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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mark Warkentien: The Next Knicks GM?

Last weekend the Knicks announced that they were hiring Mark Warkentien as “director, pro player personnel” where he “will consult Walsh on preparation for the NBA Draft, have scouting assignments and will advise on personnel moves.” Warkentien was previously the general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 2006 until the team let him go last summer.

This move is significant for New York, because it’s possible that Warkentien is being groomed to succeed Donnie Walsh. Even though the Knicks current president has said he would like to remain with the franchise a little longer, his 70th birthday is less than two weeks away. And the team hasn’t even picked up his contract for next year. With that in mind, I’m going to look over some of Warkentien’s moves as Denver GM, in order to better understand what kind of GM he has been.

Draft 2006
Selected forward Leon Powe (49th overall pick).
Traded the draft rights to forward Leon Powe to the Boston Celtics for a future second-round pick.

Talk about starting off on the wrong foot. Powe looked to be a real gem coming out of the second round, for Boston that is. However knee injuries seem to have derailed what appeared to be a promising career. On the other hand, trading a second rounder is minor on the list of GM failures. Players available in the second round have been turned down by nearly every team in the league, and aren’t likely to turn out to be rotation players, nevertheless All Stars. It’s a low risk move shipping one to another team.

July 28 2006
Signed forward Jamal Sampson.

Unless you’re a long term reader of KnickerBlogger or a big Cal fan, you might e asking who is Jamal Sampson? Yours truly advocated for him back in 2005. A 6-11 center, Sampson was a second round teenage pick for Utah and bounced around the league for 5 years. He only accumulated 631 minutes but showed promise from a statistical perspective. Sampson averaged 13.8 reb/40 and 1.8 blk/36 which at worst would make him a decent rotation player. With that average, he would be the third best rebounder in the league this year. Unfortunately Sampson never made it in the NBA, and currently is in China where he dominated one season. When given minutes he’s produced, although it didn’t work out for Denver.

July 20 2006
Re-signed forward Nenê; re-signed guard Howard Eisley and traded him with two 2007 second-round picks to the Chicago Bulls for guard JR Smith.

First, re-signing Nene was a gutsy move at the time. Hilario played only one game in 2006 before injuring his knee. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament, sprained his medial collateral ligament and had a torn meniscus. Also consider that at the time Nene wasn’t a high volume scorer (14.4 pts/36 in 2006), strong rebounder (8.9 reb/36) or shot blocker (1.3 blk/36). Despite another year lost (to cancer) the Hillario signing has worked for Denver. Since his new contract, Nene led the league in TS% twice, and this year he is first in eFG%.

As for his other move that summer, getting J.R. Smith for Howard Eisley and a couple of second round picks was a steal. It was another risky move for Warkentien. Smith had gotten benched by Hornets coach Byron Scott just months prior to the trade, because Smith clashed with his head coach on numerous occasions. Despite his past, Smith has produced well for Denver. In his first three seasons he posted a TS% of 57.5% or higher, with 19.8 pts/36 or more. Luckily for Chicago fans, Howard Eisley never suited up.

September 8 2006
Re-signed forward Reggie Evans.

Reggie Evans, rebounder extraordinaire, had his highest TS% (55.0%) after signing a one year deal with Denver. Despite his journeyman status, Evans is valued by statisticians for his tremendous rebounding prowess. It’s rumored that Dave Berri is lobbying for a statue of Evans pulling down a rebound in front of the economics building on the campus of Southern Utah.


December 19 2006
Traded guard Andre Miller, forward Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Allen Iverson and forward Ivan McFarlin.

Not a trade, I would have made. But look at it this way. Allen Iverson’s most efficient full season was in 2007 for Denver. The diminutive guard had a TS% of 55.0%, while averaging 22.8 pts/36. Considering he finished his career with a TS% of 50.1%, that’s quite an accomplishment. In Dave Berri’s statue of Reggie Evans, Iverson is in the background talking on his cell phone staring away from the play.

194 comments on “Mark Warkentien: The Next Knicks GM?

  1. Nick C.

    Wow that’s a pretty thorough look at a guy I don’t know that I ever heard before he came here. If and when DW leaves the franchise would be in good hands if Warkentien is given the reins.

  2. DS

    @1 Agreed on both points. That Camby move drives me crazy though, esp. when you consider how much the Knicks could use him right now.

  3. TDM

    I have mixed feelings about Warkentien and most of the negative has nothing to do with him. I like that he seems to have a penchant for using advanced stats to try to find untapped talent. However, I really think Donnie has done a great job and it pisses me off that Dolan seems to be giving him the cold shoulder when it comes to picking up his contract. So, to the extent that bringing in Warkentien means showing Walsh the door, I’m not happy. Not to mention, the constant reminder that Isiah is lurking around MSG waiting for Dolan to give him the thumbs up sign to come out of the bushes.

    Overall, the positives of Warkentien outshine the negatives. Putting aside the mistreatment of Donnie, the Knicks do need to plan for his eventual retirement and Mark is as good a replacement as any.

    In other news, looks like Donnie is finally going to bring in some help at the 5:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/barron_at_center_of_walsh_attention_iMrqtWsX52QZzB4OXK1C1J

  4. Spree8nyk8

    looks like the Nuggets are asking for WC/Gallo/Moz and 2 picks, sucks but we may have to pony up. Least we’d hold onto fields, but honestly losing moz would be pretty tough as a throw in. But if we can get Earl Barron back which they are saying we are going to do I guess we can make up for that.

  5. Z

    Interesting. Warkentien seems like a fascinating study for advanced stat guys. He clearly is drawn to players that advanced stat gurus adore (Sampson, Fazekas, Balkman, Lawson…). It’s also interesting, though, how few of them have panned out for him. (If he was still in Denver, he probably would be excited to trade Carmelo for Anthony Randolph… Maybe his contribution to the Knicks this year will be to urge Donnie to hold on to AR).

  6. Z

    Also, Mike– no mention of how the Nuggets did as a team during his tenure. They were pretty good. Averaged over 50 wins a year during his tenure. Made it to the WC finals.

  7. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Z: He clearly is drawn to players that advanced stat gurus adore (Sampson, Fazekas, Balkman, Lawson…). It’s also interesting, though, how few of them have panned out for him.

    One note thing about this – it’s not that that the players were given the minutes and failed to be good NBA players. It’s that they were never given the minutes.

    Don’t forget to add Andersen to the successful column of the advanced stat guru love list as well. And the jury is out on Lawson until Billups gets traded so he can assume the starter’s role.

  8. Brian Cronin

    looks like the Nuggets are asking for WC/Gallo/Moz and 2 picks, sucks but we may have to pony up.

    That’s a terrible trade. No way should they do that.

  9. Brian Cronin

    By the way, is Balkman the worst practicer ever or something?

    When he plays, he usually plays well, but none of his coaches ever want to play him.

  10. Frank

    Spree8nyk8: looks like the Nuggets are asking for WC/Gallo/Moz and 2 picks, sucks but we may have to pony up.Least we’d hold onto fields, but honestly losing moz would be pretty tough as a throw in.But if we can get Earl Barron back which they are saying we are going to do I guess we can make up for that.  

    I’m starting to feel like maybe we need to up the ante a little. Chandler is a goner whether through trade or FA so I’m happy to send him. Fat Eddy is necessary of course. They’ll ask for Timo/Gallo/Fields and I think out of those, I’d be the most willing to let go of Gallo – not because I don’t like him — he’s actually one of my favorite Knicks — but because I’m not sure what his position will be if Melo’s on the team. Given his 3 point shooting has taken a serious dip (and continues a trend downward since his rookie year 44%–> 38% –> 34.5%), his main value right now is driving and drawing fouls – exactly what Melo does. The game against the Lakers shows what happens when he doesn’t get foul calls – lots of contortions by Gallo and a fast break the other direction. This is more likely than not to happen in the playoffs when the officials stop calling the ticky-tack stuff.

    I think I’d be willing to send Curry, Chandler, Gallo, and maybe some sort of pick we can buy from someone, then hold onto Randolph. In return for the higher price, I’d ask them for Shelden Williams and Afflalo back. Both are on expirings and would fill holes on the roster.

  11. Z

    @7 guess not! :)

    @8 That’s exactly why he’s an interesting study. He seems to be drawn to these players, and you have to figure they have front office support, yet the coach doesn’t give them much burn. Did he clash with Karl? What was it about Anderson that got him the playing time he needed while the others have floundered? It’s interesting because he drafted these [statistically impressive, yet poorly-rated] players, traded for them, and signed them after they were waived by other teams, basically taking all avenues to obtain them, only to not use them.

  12. Doug

    Brian Cronin: By the way, is Balkman the worst practicer ever or something?
    When he plays, he usually plays well, but none of his coaches ever want to play him.  

    wasn’t his commitment to smoking weed everydayyyy also a thing not in his favor

  13. flossy

    Z: (If he was still in Denver, he probably would be excited to trade Carmelo for Anthony Randolph… Maybe his contribution to the Knicks this year will be to urge Donnie to hold on to AR).  

    I get the sense that Donnie values Randolph quite a bit. Can Warkentien convince D’Antoni to play him, is the real question (to which the answer is almost certainly ‘no’).

    Speaking of which, I would draw the line at including both Randolph and Mozgov in a Melo trade. If we go into the playoffs playing a platoon of Ronny Turiaf, Shawne Williams (!) and Earl Barron (!!!) at center, things are going to get ugly real quick.

    More importantly if we do that I don’t see a quick way to get better at center over the offseason. If our best-case scenario is that the MLE still exists in the new CBA and that someone like Sam Dalembert signs with us for it… that’s not a world I want to live in.

  14. Caleb

    Great recap. Warkentien seems to think a bit like a Knickerblogger which makes it an interesting glimpse into Walsh’s mind, that he’s the guy who got hired. For better or worse, he’s also a guy who’s gonna think big – doesn’t mind signing expensive deals. That also fits the Walsh style; he drives a hard bargain but doesn’t hesitate to pay big money for a guy he really wants (i.e. Stoudemire).

    Brian Cronin: By the way, is Balkman the worst practicer ever or something?
    When he plays, he usually plays well, but none of his coaches ever want to play him.  

    I was always a big fan but between the DUI, his on-cam birthday message: “[Brian] Greenie and I are going to go get lit!” and all the whispers about laziness and weirdness in practice – I’d have to guess he has some off-court problems. Not to mention I think he’s been slotted as a too-small PF when his chance at being an impact player was as a wing defender and energy guy. Great rebounder for those positions, not so much as a 4. But maybe the off-court stuff has hurt his fitness and energy to the point he can’t do it.

  15. Caleb

    @4, that’s obviously a no-no no-brainer for the Knicks. But losing Moz would be relatively painless, compared to some of the other ideas out there. He has looked pretty good lately, but given his age and past rebounding numbers – he has about zero chance of being a real star. An average starting center is the absolute ceiling, with “borderline starter” or “good backup” being a more likely goal. Maybe we can sucker the Nuggets into taking Timo in place of Randolph or the mid-1st we were supposed to get for him.

  16. HoyaSaxa33

    I’ll be the first to admit that I love Wilson Chandler and the things he can do for this knicks team, but lets face it, Melo will do the same things….better. I don’t see Moz ever really panning into something more than a serviceable backup he had a few decent offensive games, but he couldnt stop earl boykins from scoring on him. The only guys that i’m really nervous about losing are Gallo and Landry. I’ve been a big gallo fan since we drafted him, but if we have to lose one of these guys i think he’s the one that we can afford to lose. I’m not sure how well he fits in with Melo anyway. Landry however is the ultimate glue guy, a perfect compliment to Melo, Amare, and Chris Paul, because he doesnt need designed plays to get his. He works his ass off and gets to the boards and puts up his numbers through hustle and good defense. So knicks lets put on our big boy pants and trade galo chandler and timo and lets get melo in here so we can start winning some games.

  17. Caleb

    flossy:
    I don’t see a quick way to get better at center over the offseason.If our best-case scenario is that the MLE still exists in the new CBA and that someone like Sam Dalembert signs with us for it… that’s not a world I want to live in.  

    There actually seem to be a weirdly large number of options, especially short-term ones. On the top tier, this summer’s FA bigs include Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Kendrick Perkins and possible Nene if he opts out. Also Gasol and Jordan are restricted, though, unlikely to move. And I don’t see Walsh spending that kind of $$ on Perkins.

    A rung below – guys who might take a mid-level deal or less – you’ve got Dalembert, Shaq, Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison, Kwame Brown and Joel Przybilla though he says it’s Portland, Milwaukee or retirement … and maybe…

    And cheaper, there’s Kurt Thomas, Nazr Mohammed, advanced-stat-stud Kris Humphries and Jason Smith from the Hornets who might be a good D’Antoni fit – a skinny shooter.

    In the “seriously doubt it but it has to cross your mind” category, there’s Greg Oden. What offer will Portland match? And Yao Ming!

    My guess: Turiaf will exercise his option, so he and Moz will both be back. If no Melo, Walsh might consider and offer to Chandler or Nene, but otherwise he’ll stick with what we have. If Turiaf or Moz is gone, he’ll look at the cheap options.

  18. Brian Cronin

    but if we have to lose one of these guys i think he’s the one that we can afford to lose.

    If I had to lose two of the three, I think Gallo and Fields are basically even, and since Fields can play the 2 and Gallo can’t, I guess Fields would be the slight favorite. It’d basically be a toss-up between them.

    That said, there is no way the Knicks should have to lose two of the three. If the Nuggets want to push the issue, the Knicks should call their bluff.

  19. Caleb

    Brian Cronin:
    If I had to lose two of the three, I think Gallo and Fields are basically even, and since Fields can play the 2 and Gallo can’t, I guess Fields would be the slight favorite. It’d basically be a toss-up between them.That said, there is no way the Knicks should have to lose two of the three. If the Nuggets want to push the issue, the Knicks should call their bluff.  

    Also Fields is dirt-cheap next year which is more points in his favor.

    I’m not major Melo advocate but Gallo/Chandler/Timo, would save some salary flexibiliy, keep two high-upside guys in Fields and AR, keep the roster pretty balanced and think in the end would be a winner. From a strong-arm perspective, it would also be a way to almost force D’Antoni to play Randolph. Outside shooting would be a weakness but you can usually find specialists pretty cheap.

  20. Brian Cronin

    The thing is, Caleb, I think that that trade is presuming AR as part of the deal, just being referred to as the pick he will return in a trade and not by name.

    If AR stays, then yeah, it definitely changes the trade a lot.

    So whenever I say I don’t want to give up “two of the three,” I always say it with the presumption that AR being in the trade is a given, which certainly seems to be how the Knicks are looking at it. I guess I should really be saying “three of the four.”

  21. flossy

    @19: Looks like you’ve talked yourself out of any appealing scenario taking place, big-man-wise, if we trade for Melo and include both Mozgov and Randolph to get it done (If no Melo, why would we possibly be trading away both of them?).

    We certainly won’t have the money to make a serious play for anyone in the Tyson Chandler/Marc Gasol/DeAndre Jordan/Nene/Perkins tier of above-average centers.

    Then it’s a STEEP drop down to the Dalembert/Shaq/Nenad Krstic/Nick Collison/Kwame Brown/Przybilla set of guys who might take the MLE. Of those guys, Dalembert really does seem like the best-case scenario, and honestly… meh. But if we lose both of our young big men of the future and bring in Kwame Brown as a replacement… UGH. Yuck. No.

    That’s why I consider the combination of both Timo and AR to be a concession too far when we’re talking about Melo trade packages.

  22. Caleb

    Brian Cronin: The thing is, Caleb, I think that that trade is presuming AR as part of the deal, just being referred to as the pick he will return in a trade and not by name.
    If AR stays, then yeah, it definitely changes the trade a lot.So whenever I say I don’t want to give up “two of the three,” I always say it with the presumption that AR being in the trade is a given, which certainly seems to be how the Knicks are looking at it. I guess I should really be saying “three of the four.”   

    I’d say we have six real assets, arbitrarily including the 2014 pick and excluding Bill Walker and Shawne Williams. I know others disagree, but factoring in potential, salary & need, I’d rank them: AR, Fields, Gallo, Chandler, Timo and the 2014 pick. I would grudgingly give up the last four, or any combination of 3 – with one exception: I would not move Fields AND Randolph for Carmelo.

    While I’m not 100 percent sure that Carmelo would be better than, say, Gallo/Chandler/Timo, he plays the same position as the first two – plays it better – and would be taking a lot of their minutes anyway.

    @24 I wouldn’t look at AR & Mozgov together – AR is a forward and as long as he’s here, Stoudemire will guard centers before AR does. If Moz gets traded, we’d make do with Stoudemire and Turiaf, adding a cheap player for depth. Thomas, Smith, Humphries would be great if you can get them cheap. Someone will.

    I agree – wouldn’t sign any of those “middle” players to a multi-year deal. But depending what happens on the trade front, you could offer, say, Dalembert, $7 million for a year and I bet he’d take it. Shaq is playing for vet’s minimum these days so if he likes the team (like, after a trade) he might be interested.

    On the top tier, Chandler or Nene might be worth the $ and we’d have it available if no Carmelo trade. Somehow I don’t see it happening….

  23. John Kenney

    Good article. However, as an unabashed Tmac fan… gotta say that considering how cheap he is this year (850k), that wasn’t a “bad” signing.

  24. Ben R

    I agree that we cannot trade both our young bigs. If we can keep AR and get Andersen back then I could live with throwing in Mozgov but with Turiaf’s fragility and Williams lack of size we cannot go into the playoffs with them as our best options at center and no young prospects on the horizon.

    I think people are a little too down on Mozgov, he is an old rookie but still a rookie. Manu entered the league at 25 and it still took him two years for him to transition from a good wing to a great one. Kukoc was really inefficient and turnover prone as a 25 year old rookie but figured it out by his 2nd year. Calderon is another player who as a 24 year old rookie was pretty poor but started to figure it out by his 2nd season. If Mogov is a decent backup/rotation center now in a couple of years I think solid starter is a very possible. His shooting touch is quite good and his athletic gifts are obvious, when the game slows down and he clicks I could easily see him being a 14-10-2 guy with a solid TS% and turnover rate.

    I think if Denver forces our hand and makes us include one of Gallo/Fields/Moz then we need to keep Randolph, they don’t even want him anyway so there must be another way to get the requisite 1st.

  25. TheRant

    Z: Also, Mike– no mention of how the Nuggets did as a team during his tenure. They were pretty good. Averaged over 50 wins a year during his tenure. Made it to the WC finals.

    Yeah, Mike. Also, you didn’t really discuss Warkentien’s history of decisions, what you thought of them, or how he might play out as a Knicks GM.

    Seriously, I’m with TDM up top in the @3 spot. I appreciate the writeup on Warkentien and now know him a bit better. Thanks, Mike.

    But I still feel like Donnie Walsh came in with an underperforming team that was WAY over the cap and has not only moved us below the cap but brought in a cadre of very young players who are excited to be here and exciting to watch. There is leadership and a good coach. We are not there yet but things are good and looking up.

    The ONLY sane move would be to give Donnie Walsh a big thank you, a Wall St. sized bonus, and renew his contract.

    There is GREAT work to be done in the coming years seeking a 1 and a 5 while craftily ignoring both Denver and Dolan until 11:50pm on Feb. 23rd.

  26. stratomatic

    Put me down as hoping the Nets get back into it, blow our offer away, Melo agrees to extend, and we are saved from ourselves.

    It’s not so much that I dislike Melo. I think he’s a terrific player and would be a great addition to most teams, but IMHO he’s not a super star and doesn’t really fit in NY.

    He’s an incredibly talented “scorer” that doesn’t use his talents as effectively as he should and he’s an average defender at best.

    He’d clearly be an upgrade over Chandler. But under the most favorable trade scenario he’d still take some shots away from Amare/Gallo/Fields (all who score more efficiently) and minimize his benefit.

    Under the worst trade scenario we’d have two max contract players (neither of whom is a superstar on both ends fo the court or at multiple areas of the game), gaping holes all over the pace (especially defensively), and much less flexibility.

    I would way rather use Curry’s cap space to try to land a defense oriented high rebounding C that can be efficient around the basket in limited usage and hope either Gallo, Chandler, or Fields develops into a consistent #2 scorer. Then we could also keep Randolph, who I feel certain will eventually become a highly productive player that will fill a lot of needs for NY on the boards and with interior length and defense.

    If that kind of thing doesn’t sit well D’Antoni (defense oriented C and Randolph) then I say trade the coach. I am more convinced than ever that gearing every personnel and rotation decision towards offense and outside shooting is an iditoic approach that is doomed to failure. IMO the Suns were a very unique combination of talents that also had one of the greatest PGs in the history of the sport who was also perfect for that system. Unless we can clone Nash, this is a high risk low reward approach to building a team. WE already know what works in the NBA. Why take an approach that may or may NOT work.

  27. Ben R

    I still think if the Melo trade does not go through a simple Curry + money or 2nd round pick for Troy Murphy could be a great small move to help us down the stretch.

  28. Nick C.

    Murphy would be the perfect what the team could use and what the coach will play mix of a rebounding big man who can shoot 3s. I wonder if Murphy isn’t past it.

  29. Caleb

    @30 True, he is basically a better Shawne Williams. Maybe not quite the defender but makes up for it with good rebounding.

  30. stratomatic

    I want to add one other thing.

    I think the NY media and many Knicks blog writers are a problem for the Knicks organization (this blog and present company excluded). The more I read the NY dailies and Knicks blogs the more convinced I am that most people following the Knicks don’t know much about basketball beyond who scores the most points and who can do the most visually impressive things. They are also all very short term oriented.

    That’s not a good thing because it creates pressures on the organization from fans and the media to move quickly and do things that might help immediately but hurt over the long haul.

  31. Mike Kurylo Post author

    stratomatic: WE already know what works in the NBA. Why take an approach that may or may NOT work.

    I think this is an over-simplistic view of the NBA. Change does occur and you can argue that D’Antoni has already been instrumental in it’s current form. Dirk, Amar’e, and Duncan would have been 4s a decade ago (Heck Duncan was a 4 years ago). Now centers have to be more agile than strong. More able to run the floor than work the post.

    There isn’t a single style that works. Imagine saying 15 years ago “Riley can’t put PFs at SF, this thuggish-defense first mentality doesn’t work – offense does. We need more scoring!” If “playing the right way”, concentrating on defense, and working the half court offense is the only way to win the NBA, then Larry Brown wouldn’t have coached for 25 years before winning his only championship. Look at Phil Jackson – who’d thunk running the triangle offense (basically turning a PG into a spot up shooter standing in the corner) would have been so successful?

    Now I agree that he needs the right players to do so, but that’s true of any system (think Amar’e as Larry Brown’s Detroit center). The Knicks have some good players, but some serious holes as well (namely point guard and backup center). You’d expect them to be a little over .500 with any coach. Most of all the Knicks need more great players. Amar’e isn’t good enough alone to lead this crew to the Finals, especially with Felton at point. But it’s not the system, or the coach, necessarily that’s at fault.

  32. Mike Kurylo Post author

    stratomatic: Put me down as hoping the Nets get back into it, blow our offer away, Melo agrees to extend, and we are saved from ourselves.

    It’s not so much that I dislike Melo. I think he’s a terrific player and would be a great addition to most teams, but IMHO he’s not a super star and doesn’t really fit in NY.

    He’s an incredibly talented “scorer” that doesn’t use his talents as effectively as he should and he’s an average defender at best.

    He’d clearly be an upgrade over Chandler. But under the most favorable trade scenario he’d still take some shots away from Amare/Gallo/Fields (all who score more efficiently) and minimize his benefit.

    Under the worst trade scenario we’d have two max contract players (neither of whom is a superstar on both ends fo the court or at multiple areas of the game), gaping holes all over the pace (especially defensively), and much less flexibility.

    BTW I agree 100% with this.

  33. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, the best part of the Nets’ offer was that it was so good, the Knicks couldn’t even really be blamed for not getting Melo.

    So I would like that offer to show up again if the alternative is WC/Gallo/Moz/AR/future #1/Curry.

  34. stratomatic

    Mike,

    I understand your point. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.

    Basketball has and will always change a little as the rules change. Different rules place greater value on some skills over others.

    I was not suggesting there is “one correct” way to build a successful team. I was suggesting there are lower probability ways and wrong ways to do it.

    To a large extent the overall formula for success hasn’t changed much. Most championship caliber teams have a very good balance of high level offense and defense. It doesn’t matter very much which positions provide it or what system they use to get it, as long as the team has plenty of both. The great coaches are often very flexible by position.

    IMO the problem with coach D’Antoni is that he values offense and outside shootiong so far above rebounding, defense, shot blocking etc… it sharply reduces the options for building a successful team and often leaves the team woefully unbalanced. IMO it’s no accident that we are a highly rated offensive team that can’t rebound or defend right now instead of the other way around.

    If you weight the values of various skills incorrectly (as I think D’Antoni might), that is not the path to a championship team.

    Setting Melo aside, I think it’s obvious this team desperately needs a defense first, rebounding, shot blocking C to play along side Amare. But if D’Antoni won’t play him unless he can hit a mid range jumper, run like a gazelle etc… we may never fill that gap with a high level player.

    One other thing. IMHO, one of the reasons there are so many athletic PFs playing C these days is because of the expansion of the NBA. There simply aren’t that many 7′ true Cs around with enough ability and skill to play the game well enough to earn a spot. If Shaq came into the league now though, everyone would still be clamoring for him and he’d still be kicking ass on all these athletic PFs playing C.

  35. tastycakes

    Great article.

    One element I find interesting is that Warkentien clearly has not shied away from guys with off-the-court issues. Melo may have been a no-brainer pick, but Iverson, Birdman, Kenyon Martin, JR Smith, Balkman…

    I’ve said it before: I’d be happy if the Knicks looked more like the Nugs (especially compared with today’s mediocrity festival), but I can imagine a team like that being frustrating. Watching them in the playoffs, I always had this feeling that their guys lacked the mental fortitude to close a series out against a top tier team.

    I know that’s all hand-wavy subjective talk, but you need guys who are mentally strong. I’m a big Billups fan, and think he’s been a huge anchor for that team. They really took off once he got there, but I also think they are loaded with a few too many clowns.

  36. tastycakes

    On another note — and because this will definitely piss some people off — The Golden State Warriors are presently 2 games over .500 when David Lee plays. An interesting contrast with our 1-game-over-.500 Knicks.

    Thought that was interesting, especially for all the haters who talk about what a terrible season he’s having, discounting the fact that he had a giant hole in his arm from Wilson Chandler’s bacteria ridden bite wound. Watched the game last night, and Lee was at his studliest, making huge plays down the stretch on the offensive and defensive ends to help beat the Thunder.

  37. Caleb

    @40 Yeah, Lee is on track to his usual good year. Aside from the hole-in-the-arm, check out his month-by-month splits in years past – he’s always a slow starter.

    I think Stoudemire is an upgrade but a modest one, with more impact on the defensive side. The biggest reasons for the Knicks improvement this year are 1) Landry Fields replaces the 2010 version of Tracy McGrady; 2) Felton replaces Duhon; 3) Turiaf gives the Knicks some interior defense about 30 percent of the time (due to injury), versus zero percent of the time. Stoudemire helps, Chandler ups his game, etc.

    Long-term, I think we’ll have to wait on whether Lee or Stoudemire was the better signing. If Amare’s knees hold up for five years, I think he’s worth the extra $3 million.

    BUt I don’t underestimate the intangible value – it’s not “rational” but I doubt Anthony, CP3, even Dwight Howard would be thinking hard about New York if David Lee were still the starting PF. Not rational, but I think true.

  38. Frank

    tastycakes: On another note — and because this will definitely piss some people off — The Golden State Warriors are presently 2 games over .500 when David Lee plays.An interesting contrast with our 1-game-over-.500 Knicks.Thought that was interesting, especially for all the haters who talk about what a terrible season he’s having, discounting the fact that he had a giant hole in his arm from Wilson Chandler’s bacteria ridden bite wound.Watched the game last night, and Lee was at his studliest, making huge plays down the stretch on the offensive and defensive ends to help beat the Thunder.  

    Blah – he’s still having his worst statistical year by far. A sub-Melo TS, highest TO-R in 5 years, worst rebounding rate. His best month was January when he averaged 17 and 9, but he’s back to 15 and 9 in february on 45.6% FG%.

    I love that when the Warriors don’t suck that much, it’s because Lee is great, and when the Knicks are much better than they’re supposed to be, it’s the guys other than Amare that are really responsible.

  39. stratomatic

    tasty,

    Mark me down as closet Golden State fan because of Lee and Curry. If GS could figure out a way to get Gallo and Fields I might trade uniforms. :-)

    Lee’s rebounding and scoring efficiency has been down a little. Some of it has probably been related to the injury, but I think some of it is playing with Biedrins (boards) and Ellis (type of usage).

    Either way, they are clearly better with him in the line up helping to direct traffic on offense and doing what David Lee does (DWDLD).

  40. Frank

    BTW – in D’Antoni’s system, David Lee NEVER had a single month with a sub-50% shooting percentage. In 5 calendar months with GSW, he has 4 months with a sub-50% shooting percentage.

  41. taggart4800

    I would be interested in giving up more if we got Billups back in the deal.
    As for the centre debate I think C’s have to shoot if they are incapable of playing the position of a true C. Regardless of system they all revolve round getting the easiest look available to score. Not many come easier than backing your man down for a two foot hook or an easy lay in. But if you can create space inside by being able to shoot the midrange then cutters get the easy lay in, negating the need for Shaq types.

  42. Caleb

    @44 Lee had the worst TS% of his career under D’Antoni, and smack even with career #s on rebounding. He got the ball more, upping his usage rate and per-game #s (and salary!) but it’s silly to call him a product of the D’Antoni system. He had great years under Isiah and a good rookie year under Larry Brown.

    I think Biedrins is hurting his board numbers a little, and he’s not going to score in the same volume with Ellis and Curry taking all those shots, but his game will be fine.

  43. stratomatic

    I looked at Lee’s shot distribution on Hoopsdata this morning expecting to see that he’s not hitting outside shots as well as last year. But to my surprise, he’s been fine from longer range and at the hoop. He’s down a little on short shots. I can’t explain that without watching a ton of game tape, but perhaps the longer players in the west are making it a little tougher on him near the basket when he doesn’t get a layup or dunk. Either that or it’s just random.

  44. Brian Cronin

    Obviously, I take issue when people unfairly rip on Lee out of nowhere. But coming by to effectively taunt people in support of Lee is not good, either. Amar’e is almost certainly the better player, but it is not a huge difference – they’re both great players, so I don’t think we need to knock on either one of them just for the heck of it.

  45. Caleb

    Sure, not knocking anyone – I think we went from an excellent power forward to an even better power forward, albeit a more fragile one. Amare is still the best player on the team.

    But we are talking about relative improvement. Amare is better/more productive than Landry Fields, but there is a smaller difference between Amare and David Lee (especially Amare vs. last year’s David Lee) than there is between Fields and McGrady.

    I also think his defensive presence is a bigger improvement on Lee than his offense, although it’s hard to parse out because the Knicks made other improvements on D (like Turiaf) which make it hard to compare apples-to-apples.

  46. tastycakes

    Brian, I totally agree. Was maybe strangely hoping for some heated arguments, but I do think the rational position has been stated plenty:

    - Amar’e is a better player, though the quantity of his betterness is often overstated
    - Amar’e can attract other players to NYC in a way David couldn’t
    - The salary difference is basically inconsequential
    - The Knicks are better because they got better at multiple key positions, more than they got better because Amar’e has some special leadership quality that elevates everyone around him.

    I love ‘em both. Am feeling like my Amar’e honeymoon is over though. He’s pretty great, but also limited — a 2nd Tier Guy (David is 3rd or 4th). And I think it’s unfair to suggest that the team is better *solely* because of his leadership abilities. I get a little miffed when the Garden fans seem to think he’s MVP worthy because he helped make them a .500 team. MVPs make their teams elite. See: LeBron James and the effect he’s had on two teams this year.

    I just think the argument is interesting, so long as you don’t take it too seriously. I was contemplating last night whether I’d trade Amar’e for Steph Curry + David Lee. Look, I caught one of Lee’s best games this year, and there are parts of his game that I miss in Amar’e's (his rebounding and passing) but Amar’e amazes me in new ways, which is nice.

    Monta Ellis get some impossibly weak MVP chants in Oakland last night, which is hysterical!

  47. Spree8nyk8

    Mike Kurylo:
    BTW I agree 100% with this.  

    Of course you agree with it, your very anti-melo. The guy is balling as well as anyone in the league right now. He’s putting up huge numbers. 31, 50, 29, 42. Night in night out. And Idk how many of you are watching these games but he’s doing it easily. Nobody has a chance at stopping him right now. I mean this is the kinda guy this team needs because when our offense grinds to a damn halt like it has been lately, he can get his own shot much much better than anyone we have. If we try to “call their bluff” and it’s not a bluff, we are going to be the laughing stock of this league for a long time. And looking back and saying that WC/gallo/Moz was too high a price i going to be laughable. Yes, i know AR and Curry are also in the deal. Yes, it is a high price. But this is a top notch player whether you think he is or not. He might not have the defensive prowess we’d like, but he does have the best crunch time numbers in the league (article was on espn.com a couple weeks ago), and his scoring prowess alone puts him as the caliber of player that you don’t pass up. If we don’t get him, a guy who DESPERATELY wants to come here, what makes you think we are getting any of those other guys. This deal needs to happen and it needs to happen now. I will say this right now the people on this board that think it’s too much to give are the only people on this planet that think that. It’s ridiculous. Do the deal..

  48. Spree8nyk8

    If melo can put up 50 and 42 in a week with a team he doesn’t wanna play for what will he do for a team that he does? This is what I NEVER understand from you guys. You have a superstar (deny it all you like) that wants NOTHING MORE than to play for THIS TEAM (and ONLY THIS TEAM). And you don’t see the value in that? It is RARE. Most sports stars care only about the money (and i’m not saying melo doesn’t care about his money). This guy wants desperately to come here. But thinking that it would be fair to ask the guy to lose 35 mil to come here is asanine. Who would ask that? He has given us leverage over every other team but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to make a fair offer. You guys might think that it’s too much to give for him but I’ll tell you what, if other teams were in the mix that offer wouldnt’ be enough. Not even close.

  49. Jimmy C

    Spree8nyk8: This deal needs to happen and it needs to happen now. I will say this right now the people on this board that think it’s too much to give are the only people on this planet that think that. It’s ridiculous. Do the deal..

    I think the concern a lot of us have is, if we give up a package along the lines of WC / Gallo / Randolph / Curry / Moz (or 2 picks in place of Curry & Randolph or whatever), that doesn’t leave much with which to surround our 2 pillars. We lack depth as it is; letting Denver bend us over a rail will only make that worse.

    Besides that, you’re assuming that if nothing’s done by the deadline, he’ll end up somewhere else. If he DESPERATELY wants to be here, then he’ll either be willing to roll the dice with the new CBA and take a haircut — albeit a sizable one — to come here in the summer. In fact, if he really truly desperately wants to be here, he’ll prefer coming to a team more intact and deeper than he’d be getting by us pushing the panic button. It’s stressful for everyone involved now, particularly with Dolan breathing down Donnie’s neck at every turn, but I don’t see how “sucking it up” and upping the ante makes us a better team, and I think if you asked Melo in confidence he’d tell you the same thing.

  50. Spree8nyk8

    Caleb: I think we went from an excellent power forward to an even better power forward, albeit a more fragile one.   

    How is he fragile? The only seasons he’s missed any length of games were the season he injured his knee, and the end of the season when he injured his eye and the knee injury was five years ago. Since then he played in 82, 79, 53 (eye injury), 82, and 53/54 games this season, his absence against NJ ended a 135 game streak. Doesn’t sound all that fragile to me.

  51. Spree8nyk8

    It’s amazingly ridiculous to me that a .500 team should be able to consider not making this trade. We are basically begging the Lakers to step in and take him. When a superstar wants to come you make it happen, you don’t make them forfeit what they have earned just for the priveledge of joining your .500 team that hasn’t made the playoffs in years. And what exactly are we losing as far as depth goes? We are going to lose WC anyway. Moz can be replaced by earl barron. Gallo will be replaced by melo. And AR isn’t playing anyway. So where exactly is the huge amount of depth we are losing. Your basically saying melo isn’t worth WC and Gallo and that’s not true. Other than that everything else is very replaceable. Once we have the team together that we are ready to build on vets are going to be willing to come cheap for a shot at a ring, hopefully they’ll be an MLE still (if there isn’t Miami is basically screwed too). We can find ways to build, what we can’t find is players of this caliber to come. We had huge space this offseason and we only got Amar’e. If we diss Melo, that’s not gonna bode well for us at all. And if we don’t make the move who knows, maybe melo re signs with Denver. It isn’t a gamble we can afford to be wrong on.

  52. Jimmy C

    Spree8nyk8: And if we don’t make the move who knows, maybe melo re signs with Denver. It isn’t a gamble we can afford to be wrong on.

    But I remember when LeCon was the gamble we couldn’t afford to be wrong on. Instead we got Stoudemire, who by all accounts has exceeded expectations, if not in terms of stats then at least in terms of leadership and credibility. So losing LeBron really wasn’t the end of the world a lot of people made it out to be, just as losing Melo — and that’s an enormous IF — won’t be the end of the world either.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love Melo, I think he’s a winner and would absolutely love to have him here. But I also care about the health and future of the team. You can’t just discount WC, Gallo and Moz and assume they’re all — or will be — expendable without giving any thought to what rolls they might play if Melo were to come here in the summer. Maybe WC is that hypothetical veteran who takes less to play on a title contender. Ditto Gallo. Maybe they both come off the bench and are happy to do it.

    Yes, Melo is worth WC and Gallo. In a total vacuum. But games aren’t played and championships aren’t won in a vacuum. Context matters. And so does considering the future. I for one believe Melo when he says he wants to come here, and if that’s the case, he’ll get here one way or the other. I’d just rather have it be for a pu-pu platter now or in free agency, when we can just worry about convincing WC to stick around and be a valuable 6th man on very, very good team.

  53. Nick C.

    I just don’t get the do whatever you have to do to get a player that has finished above 12th in the MVP voting exactly once and that was 6th last season. A look at BB ref finds the only top tens he was are in FGA(M), FTA(M), TO, Pts, PPG, MPG and Usage.

    I’ll grant you he has had the best buzzer beater #s for several years, but that isn’t enough to sway my opinion for a player that while rolling lately still with all of his exhoritant talent misses 55% of his shots.

  54. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Spree8nyk8: You have a superstar (deny it all you like) that wants NOTHING MORE than to play for THIS TEAM (and ONLY THIS TEAM).

    A. He’s not a superstar. There’s not a lot of people that would put him in the top 10 of the NBA right now. You could probably find more people that would rate him in the 15+ range than not. That’s not a superstar.

    B. I don’t think the Knicks should pay much for him, considering if that is true they can get him for nothing (perhaps other than not resigning Chandler). The Lakers aren’t sending Bynum. The Nets aren’t sending anyone else. Amar’e + ‘Melo + Turiaf + Walker + Felton + no bench is not a top 4 team in the East. It may not be much better than what we have now. Let Denver take Chandler, Curry, and whatever we get for Anthony Randolph and be happy. Or else they can get nothing in June, other than some real pissed off fans.

  55. massive

    The article Spree mentioned:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

    FWIW, here are the last eight scoring performances Melo has had:
    1) TS% : .667, USG% : 35.7, 37 points, loss @ New Jersey
    2) TS% : .567, USG% : 27.2, 20 points, win vs. Portland
    3) TS% : .536, USG% : 37.1, 31 points, loss vs. Utah
    4) TS% : .757, USG% : 24.4, 25 points, win @ Minnesota
    5) TS% : .783, USG% : 37.7, 50 points, loss vs. Houston
    6) TS% : .602, USG% : 37.6, 29 points, loss @ Golden State
    7) TS% : .798, USG% : 32.6, 42 points, win vs. Dallas
    8) TS% : .595, USG% : 31.5, 28 points, loss @ Memphis

  56. Caleb

    @55 He’s had microfracture surgery on BOTH knees and the Suns, with the best training staff in the league, were concerned enough to not offer a 6th year. So yes, I think there are a few health questions.

    I don’t think Melo is a mediocre player, but look at the Nuggets – they have been good but not a serious contender for the past several years. And it’s not like the old Timberwolves – Melo is not surrounded by chumps.

    Nene/Billups + Lawson, Kenyon Martin, Birdman, JR Smith, Afflalo… Camby for a while… that group is a lot better, IMO, than Amare/Felton + really, no one decent. This year’s #20 pick. So it’s hard to say that trading all that for Melo would make us a contender. And it would pretty much cap us out.

    I agree with the idea that Melo will actually play better in NYK, than Denver – I think he’s been underachieving – but sending four really good young prospects, “and that’s not all!!!!” is just silly.

    He’s a genuine All-Star, but not a once-in-a-generation opportunity like LeBron, or Dwight Howard. There will be other options.

    Gallo/Chandler (same position as Melo) plus Moz – I guess that works. I don’t think you’re giving away much star power. Throw in Walker, or a future first – why? How is Denver gonna do better? But ok, maybe.

    Add AR? or Fields? Even for an All-Star, you’re basically treading water in the short-term, and looking a year or two down the road you’re making yourself worse.

    The GM who will look silly is the one who gives AR away as a throw-in.

  57. Spree8nyk8

    The problem with your argument mike is that you assume that he’ll be willing to become a free agent. From all that have read the NBA is trying to make the max salary somewhere in the area of 11mil. That means he’ll lose about 30 million dollars, which is great for the Knicks, but really bad for Melo. Why would you assume that he wouldn’t just take the extension before it comes to that? If that does happen what upgrades are we going to make for next year. Who is available that’s going to come in and make this team contend with Miami, Boston, Chicago? We need Melo more than he needs us.

  58. Brian Cronin

    The Knicks would be better off losing out on him completely if it means giving up too much for him now.

  59. Spree8nyk8

    Jimmy C:
    But I remember when LeCon was the gamble we couldn’t afford to be wrong on. Instead we got Stoudemire, who by all accounts has exceeded expectations, .  

    Yeah Amar’e has been great, but keep in mind. We only got Amar’e bc we were the only ones willing to take the gamble. Nobody else was going to max out Amar’e. We struck out in free agency and got one great player because everyone else was too short sighted to do so.

  60. Spree8nyk8

    Brian Cronin: The Knicks would be better off losing out on him completely if it means giving up too much for him now.  

    The only people who think THAT is “too much” to give are the residents of this board.

  61. Mike Kurylo Post author

    massive: The article Spree mentioned:http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-timeFWIW, here are the last eight scoring performances Melo has had:
    1) TS% : .667, USG% : 35.7, 37 points, loss @ New Jersey
    2) TS% : .567, USG% : 27.2, 20 points, win vs. Portland
    3) TS% : .536, USG% : 37.1, 31 points, loss vs. Utah
    4) TS% : .757, USG% : 24.4, 25 points, win @ Minnesota
    5) TS% : .783, USG% : 37.7, 50 points, loss vs. Houston
    6) TS% : .602, USG% : 37.6, 29 points, loss @ Golden State
    7) TS% : .798, USG% : 32.6, 42 points, win vs. Dallas
    8) TS% : .595, USG% : 31.5, 28 points,loss @ Memphis  

    Looking at that list you might say that his teams were 3-5 in that stretch, losing to some bad teams, and that ‘Melo’s clutchness and its effect on his team winning is overrated. But the Opti’melos know his team would have been 0-8 without him.

  62. Nick C.

    Spree8nyk8: The only people who think THAT is “too much” to give are the residents of this board.  (Quote)

    Would you really prefer the opinions of Marc Berman, Michael Kay, et. al.? People used to think the Earth was flat too…so being on the side of the masses doesn’t always = being right.

  63. flossy

    I love how, even on a stats-oriented forum, people still get caught up in the is-he or isn’t-he a “superstar” debate.

    Uh, hello? It’s a completely subjective term… and it relates as much to Q-rating and media profile and personality-as-personal-brand as it does to on-court performance. It’s a designation bestowed by the media, and the legitimacy of the label is completely in the eye of the beholder. At least all-star or all-NBA are actual accolades that players can win, however flawed the process.

    Saying “but he’s a superstar!” or “he’s no superstar!!” is akin to saying “but he smells so nice!” or “no, he smells like corpse feet!!” Two non-crazy people can sniff the same ball player and conclude he is or isn’t a superstar and does or doesn’t smell nice.

    The term is so ill-defined as to be basically meaningless, so why do people still say it? What does it even mean? Top 5 or 10 in PER? (Melo is 21st this year and also 21st among active players for his career). Top 10 in jersey sales? (Melo was 11th last year). Top 10 TS%? (Melo can’t even see the top 10). Top 10 PPG? (Melo’s at #6 right now). All-Star starter? (Melo starting at PF this year).

    None of those metrics seem persuasive to me. Melo’s PER is in Zach Randolph territory this year—surely they are not both superstars. Yao Ming is an all-star starter this year, and he’s basically retired. TS% measures a small and specific kind of performance—shouldn’t a superstar be well-rounded? Jersey sales are… obviously a ridiculous way to quantify player performance.

    So, yeah. All of that is to say, why the arguing about what constitutes a superstar? And who cares about superstars anyway?

  64. Spree8nyk8

    Nick C.: Would you really prefer the opinions of Marc Berman, Michael Kay, et. al.?People used to think the Earth was flat too…so being on the side of the masses doesn’t always = being right.  

    You think it’s just berman and Kay? Every analyst on espn, TNT and anywhere else I see thinks that we are fools to not do this trade. Should I side with all of those people or you and mike? I mean really? How about Alan Hahn? He says do it too and I respect his insight as well. I just really think you guys are kidding yourselves. This team will not compete with Miami as constructed.

  65. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Spree8nyk8: The problem with your argument mike is that you assume that he’ll be willing to become a free agent.From all thathave read the NBA is trying to make the max salary somewhere in the area of 11mil.That means he’ll lose about 30 million dollars, which is great for the Knicks, but really bad for Melo.Why would you assume that he wouldn’t just take the extension before it comes to that?If that does happen what upgrades are we going to make for next year.Who is available that’s going to come in and make this team contend with Miami, Boston, Chicago?We need Melo more than he needs us.  

    Years ago I was in a sim-league. I was looking to move a player that was good but not needed and address my weaknesses. Shopping him around, all I found were one-sided deals. I asked my friend which one of them I should take, and he said “the best deals are sometimes the ones you don’t make.”

    So my answer is no, the Knicks don’t need ‘Melo more. There are few players worth more than the entire team, because these players are so good they’ll make a bad team win (see LeBron/Cleveland). ‘Melo is not worth gutting the team. He’s not worth giving up so many assets that it cripples them in the future. There’s a ceiling to his worth, and it stops well before three good young starters + 1st round pick.

    At that point it’s better if that’s one move Donnie doesn’t make. There are other good players that will want to come to New York to play with Amar’e, in MSG, and/or for D’Antoni. There will be other disgruntled stars upset with the city they are in (Paul, D-Will) or the direction the team is heading (Howard). Melo isn’t the only option.

  66. Spree8nyk8

    Mike Kurylo:
    Looking at that list you might say that his teams were 3-5 in that stretch, losing to some bad teams, and that ‘Melo’s clutchness and its effect on his team winning is overrated. But the Opti’melos know his team would have been 0-8 without him.  

    How many of those games did you watch Mike? I saw some of them. Any of those games that they lost were not because of Melo. Wow, idk, losing braincells even debating this. You can be right and the rest of the world can be wrong.

  67. Spree8nyk8

    Mike Kurylo:
    There’s a ceiling to his worth, and it stops well before three good young starters +1st round pick.

    There will be other disgruntled stars upset with the city they are in (Paul, D-Will) or the direction the team is heading (Howard). Melo isn’t the only option.  

    Last i checked WC wasn’t a starter and Mozgov has been a starter for like 2 games.

    And sure, lets not do the deal because one of those 3 guys MIGHT leave their teams and MAYBE come to the Knicks. Lets constantly put ourselves 2 years away from getting the next piece. I already outlined how we can replace Moz with Barron, and We’d lose WC anyway so swapping Gallo for Melo doesn’t seem like we are really losing much. Sure we lose AR for nothing. But we aren’t going to use him anyway. That deal simply does not lose value as much as you are placing on it.

  68. Spree8nyk8

    We waited like 2 years for Lebron and he didn’t come. Waiting for D Howard could be the same result.

  69. Caleb

    @70
    Team A:
    Felton/Walker/Melo/Stoudemire/Turiaf, with a bench of Shawne Williams and our #20 pick, plus possibly someone we can sign with a cap exception, if they still exist in the new CBA.

    Team B:
    Billups/Afflalo/Melo/KMart/Nene, with a bench of Ty Lawson, Chris Anderson, JR Smith, All Harrington and Gary Forbes (and Balkman!)

    Which team do you think is better?

    Team B is on pace to win 46 games. It won 53 last year, 54 the year before.

  70. Ben R

    Melo isn’t a superstar or a franchise changer and neither is Amare. They are both very good players and they are both elite offensive players, Melo has seen his TS% dip but I think he is still an elite offensive player, but neither are great defenders and that is what seperates good players from great players.

    Kobe, Wade, Duncan, Garnett, LeBron, Hakeem, Ewing, Jordan, Bird, Howard, etc. are/were all great defenders and at least very good offensive players. While LeBron, Jordan and Bird are offensively much better than Melo I think on offense you can put Melo in a similar category as the rest but defensively he’s not even close.

    Melo is more in the category of Kevin Martin, Manu, Bosh, Amare, Dominique, Carter, McGrady, etc. Great offensive players who while huge lifts to their teams are/were not superstars.

    Since we already have a dominant offensive player in Amare, who is a best an average defender, adding another dominant offensive player who is at best average defensively will cement this team as mediocre defensively and when your two best players are mediocre defenders who often kinda dog it on defense it creates an atmosphere of lazy, poor defense.

    Miami has three of the best offensive players in the league but it is on defense that they are truly dominant. Boston created their big three with three great offensive players but won with defense. Kobe frustrates Jackson to no end with his poor shot selection and propensity to dominate the ball but at the end of the day with his defense he is valuable even when he single-handedly torpedoes their offense with bad choices.

  71. Spree8nyk8

    Caleb, toney douglas will still be there, earl barron is going to be signed as soon as a roster spot opens (numerous articles today confirming that). That’s 8 which is pretty close to the rotation now.

  72. Spree8nyk8

    Well luckily I’m not going to have to debate it really. They are going to acquire Melo regardless of where you guys rank him. It’s going to happen.

  73. Caleb

    @77 I know we will have 8 bodies but Earl Barron is not comparable to any of the Nuggets bigs… and Toney Douglas is not Ty Lawson. I’m just saying we don’t have to rely on our imagination to see what a team will do with Melo – he is on a basketball team now. They are the best offensive team in the league, but not a serious contender. And IMO it’s hard to argue the Knicks would be better than the current Nuggets.

    Of course if they get him while keeping some of those other players, it changes everything.

    And I do think he’ll be a Knick in the end…

  74. Spree8nyk8

    Don’t get me wrong, I really hope we can do a better deal than the one Denver wants. I just don’t think we will do better. I hope Moz stays, I think he has a good upside. I also love Gallo (he’s currently my favorite player on the team). I just think that Melo is one of the pieces we’ll need.

  75. massive

    What the Knicks should do is openly shop the players that they are willing to trade for Carmelo and Billups. Denver is one of 29 teams we can deal with, and I’m sure Gallo, Felton, and Chandler can bring back something(s) favorable.

  76. Ben R

    But Spree what Caleb was saying is look at Denver vs us with Melo after we give away the team:

    Billiups > Felton
    Affalo = Fields
    Melo = Melo
    Kmart = Turiaf
    Nene Douglas
    Smith > Walker
    Harrington > Williams
    Birdman > Barron

    Overall I’d say Denver’s starting lineup is about equal to ours and their bench is much much better. Overall that team which is at worst equal to us post Melo trade, are on pace to win a couple more games than our Knicks as is.

    After the trade we would be in a similar place as Denver, capped out, not alot of young talent and a 3-5 seed year in year out.

    As is, next year, without Melo, we’re a 4-6 seed with lots of cap room and lots of young talent.

  77. Mike Kurylo Post author

    stratomatic: IMO the problem with coach D’Antoni is that he values offense and outside shootiong so far above rebounding, defense, shot blocking etc… it sharply reduces the options for building a successful team and often leaves the team woefully unbalanced. IMO it’s no accident that we are a highly rated offensive team that can’t rebound or defend right now instead of the other way around.

    If you weight the values of various skills incorrectly (as I think D’Antoni might), that is not the path to a championship team.

    I see what you mean. However I think it’s the GM’s job to bring in players, not the coach. Look at Larry Brown. He’s an awful GM (Steve Francis?). But he shouldn’t have a big say on who he wants.

    Granted the coach influences who gets playing time, but that’s one thing I like about the Walsh/D’Antoni combo. Walsh seems to understand what D’Antoni needs and attempts to bring in players that will do that AND more. Turiaf is clearly one (a center that can protect the paint & block shots – but also finish around the hoop & can pass too). Azubuike is another (unfortunately he’s too hurt to play, I think).

    I think any GM will be doomed if he only brings in one dimensional players. Every team needs two-way guys. I don’t think Walsh overlooks the other things a player brings. But you also have to cater to your coach and the other players on the team. (My main reason for thinking ‘Melo won’t fit optimally).

    And I don’t think D’Antoni is as one dimensional as some may think. He likes offense, but values defense (and rebounding) too. But the offense comes first, and considering what D’Antoni is good at, it should. If a bunch of 2-way/multi-talented players came his way, they’d see minutes for sure.

  78. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Spree8nyk8: We waited like 2 years for Lebron and he didn’t come.Waiting for D Howard could be the same result.  

    Do you think ‘Melo the last big piece the Knicks need to crack the top 2/3 in the East? Is Amar’e-Melo(-Felton) strong enough to dethrone Miami, Orlando, Boston in a good year? Let’s say without a decent rest of the rotation, because to accomplish what you’d want the Knicks would have to move them.

    If not then, won’t the Knicks be waiting for that next star anyway? If not then won’t it mean that ‘Melo isn’t really worth it in the first place?

  79. cgreene

    I think we are losing some of the context that people on this board have done such a good job giving over the past months.

    1) Melo’s teammates are statistically better when he is on the floor.
    2) Frank or Frank O. did a great comparison to Melo’s comparables at the wing over the past 20 years or so that put him squarely in the company of people like Paul Pierce and Kobe.
    3) In basketball 1+1 does not = 3. You simply cannot take the combined production of Gallo/Chandler and say it equates to Melo. It simply has not worked that way for the Knicks and as a number of people have pointed out they rarely play well together and leverage their combined attributes. Frankly they kind of have bad chemistry. Quantify that! Haha
    4) Gallo is actually the best representation of the flaws of advanced stats. His efficiency is high because he shoots a lot of free throws. But the reality is he is below avg in eFG% which is a more accurate reflection of his offensive skills IMO. I like him and see his potential. But he is not essential. I feel like we lose a lot of games where he has his best stats. A Carmelo/Stat combo simply puts more pressure on defenses and leaves other players open for better shots. I believe those guys can and will move the ball appropriately to find those better shots and raise the efficiency of the offense.
    5) Carmelo’s teams win a lot of games consistently with him as the best player and he won’t even be the best player. Amare is better.
    6) Bottom line is it is up to DW to then find the correct complimentary parts once he has Melo and Stat. We will have more cap space in 2012 also.

    I would part with Gallo, Chandler, AR and keep Fields for my 3/4 of our “assets” deal.

  80. Frank

    I guess the question is whether “superstars” + others are what win championships or whether “superstars + specific others” are what win championships. What I mean by that is that people always talk about how important “role players” are to winning championships ie. whether Jordan and Pippen could have won without Horace Grant, etc.

    If we think about the teams that have actually won championships, it DOES seem a little like the superstars are what needs to be constant and the role players just need to be coached into playing the right way. The reason I say that is because of this —

    when Jordan and Pippen won championships in the early 90s, I remember people talking about how important Horace Grant, BJ Armstrong, Paxson, etc. all were — then when they won their 2nd set of 3peats, it was a totally different supporting cast.

    Lakers were the same way. Spurs managed to replace David Robinson with a combination of Parker and Ginobili.

    As much as I love Gallo, Fields, and Chandler, they are all role players that we really appreciate, but really may be very replaceable. They probably only spell championship if we ALREADY have the 2-3 superstar level players. But without the 2-3 superstars, I don’t think this group has nearly enough to push us to serious contention.

    Now the question is whether Melo and STAT are really up to the “superstar” level. Trouble is — I think they may be the only 2 superstars we can get. I don’t think Howard is coming here, and who knows about D-Will or CP3′s knees. So I sort of agree with SpreeNYK8 that maybe we should just get this thing done. If Donnie can pull it off while keeping 1-2 of our young assets, then great. If he can’t (if we do need to give up more than most of KB wants to give) my sense is that we may be better off anyway (or at least not worse off, albeit with less flexibility).

  81. NateRobinson

    cgreene

    You have to include the fact that if we trade for Melo, his 65 million dollar deal will come with him. Meaning no cap space my friend.

    That is my main reason for not doing this trade. It basically limits our roster to two All Stars because of the big contract.

    Not only that but we lose all of our trade chips, considering Miami has its big three for 5 years apiece I say we nix this trade. We would sacrifice too much talent and sabotage out future for what…playoffs?

  82. BigBlueAL

    I just read Hahn’s article (thanks to the mobile friendly link from Twitter lol) and interestingly he said that D’Antoni is most against trading away alot of young players for Melo.

  83. Jimmy C

    BigBlueAL: I just read Hahn’s article (thanks to the mobile friendly link from Twitter lol) and interestingly he said that D’Antoni is most against trading away alot of young players for Melo.  

    Interesting. Is there a link to the article yet?

    It’s funny how, through all of this, we’ve never really gotten a sense for what D’Antoni wants / thinks / feels about this whole situation. But if he’s against giving away the farm, I don’t see how Dolan can really press the issue with both his GM and his $6 million a year man effectively against him.

  84. Ben R

    cgreene – I think offensively Melo is right there with Kobe and Pierce but defensively he is a huge step down from Kobe and a small step down from Pierce. Pierce in his prime was a great player but I would not trade Randolph, Moz + 2 of Gallo, Chandler, Fields to get Pierce in his prime and I like him more than Melo. I think what keeps getting lost is defense and that is why Wade, Kobe and LeBron are so much more valuable than Melo, Pierce or other borderline stars; Randolph, Martin, Curry, etc.

    I agree that “superstars” are more important than “role players” but it also depends alot on who those “superstars” are. Trading for Melo is not just giving up lots of young talent it’s also giving up all flexabilty. Amare + Melo + a collection of solid players is probably the best we can hope for if we make that trade. I don’t think it is enough to put us into the upper echelon.

    At least if we hold on we have room for things to go right. Maybe we get a chance to get Howard, Williams or Paul, maybe one of our five youngsters takes a huge step foward, maybe two of them do, who knows, but at least we would have a team with opportunities to improve.

    So basically we have six chances to hit the jackpot; Cap Space, Gallo, Fields, Chandler, Randolph, Mozgov. Some are long odds; Gallo, Randolph, Cap Space, some are very long odds; Chandler, Fields, Mozgov but it’s six chances to get a 2nd star next to Amare. The proposed trade gives up five of those six chances for Melo. If none hit the Melo trade is a good one, if one hits it’s a push and if more than one hit it’s a bad trade. The only way we move into the elite is to hit on two of those chances, slim odds but the only real one we have.

  85. BigBlueAL

    “Mike D’Antoni , two sources said, is putting up the most resistance against giving up so many young players.”

    OK so now Im a bit confused, I read this as D’Antoni is against giving up so many young players correct?? I need to go back to reading comprehension lol.

  86. Ben R

    BigBlueAL: Also looks like Gallo along with Amar’e is questionable for Wed too because of his knee.

    I say sit both of them and start Felton, Fields, Chandler, Randloph and Mozgov and just see what happens. It’s only one game and they could both use the rest especially going into the all-star break.

  87. d-mar

    One of the more idiotic comments I’ve heard from the sports media experts is that Denver may feel no urgency to trade Melo, but instead will ride it out, see if they can “make a run” in the playoffs and then at that point Melo might look differently at an extension.

    As much as I like Melo as an individual player, the Nuggets may not get out of the first round, and definitely won’t get past the 2nd. The above notion sounds like one more propaganda piece put out by Denver management to push teams like the Knicks to blink and give Denver what they want.

  88. jon abbey

    Jimmy C:
    B So losing LeBron really wasn’t the end of the world a lot of people made it out to be.  

    no, it was, we’re not winning a title without LeBron or Dwight Howard. I have been a big Amare fan his whole career and was and am thrilled that NY has him, but he will never be the best player on a title team.

  89. jon abbey

    d-marAs much as I like Melo as an individual player, the Nuggets may not get out of the first round, and definitely won’t get past the 2nd.   

    with Memphis coming on, it’s not even a sure thing that Denver makes the playoffs with Melo anymore. it’s a dogfight for the final four spots right now:

    5 New Orleans 33 23
    6 Denver 31 24
    7 Utah 31 24
    8 Portland 30 24

    9 Memphis 30 26

  90. Ben R

    jon abbey: I have been a big Amare fan his whole career and was and am thrilled that NY has him, but he will never be the best player on a title team.

    It’s a long shot but I think it’s possible if players 2-4 are almost as good. Like the Pistons in 04, 89 and 90 or the Mavs, in 06 when they should have won it. Even the Lakers over the last couple years their best player wasn’t that much better than Amare, their #2-4 were much much better though.

  91. tastycakes

    d-mar: One of the more idiotic comments I’ve heard from the sports media experts is that Denver may feel no urgency to trade Melo, but instead will ride it out, see if they can “make a run” in the playoffs and then at that point Melo might look differently at an extension.
    As much as I like Melo as an individual player, the Nuggets may not get out of the first round, and definitely won’t get past the 2nd. The above notion sounds like one more propaganda piece put out by Denver management to push teams like the Knicks to blink and give Denver what they want.  

    That might be part of it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily idiotic for Denver to keep Melo. The CBA situation actually favors them if they do (and if they want to keep him, which is presumably a given).

    Doesn’t matter if they can legitimately do playoff damage or not, the point is: after the trade deadline, he wouldn’t be going anywhere, and he’d be staring at a lot of uncertainty regarding whether or not he can get paid next year and how much he can even get paid in free agency. He could be losing 10s of millions of dollars. Not everybody is willing to take the kind of hit that Miami’s Big 3 took this year. He might think it’s too risky, say “whatever, this organization isn’t that bad” and re-sign.

    I think Denver knows whether or not that’s even a possibility. They would have to go to him at some point and say, “Look, be honest with us, if you’re leaving, let us know, but try not to say anything that would destroy our leverage!”

    The fact that Melo himself hinted that he would have to consider re-upping if not traded is a BIG plus in Denver’s favor.

    Honestly, I think he’s going to stay past the deadline, because Denver’s management will be too cowardly to make a trade that makes them look bad — even if it’s in their best interest and they have no…

  92. tastycakes

    Also, to reiterate Mike’s point from above, sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

    Just because Toronto and Cleveland got boned this past year by not trading their superstars, doesn’t mean that it was the worst possible thing for them to not trade them.

    The way I see it, the big problem is that teams seem very unwilling to move a “superstar” for PR reasons, even though a lopsided trade where you only get potential value in return MAY IN FACT be the best move you can make as a franchise.

    For the record, I completely disagree with Spree’s “trade for Melo at all cost” attitude (sorry, my brother). I am happy moving Chandler + guys who are not playing, and that’s about it, but I’m skeptical, especially when you consider the salary he will command.

    To compete for a ring in this league, you typically need a truly elite player, not second tier guys, and the combo of Amar’e and Melo might get you to 50 wins with the right supporting cast, but there is next-to-zero chance that team is winning a championship, especially when there is zero flexibility left for future moves. I’d rather develop the young talent, and have a loaded, dangerous, young, exciting team that is *actually* a top tier piece (Paul, Howard, maybe Deron) away.

    I’m frustrated enough with the team I’ll probably be happy with any move as a fan — hey, change is exciting — but my instincts tell me that long-run we may not be so psyched.

  93. d-mar

    @101 and 102 TC you make valid points from a Denver perspective. But unless they have some kind of back channel assurance that Melo would seriously consider an extension, management has to take a very serious look at trade proposals. As much as NY fans (according to the sports media) would crucify Walsh if we don’t get Melo, Denver fans (and I guess there are some) would go batshit if Melo comes to the Knicks in free agency, and it is discovered that they passed on a pretty decent offer from the Knicks or another team prior to 2/24. I guess my point is that it’s a dangerous game for Denver to take this out too far, but then again we don’t know what they know or what Donnie knows, so obviously it’s just speculation.

  94. cgreene

    Just wondering if “developing the young talent” means Wilson at $8M-$10M? Bc if it doesn’t then if you trade Wilson as 1 of the 3/4 main assets out of Wilson/Gallo/AR/Fields then it really becomes 2/4 not 3/4… Does that make a Wilson/Gallo/AR deal look better? To me it does. Also it is tough to develop the young talent around an Amare in his prime. Could see him getting a little frustrated with that if by mid next year he isn’t playing on a 50+ win team. One thing we have heard from top tier players is that when they are losing they want out. And although Amare isn’t top 5 he is top 10 and maybe a top 10 and a top 12-15 can get pretty close with the right role players. Also we absolutely will have some cap room in 2012 if we choose. Amare and Melo would be the only players under contract as of right now.

    One more point/question is whose long term team future as of right now looks scary to compete with for the next 5 years?
    Heat – definitely a chance they could dominate. No doubt.
    Lakers – age definitely an issue
    Celtics – age definitely an issue. rondo is great and young.
    Magic – cap hell and not elite. they are basically Cleveland from ’10
    Dallas – age definitely an issue. no great young talent. capped out
    Thunder – good long term but they def need pieces. Durant is not an elite defender. Would be surprised if they made WCF.
    Bulls – good long term. but they are capped out when they resign Rose and need another piece. with the right moves they could be really good long term. however we talk about ssol and how it has flaws for a title run. well i think the ball dominant point guard system has similar flaws.

    Could a team built around Melo and Amare with the appropriate complimentary pieces not compete in ’13 for the title if the Heat don’t turn out to be be a force i.e. Wade breaks down, Bosh can’t play big in the playoffs?

  95. ess-dog

    I’m not against a Melo trade but I think it’s clear he’s not a star on the Lebron/Howard level. More troubling than the assets that we’d give up for Melo is his price tag. Stat is already overpaid at 20 mil per, but giving Melo 22 mil per will just close the door on us ever having a balanced team. It’s not like we’ll come out of the new CBA agreement with more cap room. If anything they’ll lower salaries and the cap or install a hard cap.

    So let’s just say (after some improvement) that Melo is our Pierce and Stat is our KG with less D and maybe a bit more O. We won’t have a Ray Allen or a Rondo. We just won’t. And we’ll have less ability to draft one as well. Or if Melo/Stat is our Wade/Bosh. Where’s Lebron? There’s just no way we can compete still missing a primary option for a championship caliber team.

    Even if Melo were to sign at 20 mil instead of 22 mil, that would help. Any pay cut he takes would help the cause. But will he do that?

    Also, I give Melo credit for inching up his TS lately to about average, but he’s just sorely lacking on defense and distributing. Look at the raw #’s from his last 6 games (his “tear”), +/-, pts-reb-ast:

    Melo -6, 28-5-2 – Gay +3, 23-5-4

    Melo +6, 42-7-3 – Marion -2, 19-5-0

    Melo 0, 29-4-2 – D. Wright +5, 23-11-8, R. Williams +5, 18-2-6

    Melo -3, 50-11-0 – Budinger +3, 11-4-4

    Melo +10, 25-5-1 – Beasley -11, 23-4-5, W. Johnson -5, 10-4-2

    Melo -6, 31-6-1 – CJ Miles +3, 13-3-4, Evans +4, 6-2-0

    Due to his average efficiency, his competitor often was more efficient despite Melo’s better point #s. Aside from Gay, these players vary from average to just bad. In other words, I’m not convinced. Again I’m not anti Melo, but Donnie needs to proceed with caution, which he is. He knows what’s up.

  96. TheRant

    Spree8nyk8: You think it’s just berman and Kay? Every analyst on espn, TNT and anywhere else I see thinks that we are fools to not do this trade. Should I side with all of those people or you and mike? I mean really? How about Alan Hahn? He says do it too and I respect his insight as well. I just really think you guys are kidding yourselves. This team will not compete with Miami as constructed.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, we need to remember that all of the sports writers out there talking about doing the trade are all incentivized to sell papers and get web hits. Donnie Walsh is incentivized to help our team win more and more over time.

    So every time there is an Alan Hahn or a Howard Beck or somebody on TNT saying the Knicks are in a tailspin, need to do a trade, need to rock the boat, is Isaiah coming back, whatever — they have good reason to do so.

    But that doesn’t mean that anyone should make a trade based on their complaints, because in two years they’ll be writing a column about how Donnie Walsh mortgaged the team’s future for a single player who isn’t playing defense or whatever.

    The Knickstream media loves to write that NYC is impatient and needs a superstar now. But, actually, I’ve seen a lot of fans praising a more patient and younger and developing club this year, even with a .500 record. There is hope. There is a surprising amount of patience at the Garden.

    I think the Knickstream media is the impatient party here, cause they get paid by the column. Rebuilding can be boring.

  97. Ben R

    I am looking forward to seeing the reactions from this site when the Melo trade either happens or doesn’t. It’s going to be interesting. I personally can’t wait until this whole things over.

  98. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Ben R: I am looking forward to seeing the reactions from this site when the Melo trade either happens or doesn’t. It’s going to be interesting. I personally can’t wait until this whole things over.  

    Yeah I agree.

  99. latke

    tastycakes– you’re right that some part of the whole act is about saving face. If the Nuggets had jumped at the first available offer, even if they KNEW it was the best one they’d get, it would still look bad. Another thing you can’t ignore is that Ujiri isn’t the only one making decisions here. Josh Kroenke, the owner’s son, sits up there for all the press conferences, and you have to figure he’s got a similar inferiority complex to Dolan — child of money, handed a job. You gotta figure he wants to prove himself and may be the “brains” behind the Denver drama coalition. I think though in the end it’s worse PR for ‘Melo to leave for nothing than for them to trade him at the deadline. So the deadline will come, and if they know that ‘Melo isn’t resigning, then they’ll take the best offer out there.

    And cgreene — it’s worth noting that even if we don’t resign Chandler, we should be able to move him for a spare part or two. Unlike with Carmelo, Chandler is an RFA, so we have a lot of leverage there, especially if a team that doesn’t have quite enough cap space is interested in signing him.

    Yes, I can’t wait for this to be over as well. KB comments will be interesting, but more interesting to me, whether or not we make moves, is seeing what the team looks like once this mega-distraction is out of the way. I feel like no matter what, the Knicks will come out after the trade deadline playing significantly better ball.

  100. BigBlueAL

    I think its safe to say if they do get Melo you will be seeing alot of negative comments compared to pretty much status quo if nothing happens. Then anytime Melo has a bad game those same people who complained about trading for him will become intolerable. Similar to how Amar’e was treated for the first 11 games of the season.

    At this point I could care less if they trade for him or not, I see pros and cons for both scenarios. My only thing is to not trade Landry Fields.

  101. jon abbey

    someone should research what those same mediots were saying about the Eddy Curry trade when it was rumored, and when it went down. Melo’s better than Curry, but it’s easy to forget that Curry led the whole league in points in the paint by a wide margin one year.

  102. Brian Cronin

    1) Melo’s teammates are statistically better when he is on the floor.

    Earlier this year, we discovered that the Denver offense was better this year with Carmelo on the bench.

    112.2 with Carmelo

    114.1 without Carmelo

    And the difference was even bigger before his latest run of games.

    I don’t actually think that means he hurts them offensively, it sounds like a fluke, but that’s what I remember being discussed about Carmelo in past months – that the Nuggets did better on offense without him, so how could he be the key to the offense.

    Their defense did get worse without Carmelo, but, like the offense stats, it doesn’t really make sense to me that they’d be worse offensively and better defensively with Carmelo on the court. So I’m guessing it is some sort of fluke that sorts itself out by the end of the year. That said, until you determine it one way or the other, it’s not something I would cite as a pro or anti Carmelo thing. I’d just skip it entirely, rather than leading with it.

  103. Brian Cronin

    By the by, Charlotte beat the Lakers and the Bucks beat the Clippers. Neither of those were what I wanted. Stupid Los Angeles teams – first they both beat the Knicks and now they both lose to teams behind the Knicks!

  104. Brian Cronin

    Question, just generally speaking, what would you prefer – the first pick in an expansion draft or the 20th overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft? I think I’d lean towards the former, but I’m curious if there’s a good argument to be made for the latter.

  105. Frank

    jon abbey:
    no, it was, we’re not winning a title without LeBron or Dwight Howard. I have been a big Amare fan his whole career and was and am thrilled that NY has him, but he will never be the best player on a title team.  

    I love that you picked 2 guys with zero championships to make this point.

  106. massive

    According to RealGM Wiretap, the Knicks turned down a trade I find to be very reasonable. It would have sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups here for Gallo, Felton, Curry, and a 1st. Maybe if they replace Gallo with Will it would have happened?

  107. Brian Cronin

    According to RealGM Wiretap, the Knicks turned down a trade I find to be very reasonable. It would have sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups here for Gallo, Felton, Curry, and a 1st. Maybe if they replace Gallo with Will it would have happened?

    That’s interesting (if true) that the Knicks turned that down. If that is true then I bet they are, indeed, saying “Make it WC and we’ll do it.”

  108. Brian Cronin

    Also, I don’t like the whole “first round pick” talk without specifying what it means. Does it mean the Knicks are trading their future picks (by acquiring a late first rounder in 2012 that would allow them to trade their 2011 and 2013 picks) or does it mean they’re dealing AR for a pick and then trading that pick plus a future pick?

  109. Frank

    Yowza. That’s not that bad. Real poker playing starting now. Amare/Carmelo/Billups with rest of rotation being Mozgov, Fields, Chandler, DWTDD, Turiaf, Extra E, and others is probably good enough to get to the 2nd round and maybe give a scare to MIA or BOS. Then Billups falls off the cap after next year and in comes DWill?

  110. Brian Cronin

    By the way, RealGM completely botched the actual offer (they sourced the Daily News and then misread what the Daily News said the offer was).

    It was not Gallo, Felton, Curry, 1 or 2 picks for Melo/Billups.

    It was Gallo, either Fields/Chandler, Felton, Curry, plus 1 or 2 picks.

    So basically it was the same garbage they’ve already been asking for. So no change at all.

  111. Brian Cronin

    And by the way, the Daily News readers were surprisingly highly against that proposed trade in the poll that accompanied the article. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Knick fandom as a whole (and sadly, Daily News readers probably do represent Knick fandom as a whole) is not yet at “get Melo at all costs.”

  112. Brian Cronin

    I also love that the article says, “The Nuggets are focusing on two teams – the Knicks and Chicago Bulls” then makes it clear later in the article that there’s absolutely no chance of the Nuggets trading Melo to Chicago.

  113. Frank

    If these rumors are indeed true and the Nuggets are interested in Felton, I guess the question would be… why? Isn’t Lawson their PG of the future? And if they DO want Felton, then should we ask for Lawson if we’re going to give them Fields or Chandler?

    Show me Gallo, WC, Felton, Curry, Azu, and maybe a protected pick for Melo, Billups, and Lawson and it’s sounding a little more reasonable although still a steep price. Works on trade machine.

  114. massive

    Brian Cronin: By the way, RealGM completely botched the actual offer.
    It was not Gallo, Felton, Curry, 1 or 2 picks for Melo/Billups.It was Gallo, either Fields/Chandler, Felton, Curry, plus 1 or 2 picks.So basically it was the same garbage they’ve already been asking for. So no change at all.  

    Ahh, makes sense now. I do hope we can either keep Gallo or get Afflalo back (and move Fields to start the 3) so we can play Melo at the stretch 4. I think that is Melo’s ideal position under D’Antoni, and should improve his scoring efficiency as it helped Will.

  115. Caleb

    Just throwing it out there, if the Knicks do nothing at all at the trade deadline they go into the summer carrying about $46-million plus in salary, not counting Wilson Chandler. You could bring him back at an ok price, or try to S&T for a pick, or just let him walk and plug in AR – who I think would be better, anyway.

    Whatever you do, the Knicks are about a .500 team now – 41 wins. If you just figure on improvement from the young players (two 21-year-olds and two 22-year-olds, plus Mozgov) I think you’d have a team winning 45+. A few more, if AR is good as I think. Then they could hunt for a big FA or deadline trade in 2012.

    Or, this sumemr they could could spend $10-12 million on a high-end center like Chandler or Gasol (or Nene, via trade)… you could make extra cap room by including Turiaf or Mozgov in the deal. That would bump the Knicks to 50+ wins. Not as much cap space, but with trades they could still make a run at the class of 2012.

    They’d have plenty of cash to upgrade weak spots like the backup PG.

    My main point is that the Knicks have plenty of options to be good, without Carmelo. They’re a very young team that’s going to be a regular in the playoffs, without adding anyone. (Not a contender, of course, but we’re not going back to 2004-2010 – unless we get the same GM!)

  116. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I don’t know why they want Felton, either. Maybe to flip him? He is making a very reasonable salary. Or maybe to trade Lawson for a big? I have no idea, really.

    And your Lawson/Billups offer definitely is a lot more palatable. I dunno if I’d want them to do it, but it definitely is a lot closer to a good deal (could you swap Toney with Azu? Toney would be useless if Lawson and Billups were here).

  117. Caleb

    @124 That’s a steep price? I thought I was the skeptic here!

    Today’s plus-minus fun:
    Nene was -27 in 28 minutes against the Rockets last night.

    On flip side, Courtney Lee was +25 in 26 minutes and Jordan Hill was +21 in 24 minutes.

    Our pal Melo was a -13.

  118. d-mar

    Brian Cronin: By the by, Charlotte beat the Lakers and the Bucks beat the Clippers. Neither of those were what I wanted. Stupid Los Angeles teams – first they both beat the Knicks and now they both lose to teams behind the Knicks!  

    One disadvantage of playing at MSG is that teams get fired up to play there, and in particular the stars of those teams. It would be hard to imagine the Lakers coming in to the Garden and acting disinterested like they did last night in Charlotte. But I’ll take the tradeoff of that vs. being able to attract free agents down the road.

  119. Frank

    Wow – so maybe Billups really WILL end up here — via Hahn’s twitter:

    “Yes. Denver wants that. RT @JimmyJags20: @alanhahn if felton is being mentioned in deal does that mean billups will be part of deal?”

    Bringing in Minny might clinch the deal — who says no to this deal:

    NYK gets Melo, Billups, Lawson, and Shelden Williams

    DEN gets Felton, Gallinari, WC, Corey Brewer, Azu’s insured contract, a protected #1 from Minny, and $3M Dolan Dollars. DEN gets out from under Billups’s big $s, gets Azu’s free contract, two young prospects in Gallinari/WC, a well-priced PG in Felton, and a #1 pick.

    MIN gets Anthony Randolph, Curry, and $3M Dolan Dollars to offset the remainder of Curry’s contract.

    BTW this works in the trade machine: http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4mta4ro

    I know that’s a lot of assets to give up, but look at our lineup then:

    PG: Billups
    SG: Fields
    SF: Melo
    PF: Amare
    C: Mozgov

    Bench – Lawson, Turiaf, Extra E, DWTDD, Bill Walker, prob Earl Barron.

    We get our PG of the future in Lawson, have Melo/Amare locked up for years. If we believe Lawson will be our PG post-2012 (at only $2.5M in 2012-13 on a team option) and that Fields can be resigned at a reasonable number, then we might have cap space to go after another rugged interior defender in the summer of 2012.

  120. JK47

    @131

    And then maybe you eventually end up with this:

    PG Ty Lawson
    SG Landry Fields
    SF Carmelo Anthony
    PF Amar’e Stoudemire
    C Dwight Howard

  121. Brian Cronin

    It’s not that I disagree with your trade ideas, Frank, as I think they’re very intriguing, but I just don’t think Denver is going to include Lawson in this deal. They’re all about getting rid of stuff in this deal, not adding in good assets.

  122. Frank

    Sorry I forgot to add the additional $ implications for Denver –

    Currently DEN’s salaries add up to $83.5M or roughly $13.2M over what seems to be the $70.3M luxury tax threshold for the 2010-11 season. So they will pay out $13.2M in luxury tax.

    With the trade above — Denver sends out $32.7M in contracts to NYK and takes back only $19.4M — so they take back $13.3M less than they send out. Magically, that decreases their salaries to $70.2M, under the luxury tax threshold.

    So they will save:
    - $13.3M (pro-rated) in salary no longer on their books
    - $13.2M in luxury tax
    - prorated portion of Azu’s insured contract
    - probably somewhere in neighborhood of $21M total

    They will also receive:
    - $3M Dolan Dollars
    - luxury tax distribution for being under the luxury tax threshold – this disbursement was ~$3M in 2009.

    So maybe with this deal, Denver gets young assets, a #1 pick, and $27M. That’s really not bad if my math/assumptions are right.

    Minny gets Anthony Randolph for probably a mid-first round pick and probably $1-2M left over from Curry’s pro-rated salary minus $3M Dolan dollars.

  123. Caleb

    @131 If reality, it’s interesting… we’d be pretty brutal defensively but that would be an awesome offensive team. I think it would be alternately fun and frustrating to watch. Billups expires in 2012 (actually, I think there’s a team option to cut him loose this summer) so there’s some flexibility in 2012.

    Personally, I could take it or leave it. From the Knicks’ perspective, you could view it as:

    1. Melo + Billups for Gallo + Felton. Knicks upgrade the talent; the only question is whether they could spend the money better, later on.

    2. Randolph for Lawson – I’d rather have Randolph but it’s not totally lopsided.

    Personally I could take it or leave it.

    Warkentien DID draft Lawson (as Mike reminded us) so it’s believable if the Knicks are making a push for him. Based on the other public offers, why are the Nuggets willing to include him? Is their leverage not as strong as some have suggested? ummmmmm….

    as for the Felton interest, I’d say that George Karl probably has one of those Larry Brown-like fetishes for Tarheels, except if Lawson comes back it’s a wash.

  124. JK47

    This trade works in the trade machine:

    To NYK: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups
    To DEN: Danilo Gallinari, bloated corpse of Eddy Curry, Ray Felton, Kelenna Azubuike

    If the Nuggets really like Felton, it really enhances our position. I personally don’t really get it– I don’t see how Felton fits in with their squad, but whatever, you can have the dude. I’ll take Chauncey and his .441 3PT% and .634 TS% and you can have Ray-Ray.

    Really, Felton is overrated right now because of his hot start and if we can include him in this trade we’ll be selling high.

  125. Frank

    Meanwhile, I know Bill Simmons and the rest make tons of fun of David Kahn (and his team DOES suck), but their total payroll is only $45M and the highest paid player on the whole team is Beasley at $4.9M. They had 3 very good young players on rookie scale contracts, locked up through 2012-13 (Beasley, Love, Wesley Johnson).

  126. Caleb

    @140 I don’t know that I’d call Wesley Johnson very good, or even good. But they have Rubio or whoever they trade him for… and they’re about to have AR, it looks like.

    How about THIS whopper:
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4n8hodv

    Knicks get: Carmelo, Billups, Lawson AND Nene!

    Nuggets get: Felton, Gallo, Chandler, Brewer, Mozgov, Walker, Douglas, Rautins, a mid-1st from the Wolves (they own Utah’s pick, @#14) and Azubuike.

    Wolves get: Randolph & Curry

    Why?
    Knicks become this year’s Nuggets with Stoudemire for KMart and Fields for Afflalo/Smith… all new players except Melo are FA by 2012, so you’ve even got a bit of salary flexibility.

    Nugs start over without becoming horrible. They save $20 million – $13 million tax + about $3 million salary (1/3 season x $8 million less) + Azubuike’s insurance. Along with Felton they get 2 lottery-quality players (Gallo/Chandler) plus Mozgov and a decent pick. And cheap decent role players in Walker, Douglas & Brewer.

    Wolves get AR for a mid-1st.

  127. massive

    I’m so glad to be dealing with Masai Ujiri and not Houston’s GM (whose name escapes me now). No way would that guy send Billups for Felton. If we keep Fields and Gallo, and still get Chauncey Billups this trade will be pretty lop-sided.

  128. jon abbey

    Frank:
    I love that you picked 2 guys with zero championships to make this point.  

    well, I didn’t say they could win titles by themselves, the best player either played with before this year was Rashard Lewis or maybe a young Boozer before he doublecrossed the Cavs.

    Amare would make a nice #2 for the right #1, Melo would top Bosh IMO as the best #3 in the league, but without the right #1, NY won’t ever be a genuine title threat. Howard or LeBron would work IMO, not sure Paul or Williams would be enough.

  129. Brian Cronin

    I think 3 starters is too much, so I’m good with turning that down. But ESPN didn’t include that we needed to give up a 3rd starter in reporting on it- typical.

    They were likely just parroting RealGM, who also missed the third starter (almost certainly Fields/WC) part (RealGM, at least, has since corrected it).

  130. Ben R

    Why are we including minnesota? Why not cut them out completely, trade other assets, Walker, Williams, money, future 1sts, cap room, for the 1st rounder we need to give Denver. Then we can at least keep Randolph. Denver doesn’t even want him, why give him away if we don’t have to.

    Then if we were able to at least keep Randolph I could possibly warm up to a trade that included both Gallo and Chandler.

  131. Brian Cronin

    Then if we were able to at least keep Randolph I could possibly warm up to a trade that included both Gallo and Chandler.

    Yeah, so long as they keep 2 out of the 4 young assets, I’m cool with pretty much any trade.

  132. Caleb

    @146 I totally agree, but it looks like that is major sticking point for Denver – by not having to take back Curry directly, Denver can send out a lot more salary than they take back – and every dollar comes off their luxury tax bill.

    This only works because Minnesota has a trade exception big enough to absorb Curry. If you configure this as a two-way trade, it will cost Denver an extra $12-million-plus.

    Of course if you could find a different 3rd team to absorb Curry’s salary, you might find a more favorable deal.

  133. Frank

    Ben R: Why are we including minnesota? Why not cut them out completely, trade other assets, Walker, Williams, money, future 1sts, cap room, for the 1st rounder we need to give Denver. Then we can at least keep Randolph. Denver doesn’t even want him, why give him away if we don’t have to.Then if we were able to at least keep Randolph I could possibly warm up to a trade that included both Gallo and Chandler.  

    It’d be a way to sweeten the pot for Denver because Curry’s contract would go to Minnesota rather than Denver, saving Denver tons of $$$$$. In the trade I proposed above, Denver sends out $32M in contracts and only takes back $19M. That’s only possible if Minny gets involved.

    Naturally I’d rather hold onto 2 of the 4 (Fields/Gallo/WC/Randolph) also, but if we get Lawson back that would soften the blow…greatly.

  134. Ben R

    How about instead of Minnesota we trade Walker, Mason, Azubuike and 3 million to Pheonix for Childress and a 1st. 2011 picks aren’t going to be that valuable anyway with the inpending lockout and Childress is owed lots of money and is out of the rotation completely. Pheonix loves saving money, and this saves them a boatload, plus if we trade for Melo our cap space stops mattering anyway.

    This way we still get a 1st for Denver and we get to keep Randolph, plus I think Childress could be a pretty decent bench player especuilly if we end up losing both Chandler and Gallo.

  135. Ben R

    I see your point Frank and I can see the motive for Denver but I think if we have to give them Gallo+ Chandler+Felton they can swallow Curry’s contract.

  136. Caleb

    @150 I don’t see that the lockout has much effect on the value of picks – who knows, they might even get more valuable if the owners can extend rookie scale by a year. But it’s true – Phoenix loves saving $ and would give a lot to dump Childress. Which is silly, because he can actually play, even if $6 million per is a stretch.

    Of course if Phoenix ever bit on that scenario I’d be tempted just to make the deal and keep the pick.

  137. Brian Cronin

    I don’t see Phoenix trading a lottery pick just to dump Childress. Maybe a top 10 protected first? Would Denver take that?

  138. Ben R

    I’ve heard that if there looks like there’s going to be a lockout very few underclassmen will leave college which would severely weaken the draft class.

    Caleb, I would do that trade with Pheonix regardless as well.

  139. Caleb

    @154 Yeah, it could affect the draft… I just don’t think the effect will be huge. At most these guys are gonna miss 40 or 50 games, so I don’t think more than a couple of players would pull out. But we’ll see…

  140. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank: I’m really liking this more and more.Mike, do you have Donnie’s and Kroenke’s email addresses?  

    I did, but it was on my ipad which I left on Richard Branson’s space ship. I put it down when I was eating my whale tartar and panda liver pate.

    That’s how we bloggers roll.

  141. Caleb

    Brian Cronin: I don’t see Phoenix trading a lottery pick just to dump Childress. Maybe a top 10 protected first? Would Denver take that?  

    It would be about the same as the pick from Minnesota – Minny’s own pick is owned by the Clippers, although it’s protected until next year. The Wolves own picks from the Jazz and Grizzlies, which should be pretty similar to Phoenix’ pick.

  142. Frank

    Mike Kurylo:
    I did, but it was on my ipad which I left on Richard Branson’s space ship. I put it down when I was eating my whale tartar and panda liver pate.
    That’s how we bloggers roll.  

    Not to worry – I’m sure you’ll get another free iPad in the swag room at the ESPYs this year!

  143. ess-dog

    I’m guessing that Donnie won’t part with Stat, Ray, Fields and Gallo.
    I think he would offer anyone else. Chandler, Moz, AR plus a pick (maybe 2) seems like the highest he will go. I think Douglas could be turned into a first rounder if need be, maybe even Shawne. Then we could offer the 2012 pick or our 2011 and 2013 picks. This is a good haul – a 3, 4 and 5 (two that can be considered “staters”) plus two #1s.

    If they absolutely insist on one of Gallo/Fields, I’d give Gallo but take back Moz and AR.

    Despite Felton’s issues, I don’t see Donnie letting him go in a trade. He’s definitely a solid starter at a good price who we can re-sign if we can’t land one of the star pgs in 2012.

  144. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Receiving Billups would be a great help. That said, we’re still getting Carmelo’s bloated contact, losing Gallo’s rookie-scale contract, and losing maybe our biggest asset in Curry’s expiring. I still fail to see how this makes the Knicks that much better.

    If anything, Billups will contribute additional wins and Carmelo will take the credit.

  145. Frank

    ess-dog: Despite Felton’s issues, I don’t see Donnie letting him go in a trade.He’s definitely a solid starter at a good price who we can re-sign if we can’t land one of the star pgs in 2012.  

    Well- if Hahn can be believed (and he usually can be), Denver actually WANTS to include Billups in the deal and presumably take Felton back. I mean, if that’s the case, I’d say — YES PLEASE.

  146. ess-dog

    Frank:
    Well- if Hahn can be believed (and he usually can be), Denver actually WANTS to include Billups in the deal and presumably take Felton back. I mean, if that’s the case, I’d say — YES PLEASE.  

    I agree and would also prefer to include Felton, but I don’t think Walshtoni feels the same way. Plus, lol at Ray and Gallo leaving together. They are the two guys that work together the least on this squad. But if we can get those two for those three AND only our 2014 pick, thereby keeping AR, I’d say sure let’s rock it.

    Sux for Chauncey though. One guy desperately wants to leave Denver, so the Nuggets desperately try to package him with the one guy that loves Denver more than anybody. Nice.

  147. Caleb

    I know he’s from Denver but Chauncey isn’t going to be loving it there if Carmelo leaves – he’s too old for rebuilding. My guess is he’d be thrilled…

  148. Brian Cronin

    My guess is that Chauncey’s enjoyment will be predicated on whether his new team agrees to pick up his option. ;)

  149. Frank

    If Donnie can somehow get both Melo and Billups out of this trade deadline without trading every last one of our assets, it would be a huge win. We would turn from one of the least playoff-experienced teams, a team that without STAT has zero players used to winning, into a team with STAT, Melo, and Billups leading the charge presumably into Chicago or Boston. We would definitely be a team that no one would want to play.

  150. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    You all know I’m against Carmelo at any price, but I’d really like to see something like Chandler, Curry, a 1st rounder, and spare parts for Carmelo, so the NY media can freak out and start questioning “chemistry” when the team has a tough time reaching 50 wins. Sweet vindication it would be.

  151. Frank

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: You all know I’m against Carmelo at any price, but I’d really like to see something like Chandler, Curry, a 1st rounder, and spare parts for Carmelo, so the NY media can freak out and start questioning “chemistry” when the team has a tough time reaching 50 wins. Sweet vindication it would be.  

    There are only 29 games left, so reaching 50 wins would mean going 23-6. I don’t think even the NY media could expect that even if Michael Jordan circa 1992 came back and joined the NYK.

  152. Brian Cronin

    I was reading an article over at Hoopworld and it had a really weird section, “Could The Spurs Win 72? ” which it promptly points out is nearly impossible.

    It just seemed so weird. They already have 9 losses! Why the heck would you even throw out the possibility when they’d need to go something like 27-1 in the next 28 games?

  153. Brian Cronin

    There are only 29 games left, so reaching 50 wins would mean going 23-6. I don’t think even the NY media could expect that even if Michael Jordan circa 1992 came back and joined the NYK.

    That’s how I read it as well, Frank, but then I realized he likely means next season.

  154. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank: If Donnie can somehow get both Melo and Billups out of this trade deadline without trading every last one of our assets, it would be a huge win. We would turn from one of the least playoff-experienced teams, a team that without STAT has zero players used to winning, into a team with STAT, Melo, and Billups leading the charge presumably into Chicago or Boston.We would definitely be a team that no one would want to play.  

    I never thought of it from the playoff experience angle. If they get both players, then it will give them an excellent locker room presence. So if the Knicks get knocked out in the first round, they can use ‘Melo’s 6 first round exits to lead the team when the reporters come. And if they get past that, they can use Billups or Amar’e to coach the young-ins on saying the right things. That is if there are any young-ins left.

  155. ess-dog

    OK not really. But why are the Wolves so hot on Ant Ran? Kahn really is determined to collect a group of fallen stars. Poor Ant Ran’s gonna have to learn the triangle now?

  156. Frank

    ess-dog: OK not really.But why are the Wolves so hot on Ant Ran?Kahn really is determined to collect a group of fallen stars.Poor Ant Ran’s gonna have to learn the triangle now?  

    Other than drafting and signing 234625 point guards, I don’t think Kahn has actually done that poorly. Obviously no one wants to play in Minnesota, so you need to collect assets through the draft and through trades. I think he’s in the buy low-sell high frame of mind – got Beasley for a 2nd round pick, Darko for what’s probably not that horrible of a price for an middling NBA center, and now he’s trying to get Randolph for a bargain too. Maybe he’s loading to up trade all these guys for someone big. Who knows. Trouble is he needs to hit it big – get someone like Garnett again who can make TWolves bball relevant again.

  157. ess-dog

    But Darko and Beasley have proven nothing. They’ve just gotten more playing time than they have in the past. Beasley’s still pretty young I guess. He could pull a Chandler next year, but he’s not much of a defender. At best he could be a good scoring sixth man/small pf. If it were me, I’d start AR over him. Darko’s exactly what he’s always been. If he’s lucky he’ll trade Darko and Beasley for Mayo and Thabeet. Jonny Flynn’s looking like a bust. Possibly Rubio as well. Wes Johnson looks solid. He and Love are the only desirable pieces they’ve got. I’d give him one more year after this one to get it together.

  158. massive

    Very interesting stat (from ESPN’s Daily Dime):

    “With the exception of Griffin, Fields may be the rookie whose play is imperative to the overall success of the team. He is currently third among all guards who play at least 20 minutes in Win Score per 40 minutes (WS40) with 10.87, just behind Chris Paul and Steve Nash (HoopData.com).”

  159. TDM

    Looks like Portland’s curse is going to continue. Roy has 1-2 years left in his career according to his surgeon. Given his contract which pays him $13.6M over the next 4 years, that’s a cap killer in the making. Maybe that is why Rudy Fernandez is suddenly singing his praise for the Blazers’ org and we don’t hear about the Knicks trying to trade for him – the Blazers know they are going to need him.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/27527812

  160. jon abbey

    PHI/IND/CHA all lose, and Memphis closes the gap on Denver in the #8 spot in the West to just 1/2 game.

  161. d-mar

    Check out the Indy-Heat highlights – Wade throws a full court pass from under his own basket that LeBron catches in the air in full stride and lays in at the other end. As much as I hate the Heat, it’s still one of the greatest passes and finishes I’ve ever seen.

  162. Brian Cronin

    Isola, in arguing that the Knicks should basically give the Nuggets whatever they want:

    And if Landry Fields has to go, the Knicks can find another role player to perform the same chores.

    Well argued, Isola, well argued.

  163. Brian Cronin

    On Yahoo!, I saw a hilarious headline: “James, Heat being taunted on the road.”

    Gee, ya think?

    I bet come May we shall see headlines like: “A-Rod, Yanks being taunted on the road.” Insightful stuff.

  164. iserp

    TDM: Maybe that is why Rudy Fernandez is suddenly singing his praise for the Blazers’ org and we don’t hear about the Knicks trying to trade for him – the Blazers know they are going to need him.

    Probably, with so many injuries he is finding playing time again, and he is doing pretty good this February.

  165. Nick C.

    I was more interested in this “reporting” from the article, which could help explain the article about ‘Melo being preplexed at not getting the last shot in a one point loss recently where Nene took it.

    “Several sources describe a locker room frustrated with Anthony chasing shots and points over winning games, a resistance to listen to coach George Karl and a distancing of himself throughout the season from the rest of the team.”

  166. d-mar

    jon abbey: more good reporting by Adrian Wojnarowski on the Melo situation, looks like resigning in Denver is indeed a total bluff (no surprise to any of us):http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AhsUxPvapVMW4zZwvWYRZjW8vLYF?slug=aw-anthonynuggets021511  

    More validation for Donnie’s strategy of just sitting tight right up until the deadline. Denver can keep asking for more, more, more, but when push comes to shove, they need to do something before 2/24, despite their PR machine saying they’d be fine going past the deadline. And there will definitely be a few more Bynum for Melo type rumors floated in the next few weeks to try and scare the Knicks into reacting. Let’s just hope Dolan stays out of this and doesn’t force Donnie to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.

  167. Jafa

    “This is like the Nets talks all over again: Denver keeps moving the goal posts,” one league source said. “They don’t know what they want there.”

    That line in the article says it all. If this Denver GM does not trade Melo before the deadline and walks into a Lebron/Bosh situation at the end of the season, based on all I’ve read I think he should be fired. The public nature of these trade talks, the lack of a clear vision for the organization plus the apparent greed of the GM will be his downfall.

  168. Brian Cronin

    I don’t think their handling of the Nets was bad. Whatever they asked for, they knew that ultimately it would come down to Carmelo agreeing to extend with New Jersey, and it sounds like all indications showed that he was never going to do so. Denver would have agreed to the Nets deal awhile ago if it were up to them.

  169. Caleb

    jon abbey: more good reporting by Adrian Wojnarowski on the Melo situation, looks like resigning in Denver is indeed a total bluff (no surprise to any of us):http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AhsUxPvapVMW4zZwvWYRZjW8vLYF?slug=aw-anthonynuggets021511  

    In the notes at the bottom of the column, he says the Sixers might buy out Jason Kapono – that wouldn’t be a bad minimum-salary pickup – I wouldn’t expect to see him in the rotation but he’s got a better chance of contributing than Rautins, Mason or – at this point, it seems – Azubuike.

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