And What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last, Slouches Towards Bethlehem to be Born?

It can’t be real, can it? It just can’t. Even though the last month of gossip, hearsay, false leads, misdirection should certainly have taught we intrepid fans that just because something appears in print (or online or via that evil tormentor, twitter), that doesn’t make it even vaguely approaching the truth. But like that hep cat Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Never were trued words uttered.

Because I clearly can’t learn the lesson above and neither can Guitar Jimmy Dolan. Take a look:

So pardon me whilst I completely freak the eff out and overreact as if the sumbitch was sighted w/his tentacles wrapped around the very girders of the Garden itself.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Please, for the love of [insert deity of choice here], NO!

I mean, Dolan has to realize that no matter how much of a man-crush he has on Zeke, that he’d literally drive every Knicks fan to root for the Brooklyn Giant Russians.

I hate to say this, but I (gulp) might lead the charge. That’d be it. I can take draft picks that don’t work out. I can take sub-par trades. I can take gut-wrenching losses. I can take entire seasons dumped to clear cap space. I can take LeBrocalypse/MeBron deciding to sing Zach Galifinakis’s tune from, The Hangover” (“We’re the three best friends that anyone ever had!”) in perpetuity.

But not Isiah.

The fact that I have to type his accursed name leaves a pit in my stomach.

That’d be it.

You know, I was struck something watching the World Cup this past month. Overall, it was a generally pleasant experience. The play was, at times, truly awe-inspiring. The controversies when the refs made abominable calls reminded me that the NBA doesn’t hold the patent on incompetent and/or possibly corrupt officials. And there were a few moments of pure drama that rivaled anything in sport.

But I watched with a detachment that I certainly can’t do when viewing our beloved ‘Bockers. And seeing the maddening throng around me literally scream in soul-crushing anguish as the ball trickled one way or another was kind of, well, funny. After all, it’s just a game, right guys?

But of course, if it were the Nix of the 90’s squaring off against the Jordans or the Mournings or the Millers, I’d be bellowing louder than any of them. Because the thing is, a sporting event, without a profound emotional connection to one side or the other and the ensuing Manichean attributes one assigns them (We are the good, noble underdogs and They are the faceless, evil monolith/empire), is kinda, well…boring.  And the folks that devote all of their personal well-being to the results of said matches seem fairly silly and childish.

So maybe it’s time to step back. Breathe. Let all this go. Enjoy the occasional Knick game, but with a healthy sense of distance. For the moment, I’m taking Billy Murray’s diatribe from the classic (and still woefully underrated) flick, Meatballs, as my new mantra:

TRIPPER: And even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!




Oh who am I kidding.

Summer League game tomorrow. Let’s go Knicks!

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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

73 thoughts to “And What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last, Slouches Towards Bethlehem to be Born?”

  1. One day at a time Robert. One day at a time.

    Sending IT wasn’t the worst thing Dolan could do. LBJ wants to win and the only person associated with the Knicks is Thomas. So he thought to send a champion and one of the (top 50) all time players to sell him on why NYC is the place to win.

    Well there is also Clyde Frazier but that’s like having Stu Scott with less ass kissing and more rhymes.

    LBJ: Mr. Frazier, it’s an honor sir. I’m so flattered you came to meet with me.

    Frazier: I too am elated to be here with the King, come to New York and we’ll get you that ring.

    LBJ: (laughs uncomfortably) Yes well please have a seat.

    Frazier: With the King in New York, the Knicks can’t be beat.

    LBJ: Are you going to rhyme for the entire conversation?

    Frazier: No, that won’t be the situation.

    LBJ: (laughs again) That’s a relief; I mean you do your thing but really we are here for a serious chat about the Knicks…

    Frazier: (interrupts) with the matador D!

    LBJ: (confused) I’m sorry what?

    Frazier: My apologies, it’s just a conditioned reflex response.

    LBJ: Uh-huh. So tell me about the Knicks’ plan for building a dynasty and please be specific.

    Frazier: Tenacity, ferocity, viscosity.

    LBJ: Okaaay. So how would you evaluate the current roster?

    Frazier: The Knicks with the knack.

    LBJ: Yeah, can the coaching staff…

    Frazier: (interrupts) With the matador D!

    LBJ: (continues) Can the coaching staff put together a dynasty without an emphasis on defense?

    Frazier: Only in the NBA can you take a shot on Friday and have it count on Saturday.

    LBJ: You know, I think I’ve heard enough. Thanks again for…

    Frazier: With the matador D!

    LBJ: You can show yourself out.


  2. Think Utah will match Portland’s offer to Matthews? I have to think that they would, but wow, it was a big offer. 5 years/$34 million!!!!

  3. If Utah doesnt it would mean they have in the past few months lost Brewer, Boozer, Korver and now Mathews w/o adding anybody to the team besides Hayward in the draft. When will Deron demand to be traded??

  4. Probably but I know when Brewer was traded Deron made some not to nice comments about the Jazz and has complained in the past about not making moves to improve the team.

  5. I saw Berman made a tweet that I think we’ll see more of, and it’s really ridiculous.

    I can’t believe after two years of writing stories about clearing cap space, I’m writing about them filling it with Turiaf and Azubuike.

    Yeah, that’s what it was about – filling the cap space with Turiaf and Azubuike. Nicely done. I hate it when people make points they know are BS when they’re saying them, but also know that they’re pithy and good sound bites. So annoying.

  6. At least Berman is not just being a jerk like Isola:

    I love Brian Windhorst but he’s tweeting about the Cavs as if anyone cares. Hey, World Wide Windy, it’s over.

    WTF, dude?

  7. Lost in all the brouhaha is the fact that D’Antoni’s legendary status as “a coach all NBA players would love to play for” was of no use to the Knicks. To the sad extent that, in a moment of utter desperation, Knicks management sent Isaiah Thomas – of all people – instead of the “beloved coach”.

    As currently configured, the Knicks should be a 40-45 win team. Whether D’Antoni can coach them to do their best is something I seriously doubt, though.

  8. How can you hire someone after having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bloated salaries, sexual harassment settlements, and wasted administrative costs?

    Do they not realize that Kevin Pritchard is still available?

  9. @ 11

    Supposedly, he has been atop the international FA rankings for DraftExpress the past two seasons. They say he can block shots, rebound, and score around the basket, and he has some upside. However, I’m not sure I buy it.

  10. Knicks Summer league starts today, eh?
    I think I’ll watch the World Cup final instead :)

  11. My first though when I heard that Zeke was being dispatched as a last ditch effort to woo LeBron was that no player would ever play for us again.

    Cause once we learn that young inept Jimmy Dolan kinda trusts Walsh, but asks back Thomas in a heartbeat (and undermines Walsh) if he gets even a bit of fear his plan isn’t working, then we can’t really trust Dolan to delegate at all, can we? Ever?

    Sad sad sad.

  12. According to that very same NY Post article, Walsh is saying that he’s NOT, repeat NOT, looking to hire a GM…so relax all you out there…

    Besides, as long as Walsh is still there, even with Isiah at GM, Walsh will be making the final decisions…Isiah would just be doing the traveling, the meetings, and all that…ya know, the stressful, health-consuming stuff that 69 year old team presidents confined to wheelchairs just can’t do much of anymore.

  13. I had a similar reaction when I first saw the story on ESPN. I don’t have any problem with his player ambassador role — but for the love of all that is Knicks basketball, this man should never be in a position to make personnel decisions again.

    This is honestly the one and only thing that could turn me into a Nets fan.

  14. Thomas B’s was funnier that Matt Taibbi’s.

    Taibbi’s just another writer looking for an axe to grind. LBJ was going to have a press conference at some point right? So, an hour to find out about his thought process, is something I was genuinely interested in. I wish it hadn’t been engineered Soviet style, with five hand picked guys pitching softball questions but I’m glad the Boys and Girls club cashed in.

    I do have to say that I would have been happy but embarrassed if LeBron had come here. “The decision” was awkward and embarrassing.

    There could not have been a conspiracy for these guys to play together that was years in the making, but, when it became clear that it was possible, there should have been no effort to conceal the deal or keep others strung along. Sometime around Monday everyone should have been told and could have gotten on with their lives.

    I agree with Loathing that IT going on recruiting missions was more about Walsh’s health.

    Brian Cronin, I agree with your criticism of some in the mainstream media. I have spent the last couple of weeks here, because this is the place that cuts through all the bullshit. Thanks guys.

    Robert, your writing is great. I’m your old friend from camp. Do you hate me or something?

  15. Timeout Knicks fans…danvt, did you go to Buck’s Rock? And if so, who are you?

  16. I thought you knew that and might have been blowing me off or something. Sorry for that assumption.

  17. The Russkie does eff w/the cap a little. It depends if the contract is guaranteed, which no one seems to know yet

  18. TD hasnt forgotten how to shoot though. Knicks committed 30 fouls in the 1st half I believe!! Walker with 6 of them.

  19. Now TD with a steal and a circus shot for the And1!! Toney Douglas do what Toney Douglas do!!!!

  20. Fields with a nice And1 on a reverse layup. He and Rautins look like they could be decent players.

  21. Even with the Russian’s contract, we will have cap flexibility. None of the contracts we have are particularly onerous or hard to move. If there was a marquee guy that became available, we should be able to acquire him because of Curry and Azubuike’s expiring
    and because of the fact that we have other assets. The only monster contract we have is Amare’s; we have lots of young players with cap-friendly contracts that could be moved if need be.

  22. 3:31 left in the 3rd and douglas leads Knicks in points, rebounds and assists

  23. Fields and Rautins both look like players. Jordan, on the other hand, looks like a complete stiff.

  24. I absolutely loved Rautins at ‘Cuse and this past season I really started to believe he could play in the NBA. He definitely can shoot the NBA three, and he’s a good passer. He could benefit from
    slowing his game down a little– sometimes he throws crazy, low-percentage passes and he occasionally takes wild, off-balance shots, but lots of times those crazy shots go in. But he’s scrappy and fearless, and I think he’ll be a fan favorite.

    He’s a high-work ethic guy, and we seem to be collecting lots of those. Team chemistry is often overrated, but it can’t hurt having guys around who are by all accounts serious, hard-working players. After the Z-Bo, Crawford, Marbury, Curry years it will be a nice change of pace. Felton, Azubuike, Turiaf and Rautins all seem to be real team player type of guys and maybe that will change the culture around here.

  25. This Mozgov guy looks to have the potential of being a fan favourite. He is huge! Not many people are going to want to bang with him down low. General Mozgov??

  26. Knicks lose 100-90. TD with 27, Walker 14, Fields 13 and Rautins with 11. Nuggets outscored Knicks from FT line 34-16. Ty Lawson and Coby Karl dominated the game for the Nuggets.

  27. Powell also looks terrible. Fields looks like he needs lots of work on ball handling.

    Ty Lawson just demolished the Knicks… wonder if that was partly a “see what you coulda had” performance.

    Douglas did not look like a point guard out there, but maybe with Amar’e and others he will improve.

    As optimistic as I am generally, and I know one summer league game doesn’t mean much, I have zero hope that Jordan will play any meaningful minutes for us this year. Better scratch him from our scenario pictures. He couldn’t even come close to staying stationary on a screen and looked 3 steps slower than everyone else (more mentally than physically.)

    Walker looked rusty but showed some flashes, probably needs to get used to his new body. He committed an atrocious flagrant foul on a poor Denver stiff.

    We’ll see more tomorrow, I guess.

  28. Saw someone on Twitter suggest Mozal Gov as a nickname – folks in Brighton Beach would be down for that…

  29. Dude Bob,
    Yamma facebook ya. Is it same alias as here?

    JK47 thanks for the answer.

    From what I read Mozgov is more developed on the defensive side of the ball. Don’t expect Arvidis Sabonis, is almost a direct quote. He mostly played in the Russian B league and of course went undrafted, so, I’m not so excited. European centers on the Knicks, huh? Maybe in a moment of karmic healing we can include him in a deal for Ron Artest.

  30. Fields seemed to have a good nose for the ball but didn’t show a great first step and his handle needs work. I think Rautins is going to need to be a 40%+ three point shooter to get any burn- didn’t seem over-matched athletically but didn’t show anything that suggested he could play the point. Jordan- clueless on both ends but looked a little more coordinated than I expected but a real project for sure. TD- looks like last year’s shooting numbers were no fluke but also showed why the Knicks needed to sign Felton- not a floor general yet (esp. compared to Lawson). Walker- 9 fouls tells you at least he’s trying to be active on the defensive end (though there were a few offensive fouls as well). Made a couple of nice passes which was encouraging. Hopefully we’ll see PEjr and Charles Garcia tomorrow.

  31. Oh, and maybe the highlight was seeing a Wilson Chandler interview where he actually seemed relaxed in front of the camera. Too bad he’s just starting to get back to basketball related activity after the surgeries- good to hear he’s focusing on his ball-handling and shooting though.

  32. Why doesn’t anybody think TD can be the long term solution at starting point guard? I mean – he just has to learn how to pass better right? (and i say that seriously)

  33. Rohank – TD’s a lot of things, but a true PG doesn’t seem to be one of them. He can be a very good scoring guard/defender off the bench, (think Vinnie Johnson at his peak) but he just doesn’t have the court vision to handle the point. That’s something you’re born with. You can improve as a passer, but seeing the court the way Nash/Kidd/Paul/Williams isn’t a skill that can be learned.

  34. Spree,
    So you agree with what Gilbert said? Or are you a member of the Tea Party?

  35. RS,
    I don’t know what he is, but I know what he ain’t, he ain’t The Microwave, who terrorized teams off the bench. More like an easy-bake oven. Vinnie almost never took a 3-pointer, got most of his points in 10-18 ft range. Totally unstoppable in his role, one of the more effective bench player on a championship team I ever saw.

    Seriously, right now, TD is a decent bench player on a good team or a fringe starter on a lousy team. He got totally shown up by Ty Lawson, who is still a bench player himself. Maybe he develops before the season starts, but today he looked like an undersized combo-guard, heavy on the SG side.

  36. Two best players on the court were clearly TD and Lawson. Lawson is just so polished on the offensive end, at least playing against Summer League competition. But as awesome as Lawson is on offense, TD is an animal on defense. You know who he is — he’s Lindsey Hunter with a little more offensive skill. Very glad that we got Felton — I don’t think TD is a starting PG for a D’Antoni team at this point in his career. Trouble with DWTDD is that he gets up in everyone’s grill — and if he runs into a guy like Lawson who is just faster than he is, he ends up getting beat every time. IMHO he should’ve given Lawson a little more space.

    Was pretty impressed with Landry Fields — other than not protecting the ball when starting his offensive moves, he looked very smooth out there. Didn’t force anything, looked pretty athletic.

    Rautins, meh.
    Walker was a little disappointing.
    Jordan looks like a guy who just joined the team 2 days ago. Probably not helping us this year. He moves well though!
    Didn’t see much else out there to get up about.

  37. Z-Man, you’re right. Vinnie Johnson is probably out of DWTDD’s league.

    How about Mo Williams + better D?

  38. @58

    What did he say that I’d be against? I do agree that James hosting the special was callous, I also believe that he quit during the Boston series.

    I mean in the conversations about this I’ve had with people I’ve basically said this. Lebron was an asshole to cleveland and this guy called him an asshole. What’s wrong with that?

    Whether I think he’s right or wrong about what he said I don’t see how anyone could say it was racially motivated which is what Jesse Jackson is trying to stir up.

    I think that some of the things Gilbert said was bc of hurt feelings. But I can’t fault him for that. I mean if James does the normal thing and just leaves quietly, I don’t think that they have a leg to stand on. But hen you make a public spectacle out of the situation and embarrass your city like that, then you deserve to be called an asshole.

  39. I don’t know, miss the playoffs? Go bankrupt? Other than that, nothing else sticks out except for never saying Paul was untouchable.

  40. FYI – Hahn says Mozgov’s contract is non-guaranteed after the first year. In which case, that’s a great deal. If he shows something, you’ve got a young seven footer. If not, they get the cap space back

    I dunno about y’all, but I think Walsh has done an excellent job this off-season executing plan D

  41. According to TKB (who’s going according to David Aldridge), the trade exception they got for sign and trading Stat helped them get Hedo Turkoglu, sending Toronto Leandro Barbosa.

  42. “if James does the normal thing and just leaves quietly, I don’t think that they have a leg to stand on. But hen you make a public spectacle out of the situation and embarrass your city like that, then you deserve to be called an asshole.”

    OK. I agree that “The Decision” was a fiasco. Also, LeBron never called Gilbert personally, which is astonishing, but he doesn’t make it clear, in his letter, that it was about the way LeBron handled it. It really seems like Gilbert was blaming James for leaving. I don’t think Jesse Jackson was doing anything more than pointing out the same flaws in Gilbert’s language as I am. He points out that it does have racial implications, though I doubt he considers Gilbert a racist. Jackson points out that it is a dangerous letter and gets people riled up because over it’s key unfair assertion, namely that LeBron leaving in and of it’s self is an act of betrayal.

  43. I thought Gilbert looked unprofessional for writing that letter; however, he has to try to use the last bit of LeBron exposure to market the team… They could/should still be a playoff team and need to keep fans excited without LeBron. I don’t know if his wording of the letter was the best way to do that, but he needed to use the publicity somehow.
    (I also tend to agree with the accusations made about not showing up in the playoffs and only caring about himself…)

    I thought Jesse Jackson was off base turning this into a racial thing.

    @68 Agreed. I like what Walsh has done. I’m not a Felton fan, but on the whole I think he’s done an excellent job.

    @61 I don’t think Vinnie Johnson is out of Toney’s league. Toney is an excellent player. If he improves on his rookie season he can be one of the top 6th men in the NBA.
    I think Toney could actually be a lot better than Vinnie Johnson overall. Johnson played in a different era, but had a career TS% of .506 on a usage of 22.2 and an ast% of 19.3…
    Douglas is a very efficient scorer and already had an ast% close to Johnson’s. Johnson benefited from playing on some very good teams… Calling him the most effective bench player on a Championship team isn’t that much better than saying that about Glen Davis…

  44. @danvt

    if Peyton Manning leaves the colts and the owner writes the same letter do you think Jesse Jackson says one word?

    No, which is why Jesse Jackson is a tool.

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