Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.02.14)

  • [New York Times] Durant’s 43 Help Thunder Beat Lakers 107-103 (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 07:52:47 GMT)
    For three quarters, the Los Angeles Lakers tempted the sellout crowd at Staples Center into believing they would pull off one of the most improbable upsets of the NBA season.    

  • [New York Times] Bulls 92, Nets 76: Facing Bulls, Nets Stumble in Final Game Before All-Star Break (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 05:28:04 GMT)
    In a game played in the rough-and-tumble style favored by Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau, the Nets were outrebounded, 45-27, and had no effective response to Chicago’s physical presence.    

  • [New York Times] Gibson, Boozer Leads Bulls Past Nets, 92-76 (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:49:55 GMT)
    Taj Gibson scored 16 points and Carlos Boozer returned from an injury to add 15 in the Chicago Bulls’ 92-76 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.    

  • [New York Times] Heading Into Break, Talk of Anthony’s Next Act (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 02:23:50 GMT)
    The Knicks face delicate negotiations with Carmelo Anthony, who has most of the leverage as his free agency approaches.    

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Uh-oh, Melo plays with winners this weekend (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 04:43:27 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony will swap stories and share a few good laughs with his fellow NBA All-Stars to¬day while privately praying that no one asks about the orange and blue elephant in the room.    

  • [New York Daily News] Anthony on Knicks’ first half: Gimme a break (Fri, 14 Feb 2014 04:25:05 GMT)
    There should be little doubt that Carmelo Anthony will enjoy himself at All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Hanging out and balling with the NBA’s best players has to be more agreeable than what he’s experienced with the Knicks throughout this disastrous season.    

  • 76 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.02.14)

    1. ephus

      Thibs lost his best player (Rose) and his best wing (Deng) but still has his team winning. If Chicago really is foolish enough to fire him this summer, the Knicks should drop everything to hire him.

    2. Frank

      Thibs lost his best player (Rose) and his best wing (Deng) but still has his team winning. If Chicago really is foolish enough to fire him this summer, the Knicks should drop everything to hire him.

      This is the only reason that I am a little hesitant to blow our team up — I really think Woodson has been a significant negative factor this year — an anti-Popovich, an anti-Phil Jackson. It seems entirely possible to me that this team could be a lot better if only we had a coach that knew how to coach defense and had a clue about how to use his players best. The only thing that makes me nervous about Thibs in particular is his tendency to run players into the ground. We’ve already seen how that’s worked out with Melo this year in the 4th quarters and OTs.

    3. Frank O.

      What kills me is that at some point this season, Dolan thought to himself: All this team needs is leadership, resolve and stability to win.
      So I’ll tell them Woodson’s job is safe.
      Brilliant.

      Now he has painted himself into a corner, and he’s stubborn, and apparently not lacking for cash.

      It’s time to blow this up. Melo, as well as he has played, authored this disaster announcing from the outset his intention to test free agency.
      He is 2-19 when shooting to tie or win, and yet we keep going to that well.

      Shump is a psychological mess and simply needs a change of scenery.
      Ray Felton reverted back to fat out of shape Ray and he is terrible.
      Tyson is so sick of this team’s effort, he’s not the same player.
      And the guy we need to score to win, is a complete and utter head case…who now has a fractured cheek.
      They need to fire Woodson quickly, bring on a new coach and get him involved in personnel decisions.
      And the trades need to focused on bringing back draft picks. The Knicks need to amass a bunch of picks for the next draft and you can do that with Tyson, Melo, and even Shump.
      The rest of the season is meaningless. Even if we make it as a poor 8th seed, does anyone believe we’ll even win one game in that series?
      blow it up
      And I’ve stopped watching.

    4. Hubert

      I accidentally heard a Stephen A Smith Knicks rant this morning (because Mike & Mike played it). God, he embodies everything I hate about the Knicks. He acts like the mythical fan that the Garden believes exists and needs to be kowtowed, too.

      To wit: when Greenberg suggested letting Anthony walk, bottoming out in 2015 with your draft pick, and having tons of cap space and a lottery pick might not be the worst thing, he started screaming at him. These aren’t direct quotes, but they are close enough:

      You cannot ask Knicks fans, who have been waiting for 40 years for a winner, to continue to wait until two thousand and fifteen. You cannot let your team become irrelevant like it was for two years under Mike D’antoni. How did that work out last time when Donnie Walsh asked Knicks fans to wait for TWO YEARS so they could get LeBron but failed. You CANNNOT let that happen again. You need to build a winner right now while you have Carmelo Anthony, one of the very best players in the whole wide league blah blah blah…..

      How does this man still have a job?

    5. johnno

      If a Van Gundy wants the job now, they should hire either one immediately, so that he has some say in what the team does in the next week (My preference would be Stan, but I’m probably in the minority. I’d also be happy with Jeff.) If neither is available, they should still make a change, simply for the sake of change, since the team is rapidly becoming unwatchable. Would Herb Williams or Alan Houston do any worse than Woodson is doing now? And the post game press conferences wouldn’t be nearly as painful to watch as they currently are. If they do go the interim head coach route, I don’t think that they should make any major trades until they hire a coach in the off-season so that the coach has some say in shaping the roster in his vision. In that case, I think that the only deals that they should make now are Udrih and MWP for whatever they can get for them.

    6. Nick C.

      Are there any viable college coaches or NBA assistants out there or with current ownership and ranters like Stephen A. is the hiring of new blood not even an option?

    7. thenamestsam

      If Chicago really is foolish enough to fire him this summer, the Knicks should drop everything to hire him.

      One of the things I’ll never understand about the NBA is why there isn’t more of an effort by the biggest spending teams to poach the best coaches and executives. We’re willing to go way into the tax in an effort to build a winner, and yet by offering higher salaries to employees that aren’t subject to the cap we could make a huge difference in the fortunes of the team. Shouldn’t some big market team offer to double Presti’s salary? Or Thibs? Or the Phoenix medical staff?

    8. Hubert

      @7 the last time we did that we bought Mike D’Antoni.

      It did work in 1991 when we bought Pat Riley, though. And if I could do one thing, it would be to make him a godfather offer to come back here. He’d probably bring LeBron with him! But he seems to like it down there, he’s got a great owner, and LeBron.

    9. d-mar

      Here’s why we should all enjoy the next four days with no games:

      1) The Knicks record cannot get any worse and they’ll maintain their position as a solid #10 seed in the East
      2) We won’t have to listen to Mike Woodson say “again” again and again and then proceed to make some mind boggling statement about why the Knicks lost to another awful team
      3) We can all focus on other things that don’t drive us to tear our hair out (and I for one don’t have much left) like shoveling snow and celebrating President’s Day, I mean, Valentine’s Day.

      GO NY GO NY….never mind….

    10. Hubert

      Valentine’s Day = Jeremy Lin’s pull up 3 in Toronto.

      God that was fun.

      I went to one game during Linsanity. The Friday night game against New Orleans. When it ended.

      If RuRu is just going to disappear when things get tough I might as well blame Melo for running Lin out of town ;)

    11. DRed

      Thibs lost his best player (Rose) and his best wing (Deng) but still has his team winning. If Chicago really is foolish enough to fire him this summer, the Knicks should drop everything to hire him.

      Noah is the best player on the Bulls. And they do have the excellent Jimmy Butler as well. Thibs is doing a very nice job, and I’d take him in a heartbeat over Woodson, but it’s not all smoke and mirrors.

    12. d-mar

      I went to the Lakers game (and they had their full squad with Kobe and a good W-L record) and every time Lin hit another shot my friend and I kept hitting each other on the shoulder, like it was some kind of dream that we were going to wake up from eventually.

      I’d like to say that was the last time it was fun to be a Knicks fan, but last year’s 19-5 start was pretty awesome too. Seems like 5 years ago.

    13. DRed

      Are there any viable college coaches or NBA assistants out there or with current ownership and ranters like Stephen A. is the hiring of new blood not even an option?

      I like Shaka Smart from the college ranks, but as far as I can tell he doesn’t even have an agent. So that probably rules him out, unless he’s a massive fan of The Eagles.

    14. Owen

      I watched that Lakers game in a Philly bar with a bunch of Asian post grads screaming Yellow Mamba every time Lin scored.

      Probably my best moment of Knicks fandom since Ewing-Oakley…

    15. Nick C.

      I like Shaka Smart from the college ranks, but as far as I can tell he doesn’t even have an agent. So that probably rules him out, unless he’s a massive fan of The Eagles.

      lol thanks.

    16. Hubert

      I missed the Lakers game because when the Giants were making a Super Bowl run the month before I was pretty much ignoring my girlfriend every weekend and to keep her from killing my buzz during the playoffs I promised her I wouldn’t put any sports ahead of her after the Super Bowl (which seemed like a genius move at the time bc February is usually a terrible sports month). So yeah, I was driving her to Vermont for a romantic getaway listening to Kelly Clarkson on the radio.

    17. tastycakes

      I recently stumbled on a photo I took of Shump doing the JET on the TV during the Boston series. It was such a heady, glorious moment, finally toppling the hated C’s (well, I think it was actually a touch premature, but whatever), looking like we had an ascendant young player in Iman, thinking we were possibly the 3rd or 4th best team in the playoffs..

      That was only TEN MONTHS AGO.

      I mean, sure, Knicks fans are impatient. If only we had an ownership group that came correct and said “We’re blowing this thing up because our goal is to be a dominant franchise in the back half of this decade and beyond, not to chase short term solutions that will leave us crippled and hopeless. We’re going to build around young, two-way, high-character players who fit into some kind of system.” The idea that the fans wouldn’t sit for it is a joke. But hey, then again, so is Stephen A. And then again, so is the Knicks management.

      Winning a chip with Melo is extremely unlikely in the LeBron/KD era, but it’s not impossible to imagine — if he was the 1B option with a top-flight point like Paul or Westbrook or maybe even Lillard, or perhaps a dominant defensive big in his prime like Hibbert.. I don’t know, there are lots of ways to build winning teams around Melo but this joke of a roster isn’t it. The biggest problem, IMO, is the backcourt. Felton is atrocious. Shump is looking more like a marginal pro with every passing day. JR? Please.

      It’s just hard to see how they start to swing things around without picks. That Bargnani trade was a fucking abomination. What kind of half-assed impostor do you have to be to run a pro basketball team and think that using a first round pick to get that bum could POSSIBLY put the Knicks over the top?

      And they’re going to be in the lottery this year, in the deepest draft in years.. it’s so frustrating. The fucking LAKERS could win the lottery!

      Ugh.

    18. DRed

      .What kind of half-assed impostor do you have to be to run a pro basketball team and think that using a first round pick to get that bum could POSSIBLY put the Knicks over the top?

      The kind that thinks that picks aren’t that important. Or the kind who thinks there’s no way the pick we gave up would be a lottery pick. Or the kind that thought that Bargnani would thrive with a new team.

    19. swiftandabundant

      @17 Yeah, Stephen A’s assertion that Knicks fans are impatient and wouldn’t wait for a rebuild is exactly the kind of propaganda Dolan wants the media to put out about Knicks fans so he can sell season tickets to corporate buyers around a superstar like Melo. Real Knicks fans have no choice but to be patient. Sure we became antsy after 2 years of waiting with Dantoni and we struck out on Lebron. But pretty much every Knicks fan I knew loved the STAT led team with Gallo, Chandler, etc…and would have preferred that The Knicks told Melo to come here in Free Agency so we could have kept some of that young core together.

      The sad thing about it is that even with all the missteps we’ve taken, if we had just paid attention to the details and cared a bit more about keeping our young players we could have kept any number of these players: Lin, Mosgov, Novak, Copeland, Jorts, plus some draft picks.

      We did not have to throw in Mosgov. That happened because Dolan got impatient. I guess I don’t blame Melo for wanting the guaranteed money but then again, the new CBA would not have affected him THAT much. Lin we could have kept if we had just offered him a contract right away instead of telling him to get the best one he could find. Also, considering Bargnani makes the same as Lin and we gave up a draft pick to get him, the whole idea that we couldn’t match the poison pill was BS. For a guy who cares so much about the bottom line, Dolan sure was petty in giving up the possibility to sell a billion Lin jerseys. Copeland I guess was a goner. But imagine Lin and Mosgov and Novak on this team. Are they a championship team? No. But do we feel better with two young players in Lin and Mosgov plus Novakaine draining 3s? Plus I loved Jorts. Whenever Jorts played the team did well. I remember in the Miami series how whenever Woodson put him in we’d do well. He was a super cheap young player who played decent D, got boards and could hit 3s. Plus, draft…

    20. johnno

      “The fucking LAKERS could win the lottery!”
      I would be kind of happy if the Lakers won the lottery because that would mean that the Nuggets didn’t win the lottery with the Knicks’ pick. Pretty much the only reason that I’m still hoping that the Knicks squeak into the playoffs is so that there is zero chance that we will be talking for the next 10 years about who the Knicks could have had with the #1 pick.

    21. stratomatic

      If I was in charge I’d hire George Karl.

      1. He’s a great offensive mind and not a bad defensive coach either.

      2. It might help push Melo out of NY – which IMO would be a good thing unless he takes a huge discount.

      3. It would be worth it just to see Melo’s face. All Knicks fans need a good laugh at this stage anyway.

    22. ephus

      Lin we could have kept if we had just offered him a contract right away instead of telling him to get the best one he could find. Also, considering Bargnani makes the same as Lin and we gave up a draft pick to get him, the whole idea that we couldn’t match the poison pill was BS. For a guy who cares so much about the bottom line, Dolan sure was petty in giving up the possibility to sell a billion Lin jerseys.

      While appealing (and I dislike Dolan as much as I love the Knicks), this is just not true:

      1. The Knicks could not offer Lin more than the MLE until someone else came along and offered him more. Then, but only then, the Knicks had the right to match the competing offer. And until the arbitrator overturned the NBA’s ruling on June 22, the Knicks did not hold Early Bird rights to Lin.

      2. The mistake that the Knicks made (and Woodson made it) was announcing that they would match Houston’s initially-reported 4 year/$28 MM contract (5/5/9/9). Houston never put that contract in front of Lin, so the Knicks could not make that offer. The biggest offer the Knicks could have made was 4 year/$22 MM. Lin was not going to take that offer over 3 year/$25 MM.

      3. Bargnani does not make the same as Lin. Bargnani makes $11 MM/$12 MM. Lin will make $14.9 MM next year. The $3 MM difference in straight salary grows to $15MM when the luxury tax is added.

      4. Lin’s jersey sales do not help the Rockets and they would not have helped the Knicks. Team jersey sales (other than inside the arena) are NBA property and they are split evenly among all 30 teams.

      I wanted the Knicks to match Houston’s poison pill to Lin, because I thought that Felton was not going to be an adequate replacement. Dolan made a bad decision to let him go, but let’s keep it real.

    23. stratomatic

      Steven A is everything that’s wrong with NY basketball rolled into one person. He had no idea how to evaluate players and he’s a short term thinker. The only person even close is Tommy Dee, but at least he’s not a national media guy with a huge audience.

    24. max fisher-cohen

      For those curious about fan opinions on whether the Knicks should trade Melo, there have been plenty of fan polls: one, two, three, four, five. All these polls — obviously unscientific — have 50-75% of fans saying the Knicks should trade Melo.

      I would say a few things though: First, even if every knick fan wanted the knicks to trade him, I think that there’s no denying that you’d still have fans spending a lot more money and time on the Knicks next season with Anthony on the team than without him, even if they do manage to get an exciting young player.

      Second, the people who vote on these polls, while probably mostly less obsessive than people on this blog, are also way more into the NBA than the vast majority of the fan base. Younger fans or people who tune in when there’s nothing better on TV are not going to sit down and think through how trading Melo might help the team. They want to be entertained, and Melo is fun to watch and talk about.

    25. JK47

      The idea that “In New York you have to WIN NOW” is a very destructive idea, and drives me completely nuts.

      I’m a Mets fan, and you can see this complete impatience and stupidity crop up with Mets fans on message boards all the time. Alderson and DePodesta are doing a long, patient rebuild, and have things on the right track– the Mets don’t have a single godawful contract on the books right now, and they have built their farm system into a top 10-ish farm system. But there is a large part of the fanbase that hates Alderson, and gets outraged every time the Mets don’t sign some sure-to-be-overpaid megadollar free agent.

    26. stratomatic

      An owner has to decide whether he’s more interested in winning a championship (and possibly alienating some of the fan base incapable of understanding long term thinking and why it’s smart) or just putting together the best team he can in the short term so the team plays entertaining basketball, while frustrating the long term thinking fans that want a chance to win it all.

      The Knicks are in the worst place possible. The owner is incapable of doing either well.

    27. chrisk06811

      I’m frustrated too, but sometimes I think some of you guys over-simplify:

      -Who is going to give us a 1 for Chandler, Shump or Melo? The only possible way I see is if we either give Shump away for nothing, or take back longer term contracts. Who has $14M expiring who will deal it for Shump PLUS give us a pick?
      -Why does Chandler’s effort get a pass, but Ray’s does not? Because we think he’s fat? Why don’t we think Chandler is playing harder than him? Chandler’s been kinda outspoken about Woody (who does suck, I know). but, he’s the baddest dude on the team and he makes $14M. Dude, lead. if people are out of line, get them in line.
      -Who would you like Melo to pass to at the end of the game? No wonder he’s 2-19 shooting for a tie / win. Who else do you trust? Pablo?
      -If we fire Woody (which we should) we are either stuck w/ an interim coach or PJ or MAYBE a Van Gundy. Thats it. We can’t poach someone elses coach….that’s tampering. the Clips had to trade for Doc Rivers. Who are we going to trade.

    28. DRed

      First, even if every knick fan wanted the knicks to trade him, I think that there’s no denying that you’d still have fans spending a lot more money and time on the Knicks next season with Anthony on the team than without him, even if they do manage to get an exciting young player.

      Why is this? Didn’t this season prove what happens if your team has Melo and nobody else? Your team sucks. Assuming we don’t radically overhaul the roster this offseason, who is looking at this Knicks team and saying “there’s a team worth spending a lot of time and money on”?

    29. DRed

      Why does Chandler’s effort get a pass, but Ray’s does not? Because we think he’s fat? Why don’t we think Chandler is playing harder than him? Chandler’s been kinda outspoken about Woody (who does suck, I know). but, he’s the baddest dude on the team and he makes $14M. Dude, lead. if people are out of line, get them in line.

      I don’t care about Ray or Tyson’s effort, because I have no way of knowing what it actually is. Ray yawning or not yawning in the huddle is a total non-issue. If he plays well he can display bad body language and yawn all game long.

      Tyson has been a productive player when he’s on the court. Ray Felton has been of the 2 or 3 worst starting point guards in the NBA. It’s not that Ray Felton is out of line. It’s that he’s not a good NBA player.

    30. stratomatic

      Chandler is recovering from a broken leg. If you ask me, he’s just getting into peak shape now…and he hasn’t been all that bad anyway.

    31. ephus

      Melo said "without a doubt" he would take less money if it helps give the Knicks flexibility to bring in other players .— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014

      Melo also guaranteed that Woodson will be coaching the Knicks on Monday when they practice in Memphis.

    32. DRed

      Melo said he'll talk to management about players or type of players he wants to play with. if it gets done he'll have a long future in NY.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014

      I get why Melo would want to do this. But if you’re the Knicks, what do you care? Is Melo a personnel expert now? Fuck it, just fire Steve Mills and let Carmelo be the first player/GM.

    33. Frank

      Melo said “without a doubt” he would take less money if it helps give the Knicks flexibility to bring in other players .— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014

      Melo also guaranteed that Woodson will be coaching the Knicks on Monday when they practice in Memphis.

      Will be interesting to see what he means by “less money”.
      Tim Duncan makes $1.5MM LESS than Andrea Bargnani.
      Manu Ginobili makes 400K LESS than John Salmons.
      Parker probably makes $6MM less than he could command on the open market.

      Oh right – and those 3 are the backbone of one of the great dynasties in professional sports. I wonder why?

    34. Frank

      Re: the Spurs’ big 3 and the fact they take up only 50% of their cap (when they could easily take up the entire cap if they wanted the $$$)–

      it really is amazing, and speaks to how much those 3 enjoy playing together, what their priorities are, and how good a job Pop and Buford do in selling the winning formula. We’ve seen little/none of what Steve Mills is capable of as a GM, but somehow, I just can’t imagine Woody being able to sell anything as well as Pop.

    35. lavor postell

      At all star weekend and I went to a panel in the morning with Dolan about the future of multiplatform devices and how they’re used for the nba. I was super hungover so beyond the specifics when you compare Dolan to other nba execs and owners it’s not surprising that we suck in how we operate as a franchise.

    36. thenamestsam

      Will be interesting to see what he means by “less money”.

      Honestly I don’t see it meaning anything until it actually happens. He also said “I want to win a championship. If I have to become a free agent in order to do that, then that’s what I have to do.” That doesn’t exactly sound like he’s willing to do anything to make it work in NY.

      From Iannazzone’s twitter “Melo said he’ll talk to management about players or type of players he wants to play with. if it gets done he’ll have a long future in NY.”

      I see this potentially being a pretty huge stumbling block honestly. Melo is going to (rightly) want to know why coming back here next year is going to be different than this year. Except we’re really not in a position to make any big changes this offseason even if Melo does take a pretty steep discount since our trade cupboard is pretty bare. The best we can offer him is some promises about what we’re going to try to do in 2015 Free Agency, but I’m not sure that’s going to be exactly what he has in mind.

    37. DRed

      At all star weekend and I went to a panel in the morning with Dolan about the future of multiplatform devices and how they’re used for the nba. I was super hungover so beyond the specifics when you compare Dolan to other nba execs and owners it’s not surprising that we suck in how we operate as a franchise.

      Did you tell Dolan he was an asshole?

    38. ephus

      The best we can offer him is some promises about what we’re going to try to do in 2015 Free Agency, but I’m not sure that’s going to be exactly what he has in mind.

      This is precisely the reason I am so surprised that Melo is going to ETO this season. If we believe what he said today he (1) wants to stay in NY and (2) is willing to take less to put together a championship team. Sacrificing money next year does not put the Knicks in a position to add talent.

      Melo could take $23.5 million next year and then bring his salary down in 2015 in conjunction with 2015 free agents

    39. Frank

      Just thinking about what sorts of trades we could reasonably make —

      Let’s assume that rumors are true that we are looking into Lowry again–

      Lowry for Felton, Shump, 2018 1st round pick lottery-protected in 2018, top-10 in 2019, top-5 in 2020 (will force us not to trade any more picks after 2018 at least until after the 2018 season is over)

      Trade any other spare parts (ie. Beno) for future or 2013 2nd round picks (ie. Glen Rice Jr since the Wizards seem interested in Beno).

      Play the season out. With Lowry I think it’s likely we make the playoffs. Great.

      This summer, resign Lowry for 4 years, $40MM. A very fair deal, basically what Lawson got. Resign Melo for 5 years, $108MM. Structure both these deals so that their cap hit is least in 2015-16 — ie. Start Melo’s deal at $21MM in 14-15, decrease to $19.425MM in 15-16, then 7.5% raises thereafter. Start Lowry’s deal at $10MM in 14-15, decrease to 9.25MM in 15-16, then 7.5% raises thereafter.

      Then – going into FA in 15-16 our roster / cap $ would like like this:
      Melo – 19.425MM
      Lowry – 9.25 MM
      JR – 6.4 MM
      Pablo (maybe retired or back to Europe?) – 1.7MM
      THJr – 1.3MM
      2015 1st round pick – say ~1.5MM

      So for 6 players, we would have $40MM committed, leaving us probably about $22-23MM to play with in FA as well as the $2.5MM room exception.

      So in this scenario we would have the 1-4 starting positions covered — Lowry, THJ, JR, Melo presumably starting, or maybe the 2015 pick if he’s good. We could then go after Hibbert or Marc Gasol to anchor the middle, or if by some miracle Jeremy Tyler looks like the Answer at center, we could re-sign him and then go after Kevin Love (who is totally going to the Lakers but whatever). I know Melo/Love doesn’t sound like a great defensive pairing, but imagine trying to guard Lowry, JR/THJ, Melo, Love, and whatever roll man at the 5.

      Yes I hate trading the 2018 pick and I’d only do it if it were protected, but this doesn’t seem that bad…

    40. ephus

      @39 – This is why you have to know what Melo wants. Lowry is – by all accounts -a polarizing figure. If ‘Melo would welcome playing with Lowry, your plan makes sense. If ‘Melo would run like the wind to get away from him, the Lowry trade is a recipe for disaster.

    41. er

      Jesus. These id rather have x than Melo posts are so repetitive. I think we understand that a few posters think Melo is worth MLE that’s fine but do you have to post it every day?

    42. johnno

      “This is precisely the reason I am so surprised that Melo is going to ETO this season.”
      I agree. I think that he’d be crazy to give the Knicks a significant discount just based on the promise that things will improve in another year. It would be nice if he did that, but I wouldn’t if I were in his shoes. And what if things don’t improve? Then he would have kind of screwed himself. Aside from the risk of a career ending injury, he (and the Knicks) would be better off if he waited a year to be a free agent.

    43. flossy

      If I were Melo, I would absolutely not leave a considerable amount of money on the table based on vague promises about what the Knicks will be able to do in 2015 when they actually might have cap space. Particularly since the bigger pay cut he takes, the easier he will be to trade if Dolan goes and Dolans everything up–and he won’t have his impending free agency to dissuade other teams from renting him.

    44. cgreene

      @42 thank you!! Hey DRed. We know you think that. Owen too. News flash: Knicks are keeping Melo at all costs whatever the cost. Build your ideas around that fact. If Melo is gone it’s going to be bc he wanted to walk. He just said it out loud.

      As far as the ETO I really don’t understand why this isn’t discussed further. Makes way way more sense. I guess he can decide that too later on if he wants.

    45. DRed

      Assuming Melo opts out and reups at a low, low price of (roughly) 20 million per year we’re going to need to find some cheap undervalued assets. I searched for guys with a WS/48 .125 or greater (a nice number, and co-incidentally Melo’s WS/48 for his Denver career) who played between 200 and 800 minutes this season, which I’m using as a crude method of identifying productive players undervalued by their current team.

      FAs in 2015/2016, with previous salary and age and WS/48

      Brandan Wright 5.0 mil (28) .238
      Bismack Biyambo 3.8 mil (23) .145
      Jeremy Evans 1.8 mil (28) .158
      Ed Davis 3.1 mil (26) .136 FA 2014/15
      James Johnson .68 mil (28) .142FA 2014/15
      Psycho T 3.3 mil (30) .151FA 2014/15
      Corey Joseph 2.0 mil (24) .142
      Jeff Withey 0.8 mil (25) .139

      There are also some guys like Jon Leur (I feel like half these guys are on the Grizzlies) who are signed in 2015/16 but for peanuts, who we should maybe be targeting in trades.

      Of the guys I listed, Brandon Wright is pretty clearly the best, followed in some order by Ed Davis and the hideously irritating Hansborough. Biyambo has never played well before this season, but he’s super young, athletic, and on a team owned by a moron, so he’d be a nice target.

    46. DRed

      Knicks are keeping Melo at all costs whatever the cost. Build your ideas around that fact. If Melo is gone it’s going to be bc he wanted to walk. He just said it out loud.

      What he actually said was that he wasn’t getting traded. He also said the following, presumably out loud:
      “I want to win a championship. If I have to become a free agent in order to do that, then that’s what I have to do.”

      Carmelo claims he’s willing to re-sign with us at a discount if we have a good plan going forward. Depending on the discount, this is somewhere between a mediocre idea and a bad one. Granted, I don’t know why he’d think that, given our owner, but who knows-maybe we do. So build your ideas around that.

      ps

      We should still trade Melo

    47. Owen

      Brendan Wright is a very interesting player. Always amazed that he doesn’t get more playing time. Can’t fault the Mavericks for a lack of data driven analysis, presumably the numbers are missing a lot, but would love to know what it is.

      He’d be a guy I’d love to hear a mavs blogger’s take on…

      And obviously, as I have said ad nauseam, I don’t see how Melo opting out and re-signing helps either him or the Knicks reach their goals. We have no chance of competing next year. But hey, looking to be surprised by how well things turn out….

    48. mokers

      I’m really confused why people are questioning why Melo would opt out of his contract. He can sign a 5 year deal this year. If his knees go, or he has a concussion or David West pulls his arms off , he still has a long-term deal. Melo is having a great year and it is probably his last long-term contract. Every athlete wants that long-term contract.

      Of course, Melo taking a discount in his next contract will not help the Knicks in 2014-2015. That’s why he said he wanted to see what the teams plans are. He is going to miss playing in the post season for perhaps the first time in his basketball career this year. If he doesn’t like what’s in the Knicks plans, will he be OK with another shitty year next year to perhaps be good again in 2015? Perhaps, but I think the best way to improve the team is to sell of assets for draft picks and (sorry Owen) I think Melo would probably get the Knicks the best haul, even if it were just for a rental. If the Knicks had a draft pick this year, I would say it might be worth it to hang on to Melo, but there is just not enough to build on next year.

    49. dtrickey

      Word around is that San Antonio are interested in Beno. Looking at their roster I’m not sure why because they are loaded with PG’s already, but far be it from me to question the decision making process of one of the greatest franchises in sport.

      On the Melo front I gotta agree with er on the “I would rather have…” point. Financial reasons aside, Melo has made some pretty big strides with the Knicks and I really don’t understand the hate. He’s improved on D and his rebounding has gotten significantly better (I’m sure someone will throw a fancy stat out there to prove me wrong, but whatever). You can make the argument that he should average more assists (5 a game would be nice and not too unrealistic), but what’s the point of having a great scorer if he’s just going to pass the ball. We’ve already got Pablo to pass on wide open looks! By no means am I advocating that he play hero ball for 48 minutes, but common sense dictates you have guys like Melo to score, not be the PG.

      If he’s willing to take less then I’m all for it. Not too many scorers like Melo come around so if you have one that potentially wants to play for your franchise and for below market value then you go for it. Realistically it doesn’t help a hell of a lot him taking less with Chandler, STAT and AB on the books, but you gotta squeeze every penny. It will be interesting to see what kind of “pay cut” he’s referring too.

    50. Owen

      “Perhaps, but I think the best way to improve the team is to sell of assets for draft picks and (sorry Owen) I think Melo would probably get the Knicks the best haul, even if it were just for a rental. If the Knicks had a draft pick this year, I would say it might be worth it to hang on to Melo, but there is just not enough to build on next year.”

      We are entirely in agreement…

    51. DRed

      I like our strategy with Beno. If we never play him, maybe people will forget he showed up in terrible shape and has pretty much flat out sucked all year.

      That said, I can’t see the Spurs actually trading anything for him. But if they need the peace of mind a veteran 3rd string point guard gives them, I would accept Corey Joseph in exchange.

    52. max fisher-cohen

      Like Raymond Felton last year, Lowry is having a top 20 year after a long time of being more like a top 60 player (with RF being much worse in both cases). When you add in the fact that this is a contract year, the far and away most likely thing is that once Lowry gets his new deal, he reverts back to the good but injury prone player he has been most his career.

      Lowry, Smith, Melo and best case Marc Gasol doesn’t strike me as much better than what we have now. The gamechanger with keeping Melo is if the team tanks next season. Then there’s a chance of building a great team.

    53. Frank

      Lowry, Smith, Melo and best case Marc Gasol doesn’t strike me as much better than what we have now. The gamechanger with keeping Melo is if the team tanks next season. Then there’s a chance of building a great team.

      Don’t forget a few things – in that scenario, in 2015-16 we have no Amare, no Bargnani, no Felton, no Woodson. Those omissions in and of themselves may be worth 20 wins over a season even if replaced with just replacement level players and someone like JVG.

    54. Brian Cronin

      Yes I hate trading the 2018 pick and I’d only do it if it were protected, but this doesn’t seem that bad…

      I think your plan makes sense, except I don’t think Toronto does the deal for a protected 2018 pick. I think they’d rather roll the dice on them re-signing Lowry thmeselves than just get a protected 2018 pick, one player they don’t seem to want (Shump) and one player that would actively be a detriment to them doing the trade (Felton). So I think either the pick needs to be unprotected or THJ would need to be thrown in there. And I dunno if the pick being unprotected alone even does it anymore. Toronto knows Lowry is a prime piece at the moment.

    55. Brian Cronin

      At all star weekend and I went to a panel in the morning with Dolan about the future of multiplatform devices and how they’re used for the nba. I was super hungover so beyond the specifics when you compare Dolan to other nba execs and owners it’s not surprising that we suck in how we operate as a franchise.

      I forgot that you were going this year! Have a great time! That is hilariously sad (and expected) to hear about Dolan.

    56. ruruland

      “I tell people all the time, always say, ‘If it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan’s steps to saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.”

      He said Friday his “first priority” is to re-sign with the Knicks, who are 12 games under .500 heading into the All-Star break.

      “I’ve never been a guy that comes into a situation, when it’s not going well, to leave,” Anthony said. “That’s not my personality.”

      “I’m going to make money. I have money. I’m good if I want to retire right now.”

      “My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career. I want to compete at that level.”

      Hate to say I told you so, but this is exactly what I said all the way back to last season, before Melo mentioned anything about testing free agency.

      No one publicly reported that these were Melo’s intentions. I did.

      Staying at a discount in NY so the Knicks can build a championship team is his first priority — those were my exact words and now his — and if he doesn’t think that can happen or if there’s a perfect situation somewhere else he’ll leave.

      He’s a different person than he was in 2010. He’s not stupid. Naive, once, maybe.

      He doesn’t need money. He now accepts that he’s not good enough to make max money and have a championship team around him.

      A bit of delusion helps all athletes, Melo included.

      Brian Windhorst, Howard Beck, those guys are full of shit.

    57. ruruland

      Rather, self-delusion helps athletes like Melo to a point, and I think Melo knows where that is now.

    58. Frank

      Ruru – we both thought that Melo probably would take less to stay in NYC, but the wild card is his statement that he’ll take less and stay if he likes the plan. Trouble is, it’s honestly hard to imagine a reasonable plan at this point that would lead to a true contender status unless he takes a huge pay cut – something like the Spurs’ big 3 have done. If he would take $15MM/year x 5 years = 75MM that would be a HUGE monetary sacrifice (more than 50MM less than his theoretical max) on his part but could be the difference between real contention and “pretend” contention which is sort of where we have been since he got here. He’d have to take the kind of pay cut that would be very difficult to make up with endorsements unless he did indeed win a championship.

      That said — I think if Melo did take a pay cut like that, it’d be a strong message to FAs in 15-16 — that the best player on the team will do whatever it takes to win a championship. Add to that a real coach like one of the Van Gundys — now that’s a good plan.

      But — he could easily just go to Phoenix, make 15-20MM more, and probably have a better chance of winning a championship.

    59. BigBlueAL

      I know we mostly fixate on the players/roster and rightfully so but for me just as important is who the Knicks hire as head coach this off-season. Might be even more important than any potential roster moves.

    60. ruruland

      You really think Melo would feel the difference between 15 and 22 million?

      He’s been making 10 million in endorsements the last 5 years or so. Generations are set up. It’s all play dough at this point.

    61. ruruland

      In other words, Melo is not saying this for the publicity of it. Just as the ‘testing free agency’ comments were his candid self, so are the others.

      So, the idea of a slightly less than max deal doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t get it done.

      Like Melo said, he can retire today. I really don’t know how low he’ll go, but it won’t be for the headlines.

      It’s up to Mills, Houston, Wark, CAA to build a good plan and show Melo just how much less he needs to take to make it work. Are there others willing to take a hit?

      Melo will take a backseat, if that’s what he needs to do, too. That doesn’t mean Lebron, but I think it would be a point guard or creator of some sort.

    62. ruruland

      He could go to Phoenix, but he doesn’t want to.

      It’s really about the Knicks not screwing this up (yeah, I know), but he’s going to be a mega-discount on his next deal. This is the time where having CAA on your side can really change everything.

    63. ruruland

      Again, the biggest challenge I see is the fact that Melo loses another year next year. I honestly think that will be the biggest challenge. I really think there’s a chance it becomes a deferred maintenance season. Maybe plays 30-40 games, get a lottery pick, and really have a chance to build a 60 win team.

    64. lavor postell

      If you were watching the rising stars challenge and saw a drunk Indian dude sitting in front of Tim hardaway sr. That was me

    65. lavor postell

      Sorry to interrupt the great discussion today with this trivial bullshit but man being at all star weekend should be about being with people that love and appreciate the game. Instead it’s just a bunch of rich fat cats that are celebrating the only people that can afford a decent ticket for them and family and friends.

      In regards to melo Id love to keep him at legitimate discount and build around him because of what he’s shown the past couple of years. He’s not just some selfish gunner trying to get his.

      Also other completely random thing I ran into Allan Houston and he was with a SMOKING HOT female. I would have bothered him for a photo or whatever but he seemed preoccupied. Ill try and get some pics together and maybe post them to the site on Monday. Hope everybody enjoys their all star weekend.

    66. The Infamous Cdiggy

      @67 – I would LOVE to be able to attend an All-Star wknd someday. When’s the Knicks/Nets-joint-NYC All-Star Weekend gonna be? 2015? But you’re right it’s a shame only the rich/wealthy can afford it – but I don’t wanna go off on a rant about the widening of the divide btwn the haves and the have-nots in our country.

      Speaking of Hardaways, it was fun to see Tim Jr go one-on-one with Dion Waiters. Yeah, Waiters buried a couple 3’s in his grill (he’s REALLY gotta work on that D this summer), but Tim had him some crazy-nice splashes from deep along with a highlight dunk and a crazy spin-reverse layup. nice to see him be featured at an All-Star (ish) game. Again, he’s gotta work on his D this summer, but I can see where he can be a decent starting 2 eventually.

    67. max fisher-cohen

      These are my interpretations of how Melo read the questions from Sportscenter and what he meant in his answers:

      Q. You still want to be a free agent?
      A. I announced my desire to be a FA in an effort to force the front office to bring in top talent now. I think I have the power to do that.

      Q. How much will NYK’s moves before the end of the playoffs affect your thought process?
      A. I want to win a championship NOW even if it means leaving, so yeah, it all comes down to the front office making moves before I become a free agent. If those moves bring us into the title contender conversation next season, I’ll re-sign.

      Q. Everyone says you won’t leave NY because they can offer you more money. True?
      A. Money is not an issue. I can retire today.

      Q. NY doesn’t look like it has a chance to win a title in the near future. Why stay?
      A. It’s on the front office to show me that’s not true. We’ll see if they can.

      I don’t think there’s anything new here. He wants to stay in NY, but he wants to win now and I think he somehow believes the reason the team is struggling is that the front office has been too cheap to make upgrades and that they have the assets to make this a contender now, and that his threat to go into free agency will make that happen now. That’s the impression I get.

      You can hear it in some of the quotes from his Berman interview as well: The front office “should want to have us competing at a championship level just for the sake of the fans of New York… They should want to be in those talks when they’re talking about whose the best team.’’ He thinks the front office is holding out on him and the fans.

      I mean, I doubt players spend a tenth the time that a lot of people on this blog do thinking about how the CBA works except in terms of how it will affect their own salaries. Like Melo said, “I’ve never had those conversations [about building a strong roster around me]. I always look at what’s going on and always feel naively I could change it and turn it around and put it on my shoulders.”

    68. Donnie Walsh

      Hate to say I told you so, but this is exactly what I said…

      Haha. You also said “things are about to get really fun this year”. (Too bad you’re not patting yourself on the back for that prediction right now)

    69. Brian Cronin

      It’d be awesome if he took a significant paycut (something under $20 million). That was #1 on my best case scenario for the future. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’ll be awesome if it does!

    70. Brian Cronin

      Really, though, Melo’s words really don’t match him opting out at all.

      If he’s all about the Knicks, why not opt in, which is what they want him to do?

      If he wants to see the Knicks’ plan for the future before committing to them for the long term, why not opt in and then see if they can do something next year when they’ll actually have cap space and he can get players to come sign with him? Who the heck takes a pay cut a year before the pay cut will even help the team?

      He can opt in, make more money, do what the team wants him to do and still be able to control his future and take a pay cut to help build a championship next season. Why opt out now? It doesn’t make sense.

      I have seen some explanations like “He needs to opt out since he can get a long-term deal quicker this way and that’s important for security.” But according to Melo’s words, money is not an issue, so what does he care about security? Especially since he could break his leg tomorrow and still get a long-term contract for near MAX money next season.

      The action of opting out does not match his words. And since actions speak louder than words, I’m still not buying him taking any significant pay cut to resign with the Knicks. If that’s what he wanted to do, he wouldn’t opt out. It just dones’t make sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit.

      But I’d sure be glad to be wrong!

    71. Brian Cronin

      Upon retrospect, I think I might have a problem where I’m applying logic to a guy who might not be logical. So I guess Melo might just be doing stuff that doesn’t make any sense and it doesn’t work to try to apply sense and reason to his actions. Sort of like how people always talk about motive behind murders, when quite a lot of murders don’t have motives and you’re just driving yourself nuts trying to make sense of it when it doesn’t make sense. Just some guy shooting some other guy for no good reason. So maybe Melo will opt out and then re-sign for less money for no good reason. Just because he feels like it.

    72. Cock Jowles, #1 Nostradumbass

      Mid-season Andre Drummond factoid:

      52 games in to the season, Andre Drummond has 283 offensive rebounds. Dwight Howard’s career high in a full season is 336. DeAndre Jordan, who is having an amazing year on the glass, is 2nd with 230. That’s a difference of about 22%.

      If he continues this level of play, he will have 433 ORB at season’s end, which would be #11 of all-time, and the first time it’s happened in fifteen years. Many of the seasons in the top 10 came from Moses Malone, who dominated so thoroughly that his stats look fake (in 1978-79 he had 583 ORB to the #2’s 326).

      Say what you want about volume scoring, but Drummond might be the best center in the league right now. Truly filthy rebounding numbers.

      Quietly historic stuff, my friends.

    73. Frank

      Yeah Drummond has been unreal this year. Having Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith bricking away may have something to do with the absolute volume of his offensive rebounding (Kobe assists!!) but he’s really great.

      btw, small sample size clearly rules here, but Drummond’s ORB% is 17.5 (leads the league for qualified players) — and Greg Oden’s is 19.8.

      RE: Melo – I agree with Max on the reason he is opting out. He’s applying pressure on the Knicks to do what he wants them to do. I don’t think he’s leaving unless he somehow gets blown away by a sell from another team. That said — I completely disagree with this:

      I mean, I doubt players spend a tenth the time that a lot of people on this blog do thinking about how the CBA works except in terms of how it will affect their own salaries.

      I’m sure there are some players who are only thinking about their next paycheck and the next strip club (hello JR!!) but Melo genuinely strikes me as someone who is really interested in winning, has grown up a fair amount even since 2010, and will do whatever is necessary, including taking a significant pay cut and/or threatening his own team with his departure. This year may have been one of those major life-changing experiences — ie. the first time he hasn’t been able to put a team on his shoulders and at least carry them into the playoffs. I think he’s been absolutely amazing this year in the face of the catastrophe this season has become.

      I do agree with Ruru that the 2014-15 season is a danger spot for the Knicks. Absolutely is a lost year unless they can get Melo to believe that a real coach will make a big difference. That’s why they need a splash coaching signing — not Fred Hoiberg or some other hot but unproven guy. Has to be SVG, JVG, Phil, or someone at least kinda close to that.

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