Getting Some Love From the Cunninghams

Thought I’d pass this along. Got this link from Berri’s blog:

A couple of months ago I suggested that if I was the Milwaukee Bucks GM, this offseason I would offer up the team’s lottery spot to the New York Knicks in exchange for PF David Lee and SF Renaldo Balkman. At the time each player was an infrequent contributor to a terrible team. Everyone thought I had finally lost all semblance of common sense.

If the Bucks had those two, along with Redd, Williams, and Bogut… whoa. They would be a different team overnight. To win you must have skilled players and you must have productive role players. Those two are the essence of productive role players. The Knicks would be fools to let them go.

Nice to see the Lee/Balkman lovefest isn’t just a KnickerBlogger thing. Now for the requisite argument on whether or not you’d trade David Lee for Ron Artest…

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

125 thoughts to “Getting Some Love From the Cunninghams”

  1. Okay, I’ll be the first to say it. I haven’t posted in over a year, but I can’t take it anymore. DAVID LEE IS OVER RATED!

    i can’t stop reading and hearing how great David Lee is. I know he’s a good rebounder, but C’mon, this guy has more assists for opposing teams than he does for the Knicks. He’s constantly turning the ball over. There was a play against Toronto a few weeks ago when he threw a stupid pass to the pivot into a load of traffic. It should have been a turnover but fortunately it bounced right back into his hands. In a single motion he caught the ball and threw it away again – an errant, no look pass out of bounds. it was comical. He does stuff like this all the time.

    He has no outside shot whatsoever. He’s a lame defender. And now he thinks he’s got moves. He’s so awkward it’s always a blessing when he gets fouled going to the hoop. Oh year, he can’t hit foul shots either.

    This guy won’t be in the league in four years – unless he’s locked into a big contract with the Knicks.

  2. “Oh year [sic], he can’t hit foul shots either.”

    Excuse me? 81.5% last year, 80.6% this year. That’s good for any player, and for an energy/rebounding forward it’s great. Your whole post is asinine, and this demonstrates that nothing you’re saying is backed up by facts?

    Not in the league in four years? Is that a serious statement? Jesus, get a brain.

  3. It’s trite, but: the plural of anecdotes is not data. Guys like David Lee are why many of the more advanced stats were invented, since players like him look awkward as all get out and don’t “seem like” they should be all that useful or valuable.

    And yet, every bit of analysis out there says he is. Fans of other teams love him; GMs who talk trade with the Knicks always ask for him; PER says he’s been above average to substantially above average (>15.00) his whole career; Berri’s numbers have him in the top 50 players in the league so far this year, ahead of luminaries like Allen Iverson and man-of-the-moment Pau Gasol; 82games says he has the greatest positive impact of any Knicks playing more than 2% of the team’s minutes.

    You can certainly dismiss any given one of these metrics (personally I think Berri’s stuff doesn’t hold up well, for instance), but you’d have to agree that they all use different and defensible methodologies, and they all say the same general thing- that Lee is a very good player. Not great or superstar, but very good. The best way of evaluating a player (or anything really) is usually convergence of evidence, and observation is totally a part of that; but in this case, it’s difficult to say that the totality of the evidence isn’t pretty conclusively favorable.

  4. “Oh year, he can’t hit foul shots either.”

    Clearly false. He’s probably the second best FT shooter on the team behind Crawford.

    As was said, isolated anecdotal evidence isn’t serious analysis. David Lee’s TO rate has improved since last season, and his rebounding is still in the top 20 in the league. Overrated or not, barring a major injury, he’ll still be in the league in four years.

  5. The thing with DL is that he is not good enough to carry a team. There is nothing wrong with that at all. DL is the type of player that helps make good teams great. He would be great on teams like the Spurs, Pistons, or Lakers becuase he would be playing with stars who would improve his level of play. He does not play with stars on the Knicks, therefore his game is not being elevated.

    How often have we seen a fringe player look like an All-Star while playing next to one or more of the NBA’s greatest players? But take that player away from his stars and his flaws become apparent. I cant think of any good examples, but I think you know what I mean.

    At the very least we can say that David Lee has the skill set to take full advantage of playing along side a star player. The kind of player that commands double teams and is skill enough to find DL, who is a very good finisher around the basket, for an easy two. If DL looks good playing without star players, I would venture that he will be a valuable contributor on a winning team.

  6. So in case Isaiah is reading… players we should NOT trade:

    1. Balkman
    2. Lee
    3. Robinson

    Anyone else can go in my opinion. I can’t understand why, on pure athleticism alone, Robinson and Balkman aren’t playing at least 30 minutes every game? But hey, I’m glad we’re losing – higher picks, a possibility of Isaiah leaving, it’s all good…

  7. In a weird way there is almost complete consensus on the board… DL is a fine player, among the top 40-70 players in the league. He hasn’t entered his prime yet. He makes less than a million dollars a year. He is a perfect building block. When extension time comes — he will be a bargain, and a great signing, at anything up to $8-9 million a year. Which should be plenty – I don’t think there will be many teams next summer offering him more than that, especially knowing we can match.

  8. It seems pretty clear to me that Lee is the best player on the team. He’s an “intangibles” kind of player, but his “tangibles” are quite good too. He’s not a great defender, but he’s the only guy I see out there who hustles and sacrifices his body on a regular basis. He’s easily the best Knick at chasing down loose balls and he doesn’t kill you by hoisting up low-percentage jump shots (see Randolph, Zach.)

    He’s a medium-sized fish in a small pond. I would classify most players on the Knicks as bad players, and their record would seem to indicate the same. Lee may only be the best player on a team full of overrated bums, but hey, he’s still our best player.

  9. Thomas B – I agree with your analysis. D. Lee can possibly be a cog on a very good team. He’s my style player, a hustling contributer without the big stat line. However, it’s all potential until it happens. And he’s absolutely got to stop turning the ball over.

    However, Caleb makes my point. DL is NOT one of the top 40-70 players in the NBA. That is a grossly overrated assessment. He can’t even establish himself as a starter on one of the worst teams in the league.

  10. Lee turns the ball over way less than Crawford, Curry or Zach. His are more visible because he is the primary in-bounds passer for the Knocks, where his occasional turnover happens. I wish he was a better shotblocker, but ce la vie. I think the key is go with the best talent we have (Robinson, Balkman, and Lee) no matter if it’s a little raw, and try to find superstars for the other spots, the 2 and the 5 spot. Zach, Crawford and Curry will never be better than they are right now, that is obvious. If those guys can’t hustle on defense under the intense scrutiny that they are under now, they will never be able to. Trade ’em.

  11. I have a rebuilding plan that should get us into title contention in 3 years. Be gentle.

    Send Marbury and Collins to the Cavs for Hughes, Snow, and this year’s first round pick.

    Snow is a free agent after next season, so is Malik Rose (15 millon off next year). Hughes has two more years on his deal at about 13 per after this year. He can’t shoot but he does give you some steals and he could get to the line when he played for the Wizards.

    I make this trade to get the pick. We need to stock draft picks to help the rebuilding project. If the Cavs’ pick is between 18-20, we might be able to get a point like DJ Augustine. We should take the best player available with our own pick. Start a campaign to move Curry this summer. Take back any quality player with a shorter contract that you can find get a first round pick if you can.

    I see no reason for this team to be much better next year, so another lottery pick in 2009. We use the pick to address the point or interior defense.

    By the start of the 2009/2010 season we will have shed $15 million off the cap by letting Rose and Snow expire. Hopefully, we will have extended Lee and Robinson for reasonable deals (6-8 million each?) We will still be over the cap but Hughes, James, and Richardson will be in the last year of their deals(22 million off the cap). We may be able to use those contracts to pick up a veteran to fill some holes. Or let those deals expire, and make a run at LBJ in 2010/11. Even with extensions to Robinson, Lee, and Balkman we should be under the cap in 2010/2011 by about 18-20 million, if we dont tkae on longer contracts and the salary cap increases at its current pace. Throw everything at LBJ.

    The 2010/2011 roster could be:

    2008 draft pick
    James (the good one)
    Randolph (last year of the deal!)
    2008 draft pick
    2009 draft pick
    2009 draft pick

    Hopefully the draft picks turn out the be quality players like Augustine and DeAndre Jordan. If you could pick up a Rick Rubio or Chase Budinger with the 2009 pick you could use either to replace Crawford, who should be a sixth man.

    Finally, we need an experienced defensive minded coach. JVG please come back. We need a GM that is smart enough to realize that the rebuildng will be difficult and take at least 2 more years.

    The keys to the plan are getting good picks, not taking on salary beyond 2010, and changing front office leadership.

    It may seem that I am putting all the eggs in one basket (LBJ) but I am not. Drafting solid players and managing salary are the best ways to rebuild. Even if we cant get LBJ, the flexability a well managed cap offers gives you the chance to make other deals. We should follow Portland’s lead, by drafting well, securing a smart coach, and trying to trade Randolph (if we can).

  12. Except for maybe D. Lee and Balkman, no one on the Knicks understands or is committed to playing winning basketball – moving the ball around to the open man, intense defense, unselfish basketball. Why do you think they suck? The current Knick story is so old it’s disgusting.
    Dolan should lose the team and Isiah should be banished to the WNBA. Yeah, D. Lee has a clue, but that doesn’t make him a great player. In the right situation he can be a Kurt Rambis / Horace Grant type. They were great at their role, but let’s not confuse them with Scottie Pippin or James Worthy, let alone Magic, Kareem, or MJ.

  13. “DL is a fine player, among the top 40-70 players in the league.”

    As much as I like the guy, personally I think 40 is a bit high. But if the NBA is re-drafting the entire league, I’d see him going in the third round. And I think if David Lee is the third best player on your team, then you’ve definitely have a winning team. So put me down in the 50-75 range.

  14. “Oh year, he can’t hit foul shots either… And he’s absolutely got to stop turning the ball over.”

    You know, hoolahoop, I don’t think you really know who David Lee is. Next you’re going to say it’d be nice if he could rebound a little more…

  15. Over the past few seasons, David Lee is certainly the best player on the team…However, when Nate is playing well, as he has been since Marbury’s injury (barring a few poor games here and there), he is the best player. He can score, shoots a high percentage, is deadly in the open court, and defends the perimeter well. Plus, his passing instincts are improving, and he rebounds about as well as you would expect from a 5 ft nothing player. I’m in complete agreement with Ess-dog…Lee, Robinson, and Balkman are the only players on this team that should stay.

    Any team that depends on Crawford to be on fire with his fade away, turn around 3s, is bound to be a bad team.

  16. Mike K. – if you factor in age and injury concerns I think that elevates Lee into the top 50. I would love to see Isiah run a couple plays for him. When he gets the ball on the high post and faces the basket he is pretty adept at putting the ball on the floor and using his great finishing ability to score or draw the foul.

    He is also an underrated passer. He needs to reduce his turnovers but he still makes some pretty nice passes.

    If he can put up these kind of stats on the Knicks I think next to a great player his numbers would look even better and he would be clearly better than the role players he is often compared to.

  17. BTW does anyone want to talk about yesterday’s game? Pretty pathetic, but when Lee got his 6th foul, you knew it was over. OF course he led the Knicks in +/- with +7.

    BTW Jamal Crawford looks like shit out there. Another awful shooting night. He’s logging a lot of 40+ minute games. So it’d be nice to say fatigue, but then there’s that little voice in my head that’s saying “same old Jamal.”

    BTW did anyone see that play where Curry had a chance to stop someone from making a layup and he just let the guy pass? I didn’t have the volume on and I don’t know who the Clipper was, but it was maybe the most pathetic defensive attempt I’ve ever seen. Did the announcers say anything about that?

  18. Actually, Mike, I think that fatigue is the major problem with Crawford. He is playing the second most minutes in the league and it seems in the past few games that he just doesn’t have his legs under him. Aside from poor shooting, he is having an unusual amount of trouble taking guys off the dribble, even players not known for their perimeter defense. The Knicks need to lengthen the rotation or bring in another guard to lessen the PG and scoring burden on Crawford.

  19. “That’s the really sad part. The Knicks don’t have a best player.”

    This doesn’t even make sense.

    “He can’t even establish himself as a starter on one of the worst teams in the league.”

    This line of argument is flawed. Remember, Isiah is the coach. He’s the same guy who decided to start Mardy Collins at the point for a few games, because it wasn’t like he could put Nate in the starting unit. Isiah is also the guy who started Jerome James last year for a stretch. Who cares if Lee can’t seem to crack the starting five — nothing Isiah does makes any sense.

  20. Off subject warning.

    Remember back in October when Knick fans were all lamenting the loss of one Demetris Nichols? He of the .083 (that’s not a typo) FG% and -22.34 PER. He could not find minutes on a Cavs team that really needs shooters, ditto for the Bulls.

    Right now he makes Collins look like George Gervin.

    It is so funny how Knicks fans think every player has the potential to be a star, then we see them play and cant wait to get rid of them. * Okay, let me correct that, we don’t think every player will be a star. I don’t know anyone who thought the Jerome James signing was a good thing. Even before he set foot in NY we all thought this was a mistake.*

    I read a post in the archives in which a poster stated, “D-nice is getting picked up off waivers by the Cavs. Nice move Isiah, now D-Nice will be dropping 30 on us.”

    Dropping 30? He hasnt even dropped 30 minutes this season. Let’s appreciate the few skill players we have on this team such as Lee and Robinson. Let’s focus on getting a defensive frontcourt to replace Randolph and Eddie “Pop-N-Fresh” Curry.

    C’mon Lotto balls, work your magic.

  21. “It is so funny how Knicks fans think every player has the potential to be a star”

    As I recall most posters on this site weren’t all that high on Nichols. The frustrating aspect of cutting him after camp was that the roster spots were being filled by useless crap (the aforementioned James, etc…) with no upside, no present day advantage, no nothing. Nichols is an unknown which was an improvement.

    “Let’s focus on getting a defensive frontcourt to replace Randolph and Eddie “Pop-N-Fresh” Curry.”

    Focus on it? If only all our time spent at the trade machine actually paid dividends in the real world… (who brought up Demetrius Nichols anyway?)

  22. “Randolph and Eddie “Pop-N-Fresh” Curry.”

    You know I think I would apply “Pop-N-Fresh” to Zach Randolph. I don’t think Z-bo has a single cut on his body. He has no muscle tone. Look at his this photo.

    Honestly he looks like a baby.

    Also the “Pop” can refer to his love of his outside shot.

  23. thomas, b.

    i like your plan, but its better to buy out Marbury than trade him for someone else’s mistake. Also, no way the Cavs give us a 1st rounder in that deal.

  24. Mike K.

    Re: Curry getting blown by on the layup. Thats a tough one because I was watching the game and I saw it happen twice. Corey Maggette did it once late in the fourth with the Knicks down by four. Curry picked up a foul on the next poss and was replaced by Lee. In the third Q he gave the old “Ole” to Quinton Ross after a Jones had a shot blocked by Kaman.
    My wife said goodnight to me at about halftime and stated, “The Knicks are up nine, I guess they are going to win.” I said, “No, they will find a way to lose.”

    I was just mad at how poorly Isiah managed the subs in the third. You can’t have a Collins, Balkman, Jeffries trio on the floor if Crawford is in a shooting slump. You are not getting offense from Fred Jones. You have no chance at scoring hence the 14 3rd Q points. Jeffries had back to back turnovers right after a Fred Jones blocked lay up and a bad 3 by Jones. Then another turnover by Curry. With Robinson out and the Clippers such a poor defensive team, you could at least give Chandler a few minutes in the third. We know he isnt gun shy. The third quarter play also shows how much we need a point that can run an offense.
    On Crawford: A man with his FT% and his speed with the ball should look to get to the hole and pick up contact when his shot is off. For four years now I have screamed at him to get to the hole, get to the line. Especially at the end of games when he seems to think that a foul will not be called so he has to jack up a bad 20 footer. I’m so tired of him. I am quite ready to draft his replacement.

  25. Mason,

    I can dream can’t I? Hey Danny Ferry hasnt made the best front office choices. Hell signing Hughes to that contract was a mistake, ditto Damon Jones, Marshall. I think it is pretty reasonable to think Ferry would screw this up. Besides the Cavs want a point and they really want Hughes gone. Marbury’s 22 million ends next season and they can either use the cap room or try to move the expiring contract for some help.

    I would only absorb Hughes to get the draft pick, and Hughes’ contract is only a year longer than Marbury’s. So it isnt that much worse than the current set up. We need two more years to burn off the contracts of Richardson and James anyway so adding Hughes does extend the time until we have cap room, unlike the Randolph trade did.

    Derrick Rose would be great to have. He could be as good as Deron Williams but drafting strong players is meaningless unless we get a good coach.

  26. I have to give you guys credit for liking your team’s players.

    You guys all seem to love Nate Robinson. He’s a horrible player. This guy’s all about “me me me” – a selfish player. Selfish basketball players are losers (see Marbury). Unless your MJ that system doesn’t work. Selfishness is a quick spreading cancer on a basketball team. Soon, no one wants to pass the ball. And Nates’s always looking for a fight. Nate, you’re not Oakly, you’re Napoleon.
    I’m starting to think that a lot of today’s players – and fans – don’t understand winning teamwork basketball because they haven’t seen it enough. Today’s class grew up watching superstar individuals. I’ve played hoops my whole life and have been a Knick fan since the late sixties and was schooled early on how to play winning basketball.

    If I was given the Knicks tomorrow, Nate, Curry, Marbury and Isiah would be gone today. Nate’s great for a team that wants to fill the arena with a circus performance. He’s an uber-talented loser. I prefer to fill the arena by posting W’s. In fact, just looking at their roster, this is a pathetic team.

    Get used to is it guys. My fan fun has turned into routing against them. They seem to rarely let me down. The only game I remember seeing them play good hard basketball was the tough loss to San Antonio.

    The truth is Nate sucks, Marbury sucks, Curry sucks and Lee is overrated. In the little run he gets, I like Balkman best on the team. Crawford has a lot of talent and is coachable, but he’s emotionally fragile and his instincts are not great, but he’ll listen.

    Sorry, for the rant, but I’m a disgusted fan that cannot dope myself into believing things will change anytime soon.

  27. Mike K.

    Randolph as Pop-N-Fresh, well I can’t argue with that logic. Fresh could also speak to his activities with the ladies, e.g strip clubs, private parties in hotel rooms.


    Nobody mentioned Nichols. I warned you it was off subject. It was a poor attempt to quell the DL debate by making the point that we won’t really know how good or bad Lee will be until he gets consistent time as a starter and the chance to play with strong players. Maybe I should have just wrote that instead.

  28. hoolahoop,

    If you are a Knick fan you’d realize Nate is the one of the best players on the team, ie. his defense, TS% ranks in the top of this team.

    Why would like Crawford since his defense is below average like his shot selection?

    Coincidentally, I would be happy to trade him asap because might be useful on a team that needs some offense and his salary is one of the more tradeable of all our bad contracts.
    who wants him is the question?

  29. Sorry, hoola, I don’t know that you’re really watching too closely.. you’re too caught up in the announcer cliches..

    Forget how they look, or what their attitude is – just look what they get done on the court. Lee is a highly effective player. Nate is a good offensive player, bad defensive player. They’re both young and still improving. Forget Crawford’s attitude — he’s mediocre on offense, piss-poor on defense, 28 years old and smack in the middle of his prime.

    The Knicks problem is an overall lack of good basketball players, exacerbated by a coach who doesn’t know which players to put on the floor — dragging a team which should win in the mid- to high-30s, down to the 20s.

  30. A quick note on Lee’s defense, which is often held up as a reason to call him overrated. He isn’t a stopper, but scraps and uses his body well, especially when guarding the post. Yes, he struggles against perimeter players, but he’s a power forward – perimeter players tend to give power forwards problems off the dribble. Its not like Oakley was trying to stick with Dominique 20 feet from the hoop back in the day. I also don’t know how many times Lee has looked bad on defense because he’s shifted to help someone and no one else rotates, leaving his man open for an easy score. That’s not his fault – that’s either crappy teammates, coaching or both. On a team that plays sound team defense, he would look better than he does here.

  31. Thomas’ trade proposal is the right idea, except I’d say it really doesn’t matter what we do with Marbury… the important thing would be dumping one or more of the 2010-2011 contracts (Randolph, Curry, Crawford, Jeffries) for anything shorter — e.g. Hughes who expires in 2010. If we can get a draft pick in the transaction, fantastic.

  32. I think HoolaHoop is JoeV is iyamwutiam.
    And Finkle is Einhorn.

    Everytime one of them leaves or gets booted, another immediately pops up with baseless claims about what is wrong with Knicks. Next up will be some guy who claims that Z-bo is the best power forward in the league due to his superb conditioning.

  33. Taking everything into effect (age, health, etc.), I’d put Lee Top 50, as well.

    Towards the bottom of the list (mid-40s), but still there.

    And no other Knick is gonna sniff that list, which is pretty darn sad.

  34. I’m on board with the idea that what is most urgent is to trade Zach’s ugly contract asap for expiring contracts and hopefully draft picks. We would’ve been much better off had Zeke not make that trade for Randolph, and we all knew it!

  35. Agreed!
    it is starting to look like Z-bo was a big mistake…we knew he was another big contract with a bad track record. Its very frustrating to say the least which is precisely why we shouldnt want isiah to make anymore trades.

  36. Lee, top 40 or 50 in the NBA. I just don’t see it.
    I understand Lee is an okay blue collar player, but that’s it. He’s decent, not great.
    And Nate will never be a major part of a winning team. You just cannot win in the NBA playing his style of me-first basketball. This is the problem with the NBA and fans alike. Red Holzman is turning in his grave.

    Stats are important to a degree. No matter how many categories you come up with you still cannot capture a player’s entire effect.

    I guess I’m not in tune with the mantra’s in this forum. . . so I’ll just leave for another year or so. You guys can all agree on whatever you want. I see it differently.

  37. We need to add two things to make this team much better. A true outside shooter and a good post defender/shot blocker.

    If we could get those two things it would make us much much better.

    If Memphis is looking to slash salary I would trade Marbury and a protected pick/young guy (not Lee, Nate or Balkman) for Cardinal’s bad contract, Miller and Darko.

    Miller is an exceptional shooter and Darko is a vastly underrated defender. If we could make that trade and then ship off or bench Randolph and Q Rich we could have a much more solid team.

    It would get Memphis out from under every non-rookie contract that runs past next summer.

    Crawford (until we can get a better point guard)
    Curry (20-25 minutes a game with a short leash)

    With Darko, Jeffries and Nate off the bench would be much better than what we have now.

    Then try to trade Randolph and Crawford for shorter contracts and a true point guard.

  38. Caleb,

    I agree that it does not matter what we do with Marbury. The key is shorter contracts. Randolph to the Cavs for Hughes and a draft pick or two is not bad either. At least we get another pick and give DL the chance to start.

    Hughes really needs a change of address. He was really good in DC, I cant understand why he fell off like he did. If he could ressurect that 2003 season he would be a decent add. If not, at least he is a year shorter than Randolph.

  39. Ben R.

    That is not a bad idea. The only thing is that with Darko, and Cardinal we have a glut of forwards and we can’t find enough minutes for DL as it is. If we could move Randolph shortly thereafter, then I think it could work.

    Memphis wants to cut payroll to sell the team. Marbury final year at 22 means the new owners can start 2009/10 with only two players under contract (2008 draft pick and 2009 draft). The Grizz would have options on their current young players with Warrick a restricted free agent. They could actually have a cap number to start 2009/10 of about 6 million, of course that would mean they have only two players under contract. But even if they picked up the options on Lowery, Conely, Crittenton, Gay, and matched a Warrick deal, the cap number wont exceed 25 million. That would be about 35 million under the estimated 2009/10 cap. Wow. They could sign James and Wade with that money, but not until the following year. Yikes.

  40. Goodness.
    Another David Lee brouhaha.

    The fact of the matter is that when given 30 minutes or better he is a double double guy that plays defense and plays well with others.
    A nice player to have at a mere $1 million annually. One might say highly economical by Bricks’ standards. And he is popular. He’s one of three guys on the Bricks I might pay their ridiculous prices to go and see.

    Having said all this, like I said a month and a half ago, this team needs to get blown up, Isiah needs to get fired and the team needs to start with a new GM and then a new coach.

    They have become utterly irrelevant. Their fans went from a raucous angry crowd to an apathetic one.

    My big fear is that because the Bricks aren’t news at all, Zeke is about to make one of his classic, high-risk trades to try and make them relevant. That was the Zach trade, the Francis trade and a few others where it was about making people think about the Bricks.

    But it won’t work this time.

    Frankly, there is no trade that can improve this roster right now that wouldn’t simply destroy the team’s future. Lee, Robinson, and Balkman are the future, and they are the only pieces other teams want.
    If the Bricks try to move any of their “stars,” they will have to take back some terrible contracts and baggage.

    They are painted into a corner.

    There should be a sign in the entryway to MSG that say: “All hope abandon ye who enter here….”

    Dante’s Divine Comedy

    Through me you pass into the city of woe:
    Through me you pass into eternal pain:
    Through me among the people lost for aye.

    Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
    To rear me was the task of power divine,
    Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

    Before me things create were none, save things
    Eternal, and eternal I endure.
    All hope abandon ye who enter here.

    Such characters in colour dim I mark’d
    Over a portal’s lofty arch inscrib’d:
    Whereat I thus: Master, these words import.

  41. Thomas B – I assume we would waive Cardinal and then we would have to move Randolph. I think there are places we could move him we just need to make it happen:

    Atlanta for Speedy, Childress and Wright
    Chicago for Smith, Thomas and Khyrapa
    Cleveland for Hughes and a pick
    Miami for Williams and Mourning
    Sacramento for Thomas and Rahim and Garcia
    Washington for Daniels and Thomas

    I am not sure all of these teams would do these trades but I am sure at least one of them would for Randolph.

  42. I would even throw in a top ten protected pick or one of our young guys like Chandler, Morris or Collins just to get Zach gone.

    Also Frank O. I like the use of the Divine Comedy that is just about right.

  43. You know, if the money was equal, I’d rather have Zach off the bench than Eddy, but Zach’s contract is killin’ us, and I think Zeke would be more willing to reverse the Zach experiment because he could write it off as just his way of getting higher value to swap later instead of Francis/Frye. Unfortunately Zeke is so invested in Curry, that it almost seems like if Curry goes, Zeke would need to go. Curry would go to the bench before being traded.
    I think the Atlanta or Chicago trades are the most likely for Randolph. Cleveland would probably rather have Jamal.
    Chad Ford had a list of 10 teams that could’ve given Memphis a better offer than the Lakers for Pau. Those are the teams we should target with Zach.

  44. I like Lee I do, but I hate his defensive deficiencies. I feel a Lee for artest would be wonderful espescially if it doesent work out Artest is FA after this year (I believe he is)

    If you play Balkman 25 – 30 minutes a game you will see that he is actually a better player than Lee is. Hes just as good as a rebounder, a better defender, Balkman is a better ball handler and a smidge better on the fast break.

    Having artest and balkman on your squad is better than lee and balkman. Now Im sure there would have to be other pieces, But I have heard that the Kings are in love with lee.

    Bring Ron Ron back to NYC

  45. “You just cannot win in the NBA playing his style of me-first basketball.”

    Honestly I don’t see me-first basketball with Nate. His assists are up this year, and that’s because he’s allowed to play the point instead of the off-guard. In the past he’s usually been on the court with either Marbury or Francis, so he hasn’t had as many opportunities to distribute the ball. Not this year. He still shares point guard duties with Crawford, but he doesn’t have Stephon or Steve to contend with.

    Nate does make opportunities for his teammates. Granted he’s no Stockton or Nash, but he’s just about what you’d expect from a 23 year old PG that can score.

  46. Suns talking trade: Marion and Banks for Shaq!
    Maybe we could do a 3-team trade? Z-bo and Balkman to the Heat, Marion and Banks to the Knicks…

  47. Since people are throwing out names like Artest, Marion, Mike Miller… for the record I would not trade for anyone that old. Those deals might improve us in the short run (like, to .500 level), but in 2-3 years those guys are 32, 33 years old… at which point it would be MUCH better to have the cap space. I would only be looking to dump long-term salary and bring in either draft picks or players younger than 25 or 26. (I mean — someone like Miller only has a couple years left on their contract, so it doesn’t really hurt long-term – but I would not even think about giving up one of our young “big 3” or a draft pick).

    Think of it this way… as much as I like Shawn Marion, in 3 years, when he’s 33 and David Lee is 27, DL will be a better player. Balkman is as good as Artest right now, or close to it. In 3 years, no contest. etc.

    I’m not big on the Darko deal, either. Sure he’s young and offers some defense, but it eats up our cap space even beyond where we are now, and for that size contract – what is it, $8 or $9 million? Don’t you think we could sign an even better free agent?

  48. Ben, that’s a good roundup of potential Randolph destinations. I don’t think Atlanta is an option – they’re already overloaded at the 4 — it’s really the natural position for Williams, Smith AND Horford. Cleveland is pretty iffy too, with Gooden and Varejao (a Crawford for Hughes deal (maybe we can throw in Jeffries too!) might help both teams).

    Of the others… I think Miami has switched to the dump market, and out of the “bring in help for Shaq & Wade” market… Geoff Petrie is too smart… but Chicago and Washington might be realistic options. The Bulls would probably insist on dumping Ben Wallace, but hey – it’s worth it. And Washington — that looks like the most likely of all. We might even be able to insist on a pick.

  49. Oh yeah, I saw Chad Ford’s thing on the supposed Memphis possibilities — supposedly 10 better deals they ignored. It looked pretty stupid to me — Chicago and Jersey were the only others I might have considered, if I were Memphis. The other ideas were stuff like, “Why don’t the Clippers trade Elton Brand and their lottery pick, for Gasol…?” hmmmmmmmmm….

  50. Yeah about 4 of those Ford deals were crud, but some made sense… Does Washington really want Randolph with Jamison at the 4? He’s an all-star. They seem pretty good when agent 0 comes back, they could use a point guard. I think the Hawks aren’t sold on Marvin or Landlord and J. Smith is fine at the 3, so, if Horford can play center, they might like Z-bo. But probably not. I think they’d rather go after Kidd. Looks like our old friends the Bulls. Paxon and Zeke would probably rather make out with each other rather than talk trade again, but it seems an obvious fit.
    Update: Ron-Ron is making a lot of noise in Sacto, so I think there’s a good chance he comes to NY in a subtraction move. The only problem (or maybe it’s a good thing?) is the Nuggets might offer a better deal than us.
    I also still think Orlando really wants to make a move for a playoff push- I could see them going after Z-bo or Crawford.
    And as for Miami: They can’t really “rebuild” the way the Knicks and Memphis should because they want to build around Wade so they can’t get TOO young if they want to get they most out of him before he gets too old, so maybe they bite on Z-bo if the Marion trade doesn’t work out…

  51. Its time to rebuild. Oh,hoolahoop please pay more careful attention too. Nate has been playing great and D. Lee has been D Lee. Same guy without a jumper that we wish he has. They have been good players on this bad team.

  52. It aggravates me greatly to see the Heat dump their big salary and get Shawn freakin’ Marion in return.

  53. That would be a remarkably stupid trade by the Suns in my book. Shaq can barely play these days. Marion is still a great player and probably will be for a few more years.

    I agree with what Frank O. said above,

    “Frankly, there is no trade that can improve this roster right now that wouldn’t simply destroy the team’s future. Lee, Robinson, and Balkman are the future, and they are the only pieces other teams want.”

    I mean how many ridiculously overpaid players can the fourth worst team in the league unload?

    And as for Dante, I think it’s apt, but I might also go with Shakespeare, “Now is the winter of our discontent,” although that is taking the bard slightly out of context…

  54. Wow– that Shaq trade is done, pending a physical. Suns also inquired about Dalembert and Okafor.

    Not Curry…

  55. assuming that trade goes through, Curry for Jason Williams even up could make sense for both sides, Marion and Haslem could cover up for Curry’s lack of rebounding and Williams’ contract expires this year.

    but no way Isiah has the balls to pull the trigger on that and admit he messed up this badly on Curry, though: reason number 2984035709294 why he shouldn’t still be in charge.

  56. Owen: Dante clearly has the edge here. “All hope abandon ye who enter here” is so much more pertinent to the Knicks situation. Perhaps if Shakespeare’s quote was “Now is the winter of our discontent, which will also continue for several winters hereafter,” then I might consider it on par.

    Also, Suns, WTF?

  57. What’s the over/under on Shaq passing his physical? It’s like asking someone with MS to compete in a weight-lifting competition.

  58. If we trade Curry it needs to be after we trade Randolph. I am afraid if we trade Curry first we will keep Randolph and in my opinion he is clearly the worse player.

    Both gone is good but Randolph gone is a must.

    As for the Pheonix trade it is just another boneheaded move. Since aquiring Nash, Pheonix has been a very poorly run team. If they had just kept all their draft picks they would have the depth that they have been lacking and would have no need for changes.

    Shaq is a quarter of the player he once was. He is still useful but he is nothing more than a role player at this point. Giving up Marion and taking on Shaq’s huge contract is terrible.

  59. Frank O.

    Which Circle of Hell applies to MSG? It’s been a while since I read Dante, but I think the fourth circle in which spendthrifts are pushing heavy stones speaks to the Knick’s wasteful spending. The seventh circle (fraud?) applies. Whatever circle gluttony was should apply (Burger King James, Eddy “Turnovers” Curry, and Zach “Pop-N-Fresh” Randolph). And of course the eigth circle, the circle for those who have betrayed a trust, applies to James Dolan and Thomas. In a lake of ice they should remain for betraying the trust of we loyal fans.

    Could not agree more. Shaq to the Suns is a horrible deal. Phx can do way better for Marion. I never thought I would say this but they would be better off with Curry or Randolph than today’s Shaq. I’m not trying to down one of the greatest center ever but he is clearly past his prime and still owed $40 million. He cant run with Nash or Barbosa, his skill set doesnt mesh with D’Antonio’s stlye, he would clog the paint making things difficult for Amare. It’s just bad all over.

  60. David Lee is a good player .

    but Udonis Haslem > david lee.

    is haslem and top 40 -50 player , i dont think so , but he makes plays and right now Lee only has the potential to make plays .

    His bball smarts aren’t where they need to be , he gets his teammates 3 sec. violations on a regualar basis because he is a reluctant jumpshooter who floats outside , recieves a pass and then doesn’t shoot it and usually forces a drive or passes it.

    Lee certainly has the the talent to be a top 40-50 player , but if he is among your top 3 or so players you are probably not a good team.

  61. Haslem vs. Lee?
    Lee’s a better rebounder, Haslem has slightly better moves around the hoop and a slightly better outside shot, but Lee’s better to the rim on the fast break. Lee’s better at FT line. Haslem might have a slight advantage on D, but he has Shaq backing him up not the twin towers of tub. Haslem’s a better shot blocker. I would take Lee because his shot is obviously improving and he’s younger, while Haslem isn’t getting any better, if anything he’s going downhill…
    I’m so jealous of all these trades being made. I feel like we’re the kid not being picked to be on the team and who doesn’t have any friends because we have a crazy mom (Isaiah.) If we had a cool mom that everybody liked (Riley, Kerr) we’d have people over to our house all the time.

  62. The Shaq deal seems like the kind of deal you might make if you felt like your window was closing. It really hampers them going forward beyond this season. It may not reek of desperation but it’s certainly desperation-scented.

    Even putting aside what this deal does to their cap, it’s hard to see Phoenix’s thinking. I keep hearing that they got Shaq to help defend the paint, but all the other primary contenders out West have nimble bigs that run the floor and who can score outside the paint–save maybe Houston. Even in his prime Shaq had his hands full with those types.

    I never put it past a truly great player to re-dedicate himself, yadda, yadda. But considering his age, “Big Boy” may be a Krispy Kreme or two past the point of being all that useful.

  63. You should read Hollinger’s article on the Shaq trade. A few lines:

    “My first reaction to hearing reports about this deal was that I was being Punk’d. After that, I checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1, and verified that the voice on the other end of the phone didn’t belong to Orson Welles.

    But there was no Ashton Kutcher, no Orson Welles, and the calendar says it’s February.”

    Could not have said it better.

  64. Miami will win a few games this season if the trade goes thru and possibly make a run at the playoffs, it might get us a higher pick…discuss(lol)

  65. what a ridiculous trade for PHX to even consider without a 1st -rd. pick, wow!

    they could’ve had Curry instead!

  66. Lee vs. Haslem?

    Lee scores 14.6 points per 40,. with TS% of 61.2 (even in an off year).
    Haslem scores 13.1 per 40, with a TS% of 52.0.

    That’s a huge offensive advantage for Lee, whatever extra “moves” Haslem supposedly has.

    Lee is also a much better rebounder (17.5 rate this year, 20.1 last year, vs. Haslem in the 15s every season of his career).

    I don’t think Haslem’s defensive edge is nearly enough to make up those differences… not to mention he’s 3 years older; you can expect Lee to improve, just based on his age.

    That Lee is clearly better than a pretty good player (Haslem) should say something about his value.

  67. As far as the Shaq trade – I will respectfully disagree with conventional wisdom — a little bit — and say that Shaq has actually played well, when he’s been able to stay on the court. He’s rebounding at about the same rate, and scoring about as efficiently, as any of the past five years. He’s getting just as many blocks per minute, too. He IS turning it over a lot more, and obviously can’t move his feet as well on defense. But if he emerges healthy the last few months (a HUGE if), he’ll be still be better than any center in the league outside Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan.

    That said… the trade is retarded on the Suns’ part. Shaq probably won’t be healthy, so it probably won’t help the Suns’ cause this year. The next two years it’s even worse. It’s hard to imagine they couldn’t have gotten a better deal for Marion, in a sign-and-trade this summer.

  68. Great point Caleb. As for Haslem’s “post moves,” hile I haven’t seen much of Miami this season, when I’ve seen him play Haslem is primarily a jump shooter.

    “Pheonix has been a very poorly run team”

    Man, I wish the Knicks could be poorly run.

  69. I was referring to the Haslem/Lee post.

    Also an interesting point on Shaq’s efficiency, but there are just so many negatives for the Suns: doesn’t fit their system, $40 mill, injury prone…

    If they’re going to make the move they obviously think he can play with their offense… it’ll be interesting to see.

  70. Ya, “poorly run” would be a massive improvement.

    But think what they could have had, if they had just avoided selling draft picks…

    Kurt Thomas/Brian Skinner

    Atlanta’s pick next year…

    Another way to look at it — they gave Seattle two late 1st round picks, to get the Sonics to take Kurt Thomas (who’s having a fine year, btw). The Lakers gave two late 1st round picks (and Crittenden), to get Pau Gasol.

    I wonder if David Stern hasn’t given some thought to intervening… it’s just like when Ted Stepien was the owner in Cleveland, selling off picks.

  71. Do you guys think the Heat will keep Marion after this year, or move him in a sign-and-trade?

    And yes, I would gladly take Jason Williams for Curry, Crawford or Jeffries, just to clear salary room. Or Williams, Banks and a (presumably protected) pick, for Randolph.

  72. The Spurs also sell their picks pretty regularly. In fact, the Suns “bought” the pick that was Barbosa from the Spurs.

    The Deng one (#7 pick) was particularly weird, I’m not sure but I don’t think they could have signed both Nash and Q if they had used the pick. (Looking back Deng is the obvious choice over Q, but in fairness Q’s outside shot helped the Suns to establish their identity.)

    They also could have kept Joe Johnson, not signed Marcus Banks, and done some other things. In the end they might have a better team, but they might not. They’re winning 60+ games a year and have valued cap flexibility and a fairly constant rotation (which has worked extremely well for them and the Spurs and even the Mavs recently to some extent).

  73. Assuming the trade goes through, they’re in a great situation where they can take the Wade-Marion combo for a test drive. If it works they can resign him, and if it doesn’t they’ve got cap flexibility or a sign and trade asset.

  74. I dunno about the Suns management – it seems penny-wise and pound foolish. They sell the pick to save a few million in rookie salary and luxury tax – but long-term, the only way to manage your cap (without gutting the team) is by having rookie contracts – paying peanuts to a guy like Deng, for 4 years.

    I don’t fault them at all for the Johnson thing – that’s real money. Not to mention they completely ripped off the Hawks; Sarver wouldn’t have matched that offer and the Hawks could have had JJ for nothing (but the money); instead they gave up 2 1st rounders and Boris Diaw. Wow.

  75. Haslem is not better than Lee. He is a classic case of a player being overrated because he shoots a ton of jump shots. They play the same position, utility forward, and right now Lee is the best player at that position in the league.

    I honestly can’t imagine why the Suns are doing this. I am sure they have a reason, but they have the second best record in the league right now. The idea that you would improve by swapping a gimpy Shaq for Marion, one of the best defenders and rebounders in the league, it’s just insane in the cold light of day.

    And Spider Cider, what I want to know is who is going to be our Duke of York.

  76. David Lee performs his role better than any other Knick performs at theirs…the guy gets his boards, hustles, makes his free throws, and makes a high percentage of his FGs. He knows his role and doesn’t try to do things he isn’t asked to do — load a team with guys like that, and you’re in good shape.

    Does that translate into being a top 50 player? I don’t know — but if every guy on the Knicks did what their role requires (a center who can intimidate on D, get D rebounds, throw outlet passes — any O boards, points are a bonus really –….a shooting guard who can shoot…a point guard who can play perimeter D and set up the O…etc etc…) then the Knicks would be a play-off team.

    The only other Knicks who come close to performing their intended roles well are Balkman, Robinson and (many of you will disagree with this one) Randolph. I say Randolph because he is supposed to score and does, and probably gets more boards than was expected…god knows he does plenty of things poorly too, but he is more capable than most at the things the team requires of him).

    Crawford is the guy who really kills you…because some games he is lights out fantastic, and most games he shoots bricks all night…I don’t think a guy like that can start on a play-off team, too erratic. A guy who shoots 40% and doesn’t get to the line much should not be leading the team in shot attempts. Or be a point guard…

  77. I agree with retro, but I would put it another way… we pay too much attention to GOOD things players do (scoring points) and not enough to the BAD things — missed shots, turnovers and (harder to measure) defensive screwups. Lee minimizes these negatives, which isn’t easy to do… Crawford has a ton of them. (I wouldn’t say he’s an awful player – but he’s average at best, and as retro points out he’s our featured guy — a huge disadvantage compared to the OTHER team’s featured guy, who is generally an above average player. I would say the same about Randolph).

    Also, it’s no contradiction to say that a) Lee is our best player; b) Lee is (semi-arbitrarily) the 50th-best player in the league; and c) if your best player is 50th best in the league, your team isn’t good.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Balkman eventually emerges as our best player from the current group — but he hasn’t played nearly enough to say, and in any case he has a lot of rough edges to smooth out. If he somehow cut his fouling to an average level he might be the best defensive player in the league, at least among non-centers.

  78. again, Marion can opt out unrestricted this summer if he wants, and he definitely would have if he hadn’t been traded. it’s still up to him whether he wants to stay, it’s not Miami’s decision.

  79. Unless Marion wants to play in Philly or Memphis (and they want him) he’s not opting out — he’s not giving up $17 million to take the mid-level. Of course then he goes on the market in 2009.

  80. I think Memphis and Philly are the only ones with room… plus Miami, if Marion opts out… might be one or two others who could get there if they clear a big contract this week.

    A lot of teams have been angling for 2009 or 2010 so the competition will heat up (Knowing that, I think more FAs will put themselves on the market, too)

  81. Is there anywhere that has date on shooting percentages from different ranges along with league averages. Without that info players like Lee who rarely take shots that are not tips, layups fastbreak or weakside dunks, come out as the Coors Field players of the NBA. Ed Pinckney, Mark West and James Donaldson are among the top 25 in TSP all-time which makes for a rather silly stat as a measure of any sort of offensive aptitude.

  82. “I think Memphis and Philly are the only ones with room…”

    Bobcats could be $20 million under, Warriors could be $10 million under, pending re-signings…

  83. “Ed Pinckney, Mark West and James Donaldson are among the top 25 in TSP all-time which makes for a rather silly stat as a measure of any sort of offensive aptitude.”

    No one should think of TS% as a be-all end-all stat. You don’t see that Lee led the league last year and say therefore he is the best offensive player in the league — but it’s pretty easy to put into context. Factor TS% together with total scoring volume (where Lee is about average, slightly under for his position) and it’s easy to see that he’s a good offensive player. THink of it this way — if he took a lot more shots, enough to score at above his position average, his TSP might not be 60 or 65 (like last year), but it would still be in the mid- to high-50s, depending how much the volume went up.

    I mean – it’s not like he only takes 1 or 2 shots per game. And it’s a GOOD thing that most of his shots are in-close. Randolph infuriates us because he takes a ton of jumpers, instead of much higher-percentage shots inside. Long-two pointers are for idiots.

    Enough of the preamble.

    I don’t know a way to line up player stats side by side, but you can go through them all one by one.

    Lee’s eFG on jumpers is 33.8%… Randolph is 39.5; Haslem is 39.4, Rasheed Walalce 44.7, Nowitzki 48.3, Marion 47.1, Lamar Odom 34.7 were a few I checked out…

  84. Bobcats would have to renounce Okafor… and that # for the Warriors doesn’t include Biedrins or Ellis (or Pietrus) who would all be on new contracts…

    But it looks like I forgot about the Timberwolves…

    And the Hawks will probably have some room, even if they give Josh Smith a big extension… they also have Childress to sign, but most people in ATLthink they’ll trade him to avoid that.

    If Gilbert Arenas opts out, the Wiz would have a lot of space, too…

    I love the ShamSports site — good info & a sense of humor.

  85. If anyone is going to overrate David Lee it is David Berri… for what it’s worth, he says that of players with more than 700 minutes, Lee is 29th best in the league (per minute — 40th in total productivity). If you lowered that threshhold to 400 minutes, 3 more players – including ex-Knicks Nazr Mohammed and Trevor Ariza – would also be ahead of him.

    Berri’s top 5 for the first half are Dwight Howard, Marcus Camby, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul & Jason Kidd. Andrew Bynum has the 3rd best mark per-48, but only ranks 14th because he’s played fewer minutes. Kobe is 18th.

    Randolph is the top-ranked Knick after Lee, at #87… Nate #125… Crawford #153.

    His worst 5 players in the league, with over 1,000 minutes, are Mehmet Okur, Kevin Durant, Bruce Bowen, Boris Diaw and Jeff Green. (Curry is 7th worst). Rashard Lewis is also surprisingly low, in the bottom 10.

    Berri’s absolute worst, playing 825 minutes, is Andrea Bargnani.

    Stock criticisms: too much value to rebounding, not enough for off-ball defense, no value whatsoever for shot creation.

  86. Caleb thanks for the assorted data. I guess Lee is more or less where he has been pegged. Jeff Foster was a bit of a surprise though without looking I have to assume he fits the D. Lee profile, very high rebounds, low usage, high FG and FT %. Kidd even with doubts about his effort level is # 5 and the king of your stupid shots, namely the three’s “oh, his foot was on the line.”

  87. “Bobcats would have to renounce Okafor…”

    Didn’t Okafor basically renounce the Bobcats when he turned down their extension?

  88. Wow- the next is Randolph at 89. Childress is ranked really high… maybe we should pursue a trade for him.

  89. You have a point Z… but he could still re-sign, just like Deng.
    I guess like Marion he’ll have to decide whether he wants to play in Charlotte… take a bit of a pay cut to play in Memphis or Philly… or take a massive pay cut to go somewhere else. On the Bobcats’ side, I guess they could decide they’d rather offer the $$ to Elton Brand, or Gil Arenas…

  90. I guess ShamSports hasn’t updated… you could add on the Jefferson extension and they’d still be more than $10 million under… I don’t know who’s right about Howard, though — if his deal really runs through 2009 that would use up most of the space.

    Some quickie research unveils this:

    which seems to suggest the contract DOES run thru 2009… sorry TWolves fans (and Gilbert Arenas) — you’ll have to wait.

    That’s definitely the worst omission I’ve ever seen on Shamsports OR HoopsHype…

  91. “Rashard Lewis is also surprisingly low, in the bottom 10”

    Thanks for the link to 82games Caleb…noticed that the duo of Lewis and Allen had the least impact of any team’s duos in +/- pts last year…maybe partially explain why they were traded…interesting that Lewis scores out low this year, and btw, the duo of Pierce/Garnett is helping Boston more than Allen is…

    May just be stats anomaly, but puts a little dent into Lewis and Allen reps perhaps as well…

  92. I think Allen a few years ago was a much better player — solid defense, versatile offense – but I’ve never been a Lewis fan. More props to Howard and Turkoglu this year, I guess.

  93. With all these crazy trade ideas listed above, I wonder why still no one has commented on my simple plan to fix our Knicks — if it’s so terrible at least tell me so…

    1) Trade Zach for Ben Wallace
    2) Sign Artest to MLE
    3) Pick best available player at our spot in next year’s draft.
    4) Wait for everyone’s salaries to come off the books ie. don’t make stupid trades that sacrifice cap space. Or trade long contracts for short contracts- much easier said than done of course.

    Starting lineup =

    PG: Nate or Crawford
    SG: Artest
    SF: Balkman
    PF: Wallace
    C: Curry

    1st players off the bench = Crawford/Nate, Lee, then whoever else happens to be playing well.

    Draft pick – currently #5 — I don’t have a good sense of a lot of the potential draftees but just based on what I’ve seen, I’d probably choose either Thabeet from UConn or Collison from UCLA.

    I think this solution is actually possible — Zach for Wallace makes lots of sense for both teams and the salaries match up nicely, with one year shorter on Wallace’s contract. And Artest has already said he’d sign for the MLE.

    Having Artest, Balkman, and Wallace on the floor at the same time is a MAJOR upgrade on defense. You could put either Artest or Balkman on the best backcourt scorer and hide Jamal or Nate. We would still have 3 good scorers on the floor with either Nate or Jamal, Artest, and Curry.

    In terms of long-term for the team — Curry, Artest, Balkman, Jamal, Nate, Chandler, Lee are all 28 at the oldest which means we’d probably have a nice 3-4 year run at least with this group.

  94. “I wonder why still no one has commented on my simple plan to fix our Knicks — if it’s so terrible at least tell me so…”

    Frank– not terrible. But, is the goal simply to get better, or is it to be a legit title contender somewhere in the next decade?

    Obviously, I like trading Randolph for Wallace straight up. And I like drafting the best possible player with our pick (though I doubt anybody’s plan is to try to draft anything less).

    The main controversy you will face is with the Artest signing. That’s been debated here, and will forever be debated until Artest retires (or gets banned from the league…). I would rather not see the Knicks give his a 5 year deal because it compromises the summer of 2011 which is our best shot at claiming a franchise player via free agency. By that time Artest will not be the impact player he has been in the past.

    If the goal is to be better next year, then your plan will certainly achieve that goal.

    But I’d rather look past next year, and Artest may hurt more than he helps in the long run.

  95. I’m with Z — don’t think Artest holds up for more than two years, character aside.

    Not sure Chicago would trade Wallace straight up for Randolph…and while D definitely upgrades, as bad as Zach can be, where would his points come from?

    I’d prefer no trades, start Balkman with Crawford, Robinson, Lee and Randolph, use Jeffries liberally on the backline against taller clubs….yes, we’d still lose most nights, but playing a zone, letting them run (may as well take more shot attempts if you are going to be turn-over prone anyway…). Wallace also a liability at the line and my sense is he is past his prime too.

    Play the kids, run run run, zone the D, and stash the cash for the LeBron coming out party…oh yeah, and don’t forget to fire Zeke over the summer…

  96. Thanks for the feedback Z — I actually think that lineup has a possibility of being a title contender to be honest. Certainly good enough to get deep into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

    I happen to be a huge Artest fan– I know he’s a nut but he was an integral part of the Pacers team that won 60 games in 03/04 and immediately made the Kings better (despite just horrible talent level there compared to the rest of the Western Conference). And he can guard any position on the floor as he showed when he basically shut down Curry when guarding him despite giving up 60 pounds and 4 inches.

    He and Wallace would bring some MUCH needed toughness and attitude to our soft-bellied Knicks.

    To be honest, I haven’t looked at the 2011 cap, but my feeling is Curry, JJ1/2 and a bunch of others would be off the cap by then and the MLE # wouldn’t hurt so much. But getting a player of Artest’s caliber for the MLE dollar amount would be a coup for us.

  97. Someone in an earlier post stated that Balkman is better than Artest and in three years it will be no contest. That seems a little far fetched.

    Balkman has not proven anything to suggest that he will be better than artest. Artest is a great defender a very good offensive player and has great on court intangibles.

    I like Balkman alot but to suddenly annoint already as a good as Artest is just ridiculous. Im sure whoever posted it (i forgot who it was) will pull some stat out to prove their point but I will still disagree.

    Balkman is still a guy that gets limited minutes, has severly limited offensive skills.

    I do believe Balkman has the talent to be an effective player/borderline starter, to me off the court issues aside Artest is an excellent talent star in this league.

  98. the thing about haslen vs. lee is that haslem is the kind of role player that wins you games, he grabs those tough rebounds that secure victories(like when he grabbed that board over 3 knicks early in the season , lee whom I beleive was one of the 3) and he plays smart.

    i know that stats say lee is better , but when you watch the games haslem is better, he plays in a way as of now lee can only dream of.

    he(haslem) plays offense as a true role player to make the other parts on the floor fit and the frustrating part is lee is more talented , there isn’t much that haslem does Lee cant do immediately , but he doesn’t or maybe he just lacks the understanding to do it.lee really doesn’t do much to make any1 look better , he doesn’t really play the pick and roll/pop game well, he doesn’t cut and create passing lanes when the ball is fed to the other big man, he doesn’t help his teamates on D other than to put his hands straight up in the air and any scorer worth his salt just shoots over him at this level…the rare times he actually leaves his man.

    little things like if you float out to the perimeter and the ball swings to you, take the shot, being at the right place the right time , these are things that make haslem important but Lee not so much

    haslem is a much better defender, both on his man and as a defender of the paint , last i checked that was half the game, their differences on offense dont match the real impact haslem has over him on defense.

  99. “Balkman has not proven anything to suggest that he will be better than artest. Artest is a great defender a very good offensive player and has great on court intangibles.”

    I readily admit that we haven’t seen enough of Balkman to really say – but in his limited time his defensive impact is Artest-like, both to the naked eye and by the numbers. Besides that… at this point in his career, I think Artest is a pretty mediocre offensive player. He thinks he’s a stud so he takes a ton of shots, that really should go to Kevin Martin or Bibby. He’s like the Jamal Crawford of the Kings (on offense). And his defense isn’t as awesome as it was — partly age, partly (I think) the hand-checking rules. He’s on the downside, so yeah, I stand by my comment. Of course Balkman is more unproven — if I were a contending team, I’d take Artest. But a team like the Knicks should be taking the long view…

    Re: Lee and Haslem, I’ll admit that defensive impact is harder to measure.. maybe Haslem really does offer a lot more. I know he’s pretty good. But he’s also been surrounded by pretty good defenders (Wade, Posey, pre-now O’Neal) so it’s not like he’s carrying the D, like a Camby or the old Artest. And Lee isn’t bad. Knicks are better with him on the court. 82games composite ranking has him above average (though not as good as Haslem). So I don’t think it’s a huge difference.

    As far as the rest of your comment (“he grabs those tough rebounds that secure victories”) you can’t rank players based on 1 or 2 plays in one November game. Like I wrote before, Lee is waaay ahead in other areas, besides D.

  100. “immediately made the Kings better (despite just horrible talent level there compared to the rest of the Western Conference)”

    The Knicks have horrible talent level compared to anyone in the league right now. I don’t think Artest, coupled with the depreciating Wallace, turns the roster into a legit title contender next year or anytime in the future.

    Artest will always be coveted by a lot of fans because a) he played locally as a kid, and b) we could have drafted him, but went with the sure thing Fredrik Weiss.

    I don’t think either aspect is reason enough to stifle a true rebuilding plan.

    “I haven’t looked at the 2011 cap, but my feeling is Curry, JJ1/2 and a bunch of others would be off the cap by then and the MLE # wouldn’t hurt so much.”

    Sorry. I meant to say summer of 2010. That is when LeBron, Wade, et al are potentially on the market. Curry, Crawford, Randolph, and JJ 2 will still be on the cap at that time, making it impossible to be a player without moving at least some of them for shorter deals. Plus Lee and Nate need to either be resigned or renounced. An Artest deal that runs through 2013 would hurt, unless we do the Randolph for Wallace trade and get someone else to take a combination of Jeffries, Crawford, and/or Curry.

  101. Great trade for the Heat; terrible for the Suns.

    Also bad for the Bricks. It lifts the Heat into contention, and creates the illusion that perhaps Zeke can come up with a steal like that…emboldening him to try and make a deal.

    Dante’s rings:
    1. Limbo (Bricks)
    2. Lust (Bricks’ interns)
    3. Gluttony (Curry, Randolph, and Q)
    4. Miserlyness (if only they resided here)
    5. The slothful and the wrathful. (All the Bricks starters and Nate, being wrathful…)
    6. Heretics (Dolan, for applying christian values hypocritically to basketball)
    7. the violent (Nate, Q, Zeke)
    8. Fraudulent (Zeke, Dolan, James)
    9. Traitors (Zeke, Dolan)


    Artest is a riot, and has been a tremendous player…but he has 11 years in the league, turns 30 next year, logged big minutes most of his career, has had injuries recently…and shoots only 42% FGA and only 72% FTs for his career…

    Five years ago, I’d take him. Too late now — I pass on Ron, though I do like his singing…

  103. Frank – as far as 2011 cap goes, we have four huge contracts on the books for 2010-2011 (Randolph $17.3m, Curry 11.3, Crawford 10.1, Jeffries 6.9)… plus likely extensions for Lee (call it $7m, to be conservative) and Balkman (let’s say $5m)… maybe Robinson ($4m?)… the 2008 pick ($3m)… 2009 pick ($2m)… so we’re pretty much committed to more than $66 million, with 6 roster slots to fill. That also assumes zero free agent signings. To get under a $60 million cap, you might get there by just dumping Randolph… but more likely, you’ll have to trim multiple contracts (or not re-sign Lee, Balkman OR Robinson. Ha!)

    That’s why I would try to make decent deals, for picks or young players, but if all else fails by next season, I’d just trade those long-term deals for ANYTHING shorter — expiring in 2010 or sooner.

    If we have cap space, we WILL be able to sign a better player than Randolph, Curry, Crawford or Jeffries. The next two years, I don’t really care if we win 25 games instead of 30, or 35 instead of 40.

  104. “It lifts the Heat into contention,”

    no worries, they’ll still be very lucky to hit 30 wins. They’re 9-38!

    This just helps our lottery odds, a little bit.

  105. Unless you’re talking about expiring contracts, I wouldn’t bring in anyone older than Zach (26 I think.) Let’s rebuild and go for LBJ.
    Imagine if you will:
    1- Nate
    2- Gordon (08 draft)
    3- King James
    4- Lee
    5- a center (09 draft)

  106. Can Shaq turn himself into a late-stage Wilt? Grab boards, throw outlets, and dish out some assists?

    I don’t see it. Phoenix still doesn’t look like a real threat to go all the way. I’d pick Houston over them if they meet in the play-offs…

    As for Miami, Marion makes them more fun to watch, but hard to see them rip off a bunch of wins all of a sudden. Any team that plays Ricky Davis major minutes has bigger problems than Marion can solve…

  107. If Shaq is healthy I think he’ll actually help the offense be even more awesome… but they’re going to have big problems on defense. And more than likely he’ll be a cripple, come playoff time.

  108. Well, I’ll say this: Phoenix with a healthy Shaq playing well vs. a healthy Celtics squad, would be a pretty interesting Finals.

    I think San Antonio is still waiting in the weeds and maybe Detroit too though.

  109. I am a knicks fan, but i also like the wizards and warriors. I really just want some opinions on these trades.

    1.Juan Carlos Navarro to golden state for Brandon Wright.

    Golden state gets a role player shooter, and memphis gets a talented young rookie who could develop.

    2.Andray Blatche, Nick Young, and Darius Songaila from Washington for Mike Miller of memphis.

    Washington gets a blue-chip in Miller, who is a great shooter, can rebound, and fits in their style perfectly
    1. Agent 0
    2. Caron
    3. Miller
    4. Jamison
    5. Haywood

    That might be the best starting 5 in all of the NBA.

    Memphis obviously gets more young players in blatche and young, and just takes songaila to make salaries match.

    Memphis’s Core/ Lineup

    1. Mike Connley
    2. Nick Young
    3. Rudy Gay
    4. Brandon Wright
    5. Andray Blatche

    What i wouldn’t give for the knicks to have a core that great. In a couples years that could develop to a great team, and then just sign some free agents to fill in the gaps.

  110. Wow, did anyone see that no look pass Lee threw to Curry there, sort of flipped it backwards, but like a paddle motion, love it….

  111. “1. Agent 0
    2. Caron
    3. Miller
    4. Jamison
    5. Haywood

    That might be the best starting 5 in all of the NBA.”

    you might have an argument if teams were allowed to platoon and that was the “offense”, although I don’t think there would be nearly enough shots to keep all of those guys happy. sadly for your argument, those guys have to play D also.

  112. Are you sure you’re a warriors and wiz fan? You’ve got memphis picking their pockets twice…

    The league assumes navarro is walking after the season so no one’s gonna give up a #8 pick for him (tho I have no idea if wright is any gOod in the first place)…

    Meanwhile the wiz aren’t giving up their 21 y/o center of the future to get a 30 y/o shooter who plays no d and means fewer shots for arenas, jamison and butler.

    I do think miller and navarro will be gone soon… Miller could bring back blatche-level talent from the right team — say — golden state for brandan wright! Or maybe houston (for francis or another short-timer)… Or orlando, which has 12m in expiring deals.

    I like Navarro but he won’t bring much bc it’s an artest situation – everyone knows they can get him for nothing but mid-level dollars, after the season.

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