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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Knicks-Rockets-Kings Trade – A Three Blogger Look

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Sacramento Kings have struck a deal. For the Knicks, it is another step in the plan initiated by Donnie Walsh to curb foolish spending and aim towards free agency. For the Rockets, it is the dawn of a new day, the divorce from an era, and perhaps one of the greatest hauls in franchise history. For the Kings it is space for their rising star Tyreke Evans with regards to the court and perhaps a superstar to team him with. Ironically all teams make this swap looking to the future, but requiring different elements to do so. Mike Kurylo of KnickerBlogger.Net, Rahat Huq of Red94.Net, and Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom get together to discuss the teams, the players, and the ramifications of the deal.

To the Rockets
Kevin Martin – $44 million left, expires in 2013
Jordan Hill –  $5.1 million left, expires in 2012 (team option for 2014)
Jared Jeffries – $13.3 million left, expires in 2011
Option to Swap 1st round with NYK in 2011 (top 1 protection)
NYK 2012 1st round pick (top 5 protection)

To the Kings
Carl Landry – $3 million left, expires in 2010 (team options for $3 million for 2011 season)
Joey Dorsey – $1.7 million left, expires in 2011 (team option for $1 million for 2012 season), partially guaranteed in 2011 season
Larry Hughes -$13.7 million left, expires in 2010

To the Knicks
Tracy McGrady – $22.8 million left, expires in 2010
Sergio Rodriguez -$1.6M, expires in 2010 (team option for $2.3M in 2011)

Zach: Kevin Martin was in a lose-lose situation once we saw a glimpse into just what Tyreke Evans could be (November 7th road win in Utah). Martin was going to have to comeback perfectly and he certainly didn’t do so. Upon his return, he struggled with his own scoring at a time in which the Kings were starting to collapse. Martin’s greatest strength has always been getting to the line for easy points and this year he’s only been getting there seven times per game (7.2 fta/36). While seven free throw attempts seems like a lot for most players, it’s the lowest total he’s averaged in four years. That’s what Kevin Martin does; he scores easy points. He finds open spots on the floor, runs off of high screens perfectly and tosses up that funny looking jump shot. You expect it to clank off the side of the backboard because of the shooting motion. Instead, it usually rips through the net as part of the quietest most efficient 25 points per game you’ll see on a nightly basis. He struggled to do that this year on Tyreke Evans’ team. It turned into a treasonous act in the minds of some Kings fans who probably never thought he’d actually be traded. 

Rahat: I think Martin’s skillset will fit beautifully into this Rockets team’s motion offense.  While he isn’t the creating wing I felt this team needs, he will be a huge boost to this offense.  

In Carl Landry, the Kings are receiving one of the most effective inside scorers in the league (career TS% of .630) and the probable 6th-man of the year. Landry is a tireless worker.  He relentlessly attacks the offensive glass.  However, he is a poor defensive rebounder and his totals have been trending downwards. 

The evolution of Carl’s offensive repertoire has been startling.  He came into the league as merely a garbageman, using his extreme athleticism to hang around the basket for easy openings off of passes from Tracy McGrady.  But his athleticism has declined since that rookie season as he re-aggravated a serious injury from college.  While he is still athletic, he no longer appears freakish like he once did.  In his second year, Landry showed off an ability to face up and take his man off the dribble and developed a deadly mid-range jumper.  Due to his size, we thought this would be the extent of his capabilities.  The real surprise has come this year as Carl is now a very effective post scorer, showing off an arsenal of fadeaway jumpers and hooks off of either block.  He has struggled against fronting and double teams in recent weeks but it is unclear whether this is merely due to unfamiliarity with these new approaches.  

Finally, Carl has never been a good defender.  Though he is described as ‘physical’, he does not hold his ground well in the post and is easily mauled over by larger power forwards.  He is also a poor shot-blocker.

Mike: Rahat, earlier in the season you said McGrady “has looked bad” and that “he’s not helping” the Rockets. Do you think he’ll help the Knicks?

Rahat: Overall, he looked bad.  However, this was quite some time ago.  It’s anyone’s guess right now if the struggles were due to permanent physical regression or rust/the natural readjustment after surgery.  He was still surprisingly effective as an individual defender, never really getting beat laterally.  (This was pretty odd as he seemed to have little to no explosion offensively.)  The problem for us was that this Rockets team wins through pace and hustle.  McGrady was too slow to keep up on the break and made little effort to help defensively – that wasn’t going to cut it here.  It’s tough to say whether he will help the Knicks because there is the possibility that he was able to work off more of the rust during his latest hiatus.  I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.  His days as a frontline star are over, but I think he can still be a factor, situationally. 

Mike: If you were D’Antoni, how would you use him in the offense?

Rahat: I’m not completely familiar with the Knicks’ offense so I can only assess McGrady’s capabilities.  Primarily what he brings, contrary to popular belief, is passing.  For McGrady, the passing will always be there – he’s the best passing wing this league has ever seen, rivaled only by James.  It was remarkable to see that even in his regressed state, he could still effectively create plays for his teammates.  Just absolutely remarkable.  He can hold the ball at the key, in stationary position, and blindly hit cutters without needing to actually beat his man off the dribble.  He also never makes mistakes.  It’s never been mentioned, but as far as court IQ, he’s in the league’s top 99th percentile. 

As for the rest of his game:

He can still create space for his jumper because he is so incredibly skilled/coordinated: he uses a jab step-left to free himself for his pet shot at the elbow.  Unfortunately, he is not a good shooter (TS% of .487% in his last healthy season; bottom 5th in league) so this is not an aspect of his game one’s offense would want to feature. 

Interestingly, while most of his shots come in motion off his own dribble, he might actually be a far better set shooter.  He looked very good on the few set shots he took last year, but he rarely attempts them.  We will also need to see how much lift he has on his shot upon return, because for McGrady, that is crucial.  He has looked flat in recent years and that has contributed to his drastic decline. 

Moving on, McGrady struggles scoring off the catch/curl/cut.  In fact, he is the antithesis of a “willing cutter.”  To be effective, he has to have the ball in his hands. 

Mike: As I said earlier, one way I would advocate the Knicks acquiring McGrady was if he were able to push Duhon to the bench. Duhon has just killed New York this year, especially with regards to scoring in the paint – going as far as passing up open layups. Honestly I think Duhon is probably the worst NBA player I’ve ever seen with regards to scoring inside. 

With that in mind, how has McGrady been with respect to:
1. Scoring inside?
2. Playing point guard?

Rahat:

1. Scoring inside – even when healthy, scoring inside has been Tracy McGrady’s achilles heel since I have been following him.  Hard to believe because we all remember the dunks from his younger days.  As he has aged, most likely out of fear, he just simply avoids driving to the basket at all costs.  This includes the 4th quarter of Game 7’s with opponents in the penalty.  If you look at my game analysis during his return, he did valiantly try to drive to the hole on certain occasions, much more aggressively than in years past, most likely in hopes of assuaging the concerns of watching eyes.  The problem was that he simply did not have even a modicum of explosion.  As I said earlier, that could possibly change as the leg builds strength, but his fear of contact will not.  Even moreso than help defense, inside scoring is the last thing one can hope to expect from Tracy McGrady.

2. Playing point guard – At this point in Tracy’s career, based on what I saw in those games, I think he can only be effective in this league as a point guard.  He doesn’t shoot well enough to justify a role at the ‘2.’  If he’s on the court, to offset some of the negatives, you want to be utilizing his passing for a net gain.  So I could see him as sort of an extreme-new-age version of Ron Harper (of Chicago Bulls three-peat fame) going forward. 

There’s two problems: 1) I’m still not sure it would work unless it was Fratello’s Cavs.  Tracy won’t push the pace.  For this reason, you could use him off the bench, but I don’t see it happening as a starter.  2) He doesn’t have a prayer against 1’s defensively.  You would need to mask that by pairing him with a 2 capable of taking those duties.  In his return, I never saw him get beat laterally, but this was in defending bulky small forwards.  It won’t work against NBA point guards.

Mike: The Knicks defensive schemes have a lot of switching, so individual match-ups don’t matter as much. However New York just traded three guys that could have played alongside McGrady well. Jared Jeffries, Nate Robinson, and Larry Hughes all could have guarded the point guard position, allowing T-Mac to run the offense while  defending a wing. Additionally Jeffries/Hughes would have given New York a lengthy lineup, while Nate Robinson could have been inserted alongside T-Mac as a shooting guard and be freed of trying to play point. 

Duhon has been the Achilles Heel on offense, but the problem is no one else was able to step up. D’Antoni tried Hughes and Robinson, but the coach has little patience with shooting guards masquerading as points. With McGrady as possibility at point guard, and adding Sergio Rodriguez, perhaps D’Antoni can end Duhon’s stranglehold on the starting spot. 

Zach: Sergio Rodriguez will be perfect for a team like New York that has nothing of substance at the point guard position. He pushes the tempo, pulls passes out of orifices and finds a way to make a positive impact. He’s the Kings leader in +/- this year and it’s legit. When he’s on the court, he makes things happen. Is he going to be able to defend anybody? Not a chance. Not to mention, his jumper is suspect. But he is a facilitator that will be fun to watch for Knicks fans.

Rahat: Tell me about Jordan Hill.  Is this someone upon whom I can pin future hopes?  In my diligent investigations prior to the consummation of this deal, what I gathered led me to the conclusion that he most likely sucks.  Is this a fair assessment?  

Mike: I have to say I was very down on the drafting of Hill. A few statistical evaluations had him as being overrated by the scouts, and the Knicks sorely needed a point guard (see my rant on Duhon above). Hill is raw, which is a bit of a red flag for a guy that didn’t come out as a underclassmen. Watching him I’ve been slightly impressed compared to my low expectations, so I think the word “sucks” is a bit of a stretch. He certainly has the athleticism to be a good NBA player. Hill can rebound & block shots, and he does have an outside jumper.

The big problem is his inside scoring – he seems to shy away from the hoop and use fade aways instead of going strong. Even when he has a point blank shot, he’ll occasionally miss. It’s like Hill has no clue how to score in the paint. Additionally, he’s a little lost on the defensive end, but you expect that from any first year player. Off the top of my head, I’d say he’s a less heady and less polished Kurt Thomas. From the three minutes I spent interviewing him he’s a happy-go-lucky nice guy, which means he doesn’t have Kurt’s mean streak either.

Rahat: Henry Abbott wrote a piece earlier in the year on Jared Jeffries, describing his defensive impact on the court.  Is he a zero offensively?  Just how bad is he?  Perhaps even more importantly, does he know his limitations?  Offensively, there’s Shane Battier-bad and Trevor Ariza-bad.  The latter can be disastrous and painful to watch.

Mike: Jeffries has exactly one skill on the offensive side – rebounding. Earlier I said Chris Duhon is the worst NBA scorer in the paint I ever witnessed, well Jeffries is a close second. It’s baffling at 6-11 how many shots from point blank he’ll miss. Throw in the turnovers and he’s not a zero but rather a complete negative on that side of the court. Jeffries does seem to know this and often will pass up open opportunities, but I think the coaching staff is encouraging him to take open shots & drives. He’s been doing more of that this year, but without much success.

He does bring a lot on the defensive side, but don’t expect a lock down defender ala Ron Artest or a fly swatter like Josh Smith. Just a smart guy that will take a bunch of charges, can cover just about anybody, and will do more good than bad.

As for Larry Hughes, he can still defend on the wing a little, but his offense just isn’t there anymore. He had a hot streak earlier this year, and D’Antoni used him often. But once his luck vanished, so did his playing time. Perhaps he’ll get some burn in Sacramento and will finally be able to shave his beard. But I’m guessing for the Kings, this move isn’t about Larry Hughes.

Zach: I think the move has two huge components. The Kings now have great flexibility in the years before Tyreke Evans gets to start thinking extension. I know that’s a bit extreme considering we’re still in his rookie campaign but this franchise will be built around him and Geoff Petrie just got as close to a blank slate as he’s ever going to get. So yes, in a way this was largely a move for cap space. Secondly, the Kings just acquired their best low post scorer since Chris Webber (and he kept hanging around the elbow). Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes are full of potential and hope but Carl Landry is a guy that will get results. Not only does he produce in the post but he does it at a cheap price. At some point in the next year, Sacramento will get to decide if he is worth keeping, how much it will cost and where he fits into the core. And they get a nice window to judge everything properly. If they don’t think it will work out long-term there will be dozens and dozens of NBA teams wanting to acquire his Bird Rights and scoring ability. The Kings just became the biggest transaction player for the next year. That’s the biggest impact of all of this. 

Mike: You could argue that the Rockets got the best player in this deal. So how do you feel about it?

Rahat: I’m simply speechless right now.  I haven’t yet taken this all in.  It was a good deal when it was just, essentially, Landry for Martin.  But the Knicks’ part of our haul?  Daryl Morey might have just rebuilt this entire franchise in one swoop this afternoon.  I don’t think I can appropriately articulate the significance of this move in this space provided.  

Mike: Funny thing is that I’m not crazy about this trade from the Knicks perspective. I feel as if New York is paying too much for getting out of Jeffries’ contract, perhaps if it were the useless and more expensive Eddy Curry I would be OK with it. Sending any one of Jordan Hill, a first round pick, or an option to swap firsts seems reasonable to unload his contract. But all three seem to be overkill. On top of it, according to NBA salary cap expert Larry Coon, even with this trade New York can’t sign two max guys and keep David Lee. Perhaps being able to get a second near max guy (for ~ $14.8M) is the thing that puts them over the top for signing LeBron, but it’s an awful big risk. 

I know I’m in the minority with my opinion, and perhaps I’m more optimistic on the Knicks chances of grabbing a top free agent without this move. I’m not against moving Jeffries, obviously, I’m just against the cost. Here’s one final thing for Knick fans to consider: what does the team do with McGrady if he’s a good fit for D’Antoni’s offense? Do the Knicks consider re-signing him in the summer considering McGrady’s injury history? How much, or rather how little, will McGrady take to stay? Lots of things to keep New Yorkers buzzing while the other half of the league is in the playoffs.

110 comments on “Knicks-Rockets-Kings Trade – A Three Blogger Look

  1. Caleb

    Great conversation — the TrueHoop Network shows its value.

    It is a big gamble, but I am happier with the deal than you are… mainly because without it, we might not even be able to fit ONE max free agent, and David Lee. Which would also chase our odds of said max player, way down… There was a big opportunity cost to not doing it.

  2. jaddddd1

    I agree with Caleb, without this deal, the chances of luring LeBron or anyone else were slim. Now that we have the space to lure two of these guys to NY, it makes our chances that much better.

    What’s the starting lineup gonna look like when we take the floor against OKC Saturday night?

  3. TDM

    Great analysis guys.

    Mike – I agree with your assessment that the Knicks paid a “king’s ransom” (tomorrow’s headline) to jettison Jeffries.

    One positive note is that in 20 minutes we will know definitively whether the Knicks are going into next offseason with the most cap space out of any team in the NBA. The only spoilers could be Miami or New Jersey as I see it, and I don’t think they can get anything done in all likelihood.

  4. Brian Cronin

    Good stuff, Mike.

    Man, Morey really did make a great deal – when it was just Martin for Landry, it was sketchy, but Martin plus those picks? Amazing haul.

    I like the trade if only because, as someone else pointed out (was it you, Caleb?) that it’s worth paying the high cost just for the glimmer of the hope of having Lebron come here – and the Knicks now have a glimmer of hope.

  5. David Crockett

    Although I’m not crazy about the cost, does the inclusion of Rodriguez somewhat offset the loss of the 2012 pick Mike?

  6. Brian Cronin

    Although I’m not crazy about the cost, does the inclusion of Rodriguez somewhat offset the loss of the 2012 pick Mike?

    How can it when they’d have to give him up to have the cap room to get the two max free agents?

  7. latke

    I can’t see McGrady doing much this year. That doesn’t mean that he’s totally useless. It’s just that he has hardly played this year, and it takes a while for any player to recover from this kind of surgery, usually a full season. I think he’ll stick around the knicks on a 1-year contract after this year, perhaps minimum. After the knicks overpay for Joe Johnson and resign david lee, they’ll need some cheap veterans to solidify their 6-8th seed and first round loss in 2011 playoffs. They aren’t getting any draft picks for a while, after all. No point in not going all out for mediocrity.

  8. BigBlueAL

    Its gonna be hilarious when in the 2011 draft the Rockets and Knicks dont swap picks because the Rockets pick will be higher than the Knicks. Book it.

  9. Loathing

    Agreed. This is definitely one gamble we could not pass up on…what makes this easier to swallow is that there IS protection on these picks…(now how funny would it be if the Knicks won the lottery in 2011 only to enter a lockout?)

  10. BigBlueAL

    Also picking up Sergio Rodriguez is pretty decent plus apparently the 2012 pick is Top 5 protected. So this trade looks better than it did the past 2 days for the Knicks imo.

  11. rrude

    Torn between admiring DW for going all in on next summer as how the team will rebuild and a nagging feeling that we will not get what we want.

    I just hope if we lose out on the big names this summer we hold our chips until the next year and don’t squander them on B players–essentially ending up back where we started.

  12. TDM

    I would much prefer Williams to Walker in the Nate deal. He’s expiring and he’s another big that (at one time) had a lot of potential. Hell, he even had a nickname.

  13. Caleb

    I could see Sergio staying if we don’t max out on the stars… Knicks could sign LeBron AND David Lee, and still have $6-8 million left over.

    Sergio’s qualifying offer is only $2.8 million — or if D’Antoni likes him, they could try to swing something like 2 years at $4 million.

  14. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, a lot rides on whether the Knicks will definitively max out guys.

    If Lebron is willing to come with the Knicks using that cap room to re-sign Lee, Rodriguez and get one decent veteran (Camby?) then the Knicks would definitely be a real contender even before taking Curry’s contract into consideration.

  15. nicos

    I don’t know, if I’m Morey do I really want Martin over Landry? You’re tying up an awful lot of money in a guy who’s both one-dimensional and injury-prone. If Yao comes back healthy, he’s a nice piece (if still over-paid, IMO). If Yao’s not healthy, you just traded your best low-post scorer and significantly decreased your flexibility. As for the Knicks- McGrady’s irrelevant (unless he’s 90-100% healthy and leads what would be one of the most unlikely playoff charges in recent memory) as if he shows he’s got anything left he’ll be too expensive to resign. So Walsh is all in on 2010, great if it gets us LBJ, potentially disastrous if it doesn’t.

  16. Caleb

    At this point, Knicks are so far under the cap they don’t even need Curry’s contract to swing a deal… if FA season doesn’t go like Walsh wants, he could trade, say Rodriguez, or Chandler, or Douglas, to a team that just wants to dump salary. Charlotte for Tyson Chandler, just to throw out a name. Or even Iguodala and Dalembert. (if you like that kind of thing).

  17. iserp

    Just a thought i’ve had. If we need some extra millions this summer, we could do the following: Give Curry 15 million dollars for the next 3 years to convince Curry to opt out of the current contract. Since he is basically done, he would welcome the 5 extra million (and if what he wants to play, he can opt out of his contract outright) That would give us 5-6 million in cap space.

    It is a desperate move, but that difference could mean signing 2 max FAs (i think it would still be a bit short to sign 2 max FAs and Lee)

  18. Ted Nelson

    Houston: I’m tempted to say that it’s a great deal for Houston… except they are giving up maybe their best scorer, so they’re getting what K-Mart gives them over Landry. I like it a lot for them, but Landry’s good and he’s cheap for another year. Plus, swapping Landry for Martin seems like a defensive loss to me: even if Landry is not good defensively, Martin is worse. Rockets did have a glut of PFs, I guess, and they added Hill, and they seem to have no problem finding underrated PFs.

    I agree with Rahat that Martin could fit in very nicely for the Rockets. Ariza has REALLY struggled this season in large part because he’s become a jump shooter instead of a slasher. That alone should help their offense. Once Yao is back having a shooter like Martin could open things up. Overall I am not a huge Martin fan, but he does seem like a good fit for Houston.

    Kings: I like Landry a lot and the Kings seem to be in a position where a sure thing like him makes more sense than a hit or miss acquisition like prospect(s)/pick(s). Some growth and a couple good moves and they could be in the playoffs shortly. Wonder what else they could have had for Martin, though…
    Although I don’t like Evans, I will probably root for the Kings now with Landry and Nocioni and Thompson and Brockman and Casspi… all very likable players.

    Knicks: We’ll see… I’m on board with it, though.

    “Top 1″ protection for 2011 is not exactly what I had in mind. I guess it protects against barely missing the playoffs, lucking into a lottery win, and having to give up that pick. Top 3 would have been nice in that case. Top 5 in 2012 is acceptable to me.

    Rodriguez is a nice rental–I’ll take him over 2009-10 Duhon in a heartbeat–but unless he’s dying to stay in the NBA he’ll be in Spain next year. Unless the Knicks miss on big FAs and sign several smaller ones. He’ll get a solid offer with taxes and such taken care of to play fewer games and be a star in Spain, so I don’t see him turning that down unless he’s getting $5 mill per at least. He is leading the Kings in Roland Rating, for what that’s worth.

    Knicks should have tried to get Budinger back as well, maybe, since K-Mart could make him somewhat useless for Houston.

    T-Mac… I would think best case he can be the Knicks Grant Hill (Hill in Phoenix, that is), but I don’t know if he’ll take anything less than a staring role. He left Toronto because he didn’t want to compete with VC, and he preferred the Knicks to any other destination in the NBA presumably because he wants the chance to be a star again… otherwise he’d have wanted to get bought out and sign with a contender as his #1 request. This leads me to believe he will try to “create shots” rather than do whatever is best for the team, as Rahat was talking about with the off the dribble vs. set shooting.
    If T-Mac is at the 1, Douglas could be a good pairing for him: no passing, but good outside shooting. At 6-9 maybe T-Mac can post up guards effectively. My guess is that Sergio takes over the starting PG position sooner than later, though.

  19. BigBlueAL

    Curry’s expiring contract in 2011 now becomes a HUGE asset for the Knicks this summer. No need to release/buy him out to just get a couple of million extra cap space this summer. They would be able to trade him and his expiring contract for a good player or 2 in a trade to help fill out roster once they hopefully sign 2 max FA’s and a couple of decent veterans for the league minimum.

  20. jon abbey

    It’s worth noting with the Jamison acquisition that Cleveland now has no flexibility in the offseason to add anyone else to try to convince LeBron to stay. I can’t believe there’s a good chance I’m going to have to root for the Celtics in the playoffs…

  21. Garson

    I think the biggest plus he brings to the table is an alpha dog Player who we can trust with the last shot of a game. How many broken plays have we seen this season in the final minutes with a chance to tie or win the game? TOO MANY!

  22. david

    I get everything else — tough pill but probably worth it — but I still am having trouble understanding the Celtics trade. Do we get any benefit other than replacing one set of guys we’re not going to keep with another set of (slightly worse) guys we are not going to keep? Someone help — please.

    New Starting Line up:

    PG: House on defense; McGrady on Offense; Sergio and Douglas as backups
    SG: McGrady on defense; House on offense: Sergio and Douglas as backups
    SF: Chandler: Harrington
    PF: Danilo: Harrington and Bender
    C: Lee: Bender

    That right?

    A few rest of the season questions:

    1) Who runs the pick and roll with Lee? Sergio Rodriguez can. Eddie House probably can’t. TMac oughtn’t but probably will

    2) There are more spot-up shooters than before. We’ll be bombing a lot, no?

    And future questions:

    3) Is the following possible: Signing a max (LeBron); resigning Lee; bringing in two or three other pieces (a PG and a big) or one middle-sized piece (joe johnson)?

    4) If that’s true, how much worse than Varejao, old man Jamison, West and WIlliams are Lee, Danilo, Chandler and a free agent PG. We’d be less deep than the Cavs, but I’m not sure how much worse. Worse on defense, certainly, but probably better on offense, or at least close, and that’s just in 2010 (and just until the trade deadline, when we’d be able to offload Curry’s contract for another player).

  23. BigBlueAL

    From Hahn’s tweet: Nate Robinson trade official: Nate and Marcus Landry for Eddie House, JR Giddens and Bill Walker

    Any chance Giddens or Walker give the Knicks something for rest of the season?? They both have team options which will obviously be declined.

  24. TheRant

    Just looked at Sergio Rodriguez’s highlights and it made me smile.

    And it made me recall just how badly we need a point guard, as wellas how much I loathe Duhon at (ugh) $6M per year.

    Anyone know what the Sergio Rodriguez low-lights look like? Can he guard at the 1, or do we need to run him with DWTDD?

  25. Ted Nelson

    “Tell me about Jordan Hill. Is this someone upon whom I can pin future hopes?”

    Mike’s assessment is good: a bit scrawny, raw both defensively where he’s often out of position and offensively where he’s all easy buckets and spot-ups, hustles, good rebounder, good shot blocker, jumper that is smooth but inconsistent. He’s not doing badly, but not well. 15 and 9 and 1.3 blks and 1.4 stls per 36, but he’s been really inefficient. If he develops a post game and/or a dribble drive (good first step, no handle) and/or a 3 pt shot/more reliable mid-range shot he can be an efficient medium volume scorer.
    I would compare him to Joe Smith. Maybe a skinnier Kurt Thomas or Brian Grant. I think he’ll be a rotation player for a decade plus, personally.

    “As for Larry Hughes, he can still defend on the wing a little, but his offense just isn’t there anymore.”

    Anymore, Mike?

    “You could argue that the Rockets got the best player in this deal.”

    That’s got to be the consensus, but you could also argue that the Kings got the best player. Could also turn out that the Knicks got the best player or even playerS… LeBron and maybe someone else…

    “I’m not against moving Jeffries, obviously, I’m just against the cost. Here’s one final thing for Knick fans to consider: what does the team do with McGrady if he’s a good fit for D’Antoni’s offense? ”

    Agree with the first part.
    McGrady only fits in if he doesn’t shoot a ton. If he shoots a ton he’s going to be terrible. If he excepts a point-forward or even PG role, maybe. And where does he fit in with LeBron? As Rahat said, he needs the ball in his hands (or at least has shown no willingness to play without it in his hands). You want the ball in LeBron’s hands. The Ron Harper comparison could be a good one for T-Mac if LeBron comes to NY, but that’s going to take a humbleness we have never seen from McGrady before.

    “or if D’Antoni likes him, they could try to swing something like 2 years at $4 million.”

    Caleb, not going to happen unless he’s hellbent on staying in the NBA. He’ll get a better offer from Europe.

  26. Ted Nelson

    “I think the biggest plus he brings to the table is an alpha dog Player who we can trust with the last shot of a game.”

    You trust McGrady to take ANY shot? He hasn’t had a TS% above .500 in forever. Duhon taking the last shot would be equal to McGrady taking it, in my mind.

    david,

    I’m not at all happy with the Nate trade, either. Is there no pick involved? 2 reasons I see for it, one I like and one I don’t: 1. Help Boston beat Cleveland… like. 2. House played for D’Antoni in Phoenix and even though he is clearly a worse player than Nate, D’Antoni irrationally wants a guy he likes… HATE. Giddens stinks, Walker stinks, House just barely doesn’t stink… great trade!!!! Horray!!! Only benefit to me is if Boston beats Cleveland.

    Cleveland, by the way, is the 5th best offense in the NBA (6th defense) and just added Jamison (which may be a good or bad thing depending on how he plays/fits in and depending if they re-sign Z). So the Knicks have a hard time matching Cleveland right away, but their long-term outlook could be a lot better (would be even better if they had a 1st rounder in 2012…).

  27. jon abbey

    Nate pretty clearly had a lousy attitude from the start of the year and I’m happy to see him go someplace where he has a chance to show what he can do (or can’t do) for a winning team.

  28. Ted Nelson

    “Nate pretty clearly had a lousy attitude from the start of the year”

    Yeah, when most guys with bad attitudes get benched they respond by running stairs before games. Classic terrible attitude.

  29. TDM

    Potential good news: NBAtv is reporting that the Knicks ARE receiving a pick from Boston in the Nate trade.

  30. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog, The funny thing is that he had 20 points on 26 FGAs before he went on that stretch. If he had been decent all game it would have been a close game or they would have been winning. I am just not a T-Mac fan and not optimistic about him coming to the Knicks… hope he proves me wrong.

  31. tastycakes

    All the fawning over “Dork Elvis” really has me puzzled.

    Am I the only one who thinks Kevin Martin is:

    A. Overrated. He is a top scorer, but doesn’t rebound and doesn’t dish, and he’s not a good defender.
    B. Overpriced at 36M for the next 3 years.

    ???

    Houston did well in this deal by getting a decent player (with a bad contract) and some picks for a guy who wasn’t gonna play, but it costs them major FA flexibility and is FAR from pushing them over the top. They also gave up Landry. So how is this deal an A- according to ESPN, while the Knicks deal is a C? Do the Rockets make the playoffs this year? I don’t think so. Are they a contender when Yao (maybe) comes back? I don’t see it.

    Certainly the Knicks trade should be graded an INCOMPLETE, because what they do with the money they saved this offseason is what matters, not what they got or gave on their rosters.

    I hope the Knicks come out looking smart, for once.

  32. Ted Nelson

    In McGrady’s defense he was playing with Andre Barrett, Reece Gaines, and Scott Padgett down the stretch (along with Yao)… so I guess he almost had to take a lot of shots.

    Very good news, TDM.

  33. Jeff

    You can’t give the Knicks a grade right now, unless you can predict the future with absolute certainty. I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen with Eddy Curry’s expiring contract this summer now.. Someone needs to convince Robert Sarver to save some money by trading Nash for EC’s EC.

  34. jkid36

    Nate is a good player but also a very annoying one at that. Besides the fact that he has an attitude problem, he also is too sporadic of a shooter to rely on your team for the future. All he does is hoist bad shots and on a good night he still isn’t that good. His peak has been reached for he will not be a major impact on any winning team so in this trade we just get rid of the coaches headache and put him on someone else.

  35. nicos

    I still think the Knicks best shot to get LBJ will be if the Cavs win it all (that or a first round flame out to Charlotte). To me the best case scenario is the Cavs beat the Lakers, Shaq laughs in Kobe’s face and retires. LBJ can then say, “hey Cleveland, I got you your championship, now it’s time for me leave home and move on to new challenges. They’d boo him for a year or two but they’d get over it. If they lose in the ECF, especially to an aging Boston team in a close series, and he leaves he’ll be hated in Ohio forever and I think that means something to him.

  36. tastycakes

    BTW, I like the Daryl Morey approach — advanced stats and all that — I just feel like he’s gotten this rep as the “smart guy” in the NBA front office corps and now he can do no wrong. If I was a Rockets fan, I’d be cautiously optimistic about my end of this trade, but I wouldn’t be thrilled. The press (Simmons, Hollinger) seem thrilled.

  37. Jeff

    Bill Simmons will never say anything bad about Daryl Morey nor anything good about David Kahn. I’d just ignore him.

  38. ess-dog

    Tastycakes, I think that shows how badly teams want a “go-to” scorer – even if that player is one-dimensional. Look at the Pistons overpaying Ben Gordon.
    I just don’t think Houston will get the same Yao back (how old is he now?) and Scuola and Battier will be a year older. You could make the case that Budinger could develop into what they are paying a ton to have Martin do.
    If it were ME, I would’ve traded TMac for expirings only – even if i get nothing else – let them expire, and go after Wade, Bosh or Johnson. The criticism of Morey is that he’s always looking “ahead”. Always going for the best value when really he needs the best player(s) when he can get them.

  39. TDM

    Personally, I think Rockets fans are going to be pissed that they dealt Landry instead of Scola. Scola is 29 and there are no guarantees that they can re-sign him. Landry was their future PF.

  40. BigBlueAL

    I just think its hilarious how everybody is saying if the Knicks dont get Lebron these moves wouldve been a waste and they are doomed to suck for another decade. Do you not realize now how much freaking flexibility they have now period?? Even if they dont get Lebron or Wade they could still make plenty of moves to at least be a 50 win team starting next season.

    No matter what they will have a 1st round pick in 2011 (either the Rockets or their own) and if they somehow truly suck the season after and they wind up with a Top 5 pick in 2012 they will have that pick since it is Top 5 protected.

    Really what is the huge, future is over horrible move they made today if they dont get Lebron?? Getting rid of Tim Duncan, I mean Jordan Hill?? Really?? They will have Chandler, Gallo and TD who are 3 pretty nice young players, Curry and his contract which many people are undervaluing what a huge asset that will be this off-season and next season’s trade deadline and the most cap space in the freaking league. Im sorry but Im having a hard time seeing the negative in today’s trade.

  41. Ted Nelson

    tastycakes,

    You raise good points, but I agree with those grades. Knicks could get an incomplete, but the trade is finalized. They gave up a lot and got back next to nothing besides cap space, on the surface that’s a bad deal. C is half way between A (the grade if LeBron signs) and F (the most likely grade if he doesn’t), which seems fair.

    The Rockets were not going to be a major player in free agency, meaning they could not offer a max deal. Once you factor in re-signing Scola and Lowry and picking up the extensions of Landry and Hayes, they wouldn’t have much room at all. Not nearly enough to give someone a Martin deal. They’ve got a playoff caliber team now, so the risk of giving away players to take a shot at Bosh or whoever is not worth as much to them as the Knicks.

    Rockets could make the playoffs this year. They should make the playoffs comfortably once Yao is back and they draft a mid-first rounder. The opportunity cost of Martin’s contract is a bigger deal than the mainstream media realizes, but at this point I can understand why they want to run with what they have instead of valuing future cap space and rebuilding.

    I agree Martin is overpaid, but with Battier and Ariza the Rockets can try to hide him defensively and his high-volume jump shot/foul drawing is badly needed to complement those two.

    Giving up Landry is also a bigger deal than the mainstream media is letting on/realizes. Hill or Brian Cook has to step into the rotation, or Andersen has to pick up a lot more minutes. Long-term they have a log-jam at the 4, though, so down the road it might not be a huge deal.

    “I hope the Knicks come out looking smart, for once.”

    Don’t we all…. haha, for once… that’s so sad.

  42. ess-dog

    Well again, what they should do is renounce Scola and Lowry (good players, but role players) and get a max free agent. You would think they would have an edge because of the tax situation down there. Brooks, Wade, Ariza, Landry, Yao is a killer lineup. Or get Bosh for the “twin towers” effect and trade Landry for a 2 guard. Or get Johnson who would be killer with Brooks in the backcourt. They have a great coach and a great supporting cast for a big star… but they went with the oft injured Martin??

  43. Z

    “I just think its hilarious how everybody is saying if the Knicks dont get Lebron these moves wouldve been a waste and they are doomed to suck for another decade.”

    The worry is that if they don’t bring LeBron in on a max contract they will bring in a second tier player on a max contract, or now maybe 2 max contracts. With the Clippers, Heat, Bulls, Nets, Timberwolves, Wizards, and Knicks all with enough space to make at least one max offer there is going to be a lot of money thrown around. The Knicks will feel obligated to compete for these players, and then suddenly, well, there’s the chance of being “doomed to suck for another decade”.

    We’re all a little gun shy here in Knickland, and it will take a veritable winner to erase the decade of bad memories we’ve built up…

  44. Ted Nelson

    “Im sorry but Im having a hard time seeing the negative in today’s trade.”

    That’s pretty obvious from your comments. I admire that you are looking on the bright side and so adamantly optimistic, but not that you’re blindly ignoring the potential downsides.

    No one is saying the Knicks WILL continue to stink for a decade if they miss on LeBron/Wade, just that in the worst case the COULD. That’s the worst case, the more likely case if they miss on LeBron/Wade is that this trade was a huge waste of assets and they’d be better off without it.

    Flexibility is great, but it all depends what you do with it. And that’s the real point. Sure, Donnie Walsh can do tons of things with it, but realistically there are only so many options since there are only so many NBA players to acquire and teams to deal with. He can piece together a team if he can’t hit a home run, but he could have done that without this deal. Don’t get me wrong: I am in favor of this deal. But the reason is because it gives the Knicks a chance at LeBron/Wade… a chance they are justified to take. If they miss on those two, I think it will most likely go down as a bad trade.

    If they miss on the big FAs they have no incentive to be patient with their flexibility since they don’t have control over their pick in 2011. The best player they get if they miss on both LeBron and Wade is Bosh, and he is an incremental improvement over Lee. Bosh, Johnson, and Tyson Chandler/Biedrins/Dalembert or something like that if everything besides LeBron/Wade goes the Knicks way? Nice playoff team, not a contender in my opinion. The kind of team they could have built with some patience…. so….. the real value of this deal is If Bosh and Johnson don’t come, Amare?Gay? Boozer? Lee? Mike Miller? Raymond Felton? Tyrus Thomas? They can trade, yeah, but for whom? I don’t think Chris Paul is gonna be traded until trade deadline 2012. Maybe the Nets move Harris if they draft Wall. Deng, Hinrich, Ellis, Biedrins, Igoudala, Elton Brand, Dalembert… those guys seem to be perpetually available, but there’s a reason for that. Knicks have little besides cap space or core players to offer in trades for those guys anyway.

  45. Ted Nelson

    “Well again, what they should do is renounce Scola and Lowry (good players, but role players) and get a max free agent.”

    They cannot just “get” one. They can TRY TO get one. They would be trying along with several other teams, which is a big risk. The Knicks are in a position where a big risk makes sense for several reasons, Houston much less so. This way they know exactly what they have and he’s a good fit for their team. It is ironic that the Rockets got another highly paid player who is injury prone…

  46. Ted Nelson

    Also, ess-dog, the package the Knicks gave them might have been too good to pass up in Morey’s mind, and once you’re bringing in Jeffries you take yourself out of FA contention anyway and bringing in a Martin makes a lot more sense.

    They are getting Martin, Hill, a potential 2011 swap all the way up to as high as #2, and a 2012 pick that could fall anywhere from #6-30. The only mystery is where the picks will fall, whereas the downside potential in renouncing Scola and Lowry and Hayes to get a max player is huge. And how many SGs who make $3 mill are comparable to Landry? Only young ones. They basically did trade Landry for a SG.

  47. BigBlueAL

    I guess my thing is in the past every time a team had cap space they were applauded about it and all the good possibilities that come with it. Hell even today people are praising the Clippers, Kings and Bulls for getting more cap space. Yet the Knicks have finally gotten rid of all their crap contracts (except for Curry) and are in the best position of all the teams going into the greatest summer of Free Agency ever and yet all people are talking about are what will happen if they dont get this player or that player and freaking out about trading away a pick in 2012 when apparently if it is such a great pick (Top 5) it will still be their pick.

    I know it has become fashionable to rip the Knicks and everything they do but I think it has come to absurd levels. While all the other teams with cap room are being praised and talking about the great possibilities the Knicks are still being talked about what would happen if they cant get anybody and all the negatives that come with the cap space. Obviously Im sick and tired of it and to me when finally we can look forward to an off-season and have realistic big dreams we should be freaking out about a 1st round pick 2 years from now?? Sorry not me, I remember when the Knicks were championship contenders and I have been dieing for those days again and after the bullshit we have had to watch and go through in the past 8 years we finally have some light in the end of the tunnel and I for one cant freaking wait until July 1st when we finally for the first time in forever have hope and can be optimistic for the immediate future.

  48. Ted Nelson

    “Personally, I think Rockets fans are going to be pissed that they dealt Landry instead of Scola. Scola is 29 and there are no guarantees that they can re-sign him. Landry was their future PF.”

    Yeah, but there’s no guarantee Sacramento does the deal then. My guess is they wouldn’t.

    “If it were ME, I would’ve traded TMac for expirings only – even if i get nothing else – let them expire, and go after Wade, Bosh or Johnson. The criticism of Morey is that he’s always looking “ahead”. Always going for the best value when really he needs the best player(s) when he can get them.”

    Hadn’t seen this comment. Morey’s done a really good job in Houston. Any criticism is nitpicking.
    Again, he could take the big risk of going for broke on a max FA this summer–and anyone outside of LeBron/Wade is overrated anyway–but he would be competing with Cleveland, Miami, Toronto… their old teams which have a good shot for that reason… plus Miami (cap space above Wade), New York, Chicago, NJ/Brooklyn, Clippers… 4 teams in the biggest media markets in the country plus a nice climate and also tax haven that is the favorite to sign the #2 FA and can then offer another 2 or 3 guys big-old deals. They would be 1 of 9 teams vying for 3 guys, only two of which REALLY matter. Otherwise he’s looking signing Johnson or overpaying Amare or someone. Maybe he gets someone, maybe he’s in the lottery. This deal gives him a good chance to make the playoffs this year and more so next, and then continue to build with the Knicks picks/Hill going forward. The risk is far, far lower, and from what I know about Morey I’m sure he calculated that the most likely pay-off is better.

  49. jon abbey

    “Yeah, when most guys with bad attitudes get benched they respond by running stairs before games. Classic terrible attitude.”

    Ted, he got benched because he was totally worthless for the first 15 or 20 games or whatever it was. it was very obvious to anyone paying attention that he wasn’t happy with how his restricted free agency went, that he knew he wasn’t coming back next year, and that he wasn’t his normal self on the court. yes, after he got benched, his attitude got better, but that doesn’t erase the start of the season.

  50. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Let’s all hope that Lebron’s girlfriend and Wade’s wife adore each other, and apply some domestic pressure to become the First Ladies of NYC.

  51. BigBlueAL

    Wade and his wife are in the middle, if its not finalized already, of an ugly divorce if Im not mistaken.

  52. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    I see your point, but most of those teams did not make crazy deals that leveraged the future of the franchise to get that space. The Bulls and Kings dumped players most people saw as overpaid in the first place, and in the Kings case got a good, cheap PF in the process. People are talking about how the Bulls might have taken themselves out of the playoffs this season to be a bigger offseason player, actually. The way Salmons has played this year I don’t know if that’s true, though… they might help themselves and hurt the Bucks in the end.
    The other point is that the Knicks already had lots of cap space coming up this summer and next. This was a marginal improvement in terms of total space, but obviously has significant implications.
    You can dream happy dreams up until this summer, but the point people are trying to make is just that if the Knicks strike out you might have a nasty hangover and some deja vu.

    I definitely see the upside of the trade and I think everyone else does (besides those who say no way LeBron comes to NY), and I am happy Walsh made it. It’s just a bittersweet happy, because this is a trade that would make no sense to me if LeBron wasn’t a free agent with some chance of coming to NY. But he is (and Wade and Bosh and …), so you’re right to be excited. My big point is just that if it’s not LeBron, I don’t think this deal was worth it. So, it’s all about LeBron. Maybe Wade AND Bosh decide to come to NY, but why? I think LeBron is the most likely of the 3 to choose NY all else equal and he can bring one buddy along with him. That’s just my guess. Johnson and Amare seem pretty likely with their D’Antoni ties (for better or worse) and who really knows what’s on the mind of someone like Wade or Bosh.

    I assume that what Morey does is look the probabilities of several events happening and then the expected payoff of the deal in each case, averaging it out to the most likely result. Maybe he does something more complicated (I am far from a statistician) and even doing that accurately is really hard (how you assign the probabilities makes all the difference), but I would like to try. (Maybe I will later…. maybe this weekend.)

    You have to balance the best case and the worst case, but for the Knicks the best case is so great and the worst case still leaves them in a decent position this summer that I can see why they went for it.

  53. ess-dog

    I know I’ll catch hell for this, but Johnson and Amare (as a fall-back) could make some noise in the east. It leaves a lot of possibilities (Johnson can play the point or the 2, Chandler can play the 2 or 3, you could go small with Gallo and Amare at the 4 and 5…) and those guys know the system so they could come right in and all play together. Maybe you have enough left over for a solid point like Ridnour. 5th seed potential at least depending on what kind of bench we put together.
    I guess that as a “fall-back” even a 5th seed seems great after the Knicks history. Shit, who am I kidding? Watching a 5th seed would be a sight for sore eyes!

  54. BigBlueAL

    Bulls did get Warrick and Flip Murray in the deals who could take the rotation spots of Salmons and Thomas and Im not sure the Bulls are that worse off. Obviously I get that with Derrick Rose they have a piece the Knicks dont have and their future is bright regardless.

    From the articles Ive read stats guys are VERY high on Kevin Martin since apparently his TS% has been over 60% in like 4 of the past 4 seasons or something like that. Obviously he is fragile as hell and I thought giving up Landry was shocking but when you throw in the Knicks part of the trade they got sure you have to give Morey much credit for getting what he got for McGrady and Landry.

    Ive admitted in the past that I see the negatives of this trade but I just dont think they are anywhere near as big as some make it out to be especially since they did get some protection on the picks which is something many here were clamoring for. From the day Crawford and Randolph were traded everything was pointed towards July 1st, 2010 and I give Walsh credit for sticking to the plan and maximizing it as best as he can which I think he certainly has done now since he has given himself the space for 2 max FA’s.

  55. SJK

    Even with all the risk we took by doing the trade, the possible reward would be so good that it makes the deal worth it. On July 1st, when we go to LeBron and Dwayne and offer to put them together on the same team, how can they say no? That is almost a guaranteed championship. The two best players in the East on the same team? the only reason they would say no is for individual stardom, but would either of them want to give that up for being a perennial contender? I think we have a real good shot at landing both those guys.

  56. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    With all due respect, that’s your interpretation… not an obvious truth. I have no idea what Nate Robinson is like in practice and so on, but I also don’t pretend to know. He was a lot less worthless than Duhon to start the season.
    If the Knicks got a pick this is moot and I like the trade fine. If D’Antoni was that adamant about House or Walshtoni thought Giddens or Walker was a real prospect… I’d be worried.

    ess-dog,

    #5 seed is your best reasonable case analysis of what would happen with that team. It is not the “fall-back” position. Worst case Amare has a Marion-like regression back to his pre-Nash scoring efficiency, Johnson is overrated, and the Knicks have the worst defense in the NBA (especially if Ridnour is their PG). They miss the playoffs.

    BBA,

    Martin is one dimensional, but he’s very good in that one dimension and if that one dimension is exactly what the Rockets need he can be quite valuable to them.

    I think the downside is big. There’s only x% chance of it happening, and I like the deal overall. I do like the top 5 protection (top 1 is a joke, but not totally useless), but even giving up 2 #10s along with Hill for a #20 stinks. Sure, you can get the best player of the bunch at #20, but the odds are against you. It’s a small victory, but I also like that no 2nd round pick was involved (that I know of). I also like Sergio as a rental. I addressed a lot of the positives in my initial post, part of my turn to negativity was just in response to optimistic comments.

  57. BigBlueAL

    LOL glad to see I bring out the negativity in you Ted!! Yeah I was reading stuff on Sergio and he is a pretty bad shooter and is turnover prone but his assist rates are through the roof. Also I believe I read he is a decent rebounder for a PG and has improved his scoring around the basket. Apparently D’Antoni has been dieing to get him so we will see.

    I think the Nate trade was just to open up playing time for TD and Sergio and not have Nate sit on the bench again and have his agent and/or him whine and bitch again. No more Hughes, Darko and Nate is not surprising at all since they were the ones to complain about their lack of playing time. In a way they did Nate a huge favor or a big disservice if he sucks in Boston but it will be up to Nate now to show his worth.

  58. Ted Nelson

    Sergio is not a good jump shooter, but he seems to have improved. His eFG% on jumpers this season (60% of his shots) is .456. Inside he’s at .579, and .503 overall and a TS% of .538. That’s up from .448 and .491. He’s taking two more FTs per 36. I don’t know how much of this improvement is a fluke, an improvement, and moving from Portland to Sacramento…
    He’s a much better playmaker than Duhon. Much better finisher. This season he’s scoring a lot, lot more efficiently.

    Yeah, I guess that makes sense on Nate (although, I don’t agree with the whining part since I think the benching was unwarranted and the approach they took seemed professional enough… but the PT thing makes sense). Also Walker and Giddens are guys who could be signed for minimum deals to round out the roster if D’Antoni likes them. They both played well in the D-League and Walker is only 22. Maybe they are better than a late 2nd round pick from the Celts, debatable though. I still have no idea why Ainge drafted Giddens with good talent on the board… oh, yeah because he’s Danny Ainge.

  59. rayhed

    I agree with an earlier comment… i think the knicks best shot at getting lebron is if the cavs win this year- that way, lebron will feel like he accomplished what he needed to and wants a new challenge- rebuilding the knicks and starting a new dynasty from scratch

  60. Brian Cronin

    Ted, I perhaps wouldn’t disagree with a grade of a C either (although Incomplete is probably better), but I think Hollinger is way off with:

    Meanwhile, consider the other scenario. If those A-list free agents stay with their original teams, the Knicks are pretty much hosed — they’d be left to re-sign Lee, overpay some other second-tier free agent and go 32-50 for the next half-decade. This is a high-risk strategy forced upon them by the misery of the Isiah Thomas era, and it remains unclear how well it will pan out.

    32-50 for the next half-decade?

    That’s just an unrealistic look at the trade.

  61. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think it’s too unrealistic. I wouldn’t say they ARE “hosed,” but I would say they might be.

    rayhed,

    It’s an interesting question whether he’s more likely to leave with a title or without. Certainly if they lose in the 2nd round I think he’s more likely to leave than with a title or even finals appearance or even conference finals. Even conference finals and he has reason to feel good about staying in his hometown.

  62. BigBlueAL

    Who would you consider A-list free agents?? Just Lebron, Wade and Bosh right?? So if the Knicks re-sign Lee to a not max deal obviously, give Joe Johnson close to the max and get another FA worth around 5 to 6 mil, you’re telling me they will be a 32-50 team??

    Plus again the Curry contract will suddenly become pretty easy to move this off-season if not during the season. They could hopefully turn that into another good player or 2. Also with 32 mil of cap space how about signing 3 players to David Lee type deals. Adding 3 very good players wont help this team make the playoffs?? Of course it will be up to Walsh to bring in the right players but again to me its not anywhere near as doom and gloom if they cant get one of the big 3 FA’s as many are making it out to be.

  63. nicos

    Any thoughts on floating Lee a low-ball extension now and seeing if he bites? Something like 5 yrs 40 mil with an opt out. Very doubtful he’d take it but he does want to stay in NYC and it’d be protection against blowing out a knee or something down the stretch this year. I’m not sure Walsh would want to do it either as it’d kill the chance of 2 max guys but at least LBJ (or Wade or Bosh) would know for sure he’d be playing with one all-star (albeit a border-line one) and it would give the Knicks some room to sign one or two quality role players (A Camby maybe) rather than a roster full of minimum salary guys and give the Knicks a lot more flexibility going forward.

  64. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Lee’s going to get $10M/yr at the end of this season. If he didn’t sign an extension before, why would he now? He’s having a career year.

  65. BigBlueAL

    Nate trade finally official:

    New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has acquired guards Eddie House and J.R. Giddens, guard/forward Bill Walker and a future conditional second-round draft selection from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Nate Robinson and forward Marcus Landry.

    “This trade will give our younger players the opportunity to get more quality time on the court, while also adding an additional outside shooter and two young players,” Walsh said. “We thank Nate for his five seasons in New York and we wish him well.”

  66. TDM

    Regarding signing Lee to an extension: couldn’t the Knicks sign him to 5 yr / $50M deal, but that starts off at, for example, $7M per year and escalates? That way, the Knicks have more room to sign 2 max FAs, and will get relief when Curry’s deal falls off the books in year 2 of Lee’s new deal, which will help to pay the escalation.

  67. nicos

    Oops, forgot that you can’t extend Lee’s contract now anyway. My bad!
    Also- Interesting to see Rockets made a serious play for A’mare- not a guy I’d have thought Morey would have a ton of interest in.

  68. Caleb

    Ted,

    Your perspective on the Europeans is a great add to this board – not many people in NBA-land have any good idea what’s what in European B-ball land. I know I don’t.

    But I wonder what makes you so sure about Rodriguez. You’re probably right that he could make a lot more money in Europe next year, you could have said the same thing last season, or the season before. He came to the NBA at 19 – must have been something to draw him in. It might take more than $2 million a year but are there other reasons to think he won’t keep trying to build a career here?

  69. SeeWhyDee77

    I’m gonna miss Nate..i’m a lil disappointed that we couldn’t land a 4 or 5 in one of the trades. I was really hopin to be able to swindle Jason Thompson from SAC since they would be getting Carl Landry and loads of cap room. The rest of the season is gonna be..weird to watch. At least we got another pure shooter in House and a point guard who at one point was known for making plays and bein a much better facilitator and penetrator than Duhon, so I am excited to see that. In the end I’m happy with the cap room-who wouldn’t be? Although it came at a high cost, I think we are set cap wise for the next 2 years, LBJ or not. NO MORE BAD DEALS!! So…what will our starting lineup look like? With Hill gone, does Al still come off the bench? Does Sergio and TMac start in the backcourt? If the new guys pick up the offense quickly, I envision a line up with Lee-Rooster-Chandler-TMac-Duhon as the starters, with Harrington-Bender-House-Rodriguez off the bench. A VERY small but quick team the rest of the way. Maybe Curry comes back and provides some size for 10 minutes a game even tho he pretty much sux at defense(understatement of the year). I hope Rodriguez thrives and we can re-sign him for around 4 a year or so. And what about this Giddens guy? He was pretty good in college, does anybody think D’Antoni can make a decent guard out of him? Lastly, I’m also intrigued by Walker’s athleticism-I only hope he can play some perimeter D. With Hughes and JJ gone-we will be even worse at that.

  70. SeeWhyDee77

    Damn..lookin over my last post, It feels like i’m nitpicking. I jus wanna see a glimmer of hope on the court as well as the bottom line. Hopefully Gallinari will get more opportunites within the offense..the kid’s really good. Maybe he will use other aspects of his game more instead of jus waitin to launch bombs all game. I’m tellin u, if he gets a lil stronger without losin his “athleticism”-he will be a nightmare matchup at the 4. He’ll problee board sufficiently too.

  71. cgreene

    I think that the level of risk here is being over rated by writers like Hollinger. If we strike out on the consensus 3 max guys in Lebron/Wade/Bosh, as bigblueal said, there is ample opportunity to build incrementally through free agency similar to what you would do in the draft and actually with slightly less risk in being able to buy players who have some level of experience at the NBA and, therefore, are more known than a draft pick. Donnie has shown nothing if not frugality and measured respect for the dollar value of players. This deal opens up tons of plan B, C and D knowing that over a 2 year span you will have over $45M to spend. You can stockpile a lot of assets if you spend that wisely. I don’t see Donnie panicking and making a bad deal with a tier 2 or tier 3 talent and locking up all the money.

  72. DS

    I am really starting to hate John Hollinger and many of these snarky analysts. I am really beginning to question their objectivity when it comes to the Knicks.

    The Rockets got a good deal but if these D-BAGS enjoyed ragging on the Rockets the way they enjoy ragging on the Knicks we would be hearing that Landry is one of the best 20 players in the league in terms of PER compared to K-Mart at 68. We’d hear how Martin’s health and contract are a big risk and how he’s never been on a team that isn’t terrible. We’d hear how the Knicks could land some major talent with their $33 MILLION IN CAP SPACE which could make their 2011 and 2012 draft picks end up in the 13 – 20 range. We would hear how Jordan Hill could be a nice role player but never a star.

    Similarly, everyone loves Randolph and Crawford now – when 18 months ago the Knicks were the only team whose management was dumb enough to pay them.

  73. Frank O.

    I’m down with @57.
    I am so freakin tired of the Knicks bashing. I have been saying the Knicks need to clear cap space and they need to create greater flexibility and that no one should be safe.
    The Knicks have 19 freakin wins, folks. They have crap players for the most part that most teams don’t want and have had toxic contracts most teams wouldn’t touch.
    I can’t say it better than Jon said it a while back: This is an unbelievable FA year coming and the DW has done great getting the Knicks all in. He’s shed crappy contracts and unhappy or ill fitting players. He’s created great space, when for a time most of us were feeling pretty skeptical that he could do it.
    Yes, the knicks gave up some picks, but they used Nate to get another pick back.
    And on Nate, clearly what he did for the Knicks is a matter of opinion. Some saw a guy who put out a lot and performed at a high level; some saw an immature guy who didn’t play a complete game and made many mental errors.
    But from what I read, he wanted out. He knew he wasn’t going to get as much playing time going forward. He wanted a chance to play elsewhere. I think the Knicks did the dude a favor.
    I’m happy to see him go. I’m happy to see how he does on a good team. I hope he can get better.

    But with the ability to have about $33 million in space going into this summer, being in NYC, and having D’Antoni, I’m feeling pretty good right now. If the Knicks didn’t make a strong play for 2010, we’d all be screaming bloody murder. Sometimes I think we all outsmart ourselves. We only know how to be unhappy with the Knicks.

    I also don’t think future draft picks are any more reliable than playing in a great FA market with a boatload of money.

    Nope…I’m happy.
    And it gets better, because the Knicks clear another $11 million in 2011. And there still may be other moves that bring in picks.

    I could give two shits what people grade these trades as. It’s like some arbitrary USA Today graphic that is done to catch attention, but at the end of the day means very little.
    Grading the Knicks now on moves that are expected to pay off in the off season? Whatever.

    If you ask me it was stupid for the Rockets to give up Carl Landry for a very fragile Kevin Martin. We have all been underwhelmed by Hill, and yet there are people lamenting him being traded. Everyone was down on Jeffries.
    Personally, I think the Kings did well. I think the Knicks did what they had to do. I think the first time Martin lands funny current assessments of the Rockets’ trade decision will be reassessed.
    And if the Knicks land one of the big three, well, HELL YEAH!!!

  74. Frank O.

    Oh, and as of today, the Knicks backcourt is better than it was, hands down, because we have a point guard, and one of the best passing SGs in basketball on a team that requires ball movement.

    Mark my words, Sergio is going to be great in D’Antoni’s system. The dude can be a ball of fire. Lee is going to have a better season with this new back court…

    And still, we will suck because where other teams start to jack it up because they’re making a playoff push, the Knicks are a completely new team with players learning each other.

    Doesn’t matter. They’re basically eliminated anyway…
    But I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

  75. cgreene

    Does anyone know where to find a link to Donnie’s audio from tonight?

    LeBron: 40-13-15 tonight. But lost to Melo.

  76. david

    So, just for the record, there is no explanation at all for the Nate trade that makes any sense? Just a way to help the Celtics?

    Weird.

  77. DS

    Amen. It will be fun to see if D’Antoni can do any with Serge. You know they will at least give it an honest try.

    Oh OH OH and another thing. If ESPN liked to pick on the Rockets, they’d be KILLING them for taking Jeffries when they could have just freed up 23 million by letting T-Mac walk. And they would say shit like “You’re never going to win the championship playing out West with a core of Kevin Martin and a hobbled Yao and you’re saddled with Martin for three years now. Not to mention teams like the Blazers and Thunder are beginning to put together nuclei that will soon compete for the West crown. At least the Knicks have a chance of landing two mega superstars with 3 potential solid rotation players under the age of 23 in Chandler, Gallinari, and Rodriguez with a lot more cap money on the way when they unload Eddy Curry’s huge contract.”

  78. Brian Cronin

    So, just for the record, there is no explanation at all for the Nate trade that makes any sense? Just a way to help the Celtics?

    The Knicks saved about $1 million on their luxury tax bill and possibly picked up a draft pick (I don’t know what the conditions on the pick are at the moment, but I suspect that it’s one of those deals where the conditions are so rare that the odds are that the Knicks won’t ever actually get the pick).

  79. Dan Panorama

    Not saying it was a bad deal (he was leaving in July anyway), but I’m really going to miss Nate. He was one of the few things that made the Knicks watchable while he was on the team and I hope he finds a lot of success as an energy guy with some playoff teams.

  80. latke

    off-topic comment: I was looking at the ESPN True Hoop affiliate blogs, and the Bucks’ blog is called Bucksketball. Wouldn’t BUCKets have been a much cooler name?

    We all know about this summer’s free agent class, but we’re going to have cash to spend in 2011 too. Some players who might be worth considering:

    Brandon Wright (restricted)
    Troy Murphy
    Mike Conley (restricted)
    J.R. Smith
    Nene Hilario
    Carmelo Anthony
    David West
    Jeff Green (restricted)
    Jared Dudley (restricted)
    Leandro Barbosa
    Spencer Hawes (restricted)
    Andrei Kirilenko
    Nick Young (restricted)

    I only put RFAs on the list if I thought there was a chance their teams wouldn’t match (thus no Durant), and that they would fit D’Antoni’s style. It’s really not a bad lot, and when you consider that there will be fewer teams competing for these players (lots of teams have cap room this summer), there may be some deals to be had. Yeah, there are a lot of RFAs, but with the possible exception of Green, most of those guys could be pealed from their teams for the right price.

    Let’s do a worst case scenario where I’m GM and Bosh, Wade, and LeBron all commit to other teams. Here’s what I’d do over the next to summers.

    2010

    Sign and trade David Lee @ $10 million per to whoever wants him most in multi team trade with Philadelphia (they don’t need another power forward so it can’t be a 2 teamer) for Louis Williams ($5.8 per) and Willie Green ($4 million per, expires at end of 2011) and a mid-round 1st round pick. We need a point guard. This system needs a good point guard that can get into the paint and make threes more than it needs David Lee. Distribution is crucial too, but Williams is not a bad passer. Look at his early season #s before Philly stupidly brought in Iverson. Williams is the best point guard under 30 that could be had in a deal for Lee. Because we have cap space, we could even take back a little extra salary to make the deal work. I considered Arenas — he’ll be available for pennies on the dollar — but he’s too fragile, too old, and too much of a ball hog. If Rodriguez shows that his passing outweighs his poor defense and shooting, then resign him, but I’m dubious. He’s been floating around and had opportunities, and so far he hasn’t stuck as more than a 7th or 8th man. Sebastian Telfair could also be another affordable option that would be an upgrade on Duhon.

    Sign Marcus Camby @ $3 million per

    Sign Rudy Gay @ $11 million per. Wouldn’t we rather have Lee than Gay? No way! Gay may not be the most enthusiastic player, but he plays great defense, can score, and can create his own offense. Even if you believe Lee is superior, we needed a point guard, and the only way to acquire a good one was to move Lee.

    We still have about $8 million left, and we feel around the league for other decent players with reasonable salaries that teams are willing to dump to save cash. Send them tokens like future second round picks in exchange. It’s not hard to fill a roster when you can offer cap relief to other teams. We’ll have the 1st round pick we acquired in the Lee trade to fill one roster spot.

    Starting lineup for 2010

    Camby, Gallinari, Chandler, Rudy Gay, Lou Williams

    predicted wins: 40-50

    2011

    Willie Green and Eddy Curry’s contracts come off the books, so we have at least $16 million this summer, possibly more depending on the contracts of the players we filled our 2010 roster with. First we make a run at Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. We likely don’t get either, but then again, if we just won 50 games, maybe they do. We can still offer a max contract. If again our best attempts fail to yield a megastar, here’s what I could see happening:

    Sign Jared Dudley @ $6 million per – he’s shooting 47% from three this year, he can play D, and he’s a decent rebounder. He’s not a volume shooter (12.7 pp36), so like Shane Battier, it’ll take the league a few years before they realize how good he is.

    Sign Brandon Wright @ $7 million per – He doesn’t play now, and he probably won’t next season. Anthony Randolph steals all his minutes. Nonetheless, he averages 2 blocks and 1.2 steals per 36, along with 9 rebounds, while shooting 53% from the field. He’s young, and he’s promising, and that’s enough for me.

    Resign Wilson Chandler @ $7 million per – Chandler lets the game come to him. Like Dudley, his per game #s aren’t mindblowing, but he’s a strong defensive player, and he can do a little bit of everything on offense.

    Starting lineup for 2011

    Lou Williams, Chandler/Dudley, Gallinari, Gay, Wright/Camby

    IMO, once you calculate in another season’s worth of maturation for all these young guys, this team could win 50+.

  81. Droidz1979

    It’s a good day for the Knick fans!!!

    1) They got a decent PG in Sergio Rodriguez
    2) Added a decent shooter in Eddie House -way better than Duhon, Hughes, perhaps Al to complement Gallo
    and
    3) Rid of of Jeffries contract (w/c i thought was impossible)
    4) Rid of Nate (liability in D because of his height)
    5) Rid of Darko in exchange for a probable cap space by waiving Brian Cardinal

    Sorry guys, i don’t see Walsh as the type who would overspend for scrubs.. He is a natural haggler and a typical old school negotiator at that. Besides, the Knicks was crappy at drafting and they do have a decent and young core in Gallo and Chandler. Can’t wait for the 2010-11 season to start and see the upgrades that the Knicks finally does. And Curry’s contract would be more valuable to other teams needing cap space by then. A good day to be a Knick fan indeed!

  82. Brian Cronin

    Sign Rudy Gay @ $11 million per. Wouldn’t we rather have Lee than Gay? No way! Gay may not be the most enthusiastic player, but he plays great defense, can score, and can create his own offense. Even if you believe Lee is superior, we needed a point guard, and the only way to acquire a good one was to move Lee.

    If you’re considering giving Rudy Gay $11 million, then acquiring a point guard doesn’t seem to be your main concern, as you would just use some of the money you’re throwing at Gay for a point guard.

    Gay’s certainly not useless, but he’s a good deal worse than Lee and plays the same position as Gallo and Chandler, the former of which is only slightly worse than Gay at a third of the proposed cost!

  83. david

    Thanks Brian — I was just looking for any justification. If we get a draft pick, that makes sense. If we get money, I guess that makes sense, although the Dolan’s trading anything for cash after their weirdly and stupidly lavish ways seems odd.

  84. Z-man

    Word has it that the Celts players and Doc Rivers are lukewarm at best with the acquisition of Nate i.e. the loss of House. Phil Jackson had an interesting take as well:

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/64878/20100219/celtics_have_mixed_reactions_to_nate_deal/

    I agree with Phil in that Nate is not as consistent on the 3. While I haven’t followed him closely, House has that quality of being ready to shoot and make the 3 no matter when he is put in and is immune to pressure. Maybe Nate can develop that now that he is on a good team. He can certainly penetrate way better than House and now he has better players to dish to.

  85. Z-man

    I don’t get the criticism of this deal. The thing to keep in mind is that by virtue of the salary cap, in terms of wins produced and odds of winning in the playoffs, the max player can be worth many times what the $10 million player is worth. That doesn’t even include the impact on ticket sales. How much is LeBron’s or Wade’s true value vs. what they get paid salary-wise? So the extra cap room is potentially worth way more than the lost draft picks and the rights to Hill unless the rebuilding play goes terribly awry. (Rodriguez and Hill actually cancel each other out, since they both seem to have about equal potential right now and we do retain Rodriguez’s rights at about the same QO figure as Hill’s salary.)

  86. Ted Nelson

    BBA @75,

    In that context I would consider Johnson an A-list FA and maybe even Amare (I think that’s what Hollinger meant anyway). Even Lee could be considered A-list, being an All-Star.

    Re-signing Lee would not be adding 3 players, but 2. Plus losing Nate and Harrington. The big question I have is that other David Lee type of FAs are out there? Lee himself might get $12 mill or more, meaning you can’t sign 3 of him. What other FAs are in that second group? No other All-Stars. I would say Manu is the only sure thing, and he might be an A-lister. Rudy Gay? No better than Chandler. Boozer? Likely to be overpaid, probably not compatible with Lee, and seems to have attitude issues. Tyrus Thomas and Raymond Felton? Would improve the Knicks defense, but both are weak-to-miserable offensively. Mike Miller or Marcus Camby? I like both, but they’re not getting younger. Manu, Mike Miller, and Camby (and find a PG somewhere) I think they’d be a playoff team of close. That also assumes a lot going right, though. Manu is thought to be likely to re-sign with San Antonio, and if not it’s probably because the Knicks blow him out of the water financially. He may be in decline, so a questionable move. Camby and Miller with probably be looking at deals with contenders, so again the Knicks have to beat deal, maybe beating the MLE. So, maybe the Knicks could get two of those guys if everything goes according to plan.

    The other point is that they could have built that kind of a team without this deal. They could have signed 2 Lee types and a bargain guy. Then traded Curry and/or Jeffries and/or Hill, Chandler, Gallo, Doulgas, picks. They didn’t have to give away Jeffries with picks to build that way.

  87. Brian Cronin

    Not for nothing, but so long as the other two free agent signings don’t exceed $20.5 million, the Knicks can go over the cap to re-sign David Lee, so basically, if the Knicks want to keep David Lee, they will likely keep David Lee.

    Now that I think about it, that’s actually a very valuable component of this deal. Before this trade, the Knicks could only spend roughly $11 million on free agents before they exceeded David Lee’s cap hold. Now it’s $20.5 million. That’s big. As soon as Mike’s done editing the current piece, I’m so editing that bit into my grade!

  88. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I don’t know exactly how much Sergio will get. I just know that he’ll get a tax free offer and European teams also pay your housing and car. Plus he’s Spanish and may or may not want to go home and be a (somewhat) big star. I don’t know what that will mean in NBA dollars.

    Was Rodriguez a free agent either of the last two years? (I honestly don’t know… as far as I know he’s on his rookie deal but maybe he was restricted last season.) It depends on his wishes and also what top Euro teams are looking for a PG or what mid-level team wants to sink a big part of their budget into a star, but I’m pretty confident he’ll get a solid offer from Europe. His quickness and athleticism will stand out in Europe more than they do in the NBA. His lack of shooting will still hurt him, but a lot of top teams employ a real specialization of labor approach in their backcourt: one pure point and a combo-guard and a bigger guard. Unlike in the NBA where guys are expected to have multiple skills (a matter of degree, of course). A point like Pablo Prignoni, Pepe Sanchez, Raul Lopez, Ricky Rubio with a Louis Bullock or JC Navarro. Rodriguez would be a great fit in the PG role. Don’t know what he’s worth to teams, I have a friend who is a scout for a German team who I’ll ask what he thinks.

    As far as coming over so young… it certainly might be that he wants/wanted above all to be an NBA player. He’s got the NBA flare in his game. It’s also a good financial strategy for a late 1st round pick, though, due to the NBA’s salary structure. Come young and make your $1 mill per, then get to your 2nd contract faster. Otherwise, if you’re good, you end up in a situation like Tiago Splitter where you have to take a paycut to come to the NBA. What he wanted at 19 is also not necessarily what he’ll want now.

    If nothing else his agent can use a similar European contract to push up his value a little.

    I guess I should not be so certain about it, and after playing with D’Antoni maybe he at least takes a 1 yr deal to see if he can’t raise his value significantly in 2011. PG is also not as rare in Europe as good bigger players, so that works against him.

  89. Ted Nelson

    re: Rudy Gay

    Totally not worth $11 mill. He’s no better than Chandler. Possibly worse when you consider defense. At $8 mill I probably wouldn’t touch Gay.

    Brian,

    Good point in #106. That is valuable.

    Z-Man,

    “So the extra cap room is potentially worth way more than the lost draft picks and the rights to Hill unless the rebuilding play goes terribly awry.”

    It is DEFINITELY *potentially* worth way, way, way, way more than what the Knicks gave up. However, I don’t think the rebuilding would have to go terrible awry for it not to be. LeBron signing is at best a 50/50 proposition so far as we fans know (maybe Walsh knows differently). Wade signing is probably a significantly lower chance, I think the best chance is if LeBron convinces him. Bosh? Who cares? Not a huge improvement on Lee. I wouldn’t call two guys not signing “terribly awry.”

    latke,

    The Knicks would have had cap space in 2011 regardless, so that doesn’t count towards making this a good deal. It counts towards making it a bad deal.

    No way in hell would I trade Lee for Lou Williams, a mid-1st, and the worst chucker in the world (Willie Green). Lou Williams is barely a PG.
    As I said, no way do I sign Gay. I don’t know if Camby would come to the LeBron-less Knicks for only $3 mill.

    Frank O.,

    “Oh, and as of today, the Knicks backcourt is better than it was, hands down,”

    Not if T-Mac decides to be T-Mac and take 30 shots a night.

    “I have been saying the Knicks need to clear cap space and they need to create greater flexibility and that no one should be safe.
    The Knicks have 19 freakin wins, folks.”

    The fact they stink and have 19 wins is a good reason to keep their picks. I’m glad they made the trade, but to simply say this was the greatest trade ever and there is no room to be worried about it is ridiculous.

    “Yes, the knicks gave up some picks, but they used Nate to get another pick back.”

    I haven’t seen this anywhere… I’ve seen House, Giddens, and Walker. Hope I missed it.

  90. Ted Nelson

    cgreene,

    Knicks could build incrementally and have the exact same $45 mill to spend over the next two years without the trade. The trade is about 2010, if they don’t do something this offseason the trade didn’t work out for them. I’m on board, I’m just saying we will be able to say “didn’t work out” in hindsight.

  91. latke

    Re: the Rudy Gay Hate

    If Gay commands $8 million, even better. The bottom line is we need a point guard to make this system work. There are no good FA point guards available this summer or next. Here is the list of 2010 FA PGs who could even conceivably start:

    Kyle Lowry
    Steve Blake
    Rafer Alston
    Luke Ridnour
    Sergio Rodriguez
    Raymond Felton

    Blake and Alston are old and were never that good. Lowry is shoots 29% from three. Ridnour and Rodriguez play no defense.

    2011 offers… Mike Conley, Ronnie Price, Tony Parker, Sasha Vujacic, Aaron Brooks

    Conley and Brooks might be serviceable, but they’re not even that big of upgrades on Duhon. Parker will be 29, can’t shoot from the perimeter, and is not much of a passer — you don’t sign aging point guards to long term deals.

    Lou Williams has a TS% of .565 this year. For his career he is a 33% shooter from three – not great, but HE’S ONLY 23 YEARS OLD. David Lee will be 27 in April. By the time this LeBron-less and Wade-less team matures to the point of being a contender, he’ll be 30 and likely in decline. Furthermore, Williams has 3 years left on his contract at only $6 million per. That’s a bargain now, and if he continues to develop could be a veritable steal. Willie Green is only part of the deal because his contract expires at the end of the 2011 season. Any $4 million expiring deal would work.

    Even if Lee is more valuable than Williams, he is our only chip left to sign and trade. You need a point guard. What other young point guard could you get at the price of Lee? I can’t think of anyone.

    Gay, Gallinari, and Chandler work fine to fill the 2, 3, and 4 on a D’Antoni team. Chandler may seem like an untraditional 2, but he’s playing the best basketball of his career as a shooting guard. You want to say Rudy Gay is the wrong player to sign — fine. Who do you sign instead? Joe Johnson? He’s old. Ronnie Brewer? He can’t shoot. Tracy McGrady? Channing Frye? Ginobili? Boozer? All these guys are either too old for our young team, or in Frye’s case, not that good.

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