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Friday, December 19, 2014

Why Knicks Fans Should Be Glad Chris Paul Will Likely Remain a Hornet in 2010

When reports first started surfacing that Chris Paul had ranked the Knicks as his number one trade destination, I was ecstatic. Immediately, I had visions of a counter-dynasty to the Miami Heat. Dreams of Carmelo Anthony signing the next summer creating our own Big 3. So I thought the Knicks should trade whomever we need to get Paul, for no matter how much I love Gallo’s intensity and the potential of the recently-acquired Anthony Randolph, you absolutely cannot pass on obtaining perhaps the best point guard in the game. Especially when that point guard comes with the likelihood of Anthony, the smoothest scorer outside of Oklahoma City.

Unfortunately the news of a positive sit down between Paul and the Hornets, would seem to have thrown a wrench in my dreams of a New York Big 3. However, the truth is Knicks fans should be glad that the Hornets’ brass appear likely to persuade Paul to stick it out another year in New Orleans. And here’s why.

Chris Paul will not be traded for pennies on the dollar, and any deal would likely include Gallinari among a few other of the New York youngsters. We love Gallo for his shooting, his height, his overwhelming potential, but most of all we love him for his attitude. He has long been described as simply “tougher” than other European players, with a cocksure demeanor on the court that New Yorkers can easily identify with and appreciate. His duel against Carmelo this spring and his desire to defend the other team’s best player, night in and night out, only further endeared him to us. We want to watch him develop, we want him to succeed, and we want him on our team.

As great a sacrifice as it would be to Knicks fans to trade Gallinari (and Randolph, Douglas, and whatever other young prospects the Hornets required to make a deal), the truth is that, at this point in time, we would never have to make that sacrifice, because the Knick’s trade package is widely regarded among national media as perhaps the weakest available to the Hornets of the four teams on Paul’s wish list. (With the Magic, Trailblazers, and Mavericks rounding out the list.) Bill Simmons and John Hollinger both supported the idea of a trade which would send All-Star Brandon Roy to NO, and multiple writers argued that the Magic, with the ability to send Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and other supporting players, provide the best option for the Hornets. I believe we can disregard the Blazers’ deal for two reasons. First, Paul’s desire appears to be to play with other stars, and trading away your best player doesn’t satisfy that request. And second, I don’t think Blazers’ management would give up Roy anyway.

However, the Orlando deal should be of very real concern. A day after his original report stating that the Knicks were number one on Paul’s wish list, Chris Broussard reported that the Magic had taken the top spot, because Paul believed they could present a deal more likely to persuade Hornets management. Besides the possibility that the Hornets play well next year (encouraging Paul to stick with the only team he’s ever played for) a trade with Orlando is the greatest threat to the Knicks landing CP3.

Analysis of potential trades in this scenario is difficult because, when comparing trades, the determining factor in whether a deal is plausible is what management/ownership are trying to receive in return, and in the case of the Hornets this isn’t very clear. They’ve stated repeatedly that their preference is to keep Paul, and appear encouraged by this latest meeting. However, it is believed that if they were forced to trade him at this point, it would be largely for financial reasons. The prolonged sale of the team from majority owner Gary Shinn to minority owner Gary Chouest has some believing that Shinn, amidst fears that the sale could collapse, and unable to continue suffering the massive losses the Hornets have been posting, might eventually OK the trade of Paul as a way to cut salary and rid himself of Emeka Okafor’s ($53 million- 4 years) and James Posey’s ($13 million- 2 years) weighty contracts. The Hornets must also be concerned with the impact on attendance if Paul were to ask for a trade; for as Marc Stein wrote:

A case can be made that keeping Paul in hopes of eventually regaining the confidence of the face of the franchise — or merely holding off until the Hornets decide that they’re ready to trade him — might not be as beneficial for the long-term health of the franchise as proactively trying to move Paul and ultimately spare themselves from the daily distraction and potential negative impact at the gate that comes with employing a disgruntled superstar.

It is then easy to understand that, if one of the Hornets’ main concerns is increasing attendance (a statistic in which the Hornets ranked 23rd out of 30 last year, albeit with Paul out most of the season), a trade featuring marquee names such as Vince Carter would be likely to trump a Knicks’ package featuring unproven prospects. This is true even if from a long term basketball perspective Randolph and Gallinari are more attractive than Nelson and Carter.

The one thing the Knicks have going for them is that they could swap the trade chip that is Eddy Curry’s expiring contract for Okafor’s equally ridiculous and longer contract. This is a thought that should seriously worry Knicks fans, for while a team with Chris Paul and Amar’e Stoudemire is almost immediately a very good team, if we have to lose our most exciting young players in the process, we have no possibility of being a championship team. Okafor’s contract makes it next to impossible that the Knicks could obtain that third star which would make them competitive with the elite of the East.

So what does this all mean? While I love the idea of getting Paul, if we have to sacrifice everything to get him, including our young prospects and the ability to acquire Carmelo, I just don’t think it is worth it. The most successful franchises in the leagues don’t make that deal, because they understand that erasing your ability to win a title in the process of becoming very good just isn’t worth it. Furthermore, even if the Hornets did decide to make a deal before the end of next season, the chances are slim to none that the Knicks would be the beneficiaries.

However, if the Knicks, Paul, and the Hornets can all make it through this season, each biding their time until the opportune moment, the dynasty of the New York 3 can still happen. In one year’s time, Gallinari, Randolph, Azubuike, and Douglas should all be worth more than they are now. Darren Collison will begin to outgrow his role as Paul’s backup. And the Hornets will be closer to having their superstar leave without any compensation. In this scenario, Chris Paul to New York will make much more sense. It would be cheaper for the Knicks since they would have more assets, and the Hornets would be getting a bona fide star instead of an aging one (Vince Carter) or a young question mark (Randolph or Gallo this year). Without mortgaging both talent and cap space now, the team could have one or both of those in the future. Which would mean that there would still be the possibility of obtaining the third superstar after Paul. And my notion of the NY3 propelling the Knicks to instant contention would still be alive.

107 comments on “Why Knicks Fans Should Be Glad Chris Paul Will Likely Remain a Hornet in 2010

  1. Mike Kurylo

    I participated in the TrueHoop Network’s “Taking Offers for Chris Paul” with Ryan Schwan. I offered two deals and in both I included Randolph and took back Okafor:

    Offer #1: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, Wilson Chandler, Bill Walker, Toney Douglas for Okafor & Paul

    Offer #2: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, Toney Douglas for Okafor & Paul

    My thoughts were of Randolph, Gallo, and cap space I decided to keep Gallo, because:

    A. Randolph went to LSU
    B. If Amar’e doesn’t want to play center, and you take back Okafor there isn’t much room for Randolph to play.
    C. Paul, Azu/Chandler, Gallo, Amar’e and Okafor makes sense as a lineup.

    However my two offers fell 5th & 8th out of the lot. In both of them the critique was that I wasn’t giving a center back. (Wait Eddy Curry is in … oh I see.) I could have thrown in Jordan or Mozgov, but I don’t think that would have changed things much. The winners were Orlando & Detroit.

    In any case, I think this makes John’s point more salient. Keeping Paul in New Orleans for another year can only help the Knicks.

  2. frodobaggins

    good article…but unfortunately being a new york blog, i feel compelled to note that carmelo anthony does not play on THIS SIDE of oklahoma city since geographically, denver is on the opposite side of okc from nyc…figure of speech notwithstanding, lets get our facts straight

  3. John Kenney Post author

    @frodo: Good point, which I must acknowledge haha. Perhaps read it as on either side of OK City?

  4. NYKjames

    I do not think the Knicks should include Bill Walker in any trade. He will be very, very good within the next 2 years. Plus, the Knicks can just trade their other two wing players, Chandler/Azu.
    Paul
    Walker
    Gallinari
    Stoudemire
    Okafor

    Pretty sold team…

    However, correct me if I’m wrong, the Knicks can not trade players that they recently received in another trade (turiaf, randolph, azu) for 60 days. 90 days for newly signed free agents.

  5. Schimmel1113

    You wrote a pretty sound article, but completely contradicted your entire argument in the last 3 paragraphs. You spent the entire piece saying how we can’t trade our young stars for Chris Paul (which is simply not true, but at least a sound argument). You then finish the article saying we can trade them next year when they are better? Make up your mind!

  6. Owen

    “The one thing the Knicks have going for them is that they could swap the trade chip that is Eddy Curry’s expiring contract for Okafor’s equally ridiculous and longer contract. ”

    Equally ridiculous? Sorry, but there is no contract in the NBA more ridiculous than Curry’s, or which has done more damage to the franchise holding it. Okafor is a very good, proven NBA player. Curry never has been anything close.

    I don’t quite understand the sentimentality about Gallo and our young talent. Yeah, he is a fun guy to watch play and has a nice stroke. Yes, he was a high draft pick with a nice pedigree and fan support. But in two years he has yet to demonstrate he has true star potential (as opposed to matinee idol potential.) Chris Paul by contrast was a top 15 player his first year in the league. These are very far from finished products.

    I like watching the youth and exuberance of Gallo, Chandler, Toney Douglas, Bill Walker et all, but the truth is that they are all eminently replaceable. Golden State Warriors probably got better production last year from Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Morrow, and Reggie Williams than we did from that group last year.

    Finally, why would you want Carmelo rather than Chris Paul? Carmelo is basically the same player as Amare, but just far less efficient, both from the perspective of turnovers and ts%. He was basically league average in scoring efficiency.

    Haven’t we Knicks fans learned the lesson that collecting a bunch of overrated scorers, efficient or otherwise, is not a recipe for success?

    To me, Amare/Paul/Okafor is a far better core. At least somebody can play defense in that group.

  7. John Kenney Post author

    @schimmel: I’m OK with getting rid of our young stars only if it nets us a Big 3 of our own (which in turn could draw cheap veterans like the Heat are doing currently.) For Paul and Okafor, I don’t think it’s worth it.

    @nykjames: While I don’t put too much stock into summer league, what do you think is the explanation for how poorly Walker played? I find it hard to have a lot of belief in him.

  8. Count Zero

    I came to the same conclusion myself last week. Agree 100%.

    Trading for Paul is the equivalent of “going all in.” Which would be fine if that was the piece that would get us to the Finals. But it’s not — without any pieces around CP3 and Amar’e, we are still at best the #3 team in the East — maybe #4 or 5. And we’re hamstrung with little ability to get significantly better before 2012.

    There’s a rootability factor as well — who doesn’t want to root for a team with a bunch of very young, largely unknown talent like Gallo, Randolph, Douglas, Azubuike and Mozgov? If one or two of these guys develops this season and we somehow win 45 it will be awesome. With CP3, anything less than 50 wins is a disappointment.

    I’d be very happy if Paul just stays put.

  9. Ted Nelson

    “He has long been described as simply “tougher” than other European players”

    I’ve never actually heard him described that way, but… I take offense to that comment. The European game is actually more physical than the NBA today. The idea that all European players are soft is misinformed. Lack of athleticism can be confused with “soft” pretty easily.

    “his desire to defend the other team’s best player, night in and night out”

    Really? Maybe that’s what he desires, but all else equal D’Antoni is probably putting Wilson Chandler on the other team’s best wing.

    “because the Knick’s trade package is widely regarded among national media as perhaps the weakest available to the Hornets of the four teams on Paul’s wish list.”

    Luckily the Hornets didn’t hire a former journalist as their GM the way the Timberwolves did… How the package is regarded by ESPN doesn’t have much weight to me. If the Hornets were looking for potential and long-term pieces the Knicks have the best package. The Blazers package was centered around Miller and Przybilla with Bayless being the most attractive prospect. If they would want sure-thing veterans with long track records, not so much.

    Vince Carter, though, really? The guy will be 34 next season and has a history of giving up when his team is not competitive. He has a history of playing terribly in the playoffs even when paired with one of the best 2 players in the entire league. I somehow don’t see the Hornets being interested in VC.

    “It is then easy to understand that, if one of the Hornets’ main concerns is increasing attendance (a statistic in which the Hornets ranked 23rd out of 30 last year, albeit with Paul out most of the season), a trade featuring marquee names such as Vince Carter would be likely to trump a Knicks’ package featuring unproven prospects.”

    I believe sports economists agree winning sells tickets and not washed up semi-stars.

    “The most successful franchises in the leagues don’t make that deal, because they understand that erasing your ability to win a title in the process of becoming very good just isn’t worth it.”

    The Knicks currently have a very small chance of winning a title anytime soon. We all love Gallo and Randolph, but their actual chances of reaching their ceilings are not that great. To date Gallo has been a 3pt specialist who plays average defense and Randolph has been inconsistent when he actually manages to get on the court.

    I think you are seriously overrating Carmelo Anthony.

    “In one year’s time, Gallinari, Randolph, Azubuike, and Douglas should all be worth more than they are now. Darren Collison will begin to outgrow his role as Paul’s backup. And the Hornets will be closer to having their superstar leave without any compensation. In this scenario, Chris Paul to New York will make much more sense.”

    In another scenario… neither Gallo nor Randolph develops. Douglas’ hot scoring was a fluke. The Hornets win 50 games and have a shot to keep Paul. The Knicks win 30 games but have to give their pick to Houston…

    I’m also optimistic things will work out along the lines of what you mention; however, it’s far from assured.

  10. eric8476

    I’m in the minority i think but i would not trade our randolph or gallo for paul. We got an impressive young team that will get better. I think felton could turn out to be a good enough pg to compete with the big boys.

  11. NYKjames

    Owen: I don’t quite understand the sentimentality about Gallo and our young talent. Yeah, he is a fun guy to watch play and has a nice stroke. Yes, he was a high draft pick with a nice pedigree and fan support. But in two years he has yet to demonstrate he has true star potential

    15 & 5 in his sophmore season (really his rookie season) isnt showing a rediculous amount of potential? He only played in like 20 games his rookie year while he was injured. And you can just notice how much better he became throughout last season. He could turn into a stud, or maybe he has hit his ceiling… But he has continually gotten better.

    So all i’m saying, is that he has definitely shown that he has star potential.

  12. Ted Nelson

    Good points, Owen.

    re: Walker… He’s a 3pt specialist. He had a lot of potential in high school, but at some point that doesn’t matter any more NYKjames.

    John, I wouldn’t get too obsessed with following Miami and the magical number 3…

  13. NYKjames

    Walker lost 25lbs between the end of the season and the start of the Summer league. So I suspect he is just getting used to his body. The reason I don’t think he needs to be included in a trade is because he does not hold alot of trade value, and I think he will definitely be a solid role player for the time being. I definitely feel he is alot better than most people perceive him to be.

  14. Owen

    “Trading for Paul is the equivalent of “going all in.” Which would be fine if that was the piece that would get us to the Finals. But it’s not ”

    Count Zero – As a poker player and a basketball analyst, I have to ask, what’s wrong with going all in? You say it like it’s a bad thing. But very often it’s the correct play, as it would be in this case. There is no ‘piece’ on the market over the next 2-3 years more likely to get us to the finals then Paul.

    There are really only five players in the NBA worth owning on a max contract for the next five years. Lebron, Wade, Paul, Durant, and Howard. Winning a championship with Amare on a max contract and without one of those five is a pipe dream. Carmelo is not the answer. As I said above, it would be hard to find two more duplicative talents than Melo and Stoudemire.

    If our fate is to get Chris Paul and be second banana in the Eastern Conference, winning 55-60 games for the next three seasons, I can deal with that. I don’t see a better alternative while Amare is on the roster. There is at least a chance, a chance similar to the one the Celtics had this year. That’s our upside. And it’s better than anything else we can do.

    Another note about Randolph and Gallo. I am skeptical they will turn into legit stars. But if they do, what’s keeping them in New York anyway? They aren’t going to stay cheap for very long if they are as good as people think they are. Are we going to get all that much more from Gallo over the next two years than the Lakers are getting from Matt Barnes (signed for 1.77 and 2.0)?

    Finally, it’s about time the Garden faithful get to root for one of the best players in the league playing in their uniform. That’s pretty much never happened and it’s something I’d like to see sooner rather than later.

  15. eric8476

    Owen: “Trading for Paul is the equivalent of “going all in.” Which would be fine if that was the piece that would get us to the Finals. But it’s not ”Count Zero – As a poker player and a basketball analyst, I have to ask, what’s wrong with going all in? You say it like it’s a bad thing. But very often it’s the correct play, as it would be in this case.
    There are really only five players in the NBA worth owning on a max contract for the next five years. Lebron, Wade, Paul, Durant, and Howard. Winning a championship with Amare on a max contract and without one of those five is a pipe dream. Carmelo is not the answer. As I said above, it would be hard to find two more duplicative talents than Melo and Stoudemire.
    If our fate is to get Chris Paul and be second banana in the Eastern Conference, winning 55-60 games for the next three seasons, I can deal with that. I don’t see a better alternative while Amare is on the roster. There is at least a chance with that roster, a chance similar to the one the Celtics had this year. That’s our upside. And it’s better than anything else we can do.
    Another not about Randolph and Gallo. I am highly skeptical they will turn into legit stars. But if they do, what’s keeping them in New York anyway? They aren’t going to stay cheap for very long if they are as good as people think they are.   

    i think amare is worth a max contract and good point about randolph and gallo staying. I think being able to spend more to keep them is a positive for the knicks

  16. Frank

    I’d like to ask Mike a question since he has connections across the league — what do teams (not the media) around the league really think of our young talent? We as fans all love Gallo — we think he has a reasonable chance of being the next Dirk. We love Douglas as a Chris Childs/Bobby Jackson/Lindsey Hunter-type player, and think Chandler is an average to above-average young prospect. Can you give us an idea what other people think? Is Gallo’s potential all NY hype? The Knicks’ talent is constantly bashed by the media, just not sure what actual basketball people around the league think.

    thanks

  17. Count Zero

    @18

    I agree that sometimes “all in” is the best play. I just don’t agree that this is the time to do it.

    Primarily because:

    1) Getting Paul (and the Okafor baggage) while losing AR, Gallo, Douglas and Curry’s expiring (i.e., losing salary cap flexibility in 2011) doesn’t make us one of the best teams in the East — it makes us a second round playoff team with no hope of matching up with Orlando or Miami in 2011 or 2012. You need to at the very least keep Gallo to have that 3 pt threat to have any hope of beating those teams.

    2) Paul is a FA in 2012 — do you really think (given #1) that you have a shot at the Finals in 2011 or 2012? I don’t think you do unless something miraculous happens. So you’re going all in to get to the second round of the playoffs and die there.

    Long term, I see a better shot at a title if we stay the youth course, pick up cap space of $14MM+ in summer of 2011, and see how some of the high-potential, low cost plays like Mozgov pan out. We then have a ton of flexibility to make decisions in 2011 and 2012.

    But I could see your argument as well — I just don’t agree that it’s the best long-term strategy.

  18. Z

    Owen:
    There are really only five players in the NBA worth owning on a max contract for the next five years. Lebron, Wade, Paul, Durant, and Howard. Winning a championship with Amare on a max contract and without one of those five is a pipe dream.  

    Keep in mind, the only reason the Knicks are even on Paul’s mind is because we signed Amar’e to a max contract…

  19. ess-dog

    In most cases, I would agree let’s keep Gallo/Randolph to at least see how they turn out over then next half to full season. But Chris Paul is Chris Paul. Seriously, if you’re not going to go “all in” for Paul, who do you do it for?
    Sometimes “potential” can be so seductive that it gets confused with actual productivity. Again, not that PER is the end all be all, but Gallo’s PER was the same as Douglas’ and Bill Walker’s – no one is saying that Douglas is a “future star” – a lower PER than JR Smith and Ty Lawson. Gallo is younger, but Douglas and Lawson have a lot less pro minutes. The potential is there, but Gallo’s growth is far from guaranteed.
    All these guys and Randolph are “promising” but definitely worth a shot at a guy like Paul.
    I’m not trying to be debbie downer, just realistic – we will be lucky if two of Felton, Chandler, Gallo and Randolph do anything more than very slightly improve or hold even. Most likely, one will worsen due to injury or some other inexplicable reason.
    Is that much better than last year’s team? Hell yes! But it’s far from a championship contender.
    I think only Portland could put together a package of young comparable talent. I just don’t think Orlando really has the players (Gortat has been a disappointment.) If NO needs a center, they can get a guy like Barron and realistically not lose too much from Okafor at 1/5,000th of the price, so I don’t buy the “lack of a center” reason to discount the Knicks.
    But unfortunately, I do think it would take Gallo and Chandler AND probably taking back Okafor to get it done. It is slightly possible we could do it while taking back Posey, but both guys with Okafor probably puts us ahead of Portland and anyone else on Paul’s “list”.
    So that would leave us with: Paul, Azu/Walker, Fields/Chandler, Amare, Okafor depending on who’s leaving and who’s staying. One all-world, one all-star and 3 average players. And no money to sign another player. Tough call. I think that could put us at a 2-4 seed though.

  20. DS

    @22
    I think CP3-Azubuike-(Chandler/Rudy)-Amare-Okafor with Felton, Walker and Turiaf DOES make us one of the best teams in the East… by a lot (so we’ll have to agree to disagree).

    Also, I can’t see why Collison-Thorton-Gallo-West-Randolph w. Douglas, Posey and tons of cap flexibility is such a bad scenario for the Hornets (so long as they can replace Okafor’s size) if they pull the trigger on a deal with the Knicks mid-season or next summer.

    If you consider Randolph’s stats per 36 mins., his age, and the likelihood that he’ll improve on some of his kinks this year from his first two seasons, it’s easy to see how easily he could be widely considered a “star” in a year’s time:
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/randoan01.html
    He just needs to get his minutes and also to gain some recognition as a winner around the league.

  21. supernova

    “In one year’s time, Gallinari, Randolph, Azubuike, and Douglas should all be worth more than they are now.”

    Well, one would hope that they are worth more a year from now, but this is not a certainty. While I am very hopeful about that group, no one really knows how they will continue to develop.

    I share the authors sentiments, that I look forward to this new season and the development of the current Knick squad, but things could just as easily go badly. Let’s hope for the best.

  22. ess-dog

    Sorry, I meant it would take “Gallo and Randolph” AND probably taking back Okafor to get it done.

  23. Count Zero

    This is why I wouldn’t be upset either way — but if forced to pick a strategy, I come down on don’t go all in for two years of CP3. I think it’s debatable — I can muster arguments on both sides.

    I think knowing when to go “all in” may be the biggest key to success for any sports franchise. The Yankees did it very well last year — so did the Sox in 2004 and 2007 (Trading away Hanley? Really? Oh – it paid off.). But to me, you only do it when you honestly believe you can win it all as a result. I just don’t see us having a shot at winning it all with the lineup above.

  24. Ted Nelson

    “1) Getting Paul (and the Okafor baggage) while losing AR, Gallo, Douglas and Curry’s expiring (i.e., losing salary cap flexibility in 2011) doesn’t make us one of the best teams in the East — it makes us a second round playoff team with no hope of matching up with Orlando or Miami in 2011 or 2012. You need to at the very least keep Gallo to have that 3 pt threat to have any hope of beating those teams.”

    It’s not as if the Knicks are not going to have anyone else on their roster… 3pt shooting would be one of my last concerns… Azu and Bill Walker can both hit 40% of their 3s. Chris Paul can hit 35-40%. Wilson Chandler might hit 33%. They can sign a Mike Miller or Anthony Morrow type of free agent with the MLE next offseason.

    “Long term, I see a better shot at a title if we stay the youth course, pick up cap space of $14MM+ in summer of 2011, and see how some of the high-potential, low cost plays like Mozgov pan out. We then have a ton of flexibility to make decisions in 2011 and 2012.”

    I don’t think the Knicks really have a choice and I do see lots of potential benefits from waiting (see how Paul’s health is, see how the Knicks guys play)… However, you don’t want to trade for Chris Paul and pretty much guarantee 50+ wins the next few years because you want to see how Timo Mozgov turns out?

    ess-dog,
    Good points in 25.

    “Most likely, one will worsen due to injury or some other inexplicable reason.”
    Felton is pretty likely to worsen for the explicable reason that last season was likely a fluke…

    Also… I’m not an Okafor cheerleader, but I’d say you’re underrating him. He’s above average. He could be a Lamar Odom type value (if that makes sense… not comparing their games, but their value) on the right contender.

  25. Ben R

    I think if Paul is availiable now of course you do whatever needs to be done to get him, but I think what the article was saying was that it would be beneficial for the Knicks if Paul played one more season there. That I completely agree with.

    While it is not a sure thing our young players improve it is likely at least a couple do. Plus Randolph doesn’t even need to improve to see his value skyrocket. If he just stays healthy and plays starter minutes he will average 18 and 10 with over 2 blocks and will all of a sudden be seen as a rising star in this league and will look like a proper centerpiece in a paul trade.

  26. gbaked

    I would love to have CP3, however, I also like the young makeup of our team.

    As long as Donnie doesnt overreact, and give up too much. I would welcome Paul with open arms. I trust Donnie to make a smart decision. He has shown this past year to be able to do that.

    It would be a real shame to lose all our young, high potential players. I understand CP3 is worth it, but we do have a bit of an unknown in Felton, and there is just as much evidence that he will improve on the Knicks as there is he will regress.

    If NO wants to much, I am just as happy passing on him now (he WILL be a FA in a few years) giving Felton a spin and trying later… If needed.

  27. JK47

    The more I look at Okafor’s basketball-reference page, the more
    I like him. He’s a pretty effective rebounder, he seems to be durable, he’s a solid shot-blocker and he scores pretty efficiently. If we were somehow able to acquire Paul and Okafor without surrendering Randolph, we could have a pretty imposing frontcourt and would be a tremendous rebounding team.

    PG Chris Paul
    SG Rudy Fernandez
    SF Anthony Randolph
    PF Amar’e Stoudemire
    C Emeka Okafor

    I’ll go to war with that.

  28. Frank

    Re: Felton – Ted has been consistently killing him in his posts and gives him no hope of being significantly better in SSOL. I for one have high hopes for him — here’s why.

    First – if you look at his stats from 2006-2010, his jump shot has not improved that much. According to 82games, his eFG has been consistently between 42-44% on jumpers. What GREATLY improved last year was his ability to score “inside” — his eFG in 09-10 was 58% after being 45-49% in his previous seasons. In 09-10 he also had a slightly greater proportion of his shots “inside” as opposed to “jump”. Now whether that is a fluke or not is hard to say from statistics. Did he add a floater to his repertoire? Did he pull up more from 5 feet rather than taking it to the rack and getting blocked? I don’t know, just saying.

    Add to that his eFG in 09-10 during different segments of the shot clock – if he shot during the first 10 seconds of the clock, his eFG was 56.6%. From 11-15 it was 54.8%, from 16-20 it was 42%, and from 21-24 it was 39%. Presumably, in SSOL he will shoot earlier in the clock when his percentages are higher. For comparison, in 09-10 on an SSOL-like offense, Steve Nash shot 74% of his FG attempts in the first 15 seconds of the clock. In 09-10 on a Larry Brown team, Felton shot only 58% of his shots in the first 15 seconds.

    Anyway – here’s to hoping that Felton gets a D’Antoni bump in his stats and plays like Steve Nash-lite going forward.

  29. Caleb

    “There are really only five players in the NBA worth owning on a max contract for the next five years. Lebron, Wade, Paul, Durant, and Howard. ”

    I don’t know the exact formula but I think this is misguided – the CBA seriously distorts salaries in a way that undervalues stars and overvalues mid-level players. In a world without “max” salaries, LeBron James would get $40 million, Wade would get $30 million, Bosh would get $20 million, Amare would get – well, about what he got. In reality, they’re all getting paid about the same.

    Stoudemire or Anthony might be overrated, but they are much better deals at $17 million, than, say, Jamal Crawford or Corey Maggette at $10 million. or even a “reasonable” contract like Luke Ridnour at $4 million or Marvin Williams at $7 million.

    I think teams who get themselves stuck in salary cap hell, don’t usually cause their biggest problems by doling out max contracts. It’s giving mid-size contracts to guys who are only marginally better than what they could get from rookies, or vets on the near-minimum… This could be called “The Isiah Way.”

    For example – it may seem ridiculous that Stoudemire is making a bigger salary than any of the five guys you mention above, but barring injury, I don’t think the Knicks are likely to seriously regret signing him.

  30. Caleb

    Okafor has been a better rebounder than our beloved David Lee, all but one season. He would also be the best defensive big man we’ve had since Ewing.

    He’s a perfectly reasonable offensive player, too.

    Sure, he’s got his issues – like turnovers, and a balky back – but it’s ludicrous to compare him to Curry, or to suggest he couldn’t be part of a really good team.

  31. ess-dog

    Re: Okafor, sure, last year was probably a flukey down year due to being traded and put in a new offense etc. etc. But there’s no guarantee that it’s not the “beginning of the end” for Okafor.
    He’s less than ideal for SSOL, but he’s good enough.

    I am most worried about Felton b/c of his age. It wouldn’t be inconceivable to “pull a Nash” and break through in his fifth pro season, but the odds are not good. One thing that makes me feel good about him as an assist guy though is that Cap’n Jack probably took over a lot of the ball-handling/distributing when he came over, and that ate into Felton’s stats a bit. Good to hear about his inside scoring. At least we know the defense is there with Felton. And if he can continue to shoot the 3 at a .400 clip, that’s really all you can ask. Unfortunately, the likelihood of him reaching Paul’s down year in 2009-10 this coming year is slim to none, which is why you trade for Paul if you can.

  32. Nick C.

    Caleb: Okafor has been a better rebounder than our beloved David Lee, all but one season. He would also be the best defensive big man we’ve had since Ewing. He’s a perfectly reasonable offensive player, too. Sure, he’s got his issues – like turnovers, and a balky back – but it’s ludicrous to compare him to Curry, or to suggest he couldn’t be part of a really good team.  (Quote)

    Funny thing about Okafor is doesn’t his career seem like a bit of a disappointment becuase of where he was drafted and how his college career panned out. Reading you guy he comes off as fitting into a Bew Wallace, Dikembe, Nate Thurmond (for any real old school readers out there) line of player which ain’t a bad thing.

    As for Felton its possible he made conscious improvements or that Larry Browns alleged teaching has helped, his 3PA/36 went from 4 his first two years to 2.4, 2.4 then 2.1 while his % went up from @.390 his first two years to @ .410 then last year .459. Fluke maybe or a bit of the Josh Smith effect and not taking (as many) bad shots.

  33. Ted Nelson

    Ben R,

    I don’t disagree, I think you make a good point. However, even Randolph staying healthy and getting on D’Antoni’s good side is not at all a given. People like to give Nellie crap, but the guy has won more games than any coach in NBA history.

    There’s a chance the Hornets lose hope of re-signing Paul and the Knicks get better. There’s also a chance the Hornets return to 50 win form and the Knicks don’t get much better (Amare replaces Lee, Felton replaces Duhon, Gallo is Gallo, Douglas’ efficiency was a fluke, Chandler remains Chandler, and Randolph replaces Harrington in a different way… for example). The Knicks probably have no choice, but if there’s an opportunity to grab Paul there’s just about as much downside to balking than to going all in.

    Frank,

    I’m not giving Felton “no chance” I’m just going on what I’ve seen. A lot of my pre-acquisition killing of him was because of his alleged contract demands, which were thankfully not met.

    What are the chances that a guy spent 3 seasons in one of the most storied programs in college basketball, was drafted in the top 5 (meaning his team had an incentive for him to succeed), then spent 4 years playing for a variety of coaches as one of the worst offensive starting PGs in the NBA if not the worst, then suddenly learned how to put the basketball in the hoop. And even when he learned he was still solidly below average at it, but now with a new coach he’s going to become well above average at it?????

    I don’t believe that a system can turn a frog into a prince. Duhon, for example, looked great his first season under D’Antoni. Over his time under D’Antoni things had evened out pretty well and he hadn’t helped the Knicks win a meaningful number of games.

    “Anyway – here’s to hoping that Felton gets a D’Antoni bump in his stats and plays like Steve Nash-lite going forward.”

    This is my issue right here. Who has gotten a “D’Antoni bump” in their meaningful (pace adjusted per minute or rate) from below average to well above average? Nash was already one of the top 5 offensive PGs in the league both statistically and subjectively in Dallas. Duhon bumped up then down. Diaw played pretty similary for both D’Antoni and Larry Brown. Marion is about the only guy who D’Antoni helped significantally, unless Amare follows the same path in which case it will not be D’Antoni but Nash.

    If you’re hoping Felton can be a strong defensive PG and average offensively… ok. If you think he’s going to remind you of Steve Nash… it’s just really unlikely. Sure there’s a chance. There’s also a chance that Eddy Curry averages 20 ppg this season.

  34. Ted Nelson

    Caleb, I think you’re exaggerating Anthony’s value a bit. I think Owen’s point that there are only so many players for whom the max contract is really a big bargain. Other guys might get more without it (see Juwan Howard), but wouldn’t earn what they got.

    Nick C.,

    Even last season Felton’s TS% was still only .525… He went from awful to bad.

    ess-dog,

    Nash either didn’t or couldn’t earn the minutes early in his career, but the statistical flashes were there even early.
    Felton is in his 6th season and has played a ton of minutes.

    He only made 60 3P all of last season… the chances that was a small sample size thing are huge and even if it’s not he’s making less than a 3 per game.

    In his down year, when he actually played, Paul’s PER was 23.7 and his WS/48 was .204. Felton’s career bests are 15.2 and .118. Paul might also be a better defender than Felton.

  35. Caleb

    @42 I’m not sure exactly what I think of Anthony… my main point was just that “max player” is sort of misleading – the max is set artificially low.

    On a totally different subject, I don’t think Paul is a great defender. He obviously racks up steals, and plays smart, but his size puts him at a disadvantage and – like most (all?) guys with huge usage rates, he saves a lot of energy for offense. At least what I’ve seen of him, which was mostly two years ago when the Hornets were good. But I’m interested to hear what others think…

    Felton is a lot bigger and stronger, at least as quick and is able to expend more energy on D, IMO.

  36. Ted Nelson

    Count Zero re: going all in

    I can see your point. If the Heat are likely to be dominant for the next 5 years and Paul is fairly likely to be winding down soon after that… Long-term you would hold onto Gallo and Randolph who will only be in their mid-20s and maybe entering their primes when Wade is getting old and LeBron is getting frustrated and publicly calling Bosh “RuPaul.” There is a lot of logic to that. I would say it’s the riskier move, though, and the odds would favor getting CP3 at all costs.

    I don’t know that a Paul led team couldn’t beat the Magic. Howard is obviously a beast, but so is Paul. Rashard Lewis is owed a lot of money and might have already started declining. VC is 34 and didn’t show up for the playoffs. Jameer Nelson is inconsistent and 28. They just overpaid JJ Redick to a deal he’s not going to earn. And they didn’t even make the Finals last season. I’m more worried about Boston short-term than Orlando.

    I don’t know that the deal would actually look like (Knicks would have to give up, what, $25-30 mill per to get Okafor and Paul… Felton would probably be included), but Paul would be likely to bring the best out of guys like Timo and Chandler and Fields who would still be around. Timo especially might benefit from having Paul do a lot of his thinking for him. *If* Gallo AND AR were both gone Chandler could more comfortably move into his natural position at the 3 as the designated slasher and wing-defender.

    I also don’t think the only reason you go all in is for the title. Chicago played the waiting and holding assets game and have been on average an end of the playoffs team for years. Boston went all in on a couple of old guys and have a title and another finals appearance to show for it. It looks obvious in hindsight, but a #5 pick for Ray Allen didn’t seem that no-brainer at the time. Stealing KG for AJ was pretty obvious… but we might be saying the same about CP for DG and/or AR in a few years… both are roughly the sort of prospects AJ was at the time: raw but young and looked like he was putting it all together. The Knicks may or may not win a title with Chris Paul, but I think they’d challenge. They may or may not challenge for home-court or even the playoffs over the next few years with their current roster.

  37. Mike Kurylo

    Carmelo Anthony aside, I think the point is that the Knicks shouldn’t and can’t go all in for Paul. By all-in I mean all their young players + losing any cap space by acquiring Okafor. If you play around with the trade machine and force the Knicks to take Okafor & Paul, you’ll see you have to make a substantial offer. Additionally the two I came up with, ones where we would get Okafor but keep Gallo, were pretty much rejected by the “Hornets”. Offering more would strip New York of what little it would have to make trades down the road.

    The problem with Okafor isn’t Okafor, instead it’s the loss of any cap space until – what 2014? If you think Amar’e is overpaid, then Okafor is grossly overpaid. Granted I think a team with Paul, Amar’e, Gallo, and Okafor can do well in the playoffs. However it might be closing options that would otherwise be open to New York. Miami put together a great team by leaving that door open. New York has had that door shut for a decade, with awful results.

    I’m a big fan of doing what it takes to grab the best player in the league, but waiting a year makes more sense. The team could possibly pawn off less assets and/or take back less contracts. If we try now, we’d have to sacrifice a lot to get Paul (which may not be possible). But a year from now we could sacrifice a lot less, and still have room for another star.

  38. Mike Kurylo

    Frank: I’d like to ask Mike a question since he has connections across the league —what do teams (not the media) around the league really think of our young talent? We as fans all love Gallo — we think he has a reasonable chance of being the next Dirk.We love Douglas as a Chris Childs/Bobby Jackson/Lindsey Hunter-type player, and think Chandler is an average to above-average young prospect. Can you give us an idea what other people think?Is Gallo’s potential all NY hype? The Knicks’ talent is constantly bashed by the media, just not sure what actual basketball people around the league think.thanks  

    I don’t think I need to lift the phone on this one. You know how people are commenting that authors or sites are biased against the Knicks? That’s because New Yorkers overvalue their own guys. Well technically every team’s fans do.

    Toney Douglas is probably seen as a backup PG until he proves otherwise. Wilson Chandler is athletic, can play multiple positions, but can’t shoot. Bill Walker was basically cast away by Boston.

    As for Gallo, I imagine he’s seen as an outside shooter. He struggles creating offense. He doesn’t rebound well. His defensive numbers are average. I would think the most optimistic non-Knick fan would see his ceiling as more Peja than Dirk. And that’s upside…

  39. Count Zero

    @30

    “It’s not as if the Knicks are not going to have anyone else on their roster… 3pt shooting would be one of my last concerns… Azu and Bill Walker can both hit 40% of their 3s. Chris Paul can hit 35-40%. Wilson Chandler might hit 33%. They can sign a Mike Miller or Anthony Morrow type of free agent with the MLE next offseason.”

    I was just using that as an example of keeping something to support your big two. (Besides — do you really believe Walker is = Gallo? Seriously?) Pick your poison — the team you have outlined is seriously deficient in rebounding, interior D, scoring threats beyond the big 2. For any of those reasons, you will not be able to get to the finals in the East.

    As far as Okafor is concerned — nobody said he sucked. What was said is that his contract sucks considering what he brings to the floor. Um…that would be why NO wants to package him with CP3.

    All of this is rampant speculation anyway. You have no idea what it would actually take to land CP3, whether Okafor is a mandatory piece, etc., etc. I get to keep Gallo or Randolph? I do it in a heartbeat. I get CP3 to sign a three year extension on trade? Again, I do it in a heartbeat. But given my best guess of what it takes to do it, I say you’re overpaying for a two year stint since you will not get to the Finals in that window.

  40. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I think the max is set artificially low for some players, but how many/which? It’s still a big chunk of the cap. I’d say there are as many or more guys on max (or near) contracts who are overpaid as/than underpaid (Joe Johnson, Redd, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson, Rashard Lewis, Kirilenko, Arenas, VC, Kenyon, Elton Brand, Peja… Tony Parker, Jamison, and Dampier are close to max…). I tend to agree that only a handful or so of the guys at the top of the league in salary are earning their contracts. Age and health being big x-factors, too. I might throw Roy, Bynum, Gasol, some older guys on the list of guys being underpaid at or close to the max. Then again, if Gasol or Bynum were on the Nets or Wolves last season we probably would be throwing them in the overpaid pile. Young guys like Roy and Deron have their numbers held down even lower, but Melo is getting to that 2nd max deal where he’ll be earning bigger money. He might be underpaid, but I don’t know that it will be painfully obvious. In an open market some team might give him $30-40-50+ mill per, but they might regret it. If Bosh had gone for the $, for example, he’d only be making a bit less than what you say he’s worth ($20 mill per). Amare went for the $ and is making $20 mill. At $20 mill you have to do a lot every season to be underpaid. There are definitely guys who do way more than that (LeBron, Howard… Paul and to a lesser extent Wade when healthy, Durant…), but how many do it consistently over their contract?

    I’m not going to disagree about Luke Ridnour, but I’d say there are low level bargains who will be bigger bargains than Melo in his next contract.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

    The NBA these days is not about physical PG play. You cannot even touch the opposing PG on the perimeter, so being strong means a lot less than it used to. Quickness is where it’s at.

    Paul is actually a 1/4 inch taller than Felton. I don’t think 10 or 20 extra pounds and offensive production is a good way to decide who is a better defender, personally.

    My point really, is that Paul is not Jose Calderon. He’s a good defender. More highly regarded than Felton even. If we were debating Felton v. Calderon you could easily point to the defensive side of the ball and say that everything that Calderon gives you over Felton offensively (which is a considerable amount), he gives back on defense. If you want to call it a wash or even argue for Felton over Calderon, ok.
    Chris Paul is 8000000x better than Raymond Felton offensively, though, and just about as good defensively. Maybe Felton is better (I really don’t know), but Paul is still one of the better defensive PGs in the NBA.

  41. Caleb

    @48 I don’t think anyone except a top contender is trading for Chris Paul without getting him to sign an extension. That’s what gives Paul a little bit of leverage – he can narrow the list of destinations by refusing to sign an extension anywhere except, oh, say, New York.

    The fewer his acceptable destinations, the less the Hornets’ bargaining power and the less the receiving team will have to give up. Paul actually has an incentive to be picky, because he would rather land on a team that’s good, not a team that just gave up all its assets and took on James Posey.

    Problem is, we don’t really know where he wants to go…

  42. Ted Nelson

    Mike,

    “waiting a year makes more sense. The team could possibly pawn off less assets and/or take back less contracts.”
    “But a year from now we could sacrifice a lot less, and still have room for another star.”

    Or not. Assuming how things will play out in the next year is pretty dangerous. I think there’s a good chance waiting a year or even two will help the Knicks chase of Paul and a title(s), but there’s also a good chance it won’t.

    “Miami put together a great team by leaving that door open.”

    Maybe the Knicks manage to bring in Paul via free agency. Maybe they could even grab Dwight Howard. Then they’d be like Miami.

    They could also be like another huge market team with a lot of young talent: the Bulls. The Bulls have been waiting patiently by their “homegrown” young talent forever “knowing” they’ll eventually catch that big free agent fish… the best they’ve done is an ancient Ben Wallace, who effectively cost them Tyson Chandler to get anyway, and Carlos Boozer. Knicks could easily find themselves in the same situation or worse. Say they bring in Melo, have to sign-and-trade Gallo or AR to do it… are a top 5 offense, but not a real contender. Same place they’d be with Paul.

    Becoming a 50+ win team is more difficult than everyone seems to appreciate. Even if they are very patient, what are the chances the Knicks are better than they’d be simply by acquiring Paul?

    re: 47

    Good analysis, I agree. I think the one where people are most likely to be wrong/surprised is Toney Douglas. To me he looks like a very good combo-guard already… granted it’s a small sample. Clearly not all back-up PGs are the same.

  43. Ted Nelson

    @48

    “Besides — do you really believe Walker is = Gallo? Seriously?”

    I never specifically said that, I said that 3pt shooting should not be a huge issue for that team.

    Honestly, though, besides how many more minutes he’s managed, how much better is Gallo than Walker? http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=walkebi01&y1=2010&p2=gallida01&y2=2010
    They’ve really been pretty similar per minute. They are both shooting specialists with very good outside shots. They can both finish at the rim, but are limited in getting to it. A lot of last season D’Antoni actually put Walker on bigger players and Gallo on 1s, so how much of a factor is size? I would say Gallo has more theoretical potential and I expect he’ll be better than Walker, but I also would not be surprised if they’re pretty similar 5 years down the road.

    “Pick your poison — the team you have outlined is seriously deficient in rebounding, interior D, scoring threats beyond the big 2.”

    1) Amare is a solid rebounder (14.7 reb%) and Okafor is one of the best rebounders in the NBA. Timo looks like a strong rebounder as well. Chandler and Azu are standard wings rebounding wise. CP3 is a good rebounder. How are they “seriously deficient?”
    2) Okafor would be the Knicks best interior defender in a long while and Amare is not a bad defender at the 4. You might have Timo and/or Turiaf behind them depending on the terms of the deal. Paul-Azu-Chandler is a strong combo on the perimeter. They might not be a great defense, but I think they’d be fine.
    3) Okafor, Azu, and Walker are all above average at putting the ball in the basket. People argue that Chandler has now become above average. Fields may well be above average. How many high-volume scorers does one team need?

    I’m not saying that this is my “dream team.” I’m saying that if hypothetically the Hornets accepted the Knicks all-in offer for Paul it *might* be the Knicks’ best play short-term, long-term, mid-term, any-term.

  44. JK47

    If Anthony Randolph stays healthy you’re looking at 18 ppg, 10 boards and fearsome shot-blocking. Randolph has already shown he can play at that level. If his jump shot improves a bit you can bump him up into the low 20’s PER-wise and maybe you don’t need Melo– you can perhaps focus on getting another quality big man (Noah or Horford) and trying to beat the Heat with size.

    As a proud Syracuse grad it pains me to say it, but I’m starting to agree with a lot of the folks here who are down on the idea of a max contract for Carmelo.

  45. ess-dog

    “waiting a year makes more sense. The team could possibly pawn off less assets and/or take back less contracts.”

    Right. But don’t forget, just because we wait a year, doesn’t mean the rest of the league will. If CP3 is truly available now, someone will get him, and really as time goes on, NO’s offers will only get worse and worse (unless perhaps NO reaches the conference finals or something with Paul playing the best he ever has.)
    Rarely is anything gained from waiting. Phoenix could’ve had Randolph, the #3 pick, Iguodala, or a player like that had they traded Stoudemire in season. Instead, they got the Hakim Warrick special. And he didn’t demand to be traded like Paul supposedly is. Waiting turns 95 cents on the dollar to 90, then 85, etc.
    I think NO and Paul are doing a good job of keeping things covert so they get the most they can in return. If I’m NO, I would want a great young SF prospect and a great young C prospect to start with. Gallo and Randolph could maybe be the closest thing to that available from the teams on Paul’s list. Maybe Portland starts with Batum and Aldrige.

  46. Z

    “Okafor has been a better rebounder than our beloved David Lee, all but one season. He would also be the best defensive big man we’ve had since Ewing.”

    I’m sold.

    I know this thread was supposed to convince us that Paul is not worth the price, but all it has done is convince me that EMEKA OKAFOR is the Hornet we really want.

    Gallo, Randolph, Felton, and Curry for Emeka Okafor and the corpse of Chris Paul.

    Done.

  47. JK47

    @54 I loved LeMarcus Aldridge in college but he’s been a little disappointing to me as a pro. He’s a good but not great PF, pretty solid at everything but not amazing at anything. To me he’s kind of similar to the PF they already have, David West.

  48. ess-dog

    @56,
    I totally agree. Just not sure why the Knicks offer isn’t one of the best. The T-Wolves could offer Love and Rubio, but Paul probably doesn’t relish the idea of going to Minny. Javale McGee/John Wall? What they’d want is good young players and/or good picks – something most contenders don’t have. Luckily (or unluckily), we are the one non-contender that Paul wants to go to. If we actually had a 1st rounder in the near future, I could see it happening for sure.
    Paul should consider San Antonio. They could offer Parker, Blair or Splitter. New Jersey has two pretty high 1st rounders next year.

  49. DS

    I think if the Knicks, Carmelo, and Nuggets continue on the path they’re all on and Carmelo is willing to come to NY there’s little chance Donnie passes on him.

  50. BigBlueAL

    Im just happy that for once whatever happens (trade for Paul now or not) the future still looks pretty bright regardless.

  51. Caleb

    @57 that’s why it’s hard to gauge – if Hornets can take bids from 29 teams, the Knicks aren’t going to have the best offer. If it’s only 2 or 3 candidates – where he’s willing to commit beyond next season – the Knicks could easily put together the strongest bid, even without Mike’s “all-in” offer.

    But you might want to watch out for Jersey. Derrick Favors, plus Harris and/or the 2011 pick… plus taking back Okafor’s contract. Paul would get NYC, play next to Brook Lopez on a team with cap room to sign another star…

    @56 I love “the corpse of Chris Paul.” But I stand by Meka! Maybe it’s just my UConn fanhood… but he’s right in line with guys making the same kind of money, like Kaman, Chandler, Dalembert, etc.

  52. ess-dog

    Josh Howard re-signs with Washington for 1 year 4 mil. Guess the Knicks weren’t interested as they could have afforded that.

  53. Keef

    The post above that claims that Amare and Melo are the same player is a little off base. Amare is a legit 4 and Melo plays the 3, is quicker, and can shoot from outsite much better than Amare. They would be perfect together and Melo showed in the playoffs 2 years ago against LA that he can play well during crunch time. As much as NY needs a point guard it’s going to cost too much to get Paul. I would rather see how it plays out with Felton and then if they can get Melo, go with another less expensive point guard option in Tony Parker or Rubio if that idiot Kahn can be persuaded to trade his rights. Even with a lesser point guard than Paul, Melo, Amare, and the rest of the young guys on the roster, the Knicks will be tough.

  54. yehudi3000

    do you think carmelo is realy that good? i mean, he gots 48% from2, and 32% from 3, so is truely percentage are like 48%.
    gallo shoots 47% from 2 and 39% from 3 (most of is shoots), his truely percentage 52.675, he just shoot less.

    so those carmelo is that good or is he just taking more shots?
    i think paul is WAY beter with 51.3% from 2 and 40%(!) from 3 last year, and you cant forget his 10.7 assists.

    in the other hand, you cant also forget his injury, and that he may get injured for all of his career.

  55. JK47

    @63 But Melo usually has the opposing defense draped all over him since he is acknowledged as the most dangerous scorer on the floor. Melo also gets to the free throw line nine times per game; Gallo gets to the line four times. Gallo is nice but he’s not the scorer Melo is.

  56. massive

    So…Alan Hahn is reporting that the Knicks aren’t offering Wilson Chandler for Rudy Fernandez. So then who are we offering, Kelenna Azubuike? Are we even offering anybody? I think its well known around the league that we want Rudy Fernandez, sort of interesting to here that Chandler is off the table.

  57. Mulligan

    Man, I was stoked to hear that Amar’e is Jewish.. although it makes no sense to me. Still, Jewish Culture Night or whatever they call it when Maccabi or the Casspi & the Kings come to play will be off the chain this year!

  58. Mike Kurylo

    massive: http://www.theknicksblog.com/2010/07/29/dantoni-needs-to-follow-gentrys-tweaks/I found this interesting, and was wondering what the posters on this site think about this.

    I don’t have a problem with D’Antoni’s short rotation in theory. What team doesn’t want their best guys playing the most minutes? And sometimes I think it gives him the flexibility to put out unconventional lineups, which I think NBA coaches in general fail to do often enough.

    The problem in the past has been his tendency to stick with the wrong guys at times, or keep the wrong guy on the bench.

    As per using defensive minded players off the bench, it’s not that D’Antoni didn’t really use them, it’s that he’s pretty much not had any. One of the unanswered questions from the last few Knick seasons is: Who is the Knicks best defender? I think Walsh has given coach some decent defenders this year. We could finally have an answer to that question by 2011.

  59. David Crockett

    Mike Kurylo:
    I don’t have a problem with D’Antoni’s short rotation in theory. What team doesn’t want their best guys playing the most minutes? And sometimes I think it gives him the flexibility to put out unconventional lineups, which I think NBA coaches in general fail to do often enough.
    The problem in the past has been his tendency to stick with the wrong guys at times, or keep the wrong guy on the bench.

    “Playing your best players the most minutes” is wise ceteris paribus, but I wonder how aligned this principle is with the actual distribution of talent on many if not most NBA rosters. The significant dropoff in talent I imagine is from the 3rd best to the 4th best player. It makes the most sense to play your 3 or 4 best players the most minutes absolutely. But the real talent difference between the 7th, 8th, and 9th best players is probably close to non-existent on most NBA rosters.

    When you say that D’Antoni’s problem is playing the wrong guy (or not playing the right guy) it implies that D’Antoni’s personal preferences for certain players is the issue. I really wonder if the problem is bigger than that. I wonder if coach just hasn’t discovered the limits of “play your best players the most minutes.” When you run your 6th best player into the ground to avoid playing your 7th and 8th best you’re losing efficiency.

  60. ess-dog

    It should be night and day this year with regards to defense. Replacing Duhon with Felton, Lee with Amare, Jeffries with Randolph, Harrington with Gallo, and Wilson with Wilson.
    That’s a major overhaul. Just in terms of pure athleticism, this years team is head and shoulders above last years. We could be a very good defensive team.

  61. JK47

    @71 Plus a couple of shot-blocking centers (Turiaf, Mozgov) and another solid defensive wing with good size (Azubuike). The only defensive-oriented players we had last year were Jeffries and Hughes, and those guys were black holes on offense. I reckon we should be at least an average defensive team.

  62. Garson

    Regarding the starting linup… I see no reason why we shouldnt be starting Gallo AR and Stat as the 3,4,5. Stat can absolutely dominate the Centers on the Offensive end ala David Lee.

    The only reason against this is that Amare would have trouble guarding the Cs on the Defensive end. However, looking at the east, the only 2 centers i can see giving him trouble are Lopez and Bogut. (howard shouldnt be a problem) . Coming from the west I see Bynum and Yao , if hes not injured by that point.

    I think its important to have AR Starting and playing major minutes next to Gallo and Stat for development and to help him recover from the psycological beating he took from Donnie Nelson.

  63. Robert Silverman

    In case anyone thinks of forking over ten bucks for a hot dog at the next Nix game…

    “Madison Square Garden
    New York Knicks, New York Rangers
    Vendors with critical violations: 61%
    Inspection report excerpt: At one stand, inspectors found “53 mouse excreta” (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit).”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=5401646

    I’d make a joke like, “Oh. I guess that’s where Eddy Curry is hiding.” But it seems in poor taste (pun intended).

  64. JK47

    This is pretty interesting:

    “According to two people familiar with how the David Lee sign-and-trade arrangement was structured, the Knicks do not have to wait the standard 60 days before combining Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph or Kelenna Azubuike with other players in a trade. The Knicks were still under the salary cap when Lee was signed and traded, exempting them from the 60-day waiting period, which applies only to players acquired with a trade exception by teams that are over the cap.”

  65. JK47

    Shannon Brown is a pretty generic 2-guard. I’m not too excited about the idea of him coming here, but SG is probably our biggest question mark. Azubuike is an injury concern, Chandler is more of a SF, Fields is an untested rookie and Rautins looks like a D-league candidate. I’d prefer a defensive specialist at SG if we’re going to bring one in, but we could probably use one more warm body at the position.

  66. ess-dog

    This is disturbing. Brown is worse than Chandler. And older. All I can think is that someone like Walker/Azu are definitely going out in some trade…

  67. SJK

    I could deal with Shannon Brown. Dude has UPs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86VxVReKsNo&feature=related

    He seem’s like the best available 2-guard on the market and I think him + Azubuike would be decent considering the position is our biggest problem right now. That would leave us with a lot of rotation players, but is it really a problem to have too many good players… It would be great if we could package some of them for picks.

  68. Z

    How about we let LA keep Brown by taking Vujacic and the draft pick instead. If we sign Brown we’d have to wait until December to trade him. Sasha can be thrown into a trade package asap. (The Lakers have OUR 2011 2nd rounder. We can take their 1st rounder (hopefully there will be a big difference between the two…))

  69. kburt8

    Been lurking for a while…finally got around to registering.

    Count me among the group who would like to wait on Paul. I would absolutely include either of Randolph or Gallo for Paul if Okafor were not included in the deal, but would be very hesitant to move either if forced to take on Okafor’s contract. I like the young nucleus we have right now and am reasonably concerned about Paul’s longevity. Gallo seems poised to make a major leap this year. He really started taking it off the dribble much more often and effectively to close out the season and is learning to use the threat of his shot to make up for a relative lack of quickness compared to some of the elite SF’s in the league. Can’t say I have seen much of Randolph, but the posters here have me excited about what he can bring this season and into the future.

    With that said, I have to agree that signing Brown probably indicates some movement on the trade front…

  70. massive

    If Shannon Brown does come here, it wouldn’t be terrible. I wouldn’t be happy if he ended up getting a significantly bigger role on the Knicks, because I’m afraid of the Trevor Ariza effect.

  71. Z

    SJK: Shannon Brown seem’s like the best available 2-guard on the market  

    Here are the top 4 SGs still on the market*. Brown doesn’t seem particularly better than any of them.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=grahajo01&y1=2010&p2=masonro01&y2=2010&p3=brownsh01&y3=2010&p4=murraro01&y4=2010

    (*also available: washed up vets McGrady, Iverson, Hughes, and Stackhouse; Lifelong scrubs Mardy Collins and Keith Bogans; DLeaguers Devin Brown, J.R. Giddens, Cedric Jackson, and Mario West)

  72. ess-dog

    Well one thing you can say for Shannon (I guess) is that he’s only topped 500 minutes once in his career so far, last year. So maybe there is room for some improvement.

  73. David Crockett

    Shannon Brown is a bona fide awful shooter, but a pretty damn good defender to my eye. At the right price I see where he has a role in NY, though almost certainly off the bench (in spite of what I’ve been reading). The market is drying up, and LA may be forced just to keep Vujacic and let Brown walk.

    In a vacuum Brown should come with a skull-and-crossbones sticker. His shooting is harmful to the eyes. But, at this point in the roster construction game I favor guys that slot into particular roles over generalists. Given our need for SG depth, Brown could be the hoops equivalent of a LOOGY. He could play the “stopper” role against Ray Allen, Wade, et al. Again, price is key. Much past the minimum and a 1-year deal (or 1 + option) and no thanks. Call back when you don’t get any other offers.

    On the flipside, I am less enamored with Rudy Fernandez than some. I don’t know that it’s worth moving anything off this roster for a guy who may have regressed back to being an average offensive player–one who doesn’t defend at all, by the way. No thanks — not if we have to give up a pick and/or player who may end up better than Fernandez. Brown’s a worse player, but he could be a heck of a lot cheaper.

  74. David Crockett

    Kelly Dwyer, despite the title of this piece, makes the most persuasive argument I have read yet for staying AWAY from Fernandez at the cost of a first or equivalent talent.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Teams-should-try-to-trade-for-Rudy-Fernandez?urn=nba-259071

    Kirk Hinrich is who he lists as Fernandez’s upside? I’ve always liked Hinrich going back to his days as a Beaker, but that is some serious damning with faint praise right there.

  75. massive

    @89,

    Wow, I always thought Fernandez had Manu Ginobili type (minus the defense) upside. Hinrich is a bad example for Fernandez’s upside anyway. Both are good shooters from deep, but Hinrich is a more of a pure point, and Fernandez is a pure 2. I wouldn’t necessarily call either guy combo guards. Kirk Hinrich is a feistier, and better defender on the perimeter, but I wouldn’t call Fernandez a slouch or a liability on that end (Ted said he was an underrated defender, and he’s like KnickerBlogger’s euro-specialist. I haven’t seen much of Rudy, so I’ll take his word). Rudy Fernandez is a better athlete than Hinrich. I think if Fernandez is in a situation where he’ll be happy, he projects to be a better player than Hinrich. Besides, Hinrich is a pretty solid basketball player who would start on a number of teams, so if Fernandez’s upside really is a (more athletic) Kirk Hinrich, I’ll take that.

  76. SJK

    @Z,

    Shannon is comparable to those guys in stats. However, he has been a key contributor on a championship team these past 2 years, which is something none of those other guys have done (Roger Mason wasn’t on one of the Spurs title teams, was he?). Even if that is just being in the right place at the right time, he has that experience. And there’s nothing to say we shouldn’t sign him over one of those guys if he’s just as good (plus more exciting).

  77. JK47

    @91 Plus Shannon is a bit younger than Mason and Flip Murray, so he won’t be in his decline phase. If anything perhaps he might be able to tack a point or to onto his PER.

  78. massive

    Hey, Gallo’s marquee performance against Denver at MSG is on. Gallo was the 4th scoring option on court(!!) behind T-Mac, Al, and David Lee. I really think Gallo is in for a breakout season this year.

  79. massive

    Would the Clippers give up Eric Gordon? I thought of a 3-team trade in which we get Eric Gordon, the Clippers get Wilson Chandler, Sasha Vujacic, and a 1st rounder from the Lakers, and the Lakers get cap relief. The Clips are 8 million dollars under the cap so they can take back Vujacic, can use a clear upgrade at the 3, Sasha Vujacic is an expiring deal who can still shoot and defend and they get a 1st rounder. Wilson Chandler, Vujacic, and a 1st rounder is pretty good value, so I think the Clips would take it.

  80. Robert Silverman

    massive: Would the Clippers give up Eric Gordon? I thought of a 3-team trade in which we get Eric Gordon, the Clippers get Wilson Chandler, Sasha Vujacic, and a 1st rounder from the Lakers, and the Lakers get cap relief. The Clips are 8 million dollars under the cap so they can take back Vujacic, can use a clear upgrade at the 3, Sasha Vujacic is an expiring deal who can still shoot and defend and they get a 1st rounder. Wilson Chandler, Vujacic, and a 1st rounder is pretty good value, so I think the Clips would take it.  

    I think even the Clippers would be smart enough to laugh at that offer. No, the Clips aren’t trading Eric Gordon. And the Lakers aren’t looking to dump salary. If you want to go for EC, Gallo’d be the piece they want.

  81. Z

    The Lakers are looking to dump. Buss hates having the highest payroll in the league and doesn’t want to pay Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes double their salaries in taxes. Since all their players actually contribute, Vujacic is the most expendable. It’s the difference between Buss and Sterling– both are cheapskates, but Buss knows how to make his dollars count.

  82. Caleb

    From a basketball standpoint it’s not a crazy trade but I think the Clippers (and most of the league) put Gordon’s value a lot higher. He’s on the National Team!

    Welcome to all the new posters, by the way – it is great to hear from so many people.

  83. Z-man

    I have enjoyed the conversation here and have concluded that there is no absolutely correct answer regarding Paul. Either move is a gamble, and Ted, Mike, and others have pretty much laid out both sides very well. The best case and worst case scenarios for making the deal vs. not making the deal are roughly equally compelling/scary to me. It comes down to going all in vs. waiting for a better opportunity that might not in fact materialize.

    I have concluded that I would prefer to gamble on the youth we have. If we go with CP3 and he gets hurt, there is nowhere to go with hi, If Gallo or Randolph gets hurt, they are still valuable because of their youth, their length and their contracts. I have a really good feeling about Gallo and Randolph and would hate to lose either one prior to knowing what we really have in those guys.

    Like him or not, Walsh has shown that he is willing to go all in when he feels the situation calls for it, e.g. with McGrady, and to a lesser extent, in outbidding Chicago for D’Antoni. Even though he lost that gamble in absolute terms, he still has the franchise in a situation where he not only can consider guys like Paul and Melo, but they actually want to come here! Considering that, I can live with whatever transpires. I think that Walsh also wants to know what he has before making a deal of either of these 2 guys, especially if Okafor comes with the deal.

    I must also say that I differ with many here regarding Melo’s value as a player. In my opinion, he is certainly a top-10 player in the league, and a top 5 small forward (higher if you consider Wade and LeBron to be guards.) But then again, I am higher on Kobe than many here as well.

  84. ess-dog

    The problem with Anthony is that he still doesn’t put you over the top by himself. You really do need him and Paul. I mean, if he works on his shooting, there is a chance that Randolph becomes every bit as good as Melo. Two things that I like about Melo, 1. he has a “star” image and therefore gets to the line a great deal and 2. bringing him in would surely attract another top free agent like Paul.

    Re: Shannon Brown, if his D is as good as advertised here, I would take a chance on him. Could be a Raja Bell 2.0 type player with more hops. I rank defense as the most important thing we need out of the 2 guard spot right now with 3 point shooting ranking a close 2nd. Between Brown and Walker (and Azu if he’s healthy and not traded) we could have that covered.

    I love Donnie’s commitment to D. He’s done a great job considering we whiffed on the big three. This is where D’Antoni earns his money. Some of the defensive sets with Randolph on the floor should be amazing – him at the top of the key smothering the point, Felton and one of our wings shutting down the opposing wings, and Gallo/Amare/Turiaf/Mosgov guarding the goal. I’m starting to get goosebumps!

    The only thing I feel is still lacking is a backup ballhandler. If Felton stinks it up, I don’t feel terribly secure with Douglas being the distributor. Not that I love him, but a guy like Farmar as a back up would’ve been nice. Or even a Jason Williams on the vet’s minimum.

  85. JK47

    @99 I completely agree about Melo having the “star” image and the effect that can have on getting calls. In the playoffs that sort of thing can be extremely valuable.

  86. massive

    @98,

    Re: Melo’s “Ranking,” Dwyane Wade is a combo guard, and LeBron is a point-forward. That being said, there are only two players who play SF who are better than Melo; LeBron and Durant. I do agree that he’s a top 10 talent, I’d go as far as to say Top 5 or 6 (LeBron, Howard, Durant, Paul, and then a toss up between Wade and Melo) because I don’t think anybody in the league has the offensive skill-set he has to go along with his mean streak.

    Re: Walsh, even though we missed out on the ideal LeBron/Bosh scenario, Walsh left open the door for an NY3. One is on board, and the other two have New York as #1 destinations outside of their current teams. In all honesty, I’d rather have Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar’e than LeBron and Bosh. In Donnie We Trust.

    On an unrelated topic, do you guys think Azubuike can be a Mickael Pietrus type player for us?

  87. Frank

    Sorry – this is a reply to Ted all the way back in #41 re: the D’Antoni “bump” in stats — you asked who has gotten a D’Antoni bounce? (I’m listing just TS% here because that appears to be your major issue with Felton)

    Stoudemire for sure – TS 53-53.6 pre-D’Antoni, 61.7-65.6 post-D’Antoni. And I don’t have the stats for this but his game definitely suffered when they went away from the D’Antoni system when Porter was there, then improved markedly when Gentry brought the old game back.

    Raja Bell -TS was 50-52.7 pre-D’Antoni – 56.1-58.4 with D’Antoni. 54.8% post-D’Antoni in Charlotte.

    How about David Lee? Clearly got MUCH better as a player under D’Antoni (although his shot charts changed causing his TS to go to 59% or so).

    Marion you already mentioned. 51-53.8 TS pre-D’Antoni, 55.6-59.1 with D’Antoni, back to 53% post-D’Antoni.

    Joe Johnson – career TS <50 prior to D'Antoni, 55.6 in the year he played with D'Antoni – the year during which he turned from a disappointing 1st rounder into a near-max-contract guy.

    By the way, that is the essentially the entire starting 5 of the 2004-6 Suns except for Nash, who also put up better stats under D'Antoni's system than he did in Dallas. Just to pick one — even though Nash has always been a great shooter, his average 3PT% in Dallas was 41.3%, and in Phoenix has been 44.3% — which is what has led to his even more otherwordly TS% in PHX as opposed to his just awesome TS% in Dallas. Did he suddenly morph into a better shooter, or did the system set up better shots for him? Hard to say, but when everyone on the team shoots better, either they have the greatest shooting coaches in the world, or they took easier shots. Is that all because of Nash? I guess that's possible –except that Nowitzki's stats actually got better after Nash left.

    So here's my problem with your analysis of Felton. Statistics are useful in predicting the future when the same test is done over and over again in the same setting. In basketball, free throw percentage is a great statistic – 15 feet, ball, hoop, that's it. But when you look at broader offensive statistics where there are so many confounders, a player's specific role and what system they play in are HUGE factors to consider. If you asked Tim Duncan to play run and gun, or put him in Josh Smith's role on Atlanta, would you necessarily expect the same numbers as he puts up in the Spurs slower half-court offense which is tailored for his skills? Of course not. SSOL is predicated on getting good shots up before the defense has time to set — so ideally, one would get easier shots which would lead to higher shooting percentages.

    You may ultimately be right about Felton, but I'd like to see him play a year in this system before I go ahead and agree with you…

  88. Z

    massive: do you guys think Azubuike can be a Mickael Pietrus type player for us?  

    I like Azubuike. Think he is better than Shannon Brown. Hope he is healthy and is the starting SG next year.

  89. emon11377

    very good article. very convincing. getting paul at this moment will cost us too much and gain too little. what if carmelo decides not to come to NY (as we’ve all witnessed what the king has done recently) + isnt he going to get paid estimately $21+ million per season if he was to accept denvers offer..thats way more than what NY can offer. still, if he was to come to NY and somehow we acquire paul, NY would still not be a championship team for the next 5 years (heat would beat them). we’d be a competitive team but not a winning team and we are doing all this just so we can keep up with the heat. i say we stick to our young players and they should be given a chance to develop and mature. if we were to trade any of our players, then we should trade them for a 1st round pick (#1 overall). drafting young players are more beneficial than signing a consistently failure veteran like carmelo.

  90. emon11377

    emon11377: very good article. very convincing. getting paul at this moment will cost us too much and gain too little. what if carmelo decides not to come to NY (as we’ve all witnessed what the king has done recently) + isnt he going to get paid estimately $21+ million per season if he was to accept denvers offer..thats way more than what NY can offer. still, if he was to come to NY and somehow we acquire paul, NY would still not be a championship team for the next 5 years (heat would beat them). we’d be a competitive team but not a winning team and we are doing all this just so we can keep up with the heat. i say we stick to our young players and they should be given a chance to develop and mature. if we were to trade any of our players, then we should trade them for a 1st round pick (#1 overall). drafting young players are more beneficial than signing a consistent failure veteran like carmelo.  

  91. yehudi3000

    emon11377: very good article. very convincing. getting paul at this moment will cost us too much and gain too little. what if carmelo decides not to come to NY (as we’ve all witnessed what the king has done recently) + isnt he going to get paid estimately $21+ million per season if he was to accept denvers offer..thats way more than what NY can offer. still, if he was to come to NY and somehow we acquire paul, NY would still not be a championship team for the next 5 years (heat would beat them). we’d be a competitive team but not a winning team and we are doing all this just so we can keep up with the heat. i say we stick to our young players and they should be given a chance to develop and mature. if we were to trade any of our players, then we should trade them for a 1st round pick (#1 overall). drafting young players are more beneficial than signing a consistently failure veteran like carmelo.  (Quote)

    i think that paul+stats+melo can beat wade+bosh+lebron
    paul will make the diffrence if he’ll be at his best.
    sure its alot to do with the support…

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