Breaking: Steve Kerr Out in Phoenix

The AP reports that Kerr will step down as general manager of the Phoenix Suns when his contract expires June 30th, citing personal and professional reasons. Kerr mentions an opportunity to return to broadcasting in order to spend more time with his family.

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at and Seahawks at In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

46 thoughts to “Breaking: Steve Kerr Out in Phoenix”

  1. Bad news for Phoenix. Like everyone, I thought Kerr was HORRIBLE at first, but time revealed him to be practically a genius.

    Raja Bell and Boris Diaw for J-Rich and Dudley: Who wouldn’t do this now?

    Channing Frye as a 3-pt specialist? Yep.

    Drafting Dragic and Robin Lopez? Looks good today.

    Alvin Gentry? He’s a perfect fit for this team.

    There’s more, too. Wow, Steve. I can’t hate you, even though you are a Bull. Let’s just hope that the broadcasting gig he’s seeking isn’t Doug Collins’ seat but Mark Jackson’s.

  2. I hope it is Collins’ seat, if only because I don’t think I want to see Mark Jackson as an NBA coach – he would eventually end up back broadcasting only now he would be even more annoying, as he would be a “coach.”

  3. With Izzo turning down Cleveland, any chance they make a play for Kerr? I hear the Cavs are targeting Byron Scott now, but maybe Kerr would be interested. I’ve been wavering back and forth on how much to read into Izzo’s rejection of the Cav’s offer. I want to think it is because he knows LBJ is gone, so he doesn’t want to work with the scraps.

  4. Kerr did a good job, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him “practically a genius.”

    Inheriting three All-NBA caliber players (including a 2 time MVP), supporting players the caliber of Barbosa/Diaw/Bell, a near lottery pick from a previous trade, Grant Hill signing for the minimum cause he wants to play with the guys you inherited… makes the job a lot easier. They were already a 60 win contender when he got there. I would put Kerr on a Kiki Vandeweghe sort of level of solid, but not incredible.

    Richardson and Frye have exceeded (my) expectations, but weren’t really outside the box gets. If Colangelo doesn’t get Diaw and Bell it might not be possible to get Richardson, coming off a 20 pt, medium efficiency, 40% 3 season and several above average seasons. Frye was a pretty obvious fit, though I didn’t think he’d be living outside the 3pt line… he absolutely killed it from a step inside the line as a Knick rookie, though.
    Dragic was a good 2nd, average player right now overall though. Lopez was a strong pick, made possible by Bryan Colangelo gifting Kerr Atlanta’s pick.
    Not taking away from Gentry, but giving this team a coach who would let them run was the OBVIOUS move. It was Kerr who tried to slow them down in the first place. Maning up to and atoning for your mistakes is incredibly important, but D’Antoni would still be the coach there and they’d probably have done just as well had Kerr never started screwing around and fighting for power in the first place.

  5. The Shaq trade looked ridiculous at the time (to me, at least) but in retrospect I have more respect for it – Kerr saw Marion’s level of play declining and sold while he could get some value back. Obviously it backfired a bit and they were stuck with Shaq’s deal for an extra year (beyond Marion’s) but I don’t mind seeing teams take a gamble when they have a real shot at winning a title.

    Funny how it worked out, anyway. IMO the biggest difference this year is that 2 guys who looked like major draft busts – Dragic and Lopez – now look like valuable prospects. That and Steve Nash aging well has given the Suns a nice, deep team.

    Losing Amare will hurt but it’s a blessing in disguise – they might take a step backwards, which isn’t easy when your star point guard is 36 years old, this year, but in the long run they’ll be a lot better off than if they’re paying Amare $20 million a year to underachieve and/or sit out the next knee surgery.

    It makes me nervous because you have to think that Stoudemire to the Knicks is a real live possibility… like a Lee for Stoudemire trade. Have to put faith in Donnie Walsh that he won’t make the stupid move.

  6. Not much consolation, Caleb, but wouldn’t Lee be fantastic on the Suns? Okay, there’s not much D on that team, but the offense would positively sing with all those passer/scorers.

  7. Caleb,

    You may be giving Kerr too much credit. Marion’s step backwards from 05-06 to 06-07 was from a career year to a normal year, and then Kerr traded him the next season 1/2 way through his first season as GM. It was good timing, but I don’t know that Kerr really planned it that way… A. I think the primary motivations of the deal were to change the team’s style (“stretch” PF for traditional PF/C, a change Kerr publicly said he wanted to make) and to get Shaq the Warhorse and B. it’s not like he traded Marion for youth or to clear cap space… Kerr may not have traded Marion for an ancient Shaq if Marion were 25 instead of ending his 20s and his huge contract (looking for another one), but I wouldn’t give him too much credit. Also, that trade took a perennial contender and knocked it out of the playoffs… Most teams are making most moves to win titles/as many games as possible (besides pure financial moves… like selling a 1st when you’re already capped out), so I don’t give teams credit for trades like that when they fail miserably and cost them 15 wins.

    Lopez is great, but the Suns cruised through the playoffs while he was hurt and still got killed by the Lakers when he came back. Nash and Amare have driven that team for years. Offense drives the team and those guys drive the offense (along with Marion/Richardson).

    I don’t think Amare is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I do think you’re underrating him. He’s been probably the best interior scorers in the NBA for 1/2 a decade. He had a knee issue and came back STRONGER. Maybe he gets injured again, but (as far as I know given my limited medical knowledge) that’s the risk you take with any NBA player. If he manages to put up a usage in the high 20s and a TS% above 60% he’d be a very good pick-up for Chicago or Miami next to Wade (both teams had good defenses but really need offense, Miami actually just needs everything since 3/4 their team is gone). If he is a creation of Steve Nash like Marion… Steve Nash will look like the most UNDERRATED player in the NBA to me (which says a whole lot since he’s a 2 time MVP a lot of people seem to think is overrated because of his skin color).
    Also tough to say you support short-term fixes in Shaq’s case, but are against them in Amare’s… Amare’s going to be 28 next season. 4 more seasons of good play really wouldn’t be too much to ask, and in that case like with Shaq you’re stuck with the last year… when Amare would only be 32 years old. Shaq was almost 35 when he got to Phoenix.

  8. According to Yahoo, Kerr is leaving primarily because the owner, Robert Sarver, asked him to take a 10% pay cut. Apparently Kerr had expected a raise for himself and Alvin Gentry after the Suns overachieved (they only expected to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, instead the won 54 games, finally beat the Spurs in the playoffs and took the Lakers to 6 games – could have been 7 games or a Finals appearance if Jason Richardson had only boxed out Ron Artest properly in Game 5).;_ylt=Alw9C3HkSIpgkblmb1FZIta8vLYF?slug=ys-kerrsuns061510

    I think this only adds to the already solid reputation of Robert Sarver as a cheapskate (maybe on par with Donald Sterling, although he has had winning teams being cheap, as opposed to the Clippers). I also think this means Amare is gone, Steve Nash is not going to be happy, Grant Hill will regret opting-in and Gentry will be looking for a new job once his deal is done.

    All of this bodes well for the Knicks, no?

  9. Wow, Izzo turned down about double his salary to stay at Michigan! I think the issues with the Cavs go deeper that just whether or not Lebron will stay with them. Lebron or no Lebron, how do you turn down $6 million a year coaching an NBA team when you will obviously be given a pass if Lebron leaves and you don’t do well in the first couple of years?

  10. I think because Izzo could probably get at least $5 million from a team that would not stink (if Lebron leaves) and I’m sure that the Cavs cannot give him enough confidence about Lebron returning. So why leave a place where he’s a god for a team where they will probably stink? If he seriously wants to coach in the NBA, he’ll have offers.

  11. I would like to see Bosh/Lebron in NYC and Wade/Amare in Miami. That would make for an entertaining rivalry. Both pairs match up on age (25 vs. 28) and Miami might have the initial advantage b/c of experience. Plus, they would have room for a 3rd player (maybe Rudy Gay? maybe just resigning O’Neal?) which would be helpful. Chalmers, Wade, Beasley, Amare and O’Neal… not bad. We would have Douglas, Chandler, James, Gallo, Bosh or replace chandler w/ a true center… also not bad. This would be great for the league.

  12. Here here ess-dog! Lets revive the Knicks-Heat rivalry, without the fights of course. Would be the second best rivalry in the NBA today, next to the current Lakers-Celtics.

  13. Ted,

    I think Amare is pretty good but for $20 million you can get a better player – if not this off-season, then next year. Etc. he is a great offensive player but a weak defender and below-average rebounder for his position. Granted, you could say your window with Nash is right now – seize the moment – but that’s not exactly the same thing as taking 2 years of Shaq’s deal (one extra year, cf Marion).

    I dunno, maybe it’s just a gut thing, but I don’t think the Suns are really that close to a title – a lot had to go right, for them to make it as far as they did. It’s partly the myth of the West being extremely strong. In reality, there are a lot of good ones but no real contenders except the Lakers). If everyone comes back, and they add one more impact player – well, maybe.

    As for who is the key to the Suns – obviously, Nash and Amare are the most important players. But if you’re asking “what’s different?” about this year’s team – it was the depth – Dragic, Lopez and Frye. I never saw that coming.

    re: grading moves, it’s obvious the Shaq trade didn’t work – but I give credit to what people were thinking at the time – and bonus points for rolling the dice, instead of settling for a 50-win team, Scott Layden style.

  14. @12 – while I appreciate a little shoving every now and then to let the other team know there will be no easy buckets, you are probably right. Besides, I can’t see Mike D getting dragged across the floor while grabbling Amare’s ankles ala JVG and Alonzo.

  15. Yes, Kikichuyo, if I were the Suns I’d slobber over an Amare for Lee deal. Follow up with something like Barbosa for Brendan Haywood – an extra defender, of some kind….

    re: Izzo – doubt he has inside info on LeBron, but it’s a totally different job, without him. No LeBron, and it might be ok, but it’s not better than tenure as a beloved (and successful) college coach. There will be plenty of opportunities as good, or better, in the years to come..

  16. “how do you turn down $6 million a year coaching an NBA team”

    Only when you make $3 mill a year to do an easier job that you’re great at in a nice city where you are an institution.

    “Miami might have the initial advantage b/c of experience.”

    Doubt it. Depends a lot on how both teams fill the other 5-7 spots in their rotations, though. I’ll take LeBron/Bosh over Wade/Amare for one reason: LeBron.


    When Amare went down for the year the Suns managed 54 wins and a WCF trip… so maybe the beat will march right on without him and Robin Lopez or Earl Clark or someone else will step right into his shoes while his TS% drops back to the low .500s where it was before Nash came to Phoenix. (Again, this would make Steve Nash very underrated to me… I mean how else would you explain how the Suns play musical chairs with talent and coaches but still win around Nash???)
    I don’t think there are any players in the league better at what Amare does than Amare. Based on his stats I think he is literally the best interior scorer in the NBA. Maybe people disagree, but as far as that role there aren’t many better. That’s why I say Chicago or Miami might be wise to pay Amare if other options fall through. He already has that role in Phoenix (though I agree with those saying Sarver might not pay him).
    As far as better overall players… there are better players, but how likely are the Suns really to get a significantly better player than Amare for the next 4 years? Off hand I’d put the odds at 50/50 at best. Amare also has the advantage of fitting with what the rest of the roster does well: playing fast paced offensive basketball and just scoring more than the other team.

    “Granted, you could say your window with Nash is right now – seize the moment”

    I’m not just into winning titles personally. 54+ wins and a Conference Finals appearance is a great season for me as a fan. If the Knicks did that 3 out of the next 6 season (as Phoenix has literally done) I will be very satisfied. Would love a title, but I’ll take 5 of 6 contending seasons over 1 title and 5 .500 or below efforts.
    Rebuilding might be the best move with tons of cap room after next season, Nash old as balls, and J-Rich approaching 30 with an expiring contract. I honestly don’t know what I would do as the Suns. Amare is just not that old, though. If the Suns force his hand into a 5 year deal (only they can give him 6) he’ll be in his 32 year old season the final year. He can theoretically be a big part of a rebuilding process that includes winning seasons and playoff runs while developing Lopez/Dragic/Clark/future picks and trying to get value for guys like Richardson as their contracts come due.

    “But if you’re asking “what’s different?” about this year’s team”

    My thing is that there’s no difference in the results. They won less regular season games than D’Antoni’s teams typically did and only got as far in the playoffs as D’Antoni did twice in a row. They basically replaced Marion with Richardson to complete a big three and made a bunch of other rotation changes… but the results were the exact same and the true “core” was 2/3 the same.
    Lopez missed the two playoff series they won a combined 8-2 (didn’t miss him much) and Dragic/Barbosa basically split one spot in the playoff rotation (Dragic got under 15 mpg in the playoffs). I don’t see those guys are particularly key to the Suns playoff run. Jason Richardson played absolutely out of his mind in the playoffs and was the Suns best player. Nash and Amare were basically themselves. Solid supporting cast ouside the big 3 with some up and some down performances.

    “Barbosa for Brendan Haywood”

    A defensive upgrade could be huge if it doesn’t cost them much on offense. I doubt Dallas is looking to s&t one of its 2 Cs for another guard… (Since they’ve got Kidd, Terry, Roddy, and maybe Barea). Barbosa is coming off a poor season where he was injured, so might not be the time to sell quite yet. From Phoenix’s perspective a plodding C might not be the best way to improve the D, because of the offensive consequences. Frye/Lopez at C complemented each other, gave a lot of offensive production, and aren’t terribly plodding. Maybe moves more like replacing Dudley, Amundson,

    “instead of settling for a 50-win team, Scott Layden style.”

    If Scott Layden made conservative moves and got a 50 win team, ok. The Celtics won 50 games this season and I’ll take a 7 game finals series as the result of the Knicks season win or lose. But Layden built an extremely expensive under .500 team and started the ball rolling towards franchise destruction.
    What Kerr was thinking at the time was totally wrong and blew up in his face. He thought Shaq still had enough left to get the Suns a ring and he thought the Suns needed to change their style to a slower, more 1/2 court oriented, physical style… I give him as much credit for those thoughts as if he thought the Suns would be best off with a roster of only undrafted 6-0 guards. He was dead wrong. As soon as the style switched back and Shaq was replaced they were back in the Conference Finals. Like Layden, his mistakes hurt the team. Unlike Layden he promptly fixed his mistakes (again, nice to inherit a couple of future HOFers on your roster).

  17. My beef with Layden is that he spent lavishly – going way over the cap – for what he THOUGHT would be a solid, 45- or 50-win team. If McDyess had stayed healthy, a few chips had fallen the right way – that might have happened. That they ended up terrible anyway, was just poetic justice.

    But I was disgusted – because the way he managed the cap and roster, there was no way in hell the Knicks would be great. It was a low-reward strategy. You’re happy with 50-win seasons – fair enough, especially at this point. Me, I’d rather take more risks – e.g. draft for the star, even with higher bust potential. I’d rather try and create a great team, even if there’s more downside.

    This year’s Celtics, IMO, aren’t a great example — healthy, they’re not really a 50-win team — they’re a standard contender. (Berri had a pretty good post on this last week).

    re: the Suns, the difference I was talking about was between last year and this year – not D’Antoni teams vs. this year. Last year, they didn’t have a “Solid supporting cast,”; the rest of the roster was awful. This year, it was good, mainly because of the shocking (to me) improvement of Lopez and especially Dragic, who last year put up impossibly bad numbers. I also think Frye’s shooting this year will prove to be an outlier, but I guess time will tell.

    fwiw I think the D’Antoni teams were better than this one, but the conference was tougher.

    Overall, it’s a tough call – couldn’t really blame them if they go all-in while Nash is still great, extend Amare for the max and try to swing a trade with Richardson or Barbosa, or try to convince a semi-star to sign for the mid-level (in hope of winning a title). Win or not, I think they’ll end up with a big hangover, paying Amare all that money when Nash is gone. Worth it if the hangover is from a championship celebration.

    Part of my reluctance on maxing out Amare, not all, is the health. I have my doubts about his long-term durability.

    I DO think he would be a great fit in Chicago, playing next to a great defensive center and other good defenders — and taking shots away from less efficient scorers like Derrick Rose and every other Bull. His marginal value to Phoenix is less, because as great a scorer as Amare is, other Suns are good scorers, too. Meanwhile, when he’s not shooting, he’s not doing much to help.

  18. If we can resurrect the Heat/Knicks rivalry as ess-dog proposed in #11, I’d be delighted. I don’t need the flights, but I would love to see Jeff VanGundy calling the games while hanging off of Alonzo Mourning’s leg like a Koala bear.

    I would be happiest though if Steve Kerr could replace Kevin Harlan. Wow I would pay good money not to have to hear his voice again.

  19. I mostly agree about Layden, but to me it’s not just the thought that counts. The overspending was a big problem, but so was the fact that he (and/or his scouts) couldn’t identify talent if it hit him (them) in the face. Almost all the players he/they acquired turned out to be overrated. I just really don’t know if the guy hit a single time.

    I don’t think it’s so black-and-white as far as high-risk/low-risk. I don’t think there is necessarily a direct relationship between high risk and high reward. Layden, for example, may very well, coming from Utah, have felt that McDyess would be his Karl Malone, Eisley and Anderson were great role players in Utah who would be even better in NY, Allan Houston was Reggie Miller… that the Knicks would win titles and rule the world. Without the assistance of stats (or a brain), you might think all of those things. They had made the finals shortly before hand.
    Other examples: Tim Duncan was one of the safest draft picks in the last couple of decades, but one of the best (and the Spurs were a good team ravaged by injury, not a “risk taking” tanker). Same with LeBron to a large degree (Cleveland appeared to actively tank). “High risk” being used to describe a draft prospect can often be translated roughly into a. “the guy has no basketball ability whatsoever” or b. “the guy has zero work ethic and will be out of the league in a few years.” You might end up taking more Darkos over Melo/Bosh/Wade than whatever the counter example is if you just swing as hard as you can every time up. More often a guy is seen as “high risk” and works out is because of imperfect information (hard to draft someone like Manu if you’ve never once seen him play and unwise to draft someone like Skita #5 if you’ve never once seen him play–which Kiki apparently hadn’t). There’s little risk involved in signing Ben Wallace as an UFA, but you might end up with a multiple time DPOY. Drafting Manu late in the 2nd is a similar case. Lakers got Shaq and Kobe not by tanking… they were a 53 win team the season before they came.
    The biggest black and white example of what you’re talking about, I think, is whether to sign what you think is a very good player to a max deal or to wait for a great player to give that deal to… In between the extremes of tanking and actively overpaying in hopes of being ok there’s a lot of room, though.

    As a fan with no control over anything I’ll take 50 wins every year and a competitive playoff run. If the NBA had no cap like MLB or European sports… sure I’d expect the rich, big market teams to win all the time like Yankees, Real/Barca, Chelsea, etc. In a competitive league like the NBA I’ll take a year like the Spurs or Hawks had. You might be one good move or a few good moves away from winning it all next season. It’s all situational, though. If I took over the Knicks when Walsh did, for example, I’d probably do what he did and effectively throw in the towel for two years to go for the 2010 free agents.

    I find the difference to be Shaq and style of play, and possibly roster tunrover (not sure how many games they lost integrating Richardson and Dudley… maybe lots, maybe none). Barbosa was much better in 08-09 (much better than Dragic this season) and had a terrible season in 09-10. Amundson was just as good for just as many minutes both seasons. Grant Hill was about as good both seasons. Matt Barnes wasn’t great, but I wouldn’t say terrible. Richardson and Dudley were as good once they got there as this season.
    The fact is that both of the motors, Nash and Amare, had bad seasons in 08-09. I attribute that to style of play as much as anything. Shaq was their best player in 08-09, and that to me was the problem. Both their offense and defense were worse in both absolute and relative terms.

    I am completely ignorant when it comes to health/medicine in these terms. I have no idea what the long-term implications of micro-fracture surgery are (don’t know if there’s even a consensus yet). If you’re going on some real info (like Chris Paul has no cartilage in his knees… might be a problem…) maybe I’d agree, but if it’s just a gut that Amare is injury prone… I probably won’t hop on board.

    Because the Suns whole identity at this point is offense, I think there’s a chance that Amare’s more valuable than we give him credit for. A lot of Suns had career years scoring the ball this season, maybe they’re really that good but maybe they can’t sustain it and they regress. Amare is clearly a valuable piece in that system, but the questions to be are how easily another player could fill his shoes and whether he’ll regress away from Nash.

  20. I’m no fan of Scott (or Frank) Layden, but I can think of two times when he did hit. Probably the only two.

    If I’m not mistaken, he signed Kurt Thomas, who pulled down a thousand boards for us over the years, and ran a hundred thousand pick and rolls. A good no nonsense role player if there ever was one.

    I also recall that Layden was part of the team that recruited Sprewell in from purgatory. That was a steal.

    Everything else he did reeked of total stupidity.

  21. Ernie Grunfeld was the GM who signed Kurt Thomas and traded for Spree prior to the 1999 season. He was famously fired midway through the season and Layden was hired just prior to the 1999-2000 season and shortly after interim GM Ed Tapscott drafted Frederic Weis with the 15th pick instead of Ron Artest who went 16th to the Bulls. He did re-sign Kurt and Spree but he did not acquire them.

  22. Just wondering, who’s the better athlete between Wilson Chandler and Bill Walker. Word has it that Bill Walker dropped 10-15 pounds, and is looking to get to his target weight of 225. I think a lighter Walker is more athletic than Wilson Chandler. I mean he did have comparisons to Vince Carter as a college player. Any thoughts?

  23. What kind of a GM thinks that an NBA team need not 1 but 3 fat, short power forwards:
    1) Sweetney 2) Othella Harrington and 3)Clarence Weatherspoon when the team already has Kurt Thomas?

    Trades the team’s greatest player of the last two decades, Ewing, and ends up with two cap clogging 8th men in Eisley and Shandon Anderson?

    Has a weird obsession with players who have played for the Jazz and Utah Utes? 1) Doleac 2) Van Horn 3) Howard Eisley 4) Shandon Anderson

    I cannot blame Scott Layden enough for the current state we’re in. Scott Layden is the Treaty of Versailles of GM’s. Isiah ran the team like an overzealous fantasy league owner and it was terrible but at least you understood why he thought he should trade for Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, QRich, Marbury, and Zach Randolph. All were bad gambles. Layden’s moves had absolutely no rhyme or reason. They were high risk, low reward. He acquired overpaid, unexciting, aging players who were certain to not produce.

  24. I think Im the only one who thought Van Horn was actually pretty good and was upset when Isiah traded him. lol

  25. re: Chandler v. Walker- I’d say Walker has more hops but other than that I’d give Chandler the edge (stronger, gets from end to end quicker). I think they both have the same athletic weakness- lack of great first step. Both are strong enough that they can still muscle by defenders and get to the rim but they’d both be really dangerous with a blow-by first step. My other concern about Walker is his lateral movement- he seemed to have trouble staying in front of the ball on D when on the perimeter and he had several offensive fouls where he just bowled people over when a quick step to the side would have gotten him a lay-up. Maybe the weight loss will help this but I worry it may be that it’s the multiple knee surgeries that have sapped it from him and it won’t improve.

  26. I think the worst ever move by Layden was not just trading Glen Rice for Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson.

    It was trading for Shandon Anderson and then promptly signing him to a 6 year/$42 million deal. Anderson was coming off of a two-year deal where he made $6.6 combined over the two years, and Layden promptly locked him down for $7 million average per for 6 years.

    It was insane at the time and it is even more insane in retrospect.

    While Layden didn’t give Eisley his even more insane (as Anderson at least had some notable skills) contract (6 years/$41 million), he did trade for it just one year into it.

    I remember when Dallas traded for Eisley and gave him the contract. I thought, “Wow, what an awful deal.” And a year later the Knicks took over that awful deal.

    They would have been better off just cutting Glen Rice.

  27. A problem Layden did inherit, though, was that the Knicks really had no assets.

    To wit, I definitely recall a time when the Knicks could have had Steve Nash – directly following the 1999-2000 season. Layden loved him.

    But what did he have to trade for Nash?

    A mediocre draft pick and what else? Who on the Knicks would the Mavericks had wanted? The only Knick who could have netted Nash was Camby, and Layden understandably didn’t think trading the Knicks’ best young player for an under-achieving guard made sense. Heck, if you asked me at the time, I would have told you as much as well. “Camby for Nash? No way!” But I knew I wanted Nash – but there was just no way else to get him, so the Mavs stuck with him (remember, they actually gave Eisley the aforementioned insane contract because they had so little confidence in Nash – and as soon as they did so, that‘s when Nash put it all together. Coincidence? Probably, but still).

  28. Man, thinking about the 1999-2000 offseason made me think about how the Knicks were extremely close to a Ewing for Rice, Travis Knight and Vin Baker trade.

    And the funny thing is that 2000 Brian Cronin would have looooooooooved that deal. 2000 Brian Cronin practically salivated over that trade. He daydreamed about the Knicks with Rice and Baker on it and how cool it would be.

    And looking back – wow, what a disaster that would have been (it would have been marginally better than what actually happened, Luc freakin’ Longley instead of Baker, but still, a disaster).

  29. Speaking of another “What If?”

    If McDyess and Mutombo were both healthy in 2002-03, would the following team have won more than 45 games?

    PG – Eisley
    SG – Houston
    SF – Sprewell
    PF – McDyess
    C – Mutombo


    Shandon Anderson
    Othella Harrington
    Clarence Weatherspoon
    Michael Doleac
    Lee Nailon
    Lavor Postell
    Frank Williams

    As the Knicks turned down Ward, Kurt Thomas and Travis Knight for Mutombo (who went on to get traded to the Nets and get hurt and become mostly a reserve for playoff-time).

  30. Wow, reading all of these Scott Layden posts is depressing. See I was born in the 90s, and didn’t follow basketball heavily until around 04, so I’ve never heard of most of those guys. All of those deals make the downfall of this franchise seem inevitable. But let’s move ahead into the present where I know who everybody is talking about.

    According to ESPN, Bosh converted 87% of his shots on the pick and roll, 2nd in the leauge…to Dwight Howard. Not sure where Amar’e places on this list, but it appears that, contrary to popular belief, he isn’t the most lethal finisher on the pick and roll. And once you take into account Bosh had Calderon and Stoudemire had Nash, you start to wonder if either guy will put up the same numbers without above average playmakers on their team.

  31. “I hope it is Collins’ seat, if only because I don’t think I want to see Mark Jackson as an NBA coach”

    There are a bazillion reasons to hope Jackson is gone. First is that he’s an awful broadcaster, so I wouldn’t have to listen to him. Second is that he’s likely to be just as bad of a coach. How many times before he says “Hand Down, Man Down” before his team just tunes him out. Third if he returns to coaching, it’s not likely to be in New York (with D’Antoni still around) so he’ll likely go elsewhere. Hence it means another team will suck for 2-3 years = more wins for the Knicks. After doing such a bad job for that other team, he wouldn’t be in consideration for the Knicks job. And finally, we’d never have to hear how the team should have signed Jackson instead of D’Antoni.

  32. “if he returns to coaching”

    Has he ever done any coaching?

    I agree that you want Mark Jackson coaching somewhere besides NYK, to presumably screw that team a little bit. Maybe Boston hires him after Rivers steps down… Would be nice to have him on a division rival.

    By the way, did anyone know that Mark Jackson’s little brother is Escalade from the And 1 tapes/tour?

  33. “See I was born in the 90s, and didn’t follow basketball heavily until around 04”

    Wow and you’re still a Knick fan. ;-)

    Growing up when I had to choose between baseball teams it was either the Reggie Jackson Yankees or the Lee Mazzilli Mets. It was an easy choice then, but I got to suffer through the mid-80s Yankees. If I had to make that choice a decade later, I probably would have been a Met fan.

  34. There are a bazillion reasons to hope Jackson is gone. First is that he’s an awful broadcaster, so I wouldn’t have to listen to him. Second is that he’s likely to be just as bad of a coach. How many times before he says “Hand Down, Man Down” before his team just tunes him out. Third if he returns to coaching, it’s not likely to be in New York (with D’Antoni still around) so he’ll likely go elsewhere. Hence it means another team will suck for 2-3 years = more wins for the Knicks. After doing such a bad job for that other team, he wouldn’t be in consideration for the Knicks job. And finally, we’d never have to hear how the team should have signed Jackson instead of D’Antoni.

    Good points all, Mike.

    I suppose I just worry that he’ll end up in one of those situations where the team is talented enough to succeed in spite of him, and he’ll suddenly get a lot of acclaim (look at Sam Mitchell in Toronto, for instance, inherited a talented young team – they sure seemed to be succeeding despite him not because of him and he wins a Coach of the Year for it!!). And I don’t think I want to be in a world where Mark Jackson is credited for good coaching.

    However, you’re right, he just as easily could be signed by an Atlanta team that loses Joe Johnson and fades into #7-9 seed hell, so that would be cool.

  35. WOW, on the day of game 7…

    Seems like a pretty fair trade. Actually, I like it better for Sacto. They weren’t getting any FA love this summer anyway, the get a good defensive big who they can re-sign for less or just let walk next year.
    With Evans, Landry, Cassipi, and now Dalembert, that’s a strong core. Then add Cousins or Aminu… not bad at all.
    I guess the 6ers like Hawes?

  36. I think the Sixers probably were just sick of Dalembert.

    They probably do like Hawes, though. I agree with the assertion that this probably means that the Sixers are thinking Favors instead of Turner at #2. If so, I think they should definitely trade the #2 pick to New Jersey, who could use Turner.

  37. I still think the Sixers go with Turner. They’ve got Speights who they like and now Hawes. You can easily put Turner or AI2 at the 3 spot, with Noccioni backing up. I think they try to move Thad Young now (he’s overrated) and of course, Brand.

  38. Oh, and apropos of nothing, here‘s a link to my latest Sports Legends Revealed piece at the LA Times.

  39. Yeah, I could see Speights being a factor in making them choose Turner. I hope they go with Turner, because I think he fits the Nets too well.

  40. Every time I heard Kobe Bryant referred to as the “greatest basketball player in the world,” I kept thinking, “You put Lebron on that team, and they win in five…”

  41. From an aesthetic point of view, an ugly, brutal game, reminiscent of the Knicks-Heat battles. The refs let everything go for 3 quarters, then tightened up a bit in the 4th to the Laker’s benefit.

  42. When LeBron plays like Kobe did tonight, the Cavs get killed as they did in Game 5 vs the Celtics. But Kobe is a winner!!!!

    BTW LBJ in Bos series (6 gms): 27ppg-8rpg-7apg-45FG%, Kobe vs Bos (7 gms): 29ppg-7rpg-5apg-40FG%. (cut and pasted from a tweet I read, I assume these stats are correct)

  43. @43
    The point is just if you put Lebron in Kobe’s spot with the kind of cast kobe had, it would have been a much shorter finals.

  44. So the Lakers have won, and more importantly, the Celtics lost. Also, all the attention now shifts to LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Maybe Boozer, Amar’e, Johsnon, Lee, and Ray get some attention. I just hope if Wade stays, he gets Carlos Boozer and Josh Howard/Rudy Gay. Is it fair to say Rudy Gay is just a more athletic Wilson Chandler in an isolated offensive attack? Not sure how much worse the Grizzlies would be with Wilson instead of Rudy.

    Also, since the Grizz run an iso-heavy offense, is it fair to call Conley a weakpoint in that line-up? Can’t really set people up when OJ, Rudy, Z-Bo, and Gasol are all good at getting their own shot. I’d actually like to see Conley in New York, he’s a solid player Memphis isn’t exactly sold on, is a restricted guy next year so if we don’t like him, we don’t have to extend the QO to him. The Grizzlies actually want to move OJ to the point or draft a ball-handler like Jordan Crawford, who should be a great fit in Memphis. Looks like Conley is going to be the odd-man out, maybe we can take a shot on him. Its actually not a risk, because he is a solid PG, leading his team in assists since he was a rookie and 3 point percentage for the 2nd year straight. I really don’t understand why everybody is down on him in Memphis. Might just be the system in Memphis, D’Antoni’s offense may do him justice. Sucks for us though, we don’t have much, if anything not named Gallo, to offer, especially with Memphis’ 3 picks this year. Maybe they don’t take a SF in the draft, and Rudy Gay gets overpaid by the Clippers. Memphis might take a Chandler for Conley deal, which isn’t a bad deal either way. I don’t see it happening, though.

  45. massive,

    I’d say WC is more athletic than Gay, but that Gay is more skilled. Gay is a better offensive player: a better jump shooter, gets to line more. Chandler looks like a better defender to me.

    Aside from Chandler’s questionable jumper, I would agree they’re a pretty similar level player:

    Biggest differences overall are that Gay played more minutes and shot more often.

    Yeah, of the starters you’d have to call Conley the worst. Their bench was also as bad as any team’s.
    What makes Conley “solid?” He doesn’t score and he doesn’t distribute… what does he do for you? Maybe their system hurts Conley, but maybe they have to run that system because Conley’s not that good… Memphis isn’t sold on him because he’s a below average starting PG, but he was still 4th on their team in minutes played.
    What’s the source that Memphis wants to move Mayo to PG? I doubt that will last if they try it.

    “I really don’t understand why everybody is down on him in Memphis.”

    Because he’s been in the league 3 seasons, hasn’t had a good season, and has no above average NBA skill. I scratched my head when they took him so high, and he hasn’t done a thing to make me reconsider. He was passable his 2nd season, but went right back to Chris Duhon level suckatude last season. He might be a solid starting PG on his career, but I’m not that excited and wouldn’t give up too much to find out.

    “Its actually not a risk”

    Unless Memphis releases him you’re risk is what you give to get him.

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