Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What You Can Learn At the Game

At about 4:30 Wednesday two tickets to the Knicks game fell on my lap. Unfortunately due to personal circumstances it wasn’t a good day for me to go. So I tried to unload the tickets. I sent an email to a few writers on my site, but no one was able to go. I sent a second email to a few commenters, again with no luck. I tried to call up a few friends, but to no avail. In essence I couldn’t give the tickets away. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

So I had two options: let the tickets go to waste or go with my daughter to her first game. I really didn’t want her first Knick team to be this one that wins one out of every four games. You really have to be careful not to scar your children. One wrong move and she could end up a Nets or Celtics fan. But in the end I figured that a 8 month old wouldn’t remember the event anyway.

I got to my seat about 25 minutes before game time, and my daughter seemed more interested in the flashing lights than the on court action. Considering the state of the franchise, that’s probably a good thing. The Rockets took the floor to practice first and immediately began with two layup lines. They had two different variations or this excersize. The first a traditional layup line, where the player receives the ball from about the free throw line extended and drives towards the hoop. The second is where a player receives a pass only a few feet from the hoop. The latter operates at a faster pace than the first, as players arrive at the basket nearly one on top of the other. It’s nearly Harlem Globetrotteresque in its speed.

As Houston is warming up, the Knicks enter to applause. David Lee leads the charge and is the first on the court. The Knicks start a layup line of their own, but disperse it quickly for an informal shoot around. In fact it seemed as if the Rockets and Knicks both started their shoot around at the same time, despite Houston begining their warmups a few minutes earlier.

During the shoot around, you can see a stark contrast between the two sides. On the Rockets side, nearly every player is on the perimeter working on their shot, or some sort of move to potentially gain separation from a defender. It seems that on their side of the court, there’s always a ball in the air. On the Knicks end there are only 3 or 4 players that seem interested in practicing while the rest of the team socializes. Zach Randolph is one of the more notable socializers, chatting it up with anyone who’ll lend him an ear. He goes from one side to another, and spends nearly the entire time talking. Meanwhile, David Lee asks a few different players for tips as he practices his jumper from a few different locations on the floor. In lieu of shooting, Malik Rose plays defender and tries to pass some of his knowledge on to some of the other Knicks.

Oddest of all is the behavior of Renaldo Balkman. One of the stars of the summer league, Balkman has been buried on the bench for most of the year on a Knick team struggling to find production at the swingman spot. There’s a lot of questions surrounding his lack of use. Rumors have spread that either Balkman is physically unable to play or has earned his way into Isiah’s doghouse. Balkman barely breaks a jog when doing layups, and spends most of the pregame doing promotional work with some youngsters. It appears that he’s physically unable to play, until he explodes to the hoop for a two handed slam. Balkman then heads to the bench with the rest of the team.

At the introductions, most of the Garden is fashionably empty. Since Yao Ming brings an influx of Rocket supporters, Houston players get a few cheers as they are announced. At least they do until the Knick faithfuls catch wind of what’s occurring. By the third Rocket, Knick fans attempt to drown out the cheers with a chorus of boos.

The first Knick to be announced is Isiah Thomas, whose name is met with a boisterous derision from the crowd. As the players are announced I decide this is a good opportunity to teach my daughter the all important skill of clapping. However I find it hard to cheer for the Knick starters. Quentin Richardson? Zach Randolph? I wrestle with my conscience and decide teaching her to clap is more important than my dislike of Isiah’s choice of starters. We cheer each player on in unison. Last is Stephon Marbury who receives just about the same reaction from the crowd as Yao Ming. A loud mix of cheers and boos.

Unfortunately the action is good, but my daughter is still interested in the bright lights around the arena. As the game wears on, she grows restless. Every parent of a young child knows this is their nice way of saying “I want to go to sleep now.” I give her credit for lasting until halftime. Luckily I live close enough to the garden to know I won’t miss much of the action, and I catch most of the rest of the game from home.

The next day I receive a call from my wife. “Wait until you come home and see what your daughter is doing.” When I got home, my daughter showed me her new skill: clapping.

153 comments on “What You Can Learn At the Game

  1. padre

    Good information. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, so it’s nice to hear this kind of dirt.

    This new blog I’ve read a couple of times had a similar but longer account of seeing the Knicks on the road. The comments about the pre-game routine and Balkman shooting 3’s, are pretty interesting. A little different from what you observed, but also kind of the same, and it looks like he may have a problem with concentration if this is a pattern:

    “This may be splitting hairs, but Renaldo Balkman decided to not practice drives or free throws and instead spent most of the warm-up period shooting (and missing) 3-pointers. At one point, he missed a shot, but none if the people retrieving the balls threw one back to him. He just stood there at the 3-point line for a few minutes waiting, but nobody threw him a ball. It was a strange scene and I’m not sure what it means, other than to make me wonder about his attention to detail and focus. On a completely unrelated note, Balkman has shot four 3-point shots this season and missed them all. On another completely un-related note, he is hitting 40% of his free throws.

    http://disciples-ken.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-saw-knicks-in-person.html

  2. Brian Cronin

    Very cool story, Mike.

    And yeah, it really IS beginning to look more and more like IT and Balkman just have issues. I can’t imagine over what, but that’s what it looks like.

  3. ZK44

    the sad state of affairs…i grew up on charles oakley holding down the fort, charlie ward diving head first for loose balls, and jvg holding on to zo’s leg for dear life. just a question…how many guys in the nba make as much or more money than jeffries or j james who dont start, and which players that do start make less?

  4. jon abbey

    I’m not totally defending that behavior, but it’s also pretty pointless to do too much serious practicing before the game if you’re pretty sure you’re not going to be playing anyway, that’s got to be very frustrating.

    the story that still hasn’t been written nearly enough about this year’s Knicks (in the media, we’ve covered it quite well here) is what a joke it is that Isiah is burying Balkman, Morris and Chandler amidst all of this, hopefully some columnists start ripping him about that at some point.

  5. Owen

    Um, that was the most wide open layup in the history of MSG, Curry let Calderon waltz right by him, totally, I mean totally uncontested….

    unreal….

  6. Owen

    I think the dream lineup is on the floor, Balkman, Jeffries, Crawford, Robinson, and Lee….

    Perhaps Isiah has been listening…

    unbelievable interior pass from Lee to Balkman…

  7. JVG

    “On the Knicks end there are only 3 or 4 players that seem interested in practicing while the rest of the team socializes. Zach Randolph is one of the more notable socializers, chatting it up with anyone who’ll lend him an ear. He goes from one side to another, and spends nearly the entire time talking.”

    That is not just socializing! That’s called communication. Communciating with your teammates is key to any good defense.

  8. cbrooklyn

    i think 1 of these guys is really gonna smack isiah on the bench one day, they have absolutely no respect for him…what i dont understand is how can a player get mad at the coach for sitting his ass on the bench if that player aint doin sh*t!!!???
    1st quarter, play rt before the timeout and mass substitutions, a raptor player takes a shot and eddie muffins heads the other way while the ball iws still in the air! he didnt even look to see if it was a possible rebound! unbelievable! and hes mad hes onthe bench?
    qrich hasnt hit a shot in 34 games and hes mad?
    zach dont NEVER pass the ball or stay with a play, and hes mad?
    what the….

  9. Ess-dog

    Can Crawford please stop chuckin’ up 3′s? What a fool! 2-8 at halftime?
    Good to see Balkman. Him and Nate need a lot more tick for this sorry bunch.
    I drool over Calderon’s game. Wish we had traded for him in the offseason…
    “the dream lineup” seems ok ‘cept for Jamal’s itchy trigger finger.

  10. Isiah Thomas

    At about 4:30 Wednesday two tickets to the Knicks game fell on my lap….after I purchased them from Ticketmaster and clicked the print button on the order page.

    Dolan says thank you for coming to The Garden and thank you for your support!

  11. GMus

    MK

    The intro is great. As noted before, and as a former basketball fundamentalist (hard work equals good D), if only my 11-year old son was 8-months old, then I could take him to see the Knicks who play only 5 blocks away.

    In the meantime, I’m considering the Knicks as the “before” in hopes of finding a basketball “after” before my son leaves the nest…in so many respects – hustle, defense, passing…

    I thought Eddie, etc. might have some hope / fight during the Bulls game despite the record / depleted state of the Bulls….doesn’t appear to be the case.

    And btw, the failure of the team to note the shot clock in the Rockets game (others have noted) was a complete breakdown of coaches and players.

    But my daughter is only 6, so she might like the lights…

  12. Ben R

    One good thing about tonight. Do you think Balkman playing over 20 minutes for the first time since November might mean he will start to get consistant playing time. He was +10 tonight and gave Bosh some problems down the stretch.

  13. Gregson

    Renaldo’s D on Bosh was pretty good. It takes a tenacious dude with long arms and quick feet to give him trouble, but Bosh is a stud. I enjoyed the absence of Zach and Eddy and Fred Jones too.

  14. Wizzle

    Great post mike.

    Its nice to see some good come out of a knick game. At least you had a good time with your kid.

  15. rick

    I’m sure this is just an echo of the discussion here the last few years, but the two things that get me through an awful season, rookie/2nd year player development and the future with a lower salary cap figure, are totally unsatisfactory. I can’t stand seeing a team this bad with such a bad future. Games like this are a prime example of it. Is Dolan really that inept?

  16. Ess-dog

    This is the first time I actually prefered I.T. the coach over I.T. the GM. I mean, at least he’s starting to pull the players that aren’t doing their job (even though he’s the one that brought these players here in the first place.)
    God, if we could trade Zach before the deadline for a lesser contract/draft picks we would be so lucky after this catastrophic off-season pick-up.
    I would take Larry Hughes at this point. Then we could cut Mardy and at least have another real 2 guard option. I think we could find a taker for Zach’s pts and rebounds off the bench. Everyone else, I can live with, but Zach’s contract is a real thorn in our side.

  17. caleb

    Maybe they all should try RB’s warmup routine because he’s always good when he gets to play.

    At this point Isiah might have to leave him on the bench to avoid looking like even more of an idiot, for not playing him the first 30 games.

    Hard to say what pregame routines mean… the Knicks might have had an intense shootaround earlier while Yao and the boys were drinking Starbucks and hanging out.

  18. Jimmy P

    Loved the post Mike.

    Another disappointing game but fascinating aftermath with the coverage of IT’s comments (we’re the cement”). Who is IT’s “friend” that spilled the beans to the media and what possible upside could there be in saying that IT only gets along with three players. Seems to confirm that something has happened between Balkman and IT. Balkman is a hustle guy with what I thought was a good attitude so I just don’t get it.

    These comments really signal to me that IT is done with the Knicks and it couldn’t happen to a nice guy.

    I think we’re in the period now where Dolan wants him to quit because of the money but, obviously, IT doesn’t want to walk away from the pile of cash.

    Agree completely that now is the time to play the first and second year players. Far more enjoyable than watching a bunch of multi-millionaires get paid to not do what they are being paid to do.

    I’m gonna get killed for this last comment so pile on. I’ve been watching Curry the last few games…especially his feet. When he has the ball or is about to get the ball his footwork looks super fast and graceful to me for a guy his size. On D, his posture and everything else is sort of what the f**k. He gives the appearance of trying but it’s transparent that he doesn’t give a shit.

    I don’t think that Curry is ever going to be great defensively. But, someone like Patrick Ewing teaching him to play, I think that his D could approach average. Have the Knicks ever invested in tutoring him. He’s still a young kid and has the physical tools.

    I know it’s all been said multiple times but I don’t see him leaving the Knicks so I’m still rubbing my head against the stone.

  19. Frank O.

    My dream lineup, again, is
    Jeffries at center
    Lee at PF
    Balkman at SF
    Robinson at SG
    Marbury at PG

    I appears that Zeke was trying that last night. Wish I had seen it.
    How did Bosh do against Balkman and Lee?
    Did he do most of his scoring when Zach and eddy were out there?
    He scored 40, but took 30 shots. He was fouled a fair amount, I suspect, because he had a bunch of charity shots.

    All the news reports this morning indicate that Isiah thinks he’s gone and Dolan is looking for a coach and GM. Based on that I think Zeke and Dolan are negotiating his departure.
    I suspect we’ll see Herb as an interim and then a new GM, I’m thinking West.
    I feel this way because I think West has the gravitas to make Dolan back off.
    Then West will get his own head coach.
    But Isiah is gone and gone soon.
    Zach is also gone. He simply does not fit.

    If Isiah needs anything to make determinations about his starters he need only look at +/-.
    Marbury -13
    Crawford -5
    Randolph -15
    Richardson -11
    Curry -16

    I mean, that is horrible.

    The best Bricks team by lenovo +/-:
    J. Crawford
    J. Jeffries
    N. Robinson
    D. Lee
    R. Balkman
    Knicks
    +38
    -26
    for a grand total of +12, which isn’t great.

  20. Z

    Frank O.– I thought of you when I saw the lineup the Knicks had out there. It was almost the one you’ve been pitching for. I think it was 4/5ths there (Crawford was in instead of Marbury).

    There was a little something in this game for all the Knickerblogger faithful to appreciate. Frank had his lineup; Balkman showed up Isiah for benching him; Randolph got benched and fought with Isiahl; Q got benched; the young guys made it somewhat close at the end; and, of course, the Knicks still lost, keeping their high draft status alive.

    Good game!

  21. Brian Cronin

    I wonder who the three Knicks he gets along with are.

    One has got to be Malik Rose. Malik Rose can be friends with, like, anyone.

    Two is probably David Lee. Lee seems like a nice enough guy, and Thomas never has to talk shit about Lee, so they probably get along okay (although I’m sure Lee would like to play more).

    As for the third…hmmm…I dunno. Jerome James, maybe? Thomas sure seems to compliment him a lot. Oh wait, Jeffries has talked about an appreciation for Thomas in the past, right? So maybe Jeffries. But Thomas has taken some shots at Jeffries, so maybe not…

  22. Frank O.

    Z:
    Hard to tell from the box, but how did the 4/5ths of the team I like perform together?
    I haven’t gotten a sense of it from the newspapers.
    I’m noticing more and more how poorly this team is covered. People on this board notice things right away that the “professionals” take weeks to notice.

  23. Z

    “Hard to tell from the box, but how did the 4/5ths of the team I like perform together?”

    From memory, I think the starters (the opening day lineup) fell behind 17-4. Then Lee, Jeffries, and Nate came in, followed shortly by Balkman. They had the typical energy that we all expect that unit to have, and were way more cohesive. They would cut into the lead, then it would be double digits again. Ultimately they probably broke even in all, which isn’t bad, and would be a hell of a lot better if the starters didn’t spot the Raptors 13 points out of the gate. (The Raptors, by the way, look like a very very good team. I’m not sure why their record isn’t better. They seem like Orlando to me, but better).

    Basically, I would definitely endorse the lineup, and it hurts in no way to use it from the opening tip.

    “how poorly this team is covered.”

    jon abbey is right. It was journalistic negligence that a reporter never seemed to ask, point blank, “is Balkman hurt?” to either Isiah or Renaldo. Balkman finally got to answer that question himself by playing a full half of basketball (diving into Spike Lee for a loose ball at one point).

    “I wonder who the three Knicks he gets along with are…lee, robinson and crawford.”

    Isiah (according to the “friend”) didn’t say he got along with three players. He said only three players have the “fire in their belly to win in New York”.

    I don’t know why Q is suddenly off that list, considering whenever he was asked to defend starting Q he would cite Q’s competitive spirit that the rest of the players don’t give him regularly.

  24. Owen

    Frank’s lineup with Craw in for Marbury did a lot of damage in the first half, which is what I watched. That is reflected in the plus minus numbers.

    Bosh had 40 points but it wasn’t a particularly good night for him. His Ts% was 53.3%, below his season average of 55.5%. And he committed six turnovers. One of my bizarre WOW viewpoints no doubt, but given that he played 44 minutes I would say that was actually a below average game overall. The defense kept him in check. It’s clear that the Raptors organization is behind him doing whatever it takes to make the All Star game, which seems as usual to be taking a ton of shots…

    Jamal also committed six turnovers, which hurt us quite a bit. We had a very lackluster effort on the offensive boards also, just six for the game, compared to 11 for the Raptors. That’s sort of surprising considering how much time Balkman and Lee got. We actually outshot them from the field, but they took four more shots than us, and were 21-25 from the line, while we were 12-22. 2 more turnovers, 5 less o-rebounds, better foul shooting, two less threes, that’s the story…

    Strong effort from Robinson. 10-18 is very nice, and doing it without any turnovers, priceless…

    Jimmy – Curry is never going to be even average defensively. He is just too slow for the NBA, and has no vertical leap. He is the worse pick and roll defender I have ever seen in my life. I think he has good body control and is relatively nimble when making quick moves around the hoop in order to get into position for a shot, but that’s pretty much all you can say. His +/- numbers are astonishingly bad this year, the Knicks are 4.2 points worse on offense, and 6.7!!! worse on defense with him on the floor, and it’s not like they are bringing in Dikembe off the bench…

  25. Frank

    Was at the game Friday night against Toronto. A few observations:

    - best player on the court for the Knicks, again, was Nate. He had a tough time on D against Calderon (man that guy is smooth) but the major problem for the Knicks in that matchup is that no one on the team has any trust in Nate’s ability on D. Every time Calderon drove to the hoop (and this happened 3-4 possessions in a row in the 3rd quarter), Jamal would lazily sag off Anthony Parker to kinda help out when Nate was still in front of Calderon — easy pass off to Parker who I believe buried 2 out of the 3 wide-open 3s presented to him. The problem is that there are so few good defenders on the Knicks that all the players are used to lunging after penetrators causing everyone on D to be out of position.

    - Bosh is a monster but he clearly had problems playing against Balkman. He ate D Lee alive, which is no insult to Lee — he’s just too quick. Bosh against Malik Rose was just ugly. Rose cannot guard any quick 4 — he should only be asked to guard average to below average centers and slow plodding 4′s.

    - Balkman needs to play 25-30 min/game at least. You can just see all the little things he does, tipping rebounds, getting steals, running out on the break, etc. He NEEDS someone to help him with a mid-range jumper. In my opinion, any professional-level athlete should be able to hit an open 12 foot jumper at least 60% of the time. His inability to do so speaks volumes about his work ethic.

    - Curry just doesn’t want the ball badly enough when it comes off the rim. It almost seems like he has to remind himself that he’s supposed to rebound, as opposed to someone like Lee or even Nate, who are drawn to the rim when the shot goes up. Several times Curry was actually backing away from the rim as the shot went up… what he was backing towards is a complete mystery to me.

    - Nate is notably passing up open shots, which is a bad thing considering he is probably the best shooter on the team. On the other hand, why is Jefferies allowed to shoot from more than 5 feet away EVER? The whole crowd yells out “NO!!” every time he gets open. Isiah needs to tell him his job is NOT to shoot. His shots are so ugly they cause long rebounds and fast breaks — he needs to STOP.

    In my opinion, the Knicks best lineup nowadays is this:

    C: Curry or Randolph
    PF: Lee
    SF: Balkman
    SG: Marbury
    PG: Nate

    I know many on this board want Jefferies in there instead of Curry/Randolph, but this team just cannot score reliably without someone inside loosening things up on the outside.

  26. Z

    “Bosh had 40 points but it wasn’t a particularly good night for him.”

    This would be an example of advanced stats not telling the proper story then. Bosh got the Raptors a 17-3 lead which they rode all the way to the finish. He pounded inside, he hit 18 footers, when he missed he tipped his own shot in several times, he drew fouls, he anchored a strong Raptors D.

    If that was a bad night for him, then he may very well be the second coming of Wilt.

    “why is Jefferies allowed to shoot from more than 5 feet away EVER?”

    Choose your poison: Jeffries or Q? At least Jeffries actually hit a few of those shots last night…

  27. Owen

    “Bosh got the Raptors a 17-3 lead which they rode all the way to the finish.”

    Z – Actually, Bosh started the game 2-8 and 1-2 from the line. The first 17 points for Toronto were scored by:

    Moon 5 (1-1 ft)
    Calderon 4
    Bosh 5 (1-2 ft, 2-8 fg)
    Parker 3

  28. L.A.

    Mike – I loved the story. I am glad you had a nice time with your daughter. Have to wonder though – how are you ever going to tell her when she grows up that she learned to clap watching THESE KNICKS?

    One observation from the warmups I have seen when they are on the road in LA – Nate Robinson spends the whole warm up time dancing. It would be a good warmup for a hip-hop version of dancing with the stars but not very good to get ready for a bball game.

    Lastly, has anyone noticed the impact Ariza has had on the Lakers recently. Sure he is a role player, but they got him in late Nov and his minutes went up to 20+ per game in early December. The Lakers have gone 15-3 since. Man I wish the Knicks had just kept him (and Frye as well). Sometimes the best trades are the ones NOT made.

  29. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Mike – I loved the story. I am glad you had a nice time with your daughter. Have to wonder though – how are you ever going to tell her when she grows up that she learned to clap watching THESE KNICKS?”

    The same way Met fans grew up in the mid-80s learned to clap for the late 70s Met teams (I remember the one Met fan on our block had a Lee Mazzilli glove – and I had no idea who he was). When the team is good the bad days are always a novel memory. And I can almost guarantee that the Knick team when she is older is better than the one she learned to clap to.

  30. jon abbey

    “Man I wish the Knicks had just kept him (and Frye as well). Sometimes the best trades are the ones NOT made.”

    yeah, for all the flak that Isiah has gotten, this situation was salvageable well into the Larry Brown era. keep Ariza, draft Bynum instead of Frye, draft Rondo and Balkman instead of Balkman and Collins, and we’re in infinitely better shape now. also, Francis and Randolph never would have worn blue and orange in this alternative universe, how much nicer would that have been?

    anyway, back to reality…

  31. caleb

    Seems odd that bosh’s ts was only 53.3 (barely average) when he scored 1.33 points per shot, a terrific #. Oh well, math.

    One thing – I don’t get the recent enthusiasm for jeffries on this board, except that maybe he’s the anti-curry, right down to body type.

    I mean he is abominable offensively… Ts under 40, not much of a passer, offers nothing… And it’s not like he’s a great defender, either. Average, maybe.

    And he might be a decent rebounder for a small forward, but the dude is 6’11… Aren’t his board #s in the same range as curry?

    And frank, no need to dis balkman… Don’t know how you come up with that 60 percent stuff.

    Anyway… With or without any jump shot at all renaldo is miles ahead of jeffries, q or any other character we throw in the sf spot.

  32. jon abbey

    “With or without any jump shot at all renaldo is miles ahead of jeffries, q or any other character we throw in the sf spot.”

    yes, give him 32 minutes a game, give Chandler the other 16, and never let Q or Jeffries play as long as those first two are healthy. is that really so hard to figure out?

  33. iyamwutiam

    “With or without any jump shot at all renaldo is miles ahead of jeffries, q or any other character we throw in the sf spot.”

    yes, give him 32 minutes a game, give Chandler the other 16, and never let Q or Jeffries play as long as those first two are healthy. is that really so hard to figure out?

    What do you say? I mean the guy has been in the league only two years. In South Carolina – the guy was definitely a dude who blocked shots etc but also a 30 percent shooter during his time there. He is barely a 50 percent free throw shooter now. He is on the bench for areason not because -he doesn’t have great athletic ability, or isn’t a greta shot blocker , hustler adnd rebounder but he because he shoots like 35 percent from the field and the free throw line. I do undertand the reasoning that Isiiah is going along with- ‘no particular strenghth will save you – an all round game is the most important.

    If you re-call he took out Randolph immediately after he trie to hit a three pointer from the far corner (in front of the Knicks bench!!) when being doubled team. In other words- if you can’t use common sense – you got to come out. Same with Q Rich – not just the poor shooting – but if you remember the incredibly lazy pass – to Nate that was picked off- and BAM – he lost a lot of credibility – you can not make 8 mill a year and not know how to inbound the ball.

    As I said – with the exception of Crawford-both Marbury and Q were mistakes. Marbury – because -Isiah actually thought being in the NY area -playining for the Knicks etc would work out and that Marbury would fully exploit his opportunity. Which he did in his first year and after that – it was – the real Marbury – and many other athletles- he was using the game for his wo ageda and not giving anything back.

    I do understand where he is coming from – I mean when your Ken Lay, Angleo Mozillo and a thousand other multi-million dollar a year guys (many of them no talent, no thinking middle managers like me)- you look out for number one – and screw the SEC, shareholder, etc etc . it happens everyday – example Carl Icahn- the original Gordon Gecko. As far as Marbury grew up in the ‘other’ America and unfortunately has a hard time believing in the work ethic -upto a certain point. And quite frankly I do see where he is coming from- and I am sure that Randolph/Curry/Q Rich do too.

    After all- if Paul Allen can screw tax payers, get a number one draft pick -by pleading bankruptcuy (Rose garden and Charter Communications; the lack of public interest and how even though he was a BILLIONAIRE enriched himself year after year at taxpayers expense – see the original Rose garden deal with Paul Allen – I mean it is soo public because it was soo bad- or better yet look up the origination of the stadium deal for the Washington Nationals and also how DC voted down subsidizing it – but it STILL passed) – why can’t Marbury or any other person.

    But obviously thats life- if your in business and your selfish -then you ‘deserve’ to get more-but if your in sports and your selfish – (or in other word – ‘just an employee’- well – then your a bad character. After all – we all know – as an employee – the only good character is the one who acquieses to enriching the boss at expense of his personal. professional and monetary life – in hopes of being promoted for what he is- a sychophant – who will cover.

    I guess it’s only ok – if your a liar and selfish- if your in business but not in sports. Although – every single one of those business guys talks BS about ‘team work’ but makes sure only they get the mega-millions in bonuses and stocks- forget the employees who do the actual work (and simple things like healthcare, rights and pensions) — this is completely different from fans – who don’t play a minute of ball for the team. The Nets and Mets get a 300 million dollar tax subsudy as well as the yankees- for what?!? To distract the masses at 5 bux a hot dog, expensive tickets and parking !!

    The point is – i am always amazed as to how much time is spent on being a real gm – but not being a ‘ral’ gm and most importantly not a real person. This is ridiculous tht there is so much time devoted to bogs and discussion but not enough time to help our fellow man.

  34. Samy

    I’m a die hard Laker fan (forum blue and gold!) from Southern California and now am in my second year in NYC for college.

    When I decided to come to NYC I told myself to be open to the Kicks, games are only a few red line stops from me and honestly the most important thing is being able to appreciate good basketball… The Knicks haven’t shown ANY decent team work or decent basketball or strong effort and this post is so incredibly indicative of that.

    I’d rather see J Kidd throw dimes for 40 bucks and a cab ride to NJ.

    Why can’t we change that?

  35. Sly Williams

    Comparison, for entertainment value:
    Avery Johnson coaching record coming into this season: 143-39
    Knicks last 54 games: 13-41.

  36. Frank

    Caleb –

    “And frank, no need to dis balkman… Don’t know how you come up with that 60 percent stuff.”

    You DON’T agree that a small forward in this league should be able to hit 60% of open 12 foot shots? 12 FEET!! that’s 3 feet closer than a foul shot. And he shoots 41% from the FT line. Has there EVER been a SF that shoots that poorly from the line?

    According to 82games Balkman hits 21% of his jump shots. That is just not tolerable from the SF position. He’s a great defender, rebounder, and energy guy but if he truly put in a whole summer’s worth of work on hitting a 12-15 foot jumper and improving his FT shooting, he’d be a special player. Look how much DLee has improved from that standpoint. It HAS to come down to hard work (or lack thereof) on Balkman’s part.

  37. iyamwutiam

    Sly- so your saying you should compare Avery Johnson’s coaching record to a team that finished in:
    2000/2001-53-29
    2001/2002-57-25
    2002-2003-60-22
    2003/2004-52-30
    2004/2005-60/22 (Where Johnson got the team after Don Nelson resigned in March- half a season atleast)

    ??- thats a real fair comparison

  38. Owen

    Caleb –

    Points per shot attempt = PTS / (FGA + 0.44*FTA).

    40/ (30 + (.44*15)) = 40/36.6 = 1.09 pps

    Points Per Shot is the same as TS%. If you divide PPS by 2, you get ts%.

    And actually in this case it looks like Bosh’s TS% was 54.5%. When I calculated it earlier I divided his fts by .5 rather than .44, which is why I got 53.3 rather than 54.5%. Either way, he was below his average for the year, and our defense was good enough to get him to commit 6 turnovers.

    Re Balkman, I don’t think the quality of his jumpshot is relevant. He plays great off the ball on offense, he can run the break, is a terrific rebounder, and a great defender. His ts% last year was 53.1%, which is more than 3% higher than what Randolph is offering thus far. Yes, one obviously wishes he would shoot better from the field and line, but with everything he does on the court, as long as his ts% is over 50% we should be happy…

  39. JK47

    I think Balkman’s shooting percentage would go up if he got some more burn; it’s kind of hard to get into a groove when you’re sitting on the bench watching Jeffries and Q stinking up Madison Square Garden and taking all your minutes.

    So Balkman is a miserable shooter. So is our starter, Quentin Richardson, and Richardson also has the downside of sucking at every other component of basketball. Give Q’s minutes to Balkman right now and this team will improve. Better yet, don’t– I’m in the “more ping pong balls” camp.

  40. iyamwutiam

    Re Balkman, I don’t think the quality of his jumpshot is relevant. He plays great off the ball on offense, he can run the break, is a terrific rebounder, and a great defender. His ts% last year was 53.1%, which is more than 3% higher than what Randolph is offering thus far. Yes, one obviously wishes he would shoot better from the field and line, but with everything he does on the court, as long as his ts% is over 50% we should be happy…

    Frank said:
    According to 82games Balkman hits 21% of his jump shots. That is just not tolerable from the SF position. He’s a great defender, rebounder, and energy guy but if he truly put in a whole summer’s worth of work on hitting a 12-15 foot jumper and improving his FT shooting, he’d be a special player. Look how much DLee has improved from that standpoint. It HAS to come down to hard work (or lack thereof) on Balkman’s part.
    And he shoots 41% from the FT line. Has there EVER been a SF that shoots that poorly from the line?

    Q Rich does rbound and play decent (not great) defense. If he ever does get his groove back – h would be a 40-44 percent shooter from the field/35 percent 3 point shooter and hits 70 percent form the line. As a veteran – you have to give him atleast 5-10 minutes a game in hopes that he finds his form. In additin – since Marbury is not a great outside shooter – you really do need on eother good outside shooter on this team- since it won’t be Curry or Lee.

    As for defense – Jeffries hasn’t done to bad- he lacks in rebounding for sure and definitely is not very heady – he was immediately pulled from the rest of te Toronto game after letting Bosh get way wide open for the dunk. But at 6’11″ he is definitely more versatile and he had good games in San Antonio, Cleveland, and was dcent against Houston. Jeffries also has upside and he is showing he is working onhis shot -(atleast to Isiah’s satisfaction) since there were a few plays designed specifically for jeffries to hit the jumper – whih I think he did 3/5 or 6 times-from greater than 14 feet). In addition – despite the FT% being somewhat the same – Jeffries has hit a LOT more FT and FTAs – meaning he gets to the line way more than Balkman. This is important not just in terms of free throws -but putting th other team in foul trouble.

  41. njhoop

    Like some of the prior posters, I was at the game Friday also. It was easily the most depressing game I’ve been to in many seasons, there was zero life in the arena, tons of empty seats, and the crowd barely had enough energy for Fire Isaiah chants. They never made a serious run at the Raptors, who looked like a much better coached and cohesive team (like every other team we play) I honestly don’t know if I can go to any more games, my next one is Boston on MLK day, and how ugly can that one get?

    I’ve had season tickets since 1985, and this is far and away the worst season ever. Please, Dolan, do something about this, you’re disrespecting the fans and treating them like dirt.

  42. Ess-dog

    Hey remember we used to have a light-weight, 6’11″ center/power forward who played average D, could hit a mid-range jumper, ran the court well, and grabbed a good amount of rebounds…

    Frye?

    Frye?

    Frye?

  43. Ray

    I would have definintely taken those tickets off your hands win or lose. The Garden is not a cheap place to get into. Lets see what happens in Detorit tonight.

  44. jon abbey

    “’ve had season tickets since 1985, and this is far and away the worst season ever. Please, Dolan, do something about this, you’re disrespecting the fans and treating them like dirt.”

    well, duh, why do you keep buying tickets?

  45. JK47

    Q Rich does rbound and play decent (not great) defense. If he ever does get his groove back – h would be a 40-44 percent shooter from the field/35 percent 3 point shooter and hits 70 percent form the line. As a veteran – you have to give him atleast 5-10 minutes a game in hopes that he finds his form. In additin – since Marbury is not a great outside shooter – you really do need on eother good outside shooter on this team- since it won’t be Curry or Lee.

    The guy is shooting .309 for the season. How long do you give him until you just throw in the towel and admit that he ain’t gonna “find his form”?

    Q was never a .440 shooter; he’s been under .400 in five of the last six seasons.

  46. iyamwutiam

    Ess-dog- Jeffires can play SF – and basically does so – like Bowen. I don’t think I was talkig about the PF positoin in terms of Balkman/Jeffries – and I do feel that Lee is fine -if a little small for that position. Someone- said somthing about comparing Bowen to Jeffries (with irony) but if they knew Bowens career – they would see it took him almost 8 years or more to just get on a team. And 3 years after that to become the ‘defensive’ specialist. He is easily 35 y/o this guy – who didn’t hit his stride till atleast 30.

    JK- I am not disagreeing with you at all – and I don’t think neither is Isiah. Q Rich gets t start and -I think 30 games is all you can really give someone. Rich starts but if he puts up bad shots and does dumb things he gets pulled -for the game.

    There is a pattern emerging in all this chaos. The pattern is – the big money players are expected to have better fitness, basketball IQ , etc. But – they are now getting pulled and benched if they don’t perform. IT is trying to be polite/courteous/diplomatic whatever- by starting them and giving them support- but you pull a bonehead move – your out for the whole game.

    See Randolph – with the last game, also Jeffries for leaving Bosh wide open and not sticking to his man. Q Rich after hat dumb in bounds pass, and the first five minutes of the toronto game where he kept jacking up shots instead of trying to fid the man inside (Curry). Curry -pretty much every time he big lapses on defense.

    The youth are repsonding- Lee and Washingotn have improved in almost all areas from turnovers to shooting precentage. Balkman will have to – too if he expects to find any minutes. Jeffries has defintiely worked on his shot ad has better fitness than the last year.

    really of the r FA he signed inhis first year- only Crawford has made improvement. he has defintiely been working onhis handle and learning to take it to the hoop- instyead of just jacking up shots from the perimeter- which he needed to do.

    As for defense – its all about trust – and basically no one trsts Curry, Randolph, and Marbury- so you basically havetwo guys playing defense on a 5 man team (robinson and lee- and at best they are average players defensively- but the key thing is – they are defintiely setting up a foundation – which is striving all the tie -even Crawford – though he gets fatigued -still not in top shape).

  47. Frank O.

    The Bricks are almost using my line up
    Robinson
    Lee
    Balkman
    Jeffries

    and Curry is the only difference.
    But more an more you are seeing Zeke trying the energy team with some size.
    But he appears to want to have at least on offensively focused big on the floor.
    Now, if he would pull Curry and go to Marbury I could see me plan come into play

  48. Frank O.

    Curry 0-5 from the line
    Crawford is 0 for the night so far

    ridiculous
    I’m getting a sense that this is more about the Pistons being off than the Bricks being on.

  49. Frank

    ok, i just turned the game on and… WHAT? this is crazy. Did I just see ball movement and Crawford hitting 2 open 3′s? Did I wake up in Bizarro Knicks world?

  50. Frank

    and an actual offensive play ending in an assist by Randolph and an open layup by Freddie Jones? This is nuts.

  51. Thomas B.

    Freaky Friday, er Sunday.

    Inept offense, awful defense, lack of energy. You can use all those during a Knick game but rarely will you not be talking about the Knicks!

    Who are you people, and what have you done with the Knicks?

  52. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    The Knicks didn’t turn the ball over (7 total). Prince and Hamilton went a combined 1 for 17. The Pistons were just missing a TON of shots they normally hit. They did play a solid ballgame. Balkman (natch) was everywhere. Crawford played solid. The only bad shots he took were when they handed him the ball 30″ from the hoop w/5 seconds left on the shot clock. Solid game. Quick Jimmy! Give Isiah an extension!

  53. iyamwutiam

    jon abbey Said:
    January 13th, 2008 at 10:18 pm
    no Marbury tonight, coincidence?

    According to the ‘rumors’ – Marbury was quoted a saying -’You don’t get a twenty million a year player to be not be a scorer’. In my opinion not a coincidence. Isiah is handing down discipline – the difference is – he isn’t as vocal as larry Brown and most improtantly – he is being consistent.

    Don’t matter- if Curry/Q Rich/Marbury?RAndolph/Balman screw up they are out. They sit thenight out – and the next gane is a do-over. Good philiosophy. To make it in the NBA or even high school – you need a bit of ego.

    its working – it will take all of this year – but they were running their butts off tonite. Did you notice he left -Lee and Robinson in therwe the longest.

    Conditioning – conditioning -conditioning – this is really a Coach Carter approach. It will take till next year -before they are all learning that you go flat out all the time you are on the court. Some people (lee/Robinson) get it.

    Did you also notice- that Balkman – STILL -doesn’t have shot and Chandler can actually get to the hole or the line – but when he gets t the line – he shoots exactly 50 percent (whic is why he is not finding time yet).

    Isiah has a plan – and any plan – is dependent on variables – and as far as I see – as usual – he will only be appreciated when he is gone.

  54. njhoop

    ’ve had season tickets since 1985, and this is far and away the worst season ever. Please, Dolan, do something about this, you’re disrespecting the fans and treating them like dirt.”

    well, duh, why do you keep buying tickets?

    Reasonable question. Every year I debate whether to renew. You have to admit, going into this year there was a lot of optimism. However, unless something drastic occurs between now and renewal time (July 2008), my string of season ticket ownership will end at 25 years That will be a very sad day.

  55. jon abbey

    “Reasonable question. Every year I debate whether to renew. You have to admit, going into this year there was a lot of optimism. However, unless something drastic occurs between now and renewal time (July 2008), my string of season ticket ownership will end at 25 years That will be a very sad day.”

    yeah, I don’t mean to give you too hard of a time, but I would have been gone before Isiah even got here. the team Isiah inherited was arguably even less fun to watch than the current edition, although that’s not a debate I’d want to take either side of.

  56. T-Mart

    “Isiah has a plan – and any plan – is dependent on variables – and as far as I see – as usual – he will only be appreciated when he is gone.”

    You really need to stop. You’re making us all more stupid.

  57. Hudson River

    “Conditioning – conditioning -conditioning – this is really a Coach Carter approach. It will take till next year -before they are all learning that you go flat out all the time you are on the court. Some people (lee/Robinson) get it.”

    You see, I have had a coach in that “Coach Carter” mold and last time I checked Coach Carter’s players actually played defense. These are NBA players they are expected to be conditioned, it’s not a Coach’s responsibility in this league, and in general they are. The biggest gym rat on the team is actually Zach Randolph and look how that has turned out. Scottie Pippen was quoted as saying he is the hardest working player he’s ever played with (although this was when he was trying to convince himself he was better than Jordan).

    You wanna see a plan? Look at the Bobcats, Magic, Lakers (despite Kobe), Suns, Raptors, Spurs, Mavericks or Blazers. With the exception of the Spurs all those teams were bad teams who rebuilt with young talent and key veterans. The Knicks DON’T do that.

  58. iyamwutiam

    The bobcats(Emeka/Morrison), Magic(howard/Nelson), Raptors (bosh/Bargianini) all had atleats a number one or number two all around number one draft pick (or atleast top 5).

    The Suns, Lakers, Mavericks(scroll up to see their record for the last 5 years- same applies to all the teams included- and they each have atleast one superstar) – been at it for years and basically reloaded -rather than rebuilt – and didn’t have the massive double dose of bad salary cap management and bad draft picks for at least a decade- before some ‘new’ GM came in and had to deal with a washed up roster, two hall of fame coaches foisted on him.

  59. Bill

    Here’s a digression, but do any of you see T-Mac working on the Knicks? I can see a lineup of Curry, Joe Smith, T-Mac (as a SG-SF), Jamal (as a combo guard), Marbury, albeit small, working in the East. D Lee and Balkman can sub for Joe/T-Mac when needed, while Fred Jones/Nate can spell the back court.

    Regardless, this is how I plan to get him over here:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=2381~788~3032~3194~383~1017~255~532&teams=10~18~10~10~10~4~4~18&te=&cash=

    In summary, the Bulls get their inside scorer (Zach), to complement the anti-scorer Ben Wallace. Also, they get an expiring contract in Francis.

    The Rockets get rid of T-Mac and get Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas and some upside in Chandler, which is not a bad return considering T-Mac’s health/playoff issues. Also of note is that Gordon’s contract, along with about $6 mill of team options, is expiring, leaving some room and hope to sign someone like Gilbert/Iguodala in ’08.

    Knicks get T-Mac and a replacement Zach, in Joe Smith, who is much less of a ball-hog. There would likely be a #1 pick thrown in by some party (probably the Knicks).

  60. Owen

    Lol….

    IYAM – All I can say is what I usually say when people take a tack like yours, I hope your optimism turns out to be justified….

  61. Owen

    And please, please, not T-mac. Haven’t we learned our lesson?

    In the last four years he has had a ts% of 51.5%, which is actually exactl what he was averaging before he got injured, which happens all the time. They call him “half a man, half a season,” an allusion to his cousin Vince Carter’s nickname.

    He was awesome in Orlando before his knee injury, truly awesome, but acquiring him might be an even worse move than any the Knicks have made yet.

    Lol, I don’t know if that’s even possible actually…

  62. iyamwutiam

    Tmart – I would by shots all around on that–but– hey -(only a truly stupid person would ot look at context, control and environment and constraints when assessing a situation ). Therefore what precedes a situation and the environment and constraints one has to work with -has to be an important and most of all fair consideration. While many – on this board- love being armchair gms and coaches – one must concede -we are not neither coaches / GMs, nor even players in the NBa. Many players have resoundingly put the blame on certain players Marbury/urry/Crawford in particular – and not on Isiah – as varied as Alston/ O Neal etc- so maybe they KNOW something.

    fact check:
    1. isiah was NOT found guilty in the Anucha Sanders case (check the transcript- the Knicks were – but he was not.
    2. isiah did not want either Wilkens or Brown. yeah-yeah yeah yeah – he was the GM – etc. But as I have said repeatedly – last year was finally the time when Dolan – said OK. Some foolishness about Occam’s Razor -whatever-
    Simplest explanation – brown leaves/Isiah gets an extension – J Rose/Francis/ Jerome James- could not have been Isiahs – as except for James- everyone else is gone- therefore – it was not an Isiah play.
    3. You may say and rightfully so – it is the responsibility of the player to be in shape etc. But we all have seen – that now contrats tend to include everything from making weight, injuries etc etc. bottom line it would not be the first time or the last time a player quit on a team because he felt whatever- they are not ‘professional’ – this stuff happens all the time. Bottom line- Randolph ay be a gym rat (that could anything from working on his shot- to actually working on his physicial conditioning). The guy definitely gets winded, as does Curry and some others. Even Lee-see him tonight late in the game.

    The Knicks are playing better recently. All the players you guys want to trade played a key role tonight – particularly – Jeffries/Randolph.

  63. xduckshoex

    iyam – “only a truly stupid person would ot[sic] look at context, control and environment and constraints when assessing a situation”? Are you serious? We get it, you think that you are vastly superior to everybody who disagrees with you and dares to question the brilliance of Isiah Thomas. I am actually very glad here because it is always good to hear the other side, but your delivery sucks.

    And Isiah WAS found guilty, they just did not reward punitive damages. Your fact checking is not very good either.

    Fact check: excuses matter less than results. When it comes down to it, all of this nonsense about context and whether or not it was Thomas who made these moves doesn’t matter because Thomas was the one who was supposed to be in charge, and the Knicks have not improved even the tiniest bit after years of his leadership. I don’t care if Larry Brown forced him to make every trade he ever made; if that’s the case he deserves to be fired for letting someone else do his job for him.

    If a team wins 20 games because the head coach consistently defers to an assistant who makes terrible decisions, does that head coach deserve to keep his job? Of course not. It’s his responsibility and at the end of the day he has to live with the moves made while he is guiding the team. The same applies to Thomas.

  64. Ess-dog

    “The bobcats(Emeka/Morrison), Magic(howard/Nelson), Raptors (bosh/Bargianini) all had atleats a number one or number two all around number one draft pick (or atleast top 5).”

    iyam, you just made a great argument AGAINST Isiah: he traded not one, but two lottery picks (a 2 and a 9) for Curry who plays really well (every 6th game or so.) I guess you could argue that those picks (Thomas and Noah) wouldn’t make us necessarily better now, but we would be younger and cheaper and faster and in a great position after Steph is gone to make a run at LeBron. A future frontcourt of Tyrus, Noah and Lebron would be nice, although one or the other would be ideal to match with Lebron. It’s strange that the Bulls still have what we need (low post defense) and we still have what they need (low post scoring.) Maybe a T.Thomas and Hinrich and draft pick for Randolph?
    I say no thanks to T-mac unless we move a bunch of bad parts. Curry, Lee or T. Thomas, Balkman, T-mac, and Nate or Hinrich… not bad if Curry could play every game. I’d rather position for Lebron though. I’m not involving Steph, b/c I assume he will be in and out all season for one reason or another. Can we trade him to a Ukranian club team for cash? Is that legal?
    All I know is, it’s not ok for Zach and Curry to show up every 5th game! On defense or offense. The stats are there, Iyam, this latest game proves very little to me. I hope the blueprint is falling into place, but I doubt it…

  65. JVG

    Wow, the Knicks absolutely destroyed the vaunted Detroit Pistons 89-65.

    Where are all the naysayers and doubters and Isiah-haterz now, huh?

    This is the start of something big. I can feel it!

    The New York Knickerbockerss are BACK!

    Playoffs here we come!

  66. brian

    Wow, the Knicks absolutely destroyed the vaunted Detroit Pistons 89-65.

    Where are all the naysayers and doubters and Isiah-haterz now, huh?

    This is the start of something big. I can feel it!

    The New York Knickerbockerss are BACK!

    Playoffs here we come!”

    If this is a serious comment, then God help us all.

  67. Starks

    Marbury had his best game last night. From the locker room while watching the Giants game he was able to blow out the Pistons.

  68. caleb

    That proposed trade is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen, except for maybe starting Joe Smith ahead of David Lee.

    On the other hand… a more realistic trade for TMac wouldn’t be bad, if we could dump one of the longer contracts (Randolph, Curry, Crawford, Jeffries) for McGrady who expires in 2010. Sure he’s a ball hog but at least he’s much more efficient than any of those guys (except Curry and lord knows the rest of their games are no match).

    He certainly doesn’t have any playoff “issues,” he averages about 30 a game in the playoffs… it’s just that all his teams have been mediocre and Yao has come up small the last couple of years. Was Garnett a choker when Minny only made it out of the first round once?

    How about Crawford, Rose & Chandler for TMac… not as ridiculous as it sounds… if they trade him it’s because they’re blowing things up, and that would give them a good chunk of 2009 salary relief plus a good young prospect.

    I’m certainly wouldn’t solve all our problems, but we do need to clear those long-term deals somehow. I’m just sayin’….

  69. caleb

    Since I’m in trade mode… it looks like Noah is even less popular in Chicago than Ty Thomas. He would be a fantastic fit here… Good young player who can do a little of everything, and doesn’t need the ball.

    Think they’d take Zach for Wallace & Noah? (I’m no Wallace fan but he expires in 2010).

  70. Owen

    Zach had a good game last night, but it’s amazing how much the ball stops when it’s in his hands, as Mike Breen noted last night. I would love that trade for Wallace and Noah.

    Dave Berri just had a post comparing Mcgrady and Kobe, in which he says that Mcgrady has been a better player with worse teammates….

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/t-mac-and-kobe/

    If you say T-mac is a good idea, I guess I will buy it, but I sort of feel like we have rolled the dice enough on overpaid. me-first superstars…

  71. caleb

    Given that we are or should be in rebuilding mode… I would prefer a trade for a younger, cheaper prospect… but if there is any way to essentially swap out curry, randolph or crawford for tmac I would be gung-ho. In general I’m glad to upgrade as long as salary length doesn’t get worse…

    I realize there’s a good case to be made for just tanking the season to improve lottery position (i.e. Intentionally getting worse via trades) but a) that often doesn’t work; b) long-term it helps team to learn to win/compete; c) in my heart, as fan, I just can’t root for us to lose… To play young players, aim for future – yes. To tank – no.

  72. retropkid

    Balkman getting 21 minutes last night is a good sign…I hope. Just wish he could make free throws…but Q needs a spot at the end of the bench, and Balkman needs some burn.

  73. caleb

    p.s. re: the Rockets-Bulls-Knicks trade I don’t mean it would be a bad idea for us, just that it’s not realistic.. if the Bulls wouldn’t trade Gordon and Thomas for Pau Gasol, they’re not going to trade them and Joe Smith for Zach Randolph. It’s true they’re one of the few teams in the league who would remotely consider Randolph (or Curry) but even then, only if they could unload Wallace… maaaaaybe if they’re so down on Hinrich that they’re itchy to unload his contract (@$8m through 2012)

  74. caleb

    I guess I am an obsessive… just want to point out that Randolph (and Curry, and Crawford, and Jeffries) is a liability, not an asset, in trade talks.

    You have to add a sweetener (draft pick, good young player, taking back a bad deal) to get someone to take him… you’re not going to get back something you actually want. (except 2011 cap space)

  75. caleb

    Ben is the type of player that the Knicks need but looks like he’s 80 percent out of gas… shooting 32 percent from the field and rebounding way down (less then Renaldo Balkman, for one).

    I’d guess he might revive a bit, and we could use his skills more than the Bulls can, but I wouldn’t expect much.

    BUT… I still like the trade because even if he sits on the bench for 2+ years, we won’t be paying him in 2010-2011! Unlike the guys I mentioned… meaning that we could sign a big free agent then.

  76. Roshi

    I’d rather have Ben Wallace in a wheelchair than Z-bo as our guy in the paint.

    Or better yet, since Herb is such a lousy assistant coach, let him suit up and play center….if only for comic value.

    In all seriousness, though, I think Ben Wallace has failed on the Bulls because he was brought in for a role (low post presence) that he doesn’t really occupy. On the Knicks, if he was expected to defend well, block shots, and rebound, we could excuse him being a black hole on offense. Although, traditionally, he has been a fair to decent passer.

  77. caleb

    I hear you, Roshi, and he’d probably be an upgrade (this year, at least) over either Curry or Randolph… but he’s not a great rebounder or defender any more… and the next couple years will probably be ugly…

    If we’re super-lucky, we could flip him to a contending team that needs help right now, in exchange for an even shorter deal, or better yet, an extra draft pick.

    Thinking about a 3-way deal, I’d get on the phone to Toronto, Washington, L.A. (Andrew Bynum just hurt his knee), Utah, San Antonio…

  78. Frank O.

    I think Marbury was benched for his recent comments. The Bricks don’t tolerate negative chatter in the press and Marbury has been doing just that.
    On the other hand, his contract is approaching a point where it is moveable. Not sure if that means they will trade him. He says he wants to play overseas, which makes him unattractive to other teams for reasons that go beyond his scowl, selfish playing style, terrible resume, and tepid defense.
    And he’s getting old for a point.

    On the other hand, it was fun watching the young guys play last night.
    Zeke ran a team that was 4/5ths of what I have been proposing and it was energetic, team-focused and tough on D. They shared the ball and found open shooters who knocked down shots. It was fun to watch.

    Jeffries had a nice game. Lee was a bit muted.
    You have to love what Robinson is doing lately. Balkman was flying around and pressuring people. It’s all one can hope for young guys.

    Bricks miss to many foul shots. I can’t stand watching players shoot terribly from the stripe. Drives me crazy.
    Collins is one of the worst shooters I have ever seen at the guard position.
    Chandler showed some nice ability, but he needs to get better from the line.

    It’s hard to get too excited, though.
    Turnovers were way down, but foul shooting would have killed them in a close game. They also got out-rebounded by an exhausted team.

    I can’t stand that people want T-Mac. Singularly selfish player, who works for his own shot and doesn’t make his team much better. Hmmm. Yeah, sounds just like four or five current Bricks. That means Zeke is certain to try for him. That alone should give one pause.

    And I guess there will always me those who will make excuses for Zeke.
    There were those waxing poetic about the greatness of Rome right until it fell.
    The depths of denial can seem bottomless.

  79. caleb

    The thing about TMac being selfish (which he is — he’s like cousin Vince in that he seems to get hurt and tired a lot more when the rest of the team is struggling)….

    Our problem in NYK isn’t that our players are selfish; it’s that our selfish players aren’t very good in the first place. Replace selfish Zach or selfish Jamal with selfish TMac and the team gets a lot better.

    he’s old, overpaid and injury prone but selfish is the least of the problems.

  80. Roshi

    Frank O., how poetic!

    Anyway, I hate to be the harbinger of death, but I think a D-league team could have beaten the Pistons last night. They were at the end of a rough 4 game road trip, featuring the Spurs and Dallas, not to mention a rough home game against Boston the night before.

    The Pistons packed it in pretty early, without actually playing their scrubs the whole game (so as not to be accused of tanking the game). Thus, any stats accrued by Knicks players are to be taken with a grain of salt.

    That said, I’m still a supporter of Frank O.’s lineup, despite my opinion that Jeffries flat-out stinks.

  81. Thomas B.

    Why do we need to be under the cap?

    Salary cap room is good in theory because it gives a team some flexibility. However, when I look around the NBA, I do not see very many teams that really improved after getting a top free agent.

    The Cavs are a good example. Cleveland went on a shopping spree to get Jones, Marshall, and Hughes. Hughes was one of the top, if not the best, free agents available. What has the spending spree wrought? Very little, I say.

    Look at the Bulls and the Magic. They got their big money free agents and neither of them is getting a significant bump to the top of the conference. The Bulls had a guy in Chandler who is now doing all the things they need at center for half the money and is 10 years younger. The Magic over paid for a 6-10 guy that does not play strong defense, does not rebound well, and does not block shots. Sure, Lewis is a good scorer and can stretch the defense with out side shooting but he has not vaulted the Magic to the top of the conference.

    Mike James did not help Minny.
    Mo Williams is not helping the Bucks.
    I am sure you can find more.

    The idea that being 15 million under the cap is a good thing is pure fantasy. First off, being 15 million under the cap rarely happens. The salary cap for this season is 55.2 million. Only 3 teams are under the salary cap, none of them more than 3 million under. The luxury tax number is about 67.5 million. 15 teams are below that number. None of the three teams below the salary cap has winning records (Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte). Of the 15 teams under the luxury tax number, about half (8) have a winning record.

    In the last few seasons, I found 4 teams that
    (1) had a record at or below .500;
    (2) were significantly (%10 of the total cap) below the salary cap;
    (3) were over the cap the following season; and (4) made the playoffs in the following season. The Suns, Cavs, and Bulls each did it.

    Having the money to sign a player is just one-step towards success. The second step is finding the right player on which to spend your money. Clearly, Larry Hughes was not the right player for the Cavs. They got to the finals in spite of Hughes, not thanks to him.

    Memphis and Charlotte are below the cap but their cap flexibility has not resulted in playoff runs. Why do people think that the Knicks, with a 54 million dollar salary number would be in a better position that Charlotte or Memphis? Because they buy into the fantasy. Other than the Suns signing Steve Nash, I could not find one player that changed teams as a free agent (not sign and trade) that came in a significantly improved his new team.

    Think about this, would the Knicks be in a better position if they were 13 million under the cap last season and signed Randolph instead of trading for him(lets say he was a free agent)? No. The fans would be just as unhappy with Randolph the free agent as they are with Randolph the trade acquisition. “But Thomas, if we were inder the cap we could have gotten a PG instead of Randolph.” Okay. who was best free agent PG last season? Mo Williams. Is Williams good for adding 10 wins? I have the Bucks on the line, we can ask them. They said “Hell Naw!”

    People use the salary cap as a bullet to use against Thomas. However, it is proven that a team can be just as bad without spending so much money. Since the Knicks salary number has no impact on what the fans pay to see the games, why do we care? What free agent in the last three seasons would have come in here and changed things?

    The truth is the fans do not care about cap management. We would not care about the salary cap if we were on our way to the finals. Dallas fans do not care about their cap number.

    I am not a big Thomas supporter but if you want to bash him can you pick an aspect of the knicks that truly matters. Talk about how he does not coach defense in practice, or how he doesnt bring in solid defensive players. Talk about not insisting on a top 3 protection for the 2006 draft pick. But leave the salary cap alone becuse it simply does not matter.

  82. Sly Williams

    “Sly- so your saying you should compare…”
    No I wasn’t trying to compare, except for entertainment purposes, which is why I wrote “for entertainment”. I thought it was interesting that the Knicks have lost more games in the last 54 games than the Mavs have lost in almost 200 games. I didn’t realize just how different in quality the teams are.
    You are correct that the comparison is not fair:
    Avery has been a very successful coach, who improved an already strong team, that just lost Steve Nash at the beginning of his first year.
    Isiah has done one of the worst jobs of coaching in history. In addition to turning the team into one of the worst teams in the league, Isiah:
    1) sacrificed the future to do so, by trading high draft picks and accumulating long oversized contracts. The team keeps getting worse.
    2) Alienated loyal fans, by insulting them, blaming them for the poor team, and lying to them in a patronizing way.
    3) There is evidence that he treats his subordinates very poorly, ranging from the harassment suit to undermining his coaches (Wilkins & Brown).

    Personally, I do not mind rooting for a Knick team that is losing, but I do have difficulty rooting for the team with Isiah around. Dolan and Isiah are driving away loyal fans.

  83. caleb

    “when I look around the NBA, I do not see very many teams that really improved after getting a top free agent. The Cavs are a good example…”

    “being 15 million under the cap rarely happens… Only 3 teams are under the salary cap, none of them more than 3 million under.”

    “We would not care about the salary cap if we were on our way to the finals. Dallas fans do not care about their cap number.”

    These are all valid points…

    It’s very true that cap space means nothing, if you use it to sign the wrong guy, e.g. Larry Hughes.

    It’s also true that almost no one is under the cap. But if only 3 teams are under the cap, think what a competitive advantage it is to be there.

    Anyway, I think the landscape is changing. A lot of teams are becoming more budget conscious — the free agent market was tough for players the last two years. In a couple of years, the older, terrible deals will run out and more teams will be under the cap. Beyond that, nowadays most players re-sign with their teams because they know there’s no one out there to pay them — they don’t want to be the next Bonzi Wells. If more (any) teams had cap room, more players would put themselves on the market.

    But free agents are only part of it. Cap management is about flexibility, not saving up for one big spree. If you have players signed at good value, they’re tradeable when a good deal comes available. Clearing out the long-term contracts is a way to start over.

    Dallas is an example of value: they’re way over the cap but the guys getting mega dollars are Nowitzki and Dampier… (great value and mediocre value)… plus Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Devin Harris, none of whom makes as much as Jamal Crawford. If they want to re-tool, they could put any of those guys on the market and get a dozen offers in a day.

  84. Thomas B.

    Caleb,

    You are right, flexability is much more important than the actual cap number. It would be much easier for us to move Marbury at 12 million than it is at 20. As is, we need to take back 20 million in salary. We would need to bring in at least 2 players to get that done since there are only a handful of players making 20 million that a team might want to move. Unless we can get Mcgrady, or a defensive big man, i say we just let the contract run out. This season is a loss, the Knicks will likely buy Marbury out before next season if they cant trade him. I think we may have seen the last of Marbury in NY.

    I understand your point but I keep going back to Atlanta and Charlotte. They each have players signed to reasonable deals, but they do not seem able to make deals to improve their teams. I do see good teams making deals to stay good, but I rarely see bad teams making deals to become good.

    The problem on a bad team is player management and talent retention. The salary cap is rarely the problem. Dallas became a good team because they drafted well (Dirk and Howard). This created a solid core to which they added via trades (Devin Harris) and free agents. The Suns followed the same format. The Suns drafted Amare and Marion, they traded for Diaw, and signed Nash. The Spurs drafted each of thier core players (Duncan, Manu and Tony) and made smart pick-ups that compliment the core.

    On the other hand, bad teams draft poorly. Charlotte has yet to draft a durable player. Okafor, May, Felton, and Morrison have each missied significant time with injury. Atlanta drafts better than Charlotte, but they keep drafting the same player a 6-7 slashing forward with speed to run in the open court.

    The Layden era Knicks made a habit of trading away picks. When they kept the pick they wasted in on the likes of Frederick Weiss, Mike Sweetney, and Donell Harvey. Only Minnesotta drafted poorer than the Knicks during the Layden era.

    The formula for a solid team is to build through the draft then make smart trades and sign complimentary free agents. We have step one in place. Hopefully, a top five pick will help next year. I would be more worried about the team if we were not in possession of good young talent like Lee, Robinson (who has looked really good of late), Balkman, and Chandler. I care less about the Knicks’ cap number than I do about their draft. Speaking of the draft, if it comes down to Beasley or Rose with the pick, which player is the better fit for this team?

  85. Frank O.

    This from a sacramento bee weblog:

    Question: Has there been conjecture about an Artest/Shareef (Abdur-Rahim)/(Kenny) Thomas trade to New York for Stephon Marbury with David Lee and/or a first round pick? This would free-up $21 million after next season. It would also allow the Kings to trade Bibby to Miami for Udonis Haslem, Jason Williams and a draft pick reducing salaries by $9 million after this season. When Kevin Martin’s new contract kicks-in next year, the Kings will have to pay a luxury tax. Marbury, Martin, Salmons, Haslem, Miller starting with Beno, Francisco Garcia and Mikki Moore/Lee off the bench is solid and the picks and cap room after 2008-09 facilitate a major improvement in the roster. – H Cardinal, Carmichael, Calif.

    Answer: Truthfully, I don’t have the time to check all your work but I like where you’re going for the most part. First off, I’m wondering if everything regarding New York is on hold again. Numerous league sources have informed me that embattled Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has been turning down decent deals left and right, meanwhile driving those around him in Knicks Land batty and, according to the New York Daily News, possibly pushing owner Joe Dolan to fire him. They have been dangling Jamal Crawford in discussions, but I’m told they still won’t give up David Lee. That much is bad news for the Kings, who have shown an interest in Lee in the past and would certainly want him in any Artest deal.

    Aside from the fact that the blogger refers to Dolan as “joe,”…

    I wonder what deals Zeke has been turning away?
    Interesting that they are shopping Crawford.
    Oddly, he’s been getting such burn I was wondering if the Bricks were showcasing him.
    He would be valuable to a team as a 6th man scorer, but his contract is scary big.

  86. caleb

    Thomas, I agree that with NBA salary restrictions the draft is the most important part of building a team… and that the silver lining for the Bricks is our decent group of young players.

    But financial flexibility is important, too. I think we’re seeing more teams realize this…

    In the end it’s all about pricing and value. To me, at this point, the value of real cap space in 2010-2011 (meaning, at least $10-12 million, enough to sign a front-line free agent)… is a draft pick in the 15-25 range. Meaning, I’d sweeten a deal with Wilson Chandler or Nate Robinson, in order to dump a Randolph, Curry or even Crawford contract. (obviously Crawford’s smaller dealer is worth a little less, and Randolph’s a little more).

    I would NOT include Balkman in a salary dump, because I think he’s worth more than a #15 pick (I’m a fan of his)… and I certainly wouldn’t include Lee, for the same reason (like for that ridiculous Artest idea).

  87. caleb

    Interesting Marbury bulletin… I have to disagree with Mulligan; this is great news for our lottery prospects.

    p.s. If we somehow dumped Crawford (signed through 2011) for Artest (opting out this year or at worst signed through 2009) that’s a great trade… but no way Kings would do it unless they found a 3rd team to take Jamal.

    Shopping JC is obviously the smart thing to do which makes me think it’s a vicious rumor.

  88. caleb

    Speaking of showcasing I think that’s probably why Jeffries is getting PT. Can’t blame IT for trying. Unfortunately other teams are seeing what we already know — that you can get JJ’s production for the league minimum.

  89. Z

    “when I look around the NBA, I do not see very many teams that really improved after getting a top free agent.”

    You fault Cleveland, but remeber: they went to the finals last year! Plus there is Nash in Phoenix; Shaq in LA; it’s too early to condemn Orlando, as they are headed in the right direction; check back again in 2009 when Portland uses their cap space to pair a top free agent with all their kids…

    “I think a D-league team could have beaten the Pistons last night. They were at the end of a rough 4 game road trip, featuring the Spurs and Dallas, not to mention a rough home game against Boston the night before.”

    Yeah– I missed most of the game, but it looked as if the Knicks played a typical Knick game (except of course for only 6 turnovers!). Everything else looked pretty consistent (Curry was typically bad, Randolph played a typical Randolph game, Crawford was typically inconsistent. Even Lee and Balkman, despite their energy, didn’t put up impressive stats. The Pistons put nothing out on the court.

    Granted the 6 turnovers is a huge improvement, and the ball movement really was worlds better than I’m used to seeing, but I credit a lot of that to a flat Pistons team, and even if the Knicks do deserve credit, no way does it make a 30 point difference.

  90. jon abbey

    Cleveland’s free agent signings really didn’t help much; if anything, they stopped guys like Pavlovic and Gibson and Varejao from developing more quickly. and Shaq wasn’t a free agent.

    I’ve argued here numerous times in the past that cap space is overrated, Nash is an exception that proves the rule.

  91. retropkid

    “p.s. If we somehow dumped Crawford (signed through 2011) for Artest (opting out this year or at worst signed through 2009) that’s a great trade… but no way Kings would do it unless they found a 3rd team to take Jamal.”

    Artest will be on the downside from here to the end of his career imho…don’t want him when his lateral movement isn’t there… five years ago, sure…not now.

    The only way out is to eat some of these massive contracts, trying to trade your way out of them just creates more problems than opportunties.

    …have to hope you catch lightning with a young guy (we caught maybe thunder with David Lee, that’s a start)…and save up cash for a stud (LeBron qualifies and then some)…also need to stoke up on young gazelles who can run, play some wing-span D, and make a few shots here and there — the NBA is moving that way, KG is the prototype, but Bosh and Howard are in the line…

    I’d take a shot at Hakim Warrick, not on their level for sure but given minutes, he fills the bill (and is working on cutting down turnovers, his weak spot) and can at least play that kind of game. We need length + foot speed…Eddie ain’t got either, Jeffries sort of has it, except the foot speed (and the shot…)!

  92. Ess-dog

    Thomas B, great points about the cap…
    Of course, Thomas has way worse problems than the cap. All of his trades have been awful. And really the most important part of this is that the man can’t coach. I’ve got a new idea: Hire Eddie Jordan as our new coach. Look how bad his players got after leaving washington (Hughes, Jeffries.) Coaches make a big difference. If we keep Curry, Noah would be a great fit for us. There wouldn’t be a lot of passing in the post, but maybe that could be taught. Look at S.A., great passing big men in Duncan and Oberto. That’s not easy to find. To be fair, Curry’s getting better at passing out of the double team. Who’s going to start at point now? Looks like Jamal’s going to play 40 minutes a night now. What an F’d up team. It just gets worse and worse. Next we’ll trade our draft pick for Vince Carter and we’ll make Scottie Pippen our new coach! Those are the only worse things that could happen. What we need is a high percentage scoring 2 guard since Jamal can’t think. That’s T-mac I guess. Who else is there available? Livingston? Arenas?

  93. jon abbey

    ah, sorry, I didn’t realize “Shaq in LA” referred to him going there and not leaving.

    anyway, if you need to go back to 1996 to find two cases (Shaq and Nash) across the whole league, I think the point is made that cap room really isn’t nearly as important as many people seem to think. Chauncey Billups’ initially signing with Detroit in 2002 could be a third example, I’m not sure if he signed for more than the midcap exemption or not.

  94. caleb

    “The only way out is to eat some of these massive contracts, trying to trade your way out of them just creates more problems than opportunties.”

    That’s why Crawford for Artest is a good trade; instead of waiting until 2011 you’re dumping the salary in 2008 or 2009 at the latest. If you don’t like Ron Ron then don’t re-sign him (and I probably wouldn’t)

  95. caleb

    “save up cash for a stud (LeBron qualifies and then some)…”

    …And that’s the point of dumping the salary in 2008 or 2009.. if you wait until 2011 it doesn’t matter how much $$ you “save,” league rules won’t let us sign LeBron or anyone in 2010 ’cause we’ll be over the cap.

  96. caleb

    “Who else is there available? Livingston? Arenas?”

    I don’t think I’d do it, but I bet Washington would think hard about a sign-and-trade of Arenas for Marbury and Lee or our lottery pick.

  97. iyamwutiam

    Caleb said:
    “save up cash for a stud (LeBron qualifies and then some)…”

    …And that’s the point of dumping the salary in 2008 or 2009.. if you wait until 2011 it doesn’t matter how much $$ you “save,” league rules won’t let us sign LeBron or anyone in 2010 ’cause we’ll be over the cap.

    I am fairly certainn – that this is untrue. The NBA cap is a ‘soft cap’ and therefore if the Knicks were willing to pay luxury tax- which I am fairly certian they would do – for a Kobe/ Le Bron -what difference does that make. I am unaware of any NBA stipulation that forbids a team from going over the cap as much as they want (sort of like MLB).

    As far as trades go:
    1. I think anyone who says- when your losing badly – be very careful about trades. Generally you end up with more problems and not less. Is not incorrect -even if it happens to be the most hated man- (for no good reason) like Isiah.

    Getting veterans in trades that have no heart and leadership ability (Francis/Marbury and perhaps Randolph) has cost this team too many games to risk getting another potential problem – McGrady/Artest. There aren’t very many quality guys out there otherwise to sacrifice the youth in terms of committment that Lee and Robinson
    have shown.

    The core of this team has been responding and has certainly played better- probably culminating in their best game this season. Whether the Pistons were flat/tired whatever- to hold a team to less than 70 points, have only 6 turnovers etc against a Eastern Conference perennial playoff team is definitely and encouraging sign for Knicks fans- true knick fans – not a bunch of haters and criticizers. The Knicks have done fairly well against pretty good teams (recently)- they also blew out Ceveland convincingly, played San Antonio to the last second, and didn’t do to bad against Houston and Toronto. This is in the stretch of the last few weeks – so even objectively – one can say they are improving.

    The Toronto team -where Bosh scored 40 points – is the same team that beat Portland and Bosh also scored close to 40 points. Despite having a ‘supposedly’ better line up and totally defense oriented coach. Their bigs despite being ‘more’ athletic and not being ‘black holes’ on defense didn’t do any better – and they have a for sure all pro PG to boot.

    Although it has taken a lot longer than many people wish-and as I keep saying – keep a few things in mind and it may not be as long as people think.

    1. Yeah – Know people are tired of hearing it – but hey just because its true doesn’t mean you can’t hear it over and over again- Larry Brown – cost the development of this team atleast a year.

    2. The Knicks had the worst professional team roster in the history of sports when Isiah game. I think the cossellout link elaborates on this sufficiently. It really is that RARE to find this kind of a team in any sport.

    3. Certain things – like the Marbury issue – is a risk and a gamble. One which Isiah took and lost- no doubt about it.

    However- despite this large loss – Marbury did what he was supposed to for atleast 2 of the 4 years he was here. The upside maybe that very rarely do you get that kind of expiring contract – throw in Malik Rose’s and you are talking about a lot of potential for a potentially disgruntled superstar- a la Kobe/ Pau Gasol or at the very least -you will certainly have the most to offer.

    I doubt after paying decades of luxury tax for franchise players that went down in history as hall of famers such as Allan Houston, Shandon Anderson, G Wesley, Van Horne that if the opportunity arosr the Knicks would pass.

  98. caleb

    “I am fairly certainn – that this is untrue. The NBA cap is a ’soft cap’ and therefore if the Knicks were willing to pay luxury tax- which I am fairly certian they would do – for a Kobe/ Le Bron -what difference does that make.”

    Sorry to disappoint – you can re-sign your own players for as much as you want but you can’t go over the cap to sign a free agent from another team (except for the “mid-level exception” — note, “exception” – which is about $6m/per.

    This is why we make a big deal about the cap – we don’t care how much $$ big Jim Dolan coughs up but giving big contracts to losers like Randolph means we can’t give big contracts to actual good players.

    Hope that helps.

  99. caleb

    “3. Certain things – like the Marbury issue – is a risk and a gamble. One which Isiah took and lost- no doubt about it.”

    Very true, and it’s not like the Yankees where if we sign a big-money bust like Randy Johnson we can just go and get another expensive free agent… in the NBA it’s against the rules

  100. caleb

    “if the Knicks were willing to pay luxury tax- which I am fairly certian they would do…”

    You are correct, we paid almost $70 million in luxury tax last year, what with being almost $70 million over the cap.

  101. iyamwutiam

    Actually the Knicks paid 45 million – so who’s counting.

    You may be right – regarding the cap limit- but I think it is a minor point in the sense that the Lary Bird rule basically induces players to sign with their own team -as the can offer the max amount by far.

  102. iyamwutiam

    Caleb- also if you check that link I provided – there is a very good article about how an overwhelming number of free agents were brought in via trades and not free agent signings.

  103. ess-dog

    What about Arenas for Nate, Zach and the first round pick? Is it worth it? Then we just take Curry’s hamburgers away until he plays D…

  104. xduckshoex

    “The Toronto team -where Bosh scored 40 points – is the same team that beat Portland and Bosh also scored close to 40 points. Despite having a ’supposedly’ better line up and totally defense oriented coach. ”

    Are you kidding? Sam Mitchell, a defense oriented coach?

  105. caleb

    Caleb- also if you check that link I provided – there is a very good article about how an overwhelming number of free agents were brought in via trades and not free agent signings.”

    I’m sure that’s true (I’ll read the article later) but that’s part of my point… you need players signed at good value if you want to make worthwhile trades. Otherwise you get stuck trading Steve Francis for Zach Randolph.

    I also think that it will change a bit in the future… no one is under the cap now (Philly is the only one with a real chance this summer) but I see a lot of teams angling to get there in 2-3 years… Miami, Portland, Toronto, Seattle, just off the top of my head. If teams have cap room, free agents will move. It’s just that now, they aren’t willing to take a 70 percent pay cut to switch teams.

    Take hypothetical player Gilbert X. He can opt out of his contract this summer, but only one team – Philadelphia – has more than a few million of cap room. If he signs with his current team, the W____ W_____, he can get a max deal (I think about $15 million though I could be off). That means his options are Washington or Philadelphia (if they want him) at $15 million, or anywhere else for the mid-level exception – @$6 million — not to mention the new team can sign him for 5 years, while the W____ W____ can sign him for six (by league rules). I predict… he stays put.

    Now imagine another scenario… 5 or 6 teams have $20 million in cap space.. Gilber X knows they will bid against each other for his services. What does he do then?

    I predict we’ll see a lot more FAs switching teams in a few years.

    And ess-dog, that’s an interesting deal… basically boils down to what number draft pick you think Arenas is worth… #3? #4? He’s only 25 or 26… But is that knee really healthy… ?

  106. xduckshoex

    Dan- I don’t see why it’s a big deal. So the Nuggets got outscored by 1 while Camby was on the court despite his great game. How does that make +/- statistics any less valid?

  107. Z

    “if you need to go back to 1996 to find two cases (Shaq and Nash) across the whole league, I think the point is made that cap room really isn’t nearly as important as many people seem to think.”

    Only 4 teams have won championships this decade. Of those four teams, one of them was built on the notion of clearing cap space to sign your target free agent. So, yes, having to stretch back to 1996 for an example seems to disprove the benefits of cap space; however, that Laker team won three championships following the blueprint that Caleb is pitching for– clearing cap space with a long term goal of signing a specific free agent (not just any Rashard Lewis, Garald Wallace, Ben Wallace, type). His whole reason for waiting until 2010 is because there could be a handful of A list-to-historically great players available. The Lakers cleared their space in 1996 not knowing whether Shaq would choose LA over Orlando. They took a well calculated gamble and it paid off with three rings.

    The Lakers signing Shaq is a modern day example of cap space used to sign an expensive free agent leading to a championship. Certainly they drafted well and made excellent secondary moves, but that mini-dynasty was built on their free agent signing.

    As for the other three teams to win championships this decade, other than the Spurs, who were built with great drafting (and winning the lottery), The Pistons signed Billups (as you already mentioned). Plus the Heat signed Odom and Grant as free agents, both of whom were packaged for Shaq, who brought with him a title (aka: their free agents begat Shaq who begat the ring).

    Certainly there are many examples of free agent signings not paying off championships. Since there are many free agents and only one championship to be had each year, though, it makes sense that there would be disappointments. Orlando back in 2001, signed T-Mac and G Hill. That team barely improved at all for it. Fortunes could have been different if G. Hill hadn’t been chronically injured (and if Tim Duncan, their real target, had left his smaller market just as Shaq had done to them four years earlier).

    I get that cap space may be overrated. I just think that the Knicks have tried the other road, and it hasn’t worked out too well. I’d like to see them follow Caleb’s plan.

  108. iyamwutiam

    Dan – i totally agree with you – this statistics thing has taken off to be a moneymaker for certain people (hollinger) who never played ball and the mor you become imbued in it the more there is no common sense. Most of these formula’s are desinged backwards. In other words you pick the top 5-10 players by consensus – find a formula that makes them the top 5-10 and then let the chips fall where they may.

    As I said I am with you WTF!?!/!/

  109. iyamwutiam

    Caleb said:
    I’m sure that’s true (I’ll read the article later) but that’s part of my point…

    Forget hypothetical try real.

    Why – why in the world would Orlando agree to pay more money than Rashard Lewis already agreed too (original signing 60 million over 5 years) and have it balloon upto a 100 million for a trade scenario?

    Why?

  110. jon abbey

    “I get that cap space may be overrated. I just think that the Knicks have tried the other road, and it hasn’t worked out too well. I’d like to see them follow Caleb’s plan.”

    yeah, me too, definitely. if you’re specifically targeting someone you think you have a reasonably good chance to get, like Shaq to LA in 1996 or LeBron to NY in 2010, I’m all for it.

    that’s just a pretty rare occurrence, and if LeBron decides he wants to stay in Cleveland or wants to play elsewhere, your cap room becomes decidedly less valuable (and before anyone mentions DWade, he’s not looking like he’s going to have an especially lengthy career as an elite player right now).

  111. Ben R

    None of the big name free agents are going to move through free agency. LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, Bosh, Arenas if they do change teams it will be through sign and trades not through free agency.

    It is much more lucrative for big name free agents to force a sign and trade rather than just move teams. If you remember the Shaq trade was prior to the rule change so there was no reason for him to force a sign and trade. Now all the bigger names have and will force their teams to sign and trade them so they can get the higher salaries and longer contracts. (If you remember most people thought Pheonix overpaid for Nash so a sign and trade was unnecessary)

    So having cap space in 2010 is no more valuable than having large expiring contracts of which we will have three. Also next year we have two large expiring contracts so we could make a move if we wanted. In fact we have large contracts expiring every year.

    The key to landing free agents is providing a destination they want. If Arenas really wanted to come to NY next year he could threaten signing with Philly to force the Wizards to sign and trade Arenas and a bad contract to us for Marbury, Rose and a pick. If LeBron only wants NY he could use teams with cap space to leverage a sign and trade with us for Randolph, or Curry and Crawford (all expring contracts when LeBron is a free agent) plus a pick or two and Cleveland would have no choice.

    Cap space does not matter. It is only useful for overpaying players or taking calculated gambles. Simmons is one that did not work, Billips is one that did.

    We need to move Randolph not because of his contract but because he makes us a worse team. We have no need to move James because he does not hurt us as a team, same with Jeffries. I agree Jeffries is vastly overpaid but he is still useful. If he was making 2 million a year he would be a valuable player for any team.

    Our flexability is bad but as of next year we will have multiple expiring contracts every year so we will have flexibility for trades. I just hope we have a GM to make good trades rather than poor ones.

    Also we need to repair our team so we are a positive destination rather than a pit with me first players and bad management.

  112. xduckshoex

    “Dan – i totally agree with you – this statistics thing has taken off to be a moneymaker for certain people (hollinger) who never played ball and the mor you become imbued in it the more there is no common sense. Most of these formula’s are desinged backwards. In other words you pick the top 5-10 players by consensus – find a formula that makes them the top 5-10 and then let the chips fall where they may.

    As I said I am with you WTF!?!/!/”

    1 – How do you know Hollinger has never played ball?

    2 – Even if he has never played ball, how does that make anything that he has worked on any less valid? Ideas are valid on their own, regardless of the background of the person who presents them.

    3 – How do you know how statisticians arrive at their conclusions? I would like you to explain how PER was created backward.

    I really don’t understand how it can be so absurd that a guy can play well in 39 minutes in a loss and you would think it’s odd that his team was outscored while he was on the floor. I would think that it’s expected that a player who plays a lot of minutes in a losing effort will have a negative number for his net +/-.

  113. jon abbey

    I don’t think Cleveland would ever agree to a sign and trade for LeBron, I can’t imagine a set of circumstances where they could justify that to their fan base, especially after the way they lost Boozer.

  114. Brian Cronin

    I dunno, Jon, I don’t think it would be any different than when Grant Hill went to Orlando in a sign and trade.

    If the player tells the team that he is not re-signing with them no matter what, I imagine they’d prefer to get SOMEthing for him rather than nothing, especially as the “SOMEthing” in the Hill trade was Ben Wallace!!

  115. Ben R

    Jon – It would not really be like trading him they just would be salvaging something as he leaves in free agency. If their choice is lose him for nothing or lose him for a large expiring contract, a young player and 2 first round draft picks I think they would have no choice. Sort of like when Pheonix was losing Joe Johnson to Atlanta and instead of just having him leave they traded him and got Diaw and 2 firsts.

    I really think it is how all the upcoming big free agents will move, if any actually move. They leave too much money on the table by signing in free agency.

  116. Ess-dog

    The only way teams get better nowadays, is if players DEMAND a trade. It’s wierd, but that’s the only way that a team can get leverage on another team and get a superstar w/o giving away the farm. Look at Shaq wanting out of LA. He wins a championship w/ Miami and LA struggles until this year. Look at Garnett, although it was a softer demand.

  117. jon abbey

    LeBron isn’t Grant Hill in his prime or Joe Johnson, LeBron is a rare player that can lead you to a title, there are usually only a handful in the league at any time.

    the sign-and-trade thing makes sense for almost anyone else, but I’ll be surprised if Cleveland facilitates LeBron going elsewhere no matter what he tells them in negotiations, we’ll see in a few years. don’t forget he’s also from Ohio, and don’t forget how cranky the Cleveland fan base is for a title in any sport.

  118. caleb

    Jon is right that LeBron is one of a kind… but that probably works in our favor, if anything. He’s so frickin’ rich and gets most of his money in endorsements and worldwide fame… his NBA salary is almost just bonus — it’s like after Jordan’s comeback, when his Bulls contract only paid him $1 million or $2 million, I forget.

    Of course, that makes our cap space a non-factor!

    But aside from LeBron, I think we’ll see a very different free agent playing field, starting in 2009. it’s been years since players had a lot of options — like when Kobe was a free agent, the Clips were the only team with cap room.

    Obviously, in this situation teams have a lot of leverage; a player can’t usually bluff his way out. “Ok,” the team says, “if you hate us so much, go sign with Utah for the mid-level.”

    But when four or five teams have real cap space, it’s a new ballgame. The original team still has some advantage (in that it can re-sign guys for 6 years, rather than 5)… but that’s a much smaller difference. I mean, Rashard Lewis went to Orlando in a sign-and-trade but if Seattle had called his bluff, he still would have left… it’s just he would have gotten one year less, and Seattle wouldn’t have gotten the draft pick or trade exception or whatever it is they got out of it.

    Just check the rosters and you’ll see a lot of teams have figured this out… it just hasn’t been long enough for the old deals to come off the books. or look at the Iverson & Garnett deals to see how valuable cap space is on the trade market (although in both cases it’s a year+ after the original trade; it’s still years earlier than the team would have had cap space).

    In 2008 there will be one team with cap space… but after that, more each year.

  119. jon abbey

    “Jon is right that LeBron is one of a kind… but that probably works in our favor, if anything. He’s so frickin’ rich and gets most of his money in endorsements and worldwide fame… his NBA salary is almost just bonus”

    this is true, plus there was a rumor (I don’t remember if it was fact or not) that some of his main endorsement deals go up quite a bit if he’s in NY (maybe LA too). it’s been my main hope that he comes here for a couple of years now (those Yankee caps always make me smile), my only point is that I seriously doubt it’ll be in a sign and trade. if he sucks it up and signs for the midcap, then he can go anywhere he wants.

  120. Roshi

    Not to split hairs, but sometimes I feel like signing a monster free agent like Lebron to save the team is a cop-out. Sure, I would enjoy the team’s success, but it would feel like we didn’t really earn it.

    Supporting a professional sports team is most fun when you see them draft young players and help them develop into stardom. This is why the Patrick Ewing era was so enjoyable. Many of the players on the team were homegrown and we built around them. New Yorkers felt more attached to Ewing than they would to a superstar that we just acquired. That’s why the Yankees always feel so impersonal to me; it’s just a collection of hired guns (other than Jeter, Posada).

    If the Knicks truly want to reinvigorate the fan base, the way to do it is draft well and keep the young players together long enough for them to develop. No sense in drafting well if we just jettison the player immediately to get a high-priced veteran.

    Plus, as has often been said on this board, superstar players are rarely available, and if they are it’s either at a prohibitive price or they have some stigma attached to them (headcase, injury-prone, etc.). Lebron might be an exception to this, but it will still be difficult for me to embrace him as a Knick.

    I know i’m being hypocritical in that I complain the Knicks suck, yet also complain if they try to acquire a franchise savior, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

  121. iyamwutiam

    xduckshoesx- not SamMitchell (lol) the ‘other coach -Nate McMillan

    As for stats – I have a Masters in Statistics- and I wold choose to do a multi-variate analysis on this. Byt Mike can better explain to you the methodology as its his site. He can also tell you the liitations of statistics in general- and also the difficulties of using a multi-variate model (such as confounding factors- like say Kobe goes off for 65 points and the team wins by twenty – and Chris Mims has good =/- score -even though he was not a factor). But a multi-variate model is quite possible actually.

  122. Ben R

    Roshi – I feel the same way too. I will go even further and say I do not want this team to tank. I would rather win 35 games and get the 10th pick than win 20 and get the #1.

    I want to win with our players not by signing a hired gun or tanking our way to draft a stud. Don’t get me wrong I would love Rose or Lebron but part of me would feel cheap if we did it through free agency or by tanking.

    Also Jon when Lebron’s contract is up he will hold all the cards. He could force Cleveland into a sign and trade almost anywhere. A player of Lebron’s caliber does not switch teams very often and alot of teams will be waiting with cap space ready to hand out a max contract. So if he wants to leave Cleveland they will have no way to stop him. If they can facilitate a sign and trade so they come away with something I think they will. Same with Bosh, Wade, Arenas, etc. The elite players hold all the cards in free agency. They can get almost whatever they want.

    It does not matter though because do you really think we will have an attractive enough base of players to lure one of the big names. With or without cap space we will not sign any big names until we can repair the deeper problems within our franchise.

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