Round Table: Knicks 2016 Midseason

1. How has the Knicks play through 41 games met, or not met, your expectations?

Fisher-Cohen: They’re a little ahead of my expectations. Good health and surprising performances from some role players along with Porzingis have lifted the Knicks from less crappy to mediocre (and fun to watch!). Players like Lance Thomas and Derrick Williams, given their age and longer resumés, are probably risks to regress though.

Cronin: Overall, roughly where I expected them, but that’s taking the season as a whole. If you believe that their recent play is more indicative of what to expect from them the rest of the way, then they are noticeably ahead of my expectations, as they’ve been playing like a #3-4 seed recently.

Lanza: I expected the Knicks to be a .500-ish team in the 7 to 10 range in the East, with a roughly average offense and defense … they’re 20-21 and 10th in the East, ranking 11th in the NBA in ORtg and 19th in DRtg. They’ve had some high highs and low lows, but that’s to be expected of a team that is still finding its identity.

Kurylo: Given how pessimistic I was on the team, they are ahead of what I expected. But I started this blog the year Isiah was hired, so I have a low bar to pass.

Plugh: I came into the season expecting a 35 win team, which is a significant one year leap from the dumpster fire of 2014-15. As they’ve played well, particularly in recent weeks, I’ve tried to use the low expectations as a shield against let downs. They could still end up at 35 wins, despite the beautiful basketball we’ve been seeing, but the Knicks have responded faster than I think anyone could have hoped. Credit to Fisher for maturing as a coach.

2. What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened so far with the Knicks?

Fisher-Cohen: This question is too easy. Porzingis is the Master Blaster and also the Alpha and Omega and the winning Powerball numbers and the best thing to happen to the Knicks since probably Ewing. As a longtime Knick fan, I’ve learned to protect myself with skepticism, but I’m all in on Porzingis. If anything, his unique combination of skills and size and mobility give him significantly more room to grow than a similarly productive 20 year old.

The Knicks should be treating Porzingis like the pregnant woman in Children of Men. He is the only thing that matters for the future of orange and blue, and any move that the team makes should be to make sure that in his prime, he has the quality of teammates that Ewing never had.

Cronin: Porzingis is the greatest thing that has happened to the Knicks so far (and like Max notes, he is the greatest thing that has happened to the Knicks since Patrick Ewing), but I think the most surprising has to be Lance Thomas’ .577 TS%. Of course, when I went to get his current TS%, I thought it was going to be higher (it was over 60% at one point somewhat recently), so maybe it’s coming back down to Earth? But still, a .577 TS% from Lance Thomas? How awesomely surprising is that?

Lanza: The Latviathan is a bit of a cop-out. I’m not sure if I’m more surprised by his high level of play or his borderline hilarious swagger, but it’s been a great ride thus far. He’s the best thing to happen to the Knicks in quite some time.

Outside of Porzingis, I’m happy to see that unsung players have been stepping up consistently. It was Langston Galloway to start the season, then it was Jose Calderon finding his stroke, and now it’s Lance Thomas. Having a knock-down shooter on the floor at all times has helped Melo and Porzingis out quite a bit.

Kurylo: That Cole Aldrich hasn’t blown up yet for the Clippers. Just kidding it’s Porzingis, although it’s hard to pick between his offensive potential, his defense today, his rebounding, his growth since game 1, etc.

Plugh: A lot has been said by the time I’m typing up this answer, but Porzingis’ is probably the easy one. Specifically, the way he’s rebounded has been an enormous surprise. Even when he was showing flashes of his readiness for the league in the summer and the preseason, I don’t think there was any sense he’d be throwing up 20 and 10 on a somewhat regular basis. My second surprise is the disappearing act that Kyle O’Quinn has played so far. He’s looked alternatively excellent and awful in his limited run. He looks like a genius point-power-forward-enforcer-beast on his best nights and a Shaqtin’-a-Fool regular on his worst. Hope he gets back into the rotation effectively at some point.

3. What would you like to see most going forward on the court?

Fisher-Cohen: I want to see bigger, slower lineups like earlier in the season and also lots of Vujacic. His hair, his grit, his daily free throw line dunks… those are all big time, and Fisher needs to also respect how much of a veteran he is. And Fisher should also take note of how much chemistry Vujacic has with Seraphin and keep in mind that there’s some major catharsis in terms of how Frederic Weis, a Frenchman, embarrassed the franchise. Watching our new Frenchy, Seraphin, single-handedly win games is healing the communal psyche of the Knicks and their fans. That’s more important to the big picture than winning games.

Really? I like what they’re doing now.

Cronin: Just more of the same, really, with “the same” being their play since 2016 began (not counting January 1st).

Lanza: The team seems to play better with two legitimate big men on the floor, and O’Quinn deserves more minutes. Put those two together, and I can see the team flourishing as it has over the last ten days. Fisher should keep watching Porzingis’ minutes, as well. The team is obviously much better with him on the floor, but making the playoffs this season isn’t worth as much as protecting his legs.

Plugh: I’d like to see the guards defend better. HA!!!! Fat chance. But, seriously, the inability of our guards to stay in front of their men has been tough to watch. We’re giving up a TON of shots at the rim compared to the rest of the league, but at the same time we’re one of the better teams in limiting the opponent’s shooting percentage that close. That’s a tip of the hat to the Porzingis/Lopez tandem who are making life very tough on opposing players’ drives.

4. What would you like to see most going forward in terms of personnel?

Fisher-Cohen: I love that Grant seems to have found a niche in the rotation, but I hope that the next cold streak doesn’t get him yanked. I generally worry about the compatibility of developing players while trying to take advantage of what’s left of Melo’s prime, but I’m not sure if trading him immediately is the right solution. Given the abundance of cap room teams have next summer, there should be a real buyer’s market for under-contract players once the big guns are inked. Would you rather give Chandler Parsons $26m a year or give up a few assets and slide Melo into that cap space? This path has the added advantage of allowing the Knicks to see who’s interested in coming here in free agency. If Durant wants to come over, then the Knicks are better off holding onto Melo.

Cronin: I like the burn that Grant has been getting recently, so I look forward to seeing him developed more. He is a very important part of not only their current roster, but their future roster, as well (with the amount of money players are getting paid these days, it is difficult to be a “great” team if you don’t have strong production from cheap, young talent at key positions). And I also look forward to seeing more DNP-CDs for Kevin Seraphim (Sasha Vujacic, as well, but I am actually okay with Vujacic getting a few meaningless minutes a game).

Lanza: The Knicks need to see what they have in Grant, Galloway, and, to a lesser extent, O’Quinn. Those guys should be getting minutes over Calderon, Vujacic, and Seraphim, even if it costs the team a few games. And if they can cash-in on Calderon shooting nearly 43% from deep by getting a lottery ticket or two, they absolutely have to go for it.

Kurylo: Make Sasha Vujacic disappear. Seriously this team needs to give him a tour of downtown Manhattan. I’m thinking cement shoes from Mott Street and a one way ticket on the Circle Line. Jimmer Fredette is tearing up the D-League (22.9 pts/g with a 62.5% ts%) and certain deserves a shot.

Plugh: The rumor is that the Knicks are interested in point guards. I would be very interested in not trading any of our current players, unless you can unload Kevin Seraphin for something useful. If you’re going to give up any of the bench bros in a trade, it should be something of a cornerstone trade, but that ain’t happening. Jimmer isn’t the answer, since the team wants a defensive type, but he deserves a shot at some point. Gotta show that you mean it when you have guys pay dues in Westchester. I don’t much want to revisit Toure Murry. No Tony Wroten. He’s rotten. See what I did there?

5. What are your expectations for the second half of the season, in terms of individual and team developments?

Fisher-Cohen: When you rely on players who are playing above themselves, you usually get let down. We saw that in 10/11 and 12/13 although in 12/13 it didn’t happen until the following season. The question is whether Thomas, Williams and Porzingis are able to keep up their surprising play through the season. If so, I could see the Knicks sneaking in as a low seed, but at this point, the streak of good play is too short to trust, so I’d say the odds are against it.

Cronin: At this point, with the way they’ve been playing, how can I not expect them to make the playoffs? ESPN still only gives them roughly an 11% chance of making it, but I think too many playoff predictions are based on prior play and not current play, so the Knicks are held down by how mediocre they’ve been for most of the season. If you gave greater weight to their recent play (and I do) then you would have to like their odds a lot more than 11%. In fact, I’m personally shooting for them to not just make the playoffs, but to go past the #8 seed (as who wants to play Cleveland in the first round?).

As for individuals, just seeing Porzingis and Grant develop their games more and more.

Lanza: I think they’ll make the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed. There’s a good bit of talent on both sides of the ball, and Porzingis and Melo are finding their rhythm. That being said, I’d settle for Porzingis, Galloway, and Grant playing at a strong level and finishing the year healthy.

Kurylo: Individually? I hope to exercise a bit more and spend more time with the kids.

Plugh: I expect Professor Melo to stay out of the turtleneck and blazer and on the court. I expect Porzingis to keep doing the same, and hopefully find some consistency with his shot. He said the game is slowing down a bit, but that has to show in his shooting form, which is all too often “drifty” and rushed. I expect the team to keep moving the ball and switching appropriately to prevent easy drives to the basket. I expect a late season chance at the 8th seed, whatever happens, and I expect a mild winter.

BONUS: How many more times will Porzingis score 20 points in a game? 30?

Fisher-Cohen: 30, sure, but that’s not counting the playoffs when he’ll average 72 a game. Two of those points will occur when Porzingis steals the ball from Lebron and then dunks it with his feet.

Cronin: In the first 41 games, he did it 8 times. So in the last 41, I figure 40 would be about right. Like Kevin Garnett said, “Anything is possible!”

Lanza: Any guess that I make will look a bit less insane thanks to Fisher-Cohen, so I’ll go with 20. I think he’s going to average 18-plus PPG going forward.

Kurylo: Well the question is worded as exactly 20 or 30 points in a game. I’ll say 2. (I was always very good at trick questions.)

Plugh: I’m going to say that he’ll score 20 points ten times, 30 points once, and 40 points once. I also think he’s going to put up the fifth 6 three pointer/6 block game in NBA history. Raef LaFrentz did it twice in 2002, Robert Horry did it in 1996, and Donte Greene did it for Sacramento in 2009…..against the Knicks. He’s going to average that next year, so best to get a move on it now.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

52 thoughts to “Round Table: Knicks 2016 Midseason”

  1. Hubert keeps forgetting O’Quinn. Why the O’Quinn blind spot, Hubert? :)

    It’s because hoopshype has him down as a one year contract!

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/new_york_knicks/

    They suck. Shamsports needs to get their salaries back up and running.

    Also, I thought LT’s salary was 1 mil, not 1.6 (thanks for nothing again, hoopshype).

    So a little less flexibility to add a second impact player this summer beyond Batum than I thought.

  2. Do we really have a team option next year on Galloway, I thought people were saying he was a free agent.

  3. One thing to keep in mind in terms of where we’re at going forward is that we have really had exceptional health so far. Afflalo missed 8 games, Melo missed 3 and that’s really it for rotation players. Obviously that doesn’t mean we’re “due” for a run of bad health, but we should consider that 20-21 was a half season of this team at almost completely full strength and that more likely than not we’ll have to deal with some health issues at some point in the 2nd half.

    Still, thinks are looking very bright at the halfway mark. This year was always going to be primarily about Porzingis’ development, and his progress has obviously been far, far beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations. So regardless of whether we continue the recent form and charge into the middle of the EC playoff picture or have another sub-.500 half season I think this season is well on its way to being a successful one.

  4. First, I’m thrilled to be a knick fan right now. I sure did not think we’d be in playoff contention. I know some of that is due to the good luck of a very healthy team and above-expectation performance from bench players.

    But, I’d give this 10-15 more games and assess our playoff chances. If it looks unattainable at that point, I would look to sell Thomas, Williams and Calderon (the last one for anything we can get back).

    I’ll then take this year’s success as found $$ and start next year w/ KP, Melo, AA, Lopez, Galloway and O’Quinn as 6 of my 9 man rotation and $$ to fill in the rest. That would be great!

  5. It’s because hoopshype has him down as a one year contract! They suck. Shamsports needs to get their salaries back up and running.

    Use this Spotrac table for any calculations. If Dwill and Afflalo opt out (likely) and we shed Calderon’s contract, we would have about 39m in free cap plus the the room exception. WOW!! I think Phil wouldn’t have a problem finding a taker for Calderon if he gives them our 3m cash. A team would only have to carry Calderon for a year and pay him 4.5m. Many teams will be looking for 1 year placeholder like that so they could then try free agency again in summer of 2017. Worst case is waive-and-stretch him and we have 37m in cap.

  6. Do we really have a team option next year on Galloway, I thought people were saying he was a free agent.

    That’d be right up there with the issues Hubert has been experiencing – different sites are reporting different things. The correct answer, though, is that he is a restricted free agent at the end of this season (the Knicks, though, can go over the salary cap to retain him, after they use the cap hold on him).

  7. In all the time I’ve used Spotrac, it’s never been wrong. Here it shows Galloway to be a RFA. On the link I provided above, it shows no cap hold for Lance and here it lists him as a UFA. Brian, are you able to sort out Lance’s situation? Is it possible to have EB rights and there be no cap hold? If so, would we then be able to go over the cap paying him up to league average?

  8. Lance is an unrestricted free agent, but no matter what, he’d have a cap hold. All players have cap holds. They just must not have gotten around to listing what his cap hold is yet (they only automatically list the cap holds for restricted free agents, like Cle and Galloway). I agree that Spotrac is the best, but even there, they will sometimes miss some info (like cap holds) for guys on the margins. What they do best, though, is not list incorrect info. I’ll definitely live with missing info for cap holds for certain guys over listing guys’ contract information incorrectly.

  9. That’d be right up there with the issues Hubert has been experiencing – different sites are reporting different things. The correct answer, though, is that he is a restricted free agent at the end of this season (the Knicks, though, can go over the salary cap to retain him, after they use the cap hold on him).

    Mother******.

    Really?

    Hoopshype clearly states we have a team option for $982k. Damn. Virtually every piece of data I got from that site is wrong.

    What happened to Shamsports? They still have a site but the salary info (which was excellent) has said “coming soon” for months.

    I guess we’re not in as good shape as I thought.

  10. I think Phil wouldn’t have a problem finding a taker for Calderon if he gives them our 3m cash. A team would only have to carry Calderon for a year and pay him 4.5m. Many teams will be looking for 1 year placeholder like that so they could then try free agency again in summer of 2017.

    But I think we want a 1 year placeholder at PG at an affordable price so we could then try free agency again in the summer of 2017 (and to give Grant time to develop into the role). So why not just keep Calderon?

    We have to stop letting him finish games, though. We can’t afford his defense.

  11. But I think we want a 1 year placeholder at PG at an affordable price so we could then try free agency again in the summer of 2017 (and to give Grant time to develop into the role). So why not just keep Calderon?

    Maybe but it all depends on who we’re able to sign or trade for this summer. For example, if we sign Nic at 25m, I’d rather play Gallo/Grant at 1 and sign Pau rather than keep Calderon. But if we strike out on Durant/Conley/Nic/Bazemore it might be better to hold on to Calderon. But a counter argument is that it would still be better to trade him and don’t spend his cap which would then allow for a trade during the season into that available cap.

    I guess we’re not in as good shape as I thought.

    We’re still in great shape, we could have about 35m in cap. What’s not to like? We’ve got a bunch of value contracts (KP, Lopez, Grant, KOQ, Hernangomez), an average contract in Melo, and some flexibility in Gallo/Lance. For the the first time in almost forever, we really have no bad contracts.

    All players have cap holds.

    Yeah I think I finally got it after reading parts of Coon’s faq. At the end of the regular season, there are still cap holds on all of the players for the next season, even players whose contracts have expired. All of these players could have various sorts of rights or exceptions attached (player option, team option, early bird, non-bird, etc.). In Lance’s case it’s looking like his cap hold would be 130% of his current salary. Phil would go through and have to renounce these exceptions and rights to reclaim cap space. So Phil would have to renounce non-bird rights to even a vet min player new to the team whose 1 year deal just expired to free up the cap space. Phew! I’m sure I’m still wrong.

  12. I believe Galloway and Lance will have negligible cap holds, but their rights I believe are useless if a team offers them more than 1.045 * average NBA salary, which is likely IMO, especially for Lance if he keeps playing as he has. If that happens, the Knicks situation looks dramatically worse. It also looks worse if Galloway and Lance play themselves out of those bigger contracts because then they aren’t pieces a that matter anymore. Kinda screwed either way. Those player option contracts too are going to make PJ look pretty bad.

  13. Good thing we’re not playing a game until tomorrow!

    Obviously, if there’s any doubt we should just keep resting them. Would suck to lose to Memphis, but one game isn’t going to matter big picture.

  14. I believe Galloway and Lance will have negligible cap holds, but their rights I believe are useless if a team offers them more than 1.045 * average NBA salary, which is likely IMO, especially for Lance if he keeps playing as he has. If that happens, the Knicks situation looks dramatically worse. It also looks worse if Galloway and Lance play themselves out of those bigger contracts because then they aren’t pieces a that matter anymore. Kinda screwed either way. Those player option contracts too are going to make PJ look pretty bad.

    For Lance, yes, if he gets an offer for more than the MLE, then the Knicks are kind of fucked. I dunno if he is going to get an offer like that, but yes, if he does, he’s either gone or it screws them over for their cap space.

    Galloway, meanwhile, though, is eligible for the Gilbert Arenas Provision, so the Knicks can keep him no matter what, if they’d like – they’d just have to worry about the lump sum payment in the last year of the deal.

  15. Obviously, if there’s any doubt we should just keep resting them. Would suck to lose to Memphis, but one game isn’t going to matter big picture.

    Yeah, I’d love a win, but come on, it’s just the midpoint of the season – don’t mess with guys’ health.

  16. This season may just come down to one or two games. We just gave one away against the Nets so let’s hope that our big two can play tomorrow. Our achilles heel is a lack of depth. Actually, I think that we may have better players at Westchester than we have at the end of our bench. Would rather have some of Jimmer, Atkins, Trice, Bachynski, and TA over Seraphin, Sasha, maybe O’Quinn right now.

  17. How’s this for a great quote?

    “Porzingis asked if sore shoulder from shooting 2 much: “Like Kobe says, it’s from passing too much…I don’t know when it happened”
    1:42 PM – 15 Jan 2016
    Fred Kerber

    Lol!

  18. Those player option contracts too are going to make PJ look pretty bad.

    Never underestimate the Knick fans propensity for finding the black cloud in the silver lining :-)

    Almost everybody on this board thought Phil had lost his mind signing Aflallo, DWilliams and Lance. All were universally panned. Now we are ready to bitch they might leave at the end of the season.

    Of course, they could also be traded at/near the deadline as rentals who someone else might think are the difference between making a deep run in the playoffs or not depth-wise. Calderon might have value to someone with his High TS%.

    Remember Aflallo and the great Alonzo Gee at the deadline last year netted:
    G Will Barton
    F Victor Claver
    F Thomas Robinson
    2016 first-round pick (lottery protected)

    Does anyone really care if the Knicks finish with the 8 seed or 10th??????

  19. I do remember everyone panning the signings. I’m not so upset about the player options because I think there’s a good chance they will all want to be here rather than someplace else, all other things being equal, which means we can probably sign them for a fair price if we want to.

    As for caring about the 8th seed or the tenth, I care. It’s not because I am hypercompetitive and don’t want to lose today to win tomorrow, it’s just that good Knick season’s are historically few and far between. I’ll take a good season whenever I can get it, and making the playoffs would definitely be a good season.

  20. I care too. I want to make the playoffs. Call me crazy. I also think that it’s helpful for attracting free agents.

  21. Almost everybody on this board thought Phil had lost his mind signing Aflallo, DWilliams and Lance. All were universally panned. Now we are ready to bitch they might leave at the end of the season.

    This is bullshit, bobneptune.

    He was panned because even if the signings worked out, we wouldn’t be in position to benefit from them beyond this season.

    If you’re going to take chances on guys, you should set yourself up to be the beneficiary if the opportunity you gave them worked out.

  22. it’s just that good Knick season’s are historically few and far between. I’ll take a good season whenever I can get it, and making the playoffs would definitely be a good season.

    This is only true if you are 20 years old. The Knicks had a great run during Ewing’s career and another decade of great basketball during the Reed/Clyde run. They made the playoffs 14 straight years from 87-01. They even made the playoffs 3 of the last 5!

  23. This is bullshit, bobneptune.

    He was panned because even if the signings worked out, we wouldn’t be in position to benefit from them beyond this season.

    If you’re going to take chances on guys, you should set yourself up to be the beneficiary if the opportunity you gave them worked out.

    No need to use the term bullshit, but it’s not bullshit. Tell me as single guy who thought that Aflallo, Williams or Thomas was a good signing for their current salary in the summer…. not a single bloody person. Knick fans are undefeated at playing results!

    Knick fans have to have something to whine about or they aren’t happy.

    And of course, Phil was correct and now he has assets to either go with til the end of the season, resign or move for younger, future assets…. well played Mr. Jackson!

  24. Of course, they could also be traded at/near the deadline as rentals who someone else might think are the difference between making a deep run in the playoffs or not depth-wise.

    GSW is facing an 18.4m luxury tax payment. Dwill’s got an 18.9 PER and .148 WS/48 and there are some trades which would save them a lot in lux tax. For example, Speights/Barbosa/Looney in exchange for Dwill/Early would save them 5m+ I believe. Looney’s not playing this year and Speights and Barbosa (both expiring deals this summer) have been terrible. They could keep Early or waive him hoping some team picks him up further lowering their luxury tax. Any chance?

  25. This is only true if you are 20 years old. The Knicks had a great run during Ewing’s career and another decade of great basketball during the Reed/Clyde run. They made the playoffs 14 straight years from 87-01. They even made the playoffs 3 of the last 5!

    Factually true, and I am a very long way past twenty too, but emotionally it still feels like Knick’s success is infrequent. I don’t know why. But I was happy with their 54 win season two or three years ago and felt it was an excellent season. I’d like another one like that.

  26. Man, I enjoyed the 1990s Knicks so freakin’ much. I would love to watch a team like that. I don’t need a championship. I just want to be able to convince myself that they have a realistic chance at a championship every year, and I was able to do that from, like, 1991 until 1996 (and then in 1999-2000). It was so much fun.

  27. BobNeptune is generally correct about this board’s attitude to the Lance, Afflalo and Williams contracts. Lance was considered overpaid at a few hundred thousand over the minimum. Afflalo ws also considered overpaid and probably of limited value and the reaction to Williams was that it was probably a waste of money. But it is true that almost no one liked the player options. But one poster, I’ve forgotten who, stated that he felt the player options enabled Jackson to pay lower salaries than he would have otherwise. That might be true, but people were still unhappy. I think the one we are most likely to lose is Williams, because I can see some team with a lot of money offering him a very big contract. That would be very uncomfortable for the Knicks.

  28. If you want to go for a pure championship play I guess we’d have to emulate the 76’ers. Who needs that?

  29. Tell me as single guy who thought that Aflallo, Williams or Thomas was a good signing for their current salary in the summer…. not a single bloody person. Knick fans are undefeated at playing results!

    I don’t mean to be vulgar but bullshit is the appropriate term.

    Here is an excerpt from the discussion of the Afflalo contract.

    True or False: Afflalo is worth $16M over 2 years.

    Gibberman: I didn’t want the Knicks to sign Afflalo, but I’m fine with this contract. Best case scenario is he plays wells, opts out, and the Knicks move on to a higher level shooting guard next summer with available cap space.

    Fisher-Cohen: Absolutely true, but the player option means he’ll almost definitely be gone in a year (unless he falls apart). As the Knicks aren’t going anywhere this year, his only real value to this team is that he inflates their win total, theoretically making them more appealing to next year’s FA class.

  30. Cronin: It’s not an awful contract in a vacuum, as $8 million is about what mediocre players get paid nowadays (see Corey Brewer).I just don’t like the idea of spending $13 million on two mediocre players where the best case scenario is that they have good years and then you lose them after the first year or have to use some of your new cap room to re-sign them and risk losing out on a max-level free agent. If this team is not going to be a contender next season, what is the point of devoting $8 million in cap space to a 30-year-old mediocre player like Afflalo? Forget the fact that Cory Joseph ended up signing long-term for $7.5 million a year, I just wanted to wait period – use the cap room to acquire longterm assets, not short-term “assets” like Afflalo, who, even if you are right about his chances of bouncing back, you’ll then either lose him after one year or have to use some newly found cap space to keep him! It’s just a strange signing. Lopez and O’Quinn were fine signings, as both could theoretically be parts of the next good Knick team. Afflalo and Williams are unlikely to be part of the future (and if you think Williams will be part of the future, why give him a player option so that he can leave after one year? It just doesn’t follow).

    Kurylo: Agree with Brian Cronin. What’s the point of giving a player an option in year 2? If he sucks, you’re screwed. If he’s good, he’s gone. Why not save the cash and get some prospects? Cap space can be an asset, especially around mid-season if you’re looking to inject yourself in a trade that needs some extra room.

    It was unanimous. And most commenters echoed the sentiment.

    http://knickerblogger.net/knicks-2015-free-agency-round-table-arron-afflalo/

  31. I think the one we are most likely to lose is Williams, because I can see some team with a lot of money offering him a very big contract. That would be very uncomfortable for the Knicks.

    I’m not really concerned about losing Williams and I think whatever team gives him a big contract is going to regret it very quickly. Sure, I would love to have him back at last year’s salary. But I think he is easily replaceable with another athletic forward. He’s capitalizing wonderfully on the opportunities the offense creates, but I think we can create similar opportunities for another long, athletic forward.

  32. Good point Hubert. PJ will show another talented forward how well his system will make him look…just look what it did for DWilliams ! Good recruiting tool.

  33. Watching ESPN talk about Fisher’s reaction to the Barnes’ situation – talk about a no-win situation. What in the world is Fisher supposed to say? I feel for the guy.

  34. There was only one downside to giving them a player option and that was if they got hurt or really sucked and picked up the option next year. If they are playing really well then you have two options, ride them to the playoffs which shows future free agents that we are on the upside. Or if they are playing well and we aren’t going to make the playoffs, trade them for assets. Someone posted what affalo went for last year at the deadline and it think everyone here would settle for a first rounder. So no it wasn’t a stupid decision regardless it was a gamble that has worked out really well.

  35. Hubert….

    not a single person thought William , Aflallo and Thomas were good buys for this season. Those without vision were in a state of high dudgeon about the option years, without question.

    The fact of the matter is, Phil is going to have a few options with these guys: sell high at the deadline, make the playoffs, resign them or let them walk and have more money to spend or park a player. All for the price of 14M for this season.

    Flexible options, my friends… vision!

  36. Tell me as single guy who thought that Aflallo, Williams or Thomas was a good signing for their current salary in the summer…. not a single bloody person

    Does the name Ted Nelson ring a bell…?

  37. Yeah I think I finally got it after reading parts of Coon’s faq. At the end of the regular season, there are still cap holds on all of the players for the next season, even players whose contracts have expired. All of these players could have various sorts of rights or exceptions attached (player option, team option, early bird, non-bird, etc.). In Lance’s case it’s looking like his cap hold would be 130% of his current salary. Phil would go through and have to renounce these exceptions and rights to reclaim cap space. So Phil would have to renounce non-bird rights to even a vet min player new to the team whose 1 year deal just expired to free up the cap space. Phew! I’m sure I’m still wrong.

    No, you got it perfectly. That’s why, when teams are consistently over the cap, like the San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics were for years, you never actually have to renounce anybody, so you just carry the cap holds for the players for years. The Spurs and the Celtics finally dipped under the cap this year, so they had to renounce all of their cap holds, and some of the cap holds still being carried by each team were high-larious, some dudes who haven’t played in, like, a decade. I think Boston still had a cap hold on Dana freakin’ Barros!

    EDITED TO CORRECT: Yeah, never mind, as first I wrote that I was unsure, but I’m not unsure anymore, you are absolutely correct, Lance’s cap hold would be 130% of his salary, so basically $2 million. So, everyone, when factoring in the Knicks’ cap room this offseason, use $2 million as Lance’s cap hold.

  38. Bob,

    One thing we could all agree on and be happy about is that we have no bad contracts. Phil deserves credit for that. But it’s quite another thing to say that all his signings have worked out optimally.

    For example, take Afflalo. I wanted us to sign 23yo John Jenkins instead of AAA. The Mavs ended up signing Jenkins to a 3 year 1m min deal, the last 2 years not guaranteed. Afflalo’s WS/48 so far is .087, exactly his career average. Say we had done the Jenkins deal and just kept the remaining 7m cap open. Maybe Jenkins plays well and we have him on a value deal; if he doesn’t we cut him or maybe he improves in his second year. Riley is desperately looking to trade 5m Andersen into a team’s open cap or trade exception to avoid 14.8m luxury tax but there’s no takers because he’s got nothing to offer in way of picks. Maybe he eventually offers McRoberts 5.5m contract – or maybe even Tyler Johnson. Maybe GSW offers Looney to reduce its luxury tax. We would be in position to take advantage.

    Regarding Lance, what if Phil had offered him 3m but attached a team option? We would then exercise the option this summer and in 2017 have 3-year bird rights and be able to go over the cap up to max salary. Phil took a gamble and if some team offers him more than league average, we lose.

  39. I am not sure there is a combo forward that combines D. Will’s ability to get to the line. I would let AA go if they got Batum and try to resign DW.

    Also, how much trade value does AA, D.Will, or lance Thomas have? AA got Barton and 2 fillers plus a lottery protected 1st that may only net Denver a 2nd rd pick. Who would try AA again when he was a disaster in Portland? Would Houston give up Jones/Brewer?
    Could the Knicks get a 1st and send it to Portland for Allan Crabbe? Does Sacramento want to make a run for the 8th dead and give up McLemore :( and a #2 pick to reunite AA and Karl?

    I personally think Phil is trying to use winning as a FA lure. Monroe chose Milwaukee because he thought that were an up and coming team. I believe he wants FAs to have similar thoughts

  40. it was a great night outside of Boston winning. Wash/Indy was a toss up game so it helps either way but the Bulls and ATL loss too. If Denver steps up and hold off Miami the knicks would be in great position with a win tomorrow. Whiteside putting on a blk party and Winslow just hit a 3 to take the lead.

  41. I looked at that Afflalo thread, because I know somewhere I said that I thought it was an OK signing – not great, but OK – and my only comment was this, about Porzingis:

    @64 – I’ve tried to temper my expectations, but I think the odds are more on the side of us getting lucky as opposed to coming up bust.

    I will be happy to accept a paid position as GM DRed’s assistant.

  42. Wash/Indy was a toss up game so it helps either way

    I sort of disagree. Washington scares me a lot. They’re now back to .500 after winning 4 in a row. I don’t think we want to see them get back into the playoff hunt, as that’s one less playoff spot available.

  43. Whiteside now has more career triple doubles than games with more than one assist. That’s nuts

  44. @43 Brian I’m with you on ‘future star Knick’ Nic Batum. It’s even in his name! I’m a sucker for great passers.

  45. Q1: slightly above my “expectations” but more importantly WAY above my worst “reasonable” fears. It was very possible going into the season that Melo would be decline with a gimpy knee, Porzingis would be overwhelmed and/or injury-prone, Calderon and Afflalo would continue their declining play and/or be injury-prone, Fisher would continue to suck, etc. Realistically, 20-21 is pretty close to a best-case scenario.
    Q2: Fisher’s development and the triangle working so well, and I guess Melo becoming so much better of a facilitator. And of course, Lance’s shooting, which can’t possibly be sustainable, can it? On the negative side, I expected more from O’Quinn and Gallo. Honestly, Porzingis is about what I expected.
    Q3: More P&R, but essentially keep on keepin’ on. It’s working for now.
    Q4:Acquiring a guard that can penetrate and score in bunches w/o killing us on D. In other words, not Jimmer. Or getting value in return for Calderon.
    Q5: Finish @ .500 or slightly above, make the playoffs (hopefully 7th seed.) If we falter due to injury or a smart trade, then continue playing smart, unselfish, inspired basketball with lots of great games from Zinger and Grant, and Melo’s knee staying healthy.
    Bonus: 20+ pts: 15 games; 30+ points: 2 games. Wild card: a triple-double w/ blocks.
    Q5:

  46. @z-man
    I still think there’s real risk of Melo, Calderon and Afflalo developing age related problems. Remember in 12/13 the Knicks were 25-16 at the halfway point and then Kidd, Chandler, Rasheed, Kurt Thomas all had health problems or became much less effective in the second half of the season. The Knicks were rescued by incredible play from kenyon martin and chris copeland late in the season, but before signing K-Mart and discovering Copeland, the Knicks were under .500 over about a 20 game stretch.

    Point is, older guys can often produce well over stretches but the length of the season is much more likely to wear them down.

    You could also draw a comparison between Lance Thomas and Ronnie Brewer or Ray Felton, both of whom were impossibly productive early in the season.

    The real surprises for me, beyond Porzingis, were Melo’s willingness to facilitate more and Fisher’s sudden wisdom in playing the best players and improving rotations.

  47. Sheed, Kurt, and Kidd were all 38+ and Chandler has been injury prone his whole career. That comparison is a pretty big reach there.

  48. I’m probably a bit late to this thread, but I was one of those who liked the offseason signings, and I was okay with the options, too. And, I don’t think I was the only one, though I do recall quite a bit of griping about the DWill and Lance signings.

    I think some of us figured that Phil was having a tough time luring free agents b/c the Knicks had been so epically bad last season, so maybe the player option is what convinced one or both of Afflalo and/or DWill to sign here rather than elsewhere.

    So, Afflalo looked like a solid “hold the fort” deal whilst rebuilding. D-Will was taking a flyer on a guy with upside. His signing added some youth and athleticism desperately needed to the team. The fact that the cap will continue to soar in the next couple of years made me fine with this.

    As for the deal with the options, if they play well, yeah, they might option out…but also, if they play well (as certainly DWill has), then they are ASSETS that Phil can deal midseason, as he just might. Worst case..if they opt out, more cap space.

    As for LT, I was really puzzled at the negative reactions, given that he was signed for dirt cheap and was, at worst, being rewarded for his hard work (and, at times, decent play) for the previous year and providing leadership/continuity this year. I mean, what the heck did people expect for someone signed for under $2 million? I thought the criticisms of his signing were flat out silly. Sorry.

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