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Friday, April 25, 2014

New York Ponders Point Guards

It’s been a quiet offseason for the New York Knicks. The team made one personnel move (trading Quentin Richarsdon for Milicic) and they failed to nab any of the big names during the draft (Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas). Restricted free agents David Lee and Nate Robisnon have hung in limbo while just about every available first and second tier players have settled on their 2010 home. But perhaps this silence might change in the coming days. New York is flirting with both Jamaal Tinsley and Ramon Sessions, and they recently claimed Jason Williams off of waivers. So how do these players stack up? I’ll invoke similarity scores to see what kind of players we might expect.

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS% eFG% PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV Age
.000 Jason Williams 2008 MIA 12.7 .502 .472 11.2 0.2 2.5 5.9 1.6 0.1 1.7 32.0
.041 Rafer Alston 2009 TOT 13.7 .494 .454 13.2 0.5 3.3 6.0 1.6 0.1 2.1 32.0
.082 Derek Harper 1994 TOT 12.3 .485 .456 12.9 0.3 2.3 5.5 2.0 0.1 2.2 32.0
.086 Rory Sparrow 1991 SAC 12.4 .524 .511 12.6 0.7 2.8 5.5 1.3 0.2 1.9 32.0
.090 Jerry Sichting 1989 POR 8.8 .474 .457 9.4 0.8 2.7 5.4 1.4 0.0 2.3 32.0
.095 Sedale Threatt 1994 LAL 15.3 .524 .485 15.3 0.4 2.4 5.4 1.7 0.3 1.7 32.0
.096 Vinny Del Negro 1999 MIL 12.3 .481 .446 9.3 0.5 3.4 5.7 1.1 0.1 1.8 32.0
.096 Scott Brooks 1998 CLE 13.9 .528 .462 9.1 0.7 3.5 5.7 2.1 0.3 1.4 32.0
.100 Antonio Daniels 2008 WAS 13.7 .549 .478 9.9 0.4 3.4 5.7 1.1 0.0 1.5 32.0
.126 Michael Cooper 1989 LAL 11.9 .549 .512 10.9 0.6 3.5 5.8 1.3 0.6 1.7 32.0
.129 Doc Rivers 1994 NYK 12.9 .523 .508 10.3 0.3 2.8 7.2 1.8 0.4 2.1 32.0

Jason Williams last played two years ago so I used his 2008 stats for comparable players, and Rafer Alston couldn’t be more similar. Both are flashy passing, meager scoring, three point chuckers. At 34 years of age, you’d have to question why the Knicks are pursuing Williams. Perhaps they’re not happy with Douglas as the backup point guard, because it’s hard to imagine Williams signing to sit on the bench as the third quarterback. Granted they could do worse off the bench, but J-Dub offers a lot of attributes the Knicks don’t need. He’s three point happy, but his success rate is below average (32.5%). He doesn’t score a lot (13.1 pts/36) and is allergic to the free throw line. His FTM/FGA (.15) is lower than Wilson Chandler’s (.16). It’s not an ideal fit, but I guess the team could do much worse like…

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS% eFG% PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV Age
.000 Jamaal Tinsley 2007 IND 15.2 .465 .424 14.8 1.0 3.9 7.9 1.9 0.4 3.2 28.0
.107 John Bagley 1989 NJN 11.3 .467 .427 11.0 0.8 3.2 8.6 1.6 0.1 3.5 28.0
.120 Warren Jabali 1975 SDA 13.9 .501 .440 14.5 1.4 5.0 6.9 2.2 0.4 3.6 28.0
.120 Terrell Brandon 1999 TOT 19.5 .463 .430 14.8 0.8 4.0 9.1 1.9 0.3 2.2 28.0
.128 Mike Bratz 1984 GSW 12.9 .483 .423 14.1 1.0 3.6 6.4 2.1 0.2 2.7 28.0
.129 Haywoode Workman 1994 IND 12.9 .490 .443 10.5 0.7 4.3 8.5 1.8 0.1 3.2 28.0
.137 Larry Drew 1987 LAC 13.1 .490 .441 17.0 0.6 2.4 7.5 1.4 0.0 3.5 28.0
.138 Johnny Moore 1987 SAS 13.4 .495 .467 13.8 0.9 2.9 7.3 2.4 0.1 3.0 28.0
.159 Brian Shaw 1995 ORL 10.4 .468 .437 9.8 1.0 4.7 8.0 1.4 0.4 3.6 28.0
.160 Pooh Richardson 1995 LAC 12.6 .459 .442 11.0 0.5 3.3 7.9 1.6 0.2 2.1 28.0
.160 Darnell Valentine 1988 LAC 13.5 .474 .432 12.4 0.8 3.4 8.4 2.7 0.2 3.3 28.0

There’s a lot of similarity between Tinsley and Williams. Both have been out of the league for a bit and both are inefficient scorers. However Tinsley is much worse in multiple areas. Most prominent is his poor efficiency (Tinsley’s 47.4 TS%, Williams 50.3% TS%), his dreadful three point rate (30.7% to Williams’ 32.5%), and his high turnover rate (3.2 to/36 to Williams’ 2.6). Just look at this list compared to the one above, and it’s clear Tinsley is a poor option. The Knicks would be better off with an NBDL player, or maybe someone off the street.

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS% eFG% PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV Age
.000 Ramon Sessions 2009 MIL 17.6 .525 .449 16.2 1.1 4.5 7.5 1.4 0.1 2.5 22.0
.070 Kenny Anderson 1993 NJN 16.6 .487 .439 16.6 0.9 4.0 8.0 1.7 0.2 2.7 22.0
.092 Mo Williams 2005 MIL 14.1 .504 .460 13.0 0.8 3.9 7.7 1.2 0.2 3.1 22.0
.094 Raymond Felton 2007 CHA 13.5 .481 .434 13.9 0.6 3.4 6.9 1.5 0.1 2.9 22.0
.097 Tyus Edney 1996 SAC 12.7 .505 .448 12.5 0.9 2.9 7.1 1.3 0.0 2.8 22.0
.111 Mike Bibby 2001 VAN 16.8 .525 .500 14.7 0.5 3.4 7.7 1.2 0.1 2.8 22.0
.115 Dee Brown 1991 BOS 13.2 .523 .470 13.2 0.8 3.4 6.4 1.5 0.3 2.5 22.0
.116 Damon Stoudamire 1996 TOR 16.7 .528 .485 16.7 0.7 3.5 8.2 1.2 0.2 3.4 22.0
.117 Terrell Brandon 1993 CLE 16.7 .530 .489 16.1 0.8 4.0 6.7 1.8 0.6 2.4 22.0
.119 Kenny Smith 1988 SAC 13.3 .537 .486 14.0 0.7 2.3 7.2 1.5 0.1 3.1 22.0
.122 Baron Davis 2002 CHH 18.2 .498 .480 16.1 1.0 3.8 7.6 1.9 0.5 2.7 22.0

At only 22 years of age, Sessions obviously has the most upside. There are some good point guards on that list, and a few that never met their potential. On thing to notice is that Sessions is among the best of the group with regards to turnovers, shooting efficiency, and rebounding. Even if he doesn’t learn to shoot threes, he’s likely to continue to contribute in those areas.

He should fit in with New York’s current roster and would compliment Duhon well, perhaps like a change of pace running back (I’m thinking Thomas Jones and Leon Washington). And I can’t help to think he would be good for years to come as well. Granted you want to space the floor with a player like LeBron James, but you also need someone to take the scoring pressure off his shoulders. With the Knicks in need of cheap players to build around, Sessions could solidify a young core (Sessions, Chandler, Gallinari, Hill, Douglas, hopefully Lee, and possibly Nate). The million dollar question is how much Sessions worth, and will Milwaukee match?

93 comments on “New York Ponders Point Guards

  1. BigBlueAL

    John Hollinger loves Sessions. Considering he has been ripping every move the Knicks have made (draft)/tried to make (sign Kidd and Hill) I want Sessions just so Hollinger can compliment the Knicks for once this summer!!

  2. ScottD

    Mike,

    For al the hard work that you put into this piece, don’t you think that it is irresponsible of you to claim that the Knicks have signed J.Williams to a ten day contract?

    Perhaps a retraction is in order!

  3. ess-dog

    I like the idea of a Sessions pick-up (the only move of those 3 I would make) and that’s a nice list to see his potential for growth. If Donnie seals the deal, I would absolutely start him over Duhon, but keep it competitive so as to keep a fire lit under his bum.
    If he ends up as useful as the Baron Davis/Mo Williams range of player, then the whole MLE seems like a pretty good deal.
    It does make it hard to have Sessions and Lee on the floor a the same time and for the future when we need to space the floor for LeBron. I guess if you’re talking about LeBron, the future involves him and Gallo as the 2 forwards anyway.
    It’s looking more and more like 1 year deals for Lee and Nate, but with a Sessions signing, I would feel a lot better about that.

  4. Z-man

    What about a sign and trade with Sessions for Duhon, and then signing either JW or JT as insurance?

  5. Nick C.

    Why is this even an issue? Just look at whos on the comps. Beyond that JW and Tinsley have baggage and wont be more than stopgaps, meaning we have to do this again next year. Sessions looks to be a major contributor now and down the road when the Knicks are good again.

  6. Reebok1303

    Great work Mike, those similarity scores are really helpful and increased my already strong belief that the only PG NY should be going after at all is Sessions. (For the record, in my book Nate is a SG.)

    That being said, I was starting to get annoyed that it seemed Donnie was once again dragging his heals on making a deal until I did some reading and realized just how difficult sign and trades can be for BYC players. A Bucks blog did a post about a possible Lee for Sessions swap and the deal (and the math) is SO much more complicated than I realized that I’m no longer surprised Mil and NY haven’t gotten a trade done;there are simply way too many moving parts to make everyone happy. Here’s the link… http://www.brewhoop.com/2009/7/30/969932/sessions-lee-sign-and-trade

    Again, great post and good work on the player comps.

  7. Count Zero

    Honestly, I’ve been mystified as to our reason for kicking the tires on people like Tinsley since this started. If we think we need a PG then Sessions is the only real option. When we didn’t get it done with Sessions a couple of weeks ago, I assumed it was because we thought Toney/Nate was the backup.

    Sessions is head and shoulders above the rest. The only thing you hate there is the 3P%, which will have an effect on the way Coach D likes to play the pick and roll. If teams don’t have to go over (or at least show) on the screen, that’s a problem. But you have to love the way Sessions gets to the stripe.

    I know Tinsley and JW will come cheap, but frankly, they both suck large as options.

  8. ScottD

    Mike,

    I’m sorry if I am splitting hairs, but the Knicks didn’t “sign” J.Williams to anything!
    Because the Knicks had the worst record of the teams which showed a possible interest in signing him to a contract, they have been given the exclusive right to negotiate with him.
    The deadline for that exlusive negotiation is this coming Thursday.

    As a reader, it is frustrating when a writer is ill-informed.
    It seems as if the writer hasn’t, or doesn’t care to do his or her research.

    Credability goes a long way.

  9. sj12

    Unless they are both smoke screens, why would the knicks have any interest in jason williams or jamaal tinsley? They’re both washed up and ineffective.

    Also, I’m not sure its worth getting too upset over the technicalities of the Jason Williams situation. It was pretty clear what Mike meant in the original article…

  10. Kikuchiyo

    Calm down, ScottD. The post is called “New York Ponders Points Guards,” not “The Details on the Jason Williams Signing.” Mike has made the changes; you don’t have to get surly.

    And, as you say “credability [sic] goes a long way.”

  11. Z-man

    Seems like Walsh is just examining all options. What happens if Sessions falls through? Even if you think Douglas is ready to back up Duhon and that Duhon is a capable starter, injuries happen. The Celts had Cassell on their championship team to back up Rondo, even though he was clearly washed up. I have less of a problem with Williams in this role than Tinsley.

    Walsh does seem to have a propensity to favor his old players (Harrington and now Tinsley and Bender.) Hopefully he won’t let loyalty get in the way of good business decisions. Harrington wasn’t a bad move, but Tinsley would be.

    I have to emphasize again that a sign and trade makes sense for both the Bucks and for us, not to mention for Sessions and Duhon. Sessions becomes a starter with an opportunity to lead a potentially exciting young offense in an up-tempo system. Duhon becomes a full-time backup for the rookie Jennings (maybe even starts?) and should see plenty of quality minutes while playing for a coach who likes him and vice versa. Knicks could then sign a cheap veteran back-up such as Williams to a 1-year deal as insurance against injury or if Douglas is just not ready. Bucks get a reasonable contract that expires at the end of the year. What’s not to love?

  12. Ted Nelson

    “Why is this even an issue?”

    Because Sessions is a RFA and, as far as I know, hasn’t even agreed to sign with the Knicks.

    I don’t think Walshtoni are under the impression Williams or Tinsley would be a long-term Knick or even a sure thing in the rotation this season. Last season the Knicks had a hard time just finding someone to bring the ball up the court at different points in the season. As Z-man says injuries happen, plus Douglas has to prove what he can do. Nice to have a 3rd PG who has starting experience.

    “I have to emphasize again that a sign and trade makes sense for both the Bucks and for us, not to mention for Sessions and Duhon.”

    The problem I see with this is that Milwaukee already has Ridnour in that role on a $6.5 mill this season. If they’re actually worried about going over the luxury tax line do they really want to pay $12.5 mill for back-up PGs?
    I also don’t know how Duhon and Skiles feel about each other. They might love each other for all I know, but Duhon seemed constantly unhappy in Chicago.

  13. Count Zero

    “The problem I see with this is that Milwaukee already has Ridnour in that role on a $6.5 mill this season. If they’re actually worried about going over the luxury tax line do they really want to pay $12.5 mill for back-up PGs?”

    Agreed, but we can apply the same logic to Sessions. If we offer the full MLE, would the Bucks match? I doubt it unless they could (snicker) find a way to move Ridnour.

  14. Ted Nelson

    Count Zero,

    Yeah, I definitely know what you’re saying.
    I don’t know what all the Malik Allen and cutting Bowen means as far as salary implications. Seems like the Bucks were trying to clear some room, whether that was to keep Sessions I have no idea.
    I think the logic with Sessions would more be that he’s an “asset” and someone they cannot let go for free, while Duhon has less upside and only one year left on his deal. If they have two good young PGs they can just split time between them for a while and then trade one for similar value at another position. Ridnour is somewhat movable because of his expiring contract. He probably wouldn’t return much, but maybe similar level expiring player(s) or a better player with a longer contract. Or he’s just an expensive third stringer, maybe they by him out and save a few bucks (haha no pun intended).

  15. Count Zero

    Fair enough. Although Duhon would likely be just as movable as Ridnour as he is also an expiring in the same range.

    I guess it’s a very complex situation no matter how you look at it — I just hope we find a way on Sessions because his age and growth to date make him a very attractive piece for our future.

  16. Z

    “Unless they are both smoke screens, why would the knicks have any interest in jason williams or jamaal tinsley? They’re both washed up and ineffective.”

    With Tinsley, it seems that Walsh may have had a public meeting with him as a favor to Tinsley. They had a good relationship in Indiana (Walsh drafted him) and by having a public meeting with the Knicks Tinsley establishes himself to the league as a credible player who is generating interest among GMs.

    It’s similar to the Grant Hill meeting. Hill had a relationship with D’Antoni, said publicly he was considering the Knicks because they are a great franchise, have a great coach, play in a great city, blah, blah, blah, but planned all along to re-sign with Phoenix.

    Just a guess, of course. But I’d be surprised to see Tinsley on the Knicks next year, even if we don’t land Sessions.

  17. Nick C.

    What are the financial constraints w/ respect to making Sessions an offer that Milwaukee, hopefully, wont match and is there any competition? Do Lee and Nates situations need to be worked out first?

  18. Duff Soviet Union

    Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus also did a list of Sessions’ most similar players at the same age. His top 5 were Kenny Anderson (your number 1 as well), Devin Harris, Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Terrell Brandon. Wow.

  19. Captain Merlin

    Now it would seem the thing to do in the situation the Knicks are in would be to try to sign Sessions to an offer sheet in the next few days and then while waiting to see if the Bucks will match work out some sort of backup deal with Williams in case the Bucks were to match. At least by doing that there would be a prearranged fallback if all did not go well with Sessions, and the timing would at least lessen the chance of winding up with either both or neither of the two. Why pass up Sedale Threatt for Tyus Edney?

  20. ess-dog

    Way off topic: saw Harrington’s new ads for his Kmart shoe in the subway today. Gotta think he’ll be around at least for this season. Very curious to see what his role is this year…

  21. ScottD

    Mike,

    I have alot of respect for your stepping up to make the appropriate corrections.

    And as for Kikuchiyo, anytime a media person disseminates information they should “measure twice, and cut once as a good carpenter would.

    And by the way, I am actually quite calm, and I appreciate your correction of my misspelling, but it is unfortunate that you have no problem with misinformation.

    Which network news channel do you enjoy watching?

  22. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Scott,

    I do a lot of editing before anything I write appears on my blog, and I’ll stand on my body of work. But for the most part, I’m one person and I do make mistakes. I’m fine with people coming here and pointing out anything I’ve missed, and have no problem making changes as soon as possible. I’m appreciative when my readers can contribute in this manner.

    However there’s no reason to be rude to me or the other people on this blog in the process.

  23. Z-man

    ScottD,

    I’m with Kikuchiyo in that I also found your criticism to be unnecessarily harsh and condescending, esp. in your use of terms such as “irresponsible” and “ill-informed.” The fact that you couldn’t even make the effort to proofread your own post hardly puts you in a position to lecture a well-established and highly respected blog host on publishing misinformation. And as Kikuchiyo pointed out, this technical issue had virtually nothing to do with the point of the thread.

    And what is your point in inquiring about about the network news channel one happens to enjoy watching? I’d love to hear where that one came from.

  24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    “And as for Kikuchiyo, anytime a media person disseminates information they should “measure twice, and cut once as a good carpenter would.”

    [sic]

    Pronoun-antecedent agreement.

  25. Captain Merlin

    And thus we leave arguing the recent displeasure of being a Knicks fan to haggling over the whole set of pleasantries about rudeness and such. That’s enough to make a fellow want to remember the Erick Strickland era.

  26. Count Zero

    Ooooo — Erick Strickland! Nothing like an eFG% of .366 to lead you on a stroll down memory lane…

    Now I’m all verklempt.

  27. Rashidi

    The sad thing is catching Mike’s error is probably the highlight of this kid’s life, that’s why he’s so excited about it.

  28. TDM

    “I’m with Kikuchiyo in that I also found your criticism to be unnecessarily harsh and condescending, esp. in your use of terms such as “irresponsible” and “ill-informed.”

    Ditto that. For a minute, I thought italian stallion had taken a pen name.

    With regard to the article, short-term, I wouldn’t be opposed to signing J Will to a 1 year deal. I thought Duhon did a fine job as the starting pg until his body began to wear down from overusage. Tinsley is another story. My only concern with Sessions I’ve already aired – signing him to a long term deal and not being a player likely to help attract one of the top-tier FA next offseason. I still think Walsh may be flirting with some of these players in an effort to get Nate to come to the table.

    On a completely off-topic notice, I officially feel sorry for marbury. The dude has completely gone crazy – eating vasoline, sobbing uncontrollably. Doesn’t he still have an agent to reel him in?

  29. ess-dog

    Does anyone else think we should take a flyer on Jeff Adrien? He could be a great end-of-the-bench hustle guy (the new Balkman?) Plays good post defense, long wingspan to swat the ball and get boards, good with garbage buckets… kind of a Leon Powe type and would come very cheap. Could be especially useful if Lee isn’t back in the fold.

  30. rohank

    Re: Marbury: Remember last year, he had Billy Hunter of the players’ Union negotiate for him. Apparently he thinks he’s better off without an agent… I dont feel sorry for him at all by the way – how much money has he made by now? I can’t even count that high.

  31. Mike Kurylo Post author

    I remember someone saying David Lee wouldn’t have made the cut on Pat Riley’s Knicks. I’m watching game 4 of 1994 on MSG, and the Knicks failed to convert on three straight fast breaks. Oak was just pathetic on one, passing it back when he’s right under the hoop. They could have used someone that could convert on those “garbage” baskets.

    BTW it was so easy to defend the pick & roll back then. Ewing just shoved one of the Rocket guards with both hands while hedging. No wonder they played so much iso & post up. :-)

  32. d-mar

    Mike, I was watching that too, and I decided since I already knew the outcome, I would focus on one player-Oakley. His help defense was unbelievable, rather than just guard his man, he was always looking around to see if there was an opportunity to double or disrupt the passing lanes waving his arms around. I wish some of the current Knicks would watch his intensity on D, there’s no one even close on the current roster. Miss ya, Oak!

  33. BigBlueAL

    I did say that David Lee wouldve taken Anthony Bonner’s minutes. But your damn right he wouldnt have played much on that team. You said it yourself with the way the NBA was back then and the style the Knicks played no chance Lee gets many minutes on that Knicks team.

    Now dont get me wrong I aint calling Lee soft because you cant be soft and grab as many rebounds as he does and finish around the basket like he does but with the way he plays defense please. You can argue he couldve been taught that and stuff but Im just saying with the way he plays today and the type of player he is on D no chance in hell he wouldve been anymore than what Anthony Bonner was to that team which was play when any of the main 4 frontcourt players were either injured or in foul trouble.

    He wouldve fit in much better on VG’s Knicks teams because they did run more and werent as deep in the frontcourt as Riley’s teams were.

  34. Frank O.

    Jon Abbey:

    I confess I don’t watch stats like some of the gifted souls on this board, but I found myself reacting strangely.
    1. If people are pumping up stats, and it helps get TV coverage or fill the seats, what kind of stat lifting was being done for Lee or Nate, or any other knicks fan favorite?
    2. And if they were boosting Knicks stats, how disturbing is it that the Knicks seem to lack a player who can get 1 block per 40 mins?:)
    3. I’m not buying the argument that the stats even out over time. The fact is you have one group of folks doing your stats for half the time at home, and then you have a large number of other folks doing your stats otherwise, and it’s not their job to knock down your stats as much as it is to pump up the home teams’ stats.
    4. Last, this to me means you need to pay more attention to impact players. That means for me, Lee and Nate are less valuable, primarily because their ability to outright win games for the Knicks is pretty limited, if not nonexistent. It enforces my belief that they are interesting, good role players – as they have played to date…they could improve – but no more.

    Obviously the NBA is a huge marketing machine. But if the stats are distorted, intentionally or unintentionally, it is cause for concern. It may be why people foamed up about Renaldo Balkman as a Knick, but the guy never broke the starting line up and was relatively unproductive for Denver. 14 minutes, 5 points, 3.9 rpgs,.4 blocks per.

  35. Caleb

    The scorekeeper article is interesting… 20 INTENTIONAL mistakes a game is hard to believe, that’s a huge number, but it’s easy to believe that this makes a significant different in player’s stats. And might easily not even out over time.

    But I would respectfully disagree with Frank O.:
    “this to me means you need to pay more attention to impact players. That means for me, Lee and Nate are less valuable, primarily because their ability to outright win games for the Knicks is pretty limited, if not nonexistent. It enforces my belief that they are interesting, good role players – as they have played to date…they could improve – but no more.”

    I draw the opposite conclusion – that we should pay MORE attention to the role players. If anyone’s numbers are being inflated, it’s the stars. IMO we see something similar with the All-Defense teams (or Gold Gloves in baseball), which honor not the best defenders but the most famous players who play any semblance of defense.

  36. Frank O.

    GAH!

    From the NY Post:

    The Knicks’ tango with Ramon Sessions could wrap up tomorrow, according to his agent.

    KNICKS BLOG

    BACK PAGE: MARBURY’S INTERNET DISASTER

    Chubby Wells, agent for the young Bucks point guard, told The Post yesterday Sessions could accept a Knicks offer either today or tomorrow.

    “We’ve been playing footsie with the Knicks the last two weeks,” Wells said. “I’m sure we’ll clarify something in the next couple days with the Knicks or another team and figure out what’s going on.”

    The Clippers, who waived guard Mike Taylor, are the other team

    involved, but the Knicks appear to be the frontrunners because they are able to offer Sessions a starting role.

    In a nutshell, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni is lobbying to sign

    Sessions, 23, but team president Donnie Walsh is concerned a long-term deal starting at the mid-level exception of $5.8 million will compromise the Knicks’ 2010 salary cap space, even though free-agent forward David Lee could be headed for a one-year pact.

    According to a source, Walsh wants to sign Sessions to a long-term deal starting at less than $5.8 million so that his 2010-2011 cap number will be less than $6 million. The source said a number of proposals have been discussed, including a one-year contract.

    The Bucks, tapped out financially because of luxury-tax concerns and content with rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, are not expected to match an offer for Sessions, a former second-round pick.

    The Knicks’ interest in un-retired point guard Jason Williams, whom they will work out this week, has no effect on the Sessions pursuit. Williams is a cheaper alternative if they can’t re-sign Nate Robinson for one year.

  37. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    Respectfully, on the Knicks, Nate and Lee are the star players.
    They don’t score the most, but they are the two most popular players. They are star players in NYC because the Knicks were a bad team.
    And therein, probably, lies the problem.

  38. Caleb

    I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying the Knicks are bad? I agree. Are you saying their stats are padded? Not sure that follows from the article..

    If you’re saying that Lee’s rebound stats are padded by the hometown scorekeeper… I dunno. It’s only this year that he was remotely considered our best player by anyone except the Knickerblogger readers… and yet his rebound rate was just as good or better the years before. And why doesn’t that scorekeeper give Eddy Curry more than 6 boards a game? Lee compares well to other elite rebounders — are they NOT getting help from their own scorekeepers?

    No one thinks you can win a championship with David Lee and Nate Robinson as your two best players. And I don’t think Lee should get a max deal, i.e. $17-25 million a year. But $8 million a year is good value — if you make a list of all the players making $8 million a year, he is better than easily 3/4 of them, probably more.

  39. Caleb

    p.s. I’m not too thrilled if Sessions costs $6 million a year.. might be better to keep that cap space available, keep our flexibility. But he’s young enough that might look like a bargain, eventually.

    Hard to imagine he would seriously consider a one-year deal. That would be showing an awesome amount of confidence…

  40. jon abbey

    I just think the conclusion is that people need to trust their eyes slightly more, and the stats slightly less. the Knick-specific conclusions don’t make much sense to me.

    in other news:

    please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions, please land Sessions.

  41. Dan Panorama

    I’m not too worried about the cap if Sessions has somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 mil per — it looks like Lee and Nate both will be on one year deals so we’ll have a lot of flexibility if we can’t trade Jeffries/Curry by next offseason. Just renounce their rights. Losing Lee would be awful, but there are a lot more big men on the market that we can throw FA cash at then there are starting-caliber PGs, which in D’antoni’s system are a basic prerequisite to building a winning team. Walsh knows he can’t score a potential star PG in 2010 (there aren’t any available), he doesn’t have a draft pick to land one next year, and trades don’t seem too promising either. This is probably the best we can get within the next 2 years. When you consider that we don’t have time to develop a PG draft pick even if we had one — we need someone who can be experienced and seasoned enough to run things on a winning team if we get one of the big 2010 FAs — then it seems even more of a no brainer.

  42. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    I think my point is in our NY echo chamber, Lee and Nate are our brightest lights, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily worth the money they are asking or the money conventional wisdom says they are worth.
    And I think the Knicks needs to use their money smartly and get cap healthy, a position I have maintained for years. This grew tougher – and more important – when the economy tanked.
    You can make a legitimate case for why Lee is or isn’t worth $8 million per. But I’m inclined to say he isn’t worth that much.
    Let’s use Lee as an example.
    He has been productive for the Knicks, but I’m not entirely sure his production outweighs the cost to the Knicks cap space in the current environment.
    I think that belief bears out based on how Walsh has been negotiating.
    I suspect the rest of the NBA looks at Lee and sees a guy who operates in a scheme that is supposed to boost your numbers.
    In his case they certainly did. He went from 9 rpg, 10 pts before D’Antoni to almost 12 rpg, and 16 pts under D’Antoni. Except his field goal percentage and free throw shooting. His FG% has worsened a bit in each year since the 07-08 season, 60%, 55%, 54.9 percent. His FT% went from about 81% to 75%.
    If you add in the consideration that his numbers may be getting some help, there is every reason to believe on a new team his number would revert back to his pre-D’Antoni levels, which were fairly consistent for two prior years.

    Now, are you willing to pay a guy $8 million per, who gets 9 pts, and 10 rpg, shooting between 55% and 60% a year?

    I am quite willing to be convinced otherwise. These are new thoughts I’m exploring here. I have been a Lee fan since he came out of Florida.

    But as for comparative player value, I don’t think past salaries equate in the current economy. I think past salaries are inflated and should not be the measuring stick. Times have changed.
    And if $8 million in combination with my projected cap room in 2010 helps me to land a bluechip, game changer next year, I keep that money in my pocket.

    The Knicks need more an impact player than they do a good player at a position in which they already are three or four players deep.

    Yeah, I know. Blasphemy.:)

  43. Nick C.

    I’m not saying throw 7/8 million but don’t you think its foolish passing up a good player in the hopes of having space for next year? I’d be willing to be what we get next year is not as good or at least as promising as Sessions.

  44. Caleb

    “there is every reason to believe on a new team his number would revert back to his pre-D’Antoni levels, which were fairly consistent for two prior years.”

    This is sort of the point – his numbers were as good (actually, better) BEFORE D’Antoni arrived. The per-game numbers got better because he got more minutes, not because of the system.

    Anyway, it’s fair to say you’d rather have the cap space to chase LeBron… but I don’t think there will be 5 players better than Lee switching teams next summer, so it looks like a sucker’s bet to me…

  45. Count Zero

    I’m with Dan and jon on this one.

    I had to do a lot of thinking about it to get there, but in the end, Ramon’s stats are just to good to ignore and he’s the right age to put into a nucleus with Gallo, Chandler, Douglas and — dare I say — Hill? Well, maybe not Hill. ;-)

    In fact, assuming there’s no way he takes one year, I would prefer to lock him up for at least three or four as there’s a good chance that might end up as a steal.

    I am definitely curious on the Lee status though — it seems like signing Lee to a one year is shortsighted. The only benefit is that you keep yourself in the playoff hunt for this season. Other than that, it seems senseless since you would absolutely have to renounce the Bird rights in order to sign a FA at the end of next season.

    It’s a tough call. Tie up $8MM+ in cap space to keep Lee, or tie up $6MM to get Sessions. I think Dan’s right though — a starting PG in 2010 is tougher to come by than a Lee equivalent. I’m slightly in favor of Sessions if it’s an either-or question.

  46. Nick C.

    Do the Knicks have a plan or is it all please, please come here LeBron, its NYC, the Garden, please come here LeBron, Ok what about you Wade, no. Amare? Bosh? anyone? I don’t see them striving to build this team with.

  47. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    You may be right when you say “I don’t think there will be 5 players better than Lee switching teams next summer, so it looks like a sucker’s bet to me.”

    But there is a very good chance the Knicks will get Lee for less than $8 million, and maybe less than $7 million, because the market wouldn’t support that kind of salary for that kind of player.

    And what is wrong with actually going after one of the top five players in the draft if you have the money? I’m not sure I get that logic.
    If you have the money, and the Knicks would without signing Lee have the money to make a play for a major player, why wouldn’t you make that play?

    Would you trade Lee for Bosh, or Wade, or Lebron, or Joe Johnson, or Dirk Nowitzki, or Yao Ming…? In a heartbeat.

    I guess it looks like I’m willing to make a “sucker’s bet.” :)

  48. Frank O.

    And Caleb, I’m not sure a 60 percent increase in Lee’s scoring was purely attributable to 20 percent increase in minutes.
    Now a 31 percent increase in rebounds…? You might say that mostly has to do with more time on the court.

    Again, I’m not a great stat guy, but it’s clear to me the D’Antoni system helped Lee’s production a lot.

  49. Nick C.

    Well they did run a lot of pick and roll for or with Lee, which never happened before, so some of that is on Lee for having the aptitude to make it work so well that it became a staple of the offense, part to D’Antoni and part a comment on Isiah’s lack of acumen.

  50. jon abbey

    Frank, I think Caleb is saying he thinks all of those guys won’t actually switch teams.

  51. Frank O.

    Journal Times reporter twitter says:

    Knicks-Chubby Wells (R.Sessions agent) in serious talks rt now. Could get decision later today.
    1 hr ago.

  52. Caleb

    “there is a very good chance the Knicks will get Lee for less than $8 million, and maybe less than $7 million, because the market wouldn’t support that kind of salary for that kind of player.”

    Not a chance – he might sign in the $8 million range to get insurance from injury, but if he goes on the market next year he will easily get more, from us or someone. As we’ve argued ad nauseum all summer, the only reason he’s not getting offers because no one has the cap space to make an offer the Knicks won’t match. That won’t happen again. In 2010 there are least half a dozen good teams with max cap room, maybe as many as a dozen, depending where the cap falls and what they do between now and then.

    “And what is wrong with actually going after one of the top five players in the draft if you have the money? I’m not sure I get that logic.”

    assume you mean “the free agent market”…
    1. Because you might not get one and then you are a 20-win team.
    2. Why would LeBron or any good player sign with the Knicks MINUS Lee? Even with him, it’s a stretch, when they can sign with teams who are already contenders.
    3. You build a team by stockpiling many good players, not hoping and praying you get one or two.
    4. Of course we should try and clear cap space… but dumping Lee to get there is an ass-backwards way to get there. There’s no reason to put all our eggs in the basket for next summer – the 2011 class could easily be just as good or better (depending who exercises what options).

    “Would you trade Lee for Bosh, or Wade, or Lebron, or Joe Johnson, or Dirk Nowitzki, or Yao Ming…? In a heartbeat.”

    LeBron or Wade – you do what you have to. They are basically one-man teams. But I would unequestionably rather have Lee + $10-12 million for another guy, than Nowitzki or Yao or Bosh or Stoudemire. Especially since 3 of those 4 are real injury or age risks. You might say the same about Wade, regarding his long-term future.

  53. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “And Caleb, I’m not sure a 60 percent increase in Lee’s scoring was purely attributable to 20 percent increase in minutes…Again, I’m not a great stat guy, but it’s clear to me the D’Antoni system helped Lee’s production a lot.”

    Frank O – I think you have to look at per-minute stats. Lee’s scoring didn’t increase 60% last year, only 18%. However who is to say it’s D’Antoni’s system, and who is to say it’s Lee expanding his offensive game? Certainly he showed a more diverse ability to score last year to the naked eye. Granted he was featured more, esp. in the pick & roll. But wouldn’t you do that if you had a guy that shoots 60%?

    And I think it’s best if you look at per-minute stats only, since per-game stats are heavily biased towards the number of minutes a player has gotten.

  54. rayhed

    It’s really funny how everyone mentions how much dantonis system has benefited lee, yet rarely do players like amare, nash, and especially marion get mentioned under this issue. I think all 3 of these players had their numbers INCREDIBLY inflated while playing for dantoni, yet again, rarely do you hear anyone question their skills. I understand that nash and amare are leagues better than lee, but i dont see why lee is the only one whos ability is questioned. Sure lee does benefit from playing for dantoni and around guys who miss almost every shot, but if you watch the guy, you’ll see a player who has an incredible nose for rebounding as well as an impressive finisher who has good hands for a big guy. Look back at the utah game from two years ago when he hit a game-winning alleyoop… that was an incredibly skilled play by an athletic player. Lee may not be the offensive juggernaut we want, nor the defensive presence we need, but give credit where credit is due- the man can rebound with the best of em.

    ps- there was a knicks raptors game where lee dominated bosh, who is a perrenial allstart… gus johnson, probably the best announcer is sports, mentioned throughout the game how he could not understand the buzz about bosh (a seperate but equally interesting topic) and how great lee looked

  55. Frank O.

    Jon:
    Yeah, I get that.
    I understand the bird in the hand v. the bush argument.
    I just think who will move is unknowable right now, and I think the organization is stronger when it has cap space regardless.

    The Knicks currently have two solid guys, plus a first rounder, one wasted contract and an expiring, who can play PF: Gallinari, Chandler, Hill, Jeffries, and Harrington. Milicic also plays PF.

    Without Lee, Gallinari and Chandler could get more minutes, which I think is a good thing.

    But I can see why one would want to stay with Lee.
    I suspect they will, but they probably will get him for less the $8m, which I think, I think is a moot point because no one else can or is inclined to offer him that much anymore.

  56. Caleb

    “I’m not sure a 60 percent increase in Lee’s scoring was purely attributable to 20 percent increase in minutes.”

    His per-minute scoring was higher, too. He took more shots — shots per minute up 28 percent, and usage rate up more than 20 percent. Was he “better?” Maybe. Predictably, his efficiency got worse as he played a bigger role. More tough shots, defense paying more attention, etc. Not that I’m complaining; he went from the best TS% in the league (65.2 his 2nd year) to mrely excellent (59.0).

    “Now a 31 percent increase in rebounds…? You might say that mostly has to do with more time on the court.”

    Here’s his rebound rate (percentage of misses rebounded) the past three years: 20.7, 17.5, 18.4. This is a rate stat, not affected by pace. (slower pace = fewer shots).

    “It’s clear to me the D’Antoni system helped Lee’s production a lot.”

    I think D’Antoni is a great coach who puts Lee and his other players in a good position to succeed, but Lee has been extremely consistent — the only numbers that have really jumped are the per-game stas. The main reason D’Antoni’s coaching is better is because he knows who his best players are and distributes the PT correctly — benching Curry, ramping up Lee’s minutes, etc.

  57. Frank O.

    Mike Kurylo:

    You’re right that per minutes stats are probably best. I did the lazy man’s analysis. I’ve read here long enough to know better.
    But Caleb said this: “This is sort of the point – his numbers were as good (actually, better) BEFORE D’Antoni arrived. The per-game numbers got better because he got more minutes, not because of the system.”

    He probably said that because I was speaking in terms of per game stats, but I mentioned the year over year per game increase to address Caleb’s comment on per game numbers getting better because of minutes.

    And also, his per minute stats did improve under D’Antoni’s system.

    I think Lee also did show a more diverse set of offensive tools.

  58. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    No argument here with your break down.
    Lee is a good player.
    But I labor with the idea of giving a guy like him $8 million, when I have at least two, if not four players, at PF, who are not a huge step back from him – who might actually turn out to be better than him, given some time – and I can use that $8m to get my cap healthier and set me up for a potentially huge FA season.

    Nothing is guaranteed and I could be wrong. I just found myself pondering this last night while reading up.

  59. Caleb

    I have at least two, if not four players, at PF, who are not a huge step back from him..”

    We’ll just have to part company here…

    I like Gallo a lot, and won’t be shocked if he turns out better than Lee, but IMO he’s a pure SF who can’t rebound or play inside at all.

    I’ll withhold strong judgment on Hill until he plays in the NBA, but I wouldn’t have picked him in the top 20.

  60. Frank O.

    Understood.
    Gallinari will turn all of 21 years of age in five days, and his body will fill out. I think his inside game will get better, he’s going to get a lot stronger, and we have already seen he has good hands.

    Certainly, there are a lot of unknowns.

    Hey, BTW, the argument has been made on the board over and over how certain players at a certain stage in their career are who they are and likely won’t improve beyond that. Are we there with Lee?

  61. Caleb

    I think we’re pretty close with Lee… at age 26, I’d expect a bit of improvement but not much. But if we’re talking contracts, keep in mind a 5-year deal basically pays for the prime of his career, unlike a 5-year decline a la Turkoglu or even Odom (29, I think) .

  62. JoMo

    Caleb,
    When you’re saying that you don’t envision Gallinari being able to play inside at all, are you referencing his back-to-the-basket game? I remember in pretty much every game he played in towards the end he was at least mixing it up in the middle on D, getting some solid blocks (i think im specifically referencing ones on Derrick Rose and on Shaq), and seemed very crafty once he got near the rim.

    I mean I don’t think I can say there was a single player on the team last year who had an effective post-up game and I don’t know that anyone would argue that too much. In an offense predicated on fast-breaks and outside shooting, it seems like Gallinari is really going to excel and emphasize his strengths once he is fully healthy and bulked up, whereas I think Lee’s specific skillset would function in a relatively similar way in any other system (To argue your point that his stats might potentially drop down to “normal” in an system outside of D’Antoni’s). Does that sound convoluted?

  63. TDM

    Ken Berger at Sportsline is saying the Knicks interest in JWill is only to acquire him for trade bait.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/16413982

    “[A] person with direct knowledge of the Knicks’ plans said they intend to trade Williams if they can reach agreement with him on a contract. Since they acquired his rights by claiming him on waivers, the Knicks wouldn’t have to wait the customary three months to trade him. It’s a risk-free way to acquire another minor asset without incurring any cost. This is a significant change in approach for the Knicks, who have spent the past decade or so acquiring minor assets at extraordinary cost.”

  64. rohank

    Just my 2 cents on the Lee controversy in this message thread: Please remember that all stats for Lee from 2 years ago and last year were had under ISAIAH! The guy blows as a coach (and a GM of course), and clearly Lee wasn’t used properly at all. Recall that isaiah started randolph and curry together….

  65. Caleb

    “When you’re saying that you don’t envision Gallinari being able to play inside at all, are you referencing his back-to-the-basket game?”

    JoMo,
    I’m mainly referring to his defense and rebounding — he is a below-average rebounder even for a small forward, much less a power forward. Some of that might be the way D’Antoni used him (another example of misleading rebound #s would be Kevin Durant at shooting guard his rookie year) — but Gallo’s European board #s weren’t good, either. Rebounding #s might be more easy to predict than any other stat when you project a young player. They don’t usually improve much with age and bulk — it seems to be more a function of timing and length, than anything else. e.g. Anthony Randolph.

    I’m not really knocking Gallinari, who looks like a great shooter who might turn into a a great scorer. He can put the ball on the floor and he has some skills — can already pass, and might learn some back to the basket moves to take advantage of his height. But he’ll do it on the wing. I don’t see any way he’ll be an NBA “big.” If you played him at PF for more than a short stretch you’d get killed inside and on the boards.

  66. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think scorekeepers intentionally distort the stats, at least any more than marginally. There are definitely plays where they have to make a call about who to credit, whether a ball was deflected, etc. However, if they were seriously padding their stars’ stats other teams would have an incentive to call them out. Unless, of course, they’re all doing it, but then you’ve probably got enough fans keeping score that in the age of the internet the whole conspiracy would come to light.

    Dan,

    The one problem with the “no better PG for two years, etc.” logic is that Sessions might be a pretty bad fit next to LeBron, Wade, or Joe Johnson, 3 of the biggest 2010 FAs. All 3 spend a lot of time running their teams’ offenses, and might do better with a shooter/defender at the point. You look at the PGs Cleveland has put next to LeBron (Mo Williams, Gibson, Delonte West), who have been fairly successful, and they didn’t take much to get. That said, I’ll be happy if the Knicks sign Sessions.

    Frank O.,

    I think you’ve seriously overrated per game stats, but I see that’s been covered.

    “If you have the money, and the Knicks would without signing Lee have the money to make a play for a major player, why wouldn’t you make that play?”

    Also been discussed, but because it’s very rare for a true max player to move teams via free agency. (And, by the way, I don’t know if I would trade Lee for Yao at this point…)

    “there is a very good chance the Knicks will get Lee for less than $8 million, and maybe less than $7 million, because the market wouldn’t support that kind of salary for that kind of player.”

    I’m with Caleb, again. Not only will more teams have money to spend next offseason, but you are absolutely wrong about the recessionary market: Hedo, Gordon, Bargnani… These are Lee caliber players or worse (in Bargnani’s case) who cashed in this offseason. Even Shawn Marion cashed in after he looked completely washed up all season. Marquis Daniels was trying to get more than the MLE from the Celtics.

    “I think the organization is stronger when it has cap space regardless.”

    It’s certainly not absolute: OKC and Memphis have cap space and can’t be considered very strong organizations.
    It’s cap flexibility you want, as much as or more than cap space. And talent trumps cap space, but goes hand-in-hand with cap flexibility.

    re: Gallinari and position

    I agree that he’s a 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if D’Antoni tries to force him at the 4, though. Probably won’t work out great if he does. This is also a big part of the reason I see Chandler as so tradable: he plays the same position as the Knicks best prospect.

  67. TDM

    Alan Hahn from Newsday is reporting that the Knicks and Sessions are NOT close to a deal in part because Sessions is seeking the full MLE. $6M per for a starting pg seems pretty reasonable when you see what other players, some of which aren’t even starting at the position, are getting:

    Andre Miller – $6.7M
    Jarrett Jack – $5M
    Duhon – $6M
    Speedy Claxton – $5.2M

    And Abbey seems to be a fan, so c’mon Donnie – get it done!

    “Walsh has been involved in talks with Sessions’ representation over the weekend, but despite reports to the contrary, the sides are not close to an agreement. It is believed that Sessions’ agent, Jim “Chubby” Wells, is seeking the full mid-level exception (five years and $32.3 million) and that Walsh, with no real competition on the market, is offering slightly less, mainly to keep the salary-cap hit in 2010 to a minimum. At the full mid-level, Sessions’ salary would be $6.03 million in 2010-11.”

  68. Frank O.

    Ted:
    Much thanks for the coup de grace on all these points. Much appreciated. :)
    I confessed a too-heavy reliance on per game stats, and spent a little time last night studying up on the excellent advanced stat primer again. So bite me..:)

    I agree that it is rare when a true max player moves, but with so many teams clearing cap space in 2010 and several max players possibly becoming FAs in 2010, I think it is foolish not to keep one’s powder dry, if you will permit the cliche.
    Letting Lee go clearly is not the only way to reduce your salary load. There is reason, for example, to believe that Curry might show some ability early in the season, which might tantalize some other team enough to take him, and the same goes for Jeffries…but, sadly, they have been such problem children for so long, I suspect a good half season wouldn’t be enough to convince a decent GM to take a risk. However, as noted here over and over again, there are plenty of shitty GMs out there, so who knows?

    I think what is most interesting is what Walsh is doing with Robinson. It seems the Knicks are willing to interview just about anyone to fill Nate’s spot on the team. In doing so, they are doing one of two things: either they are trying to humble him to force him to change his approach, attitude and asking price; or they simply don’t find him to be a good fit.

    It would be an amazing achievement if Walsh can get both Lee and Nate to sign long term contracts for significantly less than their asking price.

  69. Frank O.

    This Twitter from Gery Woelfel, reporter in Milwaukee:

    “Knicks still covet R.Sessions but want to move a player 1st. Ditto 4 Clippers.”

    I wonder who might they be moving???

  70. jon abbey

    “I don’t think scorekeepers intentionally distort the stats, at least any more than marginally. There are definitely plays where they have to make a call about who to credit, whether a ball was deflected, etc. However, if they were seriously padding their stars’ stats other teams would have an incentive to call them out. Unless, of course, they’re all doing it, but then you’ve probably got enough fans keeping score that in the age of the internet the whole conspiracy would come to light.”

    I agree with that, but I just tend to think that the stats aren’t very well kept, especially about turnovers assigned to individuals. someone with more free time than me should take a shot at scoring an entire game themselves at home, check how it compares to the official results, and then let us know.

    “Chubby” Wells is an awesome name.

  71. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “I agree with that, but I just tend to think that the stats aren’t very well kept, especially about turnovers assigned to individuals. someone with more free time than me should take a shot at scoring an entire game themselves at home, check how it compares to the official results, and then let us know.”

    I know that someone used to do this, and found discrepancies as well. IIRC this was especially true with regards to steals. (Some steals may bounce off multiple players… easy to assign credit to whoever you want). While I think it’s best to be as accurate as possible, I think it might even out somewhat, as teams play half their games on the road…

    Oh and I’m not sure this means we should rely on our eyes more. Someone that did that years ago might think Eddy Curry was awesome and scoff at the thought of David Lee being a valued starter. Only with stats might a person see the clear flaw in such an outlook. Although I tend to think using both, visual and statistical, is ideal.

  72. iserp

    I’ve following the NBA very little time; but i don’t think it is wise to pass on assets like Sessions or Lee just to save cap space for 2010. Cap space for itself won’t make the cut, the knicks need a PG right now (and for the future), and Sessions is a good choice. I agree that there are too many PFs in the roster right now; but Lee would be perfectly tradable after. Even more, if you sign Lee now, you can trade him later without all the BYC considerations (hey, you might include Curry’s contract somewhere and maybe some team would bite that). I don’t think a max FA would walk into a team which isn’t even in the playoffs. Actually, i believe it is better to prepare for summer 2011. If i were Lebron, i wouldn’t exercise my option to leave on 2010. I would wait and see what the Cavaliers can get in this crazy market, and decide in 2011 if the Cavaliers are still a worthy team.

  73. iserp

    Just wanted to add, that waiting until 2011 gives you more time to offload Jeffries contract (Curry expires in 2011? i am not sure), while trying to get (cheap) assets to lure a max FA. The Knicks may get good players to a reasonable price if everyone is waiting for Wade, Lebron or Bosh (what about Ginobili?)

  74. Ted Nelson

    TDM,

    I agree Sessions should probably be able to get the MLE, but if it’s true that the Knicks are bidding against themselves then I think they should hold their ground (at least until a European team or other NBA team comes into the picture). (On that last note, I suppose you could also argue for getting him at the full MLE ASAP if you believe he might get more in Europe or S&T or the same for a better team…) Having no outside shot as a guard has got to hurt his perceived value.

    Frank O.,

    I go back and forth about 2010 cap space, but I guess there is no one right answer.
    As much as I’ve been arguing that Lee and Nate aren’t wrong to hold out for more money, Walsh also has a good case for squeezing them when they have no leverage. Both sides risk blowing it long-term, but I respect that neither side is willing to cave unnecessarily early.

    Jon Abbey,

    You probably might be right, I’ve never looked into it enough to say either.
    If one guy tips the ball and the other guy grabs it I suppose the guy who tips it causes the steal, but if he tips it right to the other team it’s not a steal… I suppose there should be two separate statistical categories for that.

    iserp,

    “I don’t think a max FA would walk into a team which isn’t even in the playoffs.”

    Hard to say, but one line of thinking is that two max FAs could attract each other. After all it wouldn’t be hard to build a supporting cast around LeBron and Wade, or even LeBron and Bosh… Even in that case a sign-and-trade or two might be the best way to get it done.

    “what about Ginobili?”

    Good point. The big difference, I would say, is that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are in their mid-20s, while Manu will be 33 next offseason.

  75. iserp

    “Manu will be 33 next offseason”

    Hence the reasonable price i said earlier. The positive outcome is that Manu + Lee could do the trick to lure a max FA; and Manu is a great player. The negative outcome would be staring an injured player for all the season.

    I said Ginobili because i think not many teams will be paying attention to him, and the Spurs are likely to start rebuilding; so it may be easy to get him.

  76. TDM

    Ted -

    I totally agree that the Knicks should hold out for the best deal possible.

    However, the Newsday piece indicated that Walsh was “offering slightly less” than the MLE. If true, I say quick dickin’ around and get it done. If Donnie is interested and the numbers are close, he should just pull the trigger.

    The longer he splits hairs with Chubby, the longer it will take to get the Nate situation settled. If it were about the length of the deal I could understand, however, I haven’t heard that the Knicks have a problem with a 5 yr deal.

    Donnie needs to start focusing his efforts on Lee and Nate if he isn’t sold on Sessions.

  77. iserp

    Two max FAs can attract each other, but i don’t think it would be easy. Without anybody else on the team, they would be still wary, specially if they are already in contender teams. Bosh + Wade could be a possibility, because I think Miami is going nowhere in the playoffs, and Toronto has Bosh replacement in Bargagni, so they might not try hard to convince Bosh to stay. But they would have less risky options (Cleveland will have space to sign Bosh, won’t they?).

    Any deal with 2 max FAs that involves a S&T is likely to have negotiations, last forever and may not be succesful. And I don’t see this guys taking chances with other good possibilities at hand.

    So I believe it is more reallistic to keep assets to sign one max FA, and then, seeing how Lee/Gallinari/Chandler develops, we would be title contenders, or just a good playoff team.

  78. Ted Nelson

    iserp,

    “The positive outcome is that Manu + Lee could do the trick to lure a max FA; and Manu is a great player.”

    Good point. It’s possible, even if he doesn’t help get a LeBron/Wade as you say he’s a great player (when healthy).
    I guess I misunderstood your original point. I was just saying why he’s not mentioned in the same breath as the big three.

    “and the Spurs are likely to start rebuilding; so it may be easy to get him.”

    This I don’t know about. The Spurs look like a serious contender this season. They look to be right up against the cap for 2010/11 (depending on where it is) even without Manu, so they’re not going to be able to immediately replace him. I’d say they might sign him to a short-term deal. So to get him either he may have to be injured all season or you have to “overpay.”

    “Two max FAs can attract each other, but i don’t think it would be easy.”

    Definitely won’t be easy. It’s a sales job for the team that tries to do it. The Knicks would be selling NYC and you’re selling Walshtoni’s ability to run a great organization around two elite players in their mid-20s.

    As far as sign-and-trades, one big factor to consider is that a free agent can sign a one year longer deal with larger raises between seasons to stay with his old team. A sign-and-trade allows for a larger, longer max deal, obviously an incentive for the player. The old team has to be convinced he’s leaving either way (or want him to leave), and if that’s the case then they’re getting something in return. Plus if the Knicks are under the cap they don’t have to send back equal salary. It’s tricky, but it could work. Worst case you keep the assets you’re trying to use in the deal.

    TDM,

    Nate and Lee don’t seem to have much recourse at this point.
    Who knows what “slightly less” means (probably not whoever wrote the article), but Walsh obviously thinks it’s significant for some reason.
    For example, every dollar less he gives to Sessions could be an extra dollar he offers Lee and/or Nate, or he may have run the numbers and decided he can’t afford a cent more and still accomplish his 2010 goals…

  79. ess-dog

    Well it looks like Roy and Joe Johnson are working on extensions, limiting our options even further. We really have to hope Gallo becomes a legit borderline all-star.
    You have to maximize each roster spot, just to get good enough to lure any free agent at this point. I also think we should consider a plan of one FA in’10 and one in ’11, because of curry’s expiring. Sessions, Chandler, Gallo, Hill and maybe Lee and Nate could be as good a core as Cleveland’s or Miamis by ’10, better by ’11.
    This plan is sound. If Lee is a casuality because of it, so be it. It’s the only way we’ll win anything.
    That being said, I think Sessions is worth the risk for the midlevel. His potential would be higher than any current knick save Gallo. Even for 5 years it’s worth it.

  80. ess-dog

    Speaking of the Sessions negotiations, I wonder how much advanced statistics come into play? I can’t imagine Chubby is saying things like “Did you see Ramon’s dunk on Bosh on October 31st? You gotta pay him that extra million!” But I wonder how much PER for instance is a chip that is played.
    Ramon’s PER is roughly 18 while Duhon’s is around 11. So Ramon should at least get the midlevel like Duhon did, right? But Duhon’s eFG and TS% are substantially higher than Sessions, so maybe he deserves less than Duhon at this point in his career…
    I would have to think it’s the job of the GM owner to find and spin these statistics in their favor during negotiations (not to mention, use them to locate the talent in the first place…)

  81. Dan Panorama

    By the way, it’s kind of weird how all the Rubio trade rumors have died down even while most of the available evidence points to him never coming to Minnesota.

  82. Ted Nelson

    “By the way, it’s kind of weird how all the Rubio trade rumors have died down even while most of the available evidence points to him never coming to Minnesota.”

    FC Barcelona is negotiating to keep him in Spain this season. So the acquiring NBA team would be looking for a discount (maybe a steep one depending on if/how his contract is restructured with Barca). Minnesota was already unsatisfied with the offers when it was unclear whether Rubio was coming for 2009/10, if he’s not coming this season I don’t see who trades for him.

    I don’t think all available evidence points to Rubio never coming to Minnesota. If he wants to be an elite player and/or max out financially then he’s got to come to the NBA. If he wants to come to NBA then he’s got to go through Minnesota. Maybe Minnesota ends up trading his rights, but for Rubio to never come to Minnesota he’s got to be motivated by neither money nor basketball.

  83. Caleb

    Yeah, Kahn sounds like he’s ready to wait Rubio out. In which case he probably does come to Minnesota. Or else Kahn is just a good poker player. His coaching search is ridiculous but I don’t know why he’s taking crap over the PG situation.

    If I had to guess, in two years it’s more likely that Rubio is a T-Wolf, than Flynn.

  84. jon abbey

    “If he wants to come to NBA then he’s got to go through Minnesota. ”

    this isn’t true. if he sits out a year (meaning if he doesn’t play in Europe either), he is allowed to reenter the draft and Minnesota would lose his rights.

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