Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Next Day Notes: The Beautiful and Tragic Amar’e Stoudemire

A friend of mine went to the Knicks-Rockets game last month. He told me that midway through the second quarter, a bunch of fans began to heckle Amar’e Stoudemire, who at the time was terribly ineffective in his very limited minutes. The fans insulted his play. They talked about his notoriously balky knees, the ones that have derailed his career. They yelled at him for his 5-year, $100 million contract, which might be the worst in the NBA. Stoudemire was upset by the taunting, and quietly asked a security guard to remove the fans, or at least tell them to quiet down. The security guard ignored his request.

——————————-

Amar’e Stoudemire is playing well. Really well, in fact. Unburdened by the minutes limit that made him uncomfortable, STAT has had four great games in a row — over 24 MPG, 71 percent shooting, 14.3 PPG.

Perhaps more tellingly, he has looked good. With Amar’e this year, it seems you can tell instantly. Some nights, he looks listless — three steps slow on defense, no lift on his knees on offense. In those games, he looks fruitlessly for fouls when his drives baseline result in a block, unable to get any sort of separation. He forces the issue, turns it over. He looks lost.

But these past four games, particularly last night, he’s looked like a different guy. He was active, springy. His help defense, a major liability his entire career, was phenomenal, particularly in the second quarter. He hit several of his patented elbow-extended jumpers and made the Bulls pay on the low block. In the first half, he finished with 10 points and two rebounds on 5-7 shooting, a +13 in just 13 minutes.

While he slowed down a bit in the second half, STAT hit a massive jumper in a tie game with less than three minutes to play, putting the Knicks up for good. His final line: 30 minutes, 14 points, 9 boards (3 offensive), two steals, one block, one assist, 7-11 shooting.

————————————-

Amar’e takes charges now. It’s weird. He’s really good at taking them.

Earlier in his career, when he was an insanely athletic powerhouse, he used to get blocks. Two a game in his first season as a Knick. STAT is a poor defender, analysts used to say, but he makes up for some of it with sheer athleticism — often meaning highlight-reel, weak-side blocks. This year, he is averaging less than one block every two games.

Instead, he takes charges. He’s taken 8 of them this year, according to Knicks beat writer Chris Herring. Eight in 271 minutes. This is an entirely unreasonable rate, particularly for a historically bad help defender.

My high school basketball coach was obsessed with charges. A missed charge was a blown opportunity and we paid the price in sprints. Our team was small and not very athletic. In one particular practice drill, our coach could “fire” the defense at any point, banishing them to a quick sprint and back. On one occasion, I stood in the paint and missed a charge, opting to contest the shot instead. “Fire,” he screamed, after blowing his whistle. “Topaz,” I heard him say as I began my sprint, “do you actually think you’re going to block that?”

——————–

His celebrations make me smile. Have you noticed them? They are kind of nerdy. After a successful defensive series — perhaps he draws a charge or induces his man into a travel — STAT will pump his first like a tennis player. Or perhaps let out a scream, but not a triumphant one like LeBron engaging the crowd on a dunk — his outbursts are for himself. Keep going, they seem to say.

These are celebrations are about his game within the game, about a guy defending his honor and clawing his way back anyway he can and trying to contribute to a team and wanting desperately to do so.

These celebrations are funny and joyous and sad, all at the same time. At one point in the second quarter, a quarter in which he had played exemplary offense and shockingly great defense, STAT coaxed Carlos Boozer into a travel. Before I even knew what I was doing, I stood up and started laughing and yelled out a scream at the TV, like a crazy person.

After a fist pump, Amar’e clapped his hands and looked down at the floor as he walked to the other end, ready to keep it going on offense.

———————

He doesn’t have to do any of this, you know. The minutes limit, the garbage time play, the embarrassment and the pain and the unthinkable frustration that must invariably arise when you have to play as a shell of your former self. This isn’t the NFL. The money is guaranteed.

Play-by-play man Mike Tirico said last night that STAT has had 8 surgeries during his career. When Knicks fans saw he was going to have knee surgery in September — his third knee operation in 12 months — we rolled our eyes and cursed our luck. We didn’t, or at least I didn’t, even think for a second how painful and difficult that must be. Or how depressing the setback must be for him and how hard he’d have to work just to be able to play.

In his halftime interview last night, after his great first half, STAT was almost a broken record. He said “hard work” three or four times. This is usually a platitude, but you could see he meant it.

———————

Not to go all Good Will Hunting on you, but it’s not his fault. It’s not Amar’e’s fault the Knicks gave him a $100 million contract. It’s not Amar’e’s fault they wasted their amnesty on Chauncey Billups after they already picked up his $14.2 million option, instead of buying him out at $3.7 million and making a couple cap-clearing moves to sign Tyson Chandler outright. It’s not Amar’e’s fault Mike D’Antoni irresponsibly used him for huge minutes in 2010-2011, including a 14-game stretch in November and December where STAT played at least 37 minutes per night (he played 54 minutes in a double-overtime game that started that stretch, which was on the second night on a back-to-back.) It’s not Amar’e’s fault he has bad knees and a bad back.

These are obvious points, but they bear repeating. In this country, we boo the guy with the big contract and enjoy SportsCenter top ten lists ranking the biggest draft busts — we burden people with the mistakes front offices have made. We yell at them from the comfort of plush seats and with the lubricant of $12 Bud Light, without realizing or caring that they can hear us loud and clear.

——————–

He’s not going to keep it up.

He doesn’t know this yet. Or maybe he does, but he’s too proud to admit it. After the game, STAT said it was great to be “back to my old self.”

But he is a 31-year-old player with two awful knees, a 12-year-veteran who was on a 10-minutes-per-game limit just a couple months ago. He has always been a bad defender, and despite his efforts, his declining athleticism will make him worse. On his bad nights, like that game against the Rockets, his knees give him nothing and he looks completely done. Games like last night, where he plays well, are perhaps even sadder to watch — glimpses of what once was but can never really be again.

I hope more than anything that I’m wrong. Other than Jeremy Lin, I’ve never rooted for a Knick harder than I’m rooting for STAT right now. But the knees, and the injuries, and the setbacks, and the statistical decline, and the years, and the mileage and the track record — they all point to more health problems and a steady performance decline down the line.

Watching him right now, it’s everything. During last night’s atrocity of a game, I found myself only watching him. Every moment on help defense, every blown assignment, every nice low-block move, every jog down the court, every awkward fist-pump.

He wants it back so badly. All of it. The explosiveness, the dominance, the athleticism, the love from the fans, the relevance. He’s gone through so much in an effort to get back. And it’s breathtaking and beautiful and heartbreaking to see him try.

150 comments on “Next Day Notes: The Beautiful and Tragic Amar’e Stoudemire

  1. Frank O.

    At last, someone speaks out for Amare!
    Great post.
    I think Stat’s play is displacing Bargs.
    I suspect when Chandler returns, Bargs will see back up minutes at center and PF, so long as Amare remains healthy.

    Again, as bad as the Knicks have been, I have really been enjoying seeing Amare playing like himself again. I just admire is stoicism through all of these trevails.
    He’s the kind of guy you want on your team. Character matters.
    And he deserves better than he gets from people on this board. Too many conveniently forget his great moments and focus on his play when injured, and the number of injuries. But he has handled his injuries, his brother’s death, his being eclipsed by Melo, and coming off the bench under Woody with grace.
    He is a classic underdog story and I would love to see him get some redemption. I will long remember is 30 point per game streak out the outset of his time with the Knicks. Through sheer force of will, he made them relevant.

    I agree that it won’t last; I believe it won’t last for Melo or Chris Paul or anyone ticking past their prime.
    But I think it will last through this season and into next season.
    Amare shows us what we rarely see in sports or in politics, where everyone is 2D, static, seemingly never altering. We say it all the time, after a certain age, players are what they are…except great ones.
    If anyone believes Michael Jordan was the same player in his great late years as his early years just wasn’t paying attention.
    Amare isn’t Jordan, which goes without saying, except for the hyenas on this site who pick at nits. But he’s clearly on a journey; he’s clearly changed, and improved as a player. His offense is more diverse and when he is well, he works hard on defense.
    When he has been healthy, he has been a great player for the Knicks, and one of the best PFs in the league.

    Thanks for the post. I feel similarly

  2. D.Rock

    I have been a long time lurker (6 years). This site has given me countless hours of entertainment. Thank you for that.

    This above post illustrates the difference between most of the people on this site and the ‘average’ New Yorker. I see Amare as one of the great tragic figures in the NBA. Fans are constantly crying that professional athletes do not put out the emotion and effort that we think is due. In many cases this seems true. Amare has never done this. Despite this, he is viewed as a laughingstock across the NBA.

  3. ephus

    Nice post.

    Nicely written.

    Nice sentiments – which I completely endorse.

    Nice analysis, particularly of the shift of Amar’e on defense. The fact that he is taking charges indicates that he (1) appreciates that he cannot play for the weakside block often, (2) anticipates where the play is going and (3) is willing to sacrifice (what is left of) his body.

    Can Amar’e become a Jared Jeffries on defense this late in his career? It’s probably too much to ask, but it would be fun to watch.

  4. DRed

    And he deserves better than he gets from people on this board.

    You think this board is anti-Amare? Signing Amare was a mistake. But that has nothing to do with Amare the person. The guy has obviously worked really hard, and you can’t help but root for him.

  5. Frank

    Yeah – love the fact that Amare is starting to look like some semblance of himself again.
    He still looks a bit heavy to me – like he did after bulking up after the 10-11 season. He lost those 10 lbs during the season and was much quicker and bouncier by the end of the year.

    Glad to see him trusting his J again also. He used to be one of the very best mid-long range jump shooters in the league – in the FG 46-48% from 16-23 feet.

  6. KJG

    I too find myself focusing on Amare when he’s in the game hoping and praying he continues to play well without giving the vultures anything to pick on… He’s by far my favorite Knick…

  7. Darrell H.

    Jonathan: thanks for writing this. Amare has more heart than the whole team combined. You summed up how I feel about him exactly. If the basketball gods were ever to do anything right, it would be to let Amare have one more good season. One more season of standing-Os. That would be beautiful!

  8. yellowboy90

    I also have wondered if Amar’e could transform into the Jeffries role on D minus the ability to guard one on one in space. Last year Amar’e seem to be getting better over time as a help defender with chandler and really impressed me trapping PnRs. Before the game yesterday I commented about more than anything I was impressed with STAT’s ability to take charges this year. Before this game though he has looked awful defensively despite the charges taken.

    Also, Was anyone else perturbed at K-Mart for all the miss lay ups off of the what seemed to be many good passes? I thought to myself how great would those plays had been with Tyson finishing off those potential assist but wondered would Tyson even have caught those passes? Tyson struggles with passes below shoulder level. lol. It kind of makes me sad(as a fan) to know that with so much good comes so much bad for each player on the Knicks, imo.

  9. flossy

    Great post.

    I root for Amar’e more than any other individual Knick, but his latest stretch of good play is bittersweet to me. Not because it’s unwelcome or he doesn’t deserve it–he absolutely does–but because I just don’t want to get my hopes up again. Whenever he gets rolling now it’s like peering into an alternate universe. It doesn’t make me excited for the good times around the corner, but sad at what could have been, or used to be. It’s a very nostalgic experience, like watching a memory or something take place in real time.

    I want to believe he’ll be like this in February and April and May (ha, except, the Knicks), but I can’t bring myself to make the emotional investment in an outcome that now seems unbelievably improbable. So every time he dunks or hits a jumper or violently snuffs Joe Johnson, it feels like a tease. Like, c’mon man, we all know this can’t last. Why you gotta tantalize me like that?

  10. Hubert

    Since I fell asleep in the 3Q and have not much to comment on, I figured I’d reply to this random point yesterday as it relates to one of my pet theories:

    Robtachi
    December 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm
    That’s what really perplexes me; SportVu is viewed as the creme de la creme of basketball analytic tools and yet every indication from the Knicks is that they are getting, or using, nothing from it. If there’s one thing I’m confident Dolan WOULDN’T do, it’s not even try using something he shelled out a ton of money for. I really don’t get it.

    It makes complete sense. Have you ever purchased a fancy appliance that looks great in the store, but then realize it takes up too much space in the kitchen and you’ll never really use it? Or maybe you purchased a Rosetta Stone box set because you really want to learn French and then you brought the thing home and said fuck it this takes too much time I just want to watch a game?

    Dolan is TOTALLY that sucker who would buy something really expensive that he thinks will bring about improvement and then never use it. I’m fairly confident Sports VU is collecting dust in some MSG closet next to an ab roller and a set of shake weights.

  11. hoolahoop

    A friend of mine went to the Knicks-Rockets game last month. He told me that midway through the second quarter, a bunch of fans began to heckle Amar’e Stoudemire, who at the time was terribly ineffective in his very limited minutes. The fans insulted his play. They talked about his notoriously balky knees, the ones that have derailed his career. They yelled at him for his 5-year, $100 million contract, which might be the worst in the NBA.

    I hope this anecdote isn’t true, and was just written for effect . It’s one thing to be part of a chorus of boos that’s voicing displeasure for the team’s performance. But, when a fan’s desire to win becomes more important than hurting another human being, especially someone on your own team that’s genuinely a good person that gives real effort, it’s time for a good look in the mirror.

  12. Jonathan Topaz Post author

    hoolahoop, that story is indeed (and very unfortunately) true. for what it’s worth, the same friend told me he went to the game last night and said the fans give STAT rousing cheers.

    thanks for the kind words on the post, everyone.

  13. Hubert

    Re: the opening paragraph of this article…

    The way Amar’e has been treated by the crowd at MSG the times I’ve been there this year really upsets me. He deserves better.

    Good work, Jonathan. This was one of my favorite reads all year.

  14. Hubert

    And he deserves better than he gets from people on this board.

    I don’t think Amar’e gets anything other than fair criticism of his poor defense on this board. That and some lamenting his injury woes.

    Amar’e is special to many of us. Like Owen said in a previous thread, the first 3 months of his tenure here were among the greatest times to be a Knicks fan. I still hold that period above anything we did last year. I’ve always refrained from doing the M-V-P thing for Melo because that’s what we did for Amar’e. It was ridiculous at the time (I mean, MVP chants in December? Who does that?), but it felt so right. The dude was straight out uplifting all of us and we loved him for it.

    I remember Thanksgiving 2010. The night before Amar’e preserved a win over Charlotte with a ridiculous weak side stuff of a (I think) Gerald Wallace slam dunk attempt. I made everyone in my family watch it that day and we all gave thanks for Amar’e Stoudemire.

    That Celtics game, the one where he responded to Paul Fucking Pierce doing a god damn victory lap by drilling a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer? I don’t give a shit that it was waved off. I saw it go in. I celebrated. That was the first big Knicks game in a decade. A DECADE. It meant so much.

    I hadn’t been to a Xmas game at the Garden since the 80′s. Then we hosted Chicago on Xmas 2010 and smoked Derrick Rose and the Bulls and I bought tickets for my parents and girlfriend and made them go with me as a Xmas gift. I couldn’t believe “the Knicks were back.”

    This is one of the reasons I’ve never embraced Melo. I respect him and enjoy him, but he destroyed that team I loved and it pissed me off. But I will never serenade him with M-V-P because a) it’s ridiculous, he’s not the MVP, and b) that was Amare’s song.

    I hate the way these johnny come lately Knicks fans abuse the guy. Makes me ill.

  15. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    I think Stat’s play is displacing Bargs…I have really been enjoying seeing Amare playing like himself again.

    Is it too soon to start worrying that Dolan is going to extend Amar’e into 2019?? (Like Anthony, he too has an opt out this July!)

  16. flossy

    I remember Thanksgiving 2010. The night before Amar’e preserved a win over Charlotte with a ridiculous weak side stuff of a (I think) Gerald Wallace slam dunk attempt. I made everyone in my family watch it that day and we all gave thanks for Amar’e Stoudemire.

    It was Stephen Jackson, and it was glorious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM62oypMzIA

    This is one of the reasons I’ve never embraced Melo. I respect him and enjoy him, but he destroyed that team I loved and it pissed me off. But I will never serenade him with M-V-P because a) it’s ridiculous, he’s not the MVP, and b) that was Amare’s song.

    I hate the way these johnny come lately Knicks fans abuse the guy. Makes me ill.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  17. flossy

    Is it too soon to start worrying that Dolan is going to extend Amar’e into 2019?? (Like Anthony, he too has an opt out this July!)

    I know you’re joking (and it’s not like STAT would ever opt out of his last year), but everything I’ve read suggests that Dolan hates (or at least resents) Amar’e and would gladly trade him if there were even a single willing taker.

  18. Hubert

    I want to believe he’ll be like this in February and April and May (ha, except, the Knicks), but I can’t bring myself to make the emotional investment in an outcome that now seems unbelievably improbable. So every time he dunks or hits a jumper or violently snuffs Joe Johnson, it feels like a tease. Like, c’mon man, we all know this can’t last. Why you gotta tantalize me like that?

    Agreed. I’m still a little bruised by how excited I got for his play last year. He looked so awesome at times. I feel like he’s the only person to ever go drop $250k at Olajuwon University and actually follow it up by looking completely unstoppable in the post.

    Now I feel certain that if he ever gets there again it will be taken away too quickly.

  19. hoolahoop

    JT, Great tribute to Amare.
    He’s far and away my favorite knicks player. . . even when he’s playing awful.

  20. Nick C.

    Greta post. In this recent miasma of games the gradual emergence of Amare is a bright spot. At this point his defense was going to be what it is but he had the ability to overcome that. I never begrudged the guy, it would be like booing Joe Namath circa 1975. He’s doing his best, his body just gave out (so to speak).

  21. DRed

    Dolan is TOTALLY that sucker who would buy something really expensive that he thinks will bring about improvement and then never use it

    Everything about Dolan suggests he wants to be a cool guy. His stupid fucking ‘blues rocker’ hat, going to the golden globes, kicking it with famous athletes, etc. But he’s not a cool guy. However, he is really really rich. So he buys his way into the club. Now it seems like the cool owners are down with the stats. So what does Jimmy do? He buys the stat machine. Now he’s cool just like those other guys!

  22. mokers

    Great piece. I think nobody can question that Amar’e will do whatever it takes to put the kind of effort involved to make himself better. I am thoroughly encouraged by how well he has played the last three games. Being able to go to Amar’e for 20-25 minutes a night would be amazing. I was one person who was very hard on him when he wasn’t playing well. In the article you mention that Amar’e doesn’t realize how things have changed and I agree. I think he is past being a focal point of a team, but he can be a devastating role player that has the ability to take over games. I will take the evolved STAT and cheer him on as hard as I can for that passion.

  23. Frank

    Twitter abuzz with rumors of us trading for Kyle Lowry.
    To summarize:
    Ray/Shump works under trade rules
    Toronto looking for a #1 pick (like they don’t have all of them already)
    Nets/Warriors apparently in mix too

    Overall I’d be ok with Ray/Shump for Lowry
    if they absolutely insisted on a #1 pick I’d give them the 2018 pick heavily protected but get back all the 2nd round picks we sent them.

  24. JacesAces

    Amar’e has been my favorite Knick since 2010 when he signed. The joy he brought us that first year was , as mentioned above, on (or perhaps even above) Linsanity levels. He truly was MVP-level for the first half of that season. In addition to the Celtics game mentioned above (which, like you, I like to remember as a game winning 3, particularly as how we should have had .6secs on the clock), the first Heat game with Melo and Amar’e was saved by a glorious game-saving block of Amar’e on Lebron. I’ll always remember that.

    Every year (since 2010 when Spotify was released in the US), I make a playlist for the Knicks, with two songs for each player (for home and away playlists). In the past, STAT has had All of the Lights (because that reminds me of MSG and NYC, and that’s what STAT is all about), Beast Mode, Changes (he loves 2pac and w/ Melo around it felt relevant), and more. But his most recent song on the playlist, Beautiful Pain (by Eminem) is the most fitting I feel (particularly within the context of this article). Check it out and listen with him in mind.

    Being a Knick fan who’s been in LA for the past 7 years, nothing excites me more than finding other Knick fans out here, across the country…. However, SO MANY of them of some kind of hatred for STAT. They say he’s “done”, that he’s a “joke” and that he should just “retire”. That infuriates me…. STAT is the man who signed with the Knicks when no one else would. He gave 100% of himself to bring us back to relevance in 2010. He attracted Melo and Tyson. He graciously accepted a role of coming off the bench (when 99% of other superstars would bitch and moan). He worked hard to change his game (adding a post-game, taking charges, etc.) to fit the new team. He worked his ass off to come back from every injury (more than anyone I can think of in the NBA history) just so that he can help this team win. Win or lose, healthy or not, he’s my hero.

  25. DRed

    Ray/Shump for Lowry is a fine deal. Walk away if they want a pick. Lowry is on the last year of his deal. You can’t give them a pick for that.

  26. er

    Would you guys rather give up shump or Timmy. Right now id lean toward parting with Shump.

    Hes headed down the path of Landry Fields. People blamed Melo for Landry sucking, now they are blaming Woodson for Shump sucking

  27. Garson

    I would lean towards giving Tim for the reason of his position and skills can be replicated by a healthy , competent JR… when shump is right, he is hard to replace.

    Did anyone look at lowry’s shooting numbers? Fits right in.

  28. thenamestsam

    Amazing post by Jonathan and some phenomenal comments as well. Hats off to everybody. I still wish Amare was better at seeing passes out of the post, but other than that his play the last few games has been pretty damn exemplary. I think we all expect that sooner rather than later we’re going to be reading another injury update, but I really, really hope not. STAT was such a god in his time, and now it looks like he may end up being one of those guys whose greatness is overshadowed somewhat by what became of him at the end. I hope he gets to have a few more defining moments so that doesn’t happen. People have rightfully brought up his MVP stretch with us his first year, but I’ll never forget his time with the Suns and how a Nash-Amare PnR could seem like truly the perfect basketball play. Those two went hot knife through butter on even the best defenses in the NBA.

  29. JK47

    I would much rather keep Shump and trade THJ, even though THJ is off to a good start and Shump is struggling. Why? We already have a very similar player to Hardaway– JR Smith. Shump brings something to the table that neither THJ or Smith can offer– perimeter defense. I’d rather have on volume scorer and one solid wing defender than two volume scorers and no solid wing defender.

    There is also a very good chance that Mike Woodson is not going to be the coach of this team for very long, so his doghouse issues with Woodson are probably a temporary problem. Perhaps another coach could figure out how to get more value out of Shump.

  30. er

    I would lean towards giving Tim for the reason of his position and skills can be replicated by a healthy , competent JR… when shump is right, he is hard to replace.

    Did anyone look at lowry’s shooting numbers? Fits right in.

    Lol i think his good 3 point shooting and ability to drive negate that. I also believe he misses alot at the rim because hes kind of short and his shots can be altered

  31. JK47

    It would be nice watching somebody other than Ray Felton play the point here. I’ve had about enough of Ray Felton for one lifetime.

  32. sekou

    @14 Hubert – great post. especially, “I made everyone in my family watch it that day and we all gave thanks for Amar’e Stoudemire.” i may have to steal that one next year

    @24: If we give up another first round draft pick (especially for 1 year rental of kyle lowry!) to anyone who is or has ever been an employee of the denver nuggets, i will call the ny attorney general to remove dolan as owner under rico laws.

  33. DRed

    And I don’t want to trade with Masai Ujiri. Period.

    This. I mean, how many times can this guy swindle us before we learn?

  34. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    if they absolutely insisted on a #1 pick I’d give them the 2018 pick heavily protected

    Couldn’t there have been a “future considerations” element to the Bargnani deal? (Like where they thank us for our service to them by simply giving us their future riff-raff instead of making us pay for it with a rookie deal and a pick?

  35. flossy

    It would be nice watching somebody other than Ray Felton play the point here. I’ve had about enough of Ray Felton for one lifetime.

    This. I’d trade my left nut for an above-average starting PG. I’m so sick of Ray “always-just-injured-enough-to-really-suck” Felton.

    I’d also rather give up Shumpert than Hardaway. Shumpert is damaged goods, IMO–never put together a consistent stretch of good play, has already had one major knee injury, and has basically been mentally wrecked by our toxic ownership/front office/coaching situation. He has the skills to be a good player… but not for the Knicks.

    Besides, getting rid of Felton and replacing him with a competent defender in Lowry would do more for our team’s defense than sticking with Felton and Shumpert in the backcourt, if you ask me.

  36. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    I would lean towards giving Tim for the reason of his position and skills can be replicated by a healthy , competent JR… when shump is right, he is hard to replace.

    Honestly, looking at the current roster and immediate needs is pointless. Trading Lowry for Felton should only be considered because Felton has 3 more years on his deal and Lowry expires. So if one of Shump or Hardaway needs to be included, it should be Shump because his rookie deal is up sooner, and Hardaway is going to be cheaper to control while we rebuild.

  37. massive

    There are two GMs I don’t ever want to see the Knicks do business with because it’s like getting willfully date-raped:

    Darryl Morey
    Masai Ujiri

    I really hope this falls through because this is a trade we will undoubtedly regret.

  38. Hubert

    I still see Shumpert as a competent two-way basketball player going through a bad stretch and I’d hate to give up on him. I can easily see him becoming a valuable player on a good team with a real coach.

    I cannot ever envision a day where Tim Hardaway Jr is a plus defender.

    A Lowry-Shump defensive backcourt would be a step in the right direction.

  39. massive

    Kyle Lowry has ways been a good basketball player, though. I’d love to have him, but you just know Masai Ujiri is the type to get our next 8 first round picks, both Shump and Hardaway, James Dolan’s black cards, and the key to the city.

    Just take Ray Felton, please? He owes us one for the Bargnani and Melo trades.

  40. JK47

    If the Knicks give up a first rounder for a rental of Kyle Lowry, I am out. That would be the last straw. I like Kyle Lowry, but come on.

  41. nyk8806

    there were also rumors that we were gunning for andre miller. andre f*king miller! if we do that trade for shump and/or picks i would quit the team until dolan dies. and may he burn in hell.

  42. Hubert

    Amendment to the Don’t Ever Trade With Masai Ujiri Constitution:

    If he’s willing to take back a player with two years left on a bad contract for an expiring contract, don’t even listen to the offer.

  43. iserp

    I think trading a young player on a rookie deal for a rental of Lowry is shortsighted. I’d offer Felton+MWP+2018 1st rounder lottery protected, and walk away if they dont like it. I don’t think there are many suitors for a rental for Kyle Lowry, besides Toronto is trying to tank hard (Wiggins, here we come). It is not as if we were a piece away of being contenders.

  44. flossy

    It is not as if we were a piece away of being contenders.

    I think you’re overlooking the benefit of dumping Ray Felton 2.5 years before his contract expires

  45. Zanzibar

    Keep in mind:
    (1) We still have our $3m to offer (methinks?).
    (2) We will have early bird rights to Lowry (methinks?).
    (3) Felton is above average backup PG so will have future trade value for Raptors
    (4) Deal would work if we include Felton and 2 vet min contracts.

    Conclusion: Felton/$3m/2 vet mins/protected 2018 draft pick for Lowry. Do not include either Shump or Hardaway.

  46. er

    Yeah, this is a rental of Lowry. If they want Shump or Hardaway, get our 2016 back first rounder back.

    —–Why wouldnt they sign lowry? 2-3 year deal wouldnt be terrible would it?

  47. EB

    I’d love to have Lowry and I still think we can turn this around once we get Chandler back, obviously some qualifications exist, e.g., JR starts shooting closer to career averages or at least starts playing like an NBA player. Could we resign Lowry after the season? Do we have his bird rights then? I thought the new CBA disallowed bird rights for last season of contract trades, though I may be wrong.

  48. mokers

    Why wouldnt they sign lowry? 2-3 year deal wouldnt be terrible would it?

    It wouldn’t be terrible, but the idea is to save cap space in 2015.

  49. Frank

    Trouble with resigning Lowry is that it’ll eat into 2015-16 cap space. If we trade Felton and Shump, that will take Felton off our cap as well as whatever extension $ Shump would make. If we trade Felton and THJr then we have Lowry making, say, $8MM/year as well as Shump’s extension number (say $6MM/year). That plus Melo at conservatively $24MM/year and JR at 6.4MM = $44M just for 4 players even if we renounce Tyson, Amare, Pablo etc. That’d only give us room for 1 max-ish contract and then a team full of vet’s minimums and a mid-level exception. And also that means we can’t give anything more than a 1 year contract this coming offseason.

    That’s probably the main reason the FO wants to trade Shump. His extension number in 2015-16 is going to be bigger than they want it to be.

  50. Donnie Walsh

    There is no good trade to be had with the Raptors. They are sellers. They should be selling to teams that are competitive, to maximize their return. We are 6-15, one of the worst teams in one of the worst conferences of all time, a quarter of the way through the season. We should not be buyers. (The idea that NY would quadruple-down on this “core” is so misguided, it could only come from the Straight Shot himself.)

  51. Frank

    Woj-Bomb – Knicks and Raptors talking Felton, MWP, + 2018 1st round pick for Lowry. That better freaking be a heavily protected pick.

    It’s like the Knicks and the Nets are having a contest to see who can have the fewest draft picks. SMH.

  52. Donnie Walsh

    Woj-Bomb – Knicks and Raptors talking Felton, MWP, + 2018 1st round pick

    How can a last-place team trade it’s draft picks? (Seems there needs to be an addendum to the Stepien Rule. Call it the Dolan Rule.)

  53. JK47

    I just don’t have any interest in watching a team that has traded away every draft pick through the rest of the decade. It’s just not something I want to do anymore. I mean, why the fuck would you trade a first rounder for a rental PG when you’re 6-15? This isn’t even stupidity anymore, it’s like a parody of the most rank stupidity imaginable. Hitting yourself in the face with a hammer is smarter than this.

  54. Frank

    Honestly, that trade isn’t that bad if you consider the 2014 and 2016 picks a sunk cost.
    A protected 2018 pick + a liability at PG + a pretty much washed up MWP for a young well above average PG who defends and is actually a pretty reasonable shooter? It’s not bad. The major issue is that Lowry will hold every single last card in negotiations this summer — because he’ll know there’s no way the Knicks will want to have lost that 2018 pick for nothing.

    Also – I’d try to send Beno instead of MWP. I still feel like MWP has something to give, and I’d hate to see his dream to play for the Knicks end by being exiled in Toronto.

  55. KnickfaninNJ

    Our starting point guard is injured and we actually won a game with Prigioni starting so it’s obviously time to panic and start trading away draft choices. Lowry seems good, and I am not a big believer in the high value of draft choices, but in this case, I don’t want to see us give up another first rounder.

    By the way, if I try and log in to Knickerblogger on my iPhone, the responsiveness of the phone for scrolling through the site gets so bad I have to give up and immediately have to log out or close the web page

  56. JK47

    MWP is being wasted here because our coach is a fucking idiot who wouldn’t know defense if it walked up to him and ripped his goatee off. He has no idea how to use a player like MWP because he has no idea how to do anything, period.

    Kyle Lowry is a rental. A rental. I repeat, he is a rental. This team… I don’t know, man. I just don’t know if I can do it anymore. They’re already making the 2017-2018 season irrelevant and it isn’t even 2014 yet.

  57. nyk8806

    It makes sense if your goal is to minimize the value of the pick Denver ganked from us. That goal makes sense if you’re a moron desperate to cover up past mistakes with more mistakes. This team is in “get an 8th seed now” mode.

  58. Frank

    JK47 – are you sure Lowry’s a rental? He’s actually a pretty good player. He’s not Rondo in terms of ball handling etc., but he’s probably a better defender than Rondo and is a MUCH MUCH MUCH better shooter. If you could sign him for $8MM/year (ie. Jeremy Lin money ARGHGHHHGHG!!!) and NOT sign Rondo with that money, you could still pick up some other useful players. His peripheral #s are really quite nice — averages 1.7 steals per 36, is a great rebounder for a 6′ guard etc.

    *side note on Rondo – I certainly wouldn’t be sad if he were on our team, but with 3 HoFers to pass to, he presided over some pretty mediocre offenses the last 5 + years. And if we’re going to roll with Melo as our centerpiece, having a PG who can’t shoot is maybe the worst fit I can think of (we know this already).

  59. Igno-Bot 3000

    I don’t know much about Kyle Lowry. He was pretty good in Houston two years ago, no? We absolutely need a functional PG to have any kind of success with this team. This is the same thing we ran into two years ago before Lin emerged.

    If I had to pick between trading Shumpert, THJ and the pick I would choose Shumpert. You are trading him low, but he only has 1.75 years of team control left. THJ has 3.75 and while his role is redundant with JR, you don’t know what you’re getting with JR over the next few years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was shut down for a few weeks pretty soon to heal.

    Do you think Rondo is 100% out of the equation? I was mulling possible trades – if we did something like Amare/Shumpert/THJ/2018 for Rondo/Wallace/Lee we could do it. Might be shortsighted but it wouldn’t be out of character with upper management. When is Rondo coming back, anyway?

    Are there any other PGs available? What other options do we have?

    I also hate reading things like “signing X to an extension is going to take up our cap space three years from now”. You need a point guard in the NBA. The logic that we will sign two max players and then let the rest sort itself out is exactly what got us into this predicament in the first place.

  60. DRed

    “Several teams are pursuing Lowry, but the Knicks’ most direct competition for him could come from the Brooklyn Nets, who are also exploring the possibility of a deal, league sources said.”

    Trader Jimmy D “Well, what about MWP + Felton for Kyle”
    Ujiri: “We’re going to need another second round pick to make this work”
    TJD: “I thought we already gave you all our draft picks?”
    Ujiri: “What? You totally screwed us. We barely even play that big white guy and that Camby you gave us was broken. Not cool, broseph. So just maybe one more little pick?”
    TJD: “My GM is shaking his head pretty vigorously”
    Ujiri: “Hold on, I’ve got Brooklyn on the other line”
    TJD: “Wait, wait-take any first round pick we’ve got left”

  61. Brian Cronin

    My issue is only whether the 2018 pick is protected or not. If it is not, then the deal is insane. If it is, then it is still foolish, but at least not insane.

    It’s also funny that we can’t even say “this shows that the luxury cap hit was not the issue with re-signing Lin,” since I think that was made clear a long time ago.

  62. JK47

    How much could the Knicks possibly give Lowry, even with his Bird Rights? If they can extend Lowry on a reasonable contract then I’m actually kind of down with this.

  63. er

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are prepared to part with Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace and a 2018 first-round pick in the deal.

    Yea protect it and i think its a fine deal. Barg will go to back up C when Tyson returns. Amare and Kmart will be the pfs

    Shump and Lowry are pretty good defensively

  64. er

    How much could the Knicks possibly give Lowry, even with his Bird Rights? If they can extend Lowry on a reasonable contract then I’m actually kind of down with this.

    —-I mean hes making six now so i think 8-10

  65. massive

    This is starting to sound encouraging, except have the Knicks ever protected a 1st rounder?

    AND WHY ARE WE GIVING UP A DRAFT PICK ANYWAY? That’s so dumb.

  66. Brian Cronin

    If they have his Bird Rights, they can give him anything they want to.

    I dunno what happened with the Rockets trade to the Raptors. Did his Bird Rights re-set then? If they did, then the Knicks would only be getting his Early Bird Rights. If they didn’t re-set when he was dealt to Toronto, then the Knicks would be getting his full Bird Rights and then could re-sign him for whatever they’d like to re-sign him for.

  67. Totes McGoats

    I really love this piece. It’s such a spot on depiction of STAT. He could very well go down as a more revered Knick than Melo for his desire to work his ass off to give the fans SOMETHING..all while his body betrays him. Year One Knick fans adored him and I think he adores us back and that’s why he’s do desperate to find something to give. He will definitely be more revered than Melo if Melo signs a 130 mil contract to re-sign. Unless Melo wins a chip as a Knick.
    Onto another matter…this Lowry rumor. How much of a difference would it make and how does Lowry fit in better than Felton? He’s definitely a better defender and penetrator. But I’m really beginning to believe that if u keep Melo and Shump, u need more of a George Hill type PG with acceptable ball handling skills, decent defense and no problem playing off the ball. I really like Lowry but I don’t necessarily think he’s a great fit. Or better than a healthy and engaged Felton. But at the same time I don’t really think team will play worse with Felton at the 1 especially with the season Felton is having. But if the team does make the trade then there’s no way that take JR so we’d probable hafta part with TH2. I am seriously intrigued by a Lowry/Shumpert backcourt pairing. Add moving MWP to full time starter with Melo and Chandler for a very nice tone setting lineup. While Bargnani and JR light 2nd units up, plus STAT if he can maintain his effectiveness. Or maybe we can continue to start Tyson/Bargnani/Melo up front to maintain some offense/defense balance on both units. What the hell…might as well go for it if the asking price stays around Felton/TH2/Chris Smith or something

  68. dtrickey

    Great article. I’ve always had a pretty big man crush on Amare. Watching the game last night it was great to see he had that bounce back in his step. I don’t think that we’ll see the MVP candidate 2010 Amare we first got, but if he can provide some energy and offense then I’m all for it. I think he’s been pretty unfairly criticised (not necessarily here but elsewhere). His play has been down because of the horrendous injury streak (I’m sure if it was up to STAT his knee’s wouldn’t have spazed on him) and how can you blame a guy for taking a nice payday?

    A couple of thoughts from yesterdays game though (I know I should post this in the recap, but whatever). It was concerning to see the team give up such a big lead, and as much as they could have composed themselves better and got away from the Melo ISO and what not, my view is that is just what Chicago teams (under Thibbs) do. They are gritty fight to the final buzzer teams. By no means is that an excuse for the let up in the 4th, but I give a lot of credit to the Bulls. Also, I hope to not have to watch many more games with Mike Tirico and John Barry commenating. It was like watching a game being called by Statler and Waldof from the fucking Muppets. Just call the game goddamn it!

  69. BigBlueAL

    Chris Broussard just tweeted:

    Knicks’ pursuit of Kyle Lowry being held up by Knicks’ refusal to give up 1st round pick, sources say.

  70. dtrickey

    Also not sure I’m 100% down on the Lowry rumours. He was solid at Houston, but I thinks it’s more of a side step than one forward, especially if we give away more draft picks.

  71. dtrickey

    Chris Broussard just tweeted:

    Knicks’ pursuit of Kyle Lowry being held up by Knicks’ refusal to give up 1st round pick, sources say.

    Surely that’s a typo?

  72. Igno-Bot 3000

    Can I be the guy who says that Lowry was traded for a lottery pick a year and a half ago?

    In a vacuum, a 2018 first-rounder isn’t too bad.

    I realize he wasn’t good last year and it’s a rental, but still. Is a future first-round pick more valuable to us simply because we don’t have many future first-round picks?

  73. er

    Totes your post is very indicative of NY fans. Its very strange to me and i liken it to Arod. His first 7 years he avg 38 Hr .949 OPS 120 RBI .295 BA played great defense and won 3 MVPs and Yankee fans never liked him. Melo is the same, he could finish 3rd in MVP and fans still wont like him. Its a very NY centric phenomenon no matter the underlying reasons i should do a research paper on it or something lol. Same for Pat, i feel like he was never truly appreciated until he left.

  74. Brian Cronin

    Can I be the guy who says that Lowry was traded for a lottery pick a year and a half ago?

    And that turned out to be a horrible trade. It’s like saying “Bargnani was taken with the first pick in the draft. How bad could he be?”

    Trading future first round picks when you’re 6-15 is insane. If the picks are protected, then fair enough. I still don’t like dealing first round picks period when the team is 6-15, but at least the protection is something.

  75. Frank

    Prediction: Mills agrees to give up the 2018 lottery protected 1st, but we get a 2nd round pick or two back. We send Felton, MWP, and that pick for Lowry and 1-2 2nd round picks. I’d be happy with that deal.

  76. Frank

    yowza – Stein just reported Toronto looking for two of the following 3 – Shump, THJ, and future 1st. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  77. bockadoo

    Give ‘em the 2018 draft pick. We are all-in to the millionth degree, and Lowry is perfect for us at this point. If we continue to suck throughout the second half of the year, we tank and trade Chandler and Melo and get all the picks back and start the hell over again.

  78. Brian Cronin

    Prediction: Mills agrees to give up the 2018 lottery protected 1st, but we get a 2nd round pick or two back. We send Felton, MWP, and that pick for Lowry and 1-2 2nd round picks. I’d be happy with that deal.

    I think you’re way overestimating the Knicks’ leverage here, Frank.

    Toronto can just hold on to Lowry and let him leave as a free agent. They are only going to deal him if they can net a major asset (a first round pick). They’re not going to be adding to the deal.

  79. Brian Cronin

    Give ‘em the 2018 draft pick. We are all-in to the millionth degree, and Lowry is perfect for us at this point. If we continue to suck throughout the second half of the year, we tank and trade Chandler and Melo and get all the picks back and start the hell over again.

    They’re all in and and they’re 6-15!! How in the world does that translate to “let’s give away first round picks for guys that teams are trying to dump?”

  80. Frank

    I think you’re way overestimating the Knicks’ leverage here, Frank.

    Toronto can just hold on to Lowry and let him leave as a free agent. They are only going to deal him if they can net a major asset (a first round pick). They’re not going to be adding to the deal.

    they’d be getting a 1st round pick. the question is whether they’d sweeten the pot to get that pick.
    if Lowry leaves for nothing, then they get nothing.
    (although surely they’ll find some deal somewhere along the way).
    this is just Ujiri trolling again. Let’s see if Steve Mills actually has any negotiation skills and can schedule ten 24h Eagles concert marathons in a row for Dolan while this whole thing goes down.

  81. Brian Cronin

    I swear, like, two days ago the talk on the boards is how the team would be better off just burning the whole thing to the ground and starting over and now a decent point guard is offered up and it’s “let’s mortgage the future some more!”

  82. Dan Panorama

    yowza – Stein just reported Toronto looking for two of the following 3 – Shump, THJ, and future 1st. This is absolutely ridiculous.

    I wouldn’t expect them to demand anything less. My only hope is that they overreach so much that they make it impossible for Mills to say yes. But seriously, when was the last time we bailed on a deal over leaked last minute hangups?

  83. Brian Cronin

    Also, THJ is another great example of the weird dichotomy when it comes to draft pick discussion, as was Shump. “Shump and THJ are great!”/”Late first rounders aren’t worth anything”

  84. Dan Panorama

    Brian’s right, either we’re blowing this thing up or not. Anything that trades future assets for — likely best case scenario — 37 wins, a 7th seed, and a $125 million Melo contract is completely off base. As Lenin would say, the goal now is to “heighten the contradictions” to the point where a teardown becomes the only viable option.

  85. Frank

    Also, THJ is another great example of the weird dichotomy when it comes to draft pick discussion, as was Shump. “Shump and THJ are great!”/”Late first rounders are worth nothing”

    well, this is all of them. Young known talent and young unknown talent. All for a guy who’s a good player but is a head case and isn’t signed past this summer. There is no way in 10000000 years you can do that. Young player OR draft pick, not both.

  86. Igno-Bot 3000

    I swear, like, two days ago the talk on the boards is how the team would be better off just burning the whole thing to the ground and starting over and now a decent point guard is offered up and it’s “let’s mortgage the future some more!”

    This trade is the word of the day so that’s what we’re discussing. I think as fans we want to see this thing go either one way or the other. If we’re mortgaging the entire future anyway, we might as well do it for a halfway-competent brand of basketball this year.

    Two of THJ/Shump/2018 is insane though. Aren’t there any other PG options out there? Ramon Sessions or something?

  87. JK47

    “Well, we better not play hardball with the Knicks, they might just walk away from this deal,” said no GM ever.

  88. Totes McGoats

    I don’t mean to sound down on Melo, er. I love the fact that we finally have a bonafide damn near unstoppable all star that’s actually healthy. But the truth about Melo is this: he has made a ton of money with his decisions. Forced his way to NY mostly for a more favorable contract as opposed to actually winning- especially when u consider the effect that the new CBA could have had on his contract if he stayed in Denver. It’s pretty clear that Denver was the better team at that time so in my mind he didn’t move for nostalgia or championships. But now, he’s talking a lot about winning chips as a NY. Well if that’s the case he should stay and sign to a less expensive contract to help with payroll flexibility. Granted, there’s not a whole lot he can do, but the gesture would be nice. As great as he is- he is more of a 20 mil player than a 25-30 mil player. Maybe even 18. So as far as I’m concerned..as the team’s best player he has to do more than just talk. Taking less money to help payroll flexibility and trusting his teammates more would be a big help. And I’m a Melo fan..I’m just trying to Be as objective as I can be with this but it’s kinda hard given the corner that the team is backed into.

  89. JK47

    Don’t forget, Toronto will be taking on the contract of the ever-so-shitty Ray Felton, which runs through 2016. Good thing we signed Ray “Better Fit For The Knicks” Felton to that four-year contract instead of just re-signing that Lin guy. Now we’re giving away first-rounders so people will take Fatty McPenguin off our hands.

    It’s comical.

  90. Frank

    Yeah grunwald did some good things but the Felton and Novak 4 year deals, as well as the camby trade- those were absolutely crippling. And that’s with me giving him the benefit of the doubt re the bargnani trade

  91. Kikuchiyo

    Gawd, keep the pick. Gawd! Keep it. Isn’t that obvious?

    And thanks for the Amar’e piece. I still love him, although I didn’t see anyone here mention the fire extinguisher. Now THAT’S an injury that could have been avoided.

  92. hoolahoop

    Trader Jimmy D “Well, what about MWP + Felton for Kyle”
    Ujiri: “We’re going to need another second round pick to make this work”
    TJD: “I thought we already gave you all our draft picks?”
    Ujiri: “What? You totally screwed us. We barely even play that big white guy and that Camby you gave us was broken. Not cool, broseph. So just maybe one more little pick?”
    TJD: “My GM is shaking his head pretty vigorously”
    Ujiri: “Hold on, I’ve got Brooklyn on the other line”
    TJD: “Wait, wait-take any first round pick we’ve got left”

    Haahhhaaa!!!!

  93. marechal

    Considering that Ujiri stripped the Knicks of all of their assets when he had no leverage in the Melo trade, imagine what he’ll do when he has all the leverage?

  94. hoolahoop

    The words “knicks” and “trade” in the same sentence scare me.
    Bottom place teams can’t trade their way into being contenders, especially with small “win now” deals. How about this for a concept. Make cap space and stock up on unprotected draft picks picks from other teams as bad as the knicks.
    Too bad Dolan doesn’t own a few other NBA teams that the knicks could do deals with.

  95. hoolahoop

    “Well, we better not play hardball with the Knicks, they might just walk away from this deal,” said no GM ever.

    That’s great!!

  96. Hubert

    My god, are some of you taking crazy pills?

    We need.

    To walk.

    Away.

    Now.

    This is not a team you want to give up future assets to improve. It’s a bad team with a bad coach that is going nowhere with or without Kyle Lowry.

    I would only trade this team’s 2018 draft pick if it was top 30 protected.

  97. Hubert

    Speaking of trades…

    Carmelo Anthony for Blake Griffin.

    It’s not a rumor, I obviously just made it up. But doesn’t that make a ton of sense all around???

  98. tastycakes

    Uh anybody who thinks giving up young assets or picks for Kyle Lowry is a good idea is freaking NUTS.

    Lowry is a decent point guard, which would be a huge upgrade over Felton right now. He’s also an expiring contract. If Toronto really thinks they can get picks for him, they should get those picks elsewhere.

    And since when are we trying to clear Felton’s cap space? There’s a ton of room in two years with or without him, and who exactly do we need more room to sign? Is this the Kevin Love fantasy?

    Oh, and the team sucks and has basically no future through the end of the decade UNLESS they blow it up and get something for Melo and Chandler while they still can. That 2018 pick is going to be solidly in the lottery with a 34 year old Melo collecting 25M/year.

    If we’re going to give up on Shump or Hardaway, it should be for more youth or picks, not to donate them to Toronto’s rebuilding process.

  99. The Infamous Cdiggy

    Speaking of trades…

    Carmelo Anthony for Blake Griffin.

    It’s not a rumor, I obviously just made it up. But doesn’t that make a ton of sense all around???

    Clips gotta at least add a pick (1st round- yes a first) for this. Blake is ferocious, but nowhere near the all around offensive game of Melo and he’s not known for his D. Plus, can you imagine what Chris Paul can do to ease Melo’s offensive burden and touches???

  100. Brian Cronin

    One thing I’ll give Mills is that I don’t think that he’s dumb enough to give up a 2018 first rounder on top of Shumpert or Hathaway, so just like Denver pricing themselves out of the Shumpert/Faried trade by asking for a first on top of Shumpert, I think that he’ll walk away.

    I only fear that he’ll “settle” for “just” an unprotected first, which would be awful.

  101. Donnie Walsh

    1) Isn’t Felton injured on top of being out of shape and being bad at basketball? (Selling high again, are we?)

    2) If Artest is involved, a trade can’t happen until after Sunday.

    3) if NY is throwing in a minimum wage guy just to make contracts work out, why not Chris Smith??

    4) shouldn’t we take care of extending Amar’e Stoudemire first?

  102. Donnie Walsh

    Oh man, can you even imagine how fat Felton is going to get playing in Toronto all pissed off?

    Yes, if Ujiri was really smart he’d do the trade for Felton straight up. Felton, after all, proved crucial to Portland’s rapid rebuild. (Way more valuable than Shumpert or Hardaway would have been)

  103. Owen

    I like Amare. Never had one reason to complain about his effort. Love him as a guy.

    I still think, have always thought, that signing a guy with uninsurable knees was a crazy idea. The whole process behind committing a max contract to a guy that the best medical staff in the NBA didn’t think they could save is classic Knicks.

    But again, love Amare the person. And great post.

    I like Lowry. But giving a first rounder away for him is insane with they state of this team.

  104. DRed

    Woodson says JR might not be 100% this season, but he’s going to be patient with him. Because why would you bench a guy who isn’t healthy?

  105. hotdamn

    Best non-stats STAT post I’ve read on Knickerblogger ever. He really should hire you as a ghost writer for his autobiography. Well done.

    Wanted to say that…and…uh….I forgot. Oh yea! If Kyle Lowry gets traded to the Knicks in exchange for a first round pick and Shumpert/TH2!?! Viva revolucion!!!

  106. JK47

    Woodson says JR might not be 100% this season, but he’s going to be patient with him. Because why would you bench a guy who isn’t healthy?

    You know what would show a lot of patience? WAITING FOR THE GUY’S GODDAMN INJURY TO GET BETTER.

  107. maxwell_3g

    just wen I thought all of us fans were on the same page and dolan was the only one still lost…. many of us want to trade future picks for KYLE F’N LOWRY!!!!, 2 years since he was last decent. felton is awful, but for anyone who thinks lowry is a good pg, you a) dont watch raptor games, or 2) are delusional. he couldn’t win the job from jose calderon last year, despite the fact that the raptors were dreaming of life after calderon. in a 30 team league, he is a top 22-25 pg at best. an upgrade over felton? yes. a player that will win you playoff games? highly unlikely. a player a 6-15 should be trading draft picks for? HELL NO

  108. EB

    Yeah but were 6-15 with a legit superstar in Chandler coming back and STAT looking better. Or something. Besides if it means I don’t have to watch a player with a sub .500 TS% the rest of the year I’d be pretty joyous.

  109. massive

    “Knicks owner Jim Dolan is sensitive to the public perception that Toronto general manger Masai Ujiri bamboozled New York in the Carmelo Anthony trade, and the chance of getting panned for giving up too much in a deal for Lowry has become a hurdle in these talks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”

    LOL. This may be the first time Dolan’s Dolaning is a good thing.

  110. ruruland

    Topez makes it sound as though Amare’s play has been up and down, good one night, bad the next.

    Uh, no.

    He shot over 50 percent from the field twice in November (in 10 games).

    He had no explosion, often lost his balance, and his timing looked totally off.

    He looked cooked.

    In the last two weeks, he’s shot over 70 percent from the field. He’s had his three highest scoring games of the season the last three games, and four of his five highest scoring the last four games.

    He looks like a completely different player, not in spurts, but continuously over his last 120+ minutes.

    It’s almost exactly how Amar’e played last year.
    He was pitiful the first six games, embarrassingly losing his balance and falling down, missing bunnies, frequently getting his shot block.

    In the final 23 games, one could argue HE WAS THE MOST DOMINANT scorer in the NBA.

    .667 TS on 26.3 usage.

    Insane.

    It’s a 500 minute sample cut short by the knee surgery.

    What’s the NBA record for single season true shooting percentage on 20 usage or higher?

    Charles Barkley, .665.

    (Amare has the fourth highest single season true shooting percentage on usage of 20 or higher, did it just five years ago.)

    The easygoing to do as a fan, at least emotionally, is to assume what he’s doing now is fleeting and he’ll soon get another scope.

    But you don’t know that. What if he has a year, two years of this left?

    He wouldn’t be the first player to have late career revival after recovering from knee ailments.

    Will you be able to enjoy it?

    There is little doubt that Amare is back, just as he was last year. If it lasts all year, it changes everything about the Knicks upside.

  111. massive

    I don’t think anyone doubts that a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire is the Knicks’ best offensive player. What we’re all skeptical about is a) how many games a season he’s around and b) the medical staff’s ability to keep him around.

    I’d love as much as anyone to have this level of Amar’e around until his contract expires. But that’s just so improbable, I don’t even bother myself with the thought. Flossy brought it up earlier in the thread, and I’m in total agreement. It’s just not worth bothering myself over.

  112. massive

    So, in reading Isola’s most recent article, it appears a trade was worked out. Felton, MWP, and one of Shump/Hardaway/2018 1st. This was the deal Steve Mills was willing to take, but Dolan actually made the right decision and said no. Dolan thought we were giving up too much…I think I’ve heard it all. James Dolan made a good basketball decision by himself.

    I’m just waiting for Masai Ujiri to throw in DeMar Derozan so Dolan can YouTube his highlights and send half the roster to Canada.

  113. Brian Cronin

    But I don’t think it was a matter of Dolan making the “right” call, but rather him just going off on one of his capricious little snits and it just happened to work out.

  114. massive

    Without a doubt. This was more of an “I don’t want people to think Masai Ujiri is smarter than me” thing than an “I thought about the trade and it doesn’t make basketball sense long term” thing.

    Still, it means Ujiri won’t fleece us for all we have. Honestly, it’s robbery if we get Kyle Lowry for Felton and MWP. I think we’d have no choice but to give up a good asset.

    So the list of players the Knicks have targeted in a trade this season are Kenneth Faried, Rajon Rondo, Omer Asik, Dion Waiters, and Kyle Lowry. At least we aren’t targeting the Rudy Gay’s of the world anymore.

  115. iserp

    Still, it means Ujiri won’t fleece us for all we have. Honestly, it’s robbery if we get Kyle Lowry for Felton and MWP. I think we’d have no choice but to give up a good asset.

    Obviously, Raptors won’t do it if they don’t get an asset in return, they’d rather bench Lowry until he expires; and they will probably get some other kind of offer before the trade deadline.

    Thinking about it, there aren’t many PGs available in the forthcoming free agency of 2014 and 2015 or in trade (i wonder if Goran Dragic is available). So, if the goal is to stay competitive beyond 2015, trading for Lowry makes sense. But most of our current team will be really old beyond 2015, so then, you don’t trade Shumpert or Hardaway Jr. The only other asset that makes sense is 2018 1st rounder, and it would be stupid not to put protection on it seeing 1) How ugly the team is currentlyl playing 2) The few draft picks we have between now and then.

    Toronto might not want that trade, but then, perhaps the trade was not meant to be. I wonder if we could turn JR Smith into another asset. His value is really low right now, but his contract is not too bad.

  116. flossy

    So the list of players the Knicks have targeted in a trade this season are Kenneth Faried, Rajon Rondo, Omer Asik, Dion Waiters, and Kyle Lowry. At least we aren’t targeting the Rudy Gay’s of the world anymore.

    You lost me at “Dion Waiters”

  117. Hubert

    It just occurred to me last night that Masai Ujiri is so good he got us to give him our 2016 draft picks twice, on two different teams.

    As Nuggets GM, he negotiated the right to swap picks if it’s better than Denver’s. As Raptors GM, he took the pick that was left.

    Man, that guy knows how to milk a sucker.

  118. Frank

    Great post on Amare Ruru – I must admit I was worried he was done, but he has shown that he can’t just jump back into games after one of these surgeries. Again, his rust-shaking period needs to be in the D-League and not at the expense of the big-league club.

    Re: this Lowry thing — I’m really back and forth on this. Felton has a 4.5MM player option in 2015-16 which would be great to get out from under. However — and no one is telling us what/if there is protection on that 2018 pick — in 2018 Melo will be 34-35 years old and this team could really be awful. It’s just scary to trade a pick 4-5 years into the future when we have no idea what the landscape will look like, especially since there is no guarantee that Lowry will re-sign after this year. If he wasn’t expiring this year, I think I’d go for it for sure (but of course his price would be higher). As it is, I’m +/- on the deal, but overall against it. But I wouldn’t be too upset if it happened. Felton is ok on offense when he’s healthy/in shape, but he’s been horrific on defense. Our defense on the ball has been one of the biggest problems for us, and he is the reason. Lowry would definitely help that. He’s also a tremendous spot-up shooter (42-44% from 3 point range off spot-ups the last 2 years if I remember the Synergy stuff correctly). And for the WOW folks, he’s a GREAT rebounder for a PG.

  119. Brian Cronin

    I’d like to get Kyle Lowry, as well, but an unprotected first rounder is just too much. If there is some protection involved, then fair enough.

  120. Z-man

    Great post, Jonathan. I still believe in Amare because I’ve seen players defy the odds over the years, from Bernard King to Antonio McDyess. Yes, for every one who came back strong, there is a H2O or an Azubuike. But it’s going good for him right now, and the alternatives are few, so let’s hope it lasts and that the team can reap at least some of what we spent $100 million for before the year is out.

  121. Z-man

    I am not a big fan of Lowry, he’s been an attitude problem in Houston and in Toronto. I’d rather try a D-League standout and keep our assets for a better trade.

  122. Dan Panorama

    It sounds like the leak is what caused Dolan to kill the trade more than anything. Which is great, but let’s not confuse it for good basketball sense.

  123. DRed

    It’s Topaz, ruru.

    In the final 23 games, one could argue HE WAS THE MOST DOMINANT scorer in the NBA.

    .667 TS on 26.3 usage.

    Insane.

    Yeah, that was great. Not as dominant offensively as the preposterous numbers Lebron put up last season, but close, and being not as good as LBJ isn’t a criticism. We all know Amare can score when he’s healthy. Which is great, for a lot of reasons. It means more points, another focal point for the offense, and it (at least hopefully) means less Bargnani. With Amare, you just have to enjoy every game he gives you and not look into the future.

  124. Frank

    Anyone think the starting front court when Tyson comes back should be Melo/Amare/Tyson (if Woodson insists on going “big”)? That was an obscenely good rebounding team (both sides of the ball) and scored very efficiently. Amare’s D has been much better this year for whatever reason, and he’s also been much more aggressive on basket cuts. Now that he looks like he trusts his J again, he could still “space the floor” for Tyson PNRs, etc.

    He could start, play 25 minutes/game, and push Bargnani to where he should be — backup center (with Kmart protecting him defensively). Overall the Bargnani/KMart combo has been surprisingly good (+8 points/100 poss).

  125. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    They can’t get a D-League standout. They have to keep Chris Smith on the team.

    Is Chris Smith not standing out in the D-League??

  126. ephus

    Anyone think the starting front court when Tyson comes back should be Melo/Amare/Tyson (if Woodson insists on going “big”)? That was an obscenely good rebounding team (both sides of the ball) and scored very efficiently. Amare’s D has been much better this year for whatever reason, and he’s also been much more aggressive on basket cuts. Now that he looks like he trusts his J again, he could still “space the floor” for Tyson PNRs, etc.

    He could start, play 25 minutes/game, and push Bargnani to where he should be — backup center (with Kmart protecting him defensively). Overall the Bargnani/KMart combo has been surprisingly good (+8 points/100 poss).

    +1. To my mind, this is the best use of Bargnani’s unique assets and debits.

  127. yellowboy90

    I disagree on Amar’e D being better this year. He had one good game but the rest has been horrible. Him and Bargs probably avg 2 gifs a night. I would like that lineup if they start the game posting Amar’e and maybe hopefully Melo’s spot up J will come back.

  128. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    He wouldn’t be the first player to have late career revival after recovering from knee ailments.

    You’re right. Antonio McDyess.

    So he’d be the second.

    In the final 23 games, one could argue HE WAS THE MOST DOMINANT scorer in the NBA. .667 TS on 26.3 usage. Insane.

    Stats were made to be cherry-picked, I guess.

    What a player does sandwiched between career altering surgeries can be impressive, but it’s not terribly useful to look at when evaluating prospects going forward. I know you like to look at short-term trends instead of larger samples, which isn’t completely wrong, but to assume Amar’e will produce like young Amar’e over the next 5, 10, 50, or 150 games seems like blind optimism.

    And optimistic exactly about what? Making the playoffs? Winning a series? Winning the East? Winning the Finals? Even with Amar’e playing as a top offensive player during those recent spurts, the Knicks are barely a .500 team. In the 500 minute sample you’ve cherry-picked (his best 23 games from last year and the past two weeks of this year), the Knicks are a resounding 16-14.

    And during the entire tenure of the Carmelo + Amar’e “Big Two” era, the Knicks are 52-61 in the games Amar’e has played in.

    I understand optimism as a fan, but aren’t you also a gambler (you’ve stated that in the past here, I believe). As a gambler, would you honestly continue to bet your own money on the success of this team? How has it gone for you so far this year? Still have your shirt on?

  129. Hubert

    What a player does sandwiched between career altering surgeries can be impressive, but it’s not terribly useful to look at when evaluating prospects going forward

    Wait, why wouldn’t looking at what Amar’e did last year be useful? Because it was between surgeries????

    to assume Amar’e will produce like young Amar’e over the next 5, 10, 50, or 150 games seems like blind optimism.

    I didn’t read RuRu or anyone talk about young Amar’e. Just the guy we saw last year. He was an extremely dominant scorer.

  130. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    I didn’t read RuRu or anyone talk about young Amar’e.

    From Ruruland’s post in #125:

    Amare has the fourth highest single season true shooting percentage on usage of 20 or higher, did it just five years ago.

    And to answer this:

    Wait, why wouldn’t looking at what Amar’e did last year be useful? Because it was between surgeries????

    The 23 games selected by ruruland are not all the games between injuries. It is only his best games between injuries. It ignores the weeks and weeks of terrible basketball that necessarily goes along with them. The fact that Amar’e can come back from injury and play 23 productive games is impressive, but the fact that he can’t go more than 23 games without getting injured (and all of the baggage of bad basketball that comes with those injuries) is pointless to selectively ignore.

  131. Hubert

    I get this:

    the fact that he can’t go more than 23 games without getting injured (and all of the baggage of bad basketball that comes with those injuries) is pointless to selectively ignore.

    But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Amar’e may be progressing back to being this guy that he was just last year:

    In the final 23 games, one could argue HE WAS THE MOST DOMINANT scorer in the NBA.

    .667 TS on 26.3 usage.

    Insane.

    I won’t get my hopes up that if he gets there he can stay there.

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