Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Price Cap Room?

For some time now, many of us here at Knickerblogger.net have felt that the Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey, would never acquire Jared Jeffries in a deal for TMCEC (Tracy McGrady’s Corpse and his Expiring Contract), because Morey is considered to be one of the smartest GMs out there, and what smart GM would ever trade for Jared Jeffries, who is due to make almost $7 million next year.

Well, on Monday, we may have learned what a guy like Morey wants in exchange for the Knicks getting rid of Jeffries’ contract. And now the question becomes – is the very high cost worth it?

Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears at Yahoo! Sports are reporting that the basic framework of a deal exists that is nearing completion between the Knicks and the Rockets that would involve the Knicks sending Jared Jeffries, 2009 #8 pick Jordan Hill, either Al Harrington or Larry Hughes plus (and here’s the kicker) the right to swap 2011 first round picks, an unprotected 2012 first round pick and possibly a 2010 second round pick. In return, the Knicks would received TMCEC and filler (Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook if is Larry Hughes going to Houston and Joey Dorsey if it is Al Harrington going to Houston).

All three Rockets players likely would be renounced this offseason after the deal is completed (Cook and McGrady are free agents, while the Knicks would own a team option for Dorsey for slightly less than a million).

At that point, the Knicks would have only $17,782,904 in committed salaries for the 2010-11 season (plus a little under $4 million in cap holds).

Even if the cap comes in at, say, $53 million, the Knicks would have slightly less than $32 million to spend on free agents.

So, is that $32 million (possibly more) worth giving up your 2009 first round pick, your 2012 first round pick, plus swapping your 2011 first round pick (and possibly also a 2010 second round pick)?

I think I’d personally lean towards yes, but it’s about as rough of a trade as I can imagine, so Morey deserves a lot of credit for driving an extremely hard bargain, knowing that the Knicks are so desperate for that cap room that they’d give him pretty much anything he wanted.

If the Knicks go out and sign Lebron James and another MAX player like Wade or Bosh (or hell, just Lebron James and other good free agents like David Lee and, I dunno, Marcus Camby), then this trade is clearly a winner. But what are the odds of the Knicks getting the top free agents out there?

The local sportswriters are showering Walsh with praise over the possible deal, suggesting he should get Executive of the Year if the trade goes through, but be sure to ignore those fellows. Not that they are dumb or anything, but when your whole position for months (like Marc Berman) is that there is absolutely no chance that the Knicks could ever trade Jared Jeffries, then of course you’re going to go overboard for a trade that involves trading him.

If you’ve been looking at it from the perspective most of us have been looking at it for awhile (that it is unlikely but not impossible, depending on what sweeteners you throw into the deal), then you wouldn’t be nearly as hyperbolic about the trade.

One thing is for sure – if this trade goes down, we’ll begin to see the Knicks brought up a lot more in national discussions about the 2010 offseason, but that’s just about the only truly tangible thing I can say about this trade – it once again gets the Knicks into the 2010 offseason playing field – is that worth what they’re possibly giving up?

ETA: I adjusted the cap room for the cap holds.

181 comments on “What Price Cap Room?

  1. Ted Nelson

    Good analysis, Brian.

    Theoretically, I would say you have to weigh the probability of getting different combos of FAs and the expected payoff of each vs. the expected payoffs of the draft picks and Hill (which in turn depends largely on what the Knicks do with their cap space).
    Since we’re talking about LeBron and Wade, though, I guess you can just invoke the 1% doctrine and say it’s worth it (even a 1% chance at a player like that is worth going to extraordinary measures.
    It’s a really high price and a big risk, though, as I wasted a bunch of time repeating endlessly in the last thread.
    Morey doesn’t have THAT much leverage, and I was encouraged to at least hear the rumor that Walsh threw a 2010 1st coming back to NY out there. Maybe he really thinks he can get that, but my guess is that it’s to be able to say ok I’ll take that off the table if you bring down the price or to protect the pics.

    “If the Knicks go out and sign Lebron James and another player (or hell, just Lebron James), then this trade is clearly a winner.”

    If the Knicks get LeBron without using the extra cap space generated from the trade, I would call the trade a clear loser for the Knicks. That would mean they could have gotten LeBron without trading Jeffries along with 87.6 draft picks.

  2. Brian Cronin

    On the 90s Knicks thing, that’s why I couldn’t really get behind the idea of the Knicks being one of the most “tortured” franchises during a recent bit Bill Simmons did.

    The Knicks made the playoffs every year for like twelve years, including four trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and two trips to the NBA Finals. I can’t say that I was exactly “tortured” by those years. They were fun. A title would have been more fun, but I was hardly tortured.

  3. BigBlueAL

    Dont say you wasted a bunch of time repeating endlessly in the last thread because even though someone like myself might disagree with you about the magnitude of the risk I still thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and analysis since I know at the least it is well thought out so I hope you dont feel you are wasting your time writing your comments.

    I just think that Walsh feels he needs to be able to tell Lebron and/or Wade that he can sign them plus another max FA to come along with them since there could be a few other teams who may be able to do the same thing so Walsh does not want to go into this off-season with a disadvantage in terms of having less cap space than some other teams. He wants to be in the best possible bargaining advantage going into this off-season and I commend him for at least having a plan and not only sticking to it but seeing that plan out to its fullest capacity.

  4. latke

    The real question here is how likely is it that two of the three primo free agents will change teams? If two of them do, it would make sense that they would look for a team where they could be teammates. The opportunity to become a truly dominant team, to forge a dynasty, would be too much to resist. Not only would this open up the opportunity for huge endorsement dollars, but it would give the two teammates the opportunity to leave a more lasting legacy. Right now, there are only two teams that could have the dough to sign two players to maximum contracts. The first is Miami, and the second is New York. New Jersey, of course, could technically free up these dollars, but none of these players is going to sign there — too much instability with the Brooklyn move looming, too little other talent.

    I imagine Donnie Walsh looking at this like he’s in a poker tournament. He’s sitting with a pretty weak hand, but the blinds keep going up, and pretty soon he’ll have to make a move. Although the odds of winning this hand are small, there are five other players who have invested in the pot, so if he does win, he will likely quintuple up, make him the odds out favorite to win the tournament. I think Walsh knows that the odds of swinging just one of the three available FAs in is slim, let alone the odds of bringing in two, but he also knows that, sooner or later you have to take a risk. You have to sacrifice the probability of staying in the tournament a little longer, and maybe even making a little money, for the chance to win it all. Is now the time to throw in all the chips? I don’t know.

    What do the knicks lose if this all backfires? If LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, all resign or sign elsewhere? A lot, actually. Every championship team all the way back to when I started watching basketball, with the exception of the 2008 Celtics and the 2004 Pistons won their championship with one mega-superstar that they were fortunate enough to draft. Lakers – Kobe, San Antonio – Duncan AND Robinson, Bulls – Jordan AND Pippen, Rockets – Olajuwon. Evidence suggests that you are grasping at straws if you think free agency can solve all your woes. Evidence suggests that the best way to recover from sucking is to suck more, to keep at the lottery until you find a superstar. Once that superstar shows he’s a superstar, then start jettisoning players for draft picks so you can sign veteran all-stars (who you could never build a team around but who can put a good team over the top).

    If I was Donnie Walsh, I’d be looking really closely at what the Blazers did. They got a real player in Brandon Roy. Start a freaking firesale. Accumulate lots of picks. You’ll have all the cap room you could want in two years anyway. Let Curry and Jeffries stick around. Sure, that free agent class isn’t so hot, but there are a few players available. Sacrificing prospects just to get them off the team doesn’t make sense to me. Unless of course Walsh knows more than I do, and LeBron/Bosh/Wade are decently likely to jump ship. IN that case, rock on Donnie!

  5. BigBlueAL

    Funny thing Brian is that as both a die-hard Knicks and Yankees fan growing up as a kid and into my early teen years it was actually more fun being a Knicks fan since they were clearly the better team in the early to mid 90′s by a mile. I always assumed I would see the Knicks win a championship before the Yankees.

    I definitely do not look at that time as being tortured far from it. I look back at those teams with alot of pride and joy and would be more than thrilled if this decade is as successful as the 90′s were for the Knicks.

  6. jon abbey

    still reading about this and thinking about it, and we’ll see what the final form is if it actually goes through, but a couple of thoughts for now:

    1) I did get the impression that if Amare went to Cleveland, he and LeBron would both stay there going forward. thankfully this seems to be dead now.

    2) anyone saying that Walsh pulling off this deal would make him the Executive of the Year needs to be slapped and have their Twitter account revoked. what it would do is possibly put him in position to become a candidate for Executive of the Year, if and only if he translates that cap room into superstars, plus let’s not forget that the 2009 draft will always be a serious black mark on his tenure here.

    3) this deal, again assuming it goes through, further confirms a belief I’ve had for a while: Walsh knows a lot more than we do about the actual intentions of LeBron/Wade/etc. that’s why I don’t think any judgment can be passed until we see how the summer works out, that’s when Walsh’s legacy in NY will largely be determined.

    go Donnie!

  7. kaine

    latke:

    you said “Evidence suggests that you are grasping at straws if you think free agency can solve all your woes”

    I dont’ agree.

    The Lakers, for example, acquired both Kareem and Shaq not trough the draft but thanks to trade\free agency. That road ended with multiple rings.

    So history teaches us that you can land two of most dominant player ever without draft them.

    you don’t know how and when will develop players that you draft.
    with 35 million to spend on free agents you will know exactly which players you will sign.

  8. Brian Cronin

    Another example of the odd treatment of the Knicks by the media – check out ESPN’s take on the Rockets/Knicks trade rumors…

    Knicks desperate for cap room

    The New York Knicks are so desperate to have the most possible cap room this summer to go after two top-flight free agents that they are willing to trade rookie Jordan Hill and future draft picks to get it done.

    The Knicks are getting close to a deal with Houston that would bring Tracy McGrady and his $22 million expiring contract to New York. The Knicks are willing to give up Hill and future picks to entice the Rockets to include Jared Jeffries in the deal. Jeffries will make $6.9 million in 2010-11.

    “We’ve made progress,” a source involved in the talks told the New York Post yesterday.

  9. Brian Cronin

    And Ric Bucher continues with his odd treatment of David Lee:

    DLee guarding ZRandolph in a real NBA All-Star Game. New entry on “Things I Thought I’d Never See” list.

  10. Nick C.

    Brian isn’t that pretty much how much of the board feels, anything to get rid of Jefferies and clear cap space, with nary a thought of building a winner via any means other than Lebron coming over as a FA?

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I fail to see how mortgaging two drafts can be good for long-term growth. Jeffries’ cap figure is situationally bad, but it’s only $6.9M! For an unprotected 1st, a swap (with a team that will finish no worse than 10th, likely), a 2nd rounder, and 1-2 expiring contracts, we should be unloading the Curry deal, which is far worse.

    This move reeks of Isiah. The only difference is that instead of getting projects who (statistics would suggest) will never improve to their “ceilings,” we’re getting the possibility of signing two max FAs, of which the two “best” would likely diminish returns due to their high usage rates and similar positional roles.

  12. Brian Cronin

    Brian isn’t that pretty much how much of the board feels, anything to get rid of Jefferies and clear cap space, with nary a thought of building a winner via any means other than Lebron coming over as a FA?

    I’m saying for pretty much every other team, it’s “Knicks, Rockets close on T-Mac Deal” or something similar.

    For the Knicks, it’s “Knicks desperate for cap room.”

    But obviously, it’s not a big deal, I really shouldn’t let it irk me.

  13. Mike Kurylo

    Put me down in the category of being skeptical of this move. I’ll side with Jon Abbey on “anyone saying that Walsh pulling off this deal would make him the Executive of the Year needs to be slapped and have their Twitter account revoked.”

    Making this trade means that Walsh needs to hit big in free agency. LeBron James or bust. Because if the Knicks fail to get a championship caliber team out of this trade, they’ve just mortgaged their future. And Knick fans don’t have to imagine what will happen if that is the case.

    Honestly I’d be surprised if the Knicks give away this much, I really think the rumor has it wrong. Either Hill, swapping firsts, or a future first sounds about right. Not all three.

  14. d-mar

    Now this is something I like to see, from Brian Windhorst, beat writer for the Cavs:

    “Cavs fans ought to watch Knicks-Hou talks,” wrote Windhorst. “If NYK clears that cap space, they reach goal of having 2 max contract slots. Gamechanger.”

    Gamechanger indeed, be afraid Cavs fans, be very afraid!

  15. Frank

    FYI – via Hahn’s twitter — this great breakdown of the cap situation if this trade goes through as reported:

    http://www.hoopdata.com/recent.aspx?aid=155

    An interesting point is made in the 2nd to last paragraph – if this Amare –> Cleveland thing goes through and it looks like LBJ and Amare like playing together and jointly re-up, then the Eastern Conference Championship will undoubtedly go through CLE for the next 5-6 years. Even if that happens (which is probably a BAD scenario for NYK) — in that case Donnie can more strongly make the argument that Bosh + Wade need to come here together in order to compete with that powerhouse Cavs team, and that Chandler + Gallo + Douglas is a better core than Cook, Beasley, and whoever in Miami.

    The other wild card is whether McGrady is even 80% of the player he was in his prime. His best years were in Orlando (TS 52-56) and of course then he went to Houston, had a bunch of knee injuries, and has had a TS of ~50% since then. Presumably, if Donnie has gone to the lengths to see him work out with Tim Grover and still wants to trade for him, he looks reasonably good and explosive. One curveball in judging his time in Houston (other than his injuries) is the fact that his coach was Jeff Van Gundy – great defensive mind, terrible offensive coach — king of isolations and having your best offensive player chuck up shots regardless of the defense. Is it possible to hope for a D’Antoni effect? Clearly TMac is not the athlete he was back in the ORL days, but for comparison, Shawn Marion had TS in the 52-53 range prior to D’Antoni, then was in the 56-60 range WITH D’Antoni, then has been in the 52-53 range ever since leaving D’Antoni. Just sayin’…

  16. Brian Cronin

    Thanks, Frank, that was a great article.

    I especially like the point a commenter made that re-signing Dorsey might be a feasible plan, since his cap hold is not that much lower than what he would make next year.

    It’s a good point to note that the cap holds are nearly $4 million for next year, leaving the Knicks currently slightly under $32 million in committed salaries if this trade goes through.

  17. JK47

    Let’s be honest: this team isn’t going anywhere unless it adds serious free agent talent. We have no 2010 pick, the 2009 pick looks like kind of a bust, we have no point guard, no frontcourt defense… We do have two decent young wing players (Gallo, Chandler) but that’s about it. I can’t stomach the idea of a long, slow building process with this team… It’ll take FOREVER. There’s already been too much losing, too much embarrassingly bad basketball. This team needs to take steps to respectability NOW, not kvetch about the 2012 draft pick. If we’re still a lottery team in 2012 I think I’ll shoot myself.

  18. TheSportsWatcher

    As the details of the trade are presented here in this article, I don’t think the Knicks can do this unless they know they are getting LeBron James. There can be no uncertainty in this whatsoever, because there is no guarantee at all that the Knicks will be a good team if they have to settle for a Joe Johnson as their leading man.

    I honestly think it will be difficult for the Knicks to attract a second player to come to New York if the roster looks like crap. And without future draft picks to improve the roster, how would the team ever get any better?

    I know this requires collusion, tampering, and violates all kinds of business ethics, but if the Knicks aren’t sure that LeBron James is coming to the squad then they can’t possibly giveaway those kinds of draft picks and Jordan Hill and expect to be prosperous in the future.

  19. Caleb

    It’s a big gamble, But I like the bet.

    Like any bet, first you consider the downside. It’s not that steep. Definitely not Curry-like. If we bag LeBron (or 2 FAs!) our pick will be in the 20s, probably 25+. Even if we whiff and sign two lesser guys (I dunno, Manu & Camby) we’re still a playoff team picking in the late teens – it’s only giving up 5-10 draft spots.

    Call me naive, but I’m not worried about the 2012 pick — NY + D’Antoni with two seasons of mega-max cap room to play with – we will not be in the lottery. It’s not just FAs.. we’ll have the space to absorb huge salary dumps in a trade. Chris Paul, anyone?

    Yeah, Jordan Hill would be a loss, but I don’t see much chance of him turning into a special player.

    Normally, I’m an incremental guy – build long-term, stockpile picks, get value – but this situation is unique. The best player of the last 15 years is a FA and the Knicks have a very real shot. If we miss – having the cap room still gives lots of opportunity.

    On other hand, NOT doing the deal has a huge opportunity cost. Brian is overestimating the cap space a bit (you have a roster charge of $2+ million). Depending where the cap falls, without moving Jeffries, after signing “LeBron” the Knicks would have only $6-10 million left over. I.e. no deal means a good chance of no David Lee.

    Yes, but a nagging voice is telling you that Morey is a smart guy and therefore Walsh is getting suckered. But it’s not like that!

    The Rockets aren’t in position to bag LeBron, anyway — they only have @$10-14 million in cap space (at a cap of $51-55 million cap) — and that’s if they renounce Scola AND Hayes. Re-sign Scola alone and their cap space is down below the mid-level. They’re not going to gamble on a full-court heave of signing LeBron, and it’s not the kind of team that will overpay Bosh or Stoudemire. In that light, taking on Jeffries isn’t much opportunity cost – it’s paying $7 million + Dorsey for Hill, a late first-rounder and a chance to move up in 2011. Plus, adding Harrington for some extra help this season.

    btw, Rockets have a fantastic blog, Red94.

    Includes a great (and loooong) 3-parter on Morey’s philosophy.

  20. Thomas B.

    It would be nice if people would stop saying the “2009 First round pick.” We know that pick was spent on Jordan Hill so why not just say Jordan Hill.

    When you say 2009 First round pick it does not clearly define what is being traded because picks are generally thought of in terms of potential–the pick could turn out to be anyone depending on the where it falls. But that part of the equation is removed since we know the player is Jordan Hill.

    We know a few things about Hill he is high energy, has little inside game, and is a fair shooter. He doesnt bring much on the defensive end and he will always be thought of in terms of the players you really wanted Curry and Rubio. Does anyone here ever mention Hill without mentioning DeJuan Blair?

    When you admit that you never really wanted Hill, that he doesnt look to be a great fit, and isnt contributing much it sort of takes the down the “high cost” of moving JJ. The high cost is: A player you are not high on, moving down in the draft in 2011, and giving up a pick in 2012 that may or may not be protected. Oh and the 2nd rounder which is like giving away a box of M&Ms. So you give up a young player, one future pick, and a box of M&Ms. I really dont see that as a very high cost.

    As far as the Donnie Walsh as executive of the Year, that all depends on what this team looks like in mid july. If you field a good team in 2010 then he did his job.

  21. DS

    Can someone remind us how much more the Cavs, Raptors, and Heat can pay (per year) LBJ, Bosh, and Wade than can the Knicks?

    If the Knicks mortgage all of their draft picks, we have to be certain that we can get these free agents to leave their teams for NY. I remember the summer of 2000, the Bulls (a very big market team) getting burned trying to sign Tim Duncan/McGrady/Grant Hill and ending up overpaying Ron Mercer! Trying to build a champion through free agency has historically been dicey business. I think Shaq to L.A. is the one exception (perhaps the 2003 Pistons).

    Man, if there was any truth to that Jeffries/Nate for Kenny Thomas trade, it really hurts that the Knicks didn’t take it.

  22. mase

    If Dw has the opportunity to trade JJ’s contract for t-mac he has no choice… Houston is holding all the cards, it would be great if we could find a second, periphery deal to swing the momentum to our favor. otherwise we may give up to much…this is better than the world series of poker.

    the team to watch in the next 48 hours is definately miami, if they step up to the plate and make a t-mac move, i dont see us having a plan B… on second thought, using David Lee in a trade would become our plan b but where?

  23. Mike Kurylo

    According to that hoopdata article:

    In full, under this projection, the Knicks would have two max contract players, Gallinari, Douglas, Chandler, a free agent with a deal starting at 1,875,523, and then six minimum contract players to round things out. That is all they would be able to add. There is no MLE, there are no Bird Rights for David Lee and Nate Robinson, there is nothing else. In order to use your cap space, you must renounce all your exceptions, including the MLE and any player Bird Rights you have.

  24. mase

    bird rights?, MLE?

    who needs it when you have lebron and Joe Johnson as the nucleus of your team.

    lets do this trade already!

  25. Frank

    “In full, under this projection, the Knicks would have two max contract players, Gallinari, Douglas, Chandler, a free agent with a deal starting at 1,875,523, and then six minimum contract players to round things out. That is all they would be able to add. There is no MLE, there are no Bird Rights for David Lee and Nate Robinson, there is nothing else. In order to use your cap space, you must renounce all your exceptions, including the MLE and any player Bird Rights you have.”

    Naturally it all depends on how well McGrady plays, but if we can somehow parlay the 33-35MM into Lebron + McGrady + Lee…that would be great. McGrady’s days of being anywhere near a max player are very much gone, so Lebron at 17, McGrady at 8, and Lee at 10 million (or something like that) would be a great haul IMO, assuming McGrady can still play… You could start an all 6’8″ – 6’10″ team with Lebron, McGrady, Gallo, Chandler, and Lee, with Douglas off the bench to guard the little speedy PGs. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that McGrady A) will be worth resigning and B) would ever take 50% of the max, but hey, why not.

  26. danvt

    “So you give up a young player, one future pick, and a box of M&Ms”

    Very succinct and nicely put. Still it would be good if the 2012 pick were protected, just to guard against what happened to our pick this coming summer. Still, if we clear the space there will be no lottery in 2012.

    I, also, just want to say that Lebron and Wade looked pretty good together out there at the All-Star Game. I don’t see why we’d want Bosh over Wade, with LBJ.

    Even if we whiff on LBJ and D-wade it’s worth doing this deal. We get a good player this summer (Bosh), keep some money in our pocket, and see who’s out there in another year. I’m willing to rebuild as long as I see some genuine improvement.

  27. Brian Cronin

    Maybe it’s wishful thinking that McGrady A) will be worth resigning and B) would ever take 50% of the max, but hey, why not.

    It’s a really interesting question to see how much T-Mac will get this offseason if he’s halfway decent.

    An injury-prone veteran whose production has declined every season for the past 5 seasons? How much can he possibly expect?

  28. Mike Kurylo

    “So you give up a young player, one future pick, and a box of M&Ms”

    Add David Lee and Nate Robinson, if the goal is two max guys.

    That seems awfully wasteful if the idea is to shoot for two max guys. If that’s the plan, then why not trade these guys as well? I guess you could get something in return for a sign & trade this summer, but you could also end up with nothing for them.

  29. Brian Cronin

    I guess you could get something in return for a sign & trade this summer, but you could also end up with nothing for them.

    I believe the rumors are for Nate that the Knicks are pursuing trades for him, and almost certainly it will be something like “An expiring contract and a second round draft pick” or maybe a first rounder from a good team (Boston is supposedly interested in Nate).

    As for Lee, they don’t want to trade him because while the goal is two max guys, they might have to “settle” for re-signing Lee, and if that’s the case, it’s better to hold on to him, especially since, if the Knicks take his cap hold into account and then use up all the rest of the cap space on, say, I dunno, Joe Johnson and Marcus Camby, then the Knicks can exceed the cap to give Lee more than his cap hold, and then could effectively match any offer Lee could get.

  30. Thomas B.

    And the thing we are all overlooking with the proposed deal:

    Is NO ONE concerned about losing Al Harrington?! Who will do the spin move drives into triple coverage now?! Al Harrington combines the “shoot first” mentality of Randolph with the “any shot is a good shot” approach of Jamal Crawford. How do we replace that?

  31. Thomas B.

    “’So you give up a young player, one future pick, and a box of M&Ms’

    “Add David Lee and Nate Robinson, if the goal is two max guys.”

    But that isnt news. Didn’t we always think that Lee and Nate had to be renounced to make the best FA offer? We all pretty much thought Lee had to go unless JJ was moved somehow. Moving JJ is worth it if you can keep Lee. It is still worth it if you get two top guys.

    If the goal is two top guys then move Lee and nate now for a boat load of picks if you can get them and if the rules allow it.

  32. rrude

    Given how terrible the Knicks have been historically at drafting I suppose the risks involved in this trade idea aren’t that great. (Donnell, Frederic, Monty, and company are all nodding in agreement.)

    That said, I don’t agree with the idea that rebuilding has to be painful. Look at Portland (agreeing with Latke) here. What’s painful is watching a bunch of older, retread vets with seriously flawed games and unsympathetic personalities. What’s fun is watching younger players who may or may not pan out, but at least there’s some unknown quantity to be revealed.

    No guarantee we get any of the big FA’s, or that even getting LBJ equals a championship (hasn’t worked out for Cleveland yet). So trading away all possibility of getting a great player at the start of his career is a bit depressing.

    But then Sweetney, Renaldo, Walter , Dontae and the 2 Johns start murmuring in the background…

  33. Frank O.

    Brian:
    Nice read.
    I also liked what Caleb wrote and what Jon Abbey wrote…

    It’s a gamble, no doubt. I was at first not liking the deal, but when Jeffries was alleged to be part of the deal, I flipped.
    I thought the Knicks needed to consider giving up a lot more to get the cap space to make a play for the big FAs.

    So I like this move.

    But so much depends on what is done with the cap space. The jury will be out for some time on these moves.

    I’m not upset about giving up Hill. I’m not sure there were many people who liked the Knicks picking him. His upside had a low ceiling in my view. I also agree that we aren’t likely to have a high pick in 2012, so I’m not too upset about losing it.
    And remember that Curry’s $11.3 million contract comes off the books in 2011, giving the Knicks even more room.

    I’m decidedly in favor of this move, but it is just a step in the right direction. I have to believe max money in New York is worth more than max money in Cleveland or Miami.

  34. TheRooster8

    I am not sure why everyone looks at this as such a “gamble” of a deal. The gamble was picking Jordan Hill with the 8 pick. He has shown nothing that demonstrates he will even be an above average power forward. If the knicks are making the playoffs, and hopefully winning a series or two at the least for the next two years, the draft picks are meaningless. The bottom line is this is what Walsh’s plan has been since year 1. Even if it does not work to the tune of LBJ or Wade, it puts us in a MUCH better position than before. Now we can at least offer LBJ another legit player. Or if he passes, You can go to Bosh and Joe Johnson and still have decent money left over. TMAC is best case 22mill of the cap, worst case….nothing, because they don’t have to resign him. Also, I have a hard time Amare will agree to a deal in Cleveland without LBJ first agreeing to a long term deal. He has said for some time that he will only play in a big market, so why would he resign, and assume LBJ is going to as well?

    ABBEY:
    “1) I did get the impression that if Amare went to Cleveland, he and LeBron would both stay there going forward.”

    That’s an interesting take, because last week when I suggested making a run at Amare, you seemed to think he wouldn’t help in attracting LBJ. Now he is the missing piece? However, you of all people should be thrilled with this trade proposal, as it makes your “dream team” at least vaguely, nearly, almost possible.

  35. ess-dog

    Morey is a bastard, but I would still go for it. The chance to pair Wade and Lebron would be unprecedented (I know Bosh is an option too, but you have to go for Wade first I think.) As was stated, the only other teams that can achieve this are New Jersey (no coach, stuck in Jersey until 2012, a few good players but not extrodinary) and Miami (arguably a worse core group than NYK even without Lee, a nobody coach, a stupid logo, and great weather.) NY has literally every player (except Steph’s) favorite coach, probably the best young player (Gallo) on any of those teams (Beasley and Lopez are solid but almost maxed at their potential in my opinion), the best city in the world, advertising center of the world, and shitty weather, but better than Cleveland’s.
    And the future still looks bright after we get Bron and Wade. Not sure how we use Chandler unless Wade becomes a point guard, but maybe a line up of Douglas (luckiest sophmore in the world), Wade, Gallo, Bron, and a center. Maybe Curry can get it together and actually play with this group (not likely.) Maybe Bender will play for the minimum and can bulk up? Chandler I guess would become a bench player? Of course it’s easier if you go after either Lee or Bosh as we would really need a center. I’m sure Landry would come back at around the minimum. Maybe we can get another pg like Arroyo for the $1.8 mil.
    So an 8 player rotation of Wade, Bron, Gallo, Chandler, Douglas, Landry, Bender, Arroyo is possible. Then you have Curry, a 2nd rounder and filler on the bench. Maybe we keep Dorsey on board.
    Not Bad.
    But remember, halfway through 2010/11 we can then move Curry’s expiring for an extra piece – a center or a point guard or an extra bench player. Maybe we get an Okafor type, another boarder.
    I like this trade b/c Dorsey is a great throw in. He could be a David Lee type rebounder given the minutes.
    There are still question marks, but given the possibilities, I think we have to go for it.

  36. Ted Nelson

    Thanks, BBA. Appreciate it. I meant that I literally “wasted” all afternoon and evening on posting.

  37. Nick C.

    If you think this is the only way to possibly get LeBron then there is no choice, since as pointed pout that’s been the sole focus of the organization wince Walsh came here. But if they whiff on LeBron or Wade, well, I don’t see how this team is not lottery bound or on the cusp. People that think otherwise, quickly forget that the prior GM, and many of his then fans, never thought the NYK would be so bad that the Curry picks needed protection and surely that by 2011 the pick should be protected. Basketball wise its an insane deal get Joey Dorsey and TMac’s husk a pair of #1 picks and our own underachieving #1 pick Jordan Hill who has as much of a shot and has shown as much to date as Dorsey (namely not much).

  38. latke

    “The Lakers, for example, acquired both Kareem and Shaq not trough the draft but thanks to trade\free agency. That road ended with multiple rings.

    So history teaches us that you can land two of most dominant player ever without draft them.”

    Kareem was before my day, so I had to consult Wikipedia: “In 1979, the Lakers acquired 1st overall draft pick Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The trade and draft paved the way for a second Abdul-Jabbar dynasty as the Lakers went on to become the most dominant team of the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five NBA championships. Individually, while Abdul-Jabbar was not the dominant center he was in the 1970s, he experienced a number of highlight moments.”

    Jabbar’s Laker teams were mediocre to crappy until the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson. Likewise, Shaq was good, but was he clearly the best player on the Lakers? Kobe! Sure, Shaq was probably better than Kobe that first season, but after that it was even steven.

    THe bottom line is there’re no examples of teams WITHOUT superstars have brought in a superstar in his prime. KG in decline. Ray Allen was in decline. THey had just enough juice to put it together for one last run.

  39. jon abbey

    “That’s an interesting take, because last week when I suggested making a run at Amare, you seemed to think he wouldn’t help in attracting LBJ. Now he is the missing piece?”

    not the same thing. if they were both in Cleveland, LeBron could get the max salary and not piss off his home state, while playing with the best player he’s ever played with, albeit one who’s selfish, a sieve on D, and not nearly as good as he thinks. also, I don’t think LeBron needs much help to win this year’s title, but replacing Hickson with Amare would make them close to a lock.

  40. Ted Nelson

    latke,

    I don’t know if NJ/Brooklyn will attract any FAs or not, but it won’t be because of supporting talent. They’ve got good players at the 1 and 5, and the big FAs all play 2-4. Terrance Williams looks alright. AND they’ll have a top 4 pick in the draft.

    I’m not big on your analogy. If Walsh thinks he has a weak hand, why go all in? Who is he bluffing? The people who decide how strong his hand is go by the names of James, Wade, and Bosh. He can’t bluff them. They are the cards as well in a sense.
    If he’s going all in you have to think he likes his hand at least somewhat if not a lot. Why throw away picks NOT to use the cap space very constructively?

    Evidence is not all against free agency. Shaq was a bigger star than Kobe (who was drafted with the last pick of the lottery by the Hornets and acquired by the Lakers for a veteran).

    The Trail-Blazers did not have the possibility of signing LeBron AND Wade… maybe the two best players on the planet. This is a pretty unprecedented situation.

  41. Ted Nelson

    jon,

    “plus let’s not forget that the 2009 draft will always be a serious black mark on his tenure here.”

    It’s WAY too early to say that.

    “while playing with the best player he’s ever played with”

    The best SCORER he’s ever played with, definitely. Maybe the best player, too, but that’s at least debatable.

    “replacing Hickson with Amare would make them close to a lock.”

    Yeah, the Lakers suck. No way does the best front line in basketball and Kobe ever win a title… oh, wait…

  42. TheRooster8

    How does Amare make the Cavs a lock this year? He still plays little to no defense….which is exactly how the Cavs win. He plays a run and gun offense, the opposite of what the Cavs try and do. He has already played with Shaq and that failed miserably. Yet you think adding him at midseason makes the Cavs a lock?

    “People that think otherwise, quickly forget that the prior GM, and many of his then fans, never thought the NYK would be so bad that the Curry picks needed protection and surely that by 2011 the pick should be protected.”

    WHO THOUGHT THIS? This train was mostly panned when it happened. I don’t recall many in the know to be trumpeting this trade, in fact most thought it was stupid at the time. That GM was Isiah, a great player, but a failed executive time and again.

  43. Ted Nelson

    Brian,

    Dorsey has scored 13 pts in a season and a half… Maybe he gets it together, but I doubt the Knicks have to keep his hold: they could almost definitely renounce him and still bring him back on a minimum deal (unless he explodes for 30 games… and probably even then).

    JK47,

    A rebuilding process does not have to be slow.

    Caleb,

    I agree about the gamble, but not about the downside. Who says Manu wants to come to NY? Who says Camby wants money and not a ring? So, Knicks are probably overpaying. Who says either can stay healthy? Who says aging man Manu + old man Camby = playoffs? The downside is very similar to the Curry deal. I would have made a similar argument about a team with Marbury, Crawford, Curry, Ariza, 3 1st round rookies, Antonio Davis… one year removed from a playoff run and having added Larry Brown as coach and–as ridiculous as it sounds now–it would have made a lot of sense…. maybe they won’t make the playoffs, but they won’t lose 59 games… oh, wait. And I’m not too worried about the 2007 pick, because by then Larry Brown will have had a full season with them and Isiah’s picks will be maturing… oh, wait.

    I also disagree about Morey not suckering Walsh. You are right that he doesn’t have much cap space. So, what’s he giving up? Next to nothing. If he intends to exercise the option on Hayes and re-sign Scola and re-sign Lowry… he might actually be better off just being capped out so he has the full MLE to throw at a Mike Miller or Ray Allen or whoever. So, he gives up little and gets not 1, not 2, not 3, but 3.5 picks???? Sounds like he’s suckering Walsh to me. This is why the headlines say that the Knicks are DESPERATE for cap space, by the way Brian, because they are.

    Now, I don’t necessarily mind that they’re desperate for cap space with this opportunity on the board. I just hope Walsh negotiates Morey down to 2 picks or so… which means taking 2 things off the table. That would make it a different deal to me.

  44. latke

    Ted,

    I’m not all against the move. I think it’s a difficult choice. The analogy is a poor one, but what I mean by his hand is the probability that LBJ will come here. The probability is low (thus the weak hand), but the pot is so huge (LBJ) that it’s worth staying in just for the small chance that you’ll win. To extend the metaphor, let’s say Donnie is sitting with a 2 and a 3 of hearts on the turn. There’s a 4, 6, 7 of spades on the board, along with an Ace of hearts. All ten players are in, and the betting has been huge, so the pot right now is at 100 million dollars. Donnie’s stack sits at 1 million. There are ten players, so there’s a good chance that someone has already made a flush (the Cavs), and Donnie is drawing dead. There’s also a decent chance that the river will be a spade, virtually guaranteeing that someone makes a flush. Furthermore, even if that 5 comes, someone may have an eight, making a bigger straight. All these things make the probability of Walsh winning the hand about 2%. Nonetheless, he only has to invest his last million dollars to to have a chance at winning $110 million. That puts his pot odds at 110:1. Because the reward is so great, the best value move for Walsh is to throw in his last million and hope that he gets lucky.

    Alternatively (and now abandoning my overwrought metaphor), Walsh could save the picks, work out a sign and trade for Lee this summer that brings some decent picks/prospects along with some decent players. I think the best way to look at the “don’t do the trade argument” is to consider the possibility that starting in 2012, the knicks could potentially have Gallinari, along with several prospects that have as much potential as Gallinari. Wouldn’t you be excited about that team? And although there’re no guarantees in the draft, the probability of the knicks being able to put themselves in this situation is significantly higher than the probability that they will acquire LBJ. Likewise, entering th 2010/11 season with cap space is not a bad thing. Cap flexibility opens up all kinds of trade opportunities where you can actually acquire players with good contracts for next to nothing. You give a mediocre team cap relief and take back their languishing star (or their draft picks). Teams are going to be freaking out next season at the prospect of the new CBA. Being able to offer cap relief is going to be an even more important asset.

    My last point is this: Wade, personality-wise, doesn’t seem a good match with NY. I don’t see him signing here unless LBJ has already committed, or POSSIBLY if Bosh does. Bosh is not the same caliber player as LBJ or even Wade. He is an all-star, but when you compare him to other premiere PF/Cs around the league, he doesn’t stand out. For example, Dwight Howard is clearly superior, and Dirk, Duncan, Gasol, and Amare are all similar or superior to Bosh. Just look at Toronto. They have a roster that, outside of Bosh, is only slightly inferior to NY’s, and they aren’t a great team by any means. So what I’m getting at here is the only thing that makes this move worthwhile is if LBJ signs here. Otherwise, the knicks commit to a “win now” mentality — they’ve sacrificed their picks — and probably end up with a low-seed playoff competitor that has no real chance at a championship.

  45. ess-dog

    I think Hill, and the 2012 pick seems like enough. The pick swap in 2011 is just cruel.
    I hope Walsh is looking into back up Jeffries trades. The Camby trade seems ridiculous. Blake and Outlaw? Can’t we have a backup trade of Jeffries and Hill (and maybe a pick) for Camby on the other stove?

  46. jon abbey

    Ted,

    “plus let’s not forget that the 2009 draft will always be a serious black mark on his tenure here.”

    It’s WAY too early to say that.

    ====================

    I said it on draft day, nothing has changed my mind since.

  47. Ted Nelson

    Thomas,

    Hill’s still got a lot of room for growth… he’s still largely an unknown commodity. So, unless Walshtoni hate him, he’s still largely a draft pick.

    “So you give up a young player, one future pick, and a box of M&Ms. I really dont see that as a very high cost.”

    That’s the best case. The worst case is that Hill develops into a skinnier Kurt Thomas (or even better). The picks are unprotected and the Knicks give up top 5 picks in 2011 and 2012 (the #1 pick both years if you want to talk about the absolute worst case). The Rockets kind another Landry or Budinger in the second round. Most likely the reality would fall somewhere in the middle. Where is a very good question, though. Considering his background I assume Morey has a better grasp of the probabilities than Walsh. Now, it still may be a mutually beneficial deal if Walsh uses the extra cap space well, but he needs to at least guard against the worst case.

    “I remember the summer of 2000, the Bulls (a very big market team) getting burned trying to sign Tim Duncan/McGrady/Grant Hill and ending up overpaying Ron Mercer!”

    Also part of the worst case scenario.

    mase,

    “If Dw has the opportunity to trade JJ’s contract for t-mac he has no choice… Houston is holding all the cards”

    Not exactly. If they don’t trade T-Mac Houston does not have 3 Knicks picks, or Hill, or Harrington/Hughes, or Jeffries. They’ve got the leverage, but if they let T-Mac’s contract expire for nothing they may regret it.

  48. Z

    “it would be good if the 2012 pick were protected, just to guard against what happened to our pick this coming summer.”

    What happened to our pick this summer was that it WAS protected. If we hadn’t protected it, the Knicks would have lost the Channing Frye pick. All in all, not such a big loss. Protecting picks feels good, but in the end it makes 0 difference whether you pay now or pay later. At some point you have to surrender the pick.

    As for the McGrady trade in general, I just hope Walsh isn’t so enamored by the prospect of McGrady returning to 2002′s McGrady that he passes on a much more simple, less-costly trade. Would Memphis really not trade Hunter and Williams for Jeffries and Hill? Or would Utah really not trade Korver for Jeffries and our 2012 pick? If we are talking about throwing all of our future assets into dumping Jeffries, there must be other takers out there.

  49. Ted Nelson

    “he probability is low (thus the weak hand), but the pot is so huge (LBJ) that it’s worth staying in just for the small chance that you’ll win.”

    Good point. It’s a pretty decent analogy, I was just critiquing it… especially that if Walsh thinks the chance of signing LeBron is bad he shouldn’t do it. He can still do some good things with the cap space he has and not give up those picks/Hill.

    “I think the best way to look at the “don’t do the trade argument” is to consider the possibility that starting in 2012, the knicks could potentially have Gallinari, along with several prospects that have as much potential as Gallinari. Wouldn’t you be excited about that team”

    Yeah, I agree. I think it all boils down to what Walsh thinks the odds are of getting LeBron and Co. and what he’s willing to risk to do it. In that sense poker is a spot on methaphor/analogy/whatever.

    “And although there’re no guarantees in the draft, the probability of the knicks being able to put themselves in this situation is significantly higher than the probability that they will acquire LBJ.”

    I don’t know if it is or not. Walsh is not the slash-and-burn, rebuild-by-tanking type.

    “Wade, personality-wise, doesn’t seem a good match with NY.”

    How come?

    “He is an all-star, but when you compare him to other premiere PF/Cs around the league, he doesn’t stand out. For example, Dwight Howard is clearly superior, and Dirk, Duncan, Gasol, and Amare are all similar or superior to Bosh.”

    Besides Howard, I don’t think I would definitely take any of those guys over Bosh. Duncan is/was amazing, but he’s old. Dirk, also old. Gasol was in a similar situation to Bosh before being shipped to play with Kobe. Amare is worse than Bosh, in my opinion.

    “So what I’m getting at here is the only thing that makes this move worthwhile is if LBJ signs here.”

    Mostly agree. It’s not 100%, though. For example, a Paul trade would be AMAZING (and hard to pull off without any draft picks between now and forever… that’s an interesting point for the cap space = Chris Paul reasoning… Knicks would have little to give NO besides cap space… I don’t think Paul is getting traded until trade deadline 2012 anyway). Other possibilities are few and far between, but who could see a Jalen Rose trade and a Dale Davis trade leading to a serious contender when Walsh was in Indy?

  50. ess-dog

    I can’t believe that Camby continues to be had so cheap (The Portland trade went through.) He’s a great defensive big.

  51. Ricky_J

    I like judging deals by the adage that a good negotiation results in both parties walking away unhappy. I don’t see how Morey wouldn’t leave the table skipping and giggling in this case.

    I’m still for pulling the trigger but it underscores that Houston has the upperhand by a wide margin. Damn you, Isiah!

  52. Ted Nelson

    “I said it on draft day, nothing has changed my mind since.”

    Not saying you’re wrong, Jon, just that it’s way too early to say that with any certainty.

    Neither guy has been an outright bust to date. Both can realistically be expected to turn into solid NBA players. Expected meaning it’s a likely possibility that may or may not come to pass. If Hill can become at least a solid defender and shot maker and Douglas can defend and shoot the lights out while rounding out his game even a tiny bit… it’s a solid enough draft and not a black mark.

    I agree, though, that he probably could have done better. If nothing else, maybe he could have gotten his bud Kahn to take Jeffries and #8 without including 2010, 2011, and 2012 draft picks…

  53. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    I agree. The Clippers are one of the least rationale franchises in sports, though.

    Ricky_J,

    Yeah, both sides may end up happy. That’s a good point. I think Morey would still be happy walking away with significantly less, though, and hope Walsh negotiates him down.

  54. Thomas B.

    @ 51 Ted,
    “Hill’s still got a lot of room for growth…”

    Unless you mean his hair, I don’t see it.

    “The worst case is that Hill develops into a skinnier Kurt Thomas (or even better). ”

    Bwahahaha!! Sure hey why stop there, why not make him a skinnier Karl Malone?

    “The picks are unprotected and the Knicks give up top 5 picks in 2011 and 2012 (the #1 pick both years if you want to talk about the absolute worst case).”

    Now you are just playing a game. The odds of getting a top pick are not good. The odds of getting two overall number 1′s in back-to-back years are like winning the powerball. Has any team every done that since the lottery began?

    Where does it stop Ted? Do you next type: “Worst case we sign LBJ and he losses both legs in a lumberjack accident while filming a commercial for Burger King in Nova Scotia the day before the season starts.” I think you’ve been watching “Final Destination” a bit too often with these ludicrous doomsday scenarios you invent.

  55. jon abbey

    Bill Simmons in his current column:

    “If I’m a Knicks fan, my Summer of 2010 Worst-Case Scenario is Amar’e and Rudy Gay. That’s taking me to a 6-seed every spring.

    (You know what’s really sad? Every Knicks fan just said, “A 6-seed every spring? I’ll take it!”)”

    I don’t think too many people would be happy with that, but it’s not an awful worst case scenario.

  56. BigBlueAL

    Apparently now the Rockets trade will include Hughes and not Harrington since he is supposedly going to definitely be traded in a separate deal with the Tyrus Thomas deal being the most rumored right now. Im going to get a massive headache for the next 48 hours reading all these rumors….

  57. Ricky_J

    “Now you are just playing a game. The odds of getting a top pick are not good. The odds of getting two overall number 1’s in back-to-back years are like winning the powerball. Has any team every done that since the lottery began?”

    Orlando getting Shaq & Penny was pretty close although not quite consecutive #1s

  58. Ted Nelson

    “Unless you mean his hair, I don’t see it.”

    I think it’s pretty clear. I’m not saying “he will get better” let alone “he will get better to the point where he’s an excellent #8 pick.” Just saying “he CAN get better.”

    He makes stupid defensive mistakes by overcommitting, being out of position, biting on fakes, etc. His defense can definitely improve, become more savvy.
    He has a sweet shooting stroke, but a sub .500 TS%. His scoring efficiency can improve. He’s hitting 47% of his FGs, just needs to develop an inside game and/or get to the line and/or develop a 3 pt shot. One of the three is not a stretch.
    His stats really aren’t that bad, anyway. Not for a rookie. They’re not good, but they don’t have “doesn’t belong in the NBA” written all over them. 15 and 9 per 36. Low TOs. 73% from FT line. PER of 16.3. If his scoring efficiency improves and be a good defender… That’s a very solid lottery pick.

    “Bwahahaha!! Sure hey why stop there, why not make him a skinnier Karl Malone?”

    That quote is taken out of context. I did not say that the worst case development for Hill is Kurt Thomas. I said that the worst case situation for the Knicks to have happen starts with Hill reaching his realistic ceiling as a skinny Kurt Thomas.

    Because Karl Malone is a HOFer. Hill has a sweet J and defensive potential. Somewhere around skinny Brian Grant is totally possible (maybe I can think of an actual skinny guy to compare him to…). Skinny Kurt Thomas is a step up from Brian Grant (in my opinion, although Grant made more money).

    “Now you are just playing a game. The odds of getting a top pick are not good. The odds of getting two overall number 1’s in back-to-back years are like winning the powerball. Has any team every done that since the lottery began?”

    Read: absolute worst case. I said two top 5s and then two #1s in parenthesis.
    The odds of a team of Gallo, Chandler, Lee, Gay, and Tony Douglas getting two top 5 picks is reasonably high. I wouldn’t call it likely, but I would call it worth guarding against.

    “Where does it stop Ted? Do you next type: “Worst case we sign LBJ and he losses both legs in a lumberjack accident while filming a commercial for Burger King in Nova Scotia the day before the season starts.” I think you’ve been watching “Final Destination” a bit too often with these ludicrous doomsday scenarios you invent.”

    The Knicks missing out on LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Johnson is hardly a ludicrous event. It’s probably the most likely outcome. IF you miss on those guys, what do you do? Nothing that guarantees you’re not a lottery team.

    By giving worst case scenarios I might have weakened my case. I meant them to point out that anything can happen. All I really need to say is that the Knicks miss on the big FAs and their back-up plan results in a lottery team… now they are a lottery team without lottery picks… very familiar situation for us Knicks fans.

  59. Ted Nelson

    “Orlando getting Shaq & Penny was pretty close although not quite consecutive #1s”

    They got consecutive #1s and traded Webber for Hardaway, actually.

  60. Ted Nelson

    jon,

    Great comment! For once I actually agree with Simmons. That is literally the scenario I am fearing (not my worst case scenario, though). Gay would be such a waste, since Chandler gives you the same production. Amare would also be a waste if signing he and Gay meant no Lee.

  61. Ted Nelson

    Z,

    I think it’s generally good practice to protect your picks. In this case it would not be, say, top 20 protection since Houston really wants the picks (hopefully just one pick when it’s said and done) soon, it would just be maybe top 10 one year and then top 5 the next or something (or reverse that order). Not postponed indefinitely, but not forcing the Knicks to bank so heavily on free agency 2010. Atlanta, for example, would have lost the pick that got them Horford but instead gave Phoenix the Robin Lopez pick. They paid later, and paid a lot less.

    Agree with your second paragraph completely. Good point.

  62. Thomas B.

    @ 63 and 64 fair enough–and thanks for keeping your sense of humor.

    That happened once between 85 and 93. Since Orlando pulled that off, the lottery has been significantly tweaked to prevent such a thing unless the team was just super bad for two years. Hence it has not occured from 94 through 2009, nor has it even come close.

    Even when the Knicks sucked butt following the Curry trade we sent the 2nd and the 9th picks to the Bulls. Not consecutive number 1s not even two top 5s. In any year you can have a top 5 pick and still take the wrong player. Paging Sheldon Williams, Mr. Williams there is a call for you on line one.

    “Nothing that guarantees you’re not a lottery team.” Of course, but you can significantly reduce the odds of being in the lottery by attracting talented players under a talented coach. Even without LBJ, Bosh,or Wade, the Knicks can still get some talent. There are players out there who would love to be in NY if only to no longer play in obscurity.

  63. Ted Nelson

    I’m just saying not to diminish the risk of giving up so many future and past picks. It’s a high price to pay; although, probably worth it.

    I’m very worried that if the Knicks miss out on the big 4 they’ll keep swinging big. I hope Walsh has the sense to take some singles and doubles and walks rather than swing for the fences on Amare, Gay, Boozer, etc. You can sign the wrong player as easily as draft the wrong player. Hopefully this is all moot and the Knicks get LeBron AND Wade AND draft the next Manu Ginobili with their remaining 2nd rounder AND trade for Chris Paul AND sign the next Ben Wallace undrafted AND they all get along and win 10 straight rings…

    By the way, his first season in NY Kurt Thomas (26 that season) put up 12 and 9 per 36 with a TS% of .489……. If Hill makes big strides in terms of defensive consistency I think Thomas is totally possible. He seems to put in the effort and energy defensively, too, which is a good sign: he seems to want to be good defensively.

    Joe Smith could maybe be a good skinny comparison to Jordan Hill: good rebounder including offensive, decent shot blocking 4, low TO, medium scoring volume. He’s regarded as a bust since he was the #1 overall pick, but he had a good career. And Smith FINISHED his career with numbers very similar to Hill’s rookie numbers (Smith career: 15, 9, and 1 block per 36, .514 TS%), so that assumes Hill makes little improvement. I don’t really mind trading away Joe Smith Jr., but he’s worth something in a trade.

  64. Brian Cronin

    I just begun reading Simmons’ trade column, which I typically like, but I’m already a bit put off by Gallo not making the list. Right now Gallo has to have more value than David Lee (who I think it accurately listed at #36 out of 40, although I could see an argument for Lee not making the list at all).

    ETA: The final piece, though, was good as a whole.

  65. Z

    “I think it’s generally good practice to protect your picks…Atlanta, for example, would have lost the pick that got them Horford but instead gave Phoenix the Robin Lopez pick. They paid later, and paid a lot less.”

    People like to site the Eddy Curry trade as a reasons to protect picks. Let’s just say Isiah had protected the pick to the tune of top 15 in 2006, top 10 in 2007, and top 5 in 2008, then the Knicks would have Tyrus Thomas and the Bulls would have Danillo Gallinari. (Of course, that may not actually be the case depending on how the shuffled picks actually got made, and the fact that the 2007 picks were swapped, etc, but the point is: protecting picks feels good, but for every Al Horford that is retained through protection there could just as easily be a Danillo Gallinari that gets away).

  66. Mike Kurylo

    [venom class='anti-Kobe'] In his career, Kobe has had a PER over 26.2 once. During his tenure with LA, Shaq had a PER under 26.2 only once. Kobe’s highest PER (28.0) was bested by Shaq as a Laker 6 times (and twice more as a Magic). For five consecutive years Shaq led the league in PER, something Kobe never has done (nor will he, as his PER has tumbled to the low-20s).[/venom]

  67. jon abbey

    yeah, I was going to let the Kobe/Shaq thing go, but Mike is dead on. add in that the NBA had to LEGALIZE ZONE DEFENSE to try to slow Shaq down, let me know when Kobe forces a fundamental rule change because of his dominance.

    as Simmons says in his column today, Kobe’s claims to alltime greatness will be largely based on his longevity. I don’t think he’s ever been the single best player in the league, but he’s been in the top 5-10 for a really long time already.

  68. Thomas B.

    @ 70 would we not have LaMarcus Aldridge rather than Thomas? I cant see IT taking Ty Thomas when Aldridge is there at 2. I.T. would not get as cute as the Bulls tried to get. SO if we had Aldrige but not Gallinari I would be okay with that, becuase with Aldridge our record imprves and we (may) not be in position to draft Gallinari anyway.

    Kobe/Shaq: Too hard to compare shooting guards to centers to even bother.

  69. Thomas B.

    I do think Kobe’s 2005-2006 season was one where he was the best in the NBA. He was second in PER behind Nowitzki–by a very small margin. You could go with either Kobe or Dirk or even Nash that year. I went with Kobe. if the point is that Kobe has never been the clear cut top player then yes no argument. In each of his best years there is an argument to be made. This is not the case with Jordan or Shaq at their best.

    Longevity counts for something I think. I think being top 3 for 8 years is better than being 1 for 3 years then top 15 for the next 5. But thats just me.

  70. Ted Nelson

    Z,

    The problem with the Knicks as an example is that they were a horribly run franchise. Same with Memphis when they gave up the #2 pick 6 years after acquiring Otis Thorpe. How many teams spend $200 mill per season and still stink? How many have that many high picks and never manage to get any better? If you have good management the assumption is that you will get better and the picks can help you do that. I don’t know how many guys have been taken with restricted picks, but how many “Danilos that got away” are there? Darko is the only one I can think of (not Darko really, the #2 pick in 2003 which easily could have been Melo, Bosh, or Wade…). We’d have to actually see how many guys fall into each category, because I have no idea personally.

    Even in the Knicks case, say Isiah had told Paxson “you know what douchebag… not even you want to sign Curry. Curry is one dimensional and doesn’t defend or rebound. His contract will be uninsured. You have little leverage in this thing. I will give you a pick and a swap to get my new ‘franchise center’ but I’m going to protect them for 6 years citing the Grizz as precedent.” Isiah got robbed, that’s not much of an example for anything that happens among real NBA decision makers. Although, maybe no one told Donnie Walsh that if he does this deal with no protection.

  71. jon abbey

    “I do think Kobe’s 2005-2006 season was one where he was the best in the NBA.”

    heh, that was the season that he basically quit on his team at halftime of game 7 in the first round against Phoenix, one of the weaker points of his resume:

    “Bryant scored only one point and took just three shots in the second half.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=260506021

    that season was indeed Kobe at his most statistically selfish, though, 81 point game and all. tough to argue someone is the best player in the league when their team goes 45-27 and goes out in the first round, though.

  72. Robert Silverman

    Crikey,

    Trade Deadline Day (TD-Day) always makes me so damned jittery. Walsh is probably mainlining Canadian Club and going through a carton of Marlboro Reds a day.

  73. Brian Cronin

    Regarding the Curry trade, I believe Paxson even later said that he would have been willing to make it something like, Top 5 protected – certainly Top 3 Protected (just that he would not have allowed it to be Lottery Protected), which is staggering, then, that Isiah did not ask for that.

    But then again, like folks today, Isiah (and the rest of the NBA) were presuming the Knicks would at least make the playoffs that year (just as folks are presuming the Knicks will make the playoffs in 2012). Still no excuse for his colossal screw-up, just noting that while you certainly can trade unprotected draft picks under the presumption that you’re giving up a non-lottery pick (many teams do so, and their presumptions are often correct), it is a risky endeavor.

  74. Z

    “I don’t know how many guys have been taken with restricted picks, but how many “Danilos that got away” are there? Darko is the only one I can think of (not Darko really, the #2 pick in 2003 which easily could have been Melo, Bosh, or Wade…). We’d have to actually see how many guys fall into each category, because I have no idea personally.”

    We’ll find out about another this summer when the Jazz use our lottery pick (again, a pick that would have been the palatable Channing Frye had it not been protected). We’ll know of another in 2012 when the Clippers and Timberwolves complete the Marko Jaric trade of 2005.

    Yes, these teams at question are three terribly managed franchises (Knicks, Griz, Wolves), but it seems there is a lesson to be learned: protecting picks tends to cause more frustration to your franchise than simply paying-in-full at the time of purchase.

    “Regarding the Curry trade, I believe Paxson even later said that he would have been willing to make it something like, Top 5 protected – certainly Top 3 Protected (just that he would not have allowed it to be Lottery Protected), which is staggering, then, that Isiah did not ask for that.”

    If the pick had been protected, we’d have either Thomas or Aldridge (happy Thomas B.?!), but we’d have no 2008 pick, or 2009 pick, or maybe 2011 pick, depending on how protected the pick had been. We’d all be bitching right now about how Brandon Jennings, or Brook Lopez, or Gallinari, or Demar DeRozan, or Ty Lawson, or Eric Gordon, or Anthony Randolph got away all because of the stupid Eddy Curry trade.

    Meanwhile, we’d be having to shell out lots of money to Aldridge, or be apologizing for wasting a #2 pick on Thomas.

  75. Thomas B.

    @77 I’m sorry. I thought we were just looking at regular season stuff.

    So Kobe quit huh? Yeah Skip bayless said the same. I never heard of a player putting a team on his back (in one of the best clutch performances I’ve seen) to win in game four then get labeled a quitter in game 7. Carries the team in game four, drops 50 in 6 and he is a quitter for having one poor second half when the rest of the team didnt show up for the entire game. Yowza thats harsh. Oh well to each his own. You say tomato, I said tomato.

  76. steveoh

    I’m all for the trade. Honestly, whatever team that has LeBron is gonna be a championship contender, no matter the wreckage of the rest of the roster. The current-day Cavs are a testament to that. So, since that status seems relatively sure for the next 6-8 years, doing anything we can to get him now seems like a gamble we need to take. Adding another max contract gives him another weapon he doesn’t currently have.

    If not, then a Bosh/Wade combo to combat LeBron is the next desirable course of action.

    Getting rid of Jeffries and the draft picks and such puts us in a position to do either.

    And, if we only get one of them, then maybe we hold some space over for 2011 for Chris Paul when Curry’s contract comes off the books.

    And if that none of that works, does it really matter what our roster looks like? It’s gonna be another six years or so where anyone else has a shot again. Getting rid of Jeffries, no matter the cost, gives us a chance.

  77. Z-man

    I am starting to sour on this deal, unless it involves only one draft picks that is lottery-protected. Houston is letting it leak that they have better offers, so I would call their bluff if they start playing hard to get. At some point, you are well served to have draft picks as bargaining chips in the future, not to mention as insurance in case things don’t pan out as expected. T-Mac is most likely done, and LBJ is far from a sure thing even if 2 max spots open up. Hill is far from a bust, and may wind up being a very good player next year.

  78. Thomas B.

    If the pick had been protected, we’d have either Thomas or Aldridge (happy Thomas B.?!),

    No, never. ;-(

  79. Thomas B.

    The nice thing about the NBA is that the best player in the NBA ALWAYS wins a title. Thats why Jordan has 14 rings. And Shaq 11.

  80. Frank O.

    @87

    I agree. I take this as last minute posturing. I think it’s a good sign, too.
    Sounds as if he’s trying to make Donnie back off of his request for a 1st rounder…

  81. Ted Nelson

    “protecting picks tends to cause more frustration to your franchise than simply paying-in-full at the time of purchase.”

    Without looking at the whole equation you can’t say that. You can’t look at one or two examples and draw conclusions. No one talks about the pick that was protected and resulted in a #20 pick being given away. I have no idea how many of those there are. Maybe none, maybe tons.

    You also can’t assume who Isiah would have drafted. Maybe he wold be smart/crazy enough to take Brandon Roy #2 overall. He would get booed, but he was booed for taking Balkman and didn’t really seem to care.

    Another lesson you can take from these trades (Curry, Marbury, Thorpe, Jaric) is just not to give away future draft picks haphazardly.

    steveoh,

    “Honestly, whatever team that has LeBron is gonna be a championship contender, no matter the wreckage of the rest of the roster.”

    I really disagree. Wade is not LeBron, but Miami is no where near a contender with him. Put LeBron on Minnesota and they are not a contender. They are a MUCH better team, but not a contender.

    “Getting rid of Jeffries and the draft picks and such puts us in a position to do either.”

    And also the position to de neither and have no picks. I would probably do the deal, but it’s far from a no brainer.

  82. Ted Nelson

    Another thing the Knicks could ask for–along with a first–are Sergio Llull’s draft rights. He’s playing well for Real Madrid and it gives the Knicks a possible answer to the PG question a lot of people are so worried about.

  83. Caleb

    I wouldn’t get too worked up yet about details of the picks – it seems pretty obvious that they are still haggling – how much protection, which picks, etc.

    The 2011 pick is more important to have protection because it is more likely we totally whiff in one offseason, than in two.

    One thing to keep in mind – the Knicks have room for LeBron, with or without the Jeffries deal. The trade is about making space for David Lee, or a better FA (i would say only Dwyane Wade is preferable; Bosh is better but will be $5-6 million more expensive. Same with Amare. Joe Johnson? (shaking my head)

    I’m reasonably optimistic about bagging LeBron, or another good FA. Yeah, yeah, the Bulls… but in the end I think the Knicks are a reasonably attractive destination. Don’t forget, it’s not just FAs – having cap space gives huge, huge flexibility in trades.

    The Curry trade was about the biggest screwup ever in terms of not protecting picks — but even if we go totally sans protection (yuck!) again, it’s a very different situation – the Curry deal left the Knicks capped out for four years!!!!!!! It put the entire franchise on Curry’s back – there were no picks and no way to sign a major free agent.

    in this scenario, no matter what happens with the draft, the Knicks can offer max money to free agents – or take on huge contracts in trades.

    p.s. Sure, blowing a max offer on Amare and another one on Rudy Gay would be awful. But if our GM is that stupid (I don’t think he is) then I really don’t think this trade matters – we have bigger problems!

    p.p.s. Ted, I was just throwing out Manu and Camby as the first names that came to mind – no idea if they would be interested. But it’s hard to see the Knicks not being able to sign ANYone. And it’s not like they need a lot to make the playoffs — they’re a 33-35 win team now, and that’s with a backcourt of Duhon, Nate and nonguard Wilson Chandler. Almost everyone on the roster is young and improving. Stand pat, and they probably end up in the high 30s… add even one average starter, and they’re a playoff team. Add a Bosh (or a PG, in a trade) and they win 50.

  84. massive

    okay, honestly, LEBRON IS NOT COMING. why would he leave what almost everybody in basketball thinks is the best team? so i think its best we count him out and aim for the other two, d-wade and bosh (maybe lee/stoudemire if he ends up in philly), as their teams wouldn’t be considered a top NBA team on a good day. and then, they’re good basketball players, but honestly, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis couldn’t get it going in Seattle (Wade and Bosh are obviously better pieces than the before mentioned, but 2 stars by themselves won’t go too far), so we’re obviously going to need other good players who aren’t necessarily available in this years free agency. i say we try to get darren collison (new orleans isn’t big enough for him and cp3) this offseason, and run with 2 PF’s, this way are our line up may look like
    PG – Collison
    SG – Wade/Chandler (if wade doesn’t work out)
    SF- Gallo
    PF- Bosh/Lee
    C- Lee/Stoudemire
    6 – maybe raja bell/ricky davis

    the rest we can fill. and honestly, if your name isn’t lebron or dwyane wade, you aren’t worth max money, so maybe we can get bosh/stoudemire for cheap. thoughts?

  85. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,
    My point is just that after LeBron and Wade there are no sure things. Bosh would be a nice addition, but an incremental improvement over Lee. You yourself don’t want to sign any “max” guy but Wade to play alongside LeBron… so why sign them if you miss on LeBron? If you have the choice between signing Gay and Amare or stinking it up with a young group for a year and having a nice fat top 3 pick… which do you take?

    Also it’s a ridiculously deep FA class, but there is a limit to its talent. There’s also a limit to the Knicks’ cap space. Hypothetically they have a lot of options, but once you get past the top 4 FAs (one of whom you laugh/cry at the thought of signing and another who is an incremental improvement) what’s out there? You’ve got aging vets, serious role players (one or two skills), and then the more desirable guys are… gulp… Ty Thomas, Raymond Felton… Trades are possible, but what franchise changing talent is on the trade market? Wouldn’t Jeffries’ expiring contract have been just about as valuable in that chase? Walsh can piece together a playoff team if he strikes out on the big 4, but it’s going to take a lot of skill and luck. This trade needs LeBron in order to really validate it. B and C and D free agents are available every season, not worth giving up so much to get a year earlier. Is it a good move to give up 3.5 picks to be a back-end playoff team? The Knicks can add one or two starter(s) without doing the Jeffries trade. It’s about LeBron.

  86. Kikuchiyo

    Two quick points:

    THE GOOD
    You guys are incredible. What a complex, detailed, and multifaceted discussion this is. This thread contains a semester-level amount of knowledge.

    THE BAD
    How can I possibly watch Knicks games like tonight’s low energy affair given that almost everyone on the team is a dead man walking? Chandler and Lee are so clearly the only two players who are actually fun to watch right now, regardless of 2010-2011. (I’ll include Gallo too for the five minutes each night he seems to really be involved in the game.)

  87. steveoh

    @92 “okay, honestly, LEBRON IS NOT COMING. why would he leave what almost everybody in basketball thinks is the best team”.

    That’s the thing. Whatever team LeBron plays on is going to be what almost everybody in basketball thinks is the best. He knows that. Worldwide Wes knows that. Everyone knows that.

  88. BigBlueAL

    Jordan Hill doing his best tonight not to get traded….with the way he has looked tonight so far Houston might think twice about trading for him.

  89. BigBlueAL

    Gallo beginning to heat up. Thats one thing about the kid, no matter how bad he looks he can heat up in an instant. Duhon misses a wide open layup but Lee jams it home. So in shocking news Duhon still sucks.

  90. Z

    “You can’t look at one or two examples and draw conclusions. No one talks about the pick that was protected and resulted in a #20 pick being given away. I have no idea how many of those there are. Maybe none, maybe tons.”

    Ted– you are right, but keep in mind my point isn’t that we shouldn’t protect the picks. My point is that it probably doesn’t really matter that much whether they are protected or not. A top 5 pick in 2011 is not necessarily more or less valuable than a top 5 pick in 2014. For all the talk of Walsh having to protect the picks, I really wouldn’t let that be a deal-breaker.

    More of a deal-breaker in my eyes is including Hill. I’d rather see the picks go than Hill, not because I like Hill but because he is a player who can actually fill a roster spot. After 2 max free agents are signed, we’ll still have about 9 roster spots to fill. I’d much rather keep Hill (and the 2010 2nd round pick Morey wants which represents another spot) and let the 2012 go unprotected (and swap the 2011).

    (Then with Hill, I’d propose a trade to the Memphis Grizzlies for 2 of their late 1st round picks. That would give the Knicks 4 draft picks to sign to minimum contracts this summer, saving money and filling roster spots at the same time).

  91. Z

    Bulls radio broadcaster: “Harrington drives, passes to Jeffries for the three– he hits it!”

    Whether they are traded this week or not, that is definitely the last time those words are ever spoken…

  92. Ted Nelson

    “Whatever team LeBron plays on is going to be what almost everybody in basketball thinks is the best.”

    Again, I strongly disagree.

  93. Kikuchiyo

    The Bulls announcer just said something about Derrick Rose that we hear all too often in Knicks third quarters: “In case you’re wondering, his all-time highest scoring game is 37.”

  94. Ted Nelson

    According to Chris Sheridan: “there are unresolved issues regarding lottery protection on the draft picks.”
    He also points out that this deal would get the Rockets under the luxury tax and get them a nice little $4 mill check from the NBA… so the Knicks are giving up 2 veteran players, a good prospect, a 1st, a possible swap of 1sts, maybe a 2nd, and the Rockets get $4 mill plus any cash the Knicks send them……….

    Z,

    “A top 5 pick in 2011 is not necessarily more or less valuable than a top 5 pick in 2014.”

    The goal is to not still have a top 5 pick in 2014. McHale and Isiah were historically bad decision makers. The Grizzlies were an historically bad organization for years (they never won more than 23 games before 02-03, the year they got the #2 pick after a 28 win season).

    The biggest lesson I would take from those three is that bad teams often stay bad and shouldn’t throw around future picks unless it gives them a chance to really improve. This deal would open up the Knicks to that chance, but if they miss in free agency it also opens up the chance that their 2011 pick could be very high.

    “After 2 max free agents are signed, we’ll still have about 9 roster spots to fill.”

    IF… If 2 max free agents are signed.

    I don’t think this is a very good draft and wouldn’t be too quick to deal Hill for late first rounders. Right now Memphis’ two late picks are 27 and 29. Basically 2nd round picks.

  95. BigBlueAL

    Now the rumor on Twitter is that the Rockets will decide tomorrow between offers from the Bulls and Knicks with the Bulls apparently being the frontrunners.

  96. Z

    “Right now Memphis’ two late picks are 27 and 29. Basically 2nd round picks.”

    But they’re cheap, and beggers can’t be choosers :)

    “The goal is to not still have a top 5 pick in 2014.”

    Even the best laid plans tend to go astray– more so with Isiah running the show, but still. Who knows what the Knicks situation will look like in 2014. They could be $70 million over the cap and out of the playoffs wishing Houston didn’t have their lottery pick.

    Besides, all this talk of lottery protection in 2012 is moot. The Mayan calendar ends 30 games into that season. Go all in in 2011 Donnie!

  97. BigBlueAL

    Now Chris Mannix from SI.com tweets that the Knicks are the frontrunners with a story to be posted soon on SI.com.

    I have to stop reading every single freaking tweet from the basketball writers I follow on Twitter….

  98. BigBlueAL

    Apparently only issue remaining to settle is the protection on the draft picks. Also it is Hughes not Harrington going to the Rockets as SI.com is saying they are finalizing the deal already.

  99. Reebok1303

    Am I right in thinking that if the Knicks do the Haringtton for Thomas deal they will simply have to renounce Tyrus at the end of the season anyway – so what is the purpose in making the trade?

  100. Thomas B.

    My wife asked me “Did the Knicks play tonight?’
    I said, “No.”
    Imagine my suprise to check the box scores and see that I was right.

  101. Z

    McGrady’s cap hold will be $35,000,000.

    Luckily this deal clears just enough cap room. We won’t have to renounce him!

  102. Z

    And for those of you out there without Google, here’s the latest report from the Chicago writers:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-spt-0217-bulls-knicks-chicago-20100216,0,4751731.story

    Bulls have offered Brad Miller, Ty Thomas, and either Kirk Hinrich or John Salmons for McGrady.

    Salmons makes a little less than Jeffries next season. Hinrich is due about $12 million more than JJ over the course of his deal.

    That seems to be what Walsh is competing with. And knowing that Chicago is also his competition for top free agents this summer, he’ll probably do what he can to keep Salmons and/or Hinrich from leaving.

  103. Loathing

    So if all goes according to Walsh’s plan we’re looking at this:

    PG – Duhon
    SG – T-Mac
    SF – Chandler
    PF – Gallinari
    C – Lee

    Rotation:
    Thomas
    Robinson
    Bender

    Everyone else riding pine.

    Do I have this right?

  104. BigBlueAL

    TD will be the backup PG which is why I think they are trying to trade Nate. I have a feeling Harrington will remain with team. Too many teams apparently want Tyrus Thomas so I would think they could get more for him than Harrington.

  105. Z

    Houston sports reporter Randy McIlvoy tweets:

    “A good source of mine has just informed me , Tracy McGrady and his close support group are preparing for a trade to Chicago. The source says it’s not a done deal but “likely” to the Bulls.”

  106. BigBlueAL

    Interesting since almost all the national media is saying T-Mac to Knicks once they clear up the draft pick protection.

  107. Loathing

    So how would a Nate to the Celtics trade work? I couldn’t get it going on the machine unless I bloated both sides.

  108. Robert Silverman

    It’d definitely be an, “all-in” move. I’m not sure what to make of the trade. If it was just Hill or just the picks (even w/Lottery protection), I’d be gung-ho. But it’s a ton of assets to be giving up.

  109. TDM

    If the Nate to Boston rumor is true, the Knicks can only take back salaries of about 2M if I understand the cap hold correctly. The only guy on the beantown roster that fits the bill for NY would be Marquis Daniels – not exactly an answer to replacing Duhon. Hopefully a pick is in involved.

  110. Frank O.

    In past years, I found myself disappointed because either something didn’t get done or what was done was horrible.

    Nothing I have seen so far seems horrible or beyond the realm of possible…

    What is sad is I’m far more interested in the wheeling and dealing than I am the games.
    Last night I watched a bit of the Knicks, was horrified, and then turned to watch the Thunder. What a team.
    So young and so athletic. Offense, defense. They have shot blockers and stoppers. Green just shut Dirk down. Bodied up and got in Dirk’s kitchen all night long. Dallas’ guards looked a step or three slow. Age really showed.
    Durant put up what looked like the most effortless 25 and 14 I have ever seen. And as good as he was, other players had room to contribute. Harden dominated part of the game. Collison guarded the paint as well as Camby. Westbrook put up 17, 8 assists and six dishes.
    I realize Dallas is going through a tough transition, working Haywood and Butler in (Butler was horrible last night), but I think the trade makes them better. Haywood is so much more mobile than Dampier right now.

    I know people are talking about Lebron, Wade, Kobe and Carmelo as probably the best players in the league, but Durant absolutely needs to be in the conversation.
    He’s not as good a passer, yet. But I suspect that will come. I also think on such a well-balanced team with a good point, he probably doesn’t need to pass as much. Often Lebron, Wade and Kobe need to do more.
    In hindsight, selecting Odom over Durant was ridiculous. I give credit to Simmons on this one. He was shouting from the roof tops that Durant, as physically weak as he was, was going to be a freak.

  111. jon abbey

    yeah, Durant is unbelievable and still only 21 years old (!!!). he should be second in the MVP voting as of now (he won’t be, but he should), and if LeBron really genuinely only cared about winning, he’d go to OKC.

  112. Z-man

    You meant Oden, but agreed that Durant is getting closer to the “conversation.” In hindsight, looks almost like a Bowie over Jordan-sized mistake.

    Hard to believe how bad the team has played after such a promising run in December.

  113. Brian Cronin

    I agree with Hahn that it is a bit tacky to see the Rockets playing the Bulls and Knicks against each other so publicly. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “appalling” like he did, but I do think it’s tacky.

  114. DS

    “In hindsight, selecting [Oden] over Durant was ridiculous. I give credit to Simmons on this one. He was shouting from the roof tops that Durant, as physically weak as he was, was going to be a freak.”

    Ridiculous? Come on. Simmons probably used some analogy about Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant to justify his logic.

    Clearly, Durant would have been a better pick but Portland had reason to believe Oden could be a great center. Pritchard, thought like many GM’s do, that a great big man is the surest way to win championships. Whoever picked Sam Bowie was trying to fill what he perceived as a hole at center the best he could. Oden put up just under 16 and 11 for a great college team (who had the misfortune of running up against Noah, Horford, and two other pros in the finals). His ability to block shots and convert FG’s at a high rate was going to convert well to the pros. His injury in college was his wrist, not his knees.

  115. DS

    “I agree with Hahn that it is a bit tacky to see the Rockets playing the Bulls and Knicks against each other so publicly.”

    Is that their strategy? Or is the media 95% at fault? I wonder if websites’ ad revenue sky rockets this time of year when idiots like me refresh Realgm.com every 10 mins.

  116. Frank O.

    Yes, Oden.
    Early morning typing while a little one scampered about.
    :)

    It’s hard not to love the Thunder. :)

    I understood Portland’s reasons for wanting the ugliest man in basketball. I was speaking in hindsight alone. I’m no expert on drafts.

    I think Hahn is being naive. I like his blog. It’s obvious he works hard, although he’s wrong a bit.
    But I’m pretty sure there is a handbook on NBA trade negotiations that has a section about when to go to the media with leaks up or down on a trade, trying to create leverage. It’s number 1 in the agents’ handbook…:)

    I think the Knicks have been the league’s bitch for so long, some fans are a bit sensitive about the kinds of leaks that would upset their hopes…

    The New York Bitches…Hmmmm.

  117. TDM

    The Boston Herald is also reporting that the Lakers are interested in Nate. I think I’d much rather have Jordan Farmar than anything Boston has to offer. Not to mention, I’d rather see the Knicks jettison Nate to the West. Stat-wise, they are similar, but Farmar is 8 years younger than House (23 to 31) and could be a candidate for re-signing next season.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=farmajo01&y1=2010&p2=houseed01&y2=2010

    Also, the Lakers are the only other team, aside from Boston, that Nate has approved as a potential trade destination.

  118. Caleb

    I would really like to get a pick in return for Nate – Boston’s might be realistic. Although Tony ALlen would be interesting – he’d be our best guard defender in a long, long time. Jordan Farmar is 2nd round material all the way, with a bigger salary. (In my perfect world, we re-sign Nate this summer – after avoiding the $6m cap hold – but considering D’Antoni hates him, that’s not gonna happen)

    I wonder if Boston would consider a deal of Nate, Harrington and Jeffries for Ray Allen.

    IMO it would be an on-court upgrade for Boston, especially considering their lack of depth. They’re capped out for 2010-2011 so Jeffries doesn’t make any difference on that account. I suppose they might do better for Ray, but he’s 34 and in steep decline, so no team is stepping up with a big-time offer.

    As far as Houston goes – it’s a nice game of poker they’ve got going. See if the Bulls or Knicks are willing to give more in terms of draft picks. If timing and bluffing come into play, it miiight be a spot where Donnie’s “close ties around the league” come into play. It’s not like anyone was going to do a favor for Isiah.

    I like the fact that Donnie is pushing Hughes instead of Harrington – tells me he thinks he has a chance to move Al in a separate deal, get something useful out of it.

    It IS depressing to watch the Knicks these days – they’ve obviously quit. I’m not going to run ‘em over the coals – it’s just human nature, most of the team knowing they’re not going to be around next year, so what’s the point? It hurts, knowing we’re giving the Jazz a better pick, but in practical terms it doesn’t really matter.

    In this turmoil, if we can’t move Al for a pick (and matching, expiring deal), I’d love to see a swap for Tyrus Thomas (and filler). Watching a young, athletic freak like Thomas audition for two months could make the actual games a lot more bearable to watch.

    Next year is going to be a lot more fun, that’s for sure.

  119. Caleb

    Re: Durant – he might get there in a couple of years but he’s not in the class of LeBron & Wade right now, not even close. Although his defense has gotten a lot better.

    I’m actually a long-time fan of Greg Oden and if he had stayed healthy, I think he’d be right up there in terms of value – he’d be underrated, because he’s never going to compete for the scoring title, but he’d be in Dwight Howard superstar territory.

    But… he’s not healthy, and after seeing this 4 out of 5 years, he never will be. Maybe he’ll pull it together to stay in one piece for one magical season, a la Bill Walton. Whether you think Portland made a stupid mistake taking Oden over Durant depends on whether they should have predicted the medical issues. Hard to say, without knowing more…

  120. Ted Nelson

    The Nate rumors are weird because (I believe) the Knicks cannot trade him for a Scalabrine, House, Tony Allen, or Farmar due to his base year status. Someone like Duhon or Harrington has to be involved to make the salaries match. What’s weird to me is that none of the major news outlets seem to be acknowledging/realizing this.

    Durant is a great player overall, but he’s a pure scorer (offensively, also seems like a good defender). He doesn’t belong in the conversation with LeBron or Wade or Howard or Chris Paul until he develops a first-rate second offensive skill. Those guys are great scorers who bring insane playmaking or rebounding/interior D to the table too. He’s pretty comparable to Melo or Kobe. He’s probably All-NBA second team in my opinion, maybe the last guy on first team. LeBron and Wade are like Durant + Westbrook on offense. I just don’t see Durant developing into either a top notch distributor or a top notch rebounder. Being Kobe Bryant with an eating disorder is great (seriously), but I don’t think you belong in the class of LeBron in that case. He carries the #20 offense on his back, but it’s OKC’s #3 defense that’s winning games. If their defense were on par with their offense they’d still be in the top 5 of this year’s lottery.

    To me it’s too early to call Oden Sam Bowie. So far, sure, but if he gets his health together he’s the second or third best center in the NBA. He can still have a better career than Durant when it’s all said and done. Durant obviously has a sizable early lead, but to say a 22 year old’s career is over because of unrelated injuries is pure speculation. Kurt Thomas missed two seasons early in his career and went on to be a very dependable/durable player (not as talented as Oden, just throwing it out there, I also don’t remember what injury(ies) caused Kurt to miss those seasons).

    Thunder are a really promising young team, but their offense is very mediocre. That’s mostly on Westbrook–2nd scoring option with a .485 TS%–and as he and Harden develop and they add pieces it might take care of itself. As of right now they are an excellent defense, but their offense needs work.

    “and if LeBron really genuinely only cared about winning, he’d go to OKC.”

    Interesting… They don’t have the money to sign him straight up, but I’m sure they could put together a nice sign-and-trade.

  121. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    4 out of 5 years? Was he hurt in high school?

    Also, he was hurt at Ohio State but still led them to the championship game injured. He had 25 and 12 and 4 blks in the national championship game.

  122. Caleb

    Re: Oden, I don’t know what I was thinking – I guess this is 4 major injuries in 4 years. The wrist at OSU seemed like a fluke thing – and as you note he was terrific even one-handed — and dominant with two hands. But three major leg issues later, it’s – sadly – a different story. The only guy I can think of who outgrew what seemed to be chronic leg/foot problems, is Ilguaskas…

    “The Nate rumors are weird because (I believe) the Knicks cannot trade him for a Scalabrine, House, Tony Allen, or Farmar due to his base year status.”

    Only half of Nate’s salary counts in trade calculations – he makes $4 million, but -only counts as a $2 million player when they figure trades. Not a huge stumbling block in this case.

    The rule is there to prevent teams from doing ridiculous sign and trades, like giving a $10 million, team-option deal to a benchwarmer, so they can trade for a $10 million star. It applies to any player who gets a big raise — for trade purposes, they pretend he got a much smaller raise. (I forget what the threshold is, but in practice it usually only happens with guys coming off their rookie contract). Base-year designation only lasts a year – a moot point, in Nate’s case.

  123. Ted Nelson

    “I wonder if Boston would consider a deal of Nate, Harrington and Jeffries for Ray Allen.”

    A lot of people proposed this trade a couple weeks back. To me, it opens up a lot of holes for the Celtics and might hurt them more than it helps. The depth would be nice, but in the playoffs you’re playing a 7 or even 6 man rotation. Nate is better than House, but replacing Allen with him means possibly the best defensive PG in the NBA has to guard SGs. Also means Nate is your primary SG, not your 3rd guard/6th man. Celts already have great defenders and operate with one low-volume scorer (Perkins), so I don’t know what Jeffries really adds. Harrington’s a bit of a wild card. If they feel comfortable with him guarding 3s he can start alongside Pierce and Nate is your third guard and Rondo guards 1s. If he’s a 4, which I think most people feel he is, he’s your 4th bigman.

    “he’s 34 and in steep decline, so no team is stepping up with a big-time offer.”

    For his contract they can probably get a direct replacement like Kevin Martin or Redd, or maybe a package like Deng and Hinrich or Ellis and Maggette.

    “it miiight be a spot where Donnie’s “close ties around the league” come into play.”

    Maybe, but the only two ties that would really know about this are Chicago and Houston. Both teams are trying to bluff Donnie, not help him out. I doubt Morey is telling Kahn “no way I take that stupid Chicago offer, I’m going to sucker Walsh, but don’t tell him I told you…”

    “Watching a young, athletic freak like Thomas audition for two months could make the actual games a lot more bearable to watch.”

    Possibly the first time since college that someone said watching Ty Thomas makes games MORE bearable to watch.

  124. Brian Cronin

    Only half of Nate’s salary counts in trade calculations – he makes $4 million, but -only counts as a $2 million player when they figure trades. Not a huge stumbling block in this case.

    Since the Celtics are over the cap, as well, how do they take Nate’s $4 million while giving the Knicks $2 million? What is the monetary value of draft picks for trade calculations?

  125. Ted Nelson

    “Only half of Nate’s salary counts in trade calculations – he makes $4 million, but -only counts as a $2 million player when they figure trades. Not a huge stumbling block in this case.”

    The way I understand it he counts as 2 mill for the Knicks and 4 mill for the acquiring team. I tried all three of Scalabrine, House, and Allen on RealGM’s trade machine and none worked.

  126. Ted Nelson

    “What is the monetary value of draft picks for trade calculations?”

    I think zero at this point. Maybe once the player is picked and there’s a cap hold attached to them it’s different… but maybe not since I remember people hoping the Knicks would trade Hill before signing him or something… then again, maybe those people didn’t know the ins and outs of the CBA/salary cap.

  127. Caleb

    Ray-Ray isn’t doing much on defense these days – Celts could still use Tony Allen on smaller SGs – he’s very good, IMO – or Pierce at the 2, with Harrington (or Jeffries) at the 3… or even let JJ guard 2s. Lot of options.

    I also think Harrington is a better scorer than Ray, at this point – not to mention Rasheed – and he could play the 4, in a smaller lineup with Garnett at center.

    In general I’d expect Jeffries to ride the bench, but they could use him for the right defensive matchups here and there.

    Still think they should have ponied up to pay Leon Powe, but we’ll see what he looks like when he gets back on the court… maybe the Celtic docs knew what they were doing.

    re: Allen trades, I think the Kings are looking for more than a straight salary dump with Kevin Martin. I’d say the same about the Warriors, but they are Lost, so who knows… Your Bulls suggestion is interesting – are they THAT desperate to clear super-duper cap room? Give Deng away for nothing? It has a certain wildman logic but it makes Donnie’s Houston gamble look like a bluehair playing nickel slots.

    speaking of Donnie, I don’t think “personal ties” are a major factor – as in, if Chicago really has a better offer, Morey’s not going to trade with New York just because he likes DW (if he does). But they might be worth something. If Morey thinks the NY & Chicago offers are going to be similar at the deadline, but Donnie says – please give me an answer Wednesday, so if we can’t do this, I can swing a deal with Boston (or whoever) — well, Morey might do it. Little favors, build karma. Like, when the Hornets signed Stojakovic but Walsh got them to make it a sign and trade in exchange for something like the 60th pick in the draft. Yes, there was a (miniscule) benefit to the Hornets, but it also held up the deal by a day or two – so in a sense, they were doing Donnie a favor (by giving him a huge trade exception, which he ended up blowing on Al Harrington, but hey that’s another story)…

    Not sure why you down on Tyrus Thomas… he’ll never live down #2-pick status but he is a really good, fun-to-watch defender. Fills up the stat sheet. If we can’t sign the top-tier FAs he could be a good pickup in the mid-level salary range (or less, hopefully).

  128. DS

    Maybe the analogy should be Olajuwan/MJ not Bowie/MJ. Although, all things considers I think Portland has a better chance to win it all than does OKC.

    “He had 25 and 12 and 4 blks in the national championship game…”

    … against Horford the All-Star and Noah, the #3 rebounder in the game. Oden turned 22 in January. If his knees can heal he could easily be #1 in the league in FG% and blocks while averaging something like 15 and 11 per game.

  129. jon abbey

    Nate and Landry for Shelden Williams, House and a #1 works.

    Oden’s legs are different lengths, that should have been a red flag for Portland.

    I didn’t realize how many salary obligations OKC had built up to young players, but they still have $13M or so if LeBron actually wanted to go there (which I’m 100% sure he doesn’t).

  130. Z

    “What is the monetary value of draft picks for trade calculations?”

    $0.

    And I agree with Ted that Nate’s BYC makes the proposed straight up trades reported in the media impossible.

  131. Caleb

    As I understand it, Knicks could only take back @ $2 million in salary (a player(s) making within 125 percent + $250,000 of $2 million, i.e. between $1.4 million and $2.75 million).

    Scalabrine makes $3.4m, Eddie House makes $2.8m, Allen makes $2.5m and Daniels makes $2m. They all should work, on their own or with minor tweaking like a Marcus Landry throw-in.

    I think I’m right – someone please set me straight, if no!

    Maybe the Trade Machine is not calibrated for base-year issues…

  132. DS

    BTW – It seems like lately YAHOO! is the first to break every story. Do they have a great insider or are they just the most willing to make BS rumors sound like imminent trades?

  133. Ted Nelson

    My main point is that Allen is a good fit for the Celtics. He’s a smart veteran, hard worker, and chemistry guy. He guards 2s reasonably well, while allowing Rondo to guard 1s and Pierce to guard 3s. He theoretically spreads the floor–though his shot is off this year–which is big for a team that gives major minutes to Rondo and Perkins. (Not hating on them, but Rondo has no outside shot so putting a Jeffries out there along with he and Perkins could really hurt.) Harrington is a good scorer, but he gives up a lot defensively to Perkins, Sheed, or even Pierce and is universally known for stopping ball-movement. The Celts are the best defense and 14th best offense in the NBA right now. Maybe they are willing to sacrifice a little defense to gain a little offense. They might hope that Allen’s shot comes around in the playoffs.

    I would look to move Allen in a deal that could help short and long term, but the Celts might want to keep their core together for one more run.

    You’re probably right about the Kings, but if I were them I would be happy to give Martin away. They play worse basketball with him than without. That begs the question of whether Boston should be interested… maybe only because he can shoot the lights out while Allen is struggling. Martin is a sieve defensively though.

    No idea what the Warriors want. They should get rid of Monta, though. That would be a huge addition by subtraction. Now is a good time to sell high on Maggette, don’t know if a straight salary dump is selling high or not. Depends on their goals/plan.

    Maybe Chicago doesn’t do that not that they’re playoff bound.

    Just saying that most people say Tyrus Thomas makes a game less bearable to watch. He shows up for about 5 minutes most nights, disappearing for long stretches. He makes incredible plays, but also mind numbingly stupid plays. He turns it over a lot. He falls in love with his jumper despite his incredible athletic ability. He just generally doesn’t play to his ability and can be frustrating to watch. He is actually having a career year, but when a chronic underachiever has a career year in a contract year I am always very suspicious. You are probably right that he’d give us a reason to care about the Knicks again, but I’ve never thought of him as making games more bearable.

  134. Ted Nelson

    “Scalabrine makes $3.4m, Eddie House makes $2.8m, Allen makes $2.5m and Daniels makes $2m. They all should work, on their own or with minor tweaking like a Marcus Landry throw-in.”

    Knicks can’t take back Scalabrine, neither can do House, and Celts cannot do Daniels. Something like what Jon suggests will work and I guess guys like Landry and Williams aren’t worth mentioning to the media, but I just thought it was funny that the media is throwing around these trade proposals without acknowledging Nate’s base year status. I often wonder how sports reporters get and keep their jobs.

    “Maybe the Trade Machine is not calibrated for base-year issues…”

    It is.

  135. J Weezy

    realgm.com is reporting that Nate Robinson has just been traded to the Celtics but haven’t mentioned who. just stated that details are forthcoming

  136. Caleb

    re: Thomas, he has improved pretty steadily since hitting the league at age 18 or 19, except for a terrible soph season… I don’t think this year is out of line.

    I’m not sold on him for the long haul, but watching him audition for a contract would be a lot less depressing than watching Al play out the string.

    As far as the Celtics go, you’re probably right that they will stand pat, make “one last stand” with the old gang. But IMO they have virtually no chance of winning the title, without rolling the dice. Harrington and Nate would give them a boost, IMO. Jeffries would likely be nailed to the bench.

    Not sure what to say about the trade machine except I think there’s a bug in it – no reason a Nate-Tony Allen trade shouldn’t work straight up ($2m vs. $2.5 million is within range)

  137. TheRant

    Remind me again what we did back in the day when there was a trading deadline but there wasn’t the Internet?

  138. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    Check out the salary cap FAQs in regards to BYCs. Nate counts as FOUR MILLION to the team acquiring him. Not as $2 million.

    Yeah, this isn’t really a career year for Thomas, I jumped the gun there. I am not saying you are wrong about Thomas making the rest of the season more bearable, just that it’s ironic Thomas would make games more bearable. d

  139. BigBlueAL

    Knicks might get a 1st round pick from Celtics. I wonder if that would make it easier for Knicks to give up the picks to the Rockets, granted a Celtics 1st round pick in this or next year’s draft definitely wont be that high but still it would be something I guess.

  140. Caleb

    “Check out the salary cap FAQs in regards to BYCs. Nate counts as FOUR MILLION to the team acquiring him. Not as $2 million.”

    $4 million against Celtic cap, but Celts can only send back $2 million (with the usual 125% + $250k adjustment), which makes it complicated. Teams send out “good” i.e. high-paid player but have to take back “worse” i.e. low-paid player.

    Thomas, irony, yes.

    BBA, there’s no point doing the deal unless the Knicks get a pick, or SOMETHING aside from Eddie House… so I hope you’re right!

  141. Loathing

    Here’s a crazy possibility that MIGHT work:

    Knicks get Ray Allen + a #1.
    Celtics get Nate, Curry and Gallo.

  142. Thomas B.

    I think it is unfair that we ask Tyrus Thomas to live up to being the #2 pick when he was in fact the #4 pick. He ended up with the team that had the #2 pick via a trade.

    http://www.nba.com/draft2006/

    2006 NBA Draft
    1. A Barginini
    2. L. Aldridge
    3. A. Morrisson
    4. T. Thomas
    5. S. Williams

  143. Thomas B.

    @ 171 We need to throw in a winning ticket to the Powerball Jackpot stapled to Curry and then the Celts might bite. You are on the right track though.

  144. David Crockett

    To paraphrase krusty the clown: These are the words you been longing to hear, like the salivating dogs that you are…

    (via Chad Ford’s update at 3:09 EDT)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=TradeTalkRoundup-2010

    …the Knicks told the Rockets that they remain interested in acquiring McGrady in a deal for Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries, [but] they are still unwilling to meet all of the Rockets’ demands — cap relief, Jordan Hill, the swapping of 2011 first-round picks and the Knicks’ 2012 first-round pick.

    “We’d like McGrady and the cap relief,” one Knicks source said. “But the Rockets are asking for too much. We’re willing to pay a premium to make a deal. But the price right now is still too high.”

    Well, all except the willing to pay a premium part.

  145. TDM

    Even if the trade with Boston only brings back a 2nd rounder (plus House or some other player), there is still an intangible benefit to the Knicks — helping the Celts beat the Cavs.

  146. Loathing

    @175 Yep. Darko will help the Wolves get in the playoffs and Cardinal will become MVP. You heard it here first! :P

  147. Loathing

    Thought. If the Rockets aren’t willing to budge on the picks then how about we just drop Cook from the Rockets’ side and switch Hughes for Curry?! At least make Morey earn those picks!

  148. Z-man

    So far, Walsh is handling things very well, not lunging to get what he covets like Isiah would have. If we have to think too hard about whether a trade is a good one, it probably isn’t. That’s the case with the T-Mac deal as it was structured Tuesday. Seems like keeping Hill or protecting/keeping the picks is necessary to make the deal pass the smell test.

    Nate for junk plus a 2nd round pick is better than letting him walk, I guess. Would love it if the Lakers came in with a better offer, if only to bump the stakes up to Boston’s first rounder.

    Darko for Cardinal? That’s like trading a couple of guys working the concession stands in the respective arenas. Nah, take that back, those guys actually work during the games.

Comments are closed.