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Monday, March 25, 2019

Is it Worth it for the Knicks to Spend a Draft Pick for Masai Ujiri?

There’s been a buzz on the internet about the Knicks acquiring the Toronto Raptors VP Masai Ujiri for their front office vacancy. Poaching an executive from another team isn’t illegal in sports, as there usually requires some kind of compensation for the deed. In May the Raptors acquired a second round pick from Orlando, because the Magic hired Jeff Weltman to be their president.

Ujiri would likely cost the Knicks more than a second round pick. I’d say a good estimate would be a protected first, maybe with sliding protection like top-15 the first year, top-10 the second, top-5 the third, no protection the fourth. (It’s highly unlikely that the Knicks would make it to the third or fourth year, so it’s not too worrisome that the protection decreases at that rate.)

In any case, should the Knicks consider such a transaction?

To answer the question, I’m going to take a comment from yesterday to illustrate my point:

Would you rather:
A) Spend part of your meager savings to hire a highly-touted financial adviser?
or
B) Keep all your savings for investment by a less highly touted adviser?

If you agreed with that analogy, the Knicks should almost certainly keep their pick. However, I don’t think it’s an apt analogy for this organization. My revised version would be:

A) Spend part of your meager savings to hire a highly-touted financial adviser?
or
B) Keep all your savings, but your Uncle Jimmy will be in charge of finding your adviser. The same Uncle Jimmy that has gone after every bad financial fad in the last 20 years. The one who is in a band, still thinks they might make it one day. Jimmy’s considering using the guy from a few years back, you know the one that put everything in housing right as the market collapsed and cost your Uncle a ton of lost years in investments. And then he cost your Uncle a ton of money in a legal defense of sexual harassment scandal initiated by the adviser himself!

The point is I don’t trust Uncle Jimmy. And I’ve been in this situation before with my Uncle Leon.

Leon Hess bought part of the New York Jets from 1963, and gained full ownership in 1984. The Jets were comically bad when Hess ran the team, until 1997. That’s when the Jets poached Bill Parcels from the New England Patriots. It cost the Jets “their first-round draft choice in 1999, second round in 1998 and third- and fourth-round picks in the April draft, plus $300,000 to the Patriots’ charitable foundation.”

It was a hefty sum to be sure, but it changed the franchise. The Jets became instant winners, going 9-7 in Parcels first season, and then 12-4 in his second giving the franchise their best shot at making the Super Bowl since 1969.

As a Jets fan, this era changed my outlook on the team. No longer were the Jets the league’s laughingstock. They were a respectable franchise, like any other, and this dignity outlasted Parcels’ time in New York. In the 10 years prior to Parcels’ arrival the Jets won no more than 8 games in any season. In the 10 years after Parcels left, they had a winning record 7 times. The effect the Big Tuna had on the culture of the organization and the perception of it from those outside of it was immeasurable. It was worth far more than those draft picks.

And Parcels in New York isn’t the only franchise turned by a front office hire. The New England Patriots wouldn’t be the same team without Bill Belichick, and how did the Patriots get him? They poached him from the Jets!

“The Patriots sent the 16th overall pick in the upcoming 2000 draft and fourth- and seventh-rounders in 2001 to the Jets for the rights to Belichick, a 2001 fifth-rounder, and a 2002 seventh-rounder. “

Look at the successful teams in the league. Would a Spurs fan rather have a lottery protected pick for either R.C. Buford or Gregg Poppovich? Would Dallas Mavericks fans have Mark Cuban sell the team for a 2018 first? After yesterday’s trade for Chris Paul, would a Rockets fan want to trade Daryl Morey for Malik Monk or Luke Kennard or Donovan Mitchell?

My point is simply this: the Knicks need respectability more than they need a draft pick. A single (protected) first round pick is unlikely to add more wins than a highly skilled GM. I’ll even take it one step further. Even if the pick was only protected in the top 10 or top 5 or even top 3, it’s worth changing the inner workings of the front office and soon after, the perception of the team by the rest of the league.

Because as a Knick fan, if the team could do it all over again, wouldn’t you want New York to keep Pat Riley and let the Miami Heat draft Walter McCarty?

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183 comments on “Is it Worth it for the Knicks to Spend a Draft Pick for Masai Ujiri?

  1. Mike Kurylo Post author

    not really in favor of David Griffin. Might be a nice guy and all, but look at his executive record – it is really pretty ugly. He made a bunch of trades and literally maybe only the JR Smith / Iman Shumpert trade would be considered a good trade. He signed a bunch of market-rate or worse contracts. He doesn’t have much of a draft history. I think if you’re going to pay a dude a bazillion dollars and give him full control, he has to have some kind of track record you can trust –> that seems obvious but especially in our situation, because if Dolan gives full control over to someone again and it’s another disaster, he may never do so again.

    Oh god his record is awful. And now knowing that, he is the obvious choice.

    And right after I started having hope…

  2. Frank

    Mitigating factors re: Griffin – given the immediacy of having Lebron in his prime, he probably didn’t have the luxury of looking at what transactions now would mean 3-4 years down the road — and I guess appropriately so, he made win-now moves. And we don’t necessarily know how much pressure LBJ put on him to “do what it takes”, and what sort of leverage other teams had on him because of LBJ and the win-now mentality.

    so I guess it’s not clear at all what he would do given a rebuild job.

    Exacerbating factor – he was Chris Grant’s “right hand man” when they drafted Anthony Bennett. Yikes.

    Here’s an interesting quick bio on him. http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/02/who_is_cavaliers_acting_genera.html

  3. english_knick

    Mike – good article. I got into this debate a bit in the comments yesterday.

    The one point I would make is this – how absurd a scenario is it where we’re really only having to have this debate because we’re the Knicks?

    My point yesterday was that the choice shouldn’t be ‘Masai and lose pick’ or ‘Someone Incompetent and keep pick’, because that assumes the only two choices are Masai or Someone Incompetent. In fact, Masai will be at the upper end of the cost of potential acquisitions because he has been very successful and he is at the start of a long contract. Other options are either available and free, or less well established and might cost a second round pick instead. While I agree that there are some options out there that would be worth spending a first round pick (protections to be discussed in a sec) we can’t ignore that we are currently very bad at basketball and are not a free agent destination – high picks in the next few years are therefore our best path to improvement, and so we should value them relatively highly.

    Unfortunately, as you rightly point out, for us the choice may actually be Masai or someone terrible, because all the evidence is that Dolan will tend towards the latter, but he seems to like the Masai option. And so we’re forced to potentially ‘accept’ spending a higher/less well protected pick because otherwise we might be staring down the barrel of a terrible alternative.

    In this scenario I would still want pretty cautious protections – perhaps never getting less than top-10 and then reverting to second rounders. But I do accept in this world of apparently sub-optimally limited choices that the price might be worth paying…

  4. Nick C.

    There must be Sean Marks types out there. But, as noted here or in the daily thread Dolan is only going to go with name brands.

    I do like the Parcells reference, but with a 53 person roster and far more rounds of draft, a first round pick is not as valuable.

  5. ClashFan

    Early first round NBA draft picks are way more important than NFL or MLB early firsts. They are huge.

    Having said that, I’d offer Toronto a top 10 protected pick for Ujiri. Otherwise, move on.

    The buzz today seems to be moving toward Griffin. He has experience working for an egomaniac owner, which is good, but LBJ just fell into his lap, so tough to know how good or bad he’d be rebuilding a team.

  6. wetbandit

    Griffin has a history of big trades that don’t really give him much growth/potential in the future. He seems to give away youth/picks for vets left and right.

    On the other hand, LeBron runs the Cavs exactly like how CAA ran the Knicks (see Woj article from last yr or two) and im not so sure ownership and LeBron gave him much choice in any of his moves.

    All in all, pass. I’m a top down guy and we need a guy like Masai or a Spurs/Marks type to change things.

  7. Accidentank 2017

    I don’t want anything to do with David Griffin. He was essentially a puppet for LeBron who more took orders than he built anybody’s championship team (look at how bad Cleveland is when LeBron doesn’t play). If he comes here our 1st round picks are back on the table and Masai Ujiri will steal them along with Hernangomez so we can get DeMar DeRozan. No thank you.

    It sucks that Ujiri officially won’t be coming here because the asking price is too high. Hopefully we ask to interview Mike Zarren out of Boston. They suck at drafting, but we’ve always identified guys who go onto have 10 year careers so I’d be okay with hiring somebody from a team that consistently wins trades.

  8. TheOakmanCometh

    I’m not thrilled with the idea of Griffin, but his record is hard to judge in a vacuum. Dan Gilbert is occasionally meddlesome and blows too hot and cold. LeBron was also pulling the strings on a lot of those moves. Even if Griffin had the final say, his #1 prerogative was keeping LeBron happy.

    With those two forces pulling on him at all times, it’s hard to know which moves he wanted to make and which were basically forced on him.

  9. TheOakmanCometh

    The #1 thing we need in any new team president is independence from Dolan. Since there’s nothing the president can do to stop Dolan from interfering, independence can only come from Dolan choosing to be hands-off like he was with Phil or Isaiah. That probably means getting a big-name guy, since Dolan is a big star-f**ker.

    Ujiri would have been great for that. Griffin might be a big enough name. So even if Griffin turns out to be a merely average team-builder, if he can keep Dolan sidelined, that’s a win. A no-name executive from Boston or San Antonio, even if they’re a better decision-maker than Griffin, might not be able to do that.

  10. english_knick

    In the modern NBA, there’s something to be said for parlaying the generational player who falls into your lap into a championship and a relationship that is still strong at the point you leave… sadly, that is now a key component of success in this league.

    I’m not wild about Griffin but I do agree that all of his deals need to be understood in the context of marginal gains to a capped-out team to maximise it’s 3-5 year window. And a lot of them look worse now than at the time – people thought he hosed Atlanta for Korver at the time and he definitely hosed us for Shump/JR…

    In ran order:

    1) Masai if it costs us a mid-low first
    2) Griffin, no compensation
    3) Masai, if it costs us a lotto pick

  11. DS

    As bad as the Anthony Bennett thing was, nobody in Cleveland is saying, “can you imagine if we’d gotten Victor Oladipo?!?!”

  12. Igno-Bot 3000

    It seems insane to me that people were seriously considering giving up a draft pick for Ujiri. We have all of our picks going forward for the first time in close to fifteen years and people are ready to give those away for another team’s GM? Is the league really that bereft of executive talent that that’s what we need to stoop to??

  13. airkent

    Would you guys do a potential sign and trade for otto porter with Melo? I mean i know he is not a super star but i like his game, hits three’s plays d. Maybe i am just remembering him hitting like 8 threes on us lol

  14. SJK

    I don’t want anything to do with David Griffin. He was essentially a puppet for LeBron who more took orders than he built anybody’s championship team (look at how bad Cleveland is when LeBron doesn’t play). If he comes here our 1st round picks are back on the table and Masai Ujiri will steal them along with Hernangomez so we can get DeMar DeRozan. No thank you.

    Respectfully, what the hell are you talking about? David Griffin is highly competent and would be a fine hire, if not the absolute best we could do.

    You can’t say he was a puppet for LeBron and in the same sentence blame him for building a team that’s bad when Lebron doesn’t play. He made a bunch of win-now moves around Lebron, which worked to varying degrees of success. And guess what? They won a championship against the team with the best record in the history of the NBA.

    I mean, seriously, what? There is absolutely zero evidence at all that Griffin would trade our first round picks to get DeMar DeRozan.

  15. Mike Kurylo Post author

    It seems insane to me that people were seriously considering giving up a draft pick for Ujiri. We have all of our picks going forward for the first time in close to fifteen years and people are ready to give those away for another team’s GM? Is the league really that bereft of executive talent that that’s what we need to stoop to??

    I’d reply in comment, but I spent a few hundred words above directly addressing this.

    So in short: yes, but not for the reason you think.

  16. swiftandabundant

    Honestly I like the idea of Callipari.

    Now hold on! Don’t light into me just yet. Hear me out.

    Dude is a BIG NAME. And the sad fact is that Dolan likes BIG NAMES and respects BIG NAMES. And also Callipari has a really good relationship with a lot of the current NBA players. Obviously his former Kentucky players love him but he also probably tried to recruit most of the other young players out there today and his reputation with his former Kentucky players probably means that the other players in the NBA respect him. Now of course he’s been known to do some kind of shady recruiting stuff as a coach in the NCAA but in the NBA none of that matters and his reputation is always as one who cares most about his players and making sure they get to the NBA, have good careers, etc.

    Also, he’s obviously got an eye for talent. And as a coach he has had many different types of success with his teams. IE, some teams were guard heavy, some had lots of big men and really great defense, etc. He finds the talent and builds the team that way, not building a team around his system, talent be damned.

    I think he has some experience in the NBA with the Nets and I know that didn’t go so well but hey, maybe he’s learned from it. A lot of this is just my gut and instinct, but I feel like he’s a guy who knows how to make a deal and is also pretty diplomatic. It wouldn’t be the worst hire. I would not make him coach and GM though.

  17. Accidentank 2017

    @10,

    The thing is we already have the most meddlesome owner in the business. I don’t want a guy who rolled over and built the most expensive roster in basketball when only 4 guys were worth their pay check more often than they weren’t. They gave Shumpert and JR $90M. They traded a 1st round pick for Korver. They have no back-up PG (when Seth Curry was available on the cheap) and he’s leaving a roster with no room for growth unless they flip Irving and Love for draft picks after LeBron leaves.

    David Griffin gets a hard pass from me.

  18. swiftandabundant

    Also, I would give up a pick for Ujiri. I know I know…we just restocked the cupboard and what are we thinking. But a really good GM who will build this team and franchise over the long run is so worth a pick. Just lottery protect it. Yes, it would suck. But if we’re talking about a guy who makes trades in his team’s favor over and over again….I mean we’ll make up for that lost pick.

    Make it 3 years from now. That way we can have our pick these next two drafts when we are pretty much guaranteed to be bad.

  19. alsep73

    swiftandabundant, I will keep saying this and saying it and saying it (now with an addendum):

    Please do not hire someone with no experience as an NBA executive to be our chief NBA executive. Unless it’s DRed. Thank you.

  20. swiftandabundant

    @ – alsep73 – man, I get your point but just because Phil sucked doesn’t mean Cal would. I should be clear. Ujiri is my top choice and I would absolutely give up a pick to get him (just make it down the road a few seasons so we can get a top pick next year and the year after).

    But I think Cal could be an intriguing choice and yes, I realize he has no experience. That doesn’t mean he would be awful like Phil. A huge part of being the head coach of an NCAA team is recruiting. And there is no doubt that when it comes to recruiting and talent evaluation (on the NCAA level) that Cal is the best out there. Does that translate to the NBA? I don’t know? But I would trust his judgement with draft picks at least. And I think he has some things going for him…especially his good relationship with NBA players, especially all the ones that played for him.

    I should throw in there. I’m very biased bc I’m a lifelong UK fan. :)

  21. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Respectfully, what the hell are you talking about? David Griffin is highly competent and would be a fine hire, if not the absolute best we could do.

    And what evidence is there for this? What is the evidence supporting that Griffin is competent, nevertheless highly competent?

    I think his best trade might be acquiring JR & Shumpert.

    Love wasn’t that great of a deal, I mean they traded the first overall pick for him (and the first from the year before). That’s not great value, despite the fact that those picks flamed out.

    I don’t see any evidence that he understands how to find good talent, or that he can successful trade in the NBA.

  22. Mike Kurylo Post author

    re: Callipari

    I’m not a huge fan of hiring college guys. Finding talent at the collegiate level and the NBA level are two completely different animals. What works against amateurs doesn’t necessarily work when you whittle that talent down to the 1%. College coaches going to the pros are always hit or miss, and I feel like the Knicks can’t afford to fail here.

    The New York Knicks need an accomplished veteran to run their organization, not a prospect.

  23. Frank

    POBO needs to be able to do these things:

    1) evaluate talent, both in draft and in the pros
    2) be a tough negotiator both in trade and in contracts
    3) understand the salary cap (or hire someone who does) at an absolutely microscopic level so as to have a real plan on how moves will fit together within the cap structure
    4) create a logical organizational / operational structure in the franchise
    5) player relations – ie. being able to sell his plan

    Calipari might be good at #1 and #5, but I don’t think we have any information at all about #2, #3, and #4. we’ve hired a long line of guys that are good at #1, +/- #5, but very few that have been good at 2, 3, and 4.

  24. Frank

    I honestly think the hardest things to find are #2 and #4 of that list. You can hire Clarence Gaines to evaluate talent. You can hire a cap guru. But creating a logical structure is hard. Being a good negotiator is basically something you’re born with or you’re not. That’s why I think they should consider hiring one of the big-name agents for at least a GM position if not POBO.

  25. lavor postell

    Jerry West recommends Griffin. That means something to me.

    Justin Zanik is another name I hope turns up on our radar.

  26. fmikieo

    In addition, there have to be up-and-coming GM and PoBO candidates. After all, there are literally hundreds of pro basketball teams worldwide.

  27. swiftandabundant

    @ 27 – I also would be ok with that plan too. Give Mills a chance to prove he deserves it. I mean, I think we all have a weird no opinion or negative opinion about the guy but he’s now been around for a bit. He at the very least has seen what HASN’T worked and there’s something to be said about watching other people close to you fail to know what NOT to do. We also know that during the whole Phil tenure he was the one actually on the phone with the GMs.

    The downside with waiting to see if Mills earns the job is that he could make moves in the interim, then not get the job and now whoever takes over has to redo things in his image.

    But honestly Mills could be the best option in some ways.

  28. Donnie Walsh

    I think it’s pretty clear whom the Knicks should hire. They need someone who has actually won championships. Someone who can walk into a meeting with top free agents and lay his 7 rings on the table. Someone who can
    tell Dolan “I’ve won more titles than anybody not on the ’65 Celtics, so just give me room to work, I obviously know what I’m doingk.”

    #RobertHorryforGM

  29. bobneptune

    Love wasn’t that great of a deal, I mean they traded the first overall pick for him (and the first from the year before). That’s not great value, despite the fact that those picks flamed out.

    Really? Love’s last season in MN he was 3rd in the league in win shares behind Durant and James and ahead of Curry and Harden for God’s sake. I think he put up a paltry 25.9 p/36 and 12.4 r/36…. and he was 25, just scratching the surface of his prime.

  30. 2FOR18

    Now that I RTFA, I agree with the writer’s premise. In any type of organization you’ll be doomed to failure without proper leadership.
    Pat Riley does not do the MMM NTC.

  31. Donnie Walsh

    Whats wrong with giving Mills a shot to earn the job permanently?

    Mills has been a Dolan toady for years. He once threatened Anucha Browne Sanders that he’d spread rumors that she was having an affair with Jeff Nix of she didn’t drop her lawsuit against MSG. He’s part of the swamp.

    But it’s funny that we want to pry Ujiri away from a Toronto when the guy that discovered Ujiri, John Gabriel, is our current director or scouting and free agency. Promote him for free, maybe?

  32. Jack Bauer

    Only if it’s a 2nd round pick. They should not part with a#1 again, much too valuable for the re-build. He’s a very good GM and would probably help right the ship, but they need all of their high picks and more to improve.

  33. lavor postell

    Love for Wiggins wasn’t even an optional deal. That was part of the agreement with Lebron coming back to Cleveland and anybody that doesn’t accept that is being incredibly naive or willfully ignorant.

  34. Cock Jowles, who remembers that reub predicted 55 wins

    I just had a bangin’ quarter, but I will quit my job tomorrow to be GM of the Knicks, if only to give Jimmy some singing lessons.

    Dolan, I’m here. And I won’t tell you to drink bleach unless you make me do it.

  35. JK47

    The Knicks’ inability to think out of the box continues to astound.

    “Get me that guy that traded us Bargnani. What’s his name, Messi Ujajay or something? Yeah, him. I’ve heard of him. He must be good!”

  36. freethrow

    be careful what you wish for, Phil gave out bad contracts and made bad trades but he drafted well and never traded first rounders. All that is up in the air with Dolan right now and his awful instincts.

    It’s not a good sign that Dolan has no clue who to hire before firing phil and the only guy he could think of is a guy under contract who fleeced him a couple times.

    It’s also not great that the start of free agency there’s nobody at the helm really.

  37. lavor postell

    Ramona Shelburne reporting Knicks no longer inteerested in Ujiri, probably related to compensation that would be required.

  38. Frank

    The Knicks’ inability to think out of the box continues to astound.

    “Get me that guy that traded us Bargnani. What’s his name, Messi Ujajay or something? Yeah, him. I’ve heard of him. He must be good!”

    Masai is special in that your quote is true and also he is REALLY GOOD. That’s the magic combination that satisfies Dolan yet also is a great hire.

  39. Unreason

    Nice article Mike. Maybe it comes down to the amount of faith one has that the right kind of Knicks POBO could make the difference that Parcells did. I just don’t know enough about whether that’s possible given Dolan, and whether Ujiri would do that if it were possible. Too much of the process behind personnel decisions and organization change is hidden from public view for me to feel confident that he could or would. The value of picks for a rebuilding team OTOH is easy for me to get. So maybe my preference for conserving picks is driven by ambiguity aversion.

  40. DRed

    Here’s how I’d rank the potential GMs I’ve seen discussed

    1. Theo Epstein
    2. Me
    3. Hinkie
    4. Ujiri
    5. Boston/Spurs guy
    6. Griffin

  41. ClashFan

    For once, I hope SAS is right about something. He claims that Melo will accept a trade to Houston.

    Of course, this guy is so consistently wrong that he is practically made of salt.

  42. ClashFan

    @48
    Anybody but Rondo. I feel about him like I feel about Rose; he’s an egocentric, ball-dominant jerk. Talented, yes, but poison.

  43. Z-man

    Is OJ ($1 to anyone who can spell his name correctly without looking, $2 for pronouncing it correctly) playing in summer league or not? Mike left him out of his summary piece, but he’s definitely practicing with the team today.

  44. Donnie Walsh

    He claims that Melo will accept a trade to Houston.

    That’s fine and all, and easy to say, but the real questions are a) would Houston accept a trade for Melo?, and b) would the Knicks accept a trade for Ryan Anderson?

  45. TheOakmanCometh

    @49

    I bet Melo could be convinced to accept a trade to Houston. Two problems with that scenario though:

    1) Does D’Antoni want to deal with Melo again?
    2) Any trade would almost certainly require us to take back Ryan Anderson, who is overpaid and has 3 more years left. I’d rather just suffer through another year of Melo and hope he opts out next summer.

  46. DRed

    ow do people feel about signing Rondo on the cheap?

    For a year? Sure, I’d be down for that.

  47. TheOakmanCometh

    And no, I don’t want Rondo. A pouty, ineffective PG would not do well at MSG.

  48. Cock Jowles, who remembers that reub predicted 55 wins

    Anyone dumb enough to trade for Melo deserves to deal with him.

    He’ll ball-stop wherever he goes. He’d be terrible next to Paul and Harden. He’ll never accept being a Korver/Ryan Anderson, camped in the corner for easy shots, which is what they have and what they need.

  49. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Ognjen Jaramaz is playing summer league iirc

    Griffin is someone you really have to do due diligence on, imo, insofar as separating his tenure from Lebrons is impossible sans context–all of his moves were done with the idea of winning now, so he never got value except in the Love trade. If I were interviewing him I’d be asking about how he foresees the future of this Knicks team operationally and how it would value draft picks vis a vis free agents.

    I’d be very down for Theo Epstein in all honesty.

  50. TheOakmanCometh

    If we’re looking for a 1-year placeholder at PG, these are all guys I’d rather have than Rondo.

    Vets: Ramon Sessions, Shelvin Mack, Sergio Rodriguez
    Young guys to take a flyer on: Carter-Williams, Trey Burke

  51. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    If we’re looking for someone to play point guard, well we just drafted a guy who’s 6’5 and is supposed to be a point guard–let’s just play him. I only want Rubio out of the current crop of available guards. Maybe Teague.

  52. DRed

    Vets: Ramon Sessions, Shelvin Mack, Sergio Rodriguez
    Young guys to take a flyer on: Carter-Williams, Trey Burke

    Rondo’s vastly better than all those guys. We’re doing BPM these days?

    Rondo 0.3
    Mack -1.8
    Rodriguez -3.8
    Sessions -4.6

    Rondo is a weird player, and I guess maybe he’s a dick, but he’s much better at basketball than those guys. Would Mack be much cheaper? I guess sign Carter-Williams if you just want to tank.

  53. GoNyGoNyGo

    The first step in the debate that Brian poses is to ask a simple question: “Is Ujiri on the same level as Parcels, Riley and Belichick?”

    I don’t think so. Between Denver and Toronto he’s been running the show for over a decade. How many championships has he won? Zero. There are billions of people that have accomplished that much.

    Truth is, I’m fine with Mills and Alan Houston running things this year. The less they do, the better.

  54. DRed

    It’s also worth nothing the Bellichicken has never won a title without notorious cheat Tom Brady.

  55. GoNyGoNyGo

    Anybody but Rondo. I feel about him like I feel about Rose; he’s an egocentric, ball-dominant jerk. Talented, yes, but poison.

    @50 – I agree that he’s a tool, but he led the NBA in assists 2 years ago.

  56. Cock Jowles, who remembers that reub predicted 55 wins

    Between Denver and Toronto he’s been running the show for over a decade. How many championships has he won? Zero. There are billions of people that have accomplished that much.

    is this real

  57. GoNyGoNyGo

    And I’ve always claimed that Parcels left teams when he thought they were about to slide and wouldn’t step up to take over a team unless they were on the cusp of a championship.

  58. DRed

    Parcels took over the Jets after they’d won 4 games in 2 years. He did bail on teams when he thought they were at the end of a cycle though.

  59. BigBlueAL

    I think it’s a bit difficult to judge Griffin but from what I’ve read he definitely seems to be very well respected around the league and that is important considering we just had Phil for the past 3 years making our front office look like a joke to the rest of the league. Having a respected guy as GM (like we had in Grunwald before Dolan stepped in like an idiot) matters and is important. I’d feel alot better with Griffin as GM than Phil or just keeping Mills.

    I still say Brian Cashman is capable of running both the Yankees and Knicks.

  60. BigBlueAL

    N’Dour got cut today because if he was still on the roster by tomorrow his salary of 1.3m would have been guaranteed for next season and I guess they didn’t want to commit to that right now which makes sense.

  61. the don nelson era

    There is an unstated yet beautiful part of bringing in Cashman or Epstein: whichever player the Yanks or Cubs take with our draft pick compensation is guaranteed not to bite us in the ass down the line.

  62. Bruno Almeida

    thanks for the memories NDour, we’ll always cherish that game winner in your memory!

  63. Mike Kurylo Post author

    @63

    I don’t think so. Between Denver and Toronto he’s been running the show for over a decade. How many championships has he won? Zero. There are billions of people that have accomplished that much.

    You do realize the guy we just fired had had more ringz than fingerz, right? How’d that goink?

  64. Frank O.

    I think Melo to Houston would be workable. Melo’s ego would be checked by the likes of CP3 and Harden, both obviously better players than Melo.
    I don’t know, however, how well Harden will like sharing with the other two. He functioned very well with OKC, but left so that he could be a bigger part of the team’s offense.

  65. GoNyGoNyGo

    You do realize the guy we just fired had had more ringz than fingerz, right? How’d that goink?

    Not one as GM/President. It’s like hiring a plumber to be a surgeon.

  66. Grocer

    Well, it’s not Dolan who’s running the search. If we’re lucky he’s happier out of it and will stay out of it. It’s not like respect and competence kept him from interfering with GMs in the past.

    Everything on Frank’s list can be done by other people except for #4. That’s the single biggest issue the Knicks need to fix. I don’t think they need to be a good negotiator so much as they need to not make stupid choices, and have a strong understanding of long-term consequences vs benefits. I.e., don’t trade two years of Melo for a three year contract that will cut into cap space at the worst time possible.

  67. Jack Bauer

    @80 I hope you’re right assuming the price tag isn’t too high. I would love to add Rubio and from reports it sounds like so would Willy and KP.

    Melo might actually work in Houston – think Olympic Melo with Harden and Paul finding him for open shots.

    Would it be worth taking Anderson if Houston sweetened the pot with some draft picks, say a future 1 and 2? It just might be.

  68. Ben R

    I think the trade is Gordon + Ariza for Melo. They originally only signed Ariza when Melo spurned them to mega max with us and he slots into their starting lineup at the 3. That gives us two tradable assets maybe ask for Hartenstein’s rights and a 2nd if we’re feeling aggressive.

    I actually think they want Anderson which is why they didn’t send him to LA.

  69. Grocer

    Is Houston really interested in Melo? Or are they trying to dump Anderson for cap space?

    I kinda don’t buy that Melo would be down with Houston tbh.

  70. ClashFan

    @84
    I read something about Ariza being tight with CP3. If so, they wont’ deal him.

  71. thenoblefacehumper

    This is admittedly complete speculation, but I think Morey is leaking that he’s interested in Melo as a way to make it seem like he isn’t desperate for Paul George. The idea is to show the Pacers that if they won’t accept whatever package he can put together, he probably has a team (the Knicks) that will and would rather just trade it to them than to up the offer to the Pacers.

    Or maybe he really wants Melo, I dunno. I guess you could talk yourself into the idea that Melo would be an upgrade if he agreed to just take the exact shots Ryan Anderson takes in their offense. We all know just how big an “if” that is, and I don’t even think it’s true anyway, but that could be the idea.

  72. Cock Jowles, who remembers that reub predicted 55 wins

    Not one as GM/President. It’s like hiring a plumber to be a surgeon.

    Haha, seriously? Head coach and president of basketball operations have as much crossover as plumbing does with surgery? Are you serious? I seriously can’t tell if you’re just really, really high or if this is a serious post.

  73. stratomatic

    I think Melo to Houston has “fake news” written all over it.

    Melo would have to have some concerns about playing for D’Antoni given that he didn’t like that system either (not that Melo will play within any system that doesn’t involve him holding the ball, overdribbling, and shooting loads of dumb shots of his own making) .

    D’Antoni’s is in a position of strength this time. The team just outperformed expectations, the star player (Harden) and he are having a bromance, and he just won coach of the year.

    If I was D’Antoni and Morey came up to me and asked what I thought of bringing Melo in, I’d laugh and tell him to stop trolling me. If he said he was serious, I’d tell him he should also start looking for a new coach. Then I’d call up Harden and tell him I was considering quitting and let him talk to Morey.

  74. Accidentank 2017

    I’m starting to rescind my feelings about David Griffin. I didn’t know he spent 17 years in Phoenix.

  75. Ben R

    I don’t know if the Houston stuff is real but maybe D’Antoni has enough confidence in Paul that Melo will be kept in line.

    As for the trade if they didn’t want to trade Ariza then Gordon + all of those throwaway contracts they just got is enough after tomorrow and their value on the cap doubles, I think. Then they can keep their entire starting lineup and just add Melo. Sweeten the pot with Hartenstein and a couple 2nds and all of a sudden that seems like a mutually beneficial trade.

  76. ClashFan

    Houston might be interested in getting rid of 3 years of Anderson for 1 or 2 of Melo, assuming they don’t have to kick in too many sweeteners.

  77. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Minnesota and Utah are in active discussions on a deal to send guard Ricky Rubio to the Jazz, league sources tell The Vertical.

    What the fuck Knicks get in on this (jk we have no assets)

  78. thenoblefacehumper

    Whoa, it might be possible that Courtney Lee isn’t the single most desirable asset in the NBA.

    Thanks, Phil!

  79. Jack Bauer

    They need to extract a first round pick from Houston for Melo. They are not trading Ariza because he’s tight with CP3 and he also plays some defense (something Melo does not do). Why would the Knicks want Ariza and Gordon anyway? That does not fit their timeline and likely not their cap situation either. Somewhere in that equation needs to be a future first round pick coming NY’s way.

    Of course the rumors to Houston are probably BS anyway so all of this conjecture is a waste of time, but hey that’s what we do here…/.

  80. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Rubio to Jazz for their 2018 first rounder. How the fuck could phil not ship this trade earlier

    Fuck you Phil, you incompetent old fool

  81. Donnie Walsh

    Rubio to Jazz for their 2018 first rounder. How the fuck could phil not ship this trade earlier

    Fuck you Phil, you incompetent old fool

    You’d want to deal the Knicks’ 2018 1st rounder for Rubio?

  82. Donnie Walsh

    Utah’s an interesting team. Even if they lose guys to FA, they’re going to find a way to be competitive.

  83. Frank

    Wow was I wrong about Rubio’s trade value. I can’t believe Minnesota got cap space and a 1st for Rubio. Unreal. Good for Thibs.

  84. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    @98

    No, misspoke–how could phil not ship *a* deal not *this* deal, before Rubio got moved for a lottery protected 2018 OKC pick owned by the jazz. That’s incredibly cheap for Utah.

  85. kevin5318

    Knicks were reportedly unwilling to give up a 1st for Rubio. Per Begley.

    Good to hear.

  86. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Reports indicate that we’re highly unlikely to resign Derrick Rose, thank god. Reports also indicate that Minnesota heavily favors signing Teague.

    @103
    Good move on the Knicks part. But still crazy that we could’ve gotten him for Rose straight up or maybe an added 2nd at the deadline and we didn’t bc Phil asked for too much.

  87. alsep73

    And Bondy also said that we’re not really interested in Teague, either.

    So Rubio’s out. Teague’s probably out. Rose is blessedly out. Hill and Lowry and Holiday are almost certainly not coming here, for both environment and money reasons (we can’t afford a max salary). Frank is 18. So who’s going to be our stopgap point guard? Chasson Randle? Are there any bargain FA types, and/or extraneous third PGs on other teams we might be able to acquire for not much, given our lack of assets?

  88. heavencent35

    I hope we can get a one year rental pg. with frank and randle as back up and a mentor for them. Seems like no one is available. Maybe we can get one if we traded Melo.

  89. JK47

    Ramon Sessions kind of stunk out the joint last year but he might be a guy the Knicks want to look at as a stopgap. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to make a big investment in a PG of the Jrue-Teague-Hill tier. Just get a competent vet stopgap guy in the hopes that Ntilikina can take over in a couple of years.

  90. Brian Cronin

    I think Lee was so much value for Rubio that Thibs just passed out at the thought and when he woke up he had amnesia and forgot that he had that amazing offer on the table and instead had to settle for just a first round pick and cap space for Rubio.

  91. Bruno Almeida

    the pick the Wolves are getting is the OKC one the Jazz had, lottery protected.

    crazy good trade for the Jazz, they get a cheap replacement for Hill and a player who fits their defensive style really well.

    I guess Lee is less valuable than a lottery protected 1st, who knew…

  92. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Definitely think that this is a win win trade

  93. Bruno Almeida

    I hope Thibs gets enamored by Teague now, just so the Knicks can’t give him a big deal.

  94. ptmilo

    DRed
    June 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm
    how do people feel about signing Rondo on the cheap?

    For a year? Sure, I’d be down for that.

    ***

    Fire DRed.

  95. BigBlueAL

    Frank won’t be playing in the Summer League opener tomorrow so that’s a bummer.

  96. stratomatic

    That was a win/win trade if there is such a thing. Utah gets a very good young PG that fits defensively. The T-Wolves get a first round pick and more cap space to sign the PG they want. Who they sign from here is a separate issue. If they are smart they go for Lowery. If they are dumb they go for Teague or Rose.

    As much as I wanted Rubio, Utah offered a better deal than Lee and to give up more than Lee would have been unwise.

    Let’s face it, from here we are probably looking at signing a dreg or overpaying for someone we don’t want long term. God forbid Melo has any say and asks for Rondo again. If we bring in Rondo I am done with this team. I don’t care if it’s for 1 year. It won’t do any harm, but I’m tired of idiots on my team. No Rondo. No Rose and get Melo the hell out of here.

  97. DRed

    Rondo is a totally different kind of idiot, and he’s a really smart basketball player.

  98. Z-man

    I’m not as much of a Rubio fan as some here, although at the right price e.g. Lee + a 2nd rounder I’d be happy to have him in the fold. I’d WAY rather have George Hill at the right price but SA probably snaps him up. Lukewarm on Teague, especially at $20+ million per.

    I’m with DRed on Rondo. He was the reason the Bulls went up 2-0 on the Celts and clearly still has some game left. I know he’s a pain but he is a pass-first guy who can get into the paint and he plays D way better than Rose. 3 years @ $10 million w/ team option for 3rd year? or 2 @ $12 mill? Or 1 year @ $14? I’d risk it. Maybe Frank can learn something from him.

  99. DRed

    I’d try to get him on some sort of 1 year deal, maybe a 1+1 at worst. I mean if we can’t get Rondo it’s not the end of the world, but a really good defender with crazy long arms is not the worst guy for Franky to get to practice with.

  100. Donnie Walsh

    I guess Lee is less valuable than a lottery protected 1st, who knew…

    I mean, Minnesota just acquired one of the best SGs in the NBA, so they probably didn’t see much value in Lee. They’d prefer the cap space that they got. So it’s not really an indictment of Lee’s value.

    That said, is Teague better than Rubio? Depends what one values in a PG I guess, but Teague doesn’t seem like a needle-changer there.

  101. Bruno Almeida

    Teague is a good guard, he’s had a .580 ts% last season, is a decent passer and creator and is not completely horrible defensively… he would be the best PG the Knicks have had in quite a while, which is not saying much.

    the problem is that he’s likely to be overpaid and he’s 29, which means he does not fit the Knicks optimal timeline at all if he’s signed on a 4-year contract.

    Id be fine with a 2-year deal for him, not happy but ok, and would say 100% no on 4-year deals… I believe Ntilikina will take some time do develop but will ultimately be better suited to the PG position, so anything over 2-years for a costly Point Guard is a no to me.

  102. Donnie Walsh

    The best Lee comp is Eric Gordon, who signed the exact same size contract on the exact same day that Lee signed his.

    Lee is older, but Gordon has more injury history.

    Outside of 3pt volume, they had pretty similar seasons. Gordon played for a top team and got end of season accolades, so he probably has more perceived value in the league right now. And Lee will turn 35 shortly after his contract comes to an end, which is old.

    So, though the Lee signing wasn’t (isn’t) bad, I don’t think he’d yield much return in a trade. I wouldn’t really call him an “asset” in a trade negotiation.

  103. Donnie Walsh

    Teague is a good guard, he’s had a .580 ts% last season, is a decent passer and creator and is not completely horrible defensively… he would be the best PG the Knicks have had in quite a while, which is not saying much.

    Teague would definitely make the Knicks better (though still not good). My question is whether he makes Minnesota better than keeping Rubio would.

  104. Bruno Almeida

    @129

    oh, if they traded Rubio for cap space to land Teague it is very underwhelming, I think Rubio is better and has a much much better contract than what Teague will ask of the Wolves.

    he’s better in the sense that he can help space the court (since Butler not Wiggins can really hit 3s consistently), but I think Rubio is the superior player on a vastly superior contract.

    Wolves are probably going to try Lowry anyway, but if they end up with Teague or Holiday it will be very stupid imo.

  105. ClashFan

    Just say NO to Rondo.

    Hill for 2 years would be perfect, but he’ll get his 4 years somewhere.

    Heck, just tank this year. Let Randle/Baker have a shot (yeah, probably neither amounts to anything). Work Frank in and get him experience.

  106. plenty

    No, but in other news, you have to like the chances of having better attendance in the exit meetings.

  107. ClashFan

    Griffin and George gone already. Once Heyward goes (it would be lovely if Utah keeps him), maybe someone (Houston, Cleveland, Boston) starts to get desperate for a “star.”

    Insert Melo!
    :-)

  108. DS

    Knicks had better fucking take Ryan Anderson in exchange for ‘Melo, thank Daryl Morey for helping them out of a difficult situation, and then tell him we owe him one.

  109. yellowboy90

    How do you dump salary and get the best player. These anti-Phil moves make my head hurt.

  110. DS

    This makes me want Presti as GM

    Assembling KD, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka all under the age of 25 wasn’t bad either.

  111. #fireRambis

    George Hill would be a great addition…. Ryan Anderson not so much. $60M for 3 more years. Just need to get rid of Noah albatross contract and trade for another SG

  112. Boriqua3

    Not a Rondo fan personally but wouldn’t he be a useful, 1 year piece, at the right price?

    Help develop Ntilikina…
    Piss off Carmelo enough to waive the NTC…
    Assist with the 2018 Tanking…

  113. JK47

    Rondo is coming off four straight lousy seasons and in general he’s a weirdo and a malcontent. I’m gonna go with “no” on Rajon Rondo.

  114. Bruno Almeida

    Teague will reportedly sign with Wolves, 3 years 55 million… a better contract than I expected, but still think it’s underwhelming for them.

  115. Totes McGoats

    Is it me or are all these players’ former teams getting fleeced in these trades, with the exception of the Clips? Who woulda thought that of all teams that the Clips would make a good trade? Indy got robbed..Minny got the lesser value. Well maybe that remains to be seen with that protected 1st. Chicago got son’d…Nets got less value- but the potential of Russell might make their haul better. I say keep Melo. We will undoubtedly get fleeced twice for Melo if we trade him in this market.

    I’m down for signing Rondo for 2 years. The market isn’t great for PG’s and we should be able to get him for less than market value because he hasn’t been “Boston Rondo” in a while. I think he’d be a great addition in this market. Sure he’ll pound the ball, but he’ll get Melo & KP great looks. And he’s a very cerebral player with the balls to tell Melo no when it’s needed. Problem is, if we go for Rondo, we almost have to keep Lee because he is our best shooter. We may also lose Baker or Randle, 2 players I hope we leep and continue to develop. I’m not quite ready to hand the starting SG role to Holiday, even though I’d like to see Barry & Dotson stick. I’d like to see all of the UDFA’s stick. Adding Rondo probably means the end of Baker at PG if we keep him. All this youth on the roster is exciting. We haven’t had that since Moses saw the burning bush

  116. Brian Cronin

    The best tweet I saw was something like “Danny Ainge is the kid holding 65 pudding cups when the school year ended, never finding the perfect lunch room trade.”

  117. DRed

    I can’t wrap my head around 5 years 173 million for Blake Griffin. He’s been healthy for a whole season 3 out of the 8 years he’s been a pro.

  118. GoNyGoNyGo

    We are moments away from free agency and I can’t help but think “I hope the Knicks don’t spend a dime.” We need a lot of ping pong balls next year.

  119. ClashFan

    @154
    Hilarious tweet.

    Boston has a real good chance at Heyward, though. If not, it will be destiny for Melo to Boston. Destiny, I tell you! I’ll take Jaylen Brown and fodder.

    ;-)

  120. d-mar

    Not sure why you guys think this was such a genius move by Presti. What if Paul George doesn’t re-up next season?

    Very risky, all in the hope that it makes Westbrook want to stay.

  121. Donnie Walsh

    I know Sabonis was given opportunities and wasn’t very good as a rookie, but he could still turn into a useful player, and Oladipo has skills, so I don’t think Indiana got fleeced. They got players that will play in exchange for avoiding a season-long headache.

    And I think the Clippers did better with Paul than they did with Griffin.

  122. ClashFan

    Wow, the chips are falling fast.

    Happy to see Baker back for a 2nd year. Well, we got our PG!
    :-)

  123. ClashFan

    I think that the Butler and George deals shows how little Ainge is willing to trade away, for better or worse.

    Knicks have planned a meeting with J Holiday if he doesn’t reup with the Pelicans.

  124. Accidentank 2017

    George Hill is obviously the guy we should be targeting. If we could get him on a 3-4 year deal similar to the one Teague just signed that’s a huge win. This way Frank can learn the game at his own pace, and George Hill isn’t exactly the healthiest so I can see Frank getting spot-start duty.

    The Clippers gave Blake that money because they want to run the offense through him this year. It’s a bad idea because the guy never stays healthy, but whatever. Not my franchise.

  125. ClashFan

    The Knicks have an outside shot at Hill. He’s 31, though, and Denver wants him.

    Livingston back to GS.

  126. Brian Cronin

    We are moments away from free agency and I can’t help but think “I hope the Knicks don’t spend a dime.” We need a lot of ping pong balls next year.

    Yep. Absolutely agreed. It would have been nice had they had a head of their basketball operations making that decision weeks ago, though.

  127. stratomatic

    I’d sign off on Hill for 3 years. He’s a massive upgrade over Rose, easy to root for, could groom Frank, and he’d be coming off the cap when Frank is 21 (and hopefully ready to take over). That would also coincide with when Noah comes off. As disappointed as I am that we couldn’t land Rubio to become part of the long term core, Hill for 2-3 years or even a 4th year team option is perfectly sensible.

  128. stratomatic

    Everyone has been trashing on Ainge for not pulling the the trigger on deal after deal for the star players he keeps saying he wants (including me), but maybe we all have it wrong. Maybe he actually wants to build through the draft and only deal when he can steal a player. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  129. JK47

    George Hill is a pro’s pro, and he would be a major breath of fresh air. He’s 30 but I think his game will age well if he can stay healthy. I like his game a lot.

    If the Knicks could sign Hill and make the Melo for Ariza and Gordon trade, they’d have a sneaky good little team.

    PG George Hill
    SG Eric Gordon
    SF Trevor Ariza
    PF Kristaps Porzingis
    C Willy Hernangomez
    Bench: Frank Ntilikina, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, Courtney Lee, Damyean Dotson, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah

  130. stratomatic

    I think they are saying they would need to move Courtney Lee to bring in Hill, but I’m not a cap guy.

  131. Donnie Walsh

    If the Knicks could sign Hill and make the Melo for Ariza and Gordon trade, they’d have a sneaky good little team.

    Unfortunately, if you tried to tell James Dolan this, he’d probably call you an alcoholic, and have you escorted out by his secret police.

  132. Donnie Walsh

    Kyle Lowry might be attainable??

    That would be classic: Dolan says no to acquiring Lowry in 2013 as he enters his prime and becomes a top PG in the conference (making >$10 mil aav). But now that he’s 31 and ready to decline, Dolan’s ready to max him out?

  133. Ben R

    This is the point in the season where you just hope to see the names of players you don’t want sign with other teams. No Rose, no Rondo. That’s all it takes for the Knicks to win the offseason.

  134. heavencent35

    George Hill- he’s a great player and I agree he will make us a lot better. I just hope we can sign him for just one to three years and not too much money. Yes he will age well IF he stays healthy and staying healthy is a problem for a younger George Hill.
    The Knicks just rejected a trade proposal fromHouston offering Ryan Anderson which is good. If we can get Gordon and Arriza maybe some picks for Melo that would be a great news.
    With PG going to thunder, the Knicks could make the playoffs (we are good during the first semi last two years).
    Also with all the Bostons Assets, it’s funny that Danny Ainge does nothing.

  135. Brian Cronin

    No way Hill signs for one year. Three years maybe.

    Three years even seems like a stretch.

  136. Jack Bauer

    PG and Butler now in the Western conference. More talent drain.
    The East is not big, it is weak

  137. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Knicks looking at signing Alan Williams from Phoenix. That’s…surprisingly savvy despite our big man glut

  138. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Also renting George in exchange for Domantas Sabonis and 21 MILLION in cap relief from Oladipo is just an absurd value trade from Presti

  139. Z-man

    So Jrue Holiday is staying put. I wonder if that means that Justin Holiday is going to NO. I liked him.

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