you re-sign Nene if he’s willing. Then you give Afflalo and Chandler qualifying offers, I think (definitely Afflalo). Then match anyone’s offer for Afflalo, and try to sign and trade Chandler. Then you try to get Martin to come back for $6 million. That leaves Forbes and JR Smith. I have no idea what to do with them. You have to think Gallo can take Smith’s minutes, but maybe you can re-sign Smith and then trade Gallo for a young power forward?

  109. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Denver might make Chandler play for the Qualifying Offer.

    If you’re Denver, what do you do? Obviously you re-sign Nene if he’s willing. Then you give Afflalo and Chandler qualifying offers, I think (definitely Afflalo). Then match anyone’s offer for Afflalo, and try to sign and trade Chandler. Then you try to get Martin to come back for $6 million.That leaves Forbes and JR Smith. I have no idea what to do with them. You have to think Gallo can take Smith’s minutes, but maybe you can re-sign Smith and then trade Gallo for a young power forward?

    Denver has alot of tough choices to make.

  110. Brian Cronin

    Two extremely off-topic points…

    1. Did you know Yahoo! no longer has TV listings on their TV site? Huh? Is that, like, somehow hard for a website to maintain? So odd.

    2. I recorded Jesus Christ Superstar the other night. “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” is a great song. The other songs are mostly lame, but that song is great. It is hard to believe that it was co-written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

  111. nicos

    BigBlueAL: Denver has alot of tough choices to make.

    And remember that one of the biggest factors in Melo wanting out in Denver was the fact that ownership was pretty clear that they were looking to cut costs not add payroll. As the Nuggets still look like they’ll be out in the first round again you do have to wonder how many of those guys they’ll look to resign- You have think Nene for sure (though he’s making over 11m now and will certainly want a raise) but the others? I can see them possibly going into the “We’re rebuilding around Lawson & Gallo” direction and let them walk.

  112. latke

    If I’m Denver, I see two choices:

    1) Re-sign everyone. They should be able to do this and still stay at or below the luxury tax. You do this if you think the end of the season wasn’t a mirage.

    2) Blow it up and play for the 2012 draft, which should be really nice with all the guys pulling out this year due to CBA concerns.

    There are no stars available this summer (Nene is probably the best player out there now that Z-Bo resigned), and the only guy on a rookie deal past 2012 is Lawson, so you won’t be able to add a star without completely dismantling your core.

    Not only would it be a tough PR hit to blow it up after getting all these assets for Melo, but it would mean some serious crappiness for the next two seasons at least, so my guess is that Denver resigns everyone. Yeah, they have a bit of a logjam at the 1 and the 3, so maybe they move Chandler and Felton for a legit 4 to replace/backup Martin, but I really doubt they’ll just go all out for a rebuild.

  113. TheXman

    tenebrous:
    Galo for Fried and Feilds?

    gallo has one awesome playoff game and now we want to reacquire him, who knows he may come back via free agency, prob not since we have no money

  114. massive

    Re: Billups, I think we should pick up his option and then trade him. I think Orlando and the Lakers could be potential trade partners looking for a proven playoff performer in Chauncey Billups. The Lakers won’t offer anything worthwhile, but maybe the Magic put together a sweet deal for Chauncey? I could see them as desperate to appease Dwight Howard and sending us a package centered around Nelson and/or Redick for Chauncey. Then we flip those pieces plus whatever else for CP3 midseason? I just don’t see how valuable expiring deals are anymore, so I think we need to flip Chauncey for some other assets if we plan to get CP3.

  115. Brian Cronin

    Billups’ value mainly is not only from his being being an expiring contract, but from making enough money to match salaries with Paul. Paul makes a lot of money, so the only way that the Knicks can deal for him is to have enough salary to send to New Orleans (on top of the cheap, young assets they’ll be sending, like Toney, Fields plus the 2011 first rounder). Without Billups, they would not have enough. Meanwhile, Billups’ contract being so big makes it easier for New Orleans to then throw in other guys they want to dump as part of the Paul deal (to wit, the only way for the Knicks to get enough salary together to acquire Paul and Okafor – which might be an attractive offer for the Hornets if they feel Paul is definitely gone no matter what – is to have Billups involved).

  116. latke

    So does san antonio blow it up if they lose game 5? It’s been so long since they’ve been in a position to consider rebuilding… Can you believe they’ve had a winning record in 21 of the last 22 seasons? That’s so insane!

    Consider this: They’ve had ping pong balls 3 times since 1987. In all three of those seasons they moved up in the draft, from #4 to #1 in the Robinson draft, #4 to #3 in 89 when the drafted Sean Elliot, and from #3 to #1 in the Duncan draft. Vancouver actually had the worst record in the Duncan draft, but they fell to 4th and ended up with Antonio Daniels… There would probably still be basketball in Vancouver if not for that stroke of bad luck.

    It’s hard to lose when you have San Antonio style luck…

  117. latke

    sorry, out of the lottery in 21 of 22, winning record in 20 of 22. Somehow in 88 they made the playoffs with 31 wins.

  118. iserp

    If San Antonio loses, they might be interested in a Billups for Parker swap. Both Duncan and Billups expire in 2012, which allows them to go for one of Howard/CP3/D-Will, Duncan might resign at a discount. Meanwhile, Billups is a good PG that allows them to compete in 2011. I am not sure they can get a better expiring for Tony Parker, and it is an enticing possibility. If MLE somehow survives, we could spend it on Oden or Dalembert. And then, trade for Rudy Fernandez (which i still think can be very good in this system, Bill Walker – Rudy swap, perhaps?), and resign our guys

    Tony Parker / TD / Anthony Carter
    Rudy F. / Landry Fields / TD
    Melo / Shawne Williams
    Stat / 17th Pick / Shawne Williams
    Oden / Turiaf / JJ / JJ

    Not sure if a contender, but much more balanced and 55 wins team (or so).

  119. Jim Cavan Post author

    So Billups, Walker and Turiaf all have to be decided upon by Friday? Is the deadline the same for player options?

    What does everyone think about the prospects of waiving Billups and resigning him for less after July 1st? If he really wants to be here, he’ll sign a one or two year deal for less, right?

  120. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin:
    The opening of Stephen A. Smith’s piece on why the Knicks should fire D’Antoni:

    A. Who, exactly, defines the phrase “bluster and bloviate” better than Smith?

    B. The Knicks’ payroll is 16th in the NBA. Yes, so exorbitant that it is not even in the top half of the payrolls in the NBA. The fifth, sixth, tenth and twelfth highest payrolls all missed the playoffs.

    And it was Smith that said the Knicks simply had to make the trade they did. Once again, no accountability.
    How can you call for the trade to be made and then act as if the Knicks have taken on too much contract? i call bullshit.

  121. Frank

    Jim Cavan:
    So Billups, Walker and Turiaf all have to be decided upon by Friday? Is the deadline the same for player options?

    What does everyone think about the prospects of waiving Billups and resigning him for less after July 1st? If he really wants to be here, he’ll sign a one or two year deal for less, right?

    It’d have to be a one year or else the CP3/DWill/Howard plan is pretty much kaput. If they waive him and resign him, they’d have to pay him enough to make it worth his while not to sign with another team – basically asking him to take a paycut for the good of the team. Given that Melo just did the exact opposite (and in so doing forced Billups to leave his home in Denver), I probably wouldn’t do that if I were him. Also, if he takes a significant enough paycut for us to go under the cap, then we would lose whatever exception (that might not exist in the new CBA) would otherwise be available to us if we were over the cap…

    Re: Walker – I think I’d pick up his option – he’s less than 1M/year, knows the system, and has some upside. Turiaf has a player option so I guess it’s up to him…

  122. Frank O.

    BigBlueAL:
    Chandler goes scoreless in 8 mins.Gonna be very curious to see what kinda contract he can get next season.He was pretty awful in the regular season for Denver and has been even worse in the playoffs.

    In my heart of hearts, I think WC will take less to be a Knick again. He wants to play for the Knicks. Believe it.

  123. Frank

    So I wrote in a previous post that I wanted no part of Jimmer Fredette as a shoot-first no defense PG — but having read a few scouting reports that have said he’s a very good passer with good court vision I am not so sure anymore (not that I had a right to be sure about anything as I’ve only seen him play maybe 1-2x for a few minutes). For people who may have seen more of him– is there any chance he’s got some Steve Nash in him? Could he be a SSOL PG?

    if high upside bigmen like Biyombo, Nogueiro, etc. are gone and solid but unspectacular guys like the Morris bros. are gone too, maybe Jimmer is not such a bad fit? Dunno.

  124. bobneptune

    ess-dog:
    …BUT

    If Paul really wants to be a Knick in 2012, it will happen!

    yeah…. melo also “really, really double secret probation with a decoder ring really” wanted to be a knick and it only cost us 5 serviceable to good players and 4 draft choices to convince him to “really” want to be a knick!

  125. Z

    Jim Cavan:
    So Billups, Walker and Turiaf all have to be decided upon by Friday? Is the deadline the same for player options?

    What does everyone think about the prospects of waiving Billups and resigning him for less after July 1st? If he really wants to be here, he’ll sign a one or two year deal for less, right?

    Billups wanted to stay in Denver. If he’s waived he’s not signing in NY for less money. But as Brian said above, he’s way more valuable as an expensive contract. Even if he’s hurt and never plays basketball again, we want to pay him $14 mil rather than waive him.

    I think only Billups needs to be decided by Thursday because itis in his contract that he needs to be waived 5 days after the season ends or his 2011-12 option automatically kicks in. Turiaf has a player option, so there’s no decision to make, and Walker has a standard team option which will certainly be picked up because it is cheap and serviceable.

  126. bobneptune

    jon abbey: if there was a league-wide dispersal draft right now for all PGs, there is no way in hell Paul would go first, and I doubt he’d go top three. it’s a great discussion, factoring in age and health, but I’d personally definitely take Rose and Westbrook over him, and probably Rondo also.

    what???

    rondo??? what on earth do you think paul would look like playing for the celtics if he had garnett, allen and pierce to flip the ball to rather than okafor, ariza and belinelli. jesus. rondo skill set with all his warts in ft shooting and shooting > 3ft from the basket would be totally exposed if he didn’t have 3 hof finsihers on his squad.

    he always looks terrific vs the knicks because they have to defend him by not picking him up until he gets within 5 feet of the basket, SINCE THEY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING RESEMBLING A SHOOT BLOCKER.

    this enables him (as he said in an interview the other night) “to see the whole floor clearly”.

    as to westbrook…. clearly a wonderful player. however, ask durant last night what he thought of westbrook’s “point guard skills” when he was about to punch him out watching him hoist up a crisp 12 for 30 from the floor!

    If i had a magic unicorn who could do anything and i asked him to make me the perfect point guard, he would crap out chris paul. the perfect blend of shooting, penetrating, finishing, rebounding and passing skills.

    if he crapped out rose , i wouldn’t be too disappointed.

  127. ess-dog

    bobneptune: yeah…. melo also “really, really double secret probation with a decoder ring really” wanted to be a knick and it only cost us 5 serviceable to good players and 4 draft choices to convince him to “really” want to be a knick!

    We wouldn’t have been able to pay all those guys anyway if we want CP3, plus they all suck except Gallo. Interesting what was in Newsday yesterday though:

    “Even if the Knicks do waive him, he could end up playing for them next season. The Knicks could do something similar to what the Spurs did with Richard Jefferson last summer: Waive Billups and re-sign him as a free agent after July 1 to a longer contract for less money per season. This would free up cap space to pursue other free agents.”

    That would basically be giving up on the CP3 dream. My question is, would the “guaranteed” salary of 3.7 m be rolled into a new contract for Chauncey or on top of that new contract? Coach was exclaiming during the season that he liked the idea of Chauncey long term.

    Makes you wonder what Chauncey could get on the open market and if we’d pay it. I’m guessing he would need at least 7 mil per over 3 years to want to forgo his current upcoming year of salary.

    I have to say, Chaucey at that price would be a good deal and a tradable asset. And if Turiaf somehow declined (he won’t) then we could really afford a nice big man.

  128. Brian Cronin

    I must say, the other day I was pointing out my irritation with Melo’s comments, not so much his lack of self-awareness (as no one else in the NBA is any more aware than he) but the fact that he was given a pass on his comments. So I was shocked and very impressed that Howard Beck absolutely nailed him on all the points the other members of the media were totally letting slide (and Beck even threw in some shots at the rest of the media). Kudos to Mister Beck!

  129. jon abbey

    yeah, Westbrook had a bad, selfish game last night, but that doesn’t happen too often. Felton really looked awful, I have no idea why Karl ever plays him down the stretch given his other options.

    Brian Cronin:
    I must say, the other day I was pointing out my irritation with Melo’s comments, not so much his lack of self-awareness (as no one else in the NBA is any more aware than he) but the fact that he was given a pass on his comments. So I was shocked and very impressed that Howard Beck absolutely nailed him on all the points the other members of the media were totally letting slide (and Beck even threw in some shots at the rest of the media). Kudos to Mister Beck!

    well, actually I mentioned it first and then you chimed in. :)

  130. jon abbey

    also, say what you want about Rondo, but there was a game against Miami earlier this year where LeBron was going nuts until the obviously much smaller Rondo stepped up and shut him down like I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do, regardless of size.

    Rondo’s got an incredibly unique skillset, and while it is a bit tough to disentangle how good he’d be without his Hall of Fame teammates around him, I love his game, warts and all.

  131. Brian Cronin

    well, actually I mentioned it first and then you chimed in. :)

    Ha!

    Fair enough, Jon.

    yeah, Westbrook had a bad, selfish game last night, but that doesn’t happen too often. Felton really looked awful, I have no idea why Karl ever plays him down the stretch given his other options.

    And yes, I totally agree about Karl and Felton. I don’t get it either, but he looooooooves the Felton/Lawson backcourt to close out the game. By the way, I was reading an article and it refers to Felton’s “four clutch free throws.” Is making 4 out of 6 free throws really “clutch”?

  132. d-mar

    Frank:
    Pretty scathing article by Howard Beck in today’s NY Times about Melo’s unwillingness to wait for FA or take less money:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/sports/basketball/26knicks.html?_r=1&ref=sports

    All true — although I still think that when push came to shove, Melo would NOT have signed in NJ and that our FO and owner did a terrible job negotiating this thing.

    If you want to hate on Melo for taking the guaranteed $$ and not gambling on free agency, then you can hate on every other superstar in the NBA, who would have done the same thing with the uncertainty of the new CBA looming. Not saying I like that attitude, but don’t single out Melo for wanting to get paid. I’m sure he had agents and/or financial advisors browbeating him to sign a deal before the deadline.

    And Melo has basically said he was ready to go to NJ if the Knicks deal didn’t happen, so this idea that we could have kept the old team intact and signed Melo in free agency is just wrong.

  133. Brian Cronin

    It is not about him making sure he got the most money possible, it is about him making sure he got the most money possible and then complaining about not having a good enough support staff – a support staff that is a direct result of him making sure he got the most money possible. If he doesn’t complain about the Knicks not having enough guys around him, the article never gets written.

    But yes, I do agree that most NBA players have the same exact lack of self-awareness as Melo.

  134. Frank O.

    d-mar: If you want to hate on Melo for taking the guaranteed $$ and not gambling on free agency, then you can hate on every other superstar in the NBA, who would have done the same thing with the uncertainty of the new CBA looming. Not saying I like that attitude, but don’t single out Melo for wanting to get paid. I’m sure he had agents and/or financial advisors browbeating him to sign a deal before the deadline.

    And Melo has basically said he was ready to go to NJ if the Knicks deal didn’t happen, so this idea that we could have kept the old team intact and signed Melo in free agency is just wrong.

    I think most everyone believes he would have gone to Jersey. I think the point is he could have taken less money and ensured a supporting cast that would have had the guns to compete for a championship. I realize it’s got to be very hard leaving $65 large on the table.
    But Wade, Lebron and Bosh left money on the table to play together, although they make it back in taxes. It’s not unprecedented. And winning a championship has some pretty big fiduciary payoffs, too.
    The Beck story nailed it. He could have shaped his destiny had he been more nuanced in his approach.
    It think that’s just stating a fact. It’s really not a matter of opinion.
    Now, whether a knicks team with Gallo and WC and Felton and Amare and Melo wins a championship is hard to predict. But Carmelo could have shaped it that way. And, personally, I think WC would have taken less money to stay with the Knicks.

  135. Owen

    “That Beck article is good. I think he’s been reading Knickerblogger :)”

    That’s funny, I thought the same thing.

    D-Mar – We aren’t hating on Carmelo for wanting his money. But it’s clear there are more important things to him than winning. That’s all. I do think there are players in the NBA who have given up money for a better chance to win.

    Re Westbrook I love him and I think there is plenty of reason to think he is even better than the numbers suggest. But his TS% (like Rose’s) isn’t the best right now and he basically has no game outside of 15 feet as was pointed out on True Hoop this morning.

    Re Rondo – I love him and I think his contract might be the best non-rookie deal in the NBA. He is exactly the kind of severely underrated and underpaid player the Knicks never seem to employ.

  136. TheRant

    d-mar: If you want to hate on Melo for taking the guaranteed $$ and not gambling on free agency, then you can hate on every other superstar in the NBA, who would have done the same thing with the uncertainty of the new CBA looming. Not saying I like that attitude, but don’t single out Melo for wanting to get paid. I’m sure he had agents and/or financial advisors browbeating him to sign a deal before the deadline.

    And Melo has basically said he was ready to go to NJ if the Knicks deal didn’t happen, so this idea that we could have kept the old team intact and signed Melo in free agency is just wrong.

    I’m going to support d-mar here and say that Howard Beck, as usual, is a whiner.

    Yes — Melo opted for a deal that resulted in his not having a supporting cast. We’ve been saying that here forever.

    But Dolan offered the deal. Dolan signed the deal. If Dolan offered only Chandler and Gallo, and Melo decided to go to Jersey, so be it. There would have been CP3 and Howard and Deron to fight for later. Part of being a great GM is the deals you choose not to do.

    By making Malo a “get at all costs” player, Dolan set up Donnie to negotiate against himself. Why he publicly met with Melo and Denver during All-Star weekend is beyond me. Dolan created the deal, Dolan signed the deal, Dolan gets the scorn.

  137. Nick C.

    Well you know Melo says he wants input on player acquisitons in the off-season. So while yes Dolan is by far the bigger culprit, idiot, fool in the room, it seems rather ironic that Melo would both say that and complain about a lack of depth when 3 rotation players were traded (Gallo, WC and Mozgov) to get him and two very bit players (Carter and Shelden).

  138. Frank

    I’m not hating on Melo at all – I think it’s easy for fans to say not to take the money, but we’re not him and he’s not us. So I have no issue with that.

    What I do have issue with is how well (or poorly) this whole thing was played by everyone except Denver’s FO – namely, our FO and Melo + his handlers. With the situation as it was before the All-Star break, there were these possibilities for Melo:

    1) Sign extension in Denver where you’ve already dissed the whole city and fan-base.
    2) Get traded to NY
    3) Get traded to NJ
    4) Sign with NY as a FA.

    Melo’s handlers are obviously interested in getting him to NY with the most $$ possible. They did that and should be commended for it. BUT – the grand salami of the whole thing would have been 1) Melo in NY 2) with a max contract as part of sign/trade and 3) a team that is real contender. As it is, Melo came up with only parts 1 and 2. Parts 1 and 2 get you $$ and NYC but also grief from the fans and critical pieces written in the media. Getting parts 1-3 = money, NYC, AND adulation from everyone which = more marketability, $$, and metaphysical happiness.

    All Melo had to do was say I’m not going anywhere but NY, either as a FA or in a trade. Who cares if it was true or not? This was a negotiation for all intents and purposes, and everyone lies repeatedly in negotiations. If Melo said that, Jersey definitely is not going to trade Harris, Favors, and 2 #1s for 3 months of Melo and no playoffs, so they would be out. Denver’s definitely not going to just let him walk for nothing, so all the leverage would be his and with the Knicks.

    But Melo’s inability/unwillingness to use his leverage made it so Denver had the leverage. Naturally this was Melo’s fault, but even more so, it was a failure on the part of his handlers to go for the grand salami.

    And so here we are/were, with the ball in Jared Jefferies’s hands to win or lose the game.

  139. Brian Cronin

    I’m going to support d-mar here and say that Howard Beck, as usual, is a whiner.

    Yes — Melo opted for a deal that resulted in his not having a supporting cast. We’ve been saying that here forever.

    But Dolan offered the deal. Dolan signed the deal. If Dolan offered only Chandler and Gallo, and Melo decided to go to Jersey, so be it. There would have been CP3 and Howard and Deron to fight for later. Part of being a great GM is the deals you choose not to do.

    By making Malo a “get at all costs” player, Dolan set up Donnie to negotiate against himself. Why he publicly met with Melo and Denver during All-Star weekend is beyond me. Dolan created the deal, Dolan signed the deal, Dolan gets the scorn.

    The only reason Beck wrote the article, and the reason I (and others) liked it is because Melo specifically complained about his supporting staff. It was not about the deal itself. I agree, writing an article now about how bad the deal was would not be a good idea. Similarly, writing an article blaming Melo for the deal now would not be a good idea. But writing an article pointing out how Melo can’t have it both ways (making getting the most possible money his priority and then also complaining about the lack of other assets on the Knicks – a situation that exists because he made getting the most money his top priority) is not only a good idea, but it is a good idea that seemingly every other member of the press totally glossed over.

  140. PC

    I believe that people underestimate how aggressively a player’s agent pushes the maximum compensation angle to the player (and the player’s family). The agent has to be a cheerleader and get results at the end of the day. The agent is doing this for selfish reasons and because any client in Melo’s age range does not have the “i just want a championship” mentality.

    When your client is 30+ you can bargain money for winning orgs. When they’re in their prime, you don’t really have a reason to discuss pay cuts. Melo had one chance to make sure his great great great grandkids don’t pay for a things their whole lifes. Why cut off a generation because the Knicks’ fans (strangers who everyone knows will turn on you in a heartbeat) want a cohesive basketball team.

    Melo never had a choice in his whole process. His wife, his crew, his family, his future family, and especially his agent and all those families, make it clear that everyone involved is going for top dollar.

    It may be a synnical thing to think that an outsider convinced Melo of this – but, as an attorney, I understand how “advising” people really becomes just “telling” people what exactly they should do.

  141. ess-dog

    Ok let’s settle down.
    First off we got back two quality players in Billups and Anthony. Gallo is a nice young player, but aside from him what did we give up?

    The great Wilson Chandler of the .079 WS48 and 14.6 PER who did his usual end of the year fade-job?

    Raymond Felton of the .094 WS48 and 16.6 PER who I would say 90% of posters were happy to swap for Billups?

    A big 25 yr old russian guy who played ONE good game with us and can’t even crack the rotation in Denver?

    I was kind of sad to see AR go (he has an 18.5 PER in Minny), but he wasn’t playing here.

    I was against the trade from a cap perspective, but it’s not like we’d be winning multiple titles with the parts we gave up. I know it’s the principle, and yes Melo’s comments are ironic, but whatev… this is where Walsh really earns his $$$.

    I think it’s funny how Beck flat out states that Fields should be a reserve. Thoughts THCJ?

  142. Frank

    @163 – I think, played correctly by Melo and our FO, we coulda/shoulda/woulda gotten the deal done without giving up Mozgov, Gallo, and the 2014/2016 pick/swaps. The 2014 pick shoulda/woulda/coulda come from Minny for getting AR in the process. The 2016 swap is basically just an F-you by Denver.

    Regardless of the WS48 of WC and Mozgov — wouldn’t you rather have had them on the floor against Boston than Roger Mason Jr and Jared Jefferies?

    @162 – I fully understand WHY Melo’s handlers pushed him to this conclusion. It’s just that they really could have hit a grand slam with this, but settled for the double or triple instead. If I were to offer you one of 2 packages: top $$, best location, but with professional criticism OR top $$, best location, and love from everyone everywhere, which one would you choose? It seems like Melo and his handlers never seriously tried to REALLY have his cake and eat it too.

    And re: Melo’s “one chance” to support his progeny forever – the dude has ALREADY made $100MM even before this contract. I’m pretty sure they’re all good. Not to begrudge him the opportunity to make as much as possible – just the “I need to feed my family” routine feels very Latrell Sprewell-ish. And not the great Sprewell we all remember in the NYK uniform.

  143. Brian Cronin

    I still can’t believe the timing of that Sprewell comment. Saying that and then never getting another contract offer in the NBA again is just amazing.

  144. KnickfaninNJ

    Those of you who are suggesting picking up Billups option, please tell me, do you really think he’s worth $14M a year? I don’t, and I think big contracts are generally harder to trade than small ones, so just on value alone, I would probably say no to this. And if he gets injured in any way or his knee doesn’t recover the Knicks are stuck in a very difficult position. I don’t really see how the answer can be yes.

  145. flossy

    It’s entirely reasonable to expect a player in his prime to go for top dollar and it’s not that I begrudge Melo his money. However, I have to agree with Beck that it is pretty galling for the same player to turn around and complain that his team is now short-handed. Sorry buddy, you caused this. You got what you wanted, and you cannot complain about the unintended (though not unforeseen, by many Knicks fans) problems that resulted.

    Moreover, even a modicum of foresight could have prevented all of this. I truly cannot fathom why Melo signed a contract that expired a year later than his contemporaries. He could have been part of the summer of 2010 free agent extravaganza. He’d have still commanded max money, he could have piked his team, and nobody would have had to compromise. It’s not like the date of the CBA expiration was some big secret. It’s water under the bridge, but it does make the complaining about depth all the more distasteful.

  146. Brian Cronin

    Moreover, even a modicum of foresight could have prevented all of this. I truly cannot fathom why Melo signed a contract that expired a year later than his contemporaries. He could have been part of the summer of 2010 free agent extravaganza. He’d have still commanded max money, he could have piked his team, and nobody would have had to compromise. It’s not like the date of the CBA expiration was some big secret. It’s water under the bridge, but it does make the complaining about depth all the more distasteful.

    Melo fired his agent after that situation, flossy. Remember, signing a three year rather than the full four year extension was a novel idea at the time, and Melo’s agent was stuck in the old paradigm and got fired over it.

  147. Frank

    KnickfaninNJ:
    Those of you who are suggesting picking up Billups option, please tell me, do you really think he’s worth $14M a year? I don’t, and I think big contracts are generally harder to trade than small ones, so just on value alone, I would probably say no to this.And if he gets injured in any way or his knee doesn’t recover the Knicks are stuck in a very difficult position.I don’t really see how the answer can be yes.

    it’s just a one year option so doesn’t hurt us long-term if he gets hurt. the value of his expiring contract is that with just trading one player we could potentially absorb all of Chris Paul (or whoever’s) contract. If we needed to cobble together 4-5 guys to make the $14M trade, then that means the other team would need to cut or otherwise trade 3-4 guys on their roster to make room for the guys coming in. So I think the big contract helps us.

    and who else would we put at PG if Billups is let go?

  148. Caleb

    Let’s not overstate the value of an expiring contract… the Knicks could offer the same benefit if they sign someone else for a year… or two one-year guys at $7 million each.. or sign no one, and just have extra cap space to absorb a larger contract.

    Not to mention, Chris Paul is an expiring contract anyway – the Hornets aren’t looking to shed money – they’re looking for talent, assets. Same with Dwight Howard. Of course the Knicks best move could be trading Stoudemire or Anthony straight up for Dwight Howard. Orlando’s not getting a better offer than that – if they really think he’s gonna leave, theyd make the trade, and have a star locked up through 2015.

  149. Caleb

    That said, it’s not a bad idea to pick up Billups’ option. It comes down to, can you find someone better on a one-year deal? No one obvious. Maybe Sam Dalembert, something like that, with a few million left over for a PG.

    I would say – don’t pick it up, see if you can renegotiate a little lower. His market value would be lower. On the other hand, I could easily see someone else offer 3 years, $20-25 million… which would trump our one-year deal. So you’d have to be ready to let him walk.

    I guess I am apathetic. Our mid-season trade was idiotic, and now we’re stuck waiting ’til 2012. If I had to say – I’d rather keep Billups and be a little better, than let him walk and be a little worse. But it’s a low-stakes decision, IMO.

  150. Caleb

    You might could get the Hornets to move Okafor AND Paul, for – say – Anthony & someone else or two. If Hornets are moving Paul, they might want to move more salary. Okafor played well enough, though – very well, actually – that they can probably get something for him, instead of having to give him away with a sweetener.

  151. Thomas B.

    Two things I do not get about the Beck article and the praise it is getting.

    1. The holes in the team would be of no difference even with a trade involving fewer parts. Lets just say Denver caved and we sent Randolph, Curry, and either Gallo or Chandler plus picks. We still have a huge hole in interior defense and rebounding, (Mosgov is not the answer) which was the big problem in the playoffs. Depending on whether it was Gallo or Chandler traded, you have either a defensive hole at the swing Gallo) or a lack of shooting at the swing (Chandler). Lets be honest, the trade took a thin team upfront and just turned it into a thread bare team upfront. Please tell me how a sweet heart deal for Melo fixes the problems down low? Which player replaces STAT when he hurts his back?

    2. I’m no cap expert but would the expiring deals of Curry, and Buke have been enough to sign Melo to his value? By my math you had 10 guys, plus two roster spots puts you at 47.25. That 12 million under the 2010-2011 cap. You could not pick up Walker and Chandler to make another 4 million of space, but even then Anthony at 16mil if the cap is the same and with an unknown as to post CBA contracts, you really think Melo would have left that money on the table? Even if he gives a 20% home town discount–something often wished for but never happens– you still have the huge rebounding/defensive hole upfront that cant be filled with the money left over. Plus Felton still means spotty PG play at best.

    I just do not see how Melo gets blame here. Unless you guys think Felton, Gallo, Mosgov, Randolph and Chandler can unite like Volton into a shot blocking defensive center? (honestly that would be pretty fucking cool.)

    I know I’m the villiage idiot round these parts, so please help me out here.

  152. Thomas B.

    Caleb:

    You might could get the Hornets to move Okafor AND Paul, for – say – Anthony & someone else or two. If Hornets are moving Paul, they might want to move more salary. Okafor played well enough, though – very well, actually – that they can probably get something for him, instead of having to give him away with a sweetener.

    I was for a CP3 and Okafur trade earlier in the season. Sure would have helped inside. But Okafur’s deal is hard to swallow, even if it nets you CP3.

  153. Frank

    @173 – I don’t blame Melo for anything except not swinging for the fences and getting everything he wants in one fell swoop. His unwillingness to indulge in some poker-playing resulted in his future team (us) having 1-2 less assets going forward that could either develop into better assets or be traded for things like a center.

    Meanwhile, we didn’t lose the Boston series because of our defense, which I thought was rather acceptable except for the Ray Allen show. I don’t have the figures but I would wager that in terms of overall rebound rates we probably were tied or better than the Celts. We lost because we couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean. We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean because we had guys like JJ, Walker, and RMJr shooting 2x as many shots as they should due to lack of depth, and because Landry Fields turned back into a pumpkin. It’s really hard to play good defense when you can’t score and every defensive possession starts with you running back frantically to try to cut off Rondo with Allen and Pierce on the wings.
    I think Chandler/Gallo/Felton in some combination could have helped that.

    That being said – we were never winning a championship this year trade or not. I think the problem is that we sent away so many assets that it makes getting better much harder. We need Donnie to hit on a couple of Antonio Davis and David Lee-level drafts.

  154. Thomas B.

    Frank,
    I think a ton of other people have lost sight of something: The knicks could have said “No deal.” We will keep the cap space and go after Howard and Paul after the close of next season.” Melo didnt make them make the deal. He said, “I will only sign with NY.” What else should he have done? Should he have said. “I plan to sign with New York for the MLE after the season.”

    Really who could have predicted that guys like Douglas, Fields, and Walker would play much worse in the post season than their season averages? Is Chandler playing at his level for the regular season, what about Felton? I think the Knicks overpaod, but i don’t think Melo made them.

    I say blame Walsh. He blinked last year with the T-Mac deal. He blinked this year with the Melo deal. Eye for cheap talent sure, but in terms of being shrewed in the face of pressure? Well lets just say I’d love to have him sitting at my next poker game.

  155. Frank

    @176

    Actually I agree with you 100%. Probably (but not definitely) would have been better to NOT make a bad deal.

    I give Donnie a pass for blinking last year with the TMac/JJ trade. I think if you have a real shot at getting LBJ + another max talent, you have to do it even if it costs you Jordan Hill (eye roll) and a 2012 pick.

    I guess we’ll have to assume that Dolan was the one pushing the Melo trade along, but we’ll never know for sure. As good a job as Donnie has done cleaning up Isiah’s mess, one could come from the other side and say that he was brought here to get LBJ (failed at that), and to get rid of all the Isiah baggage. But since then, suddenly Zach Randolph is awesome, Crawford is leading ATL to a 1st round win, the David Lee sign-trade turned really into David Lee for Rony Turiaf, and we traded the farm for Melo in a deal that probably 80+% of NYK fans would not have done. He also hired D’Antoni and did NOT hire Thibodeau, who was someone very well thought of in the coaching community, and was someone I really wanted to be the next coach.

    We’re certainly in a better place than we were in 2007-2008 though. If you told me 2 years ago that we would have Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire, I would have taken that in a heartbeat.

    Oh well. Hind-sight is mostly 20/20 and Donnie doesn’t have the benefit of it like we do.

  156. Owen

    I think a ton of other people have lost sight of something: The knicks could have said “No deal.” We will keep the cap space and go after Howard and Paul after the close of next season.”

    Yes. Trying for that and failing would have been better than what we have now.

    The idea of trading Amare and Melo for Howard is the kind of fantasy I don’t even want to indulge.

  157. d-mar

    @177 Frank, your comments are generally reasonable, but I will NEVER criticize Walsh for dumping Z-Bo and Crawford (although I think this is the first time in Jamal’s career that he’s actually strung together several games with a decent shooting %) And we couldn’t re-sign Lee, so anything we got for him was considered gravy. (Unfortunately, part of that gravy has no b-ball IQ and another has a bum knee.)

  158. Brian Cronin

    The idea of trading Amare and Melo for Howard isn’t the kind of fantasy I don’t even want to indulge.

    So it is a fantasy you want to indulge?

  159. Brian Cronin

    The big knock on Walsh regarding Z-Bo and Crawford is the fact that both “untradeable” assets were traded again the very next year!

  160. Frank

    Actually – @176 – Melo DIDN’T say “I will only sign with NY”. That’s what he told the media for months but as D-Day came closer, he agreed to meet with the Nets, didn’t rule out resigning with Denver, etc. etc. Every single thing he did undermined his future team’s position.

    Remember – the Denver extension was just sitting there ready to be signed. That means that Melo could have played hardball until 11:59PM on deadline day – if nothing materialized by then he could have always gotten his money regardless. And there was just NO WAY that Ujiri was going to let Denver get Bosh’d.

    Oh well. Like I’ve written so many times here before, what’s done is done. No reason to keep reliving it.

  161. Thomas B.

    Owen:

    I think a ton of other people have lost sight of something: The knicks could have said “No deal.” We will keep the cap space and go after Howard and Paul after the close of next season.”

    Yes. Trying for that and failing would have been better than what he have now.

    The idea of trading Amare and Melo for Howard isn’t the kind of fantasy I don’t even want to indulge.

    So a Melo in the hand is worth two in the bush?

  162. Thomas B.

    Frank:

    Actually – @176 – Melo DIDN’T say “I will only sign with NY”. That’s what he told the media for months but as D-Day came closer, he agreed to meet with the Nets, didn’t rule out resigning with Denver, etc. etc. Every single thing he did undermined his future team’s position.

    Remember – the Denver extension was just sitting there ready to be signed. That means that Melo could have played hardball until 11:59PM on deadline day – if nothing materialized by then he could have always gotten his money regardless. And there was just NO WAY that Ujiri was going to let Denver get Bosh’d.

    Oh well. Like I’ve written so many times here before, what’s done is done. No reason to keep reliving it.

    He would not have signed there, he did it to see if Walsh would blink. We all knew he would. All I’m saying is that Beck should blame Walsh for flinching if he is going to blame Melo for bluffing.

  163. Frank

    Thomas B.: He would not have signed there, he did it to see if Walsh would blink. We all knew he would.All I’m saying is that Beck should blame Walsh for flinching if he is going to blame Melo for bluffing.

    Trouble is, that’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn’t it? Melo’s goal was to become a Knick, not to make it a nice sweet deal for Denver. His goal should have been to get to a NY team with as much talent and flexibility as possible. The way to do that is to put the pressure on Ujiri by saying NY or free agency, not by putting pressure on Walsh by saying “you need to up your bid or else I’m going to Jersey”.

  164. Brian Cronin

    He would not have signed there, he did it to see if Walsh would blink. We all knew he would. All I’m saying is that Beck should blame Walsh for flinching if he is going to blame Melo for bluffing.

    He’s not blaming Melo for bluffing, he’s blaming Melo for making the extension his top priority at the cost of the supporting cast on the Knicks and then complaining about the supporting cast of the Knicks. You can do the former, you can’t do the latter (without getting rightly criticized for it).

  165. Brian Cronin

    Trouble is, that’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn’t it? Melo’s goal was to become a Knick, not to make it a nice sweet deal for Denver. His goal should have been to get to a NY team with as much talent and flexibility as possible. The way to do that is to put the pressure on Ujiri by saying NY or free agency, not by putting pressure on Walsh by saying “you need to up your bid or else I’m going to Jersey”.

    And if he does want to play it that way, fair enough, just don’t complain about the results later.

  166. Thomas B.

    It is fair to complain about the results because the part missing–a decent defensive/rebounding big–still wasnt in place even if Melo came here for Curry and two picks (anybody want to correct me on that one?). What Felton and Chandler are doing in this post season isnt a big improvement over Douglas and Walker is it? Or do you think they would have played better since they know the Dantoni system?

    Melo cant get fussy when the average players on the team play average ball. But when the average players give you far less than average play, then hell yes he can talk about it. Walker, Douglas, Fields, Turiaf. None of them really stepped up in the post season. I can check the stats but I dare say none of them played to their average numbers. Yes, Boston is a great defensive team but 0-11 Walker! Seriouslt, Melo can’t say anything about that?

    I’m surprised my Voltron reference didnt get more play. I thought that was pretty funny.

  167. Thomas B.

    Brian Cronin:

    He’s not blaming Melo for bluffing, he’s blaming Melo for making the extension his top priority at the cost of the supporting cast on the Knicks and then complaining about the supporting cast of the Knicks. You can do the former, you can’t do the latter (without getting rightly criticized for it).

    Then he should add Stoudemire to the list. He didnt sign for below market either, and would that cap space he saves the team by signing for the MLE help the team just as much as when people wanted Melo to do it? So we sign STAT for 6 million, Melo for 6 million, then use the Melo deal to get Paul, then sign Howard at the end of next season. Done and Done. There, being a GM aint so hard.

  168. ess-dog

    Cheer up fellas. Maybe we can at least buy a late 1st this year.
    Hey, I’m GLAD it’s hard to buy a super-team. It would be boring if it was an everyday occurrence. It just sucks that the Lakers, Bulls, Spurs, Celtics and Heat all struck gold with lopsided-trades, free agent conspiracies and crazy lottery climbs.

    If people want to hand out blame, we’re still living the after-effects of the Curry trade. It really is sort of a miracle that we have Melo, Amare and Billups at this point. Sure it’s not James, Wade and Ru-Paul, but we did dig ourselves out of a really bad gaffe. We made the playoffs and 2 of our 3 best players got injured. Better luck next year.

    And we don’t necessarily need a third all-world star (although that would be great.) If we keep Billups and get one or two more guys on his level, like a Marc Gasol (who improves) and then say we draft idk, Alec Burks and he becomes really good….
    Something like that could maybe compete with the Heat as currently built. Not that we can do that cap wise, but who knows how that will all shake out? Look at Memphis. They’ve done everything wrong and they still have hope and the chance to make some waves.

  169. BigBlueAL

    Thomas B.:
    It is fair to complain about the results because the part missing–a decent defensive/rebounding big–still wasnt in place even if Melo came here for Curry and two picks (anybody want to correct me on that one?).What Felton and Chandler are doing in this post season isnt a big improvement over Douglas and Walker is it?Or do you think they would have played better since they know the Dantoni system?

    I’m surprised my Voltron reference didnt get more play.I thought that was pretty funny.

    I loved Voltron as a little kid. Although not as much as I loved He-Man.

  170. jon abbey

    am I the only one who would like to see Walsh let go (he’s been pretty good with some major blunders when he had to be perfect to get the job done, but he’s 70 and coming to the end if not there already) and Kevin Pritchard hired? I have a serious man crush on that guy, him and Presti are head and shoulders above everyone else in the league, I think.

  171. Thomas B.

    jon abbey:

    am I the only one who would like to see Walsh let go (he’s been pretty good with some major blunders when he had to be perfect to get the job done, but he’s 70 and coming to the end if not there already) and Kevin Pritchard hired? I have a serious man crush on that guy, him and Presti are head and shoulders above everyone else in the league, I think.

    No, you are not the only one. I would be pleased with KP. I agree that Presti is doing exec of the year level work.

  172. BigBlueAL

    jon abbey:
    am I the only one who would like to see Walsh let go (he’s been pretty good with some major blunders when he had to be perfect to get the job done, but he’s 70 and coming to the end if not there already) and Kevin Pritchard hired? I have a serious man crush on that guy, him and Presti are head and shoulders above everyone else in the league, I think.

    Reason I would like to keep Walsh is because I fear the alternative. You trust Dolan to hire someone else who is as good or better than Walsh??

  173. ess-dog

    jon abbey:
    am I the only one who would like to see Walsh let go (he’s been pretty good with some major blunders when he had to be perfect to get the job done, but he’s 70 and coming to the end if not there already) and Kevin Pritchard hired? I have a serious man crush on that guy, him and Presti are head and shoulders above everyone else in the league, I think.

    Warkentien has a pretty good track record too, no? And he’s already under contract.

  174. Frank O.

    Frank:
    @176

    I guess we’ll have to assume that Dolan was the one pushing the Melo trade along, but we’ll never know for sure.As good a job as Donnie has done cleaning up Isiah’s mess, one could come from the other side and say that he was brought here to get LBJ (failed at that), and to get rid of all the Isiah baggage.But since then, suddenly Zach Randolph is awesome, Crawford is leading ATL to a 1st round win, the David Lee sign-trade turned really into David Lee for Rony Turiaf, and we traded the farm for Melo in a deal that probably 80+% of NYK fans would not have done. He also hired D’Antoni and did NOT hire Thibodeau, who was someone very well thought of in the coaching community, and was someone I really wanted to be the next coach.

    Good Lord, Frank!
    This paragraph was hard to read. I mean, ruin the evening, why don’t you? ;)
    Well stated, tho. I felt the same way watching Zach Randolph the other night. Altho I have to say, Thibodeau’s head would have exploded in his first press conference as Knicks head coach. That dude looks like he has a blood pressure problem.

  175. Thomas B.

    BigBlueAL:

    Reason I would like to keep Walsh is because I fear the alternative. You trust Dolan to hire someone else who is as good or better than Walsh??

    Well I guess if it keeps Dolan from bringing back the worst Gm in Knicks history. You know who I’m talking about. I don’t want any part of Scott Layden back in MSG.

  176. BigBlueAL

    Thomas B.: Well I guess if it keeps Dolan from bringing back the worst Gm in Knicks history. You know who I’m talking about. I don’t want any part of Scott Layden back in MSG.

    Shouldve made Ed Tapscott full-time GM instead :-)

  177. Owen

    “So a Melo in the hand is worth two in the bush?”

    Went back and edited my post. A little confused.

    I think Pritchard would be great. Presti would be better. What he has done in OKC is pretty incredible. He got Durant sure, but he has barely put a foot wrong. The attachment to Jeff Green would have been my only quibble and he went ahead and traded him away for a very serviceable asset.

    It’s been so long since we have had that kind of management I think a lot of new yorkers have forgotten it’s even possible.

  178. KnickfaninNJ

    Frank: it’s just a one year option so doesn’t hurt us long-term if he gets hurt.the value of his expiring contract is that with just trading one player we could potentially absorb all of Chris Paul (or whoever’s) contract. If we needed to cobble together 4-5 guys to make the $14M trade, then that means the other team would need to cut or otherwise trade 3-4 guys on their roster to make room for the guys coming in. So I think the big contract helps us.

    and who else would we put at PG if Billups is let go?

    I don’t buy it that having a big contract is useful for trades. We could always hire the free agent of their choice and trade that person for Paul. Also, I think that since we are under the cap we could trade less salary for more and not have match salaries exactly.

    I don’t know who would replace him, but I will point out that Walsh first got Duhon and then got Felton for prices much less than Billups. Billups is clearly better than Duhon, but I don’t know about being better than Felton, especially for D’Antoni’s system. If Walsh can find another Felton the Knicks will spend less money and probably be better off

  179. Frank O.

    @jon abbey
    I think if Walsh isn’t re-signed, Dolan is going to fuck this all up.
    Honestly, I think Walsh was forced on Dolan. I don’t think anyone will intervene in the next choice, and we know incompetence breeds incompetence.
    Dolan hiring Prichard or Presti would be so out of character it would seem unlikely if not outlandish for him.
    I also think Dolan forced the all out effort to land Carmelo.
    There is absolutely no reason to believe Dolan would make a sound move.

  180. jon abbey

    actually, googling “knicks kevin pritchard” leads to a surprising amount of hits. I will continue to hope for now.

  181. knickterp

    @173: Stop making sense. Don’t you know you’re supposed to criticize the Melo trade b/c it’s stopping us from getting a lockdown big who makes the league minimum and who is only willing to sign with the Stat/Gallo/Felton Knicks and no one else. After all, history shows us that cap flexibility and mid-first round draft picks are all that matter in the NBA, not star players who can drop 42 pts/17 rebs on the road in the playoffs.
    Please, can the next person who bemoans our lack of cap flexibility b/c of the melo trade list all those undervalued players we could sign (and please be aware that Nene and Gasol and other restricted FAs will soon not be undervalued.) And no, you can’t assume Chris Paul would sign with us to play with Gallo and Stat and Mozgov. It’s possible, I suppose, but not a sure thing.

  182. Frank

    @203 – if the whole Melo trade was done with a *wink-wink* at CP3, then it’ll all be worth it. CP3, Melo, and Amare with one 3 point specialist (always easy to find) and even an average duo/trio of 7′ types would do some serious damage.

  183. Brian Cronin

    Exactly. That is the only way the trade makes sense, and I’m hoping/believing that to be the case until Paul goes elsewhere.

  184. latke

    Frank O.: In my heart of hearts, I think WC will take less to be a Knick again. He wants to play for the Knicks. Believe it.

    He can’t really do this since he’s an RFA. Denver would just match any low offers.

    Caleb: Let’s not overstate the value of an expiring contract… the Knicks could offer the same benefit if they sign someone else for a year… or two one-year guys at $7 million each.. or sign no one, and just have extra cap space to absorb a larger contract.

    jon abbey: Kevin Pritchard! (sorry, your comment somehow didn’t come down)

    IMO the biggest draw in Pritchard is that he wouldn’t back down from Dolan. The reason Portland let him go was supposedly because he had a conflict with Paul Allen, so I figure Pritchard is a stubborn mo-fo and would not allow for Dolan’s foolishness. That, and he’s got a track record of building the right way.

  185. latke

    oops, and caleb, there is a big difference in terms of overall contract values. With billups, you have $14 million in extra contracts. Without him you can only sign a guy for maybe $8.

  186. ess-dog

    Wow, did you guys realize that Kenneth Faried has the 2nd highest Win Shares total EVER by a collegiate right behind Kevin Love’s season at 10.95?

    That’s gotta be worth something. Also, Tristan Thompson had a very nice showing for a freshman at 7.5.

  187. hoolahoop

    knickterp:
    @173:Stop making sense.Don’t you know you’re supposed to criticize the Melo trade b/c it’s stopping us from getting a lockdown big who makes the league minimum and who is only willing to sign with the Stat/Gallo/Felton Knicks and no one else.After all, history shows us that cap flexibility and mid-first round draft picks are all that matter in the NBA, not star players who can drop 42 pts/17 rebs on the road in the playoffs.
    Please, can the next person who bemoans our lack of cap flexibility b/c of the melo trade list all those undervalued players we could sign (and please be aware that Nene and Gasol and other restricted FAs will soon not be undervalued.)And no, you can’t assume Chris Paul would sign with us to play with Gallo and Stat and Mozgov.It’s possible, I suppose, but not a sure thing.

    You’re right, getting Melo has been fantastic. Knicks never would have gone this far without him. . . and cap space is over rated. Who needs the opportunity to go after free agents to plug holes in the lineup?

  188. ess-dog

    Lots of talk today about the Knicks wanting to bring Wilson back, possibly via sign and trade. Not sure I love that idea although he plays well in our system. We *could* do Felton and Chandler straight up for Billups, but I don’t think I’d want to do that frankly.

  189. Count de Pennies

    Pritchard… meh.

    Even if you give him a mulligan on Oden over Durant (since every other NBA GM would likely have done the exact same thing), dude hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, near as I can tell.

    Other than the 2006 draft in which he hoodwinked the Bulls into trading Tyrus Thomas for Aldridge and then swapped Foye for Roy with Minny (a move that looks less impressive now that we’ve seen Roy’s checkered medical history come back and bite Portland in the ass) what, exactly, has KP done that makes people think he represents a significant upgrade over Walsh?

    Trade Jarrett Jack and the rights to Brandon Rush to Indy for Jerryd Bayless?

    Pay Phoenix a million dollars of Paul Allen’s $$ for Rudy Fernandez?

    Spend numerous first round picks on Eurostash projects who likely will never see an NBA floor (Joel Freeland, Petteri Koponen, Victor Claver)?

    Pass on Dejuan Blair TWICE in the second round in favor of Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham?

    All the moves of the middle of the pack GM; nothing horrible but nothing all that earth-shaking either. Seems to me his real talent was for self-promotion; marketing himself as the smartest guy in the room – a trait that reportedly rubbed other GMs the wrong way and made them increasingly reluctant to do business with him.

    Pass.

  190. knickterp

    @209:

    I respect the fact that there’s a valid difference of opinion on this site over the trade, and I’ve seen you rip the trade over and over again because it ruins our “flexibility.” But could you please list the players you’d sign instead of Melo that will lead us to a championship? I’m assuming you’d resign Chandler? Or extend Gallo at $8-10 million/year after 2012? Or try and lure Nene at $12 million/year and hope Denver doesn’t match?

    Which free agents would you sign to plug the many holes in our Melo-less lineup? Because they, sadly, would soon eat up cap space as well.

  191. Caleb

    latke:
    oops, and caleb, there is a big difference in terms of overall contract values. With billups, you have $14 million in extra contracts. Without him you can only sign a guy for maybe $8.

    How do you figure that?

    As far as long term-prospects, I hated the trade but it’s not a disaster because it’s easily reversible. You never know, the Knicks might make some great moves and win 55-60 this year. But if they muddle around in the 40s, smart management could put this thing in reverse and trade Melo (or Stoudemire) for a bunch of great young assets. And the Dwight Howard fantasies aren’t that far-fetched. If he would consider signing an extension in NY (instead of LA, where he’s probably headed) – would Orlando really get a better offer?

    Problem is, I said “smart management” and in general I think Jon is right – the Knicks are doomed as long as Dolan is the owner. Talking about smart trades and smart moves is like talking Dungeons and Dragons – a total fantasy world. There was a stretch last fall earlier this year when you could imagine we weren’t shouting into the wind. That’s why the the trade was so disappointing, at least to me. It puncutured the illusion – we were doing business as usual.

    So Kevin Pritchard? He’s ok. I would put him in the same category as Walsh. Pretty much a traditionalist, and likes big-ticket players. Whoever happens to be sitting the chair when Dwight Howard decides he likes the Carnegie Deli will end up looking like a genius.

  192. Caleb

    knickterp:
    @209:

    I respect the fact that there’s a valid difference of opinion on this site over the trade, and I’ve seen you rip the trade over and over again because it ruins our “flexibility.”But could you please list the players you’d sign instead of Melo that will lead us to a championship?I’m assuming you’d resign Chandler?Or extend Gallo at $8-10 million/year after 2012?Or try and lure Nene at $12 million/year and hope Denver doesn’t match?

    Which free agents would you sign to plug the many holes in our Melo-less lineup?Because they, sadly, would soon eat up cap space as well.

    There are too many options to list. Even factoring in his age and durability, there are probably two dozen players I’d rather build around than Melo. And most of them are cheap enough you could sign an extra good player with the same money.

    With Melo the Knicks aren’t totally painted into a corner (with a first-round loser team) but it’s close.

  193. Caleb

    jon abbey:
    the Carnegie Deli is awful now, Katz’s is what you’re looking for there. :)

    I don’t disagree… though I probably haven’t been to Katz’s in at least 5 years… only once since my last move to the A in year 2000…

  194. KnickfaninNJ

    Knickterp,

    The problem with the trade isn’t that Melo isn’t valuable, it’s that we gave up too much. Just on W-L records after the trade you could argue that each team is about as good as it was before the trade, so the personnel exchanged may have been about equal (which is still great negotiating by Denver given the bind they were in). But Denver now has a ton of draft picks, has a lot more young players with potential and has more size. The Knicks now have no draft picks worth speaking of, have no young players except rejects from other teams and are significantly smaller. So I say Denver came out way ahead. You don’t have to have have a specific trade in mind to conclude that Denver gained a lot of flexibility and the Knicks lost flexibility.

  195. Jim Cavan Post author

    Starting to hear smatterings about the interwebs that a deal to extend Donnie for two years is imminent. The only thing he asks is that he be head of basketball operations. As in the head of basketball operations. I think we can all read between the lines on that one.

    In other news: new super-fun content will be up shortly.

  196. knickterp

    @216 and 219:

    So again, we lost–and Denver gained–flexibility. I expect the Nuggets to be in the West Finals/NBA Finals for years to come. And please list a few of the dozens of players you’d like to build around other than–and cheaper than–Melo. I assume they’re readily available and not appealing to the other teams with similar cap space. And make sure you choose the right one or two out of those dozens–some get injured or become overpaid busts.

    Look, Walsh faces a giant problem–the Miami Heat. He’s got to beat them for the next five, six years to win a championship. He bet that Amar’e, Melo, and Deron or CP3 is the best bet–and most realistic path–to win a championship for NY. I agree. Nothing that has happened since the Melo trade has derailed that possibility.

  197. ess-dog

    KnickfaninNJ:
    Knickterp,

    The problem with the trade isn’t that Melo isn’t valuable, it’s that we gave up too much.Just on W-L records after the trade you could argue that each team is about as good as it was before the trade, so the personnel exchanged may have been about equal (which is still great negotiating by Denver given the bind they were in). But Denver now has a ton of draft picks, has a lot more young players with potential and has more size.The Knicks now have no draft picks worth speaking of, have no young players except rejects from other teams and are significantly smaller.So I say Denver came out way ahead.You don’t have to have have a specific trade in mind to conclude that Denver gained a lot of flexibility and the Knicks lost flexibility.

    “Flexibility” is like being single. By being single, you are technically allowed to sleep with any girl (or guy) in the world. It doesn’t mean you have the real-world ability to do that though. Flexibility in and of itself, doesn’t give you what you want, in this case a championship. Minnesota has flexibility.

    I hear you about the draft picks, but if it’s not a lottery pick, it won’t be THAT useful and we can still buy late firsts and early seconds if we want. Teams like the Spurs make magic with late draft picks.

    To me the only debate is would it be better to have a cheaper Gallo or a more experienced Melo? I can see both sides of the argument. The rest of the guys are filler and fairly replaceable in my mind.

    If you’re going to argue the Melo acquisition, you might as well question the Amare signing as well. It’s about as expensive and Amare has the knee issue and apparently plays pretty lousy defense. Overall, he and Melo had pretty similar years, but Melo’s two years younger. If you hold a gun to my head and ask me to trade one, I would probably say Amare at this…

  198. KnickfaninNJ

    Some single guys have the knack and do get to sleep with some girls they want to and some don’t. I never knew how those guys who do it did it, but I recognized that they could. Honestly, I think Donnie has the knack (in the sense of using flexibility to get the Knicks somewhere). I am not arguing that Melo isn’t a good player; he is definitely good. I just think we overpaid and Donnie’s job is going to be much more difficult because of it. Now we are talking about getting CP at the end of 2012 so the promised land is another year off. And the intervening year is likely to have more team turnover making it harder for D’Antoni to manage and less fun to watch the result. it’s always good to go for a championship, but I would like to watch good basketball along the way there and I am not confident I will.

  199. Caleb

    @222 & 223
    The point is that Melo wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (like, say, LeBron. At least one or two guys that good come available almost ever year. Sometimes more (like last summer). We could have reeled in one of these players while giving up nothing, instead of 3 starters and other valuable assets.

    Worse, Melo’s contract could end up being the difference between having $10-14 million to offer a FA, and being able to offer max money next summer.

    It’s a fair point about Amare, and I don’t think that signing was a no-brainer, but it’s different in that the Knicks didn’t have a ton of options at the time. They had to find a cornerstone. And they were able to sign him while still keeping all future options open.

    Anyway, I prefer to look to the future and not the past…

  200. JK47

    Melo looks like a better long-term asset to me than Amar’e. Melo’s younger, had a higher TS% and eFG% as a Knick, turned the ball over less and is a better defender than Amar’e… Or at least, Melo’s mediocre wing defense doesn’t hurt you as badly as Amar’e’s poor interior defense. At times, Melo played some really good D. Melo is also healthier than Amar’e.

    If you could flip Amar’e and whatever else to Orlando for Dwight Howard, sign Howard to the “haircut” extension and then bring in Chris Paul also on a “haircut” deal you’d have a big three that would kick Miami’s butt.

  201. cgreene

    There is a lot more conjecture going from the anti-trade contingent than the pro (or at least not-sure-yet) contingent. @224 umm at what date did the promise land exist that was pre-2012 prior to Melo arriving? Everyone is refusing to answer @214’s question. Someone in the anti-trade contingent please unwind it and show us your moves that get us into title contention by the start of 2012 under the current CBA. I think that would be a great exercise. CP3, Stat, Gallo and depth is the championship core?

  202. Frank

    @225 – my assumption (and maybe wrong) is that Walsh et al. have a much better idea than the general public about what this next CBA will look like. So when Walsh said he thought they would be able to sign a max-level FA after summer 2012, he was probably saying that from a position of some knowledge.

    My guess is that the new CBA will either have a hard cap with a much higher cap (the average team payroll is ~67-68MM now just eyeballing it, so maybe something just less than that) and more revenue sharing around teams, or that we’ll have a similar system to now with lower max salaries and shorter contracts. In either case, Walsh and co. probably made the projection that one way or the other, they would be able to offer CP3 or DH12 the max, or very close to it.

    Meanwhile, Twitter-verse has just indicated that Billups’s option has been picked up by the NYK. No-brainer.

  203. Caleb

    cgreene:
    There is a lot more conjecture going from the anti-trade contingent than the pro (or at least not-sure-yet) contingent.@224 umm at what date did the promise land exist that was pre-2012 prior to Melo arriving?Everyone is refusing to answer @214?s question.Someone in the anti-trade contingent please unwind it and show us your moves that get us into title contention by the start of 2012 under the current CBA.I think that would be a great exercise.CP3, Stat, Gallo and depth is the championship core?

    Do nothing at the last trade deadline and under any scenario you could max out a FA in 2012, adding a superstar (CP3, Williams, Howard) to our core. That core was already a .500 team with one of the youngest lineups in the league – pretty much guaranteed to improve at least a bit, with no changes. Add Dwight Howard to a 45-win team?

    AND, in that scenario (Amare + 2012 max deal) you could STILL have a good chunk of change left over for a starting PG (Felton?) or center (many ideas), depending what FA you got. If Gallo/Chandler/Fields – the 2012-2013 versions – are your 4th, 5th and 6th best players, you have a damn good team. I’m not even mentioning Anthony Randolph, who at least would be useful and might even be really good by then.

    Depending on the CBA, you might still have to move one of those younger guys but at least you get a draft pick back, or a usable piece, instead of just dumping them for nothing.

  204. BigBlueAL

    As cgreene just said above, Knicks officially pickup Billups’ option for next season.

  205. stratomatic

    Quick notes:

    1. I wouldn’t put too much weight on the performances of the ex-Knicks in Denver in order to either help support the deal for Melo or draw an conclusions about the impct of D’Antoni’s system on stats. They started out well, but Mozgov has been out of the rotation because he’s been hurt, Gallo has been in and out of the lineup with an achilles problem and other issues, and Chandler has also missed time and has been playing through injuries because Afflalo was out. Denver is a very beat up team and most of the hurt players are ex Knicks.

    2. The TS% of the average players drops in the playoffs due to the better average competition and the willingness of the refs to allow the game to get more physical

    3. Given that Chandler has been so bad since his ankle started acting up, he has more or less played himself out of the lucrative contract and might be available at a reasonable price to help fill out the bench. Denver does not need him.

    4.There is absolutely no comparison betwen the Amare signing and the Melo signing. We basically chose Amare over Lee and got compensated for Lee with Turiaf, Randolph and a flier on Azubuike. The Melo signing gutted the depth of the team, took away all the upside from youth, crushed the flexibility, wiped out most of already limited picks, and didn’t make us much better short term either. I knew it was bad when we made it, but it was more like a horror show.

    5. If I was Walsh and/or D’Antoni I would walk away from the team and resuse to work for a pinhead like Dolan. I have way too much self respect to work for an absolute basketball and business moron. There is virtually no way to build a serious contender from where we are now without absolutely extraordinary luck this year with our 1st round pick and anything other picks we can buy. The upside is the Atlanta Hawks .

  206. Frank

    @231- It still would have been very difficult if you do the math:

    Presumed salaries in your scenario (2012):

    STAT – 20M
    TD – 2M
    2011 1st – 1.4 M
    Mozgov – 3M
    Assume Chandler would be 8M (probably more)
    Gallo’s Q-offer 6M
    Cap holds for 6 players = ~3 M

    So that is already $44M committed for 11 players. If you sign Dwight Howard at $14-15M per (whatever the new lower max is) and the cap is 60M, then you have only 2M to sign Felton (ie. not happening). Chances are that Gallo would command much more than $6M too.

    So then we’d have TD, Gallo, Chandler, 2011 pick, Amare, Mozgov, Howard. Or CP3 instead of Howard. We’d have to fill the rest of the roster with minimum FAs. We WOULD still have our 2014 pick.

    In the current setting, and if Donnie is right that we will be able to sign a max FA, then we would have TD, Melo, 2011 pick, Amare, and either CP3 or Howard, + minimum salary players.

    So at the end of the day, IF (and that is a big IF) Donnie is right and we CAN sign a max FA, the trade was basically Gallo + Chandler + Mozgov+ probably late 2014 pick + 2016 pick swap for Melo + whatever pull he has on 2012 FAs.

    So I guess it comes down to whether that’s a good deal or not. It’s definitely not a no-brainer either direction, since both Gallo/Chandler are limited players, and Mozgov hasn’t really shown that much.

  207. Caleb

    stratomatic:
    Quick notes:

    There is virtually no way to build a serious contender from where we are now without absolutely extraordinary luck this year with our 1st round pick and anything other picks we can buy. The upside is the Atlanta Hawks .

    I wouldn’t go THAT far – we could still have $8 million, $10 million, $12 million in FA money – that could buy a lot in one of the next two summers. Not Dwight Howard, but a lot. Or the CBA could end up helping us – I get the feeling there are a LOT of different outcomes there. What if there’s a hard cap but it’s at $70 million?

    And unlike the Eddy Curry trade – a true disaster – on this one you could hit rewind, trade our stars to get younger and not ruin the franchise. Not a likely outcome, of course… which brings you back to JD.

    Bigger picture: post-trade, the Knicks are older, have fewer prospects and less cap space. And they actually had a worse record than they did BEFORE the trade! Could version 1.0 have won fewer playoff games than version 2.0? I would say the burden of proof is on the pro-trade side, to defend it.

  208. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Caleb: Could version 1.0 have won fewer playoff games than version 2.0?

    I love rhetorical questions, and this one is no exception.

    A: No– hahahahahahahaha.

  209. stratomatic

    6. I’m not the biggest D’Antoni fan. IMO, like all good coaches he has some positives and negatives. However, I think the positives are greater than the negatives. IMO there is no way that Melo and Billups fit the system or type of team the Knicks have been trying to build since he joined the team. He and Walsh (and the fans) spent two years in hell trying to build the team he wanted. They finally had a lot of perfect pieces, extra cap space to fill out the holes, flexibility to make deals, and at least a few picks to get to the next level. Now he’s stuck with an old slow half court PG that’s not a great playmaker and ISO player that’s a primma donna and doesn’t want to play SSOL.

    I’m not arguing about value per dollar in that trade (though IMO that debate is a no brainer). As starters IMO Billups > Felton and Melo > Gallo, but this is not a good fit for D’Antoni. If I were him I’d walk for that reason alone. He can easily find another job without having to deal with the total short term oriented imbeciles in the NY media (Howard Beck excepted) and the greatest pinhead owner in all of sports.

  210. Frank

    continuing —
    if we hadn’t made the deal, the only thing that changes is that we would have either Mozgov AND either Gallo OR Chandler, instead of Melo. We still would only have room for one max player, and no room for other mid-priced players (like Felton or any other serviceable C or PG).

    Don’t get me wrong – I loved our ex-Knicks and would have liked to see how they did going forward. I also think we gave up WAY too much. But this idea that we could have fielded such a better lineup in 2012 if we hadn’t made the trade just isn’t obviously true.

  211. stratomatic

    Caleb,

    I understand what you are saying, but this team has a “long term” hole at PG (Billups is on his way down and out), a gaping hole at C unless we play D’Antoni small ball, a SG whose late season play in a more half courted oriented system raised doubts about whether he can be the SG of the future, not nearly enough of a bench, and two “stars” that are at the lower levels of productivity among max players in the league. The latter means we need very high level players at some of those positions to become serious contenders. This is not Miami where they may have 2 of the 5 best players in the NBA and one of them may be top 5 all time. Miami needs pieces. The Knicks need stars or borderline stars at 2 positions. It simply doesn’t fit. They can become a 50 win team. Maybe even a little better thna that, but they have virtually no chance of being a serious contender from here (unless of course you think it’s actually possible they would trade Amare or Melo and get the best of the deal lol)

  212. stratomatic

    >>(unless of course you think it’s actually possible they would trade Amare or Melo and get the best of the deal lol)<<

    Out the two, IMO Melo would be the more logical to keep for several reasons.

    1. Younger
    2. Healthier
    3. Easier to build a team around.

    I'll explain #3. Amare's value primarily comes from his offense and his ability to finish in the paint. In order to take advantage of that speed and athleticism you either have to either play small ball and put him at 5 (and get more on offense than he gives up on defense) or find a very unqiue C with shooting range that won't clog the middle that is also a great rebounder defender to make up for his deficiencies.

    The disadvantage of Melo is that IMO he's a primma donna and a particularly likeable or loyal guy. I base thi on Denver also, but he just joined our team and he and Billups are already extremely lukewarm in their support of D'Antoni and his style of play. It's not supposed to work that way. You are supposed to come in, do WTF you are told, and then if it fails for a couple of seasons voice your concerns. Amare is the man in NY. Things were working well but Melo is already talking about changing styles, having input on new players, not endorsing the coach etc…

    Amare has turned out to be an extremely likable, loyal guy and a great leader. He's a perfect fit for NY. After innitially being somewhat cool to the idea of signing him for the max. at least I really like the guy a lot.

  213. tenebrous

    I am beginning to think that melo cannot and will not play well in ssol. Yes melo played the 3, played extermely hard on D and ran out of gas way faster than Amare did. This leaves the knicks either A: adapting a new system or play iso or trade melo. I’d rather have Amare in any system rather than melo in his 1 system. Denver did a lot over the years to please Melo and they still didn’t win a championship. So to apease Melo’s style of play the Knicks would probably need to perhaps adopt the triangle offense but at all times leave melon and Amare on the opposite sides of the court. Amare surprised me – by a long shot – in the POffs when he got those 3 offensive rebounds as a help wing defender. We did lose because of our and Amare’s gaga over – wait melo has the ball let’s see what he does with it. We need two or three 7’s with some hops with this team and a good penetrating pg – no dougyfresh is a 2. Melo and stat need to play on opposite sides of the court in a triangle or triangle type offense where we can trust them to make moves and stuff. This is actually what I believe WC and stat where doing but the gaga of being on the same team took away from winning the game. Anyway, melo gets very tired very fast and the pnr with melon and stat the I thought would work didn’t or doesn’t. I agree to give MDA another shot with training camp and a Mozzy or 3 7 footer somehow. A lot of teams have 3 7’ers – lakers / okc / etc. I don’t know what I’m saying – scratch everything.

  214. JK47

    Amar’e’s TS% fell off a cliff this year– it was 50 points lower than in 2009-2010. Either it’s an outlier and it was simply an off year, or Amare’s health isn’t what it used to be, or there really was something to the “Amar’e needs Nash” thing. Reasons 2 and 3 make you sort of think that Amar’e is kind of a problematic player.

    Also, his TRB% was at an all-time low despite the fact that there wasn’t exactly anybody out there competing with him for the rebounds. Hopefully the big guy can turn it around and become the .600+ TS% player he’s always been. If not, he’s a pretty bad max contract.

  215. tenebrous

    I wouldn’t want to trade melo or stat cause I see there game evolving – faster than anyone else on the squad. If cb is on the squad I see his game evolving as well. I also think we would have went way deeper without this trade but the trade – last I checked – is still here and I’d rather buy a ticket with stat and melonon the floor. It’s not about beating Maimi it’s about beating Boston and the Knicks need blockers and, like someone said, real post defenders to help stat and melo. So it’s either triangle or the other two: 1: ssol with melon becoming a helper a la WC or 2: pnr with stat and 2 7′ for rebounding at all times. If I’m in fantasy land – I kinda like it here right now. Also, yes trade for Galo. Galo is not 7′ but he is starting to get tithe basket, from the 3 line and draws faul calls faster like crazy – his game has been evolving I believe than you can have 7′ and Galo will also spread the floor allowing stat and melo to have more space. MDA new something when drafting Galo. Anyway, Galo, Fried, Lucas (if he’s there), I also heard there are 10 FA 7′ at the end ofthis year. Also I really don’t believe JDog or Kobe would have done as well in NY. How about Galo for Fields & TD. Or KM for Feilds and TD?

  216. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    tenebrous,

    If you think Amar’e game is going to mysteriously evolve into that of an able-bodied 24 year old All-NBA PF, you’re forgetting about this little thing called “aging” that happens to athletes. Don’t get your hopes up.

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