[Although his original piece was lost due to an electronic malfunction, Lead Roster Analyst David Crawford recesitated these free thoughts about acquiring Ron Artest.]
1. The Knicks are at a crossroads similar to the one they faced just prior to the Marbury trade. Should they import new talent or steady the cap situation and build with the kids? In retrospect, with the benefit of perfect hindsight, it’s hard to see how making the move for Marbury was worth it. Isiah’s real strength is the draft. The Knicks would have been better served to ride out the Anderson, Witherspoon, and Eisley contracts, and develop their young players.
2. Soley adding Artest doesn’t move the Knicks into the top echelon of Eastern conference teams. Although he is an uber-productive player, entrance into the upper tier is at least one or two moves away for New York (plus some time for the youngins to develop together). Certainly Artest could be one of those moves, but if the price to get him includes absorbing another wretched contract, New York can’t make the other move. Each of Isiah’s trades for Marbury, Crawford, and Curry has come with a poison pill contract that has hindered the Knicks from making other supplemental moves.
3. While some have suggested there are similarities between Ron Artest’s situation and the one Latrell Sprewell faced years ago, there is one critical difference between the two. Sprewell was brought onto a veteran team that had its own personality, and Artest would be brought onto a young team as its best player and leader. Unfortunately, Artest is too immature and unpredictable to handle this kind of responsibility.
I would love to see the Knicks make the playoffs, but looking back they also made the playoffs under Don Chaney. It’s easy for some to forget what a pyrrhic victory making the playoffs is when you get swept. This season is about climbing out of the hole, seeing what this team has to develop, and finding what it needs to compete. I’m not against seeing Artest in the orange-and-blue, but I’d be more comfortable seeing that happen after this contract is up in 2008, if he is indeed serious about coming back home.