An Ode to Amar’e

“It’s great fun to have you in town. And all of the sudden we can’t make jokes about the Knicks anymore” – David Letterman to Amar’e Stoudemire, Jan 13, 2011.

Amar’e Stoudemire’s tenure as a Knick will probably be remembered by most as a failure. That it started off so promisingly will only add to the bitter disappointment Knicks fans will feel about it not working out. While I obviously wish things had turned out differently, I’m appreciative that the promise even existed at all.

Going into the summer of 2010, the Knicks had to get a marquee free agent or all hell would’ve broken loose. The city and fan base had just dealt with a decade of embarrassment, and two seasons of breaking the team down to clear cap space. The Knicks gambled on Stoudemire’s knees. At the time, it was widely accepted that they were taking a major risk handing him an uninsured five-year contract. The back end of that contract was more than likely going to be a disaster, but if they got a few good years out of Stoudemire then it would be worth it. They had to take that risk. I believed that to be true then and I believe it to be true now.

“It’s urgent that they sign somebody,” [Clyde] Frazier said of the Knicks. “They made sacrifices for a couple years waiting for this moment. I’m sure pretty confident they are going to sign somebody.” from the NY Daily News, June 30, 2010.

From a production standpoint, the first season of Stoudemire’s almost five-year stint as a Knick was the only one in which he lived up to his contract. His body broke down in the playoffs versus Boston and he was never the same. But to discount the impact that his 2010 season had on the franchise and the city over the following years is an incomplete analysis. If he doesn’t come to New York, what is the alternate history? Do they get nobody? Do they hand a huge contract to Carlos Boozer? Do Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni get fired much sooner? Without Stoudemire, things might have spun completely out of control.

It’s true that Stoudemire’s $100 million Knicks contract was a good deal more than he would have gotten anywhere else. Coming to New York was clearly the best financial decision for him, but I don’t get why some fans choose to hold that against him. In today’s NBA — a league that is thriving financially — fans seemingly never criticize a player for taking the most money he can get under the league’s restrictive Collective Bargaining Agreement. Yes: the financial climate of the league is different now than it was when Stoudemire was a free agent in 2010. Still, he shouldn’t be penalized for taking the best contract that a team was willing to give him.

And it’s not like Stoudemire took the money and then became a recluse. He badly wanted to be the star the Knicks needed. His introductory press conference would be the stuff of legend if he had somehow led the team to a championship (Ed Note: This is a Maciej Lampe-sized “If”, but I’ll allow it -KM). During the first half of that first season, STAT played at an MVP level and made rounds on all the talk shows. Sure, he might’ve said silly things from time-to-time but, then, don’t most athletes? Stoudemire didn’t back down from the pressure and the responsibility; he embraced the city and the spotlight that accompanied his endeavor to carry the city on his back.

To say that Stoudemire single-handedly brought basketball back to New York City is hyperbolic, but he will go down as arguably the most important contributor to the Knicks’ early 2010’s revival, as fruitless and fleeting as skeptics would might now see it. He was a superstar that first half season and it’s entirely possible that Carmelo Anthony, the current franchise cornerstone, never would have become a Knick at all without Stoudemire in place first. After missing the playoffs from 2004 through 2009, the Knicks were postseason participants in each of Stoudemire’s first three seasons. He wasn’t solely responsible for this, but it his coming to New York was a major domino in the series of events that led to it happening. Drawn to the appeal of playing with two stars, Tyson Chandler became a Knick. Stoudemire was absent for much of New York’s 54-win campaign in 2012, but the ripple effect of his signing was visible every night.  And, as big as Stoudemire’s ego can at times seem, I don’t think he gets enough credit for how well he handled his own demise. When the Anthony trade knocked STAT off of his post as the face of the franchise and the team’s number one offensive option, Stoudemire ceded those positions without making it an issue.

In 2012, Amar’e’s body broke down again and it became clear in his absence that the Knicks were best served playing Carmelo Anthony at power-forward. During the 54-win season, Stoudemire came back from injury and was correctly used as a bench player. This would be the role he’d occupy for most of his final three seasons as a Knick. For a max-contract player who had been the toast of the town and face of the franchise just two years earlier, a demotion of this caliber couldn’t have been easy for Stoudemire. He handled it mostly with class and didn’t make a huge deal in the media about it. Stoudemire’s always come across as a genuinely prideful individual and accepting that he was best helping the team by not starting couldn’t have been easy. I remember then thinking how admirable his behavior was. I doubt many stars would’ve handled the situation as well as he did.

When news broke Sunday night that Stoudemire and the Knicks had reached a buyout agreement, I saw a lot of fans online celebrating. Over the past few years, he became a lightening rod for criticism, and a lot of the critiques were fair. Stoudemire wasn’t perfect. He made hilarious mistakes on the court, said a few silly things off it, and his contract became an unmovable albatross that hampered the Knicks chances of winning. Even knowing for a while now that his days as a Knick were numbered, I still had a visceral reaction to seeing the news. But it wasn’t jubilation I felt. It was melancholy.

Thinking back to Stoudemire’s tenure as a Knick will always evoke a longing in me to somehow get back to that 2010 season. Not because that was the best team – the 2012 Knicks were much better and more consistent – but because there was an optimism surrounding the franchise that hasn’t been there since. For the first half of the season the team was fun to watch, they were pretty good, and Carmelo Anthony was seemingly on his way. I’m a twenty-something who had never seen a good Knicks team before in my life. A potent nostalgia overwhelms me when I think back to that half season. It made me fall back in love with basketball.

After the Melo trade, I felt like the sky was the limit. Is it always tough to put together a team around two max-contract guys?  Absolutely.  But it felt like we had two of the best twenty players in the league at the time, a still-promising young wing in Landry Fields, and the still-highly-regarded Mike D’Antoni at the helm. I always thought the 2012 team had a ceiling that they ultimately didn’t even end up hitting, but after 2010 I felt like the Knicks had a chance to do something special.

Amar’e made me feel that way, and I hope I have a chance to feel that way again soon.

Liked it? Take a second to support Taylor Armosino on Patreon!

Taylor Armosino

Taylor Armosino writes about sports on the internet. Follow him on Twitter @tarmosino

64 thoughts to “An Ode to Amar’e”

  1. But to discount the impact that his 2010 season had on the franchise and the city over the following years is an incomplete analysis. If he doesn’t come to New York, what is the alternate history? Do they get nobody? Do they hand a huge contract to Carlos Boozer? Do Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni get fired much sooner? Without Stoudemire, things might have spun completely out of control.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. The Knicks are the single worst team in the NBA with zero good young players and fewer draft picks than any team in the league. What exactly does “spinning out of control” entail? Without Stoudemire, would the Knicks have gotten hooked on oxycodone and joined in a semi-pro roller derby league in Bahrain? Look around. This is worst case.

    These glass-half-full denouements to the Stoudemire signing that are littered across this site are a true testament to how successfully Dolan has shattered the will of Knick fans everywhere. We sign a guy to a $100 million contract who literally plays in 2 playoff wins in five years (one of which was a six minute outing), and people are getting misty eyed seeing the era end. My primary memories of Amar’e will be the roughly 500 times I saw a simple pick somehow render him facing away from both ball and man, wandering aimlessly around the defensive half court like a kid lost in a mall. They are almost as painful as the Charles Smith event that shall not be mentioned. A guy, by the way, who for the low, low total price of what the Knicks will pay STAT just to play the rest of this season with Tyson and the Mavericks, scored almost 4X as many playoff point than Amar’e in his Knick career.

    You guys must write teary goodbyes to the flu.

  2. I like STAT, but yeah, I don’t see any scenario where they are worse off now if they don’t sign him back in 2010. Honestly, if we want to talk alternate history, I bet they just re-sign Lee if they don’t sign STAT, so I doubt history changes that much (as Lee and post-knee injury STAT were pretty interchangeable players and I don’t think Melo was going to be like, “What? No STAT? Then I’m not coming to New York!”).

    I think STAT got too much credit for what really amounted to the Knicks suddenly adding competent point guard play (likely Felton’s best season of his career) and strong two guard play (definitely Fields’ best season of his career) for a team that had awful backcourt production the previous year and also saw Chandler improve his overall game dramatically.

  3. Not only have the Knicks been bad but they’ve had much management change and constant player change since Walsh decided to break up a team that was showing promise in order to go after a star player. It makes it hard to care much when another player, in this case Amare, leaves the team. I’m basically numb to people leaving the team.

  4. I’m not getting misty-eyed about losing Amare but to lay so much blame on him and even the administration (Dolan, Walsh, D’Antoni, pickem) for his signing is just plain wrong. Two years ago we went 54-28. The Knicks lost the series to Indianapolis because Chandler was coming off an injury and got dominated.

    It wasn’t the Stoudemire move that killed the Knicks chances. It was horrible coaching. Woodson did not get the team ready to play last season and the Knicks didn’t have a real GM and that is why we’re where we are today. Not Stoudemire. Not Anthony.

    Memory is so short today.

  5. It’s not about blaming him. I don’t blame him for anything. I just don’t give him a whole lot of credit, either. He played less than 700 minutes on that 54-28 team. How in the world do you credit him for that team? Ronnie Brewer got more minutes than STAT that year!

  6. since Walsh decided to break up a team that was showing promise in order to go after a star player

    You’ve gotta be joking, don’t you? It’s well known that Walsh wasn’t all that happy with the Melo trade. I guess you should point your fingers (along with us) at Jimmy D.

    PS: Jimmy D never answered to my e-mail. I’m in constant pain since the day I wrote and he didn’t answer. Help me out!

  7. Well, he’s correct that Walsh was planning on “breaking up” the team, as he was prepared to deal at the very least one of his rotation players for Melo. But yes, Walsh’s plans were much lighter than what ended up happening. Knowing Ujiri, though, I think he was planning on losing Melo for nothing if the Knicks didn’t up their offer from what Walsh wanted to trade, so I think the most likely scenario was Melo not being traded at all.

  8. What has killed the Knicks has always been Everything. As in, every single mistake that could be made has been made. Since 2010, every decision was made badly, with the exception of signing Tyson Chandler. GMs pick D’Antoni and Woodson, max out STAT, trade all for Melo, PG signing of Felton, poor development of all of our youngsters and trading away all of our picks. From top on down, poor choices.
    To lay that blame on the players is wrong. A’mare has tried to help the team. So has Melo. In their own flawed ways. You build a team based on how they complement each other. We never did that. That’s on management.
    I, for one, am sad to see STAT go. If we could have kept him for CHEAP, you can’t go wrong with having a high-character and hard worker one-time All-Star on your team to help develop young players. Chances are, we couldn’t keep him cheap enough, so he was going to go. But either way, he was never the problem. The morons giving him the contract were.

  9. since Walsh decided to break up a team that was showing promise in order to go after a star player

    I think he’s talking about breaking up the Crawford, Randolph core, no?

  10. I like that around these parts one good season (that Amare had pretty much nothing to do with) counts as a revival. Best of luck to Amare in Dallas, but he was a disaster of a signing for us.

  11. Stat is done. He gave us a good year and a half, so I’m glad for that, but not sad to see him leave at this point. He’ll always be known for his Phoenix days anyway.

    What I am sad about is how good players like Goran Dragic might actually want to come to the Knicks, but since our moron leadership traded away literally anything of value (aside from the 2015 1st rounder that we’re not allowed to trade) there is no way for us to get him.

  12. Its impossible to point to one thing that killed the Knicks and got them to where they are now. I think Jackson has done the best he can to potentially get us back on track this off season.

    Its not STAT’s fault. Mistakes were made way before we signed him and lots of mistakes were made afterwards. Hindsight is 20/20 but here we go.

    Walsh should have come in and instead of setting his eyes on Lebron in 2010 and giving us a 2 year window to shed bad contracts…he should have come in and said we’re gonna let bad contracts expire naturally, build up our young players and draft picks and when we have a lot of good assets and some cap space then we’ll go after a big name in FA. The idea that a big time FA will never come to The Knicks is false. STAT did. Melo did. Chandler did. And you can get those guys through trades, not just FA.

    If Donnie and The Knicks had been a bit more patient (like one more year) we could have not sacrificed young players and picks to clear cap space for 2010 and within a year Melo, CP3, Dwight and Harden all would have been available either via trade or FA. Walsh would not have felt the need to sign STAT.

    We probably could have locked up Nate, David Lee, Ariza, etc….on very team friendly deals (not saying we should have just using as examples).

    This doesn’t even mention the mistakes made after we signed STAT. Giving up Moz in the Melo deal (and not Fields). Using the amnesty on Billups to get Chandler, etc. Just a little bit more patience and we probably could have had Chandler and Melo and CP3.

  13. Since 2010, every decision was made badly, with the exception of signing Tyson Chandler.

    Even the Chandler signing could be looked at as a bad decision, as it cost NY their amnesty card. (Which is why we’re having this conversation on a “Goodbye Amar’e” thread now instead 2 years ago).

  14. You’ve gotta be joking, don’t you? It’s well known that Walsh wasn’t all that happy with the Melo trade. I guess you should point your fingers (along with us) at Jimmy D.

    Maybe I should have written “Since the Knicks decided to break up the team”. From my emotional point of view it doesn’t matter who decided or why. The lack of continuity affects my interest no matter what the cause. And Walsh certainly had something to do with it. Probably he didn’t mind throwing Mozgov into the deal because he knew he (Walsh) would either be successful or gone long before Mozgov matured into a rotation player.

  15. Speaking of Dallas, it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens when Amare has his first good scoring game for them. Do they stay disciplined with his minutes? That good Stat be calling you.

  16. I was swept onto the basketball internet during Linsanity and posted on P&T under the name “Jeremy’s Harvard Professor”. During that time I wrote my own ode to Amare (the phrase “Like Amare” represented a P&T meme for a double post).

    When the moon hits your eye Like a big pizza pie
    That’s Amore
    When your hand hits that glass Like a stupid jackass
    That’s Amare
    When you dance down the street With a cloud at your feet
    That’s Amore
    When you rush on the floor, Horry laughs, chip no more
    That’s Amare
    When the stars make you drool Just like pasta fazool
    That’s Amore
    When you try a trick dunk Turn your back into junk
    That’s Amare
    When you walk in a dream, But you know you’re not dreaming
    Scuzza me, but you see Back in old Napoli, that’s Amore
    When you don’t play the D And then blame D’Antoni
    Scuzza me, but you see Back in old MSG that’s Amare
    When the world seems to shine Like you’ve had too much wine
    That’s Amore
    When the world seems to shine Like you’ve had too much wine (in your bath)
    That’s Amare
    When you double your post To the man that I roast
    That’s Like Amare

  17. I think Jackson has done the best he can to potentially get us back on track this off season.

    Not for nothing, but the absolute best thing that the Knicks have going for them going forward (their hopefully top two pick) not only wasn’t due to Jackson, but came about as the direct opposite of what Jackson tried to do with the team. If Jackson’s plan had worked the way he intended it, the Knicks would have a #15 pick in this year’s draft.

    This isn’t a knock on Jackson in general. I honestly do trust the guy to make smart moves in free agency. But so far, he hasn’t done anything, really. Free agency will be his make or break period to show if he’s any good at his job. I tend to think he’ll “make” rather than “break,” but we shall see.

  18. @16 Zanzibar, nice poem, but you’re missing Amare’s favorite adjective.

    (I’ll give you a pass, though, because there aren’t too many words that rhyme with “phenomenal”)

  19. @5 – I was not crediting Stoudemire, and our posts crossed. I was commenting on ptmilo’s post (#1). I agree he didn’t do much in the 20 or so regular season games he played and the 4 forgetable playoff games.

    @10 – It should have been a revival. Instead of fixing problems we made them worse. It was obvious that the Knicks needed a strong defensive backup center behind Chandler after the Indy series. To solve that problem we traded for Bargnani. And since he was a good outside shooter, we decided that Novak was expendable. And we let Copeland go. And we didn’t replace Kidd or Kurt Thomas or Camby. That created a veteran void.

  20. To be fair, the Knicks could only afford to keep one of Cope and Prigs. I think they made the right call between the two, honestly.

  21. Brian, between the two, yes. But I think they could have kept Copeland. I’m willing to call the Bargnani trade the biggest blunder of the last 3 years. That, by itself, destroyed the team. Right behind it I would say the JR Smith resigning turned out to be a close #2 (although it looked good at the time).

  22. Copeland got $3 million from Indiana. The Knicks had only $3 million total to spend on both Cope and Prigs.

  23. There’s no way to get around the fact that Amar’e’s signing was terrible- given the state of his knees the only way it could have turned out as a positive is if it had lured LBJ here. Could his tenure here have been better, absolutely. Things might have been different if they’d looked to cap Amar’e’s minutes early on- he played over 40 minutes 17 times in his first season here which was just crazy for a guy with his knees. Also, once Melo (and later Chandler) arrived his pnr opportunities really dried up. For a guy who was as good a pnr player in the league (his points per possession on the pnr was virtually identical to Chandler’s while they were both here) it’d have been nice to actually let him utilize that skill more often. Of course, even if had been reasonably healthy and been the focal point of the offense he probably wouldn’t have earned back his salary but it wouldn’t have been quite the disaster it was.
    Still I wish the guy well- for me he’s been the most rootable Knick since the Ewing days- overcame a pretty awful childhood and became a relentlessly positive guy who had a genuine curiosity about the world outside of basketball that was a little weird at times but very refreshing. Loved both the team and the city, great with fans, really good teammate, etc… I’d love to see him contribute to a deep playoff run by the Mavs.

  24. I think Stat gets a bad rap. He’s still one of the best scorers in the paint, and a great pickup for Dallas . . . and I hope more appreciated.

  25. i don’t think not being able to amnesty amare was a big deal… probably prevented us from doing other stupid things…

    we are almost at a point where the slate is clean from the events after the amare signing…. and looking back there weren’t too many other transactions that would’ve led to a better outcome… besides the bargnani deal of course…

    the amare tenure if anything, is a sad footnote… basically a season of very good basketball and he broke down afterwards… we were still paying for sins of the past so we still managed to do about as well as one could hope given the circumstances…

  26. @ 17. See I don’t agree with that. Jackson isn’t going to come out and say “we’re gonna tank this year” but I believe the Chandler trade was made with that in mind. Dalembert can replace Chandler on defense and offense? Come on. Calderon is a huge upgrade over Felton? Maybe a bit but come on. I think he saw moving Chandler as a way to get some picks, get rid of Felton and taking back Dalembert (who would be gone soon) and Calderon was necessary. He figured he could live with Calderon on the team because he at least is a smart player and good shooter and has a good team attitude but that he could probably eventually find a taker for them.

    I’m not saying he was full on tank city mode, but I don’t see why people think it has to be him either planing to compete or planning to tank. Couldn’t he have hoped for the best but prepared for the worst? Getting a top draft pick is great. But lets say the team was competing for the playoffs. That means JR, Shump and Hardaway (and everyone else) would all be playing better, which means better trades for those players are available. There are multiple scenarios to rebuilding and I think Jackson is smart enough to plan for different scenarios based on how the team was doing. Either way we were gonna have a draft pick and cap space.

  27. Simply put, you don’t trade for a guy with three years left on his deal while actually adding salary to the Knicks salary cap going forward (as Calderon makes $3 million more than Felton and was signed for an additional year) if you think he’s not going to help you. That deal was meant to help the Knicks, not hurt them.

    Plus, of course, Phil Jackson actually saying that that’s what he meant to do and it failed certainly helps lend credence to that being what Phil Jackson meant to do and it failed.

    So when his actions precisely match what he says he was doing, then Occam’s razor tends to apply.

  28. And I don’t even mean to give Jackson any shit over the trade, really. Hell, I thought the trade was a C at the time, so it’s not like I thought it was a terrible move. Lots of folks here thought it was better than a C. It certainly made some sense at the time. It just didn’t work out. I don’t begrudge Jackson for that. It’s just that that is what most of Jackson’s moves have been. C after C after C. I don’t think any of them have been bad moves, but he hasn’t really hit on a winner yet, either. So clearly free agency will be the time where he either hits or misses, as he can’t afford to get another C (unless that C is Marc Gasol, of course).

  29. i don’t think not being able to amnesty amare was a big deal… probably prevented us from doing other stupid things…

    Haha, yes, that is one way to look at it. And trading the 2016 pick for Bargnani was good because it prevented the Knicks from trading it for Dion Waiters, right?

    Hindsight comes with a certain degree of omniscience, and Chandler was the absolute right person to target in the summer of 2011, but in as far back as 2008 Donnie Walsh put all his cards into landing LeBron. He thought having Stoudemire in hand was the best path to netting LeBron. He was willing to take the risk. When LeBron opted for Miami, the Stoudemire move was already a bad one. But the amnesty provision provided a way out, and it was irresponsible for the team to not keep it for the inevitable day when Amar’e’s contract would become an insurmountable $20,000,000/year burden.

    Who knows, maybe Walsh was fired because he was already planning to undo his mistake?

    It reminds me of the time that I sat next to Donnie Walsh at a Knicks-Clippers game back in 2009. Stoudemire was reportedly on the trading block and I asked him “are you gonna try to get Amar’e?”.

    He answered: “Amar’e who?”

    He had his typical poker face, so I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not.

    Maybe some things would have been best left unknown, huh?

  30. I agree with Z about hindsight. The problem with the Amare signing was the 5 years, uninsured. Would we really have lost him had we gone 3 years? I doubt it. I am OK w/ the Melo trade, both at the time and in hindsight. At the time we were thrilled we got to keep Landry. In hindsight, Wil and Galo have been worthless and are now both over-payed, and it took Mosgov two yrs to figure it out. I’m not thrilled with the Melo signing, but I think it was that or lose him. I don’t think Chicago was going to trade us anything decent for him. Losing him would have been better. I didn’t lose the Chandler deal, but nobody knew Dalenbert was going to forget how to play, and it was clear Chandler wasn’t going to play hard here. The one I can’t make a single argument for is the Bargs deal. Toronto would have given him away.

  31. @32: if we amnestied amare instead of billups.. say we let billups walk and that was an option….

    who did we miss out on? i’m thinking back…. and the jr smith signing might not have happened but we probably bring lin back… but i doubt we sign anyone of significance…

  32. @32: if we amnestied amare instead of billups.. say we let billups walk and that was an option….

    who did we miss out on? i’m thinking back…. and the jr smith signing might not have happened but we probably bring lin back… but i doubt we sign anyone of significance…

    Well, I’m not sure if things would have gone any differently, but following the Chandler signing (Billups amnesty), Chris Paul, James Harden, and Dwight Howard all changed teams. So it’s hard to say what the Knicks may have missed out on. As a rule, though, salary flexibility, especially when it comes at no cost, is better than having 30% of one’s cap space shackled to 1 injured player for 3 years.

  33. I loved Amare and the team when he first arrived. I believe the Carmelo Anthony arrival ultimately did way more harm. The Knicks gave up too much, way too much. I also am one of those guys who would have enjoyed rooting for a Lee, Gallo, Chandler, Mosgov, Lin, Fields etc. squad. Young, scrappy and fun. I understand those who doubt, but I enjoyed that squad and I enjoyed it when Amare first arrived. He was electric.
    But you can’t put it on Amare. They became a mismatched team with Melo on board, and it cost them too much to get Melo.
    It was at that point where the future was mortgaged.
    Amare was a quality guy. Putting his hand through a fire extinguisher window was stupid. But he was a good guy. I’ll miss him.

    As for these Knicks: meh.
    Melo has knee surgery, debridement, something I never heard of until Amare.
    Now they are mercenaries.

  34. I wonder what squad would be better at tanking our current mess or one featuring Lin, gallo, chandler, mosgov and fields? I guess at 10-43 and most likely not going to win more than 5 games the rest of the year it would be a tough squad to beat in a tank-off

  35. i doubt we had a shot with any of those guys with or without an amare on the books…

    we didn’t have much to work with during amare’s window.. him being healthy probably would’ve netted a couple more 50 win seasons in hindsight but we’re about clear of anything of this era…

    phil’s deals have been mediocre on the surface but overall .. if he can get rid of calderon.. it’s been a nice job of just clearing house if anything….

  36. The issue with STAT’s injuries is that his injuries were wholly predictable. Gallo’s knees exploding were not predictable. STAT having knee problems, though, were not only predictable but they were so predictable that no one would even insure the contract!! Kerr made a comment about not expecting STAT’s knees to last more than three years and it turned out to not even be three years.

  37. Phil’s decisions have been horrible. At some point you have to begin judging his actions by his actions, and not his reputation as a coach.
    – To appease Melo (as was consistently reported by the media) he made an awful deal to get rid of Tyson Chandler, arguably the team’s best player.
    – After a lot of posturing, he offered Melo a max deal that is horrible. He outlandishly outbid everyone else, topping it off with a no trade clause. This may turn out to be the single worst trade in knicks history. Melo’s recuperation period is now estimated to be four to six months, not six weeks as the public was initially led to believe. That’s serious surgery. If he never regains peak strength, this could destroy the knicks for the next four years. Also, if I recall correctly, Melo’s knee was bothering him last season, prior to his re-signing.
    – Phil hired a rookie coach to a long term deal that’s guided the team to their worst record in team history. Maybe Fisher will turn out good. So far, it’s been bad.
    – Acquires Jose Calderon and realizes he’s Jose Calderon. Now looking to unload him, cheap.
    – Gets rid of JR Smith and Shumpert for basically nothing, just before Cleveland gives up two first round picks for Mozgov.
    – Phil let’s Melo delay surgery so he can play in a meaningless exhibition game, apparently more important to him than the knicks are, instead of expediting surgery to start rehabbing as soon as possible to be ready for next season.
    – Phil insists on playing the triangle offense, which many experts believe is no longer relevant in today’s era. So far, so bad. Hopefully, he’ll vindicate himself.

    The only good deal Phil made so far was $60 million/5 years . . . for guess who.

    This is no longer on Dolan. It’s all Phil now.
    I hope he turns things around, but let’s not make believe it’s all part of his master plan.

  38. I don’t buy the Chandler deal had anything to do with Melo, except perhaps a general “If Melo really loved Chandler a lot, then maybe they would have kept him.” He got rid of Chandler for three main reasons:

    1. To get rid of Felton
    2. To switch a center who didn’t fit into his system with a point guard who fit into the system really well (as well as pick up a center who could serve as a stopgap)
    3. To pick up some second round draft picks

    At the time, it was a defensible enough move. It wasn’t getting enough value for Chandler, but it did get rid of Felton.

  39. To appease Melo (as was consistently reported by the media) he made an awful deal to get rid of Tyson Chandler, arguably the team’s best player.

    Tyson didn’t want to stick around for a multi-year rebuild, and would have had plenty of suitors in free agency. Trading him was the smartest move. Yes, we could have got more in return if we’d waited, but Tyson could have been hurt and then we would have got back less.

    After a lot of posturing, he offered Melo a max deal that is horrible.

    Yes.

    Phil hired a rookie coach to a long term deal that’s guided the team to their worst record in team history.

    This team has no talent. It doesn’t matter who the coach is.

    Gets rid of JR Smith and Shumpert for basically nothing, just before Cleveland gives up two first round picks for Mozgov.

    Mozgov is in his prime, is an above-averagish player, is 7’0″ tall, and is making 5 million bucks next season. Those guys don’t grow on trees. JR Smith and Shumpert are a mediocre, overpaid head case who couldn’t stay sober during the playoffs and a decentish player who is about to be a free agent. Those guys essentially do grow on trees.

    Phil insists on playing the triangle offense, which many experts believe is no longer relevant in today’s era.

    The players suck. Put a bunch of good players in the triangle and see what happens.

    Phil has made one huge mistake. I know this season sucks, and it’s frustrating. But from the start he’s had almost nothing to work with. I think some of you are underestimating how terrible this teams roster construction was.

  40. That’s some nice trade machining, Loathing. The question is, do you really want Dragic next year if the rumors about his salary hopes are accurate? Goran’s a good player, but he’s a good PG in a league filled with good point guards. He’s nowhere near one of the best PGs in basketball, and he looks like he wants to be paid like he is.

  41. @41 – EXACTLY.
    @45 – This is why you do it; to see if he’s a good fit in the triangle. If he is, then why not? We ain’t gettin’ anyone else in FA, and Phil won’t get tempted to draft a PG over Towns or Okafor. If not, then at least we tried, and we still get rid of Calderon’s contract. A win either way.

  42. JR Smith and Shumpert are a mediocre, overpaid head case who couldn’t stay sober during the playoffs and a decentish player who is about to be a free agent. Those guys essentially do grow on trees.

    I beg to differ. JR Smith’s skill set (at this point in his career) is easily replaceable, but guys like JR Smith do not “grow on trees.” He is a once-in-a-generation head case who had million dollar talent and a five cent head. I think he compares best to Marvin Barnes – although slightly less talented.

  43. Very impressive trade machining Loathing, I have a few objections though:
    1) Dragic could fuck around and win us more games than we’d like
    2) I’m inclined to think we can dump Calderon without a “sweetener” (in quotations because THJ kind of sucks, but I think he could fetch a 2nd rounder or something), per recent reports

  44. I still love the Amare signing. We just did bad on the moves after that and the way we utilized Amare. we could have done it differently like sign Amare for lower cost or year but if I would choose between what happened or we just didnt sign amare, I will still go with the former.
    With regards to Melo injury, i dont think it is very serious. we have a good chance at the lottery and Melo to reload and be healthy for next year. Next year is gonna be great.

  45. Yeah, if it weren’t for that contract offer to Odom, this team woulda had a real shot this year.

    In other news, great interview with Kerr. Who apparently was worth the big salary we offered him – this interview is music to our ears, except the kind of music you can’t enjoy anymore because it reminds you of your ex:

    http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/john_schuhmann/02/18/talking-numbers-with-steve-kerr-warriors/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt6c

    Also, it’s pretty clear Draymond isn’t going to become available. So cross him off the list along with Jimmy Butler.

  46. When Phil came here I think a lot of us gave him the benefit of the doubt, and figured that he knew what he was doing. But after about a year on the job, he has made enough serious mistakes to lose that benefit of the doubt. He made his job a lot harder for himself with that Melo contract. If Melo comes back from that surgery and has lost a step or worse, Phil’s tenure here is sunk. If Melo is still all hobbled and shit a year from now, it’s game over because he will be untradeable.

  47. @31 (I raise my hand) I thought it was a good trade at the time – more about getting rid of Felton and getting a good point guard back. I was soooooooo wrong. We would’ve done better by just cutting Felton and picking up a D-Leaguer.

    @46 Loathing, I don’t agree with you on the trade. I’m not sure Dragic is among the top 10 point guards in the league. He’s on the bubble, the way I figure it.

    Okafor on the floor, writhing in pain….

  48. I stand by the Chandler, Felton for Calderon, Dalembert, & others trade. It’s not really Phil’s fault that Dalembs and Calderon played waaaaaaayyyy under their career averages.

    Phil has made few, if any straight up blunders. His worst move was probably spending a 2nd rounder to dump Outlaw. All his other moves are at worst kinda meh.

  49. @55 – Back when the trade was made I thought it was a B+ (Chandler) and a F (Felton) for a B (Calderon) and a C- (Dalembert) plus parts. It turns out to be an A- (Chandler) and a D (Felton) for a C- (Calderon) and an F (Dalembert).

    Okafor is back. Wow, I saw surgery there.

  50. @54 – It doesn’t really matter if he is or not…were Fish or BJ Armstrong ever in that conversation? No. They just fit the triangle well. That’s all we’re looking for here. That, and to get rid of Calderon’s salary.

  51. Question for our resident salary cap experts; if the Knicks spend all of their cap space right up to the cap, but below the apron, do we get the full MLE this off season? Or do we have to enter the offseason already in that situation to get it? Thanks.

  52. They have to enter the offseason over the cap. Basically, the only way for them to go over the cap in this coming offseason are some very specific circumstances:

    1. Something involving giving Acy or Cole a raise after using their cap holds (both unlikely) or
    2. Using the room exception. The room exception is just an exception (next year it will be $2.8 million) that teams under the cap are allowed. So the Knicks can go right up to the cap with their other free agents and cap holds and then use the room exception to go over the cap (this almost certainly will happen).

  53. Christ talk about speaking ill of the dead! I loved STAT, but I have to agree this is the right move for all involved. I would have been happy to keep him around on the vets-minimum, but he is way better off on a contender.

    Despite the STAT bashing, I think the best thing about him being here was the sense of excitement he brought. Sure there were many that said the signing was bad (and they were probably right), but you cannot deny the enthusiasm he showed for the franchise and the city. He is a true professional and I wish him all the best in Dallas.

  54. A true professional wouldn’t punch a fire extinguisher cabinet and get himself scratched from a playoff game. Just sayin’.

  55. @BC gotcha, thanks. I would love to move Calderon and see if we can do something like $8 million for Joseph or Beverly, $12 million for Matthews, $10 million for Robin Lopez, and the rest on maybe Ed Davis? That’s a youngish team that could make the playoffs in the East and look attractive to the big boys when the cap goes up.

  56. Calderon to Dragic please make it happen. If Knicks loose Dragic in the offseason, at least Calderon is gone. Bargs – that’s a real tough one. I have always compared Ujiri trade of Bargs of selling ice to the Eskimos.

  57. Nothing about this from yesterday: NEW YORK -– The New York Knickerbockers announced today that Carmelo Anthony will have season-ending left knee surgery. The procedure, which will be performed by Team Orthopedist Dr. Answorth Allen, includes a left knee patella tendon debridement and repair.
    I believe it was from the patient’s mouth that reports of a 4-6 rehab have been flying about. Who is going to come here to play with a gimp who may or may not even be done rehabbing as training camp opens. It sorta makes the oh “let him play in London, the ASG” look silly much less the “it can’t get any worse.” This franchise just always seems to choose the most stupid choice of all options available almost every time.

  58. Funny I’ve never heard Mr ode to Amare called a “gimp”. Also ever think that 4-6 months is just an absolute max or even a BS number just to ensure he’s out for the season? 4 months from now is June 20th smh last year training camp started on September 30th

  59. Last report has the recovery up to 8 months.

    But this is entirely on the front office.

    Who the hell allows your 120 million dollar franchise player to fool around with such a long recovery?

  60. “Last report has the recovery up to 8 months.”
    Ok, if you want to call an opinion expressed by a guy who is not an orthopedic surgeon, has never examined or looked at Melo’s knee or any of his medical reports, but who has apparently worked with people who are recovering from knee surgery a “report,” I guess that you are right — his opinion has been reported. Maybe it would make sense to wait until he has surgery and the doctors who actually know what is wrong with his knee and what the surgery entails render an opinion? By the way, the same doctor who speculated about how long it might take Melo to recover also said that Melo will be fine long-term, this is not a career ending type of injury and that Knicks fans should not be at all worried.

Comments are closed.