2010 Report Card: Al Harrington

I really don’t have too much to say about Al Harrington that I didn’t say last year. Harrington is a guy who will create a lot of shots (20.9 pts/36) and makes them at a good percentage (54.6% TS%) considering his volume. But that’s where the positives end; he’s not a good passer, rebounder or defender. Perhaps one new wrinkle was pulling the chair out from under post defenders this year, something I don’t recall him doing in previous seasons.

The Knick forward is like a cheap beer. It’s not what you’d want when things are going well, but when you’re desperate to keep that buzz going it’s what you’ll accept. Harrington is not good enough to stay on the court for long, but when the offense is struggling to make shots he’s the guy you want in the game. As a Knick fan I found myself wanting him in the game at times when the team couldn’t buy a bucket, and then feeling buyer’s remorse after.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 4
Defense: 1
Teamwork: 1
Rootability: 1
Performance/Expectations: 3

Final Grade: C-

Similarity Scores:

.000 Al Harrington 2010 NYK 16.8 54.6 50.3 20.9 1.4 6.6 1.8 1.0 0.4 2.2
.053 Clifford Robinson 1996 POR 16.3 53.2 49.2 19.9 1.5 5.4 2.3 1.0 0.8 2.3
.079 Mike Mitchell 1985 SAS 16.5 53.3 49.9 23.0 1.8 5.3 1.9 0.8 0.3 1.8
.081 Calvin Natt 1986 DEN 18.6 56.2 50.5 21.8 2.2 7.8 2.9 1.0 0.2 2.3
.084 Corey Maggette 2009 GSW 16.9 58.2 47.9 21.5 1.1 6.4 2.1 1.0 0.2 2.7
.087 Terry Teagle 1990 GSW 14.8 52.9 48.1 20.0 1.7 5.6 2.3 1.4 0.2 2.2
.089 Keith Van Horn 2005 TOT 15.7 55.0 50.4 16.7 2.1 7.0 1.8 0.9 0.5 1.9
.093 David West 2010 NOH 18.9 56.0 50.8 18.8 2.0 7.4 2.9 0.9 0.7 2.1
.098 Glenn Robinson 2002 MIL 19.1 53.7 49.3 21.0 1.1 6.2 2.6 1.5 0.6 2.7
.104 Rudy Tomjanovich 1978 HOU 17.1 51.3 48.5 21.0 1.7 5.9 1.4 0.6 0.2 1.6
.108 Wayman Tisdale 1994 SAC 15.8 54.1 50.1 18.6 2.2 7.9 2.0 0.5 0.7 1.7

One interesting thing about Harrington is that he hasn’t always been this efficient. His TS% was well below average until the 2007 season.


So how did Harrington become a more potent scorer? By increasing his three point percentage. Al didn’t have the three point shot in his repertoire until the 2006 season, and he didn’t make it a major part of his offense until 2007.



When Harrington’s percentage and attempts both peaked, his TS% finally reached a proper level. Interestingly enough, that didn’t happen until a few seasons ago, so for much of Harrington’s early career he wasn’t an efficient scorer.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

142 thoughts to “2010 Report Card: Al Harrington”

  1. You tagged this as “beer”? I got a kick out of that. For curiousity I clicked the tag looking for other articles relating to beer. So far just one, but I will now pluck that tag from the cloud when a game preview calls for it.

    Sometimes I’d watch the Knicks and see the team struggle to score, I’d scream “Put in Harrington.” Then after about 8 minutes of him going 1 on 3 with spin moves to the basket and DG standing alone by the three point line, I scream “Damnit Al, pass the ball!” I often point out to my wife, “Harrington has the ball now. So there are only two possibilities to get it out of his hands. 1) He turns it over, 2) He shoots.” She says “He doesnt pass?” I respond, “Well, not to his OWN team.”

  2. The following comment has nothing to do with ripple-headed Al. But I was looking at stats for the regular season (because I hate my life and have nothing better to do) and was shocked to see that the Knicks boasted *two* of the league’s top ten rebounders this year.

    Seriously. Can you guess who?

    DLee is easy. The second one is — drum roll — Earl Barron. The Viscount of Rebounding. The Duke of the Boards. Really.

    Was I the last one to know this? Can we land Bosh and then tell whatever shooting guard is available that there will be more possessions per game than is otherwise humanly possible? I hope so.

  3. Earl Barron posted those numbers, but you have to remember he played a lot less games than the other top rebounders. Not really fair to compare, and I doubt he’ll do that well this year. I do trust Donnie Walsh’s ability to find talented players, so if he’s around next year, he won’t be a complete let-down.

  4. Tonight only: I’m painting my face green and drinking Guinness all night at the bah to root for my Celts.

  5. in other news, Scores has made an interesting offer to Lebron: “SCORES Gentlemen’s Club in NYC is luring King James with THE hottest offer to date – a lifetime pass for free lap dances that’ll still be good long after he retires from basketball.

    SCORES NY general manager Edward Norwick believes his offer really “sweetens the pot” and is just the right incentive to get James to finally sign that coveted contract.

    In addition, he promises the athlete VIP treatment every time he visits, including free drinks and dinners at their classy steakhouse where strippers will dance topless as he dines.”


  6. DS – I’ll be joining you, except for the face painting, going to the bar, and rooting for the Celtics. :-)

    OK I might be rooting for the Celtics, but it’s funnier the other way. And for the record I’m still not 100% sure it makes it more likely LeBron comes to NY, but it makes a nice narrative.

  7. Interesting take over at Wages of Wins (finally some Knick coverage!)
    Basically argues that if we whiff on Bron/Wade we should give 11 mil each to JJ and Boozer (both like nyc) and then go over the cap in signing Lee. So Lee would have to stay at center for at least another year. Doesn’t sound like a great defensive team, but it gives us 3 quality player instead of 2 all of whom should be movable if need be.
    I just don’t think, with all the players in free agency this year, that we can get those guys for 11 mil each.

  8. Totally off on a tangent, but I just saw something really funny in ESPN’s Rumor Central.

    It’s about the next Bulls head coach. Okay, so they’ve had a list of possible head coaches in a sidebar and as coaches have been eliminated, they’d crossed their names out.

    However, in the actual article, they mention that the leading candidates are either Lawrence Frank or Mo Cheeks – neither of which are in the sidebar!!

    How do you have a failure to communicate between your article and the sidebar to your own article!?!?

  9. Yeesh. That’s the pu-pu platter of coaches. Despite the talent the Bulls have lucked into, management seems bent on screwing themselves. I doubt they get Lebron, but all they need is one of Boozer/Amare/J.Johnson/Wade/Bosh to be an instant contender – especially if they hit on a draft pick too.

  10. I think it is delusional to think that JJ and Boozer will sign at $11 million each; but if we renounce Sergio, we might offer $14 million each, which is more likely (i believe that Lee’s cap hold is $8.8 million, i explained why in another thread, but i am not sure), and that “could” happen, but still not sure about that.

    My idea for 3-4 quality players (depending on what you call “quality”, xD) is to offer JJ $14 million, offer Ty Thomas/Rudy Gay/Haywood/… 10 million, and then S&T Lee + Curry for Bosh + Calderón; going over the cap. Still depending in too much variables and not very likely.

    I think there are a zillion plans B,C,D… and Walsh will be able to bring some players to make the knicks a playoff team (with no picks, it would be terrible to be at the bottom of the barrel), and then build from there (we have young talent, if we bring young players, we will have time to make additions).

    Of course i am hoping for DWade and Bosh coming, and get a championship, we’ve rolled the dice for that; but we might have to judge Walsh in how capable he is making a fallback plan (it is very different to be 3rd than 8th); he will have plenty of decissions if we miss on Lebron and/or Wade.

  11. Lee is a player coming off of his rookie contract with Larry Bird rights and a salary that is at least the NBA average salary (it is higher, but the requirement is just that it be at LEAST the average salary).

    Therefore his cap hold is 150% of his salary, which is $10.5 million if he is making $7 million this year, which I believe he is.

  12. I agree, though, that it is delusional to expect Boozer and JJ to sign for $11 million each, especially if the plan is based on the Knicks then signing Lee to an extension for more money than that. How would Boozer ever agree to that?

    The back-up plan, though, sounds feasible. Just signing Boozer and Lee. They’re probably the two best “available” players out there, and if you give Boozer $14, you would then have $10-11 million in space to sign other free agents before re-signing Lee to a similar contract.

    The Knicks would remain a pretty rough defensive team, but offensively they’d be really, really good (and would be in a position the next season to trade Boozer or Lee for a player better suited to defense, while also using Curry’s expiring contract for a new player).

  13. But the difference between Lee’s salary in the last two years is more than $4 millions, so i think you have to use the average. The average is $4.4 million, and so, it is a cap hold of 200% which makes $8.8 million, but as i said, i don’t really know. I am not a lawyer, :-)

    ( from here: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q30 )

  14. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see us starting the season with a Douglas/Chandler backcourt. Not enough ballhandling/passing for me. I would love to bump Ill Wil to 6th man. Or you go with Sergio and Wil with Douglas as the 6th man. Do you think it would be possible for Gallo to play the 2 with his skill set? Maybe his length could make up for his footspeed? I would say he’s definitely a perimeter player.

  15. You make a compelling argument, iserp! Where is Larry Coon so that he can verify it or debunk it!?!!? I’ll go ask him on twitter!

  16. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see us starting the season with a Douglas/Chandler backcourt. Not enough ballhandling/passing for me. I would love to bump Ill Wil to 6th man. Or you go with Sergio and Wil with Douglas as the 6th man. Do you think it would be possible for Gallo to play the 2 with his skill se

    I agree, but the point of that particular scenario is that you’d have at least $10 million available before you resign Lee, so you can spend that however you would like. Most likely you re-sign Walker for a mil, then, I dunno, Ridnour for $7 million? Who else is out there? Felton? Childress, maybe (if the Hawks keep JJ, you have to figure that they’d let Childress walk)?

  17. That’s how I’ve been seeing it, as well, but iserp has a good point with the “average salary” thing. Could Coon simply be missing that? I tend to view his stances on the salary cap as gospel, but maybe he made a mistake?

  18. I agree. Iserp does seem to find a contradiction. Everywhere I’ve seen it come up its reported as $10.5 million. (It’s not just Berman).

    There’s a head-scratching break down over at Real GM that comes up with a $14 million cap hold after citing the same Coon asterisk that Iserp did.


    Not sure if it makes much difference, though, because he’ll probably be renounced either way… :(

  19. Speaking of which, the Hawks extended the QO to Childress. They could be swinging some big trades this summer.

  20. “The back-up plan, though, sounds feasible. Just signing Boozer and Lee. They’re probably the two best “available” players out there”

    I dunno. I think I’d rather have Jeffries and Hill than Boozer. Not sure Walsh could survive that “back up” plan, especially when Boozer only plays 30 games in the first year of his five year contract.

  21. I dunno. I think I’d rather have Jeffries and Hill than Boozer. Not sure Walsh could survive that “back up” plan, especially when Boozer only plays 30 games in the first year of his five year contract.

    Why? Boozer is a very good player.

    Plus, again, it wouldn’t just be “Lee and Boozer,” it’d be “Lee, Boozer plus whatever you can get with that $10 million or so left over dollars.”

  22. Coon comes through!

    He says the average thing was only for averages within a single contract (to wit, if you gave David Lee 10% raises every year, they would base the salary on the average of the six years, not the salary in the last season) not two separate ones like what Lee signed.

    So it is, in fact, $10.5 million.

  23. Lee and Boozer? I wouldn’t bank on that. I think Walsh would find some way to Kurt Thomas, or just re-sign Barron to pair up with Lee. So say Lee and Barron take up 12-13 mil. We have enough for 2-3 quality players/a max guy. Plus Eddy Curry’s contract, that’s another 1-2 bodies. I just don’t see a Boozer/Lee front court. They’re too similar. Plus, D’Antoni is more of a PG guy, I don’t see him being happy with this. But with the cap space we have, we can sign a max guy and bring him a supporting cast. Well, if you consider Eddy Curry’s contract cap space, this is true. We have something like 33-34 mil in space, plus Eddy Curry’s 11.3 mil. That together is 45 million up for the grabs. Too much money for us to end up with a Boozer/Lee backcourt. I would expect to see one of these 4s, with one of these 5s before that;

    PF: Boozer, Lee, Bosh
    C: Biedrins, Okafor, Frye, Okur

    Here, you have an offensive 4, and a defensive or 3pt shooting, natural 5. But basically, Walsh would give D’Antoni a serviceable 5 before two offensive studs at the 4. Especially since Lee said he does not want to play 5 anymore.

  24. I’d think it’d be either Boozer OR Lee, not both. They’re both 6’9″ power forwards masquerading at centers, and neither is a good shot-blocker. They’d be pretty redundant players. Am I missing something here? Didn’t we try this with Lee and Z-Bo? I know Boozer is a bit more efficient, but I don’t see how a Boozer/Lee frontcourt is all that much better than Z-Bo/Lee.

  25. I don’t know if anyone saw the latest article up on Dave Berri’s site -“Knicks might not do so poorly with the poo-poo platter,” but it is definitely worth a read. It discusses the Knicks options should they fail to land either LBJ or DWade. There is also as chart ranking the top 5 players by position using WP. I was a bit shocked to see Kobe only produced 9.9 wins, while Odom and Pau both produced over 4 1/2 more wins. Also it was a bit disheartening to see so many ex-Knicks players listed in the chart.

    Interestingly, the author of the article is very pessimistic about the idea of bringing Amare to the Knicks. For example, he had this to say:

    “What the Knicks should not do, under any circumstance, is try for Stoudemire (RFA). He is a full five wins less productive than either Lee or Boozer.”

    As an aside, you’ll also get to see some pithy insite from a ghost of knickerblogger past (i.e., I.S.).


  26. “Also it was a bit disheartening to see so many ex-Knicks players listed in the chart.”

    Well, i guess that means that simply putting together people with good WP doesn’t really make your team win.

  27. iserp – I don’t know about that. I’d have to think that Camby, Lee, Barnes, Ariza and a solid pg may be able to put up a few more wins than 29.

  28. “Coon comes through! He says the average thing was only for averages within a single contract (to wit, if you gave David Lee 10% raises every year, they would base the salary on the average of the six years, not the salary in the last season) not two separate ones like what Lee signed.”

    Okay. But how the hell does someone get a $4 million dollar annual raise on an existing contract? It seems impossible under the CBA.

  29. I may get mortified for this, but let’s go CAVS! i will never in my life root for Boston TWO playoff series in a row. I wanted them to spank Miami, and they did. They’ve done enough damage, I can’t stand Celtic Green. But wouldn’t it be funny if LeBron actually loses, and he and D-Wade team up in New York to beat up on Boston four times a year, and possibly in the playoffs? I know I wouldn’t mind that.

  30. I think Harrington might be better than Jamison. I can’t believe that he was the Cavs’ big pick up…

  31. Alright its over, we can now finally officially truly start the LeBron countdown. I will be saying a prayer every night for him to come to the Knicks…..

  32. Wow. I’m honestly shocked, by two things:
    1) Cavs lost in the second round to what I consider a fairly average Boston team.
    2) I’m actually kind of ticked off about it when I should be thrilled. I hate all things Boston that damn much.

    Anyway, this will force Bron to think about his future. This will give Walsh a chance to sell NY. We’ve got a legit shot. Exciting.

    Go Magic, Go Suns.

  33. If LeBron comes to New York, he’s playing PG. Regardless, there’s no other logical fit. You put him at SF, then you force Gallo to the 4 spot, unless he’s traded, which he is not suited for. LeBron to the Knicks is not as easy a fit as some of you may think. We already have 3 SFs on the roster moving forward. A 4th? You figure how it’ll work out.

  34. I haven’t felt this good after a playoff game since I was in middle school.

  35. I dont care if the Knicks had 14 SF’s, the 15th roster spot would go to LeBron with no problem whatsoever.

  36. LeBron just one turnover shy of a quadruple-double…

    I watched half the game and didn’t even notice Antawn Jamison had played…

    LeBron has to realize the Cleveland team isn’t good enough to win with. Last year was surprising when they lost. This was just a shocking failure of a team…

    If I’m the Clippers, I’m suddenly feeling pretty good about my sales pitch.

  37. I’d imagine that D’Antoni is thinking of pitching Lebron as a 4 (with Gallo as the 3 and whoever at the 5).

    That’s probably different if it is Lebron and Bosh, at which point you probably have to get a 5 (maybe in exchange for the then-superfluous Chandler?).

  38. By the way, that game?

    I have never seen a playoff game end with the trailing team giving up with over a minute left to play. Are you kidding me, Cleveland? Down 9 with more than a minute left and you give up?!!?

    Fuck the heck?!

  39. Yeah Brian I have read alot where D’Antoni’s ideal lineup would have LeBron at the 4. Dunno though if he would like having to cover an opposing 4 though cause I dont see Gallo doing that either.

  40. What 4 would he really have problems with? Lebron basically has Karl Malone’s body, right? What dominant big men play at the 4 (Duncan doesn’t count)?

  41. Start spreading the news…
    He’s leaving today
    He wants to be a part of it
    New York, New York.

    Those vagabond shoes
    Are longing to stray
    Right through the very heart of it
    New York, New York.

    He wants to wake up,
    in the city that doesn’t sleep.
    and find he’s KING of the hill.
    Top of the heap

    These Cleveland blues,
    are melting away.
    He’ll make a brand new start of it
    in old New York.

    If he can make it there,
    he’ll make it anywhere
    It’s up to you
    New York, New York

  42. Anyone catch LeBron tearing off his jersey the second he hitthe tunnel? Also, his post game press conf was anything but comforting for Cavs fans.

  43. “Anyone catch LeBron tearing off his jersey the second he hit the tunnel?”

    He should have just ripped off the “Cavs” part and velcroed a Knicks logo to it.

  44. Anyone catch LeBron tearing off his jersey the second he hitthe tunnel?

    While a great visual (and it WAS a great visual), they showed at least one his teammates doing the same thing. I think it’s standard after a rough loss to be like, “yeah, eff this, I want to get the eff out of here ASAP.”

  45. I don’t get the Bulls thing.

    Yeah, they’d probably win a title (okay, I said that a bit too cavalierly, that’s a major deal), but the best Lebron could hope for was being the second-best Bull of all-time.

    He could be the greatest Knick of all-time if he comes to New York. And Donnie will give him an All-Star Robin. He likely won’t win a title right away, but Shaq took four seasons to win one in LA, but that still worked out okay, right?

  46. The only thing that makes me feel better about the Bulls situation is that the Bulls don’t have a coach, while the Knicks have LeBron’s BFF D’Antoni. The guys that are being mentioned for the Bulls job aren’t exactly overflowing with gravitas.

  47. I believe the Bulls are a bit of a dysfunctional group themselves. All this fighting between Del Negro and Paxson throughout the season. A lot of backstabbing going on and finally Del Negro gets the axe. In my opinion, Paxson and Gar Forman created a tumultuous environment in Chicago these past two years. I think Chicago is probably a less than ideal situation for Lebron, since although there is upside, it seems to be a bit of a circus. Yes, the Knicks are not quite with the Bulls talentwise, but at least they boast a superior and more stable front office and coaching staff in my opinion. I would think that would be a factor with Lebron when he ultimately chooses a team.

  48. “If LeBron goes to the Bulls I will never watch basketball ever again.”

    Unless of course we get Wade and Bosh as “consolation” prizes. Then we’d have the makings of a great rivalry.

    Avery Johnson just said on ESPN radio that NJ has a better shot at LBJ than NY. And Broussard puts us 3rd behind Cleve. and Chi. There’s definitely an anti-NY sentiment out there, even NY native Jamal Mashburn said he doesn’t think the Knicks have a shot.

  49. chicago was on verge of getting Kobe, ma couldn’t do it.

    they will miss also on Lebron\Wade.

    it’s what they do. missing.

  50. I can’t say I’m really a fan of this grading system.

    I have my doubts that LeBron will rush to Chicago to play for Calipari, but who knows? Certainly the guy is a great salesman and may be able to sell the Bulls to LeBron. And I guess it’s not that hard to coach a team with LeBron and Derrick Rose. You do have to hope that the Paxson/Del Negro physical fight hurts their chances, and that LeBron doesn’t want to go to the 2nd city when he can go to the 1st.

    I don’t think that LeBron would rush to NY to play PF, either. Most star offensive players prefer to play down a position, not up. A lot of scoring bigmen with a passable jumper, for example, bitch when they have to play C. I don’t think LeBron wants to guard the paint on defense. Especially since he’s on record saying defense is the most important thing (though last night’s loss shows that you have to score too). If the Knicks cannot convince LeBron that they’re going to be a very good defensive team at some point, I really doubt he comes. Telling his he’ll play the 4 with Bosh or Lee at the 5 long-term is basically telling him, “we are going to be a bad defensive team and we don’t really care.” Maybe that becomes the reality in year 1 and I don’t think the Knicks should overpay to get mediocre bigmen, but I don’t think it can be the sales pitch.

    Ridnour I would mostly stay away from, since there’s a good chance last season was a fluke. Even if it wasn’t, it came under a coach with a different approach/style from D’Antoni.

    I would probably cry if Lee and Boozer are the Knicks’ starting frontcourt for the next 5-6 years.

    “If I’m the Clippers, I’m suddenly feeling pretty good about my sales pitch.”

    What’s the sales pitch? “We play in the same building as Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin might be a star once he actually plays an NBA game? Oh, and don’t forget that our PG is a fat, lazy underacheiver and our C was an undeserving All-Star. We do have a combo-guard who can light it up, though.” Like I said, if the Clippers get LeBron I’ll do something crazy.

    “That’s how I’ve been seeing it, as well, but iserp has a good point with the “average salary” thing. Could Coon simply be missing that? I tend to view his stances on the salary cap as gospel, but maybe he made a mistake?”

    Lee was a free agent last season. He got a new contract. It was a one year, $7 mill contract. The average salary of that contract was $7 mill. I very well may be wrong, but it seems pretty cut and dry to me. Lee is not coming off his rookie contract. He was a free agent last offseason and signed a second contract.

  51. I think the Bulls are our real competition for LeBron (besides Cleveland).

    No way he plays for the Swamp Dragons or the Paper Clips, those franchises are too tainted. Maybe if the Nets were already in Brooklyn, but now?

    The trump card on the Knicks side is the second max contract. We’re the only team that can offer that to him. Of course, playing with Derrick Rose and Noah in Chicago might be just as appealing (maybe?). They have a team that is a LeBron away from contending. Whereas the Knicks would still be “rebuilding” with LeBron and, say, Bosh. (I’d take a 50 win, second-round exit rebuilding year in a heartbeat).

    He plays up the “only thing that matters to me is winning” card which indicates Cleveland or Chicago being the best situations. But from the “billion dollar athlete / global icon” perspective, there is no better choice than NYC. He’d be the most popular athlete in New York history, automatically. LA has Kobe, Jersey has nothing, Chicago has Michael, Miami has Wade. In New York, he’d own the city. My fingers are crossed, tightly.

  52. “What’s the sales pitch? ‘We play in the same building as Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin might be a star once he actually plays an NBA game? Oh, and don’t forget that our PG is a fat, lazy underacheiver and our C was an undeserving All-Star. We do have a combo-guard who can light it up, though.””

    No, I was thinking they’d make it sound a little more attractive: 2nd biggest market, entertainment capital of the western world, in house rivalry, all the positions set with brand-name players, have a 2010 lottery pick, etc…

    Certainly LeBron doesn’t lose money playing in LA. (And the strip clubs there are just as good as Scores).

    If it’s all about winning, the Clipper roster trumps what NY, Chicago, Cleveland, and Miami can offer, both short AND long term.

  53. “LeBron is a grown man and he is going to make his own decisions. I have nothing to say about that.” – Denzel Washington

    Another appealing thing about Chicago for LeBron would be that it’s a top 3 U.S. city but still in the Midwest. That said, none of these NBA analysts really have any fucking insight about him going to the Bulls. There are 5 or 6 possible destinations for LeBron and for each of them, there is an expert telling anyone who will listen that he is going there.

  54. Well who looks better on paper?

    Douglas/Chandler/Gallo/James/Bosh and D’Antoni

    Rose/Hinrich/James/Gibson/Noah and ?

    Wall/Harris/Lebron/Amare/Lopez and Calipari ?

    Williams/Parker/James/Jamison/Varejao and ? Mike Brown

    Davis/Gordon/James/Griffin/Kaman and ?

    There are a lot of hypotheticals here and much is subject to change, but you get the idea. So the Knicks don’t stack up that great, although I don’t think they are that far off of the Bulls. Chandler is maybe just a shade worse than Deng (and a lot cheaper) but I’ve been hearing Deng going to Cleveland in a sign and trade, which I believe the Cavs would never agree to. If I’m the Cavs, I’d much rather have Lee or the cap space.
    Regardless, either the Bulls would then sign James outright – leaving no wiggle room for another free agent – or they trade a real asset for James i.e. Noah, which leaves them short-handed down low.
    What jumps off the page to me is New Jersey. That is a roster that can beat the Celtics. Maybe they move Harris for a truer sg, but either way, it’s a strong starting 5. Plus, you bring in Coach Cal who would be huge in Brooklyn. And NJ has the young player/draft picks to be able to do a real sign and trade that the Cavs or the Suns might begrudgingly accept.
    Of course if NJ doesn’t get Wall, it makes a difference, since he’s the most NBA ready player in the draft. Instead, maybe they draft Cousins to play the 4 and go for Joe Johnson instead.
    Unfortunately, I can’t see the Knicks beating that talent. But I think the Bulls thing is overblown.

  55. “The trump card on the Knicks side is the second max contract. We’re the only team that can offer that to him.”

    The Heat. The Bulls may also be able to if they pull a nice sign-and-trade to get LeBron. Hate to be a pessimist, but I don’t think that’s a trump card.

    “He plays up the “only thing that matters to me is winning” card which indicates Cleveland or Chicago being the best situations.”

    Not sure Cleveland still qualifies as the best situation. I have been as much a defender of their supporting cast as anyone, but Shaq is done and Jamison is overrated and paid for several more years. Their defense is strong, but they still have no 2nd scoring option. When LeBron couldn’t take over scoring against the Celtics he got very little help. They have guys who are capable on paper, but in reality they exited in the 2nd round in a 6 game series and got pretty well smashed the final 2 games.
    Are Chicago or Miami any better than Miami, though? I don’t know. A lot of uncertainty in both situations, though either Wade or Rose + LeBron would be a great start to building a team.

    “He’d be the most popular athlete in New York history, automatically.”

    I believe NY sports are less associated with one figure because there is such a rich history of great athletes. LeBron could surpass them all, but there would be a lot of guys (Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Derek Jeter, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Reed/Frazier/Monroe, Ewing, LT, Strahan…) who’d have something to say about “automatically.” Given your examples maybe you mean basketball player in the last 20 years and not athlete.

  56. “I can’t say I’m really a fan of this grading system.”

    Not really sure what to say of the criticism of the grading. Am I supposed to take the number of team wins and divide them among the players based on stats/minutes? Oh wait, that’s Win Shares. Maybe I should take the player’s individual stats and normalize them to the rest of the league. Oh wait, that’s PER.

    I don’t see any point in creating anything seriously statistical. It’s already been done. If only the best players in the league get A’s – then you can look at the PER leaderboard or All Star team and say those are the only A’s in the league.

    I’d say I’m more Stephen Colbert than Nate Silver. I’m going with my gut. How did the guy do in comparison to how he should have done based on his previous career, age, and expectation from role? Then break it down by category. Do I think Gallo, a 22 year old with a hearty TS% and good defensive instincts coming off a serious back injury deserves an A-? Yes, in this system.

    In other words, if I chose another method, grading the Knicks would be VERY boring.

  57. Oops, I forgot Miami. They are very hard to predict.

    I guess Arroyo/Wade/James/Beasley/O’Neal will have to do, but they could move Beasley and choose not to resign O’Neal (but are there better center options?)

  58. Regarding the Bulls, isn’t it worse to go from Ohio to Illinois? From a loyalty standpoint.

    In other words I, growing up as a New Yorker, could move to a lot of other places: Florida, California, even places like Georgia, Denver, or the mid-west would be OK. But I don’t think I could ever do Boston. I grew up disliking them, and as silly as it seems it’s too close to home. I might as well stay where I already am. Even if the job were better, paid more money, etc.

  59. Ess – don’t forget that Calipari was once fired by the Nets. I know it’s new management now but it’d still be weird to see.

  60. Z,

    I just don’t think the Clippers have a shot.

    They are a 29 win team who traded away their best player–Marcus Camby–mid-season for nothing. The 28th best offense and 22nd best defense in the NBA.

    Blake Griffin is very promising, but no one knows how good he’ll be. LeBron will have the chance to pair up with guys who have actually shown what they can do against NBA players. Kaman is not an All-Star, he was their 2nd best center… maybe 3rd or 4th best player. David Stern wanted a real C in the All-Star game and it probably didn’t hurt that he was white. Baron Davis has a career TS% of .502. Eric Gordon can score, but is otherwise below average.

    I would call the Bulls a decidedly better situation given the uncertainty of Blake Griffin. Same with Miami depending on what they surround LeBron and Wade with. Cleveland certainly trumps LAC short-term. NY may trump it long-term if they can bring in a Wade/Bosh type star as a wingman.

    Brand-name players?

    Lakers-Clippers is not so much a rivalry as a joke. The Clippers organization is one of the biggest jokes in sports. They share a building with the Lakers, but there’s not comparing the two organizations now or historically. Sterling is one of the worst owners in sports (as is Dolan, unfortunately). It’s like selling a player on the Mets because the Yankees play in the same city.

  61. As for positions, it doesn’t really matter on offense where people play. D’Antoni can use LBJ as PG, have someone else run the offense, or both. The question is where would LeBron play defensively, but even then D’Antoni is very flexible with that. He’s put agile Fs on PG, and taken Chandler and made him guard the post. I don’t think James would be stuck guarding a bigger PF, like let’s say Boozer. But even if he did – there would be some interesting match-up issues on the other end.

    That’s one thing I like about D’Antoni – he isn’t scared to go with his strength and force other teams to adjust to him. Everyone is scared of D’Antoni’s offense (with decent players); add LeBron to the picture and I think opposing teams will be making adjustments more often that the Knicks would have to.

  62. @62

    I didn’t go into great depth because I didn’t want to make a big deal. I just can’t get on board with Lee: B+, Barron: B+, Gallinari: A-, Harrington: C-. I would grade it differently, so I’m not a fan of those grades. Not that I would necessarily incorporate more stats/production, but that I was not that happy with what I saw from Gallo, Lee seriously surpassed my expectations, and Harrington pretty much met my expectations.

    I would give Lee a solid A (5, 2, 5, 5, 5)… defense was a little madening, but he was out of position and my favorite Knick in a while if not ever so very rootable (I like blue-collar players and the ones who make a career for themselves through work and maximizing their abilities… Lee took a serious step forward offensively from 08-09 to 09-10… he was their primary offensive option and basically playing point-F/C… never expected that). Barron I don’t really have a problem with. He did something, which is more than I expected. Gallo I would drop down into maybe the B range because I expected a lot from him going into the season (being a primary or at least secondary scoring option and somewhat of a playmaker… I was never as down on his defense as others so I’m not shocked there). He’s promising going forward, but looking just at the 09-10 season I wasn’t A- happy with the guy. Once I drop down Gallo I’m not as unhappy with the Harrington grade. Maybe give him a solid C instead of a C-. I find him more rootable than most. C/C-… either way.

    It’s not that my grades are any righter than yours, I’m just not a fan of yours because mine are a bit different. That’s why I only put one line when I usually ramble for hours. It’s not easy to even make yourself happy in grading every individual on a team, let alone everyone else. I suppose mine do end up lining up more with production.

  63. I’m a die hard Knicks fan and grew up a few blocks from the Garden. But I now live in Brooklyn and want to point something out that may be the *only* undiscussed angle of the “Where Does LeBron Go?” meme.

    That would be the fact that LeBron is young, and “New Jersey” will, in a few years, be “Brooklyn.” Why does this matter?

    Well, ess-Dog described above why New Jersey may be a strong destination. See msg. #60 for a lot of smart reasoning I needn’t repeat in full about potential teammates. Harris could complement LeBron nicely, Lopez is certainly developing into a capable big, budgets may allow for a second max agent in addition to LeBron, and we’ll see next week how the ping pong balls fall.

    All in all, they may have a few strong role players, a top draft pick, and a max free agent or two. Not bad for starters.

    And then here’s where Brooklyn kicks in — you are still in the number one media market in the country. And you have a team owned by a billionaire international businessman.

    You’d have to imagine he will try and talk LeBron into the idea that he can facilitate not just New York-level market exposure, but global world dominance.

    And that conversation will probably take place on board a private 747 lined with naked Russian “escorts.” And I’m not really joking.

  64. @67,

    I largely agree. Against most teams simply having LeBron and some decent players around him is enough. LeBron isn’t looking to be better than most teams, though, he’s looking to be better than every team. Without a legitimate frontcourt I believe there will usually be some sort of a force that will trump you. I guess I’m not talking just about LeBron’s decision here, but also about what the Knicks need to do going forward to win should they sign LeBron.

    There’s also a legitimate question of how much of that offense was D’Antoni’s strategy and how much was Nash and Co.’s execution. Every playoff game the Suns win this year takes a little bit away from the legend of D’Antoni in my mind. Though you could also argue that it’s still his system they’re using.

  65. “I just don’t think the Clippers have a shot.”

    They probably don’t, but I think their pitch is as good, if not better, than NY’s.

    And maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think LeBron looks at Baron Davis and sees “career TS% .502”. He sees a guy who was a #3 draft pick, a 2 time all star, and a huge playoff performer last time he was there.

    And as for Kaman, all I know is LeBron, after a blowout win against the Knicks this year said: “They have no one who can score in the paint, so they’re not very good.” This implies LeBron feels a team needs a scoring center to compete, and Miami, NY, Chicago, and Cleveland don’t have any, let alone one as good as Kaman (and probably Griffin too).

  66. @68

    “I would give Lee a solid A (5, 2, 5, 5, 5)… defense was a little madening, but he was out of position and my favorite Knick in a while if not ever so very rootable”

    By giving Lee a rating of 2 on defense, you’re essentially saying that he’s probably the 20th best starting center in the league defensively. Can you name 10 starting C that played worse defense than Lee last year? That’s why I can’t in good name give him an A or even A-. His defense was awful. His shot blocking at the center position was woefully inadequate, and I’m being charitable with that description. And he’s not particularly good at defending his own man. Lots of centers had good nights against New York, in addition to the parade of players in the paint.

  67. Seems like Cleveland could do themselves a big favor and fire Mike Brown quickly, letting LeBron know if he did come back there’d be a new system and–I think Brown is really mediocre–probably better leadership. I could see some of the better coaches who have been holding out for a good job–Avery, JVG, etc.–wanting to coach that team if LBJ comes back. But again, I thought Brown did an awful job in the series and let his team get taken out of their game.

  68. @73

    I don’t consider David Lee a defensive center and the fact that Walshtoni couldn’t find a better solution all season reflects more on them than David Lee in my opinion.

    I also didn’t realize that the grades were so clearly measured against the rest of the league. In that case Danilo was not one of the 6 most rootable SFs in the NBA. The guy dissapeared for large portions of games and 90% of the game threads are littered with bitching that Danilo doesn’t step up. Using such a strict measuring stick against the rest of the league makes it tough to justify grades and basically forces you to line-up all the players at a position in the league. You get to the point where you need objective data, and that’s where PER and WS and WP and … come in. Since this is not those things I didn’t figure we were using such a strict performance based metric and actually accounting for the circumstances as well. If D’Antoni decided Danilo was a 5 defensively I’m pretty sure that even with his superior shot blocking (relative to Lee) he would have warranted a 1 grade defensively. D’Antoni decided Lee was a 5, though, and not Danilo. Lee had to play away from his strengths not because he wanted to, but because the coach asked him to.

  69. @76

    To me the Cavs had the talent to beat the Celts and just didn’t execute. I wouldn’t necessarily put that completely on Mike Brown, but a good % of it. Their offense looked lost when they had that long drought in the 3rd.

    Ferry isn’t exactly the best exec in the league and still prone to terrible decision making (Eyanga pick), but since his terrible Larry Hughes decision he’s done a decent job of adding talent to an already capped out team. Some of that talent is old, but so are KG, Sheed, Pierce, and Allen…who beat them. They’re a contender and won ton of regular season games. There’s no guarantee the next exec you bring in would be any better than Ferry. If you had someone lined up who LeBron liked better than Ferry, sure, otherwise I’m not sure you create that instability. Good NBA coaches aren’t that hard to find. Execs seem to be harder, in my opinion (possibly because teams insist on hiring 90% former players).

    LeBron also specifically asked to guard Rajon Rondo, who hurt them. Maybe he’s pissed at Brown about that.

  70. “To me the Cavs had the talent to beat the Celts and just didn’t execute.”

    Ted, since when does “having the talent” to beat the opposing team in a 5 on 5 game of basketball equal being worse at 4/5 of the positions on the floor? The bottom line is that the Cavs absolutely DID NOT have the talent to beat a healthy Celtics team. They would have been MUCH worse at 4/5 of the positions against Orlando this year and lost to them last year being worse at 3/5 of the positions (give Mo Williams the edge over Rafer Alston and Anthony Johnson). Against the Lakers the issues would have been the same.

    The Cavaliers are, at best, the fifth best team in the NBA and may not have beaten the Suns or Spurs or even Mavericks IMO. Period. Unlike the NFL (see Giants vs Patriots) where one fluke game can derail the best team, MLB where hot pitching can carry one team or the NHL (see Canadiens, Montreal) where goal tending can be the difference in a series, the NBA playoffs vet the best team almost each and every year. In the NBA the best teams win in the playoffs. That Cavaliers were not that.

  71. seems a bit fantastic to say the best team always wins…doesn’t account for mediocre role players who play their role well but are not even good players (Bruce Bowen), or guys who get hot for one series and swing it (Ariza last year). Dallas was a better team than the Heat, all assuming the standard set above, where you line up each player against the other team’s and say who’s better.

    Now if you want to talk about ‘team’ in some other way–cohesion, chemistry, will, etc.–that’s different and isn’t just a function of the players on the court. Coaches are a big part of that IMO.

    (BTW, the Canadiens have a lot more going on than a hot goaltender, they are outworking their opponents and one of their players is having a career playoff year scoring goals.)

  72. you would be hard pressed to find years in the NBA where the best team was not either the champion or in the Finals. Of course role players matter but that doesn’t change the fact that in the NBA the team with the better player at the most positions win. The exceptions to that would be teams where their top 2-3 players are so much better than their opponent who may have a high volume of better players but cannot match up with the other team’s top 3 guys like the ’90s Bulls.

    My point was that everyone is saying how great a team the Cavs had and they underperformed. I say look at the players on the floor in this series and show me why the Cavs were considered better?

  73. I don’t consider them better myself, but it’s interesting then to go and explain how they had the best record.(*) But the context here is whether Mike Brown’s coaching is a considerable factor vs. the talent on the team with regards to the loss.

    I think some of Doc Rivers’ moves were genius. One example, letting Ray Allen guard Lebron, basically saying you can have yours but everyone else is going to have to work their a## off to get involved…and they didn’t. I didn’t see Mike Brown even trying to make adjustments to get his team going. He just kept waiting to see if Lebron would get them off the hook, like everybody else on the team.

    (*Might be interesting to compare to the NHL where the team with the best record and arguably the best player, the Caps, also got bounced early. There are definite similarities.)

  74. Well, Cleveland split the regular season series against Boston, Orlando and San Antonio and won against Suns and Lakers. And had a positive point differential against both Boston and Orlando. And they had the best record.

    At the end of the season, i would say that Cleveland was the best team even if everyone was healthy (well, i would consider Orlando and the Lakers, too); definitely better than a healthy Boston team.

    However, in the last ten years, the team with the best record has been in the Finals only three times. Celtics in ’09, San San Antonio in ’03 and Lakers in ’00 (all victories, BTW)

    So it tells you something that there are many factors aside being the best to win a championship.

  75. “Who is this McManus? She can’t possibly believe that the Knicks would ever leave new york.”

    It’s sarcasm. Not very witty/funny sarcasm, but I really don’t think the writer means it literally. And she’s right — the NY Mag/Daily News pieces are a bit much

  76. Al Harrington must be very pleased that his thread has 87 comments (:

    Francesa was saying today that LeBron would be crazy to go to Chicago and deal with the legacy of Jordan. I think there’s something to that – bringing a championship to the Bulls would not be nearly as dramatic as bringing one to the Knicks a la Mark Messier with the Rangers.

  77. @80

    I disagree. I’m not saying they were definitely more talented, but that they had enough talent to not get embarrased the last two games.

    Speaking of health… LeBron is hurt. Had LeBron been healthy who knows how the Cavs do. Going into the playoffs very few people thought the Celtics would beat the Cavs in a 7 game series, “period.” Probably not because they thought the Cavs were less talented. Probably because they thought they were more talented. The Celtics proved those people wrong, but on paper the Cavs looked like they could hang. Shaq got hurt. LeBron got hurt. Z is a shell of his former self after a solid year last season. Mo’s shooting abandoned him in the playoffs (not a surprise, but there wasn’t much evidence previously). Jamison (surprise, surprise) didn’t magically sprout wings playing next to LeBron as many seemed to expect. West was terrible in the playoffs after at least shooting well his three other playoffs runs. I do think the supporting cast was exposed a bit during the Celts series, but I also think–with the 29 point game 3 win as my witness–that the Cavs could have hung with the Celts.

    10 guys saw action for both teams last night, not just 5.

    I would probably agree with you that basketball is by nature as fair as any pro sport in determining a champion, but to say that every year the best team definitely wins is naive. Teams go through hot and cold stretches in basketball. Entire series come down to game 7s won by a point or two. A couple of things go the other way and the other team is the best team that year instead…
    The Cavs had plenty of chances to win that game. They missed plenty of wide open shots and FTs and had plenty of unforced TOs. They certainly COULD have beaten the Celts last night, but instead they got their butts kicked.

  78. I think the case for Chicago is a bit overstated. Rose and Noah are listed as the big attractions, but Noah for me is in the Varejao territory and while Rose has potential, I’m not blown away. Is he even top ten point guards in the NBA right now? Maybe some day but I think he has some flaws to his game.

    Plus the current leadership group has really failed to capitalize on years of high draft picks and a surplus of assets. Conservative management, poor judgment…not sure why you trust these guys any more than the crew in Cleveland.

    From an assets standpoint, NJ has a lot going for it and, if they keep Thorn, an exec who has proven he knows how to draft, trade and build a team. The Heat have Riley. It’s gonna be tough.

  79. Am I nuts or did Noah devote himself to pissing off Lebron and the people of Cleveland all year? That wouldn’t be a factor?

  80. Derrick Rose is not even really a point guard, he’s more one of those “0” guards we’ve been hearing so much about. He had 6.0 assists and 2.8 turnovers per game… Not even remotely in the same category as the top true PGs. He’s one of the most overrated players in the NBA, in my opinion. I mean, it’s not like he’s a stiff or anything, but I don’t think he’s all that rare a talent. His game heavily relies on dominating the ball and driving to the hoop– how would that mesh with LeBron’s game? It would seem to me that pairing LeBron with a “0” guard would be a mistake.

  81. I think a lot of these writers are just trying to get more hits on their websites by saying some of the outrageous stuff we’ve been reading. The Bulls? Really? When Lebron’s got the ball at the end of the game, you’re going to have your previous supposed best player Derrick Rose sit and wait for a catch and shoot? No way Lebron goes to Chicago where every time he misses a shot people will be saying “he’s no MJ”.

    (meanwhile, does anyone see a young Starbury when they watch Rose play? Their style is really similar).

    Miami is a possibility but that’s Wade’s team — I don’t think there’s any way Lebron goes there to play beta to Wade’s alpha. And if I’m Lebron, I’d rather have someone like Bosh or Amare than have another player who does pretty much what I do.

    Clips? forget it. Jersey? Jay-Z aside, Nets games were empty even when they were going to the finals with Kidd, Kenyon Martin, etc.. No way Lebron goes to Newark for 2+ years.

    I think it’s either Cleveland or our Knicks — to me it’s a no brainer — Cleveland’s not getting any better or younger, whereas in NYC he gets to hand pick his running mate, has a coach that he is on record saying he loves, and would without a doubt be the alpha.

    Meanwhile – I honestly think I’d rather have Amare than either Bosh or Lee. Sure he’s got his weaknesses, but there may be no better finisher on the PnR in the league. Can you imagine having Lebron and Amare on the PnR with D’Antoni teaching it? Then you have Gallo and Douglas camping behind the 3pt line? Amare’s D is suspect but he’s certainly no worse than Lee was.

    So – I vote for getting Lebron (shocker), signing Amare, and then having the rotation be


    Douglas, Chandler, and Lebron are all plus defenders. Gallo tries hard at least. And Amare isn’t great but he’s more of a presence than Lee was. Not a great rebounding frontcourt but Chandler and Lebron would both be well above average at their opinions.
    Against teams with big centers, bring Barron in.

  82. @91

    Good point, didn’t consider that. It was sort of immature and annoying, but I would assume LeBron will judge Noah based on on-the-court stuff. He may either respect Noah’s competitiveness or find him totally obnoxious.


    I agree that Rose is overrated right now. I didn’t think he deserved to be an All-Star. He did finish the year strong, though. He’s already a solid starting PG, so I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s not a PG. He’s not a great playmaker, but solid-to-strong. His weak rebounding is one thing that maybe most surprises me from such a strong athlete.
    Although Rose’s 3pt shot hasn’t come around yet, his eFG% on jumpers is actually .467 and jumpers are 68% of his FGAs. LeBron had an eFG% of .436 on 64% jumpers this season. After watching Mo Williams sit around and miss jumpers the last two seasons in the playoffs LeBron might like a teammate who can actually take the ball to the hoop strong. I don’t ever want to see LeBron and Rose playing together in Chicago, but objectively I think they’d do fine.


    To be honest I don’t think Chicago is any more ridiculous than NY. I have no idea what LeBron is thinking and I hope he comes to NY, but Chicago isn’t unattractive.

    Once LeBron gets to Miami, Wade would no longer be the alpha. The respect/image he has there might keep him from becoming a second class citizen, but I think LeBron would be 1.a. and Wade 1.b. MJ and Pippen did pretty well together despite both being excellent wing defenders and passers… I think LeBron and Wade would be a great pairing, but hope it’s in NY.

    It’s a no brainer to come to NY because when the Lakers bring out Bynum and Gasol together the Knicks can bring out D-League journeyman Earl Barron? I’m rooting for LeBron to come to the Garden, but that’s a huge manipulation of the facts in my opinion. That’s the positive side for NY, but you looked at the negative side for every other team. You could just as easily weave a similar story for the other LeBron contenders. Z is even convinced he’s going to the Clippers. I believe the Knicks have a decent shot, but there are several other teams that are right there with them.

    (Marbury was an All-Star PG at a young age and had the talent to be a HOFer. The problem was that he never got better and he couldn’t consistently go out there and perform. When you say that a 21 year old reminds you of Stephon Marbury on the court that’s a complement; off the court, it’s not. Every report I’ve heard is that Rose is a hard worker with his head on straight. While I see the Marbury/Francis comparisons, I also can see him adding a 3pt shot, improving his playmaking, and doing what Marbury did for short stretches for an entire HOF career. I can also see him being a better team player, since it’s hard to imagine many people who make it as far as these guys being worse in that regard.) http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=rosede01&y1=2010&p2=marbust01&y2=1999&p3=francst01&y3=2000&p4=rondora01&y4=2008

  83. I think its safe to say that all of LeBron’s options have multiple strong and negative points. Its just a matter of which team’s strong points outweigh the other team’s and whose negative points arent as bad.

    Ill say one thing, compared to the Cavs-Bulls-Clippers the Knicks being lead by Donnie Walsh and D’Antoni I believe are huge pluses compared to those teams who dont/will not have a head coach and whose GM’s have shaky reputations at best. Even the Nets who although are lead by Rod Thorn and a new owner dont have a head coach and are stuck in Newark for at least 2 more seasons.

    I know many hear complain about D’Antoni but to me he is a huge asset right now in the LeBron chase compared to all these teams who dont even have a head coach (and no hiring Calipari I really doubt will influence LeBron). Ditto obviously having someone as well respected as Donnie Walsh as GM. Plus as much as we hate Dolan you know he isnt shy about spending money to win so that isnt a negative compared to owners like Gilbert or the new guy in NJ.

  84. “It’s a no brainer to come to NY because when the Lakers bring out Bynum and Gasol together the Knicks can bring out D-League journeyman Earl Barron?”

    Well, to be fair, the Knicks are not going to be sending Earl Barron out there if they sign LeBron– they would very likely be sending Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh out there with him. Obviously the fact that the Knicks could afford to bring in an impact big man is a major part of their pitch.

  85. Regarding the appeal of fame and LeBron’s popularity upon arrival in NYC: it’s true that we’ve certainly had our share of popular athletes, especially in baseball.

    Perhaps I’m overselling the point. LeBron would come in with massive expectations and hype, and his popularity would become even more immense than it is today. If he wins in New York, he is a generational hero. It’s a pretty compelling gambit, if you have a competitive streak. So is “eclipse Michael in Chicago.” Actually, that’s crazy!

    I think that LeBron’s elbow situation this playoff may have worked out to our advantage. For all the talk about how LeBron isn’t a killer and how his team quit and all this crap … I’m sorry, I’ve seen LBJ absolutely take over and singlehandedly win huge games before, and it was clear to me this year that he wasn’t right in the second round. His team did roll over, but he wasn’t himself. So if Cleveland fans want to convince themselves that he’s not good enough, fine, I’ll take my chances with him in New York.

  86. “(meanwhile, does anyone see a young Starbury when they watch Rose play? Their style is really similar).”

    That’s a great point Frank, and look where his career went.

    This notion that a Rose/LBJ/Noah combination has championship written all over it is ludicrous. How exactly do Rose and LeBron complement each other? And is Noah really that much better than Varejao, who really came up small in crunch time against the Celts? But the writers are all over the Chicago angle, on ESPN.com they were almost unanimous on LBJ going there.

  87. Has anyone proposed this obvious suggestion for Knickerblogger:

    Let’s grade the free agents. What kind of years did THEY have? Who do THEY compare to?

    No offense to the coming analysis of Jonathan Bender and Eddie House, but I’m much more eager to see how people discuss Joe Johnson, Amar’e, and the others.

    We might even have a bonus rating evaluating the odds or chances that the said FA will come to NY.

  88. There are certain players in this league who can be good sidekicks. Guys like Pau Gasol, Scottie Pippen, Chauncey Billups, Amar’e Stoudemire, LeMarcus Aldridge, Carlos Boozer, David West, etc. Even though most of these guys are PFs and I think David Lee could be one of these guys, that’s not my point. My point is that they don’t need to dominate the ball in order to be effective. Derrick Rose won’t fit this role well. He won’t be in Chicago.

  89. Ive read/heard people say that going to NY wouldnt help LeBron’s endorsements because he already is really popular. They couldnt be anymore wrong.

    Lebron’s jersey is #2 in the league behind Kobe, he signs with the Knicks next season (or the Bulls) and his jersey will EASILY become the #1 selling jersey in the league next season. Another thing I read which I was very surprised about was that his Nike shoes/clothing apparel apparently doesnt sell much at all. If he again signs with the Knicks his Nike stuff will sell like CRAZY in NY obviously and for sure will sell alot more across the country.

    Now again Im not saying this is the reason he will choose the Knicks but for someone to say that playing in NYC wont help his off the court earning ability are just flat out fooling themselves. LeBron the brand is nowhere near what MJ obviously was/is and Nike hasnt even been pushing him that hard recently. Remember all those Nike commercials with him his first few years?? Now all they do are the puppets commercials with Kobe. He signs with NY I cant imagine the marketing push he would get from Nike.

  90. @96

    Bosh and Amare aren’t defensive centers, though. I’m not too worked up over having a perfect roster in place from day 1 of next season, I’m just saying that it’s hard to say a team which might feature a D-League journeyman as its most legitimate defensive bigman is not a no-brainer.


    To me Dolan is a HUGE negative, though you’re right that at least he spends money. He also doesn’t embarrass himself publicly as much as a Donald Sterling or Al Davis or Jerry Jones, at least not since Isiah left. Hopefully Dolan won’t be much of an issue. Walsh is a selling point, but at the same time how many years is he going to be around? D’Antoni I can really see going either way. LeBron has taken shots at D’Antoni for not concentrating on defense and in other locations he may be able to hand-pick his next coach to some extent.

    I remember hearing that the players cut of jersey sales goes into a general fund, but maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know how moving to NYC would impact LeBron’s financials. I have to think favorably, but winning 5 rings would probably boast his imcome even more whether it’s in Minnesota or NYC. Berri and other sports economists must be publishing stuff on this.


    Agree that LeBron wasn’t LeBron there. The guy is absolutely dominant in clutch situations usually, so anyone saying otherwise is crazy. To me a lot of Game 6 came down to the Cavs fouling the Celts and bunch and Celts playing physical defense without fouling… aside from the Celts actually making their shots and the Cavs missing wide open shot after wide open shot. In real time I thought the refs were fixing the game, but when they’d show replays it was usually the case that the Cavs were fouling and the Celts were not. That has to help Tom Thibodeau’s stock.


    I don’t think LBJ/Rose/Noah has championship written all over it, but that’s a damn good core and a contender from day 1. Depending on what else they do this offseason the Bulls will also have Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. And Taj Gibson had a fairly promising rookie season. Or they can also make some trades (possibly including a s&t for LeBron) and have the cap room for a Wade or Bosh along with LeBron. I would assume the consensus that LeBron will go there has to do with that being the best situation to accomplish his potential goals of going to a big market and winning from day 1. It’s also a core that should be in their primes for the next 8-10 years, so he’s not looking at a couple of starters over 35 like he had in Cleveland. Doesn’t mean he will go there. Cleveland, NY, Miami, NJ, LAC, etc. all have their selling points and it just depends what LeBron wants to do.

    I’ve gone on about Rose earlier in the thread. He’s not Chris Paul, but the kid is a good NBA PG at 21 years old. I think Rose and LeBron could coexist pretty easily. Most of the time against Boston it seemed like Cleveland needed another playmaker who could force the action besides LeBron… all those spot-up shooters can’t do much when their shots aren’t falling.
    Again, Marbury was a STUD when he came into the league. Great potential. Very productive at a young age. The fact that he never developed is not a death sentence for Derrick Rose. If Rose is eating lotion on the internet in 8-10 years I will be very surprised.

    The idea that Joakim Noah will fade in big moments is ridiculous. He won back-to-back national championships at Florida and has stepped up his game in the playoffs both last year and this year. Against the Cavs in round 1 his PER was 20, last season against Boston it was 17. Like with Marbury and Rose, being comparable to a player doesn’t mean you are the same person.
    Noah turns the ball over more and gets fewer steals, but otherwise he’s the better player across the board at the same age: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=noahjo01&y1=2010&p2=varejan01&y2=2007


    I understand that what you’re saying is “conventional wisdom:” you can’t have two players with similar games or you’ll experience diminishing returns. However, if the two players in question are great and have their heads on straight–are smart team players who put winning above all else–I see having two guys who can create for themselves or others from anywhere on the floor as a positive. Rose hasn’t extended his range behind the arc, but he’s already a solid jump shooter. Like I said above, while watching the Cavs flounder against the Celts I was mentally yelling for someone on the Cavs besides LeBron to force the action… take the ball to the hole… draw some contact… do something. That’s where Derrick Rose would have come in.
    Rose is not great yet. He certainly has the potential, though. I would be surprised if his 3pt shot doesn’t come around, based on his eFG% on jumpers and his FT%. If he can’t hit from outside maybe he’s never an ideal complement for LeBron, but he would also not be an ideal featured player if he can’t make more 3pters to raise his TS%. He’s also got to get to the FT line more.
    As far as his assists numbers, he’s not a truly elite playmaker but you also have to look at the system he’s playing in with Hinrich generally out there with him on a bad offensive team without many other scoring options.

  91. Ted,

    that wouldn’t be necessary if everybody on court was able to hold their ground and not be dependent on LeBron. Cleveland only does well when LeBron plays well. They do need somebody who makes his own offense, but not somebody who will need the ball most of the time in order to do it. Rose is somebody who must be a number 1 in order to do well. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon could have been lethal, because Rose was the primary ball-handler, and Ben Gordon was a lethal shooter who got his without ball domination. LeBron is basically a 6′ 8” PG, and will take precedence over Rose. Also, if you want somebody who will force the issue, that what you get a good 6th man for. Guys like Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, even Al Harrington will make things happen on offense.

  92. Right Ted my point about Dolan is you know he will spend the money if necessary. I bring that up because again Ive heard/read people talk about how Gilbert in Cleveland is willing to spend as much money as he can to win and how the new russian guy in NJ is so rich and will spend as much as possible to build a winner. Well so will Dolan and the Knicks.

    That is what is frustrating me with all the LeBron speculation how many are trying to just completely dismiss the Knicks because they have sucked and have no players. Yet people bring up positives from other teams like owners willing to spend money for an example and completely ignore the fact that the Knicks will do the same thing. The Knicks are treated as if Isiah is still running the team. Best part is when people talk about how so what if LeBron comes to NY with Bosh they still wouldnt have enough good players. Gimme a break. As if that happens the Knicks will stand pat, stay under the luxery tax and not add players. Lebron-Bosh-Gallo-Chandler-TD-Walker is a nice, real young nucleus to start building on not to mention Curry and his expiring contract as a nice asset to have. But no its just the Knicks suck and have no players so dismiss them. Its become laughable at times to me anyway.

  93. @104
    Totally true, you do need to have depth on a team but Lebron and Bosh would already tear the house down.
    “That is what is frustrating me with all the LeBron speculation how many are trying to just completely dismiss the Knicks because they have sucked and have no players.”
    This is the only thing that is really questionable. If I were a free agent, I wouldn’t look at a team that has sucked and doesn’t have any good players. However, we do have Gallo, TD and the obvious allure of New York.

  94. I’m starting to think the Johnson/Bosh duo might not be a very bad alternative if Lebron doesn’t come. Joe, despite his playoff disappearance, really should work well next to Douglas since he can work as a lead ball handler. 1) It could be argued that Johnson’s abilities would be maximized in a D’Antoni offense as opposed to Atlanta’s more set offense and 2) pairing him with the post-scorer he’s been lacking in Atlanta (Bosh) could really lift his game immensely and 3) it allows you to leave Gallo at his natural sf position. It also allows Bosh to feel like the #1 guy. Bosh will probably command the max, but Johnson could come in around 13 or 14 which would leave you some change for a cheap big or to re-sign Sergio. I would also try to move up and draft Kevin Seraphin – I believe this kid will be a beast. TD, Joe, Gallo, Bosh, Barron/Mahimi/Seraphin/Kurt Thomas? would be a pretty balanced lineup, while still having your E. Curry chip to play. You could go smaller too and put Chandler at the 3 or 4 and Bosh at the 5. Or really small and fast with Sergio at the point and TD at the 2. This gives us an extra half year to evaluate so we can use the Curry contract wisely (get a new point? get a center?) Frankly, I’m sick of all the Lebron worship. You need all 5 players to contribute. But of course I’d take him over Johnson 100% of the time given the choice…. I’m just sayin’ no matter what, I hope to at least have a very competitive team next year.

  95. First Isola earlier in the week now Hahn is saying that Tony Parker would like to be traded to the Knicks if the Spurs decide to trade him. Interesting. Thoughts on this possibility????

  96. @106

    The LeBron worship indeed needs to stop, and I agree with you on Seraphin. He’ll probably be an exceptional player in the NBA. If we can get him in New York, that would be great.

    Joe Johnson and Chris Bosh would be great together for the first 2-3 years. But when Joe starts getting older, his contract will be seen as a burden if he gets 5 years. Also, I would say Bosh has 5 more good years in him, so giving him Joe as his running mate won’t work out long term without the necessary talent around the two, allowing Johnson to age well. If Gallo competes all next year like he competed to close off the season, we’ve got the M.I.P. next year, barring Beasley turning into the stud once imagined. I’m sure the big name guys will look into this. And I agree 100% that Gallo should stick to his natural SF position, and that LeBron could stagnate his growth as a player. If we indeed end up with Johnson and Bosh, we’ll need to trade Eddy Curry’s contract to Toronto in a S&T for Calderon and Bosh. A starting 5 of Calderon/Johnson/Gallinari/Bosh/Seraphin would be the 3rd seed in the East if LeBron stays and Orlando keeps that team together. That’s competitive enough for me, at least for now.

  97. @107,

    Parker would be great, but I don’t think we have the assets to bring him in. Plus he said he wants to stay in San Antonio. Not to sure about that.

  98. Would douglas + curry’s expiring work for Parker?

    Getting A’mare, LeBron and Parker would seem like a can’t miss situation, but there would be absolutely no depth to this team, which would now be capped out, no.

    Starting lineup:

    One of his year’s second rounders
    Am I missing anyone?

    Unless Walsh could fill in the bench with some decent role players, doesn’t seem like LeBron’s “team” would conclude that this is a championship situation.

    Maybe T-Mac signs for vet’s minimum to join this team? Bring back Nate? LeBron and T-Mac would make Nate less of a liability at PG.

  99. @110, that’s so unlikely. That would be a devastating team, but the pieces would be nearly impossible to acquire. If the starting five were even a little possible, we would need to trade for Parker the FIRST day of f.a. A’mare seems ready to bolt for Miami or Phoenix during f.a, so for him to even look at NY, it would be great to have Parker as the pg. Then it seems Lebron would sign. But we then have A’mare at the 5 and Gallo at his unnatural 4 spot. And the bench looks horrible. Walker seems good, but doesn’t look like a 6th man on a championship team. A’mare said if T-Mac is on the Knicks, he won’t even consider them due to past events. And I think D’antoni would be quicker to swallow sand then bring back Nate.

  100. Looking at some Kevin Seraphin tapes across the web, he looks like he’s perfect for D’Antoni’s system. He’s very athletic and has decent moves in the post. I hope we can trade up in the draft and take Atlanta’s pick.

  101. Re: today’s game:

    (1) I didn’t realize the Magic have only lost 3 games since February 27th (90.3% Winning pct.).

    (2) It’s way too nice outside to watch.

    I am rooting for Phoenix to win it all in spite of the inevitable, annoying chatter that would follow about how D’Antoni failed to win a championship with the same core plus Marion.

  102. Once again a team chose not to foul near the end of a game when fouling was their only chance to win the game. The notion of letting the game clock go from 27 seconds to 14 while down three before finally fouling is just absurd to me.

  103. Massive,

    You’re contradicting yourself: LeBron needs guys who can create offense and having mostly spot-up shooters was Clevelands problem, on the one hand, and no one playing with LeBron can handle the ball, on the other… Hard to have it both ways.

    If you want two perimeter players who were both capable of dominating a game offensively but managed to co-exist, look no further than MJ and Pippen. Pippen proved he could be the best offensive player on a good playoff team. He handled the ball a lot and didn’t shoot particularly well and still managed to be an incredible teammate for MJ.

    “They do need somebody who makes his own offense, but not somebody who will need the ball most of the time in order to do it.”

    Derrick Rose, or anyone else, doesn’t “need” the ball “most of the time.” He HAS the ball most of the time for the Bulls because who else is going to have it?

    “Rose is somebody who must be a number 1 in order to do well.”

    Just because he did have the ball a lot for Chicago doesn’t mean he HAS to have the ball. LeBron played 39 mpg last season and had a usage rate of 33.5. That means for those 39 mpg 66.5% of Cleveland’s shots were taken by someone not named LeBron James. The other 9 mpg 100% of the Cavs shots were not taken by LeBron James.

    “Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon could have been lethal, because Rose was the primary ball-handler, and Ben Gordon was a lethal shooter who got his without ball domination.”

    It’s better for Rose to play with a lesser player? I disagree. Rose’s ast% may be lower playing next to LeBron, but his team would be better.

    “LeBron is basically a 6? 8” PG, and will take precedence over Rose.”

    Mo Williams actually plays with LeBron and still manages an ast% of 25 and a usage rate of 22. He is a PG who plays on the same team as LeBron and manages to be directly involved in 47% of Cleveland’s scoring possessions 34.2 mpg (Rose was involved in 57.5% of Chicago’s 36.8 mpg). Almost 1/2 of Cleveland’s scoring possessions last season when Mo Williams was on the court were either a result of Mo Williams scoring or Mo Williams passing the ball to someone who scored. 47%
    Right now I’m not sure how much better Rose is than Williams if at all, but the idea is that in a couple of years he can be.

    “Guys like Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, even Al Harrington will make things happen on offense.”

    It doesn’t matter who is the 3rd man and the 6th man. It matters who is on the court at any given moment. LeBron wants to win a championship and to do that he’s going to need great players on his side. Even LeBron can’t go it with good players, he needs great players.

  104. “Well so will Dolan and the Knicks.”

    Yeah, but Dolan is also known as a borderline incompetent owner. Gilbert the NJ Russian guy, they made their own money and would appear to be competent businessmen who haven’t let their franchises turn into the kind of circus sideshow that the Knicks were under Isiah. They don’t forbid their entire organization from communicating with the media for fear of what’s going on being revealed, because there’s nothing to reveal.
    My point is just that there’s as much negative as positive with Dolan and he’s not a selling point. I would keep him in the background and only really sell LeBron on the one positive you mention: he’s the owner of two lucrative monopolies.

    ESPN.com doesn’t even list the Knicks under “James’ options…” They list 6 teams and none are the NY Knicks. I do think that’s going too far. I think the Knicks should be in the discussion, but there are a bunch of contenders. Danilo and Bill Walker and Toney Douglas maybe having break-out seasons next year is just not that great a selling point compared to a team that made the playoffs like Chicago or Miami. To me NYC is the Knicks biggest asset. They need that to be LeBron’s deciding factor and then convince him they can build a winner around him.


    I’m not sure that changing from Al Horford to Chris Bosh will improve Joe Johnson’s game at all let alone “immensely.”

    “The LeBron worship indeed needs to stop, and I agree with you on Seraphin.”

    Guy might be retire as the greatest player ever to play the game, but let’s stop hoping he comes to our team. Let’s all get together and have a little prayer session for Joe Johnson??? Come on, I’m worshiping LeBron and proud of it.

    Seraphin has good potential, but have either of you guys actually, you know, seen him play?

    “And I agree 100% that Gallo should stick to his natural SF position, and that LeBron could stagnate his growth as a player.”

    Don’t sign LeBron because it might stunt Gallo’s growth? Playing with LeBron James will be bad for Danilo Gallinari? It will be bad for Danilo and it will be bad for Rose… so it’s a terrible thing to play on the same team as LeBron James?

    “A starting 5 of Calderon/Johnson/Gallinari/Bosh/Seraphin would be the 3rd seed in the East if LeBron stays and Orlando keeps that team together”

    That’s a very bold prediction… Seraphin just began starting in France, but he’s definitely ready to start on a 50+ win NBA as a rookie???
    And how is Orlando not going to keep their team together? They have no FAs…

  105. They list 6 teams and none are the NY Knicks.

    For serious?


  106. Love this insight from the aforementioned ESPN rumor column…

    Dallas. They can sign-and-trade for The King.

    Wow, they can?

    That’s mind-blowing!

  107. @119

    Cap space. Also Toney Douglas, Wilson Chandler, 2 2nd rounders, Bill Walker… Depends who else is bidding and how much, but a lot of the logic behind Parker to the Knicks is that the Spurs might prefer to replace Parker with George Hill. Not only is Hill a lot cheaper, but Parker is going to be a FA in 2011 going into his 29 year old season… maybe the Spurs don’t want to risk a long-term deal and lose him that offseason to a team willing to give him a big 5 year deal into his 30s. If they do feel like George Hill is their starter going forward they could do worse than cap space and Toney Douglas: a backcourt player who can shoot and defend. I’m pretty skeptical myself, especially becuase Hill hasn’t shown too much playmaking ability.

    The Spurs can probably get more talent elsewhere, but the idea is that they might want immediate cap relief (which would be a little impatient since both Parker and RJ expire after next season). The other teams with cap space have really high quality FA targets (why trade assets for Parker when you can sign a comprable FA straight up? that at least has to lower his price to teams with 2010 cap space) and either don’t need a PG or don’t have many assets either. Chicago and NJ don’t need PGs. Miami has little to offer outside of Beasley and Chalmers… maybe they offer both of those two (I’m not sure either one is clearly better than Douglas mano-a-mano, Knicks could go Douglas, Chandler, 2nd rounder maybe if they really want Parker and if they strike out on the other big names maybe they will)… Another possibility is Minnesota. I’m honestly not sure I’d take Flynn over Douglas. The Spurs could end up with Rubio… that’s actually a very Spurs like move. If the Spurs bring over Splitter and Rubio in the next two years I will start spursblogger.net and stop annoying you guys here. When Donnie retires Dolan should just pay Buford and Pops $20 mill per each to come run and coach the Knicks.

  108. Ted,

    LeBron probably will go down as the best that ever did it, and is probably bigger than the NBA Playoffs by now. I see why he’s worshiped, but I mean come on, all this media coverage is going to do is leave a few parts of the country disappointed.

    I see your point about Rose, that more than likely will work out. I just think Rose needs a more reliable jumpshot, LeBron or not. But that’s obvious

    A Calderon/Johnson/Gallo/Bosh/Seraphin team as the 3 seed is a bit bold, but I strongly doubt its because of Seraphin starting. It depends on what Miami, Cleveland, Chicago, and Boston look like at the start of next season. Sure, Seraphin would be a weak point on our team, but the other 4 guys wouldn’t necessarily be slouches, and could make up for his short-comings on offense. This team wouldn’t be good defensively, though.

    Orlando can be altered through trade. I doubt they move anybody, but Matt Barnes and J.J. Reddick could all be gone. Same for Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson. Nothing really major, but who knows what will happen?

    And I never said Gallo would be a reason that I wouldn’t bring in LeBron. And stagnate was the wrong word, it would just send it another way. But I was wrong, playing with LeBron would be a plus for Gallo. I’m just worried about our interior defense.

  109. Thanks, Ted, I totally blanked on the whole “you can absorb a player’s salary completely so long as you’re under the cap” rule.

    But in that scenario, Tony Parker would be your big “get,” right? I suppose that makes some sense if the Knicks can’t get Lebron. Then they could sign one of the big free agents for $13 million, trade for Parker, then re-sign Lee for whatever.

    Hmmm…I don’t think that necessarily works out that well for the Knicks.

  110. to me, the best route is the Celtics route:

    pair a wing scorer (pierce) with a defensive oriented big (garnett) and with a spot-up shooter (Allen)

    the more I think, the more Gallo is an ideal companion for lbj: he can play the Allen role like few people in the league.

    what about the big man? the garnett type doesn’t grow on the trees…

    bosh, amare o boozer ? I’m not sold on any of them…they all lack swagger or defense or team mentality…maybe an Al Jefferson?

  111. “Tony Parker would be your big “get,” right? I suppose that makes some sense if the Knicks can’t get Lebron. Then they could sign one of the big free agents for $13 million, trade for Parker, then re-sign Lee for whatever….I don’t think that necessarily works out that well for the Knicks.”

    Honestly, I don’t think its a bad option at all. If none of the Big 3 decide to sign with NY, trading cap-space for Parker is a much better “plan B” than throwing max deals at Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, or Rudy Gay. Parker makes $12 million, and expires at the end of the year leaving our 2011 cap space intact.

    Parker, I can’t help but notice, is also a PG, which was our worst position last year. Since there are no good PGs available this summer, he may be our best shot at improving the position this summer (barring an extreme Toney Douglas improvement). If the 2009 Knicks replaced Duhon with Parker and replayed the entire season, I’d take the over on 29 wins. Way over.

  112. massive,

    I don’t think something like “Calderon/Johnson/Gallo/Bosh/Seraphin” would be a bad starting line-up. With a couple of good bench players might be top 10 or even top 5 offensively. Unless Seraphin is 1st team All-Defense as a young player it’s not going to be a pretty weak defensive squad, though. Toronto had 40% of those guys with Turkoglu and Bargnani (good shooter at least) and Amir Johnson (which seems like a pretty medium case scenario for Seraphin, especially when he first hits the league) and Jarrett Jack only won 40 games. Johnson and Gallo should make the Knicks better than that, but 13 wins better? I don’t know.

    I am very intrigued by Seraphin, too, as are a lot of people. The guy is going to be 20 to start next season, though, and was by no means a star in France. The sky is the limit, but it might take a few years or it might never happen. There’s also a chance he works his way into the middle of the first round, or even the lottery (draftexpress has him going #23, nbadraft.net doesn’t have him in their latest lottery so either they think he’ll pull out or it’s an oversight). Teams might pull a Jerry Jones-Dez Bryant-Randy Moss, by trying to make up for past mistakes by taking Seraphin. They missed on Batum and Beaubois, so obviously they have to draft the next athletic French guy they see. This is a really good bigman crop, though, so it’s less likely than it would have been in 2009.
    I see your larger point about getting some help with one or both of the 2nd round picks. I’m generally against drafting for need, but given the quality of bigmen in this draft, the lack of Cs in free agency, and the positional value of Cs… I hope the Knicks use at least one pick on a bigman, whether it’s Seraphin, Varnado, Faried, Jerome Jordan… whoever falls or someone they can trade up for. If the value on the board is somewhere besides defensive bigmen I’d rather they take the best prospects available, though. It’s unlikely, but if the Knicks can get two strong rotation players in the 2nd round this year it takes a lot of pressure off of other moves. If they strike it rich in free agency they’ve got a supporting cast, if they strike out they’ve got a couple more pieces.


    Yeah, he’s one of your two big acquisitions. I guess the consensus is that the Knicks will add two max FAs this offseason. Add a Bosh or Amare in the frontcourt at the max and Parker to get them the ball and be your best backcourt player offensively. Parker/Bosh/Gallo would be the makings of a good offensive team. Maybe I’m falling for the D’Antoni hype, but I assume Parker would excel playing for him.
    If Joe Johnson has been exposed as not a max player the Knicks can add Parker and Johnson in the backcourt and still resign Lee. I sort of doubt it, though. There are just more teams with cap space than top FAs. It would take both Johnson and Lee being turned away by teams with cap space and holes in their roster. It’s possible in both cases, but it would take a lot of luck for both to feel no FA love. And then you get into whether Johnson&Lee or just Bosh/Amare is a better option. I think most people here would say

    While in the short-term I would be very happy to add Tony Parker, in the long-term I have my doubts. He’s a small 6 foot guy without a perimeter shot who relies on his quickness. That’s not a recipe for aging well in the NBA. If they add him for nothing but cap space it doesn’t really matter, but if they give up assets they’re going to want to resign him.


    Al Jefferson is considered by some to be the worst defensive bigman in the entire league… as in worse than David Lee and all three guys you mention. He’s one of the least attractive contracts in the league to me.

  113. If it’s true as one blogger pointed out that you can re-sign Lee via Bird rights and go over the cap after you’ve signed two max guys (LeBron and Bosh, say), then sign and trade him for Parker. That’s about the price Lee will command on the open market – and he’s four years younger than Parker, and his defensive liabilities will be masked by playing next to several very good defensive players. Plus he spells an aging Duncan more than other players available via sign and trade (for the capped out Spurs) could.

    Leaving us:


    McGrady (on vet minimum)
    Barron (teams are allowed to sign enough players to fill out the roster even once capped out)
    2 second round filler players (and maybe we get value there)

    Of course, it all comes down to “if it’s true.” If it’s true, than we essentially can offer THREE max contracts this summer. And the team above looks to me like a championship team – minus a defensive big. Which is why we trade Curry’s expiring deal during the season for that player…perhaps Camby, if the Blazers have Oden and Przbilla healthy yet aren’t competitive enough.

  114. Parker has been an effective PG for the Spurs, but IMO he would not be ideal for the Knicks and D’Antoni’s spread/pick and roll system.

    D’Antoni needs a PG that is a very good shooter from the outside (including 3 point range). That way when they execute the pick and roll the defense can’t cheat, stay with the roller, and give the PG space.

    When Duhon was struggling, that’s exactly how defenses took away the pick and roll. Instead of switching the big man stayed with Lee and gave the outside shot to Duhon who was throwing up bricks.

    In fact, on the rare occasions that Duhon was hot from the outside, the Knicks played much better. If they gave him the shot he made them pay and if they switched he was a good enough passer to get the ball to Lee to make them pay.

    If someone else switches to cover Lee, that’s why you need all those other 3 point shooting threats (like Gallo) to make them pay.

    IMO, this is one reason why D’Antoni gave Chandler all that freedom to shoot 3 pointers. The idea was for Chandler to be enough of an outside threat to prevent a switch from his man to Lee, but Chandler was so bad from the outside last year it didn’t work. So defenses gave him the space and he threw up bricks. Even Jeffries was given the green light. lol

    The entire system is predicated on the RNR and space. But to execute it properly, almost everyone except the C has to be a very good outside shooter.

    If you notice, the players they are most interested in keeping and adding (Walker, Gallo, Douglas) are efficient from the outside and the thing they keep asking Chandler to work on is his handle and outside shot to make him more of a complete threat.

  115. I haven’t see this discussed much, but Chandler had ANOTHER off season surgery the other day. This time it was for a hernia. It set his recovery back another 6-8 weeks. That means he won’t be on the court until mid July. So this will be the second season in a row he’s losing a lot of time when he should be working on improving his skills. It’s a shame because he has the athletic talent to develop further, but keeps getting set back.

  116. rama,

    It’s a nice thought, but the two problems are Lee’s cap hold and SA’s frontcourt depth. The Knicks CANNOT sign two max FAs without renouncing Lee’s bird rights because he has a 10.5 mill cap hold. The idea is that they could sign two less than max FAs and then go over the cap. It’s unlikely that Lee gets a contract starting at over 10.5 mill anyway, since he can get raises every season. So, it’s a pretty moot point. SA would be unlikley to trade Parker for Lee because they have Duncan, McDyess, Blair, may bring over former 1st rounder Tiago Splitter, and may resign Bonner and/or Mahinmi. The big reason for the Parker trade rumors is the idea that SA wants cap space.


    @ 127

    Parker is one of the best finishers in the league for a PG; Duhon, the worst. If you cheat off Parker he’s going to burn you by taking the ball to the basket. His eFG% on close shots is routinely above .600. He also gets the FT line 5 times per 36 (Duhon’s career average is 2). He’s not an All-NBA First Team PG and has his faults, but I think he’d do fine for D’Antoni. If D’Antoni can’t adjust his system enough to accomodate an All-Star PG, he’s not much of a coach. Saying I’m only a good coach when I have a HOFer, 2 other All-NBA guys, and a rotation that goes 7 deep with above-average players all of whom must fit my system to a T means you are not a good coach, you are a good babysitter.

    Also, Marion, Diaw… these guys are mediocre 3-pt shooters. Solid because they can play the 4, but Gallinari is WAY better an outside shooter and Chandler could be just about as good. Hill shot .316 and .317 from 3 his two seasons with D’Antoni. You need a few guys who are very good 3-pt shooters maybe (and those are the ones you need taking the most attempts… Nash, Bell, and Barbosa and Johnson and James Jones when they were there… Gallo, Douglas, and whoever maybe for the Knicks), but not everybody.


    It’s too bad, but a lot of guys miss time at various points in their careers. The excuse only works for so long. Mid-July still gives him some time.

  117. “you can re-sign Lee via Bird rights and go over the cap after you’ve signed two max guys (LeBron and Bosh, say), then sign and trade him”

    How, exactly, does a Lee sign-and-trade work after he’s been renounced. I know it can happen because it says it can happen in the FAQ, but surely there are restrictions that aren’t mentioned. Otherwise the Knicks really could just add a multi-million dollar player without any regard for the cap as long as a trade is agreeable between Lee, the Knicks, and some other team.

    Also, can a sign-and-trade be done BEFORE July 1st, like say on draft day, if a Parker for Lee deal is amenable to both teams?

    I’m only wondering because we’ve heard about a Lee sign-and-trade after he’s renounced but have no idea how it actually works.

  118. Ted,

    I agree with your analysis of Parker and Duhon.

    I’m pointing out what I think what D’Antoni wants from a PG in order to run his system.

    I think they desperately wanted Stephan Curry last year because he would have been beyond perfect, but didn’t take some of those other good PG prospects because none of them would have been ideal. They took Hill instead because because he would have potentially fit as the C or the PF if Lee left and he extended his range.

    IMO, for better of worse, Walsh and D’Antoni are now at the point where they are going to stop trying to dump salary and take back whatever they can get or even just take back better players. They have a clean slate, system in mind, and are going to build exactly what they want.

    I don’t think that’s too different from what Popavich, Sloan, or Jackson do. THey just use different systems. The one great coach that made huge system changes was Riley. Maybe that makes him the best of them all.

    I’m sure there will be a little flexibility. If they land Lebron I don’t think getting the right PG matters as much, but I think it’s worth understanding their system really well because it going to dictate some of the moves.

  119. @130

    My understanding is that once he’s been renounced the Knicks would have to have the free cap space to sign him to whatever deal they agree on. I could very easily be wrong, though.

    If the Knicks wanted to sign other free agents up to 10.5 mill under the cap and then re-sign Lee to a deal starting at over 10.5 mill then they could go over the cap if they haven’t renounced him. I don’t see why they’d give him such a large starting salary, unless they want to give him a frontloaded contract that declines in value every year.

    I don’t think a sign-and-trade can happen until July 1. Could be wrong again. I suppose the Knicks and Spurs could do an under-the-table agreement, but if one team drafts someone for the other team they run the risk of the trade falling apart and being stuck with that player (especially since Lee has to agree to go to SA in order for the deal to work). I have no idea what restrictions apply to talking to Lee before July 1, I suppose the Knicks at least could talk to him since he’s still their player until that date… I have no idea though.

  120. And also, Z, would the Spurs really trade Parker for Lee? They save no money and they’ve already got a well loaded frontcourt. Certainly they may see Lee as an upgrade and long-term piece, but it would leave their backcourt thin and stretch minutes a little in their frontcourt.


    Jackson has managed to win, though, both with a team with zero inside scoring, a team with it’s primary scorer inside, and a team with two very good scoring options inside. It’s a bad example because Jackson has had such incredible talent to work with, but his system has adapted to fit very different rotations across entirely different eras. He hasn’t simply said get me MJ, Pippen, and Grant… Shaq? No he doesn’t fit any of those 3 molds. Gasol? No way, go back to Spain. Bynum? I told you with that Shaq guy I don’t like good centers. If going from MJ-Pippen to Shaq wasn’t a major change, I don’t know what is.

    Pops has also won titles with 90% different teams… the one constant being Duncan. He’s had Avery Johnson and Tony Parker at PG. Stephen Jackson and Manu at SG. Elliot and Bowen at the 3. A HOFer and crap at C. (I know that’s 80% different, but the whole rotation not just starters.) They’ve won throughout. It’s mostly because they’ve had tons of talent either way, but Pops has bent his system as well as molding the players to fit it.

    What I’m saying is that you can have your system, but if your system prohibits you from getting the best talent it has to go. That’s one of the reasons why coaches are so expendable in the NBA. I agree that Walshtoni are at a point where they have to make a move. They’ve mortgaged the past two seasons and the future of the franchise to make a move (or several) this offseason. If the Knicks go with a lesser player because he fits the system I’ll have a hard time being a Knicks fan going forward.

    I’m also trying to say that the Knicks cannot simply rebuild the Suns… they need to be a little creative in integrating players into their team. Any offensive minded NBA coach can win with Steve Nash and Amare as a starting point (and no Old Shaq). With all due respect to Alvin Gentry, he’s proving that point.
    Along with spacing the floor, having three guys (Bell, Barbosa, and Nash in 06-07) who take 65% of your 3s and all shoot over 40% helps you win because… you know… each of those makes counts as 3 points for your team. That’s true regardless of your system. 40% 3pt shooting is always valuable and it’s always going to be a weakness if a PG can’t shoot, but production wins in the NBA. Not systems.

    Walsh came out and said that he wished he took Jennings. So I don’t think it’s that he didn’t feel Jennings fit D’Antoni’s system, but that he didn’t think Jennings was as good a prospect as Hill.

  121. “would the Spurs really trade Parker for Lee? They save no money and they’ve already got a well loaded frontcourt. Certainly they may see Lee as an upgrade and long-term piece, but it would leave their backcourt thin and stretch minutes a little in their frontcourt.”

    Maybe the Spurs don’t have as much use for Lee as some other teams do, but their well loaded front court is really just the aging Duncan, the aging McDyess, and the inexperienced, undersized, knee-less Blair. Matt Bonner is a FA, and McDyess didn’t seem hugely effective this year (12.2 per, .492% TS). Replace the two of them with the younger, better Lee and then let McDyess and Blair come off the bench next year and they would be improved, short and long term. (They obviously wouldn’t trade Parker if they didn’t think Hill was ready to be the starting PG (certainly no one would trade a better PG than Parker for Parker)). The one thing we know about the Spurs is they are great at getting good players that other teams seemingly ignore, and then winning a lot with them.

    And if the money is basically the same, why wouldn’t Lee want to play in San Antonio, where they have great players, a great coach, a great front office, and are a 50 win, title contending team every year?

  122. I agree that Lee would be an upgrade for them, certainly offensively. I’m just saying it’s not obvious that the Spurs would even want to trade Parker for Lee. It’s certainly possible, but there are arguments against it. Along with roster balance, there are other reasons. The Spurs possible motivation cited in all of the rumors (which as far as I know are pure speculation) is that the Spurs would be cutting salary. If they take back Lee they are not cutting salary, they are adding salary long-term. If they do trade Parker then Hill would probably start, but Hill is a combo-guard who already plays 30 mpg… or just about as much as both Parker and Ginobili. He’s already effectively a starter. What I’m talking about is backcourt depth. Roger Mason and Keith Bogans are both FAs and borderline NBA players. Not 3rd guards on a contender. They could add a guard with the MLE, but that would add even more salary to a small market team people think wants to cut salary.

    Their frontcourt depth depends a lot on Tiago Splitter. Splitter was a lottery talent and is one of the best players in Europe (MVP of Spanish league this season). He fell in the draft becuase teams knew he wouldn’t come over right away, and he hasn’t. There’s reason to believe he will never come over (i.e. having to take a rookie scale salary… Spurs could renounce his draft rights and then try to sign him, but he’d be free to sign with any NBA team and as reigning ACB MVP he’d have suitors). A friend of mine who is a scout has been telling me for a year that Tiago is coming over this offseason.
    I don’t know of any 82games.com type source for Europe, but Splitter has a Lee like ability to get to the basket and finish. He’s also developed a post game since Scola came to the NBA (they were teammates, and Scola was the veteran and featured offensive player). Good defender, though his shot blocking has never developed quite the way people expected. Good passer. Given how well Marc Gasol has transitioned to the NBA (along with Scola), I have no reason to expect Splitter won’t be a quality NBA starter.

    McDyess is a good defensive player and rebounder depsite his offensive struggles. He really fell off a cliff this season, but it was because his jumper wasn’t falling. That isn’t usually something associated with age or athleticism (he actually shot a better eFG% on inside shots this season than last and his shot distribution inside/outside was about the same last season and this season). Since it was his jumper and TOs that most suffered last season and he’s still a good defender at 35 years old, I’m optimistic he can bounce back even if he is on the decline physically.

    There should be a market for Bonner, but they can bring him back if they really want to. There’s also Mahinmi, but I assume he’s gone and they don’t really care.

    Lee may not want to play for the Spurs because they play in San Antonio. A lot of people like San Antonio. Personally, though, if the money was the same there are a lot of places with NBA teams I–also a single guy in my 20s–would rather live than San Antonio, Texas. In a couple of years it’s also not so obvious that SA will be a contender, as Duncan and Ginobili–their two best players–decline.

  123. So:

    – Roster balance and backcourt depth
    – Cap concerns
    -Having at least one “true PG” on the roster
    -Does Lee want to go there

    If the Knicks manage Bosh/Amare/Boozer and no other FAs, they should definitely explore this and other Lee s&t options… provided Lee is interested in going to a capped out team. If they sign Bosh/Amare/Boozer + Joe Johnson I’m not sure they’d have the cap space to bring in Parker and his 13.5 mill salary. They would have to sign the PF and Johnson for, what, a combined $20 mill? Since Bosh is looking for a deal starting at 16 mill or something Joe Johnson would have to take 4 mill…

  124. Ted– I have to confess you know a lot more about the Spurs than I. I don’t think I saw them play one minute all year. I’ve never heard of Splitter, and had no idea for the reasons McDyess’s stats stank. But I can still see the Spurs being very high on Lee. And I have a completely stat-less gut feeling that if Lee played next to Duncan no one would talk much about how Lee is a bad defender. And McDyess, jumper dropping or not, is going to be 36 next year and if he’s not in decline yet, he will be.

    “If the Knicks manage Bosh/Amare/Boozer and no other FAs, they should definitely explore this and other Lee s&t options… provided Lee is interested in going to a capped out team.”

    If LeBron decides not to come to NY, but the Knicks sign either Bosh, Boozer, or Amar’e, it may not be such a bad move for NY and SA to sign-and-trade Lee for Parker AND Jefferson. It could save the Spurs over $15,000,000 next year, and would give NY 2 starters while still maintaining 2011 cap space. (If the spurs are worried about their back court depth they could include Sergio in the sign-and-trade too). The math is a little tight with regard to the cap, but it could feasibly work.

    (It would actually work better if the Knicks first traded Curry (and Rodriguez) to the Magic for Gortat and Bass, saving $4,000,000 toward the cap next year AND filling two roster spots at the same time. Then they could absorb Parker and Jefferson for Lee and still have cap space to spend in 2011. Not sure if three team deals including sign-and-trades are legal, but there must be some way to get Rodriguez from the Magic to the Spurs exploiting some loophole).

    If this scenario went down the 2010 lineup would look like:

    PG Parker
    SG Chandler
    SF Gallinari
    PF Bosh/Boozer/Amar’e
    C Gortat

    Bench: Jefferson, Bass, Douglas, Walker, Barron, 2nd rounder, 2nd rounder.

    It would also leave the Knicks with $40,000,000 in committed salary entering the summer of 2011, probably enough for a max contract, depending on where the cap falls.

  125. “it may not be such a bad move for NY and SA to sign-and-trade Lee for Parker AND Jefferson.”

    Yeah, that could definitely work. Very creative idea.

    I don’t know if the Magic will want to give those guys away or not. It’s certainly possible, although, I doubt they’d get rid of both. That would leave them quite thin in the frontcourt with only Howard, Lewis, and Ryan Anderson (who has missed 15-20 games both his NBA seasons). I think they would keep at least one for frontcourt depth. They played a combined 26 mpg, which is one solid rotation spot. They don’t need both by any means, but if they win the title they might just keep both. It’s not like either costs that much and they’re both locked in for a while. It’s another interesting option for the Curry deal or just straight-up cap space, though.

    I think a three way trade would be allowed off a sign-and-trade, but I have no idea.

    Your scenarios do make me even more optimistic that the Knicks can put together a decent team whether they land a big free agent or not. I don’t know specifically who will be available, but teams will likely make people available in trades.

  126. “I don’t know if the Magic will want to give those guys away or not…That would leave them quite thin in the frontcourt with only Howard, Lewis, and Ryan Anderson”

    Don’t forget, they’d have Eddy Curry up front too! (Seriously, 12 minutes a game backing up Howard might be the only role actually suited for Eddy Curry these days).

    And, like with the Spurs, I have no idea what Orlando’s true wants and needs are. But they are going to be a luxury tax team for the next 4 years if they don’t trim some fat and they have over $50,000,000 committed to their bench players. Trading Curry for Gortat and Bass would save them $30,000,000 long term, and the Magic could certainly live without both of them. (They both played 13 min/game, but Bass’s were only in 50 games this year, and as the season progressed he played less and less (9 minutes total in the playoffs so far)).

    But they would both have to be included, unless Orlando wanted to include Petrius instead, or sign and trade either Redick, Johnson, Williams, or Foyle to match up with Curry’s contract.

  127. I have no idea what their financial situation is. They could have been a lot cheaper than they were last offseason, which doesn’t send the signal that they’re desperate to dump salary.

    Ironically, Curry literally played 12 minutes TOTAL in 08-09. You just can’t count on anything from him.

    The most realistic way I see Orlando looking to dump both is if they sign Shaq (or another good 5), and even then they might be able to ditch one or both without taking back an expiring (say Bass to NJ). Otherwise Ryan Anderson is their back-up 5. He played exclusively at the 4 for them and a frontcourt of him and Lewis could be easily abused whenever Howard is resting, in foul trouble, or misses a few games… and there is zero depth behind Anderson at this time. Gortat is pretty key for them, and has become their 7th man in the playoffs. Anderson had a terrific season, but has dissappeared in the playoffs. Looks like Bass is the odd man out at this time. Theoretically he provides a change of pace at PF from “stretch 4s” Lewis and Anderson but SVG doesn’t seem to be using him. He only makes $4 mill, so I don’t think they’ll have a problem moving him.

  128. And their bench is actually quite cheap. This season they paid $26 mill for 8 players. That’s an average of 3.25 mill. For a team with hardly any young guys or D-League types that’s pretty good.

    When I said the Knicks could trade for one or the other, I meant straight-up for cap space should they fail to use their cap space more productively in free agency.

  129. Al will continue to bounce around the league and play on a lot of bad teams. I really don’t expect Knicks to re-sign him unless they get really desperate. Talented scorer but like you said quite one-dimensional. I think his biggest problem was that he should have went to college to learn how to play team basketball and to mature a little and he never did.

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