35 thoughts to “Perhaps Another Year of Nate?”

  1. he was arguably the single most entertaining player in the league last year (taking Monta Ellis’ crown from the previous season), so from a “Knicks being watchable this season” perspective, this is fantastic news. watching him try to guard Shaq on a switch (which he managed to do successfully by fronting him and jumping up and down like a pogo stick, so Shaq couldn’t get the ball) was maybe my single favorite moment of this past NBA season.

  2. I think it’s a nice move. Hopefully Nate really pulls it together in a contract year. I’d rather have Nate for 1 year than an old Andre Miller in a year when we’re not really going to make any noise anyway. Maybe D’Antoni REALLY tries to develop him as a PG to see if he can play with us post-2010?

    Question – if I understand the cap hold thing correctly, Nate’s cap hold will probably be $10M next year which means we’ll probably renounce the Bird Rights in order to sign the max FA. Does that basically mean we’ll completely give him up and can no longer go over the cap to resign him (I mean aside from being able to offer him more money and years as part of the Bird Rights thing)? If so maybe this is Nate’s audition year for the MLE 2010 and beyond?

  3. It sounds like we’d have to renounce him. I’m psyched to have him back — he wasn’t just entertaining, he was handy to have around last year in general and can log some PG minutes.

  4. They’d probably have to renounce him, however, his cap hold would be less than $8 million, I believe, since I think $5 million is over the league average salary.

    Does anyone know what the league average salary is?

    If it is more than $5 million, then Nate’s hold would be $10 million.

    If it is $5 million or less, than Nate’s hold would be $7.5 million.

    This is because Nate would be considered just a standard “Larry Bird” player next year (I’m pretty sure that once he signs for more than rookie scale, he’s off of the rookie contract period, right?).

  5. Just when one thought the CBA couldn’t be any more complicated, we are presented with trying to figure out Nate’s “cap hold” in 2010.

    My interpretation is that Nate’s cap hold would be $10 million if he signs a $5 million deal. The average NBA salary is $5.356 million, so if Nate’s deal is for exactly $5 mil, then the cap hold would be $10 mil, but if his deal is for $5.36 mil, then the cap hold would be only $8 mil. For this reason, it might be worth it to give him an extra $360,000 this season to bring DOWN the cap hold by $2 mil.

    If he is renounced next summer, he CAN still be used in a sign and trade.

  6. But remember, too, that if we move Curry and/or Jeffries in the next 11 months the “cap hold” could be moot.

  7. This seems like a very good move for the Knicks.

    If I understand multiple sources:

    They kept a player that will help make them competitive next year for a reasonable price, didn’t screw up the 2010 plan, can still use him in a trade (after a waiting period), and can use him in a sign and trade next summer.

    The only downside is that it makes it more difficult to keep him long term. If you are a huge fans of his, that might be considered a significant negative. However, I don’t think he’s in the Knicks long term plans anyway. So this looks like another very good move for Walsh.

    Does this mean a potential deal for Sessions is out?

    Nate is not really a PG, but I guess we could get by with Duhon, Nate, and Douglas. Still have to solve this PG problem long term.

    Next up Lee.

  8. Nick, i totally agree. What’s more is that, in playing for what could potentially be a contract with another team, one would have to assume he’ll be playing his ass off (same with nate). So with that said, maybe it makes them and our team look more attractive to big-name free agents next summer. It also helps the chances of landing a 7th-8th seed to gain some playoff experience (which seems pretty pertinent considering the loss of our 1st rounder to utah. Thats not top-5 protected right? just a straight up giving them the pick?

  9. Bittersweet – that probably means Nate is a goner next summer.

    I can only think of a couple scenarios where he stays – one, where we’re not in the FA mix at all, e.g. LeBron, Wade and their pals sign extensions or choose not to opt out…

    Another way is that LeBron (for example) might do a handshake deal, letting Nate sign his contract first (say, for $4-5 million a year, instead of the cap hold) before LeBron signs… but the stars would have to align for that sort of thing to work. Walsh isn’t going to risk losing his superstar just to keep Nate around, even if he’s a solid rotation player or even a starter.

  10. I like Nate and 5 million seems fair but is anybody else worried about having 3 shooters playing for new contracts (Harrington, Robinson, Hughs) in the rotation? All already have pretty questionable shot selection and aren’t exactly known for sharing the ball- it looks like a recipe for disaster as all three are primarily scorers and will need to post good ppg stats if they want to land a decent contract in 2010. I think having Duhon, Milicic, (and possibly Lee if he signs a one year deal) playing for contracts probably works in our favor as they’re not going to judged solely on scoring but the other three?? Add to that the fact that none of the six is going to happy if they’re not playing major minutes and it looks like D’Antoni going to have his work cut out for him.

  11. Damn, I was afraid of that, Z, thanks.

    Man, it’s hard to believe that the average NBA salary is over $5 million dollars.

    “Average” salary is stupid, though – it should be the median NBA salary.

  12. From Twitter:

    “alanhahn Hit the brakes on the Nate/signing story. I’m hearing nothing is immiment.”

  13. Well well, while I’m not sure I had made enough of a lasting impression prior to my fairly lengthy posting hiatus to be remembered now that it’s finished, I figure I may as well let the faithful among you, or just those with elephantine memories know that, yes, Captain Merlin has returned.

    Now, for current affairs…
    I very much hope the supposed 1 year, 5 mil Nate offer is legitimately on the table. Actually, as the only concern I have over the monetary value of the deal relates to the potential adverse effect it could have upon a potential trade (but hey, isn’t everyone looking for a big expiring contract to take off the books next summer, how’s 20mil?…ha) I wouldn’t mind at all if it took 6 or 6.5 to get him to sign a one year deal , so long as it were only that long. Keeping him on the team for next season would be nice, however I do not believe it would be nice enough to have him take up cap room beyond that if it could impact our ability to sign a decent free agent. Frankly, there are many players in the league capable of doing what Nate does who could likely be easily acquired. Sure they may not be as glitzy, as short, or draw as much fan appeal, but they’re likely cheaper and better in certain respects. If he accepts, we benefit from having him for another year without risking missing out on a potential better player via fa in coming years, and we still can resign him after the year if it becomes clear he will not prevent the team from acquiring a “star.” It also allows the Knicks the trade him midyear option for next season. It also puts Nate in a contract year and may convince him to give the game even more effort than he already does so that he has a better shot to lock up a big pay day. Ideally, I’d like to see him take this deal, and then re-up after next year longterm if it doesn’t interfere with grander plans. I am not a Nate hater, but I do not think he is the pygmy basketball jesus either.

  14. Welcome Back, Capt Merlin – missed the humor.

    Why does re-signing Nate take the Knicks out of the pursuit for another pg, like Sessions? Duhon logged too many minutes last season WITH Nate on the roster, so he still needs a backup (or replacement) to spell him. Toney looks good, but IMO the Knicks still need more depth at the guard positions.

    That said, the rumors that the Knicks were preparing a 5 year deal for Sessions seemed crazy at the time. Does anyone else think Walsh was just pushing Nate to take a 1 year deal by feigning interest in Sessions, Miller, or Nash? Personally, I still wish the Knicks could have swung the Miller deal.

    The pg market is drying up. Other than AI, who else is available. Royal Ivey opted out of his 2nd year with the sixers to try to force a longer deal, which hasn’t happened. It also sounds like the Clips are already looking to flip Bassy. Last summer, Bobby Brown had some impressive stats at pg (a/to) if I recall correctly. I think I read that he’s floating around without a deal.

  15. Philadelphia Daily News (via Hoops Hype) is reporting that Golden State’s offer for CJ Watson is only $4.5 million over three years. If that’s accurate, and it only takes $2 million, that would be a nice move.

    Also read last week that Walsh is in “advanced” negotiations with Von Wafer, but I haven’t seen any updates..

  16. As Sessions does not demand the same sort of salary figure as a player thought of as a “star” would, and so i did not intend it to come off as if he would no longer be a viable option should Nate be signed to a multiyear deal this summer. I believe I made that point with next summer’s free agency period in mind and the possible ramifications the finances could have upon our odds of obtaining two–or even one, depending on how far the cap slides and the addition/subtraction of salaries via any yet unmade roster moves–of those marquee names.

  17. Capt Merlin –

    I probably should have been more clear – my point about Sessions was not directed at your post but the original post by KB.

    “If this is true, it likely means that the Knicks are out of the Ramon Sessions hunt.”

    This seems to be a commonly held perception because I have read similar comments in several sports pages.

    Caleb – I agree that Watson would be a great pick up for $2M per. Personally, I’d prefer him to Wafer who seems to have a few character issues. I read somewhere that the shortest contract a team could offer Watson is a 2 year deal with the second year being nonguaranteed.

    Here it is (from Philly.com):

    “The Sixers don’t appear to be in the running for Golden State Warriors restricted free agent C.J. Watson. The source clarified that, because of Watson’s restricted status, a team must offer at least 2 years, but that the second year can be nonguaranteed. The Sixers are said to have offered a guarantee of $2.3 million, but reports indicate that the Warriors may have offered as much as 3 years and $4.5 million.”

  18. The thing about Wafer, you could probably get him even cheaper because of his playoff temper tantrum. I’d go for both, if I could. It’s invaluable to find guys who can play and are willing to sign for <$2 million a year. It's like extra draft picks. It chips away at your cap space, but you're not stuck - you can always trade them.

  19. I have said this repeatedly. I do not see the point of the 1 year deal with Nate and I think signing Lee for one year would be worse. The whole point of having them for one year is so that you maintain the Bird Rights. However the Bird Rights cap holds will eat tremendously into 2010 cap space. Much better off taking a risk on Sessions for the MLE and smaller dollars against the cap than Nate’s 2010 Bird Rights. That way you lose Nate now (which you will most likely do in 2010 anyway) and you get a young fair priced asset in return in Sessions.

    With Lee the one year deal will be a total disaster for the same reasons except that he is a better player who we would then risk losing for nothing in return. This leaves us with a nucleus of Chandler, Gallo, Hill, Douglas for the 2010 FA bonanza? WOW. If we miss on a star FA we would go into 2010-2011 season with the potential to literally be a 15 win team.

  20. “Could Oak bring some toughness back to the Knicks?”

    Not unless he goes into a time machine and puts a uniform back on.

  21. cgreene,

    Your point is certainly well taken if the goal is to make Nate and/or Lee part of the long term future. However, I think there is a disconnect between the consensus view about them here and within Knicks management.

    I don’t know what they are thinking, but this is my impression.

    IMO, Nate is perceived as a talented guy with maturity and selfishness issues that run strongly against what D’Antoni is trying to build here. He wants a certain ‘type” of player. At the same time, the Knicks are so bad, they realize he’s one of the team’s best players now. So in order to remain competitive, they need him next year unless a trade comes up. A one year deal gives them Nate for another year without risking the long term plan and still holds the prospect of a good trade. If he becomes the player they want, there is always still a small chance they can bring him back. If not or they lose him, he won’t be impossible to replace.

    IMO, Lee is more complicated because they still aren’t sure what they think of him. They are trying to decide whether he can become the 2nd or 3rd player on a championship team or whether he’s more of an excellent role player behind two clear all-stars and another “go to” kind of player. They want to commit, but they don’t want to crush the chance to get two all-stars next year. I think they believe Lee has some limitations as a player even though he’s very good at what he does. In this case, it’s really tough for them to balance the goals and beliefs about the player. I still think they drafted Hill to eventually replace Lee.

    If I am right about the above, I agree with their assessment of Nate. I have a tough time picturing him as a major component of a championship team. I see him as an “off the bench” spark plug when the team is struggling, but I wouldn’t want to give him a lot of responsibility or minutes. So if they sign him for one year, I’m fine with it.

    I’m in the middle on Lee.

    I think he’s better than most fans, but I see the warts and am probably a little less bullish than the consensus here. I want him long term, but I don’t want to pay up too much to keep him. That makes this a very difficult decision. I’m glad it’s not mine because if the wrong one is made, it could get ugly.

  22. Thanks, Nick.

    My point is that you are going to have 2 players that have spent the better part of 5 years on the Knicks that are better than average for whom you will get NOTHING in return unless you trade them now or lock them up. That on top of no draft pick. So if DW doesn’t see them in the long term plans he needs to get something in return.

    Another point to add here that no one has brought up is the fact that on next year’s team you could potentially have Nate, Lee, Duhon, Hughes, Harrington, Darko all in contract year deals. You want to talk about competing agendas that can lead to major locker room disfunction. OY!

  23. I am not very happy with the way Walsh has handled things this offseason. He had an average at best draft, potentially passed on moving Chandler for the pick that became Rubio and has done nothing but push away the two best homegrown players NY has had in 20 years.

    On top of that the players he did reach out to are over the hill former all-stars that we were fortunate not to get, Hill would have been ok except for the fact he would have taken Chandler’s and Gallinari’s minutes, but Kidd would have been a massive blunder.

    We need to offer Nate a three year contract worth about 15 million with next year being the smallest paycheck, and we definately need to lock up Lee long term even if we have to give him 5 years 50 million, that is still bargain considering Lee is a hard worker and has improved every year he has been in the league. One year contracts are pointless because it almost guarantees we lose the player and they get to gobble up minutes that could go to our younger players in the process.

    Also I would like to see a little thinking outside the box from Walsh. Powe is going to get signed for really cheap since he is coming off an injury and could probably be had for three years 5 million and once he returns in 2010 he will be a great asset to whoever gets him, also CJ Watson is a potential cheap asset, as is Wafer, who we still might get, or many other players. I want to see some low risk/high rewardmoves rather than low risk/low reward moves like going after over the hill vets.

    I also think we are putting way too many eggs in the 2010 basket and could possibly pass on Lee, Nate and Sessions and then wind up with no one in 2010. Lebron is not coming to NY and neither is Wade, and as for Amare or Bosh I would rather have Lee, Sessions and Nate than just Bosh or Amare and the contracts will work out about the same.

  24. Looks like there’s going to be a trade of Tyson Chandler to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor.

    What an odd trade.

    I do agree that I would love to see Walsh give Bender a flyer for the minimum. Seems like the perfect sort of low-risk/high-reward signing you want to see from a rebuilding club like the Knicks.

  25. http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/features/rumors – could someone tell to an outsider if there is something about that rumor?

    cgreene – i think that’s the best thing that could happen – all contract year players: all fighting for minutes, all in top shape – not one of them wants a stain on their shirt(with all the media focus), and i think everyone knows that d’antoni will put them on the end of the bench if they don’t play the way he wants….

  26. A lot of people seem to assume the Bucks won’t match for Sessions at the MLE… why not? I have no inside knowledge, but I don’t think the Knicks can just go out and sign Sessions if they feel like it. The Bucks very well might match.


    If Lee and or Nate walk you don’t get nothing… you get cap space.


    I don’t really see the difference between your take on Walshtoni’s view and the views often expressed on this site…
    I do think you undervalue Nate Robinson a lot by labeling him as nothing more than a spark off the bench and easily replaced. Sparks off the bench come in a large spectrum of quality. While he’s certainly not at the top, Nate is towards it. I certainly think he could play on a championship team, because he’s a good basketball player.
    Let’s say that you took all the playoff minutes that the Lakers gave to Farmar and Shannon Brown last season and gave them to Nate (giving him the 6th most minutes on their team in the playoffs)… are they really worse off? I would expect them to have been better off.

    Ben R,

    You make some good points, but I don’t share your pessimism at all.
    I think Kidd was a pretty good flirtation for several reasons including both that he was never going to come and that if he had come I think he makes the team better.
    I don’t know how many options Donnie really has with Nate and Lee. I would assume he’s very well be willing to go for 3 yrs 15 for Nate, but I would also assume Nate is not willing to sign that deal.
    Basically, you’re slamming Walsh for not signing guys to contracts that they don’t want to sign and not signing a couple of guards who are unlikely to ever have a steady role in NBA rotations (one of whom he is actually rumored to be pursuing). Since the Knicks go three deep at PG I doubt they’re atop Watson’s list anyway. Powe could be a good signing, if he’s willing to sign with the Knicks.
    The Chandler for #5 non-trade is inexcusable in my opinion, but that assumes it actually was a possibility. If I’m Washington I take Miller and Foye over Chandler and Jeffries/Hughes…
    Cap space and flexibility doesn’t only apply to 2010, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. If the Knicks do strike out in 2010, what are the chances that Lee and Nate actually get their asking prices before the big boys sign??? The Knicks can still fall back on Lee/Nate. Sessions is not an UFA, so I don’t know that the Knicks can have him.

  27. Welcome back Capt. I knew you’d escape from that Dalek prison.

    Nate is taking an approach similar to that of Ben Gordon, bad for NY but great for him. With teams clearing space for the James-Wade-Bosh-athon, Nate could get his hands on some of that money. All the teams that don’t get one of the sweepstakes players will have money to burn and they would be looking to add a player that will draw fans to the games. He has been marketing himself for this sort of move for the last three years.

    I can see him walking into a meeting next summer dressed as Daddy Rich with the Pointer sisters singing the chorus: “If you got to believe in something, why not believe in me?”

  28. “Could Oak bring some toughness back to the Knicks?”

    Not unless he goes into a time machine and puts a uniform back on.

    Well CM has a time machine. But we have to go back to get the 1993 “defense and rebounding” Oakley not the 1997 “Hey, I (think I) can hit 18 foot jumpers now” Oakley.

  29. At this point, I think the Knicks would be wise to toss $9M at Lee and end this thing. He’ll take it, although he’s pissed, because it’s what’s out there, and I can’t see him going to OKC….

  30. You know, on the subject of the Knicks trying to get Kidd, I don’t think it is so bad that the Knicks play that game. In the case of Kidd, the Knicks getting in the game probably forced Cuban to put up more money than probably he had hoped.
    The Yanks have been good at this also. If you have the ability to force other teams to put up more money, you do some damage to that team. In the long run, the team with fewer resources could be hurt by this.
    In leagues where there are cap constraints, it can be even more damaging.
    i confess,I don’t know anything about Dallas’s cap issues. But I have to believe that a few million more dumped on Kidd is a few million less that Dallas has to affect other deals.

    I’m not saying that is Walsh’s strategy; it was something that occurred to me.

  31. the brain trust of walsh/antoni have thrown out more red herrings than a manhattan law firm! who the heck knows what’s going on……

    that having been said, as a knicks fan i still like to speculate on their future and ,hopefully, their success. lee and nate are not problems that need to solved. they have both played well and hard for the past three years and are both coming into their prime.
    why would you let them dangle? the future needs of the knicks need to be addressed(lebron,cap space,etc.) ,but at what price ???

    a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush—sign lee and nate to three year contracts and utilize their strengths as the team is developed around them.

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