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Knicks Morning News (2024.06.18)


  • It’s the 30th anniversary of June 17, 1994: World Cup in Chicago; Knicks vs. Rockets; O.J. Simpson car chase – CBS Sports
    [CBS Sports] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:00:00 GMT
    1. It’s the 30th anniversary of June 17, 1994: World Cup in Chicago; Knicks vs. Rockets; O.J. Simpson car chase
    2. O.J. Simpson’s Bronco chase captivated the country in 1994. Reporters who were there recall the ‘insanity’ of the manhunt.
    3. OJ Simpson got into a White Bronco 30 years ago today. It was then a police chase that captivated the nation
    4. O.J. Simpson May Have Gone to Murder Scene In Someone Else’s Ford Bronco
    5. How OJ Simpson’s infamous Bronco standoff led to record pizza sales and prank calls on live TV as 95 MILLION w


  • Part II: Which stars could the Knicks target and how would they fit? – The New York Times
    [The New York Times] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 09:13:26 GMT
    1. Part II: Which stars could the Knicks target and how would they fit?
    2. New CBA rules could complicate Knicks’ pursuit of stars like Booker and Giannis
    3. Knicks could reunite dynamic trio with blockbuster trade for Pelicans star this offseason
    4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Is ‘Dream’ Trade for Knicks: Insider
    5. Blockbuster Trade for 2-Time NBA MVP Is Knicks’ ‘Dream Scenario’: Insider


  • 3 areas Knicks should address during 2024 NBA free agency – sny.tv
    [sny.tv] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 16:54:52 GMT

    3 areas Knicks should address during 2024 NBA free agency


  • New Forward Target Emerges for New York Knicks – Sports Illustrated
    [Sports Illustrated] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 17:19:27 GMT

    New Forward Target Emerges for New York Knicks


  • Knicks Could Bring Bulls Center Back Home – Sports Illustrated
    [Sports Illustrated] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:00:08 GMT

    Knicks Could Bring Bulls Center Back Home


  • Former Guard Says Knicks Would’ve Beaten Celtics – Sports Illustrated
    [Sports Illustrated] – Mon, 17 Jun 2024 22:54:19 GMT

    Former Guard Says Knicks Would’ve Beaten Celtics

  • 84 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2024.06.18)”

    I don’t expect an OG resolution today, but I wonder if we will with iHart. He knows exactly how much the Knicks can offer, and for how many years, and his agent has to have some sense of what kinds of offers are going to be coming from the cap space teams. So if he wants to stay here, and if the Knicks offer him the Early Bird max today, maybe he just takes it and doesn’t bother waiting for OKC or whomever to offer him a shorter contract with a higher AAV?

    In amusingly spiteful news, the Seattle Times did not have the NBA Finals results on their front page sports headlines today.

    (On the flip side, eight of the Boston Globe’s top 10 stories ‘above the electronic fold’ were all about the Celtics.)

    I guess I am pretty happy for Al Horford also. Still quite miffed overall.

    Also, signing Luke Korner to a reasonable deal seems like a decent idea – I agree.

    This could very well be why the Mavs had such a good trade deadline. Cuban is no longer the decision maker.

    There is a clarity in the organizational flow chart that was murky in the past. Cuban, despite his claims after selling the majority share of the franchise midseason to the Adelson and Dumont families, no longer has control of basketball operations. Harrison reports to new governor Patrick Dumont, who is kept informed but has shown trust in Harrison to handle roster personnel matters. Dumont rewarded both Harrison and Kidd with multi-year contract extensions during this playoff run

    It’s a shame the NBA finals was canceled this year. If they weren’t, though, and if the Celtics had won, I would immediately be able to spot one simple, yet surprisingly controversial and important takeaway.

    At the end of the day, for all of the faults of AIO models, they do a pretty damn good job of identifying the best players. The Celtics had 10% of the top-40 players by EPM (Tatum, White, Porzingis, and Brown), 10% of the top-40 players by BPM (interestingly a slightly different group–Porzingis, Tatum, White, and Horford with Holiday being in the top-50).

    These things have their flaws and the real nuances come into play with the many players who may rank poorly one year, and then rank well the next with a new set of teammates. Basketball has hardly been solved.

    At the end of the day though, we have a pretty good idea of who the good players are and it’s best to not overthink a broad “get a lot of them who fit reasonably well together” strategy.

    The immediate relevance for the Knicks: keep iHart and OG at all costs, ignore the numbers truthers. They’re really good.

    I’m wondering how much a lackluster finals affects the cap next year. I’ve gotta imagine basketball related income is down and we fall short of the max 10% cap raise. Supposedly projections were low going even before the finals. On the other hand they almost always project lower than the final numbers.

    A Clippers fan friend asked me if JVG can play power forward, since that’s their biggest need. I sent him a picture of Jeff clinging to Alonzo Mourning’s leg, as an example of his unconventional approach to stopping big men.

    These things have their flaws and the real nuances come into play with the many players who may rank poorly one year, and then rank well the next with a new set of teammates. Basketball has hardly been solved.

    At the end of the day though, we have a pretty good idea of who the good players are and it’s best to not overthink a broad “get a lot of them who fit reasonably well together” strategy.

    There’s a lot of reverse engineering in those numbers, though.

    There is probably a world where Derrick White gets traded to Charlotte and is not in the top 100. Likewise Jrue Holiday could have stayed in Portland and been asked to take 18-20 shots a game and seen his AIOs plummet.

    This is hardly controversial, but the fit is key. It would be wrong to look at the Celtics and say “the message here is to get good players, so let’s go get Mitchell”. I know you’re not saying that, mind you, but I feel it’s important to note the Celtics method is one where the fit elevates the players.

    I think we’re currently on that path and would like to stay there. But Julius Randle’s fit is still very much TBD. I am optimistic, but not convinced. He seems to exist on an island when he plays.

    Does that mean we are actually contenders?

    seems like the mezzanine daze are over…

    Btw I have a potentially strange but reasonable take: this title will do nothing to fix the mental softness of Tatum and Brown. They will still struggle in close games, if you can get them in one.

    seems like the mezzanine daze are over…

    I would argue there are 5 title contenders next year and we’re still not one of them. The mezzanine is 6 through 16. We’re in the puncher’s chance club, which is the very top of the Mezz.

    Hard to say if we’re contenders because the sample size of us being completely healthy is small. To some extent the injury-proneness of OG has to drag down our championship chances.

    But I think people overrate the western conference teams. I don’t think any of them are meaningfully better than us post-OG:

    * Minnesota’s offense is non-existent

    * Dallas’s defense isn’t impressive

    * Denver has zero depth

    OG Anunoby is not ‘thrilled’ with the Knicks’ current offer and will test the free agent market, per @WindhorstESPN

    “Let’s keep an eye on that. Most people believe Anunoby will stay with New York, but there have been indications he may want to test the market, because he’s not thrilled with what the Knicks are offering.”

    (Via @GetUpESPN )

    [extremely fake Pete Campbell voice]
    Not great, Bob!

    ETA: if you prefer, here’s a video clip

    https://x.com/TommyBeer/status/1803106186172178790

    I’m wondering how much a lackluster finals affects the cap next year. I’ve gotta imagine basketball related income is down and we fall short of the max 10% cap raise.

    It appears that Game 4 was the least watched NBA finals game ever (not counting the bubble finals in August). Going into yesterday, the rating were down 2% from last year. There is virtually no chance that Game 5 garnered enough viewers to salvage even a tie.

    That said, I’m not sure if this will affect BRI for next year. TV ratings don’t mean what they used to, and advertisers don’t get refunded if ratings fail meet expectations anyways. Next season could have a more marketable matchup with closer games, reversing the recession just like that. I guess the new TV deal isn’t signed yet, so execs could get cold feet, but that would be myopic if they pulled the plug just because Doncic was banged up and Boston didn’t face any real healthy competition over a two month span.

    I’m wondering how much a lackluster finals affects the cap next year. I’ve gotta imagine basketball related income is down and we fall short of the max 10% cap raise.

    It means nothing for the cap. You can see what goes into BRI here: http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q11

    Theoretically, low Finals ratings could affect the next TV contract but that won’t be for another 11 years.

    Hot take but the low ratings aren’t just because Boston dominated and didn’t face any healthy competition.

    This Celtics team is about as boring of a championship team as it gets.

    No huge superstars like Lebron or Curry who can go off for 40 and/or dominate with highlight plays. In fact no real fun personalities at all. Just a bunch of really good players that all play a boring and bland style of basketball.

    The warriors might have shot a bunch of three’s and played a team style, not ISO style but Curry could still pull up from the Logo. Klay could go off and hit 5 or 6 three’s in a row. Draymond had an edge and could play a little bit crazy.

    Lebron could completely dominate on both ends of the floor. At his peak he was a walking highlight reel.

    08 Celtics had big personalities too – KG, Pierce Rondo.

    These dudes are just kind of boring. And at the end of the day that’s not going to pull in casual fans.

    That’s why our first round was so well watched. Embiid was the villian. Brunson was the dude roasting bigger players every night. DDV and Hart (and the rest) play with huge passion and their hearts on their sleeves.

    And Doncic is great but he’s a fucking whiner.

    So no one watched because no one cared.

    At the end of the day though, we have a pretty good idea of who the good players are and it’s best to not overthink a broad “get a lot of them who fit reasonably well together” strategy.

    I agree that it’s always primarily going to be about getting top players, but if they don’t compliment each other you won’t get optimal results because there will be diminishing returns in some areas and weaknesses to exploit in others. It’s hard to win a title with a poorly constructed team no matter how much talent it has on it.

    The brilliance of these Celtics is that Brad Steven didn’t just put together a bunch of top players. He put together a team that could score inside and outside, create off the dribble, take advantage of penetration with kickouts and defend both the perimeter and paint. There was almost no weakness to attack and no way to lock them down.

    The impact of an individual player will always vary depending on his skillset, what he’s being asked to do, and what his teammates and team need. Misfits don’t show up clearly in the data because teams are smart enough to try to build cohesive units. If they randomly threw good players together there would way more teams that disappoint badly relative to the talent on the team.

    I’m (very) cautiously optimistic OG is just making sure he uses his leverage to secure as much money as possible from the Knicks

    That’s actually what I’m afraid of.

    I highly doubt the Knicks are low balling OG. They’re probably offering him $35MM and he’s trying to get $40-42.

    I personally think he’s worth Porzingis/Holiday money, i.e. $30MM. But that’s never gonna happen.

    Porzingis is going to get a big pay increase on his new contract..

    I would argue there are 5 title contenders next year

    Actually I think there’s just 4: Boston, Denver, OKC, Minnesota.
    Dallas is a mezzanine team that got hot.

    Don’t worry about OG. The chances OG leaves the Knicks are around 1%. That’s approximately equal to the chances the US/NATO are crazy enough to push Putin to the point that he considers NATO an existential threat to his power and Russia in its current form. Then he might lob a small nuke into Ukraine and all hell will break loose. He’s not going to allow the US/NATO to put troops, missiles, nukes and labs on the most critical part of his border or where all the rare earth minerals and farmland are, which of course is why we are there to begin with. We want access to all that wealth and to overthrow him and then take control of Russian’s natural resources after that.

    Yeah, I’m not worried about losing him. I’m mostly worried about him getting a contract that makes it much harder to take the roster from very good to great, and/or with one that becomes an albatross in bad health.

    I have Boston and Denver with added bench help in a tier above the rest of teams

    Actually I think there’s just 4: Boston, Denver, OKC, Minnesota.
    Dallas is a mezzanine team that got hot.

    hmm…so if you have a team that is mezz…but is just a hot streak from contention…they don’t count as a contender? so the definition of “real” contender is that you don’t need to get hot to have a shot?

    Actually I think there’s just 4: Boston, Denver, OKC, Minnesota.
    Dallas is a mezzanine team that got hot.

    I was just thinking the same exact thing.

    To me, Boston and Denver are the two best teams. OKC and Minnesota are very good and should take a step forward. Dallas is very good but a hair below them. In the east there were a lot injuries that impacted the standings and playoffs. It’s hard to compare teams like the Bucks and 76ers to the teams in the west, but I would not be shocked to see a healthy Bucks or 76ers team take Dallas in a 7 game series. A healthy current Knicks team would give Dallas a tough time.

    Dallas addressed a huge weakness at C and added some more defense. So with two star scorers, they were going to be tough. But I think they outperformed their talent in the playoffs. They still need a legitimate 3rd option and for Doncic to get in good enough shape to play both sides.

    Yeah, I’m not feeling Hubert’s ratings system. There are ‘leaders,’ which I think Educate gets right with Boston and Denver for the foreseeable future. Then I think there are ‘contenders,’ which includes Dallas but also Minnie, OKC, and us. “Us” being a healthy version of us, of course. With OG and iHart. And Good Julius.

    The mezzanine is under that group.

    It’s very possible that the Sixers also become a real contender if they make a smart move for a third gun. We shall see.

    Don’t worry about OG. The chances OG leaves the Knicks are around 1%.

    This post took a turn

    We can offer more money and more years, so Leon et al would really need to fuck up to lose OG. Whether you want to pay OG the max is another question.

    Overpaying OG wouldn’t be great, but our flexibility being somewhat (still not totally) limited with a team I think is already very good is a much better outcome than him walking for nothing, which still doesn’t do much for us flexibility wise.

    If you don’t think we’re contenders, how far away do you think we are? If Leon makes a move for a guy like Brogdon at the trade deadline, does that push us into contention?

    Leon is almost certain to pursue a trade like that even if a star doesn’t become available.

    If you don’t think we’re contenders, how far away do you think we are?

    To me it really depends on what version of Randle you’re getting. If the regular season version transfers over they can contend.

    hmm…so if you have a team that is mezz…but is just a hot streak from contention…they don’t count as a contender? so the definition of “real” contender is that you don’t need to get hot to have a shot?

    “Contending” is such a vague word.

    I mean, the Mavs made it to the Finals but the Finals also exposed them. They never really had a chance.

    The idea of the mezzanine was never about “contending”. Lots of teams contend. It’s just a three tiered ranking system of all the teams in the league, and only a few teams are ever on the top floor.

    The idea of the mezzanine was never about “contending”.

    You’re right. The idea of the “mezzanine” was about discrediting the job Leon did with the hybrid method instead of just giving him props for making us a really competitive team. It was a qualifier term that was created in order to diminish his accomplishments.

    I was just wondering donnie – do you have a dog?

    besides for the kids, partner – are you also like looking after an animal too?

    I’m becoming increasingly sure the task can not be done…

    I like for things to go smoothly, quietly…way too many days when multiple “events” will seem to go awry…

    the more you commit to, the more probability it seems for awry events in your day…

    i was looking at Sporting News preseason 2023-2024 betting odds to see (I think E was a proponent of this) how that might be used to get tiers….but it was interesting at who they described as the best long shot:

    Best long shot: New York Knicks (+5000)
    The Knicks had a damn good end of the 2022-23 season, finishing 17-8 after acquiring Josh Hart and reuniting him with former Villanova teammate Jalen Brunson. Tom Thibodeau’s squad forced the red-hot Heat into a Game 6 but fell short by four points.

    Since then, New York has acquired yet another Wildcat, adding outside shooter Donte DiVincenzo to the mix. The trade rumors swirling around Julius Randle and RJ Barrett actually give us more excitement about this team’s chances at contending. Randle is the least effective All-Star in hoops — especially at crunch time — and Barrett epitomizes inefficiency.

    If a rival GM offers real offensive value for these guys at any point this season, the Knicks should pounce and go all-in on a championship run. They were pretty close last year despite the limitations of Randle and Barrett, so James Harden, Paul George, or Donovan Mitchell could take them over the top.

    Yeah, I’m not feeling Hubert’s ratings system.

    It’s cool if you don’t, I’m not trying to thrust it on anyone. But it keeps being brought up, so I’d like us to be on the same ground when we use it.

    The mezz doesn’t mean you can’t “contend”. It just means you’re not one of the teams who can reasonably expect to win the title.

    There were probably only two teams this year that were on that top floor: Boston & Denver.

    Next year I suspect OKC and Minnesota will join them. Philly has a shot depending on their offseason.

    The idea of the “mezzanine” was about discrediting the job Leon did with the hybrid method instead of just giving him props for making us a really competitive team. It was a qualifier term that was created in order to diminish his accomplishments.

    Nope, it was actually a prediction I made 3 years ago. I said Leon’s path could get us to the mezzanine, but not to the top. And I described the mezz as a team that tops out around the 2nd round.

    Then we beat the Cavs last year and you decided to turn the blog into your personal I-Told-You-So tour, and needed to be reminded that the second round of the NBA playoffs is not actually the peak of the NBA mountain.

    FWIW Leon has gotten much further than I thought he would and I’ve given him much credit for it.

    I said Leon’s path could get us to the mezzanine, but not to the top.

    So basically, discrediting the work he’s done to make us a competitive team that could win a championship with a few more good moves. Exactly what I said.

    you decided to turn the blog into your personal I-Told-You-So tour

    Because I was right.

    The mezz doesn’t mean you can’t “contend”. It just means you’re not one of the teams who can reasonably expect to win the title.

    A contradiction in two sentences.

    Our issue in the postseason was a playoff worst efg% against. A lot of that had to do with playing Indy sans OG, but defense seems to be the area we need to address.

    Without diving into film, the #1 priority for us should be acquiring a player who can stop PGs. Between Maxey in round 1 and McConnell in round 2 we really struggled containing opposing 1s.

    Who out there can we acquire to slow down quick guards?

    EB, that’s supposed to be what Deuce is for. But he somewhat surprisingly had difficulty with McConnell, and Maxey was torching us before we had so many injuries that Thibs felt comfortable playing Deuce and Brunson together for big minutes.

    I wouldn’t overreact to our defensive issues against Indy. We held Philly to a .525 eFG% (playoff average was .532). Then OG and Mitch got hurt, iHart wasn’t 100%, all of our guys had to play Wilt minutes, and we faced the team with literally the highest eFG% of all time. It didn’t help that Indy shot .425 on 200 3PA during that series, which I’m not saying was wholly unrelated to miscues on our end but no one shoots like that without some luck.

    With a healthy OG, Mitch, and iHart I’ll always feel fine about our defense. We’ve got exploitable guys for sure, but those 3 are that good.

    Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to question how often we’ll have a healthy OG, Mitch, and iHart…

    cyber must not be in his happy place after that czech goal…

    as far as lock down defensive guards…is pat bev over the hill?

    With a healthy OG, Mitch, and iHart I’ll always feel fine about our defense. We’ve got exploitable guys for sure, but those 3 are that good.

    Do you see the team as lacking in another area that could be corrected with a Josh Hart level move or is the only path forward acquiring a star?

    We were almost exactly middle of the pack in almost every 4 factor category during the regular season, save ORB% and opponent FT/FGA

    Do we go in for more defense, offense, or something more specific?

    I don’t think the mezzanine metaphor works the way I thought it did. We’re trying to move up, like into the nosebleed seats? Why? I always figured we wanted to move down, into the loge section to at least have access to the court-side seats when the rich dudes leave early to beat the traffic.

    The league shouldn’t worry too much about this finals, the Celtics are a pretty boring team and it was a pretty lopsided matchup.

    i think its moving up past the nose bleeds to the luxury boxes where you take the elevator down to the limo and out the back of the stadium and nobody knows you left…

    Nope, it was actually a prediction I made 3 years ago. I said Leon’s path could get us to the mezzanine, but not to the top. And I described the mezz as a team that tops out around the 2nd round.

    That is nice you define mezzanine that way but the word derives from “middle”. A team that is ranked 6 of 30 is not in any mezzanine other than the one in your mind. When you reside in the top quintile, you are not in the mezzanine.

    Now whether they are a “contender” is another question.

    There sure seems to be a ton of parity in the league right now, to the point where a very-good-but-not-great team like Boston that is just put together well can run roughshod over the league. They went 16-3 in the playoffs mostly by being healthy and competent.

    We could still use another really good shot creator though, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a strong POA defender who can slow down waterbug type guards. We still need a few pieces that may not be super easy to acquire.

    So basically, discrediting the work he’s done to make us a competitive team that could win a championship with a few more good m<oves. Exactly what I said.

    Actually it’s discrediting you.

    We are still, in your own words, “a few more good moves” away.

    So you’re not right. You’ve never been right. Because this is the level I predicted Leon could reach.

    It’s the next level I doubted, particularly after he incinerated mountains of value in three consecutive drafts. To his credit, which I’ve never failed to give him since he started making good moves, he’s doing an outstanding job making up for those blunders in free agency and it’s extremely conceivable I may be wrong.

    “as far as lock down defensive guards…is pat bev over the hill?”

    Hard no for a variety of reasons. Let’s focus on Alex Caruso instead.

    Caruso is probably unobtainable. Everything I’ve read is that they don’t want to give him up.

    That is nice you define mezzanine that way but the word derives from “middle”. A team that is ranked 6 of 30 is not in any mezzanine other than the one in your mind

    The word literally means a level between the bottom and the top.

    It doesn’t mean middle, mediocre, or average. And there is no stipulation that a group of 30 needs to be equally spread out between floors.

    “Caruso is probably unobtainable. Everything I’ve read is that they don’t want to give him up.”

    OK, then. Marcus Smart? Davion Mitchell (the *other* DMitch)?

    The word literally means a level between the bottom and the top.

    No… it doesn’t.

    You are contorting the definition of the word to suit your particular narrative. I’d like to see a mezzanine that is 20% from the roof. Maybe there is one somewhere, but it isn’t the common definition.

    From the Oxford Language dictionary:

    mez·za·nine
    /ˈmezənˌēn/
    noun
    noun: mezzanine; plural noun: mezzanines

    a low story between two others in a building, typically between the ground and first floors.
    “a mezzanine floor”

    The Knicks are certainly NOT on a LOW story between two others in a building, typically between the ground and first floors.

    Jesus H. Christ, Bob. This is pedantry of the highest order.

    I used a three level analogy, with the mezzanine being the intermediate level. It is not a synonym of average or mediocre.

    Do you see the team as lacking in another area that could be corrected with a Josh Hart level move or is the only path forward acquiring a star?

    Even the vaunted January Knicks only put up an eFG% of .560, which I think presents a playoff liability even if you can jerry-rig your way to a good offense absent a strong eFG% in the regular season. That’ll be hard to address with the Hart trades of the world, though funnily enough the Bogey/Burks trade may have come closest to doing so.

    I’m inclined to think the path to significant improvement does pretty much require another high-usage, high-efficiency player, and those guys are generally known as “stars.”

    Absent that, I still think the team can compete at a high level if we clean up the charity roster spots and get a backup point guard (this of course can be done in one fell swoop).

    OK, then. Marcus Smart? Davion Mitchell (the *other* DMitch)?

    It’ll be interesting to see what Memphis does after a completely lost season.

    No idea what’s going on with Davion but I’m sure he’s gettable at least

    Edit: Jesus, the Grizzlies played 33 guys. You can’t fit all of them on a computer screen at the same time.

    I don’t think the mezzanine metaphor works the way I thought it did. We’re trying to move up, like into the nosebleed seats? Why? I always figured we wanted to move down, into the loge section to at least have access to the court-side seats when the rich dudes leave early to beat the traffic.

    I was thinking of an office.

    In fact I’m pretty sure I was watching Billions when I came up with it, so specifically the Greenwich office of Axe Capital with the C-Suite on the top floor and all the grunts on the ground.

    I used a three level analogy, with the mezzanine being the intermediate level. It is not a synonym of average or mediocre.
    TNFH

    Like I said, you contorted the definition of mezzanine to fit your particular narrative. A mezzanine is a floor just above the ground floor. It is only “in the middle” if there are 3 floors. In a 30 team league, the team ranked 6th is not in any mezzanine unless there are 28 teams in the mezzanine with one champ and one on the bottom.

    But you are free to look at it through any prism you care to.

    The definition of mezzanine exists between two competing definitions of mezzanine — the mezzanine mezzanine

    I’m inclined to think the path to significant improvement does pretty much require another high-usage, high-efficiency player, and those guys are generally known as “stars.”

    Now that we’re back disputing terminology and nomenclature, this sounds an awful lot like “purgatory.” Always keep in mind that the 2022 Utah Jazz were a teardown.

    And a level sandwiched between a small, exclusive level for the swells and a big huge teeming one for the plebes would be a “mezzanine” level. It has little to do with numbers. One could easily imagine a mezzanine level on the train in Snowpiercer — it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, for all I know there was one called that. The “teeming masses” took up like 90% of the whole train.

    In terms of the AIO metrics, it’s not that they don’t identify quality players — it’s that they don’t identify quality players any better than the easily-available packages of normal stats on sites like BB-ref plus the eye tests. (And with the built-in embedded WOW efficiency fetish, they have more false positives, which ultimately nets to “return to sender.”)

    I’m ready for some actual player moves so I don’t have to read this painfully boring debate about what the “mezzanine” is sandwiched between everybody’s “I told you so” takes.

    I don’t think it’s pedantry of any sort to describe the actual definition of a word. And I’m pretty sure Doogie would have my back on that one.

    Hubert, I totally get what you tried to do with mezzanine, but I’d like to suggest retiring it as for most people it seems to mean something different than what you are thinking. Sort of like if I started calling short, muscular guys ‘power forwards,’ like you know, Brunson. Cuz he, you know, powers forward.

    Just calling them ‘tiers’ works pretty well. If there are only three, and I don’t think that’s a terribly useful way of looking at the NBA, I’d argue that the (healthy) Knicks are in the first tier. If we said there were maybe five, I’d say the Knicks were in the second tier, with Boston and Denver sitting by their lonesome in the first.

    I’d also argue that that in that second scenario (five tiers), the first and second tiers are ‘contenders’ — in that they are all legitimately contending for a title, and with the right kind of breaks could come out on top.

    The last two years we had two teams that I really didn’t think belonged in the finals — Miami and now Dallas. But the fact is they did (by, you know, dictionary definition) ‘contend’ for the NBA championship, because they played well and things broke right and they ended up in the finals. Contending.

    The thing about OG is that any deal with the Knicks that isn’t painful to pay for the Knicks has always been based on him deciding to cut them a break for…the heck of it, I guess?

    He can get $40 million in multiple places, and he can get $40 million while playing with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey if he wants to. I agree he will definitely be returning to the Knicks, but the only reason I ever thought he was signing for less than $40 million was if he was another one of those guys who just inexplicably gives the Knicks a team-friendly deal, and, well, apparently he doesn’t plan on being one of those guys. As Katz noted he was told by one league source, “OG has the Knicks by the balls.” They have basically no leverage here. “Give us a discount or go get paid more on another good team while we have no way of replacing you.”

    Again, I’m sure he will be back, but it’s weird how they seem to want the guy desperately, but also want him to give them a discount when he has suitors lined up around the block. It doesn’t quite make sense.

    I agree, the “mezz” has ceased to
    Make sense to me.

    How about we speak in Buddhist metaphors instead? The Celtics and Nuggets are the Brahmins in the God realm; the Knicks are securely in the Human realm, which is a nice re-birth step up from being Hungry Ghosts for the past 20 lifecycles. Saṃsāra has ended and Nirvana is achievable from the Human realm!

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