Unsung Knick History – How We Almost Had a Grant Legacy in New York

This is the latest in a series of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

The Knicks have a long history of having fathers and sons both play for them. Ernie and Kiki Vandeweghe, Henry and Mike Bibby, Al and Allie McGuire and I am sure others that I am missing (Patrick Ewing Jr. sadly never quite caught on to the team, despite coming close a couple of times). Interestingly enough, their latest draft pick, Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant, almost counted, as well! Based on a request from blog commenter alsep73, we take a look at the somewhat comical (and sort of kind of tragic) tale of how the Knicks almost signed Harvey Grant and the franchise-altering decision they made to find a fill-in for Grant when they failed to sign him.

The Knicks finished the 1991-92 season with a much improved season but the same result as their previous season, a loss to the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. Still, the Knicks, now after a full season by new coach Pat Riley, were clearly on the rise, with young players like John Starks and Anthony Mason bolstering their star center Patrick Ewing and their veteran star power forward Charles Oakley. The Knicks closed out the 1991-92 season with the following playoff rotation: Mark Jackson at the point, Gerald Wilkens at off guard, Xavier McDaniel and Oakley at the forward spots and Ewing in the middle. Starks, Mason and Greg Anthony were their primary bench players. Going into the following season, Riley felt that he definitely wanted to get another shooting guard but he also wanted to add to the front court depth, specifically with a scoring forward who could play both small forward and power forward as needed (Mason and Oakley played backup center for Riley, an interesting piece of early small ball). The first thing Riley addressed in the offseason was pick up a new shooting guard, trading a first round pick for Dallas Mavericks star Rolando Blackman (at the time their all-time leading scorer, a mark he would hold until Dirk Nowitzki passed him during the 2007-08 season), who was still a good player but was also 33 years old.

Their next move was a tricky one. This was back in the days where cap holds were not a thing, so basically if you had your own free agents, they would not affect your cap space. You could use your full cap space to sign another free agent and then re-sign your own free agents to go over the salary cap. The league eventually came up with the idea of a cap hold to close that loophole, but they had not yet invented that idea in 1992. So when Xavier McDaniel exercised an opt-out clause in his contract during the 1991-92 season, he became a free agent at the end of the season and his salary came off of the cap. After cutting Kiki Vandeweghe and Wilkens and getting Jackson and Blackman to restructure their contracts, the Knicks were roughly $4 million under the then $14 million salary cap. That was huge at the time. In an ideal world, they could then go out and sign a good free agent (it was not a great market that season, but there were some good players out there), have room to sign their own draft pick (Hubert Davis) and then resign Xavier McDaniel and exceed the salary cap.

However, if you’re reading this, you’re likely a Knick fan, so you know that the Knicks do not live in an “ideal world.”

An annoying rule that the NBA had back then that they have since changed is that draft picks had to be signed using your available cap space. If you didn’t have cap space, then you would have to cut players to create cap space. It was a ridiculous situation. However, the same cap rules that applied to the Knicks applied to other teams. They could use their cap space to sign a rookie and then go over the cap to re-sign their own free agents. The Washington Bullets, however, were in a bit of a pickle. Due to some players getting raises, they had some cap right room after the 1992 NBA Draft, but they would lose that cap room when the new financial year kicked in on July 1st (along with those raises). Not only that, but they had a prominent free agent of their own, a restricted free agent by the name of Harvey Grant.

Harvey Grant came into the league as the 12th overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft (his twin brother Horace was the 10th overall pick the previous year). The small forward/power forward had a slow start to his NBA career for the Washington Bullets, averaging 5.6 points his rookie season and then 8.2 points in his seconds year. Then, out of nowhere, in the 1990-91 season he exploded to average 18.2 points per game. He came in second that year in the Most Improved Player balloting (he lost to Orlando Magic point guard Scott Skiles). Grant duplicated his 1990-91 season in 1991-92, so he entered the offseason as a prized free agent commodity, especially for a team like the Knicks who were looking for a scoring forward. His problem was that while he was playing well, the Bullets overall were not.

Tony Kornheiser summed it well in a piece in the Washington Post in 1992:

[A]t the end of last season, what Grant saw was: “Everyone in the league had gotten better, and it seemed we were at a standstill.” He had played four years in the league, and each year the Bullets had sunk further below .500. “I think playing on a winning team is very important to him,” said John Nash, the Bullets general manager. “I think he looks at his brother Horace and envies that situation; rightly so.”

They are twins, Harvey and Horace. But their pro careers have been separated at birth. Horace has never been out of the playoffs, and the past two seasons his Chicago Bulls — okay, maybe not his Chicago Bulls — have won the NBA title.

And futher…

“I get tired of people in airports coming up to me and saying, ‘Show me your rings, Horace.’ … “

So he wanted to go to a good team who could pay him enough to make the Bullets think twice about matching the offer, and Nash went as far to say (before free agency began) that “We plan to re-sign Harvey — within reason. If they give him $10 million, we wouldn’t. But our intent is to re-sign him.” Nash was saying this while they were trying to sign their 1992 draft pick, #6 overall pick, power forward Tom Gugliota. They were unable to get a deal done before free agency was finished, so now if they went over the cap to match an offer to Harvey Grant, they would have to cut enough players to get back under the cap by enough room to give Gugliota an opening salary of at least $1 million. That would be a daunting task, so it really looked like the Bullets might have to pick between signing Grant or signing Gugliota if a team signed Grant to a large enough contract. Remember, Nash said that they wouldn’t match a $10 million offer.

The Knicks then signed Grant to a six-year/$17 million contract (complete with an opt-out clause after just the second year of the deal). The contract seemed perfectly designed to screw the Bullets over. So much so that the Bullets actually accused the Knicks of concocting the offer with Grant’s help to specifically prevent the Bullets from matching, which would mean that the Knicks must have tampered with Grant. So the Bullets filed a grievance against the Knicks, but the Knicks prevailed. In retrospect, it was pretty obvious to everyone what kind of deal the Bullets would have a hard time matching. It was silly of them to think that the Knicks would have had to tamper to get such a deal done.

The Bullets, though, shocked the Knicks and Grant by matching the offer. Grant remarked at the time:

The money’s good, don’t get me wrong. But this goes beyond money. They insulted me, they insulted my integrity, me as a person, my character [by claiming that he colluded with the Knicks to come up with the offer].

Since he made it clear he would be leaving after the 1993-94 season (he gave it a 90% chance when they matched the offer), the Bullets instead traded Grant to the Trailblazers for center Kevin Duckworth after another strong 1992-93 season for Grant. Grant finally reached the playoffs during the 1993-94 season. In fact, he made the playoffs all throughout his tenure in Portland (before being dealt back to Washington with Rod Strickland in the Rasheed Wallace trade – Grant and Strickland were teammates for five seasons between their time in Portland and their time in Washington, so it is little surprise that Grant’s son Jerian models his game so much on Strickland. He and his brothers Jaelin, Jerami, and Jerai were very close to Strickland and his family).

For a while there, it really looked like Gugliota was going to have to play in Europe for a season until the Bullets could clear cap space the following season, but eventually the Bullets were able to get an injury exception for the injured Bernard King, and after cutting a few other players, they were able to clear space for Gugliota to sign, as well.

Thwarted in giving McDaniel and Oakley a forward to team-up with, the Knicks then found themselves without McDaniel, as well! McDaniel got sick of the Knicks expecting him to wait until they signed someone else (at which point they could sign him to exceed the cap), so he signed with the Boston Celtics (that whole drama is worth its own future column). Instead of having Grant and McDaniel, the Knicks now had neither!

The Knicks quickly traded a second round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Tony Campbell, giving them one new forward and then they made the franchise-altering deal of Mark Jackson, a first round draft pick and a second round draft pick for two Los Angeles Clipper stars, point guard Doc Rivers and forward Charles Smith (as well as throw-in Bo Kimble). The two highly paid players ended up taking up most of the cap space the Knicks had cleared out (although they still had enough room to sign Hubert Davis).

The Knicks played very well in the regular season but Smith famously missed a number of layup attempts in the 1993 NBA Playoffs against the Chicago Bulls and the Knicks were once again eliminated by Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

As alsep73 said to me when he suggested this one, I bet Harvey Grant would have dunked the ball.

If you enjoyed this story, you’d probably also get a kick out of my Sports Urban Legends Revealed site. There is an archive of the ones about basketball here.

If you have any suggestions for future Unsung Knicks History pieces, drop me a line at bcronin@legendsrevealed.com!

140 replies on “Unsung Knick History – How We Almost Had a Grant Legacy in New York”

You could also title this: “How the Knicks almost changed the best player ever narrative by getting the piece they needed to jump Jordan’s Bulls.” Great piece Brian, I really enjoyed it.

That still PO’s me to this day. I believe I am not alone here in having become a huge fan of X-Man in his one season and always blamed the pursuit of Grant for his departure. Charles Smith was miscast. With the Clips he was a C-PF, with the Knicks a SF-PF.

Losing Mark Jackson was huge. I envisioned having Jackson and Ewing for 15 years when he was drafted. This was one of the stupidest trades ever.

Bo Kimble wore some pimping suits on the bench. You’ve got to look at that.

Neither Harvey nor the X-man were that good (although I loved X). And Glenn was a nice PG for a few years. But Mark Jackson was fucking dope, and he was a NY guy. Getting Grant would have been kinda bad, but it would have saved us from that terrible trade and the debacle that was the Charles Smith experience.

You know, we’re all brushing Jerian Grant under the rug, but we need to have a big discussion about him. He was the #19 pick, not the 57th. From the videos I’ve seen, he’s got the “it” factor, is a tireless worker, the tools and the smarts. What he doesn’t have is off-the-chart athleticism. If he does, indeed, improve his outside shot, he could be the steal of the draft – not Zinger.

Is he Mark Jackson 2.0? If we just drafted a center and point guard that are with us until 2030, this could go down as a great Knick draft. What are your thoughts on young Grant?

This is an outstanding write up. Kudos to you, Brian, and alsep73 for bringing this up.

It’s crazy to imagine there was actually a time where Pat Riley didn’t have a charmed existence. Naturally, it was when he was with us.

center and point guard that are with us until 2030

Whoa thats bugged out. Thats actually a real year that they could retire. 2030 wow , typing that looks crazy

I ended up disliking Mark Jackson so much as a Pacer that I forgot how much I loved him as a Knick. That whole thing he did in response to Larry Johnson’s sweet little “L” celebration annoyed me to no end. (For those who don’t know, essentially every time Mark Jackson scored, even if it was a layup, he would make the sign of the cross with his two arms in order to “give the glory to god” for the bucket he just scored. Yes, that’s a real quote, and yes it was as annoying as it sounds.)

Doc Rivers was very good for the Knicks that year, so I don’t feel like we fell off that much. And then when he got hurt the following year, Derek Harper was outstanding in ’94. I am quite confident he would have been the Finals MVP in ’94 if… (sigh) (I can’t finish the sentence).

Xavier McDaniel’s offense had fallen off but he was a beast in the ’92 playoffs. I don’t know if Harvey Grant would have dunked the ball, but I know X man wouldn’t have gotten punked like that.

The Charles Smith experience was so, so unfortunate.

What he doesn’t have is off-the-chart athleticism.

Grant sure seemed to have some insane leaping ability on that highlight that made the rounds. Seems quite athletic to me. Also a fair shooter. He tailed off in his final year, but he was solid the other three.

My concern with him is that he was 23 years old last year. Like Cleanthony, I am concerned about guys who look great when playing against people 4 years younger than them.

@8… The distant future…
@6… Totally agreed. It’s something I noticed watching all those predraft videos.. Some guys went 100%, even though it was just practice and a solo vid. Others looked real lazy and sloppy (ahem, some lotto guys ppl on this board wanted). Real happy with the jrrn pickup

Grant’s younger brother was a rookie last year, that’s how old Grant is, in comparison to your typical rookie. That said, sure, I like him as a player, so I’m looking forward to seeing him play as a Knick.

I will say one thing in Charles Smith’s defense:

He wasn’t the reason we lost game 5, he was a scapegoat.

Ewing and Starks choked in that game. Big time. Especially at the free throw line in the second half.

Pat Riley had worked the refs good after game 4 and the result was a huge free throw disparity in our favor, but we couldn’t hit our FTs that day.

(Also, I still remember Bill Walton destroying Patrick Ewing for timidly standing still at the top of the key and not getting involved while Smith was getting triple teamed, and he was right.)

But go back and look at the box score:


Starks couldn’t buy a bucket. And almost all those missed free throws between him and Ewing happened in the 2H.

1993 should have been our time, but – and I hate to admit it – I believe the moment in game 5 was too big for our two best players.

Anyone else recall it that way?

Pat Riley had worked the refs good after game 4 and the result was a huge free throw disparity in our favor, but we couldn’t hit our FTs that day.

To wit, I distinctly recall Jordan getting called for carrying the ball…TWICE! It was crazy how much that game was tilted in our favor by the refereeing.


I mean, at #19, it seems unbelievable that this guy was still around. 538 had him rated as a high-probability bust, so I sort of get it. But he sure looks good to me.

Re: Early, he is a tweener, PF game in a SF (or even a big SG) body. Grant is actually BIG for his position.

Obviously our expectations should be tempered, but he seems NBA ready right now. Yes, he was playing vs. kids, but he also had not much talent around him, which hurts a pass-first PG. Yet he still almost knocked off Kentucky in an MVP-like performance until WCS defended him on that last possession.

Great, great, great trade by Phil, I still don’t get how anyone thought that TH2 was worth that pick.

Ah, the good old days… I don’t actually remember this saga. But HaGrant was a decent player, not a great one. A 7 year contract offer sounds typically Knicksy. (Oh, and X man was pretty bad during his 1 year in NY too)

Nice read…tho memories of that freakin guy named Charles Smith always make me mad!!
Is Jerian Grant similar to Charlie Ward??? Also….can you guys sense how free agents are already using the NY Knicks to get their price up??

I think J Grant models as a likely bust because of his age and atrocious rebounding. The rebounding is a real flaw, but he has good size, is a great ballhandler and should be able to shoot. If he’s nothing but a capable backup that’s great value for Tim fucking Hardaway Jr

This has been the most exciting Knicks draft in a long time. Of course, none of the guys may pan out, and who knows what will happen with injuries, etc.? Plenty of picks bust every year. However, we have 3 interesting young guys to root for.

The trade for Grant was GREAT. On draft night I was stunned and posted here disbelief that the Knicks got the 19th pick, in a deep draft, for THJ. Yeah, Grant is 23, so his upside may not be hot, but because of his age and maturity, he can hopefully log lots of minutes this year (maybe even start) and play well. He seems like a nice fit for the triangle, too.

Then, the Hernangomez deal was a nice surprise, too. He only has average length and athleticism, but he seems to be very skilled, like a young Marc Gasol lite. Lots of skills on offense, but needs to work on defense. I’ve read that, if he didn’t have 1 more year on his current contract, that he might have been a 1st rounder this year. As it is, he will be a de facto 1st rounder for the Knicks next year. He seems like a good candidate to be able to come in and be a decent backup C next year, and he seems like a much more likely thing than Louis Labeyrie was last year.

Seems like Phil is balancing both short and long term thinking. We’ll see if that carries over into free agency.

RE guys using the Knicks for leverage. Yeah, Monroe’s comment that he wants to play for a “contender” doesn’t look good for us. If he really does, Boston is a better fit for him. I’d guess that Jordan is likely using the Knicks. But, really, who knows?

The Jeremy Lin rumor is a bit of a surprise. He did have a nice year last year and has improved his 3 point shooting and assist/turnover ratio. I’d really like to see what we have in Grant and Galloway, though. Maybe if Calderon is moved, Lin could be a nice 3rd guard? Lin just seems like a guy who does better when he’s got the ball in his hands a lot, though. Maybe the Knicks think that he can come on the cheap?

The funny thing about the Lin rumor is that it completely flies in the face of the people who think him and Melo are mortal enemies, kinda like how Timmy and Melo were mortal enemies. Haha at least Lil Melo likes him 🙂

Let’s say that the Knicks strike out on the top names in the C market. How about taking a flyer on Roy Hibbert, who opted into his $15.5 million final year. Reportedly, the Pacers want him out.

I’m NOT saying that they would do this, but how about offering Indy Calderon for Hibbert and a future 1st round pick. I think the deal would take up about $8.1 million of the Knicks cap space this year (I think Calderon makes $7.4 this year?) leaving the Knicks with about $19-20 million left to spend. If Indy does not really want Calderon, they can stretch him for additional savings.

The Knicks get a motivated Hibbert playing for his next contract. Next year, the Knicks would have, I think, over $30 million in cap space b/c of the rising cap and Hibbert coming off.

Still space this year to sign a nice wing (Green or Carroll?) and some left over for West or someone else.

Highly unlikely, I know, unless Indy becomes a bit desperate to open up cap space. But, Phil did hoodwink Atlanta on draft night, so who knows?

Thanks for writing this up, Brian! I had somehow completely blocked out that the Grant offer sheet also screwed us on the X-Man front. Tony Campbell wound up as our starting small forward. Oy.

Just for the sake of asking! Not that I want that to happen!!! Do you guys think there is a chance of Amare or Tyson returning???

Indy is probably smart enough to ride Hibbert’s contract out (and a Hibbert/Turner front court would be formidable on D). But I’d stomach a year of Hibbert lumbering around if we could dump Calderon. I wouldn’t give them a pick, though. That’s essentially dealing a 1st to get out from under Calderon’s deal.

DRed, my proposal does not give out a pick, it takes one back. Really, they’d likely balk at that. I’d take a couple of 2nds from them, though. Heck, I might even do the deal straight up Calderon for Hibbert, but only if the Knicks can’t get any of the free agent C worth a crap.


the Hernangomez deal was a nice surprise, too….he will be a de facto 1st rounder for the Knicks next year.

Yep. That’s how I see the situation. Note that he was taken as the #35 pick so he’s a high 2nd rounder and was projected as early as 29th. He’s a big boy at 6’11” + 255lbs but has work to do. His post offense looks good, has good hands and runs well. He can’t jump. His rebounding and rim protection need a lot of work. If he to rebound, he could be a double-double machine. He could also be a complete bust.

@27 – Lin, Stat and Chandler. There you go, the 2015-16 free agent class for the Knicks! I’m pretty sure Chandler left on bad terms (rumors that Melo wanted him gone) and I think we’re better off without Stoudemire.

Yeah, a couple of Knick bloggers out there keep lamenting the fact that the Knicks don’t have a #1 pick next year. Uh, Phil recognizes that and, in effect, got them one in Hernangomez. He looks skilled enough to me to be at least a solid backup. He’s never gonna be a rim defender, but he needs to use his bulk to at least be a good D rebounder (he’s already a good O rebounder).

Better than Jason Smith as a backup C 🙂

Nice bit of fiction written here…

The Knicks played very well in the regular season but Smith famously missed a number of layup attempts in the 1993 NBA Playoffs against the Chicago Bulls and the Knicks were once again eliminated by Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

Smith “missed a number of layup attempts”?

The play began with that clutch playoff shooter Starks leaving his feet to chuck up an 19 footer , but realizing Jordan is about to ram it down his throat, reconsiders in mid air and Dumps it off to Ewing. Patrick shows off his ball handling skillz by driving left and falling down, but is able to flip it to Charles Smith on his way to the deck.

Smith goes up and has his shot cleanly blocked by Horace Grant. Smith recaptures the ball and as he is going up a second time , is “stripped” by Jordan with a karate chop across his left arm.

Smith somehow gets the ball back and goes up a third time only to be blocked by Pippen from behind and only mildly decapitated by Pippen’s follow through.

While all this mayhem is going on mere feet away… the trio of faux tough guy/money players loved by NY fans Starks, Mason and Ewing are merely sipping chai tea watching their teammate get sodomized while the season slips away…..

despite the video replay… grant’s not a tremendous athlete… he is certainly not unathletic… but he’s not going to wow you… the reason he got up so high was that he was essentially on that guy’s shoulders…

he normally has issues scoring around the rim.. i think i saw 44% somewhere… he kind of reminds me of reggie jackson… i think he’ll be solid but he’s no where near a sure thing…

Well, bobneptune, we may disagree on the wisdom of giving a full NTC to Melo, but we have precisely the same recollection of how much heat Ewing and Starks managed to transfer to Charles Smith.

On Jerian Grant, I feel we should separate the trade and the pick, but no one does. Getting a first round pick for TH2 is an A+ move. But that doesn’t mean the pick should get graded on such a high curve just because we were elated to have it.

I’m not killing the Grant pick, mind you. I’m just tired of the flawed logic in “we got him for TH2, so anything we get is a bonus”. I was a little disappointed we did not take Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Here’s how I tie all of this together.
We took a PG, Jerian Grant, with the 19th pick. Prior 1st round PG picks were:
Mark Jackson, 18th pick in 1987
Rod Strickland, 19th pick in 1988
Greg Anthony, 12th pick in 1991
Charlie Ward, 26th pick in 1994

We have already established Jerian patterns his game after Strickland. Throw in Mark’s assists and tear drop, Anthony’s broadcasting ability and Charlies QB abilities and bible knowledge, and we are in really good shape.

You also have to factor in Charles being a terrible basketball player for the rest of his Knicks career.

I don’t really see the NTC as a big deal. If Melo ends up being unhappy, he’s going to want to be traded and Phil still has control over whether he’s actually traded or not. So if Melo ends up being unhappy with the progress that The Knicks are making and he wants out, he’s going to have to work with Phil to work out a trade that is good for all involved. He can’t demand a trade to a contender where The Knicks get nothing back. Phil still has the option to just not trade him and if that happens and Melo pouts the media will destroy him.

That guy is good. He played well against the US in the FIBA tourney last year.


@WojYahooNBA: Knicks are frontrunners for two free agents — Greg Monroe and Arron Afflalo, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Those are realistic targets.

not a big fan of afflalo…. terrible defense and the offense tanked last year..

Charles Smith s still trying to get that put back at the end of the playoff game to drop

Kaaaaaaaaahhhhhn!!!’s gone, but a new regime had stepped in to the twolves fo to fuck the Knicks.

Jordan’s only come on of late and not impressed with carroll either. Can we sigh Monta Ellis to play the 2 along with Aldridge and watch this team try and win 120-118 games all season?

Best FA signings of the realistically available players (meaning stop talking about Kawhi, M Gasol, J Butler, and D Jordan – those guys are staying with their teams and/or Knicks are not getting those guys) :
Monroe – he’s 25, can score , good fit for the triangle, and while not great at rebounding, passing, and defense, he’ll be good enough for now and there’s a reasonable chance he’ll improve.
Carroll – he can defend at the 3 so Melo can play the 4
Green – very good 3 & D guy , will bring a winning attitude

Sign and trade? Do we have anything to trade?

Yes the Knicks have the 3 snd round picks they picked up last year from their trades of Shump/jr and Pablo.

2017, and two 2019 picks. They also still have their 3m in cash to use.

so basically we’re interested in everyone. Afflalo, Danny Green, Wes Matthews, Carroll, etc.

The 2nd most excruciating moment in Knicks playoff history was the Ewing missed finger roll against Indiana in 1995. He was literally right at the rim and laid it off the back iron. I watched it on slo mo replay on the Reggie Miller 30 for 30 and it looked like some unseen force repelled it.

(And maybe 3rd is the Melo pass to Jared Jeffries against Boston, although we were never going to win that series anyway.)

Woj’s full article says Afflalo is seeking 3/36 or so. Yuck.

Here’s how I tie all of this together.
We took a PG, Jerian Grant, with the 19th pick. Prior 1st round PG picks were:
Mark Jackson, 18th pick in 1987
Rod Strickland, 19th pick in 1988
Greg Anthony, 12th pick in 1991
Charlie Ward, 26th pick in 1994

Don’t forget #29 pick Mardy Collins and #25 pick Frank Williams

Going back to Game 5 vs the Bulls Ewing carried the offense in the 4th quarter, he scored 33 pts on 12 for 23 shooting so while he did miss some FT’s he shot well from the floor. Charles Smith not only missed those layups but the possession before, right after BJ Armstrong hit the 3pter to put the Bulls up 2, Smith was fouled but he made only 1 of 2 FT’s. So he choked on the final 2 possessions.

Starks was atrocious that game and that final possession was really on him because as was mentioned above he ran a pick and roll with Ewing but pulled up for a deep jumper and wound up passing it off to Ewing at the last moment. Ewing had the ball at the 3pt line and he just drove the lane and lost his balance and flipped it to Smith as he fell. Considering Smith never actually got the ball to the rim and was surrounded by 4 Bulls players dunno what the hell Ewing (who as I mentioned was on the floor cause he fell on the drive and wound up completely away from the basket) or Mason couldve done (Oak wasnt on the floor at the time).

After the Jerian-Timmy coup, I’m beginning to think anything’s possible. Maybe Bucks take Calderon/The Greek/3m in exchange for a 2nd round pick. If it makes Giannis happy, that could pay dividends for them in the future. I’m looking at 2016 free agents and other than Conley I’m not liking the landscape at all. Might be better to flip Calderon and then sign Monroe, Green or Carroll, Koufos or Ajinca. All of those players could be part of a 9 man rotation over the next 4 years.

I thought Afflalo was a good defender but now I’m reading he isn’t. I know he can shoot since he is a career 39% 3pt shooter and his career TS% is 56% which isnt as good as Green or Mathews but isnt bad. I mean we have to remember the Knicks arent just choosing whoever they want to sign, they have to sign who they can so Afflalo might be the only attainable wing player from that group. Granted they shouldnt overpay for him.

Woj’s full article says Afflalo is seeking 3/36 or so. Yuck.

Seems likely his source is Afflalo’s agent.
Wouldn’t put any stock in it for now…
This is how agents and teams use the press to set the parameters for negotiation, just like Berman suggested that Robin Lopez would start at $8MM or whatever.

Honestly, the Knicks are no worse for losing out in HaGrant. He was not a good player. Charles Smith was actually much better in every category, including the “toughness” categories. Between the 3 or them (HaGr, CSmith, and Xman) Smith was the best. And in 1992-1993 he was the best of the bunch (and that was a career year for Grant).


All of them were incredibly soft, including XMan who was as soft as Smith. He was a terrible rebounder. Didn’t draw fouls. And had 1/3 the blocks of Smith.

Ironically, Smith was really good at drawing contact and getting to the line. There is little likelihood that Harvey Grant or Xman would have made the Knicks better in ’93 or beyond if they’d been on the team. Hell, Grant was out if the league before that 7 year contract would have expired.

@ESPNSteinLine: As for Rockets, like we reported last week, Houston WANTS to get in the game for both Aldridge and Kevin Love. Needs to shed salary, tho

Would love for Phil to take advantage of this. Would be karmic revenge for summer of 2010. Terrence Jones for your Prigs 2nd rounder back.

@ESPNSteinLine: As for Rockets, like we reported last week, Houston WANTS to get in the game for both Aldridge and Kevin Love. Needs to shed salary, tho Would love for Phil to take advantage of this. Would be karmic revenge for summer of 2010. Terrence Jones for your Prigs 2nd rounder back.

How about two of Jones, D. Montie.., Capela in exchange for our 2018 pick? Melo would be so happy.

The thing about Afflalo that has him on the radar is his history with Melo on the Nuggets. We shouldn’t sign someone like him for more than $5M/yr. Even that might be too big a number.

Where are our capologists? I found this on reddit: Knicks offseason cap space breakdown and it gave me brain pain. If we were to sign 6 FA’s would we have $30M to spend on them? What’s the number we have to work with?

Two things about afflalo’s excellent defense:

1. It didn’t really exist, but it was okay.
2. It’s worse now.

Don’t forget #29 pick Mardy Collins and #25 pick Frank Williams

I would consider Mardy Collins a 2 guard. it’s hard to say since he never played. I have no recollection at all of Frank Williams, so he does not count!!!

I guess if you call Mardy a combo guard, you’d have to call Shump a combo guard. If we consider the part of him that was a PG to be a hair, it was a remarkable pick and my logic still holds.

@ESPNSteinLine: As for Rockets, like we reported last week, Houston WANTS to get in the game for both Aldridge and Kevin Love. Needs to shed salary, tho

Bizarre in that 4 days ago Stein reported that Houston will pick up 4.8m team option on Papanikolaou. It looks like Rockets would be looking to unload Corey Brewer and Ariza. How about Brewer/Jones/D. Montiej in exchange for our 2018 pick? Maybe include a 3rd team which would receive Calderon/Greek/Capela?

Frank Williams will always be remembered in Knicks lore for his great 2 week stretch just prior to the Marbury trade during the 2003-04 season.

Wow now. X man soft? My memory is of him pounding the shit out of any one that got near him in the playoffs that year. Am I mis-remembering?

Okay, carrying over a thought from the previous, now mostly dead, thread: We know we’re going to sign a big and a wing in free agency. If we assume Woj is, as usual, right, and Monroe and Affalo are those two players, and we consider the other players we actually have under contract and/or will presumably be signing soon (the two first-rounders this year, plus Thanassis), that give us:

PG: Calderon/Grant/Ledo (unguaranteed contract; could easily be cut)
SG: Affalo/Galloway/Thanassis
SF: Melo/Early
PF: ????/Porzingis
C: Monroe

We could also, in theory, sign the French big man from last year’s draft if he shows well in summer league. But that still leaves a bunch of roster holes, especially up front, and not a lot of money with which to do it. So in terms of either our roster filler from last season (Jah, Cole, Amundson, Lance Thomas, Shved, Larkin) or veteran free agents who could be had for the minimum (i.e., not David West, unless he really doesn’t care about the money at this point and just dreams of mentoring a bunch of kids on a going nowhere Knicks squad), who should be filling out those last 5 or so spots?

Wow now. X man soft? My memory is of him pounding the shit out of any one that got near him in the playoffs that year. Am I mis-remembering?

Yeah, he pretty much mugged Pippen on every possession. You can object to the overall merits of his play that postseason, but “soft” is not the proper adjective.

Aflaflo is just one of those fairly typical instances of a player getting by on his earlier reputation when time has passed that reputation by. He was never an excellent defender, but he used to be good. As he has gotten older, he has lost a few steps on defense and even some steps on offense. He is still a decent player, but not someone who paying over the MLE does you much good (unless you’re a team close to challenging for the title and you need, like, one more piece).

That said, I’ve loved his game for years, so I find it hard to not still be excited to add him, on nostalgic reasons alone.

Yeah I REALLY don’t think afflalo at 12/per makes sense. From among the guys we’ve been linked to id rather have Monroe, aminu, and even Caron butler than Monroe + afflalo

However, if you got Danny green or carroll instead of afflalo id happily just go into the season with Melo and zingis at the 4 and get murdered on defense for a year then figure it out next year

However, if you got Danny green or carroll instead of afflalo id happily just go into the season with Melo and zingis at the 4 and get murdered on defense for a year then figure it out next year

Yeah, Danny Green still has theoretical upside (and even if he doesn’t improve, his current state is better than Afflalo’s). Carroll definitely has upside, but that’s why his market has been exploding. Afflalo is like the old sports adage of free agents often getting paid for their past successes rather than their future ones.

Danny green is more appealing to me over Carroll because I know he is a two guard. Demarre has never played there plus i think he is a better defender.

Also, is there a way to trade Calderon and be able to pick up Monroe/Green/Carroll if you can get one of those players in a S&T?

Biyombo was non-tendered and is unrestricted. This would likely be a good low-cost idea.

After the Knicks got the #19 pick for Tim freakin’ Hardaway, I will never say never again, but it doesn’t sound like this Bjelica stuff is more than him just preferring to play for a bigger market like the Knicks. He doesn’t have a ton of leverage to push the T-Wolves to trade him and the Knicks, as noted, have very little to give right now (he certainly wouldn’t be worth their only trade asset, the 2018/2019/2020 first round pick).

Question is, what can we trade them? With Rubio, they have no need for Calderon, right? And the 6ers already own all our second rounders for a while.

Dude, Kahn or no Kahn, never underestimate the Wolves’ lust for more point guards.

And this seems very interesting, assuming Phil can pull a Jedi mind trick on Flip like he did with Atlanta on draft night: http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2015/6/29/8864135/are-the-knicks-trying-to-swing-a-trade-for-euroleague-mvp-nemanja

Question is, what can we trade them? With Rubio, they have no need for Calderon, right? And the 6ers already own all our second rounders for a while.

I do not think Flip wants him. He is 27 y/o and they already have Wiggins and Shabbazz at the 3 and Towns and Payne at the 4 By the time that core gets ready to do anything Nemanji will be north of 30. This is about getting some assets since Nemanji wants to come over now.

Like I said earlier the knicks have $3m dollars and 3 2nd rd picks in their asset collection outside of their future 1st rd picks. They also have the rights to Thanisis and Laberyie.

Rican is right. I forgot Toney Douglas. There goes my whole argument. that guy couldn’t even spell Tony right.

Afllalo at 3/$36 million? That’s DEFINITELY his agent leaking. The only way that might happen would be if things get crazy and we start seeing Green and Carroll go off the board for $14-15 million per year. Even then, that’s overpaying a guy who already appears to be in decline.

Yeah, I don’t think I’d pay Afflalo 2 million. Hopefully Woj is just doing some agent a favor.

In explaining why he gave up on Hardaway, the Zen Master said he believed Notre Dame senior point guard Jerian Grant has more of the attributes the Knicks want from a guard.
“Once I heard him say that, all hands on deck now,” Hardaway told reporters Monday at his introductory press conference in Atlanta. “Obviously as a basketball player, you take that to heart. So, it’s time to move on, get better, and when the time comes, the time comes. Right now, it’s all about Atlanta basketball.”

Is this dude for real? He should read Knickerblogger if he needs more motivation.

Is this dude for real? He should read Knickerblogger if he needs more motivation.

Or maybe just hire you as a personal motivator.

DRed for athlete motivator ’16

@89 I would pay Afflalo and hope he can fill the wing position or 6th man role. His defense is average at best but he’s a reliable scorer and there are days he can light it up. He It’ll be a change of pace compared to JR. I would have traded JR for Afflalo straight up. Would you have?

Story out that Knicks pitch to DeAndre is that he can move up to the second offensive option if he signs. I hope he doesn’t notice that this is the “come join us, we suck!” approach. I also love how people are criticizing this as a bad offensive strategy, as if free agency jawboning has a shelf life longer than 3 months. I don’t remember Jordan telling Stephenson he’d be keeping score come April. They should tell him he can shoot technicals while they’re at it.

Afflalo is no way, no how worth $12 million per.

Man, we are signing a lot of guys…Monroe, West, Afflalo, Green, Matthews. Free agency is bugged out.

Right… In the last 3-4 days, we’ve been “very likely” to sign David West, “frontrunners” for Monroe and Afflalo, “going HARD” after Jordan, and “meeting” with Green, Aminu, and Carroll. So while I generally trust Woj, at this point it’s just too early to say what’s going to happen.

Afflalo doesn’t make any sense to me though. He could regain his form on offense and be an average defender, but why take the risk that he bounces back when there are some many options, some of whom can be had for cheaper and will arguably be more productive (i.e. Jae Crowder)?

kinda disappointed we aren’t even rumored to be making a run at Khris Middleton. I’d much rather a young guy still with some upside (but already productive) to guys like Afflalo, or even Danny Green or Demarre Carroll who probably don’t have much upside left (but are good players). I know he’s restricted.

I think the fear is that we would tie money up in an offer sheet to a RFA and be helpless while others are taken off the board, only to have the RFA’s offer sheet matched. I’d rather trust a D-League call-up than overpay a declining veteran. I mean, is there any reason to believe that Afflalo has a rebirth in the triangle? He didn’t do much for Portland, and after Matthews went down, the opportunity couldn’t have been better for him.

@97 I doubt we’d be getting Biyombo for the vet’s mnimum, although I’d jump at that deal.

@98 Spurs aren’t dumb enough to make that deal.

You can object to the overall merits of his play that postseason, but “soft” is not the proper adjective

He stepped up in a few post season games that year, but for 82 games in the regular season he was the epitome of a soft player: he was a weak finisher, and he avoided contact worse than any of the current Knicks did this year (his .188 FTr would have ranked just ahead of Shane Larkin for 12th best had he been a part of this contact-averse campaign). Add to that that he was a horrid rebounder, averaging a whopping 5.6 rebounds in almost 30 mins per game, and you’ve got nothing but a cool name, a somewhat intimidating face, and nothing else that implies any kind of toughness.

Fans remember X with rose colored glasses because of a spirited playoff series that he was only marginally a part of. He had as many <4 rebound games at double digit rebound games in the playoffs.

X was, honestly, a wimpy version of Charles Smith. (And Harvey Grant was even worse)

@96 – middleton is restricted and bucks are def resigning him… esp since they shed salary…

I think the lowest you can get biyombo is the room exception and I’m not sure even that’s enough

I think X-Man was passive, but not soft. And he was a major player in the playoffs. Don’t look at the stats in a vacuum, he was a monster vs. the Pistons and terrorized Pippen in a great series. He never did much after that, though.

A few years prior to that when he was an all-star with the Sonics, he was the most menacing SF in the league, erratic but unstoppable and ferocious when he got it going. Check out this picture:


And the end of this video:


I would rather throw $9 million per at West than $12 million at Afflalo.

I do agree with that. However, even there, I really don’t get the West thing in conjunction with Monroe. They can’t seriously sign them both, right?

Tomorrow, I’ll put up the most up to date salary cap information in a post.

They can’t seriously sign them both, right?

Well, we have a roster that at the moment, has the Zinger and then a whole lot of guards and wings. Even if you assume Melo will play a lot at the 4, in a vacuum we need bigs more than guards. If you assume all the shooting guards will be overpriced, you grab a couple of bigs — one young and with skills ideal for the triangle, one older who can help change our awful locker room culture — and then hope the scouts that have done such a good job of uncovering useful role players in out of the way places (Galloway, Copeland, Pablo, etc.) can do it again to find an extra two-guard to put in the rotation.

To me, it makes much more sense to split the bulk of the money between one big and one wing, and it seems nuts to pay a good locker room guy more than $5 mil, but if they for some reason go Monroe, West and a cheaper two-guard, I can at least understand the thinking.

Question: Would West REALLY want to sign for little if Monroe and Afflalo sign?

We’d be fine with Monroe at the 5 and West at the 4. Neither are particularly great rim protectors but togehter they would make a rugged front line that would be tough to score on inside while also providing good rebounding.

But I’m not comfortable going into the season without adding another wing. So if you got West for 7-8 and Monroe for 15, that would leave 3-4 for that a wing and I’m not really sure what that gets you. Aminu? I’d rather get someone with more of an outside game if we’re already gonna have Melo, West, Zinger and Monroe inside… Caron Butler? I dunno, the options aren’t particularly inspiring.

i think west and monroe can work for one season… might even be pretty interesting…

i do hope that they plan on giving zinger at least 25mpg… so i think the need for more than one big is somewhat negated… if they get two starting quality bigs i think they plan on having zinger come off the bench for the better part of at least two seasons… which i think is a bad move…

Anyone think Jordan Hill is worth considering instead of Monroe? Not a fan myself.

I’ve literally watched as much Porzingis film as i can easily find – and I really think he’s going to be able to contribute this year. Not sure he’s going to require 2-3 years before he can make an impact, certainly on the offensive end. He can do tons of stuff right now that even NBA guys would have a hard time dealing with. If you guard him with a 4 or a 5 you can run him off screens where he’s deadly all the way out to the 3 point line. And meanwhile the defending big is now doing stuff he’s not used to, running around screens and not in rebounding or rim protecting position. If you guard him with a 3, he probably has 6 inches on that guy and is pretty reasonable shooting turnaround J’s or even a jump hook in the post.

Yeah the defense looks Bargnani-like at times, but he’s clearly longer, has better lateral agility, and is more active than Bargs ever was. Growing pains.

@115, I’m honestly starting to think that porzingis best comparison is to someone more like a 7ft+ korver but with post, rebounding, rim protection and more.

if we’re being optimistic… i think we’re hoping for a healthier ralph sampson…

D Walsh. I’m willing to admit my memory of X man being a tough guy may be wrong, but you’re going to have to come up with something more than that, as a SF, he didn’t block shots and averaged 7 boards a game per 36 on a team with Ewing, Oak and Mase as evidence that he was soft.

Remember people laughed when Phil said the Triangle would be what entices free agents to Knicks? I’m beginning to think he’s right. Consider how the dominoes fall: Monroe’s game is tailor made for the Triangle. A guy who shoots 70%+ at the rim is gonna draw double teams. If you’re Danny Green and leave the Spurs, wouldn’t you be inclined to join team that had players like Monroe/Melo/Zinger who would get you open looks? Not to mention you’d be part of a motion offense similar in many ways to that of the Spurs? And where your demon defense -ability to guard 2s and 3s – would be highly valued? In a city where you have relatives and friends? I’ve been reading the Spurs blog and the consensus appears to be that if they sign LMA it would be very difficult to keep Green. A 4yr/12m per year offer by another team would probably be enough.

If the above happens, Phil might have to waive Calderon. I’m thinking more and more it’s just better to package Calderon/Early/Greek/$3m to another team, pay Green, and sign Koufos or Ajinca. Use 2.8m room exception on CJ Watson. Here’s 8-man rotation (positions are more fluid than below):

1: Watson/Grant
2: Green/Galloway
3: Melo
4: Monroe/Zinger/Ajinca or Koufos

Those would be 8 guys who would all be part of our future, all in one summer! Very-well balanced roster: Great perimeter defense. 2.5 elite shot creators. Every player except Monroe’s got range to 3 ball (if Ajinca). Nice age distribution. We’d have cap next summer to adjust as needed. What’s not to like?

that doesn’t sound so bad, zanzibar, but if we’re moving calderon i would make acquiring corey joseph our top priority, though the cap doesnt permit it unless we get a real good trade for jose. but that doesnt sound awful, if we were able to move calderon somehow.

Certainly worth considering. I think we could get Ajinca for 6m but I’m not sure we could sign Joseph for that. And CJ Watson would be a real value at 2.8m and would probably be enticed by the prospect of being a starter. His only real weakness is turnovers but he wouldn’t have to create in above scenario, just be a 3-and-D type player. Grant could be more of the playmaker type. I just think Ajinca/Watson would be a better fit given our needs than Joseph although Corey’s only 23 and has got potential. We could always look at free agents George Hill or Conley next summer if need more at the 1.

@121 – Interesting plan. Cutting Calderon should not be out of the question but it might be. While I don’t know how PJ feels about Thanasis, I like the Greek Freak Pt 2. And Early might develop in his second year. We’re so eager to give up on kids in this town. But I do like the roster you assembled.

I don’t think Danny Green is worth $12 million to an organization like the Spurs. The Spurs can and will find another 3 and D guy that can replace Danny Green’s impact on their game. I think he’s a safe bet to leave San Antonio this off season.

Here’s link to an analytics paper where CJ Watson ranks as a top 5 defender at his position.

For whatever its worth Berman wrote an article tonight where in it he cites a source saying that West has no intention on playing for the Knicks because he wants to play for a team closer to title contention.

I think X-Man was passive, but not soft…he was the most menacing SF in the league, erratic but unstoppable and ferocious when he got it going. Check out this picture:

Either he wasn’t unstoppable when he got it going, or he never really got it going. His career high TS% was .539 and his career TS% was .522. That’s the TS% of somebody who is thoroughly stoppable.

And his D wasn’t particularly good either. In his 12 pro seasons the only team he ever played on that was not in the bottom half of the league in defense was his one year in NY. He had a poor D-rating for a supposed enforcer.

But, if he looks tough, he must be tough. (I think Jowles might refer to this as confirmation bias or something).

Janis Porzingis also said in Monday’s interview that his brother has been dealing with a hip injury that has prohibited him from working out in recent days. Kristaps Porzingis’ workout with the Knicks on June 22 was cut short due to the hip ailment, which Janis described as “tightness.”
The elder Porzingis added, though, that it is unclear whether Kristaps will be available for the beginning of summer league play, which starts July 11.

this starts off really well…


I live in LA and I watched a lot of Lin with the Lakers this past season. He has played a lot of minutes in the league now– almost 8,000– and he’s a much more well-rounded, savvy veteran type player now than he was during the Linsanity days. He is actually not that bad a defender overall. He doesn’t have the quickest lateral movement or strength, but he plays hard on defense and he has good size and length for an NBA point guard, so he’s not a total disaster out there. He has learned a few other things– he doesn’t get creamed by every screen anymore, and is actually quite adept at fighting through screens.

The Lakers were a dispirited mess last year, the worst Laker team of all time, and the morale was low. It was a bad situation for Lin, and I’m sure his value has really gone down, but he is a perfectly average player– career .103 WS48, career 15.5 PER. He’s a safe bet to put up a .540-.570 TS% on usage around 20%, he’ll shoot threes in the .340-.370 range and he won’t be a butcher on defense. I could see him having a successful return here. If the Knicks can get him on a bargain contract I could easily see that working out really well.

Geez, I cannot believe how long the media has been milking this Nance/Kobe thing. It’s somehow still on the front page of ESPN.com!

I would have no problem with Lin at $3-4 million. It would probably be a smart move, PR-wise.

As to Calderon, I’d be reluctant to stretch him. Keep trying to dump his salary in a trade and if that doesn’t work, keep him and see if he can stay healthy. With a healthy Melo and a couple of pieces, Calderon is your prototypical 3 and no-D guy, a shorter Steve Novak.

I would have no problem with Lin at $3-4 million. It would probably be a smart move, PR-wise.

if I’m Jeremy Lin (and his family) I want no part of MSG after how the end of Linsanity went — papers all over him for not coming back after surgery, no offer from the Knicks, whatever went on with Melo, and the supposed “ingrate” stuff from Dolan. He can get 3-4MM anywhere else. even if he sucked terribly (which he does not), someone would pay him that just for the publicity.

great read thank you!
i dont know to much details about knicks history, but i’d love to read more.

Thanks (and to everyone else who had kind words, as well)!

Be sure to check out the archive linked above if you’re interested in more pieces of Knick history.

yes saved it to my bookmarks allready!
i am a basketball fan an nerd from germany but i only got invested allot around 2000 something and became a knicks fan in the early stoudamire/d’antoni era (the heck don’t ask me! i don’t know why and how…)
i mean i know there was ewing and mourning, stockton and malone etc and that the knicks won it all some long time before before but its really cool to get to know what happend

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