Just Call Me Charlie Brown

You know, maybe I these guys are just going to concentrate on basketball now and just play...

Back in the halcyon days of the beginning of the week I found my self thinking, “Maybe Lucy’s right. Maybe these guys are starting to come to an understanding; it’s time to just come together and play. This may not be a playoff team, but there’s no reason it has to be a laughingstock.”

What the hell was I thinking?

What the hell was I thinking?

What the hell was I thinking, indeed?

Once again I find myself laying flat on my proverbial back. I’ll be damned if Lucy didn’t pull the ball away right before I could kick it yet again. How could I have been such a fool?

If you’re lucky, you watched the Cowboys and Packers last night, or were out at a happy hour or a birthday party and missed the whole thing. If you’re only partially lucky like me, you got home and turned the game on in the second half and at least were spared the indignity of actually watching Boston build a 50 point lead. I say only partially lucky because I turned on the game, saw the score, yet remained transfixed. I managed to change the channel to Rutgers/Louisville but kept coming back, hoping for an 8-0, 10-0, 12-0, ego-salvaging garbage-time run that never came. A friend of mine once described a similar experience with perhaps Spike Lee’s worst film, Girl 6. “Dave,” she said, “it was so bad I was paralyzed. I couldn’t turn it off. I just knew it couldn’t possibly be this bad. It had to get better. It never did.”

Even Martin Johnson’s sage words from earlier in the day to forget about the Celts and concentrate on the Bucks were rendered immaterial by what transpired at the Watering Hole. You lose by 20-30 points and Johnson’s absolutely correct; you just move onto the Bucks. You lose by nearly 50 and its existential crisis time. With all due respect to the Celtics, scoring only 59 points and losing by almost 50 isn’t about talent disparity. It’s about despair. It’s about a fundamental absence of trust that seems to be ripping apart the spirit of this team–with Thomas and Marbury both outfitted with Freddy Krueger-style finger razors. Hearing Thomas chastise the team for selfish behavior at the post game presser is so rich it’s not even ironic anymore; it’s tragic comedy.

A quick random stream of consciousness… I kept wondering why Q-Rich came up with the “Boston isn’t all that” bulletin board material. It seemed so ill-timed, particularly considering the source. Richardson isn’t Paul LoDuca or Billy Wagner. He’s not especially outspoken, nor is he prone to quotable quotes born out of frustration. But I think I get it now. I suspect those quotes were born from desperation not frustration; a feeble attempt to rally a team falling apart at the seams despite its recent victories. Of course I may be reading too much into that. Maybe he just hates the Celtics.

In any event, those of you familiar with Boston metro’s twisted, spaghetti-style “system” of roads are probably also familiar with the phrase, “you can’t get there from here.” When I moved there in the summer of 2000 I quickly became acquainted with it because it is quite literally true. You can be within eyesight of your destination but simply unable to access it from where you are. I suppose that is a fitting metaphor for our beloved Knickerbockers. We just can’t get there from here.

Fire Thomas? Sure, but it’s deeper than that. If Marbury is allowed to outlast yet another coaching/management regime playing by his own rules he really will be in charge of this franchise. That is a fate worse than anything I can imagine.

Get rid of Dolan. Okay, but how? Why would the owners, who employ David Stern, empower him to rid the league of such an easy mark? Maybe the old man gets involved and cleans house. But that seems less and less likely with each passing loss, given the woeful start.

Get used to the view from on your back Knick faithful. It’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Maybe I’ll start my college player watch after the holiday.

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at Knickerblogger.net and Seahawks at FieldGulls.com. In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

49 thoughts to “Just Call Me Charlie Brown”

  1. How much do you think we would need to raise to get contracts out on Isiah, Dolan and Stephon?

    Derrick Rose indeed.

  2. Fire Isiah. Hire a competent GM. Commit to rebuilding.

    Pawn off Randolph on anybody who will take him. Let Marbury’s contract expire. Don’t worry about winning games, just start putting a team together the right way. Make anybody available, even the young talent. Try to acquire draft picks if possible.

    Do not acquire players with glaring weaknesses and play them 35+ minutes a game. Get good character guys who work hard and play within the team concept. Clear salary cap space to acquire the superstar you will inevitably need.

    It’s not rocket science.

  3. I agree clean house. Maybe get some extra picks. At this point I would rather see young players lose by 20 than “Stars” lose by 50. Jamal “the Matador” Crawford really has to go first. I have been thinking alot about the team and what The Weasel has put together is a team of losers. Im not sure if anyone on the team has ever won a playoff series (besides rose) maybe Jones im not sure. The point is they don’t know how to win.

    Lets Start Over

  4. This catastrophe wasn’t built in a day and won’t be fixed in a day. We have some nice young players, and we’ll probably add two more in the 2008 and 2009 drafts. There’s no one untouchable on a great roster, let alone this one, but Lee & Balkman are keepers unless you get blown away. Ditto Chandler, at least for now.

    Top priority needs to be trading Randolph, so we can have cap (or trade) flexibility in the summer of 2010*. No need to hurry – we have three years to find a decent deal – but that should be priority #1.

    Everyone else: see what we can get, but don’t take back any contracts running beyond 2010.

    Don’t panic and sell cheap; Curry, Marbury & Rose might actually have value. Others too, as the contracts are about to expire.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking there’s such a thing as addition by subtraction. If someone’s play or antics are truly hurting the team, you can sit them on the bench. Or tell them to stay home.

    Don’t bank everything on finding a superstar – build the team piece by piece, and you’ll find yourself with options – like the Bulls the past two years (of course, they screwed it up, but wouldn’t you like to have had the chance?)**

    *2010 is the first moment of potential cap flexibility – to get it by summer 2009 would require trading Curry, Richardson, Jeffries, Crawford AND James (or Randolph instead of one of those guys). In other words – not gonna happen.

    It’s also the LeBron summer…

    ** Speaking of the Bulls… why not see if they’d take Randolph & Morris for Noah and Hinrich (& a sign/traded PJ Brown)… they’d get a low-post scorer and a good prospect; we’d get a point guard and center who can both defend and pass. It’s a steep price for the Bulls, but they’re probably in panic mode – and they’re reportedly about to bench Hinrich, so might not see it as such a big loss. They have Big Ben signed through 2011 (suckers!) so Zach doesn’t really affect their cap situation. The rest of the Bulls can defend, so Zach would fit a lot better than he does here.

    I’d consider throwing in Chandler instead of Morris, if they insisted….

  5. The ridiculously self-proclaimed “Starbury,” Curry, and Randolph are literally worthless inasmuch as the Knicks couldn’t give them away for anything other than the required salaries back. Crawford isn’t worthless, but doesn’t have a whole lot of value.

    So the top four guys are essentially worthless, and the organization is led by a GM and owner who are both abject fools and embarrassing idiots. That’s where the Knicks are.

  6. Here’s what I was thinking this morning:
    I’m a talented young player drafted by the Knicks.
    I’m on the bench right now. I had an excellent statistical season last year, but I am seeing my minutes decline.
    Or I’m a talented young player drafted by the Knicks and I have shown an energy and talent on this team that few have, and statistics that would indicated I’m an impact player given minutes.
    Or I’m a talented young player drafted by the Knicks but I don’t get minutes even though I have clearly improved by showing some maturation and I’m the best three point shooter on the squad.
    But I have a coach who keeps choosing guys over me on the depth chart who:
    A) perform selfishly on the court
    B) perform inconsistently on the court
    C) have thuggish tendencies
    D) who have never played for a winning team
    E) who have shown disdain for the head coach and teammates.
    F) show little or no hustle
    G) do not shoot more efficiently or rebound more effectively than me
    H) simply do not play defense
    I) continually put the team in a hole requiring me and my two other friends to come into the game and try to bring us back virtually every game.

    If this was happening to you, would you turn on your coach eventually, when your team is losing consistently?
    And then when the team is asked whether a player that has run out on the team should be allowed to play the next game after being fined, and the team says bench the guy, and that guy gets 33 minutes that night anyway, would you play hard for the coach?

    Would you feel that coach was looking out for you, or competent?
    I am not surprised that the team quit.

    I’m amazed that in garbage time, Malik and Jeffries where on the floor and Chandler and Morris got no minutes.

    Q’s statement might have been desperation. But a guy that is shooting something like 30 percent from the floor, has yet another injury in his injury-riddled Knicks career, and is playing for a team just trying to get to .500, should probably just shut up.

    Isiah saying that was the most selfish display he has ever seen is laughable, since he has brought in a point guard, shooting guard, and power forward all of whom had well-documented reputations for being selfish players…

    Before the game, Reggie Miller, REGGIE MILLER, said the Knicks have become a league joke! You would think the Knicks would have spilled blood to make sure what that guy said was proven wrong.
    That’s about as low as it gets…

  7. I said a few games back that the team needs to be blown up.
    I maintain that must happen.
    By that I mean, you try to move the cancer players, and you run your young guys.
    Get Lee, Balkman, Robinson, Chandler, Morris on the floor and see what they can do as starters. Surely they can avoid getting beat by 50 points.
    then use the so-called starters from the bench.
    This gets important experience for the young guys, displays their talents, and gives the fans something to cheer for.

    Oh, and Isiah needs to go. I’m tired of the excuses people make for Marbury and Isiah and the rest.

    We all know that that hopes we all had for this team required that a lot of things go right.
    But the assumption was that Isiah would play the best players. He’s not doing that.

  8. if we’re going to be bad, I hope we continue to be historically bad. that’s the only chance we have to someday move past the Dolan regime.

    one of many things that occurred to me last night as I was sitting there transfixed in amazement was that Dolan doesn’t want to fire Isiah, because Isiah is a lightning rod for NY’s suckitude and a buffer between the fans/media and himself. as soon as Isiah’s gone, many more people will focus on the real problem, which is Dolan.

  9. “Q…should probably just shut up.”

    The stuff Q said was true. Who would disagree that after the top three players on the Celtics there is a significant drop off? Even Eddie House has to know that’s true.

    If he doesn’t say he thinks the Knicks are better than their record then he may as well hang it up. If he doesn’t say the Celtics are beatable, he may as well not play.

    What Q said was right.

    What was wrong was that the Knicks played like a JV team scrimmaging the Varsity. They didn’t compete from the opening tip. It wasn’t because of what Q said. It was because they stank.

  10. It’s the train wreck syndrome. You can’t look away because you’re waiting to see what happens next and for the most part next usually is something negative.

  11. The five on the court for the forth quarter were: Nate, Jones, Balkman, Jeffries, and Rose.

    Considering the Knicks had 50 points to make up, and were playing against history (fewest points scored in a game, widest margin of loss) there was only one guy on the court with any scoring ability and he was only 5’9″. Defense wasn’t the problem. The Celtics only scored 100 points and shot 45%. The Knicks couldn’t score. So the obvious move was to have Jeffries and Rose shoot 18 footers for an entire quarter.

    It’s not like the Knicks were going to come back, and I suppose the conventional wisdom is to keep the starters off the court to keep them from getting hurt. But, considering the starters are all infinitely expendable, and the team was on pace to score less than 50 points(!), there was an incentive to not play the D unit.

    Jared Jeffries led the team in minutes played. Any surprise they lost by 50?

    Isiah has intentionally bottomed the team out. I’m not sure why. A survivor wouldn’t do that. Isiah’s is behaving much differently than he has over the three years prior. He engineered the Marbury fiasco. He’s playing his best players 15 minutes a game. Now this.

    I don’t mind it. I’m just surprised.

  12. Z:
    Right or wrong, he needs to shut up.
    Every Knick player should be focusing on his team, not commenting on the merits of other teams, especially making somewhat negative comments on a team that is 11-2 and currently rolling over most of their competition by 10 points or better, while the Knicks have struggled mightily so far this year.
    There are a lot of things that are true in the world, but when delivered by an inappropriate messenger residing in a glass house, it simply sounds ridiculous.
    The very fact that the Knicks stink is why Q should shut up. It shows A) a remarkable insecurity B) or a stunning lack of self awareness.
    The latter would reflect the fact that Isiah keeps saying this team is competitive, all evidence to the contrary.

  13. Mike K.:
    I noticed in the disclaimer this sentence:
    “Comments that are inflammatory, vulgar, offensive, trollish, imbecilic or off-topic may be removed.”

    Anyone saying the team could be competitive this year, or that Isiah needs more time, or that Marbury isn’t a big part of the problem I think violates the inflammatory and imbecilic clause.
    Last night’s game clearly is in violation of the vulgar clause, or most certainly the offensive clause, meaning perhaps all references of what happened last night might not belong.

    And any direct quote of Isiah certainly meets the trollish bar, no?

  14. I’m pretty sure Chandler and Morris weren’t even on the active roster, so they couldn’t play last night. Why they were inactive is a different question. Does anyone know where the active/inactive players are listed? Do those changes get announced? I never seem to hear about them.

    Rather than discussing this game, it might be more fun to discuss Spike Lee films. I’ve only seen parts of Girl 6; it sure seemed bad.

    Top 5 off the top of my head. (Some I’ve only seen once, or many years ago, so this could change if I saw them all again now)
    1. Do the Right Thing
    2. Malcolm X
    3. Crooklyn
    4. Clockers
    5. 25th Hour

    That’s tough. Only sure about the top 2. After that there’s a bunch of films I recall liking a lot which I can’t really differentiate. Those with Rosario Dawson get bonus points.

  15. I think I’ve actually reached the point where I’m rooting for the team to lose.

    1. To hopefully hasten Isiah’s departure – though he’s up there w/Deng Xiaoping for “most times thought fired/killed/sent to a re-education camp and yet, not.

    2. B/c of my severe man-crush on Derrick Rose.

    It’s a sad place to be…

  16. And yes, I just compared MSG/Dolan to Maoist China — seems apt/valid, n’est pas?

  17. I liked Bamboozled, though I didn’t care for the grainy digital video look. It was flawed but thought-provoking, as all Lee films are to some extent.

    Compare each member of the 2007 Knicks to a Spike Lee film. This will require some thought; I wonder if I can bill for it….

    Jerome James = Girl 6

  18. Stephon Marbury-the little known sequel Do The Wrong Thing

    Spike Lee’s a pretty awful filmmaker, with very few exceptions. same with Woody Allen, another Knicks fan, both massively overhyped because they make films that take place in NY.

  19. “Spike Lee?s a pretty awful filmmaker, with very few exceptions.”

    Whaa? Do The Right Thing was AMAZING. As was Malcolm X. He’s had plenty of good but not great films (like Inside Man last year – quality film).

    And you’re going to bring Woody Allen into this? Brother made ANNIE HALL. I don’t really have to mention the dozen other high quality films he’s made over the years, do I?

  20. Zach Randolph = She’s Gotta Have It (the ball, I mean)

    Starbury = She Hate Me

    Renaldo Balkman = Do The Right Thing

    Nate Robinson = Mo Better Blues (a creative spirit – stifled by forces beyond his control)

    Eddy Curry = When the Levees Broke

    Jamal Crawford = Bamboozled

    Jared Jeffries & Malik Rose = Clockers
    -or maybe –
    Mardy Collins, JJ, JJ, Malik Rose = 4 Little Girls (could beat them, 4 on 4)

    Jerome James = The Original King of Comedy

    Wilson Chandler = School Daze (he wishes he was still there)

    can I say David Lee = Jungle Fever? Or do I have to say, He Got Game?

    Coach Zeke = Summer of Sam

    Don’t know where Q fits in. Ideas?

    We have no Malcolm X.

    And Crooklyn belongs to the Nets, now…

  21. Caleb.. on the money.

    Can we say Curry = Inside Man, or is that giving him too much credit? Or he could be Malcolm X since that movie was like 3 hours long and Curry is like, 300 lbs. Either way, then Q = When the Levees Broke (Levees of course being a metaphor for Q’s body).

    And Jon, don’t hate on Woody Allen. Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah & her Sisters, Manhattan. Come on!

  22. Starbury is the best point guard in the NBA, maybe top 3 all time. He is a shoe in for the hall of fame. His winning attitude and team first style of play is why he has always been a winner wherever he has played. Its not fair to hate on Starbury, he is the only one on the Knicks that doesn’t suck. If the Knicks had 12 Starburys on their roster they would be the greatest team of all time.

  23. unfortunately, in order to get the contracts of randolph, curry, crawford and marbury off our teams, we’re gonna have to pair them off with something worthwhile – like nate, david lee and balkman. not that we’d want to, but seriously, we’re gonna have to give up something valuable as a bribe to someone to take our garbage out.

    btw, the team quit on isiah when isiah quit on them. you don’t take a team vote on stephon, have it go 11-0 for not taking him back, and then go and not only take him back but also play him 35 minutes.

    that’s when the team mutiny occured. the fanbase mutiny’s been going on for a long time.

  24. “btw, the team quit on isiah when isiah quit on them. you don?t take a team vote on stephon, have it go 11-0 for not taking him back, and then go and not only take him back but also play him 35 minutes.

    that?s when the team mutiny occured. the fanbase mutiny?s been going on for a long time.”

    You couldn’t be any more right. That is absolutely factorial.

  25. If we are playing “Fix the Knicks”, then here’s my suggestion:

    Get rid of Marbury, or bench him. For real. Let him sit on the bench, until he gets himself together, or his contract expires.

    Then get a real point guard. Sign Mike Wilks. Or make a trade for Sam Cassell or Brevin Knight or Andre Miller – all have reasonable contracts. Mike Bibby, too. You are going to have to give something up of value, and so I’m guessing we might have to sacrifice David Lee. Don’t worry about it too much… his contract needs to be extended soon, and he’s not worth as much as he’s going to get paid. Plus we’re staring at a top-5 pick right now, so let’s not sweat it too much.

    Eventually we’ll have to phase out Crawford, too, if he doesn’t pan out.

  26. I think that Randolph, Crawford and Curry all have more value than their contracts.

    The only players that do not have positive value are James, Jeffries, Q Rich and Marbury and Rose until next year.

    I do not mind keeping Curry, because he is still pretty effective and would be even more so with a good PG, Jeffries, because although he is grossly overpaid he is a pretty good bench player to provide energy and defense, Rose because he is a veteran presence in the locker room and will be expiring next year, and Q Rich becaus ehe is effective as long as we bench him when he is not healthy.

    So that only leaves Randolph, Crawford, James and Marbury as the players we need to get rid of. I would say buy out Marbury and James, and trade Crawford and Randolph, who still have positive value in the right trade.

    I think trading quality youth or draft picks just to move bad contracts is a bad strategy. I would rather us just buy out a bad contract like James or Marbury because players like Lee and Balkman are more valuable than cap room. 99% of the time cap room leads to the overpayment of mediocre players and are the contracts that later teams pay to move to create more cap room.

  27. The irony of us being a laughing stock is that Isiah has to coach the product that he is 100% responsible for bringing in here. For him to say the team was not ready for prime time shows he aint all there. 8 and 28 since the contract extension, 2 games so far this year they could of got blown out by 30+ pts plus the celtic blowout. The not ready for prime time players are probably not ready for a lot more than prime time.

  28. “I think that Randolph, Crawford and Curry all have more value than their contracts.”

    Isiah, is that you?

    Randolph-you’re insane.

    Crawford-not a huge annual amount, but signed for four more years, and still a major enigma.

    Curry-also under contract for four years, but possibly with some value to the right GM. one of the best pure post scorers in the game (led the league in points in the paint last year by a wide margin), but as Owen and others have pointed out here repeatedly, as bad a rebounder and shot-blocker as there is at the center position.

    anyway, I don’t see anyone taking on almost any of these contracts.

  29. It’s really the coup de gras that Boston is so good now. I might have been able to stay sane had it been otherwise. This loss could not have come to a worse team. They all looked like they were nervous, like Knoublach or something.

  30. how’s this trade..(it works salary wise)

    Marbury and David Lee to the Lakers for Farmar, Odom and Vlad Radmonovich…..

  31. Lakers would have a reasonably potent pg to play with Kobe right now, plus his mamouth salary would come off the books in two years; Lee would do his good dirty work for the Lakers, which would help them —- Farmar has showed real good promise but is not quite ready to lead for them to win right now (and they have Fisher and rookie Crittendon to share minutes with Marbury) and Odom is a relative bust for them, Lee would be fine…..for the Knicks, Farmar seems like a gamer with a good attitude who could only help the Knicks, Odom is still a dynamic player, just has never fit real well in LA, and Radmonovich would be a shooter off the bench the Knicks would need….think it works for both teams really well

  32. this is the most depressing win in franchise history. midway through the third, and even into the fourth they were down by double digits, providing a glimmer of hope that isiah might wind up canned soon, but instead they luck out and win a close one. this is merely prolonging the misery.

  33. Knicks go on a 39-23 run after Marbury leaves the game for good.

    chaplin, no one in the league wants Marbury, including NY. he may be “reasonably potent”, but he makes pretty much anyone he guards at least as “potent”.

    three in a row at home! on a roll, baby! :)

  34. jon abbey – I personally would not trade anything for Randolph and Crawford but I think the right GM could be fooled into taking them off our hands. I am betting we could get Miller and Dalembert for Randolph and Crawford or something along those lines. Also right now I am betting LA jumps at the chance to trade Kwame and his expiring for Crawford. Or we could try to turn Randolph and Crawford into Odom and Kwame. There are other trades like this these were just off the top of my head.

    We cannot get alot for them but Isiah is not the only GM who makes bad trades. They both score alot of points and have alot of talent so GM’s will take a flyer on them regardless of how obviously they make bad choices and play no defense.

    Alot of GM’s are like those women who think they can change their boyfriend no matter how many times he cheated in the past this time will be different. If they can get Crawford and Randolph this time they will play defense and take good shots. They can change them.

  35. “why not see if they?d take Randolph & Morris for Noah and Hinrich (& a sign/traded PJ Brown)? they?d get a low-post scorer and a good prospect;”
    I’m pretty sure Morris is a prime example of someone who is not “a good prospect,” what with him having gone undrafted a couple of years ago.

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