Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.07.17)

  • [New York Times] David Blatt Gets Ready to Lead LeBron James and the Cavaliers (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:20:06 GMT)
    David Blatt, an American-born coach with a history of international success, is preparing to lead an N.B.A. team for the first time: the Cavaliers, with the returning star LeBron James.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: Rucker Park Stars Set Their N.B.A. Dreams Aside and Head Abroad (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:11:22 GMT)
    It turns out the can’t-miss star who misses the N.B.A. can make a fair living in Algiers, or in Halifax, Canada.

  • [New York Post] How J.R. Smith’s deal impacts the Knicks’ cap space in 2015 (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 03:11:06 -0400)
    The Knicks were thrilled J.R. Smith accepted a four-year, $24.5 million guaranteed deal last July, offering him the most they could under the Early-Bird exception. It was surprising hours later…

  • [New York Daily News] Willis Reed says Phil Jackson up to job of bringing Knicks a title (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 05:33:57 GMT)
    Hall of Famer Willis Reed thinks the Knicks’ decades-long title drought will end now that his former teammate Phil Jackson holds the reins to the Garden.

  • [New York Daily News] Phil Jackson details how his talks with Lakers unraveled in autobiography update (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:21:41 GMT)
    This is the first part of an exclusive excerpt from Phil Jackson’s newly updated autobiography, in which the Zen Master dishes on Jeanie, Jerry and his time in L.A with the Lakers.

  • [New York Daily News] J.R. Smith would’ve understood if Jackson traded him (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:57:28 GMT)
    J.R. Smith is looking forward to his future with the Knicks, but he would not have blamed Phil Jackson for trading him this summer following a terrible personal 2013-14 season, which he calls the “worst year I’ve had” in the NBA.

  • [New York Post] How J.R. Smith’s deal impacts the Knicks’ cap space in 2015 (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 03:11:06 -0400)
    The Knicks were thrilled J.R. Smith accepted a four-year, $24.5 million guaranteed deal last July, offering him the most they could under the Early-Bird exception. It was surprising hours later…

  • [New York Daily News] Willis Reed says Phil Jackson up to job of bringing Knicks a title (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 05:33:57 GMT)
    Hall of Famer Willis Reed thinks the Knicks’ decades-long title drought will end now that his former teammate Phil Jackson holds the reins to the Garden.

  • [New York Daily News] Phil Jackson details how his talks with Lakers unraveled in autobiography update (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:21:41 GMT)
    This is the first part of an exclusive excerpt from Phil Jackson’s newly updated autobiography, in which the Zen Master dishes on Jeanie, Jerry and his time in L.A with the Lakers.

  • [New York Daily News] J.R. Smith would’ve understood if Jackson traded him (Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:57:28 GMT)
    J.R. Smith is looking forward to his future with the Knicks, but he would not have blamed Phil Jackson for trading him this summer following a terrible personal 2013-14 season, which he calls the “worst year I’ve had” in the NBA.

  • 83 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.07.17)

    1. Totes McGoats

      1 yr/3.3 does sound like a bit much for Jason Smith. I don’t wanna give Phil a pass, but I do trust his bball acumen enough to believe that he has very good reasons for signing him. My only issue is: if he plays well enough for Phil to want him back, then we hafta give him a raise that might be a little too much for his services. Now..if he morphs into a consistent 12ppg/8rpg/3apg/1bpg guy and stays healthy, then I would be thrilled to see him get that raise and stay. I mentioned last night that Jorts is a FA, but adding him would certainly take Tyler’s role away. Maybe the team should just release Bargs as he’s in the final year of his deal, and then snatch Jorts.

    2. GoNyGoNYGo

      I think that the smart move is to collect a bunch of players that might fit the need and then let them battle it out in pre-season. So, Jason Smith, Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich might be battling for 2 rotation spots.

    3. tastycakes

      Yesterday’s thread was insanely frustrating.

      I just don’t get the short-term mentality or why so many Knicks fans (or management, in recent years!) insist on thinking in terms of “well, we have one star who is probably going to be good in the next 3 years and so we’d better do whatever we can to win in that window.”

      This, after watching Derek Jeter’s farewell tour and reflecting on the Yankee dynasty – Rivera and Posada and Bernie and Pettitte and Jeter – homegrown talent, developed and kept.

      The 2014 Spurs are much like the 2009 Yankees, the aging dynasty making its last gasp, except that in basketball you need fewer good players to win and so the Spurs might have more than “one last chip” in them.

      Or consider the Knicks lack of commitment to full rebuild and how that repeatedly screwed the Knicks in the draft, narrowly missing out on guys like Rose and Westbrook and Curry because the Knicks weren’t good enough at being bad. Goddamn I can’t believe somebody brought up the 96 draft, where we were 1 pick late for Jermaine O’Neal and only a few more away from Steve Nash, Stojakovic, and Kobe Bryant. When you’re mediocre in this league, you tend to stay mediocre.

      Phil Jackson obviously understands the value of continuity and system and culture and will push things in that direction, but without a long-term, sustained commitment to building a foundation, the Knicks will top out as a lucky Conference Finalist in the Melo era. More likely we’re looking at first round exits and continued frustration.

      I don’t want a team that can luck into the Conference Finals at the back end of a star’s career, I want a team that wins 50+ games for 15 years and is always in the mix.

    4. ephus

      Although it stung to read it yesterday, I must admit to being a Phil Jackson “fanboy”. I have wanted him in the organization since he was coaching in Albany. I trust his judgment over mine. My primary argument is “count the rings.”

      I think “count the rings” is a more valid stance with a coach or FO than a single player. Definitely not a deep statistical analysis.

      Please click on my name to get to my blog.

    5. chrisk06811

      I love that we have so many different people writing for knickerbocker now, but will Jim C be coming back? He was by far my favorite.

    6. tastycakes

      @3 the east is as wide open as it has ever been. No need to tank.

      I don’t even mean that you necessarily need to “tank.” I also don’t think the Melo deal is necessarily horrible — well, it’s not horrible financially, but it’s kind of horrible because of the no-trade clause.

      I do mean that the team should stockpile young assets, acquire picks when possible, and *keep their own damn picks* basically always.

      I don’t want to just swing for the fences by constantly reshuffling the deck, I want a team that has lasting, sustained success.

    7. johnlocke

      Recent contract moves that crippled this team much worse than Melo’s previous or current contract..
      1. signing Amare Stoudemire for $100M with no insurance given history of knee injuries
      2. amnestying Chauncey Billups, instead of Amare
      3. signing Andrea Bargnani
      4. signing Tyson Chandler to a huge deal, instead of waiting for Chris Paul (true superstar)
      5. making dumb public statements that we will resign Lin at all costs, creating poison pill contract to be given by Rockets

      * All of the above are much, much worse than signing one of the Top 7 – 25 (depending on your metric), not over-reliant on athleticism and non-injury prone players in the NBA to a max contract, even with the no trade clause. I mean…”we need to look at that”

    8. JK47

      All of the above are much, much worse than signing one of the Top 7 – 25 (depending on your metric), not over-reliant on athleticism and non-injury prone players in the NBA to a max contract, even with the no trade clause.

      Those moves are seem much, much worse because we have the benefit of looking at them in hindsight, and we now know what all of those moves cost us in the long run. We don’t know the opportunity cost of signing Mega Max Melo yet.

    9. Farfa

      I profoundly disagree with no. 4, also. Paul would have never come here, and Tyson gave us two superb season before he mailed it in the last one. And no. 1 is true at 50%, since the other 50% is MDA’s fault. If he plays Amar’e 31 MPG that first year maybe we’re not talking about a limping Stoudemire. The Bargs trade, though…

    10. johnlocke

      I disagree. You didn’t need a crystal ball to see that 1 – 5 were bad decisions. Perhaps the most defensible is signing Chandler, but the rest were poor decisions at the time, and now, not just in hindsight. On the same basis (now, not hindsight) signing Melo is a much less risky / careless proposition than all the other moves above.

    11. johnlocke

      @ 10 .. that one is the most defensible…but why do you think Paul would have never come to NY?

      Tyson gave us two superb regular seasons and two atrocious, viral/injury ridden playoffs.

    12. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      I think that the guys at Boxscoregeeks have debunked the “tanking is good” argument pretty well. The Mavs and Spurs have been model organizations that never, ever tank. (The Duncan lottery is not a valid counterargument. That’s not tanking; that’s luck.)

      The Knicks shouldn’t tank. They should sign productive players. They should draft players that can be reasonably expected to be productive in the NBA. They will never hit 100% success rate in either of those endeavors, but you don’t need to get there to win consistently. Intelligent, forward-thinking and productive player evaluation is totally foreign to most NBA front offices.

    13. Farfa

      but why do you think Paul would have never come to NY?

      Because, fortuitously or not, the situation in LA was very good for him and last year there was no doubt about his resigning. Granted, last season Tyson was a waste of talent (which I can’t condone but I can understand) but all we could have had instead was maybe a huge cap void or a god-forbid-it Andrew Bynum signing!

      Intelligent, forward-thinking and productive player evaluation is totally foreign to most NBA front offices.

      *Points in general direction towards Milwaukee and Brooklyn*

    14. johnlocke

      @13..– what you’re saying makes a lot of sense and I find myself agreeing. But what about the fact that every modern NBA team that has won a championship has drafted a once in a generation talent ….and then did what you say. How do you get to ever get a #1-#3 pick if you aren’t ever awful, but just merely good and not great consistently?

      Maybe Houston can add a third non-home grown star and buck the trend? The only outlier to the above is the Detroit Pistons…they acquired much of their best players (billups, hamilton, prince) not via the draft and lucked into an undrafted player (ben wallace) having an all-star season

    15. lavor postell

      I think that the guys at Boxscoregeeks have debunked the “tanking is good” argument pretty well. The Mavs and Spurs have been model organizations that never, ever tank. (The Duncan lottery is not a valid counterargument. That’s not tanking; that’s luck.)

      The Knicks shouldn’t tank. They should sign productive players. They should draft players that can be reasonably expected to be productive in the NBA. They will never hit 100% success rate in either of those endeavors, but you don’t need to get there to win consistently. Intelligent, forward-thinking and productive player evaluation is totally foreign to most NBA front offices.

      Great post

    16. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      The problem is that those once-in-a-generation players are claimed to come far more than once-in-a-generation.

      If a sure thing were a sure thing, the #1 pick wouldn’t have been claimed by the same team 3 of the last 4 years. Irving didn’t save their team. Bennett didn’t save their team.

      Having a high draft pick gives you more options, but NBA teams have shown time after time that they have no idea how to choose the right option.

    17. d-mar

      Well, the Sixers are blazing new trails in tanking, and may end up with another top 5 pick this year, so I guess 4-5 years from now we should revisit this and see how successful they are.

      My gut tells me they’ll be the Bobcats or the Kings but what do I know?

    18. johnlocke

      @ 17… fair point. That’s the risk of tanking… you have to a) hope to stink bad enough to get in the lottery, 2) get a top 3 pick, 3) have a generational talent, true superstar in the making in the draft, and 4) actually select that draft pick and then 5) make him happy to ensure he doesn’t bolt to the Lakers or some other big market…or be lucky enough to have that guy actually be from the city to which you’re drafting him (Lebron, Rose)

      That’s 5 things that can go wrong, with just the draft, not to mention the rebuild of the rest of the roster. At the end of the day, skill is important, but I think we all underestimate, how important luck is (and yes, I know you have to put yourself in the position to take advantage of being lucky)

    19. GoNyGoNYGo

      @3 tastycakes
      Sorry, but you can’t compare baseball and basketball like that. Every NBA player, because of roster size, is so much more important than a baseball player. An elite baseball player cannot carry his team like an elite basketball player. That’s the crux of the entire debate. Melo isn’t a problem. Finding the right pieces to surround him with is the challenge.

    20. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      I think they got the best player in each of the last two drafts, but it’s worrisome to lose year 1 of two consecutive contracts to injury. It’s possible that Embiid and Noel are the 2016 NBA Champion’s frontcourt, but I’d be worried about only getting two years out of them before having to pay the first contract extension (in good will) followed by a max deal. You really want to milk those rookie contracts.

      Plus, they’re young, so you probably pay a premium for their prime years instead of having them locked up under rookie contracts between 22 and 26. But that’s more an issue of the current one-and-done generation. Damn highly-skilled, low-supply workers and their desire to get paid…

    21. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      @19

      There you go. No way to manage all that risk except in disciplined moves at every turn.

      Look at the Rockets. Win the draft lottery, pick a sure-thing. Everything looks great. They couldn’t control Yao’s foot. They could control not giving a 32-year-old Juwan Howard 2500+ minutes.

    22. thenamestsam

      I think that the guys at Boxscoregeeks have debunked the “tanking is good” argument pretty well.

      I would love to see this article. Link? All I found by googling was a few pieces that pointed out that your chances of drafting a superstar are relatively low (obviously) but no comparison of the strategy with other options. Have they done something better?

    23. tastycakes

      The Spurs and Mavs haven’t been mired in rebuilds because they both lucked into generational talents. But the Mavs were *TERRIBLE* for a long time before Dirk, and they wouldn’t have gotten Dirk or Nash without playing the lottery game. The Spurs are even luckier because they had the Admiral in the decade leading up to Duncan.

      Even with the Spurs perceived (and deserved) organizational excellence over the past 15 years, if they don’t luck into Duncan, it’s not clear that any amount of subsequent moves would have moved the needle enough to stay the course as much as they did. Similar with the Mavs and Dirk.

      I agree with Cock and that the only real way to build sustained success is by making intelligent front office decisions (seems like a bit of a truism, but whatever).

      My specific point is YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR PICKS AND DEVELOP YOUNG TALENT. It is not worth sacrificing medium term success for short term incremental gambles, which the Knicks previous administrations have done over (Marbury) and over (Curry) and over (Bargnani) again.

    24. thenamestsam

      That doesn’t seem like a very rigorous study of the issue. Regression to the mean is obviously dominating the data (no surprises there, but unfortunately useless in terms of appropriate teambuilding strategy), and that the best way to be a good team is to already be good and that most bad teams stay bad (ditto the above, not surprising or useful). This study obviously debunks the notion that tanking is a foolproof strategy but nobody with half a brain thinks that in the first place. I’d hardly call that a debunking of the idea of “tanking” except in the sense that it definitely proves that if you want to be good next year you’re much better off being really good than really bad this year. Thanks Box Score Geeks!

    25. tastycakes

      #24, thanks for the link but it seems to support the argument that “bad teams are likely to stay bad” and “good teams are likely to stay good” without specifically examining tanking as an explicit strategy. I’d bet pretty strongly on Philly having a contender in the 5-10 year timeframe because they committed to the tank strategy AND are making good decisions with their high draft picks.

      Simply aggregating all data about team historical performance over time clouds the picture, I think. There are plenty of historically bad teams that don’t get better over time, in spite of repeated draft picks, because the people running the teams don’t know what the hell they are doing. Knicks fans have plenty of experience with this.

      I’d argue that tanking can work well, if your front office makes good decisions, which again just leads us back to the primary factor here, which is talent evaluation and asset acquisition.

    26. bobneptune

      I don’t want a team that can luck into the Conference Finals at the back end of a star’s career, I want a team that wins 50+ games for 15 years and is always in the mix.

      @3

      I don’t think you have much to worry about with Phil. His first acts as GM were to move a disgruntled high salaried player for a year old 19th pick and 2 draft choices (along with a pg vast upgrade) as well as NOT including Shump and/or THjr in an Amar’e/Bargs swap.

      Very promising, IMO

    27. tastycakes

      #29, it was an encouraging first move, for sure. It’s going to take time to get the full verdict.

      I am of the belief that Melo’s best years have come playing with a point guard who can run an offense, and the change from Felton to Calderon will make a big difference this year.

      I am mixed on move #2 — the Melo contract — I think he could have been signed for less $, but also don’t think his presence/contract precludes building a true contender. It carries risk though, if he gets hurt or declines rapidly, the Knicks will be bad again quickly. Melo is a very good player, but I don’t believe he’s a generational superstar and I think you usually need one to win it all.

    28. thenamestsam

      https://vine.co/v/Mx9Fg3POT3m

      could be fun watching this guy develop …

      Ignoring the question of what they should do, as a Basketball fan I really hope they don’t deal him for Love. It’s such a good situation for him to develop (and he obviously still needs a lot of development), and he should be so fun playing next to Lebron. It was a shame that Wade’s disintegrating knees killed the crazy fun of Miami fast breaks, but Kyrie, Lebron and Wiggins running the break should be awfully good.

    29. lavor postell

      It was a shame that Wade’s disintegrating knees killed the crazy fun of Miami fast breaks

      I was ok with that.

      I agree with you though and with what Simmons said at the top of the column. That deal isn’t going anywhere. If a month or two into the season they don’t see much of anything from Wiggins they can still make the deal for Love.

    30. Z-man

      Jowles, I agree with your premise. It comes down to making many more good moves than bad, not making the BIG mistake, and always being in position to improve the team with a deal. I would add that unless you have a stacked team, coaching does matter somewhat. The Spurs winning so much for so long is a combination of good player moves, good coaching and good cap situation. But you don’t win without good players, so that has to come first.

    31. Zanzibar

      Cleveland receives……..Love/Bledsoe
      Phoenix receives………..Peckovic/Thompson/Waiters/Cav draft pick
      Minnesota receives…….Kyrie Irving/Len/Bennett/Cav draft picks(s)

      Everybody’s happy! Right?

    32. Robtachi

      Although it stung to read it yesterday, I must admit to being a Phil Jackson “fanboy”. I have wanted him in the organization since he was coaching in Albany. I trust his judgment over mine. My primary argument is “count the rings.”

      I think “count the rings” is a more valid stance with a coach or FO than a single player. Definitely not a deep statistical analysis.

      I would say it’s more valid when you’re talking about having 13 of them, as opposed to a couple. The dude knows what championship basketball looks like.

    33. dtrickey

      I can appreciate the sentiment getting around today about rebuilding and the disdain for the way the organisation has been run over the last decade. I more than anyone would love to see the Knicks invest in some lottery pick guys and make them “home grown” ala Ewing. I know over here in Australia with our football league there’s a big emphasis on growing talent through the draft, so there’s a real “these are our guys vibe”. It’s only been in the last few years that they have loosened up the ability for players to change teams easier, but players more or less tend to stick around.

      However, I digress. What I will say is that it’s kind of pointless aiming for a Spurs type of situation. Sure you can model a rebuild on what they’ve done, but there’s also a lot of luck in play. I think culture is a huge factor in it as well. Problem is with a lot of franchises is that there is a constant overhaul of personal. You look at teams like the Spurs, whose culture that is second to none largely due to the people driving the organisation. I think PJ and Fish have a good sense of this so it will be interesting to see how they look to improve that aspect of the Knicks.

      Also, I am not completely convinced on the tanking philosophy. Yeah it’s great to have butt loads of lottery picks, but if you’re rolling out a team of rookies and getting destroyed night in and night out that’s pretty rough. You need decent vets to lead on the court and in the locker room. Charlotte are a perfect example of this. I think you really need to strike a healthy balance between rebuilding through the draft and through FA which is easier said than done, thus making what the Spurs have achieved over the last 15 years even more impressive.

    34. Brian Cronin

      4. signing Tyson Chandler to a huge deal, instead of waiting for Chris Paul (true superstar)

      As others have noted, Chris Paul wasn’t coming. That’s specifically why they made the Chandler deal.

      A. They had already traded all their tradeable assets for Melo, so they couldn’t acquire Paul from New Orleans
      B. They did not have the cap room to offer Paul a max contract and he wasn’t going to…
      1. Wait a year to sign with the Knicks and then also
      2. Take a huge discount to join the Knicks, especially since…
      a. Neither Melo nor STAT left any money on the table themselves, so now suddenly the best player of the three is supposed to take the huge pay cut?

      It had no chance of happening, so the Knicks went to the back-up plan of getting a very good player who they had enough money left to be the top bidders for, which was Chandler.

      That move was not a bad one. It just all stemmed from the previous terrible move from caving in completely on the Melo deal.

    35. MeloDrama

      Things like the Knicks giving up draft picks for Barge, then drawing the line at doing the same for a legitimately good player like Lowry sums up this mess.

    36. Brian Cronin

      One area where you should give Jackson some credit (or perhaps Dolan is the one who should be getting the credit) is that while I don’t like the deal he signed Melo to, I did appreciate the way that Jackson at least wouldn’t sign and trade Melo to Chicago for a pu-pu platter, essentially saying “I don’t believe that you’ll actually go to Los Angeles or take a pay cut to go to Chicago, so it’s either sign with us or call our bluff. I’m not signing and trading you for garbage.”

      Of course, following that logic, he likely could have gotten an even better deal (like the aforementioned 5 years/$115 million deal) but still, it is a nice to know that there’s at least one Knick executive who can keep a poker face (or, if you prefer, at least one Knick exec that Dolan wil leave alone). Just bad flashbacks of how badly they caved on Melo in 2011 when that dude was not going to Brooklyn.

    37. Donnie Walsh

      Sure you can model a rebuild on what they’ve done, but there’s also a lot of luck in play

      In order to have good luck, you need to put yourself in a position to have good luck. To win, you have to play.

      Luck has nothing to do with the Knicks problems. They make bad decisions which preclude them from having any luck at all, good or bad. Trading draft picks and young players on cheap contracts for old players with huge contracts is a huge part of what we do here. So the only luck at play for us is hoping that those players that we trade away don’t improve, or that the draft picks aren’t very good.

      (So, I suppose we got lucky that Mike Sweetney continued to eat, and that Tyrus Thomas was a bust, and Gallinari got injured, but that’s luck that doesn’t really help much… It’s kind of a “sunk luck”.)

    38. Brian Cronin

      Aldridge went with the Knicks’ pick. The Bulls just foolishly traded him for Thomas.

    39. Donnie Walsh

      Okay, thanks Brian– can you replace the Tyrus Thomas example with a better one for me in #42. (I think you get what I’m going for there:)

    40. Brian Cronin

      Well, I still think that sort of counts – the Bulls got the Knicks’ pick but then screwed it up, so I think it fits your point.

    41. ephus

      ESPN is repeated Chris Brousard’s report that Cleveland has agreed to trade Wiggins for Love. The salaries work if they also send Bennett and Dellavedova (or Carrick Felix).

    42. Brian Cronin

      As a quick aside, I remember the one guy I was scared of the Bulls getting all season long was Noah, as I thought he’d be a top three pick for sure. I was so pumped when he went back to school. And then the Bulls get him the next year with a worse pick! Argh!!!

      I was also worried about Aldridge, and I was so pleased that the Bulls didn’t get the #1 pick because I thought Aldridge was going #1. Luckily, they screwed up and traded him for Thomas (and some other stuff that didn’t really matter).

    43. Brian Cronin

      ESPN is repeated Chris Brousard’s report that Cleveland has agreed to trade Wiggins for Love. The salaries work if they also send Bennett and Dellavedova (or Carrick Felix).

      Bold move. Very impressed with the Cavs. Klay Thompson better be awesome for Golden State this year or they will look soooooooo dumb.

    44. ephus

      If there ever is a time to trade away a “cheap” high ceiling rookie like Wiggins, it is when you have a transcendent player who is about to turn 30. I like this trade for Cleveland, even recognizing that Wiggins could turn out to be the next Scottie Pippin.

      Anyone who has been agitating for the Knicks to hold onto picks dislike this trade?

    45. johnlocke

      @ Brian… Or Ephus

      If we had amnestied Amare instead of Billups and not signed Chandler, would we not have had room for Paul?

    46. ephus

      If the Timberwolves get Wiggins, they have to save the five year extension for him. No matter how much Rubio improves this year, he is not going to get the 5 year deal. Kahn’s decision not to use the 5 year max on Love in order to save it for Rubio looks even worse.

    47. Brian Cronin

      If the Timberwolves get Wiggins, they have to save the five year extension for him. No matter how much Rubio improves this year, he is not going to get the 5 year deal. Kahn’s decision not to use the 5 year max on Love in order to save it for Rubio looks even worse.

      Very true on both points. Stupid Kahn.

    48. ephus

      @ Brian… Or Ephus

      If we had amnestied Amare instead of Billups and not signed Chandler, would we not have had room for Paul?

      Yes, but
      1. Amar’e was coming off of a great regular season and no one expected his back issues to sideline him the next season.
      2. New Orleans was not going to hold Chris Paul to the end of the season. They were definitely going to trade him to a team where Chris Paul would agree to waive his ETO.
      3. The Knicks had virtually no assets to give to New Orleans for Chris Paul in a trade.

    49. Brian Cronin

      If we had amnestied Amare instead of Billups and not signed Chandler, would we not have had room for Paul?

      Yes, they would have had room for Paul.

      That said, I don’t have as much of a problem with the Billups deal, honestly, since they specifically told him that they would pick up his option as part of the Melo deal, as he was threatening to not report to New York and just retire on the spot if they didn’t do so (like so many things in the Melo deal, it was a blatant bluff that the Knicks were too foolish not to call). And once they agreed to do so, while they were not legally required to do so, that would have been such a large breach of NBA etiquette that I don’t think any other team would ever do otherwise. So again, it came back to how badly they caved on everything in that Melo deal.

    50. Brian Cronin

      Yes, but
      1. Amar’e was coming off of a great regular season and no one expected his back issues to sideline him the next season.
      2. New Orleans was not going to hold Chris Paul to the end of the season. They were definitely going to trade him to a team where Chris Paul would agree to waive his ETO.
      3. The Knicks had virtually no assets to give to New Orleans for Chris Paul in a trade.

      You’re absolutely correct about 1 and 3, but I think that there’s a case to be made that if the Knicks had the cap room to sign Paul the next season that #2 would not have happened, as he could have refused to waive the ETO, knowing that he could wait a year and join the Knicks.

    51. ephus

      Actually, I fault the Knicks for not daring Billups (pre-trade) to go ahead and retire. Larry Coon sets forth the options available to the Knicks here.

      Bottom line: Knicks could have dared Billups to forego his salary and stay out of the league for at least one year. If he had done so, Billups’ salary would have come off of the salary cap.

    52. Brian Cronin

      Oh, I completely agree. That’s what I meant by them failing to call his obvious bluff.

      What I mean is that when they caved initially, they were basically “stuck” with picking up the option. What I am disputing is the view that you often see that the Knicks had a choice during the offseason on whether to pick up Billups’ option or not and they decided to pick it up. There was no choice. It had already been decided.

    53. Brian Cronin

      Man, it really was disappointing to see 3/5 of the Grantland writers argue against trading Wiggins for Love. Luckily Knickerblogger fan favorite netw3rk was right on point, as per usual. Andrew Sharp had perhaps the best point, though, which was a very simple, “What are the other teams in the East hoping that the Cavs do?” And the answer is absolutely “Don’t trade Wiggins for Love and become a super team.”

    54. JK47

      Anyone who has been agitating for the Knicks to hold onto picks dislike this trade?

      Cleveland is in a different situation, because they already have the best player in the world, and they should absolutely go into “win now” mode. Andrew Wiggins is 19 and was not even a great player in college, so of course you trade him for an outstanding player like Love. No brainer.

    55. Brian Cronin

      I am not against trading draft picks, but I think you should just have a strict rule about trading them – only trade first rounders if you are already a very good team.

      To wit, my problem with the Bargs trade was not the first round pick but that it was a first round pick for a bad player. That was the crazy part, not trading the first round pick. As it turned out, I was mistaken and the Knicks were not a very good team despite coming off of a 54-win season, but that’s the type of risk I’m cool with. I was okay with dealing the 2014 first rounder for Melo, as well. The 2016 swap was too much, though, on top of everything else

      Trading first round picks when you’re way under .500 is a terrible idea that should not be done (except for extreme circumstances like trading for Lebron, Durant, Davis or Chris Paul when he was younger). You can’t trade first rounders on the hope that you’ll improve from a way sub .500 team to a playoff team. That way lies madness.

    56. ephus

      My point, and I do have one, is that it is foolish to have an inflexible rule, “Never trade a draft pick or strong player on a rookie contract for a veteran on a Max contract.” Rather, the rule should be,”Only trade a draft pick or strong player on a rookie contract if (1) there is a serious likelihood that the veteran would bring a championship and (2) the veteran is likely to stay for his next contract.”

      My rule would have blessed the Clippers’ acquisition of Chris Paul, unlike the inflexible rule.

      So I think the Bargnani trade was a failure of talent evaluation, not philosophy. If Bargnani really was a great stretch 4/5, it would not be crazy to think he could have moved the Knicks from 54 wins to title contender. What was crazy (and I plead guilty) was believing that Bargnani was a great (or even competent) player.

    57. dtrickey

      In order to have good luck, you need to put yourself in a position to have good luck. To win, you have to play.

      Luck has nothing to do with the Knicks problems. They make bad decisions which preclude them from having any luck at all, good or bad.

      I agree to most. You absolutely make your own luck, and the Knicks incompetence is a huge contributor to where the organisation has been at in recent times. No doubt guys like RC Buford are good operators and there fortune is a result of their competence. However, there are plenty of instances where teams have had high picks or made good trades on paper, and for whatever reason they haven’t worked out. Same can be said for drafting All-Stars in the 2nd round. It’s a gamble no matter how good a FO you have. If it pays of you look like a genius, if not…well see Knicks circa 2001-present.

    58. yellowboy90

      so will the salaries have to match in the clevland/minny trade? I’d imagine that Martin and maybe Bundinger will be included so how can the Cavs match Minny’s outgoing salary or will Cle just get one giant TPE?

    59. ephus

      Salaries will have to match. I doubt Martin will be part of the deal because the Cavs do not have the salaries to make the deal work unless they send out Waiters and Thompson.

    60. Brian Cronin

      My point, and I do have one, is that it is foolish to have an inflexible rule, “Never trade a draft pick or strong player on a rookie contract for a veteran on a Max contract.” Rather, the rule should be,”Only trade a draft pick or strong player on a rookie contract if (1) there is a serious likelihood that the veteran would bring a championship and (2) the veteran is likely to stay for his next contract.”

      My rule would have blessed the Clippers’ acquisition of Chris Paul, unlike the inflexible rule.

      So I think the Bargnani trade was a failure of talent evaluation, not philosophy. If Bargnani really was a great stretch 4/5, it would not be crazy to think he could have moved the Knicks from 54 wins to title contender. What was crazy (and I plead guilty) was believing that Bargnani was a great (or even competent) player.

      Yeah, I agree with all that.

    61. max fisher-cohen

      I think some people here are misdefining risk. A team’s goal in the NBA is to win titles. Therefore, unless your team has a title chance, in and of itself, tanking is risk free. You don’t receive a handicap in following seasons if you win the lottery.

      Now, there are risks to trading players or waiving players or refusing to use cap space. You might potentially miss an opportunity to sign a player at a bargain if you dogmatically refuse to spend in an attempt to make your roster bad enough to lose 65 games. You might lose a guy signed to a deal under market value.

      But I don’t see that possibility for the Knicks. If you say best case scenario the Knicks are title contenders in 2016/17, what players would the Knicks have to give up in order to tank that would be on below market contracts in two years? Here’s what they’d probably have to do to compete in the tank race:

      1) Sign and trade Melo. There’s a decent chance that with the new TV deal, Melo’s contract will get you some surplus value. However, he’ll never be a great value. A couple mid first rounders probably get you the same surplus value of Melo’s best case scenario. Just removing Melo probably dumps the Knicks down to around 30 wins.

      2) JR Smith. His contract will expire in summer 2016. Want him? Sign him then. Now we’re at, say, 26 wins.

      3) Iman Shumpert. Expiring in the summer. Won’t get a max contract. Want him? Overpay him. You’ll have to anyway if you don’t trade him. Plus, Shumpert has some trade value to “win now” teams.

      Now we’re at 24 wins, maybe. Throw in an emphasis on playing young players, and you’ve got yourself down to the teens.

      The Knicks have no cap space this summer, so it’s not like they’re missing out on the next Paul Millsap contract. I fail to see any risk here. The 2015 lotto pick could decide to become a country singer and abandon basketball, and the Knicks would be in more or less the same position they’d be in had they not tanked.

    62. Brian Cronin

      Poking around on a Cavs blog (Fear the Sword). Them some seriously deluded people.

      How so? Is it one of those things where they think they can get Love for, like, Bennett and Waiters?

    63. DRed

      Obviously, lots of opinions, but generally they seemed unhappy with the proposed trade. 2 months ago your team was a joke. This deal makes you the favorite to get to the finals from the east.

      And there was one guy who wouldn’t make the deal if it meant giving up Waiters. Then I had to stop reading.

    64. Owen

      I love this blog. Been on fire the last week.

      I’d like to write three thousand words but will just leave it there, I think everyone knows what I would have said anyway.

    65. DRed

      Shane Larkin looks like a solid player. Tiny, but might be able to be a good backup/change of pace PG. His Dad is smooth on the microphone too.

    66. Brian Cronin

      I’m shocked by how well his dad has translated into announcing. He seemed like a nice, but bland guy when he was a player but he’s been really good as an announcer.

    67. BigBlueAL

      Barry Larkin has been working on Baseball Tonight for the past few years so he should feel pretty comfortable on the mic.

    68. yellowboy90

      I want Larkin to spend everyday with Pablo. Turn Larkin into a little pest but quicker, faster, and more willing to shoot open shots.

    69. Brian Cronin

      The Larkin stuff just made me think about the Mavs for a sec. Parsons more than makes up for the loss of Carter but I wonder how the Mavs will deal with the loss of Marion if he goes elsewhere. I suppose Chandler sort of replaces him, right?

      Harris
      Ellis
      Parsons
      Dirk
      Chandler

      That’s an interesting team. My issue with them is that Harris and Felton seem like a shaky duo at the point.

    70. iserp

      That’s an interesting team. My issue with them is that Harris and Felton seem like a shaky duo at the point.

      I guess they plan on Ellis playing heavy minutes at PG.

    71. Brian Cronin

      I just read that they’re interested in Mo Williams, so I think that you’re basically correct, in the sense that Ellis will handle the ball most of the time, but I think they’re still looking for another steady PG.

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