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Knicks Morning News (2022.09.12)

  • Knicks Land Harrison Barnes In Major Trade Scenario – NBA Analysis Network
    [nbaanalysis.net] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 10:21:34 PM

    Knicks Land Harrison Barnes In Major Trade Scenario  NBA Analysis Network

  • Knicks must prioritize the youth movement and continue to rebuild in 2022-23 – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 5:00:00 PM

    Knicks must prioritize the youth movement and continue to rebuild in 2022-23  Daily KnicksPower Ranking Knicks’ Roster Entering 2022-23 NBA Season  Bleacher ReportWhat should the Knicks front office do now?  Posting and ToastingCommunity Shootaround: New York Knicks  hoopsrumors.com2 way too early Knicks trades New York needs to pull off  ClutchPointsView Full Coverage on Google News

  • NBA Rumors: This Jazz-Knicks Trade Features Bojan Bogdanovic – NBA Analysis Network
    [nbaanalysis.net] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 4:25:12 PM

    NBA Rumors: This Jazz-Knicks Trade Features Bojan Bogdanovic  NBA Analysis Network

  • Kobe Bryant claimed to not know Jeremy Lin, tasted a dose of ‘Linsanity’ against the Knicks – The Sportsrush
    [thesportsrush.com] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 10:01:30 AM

    Kobe Bryant claimed to not know Jeremy Lin, tasted a dose of ‘Linsanity’ against the Knicks  The Sportsrush

  • Latest report proves once again Knicks signing Kemba Walker was a mistake – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 10:00:00 AM

    Latest report proves once again Knicks signing Kemba Walker was a mistake  Daily Knicks

  • 3 Knicks players that would shine in the NFL for the Giants or Jets – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Sunday, September 11, 2022 8:00:00 AM

    3 Knicks players that would shine in the NFL for the Giants or Jets  Daily Knicks

  • 106 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2022.09.12)”

    Trade for Westbrook to shed salaries = good. Buyout agreement = good. Keep Westbrook on the roster = very bad.

    The stats alone tell a mixed story about Russ’ stint in LA. RAPTOR has him at below replacement level, as does BPM, whereas LEBRON and EPM have him as a mild negative (~-1.0), whereas RPM quite likes him at around +3 (though RPM likes him because his DRPM is an absolutely suspect +3.4!) If you’re getting that player you can do things with him coming off the bench, but only within the context of certain lineups since he is a unique but limited player.

    There is a possible world in which you get in touch with Russ either pre-trade (by tampering) or post-trade in an official meeting, and get a verbal commitment to team basketball that he makes good on. A more team-focused Russ would be great to watch with Obi, Mitch, and Hart. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Moreover, I don’t really see the upside at all. Derrick Rose was actually *really good* last year for a backup PG (for comparison, his EPM was +1.8 and he was playing injured for about a third of his games–perhaps that’s standard with him now, but with injuries you never really know) and doesn’t come with all the baggage Russ does. And it would split up one of our most productive backcourts in the Rose-IQ pairing. In my view we should just ride with Rose and IQ as our backup PGs.

    In general I don’t see how much surplus value you’re getting over Rose even in the best case scenario. Buying out Russ makes more sense if you’re trying to maximize expected wins, imo.

    I don’t see the point of debating whether we should buyout or play Westbrook because this trade will never, ever happen.

    The Lakers are saving those picks for real difference makers, not an awful contract in Randle and a neutral-ish one in Fournier. They wouldn’t even make the trade without the picks unless the Knicks were the ones throwing in sweetener. Nobody wants Julius Randle.

    If Russell Westbrook ever becomes a Knick we should waive him before he even gets a practice jersey for a number of reasons, but again, this is a less relevant conversation than those we’ve had about Toure Murray’s ceiling.

    More important to LAL than the draft picks is the cap space they’re about to open up for a Kyrie Irving pursuit.

    Today’s KFS pod raised a more interesting question, as Macri said, correctly IMO, that winning 30-40 games would be a failure.

    Below 30 would give us a shot at game changing talent in the draft, while above 40 would mean it’s fairly likely we saw some player development that at least arguably outweighed the benefit of getting more ping pong balls.

    To those of you who argue that things are just fine and dandy in Knicks land, what’s a win total you think would vindicate that opinion?

    I’ll put my cards on the table and say between 30 and 42 wins would likely make me feel vindicated in my opinion that we’re directionless to an extent that outweighs the legitimately good things we have going for us.

    Of course, this is an inexact science and the win total itself might not tell the whole story. I could still feel good about a season within that range if we saw a lot of player development, it’s just a little hard to believe we could have a lot of player development and still fall within that range.

    If Randle accepts a more limited role within an offense running primarily through Brunson instead of him and RJ being the #1 option on some nights depending on matchups, imo we will be able to trade him at the deadline.

    The problem around the league is not his basketball skills. It’s that he sulked, melted down, acted up with coaches in front of everybody, pushed teammates, gave the finger to fans etc… No one wants THAT Randle on their team.

    The Randle that can score efficiently around the basket when he has space, rebound very well, shoot well enough outside to have to be defended, defend adequately, and be a secondary playmaker is worth more than we are paying him.

    I’m looking forward to seeing him next to Hart. That might be the path to turning things around for him and giving us the opportunity to move him if they want to.

    Retired and bored. Although I think we are not getting past the play-in, I’ve been considering reasons why the Knicks win 45+ games. In order of likelyhood, here’s what I got (and several of these things will need to happen):

    1) Julius Randle plays like an all-star
    2) Jalen Brunson plays like an all-star
    3) RJ Barrett plays like an all-star
    4) Mitchell Robinson plays like an all-star
    5) Obi Toppin breaks out big time
    6) Quentin Grimes starts and flourishes
    7) Immanuel Quickley becomes a 6MoY candidate
    8) Derrick Rose stays healthy and plays like he did in 2020-21
    9) Hartenstein and Mitch become the most productive C tandem in the NBA
    10) Cam Reddish plays like a max player (just kidding!)

    For the record, I don’t see a path to 45+ wins that doesn’t involve Julius Randle becoming something like what he was in 2020-21.

    And pardon me for leaving off Fournier (he is who he is) Deuce (will be glued to the bench barring at least 2 guards getting hurt) Sims (one of Mitch or Hart would have to go down) and Keels (hey, you never know!)

    I think 41 wins would be good, and a sign that our young players are improving. The east is a strong conference now, it’s not easy to get wins like it was 3 or 4 years ago.

    “I’ll put my cards on the table and say between 30 and 42 wins would likely make me feel vindicated in my opinion that we’re directionless to an extent that outweighs the legitimately good things we have going for us.”

    That’s a pretty large range and tons of factors could be involved at both ends of it, so it’s hard to say that one’s opinion was vindicated just by a specific win total, imo.

    For example, if the Knicks dump Randle and one of Fournier or Rose, then I would not expect them to win over 42 games even if there is significant development from the kids. So winning 37 games on the backs of Brunson, RJ, Obi, Grimes, IQ and Mitch would be a plus for the plan under those circumstances imo. (clearly I vehemently disagree with your contention that winning 37 games is easy).

    The NBA is stacked right now. There are more legit contending teams and more play-in level teams than ever. The east in particular is gonna be a bloodbath. So “directionless” is going to be a high bar for me. Frankly, they could win 40 games and still be directionless, or 32 games and be on track. It’s really about how our young players develop and what we do with our trade capital when we finally do something big. Ditching Burks, Noel and Kemba and acquiring Brunson and Hartenstein already confirmed a directional shift that I’m happy about, and not reaching for Mitchell confirmed that.

    From the day he was hired, Leon Rose said that his goal (i.e. direction) was to put a competitive product on the floor while committing to developing young players and maintaining cap and roster flexibility for future moves.

    The only thing that has really shifted the team off course has been the long-term commitment to Julius Randle. And if he bounces back, the plan is back on track.

    “Retired and bored.”
    Z-Man. If you are looking to keep active until you find an appropriate gig, I can connect you with a) a wonderful tutoring agency that has matched me with some excellent students &/or b) my former AP who is doing professional development in District 4 around Algebra for All style math instruction ( eg number talks, 5 practices). I don’t know if the agency has any students where you reside and the D4 is in East Harlem. But, if either is of interest, let me know and, I’ll post an email account. Be patient!

    “ It’s really about how our young players develop and what we do with our trade capital when we finally do something big. Ditching Burks, Noel and Kemba and acquiring Brunson and Hartenstein already confirmed a directional shift that I’m happy about, and not reaching for Mitchell confirmed that.”

    100%

    I don’t think they wanted to do what they did last year. They had a ton of cap space and were looking to upgrade several positions, but they failed to attract any of the top players. So they essentially brought back the same team, added a more versatile scorer than Bullock, and took a flier on Kemba. This year free agency was successful! They landed a young quality PG and young C that fits what Thibs wants and what they need. I’m sure if they could have done things like that last year they would have.

    been thinking about you a bunch lately z-man…

    I’ve stepped away from work for extended periods a couple of times in the past…

    it has usually taken at least 6 months before I started to settle down and my body and mind to realize I wasn’t working at the time…

    took ma a couple of years to unwind after she retired…

    my impression is that you are a physical person, athletics and such, and have been throughout life…

    you may need an outlet to burn off some of that energy, of which I’m sure there’s an abundance…

    there’s a reason why you were so successful for so long in such a stressful situation…

    not saying you need another outlet similar to work, but, you may need to do an honest assessment of where you are at physically at this moment and try to figure out what physical activity/sport may assist you in your transition, or just moving forward…

    running and basketball may not be the best thing for you at this stage…by any chance, do you have access to a pool?

    Thanks Bo, I’m good for now. The plan is to take these two months off to decompress and focus on my kids, then to look into stuff around here in northern Westchester. Tutoring is definitely an option, I have a pretty good connection in Scarsdale but your org sounds interesting! Also thinking of leave replacement type work. Definitely not thinking of commuting in to NYC regularly again or being a part of that dumb bureaucracy, in fact, would consider working against them, e.g. advocating for fairness in admissions, testing reform, etc. But I’ll keep you advised!

    (Or I could start a Knicks podcast and have all of you on as special guests…)

    Thanks as always, geo, your thoughtfulness and kindness never ceases to impress and inspire me.

    My wife and I belong to a full-service health/fitness club called Club Fit in Briarcliff NY. It has all kinds of fitness options…full-court basketball, racquetball, tennis, swimming, indoor track, classes, personal training…I have been pretty good about using it but have been in a rut for the last month or so due to a number of factors. Between that and my penchant to overeat and consume craft beers, I have some catching up to do!

    We also have a paved running/biking trail adjacent to my townhouse complex and I have used that on-and-off. It’s pretty and convenient, and a 4-mile walk/run gets me to a bridge over the croton reservoir with inspiring views. I can still physically handle running, but it might not be a good idea in the long run.

    I’ve played a lot of golf this year but mostly in a cart, the back and feet haven’t been great and walking 18 holes is tough. But I want to get back to that too.

    “I don’t think they wanted to do what they did last year. They had a ton of cap space and were looking to upgrade several positions, but they failed to attract any of the top players. So they essentially brought back the same team, added a more versatile scorer than Bullock, and took a flier on Kemba. This year free agency was successful! They landed a young quality PG and young C that fits what Thibs wants and what they need. I’m sure if they could have done things like that last year they would have.”

    They definitely made some major miscalculations during the 2021 offseason….some excusable (extending Julius Randle) and some less so (signing Evan Fournier and Kemba). They also miscalculated in depending on Rose and Noel to stay reasonable healthy (even for 50 games, they would have made a big difference.)

    No matter how you look at it, they have pivoted nicely away from those errors. Brunson and Hartenstein were both strong signings. Burks, Noel and Kemba were jettisoned in a pinch at a reasonable (although perhaps not optimal) cost. They committed to Mitch and RJ as building blocks. And most importantly, they didn’t grossly overpay for an undersized one-way star with at least some concerns on the leadership front.

    nice!!!

    yeah, you’re a really smart guy, and it seems like you’re not the only sharp person in the house…

    not nearly as exciting as work, but focusing more on personal health care can be extremely beneficial…sleep, diet and fitness…

    very good to hear your mind is already there…

    i understand your transition has only just begun…if it’s okay to ask – your outside of the home social interaction has been curtailed considerably now – do you feel as though that is something which “needs” to be replaced?

    just checked out the croton reservoir – holy cow that’s a beautiful area…wow…

    what a blessing to get all that commute time back in to your schedule…there are costs associated with pretty much everything, i have a feeling though you’ll have some opportunities to enhance the quality of life for yourself and the family quite a bit…

    “if it’s okay to ask – your outside of the home social interaction has been curtailed considerably now – do you feel as though that is something which “needs” to be replaced?”

    Not yet, but it’s still the honeymoon period and there’s lots to keep me socially occupied, most notably golf and my daughter’s volleyball (there’s a social aspect to that.) I think the real test will be when the vball season ends (early November) and the golf winds down as we head into late fall and winter. I have a couple of places nearby for drinking/socializing and also the aforementioned gym that has lots of regulars. But come November I will definitely need to find some work (lots of colege loans to repay), and that should help fill any gaps that develop.

    “The Honorable Cock Jowlessays:
    September 12, 2022 at 12:10
    I play real sports

    I’m not tryina be the best at exercising”

    Jowles! Hope you’re doing as okay as possible during this rough patch. PS tennis is not a real sport.

    I’ll put my cards on the table and say between 30 and 42 wins would likely make me feel vindicated in my opinion that we’re directionless to an extent that outweighs the legitimately good things we have going for us.

    I’d say under 42 wins will guarantee directionless.

    In the last 20 years, the Knicks have lost more games than they won in 16, had 12 head coaches not named Herb Williams, had 7 front offices, and until a few months ago never re-signed a draft pick. They also had only 1 owner. The main reason I am rooting for Leon’s hybrid plan to work is that if next season is another below .500 one for whatever reason (which Vegas predicts it will be), Dolan will make sure we will be on FO number 8. That is the definition of directionless.

    make me feel vindicated in my opinion that we’re directionless to an extent that outweighs the legitimately good things we have going for us.

    okay, i gotta ask bernie – any sort of reason why you seem to be seeking this particular validation out…

    is the dog/cat not available to kick?

    since i seem to be compelled to engage today, and am overflowing with uncle-ish wisdom – i have six important words for ya THCJ:

    watch porn, and lots of it…

    i fully expect and demand to be told to go fuck off after that one 🙂

    Hey, Jowles! How is tennis going?

    After nearly a 10 year absence, I went back starting in June, playing once per week (sometimes twice) with old friends, including some 4.0 and 4.5 players. To my great surprise, I’m playing very well for my age (now 60), and my two-handed backhand is rejuvenated!

    “I’d say under 42 wins will guarantee directionless.

    In the last 20 years, the Knicks have lost more games than they won in 16, had 12 head coaches not named Herb Williams, had 7 front offices, and until a few months ago never re-signed a draft pick. They also had only 1 owner. The main reason I am rooting for Leon’s hybrid plan to work is that if next season is another below .500 one for whatever reason (which Vegas predicts it will be), Dolan will make sure we will be on FO number 8. That is the definition of directionless.”

    I have to disagree on a number of points here. First, what happened over the past 20 years should have no bearing on this current situation. Leon inherited the situation that he did. He has not made a signature move yet, other than extending RJ, which broke the first rounder hex. The roster has only 3 players who are essentially out of the improvement arc realm (Julius, Fournier and Rose) and the rest are young players either in the beginning of their primes (Brunson) or still in the developmental stage (RJ, Mitch, IQ, Obi, Grimes, Hart, Cam, Deuce, Sims.) I don’t see how transitioning the roster to that degree in the direction of youth and development could ever be characterized as “directionless.” That stuff didn’t happen by accident, and did not come at the expense of considerable draft assets.

    Now if the team wins only 30 games without at least some degree of tanking (e.g. playing Deuce and Sims major minutes, giving Keels some run, stuff like that) then you could reasonably argue that they made some really bad decisions in furthering their progress in the chosen direction. But despite their choice of the dreaded hybrid path to rebuilding, there clearly is a direction, and it is substantially different than the direction was under Mills, or Phil, or Grunwald, or Walsh, or Isiah, or Layden, or Checketts, or DeBusschere, or whoever I left out. None of them prioritized young players over overpaid max vets, none of them prioritized preserving cap flexibility, none of them prioritized preserving/increasing draft capital, none of them prioritized keeping their mouths shut and not being a league-wide laughing stock so that players would view NYK as a preferred destination, the way that this FO has. None of them seemed as resistant to Dolan’s meddling as this FO has (prior regimes surely would have made that Mitchell trade.) It may be a lot of things, but it isn’t “directionless.”

    I think for the team to win 30 games or fewer, it would require some degree of commitment to a youth movement and other decisions that prioritize the long term over the short term. This team is deep enough in decent players (some with the potential to be substantially more than decent), that with a coach who treats every game like it is Game 7, we should absolutely be winning more than 30 games. So to fall short of that would either suggest a run of catastrophic injuries, or else Leon Rose relieving Thibs of his duties and telling Johnny Bryant to take his foot off the throttle and focus on development. And that would absolutely be a direction.

    I’m with Macri on this one: the 30-40 win range is the last place I want to be with this team.

    “But despite their choice of the dreaded hybrid path to rebuilding, there clearly is a direction, and it is substantially different than the direction was under Mills, or Phil, or Grunwald, or Walsh, or Isiah, or Layden, or Checketts, or DeBusschere, or whoever I left out.”

    Genuine question: what is the direction?

    Are we trying to win as many games as possible next season? Because then we honestly shouldn’t give RJ much of *any* playing time barring substantial improvement.

    There will also at least be nights in which Quickley and Grimes shouldn’t play much either. We also definitely shouldn’t have traded Alec Burks if this is the case, and arguably should have traded for Donovan Mitchell.

    Are we rebuilding? Because then Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose shouldn’t play one minute. We also probably should’ve, you know, made a lottery pick if this is the case. My understanding is that’s the kind of thing rebuilding teams look to do.

    Signing Brunson can at least arguably fit in to either plan so I can give that one a pass, but the flip side is Julius Randle now fits into neither plan. He doesn’t really fit into any plan at all. So whatever their goal(s), the front office shit the bed on that one.

    I understand the answer will probably be that we’re trying to do a little bit of both or whatever. I said from the beginning that this approach seems likely to make us better than the tanking teams with fewer future assets to boot, but not nearly as good as the actual contenders. Is there any reason to believe it hasn’t turned out precisely that way?

    Leon inherited the situation that he did.

    i like this reminder about continuity…for us since dolan took over it’s been one seemingly continuous mess…

    for leon, it’s been a few years…

    i understand the high expectations, but, not so sure they’re always attached too tightly to reality…

    hard for me to not see clearly that we are in a better position than before leon showed up…is everything “right” in our knicks’ world, heck no…

    we’ve sort of planned our way in to mediocrity – which, i gotta be honest, is a huge step up for the knicks, to me…

    folks will have different perceptions/expectations…

    yeah, things are relatively good though…which, doesn’t really make for a very interesting or cathartic post though, i imagine…

    The part where they argue he’s the best 3 point shooter in the NBA is awesome. He’s got like 0.7 3pa/36

    Lest anyone think I’m being unduly harsh in suggesting the Knicks are uniquely directionless, let’s take a quick look around the league.

    The Knicks are one of four teams with a projected win total in the 30s.

    The other three are Charlotte, Sacramento and Washington, who I think we all agree are not model franchises and in Charlotte and Sacramento’s cases at least arguably have more going for them in terms of the future than the Knicks.

    Washington is just a god damn mess, so if you want to argue we’re only the 2nd most directionless team feel free.

    The closest team to the Knicks is Portland at 40.5, who are also straddling a rather bizarre middle path but can switch to a full teardown very, very easily if/when they decide to trade Dame. Simons is better than any of our young players and Sharpe may well be too.

    Everyone else is in the 20s or at 43.5 or above. Now obviously not every team will be within reasonable range of their preseason O/U, shit happens. But almost every team has chosen a more coherent direction than the Knicks.

    The NBA has left the middling team behind. Teams that don’t care about present wins have become too good at soaking up all the surplus future assets. This is just not a viable path anymore.

    A Mitchell trade may well have been stupid, but it also would’ve clarified what exactly we’re doing here. At a certain point we’re going to have to answer that question. The problem is by the time we do, there’s a good chance all the present and future assets will have been taken by the teams that didn’t take three years to decide.

    I see MSG is having an RJ event without inviting the media again.
    I care not about having the media at this RJ event, but in general, I do find it concerning that this regime feels like it doesn’t owe the fans any accountability at all.

    I would like to hear them address:

    1) what happened to Julius last year? Even a BS answer is better than nothing.

    2) how do we prevent a repeat of last offseason, which was an unmitigated disaster? (for those who forgot, we signed 6 contracts – 3 of which we have already paid in assets to move (Burks/Noel/Kemba), 1 of which played like 2 games (Rose), one of which is for an ok player but is a negative asset (Fournier), and 1 was Julius. What was the process which led to those decisions and how does that process change going forward?

    3) what is Leon’s team building philosophy? In a world in which free agency does not exist for top level players and the trade market is unbelievably expensive, what path does he imagine will lead to contender-ship that doesn’t include tanking? (this would be an ideal moment for him to play up Brunson as a top FA and to lean into internal development of the young guys, thereby boxing Thibs even further into playing the young guys!)

    While I fully believe that much of the Knicks media is interested in gotchas, there are real questions that the leader of the organization should answer… but Hahn and Pidto are not going to ask those questions.

    Are we seriously still arguing what the plan is?? Dolans razor: Dolan got dudes in that promised improvement every year without being shitty. Come on, its so obvious.
    Yeah, now we value draft picks, drafting well, and asset hoarding. But all of that fits into the narrative of ‘get assets so you can trade for melo” or whatever.
    Yeah, now we got smarter, and probably thought we could outsmart Ainge (lol).. but they still offered some combo of RJ/IQ/2UP/protected… which tells you everything you need to know about what the point of draft picks and young stars to this FO is:

    Trade Fodder.

    “I see MSG is having an RJ event without inviting the media again.
    I care not about having the media at this RJ event, but in general, I do find it concerning that this regime feels like it doesn’t owe the fans any accountability at all.”

    When you have the dregs of the media world covering your team just to make shit up and slobber over shitting on your entire establishment, sometimes with no reason… yeah, this is what happens. I hope the papers see the issue and just get new writers who can string a few coherent sentences together.

    But: When you’re trying to change your image to competency and ability, no, you don’t lock the media out.

    If you accept that there are only 2 directions, tanking or going all-in immediately, then you’re right that the Knicks are directionless

    okay then, i need to get to work, my last puddles post for a while

    The singer played in the NBA, right? He’s huge compared to the other elements on the band. And they must super popular, they have Elon Musk on bass. 😀

    how do we prevent a repeat of last offseason, which was an unmitigated disaster?

    They’ve already answered this question by their actions. They got rid of Burks and Noel. They signed Brunson and Hart, who are both better fits and way younger/have potential still to get better. They resigned 2 of their young players to long term contracts, creating a foundation they can build on based around youth.

    What was the process which led to those decisions and how does that process change going forward?

    Dumb question they don’t need to answer. The process was this. We made the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Randle was THE reason for that happening and was just 26, coming off a second team all NBA season. Rose was the other main reason, accepts his role as a back up and is a favorite of the coach. Fournier was brought in to address the lack of offense.

    It’s quite easy to understand, if the plan is called hybrid, it’s because we’ll try to win as many games as possible and at the same time we’ll give playing time to young players we need to develop. If we were only trying to maximize the number of wins, without reservations, it’d be called all in.

    “ If you accept that there are only 2 directions, tanking or going all-in immediately, then you’re right that the Knicks are directionless”

    It’s not really a matter of what I “accept.” I think it’s pretty clear most of the league has decided one of these two paths is the optimal way to operate.

    Russ’ stint in LA. RAPTOR has him at below replacement level, as does BPM, whereas LEBRON and EPM have him as a mild negative (~-1.0)

    Russ is slightly behind Randle and slightly ahead of RJ by EPM

    He’s behind both by LEBRON

    Nobody here (Twitter is a different story) that either of those 2 were good last year

    I think what we’re seeing is the difficulty some stat models have with high-usage players who should not be high-usage players, especially when they fill up the scoreboard in other ways

    The hybrid plan puts the team on a higher level, which in the Knicks case might be good to make the franchise more respectable than in previous years. And then the plan is to trade for very good players, stars or superstars, if possible. I agree with Noble that this plan has one big problem, if you don’t grab the stars that become available, your assets might lose value and then you’ll be on step 1 again. Our time is now, or next offseason, to grab a star and keep this direction. Or if one of our players has a major leap and turns into a star. RJ is my only candidate to do this, and that’s why he always play, even when he’s playing very bad. If none of this happens, we’ll be stuck in purgatory.

    Sure, most the league has accepted it and it may in fact be (and probably is) the best method. But the posters of this board, right or wrong, haven’t accepted it as the only direction.

    Restating that the Knicks are doing neither of those 2 things isn’t addressing what the posters are saying, nobody thinks they’re tanking and nobody thinks they’re going all-in.

    then you could reasonably argue that they made some really bad decisions

    Z-man, agree completely but you are not arguing with me, a measly Knick fan (but esteemed KB poster).

    I think there’s an even more obvious problem than the potential for asset depreciation, though that’s a very real problem too.

    We saw it during the Mitchell saga: if you acquire your *first* star via trade, you simply will not have enough assets left to get the second star everyone knows you’ll need to contend.

    This doesn’t apply if you draft the first star or sign them in free agency. It’s a problem unique to the “trade or bust” plan.

    Even if you’re lucky enough to have a bonafide star who fits your age timeline and your team concept generally hit the market, as we were on all fronts with Mitchell, there’s just no way around this problem. These guys will almost always cost too much to have enough left over for the second guy. No GM is going to do us any favors in this regard.

    EB, I was responding to a point Z-Man emphatically made, which was that the Knicks are not directionless. I’m asking what the direction is if it’s so clear, because we at least arguably have less of a direction than any other team in the NBA.

    Maybe Jowles is now in charge of G League’s improvement plan! 😀

    Overtime in the G League this season will be a race to seven points.

    The 30-40 win chasm of mediocrity is so clear and succinct. I love it. All of us on the Optimist Express should admit we have a problem if our young guys can’t win 40+. At least one of them must make the leap.

    As for Leon’s hybrid plan, Cyber gets it exactly right. Right now simply being a respectable franchise is of equal importance to winning. Leon’s moves are working.

    @EB

    Yeah, I wasn’t meaning to imply that Russ has been *good*, or that the stats are the last word on his productivity (clearly, they are not, as there are tons of knock-on effects that inefficient ultra high-usage players cause that aren’t adequately captured in the models)–though, tbf, Randle’s EPM is in the 63rd percentile of all players, and Russ’ is in the 53rd, which hardly match the general KB sentiment regarding each player (a sentiment I share, I might add).

    My post was just meant to counter the idea that some people seem to be operating under: namely, that Russ is one of the worst players in the NBA. Assuming he would repeat his Lakers season/not have a bounceback year (and this year was by far his worst on record), he rates out at the top end of the bottom quartile of the NBA at worst (in my eyes) and may only be a slight negative at best. But clearly he’s still a person who can do NBA things on an NBA court, against NBA competition.

    For the record, I wouldn’t want him on my team–I would cut him. But Russ for Randle + Fournier and the Lakers 2027 is a good trade if you’re willing to spend a year or two more rebuilding, which fortunately or unfortunately this FO is not committed to (they rightly seem to think that this team simply won’t win 45 games this season if Randle doesn’t bounce back–so we’re stuck with him!)

    Not having any insight into the Lakers FO, I will abjure speculation regarding the plausibility of the above trade. But the Lakers are in a *very* tough spot, and either need to call it quits now (that is, trading AD and Lebron) or roll the dice on a distressed asset like Randle in order to get some juice for another championship run.

    I’d argue that luck and location matter a lot more than direction or team building strategy so long as what you’re doing doesn’t get in the way of your ability to get lucky. If you are not:

    – Drafting poorly (the Knicks have drafted well)
    – Trading 1st round draft picks (the Knicks have a surplus of draft picks)
    – Signing albatross contracts (Julius Randle is an albatross but even Pat Riley had the summer of 2016)

    You are putting yourself in position to get lucky. The Knicks were both smart (the RJ extension, Hartenstein signing) and lucky (Dallas was dumb enough to not give Brunson $55M over four and let him enter UFA) that they were able to add some really good players this year while also retaining all of their youth and 1st round picks. If SGA, Anthony Davis, Jaylen Brown, OG Anunoby, or anyone else of significant value decides they want a new situation then we’re on the front of everyone’s mind when it comes to a trade.

    If things go wrong this season, the Knicks should be looking to land in that 7-9 range (which may be impossible with this year’s shameless race to the bottom) where every year we see a team jump into the top 4.

    This front office has been meh and borderline harmful, but they haven’t done anything irreversibly terrible. So until they do something like give Andrew Wiggins a max contract or trade 6 1st round draft picks for SGA, I’m willing to see how things play out. Maybe Leon Rose, William Wesley, and Tom Thibodeau get fired and we see what an Aller/Bryant POBO/HC combination looks like.

    All of us on the Optimist Express should admit we have a problem if our young guys can’t win 40+. At least one of them must make the leap.

    The problem is that there is conceivably a path to 40+ wins that does not involve most of the “kids” getting better. i.e., Brunson is what we signed him to be, Randle gets his head right, Mitch and Rose both stay healthy, and Fournier is Fournier. That’s potentially a play-in level team (albeit one of the lower play-in seeds) even barring advancement from RJ, Obi, IQ, or Grimes. And that’s kind of a worst-case scenario, not only because it suggests we’re not so good at the development thing, but it will only lead Leon and Thibs to double down on vets. And we’ll have a mediocre draft slot again.

    So until they do something like give Andrew Wiggins a max contract

    Funny you should say this. Macri and his cohost today were both talking about Wiggins as the one big free agent next year they might want to see the team clear cap space for. And then they began debating whether Wiggins would get a max or not.

    This version of Wiggins would actually fit pretty nicely onto the team, but I want no part of him at the salary he will surely command.

    @Alan — “The problem is that there is conceivably a path to 40+ wins that does not involve most of the “kids” getting better.”

    Absolutely agree. 40+ wins without the kids playing is a major problem. We know no more about them and the clock ticks. (Are you reading this, Thibs?)

    Yup I saw that same podcast and instantly hated it. Not because I don’t like who Wiggins is right now, but because that’s way too much salary tied up into Brunson, Barrett, Wiggins, Randle, and Mitch. Short of RJ Barrett becoming Kawhi Leonard you would need to add Luka Doncic in order to compete for a championship.

    To those of you who argue that things are just fine and dandy in Knicks land, what’s a win total you think would vindicate that opinion?

    If we win 45 games I will continue to be patient. But if we win 45 games and follow it up with an off-season like 2021 I will quickly lose it.

    “TNFHsays:
    September 12, 2022 at 15:25
    EB, I was responding to a point Z-Man emphatically made, which was that the Knicks are not directionless. I’m asking what the direction is if it’s so clear, because we at least arguably have less of a direction than any other team in the NBA.”

    Sorry TNFH, this sounds like a bunch of word play. First, I’m fairly confident that no matter how many games they win or lose (within reason, let’s stipulate that 60+ wins are out of the question, as is less than 20) that you won’t come around and say, “Hey, it’s all clear to me now, I was wrong about Leon.” You’re just setting yourself up for a victory lap based on some arbitrary range of wins. In other words, if they win 45 games, are you going to change your opinion much about their overall strategy and decision-making? Or are you more likely to chalk it up to luck, outlier seasons from otherwise bad players, underperformance by other teams, etc.? Conversely, if they win 28 games, are you automatically going to commend them for suddenly finding religion on the strategy you preferred all along?

    I don’t expect anything from you except to insist that whatever Leon did to this point was either a bad plan or not a plan at all, and that any success that comes from this point forward is in spite of it, not because of it. So why don’t you just say what you really think, which is that the Knicks are “directionless” no matter how many wins they wind up with?

    Just finished looking up this Reddit guy and he seems pretty legit. Apparently, he called Jokiq MVP back in 2018. Garland after 5 games, said he’ll be an all-star this year and top 5 guard in the league. All multi year advanced stats are crazy and off the charts!

    Can Hartenstein really be a Tim Duncan in disguise?

    The direction is clear: they want to patiently build a sustainable contending team. Their methodology is clear: hit singles and doubles in the draft, trades and free agency until you build a roster with enough marketable assets to sign or trade for a big fish. Win total is not nearly as relevant as being reasonably competitive while making the roster younger, more athletic, and deeper. Build a team culture that entices star players to consider the team a preferred destination. Keep trolling for big fish, but don’t burn all of your assets in acquiring one unless its the final piece of the puzzle. Have a first-class scouting, player development, analytics, and capology team to support all of these efforts.

    It’s essentially the model that the Heat have used to build a sustainable contender.

    Now, are they executing the methodology perfectly? Absolutely not. There have been glaring errors, starting with drafting Obi over Hali. But calling it “directionless” based on a win total without knowing how that total came about is meaningless.

    “Right now simply being a respectable franchise is of equal importance to winning. Leon’s moves are working.”

    Again, “being a respectable franchise” eventually needs to be viewed as a means to an end. That end needs to be the Knicks being a contender.

    I understand that the idea is that respectability will lead to stars wanting to come here via trade. What I don’t understand is how these future situations, if they do in fact arise, will be any different than the Donovan Mitchell situation. I promise you Danny Ainge is just not that unique in wanting a hefty return for a star player.

    “The problem is that there is conceivably a path to 40+ wins that does not involve most of the “kids” getting better. i.e., Brunson is what we signed him to be, Randle gets his head right, Mitch and Rose both stay healthy, and Fournier is Fournier.”

    When I mentioned our win total I should’ve made it clearer that this is my biggest fear. In Brunson, Rose, and Fournier we have a lot of minutes going to guys who can reasonably be expected to play to their reasonably productive basketball cards. Who the hell knows what Randle will do, but maybe he’ll be decent too.

    Because tanking teams don’t acquire guys like this, 40 wins without much growth from the rookie-scale/recently extended guys is quite plausible.

    I barely feel the need to respond to Z-Man because he’s once again decided to take potshots at me instead of answering any of the perfectly fair questions I raised, but the idea that I’ve never taken my lumps on here is nonsense. I’ve done it a million times and that’ll continue.

    I said specifically that the win total itself might not be a great indicator of the success of the season, and Alan’s post makes it clear why that is. The only guarantee I’ll make is that I’ll give my honest opinion on how successful the season was from a long-term perspective regardless of anything I said prior to that point.

    Leon Rose’s job is to make the Knicks a contender. So here’s the deal I’ll offer you Z-Man, I’ll give him his flowers when he does that. Seems fair!

    Crocodile Ambush is the plan
    We caught a few gnous this summer
    Waiting for the Zebras…patiently

    That Reddit thread about Hartenstein is 99% tongue in cheek, but it’s definitely true that he’s put up some eye-popping numbers in a semi-decent sample size.

    Macri’s newsletter today was also about Hartenstein, as he speculated that based on the timing of various rumors we’ve heard about Mitch’s involvement in a potential (Donovan) Mitchell deal and the Gobert trade, there was a point at which the Knicks were comfortable with making Hartenstein their starting center.

    He’s definitely at least theoretically a better fit with RJ and Brunson (and Randle, bleh) given their propensity for driving as opposed to shooting.

    Consider me Hartenstein-curious…

    “I understand that the idea is that respectability will lead to stars wanting to come here via trade. What I don’t understand is how these future situations, if they do in fact arise, will be any different than the Donovan Mitchell situation.”

    I really don’t understand this line of thinking. The problem with the Mitchell trade wasn’t the price in and of itself. It was the price at this moment in time with where this team is.

    The Nets had to part with some really good players to make room for Durant and Kyrie. What made their situation better than the Knicks was that even after parting with those players, they still had enough for those two to conclude that they had enough AFTER the cap-clearing moves to be a true contender. At that time, who did the Knick have on the roster? Certainly no one that would make Durant or Kyrie believe that they would be ready to contend after they joined up. And it didn’t help that the Knicks were still a laughingstock post-Phil and that Steve Mills was the face of the FO. It also didn’t help that the Knick were lukewarm on Durant getting a max deal because of his achilles injury.

    During the Mitchell negotiations, there was no trade that Ainge would consider that would leave the Knicks with the assets to make a subsequent “final piece” trade. RJ was still unsigned and other piece still unproven. Next time around, we will know what RJ, Obi, Grimes, IQ and Mitch really are. We might also have another piece acquired in the draft (and it wouldn’t shock me if the DAL pick wound up in the 11-15 range.) I don’t know why you think that any of the young players will “depreciate” over the next 2-3 years. If they improve and get paid more because of it. they become easier to use to as matching salary. Think of what TOR gave up for Kawhi Leonard compared to what Ainge wanted for Spida. And if one or two of the young players really makes a big leap, then the quality you need in a #2 guy drops a bit so you don’t need to empty the cupboard for a player of Donovan Mitchell’s ilk.

    I dunno, I think for the Knicks to have crossed the “competent franchise” barrier, they’ll have to have a handful of winning seasons in a row, a handful of playoff appearances. Missing the playoffs again this year, or playing sub-.500 ball this year means they’re just another year away from reaching that goal.

    It’s not the worst goal in the world. I mean, I have watched this team suck proverbial elephant dicks for so long now that I’ll take any kind of break from that. I can live without a team that doesn’t truly contend as long as there is at least SOMETHING to dream on, some sense that we’re improving. Another sub-.500 season and you kind of have to admit the plan is not working.

    Serious question: when was Mitchell Robinson most valuable as a trade asset? Before his extension, right now, or in 1-2 years? Given his descending extension numbers, I’ll take door #3.

    it is substantially different than the direction was under Mills, or Phil, or Grunwald, or Walsh, or Isiah, or Layden, or Checketts, or DeBusschere, or whoever I left out. None of them prioritized young players over overpaid max vets, none of them prioritized preserving cap flexibility, none of them prioritized preserving/increasing draft capital

    Leon Rose has not done those things, either. We have no cap flexibility. Our veterans are blocking the kids. And he has actively decreased our draft capital through series of stupid trades.

    “JK47says:
    September 12, 2022 at 18:33
    I dunno, I think for the Knicks to have crossed the “competent franchise” barrier, they’ll have to have a handful of winning seasons in a row, a handful of playoff appearances.”

    Of course! But when does the clock start? I have consistently said that my personal clock starts in the 2023 offseason, barring a blockbuster trade or signing. In that sense, their win total this year doesn’t mean much to me regarding crossing that barrier.

    And I think some of the pessimists here are disingenuous when they say that this year’s win total will change their opinion much one way or another. They have already passed final judgment. And I don’t mean that as a swipe, it’s a totally fair position. Just be real about it.

    The Leon Rose plan is, essentially, the same as the Donnie Walsh plan of 2008-2011. Create/keep flexibility to bring in great players while trying to win as many basketball games as possible in the process. The main difference is that in 2009, everybody in the universe knew that LeBron James was open to moving teams in 2010. There was a clear end zone, so the process was tangible and was easy to sell to an antsy public. For Rose, there is no end zone in sight. It’s just a waiting game for a great player to become available. It could go on forever. It’s the main difference between then and now, but it’s also the fundamental reason why his plan probably isn’t a very good one.

    Of course! But when does the clock start? I have consistently said that my personal clock starts in the 2023 offseason, barring a blockbuster trade or signing. In that sense, their win total this year doesn’t mean much to me regarding crossing that barrier.

    The clock should start from season 1. Leon came in here with a win-now philosophy and specifically didn’t do a youth-oriented teardown and rebuild. This is season 3 of that plan coming up. Next year is season 4.

    If this year is similar to last year, that’s not a great sign for Leon’s plan. I’d like to see at least SOME growth this year for me to consider his plan to be working in any way.

    “The direction is clear: they want to patiently build a sustainable contending team.”

    This is not a direction in any sense of the word, it’s just the goal of every front office in the NBA.

    “Direction” refers to how a team intends on getting there, given that 29 other teams are also trying to do it and some basic facts about the NBA mean most will fail.

    Leon Rose seems to think he can get there by trading for *multiple* stars. We know you need multiple stars to contend, and we all agree there are zero on the roster. We also know star-tier free agency is dead, and that the Knicks have decided to pick in the draft in areas that produce stars extraordinarily rarely.

    I would posit Rose is the only GM who has chosen this “direction,” and I would further posit that’s because, again, it has a glaringly obvious flaw: it’s pretty much impossible to make two of these kinds of trades. You need to draft or sign *at least* one of your stars.

    This is why all the comparisons to the Heat fall flat—they signed an elite player, a genuine top 10 guy, in unrestricted free agency. I don’t see anyone here even pretending we’re going to do that.

    “I don’t know why you think that any of the young players will “depreciate” over the next 2-3 years.”

    I don’t know why you’re pretending you don’t understand this. We heard multiple times during the Mitchell saga that the Jazz were relatively cool on RJ specifically because he had just about exhausted his rookie-scale deal.

    It is obviously not the case that if our rookie-scale guys get paid, they will per se be better assets than they were because they’ll have improved. This ignores an obvious reality about rookie scale contracts: they drastically underpay even semi-productive players.

    Obi, IQ, and Grimes could not improve one iota and they’ll still all earn more than they currently earn. The Jazz were interested in these guys because they represent value on their *current* deals.

    In order for them to become better assets than they are on rookie deals, they’ll have to improve by an amount that renders them valuable even *after* they’ve been extended. This is a category that is almost exclusively limited to max players (not completely exclusively so I won’t rule out that we can somehow sign them to below market-value extensions, but it’s a silly thing to bet on).

    If you’re going to say “well, if those guys are so valuable on rookie-deals, then Leon must have done a good job picking them,” yes! I’ve made this point a million times. I think the Rose regime has gotten above-average value on their draft picks.

    I’ll just repeat that eventually all the singles and competence compared to past Knicks regimes and good vibes and whatnot need to ripen into, you know, a good team if I’m expected to worship at the altar of these guys.

    “They have already passed final judgment.”

    Do you really think I’ll hesitate to give Leon Rose his due if he builds the first sustainable Knicks contender I have literally ever seen? That’s nuts. I’ll name my damn first born after him.

    “We have no cap flexibility.”

    Not true. This was demonstrated when we cleared cap space on draft day. You can quibble about the price, but most analysts thought it was a competent job.

    “Our veterans are blocking the kids.”

    Two of those vets are on long-term deals, they aren’t placeholders. If the kids need to outplay them to get PT, that helps their development. under previous regimes, either their were no kids to block, or the kids got PT they didn’t deserve, sucked, and never improved.

    “And he has actively decreased our draft capital through series of stupid trades.”

    Also not true. But feel free to keep going right on saying that it is!

    The idea that Leon Rose has “cap flexibility” is popular in Rose-sympathetic circles but seems to be nothing but a relic from the time (pre-2021 and 2022 offseasons) it was actually true.

    We don’t have significant cap space on the horizon without major trades. We have the worst contract in the NBA on the books. This is not “cap flexibility.”

    Our draft night trades definitely weren’t an example of cap flexibility. We just traded a bunch of picks to get off some bad/neutral contracts. Any team can do that.

    You have cap flexibility when you *don’t* have to do that.

    “The direction is clear: they want to patiently build a sustainable contending team.”

    “This is not a direction in any sense of the word, it’s just the goal of every front office in the NBA.

    “Direction” refers to how a team intends on getting there.”

    I think methodology is a much more accurate word for this. In any case, whether you say “directionless” or “methodology-less” it’s a silly conclusion. If my destination (goal) is north of where I am, it’s silly to assume that my direction is going to be anything but north, although I might choose different methodologies to get there…car, bus, train…and different roads…I-87 vs. the Taconic vs. Rt. 22. Your descriptor of “directionless” suggests that they are just flailing away blindfolded without any rhyme or reason hoping that they will someday get where they want to. It’s an extremely simplistic take, and frankly, someone as intelligent and good with language as you can do better.

    “Leon Rose seems to think he can get there by trading for *multiple* stars.”

    The key word here is “can” and multiple teams have gotten there by that route. He didn’t say he “must” or he “will” trade for multiple stars, or that it’s the only way to get to the destination.

    “We know you need multiple stars to contend, and we all agree there are zero on the roster.”

    We know this is true right now. We don’t know if this will be true going forward. BTW, most people thought we had a star last year at this time, and I believe that you were in that group. Of course, now you and others who thought that believe that that same player is an irredeemable albatross. Go figure!

    “In order for them to become better assets than they are on rookie deals, they’ll have to improve by an amount that renders them valuable even *after* they’ve been extended.”

    Most players do not return excess value on their rookie deals, if a team trades for them, they usually will have to extend them anyway. BTW, Ainge traded for an extended Collin Sexton and an extended Lauri Markkanen. Seems like they had plenty of value on their market-level deals.

    “If you’re going to say “well, if those guys are so valuable on rookie-deals, then Leon must have done a good job picking them,” yes! I’ve made this point a million times. I think the Rose regime has gotten above-average value on their draft picks.”

    Is that not consistent with some sort of “direction?”

    “Do you really think I’ll hesitate to give Leon Rose his due if he builds the first sustainable Knicks contender I have literally ever seen? That’s nuts. I’ll name my damn first born after him.”

    Yes, I do think you will hesitate, and will attribute it to mostly dumb luck after taking a very dumb path. However, you will celebrate the outcome as I have no doubt that you care more about the Knick contending than you do about being right, just like most of us do.

    As I’ve always said, TNHF, we agree on most things Knicks, and that includes our preferred methodology. I just think your takes on how things stand is a bit extreme, or at least premature.

    “We don’t have significant cap space on the horizon without major trades. We have the worst contract in the NBA on the books. This is not “cap flexibility.””

    This is another example of an unnecessarily extreme take. Randle’s contract is currently bad, but a) it could improve substantially with improved play, b) it is not nearly as bad as other bad contracts that have been moved by attaching an asset, and c) we have picks/assets to attach without affecting future flexibility all that much.

    We are right around the salary cap right now and have just demonstrated how to clear cap space in a hurry at minimal cost, let alone in a more gradual way. How many other non-tanking teams could clear cap space as easily as we could, or could make a trade for a star as an over-the-cap team as easily as we could?

    “You have cap flexibility when you *don’t* have to do that.”

    No, you have cap “space” when you don’t have to do that. Clearing cap space when you are at or just above the cap can cost assets, including trading good players if necessary, (and at the end of the day we expended very little to clear cap space in a tight window) but we were able to do so when Miami and Dallas could not. THAT’s cap flexibility.

    BTW kudos to Jeremy on KFS for his elaborate explanations of capology, especially the nuances of operating as an under the cap vs. over the cap team in regard to transactions. I believe he would agree with the characterization of the Knicks as having cap flexibility and that Brock Aller knows what he is doing in this regard.

    @TNFH — “I understand that the idea is that respectability will lead to stars wanting to come here via trade.”

    I agree with you a lot, but I think this is too narrow a view. Respectability is *also* a few playoff appearances, your own guys not wanting to leave, and the team not being the laughingstock of the league. You may be absolutely right that the situational ask for the right future star will be no different from the DMitchell ask, but I think our own players will improve incrementally over time, and I feel more optimistic about our drafting staff than I have in a long while, so the quality of our offers might also improve. To paraphrase Peter LaFleur from the prestige sporting masterpiece, DODGEBALL: “We don’t even know who our best player is yet.” That’s a good thing.

    So, more than a splashy trade for a star who wants to come here, I think Leon is trying to build a foundation for years of competitive basketball. Instead of one make or break season every five years like the Nets, Leon wants the opposite: boring sustainability. I’ve said this before: Leon’s model is the Yankees. He’s looking for that homegrown 90s core four. We may not all like waiting for it, but I kind of do. Because even if DMitchell is a better player right now, I’d much rather watch IQ.

    The ‘90s Yankees were really good because they drafted multiple star level players and signed a bunch more in free agency.

    That is the polar opposite of the Leon Rose approach.

    Maybe. You prolly know more than I do, but I think Leon does want to draft a star level core and fill in with the right free agents. It is currently unclear (to me at least) whether any of RJ, Mitch, IQ, Obi, Grimes can be included in such a core. Plus we have more picks coming. Who knows. But I always like reading your posts. Keep the hard hits coming.

    I haven’t thought about baseball in 15 years, but didn’t the Yankees trade some youth for Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neil? ‘96 was pretty get-heavy, no? Raines, Fielder, Strawberry, Cone, Boggs, Gooden, Girardi, etc… that was pretty much the hybrid approach done to perfection.

    Not true. This was demonstrated when we cleared cap space on draft day. You can quibble about the price, but most analysts thought it was a competent job.

    If you have to give up a lottery pick to shed $10mm in salary, you do not have cap flexibility.

    Sure, Donnie. Agree. And (love him or hate him) I think the Clemens trade in 1999 is textbook “get the right merc-vet” to complete the team and win (two) more titles.

    This is another example of an unnecessarily extreme take. Randle’s contract is currently bad, but a) it could improve substantially with improved play,

    Has there ever been a contract for which this was not true?

    “When you have to give up a lottery pick to shed $10mm in salary, that is the definition of not having cap flexibility. It is also a clear example of decreasing the value of your draft capital.”

    They only “gave up” a lottery pick (in a lousy draft, mind you) if you look at the pick in a vacuum. They went in with the #11 pick and came out with three future protected #1 picks that will almost surely convey, two of them likely in the 10-20 range and one top-5 protected in 2025. They gave up 4 #2 picks in the process. So they dumped $28 million in 2023 salary for the cost of the difference between the #11 pick+4 future second rounders and three protected firsts. I wish people would stop mischaracterizing what they did.

    I can’t think of a single young player the 90’s Yankees gave up on. We did move Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez (and Jeff Nelson), but that was like 10X return for marginal talent. It would be like if the Knicks traded Immanuel Quickley straight up for Damian Lillard.

    “Has there ever been a contract for which this was not true?”

    Has there ever been a contract for which it was more plausible?

    Why are we comparing teambuilding in a league with no salary cap and an enormous farm system where players are given many years to develop to the NBA?

    So when you do something dumb, just say it was a lousy draft. Why didn’t Isiah Thomas think of this?

    “Your descriptor of “directionless” suggests that they are just flailing away blindfolded without any rhyme or reason hoping that they will someday get where they want to.”

    It suggests that, as I’ve demonstrated, nearly every other team in the NBA is either substantially presently better than the Knicks, which is one direction, or not even trying to be good in the hopes of acquiring star talent through the draft, which is another. In this sense, the Knicks are “directionless.”

    You might counter than Leon’s choice is also a direction, just a different one than all the other teams. This raises the question of why almost none of the other teams have chosen this “direction.” It’s a well-known bad place to be.

    “The key word here is “can” and multiple teams have gotten there by that route.”

    Is this true that “multiple” teams have traded for 2+ stars? Let’s look at how the current contenders have gotten their high-end talent. We’ll use a 3+ BPM shorthand because that’s a perfectly fine shorthand, and I’ll include players who fall short but a widely viewed as having at least star potential too. I’ll be as generous as possible as far as “contenders” go to try to help you out:

    Suns
    -Drafted Booker and Ayton, traded for CP3

    Grizzlies
    -Drafted Morant, JJJ, Clarke, and Bane.

    Warriors
    -We all know the deal. Drafted them all, though shoutout to 3.1 BPMer Otto Porter Jr. who they signed as an unrestricted free agent.

    Mavericks
    -Drafted Luka.

    Nuggets
    -Drafted Jokic and MPJ.

    Timberwolves
    -Drafted KAT and Edwards, traded for Gobert.

    Clippers
    -Signed Kawhi as an unrestricted free agent, traded for PG.

    Heat
    -Signed Butler as a UFA, drafted Bam.

    Celtics
    -Drafted Tatum, Brown, and Williams. Traded for Horford.

    Bucks
    -Drafted Giannis, technically traded for Middleton as a 2nd rounder who had played 475 total minutes, traded for Holiday.

    Sixers
    -Drafted Embiid and Maxey, traded for Harden

    Nets
    -Signed KD and Kyrie as UFAs, traded for Simmons

    So it turns out exactly one contending, being as generous as possible with that definition team traded for two stars, also being quite generous with that definition, and it’s an obvious technicality as Middleton was not even in the same universe as a “star” when they traded for him, so the cost was all of Brandon Jennings.

    “Yes, I do think you will hesitate, and will attribute it to mostly dumb luck after taking a very dumb path.”

    This is such nonsense. I’ve given Leon Rose credit for every last positive thing he’s done, including in the face of some pushback. You simply want me to celebrate him before he’s even come close to achieving his goal for some reason, and I’m not gonna do it.

    “Randle’s contract is currently bad, but a) it could improve substantially with improved play, b) it is not nearly as bad as other bad contracts that have been moved by attaching an asset, and c) we have picks/assets to attach without affecting future flexibility all that much.”

    A is true of every single bad contract in the history of the NBA, B is just saying there have been worse contracts signed in the history of the NBA, which, congrats Leon! C is completely speculative, we have no idea what it would cost to move Randle and the fact that we’re even talking about sweetener shows just how bad the contract is.

    “I believe he would agree with the characterization of the Knicks as having cap flexibility and that Brock Aller knows what he is doing in this regard.”

    I know him personally. I’ll ask him in the morning.

    Some other fun Knicks facts:
    -They have the 7th younget team in the league, their oldest player is 29yo Evan Fournier
    -They have the 6th most favorable cap situation of non-hard capped teams.
    -They have no dead cap, nor players out with long-term injuries
    -They are in the top 6-7 teams in terms of having surplus draft picks, Behind OKC, UTA, SAS, HOU, NOP, maybe ORL
    -They don’t have a single contract for more than $30M AAV in any future year

    “This is such nonsense. I’ve given Leon Rose credit for every last positive thing he’s done, including in the face of some pushback. You simply want me to celebrate him before he’s even come close to achieving his goal for some reason, and I’m not gonna do it.”

    Nearly every time you credit Leon Rose, it is with the caveat that you think his overall strategy is a stupid one. Can’t imagine that you would ever shift gears on that one no matter what happens. And I’m not the least bit interested in you “celebrating” anything prematurely. In fact, I’M not celebrating anything either. I’m just hoping for fewer extreme takes (“the worst” this or “the least” that.)

    ***Some other fun Knicks facts:
    -They have the 7th younget team in the league, their oldest player is 29yo Evan Fournier
    -They have the 6th most favorable cap situation of non-hard capped teams.
    -They have no dead cap, nor players out with long-term injuries
    -They are in the top 6-7 teams in terms of having surplus draft picks, Behind OKC, UTA, SAS, HOU, NOP, maybe ORL
    -They don’t have a single contract for more than $30M AAV in any future year***

    No mention of having good players, though. All the squinting in the world doesn’t change the one thing that’s really important in this league.

    “Hubiesays:
    September 12, 2022 at 22:47
    So when you do something dumb, just say it was a lousy draft. Why didn’t Isiah Thomas think of this?”

    Translation: When you do something that Hubert disagrees with, you must be doing something dumb.

    How modest.

    1) We had many (most?) of those 2nd rd picks because of Leon Rose, e.g., the (MVP) Ed Davis trades, trading down and still drafting Grimes, etc. He made them expendable by acquiring additional 1st rd draft capital so that we are unlikely to have much use for all those 2nds. So he did create cap flexibility by acquiring assets that allowed him to get under the cap.

    2) The direction is to gather assets to use in acquiring better assets or, failing that, acquiring even more assets to use in acquiring better assets. The more assets the Knicks have the easier it is to outbid other teams for stars, the easier it is to clear cap space to pursue FAs, and the easier it is to find star players in the draft (more bites at the apple). Flexibility to respond to the market is valuable.

    (3) The Knicks do aim to find star players in the lower parts of the draft, much like the Jazz did. I’ve said this not infrequently, but Walt Perrin is literally the guy who did that with the Jazz.

    The Celtics won a championship with:
    (1) Ray Allen – Trade
    (2) Kevin Garnett – Trade
    (3) Rajon Rondo – 21st pick
    (4) Kendrick Perkins – 27th pick

    The Pistons won a championship with:
    (1) Ben Wallace – Trade
    (2) Rasheed Wallace – Trade
    (3) Rip Hamilton – Trade
    (4) Tayshaun Prince – 23rd pick

    The Raptors won a championship with:
    (1) Kawhi Leonard- Trade
    (2) Kyle Lowry – Trade
    (3) Siakim – 27th pick
    (4) FVV – Undrafted FA
    (5) Marc Gasol – Trade
    (6) Danny Green – Trade

    3 championship teams built through trades and late round picks

    “ No mention of having good players, though. All the squinting in the world doesn’t change the one thing that’s really important in this league.”

    You don’t think Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, and Isaiah Hartenstein are good basketball players?

    ***You don’t think Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, and Isaiah Hartenstein are good basketball players?***

    I meant “good” relative to the other players in the league, not to the population at large. (I think they are the the 4-11 best players on the court any given evening, which isn’t great, but they are also the 4-11 best players in the building too, which, out of 19,763 people IS something to be proud of, I guess. #glasshalffull #rebuildhalfassed)

    I am really, really high on Hartenstein. He’s got a lot of tools even if his shooting is a mirage.

    He’s the guy who can unlock Obi’s full PnR finishing, full-court gazelle-ing potential.

    If his shooting isn’t a mirage… MVP. (Or we’ll at least look at moving Randle or Mitch to open up more time for him—maybe both.)

    Also high on Hartensteim.

    Leon does just enough competent stuff so you can’t discount him completely, which is going to be an apt description for most of the teams he puts together.

    When giving up a lottery pick to move $10M in salary is an example of maintaining “cap flexibility,” I can safely say that I’ve now heard it all.

    Owen is exactly right and I think it is self evident. These takes from Z-Man stretch credibility to its limit and belie his intelligence. “The 6th most cap flexibility among non hard capped teams”, whatever that actually means, is not something we should be excited about.

    (1) Ray Allen – Trade
    (2) Kevin Garnett – Trade
    (3) Rajon Rondo – 21st pick
    (4) Kendrick Perkins – 27th pick

    Why would you omit the guy who won the Finals MVP that year? Also, isn’t it important to note that Allen was traded for the #5 pick, and KG was traded for a lottery pick, as well?

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