2010 Report Card: Mike D’Antoni

In 2010, the Knicks were expected to better their 33 wins from the season prior. The returning players should have reaped the benefits of familiarity with D’Antoni’s offense. The team had multiple young players which should have improved. And the addition of two first round picks should have assisted with filling out the roster. However D’Antoni’s team floundered in his second season, finishing 4 games worse than the year prior.

The 2010 New York offense was nearly identical to 2009. Both teams finished 17th in offensive efficiency (107.6 in 2010, 108.1 in 2009) with good shooting (10th in 2010, 12th in 2009) and turnovers (11th in 2010 and 2009), while eschewing rebounding (27th in 2010 and 2009) and free throw shooting (28th in 2010 and 2009). However the defense was considerably worse dropping from 110.8 points per 100 possessions in 2009 (23rd) to 111.6 pts/100poss (tied 27th). The team was considerably worse with regards to rebounding going from tied for 20th place to 27th.

Granted the D’Antoni era Knicks with their broken roster wasn’t supposed to be about winning games, at least thus far. But even casting that aside, it’s hard to like everything that has happened to the team under his leadership. Take for instance his handling of certain players. You can write off his dealing with Marbury, considering how the latter has acted publicly (and if the public only sees a small portion of Marbury’s life, then I can only imaging what he was truly like). But it’s hard to dismiss Nate Robinson as easily. Nate was an integral part of the team last year amassing 2209 minutes, but by December he was persona non grata. Benching one of the team’s best players for a month due to immaturity seems harsh.

Just as important was his inability to handle his team publicly. Surprisingly Nate dealt with the benching in a mature fashion when it came to the press, however Larry Hughes and Darko Milicic were much less accommodating. D’Antoni failed to quell the media storm that came with these issues, and instead seemed to fuel them by teetering between aloofness and annoyance whenever asked about playing time.

Of course there may be elements that we as outsiders are not privy to, especially with regards to what occurs behind the scenes. But it’s impossible to defend D’Antoni’s choices in the rotation during the 2010 season. Tossing out the corpse of Chris Duhon’s night after night was inexplicable, and perhaps the worst coaching decision he has made. It was like the NBA’s version of the Emperor’s New Clothes; everyone could see that Duhon was awful except for the one person who could have removed him from the rotation. It’s not like D’Antoni didn’t have other options. Nate Robinson, Sergio Rodriguez, and Toney Douglas were obvious choices to replace Duhon. And the rookie proved to be a good player once he finally got playing time.

The point guard spot wasn’t the only position where D’Antoni blundered. For a team that was one of the worst in the league on defense and rebounding, D’Antoni refused to give serious consideration to any of the team’s natural centers. Granted the issues with Eddy Curry are well documented, but the team should have experimented with either Jordan Hill or Darko Milicic to see if either could have addressed these issues. Both players received more minutes from their new teams upon being traded, so it’s hard to believe there was anything other than D’Antoni’s own blinders which prevented them from contributing to the team. The treatment of Douglas, Hill, and Robinson might not be on par with ignoring Barnes, trading away Ariza, and burying David Lee on the depth chart. However there’s no doubt that the team squandered the talent on an already resource poor team.

Not everything was bad for D’Antoni in 2010. He did help along some of the younger players. Danilo Gallinari didn’t turn into a superstar, but played well for a 21 year old. Meanwhile 23 year old Toney Douglas and 22 year old Bill Walker were surprisingly productive, albeit in limited minutes. And the ability to recognize David Lee’s passing ability and run the offense through him was pretty inventive. Depending on who the Knicks sign this summer, many of the issues with D’Antoni are likely to vanish. However human weaknesses often appear under the worst stress and strain, and perhaps 2010 was a magnifying glass on what D’Antoni doesn’t do well.

Report Card (5 point scale):

In order to grade D’Antoni I’m going to use a different set of metrics. In a recent interview, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop was asked about Nate McMillan and said this about NBA coaches:

The way to judge a coach is not to obsess over this or that little thing, but to look around the franchise and ask: Are the basketball players well-led? Do they give great effort at all times? Are the offense and defense generally efficient? Are the players on the roster well-deployed? Do the players believe in the coach as their leader? Is the staff on the same page?

So I’ll attempt to answer these questions, although I have to do so as an outsider, speculating where necessary.

Are the basketball players well-led? 3
Do they give great effort at all times? 3
Sometimes it’s hard to separate ability with effort, and perhaps with D’Antoni’s short rotation watching the same players with the same flaws become ingrained in my memory. I didn’t get the feeling that the team was ill-prepared or lethargic, but I didn’t feel that they were superbly organized or energetic.

Are the offense and defense generally efficient? 1
The offense has been what you’d expect, but the defense was just dreadful last season. If pushed I could go with a 2, but when you consider that D’Antoni wasted so many minutes on Jared Jeffries, you’d expect better than the 3rd worst defense in the NBA. Additionally he could have moved David Lee back to PF in order to better protect the paint.

Are the players on the roster well-deployed? -5
By far D’Antoni’s worst ability, as mentioned above.

Do the players believe in the coach as their leader? NA
Impossible to answer this question from my perspective.

Is the staff on the same page? 5
I’ve never heard any dissent from the other coaches or even the front office. Considering that one of the assistant coaches is kin, and that Donnie Walsh has gone out on a limb to protect his coach, this is D’Antoni’s strength so far.

Final Grade: F

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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).

84 thoughts to “2010 Report Card: Mike D’Antoni”

  1. I can’t wait for BK to call you a knuckle-dragger and argue that D’Antoni should get an A!

  2. While I agree with most of this (another excellent breakdown Mike!), I think the final grade is a little harsh- I’d give him a D+/C-. I thought the Knicks were a 30-35 win team when the season started so it’s hard for me to give him an F with 29 wins. I actually thought they were pretty likely to crash & burn via dissension given all of the expiring contracts and I do give at least a little of the credit for that not happening to D’Antoni. I also give him a little credit for abandoning 7SOL when it was clearly not working- I think it showed that he is willing to take his ego down a notch (albeit grudgingly) in order to win. I can think of plenty of coaches- Pitino, Nelson, and (to lesser extent) Larry Brown just to name some former Knicks coaches- who’ve had more trouble making that sacrifice. Is that enough to bump him up from an F to a C (given that I agree with just about all of the faults Mike listed)? Probably not, but I still can’t give him an F.

  3. Isola writes that the Knicks want to get into the end of the 1st round to draft either Fran Vasquez, Craig Backins or Darington Hobson. They dont think either of them will be available at 38/39 when the Knicks draft in the 2nd round.

    He is not the first person to mention the Knicks wish of picking up a late 1st round pick. Of those 3 players mentioned which would be the best draft pick????

  4. Fran Vasquez was drafted with the 11th pick in 2005 by Orlando. How could he be back in the draft?

  5. Grevis Vasquez in the 1st round? Is this because they think he’ll be taken there, or because they think he won’t last until 38? Most draft sites have him as an early 40s pick. Interesting, but okay. That being said, he’s not the best prospect on the board at 28 or 29, but if Walsh really likes him, I wouldn’t hate the decision.

  6. And according to ESPN, New York, New Jersey, Portland, and Memphis are all after Chris Paul. New Jersey is offering Harris + #3 Pick, Memphis offered OJ Mayo (2nd time I heard his name in a deal, makes me think he can be had) in a part of a larger deal, not sure what we have to offer being that Jersey has cap space too, and I don’t know what Portland is going to offer. Also, it says Paul can be had before Gary Chouest takes over, because George Shinn may approve this. I want to get my hopes up, but if anybody gets Paul, it won’t be us. No way we take back 20+ mil back in salary, and no way New Orleans takes Curry.

  7. I would say Brackins is probably the best prospect there. Offensively, he looks to be a better more fluid version of Hill with a jumper out to the 3 pt line. Channing Frye isn’t the best comparison because it looks like Brackins actually has some post skills. I haven’t seen enough of Hobson, but the staff is clearly impressed. I think Mike sees a new Shawn Marion type in him. I think all three could be gone by the time we pick, so it would be nice to grab one of the players we like. Actually liked what I’ve seen of Lawal, although he could be undersized in the NBA. He seems to have a high motor and strong under the basket moves. It really does seem that coach D will only take a player with a jump shot though.
    Speaking of jump shot, you should look at footage of Lazar Hayward. His stroke is amazing. He’s kind of a slow 3/short 4, so he’s most definitely a bench scorer, but I love his shooting – I think he might have a better stroke than Steph Curry. Also really like what I’m seeing out of Terrico White. He’s being presented as a pg, but he’s more of a Tyreke Evans type. He’s young and he could eventually be a big scorer/focal point for a team.

  8. Interesting take on Mike D. Although an F may be a little harsh considering the constant flux the roster is in, it’s hard to disagree for me. Mikey, like all coaches, does some things very well-and other things not so well. He is a very good coach and he did do some outstanding things this year. Like run the offense thru Lee, which no one thought was possible given Lee’s game. I’m not saying Lee’s not a good player, but let’s be real-no one thought of David Lee as a focal point of any offense. Also Rooster and Chandler “semi-blossomed” under his watch. A few times this year he gave Rooster tha rock and Rooster responded by showing that he be a dynamic offensive weapon if used properly. Chandler, whether it was from hearing chatter about his game from fans or from Mike D’s prodding, became fairly efficient. I’m not privy to insider info so I don’t know if coach said to Wil “dammit son, u got 2 drive the ball and stop takin so many bad 3’s”, but at some point Chandler became a reliable wing amidst all of our moans an groans about his b-ball IQ. Also, he gave the ball to Douglas who also responded. I point those guys out b/c I feel they are a big part of the future of the team, with Chandler being the most expendable due to the chatter of him being involved in possible trades for PG help. His failures are sticking Hill on the bench, lack of faith in Nate, Duhon of course, and the handling of Darko-as was stated in the blog entry. As far as i’m concerned, the jury’s still out on Walker even though he did perform well. I just think he took alotta shots that he maybe shouldn’t have. Alot of people attribute the failures at PG to Mike. Granted, he coulda played Nate more and coached Sergio up a bit..but that one rests squarely on the shoulders of Walsh. Meaning he chose the long and athletic Hill over rookie points who played well. In retrospect that’s easy to say, I know. But i’ve been saying since draft positions were set that we should trade down for another asset and select Maynor. Of course Maynor looks like he didn’t perform becuz he played behind Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook. But Douglas’s exploits aside, Maynor is the type of young point we needed. Well, Jennings would have been awesome as well. The reason I was so insistent on a move for Maynor is becuz I felt like trading down from 8, Walsh could have gotten us either more picks or even a guy like Korver for last season. Hell, Utah might have even taken JJ-who knows. Or we could have traded with a different team picking ahead of Utah. Or maybe package Chandler, JJ and the #8 in a move to swap spots as long as it didn’t hurt our future cap-I wouldn’t have cared..as long as we didn’t draft Hill..well at least not that high. At that time, I would have given up Chandler and that #8 to trade down, dump salary, and pick up additional assets-even if it would have brought back players I didn’t wanna see in NY. Walsh’s reluctance to trade out of the 8 was directly responsible for Morey’s jack move in swindling a desperate Walsh at the trade deadline. But anyway, I don’t wanna bash Walsh becuz overall he’s doin a good job. All of that said, I can deal with Mike D’s quirks and what not if he hires a defensive specialist. Who? I don’t know..Thibby’s taken. So, in 2 seasons that were essentially a wash intended for salary dumps, D’Antoni did as well as could be expected. If he had done certain things better, sure-we would have looked better as a team. And I think his biggest weakness, which is also a basketball truth, did us in. That truth? The fact that to win a bball game u hafta score more than the opposition. And Mike D has an insatiable desire to score more than the opposition, and sometimes he gets so deep in the thought of it that he forgets about defense. Hence our need for a defensive specialist. Wow, this is a really long rant..sorry guys. But let me just say one more thing b4 I dip. Grevis..good player. 1st rounder? Hell no. I do think he is the type bench player we need in the backcourt though. He makes good decisions, a decent shooter, good all around game (kinda reminds me of a more well-rounded Jamal Crawford), and he plays HARD. Not to mention that he was coached by Gary Williams(who I happen to think is one of the best x’s and o’s coaches of all time-he just can’t recruit..kinda like the NCAA’s version of Next Town Brown) and became a great leader and Maryland’s best player. He single-handedly kept MD in games. For as good a fit that I think he is, we should not trade up to get him. Brackins either. The only big man I think we should trade up to draft is Alabi. Not that I don’t like Monroe, or Cousins, or Favors. But those are unrealistic trades IMO. As far as guards, I’m not really sold on any of the guards in the draft. but I do like this Bledsoe kid, and he might be a reasonable target. I think this is a weak draft, deep..but weak. So I think we should stay put and pick the best of the rest unless we trade up for a shot blocking big who can move like Alabi. OK..I’m done

  9. Good stuff, I think it’s a fair analysis. I think Mike K is right to point out roster/rotation management as a big problem. In Phoenix there was a very obvious fall-off from NBA quality players to total scrubs. By and large, the guys outside the rotation have never played in an NBA rotation since then, the guys in the rotation have gone on to continued success in various situations. Most coaches would have squeezed one more guy into the rotation, but otherwise it’s pretty obvious that you play Amare over Pat Burke. Ideally the Knicks will be so over-run with talent next season that D’Antoni can play whoever he wants and they’ll be good… if not I have to seriously wonder how long he’ll last.
    I suppose he deserves credit for the team not falling apart totally in contract years, but as Mike points out there were problems and furthermore it’s sort of damning with faint praise to credit the coach for the team not totally falling apart.
    He did change his offensive strategy once it was painfully obvious to everyone that an ill-conceived fit wasn’t working… While that deserves some credit, he deserves an equal amount of blame for opening the season with such a terrible plan. I can’t really credit him for running the offense through Lee, because that just creates a further argument for not playing Duhon: if Duhon couldn’t shoot, you weren’t running the offense through him, he turned it over too much, AND you had to switch him off of PGs defensively…………….. why was he on the court??????? He literally did everything you ask of your PG poorly. If the PG wasn’t the focal point of the offense, why not go with a better scorer and/or a better defender?
    It’s impossible to say how many, if any, more games the Knicks win if D’Antoni handled the rotation differently, but I definitely think Mike is right to question his handling of the 1 and 5 positions.

  10. It’s just a rumor and I’m not knowledgeable enough about the prospects to really question who the Knicks pick once they actually pick them; however, buying a first round pick any higher than the last few picks to take a consensus 2nd rounder seems like an odd strategy. (Brackins is not a consensus 2nd rounder, but the other two are.) I have a lot of faith after the Toney Douglas pick last season, but I would really hate to see the Knicks pass on a Rajon Rondo type of no-brainer/high-reward pick who “doesn’t fit the system” (because he lacks a jump shot) to take their Balkman who they’re convinced (rightly or wrongly) won’t be there 10-15 picks later where his value actually lies. Out-smarting themselves the way Isiah started to do to himself.
    If the Knicks have any shot to buy a pick in the early 20s and take a shot at a guy they feel was top 10 but slipped… that would of course be a lot more intriguing as a fan.
    They’re the experts, though, and I’ll live with whoever they pick… reserve judgement for later. It bugged me to see Giants and Yankees fans upset with their teams’ 2010 1st rounders before they even played a game.

    “Of course Maynor looks like he didn’t perform becuz he played behind Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook.”

    No, Maynor looks like he didn’t perform because his TS% in over 1000 minutes was .478.

  11. ess-dog,

    I’m intrigued by Hayward, but Stephen Curry??? Really? Hayward was a 35% 3P shooter on 1/2 the attempts/season Curry took, while Curry was at 40% in college facing triple teams. Hayward could be a versatile forward, but I don’t expect him to be one of the best 3P shooters in the NBA.

  12. Ted,

    Fine. I stand corrected. And it really seems that Hayward is more specifically good at a set shot (of the Channing Frye sort) which isn’t as versatile as the multi-faceted jumpers of Curry… but Hayward has a really pretty shot. Of note is that Hayward had to play out of position at Marquette – even played center at times – and being the focal point of the team, also was doubled a good bit. Not to mention he had a harder schedule. Hey, the guy was a Wooden award finalist. I still don’t know if I’d take him though…

  13. I’m going to reserve judgement on D’Antoni until he has a team with above average talent that fits what he is trying to do.

    Personally, I thought the Knicks would be worse last year than the year before primarily because several bad teams drafted higher, a few had more young developing players, a few made positive trades, and a few teams had players coming back from injury. On a net basis, I thought several teams improved more and fewer improved less.

    I’m less upset about the handling of players than other people because early in the season I think he was more geared towards trying to win and get into the playoffs than developing Douglas and Hill.

    We have to keep in mind that most people are basing their views of Douglas and Hill on what we saw at the end of the season, but it’s quite possible they were less prepared early in the season and he knew that but we didn’t.

    I also think they were featuring Jeffries hoping for a trade and that impacted the potential playing time of some other players (including Milicic and Hill).

    All that said, he’s clearly stubborn and has some set ways of doing things that are suspect at the least. I would prefer a little more flexibility in the lineup depending on the mactups and needs on a specific night. I also think the Nate Robinson affair went on for to long, but on the flip side he didn’t have a Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, or Keven Garnett on the team to help police the immaturity and every coach that has dealt with Robinson has had some trouble getting him to listen and play within the role assigned.

    I would give him a C-.

  14. I also think we need to reserve judgment until we have some players. D’Antoni never struck me as a Scott Skiles “I’ll turn a 35-win non-playoff team with middling talent into a 42-win team that will lose in the 1st round of playoffs” type of coach — I always saw him as a guy who could get a lot out of superior talent like he had in PHX.

    Meanwhile, if we have $34.5 million in cap space according to Larry Coon, and Lebron’s salary will be $16.5, then we have $18 million left. Any chance we could get Lee starting at 9.5 and, if healthy, Tyson Chandler at 8.5? I’d rather have Lee + Chandler than Bosh + Barron. Then trade Ill Will for a 1st rounder since it seems unlikely we will resign him?

  15. I think the Milicic issue was one of work ethic and other factors. Tommy Dee and a few other media types made that point a few times last year after attending practices when some people were questioning the rationale for keeping him on the bench etc… He must be difficult to handle (aside from him being a medicore talent).

    I think the Lee vs Milicic at the 5 is a simple one to analyze given all of D’Antoni’s comments about his system, player profile preferences etc… on his own show, to the media, and from what has been written, regardless of whether you agree or not (and obviously most here would disagree).

    With Lee he typically got a huge mismatch on the offensive end because other Cs were reluctant to come out and cover his mid range game. That gave Lee a lot of open looks and room to operate. When they did come out, Lee was often quicker and such a good finisher he made them pay that way. I assume D’Antoni felt he would have lost some aspect of that advantage playing Lee against other PFs who would be both quicker and more willing to come out “on average”. Of course you can argue he gave up as much on the defensive end, but it’s pretty clear that given a choice like this D’Antoni usually goes with offense.

    The other consideration was that having Milicic and Lee on the court together meant benching someone else. They didn’t want to bench Jeffries because they wanted to trade him. Even if they played Jeffries too, that probably would have meant benching Chandler which is something they did not want to do because he was considered part of the future.

    Just for the record, I have watched every D’Antoni show, listened to just about every pre game and post game interview, and have read a lot of stuff on his system and thinking. So while I don’t have a direct line to him, I think I have a fairly good understanding of his thinking on some of these matters. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything, but I am just the messenger so don’t target your disagreements at me.

  16. The “F” sort of comes out of nowhere. You have to look at the bottom line and I don’t know that the Knicks were dramatically better than a 29-win team. I give MD a lot of credit for holding the fort together – the team collapsed out the gate, and 2/3 of the entire roster was playing with the knowledge they would be gone in 2010-2011. The two best players from the year before were coming off semi-bitter contract talks and heading to free agency with an incentive to pad their stats. It was a recipe for total disaster, but somehow the Knicks held the ship together, until the end.

    That said, I agree with most of the comments. The handling of Nate, in particular, was ridiculous. Failing to give minutes to Darko or Hill also looks like a big goof. (or a medium goof – I don’t know that either of those two are great). On the other hand, (bring on the hate!) I can mount a (mild) defense of the way he handled Duhon. Mainly that Duhon was much worse than in past seasons. And it wasn’t until February that Mike D. had Rodriguez as a backup option. I don’t think he was necessarily crazy to give Duhon some time, to see if he would snap out of it and play to his past (mediocre) level.

    But, he let it go too long, and obviously should have had more faith in TD.

    In general, he’s like most coaches in that he wants to play veterans over rookies. He also seems to let personal dislike or grudges guide decisions – that’s what I see in the treatment of Hill, Darko, Nate and even Balkman last year – demeanor and off-court style mean a lot to him. That’s not a compliment, but I still think the grade should be mroe like a “C.” I’d reserve an “F” for a season like Larry Brown had, or Isiah’s bad years – a good 10+ games worse than what we know was possible.

  17. Frank,

    How about James, Lee, and Ty Thomas (RFA) if we can’t find or get a real C?

    Ty Thomas is not a real C, but he’s an inch taller than Lee, longer, more athletic, and an excellent shot blocker and defensive presence. It might not be ideal to use him as a C against many teams, but he has a little mid range game which D’Antoni likes from his Cs and is young enough to get better. Even if doesn’t fit as a C for the long term, he’ll probably still end up being a good piece to have. We can always fill the C position when Curry comes off the books.

  18. I don’t think Thomas is taller than Lee..

    I actually like his game ok, but if Lee and Gallo (and maybe Chandler) are in the long-term plans, I don’t think Thomas is a good use of $6-7 million.

    I agree with Frank that Chandler is or should be trade bait – he plays the same position as Gallo, and is about to hit free agency… not that I’d give him away, but you have to listen for offers. Would you swap him for Marcin Gortat? (if we don’t need the extra $3.5 million cap space this summer)

  19. @20

    I think I read somewhere that Thomas is 6’10” and Lee is 6’9″ but I may be dreaming again. ;-) At a minimum he plays a lot bigger.

    I have no problem with the idea of trading Chandler. I think both he and Gallo are SFs, but I’d be willing to bet that deep down inside D’Antoni would love to use Gallo as a stretch PF.

  20. @14 ess-dog

    Just saying I don’t think his shot’s comparable to Curry, but it has gotten more consistent over his college career and he could definitely be a good pro. There are positional questions, but if those questions have answers that can sometimes be the reason good players fall in the draft… I wouldn’t mind taking Hayward at all if that’s who Donnie likes.

  21. Wow I just realized I typed Fran Vazquez and not Greivis Vazquez, my bad. Also today Chad Ford actually had a mock draft for Round 2 and did have the Knicks taking Vazquez so apparently he thinks he will be around for the Knicks in Round 2. Also had the Knicks taking Terrico White a Guard out of Ole Miss who Ford says would be a steal for the Knicks if he falls to them in the 2nd round.

  22. “I also think we need to reserve judgment until we have some players…I always saw him as a guy who could get a lot out of superior talent like he had in PHX.”

    Superior talent tends to make bad coaches look good, just as inferior talent makes good coaches look bad.

    “(bring on the hate!) I can mount a (mild) defense of the way he handled Duhon. Mainly that Duhon was much worse than in past seasons. And it wasn’t until February that Mike D. had Rodriguez as a backup option.”

    No hate from me– just the mention that D’Antoni had Larry Hughes, who could at least play defense, as an option. So even D’A stubbornly refused to play rookies, or guys like Nate that he inherited bu abhorred, he still had an option that was better than Duhon, who after one month had done all he could have possibly done to have lost his rotation spot.

    “Would you swap him for Marcin Gortat?”

    Absolutely. Gortat would be a great add. Better than most of the more famous FA names thown about. And because Orlando’s salary condition is so bad bad for so long, I am actually holding out hope that Curry could be used in some kind of Gortat/Bass/Petrius trade. Throw in Chandler if we have to. Gortat + Bass for Curry + Chandler comes within a few dollars of matching up, and saves Orlando some $30 million (they are a luxury tax team until 2013).

    Ted and I have discussed a trade like this in the past, but I have a hard time letting it go. I even think that playing 8 minutes a night backing up Dwight Howard may be the only NBA role Eddy Curry can handle, and Orlando may even stand to benefit in the short run.

  23. @15

    You make some good points, but I still think the F is deserved.

    Long-term it may (or may not if the Knicks strike out) be more important what he does with good talent. On the season, though, you have to grade him based on what he did with what he had. Even long-term it’s not a good sign that he gets frustrated and can’t get the most out of average players.

    The point is that Douglas and Hill could have helped the Knicks win more games and would have given them a better chance than Duhon and only 1 bigman on the court at a time. PG and defense (especially interior) were such glaring weaknesses all season that not even attempting to patch them up results in an F grade to me.
    Douglas and Hill were probably *rawer* early in the season, sure. But plenty of good/mediocre teams have rookies in their rotations. Douglas’ scoring efficiency stayed pretty constant all season. Hill was clearly misused as a Knick. He was a jump shooter on the Knicks and an inefficient scorer, as soon as he got to Houston he cut down those Js in favor of inside shots and his TS% shot up. You can make whatever “I’m reading D’Antoni’s mind and his system is God” excuse for that you want… but he misused Hill and didn’t get the most out of the kid’s talent. He hyped him as Amare 2.0 after the draft, then used him exclusively as a spot-up shooter mostly in garbage time. Adelman clearly used him better.

    @15 & 16

    If you win with good players and lose with bad players, are you a good coach? I’m on the “coaches have a marginal impact” side of things, personally, and if you guys are arguing that D’Antoni can’t even be judged until he has several All-Star players… you must also be on the same side.
    I mean Alvin Gentry was always a “guy who got an interim head coaching job when there were no other options” and he “got a lot out of the superior talent in Phoenix.” If you can only judge a coach if he has 2 HOFers and a couple of All-Stars on his team, we can’t judge too many coaches.


    My problem is that D’Atnoni never even *tried* to play Lee at the 4 early in the season. He already decided what works and what doesn’t and didn’t even experiment despite being in the middle of a 29 win season. Lee only played 3% of the Knicks minutes at the 4, compared to 72% at the 5. I don’t know that he ever stepped onto the court at the 4 until the Knicks got Earl Barron the last few games of the season.
    The fact that D’Antoni was willing to play Barron and Lee together down the stretch looks practically like an admission of guilt to me. D’Antoni has also said himself that if Lee is back next season it will be at the 4 with a 5 next to him. It seems like D’Antoni has finally realized what us casual fans realized at the beginning of the season.
    Again, this is why I target my disagreements at you. D’Antoni played Barron at the end of the season, he has stated that Lee should be at the 4 not the 5, and yet you want to give him a pass for making a mistake he has basically admitted to.

    Darko I have no problem with not playing. Guy’s a bum.

  24. David Lee is actually taller than Tyrus Thomas, though Thomas is longer. http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements?page=&year=All&source=All&sort2=DESC&draft=0&pos=0&sort=

    I’m not a fan of Tyrus Thomas. I would prefer not to see guys with character/motivational issues, unless you’re buying low. Since Thomas is a restricted free agent on a team that probably wants to keep him… you’re probably going to have to overpay and/or s&t a couple assets.

    I would predict Thomas would drive D’Antoni NUTS. There was talk before he was drafted that D’Antoni wanted Phoenix to get him to play a Shawn Marion role… if he tries that he’s going to be really disappointed. Thomas is a TERRIBLE offensive player, but a strong defensive player. That doesn’t sound like D’Antoni. Thomas is known for having an attitude/maturity issues, and we’ve all seen how D’Antoni handles those guys… I think it would absolutely be a match made in hell. D’Antoni would go nuts and Thomas would be less effective playing the 5 or stretch 4 than he would be as a traditional 4 for a Larry Brown/Scott Skiles/JVG type of defensive coach.

  25. If I’m Orlando I would dump the Gortat/Bass/Pietrus deals in a heartbeat, but I don’t think I want to be the dumpee…

    But, I do think Gortat is worth the money, especially on a team like the Knicks where a real center would make a big difference.

    Maybe if you got Orlando to throw in a draft pick

  26. re: Gortat

    Yeah, I would add him for Chandler. There’s some uncertainty with both players, but legit 7 footers are harder to find than SFs. My thinking at this point is that the Knicks have to add a legit 7 foot banger at the 5, if only one big guy will be on the court at a time. Or Walsh has to add two big guys good enough to force D’Antoni’s hand… Just my thoughts.

    Z, as was the case last time, I’m on board if the Knicks can turn Curry into Bass and/or Gortat and/or Pietrus… but I just don’t see Orlando giving up BOTH Gortat and Bass. It leaves them quite thin inside, and hurts their title chances. Curry MIGHT work out for them, but he’s the kind of guy they might sign to a vet’s min deal for a look… not much of a trade asset. Anything he gave them would be a bonus, but they’d probably be looking at his contract. Maybe if they want to re-sign Barnes and Redick they would package Pietrus with Gortat or Bass. They’ve got a lot of salary on the books, but they willingly got themselves into this situation just last year. The talk out of SVG this offseason has been that he wants to play Rashard Lewis at the 3 more with a legit PF, not that he wants to trade away all his inside depth. Gortat became a part of the playoff rotation (in part because Howard was in foul trouble). Bass and Pietrus would be a nice return for Eddy Curry, but at that point I’d honestly think about just keeping the cap space.

  27. @27 Caleb

    Really? Bass will be 25 next season, is paid only $4 mill per, and has been at or above 16 PER and .125 WS/48 the past three seasons. Gortat will be 26, makes the MLE (6-7 mill per), is HUGE, and has career PER 15.3 and WS/48 .174… Those guys are straight bargains to me. I could not see Orlando needing to give up a pick to unload them. They both had other suitors last offseason at the same price.

    Pietrus will be 28 next season, is a good fit in that Bruce Bowen/Raja Bell role (shoot 3s and defend), and has 3 years left at 5.3 mill per. I don’t think that’s a great bargain (not when Matt Barnes made 1/3 that last season), but I also don’t think he’s particularly overpaid.

    Minnesota might even offer immediate cap relief for Gortat and/or Pietrus, without Orlando having to give up a pick.

  28. Wow, Jeff Foote is over 7 feet tall barefoot. Who knew? I wonder if he can play anything resembling the game of basketball? I can see why the Knicks are scrutinizing him based on D. Lee’s talk about us looking for a center.

  29. Ted,

    At NBA.com Tyrus Thomas is listed as 6’10” and Lee as 6’9″. Perhaps Thomas grew a little after he came into the NBA, but we know how inaccurate these listings can get. I’d like to see them stand next to each other now. In any event, this must have been what I saw.



    I’m not giving D’Antoni a pass for using Lee at the 5. I expressed no view on the matter other than believing I understand his thinking.

    That was the point of me saying “I am the messenger”.

    Walsh and D’Antoni are not idiots. They saw that Lee was getting killed on the defensive end night after night playing as a 5. That’s why they both said that if they kept Lee he would play as a 4 with a legit 5. But the only legit 5 they had early in the season was Milicic. There were downsides to that in his “ideal” that I described that were greater than the pluses of having Lee at the 5 that I described.

    I think you should simply get used to the way this guy thinks. He has expressed his views over and over again in interviews and on his show.

    He puts more emphasis on the offensive mismatch than the defensive mismatch, wants everyone to be able to knock down jumpers, wants his PF to have 3 point range, values spacing immensely, wants to up the pace and shoot before the defense sets, wants a ball handler with very good outside range to run the pick and roll etc…

    You and I may think he mishandled Hill by allowing him to shoot as many jumpers as he did, but he was grooming him for the role he envisioned him in and that involved shooting a lot more jumpers than you might like. (for better or worse)

    If the Knicks spend money to get a legit C, I’m willing to bet he has shooting range and is not used to your liking. Like I said, I am going to reverve judgement, but I can already tell you are going to hate this guy.

  30. Ted,
    You know I like Gortat, and you might be right about Bass – I thought he got paid a bit more, like the full mid-level. And Pietrus is ok, too. Probably about as good as Wilson chandler, at about the same price as Chandler will get next year. So you’re locked into $15 million a year for those three, the next 4 years.

    I guess in my mind it’s like playing golf, and you shoot par on a hole (I hate golf, btw). Not bad, but at some point you need a few birdies. Of course, given the Knicks’ lack of depth it wouldn’t hurt to play $15 million worth of par – you still have the 2 max salary slots this summer. And Gallo.

    It’s a doable idea. Maybe not a bad one, especially since Gortat and Pietrus fill some big holes.

    “Minnesota might even offer immediate cap relief for Gortat and/or Pietrus, without Orlando having to give up a pick.”

    The Knicks could do that, too.

  31. I think an F is a little harsh… All the issues he faced have been outlined already. How many coaches in the league could have turned Jared Jeffries into a viable trade piece? I mean the marketing job they did with Jeffries was astonishing. They even had him taking corner jumpers in what seemed like an effort to show he had range. It was still not as successful as they would have wanted but he was veiwed for a period as a solid defensive specialist. Let us consider the fact that everyone knew our intentions going into this years offseason and what we would have to do to accomplish that. I can’t imagine there were too many teams willing to just LET us make a run at James et al. David Lee has become an All Star and Wilson Chandler a servicable SF for any team and what i would consider very good value. Now lets look at who he ‘feuded’ with. Eddy Curry – a disgruntled High School prodigy that more than likely didn’t receive the news well, when informed in his contract year he was simply not good enough to make the rotation. This after he worked harder than he probably ever has had to in his basketball career in order to get in shape. Larry Hughes – A delusional perennial malcontent still hankering after the form he once fleetingly possessed. Darko Milicic – see both of the above. Nate Robinson – an undoubtably offensively talented guard that beleived he was the go to guy for the knicks even though he refused to listen to any attempts to change his behaviour and basketball mentality. Even if nate was trying why did he do things to contradict those attempts, like shooting at the opposing teams basket? That would infuriate me if my seasons goal was to still make the playoffs even with that roster and a player, whom i realised had great potential, was acting like a fool and having a negative effect on the teams performance. I agree he didn’t handle the circumstances very well all the way throughout but it was a tumultuous season and one can surely excuse the coach for not always saying the right thing. Square our roster against that of the Nets last season and tell me it was even at all better…
    As far as trade talk goes i think Tyson Chandler is a Knick as of Draft night. In very asstute fashion he has said he is considering opting out, which weakens the Bobcats position, this may have been influenced by Donnie Walsh. The Bobcats and Knicks have both made noises about buying into the first round and the Knicks are after a ‘True Center’. By stating the Knicks only want picks in the Late 1st rd it may well force strapped teams to sell higher picks to them for lower money. They then ship this pick to the Bobcats for Chandler. This is the best the Bobcats would get from the Knicks if Chandler declared he wanted out and would go for nothing. They would then resign Lee and hopefully LeBron. Or possibly if we get Augustine in return Lee gets shipped with him to the Spurs for Parker.




    Seraphin ???
    Brackins (or similar)

    This meaning Lee, Augustine, 2nd Rounder for Parker and a low 1st
    Making moves before free agency seems to make sense as i get the feeling the Top 3 are not going to combine anywhere so other options have to be explored. I’m probably going to stake my name to the second option with LeBron being attracted to a proven winner and obviously wanting an athletic big to play with that is not going to clog the lane.
    This is of course probably all tosh but you never know….

  32. Ted,

    Let me make a last point, then I’ll go because I’ve said all I wanted.

    In another thread you mentioned that even though D’Antoni theoretically prefers a PG that’s an excellent 3 point shooter he said would let either Wade or Lebron run the point even though neither is an elite shooter from that range.

    I think you have to understand that’s he’s not an imbecile even though he has certain things in mind.

    If you can get one of the two best players in the NBA, you adjust your system to them and take advantage of the other things they can do better than everyone else. But if you are talking about a choice between 1 and 1a with similar overall talent but different skillsets, he’s definitely going with the pass first pick and roll PG with great 3 point range.

  33. “They saw that Lee was getting killed on the defensive end night after night playing as a 5. That’s why they both said that if they kept Lee he would play as a 4 with a legit 5.”

    We all saw that a lot earlier, though.
    Hill isn’t a legit 5, but playing he and Lee together gives you something resembling an NBA frontcourt. D’Antoni never even tried Lee at the 4 in a 09-10 regular season game until Earl Barron came the last couple weeks. It wouldn’t take too much imagination to play Hill and Lee together.

    “There were downsides to that in his “ideal” that I described that were greater than the pluses of having Lee at the 5 that I described.”

    And he seems to have admitted that he was wrong. I would have at least liked to see Hill and Lee play *a few* minutes together to see what they could do together. Maybe things would have gone as poorly as he expected, but maybe he would have been very surprised. If D’Antoni is a rational guy and saw what Hill did in Houston, he’d probably feel the same way.

    “I think you should simply get used to the way this guy thinks. He has expressed his views over and over again in interviews and on his show.”

    D’Antoni’s views are that Lee needs to play with another bigman. I am used to that view, because me and everyone else here were saying that all season. I’m quite sure at this point his views are that Duhon had an atrocious season and Douglas is a promising young player, which again were the prevailing views on this site from a couple weeks into the season. I doubt he’s happy the team won 29 games, and feels they should have gotten more Ws.

    You can explain the system all you want. I know how it works. Continually explaining it to me feels patronizing.
    However, the goal is to win as many games as you can, not to run a system. When the system doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. D’Antoni abandoned 7SOL a few weeks into the season and reworked his system. He made adjustments, I just think they were too reactionary after every reasonable person in the world already knew they were necessary adjustments. I can’t think of too many adjustments he made proactively that paid dividends. Lee getting a bigger role, slowing the pace, Chandler taking it to the basket more and shooting less from outside… these were adjustments any rational Knicks fan could see from a mile away. To me there are more negatives than positives (more missed adjustments or adjustments made too late), so I’d give him a grade below 50% on the season.

    Going forward, I’m wondering what happens if D’Antoni doesn’t get the right personnel (aka 2 HOFers). I’m also wondering if the Knicks will pass on better players to get “D’Antoni guys.” Time will tell.

    “If the Knicks spend money to get a legit C, I’m willing to bet he has shooting range and is not used to your liking. Like I said, I am going to reverve judgement, but I can already tell you are going to hate this guy.”

    D’Antoni used Kurt Thomas, and I loved Kurt Thomas. If he’s got the right guy on the roster I’m sure he’ll use him. Kurt Thomas had a good jumper, but he was also a tough defender.

    “But if you are talking about a choice between 1 and 1a with similar overall talent but different skillsets, he’s definitely going with the pass first pick and roll PG with great 3 point range.”

    The average NBA coach is going to have a lot more 1 vs. 1a decisions than best player in the NBA vs. Chris Duhon decisions. D’Antoni doesn’t get paid all those millions for make the “should I play LeBron James or bench his ass?” decisions… One way or another the system is going to have to adjust from the one he ran in Phoenix. There just aren’t too many Steve Nash’s, Amare’s, or Marion’s out there. Nash is a HOFer, as good a scoring efficiency/playmaking combo as any PG in history. Amare is one of the best interior scorers in the league and has a decent jumper. Marion isn’t the greatest player overall, but he had a very unique skill set: guard the 4, play the 3 offensively… decent outside shot and great finishing ability, rebound like a 4… He’s simply not likely to ever find that mix of talent/skill sets ever again. He’ll probably stick with most of the same general philosophies, but he’s not going to be able to take Jordan Hill’s and make them spot-up shooters. He’ll have to adapt or perish.

  34. “How many coaches in the league could have turned Jared Jeffries into a viable trade piece?”

    None. Jordan Hill and two first rounders got Jeffries off the payroll.

    And this is something that Mike’s “F” grade doesn’t even address. There was talk two summers ago that D’Antoni was brought in to pump perceived value into the contracts that were crippling the franchise– Randolph, Crawford, Curry, and Jeffries. If that was truly an aspect of his hiring, then he failed in that regard too. Of the three that were traded, none netted anything of any value outside of their shorter contracts (Harrington, Tim Thomas, Larry Hughes, Mobley, McGrady– aka: no long term pieces, either players or draft picks). I think the trades were all good ones, but I don’t think Walsh got much of an assist from D’Antoni on them. All it really took was for Walsh to accept junk in return (literally a guy with a broken heart) and for neither Randolph, Crawford, or Jeffries to eat their way onto the Injured Reserve list.

  35. @32

    I don’t know if the Knicks should trade for those three, I’m just saying that *if* Orlando decides to dump them I don’t think they’ll have a problem finding a dumpee.

    Towards the beginning of the playoffs I said that I doubt Orlando gets rid of both Gortat and Bass. I still think that: it erodes all their interior depth. Ryan Anderson would be playing starters minutes. I like Ryan Anderson, but he’s not a 5 (there are 13 mpg when Howard isn’t on the floor) and he’s not a sure enough thing for a title contender to necessarily put all their faith in. The only ways I see them getting rid of both Gortat and Bass is if a. the FO is told they HAVE to financially and/or b. they’ve got another big guy lined up at the MLE or through a trade. Stan Van Gundy came out and said or there were rumors (don’t remember which) he wants to explore playing Lewis at the 3 more next season. Gortat and Bass are both good options in that regard.

    With Barnes able to opt-out and Redick also a FA, maybe they do look to move Pietrus. Maybe they also look to move Bass, I’d say Bass before Gortat. Bass was the odd man out this season/post-season.

    As far as the Knicks… I agree Gortat would be a big addition for them. Bass has a nice J and is a good finisher close. He’s 6’6″ and would probably get abused at the 5, but could be a good rotation player for the Knicks I’d say. Pietrus would be solid. He might be similar in overall level and impact to Chandler, but Pietrus is a much better jump shooter.
    Whether I would trade for them depends entirely on the opportunity cost: a. what do the Knicks have to give up and b. what are their other options. (I guess this is almost always the case.) I don’t think all three will be available. I could see it making sense as the best option to build around a new core of LeBron/Bosh in the best case scenario (and Curry only gets you two of them)… otherwise I would be weary. Gortat/Bass/Pietrus/Gallo/Chandler/Douglas/Walker/Knicks few picks in upcoming drafts/maybe a Joe Johnson… a lot of averagish players. You’d have to seriously think about how/if they fit together. Might be a 30-40+ win team… hardly what you want as your ceiling.

    “The Knicks could do that, too.”

    Not until they strike out on LeBron and co they can’t. And if they hit a grand slam with 2 of Lebron/Wade/Bosh… they again can’t.

  36. “I just don’t see Orlando giving up BOTH Gortat and Bass. It leaves them quite thin inside, and hurts their title chances…talk out of SVG this offseason has been that he wants to play Rashard Lewis at the 3 more with a legit PF, not that he wants to trade away all his inside depth”

    I think Orlando’s first choice would be to trade Vince Carter for cap space. X

    Maybe their second choice would be to figure out a way to spend the money due Rashard Lewis in a more useful fashion. X

    But if they can’t do either of those things, they are going to have a very hard time improving. They don’t have any up-and-coming players, and will have to depend on the rest of the conference getting worse. X

    So I think, like Caleb said, they’d be willing to dump their $40 million bench players in exchange for Curry’s 2011 salary relief. And I agree that the dumpee may not be the best person to be. But if we are going all in in 2010, netting three useful players who would all fall into ready made roles could be great. Bass isn’t even all that expensive, and Petrius only has two more years. Gortat is the biggest, longest past of the three, and he is probably worth every penny.

    …Or, depending on how the FA chips fall, perhaps a David Lee sign-and-trade could be arranged, giving Orlando their legit 4 to play with Howard and us a legit 5 to play with… ?

  37. Did we want any long term pieces? Isn’t the whole focus this FA class.
    I would pull the trigger on that deal in a heartbeat if it was offered again. It is one first rounder realistically and we had to give up what? the next Stoudemire? I think not. Hill will be a life long rotation guy and we sold him to get a shot at a big summer. Jeffries, Hill and a pick we shouldn’t need. Seems pretty good to me. The media were talking about Jeffries for a while as the defensive engine of the Knicks. We were here! If somewhat briefly:)
    D’Antoni was brought in because he was a good coach, something i still believe, who would bring a style of ball to the Knicks that would win games and attract top level FA’s.
    On a side note, in my ever growing obsession with this offseason, i have read that OJ Mayo is working on his PG skills. Lance Stephenson says he would like to fall to the Knicks and Bill Walker played for the same HS team as Mayo. All three of whom had there games regularly attended by LeBron


  38. “None. Jordan Hill and two first rounders got Jeffries off the payroll.”

    Not that’s Jeffries is SO SO bad for a year, but the timing really made his contract difficult to move. As you can see, everyone and their mother wants room for 2010 max FA space now (except for Morey who wisely cashed in on the scramble.) If the Rockets end up with Bosh, that would just be cruel.
    Also, Tommy Dee says the Nyets are up to something ‘huge’… I assume it’s Harris and the #3 for somebody.

    As for Coach D, one thing that bugs me is his perceived ‘relationship issues’ with players. Starbury, Nate, Darko, even Amare and now possibly fat Eddy Curry bitching about the coach. Maybe it’s just an a**hole group now that I look at it, but coach D was mainly hired b/c of his rep as a “player’s coach” and how every player wanted to be in his system and he got along with everyone. Maybe I’m buying into idle chatter too much, but I would like, in the end, for this to be true. Otherwise, there was no point in his hiring.

  39. @33

    With Z in 36, for sure: Knicks needed to use 3 1st rounders to move Jeffries to a team that didn’t want to play him. That’s not a trade asset.

    The fact that players play well/develop does not necessarily reflect on the coach. D’Antoni has gone so far as to say he is not responsible for developing young players, so I find it hard to credit him for too much of Lee’s success (Lee was already a very good player before Walsh came) and Chandler’s flirtation with his potential.

    Nate shot at the other team’s basket AFTER the buzzer. Play was dead.

    “Square our roster against that of the Nets last season and tell me it was even at all better…”

    It was better. Outside of Lopez and Harris (who clearly wasn’t right last season), who did the Nets have? Who could you have realistically hoped for/expected much more out of? They’re all young or never-weres.

  40. @38

    $40 mill? Those three guys make a combined $15 mill per.
    Even if they dumped all 3 for immediate cap relief they’re still capped out this offseason, and if they don’t make any effort to replace them they’re not a contender next season. At this point they’re a Conference Finals team. That’s pretty damn good. One of the top 4 teams in the entire NBA. There’s a lot more room to get worse than there is to get better. This is not a rebuilding team.

    If they dump VC and/or Rashard Lewis, they’re still capped out and are no longer a contender… Carter only has one year left on his deal (next is a team option), so they could use him to get another piece. Lewis is due $24 mill in 2012/13… I doubt anyone takes that back.

  41. And Z, they could get enough or a boast from an improvement from Anderson/Gortat/Bass, a VC trade, and/or an MLE signing to win the title next season… Do you really rebuild when you can say that?


    Yes, we wanted long-term pieces. Cheap ones. Draft picks. Bill Walkers. Guys who could be dumped for draft picks.

    The Knicks effectively gave up 2.5 first round picks, not 1. In the best case scenario Hill is already a rotation player for Houston and they get the 2012 1st rounder. In the worst case the Knicks could end up sending 3 top 10 picks to the Rockets and getting 1 pick in the 20s back.

    The Knicks haven’t won games, so I guess that was a fail.

  42. If free agency goes really well will anyone be concerned about how D’Antoni handled this group of placeholders? Or if we land an All-Star or two would you be willing to give him a chance to coach them?

    Maybe Mike deserves an F for how he played the cards he was dealt (yes he shut out a talented Nate for not going along with the offense, yes Toney and Hill can be nice pieces if given the chance to develop, yes Duhon SUCKED and didn’t deserve that much PT even if he’s the only true, pass-first PG, yes Doc Rivers and Larry Brown have had better history managing train wreck rosters) but I hope no one here is suggesting we dismiss him even if the team is able to put together the right roster!!

  43. “$40 mill? Those three guys make a combined $15 mill per.”

    Those three guys are still owed $50.7 million dollars. If they were all traded for Eddy Curry the Magic would save approximately $40 million.

    And you are right, it wouldn’t get them under the cap to dump them. But that is $50 million dollars owed to their bench– one of whom backs an all-world player who never gets hurt and is never in foul trouble.

    I think the Magic will trade at least a few of those guys– Bass’s agent has demanded it, I believe. They can probably get better value selling them separately, but a 1 year rental of Eddy Curry wouldn’t be the worst way to save $40 million…

  44. In other news– did y’all know Kevin Pritchard was on the way out in Portland?


    “for reasons that aren’t clear, Pritchard has fallen out of favor with billionaire owner Paul Allen, who has reportedly hired a headhunter to find a new GM.”

    I like that he’d still buying draft picks. O;d habits die hard, I guess– and why not shop with Paul Allen’s credit card while you’ve still got it…

  45. The Maggette trade is a good sign – shows just how desperate teams are to shed salary. This is why Eddy Curry is a nice chip – or, if we don’t get our big FA targets, there could be teams that would basically just give us a player for nothing, or a 2nd round pick.

    Btw, I think Walsh could turn Al Harrington into a big trade exception? He did exactly the same thing a few years ago, with Stojakovic. Instead of just letting him walk to New Orleans, he convinced Peja and the Hornets to make it a trade, with New Orleans sending back something like a conditional 2020 2nd rounder. He might have paid a few hundred thousand bucks. By making it a trade, he got a $10 million trade exception. (which he later blew on Al Harrington, but c’est la vie)

    Considering the good terms he’s on with Harrington, I expect to see something similar – which would give the Knicks another $5-8 million to play with during the season, along with another team trying to dump salary.

  46. One thing I forgot to mention in my ridiculously long winded rant earlier is Duhon. Yup, Chris was absolute Du-Du this past season. But really, what other options did he have til either the deadline or the season was already lost? Nate is awesome, but not a consistent starter for a PG. Douglas was an unknown as a rookie so unless he was a top pick, u don’t really give him the keys early-unless he was totally dominant in practice. Now after the deadline, I feel he should have stuck with the Douglas/Rodriguez duo for better or worse..unless they became totally unbearable. But at the same time, Duhon was his best PG, no matter how bad he performed. And i’m not basing that on his stats, i’m basing it purely on the fact that this was his 2nd season in the system and he has that vaunted “Duke pedigree”, meaning that TYPICALLY former Duke players have been coached up by one of the best and don’t do stupid shit on the court. So can we really say that Mike D messed up with Duhon? I don’t think so. He was awful, but he was still the most logical choice as a true PG. I think alot of people give coach a failing grade thus far becuz he was pretty successful in PHX. Now, I’m not gonna allow Coach to use the current roster situation as a crutch becuz Doc Rivers (a VERY underrated coach) got Orlando to play 500 ball the season b4 they added T Mac and Hill. So Mike D could have done better, and I think he knows it..it’s not like we had a roster full of scrubs. Jordan Hill can actually play though he may not be a great fit in the SSOL, Rooster is GOOD, Douglas showed up, Nate is twice the player Barbosa is, Larry Hughes is more than servicable because of his defensive ability and still surprising quickness, David Lee’s an all star, Chandler is improving and reliable, even JJ had value. On paper, I think we were better than that Orlando squad based on the combo of coaching and roster talent. And honestly, If Duhon didn’t lose what little of an offensive game, the season would have been much different. So maybe a d minus at best for Mikey, but I can’t really argue with the F becuz he could have done better. What he basically did was Larry Browned us without goin 2 the media about it. He didn’t “sabotage” the roster a la Brown, but he damn sure didn’t coach to the best of his ability, on purpose, like LB..

  47. Maggette had to go because they wanted to rid the franchise of large contracts before they sell it. Either that, or they want to take Babbit (some guy on ESPN called him the next Chris Mullin), Hayward, Johnson, or Aminu. I like the 1st idea better, makes Biedrins seem more on the trade block.

    In Chad Ford’s 2nd round mock, we’re taking two guards…do these guys listen to Walsh? The man clearly said he wanted to go big with his picks. He has us taking Terrico White and Grevis Vasquez, with Warren and Varnado still on the board. Not what I envisioned, to be honest.

  48. “Btw, I think Walsh could turn Al Harrington into a big trade exception? He did exactly the same thing a few years ago, with Stojakovic. Instead of just letting him walk to New Orleans, he convinced Peja and the Hornets to make it a trade, with New Orleans sending back something like a conditional 2020 2nd rounder. He might have paid a few hundred thousand bucks. By making it a trade, he got a $10 million trade exception. (which he later blew on Al Harrington, but c’est la vie)” – Caleb


    Good idea. Do you think Walsh can do something like that and resign Lee? A couple months ago Walsh stated that he had a special way to retain Lee, but he does not like to talk about it. Maybe this is it?

  49. @47

    Maggette is going to make $11 mill 3 years from now when he’s 33. That’s a little intimidating for a team to take on. Should be a good deal for the Bucks, and maybe for Warriors long-term.


    It’s a much better sign if it means the Warriors are also willing to give away Biedrins…

    Can the Knicks go over the cap to sign-and-trade Harrington once they’ve already renounced him? If they want to sign max guys they have to renounce Harrington and clear his cap hold. And, in another scenario where they still have cap room, if they’re far enough under the cap when they s&t him they don’t get an exception I don’t think.


    “So can we really say that Mike D messed up with Duhon? I don’t think so.”

    Are you kidding? YES we REALLY can say he messed up. There is a point where one player is so much better than another player that you ignore “fit”… that was the case with Duhon/Douglas last season.
    It is not even a legitimate argument to say Duhon was out there to run the offense and no one else could, because the Knicks had to run their offense through Lee due to Duhon’s suckiness.

    “Doc Rivers (a VERY underrated coach) got Orlando to play 500 ball the season b4 they added T Mac and Hill.”

    They had Ben Wallace, Corey Maggette, Darrell Armstrong, Bo Outlaw, Chris Gatling, Chucky Atkins, Monty Williams, Tariq Abdul-Wahid… that was a good defensive team (9th in the NBA). The offense was 22nd in the NBA. Where was Doc Rivers’ coaching magic when he won 33 and 24 games with the Celtics in back-to-back seasons?

    “So Mike D could have done better, and I think he knows it..”



    Walsh said he was looking big OR PG. That could easily be a smoke screen or him just feeding the media obvious lines. The Knicks obvious needs last season were 1 and 5, and Donnie said as much. Vasquez and White can both play the 1, though, also. Willie Warren is no more a 1 than either of those guys. I hope Walsh is smart enough to realize there’s not enough talent available in the 2nd round to pick and choose… you take someone you think can actually play in the NBA. Combo-guard without a real position can sometimes be overlooked, making Vasquez and White decent ideas. Not to say Chad Ford necessarily knows anything about the Knicks’ draft strategy, just that if they take one of the other fine by me.

  50. Caleb, my understanding on the Harrington thing is that he’d have to go to a team with cap space to generate an exception (NJ, Minni, Chicago, Miami, LAC… would have to decide Harrington is the best use of their cap space). The exception is created in a lop-sided salary deal where you’re sending out salary and bringing less back. NO had cap space, which created the exception when Peja was s&ted there.

    The two questions I have are 1. can the Knicks get an exception if they are under the cap? 2. can they go over the cap to re-sign him once they’ve renounced him?

    Basically, I don’t think it’s going to happen but maybe my understanding is off.

  51. FYI, Hollinger put up his Top 30 today which had Vazquez and Hobson at 22 and 23 I believe, Vazquez actually rated 9th but he dropped him because of his D and obviously because he knows Vazquez aint going in the Top 10.

    The Knicks really wanting Hobson talk is heating up fwiw.

  52. the roster was very very weak. don’t forget this.
    even if coach somehow handled better nate and the others, at best we would have had 3, 4 more wins ? Nothing to write home about…

    douglas and hill were decent, but he also protected them by giving them few minutes…a huge playing time and a slump on the field could end with an ego destruction.

    also to give more time (and offensive touches) to the veterans is an unwritten rule…something to which all players look at

    the grade is a C, mission somehow accomplished.

  53. @45

    Howard was in foul trouble a bunch in the playoffs.

    The thing is that they’d have to replace those guys somehow, and replacements will not play for free. That’s a full two rotation spots between the 3 of them. I agree that Gortat AND Bass is overkill and they could easily dump one (probably Bass… in an ideal situation for the Magic maybe Nets would be interested for CDR, Lee, or a pick), but to dump both would leave them with one legitimate bigman on their entire roster (and Curry is not a legitimate bigman… he hasn’t played in 2 years so it’s hard to assume he’s going to contribute to a contender next season). Stan Van Gundy says he wants to play MORE bigmen, not fewer. Pietrus could be replaced by re-signing Matt Barnes and adding another wing player, also. And/or by sliding Lewis to the 3, if SVG goes through with that. The thing I am saying is that I don’t see them ditching both Gortat AND Bass. That leaves Ryan Anderson as their only back-up bigman.

    It’s not that easy to find 3 players the quality of Gortat, Bass, and Pietrus for a combined $15 mill. You can look at it as a combined $50 mill due, but if you look at it as we are going to spend $X every season regardlessly and we can have 3 rotation players for $15 mill per… that’s very palatable. I would put your chances of an MLE guy being as good as those three at about 50% given the Jeffries, Jerome James, Mike James, Ricky Davis, Jason Kapono types who routinely command the MLE.

    Eddy Curry’s contract is a pretty bad way to save money… I just don’t see a guy who hasn’t played in 2 years as having any trade value at all.

  54. re: Harrington, you get a trade exception when you take back less salary than you send out.

    This could mean Harrington signing with a team that has cap space, or signing somewhere for the mid-level exception. It requires cooperation from Harrington and the other team, to make it a sign-and-trade rather than an outright signing. That said, you can make it a pseudo-trade (like, draft pick, protected through the 59th pick) so the other team isn’t really giving up anything. As an incentive, cash should be enough.

    This wouldn’t help the Knicks to re-sign David Lee (or any FA), but would let them trade for another player, later in the year, without having to send back salary. It’s great flexibility.

    You CAN’T re-sign a player after renouncing them – that’s what it means to renounce them. Actually, you CAN re-sign them but you have to wait either 90 days or 6 months, I forget which. In practice, no one’s gonna wait around that long and miss out on offers from other teams.

  55. Ted @ 52, I agree with ur point about Duhon. But I wasn’t clear enuf with what I said about Duhon. When I said that Mike D had no choice with him I meant b4 tha trade deadline. His decision to continue giving Duhon minutes was inexplicable. I think I said in that post that after the deadline he should have stuck with Douglas and Sergio for better or worse. But even still-no matter how bad he was, he was still the purest PG on the roster. Which sucked becuz he could not penetrate consistently without help…

  56. I was just thinkin..If Walsh is unable to trade up or buy his way into the 1st round for a player that’s worth it..and Greivis is off the board when we pick-what about Rautins from Syracuse? And to a lesser extent even Scheyer? My focus would be more on Rautins b/c he’s just as good a shooter, but a better defender than both Greivis and Scheyer. And we do need a shooter who can actually do more than shoot. Also, the more I think about it..Brackins is not bad. He kinda reminds me of Bosh a little with his inside/outside game. He’s better on the block than I thought he was. Kinda had me thinkin that if Lee came back and Brackins was good enuf 2 start, we wouldn’t be “big” at the 5, but a frontline of Lee, Brackins/Bosh, and Rooster is pretty long and athletic enuf to get by on. I definitely say no to Amare and Boozer. Amare’s great on offense..downright scary when he’s on his shit..but the rest of his game sucks and I worry about his future health more than the other FA’s. Boozer’s a beast on the block, but at 6’8″ (listed at 6’9″) with no leaping ability or desire to play stout D, I don’t want him on the Knicks either. At least Amare will get some blocks with his leaping ability, and Bosh would get some b/c of his length-even though they all are sub par defenders. But with a long frontline, we may lose out on some blocks but I can see a decent defense-with the right scheme of course. All in all, I’d still rather have Alabi back there

  57. Caleb,

    Can a team use their MLE to acquire someone in a s&t, though? I don’t know any examples of that and don’t see it mentioned anywhere in Coon’s salary cap FAQ.

    I believe you CAN re-sign a player after renouncing them, I just do not believe you can go over the cap to do so: “After renouncing a player, the team is still permitted to re-sign that player, but must either have enough cap room to fit the salary, or sign the player using the Minimum Salary exception.” #33 http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q34 No mention of a 90-120 day wait period that I see. Basically, the player is just like any other UFA for his old team (although it doesn’t seem, based on what Coon writes, they can use the MLE here either… not that the Knicks will have an MLE this offseason).


    I understand WHY D’Antoni kept playing Duhon before the deadline (and even after to some extent), I just think he was wrong. I think he very easily could have adapted to a line-up without a “true PG.” It might not have been ideal, but I believe it would have resulted in a better team. Douglas or Nate might not have been the “floor general” Duhon is, but they score a million times more efficiently, Nate is as good a distributor and Douglas is a much better defender… so on balance I think you gain a lot more than you lose. I’m not necessarily right, that’s just my opinion.

  58. Ted,

    Looks like you’re right about re-signing players you renounce. In practice, this probably doesn’t affect Lee, since his cap hold ($10.5 million) isn’t much different from what he’ll actually get. Lower, if anything. It could help them re-sign Harrington as a Plan D if all the free agent options go away. If we’re resigning Al Harrington in that scenario I think Knicks fans will be rioting in the street.

    “Can a team use their MLE to acquire someone in a s&t, though?”

    Yes – it rarely comes up, because there’s no real incentive – why give something up in a trade, when you can just sign the guy?

    In practice it only makes a difference a) for someone like Harrington, who can get the full mid-level but could get a six-year deal in a sign-and-trade versus five years in a straight signing; or b) someone is doing Donnie Walsh a favor (at no real cost to themself)

  59. Right or wrong, stuff like this from Chris Broussard annoy me…

    The Knicks hope that if they land James and Bosh, other quality free agents would be willing to give up cash for a title shot. But players aren’t going to take less money to play in New York, especially with a new collective bargaining agreement that’s likely to be unfavorable for the players coming down the pike. And that lack of depth likely will lead James and Bosh to sign elsewhere.

    That definitive “players aren’t going to take less money” stuff. Really, Chris? Kurt Thomas won’t take the veteran’s minimum to play on this team? There are plenty of vets who would take the vet minimum to play on a Knick team that has Lebron, Bosh, Douglas, Gallo and Chandler (and the Knicks would have likely traded Chandler by that point anyways for more depth). Maybe they don’t fit into Broussard’s definition of “quality free agents,” and yes, if he is just saying that Brendan Haywood is not going to sign for the vet minimum, then sure, fair enough, but that’s a limited view of what a “quality” free agent is, from depth purposes. Kurt Thomas could still be a valuable piece of a good team.

  60. I just wouldn’t *expect* Walsh to be able to s&t Harrington. I see two scenarios:

    1. Knicks are capped out. In this case they’ve already renounced Harrington and cannot go over the cap to re-sign him for the s&t.

    2. Knicks have cap space. Now they can re-sign him, but can you get an exception if you’re under the cap? After reading #69-71 in Coon’s FAQ, I’m really not sure. Basically, I don’t think so because the exception counts against the cap anyway. So maybe you technically get one, but it really does nothing for you. Maybe you don’t technically even get one. Coon doesn’t make a definitive statement either way which could be taken to mean you do get one, but he also talks about how under-the-cap teams can do whatever they like and exceptions only apply above the cap… I’m really 50/50.
    In this case the trade exception acquired for Harrington also counts against the cap. So the Knicks could not s&t Harrington for a trade exception first (if this is possible) and then sign 2 max FAs. They wouldn’t have the cap space since the trade exception would eat into it.

    It would take a pretty specific set of circumstances for it to work out: not one where the Knicks get two max FAs they like. I really can’t see it benefiting them anyway, to be honest, since the exception counts against the cap: they could just use the cap space in a lop-sided trade, don’t need the exception. If the Knicks strike out in FA bigtime and have so much cap space they never renounce Harrington then maybe they can get a pick out of a capped out team that’s already used its MLE…

    Expecting a team to give Harrington the full MLE for 6 years is also optimistic. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see Harrington take/have to take the vet’s min next season… ($1.4 mill, I think he’s worth more I just think he might get squeezed out of the market or take the vet’s min from a contender rather than $3-4 mill from, for example, Minnesota.)

  61. Rudy Fernandez trade rumors to the Knicks. Good move??

    He had a rough season last year, but I think I’d still go for him for Chandler.

    Douglas, not so much.

  62. How about Jalen Rose causing a huge stir on Twitter by saying sources have told him LeBron is not going back to the Cavs and listed the Bulls/Heat/Clippers as the teams he will be going too. What Knicks out of it already???? lol

    Seriously we need July 1st to get here as soon as possible because all these rumors and stuff is getting out of hand and tiresome to read. Yet I cant get enough of this stuff……..

  63. @myself

    “If the Knicks strike out in FA bigtime and have so much cap space they never renounce Harrington then maybe they can get a pick out of a capped out team that’s already used its MLE…”

    Scratch that…

  64. Whoa speaking of rumors and stuff Hahn saying Knicks could trade Chandler and a 2nd round pick this season for Rudy Fernandez, saves them almost 1 million bucks in cap space too which I would guess makes it easier for them to buy a 1st-round pick and not worry about losing some cap space.

    Is it worth trading Chandler for Rudy Fernandez????

  65. That same article had Broussard say this about Miami:

    As for the rest of the team, remember that no one thought Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and Glen Davis would be enough of a supporting cast.

    Yes, Chris, but that’s basically what you just intimated about the Knicks!!!

    Granted, in his above quote, he’s talking about a team with three great players not two, but the same basic logic applies – if you get two top-level players together, you can get by with role players (especially when the role players are as good as Douglas and Gallo).

  66. @64

    Agree, Brian. Broussard should be more specific as to what he means. I can see LeBron thinking the same thing. I just hope Walshtoni can convince him otherwise. I can see why you’d think the Knicks still don’t compete with the Lakers even with LeBron/Wade, but short of Miami managing to get LeBron, Wade, AND Bosh… what team he can sign with matches up with the Lakers on paper? None. Cleveland can’t. Miami has equally little depth as NYK. Nets + 2 max FAs? Maybe: LeBron, Bosh/Wade, Lopez, Harris, #3… very good offensively, decent defensively. Could win the East if everything works beautifully and if #3 is a stud could win titles down the road. Clippers I’d put as maybe if Griffin amazes, but that’s pretty uncertain. I would say no to the Bulls, but I can see why some people say maybe. Anyway, none of those teams matches Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom, AND Artest on paper. If the Lakers use MLE/Vujacic’s expiring for a PG and/or wing depth… forget it. His best chance to win a title next season is probably taking the MLE or a s&t to LAL, Orlando, or Boston.

    Broussard is probably sleeping on Danilo/Toney/Wilson/Bill… but LeBron very well may be sleeping on them too. May take a great sales job behind the scenes, not that we’re likely to ever know.
    Have to convince LBJ that Danilo is the next Euro All-Star, Toney is a younger, better Derek Fisher, Chandler is Caron Butler, and Walker is one of the best 3pt shooters in the league who is just tapping into the potential that made him a top recruit out of HS… Also have to convince him you’ll have a C at some point… Even the Showtime Lakers had an old Kareem and were never outside the top 10 defensively in a title season. (If I’m LeBron and D’Antoni tries the Showtime Lakers stuff on me, that’s my first question… where’s Kareem? Are you willing to play 2 bigmen together? If I’m not 100% satisfied that the answer is “hell yes” I forget about the Knicks… this scares me to death because I can’t imagine D’Antoni honestly answering “hell yes.” I can see him saying something like “if I had two big guys who were talented enough…” and spinning it in a convincing way. I just thank God for that leak earlier because I would be worried D’Antoni was trying to sell LeBron on playing PF otherwise, much more comfortable if he’s selling him on being Magic Johnson, who had multiple rings and is an icon, than on being Shawn Marion, who just signed for the MLE.)

  67. @69

    I would say Rudy is much better than Wilson offensively, but Wilson is much better defensively. All else equal I might take the offensive talent. Fit-wise, the Knicks already stink bigtime defensively. Hyping Chandler as a defensive stopper would have been the only defensive chip the Knicks have to convince LeBron they’ll play D other than Douglas and maybe one or more unproven rookie(s)… then again if they draft Vasquez and trade for Rudy… how do you convince LeBron you’re going to play D??? I don’t think you can. Fit-wise Rudy does handle the ball better and is a MUCH better jump shooter (is a real 2-guard, while Chandler is not), but I just think the defense outweighs that in the LeBron chase… It’s not that Rudy is a bad defender, he’s decent, WC can be billed as a real plus defender, though, while Rudy + Danilo + EuroCoach… tough sell.

    Bottom-line: to me WC is a better piece in attracting LeBron: tough wing defender and athlete who can can finish off LeBron passes. Theoretically, is WC > RF + the ability to buy a first rounder???????? I don’t know.

    LeBron considerations aside, I like Rudy… I have faith he could return to his rookie form and be a very good rotation player.

  68. Broussard probably forgot that the Knicks have cap space. It’s been so long, hard to imagine!

    His point applies to everyone – the Knicks surrounding talent is just as good as any of the other teams that LeBron is looking at, except maybe Miami if they get 3 max guys. This assumes that the Knicks sign a 2nd big FA, but all the other teams are assuming the same thing, except Chicago… and all the big FAs are better than Derrick Rose anyway, IMO.

    None of that means LeBron will sign in NY but there’s no reason talent would be the sticking point.

    top 4 guys:
    NY: Bron + “Bosh” + $12 million guy via Eddy Curry’s contract + Gallo
    NJ: Bron + “Bosh” + Lopez + Harris
    Chi: Bron + Rose + Noah + Deng
    Mia: Bron + Wade + “Bosh” + Chalmers (!)
    LAC: Bron + Griffin + Davis + Kaman
    Wash: Bron + uh… uh… uh…

  69. I think right now Wilson is more valuable than Rudy. He’s 2 years younger, better defensively. Rudy can shoot, has a better handle and is a good passer. Wilson is probably a slightly better penetrator (when he penetrates.) In short, Wilson is a classic 3 and Rudy’s a classic 2. I would probably prefer trading Walker for Rudy, but I also feel good about Walker’s abilities. If the Blazers threw in their 2nd rounder (or even swapped 2nds with us) I would be inclined to do it. Plus, I think Wilson could be a better fit in Portland while Rudy would definitely be a better fit with Coach D’s style of play. We shall see. Getting interesting…

  70. Honestly, I don’t see why Portland would do a Chandler for Fernandez trade with Batum and Webster platoonin at the 3. Furthermore, I would think walsh wouldn’t do it either if the deal really is Chandler and a 2nd for Rudy. All for a million dollars? To me Wil is more valuable than Rudy. He doesn’t stretch the floor like Rudy, but he’s definitely better and worth more than Rudy straight up. If they want Wil and our 2nd rounder that bad then I would suggests Walsh asks for that #22 in the draft as well. Wil’s not a world beater, but he’s been a main contributor for us these past 2 seasons and hasn’t regressed. I think we can get a better deal for Wil..and I do like Rudy..just not for Wil and a 2nd rounder-not even for Wil straight up becuz though Rudy makes our backcourt more..flexible? We need Wil rite now more than we need Rudy. Wil boards and plays tough D. Or i’d even accept Wil for Rudy and their 2nd rounder..I hope i’m not putting too much value on Wil..I just don’t want Walsh to sell him short and we end up losing more than we gain just like the JJ trade (the jury is still out on the trade of course until we sign some franchise changers with the cap space). But it is interesting tho

  71. If LeBron wants to go down as the greatest player EVER, he doesn’t go to Chicago or Miami. In Chicago, he’ll have to win 7 championships in order to be crowned immortal, a bit much to ask. In Miami with Wade, he’ll be sharing the glory, and LeBron/Wade will be the best 1-2 punch in history, and that he needed Wade to cement his legacy. Neither option is good for his legacy, or at least not as good as New York, the Clippers (hey, winning here would be monumental), or Cleveland.

  72. Chandler and Fernandez are pretty close as prospects; it’s nice that Chandler is two years younger BUT – Fernandez has an extra year on his rookie contract, meaning an extra $3-4 million in cap space for the Knicks next summer..

  73. BTW, ran the proposed deal through the trade machine (Chandler/Fernandez)…machine sez Blazers get the better end of the deal, so make that a “NO” for me.

  74. About this Will for Rudy deal, maybe Will can get us more (Bayless?). Rudy is likely to be dynamite in our system, and Chandler should excell in Portland too. I’d rather give them Bill Walker and cash for Fernandez and a 2nd round pick, but life isn’t always like that. I hope they don’t get Toney though, ESPN is saying Fernandez would play the point. I’ll have nightmare of Rajon Rondo of lighting us up for 45 points.

  75. @74/75

    Why is Chandler more valuable? I’d say the opposite. Rudy has been more productive, has a less common skill set, actually finishes extremely well just rarely ever goes to the basket, and has an extra year at rookie scale.

    I also don’t see why Portland would want WC.


    I don’t think Rudy can play PG, but he wouldn’t be the worst guy to help take some ball handling/playmaking pressure off Douglas (also not the best).

    Bill Waker has like 200 minutes of NBA action, huge holes in his game, and a history of knee problems… I don’t think he’s getting you Rudy and a 2nd… More like just a 2nd. (Portland’s owner, Paul Allen, was Bill Gates’ partner and is one of the richest men in the world… Cash is not a big motivator for their franchise: they just paid $2 mill to move up 10 spots in the 2nd round and have been buying picks for years…)

  76. Ted,

    You have a point about Fernandez being able to help out Douglas handle and distribute. My point was on defense, I’m not sure he’s capable of guarding the point. I once heard somebody compare Fernandez to Ginobili. I’m positive he can’t defend like him, but I do agree that he shouldn’t have a problem playing in (not boring) New York, in (a not boring) D’Antoni’s system where he’ll be a bigger part of the offense (Roy, Webster, Batum, and Bayless played at the 2 and 3 along with Fernandez. In New York, he’d be sharing floor time with Walker, Gallo, and hopefully LeBron/Wade). The whole point was trading Douglas for Fernandez wouldn’t be too smart defensively. I’m sure Fernandez and Douglas would work out fine.

  77. This is a rant that I’ve been suppressing for two years. The opportunity to reflect on Mike D’Atoni’s wrecthed coaching combined with the absurdity of trading a promising player like Wilson Chandler for another defensive liability like Ruby Fernandez, who on a good team would challenge Danilo Gallanari for the 7-8th man role position has pushed me over the edge.

    First, the F grade for D’Antoni seems right, for all the reasons Mike Kurylo stated, though a clear headed analysis of his over valuing of Gallo could easily drop his rating to an F-. Gallo is a 7th man on a decent team, a 12-15 minute guy at best. He has heart but only one skill, shooting an uncontested spot-up three. Though advertised as a Tony Kukoc type of creator, he doesn’t have clearly lacks the quickness, vision, and passing skills to justify that comparison. The excessive playing time Gallo received accounts most for the poor rebounding and contributed massively to the poor defense. Gallo hustles, is tough and willing but simply lacks the athleticism and anticipatory skills to be a good defender. The truth is that Gallo is a tweener–not strong enough to guard PF on the block and two slow to guard either stretch PF and SF on the perimeter. In other words, defensive liability.

    It’s amazing that in Gallo’s defense folks point to his chronological age. What’s important is not his twenty-one years of age, but his years as a professional basketball player. He played a few years for junior squads and 2-3 years at the professional level before joining the Knicks. He is only a few months younger than Wilson Chandler but has been a professional player maybe 2-3 more years. From my perspective, Chandler is not only by far the more talented basketball player, but given their ages and professional experience also has the most upside.

    Are the Knicks determined to become the first Euroleague team in the NBA? Move up to draft Greivis Vazquez? Trade Chandler for Rudy Fernandez? Neither of those guys would ever start or be a productive sixth man on a decent NBA team. Fernandez can score but would give it and more back on the defensive end. It’s this type of strategy that will cost the Knick LBJ. Because Bosh wants to be the Man, we may have a chance to get him, but other than that ego driven desire, what sane max-level player would want to join a team that’s building for the Euroleague championship. This is clearly MD’s plan.

    Surely it’s not Donnie Walsh’s.

    Perhaps after the free debacle, they will eat MD’s contact and hire a coach that committed to competing in the NBA, not the Euroleague.

    The point guard the Knicks need is Shawn Livingston. He available for a portion of the mid-level exemption.

  78. I feel like Mike D didnt care much about winning this season.

    I think he played the guys that worked hard in practice. That showed they wanted to be part of the team… and to hell with everyone else.

    I was all for the nate benching. I have a feeling there is WAY more that happened behind the scenes then we know. I always felt that something happened on the bus, or in the locker room and Nate was punished.

    These are things that will help the young guys. Tony D, Gallo, and IllWil know that they need to work hard and play for the team to play. It wont matter who is paid the most, but rather who wants to be on the team that will garner playing time.

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