Crawford traded for Harrington

Rumors reported at the Knicks Fix and the New York Post. So what would these deals mean to the teams involved?

UPDATE: ESPN is reporting the deal is a Crawford for Harrington straight swap.

Crawford for Harrington

Does it work for the Knicks: Yes.

Walsh lavished tons of praise on Crawford when he arrived in New York, but who knows what he was really thinking. Obviously getting under the cap is a priority for the Knicks, so it’s possible that he’s willing to sacrifice Jamal for the greater good. Or it’s also possible that Walsh’s kind words were a way to increase his value so to trade him. Maybe watching Jamal’s inability to fight through anything resembling a screen up close soured Walsh on Jamal. The Knicks are deep at guard, and if they get desperate enough they can activate Marbury.

Does it work for the Warriors: Yes.

Harrington has been feuding with coach Don Nelson & has appeared in only 5 games this year, so the Warriors aren’t really losing anything by trading him. In Crawford they get another scorer, something Nellie can’t have enough of in his system. And Golden State is short a guard with Ellis’ injury. It’s possible that Nelson can get Jamal to improve his play, but even as-is he’ll help them out more than Harrington currently is

Malik Rose for Harrington

Does it work for the Knicks: Yes.

They’re not saving any cap here, since Malik’s deal runs out this year. But they’re getting a more serviceable player in Harrington. Rose is one of the smarter players in the league, but watching him trying to score in the paint with George Constanza’s ups has become almost comical.

Does it work for the Warriors: No.

It doesn’t make sense for Golden State other than slashing a year off Rose’s deal. Hoopshype has them at $39M next summer with Harrington, but they don’t have Ellis & Biedrins at $21M total. So they would be at about $50M next year – I’m not sure if that’s a big enough savings to dump Harrington. They would not benefit this year with this kind of deal. Unless the Knicks are sweetening the pot (and I don’t mean Mardy Collins), they could do a lot better than Malik Rose.

Quentin Richardson for Harrington

Does it work for the Knicks: Maybe.

Unlike Rose, Richardson is mildly useful, and the Knicks are paper thin at small forward. Richardson is actually shooting well (3P%: 38.6%, eFG%: 54.3%, TS%: 56.8) and can rebound (6.8 REB/36). However he seems to have lost his ability to create shots, and doesn’t score much (13.0 PTS/36). Harrington could play SF, but like his former coach Mike D’Antoni likes to play small, which means Harrington would probably see a lot of minutes at the 4 as well. Harrington would be an upgrade over Richardson, but it’s a lateral move.

Does it work for the Warriors: No, not really.

Richardson’s contract is almost as big, and just as long as Al Harrington. Is Quentin Richardson an upgrade over Al Harrington? So why is Golden State doing this move? Other than to dump Harrington for a semi-live body, beats me.

Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to the Clippers
Jamal Crawford to the Warriors
Cuttino Mobley, Al Harrington, and Tim Thomas to the Knicks

Does it work for the Knicks: Yes.

This would hurt the team this year, as the Knicks would be thin in the frontcourt. David Lee, Al Harrington, Wilson Chandler, Tim Thomas, Jared Jeffries?, Eddy Curry?, Danilo Gallinari?, and Jerome James? One thing is for certain – Lee’s rebounding would almost have to go up due to the lack of competition. The timing would be almost just right with Jeffries scheduled to come back from injury in the next week. And they would get enough players to offset the major minutes lost to Randolph & Crawford.

But from a salary cap perspective, this deal is nearly a home run. New York sheds nearly $29M in 2010 and the only overpriced contract would be Eddy Curry’s $11M (and perhaps Jared Jeffries $7M). It would be the first step toward respectability, and would be a major victory for Walsh to get rid of these contracts only a month into the season.

Does it work for the Warriors: Yes.

It’s the same deal as #1.

Does it work for the Clippers: Yes.

Los Angeles tried to extract a draft pick for taking Randolph’s contract off New York’s hands over the summer. It’s ironic that the Knicks appeared to be the desperate ones this summer, and the Clippers operating from a position of strength. However 11 games into the season, and the tables have turned.The Clippers are 2-9 with the league’s second worst offense. With their new acquisitions Baron Davis (29 yrs) and Marcus Camby (34 yrs) being on the downside of their career, the Clippers need to start winning now. Randolph will give Los Angeles some scoring and should compliment the defensively minded Camby & Kaman.

Knicks 2009 Season Preview Part V

Part I here.
Part II here.
Part III here.
Part IV here.

FRONTCOURT: (cont)

Hailed the franchise centerpiece upon his arrival in 2005, Curry now finds himself as the odd man out in the front court. In his three years in New York, Eddy Curry’s per minute stats have stayed the same, only his minutes per game has fluctuated. During 2007 the Knick center averaged 35.2 minutes per game, about 10 minutes more than the year before and the year after, hence causing a spike in his per game stats. This has led many to believe that it was a major step forward for Curry, when in fact little developmental gain was actually made.

But two years ago the only stat Curry had peaked in was his fouls per min (3.3 PF/36). Meanwhile he had career worsts in turnovers (3.7 TO/36), blocks (0.5 blk/36), and free throw percentage (61.5%). Last year Curry’s stats were about the same as his other two in Knick uniforms. His turnovers did drop to the lowest in 4 seasons (3.0 TO/36), but his rebounding hit an all time low (6.5 REB/36). Once he does release the ball he’s efficient (TS%: 57.8%, eFG%: 54.6%) but the high turnovers and low peripheral stats make him a below average player.

Curry’s injury in the preseason has left him a step behind everyone else, but you have to wonder if he wouldn’t be coming off the bench even if he were healthy. It seems that versatile players do well in D’Antoni’s system. There’s hardly any set plays and not much repetitiveness, just about every player needs to be able to read and react. So a unitasker like Eddy Curry, who for his whole career has been a go-to-the-post-catch-the-ball-shoot-the-ball guy, may have trouble adjusting. Since arriving in New York, he has been handed the Knicks starting center without having to earn it. For the first time in his career, Curry is being challenged. Steady Eddy has been stagnant over the last 3 years, but he’s only turning 26 so there’s still chance he could improve. Maybe this is the jolt he needs to develop as a player.

Malik Rose is still on the roster, but he’s not likely to get much playing time when the season starts. Most likely any time he gets early will go to Jared Jeffries once he’s healthy. Under D’Antoni Jeffries will be moved from the swingman role to a frontcourt spot. There’s no question that Jeffries is a limited player on offense (career: TS%: 47.3%, eFG%: 44.3%), and his only real contribution is rebounding (3.2 OREB/36) and defense. Power forward shouldn’t be anything new to Jeffries, since he played nearly half his minutes there last year. But playing center will be, and it’ll be interesting how Jeffries handles the change under D’Antoni.

Jerome James is another player that was expected to be cut, but is still on the roster. James hasn’t played much over his Knick career, because of his incredible sense of humor. During games the camera always finds James making his teammates laugh on the bench. Obviously the Knick front office values such humor, and it’s unquestionable that camaraderie is one of those intangibles that plays a big part in winning. If the Knicks are going to turn the corner, they’ll need James to tell jokes on a nightly basis.

Unfortunately James’ tremendous contribution off the court has made the Knicks miss out on an incredible player on the court. Jerome James was easily the best Knick last year, on a per minute basis. In fact James led the league in PER, and his shooting was through the roof (TS%: 106.4%, eFG%: 100.0%). His PER jumped nearly 900% from the year before and if James continues with that kind of development, he should post a 407.7 PER this year. In other words what Jordan did in all his seasons combined (418.5 PER).

But perhaps the Knicks need laughter on the bench more than a player with a PER of the combined sum of an All Star team. Just look at any team celebrating winning a title, and you’ll see laughter. Losing teams rarely laugh. This correlation is too high to ignore. Since most of the other Knicks lack a proper sense of humor, it’s important for D’Antoni to keep him on the bench. New York can’t win a title with Jerome James on the court.

Knicks Sign Roberson

The Post is reporting that the Knicks have agreed in principle on a two-year deal with Anthony Roberson. (I always want to call him El Roberson, after the former Kansas State quarterback. Note: Anthony has nothing to do with El as far as I know.) What remains unclear is whether the second year of the league minimum deal will be a team option year. Since the signing puts the team one guaranteed contract over the limit other deals will be forthcoming, and this may spell the end for Marbury in NY. Certainly, one possible reading of Marbury’s interview on yesterday’s replay of the Knicks/Cavs game strongly suggests that he thinks he will be moved. “I just want to play, no matter where it is…” “It’s a business. I understand that…” Of course, even if Marbury thinks he’ll be moved that doesn’t mean he will be. The Knicks could clear a roster spot in any number of other ways. Donnie Walsh allegedly already passed up an offer from the Clippers; Zach Randolph for a second round pick in a straight salary dump. Presumably, he’s holding out for a bigger deal. (Interestingly, the Clips actually made that deal–only for Marcus Camby instead of Zeebo.) The Knicks are also widely thought to be entertaining buyouts for Jerome James (or perhaps an injury settlement) and potentially Mardy Collins (who incidentally looks a lot better–quicker–at the lighter weight). Malik Rose’s expiring contract could also potentially be a part of a pre-season deal. So, although this move does not absolutely spell the end of Marbury’s return to NY he may want to stop by the Post Office and pick up one of those “So, You’re Moving?” packets. They’re chock full of useful information, sometimes even coupons.

As for Roberson, it appears the Knicks see him as an end-of-the-bench shooter in the mold of an Eddie House. In that sense I have no specific issue with the signing on its own merits. As pointed out in a previous post, Roberson’s a shoot first (second and third) guard. His low assist rate (8%) and high usage rate (21.4%) make it a stretch to refer to him as a combo guard as the Post does (and as the MSG crew did during the telecast). Recalling his play at the University of Florida (on the same team as David Lee) I am reminded of the old Nike Basketball ad with Gary Payton and Jason Kidd where the pair show up at a boy’s house to confiscate his basketball because he refuses to share it. After dusting the ball for prints and finding only the boy’s, Payton says, “You ain’t even lettin’ the ground touch the ball!” That’s Roberson’s game–pure gunner. Fortunately, in his brief stints for Golden State and Memphis he has shot the ball reasonably well.

The Knick Are Tanking, So Let’s Get Tanked

Sorry for the lack of updates, but there seems to be little to write about. I can’t tell you how many columns I’ve started that’s ended in the waste bin. I’m not going to rehash any of the arguments I’ve made 100 times this year. I guess this team has just sucked the creativity out of me, yet again.

So for the time being, I introduce the 2008 Official “The Knick Are Tanking, So Let’s Get Tanked” Drinking Game. The game is designed so that you can somehow get through the rest of the season.

Drink Once:
Zach Randolph takes a two point jumpshot
David Lee rebound
Any opponent takes an uncontested shot from the paint
Knicks turn the ball over
Balkman misses a free throw

Drink Twice:
David Lee makes a jumpshot
Zach Randolph takes a trey
The announcers say anything regarding whether Isiah Thomas is sitting or standing
Balkman blocks a shot
At the end of any quarter if Quentin Richardson is shooting less than 50%
Mardy Collins enters the game
Jamal Crawford shoots from the paint

Drink Thrice:
Malik Rose gets his shot blocked
Nate Robinson gets an assist
Randolph Morris enters the game
Wilson Chandler blocks a shot
Balkman commits a foul
Everytime Jeffries’ point total exceeds a new multiple of 3 (so every 3,6,9,12,etc).

Drink Quice:
At the end of any quarter when the Knicks use an isolation as their last shot
The first time the Knicks are trailing by 10+ points
If you answer the trivia question wrong

Oh and drink responsibly folks.

Knicks 99 Bucks 98 (Knicks Win With Defense?)

Tell me if you heard this before. The Knick starters begin the game and the opponent takes the lead. The bench comes in and the game is close again by halftime. The third quarter begins with the starters on the floor again, and the opponent takes a huge lead. The reserves come in and again make the game close. With about 6 minutes left in the game, Isiah puts the starters back in and the Knicks lose the game.

Last night that looked to be the case. The Knicks began the game down by 6, until the reserves came in to give New York the lead. At halftime the Knicks were only down by 2. But the 3rd quarter was the Knicks worst, by the time Eddy Curry leaves the game for the last time, the Knicks are down by 13. Curry’s departure would lock in his +/- at a team low -12. He’s followed closely by his frontcourt starters Quentin Richardson (-10) and Zach Randolph (-6). None of the three would see any more time down the stretch.

As usual the reserves battle back. Last night it was a lineup of Crawford, Jones, Balkman, Lee, and Rose. New York was within 7 at the end of the fourth quarter, sparked by rebounding, good ball movement, and improved defense. At 8:36 jump shots from Jamal Crawford and David Lee on four straight possessions bring the Knicks within one point of the Bucks. But at 6:14, Michael Redd hit a three that give Milwaukee a 7 point lead.

The NBA coaching manual clearly states: “If you had a big third quarter deficit, and your bench has made the game close, about midway through the fourth you should bring in your starters to finish the game off. Especially when the other team makes a shot a the momentum seems to slip away.” And Isiah usually follows the coaching manual very closely, but last night he must have misplaced it. Without it Isiah panicked and left in his reserves. New York tied the game twice in the third minute, and made their last bucket with 1:53 left to give them a slender 3 point lead. Isiah stayed with the players that saved the team from a 13 point deficit, and the Knicks hold the other team to only one basket for the remaining time to take the victory.

Yesterday I asked publicly when people shut their tvs off during Knick games. I have to say, I nearly turned mine off when the Buck lead swelled to 17. But since I had it taped I decided to watch it anyway, and was pleasantly surprised when the Knicks won. There were so many things to like about the last quarter and a half of this game. Obviously one is the fine play of Lee and Balkman, which if the consensus here had their say both would be starting. But more importantly was that the Knicks won with their defense. That just felt weird to type, because I can’t remember the last time I typed that sentence. But it made me nostalgic of the Ewing era, when the Knicks frequently relied on stopping their opponent down the stretch to close out games.

One final tidbit I’d like to share. While watching the game there were a few moments of banter where Clyde Frazier stated many of the things KB readers frequently say here. I took the time to transcribe them word for word, for your enjoyment.

First quarter, with about 6:02 on the clock. Michael Redd blew past Fred Jones for a layup and not a single Knick came to Jones’ aid. Clyde said “This is really why Curry & Randolph can’t play together. It’s not their offense. It’s their lack of intensity on the defense. As you saw that time a guy just walking right to the basket uncontested.”

The Knicks ended the third quarter with a 10-0 run. At the start of the fourth Clyde stated “That run by the Knicks was very noteworthy with Curry on the bench and Randolph and Q-Rich — and the Knicks were able to cut the gap.”

Again in the fourth quarter with the lineup being Crawford, Jones, Balkman, Lee, and Rose, Al Trautwig asked “You wonder, Clyde, where the points are going to come from with this unit other than Crawford on a runner or somehow a motion creating layups for David Lee or Malik Rose.” Clyde responded with “Second opportunities Al. On rebounds, missed shots.” On queue Malik Rose gets offensive rebound, and passes to Fred Jones who nails an open 3. I found this one to be particularly interesting, because the night before Knicks announcer Kenny Smith stated that the Knicks can’t have Lee or Balkman on the floor for large stretches because the offense is playing “5 on 4”. And while Kenny Smith is saying those words, Lee and Balkman grab a few rebounds for easy scores.

Shortly after Al asked “What did the Knicks do to slow the Milwaukee momentum there?” Clyde replied “Well they started to score, then deny them uncontested shots.”