Knicks Morning News (2015.01.30)

  • [New York Post] How Knicks’ Lou Amundson celebrated new contract in style (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:31:20 -0500)

    INDIANAPOLIS — Knicks new big man Lou Amundson isn't going anywhere this season. The Knicks are his 10th team and there won't be an 11th for now. Amundson celebrated a…

  • [New York Post] Bill Bradley cops to deflating balls in Knicks glory days (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:35:07 -0500)

    INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Bradley is a Knicks legend and former U.S. Senator and now an admitted former ball doctor. Bradley told The Post in a phone interview Thursday he used…

  • [New York Times] For 1st Time Since ’80, Hawks Get 3 Players in All-Star Game (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 08:51:02 GMT)

    The Hawks keep reaping the rewards for their amazing season.

  • [New York Times] Lakers Stop 9-Game Skid, Beat Bulls 123-118 in Double OT (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:30:01 GMT)

    When the Los Angeles Lakers blew a nine-point lead in 70 seconds late in regulation, they certainly seemed to be careening straight toward another loss in overtime.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: With Loss to Pacers, Knicks Slide Back to Basement in East (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:54:11 GMT)

    With the loss, the Knicks fell behind Philadelphia (9-37) for the worst record in the East.

  • [New York Times] Pacers Shrug Off Slow Start, Pull Away From Knicks 103-82 (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:45:35 GMT)

    Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers rediscovered their winning formula.

  • [New York Times] Randolph’s Double-Double Leads Grizzlies Over Nuggets, 99-69 (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:28:17 GMT)

    Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds, Jeff Green added 13 points and the Memphis Grizzlies built an early lead en route to a 99-69 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

  • [New York Times] Bucks End 17-Game Skid in Orlando, Beat Magic 115-100 (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 03:00:09 GMT)

    Jerryd Bayless scored 19 points, Jared Dudley and Khris Middleton had 17 apiece and the Milwaukee Bucks ended a 17-game losing streak in Orlando with a 115-100 victory on Thursday night.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Signs Deal With Chinese Internet Giant (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:26:17 GMT)

    The N.B.A. announced a five-year deal said to be worth at least $500 million with Tencent Holdings to carry games, highlights and other league content.

  • [New York Times] 3 Hawks, Durant and Westbrook Are NBA All-Star Reserves (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:21:03 GMT)

    Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague were picked Thursday as reserves for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, giving the sizzling Atlanta Hawks three selections.

  • [New York Daily News] Game full of All-Stars … but one Knick and no Nets (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 05:20:06 GMT)

    The 14 All-Star reserves were revealed, and as expected, the Nets (18-27), with the league’s highest payroll, came up empty.

  • [New York Daily News] Carmelo, Knicks blown out by Pacers, 103-82 (Fri, 30 Jan 2015 02:28:17 GMT)

    The Knicks improbably had the chance to match their win total for the entire first half in just a half-dozen games to open the back stretch.

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

    142 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.01.30)”

    1. We signed Lou Amundson for the rest of the year and in doing so I guess phil and co. don’t realize the opportunity cost of less ping pong ballzz and less d-league callups.

      This is frankly stupid, even if he “deserved” the contract in some sense.

    2. Each move PJax makes convinces me more than he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The Knicks have only four more losses than the Lakers and and Orlando. They can easily drop to the fifth lottery spot.

    3. Man. I don’t know. I know in 5 years all I will care about is the pick we get this year, and that I can buy an Okafor jersey thru Knickerblogger. But there is a responsibility to put some sort of quality team on the court. I’m all for selling off Pablo, Tim, anyone else for 2nd round picks for the future, but it’s hard to be OK with not trying. I can’t trust a management team that is not being crazy competitive now.

      I know 75% of the site wants us to tank. Then again 90% hate Jason Smith. doesn’t make sense.

    4. If you are going to be competitive and try, do it with the right players. Amundson has no real future on this time beyond this year. Play Galloway, play Early, pick up some D-league guys, and see if they develop.

    5. Then again 90% hate Jason Smith. doesn’t make sense.

      Yeah, I don’t get the Jason Smith dislike either, he’s been one of the most helpful Knicks in terms of getting them into position for the worst record in the league. His terribleness has been a huge part of the Knicks’ success in getting to the bottom of the heap. We should all be embracing him like crazy! More Smith, More Smith, More Smith!!

    6. We all knew the Knicks would win a handful of meaningless games, sabotaging their draft position. This is the New York Knicks we’re talking about.

      Someday in 2018 we’ll be talking about how we just missed out on some perennial all-star by one draft slot and instead ended up with the 2010’s version of Channing Frye. I don’t have to tell you why. You all know.

      Because Knicks.

    7. Jeez, guys, you act like we’re no longer at the bottom of the NBA pack and our draft position is already screwed. Right now it’s the Wolves at 8-37, Philly at 9-37 and NY at 9-38. The closest bad team to those 3 would be the Lakers at 13-34 (big win last night, go LA!). So it sure looks to me like we’ll be in the bottom 3, which is really the goal, right? If we win a few home games here and there, that’s OK, Philly and Minnesota aren’t going to lose every game they play either.

    8. So it sure looks to me like we’ll be in the bottom 3, which is really the goal, right?

      The goal is the worst record, as it gives them almost a 50/50 shot at getting the #1 or the #2 pick. Top three is better than not top three, of course, but I seriously worry about this team picking after #2.

    9. To those of you who are worried that the Knicks are trying too hard to win this year — calm down. Did you see the final score of the game last night?
      On another note, is anyone following the nonsense about Phil Jackson’s comments a decade ago that the 1973 Knicks deflated balls? It’s ridiculous to think that, if balls were underinflated, no one on the other team would notice/complain. I’m a middle aged guy who coaches sixth grade kids and I can bounce a ball three times and tell whether it is overinflated or underinflated. So, I can tell, but we’re supposed to think that Jerry West and Oscar Robertson would play an entire 48 minute game and not notice that they couldn’t dribble as fast as usual? Maybe they thought that, every time they played against the Knicks, they just felt a little sluggish? Somehow I’m skeptical.

    10. Yep, this deflate-Gate doesn’t convince me either. Also, I don’t know why but I was sure you were a 25 year old, johnno!

    11. Only on Knickerblogger do you have people complaining about signing Lou Amundson for the rest of the season AND complaining that we’re not doing enough to further the goal of losing as many games as possible. LOL. Can’t make this stuff up.

      The only downside to keeping him on is that he takes up a roster spot, but frankly I’d be pretty shocked if Bargs, Stat and Prigs weren’t traded or waived within the next month, so there should be more open spots on the horizon for those who’d prefer we field literally nothing but d-leaguers.

      In any case, I’m not too worried that a team with single digit wins heading into February is in any danger of losing its grip on one of the worst records in the league. There’s no way to guarantee the #1 pick, but a bottom 3 record guarantees a top 6 pick, and there are plenty of attractive options after Okafor (anyone see how well D’Angelo Russell is playing recently? Or noticed how Karl Towns is slipping down draft boards and may still be available if we pick outside the top 3?).

    12. The goal is the worst record, as it gives them almost a 50/50 shot at getting the #1 or the #2 pick. Top three is better than not top three, of course, but I seriously worry about this team picking after #2.

      There’s a little piece of me that wants the #3 pick because I love Stanley Johnson and he doesn’t scare me anywhere nearly as much as Okafor and Towns.

    13. There’s a little piece of me that wants the #3 pick because I love Stanley Johnson and he doesn’t scare me anywhere nearly as much as Okafor and Towns.

      I love Johnson, as well (I have him #3 on my board – or #4…I forget where I had Turner), but my concern is that I doubt the Knicks take him at #3. That’s why #1 or #2 is so important to me because I don’t think they’ll screw up #1 or #2. They’ll just take Okafor or Towns, whichever guy isn’t taken at #1. But #3? I dunno.

    14. I love Johnson, as well (I have him #3 on my board – or #4…I forget where I had Turner), but my concern is that I doubt the Knicks take him at #3. That’s why #1 or #2 is so important to me because I don’t think they’ll screw up #1 or #2. They’ll just take Okafor or Towns, whichever guy isn’t taken at #1. But #3? I dunno.

      Who do you think we would take? Mudiay?

    15. i think #3 would be fine as i think they’d take russell or the big men.. which the more i see him play the more i think he’ll be the best player in this draft…

    16. Yeah, I’m with Flossy- if you’ve put together a team where playing Lou Amundson 30 minutes a night increases your chances of winning you’re a pretty solid bet for being in the bottom three. And as I said yesterday, there are enough young guys on the team who might be around next year- THJ, Early, Galloway, and maybe Acy or Thomas- that having a guy around who plays as hard as Amundson does (and gets rewarded for it) might pay dividends next year. Waive Bargs and/or Wear if you want to create more roster spots. And trade Prigs and at least go to Amar’e and ask if he wants to be waived so he can catch on with a playoff team.
      As far as Towns goes- I still take him number two. Look at Wiggins- he was pretty meh at Kansas but now he looks like the guy everyone expected him to be going into last year. My guess is that when teams work him out he’ll move right back up the draft board- assuming he can still hit the outside shot that is.

    17. It certainly doesn’t seem like Calipari’s system is doing Towns any favors. He may be one of those players whose game will translate much better to professional ball. It does seem, though, that we might have a shot at him even if we’re not picking top 2 (or, if we do miss out, there are some other worthy consolation prizes like Johnson or Russell, who looks like the lovechild of Harden and Manu).

    18. “And as I said yesterday, there are enough young guys on the team who might be around next year- THJ, Early, Galloway, and maybe Acy or Thomas- that having a guy around who plays as hard as Amundson does (and gets rewarded for it) might pay dividends next year.”
      Also, this might be a bit of a stretch but, if I’m a guy in the D-League or some European free agent (like Copeland was) who is getting interest from 3 or 4 teams, I might be more inclined to sign with a team that has proven that, if I go there, bust my ass and play well, they’ll actually sign me for the rest of the year — or longer.
      “Also, I don’t know why but I was sure you were a 25 year old, johnno!”
      Actually, I’m 55, so I’m even stretching it to claim that I’m “middle-aged.” The dead giveaway is that I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure out how the rest of you manage to cut and paste quotes and have them show up indented and in a lighter font shade than what I type. I’ll have to get my 11 year old daughter to show me how to do it.

    19. in regards to towns… i think he should still be #1/2 based on what he’s shown… he needs a little refinement on the offensive end but his numbers have been fine even despite that… on defense he’s shown to be the real deal.. people forget kentucky was a middling defensive team last year… and now they are historically great…

      he’s the best two way center in the draft so the mocks could have him going anywhere but in reality… teams are not gonna let a guy like that fall too far…

    20. For those of you that don’t get it,
      ANY MOVES THAT HELP THE KNICKS THIS YEAR AT THE EXPENSE OF FUTURE SEASONS IS MORONIC!
      This season is shot. “Rebuilding” is all systems go. You can’t blame the coach or players for doing their best, but PJ must have his eyes on the future.

      Sign young guys that have a chance at being part of the future.

    21. “Sign young guys that have a chance at being part of the future.”

      Yeah, shame on Phil Jackson for not signing Langston Galloway–that kid showed so much promise. Oh wait, what’s that? He did sign him, with a partially guaranteed deal for next year too? Wow! Crazy! What’s that? He also signed Lance Thomas, only 26 years old and surprisingly productive, with back-end roster filler potential for next season?

      Wow, far out! I would never have guessed that, since to read this board you’d think Phil had traded all our expiring contracts for Lance Stevenson and Eric Gordon and then given Bargs a 4 year extension.

      It bears repeating that retaining Lou Amundson IN NO WAY comprises our efforts to lose a ton of games this year. It bears repeating that we will soon have even more open roster spots to fill with the D-league flotsam and jetsam that people covet. It’s worth pointing out that Lou’s agent also represents other NBA players, who might appreciate a franchise that rewards hardworking players who do what is asked of them. There is something to be said for keeping a few veteran players around, particularly ones that bust their ass and play unselfishly, rather than try to shoehorn as many inexperienced 23 year olds onto on team as possible.

      This board has been so dreary this season. This used to be a fun place to come when the Knicks were losing because everyone here at least had a sense of humor. The sense of gloom and doom on this board is so lame… We’re finally cleaning house and rebuilding as best as possible and all anyone wants to talk about is how literally every thing that happens is simply more evidence that Phil Jackson is some sort of false prophet. Get a grip! We’re talking about a 9 win team and Lou Amundson! We’ll have a high draft pick, some cheap young players and a boat load of cap space when all is said and done.

    22. Also, I think Amundson helps Fisher- this little stretch has been the first time where everyone seems to be on the same page and even if the talent level isn’t good enough to get wins that still has to help Fisher figure out what’s working and what needs to get changed in terms of game planning going into next year. Just having a team that competes on both ends on a nightly basis- and runs more or less what you’re asking them to run- should help Fisher’s confidence as a coach.

    23. I don’t think the Knicks have been tanking. I think they intended to be better than this, and I think Phil is legitimately embarrassed by how bad the team has been. I think he will try to win more games in the second half than he won in the first half in order to save himself and Fisher more embarrassment, and to show free agents that the team is building something (and not just recklessly tanking for lottery odds).

      And I don’t think Phil is too concerned with what slot the Knicks draft at. He may prefer a 3-5 pick because he’s planning to trade whomever he drafts for a “win now” player, and it’s safer to trade the #3 pick than the #1 (as we saw by Cleveland’s stress over dealing Wiggins).

      Somebody (Johnno?) suggested a path to competitiveness through trading for Cousins. Dealing the draft pick for Cousins and then using the cap space on Mathews and/or another solid wing is probably the best “all in” move Phil can make during the Mega Max Melo era. Not that Cousins will be available, but a move like that pretty much has to be what Phil is thinking (should Marc Gasol eschews the Knicks on July 1st).

    24. I’ll take the devil’s advocate’s stance…

      Nobody knows how good any of these draft picks will be. Remember that Bargnani was an overall #1. So was Kwami Brown and Michael Olowokandi.

      It takes a few years for a rookie to develop into an NBA superstar. Phil Jackson is here to win sooner than later. He’s banking on free agency rather than the draft. Building the bottom 1/3 of the team is prudent because they all get used. Depth is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Galloway, Amundson and Thomas give the Knicks a 2-way guard, a rebounder and a scorer that are currently in the rotation, winning games.

      While I would love to be in the Celtic’s shoes, with a zillion picks, let’s face facts, it ain’t gonna happen.

      We can all dream about getting Okafor but if there were 1000 ping-pong balls and 999 said NYK on them, the ball that pops up won’t.

    25. Somebody (Johnno?) suggested a path to competitiveness through trading for Cousins. Dealing the draft pick for Cousins and then using the cap space on Mathews and/or another solid wing is probably the best “all in” move Phil can make during the Mega Max Melo era.

      This would be the most Knicksy move possible. Trade for an overrated, headcase, volume scoring big in the hopes that he’ll finally put it together because we have to win now since we stupidly gave Melo a ridiculous extension. Have you people not watched the last 15 years of Knicks? This is the same shit we always do, and it’s never, ever worked out. Because it’s a terrible plan.

    26. Trade for an overrated, headcase, volume scoring big in the hopes that he’ll finally put it together because we have to win now since we stupidly gave Marbury a ridiculous extension.

      it’s like deja vu all over again

    27. See, this is what I’m talking about. You guys are so determined to be miserable that you’re just telling yourselves whatever you need to believe to stay upset, whether that be that Lou Amundson’s going to stand in the way of us uncovering the next d-league phenom (almost certainly not true), Lou Amundson is going to derail the tank effort (lol, what!?), Phil Jackson isn’t trying to tank (if hiring a rookie coach and retaining him despite the team’s struggles while systematically trading all our decent players/long contracts out from under him and not taking back a single player likely to improve the team in the short term in a year when we have our own pick doesn’t count as tanking, nothing will), and it doesn’t matter anyway because he’ll probably just flip the pick for DeMarcus Cousins…

      Get a grip! If you sincerely think that Phil Jackson is sincerely trying to win as much as possible and is embarrassed by this season (and yet isn’t doing a single thing to rectify it… Oh wait, I forgot about sweet Lou, tank saboteur), I don’t know what to tell you (and don’t even bring up whatever standard GM pablum he trotted out in the preseason about wanting to contend–every team says that). If it makes you feel better to get angry in advance about a DeMarcus Cousins trade that hasn’t even happened and probably never will, knock yourself out. Personally, if I’m going to spend the rest of the season fantasizing about the Knicks, I’m going to imagine the Knicks actually being good next year instead of inventing ridiculous reasons to be mad at Phil Jackson.

    28. Except I’m not actually miserable. I’m just confused as to how anyone could think trading our lottery pick for Demarcus Cousins would be a good idea.

    29. Didn’t see that coming, but it makes sense. Give the kid some playing time, see what he can do with a sustained run.

    30. Yeah, he really needs to play, so it might as well be there if it isn’t going to be here (although it should be here).

    31. We can all dream about getting Okafor but if there were 1000 ping-pong balls and 999 said NYK on them, the ball that pops up won’t.

      I can live with missing out on Okafor, I just don’t want to miss out on both him and Towns. Their best chance of getting one of those two guys is to lose as many games as possible.

      Granted, all they really “need” is for Melo to take the rest of the season off after the All-Star break and they should be bad enough to finish towards the bottom of the league. We’ve all gotten accustomed to the idea that he will do that, because it makes all the sense in the world (both for tanking purposes and for getting him healthy for next season) but this team and sense don’t always go hand in hand, so I’m really hoping he actually does get the surgery after the All-Star Game.

    32. Except I’m not actually miserable. I’m just confused as to how anyone could think trading our lottery pick for Demarcus Cousins would be a good idea.

      Then I guess you’re in luck! Because literally nobody outside the Knickerblogger fever swamps has suggested that could or will happen.

    33. This is only an internet thing, right? People don’t go to places in the real world and say, “Boy, this bar is lame. Let me just keep hanging out here to let you know how much I don’t want to hang out here,” right?

    34. Why ought I give Phil the benefit of the doubt after signing Melo to the Mega-Max, bungling the Chandler trade (he thought they were going to get better by trading away their best player, by the way), and trading shump at his lowest possible value rather than sometime last year?

      He’s gotten suboptimal value on trades, made big mistakes in team and player evaluation (thinking that this team was a playoff team, cole as emergency center and the jason smith signing) He’s been bad, and it’s glaringly obvious. Until the Knicks make a good move besides signing Galloway there’s no reason to be optimistic.

    35. Why ought I give Phil the benefit of the doubt after signing Melo to the Mega-Max, bungling the Chandler trade (he thought they were going to get better by trading away their best player, by the way), and trading shump at his lowest possible value rather than sometime last year?

      The stated reason for the Chandler trade was the conflict that Chandler was having with the rest of the club house, Phil never claimed that it was to make the ball club better. Same goes for dumping JR really.

      Furthermore the numbers that Dalembert and Calderon previously put up would indicate a higher level of play than we’ve seen from either of them. Although Dalembert isn’t Chandler, Dalembert had previously shown high efficiency finishing around the basket and a high rebound rate.

    36. I’ve been in the “Jason Smith sucks” camp all along, but he’s been playing better the last handful of games.

    37. I think Phil the one thing Phil seems to have accomplished is change the culture even slightly by swapping out JR, Dalembert and Shump and bringing in/up Galloway, Thomas and Amundson. Maybe talent, or And-1 wise it is a loss but concentrated effort and basketball IQ above that of an amoeba it is a major step up.

    38. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Phil is trying to change the culture, improve the team IQ, get younger, and improve flexibility, without too much worry about how we do this year . In that regard he has been doing well. The problem is that there hasn’t been a single deal where it looks like we got the best of it trying to accomplish that goal. I think you can argue we’ve been getting the worst of every deal. If we were accumulating some picks I’d feel better about what we are doing (even early/mid 2nd rounders).

    39. This is only an internet thing, right? People don’t go to places in the real world and say, “Boy, this bar is lame. Let me just keep hanging out here to let you know how much I don’t want to hang out here,” right?

      Is this addressed to me? Sorry to rain on everyone’s… parade? (Funeral? Pity party? Hard to tell…), but you may recall I used to comment here with some frequency. I’ve taken a break, but it’s just shocking how intent people are on seeing literally everything in the worst possible light to the point of seriously delusional, magical thinking.

      To wit: Phil Jackson thought this was going to be a playoff team and he just failed spectacularly. Really? That’s why he traded away our defensive anchor (and got back young players and picks in return!) before the season? That’s why he hired a coach with literally zero experience? Because those are the kind of things you do when gearing up for a playoff run?

      He’s so embarrassed by our poor play to date that he’s done literally nothing to improve the team, and in fact, has traded away even more talent to clear cap room? But nope, not tanking, just incompetent? Okay… whatever you guys say.

      Gotten bad value in trades? Well, I guess he should go back in time and trade Shumpert before even officially taking the reigns of the team, or since he’s got a time machine, how about nixing that player option on JR’s contract? Where I’m from, unloading an unproductive free-agent-to-be and the NBA’s biggest underachieving distraction without taking back any salary or including any assets is a win.

      I don’t think he’s been perfect, but the end result of this year will be a top 6 draft pick, $28 million in cap space, a few young and promising players, and Carmelo “Satan himself” Anthony… not a terrible position to be in relative to the past 15 years of this franchise’s history and pretty decent given the hand he was dealt. But I’ll leave you all to your…

    40. I’m just confused as to how anyone could think trading our lottery pick for Demarcus Cousins would be a good idea.

      If Melo wasn’t already taking up a big chunk of cap space I’d certainly consider it. He already gives you pretty much what you hope Okafor might (and I stress might) and he’s still only 24. Yeah he’s a head case but he’s also been stuck on one of the league’s worst run franchises- at least with the Knicks he’d be playing for a poorly run franchise in a better place to live. That might mellow him out some. He’s 4th in the league in Real +/- for whatever that’s worth. I’d take him over Kevin Love for whatever that’s worth too. The problem isn’t Cousins- I think if either Okafor or Towns turns out to be as good as Cousins that’d be considered a pretty good outcome- it’s that the Knick’s already have 23m tied up in a volume scorer so it’s worth hanging onto the pick in hopes you’ll get close to Cousins’ production at 1/3 the cost. Clear Melo off of the cap and taking a sure thing but paying for it might be a better bet.

    41. To wit: Phil Jackson thought this was going to be a playoff team and he just failed spectacularly. Really? That’s why he traded away our defensive anchor (and got back young players and picks in return!) before the season? That’s why he hired a coach with literally zero experience? Because those are the kind of things you do when gearing up for a playoff run?

      He’s so embarrassed by our poor play to date that he’s done literally nothing to improve the team, and in fact, has traded away even more talent to clear cap room? But nope, not tanking, just incompetent? Okay… whatever you guys say.

      The primary pieces he got in return were Calderon and Dalembert, both of whom he (rightly, in my mind) thought would be big contributors to a possible playoff team this year. When that plan failed because Calderon got hurt and proceeded to underperform and Dalembert just did jack shit, I think he embraced tanking. But it clearly wasn’t his plan from the beginning because he would have at the very least flipped Calderon and Dalembert before the season even started.

    42. Flossy, no need to see things in hindsight. We tried to compete, we failed, we started a quite obvious tank campaign. In the meantime, Phil traded guys, signed guys, waived guys. Right now the team is starting to gel, which is a good thing. But this happened by chance, not by design. And I’m not miserable. I’m scared at the thought that this franchise could make another blunder for no good reason, like trading the pick.

    43. The difference between the Melo a lot of us whine about and a Melo we can be happy with is shot selection. If he makes better choices on his own or is willing to do so as we add talent to the team, we won’t be complaining about him as much (and admittedly I have been as big a whiner as anyone). It’s really that simple. If he was scoring 20 points per 36 with a TS% of 58%-60% we could live him being average at just about everything else despite the salary.

    44. That’s my thing with Okafor. He’s going to be so good offensively, I’ll live with him being a weak defender. I’ll hope he improves his defense enough to not be a negative there, but I can live with weak defense if he’s going to be dominant on offense, and that dude is going to be dominant on offense (not just the scoring – his passing is top notch, as well).

    45. Nicos i agree with you, I don’t understand why people are knocking Demarcus Cousins. I don’t think Okafor will be better than him and definitely not in the first couple of years. If we are keeping Melo and can dump Calderon, I would make a max offer to Draymond Green. If we were able to get him then I would trade that number one pick for Okafor and roll with a Cousins, Green, Melo, Hardaway and Galloway starting 5, playing the triangle. Demarcus has turned into a younger Marc Gasol. Again this is all if we are keeping Melo which at this point is almost guaranteed.

    46. The key thing about Cousins is that the Kings are not trading him, even for the #1 pick. Doing so would go against everything they’ve been preaching there.

      I am pleased that Cousins made the All-Star Team today. He deserved it.

    47. I agree with you Brian, there is no way he is getting traded but i was shocked to think people would think that would be a dumb trade. Two way bigs like him don’t come along very often, especially the way people talk about Anthony Davis on this blog. BTW i know that Davis is better but Cousins is at least 90% as good imo.

    48. The primary pieces he got in return were Calderon and Dalembert, both of whom he (rightly, in my mind) thought would be big contributors to a possible playoff team this year. When that plan failed because Calderon got hurt and proceeded to underperform and Dalembert just did jack shit, I think he embraced tanking. But it clearly wasn’t his plan from the beginning because he would have at the very least flipped Calderon and Dalembert before the season even started.

      I think he kept his options open going into the season (re: a surprise playoff run), and certainly he made politically savvy gestures in that direction, but you cannot convince me he went into the season seriously thinking this team was going to make post-season noise. Like, I’m sorry but he traded away our 2nd best player for a package of youth/picks/partially guaranteed contracts and Calderon, and hired a rookie coach. Nothing about that says “I expect to complete.”

      I certainly don’t think Phil’s been perfect, but really the only critical mistake of his I can point to is agreeing to take back Calderon. Jason Smith sucks but he’s a stop-gap on a one year deal, getting rid of Felton, Shumpert and JR Smith (all huge negatives, IMO–bad players, bad contracts, bad attitudes) is like mana from heaven, Galloway has been a great find…

    49. If you can’t understand why people are knocking Cousins then you probably don’t understand what Jackson is trying to do. Talent is important (and Cousins is in the verge of being great), but there are players that cause problems in the locker room and on the court that distract from the goal of creating a mature, high IQ, team oriented group.

    50. Strat I agree with you to a certain extent but I think Phil knows about bringing in talented headcases and making it work. Also I think Derek Fisher has a lot of cache with players in this league and could make it work with Cousins, again complete conjecture on my part. I just don’t think there are a lot of big guys in the league as good as Cousins and he is worth the gamble. You don’t want four or five Cousins on your team but i think you can make it work with one, especially with the kind of talent i think he has.

    51. The idea that Phil talked playoffs and is now failing miserably at that goal is just dumb. I’m sure if you listened to interviews with every GM in the league (yes, even Philly) they all said before the season that their goal was to make the playoffs. What else are they going to say? “We plan on sucking so bad this year that we’re guaranteed a top pick in the 2015 draft”?

    52. The primary pieces he got in return were Calderon and Dalembert, both of whom he (rightly, in my mind) thought would be big contributors to a possible playoff team this year. When that plan failed because Calderon got hurt and proceeded to underperform and Dalembert just did jack shit, I think he embraced tanking. But it clearly wasn’t his plan from the beginning because he would have at the very least flipped Calderon and Dalembert before the season even started.

      I think he kept his options open going into the season (re: a surprise playoff run), and certainly he made politically savvy gestures in that direction, but you cannot convince me he went into the season seriously thinking this team was going to make post-season noise. Like, I’m sorry but he traded away our 2nd best player for a package of youth/picks/partially guaranteed contracts and Calderon, and hired a rookie coach. Nothing about that says “I expect to complete.”

      I certainly don’t think Phil’s been perfect, but really the only critical mistake of his I can point to is agreeing to take back Calderon. Jason Smith sucks but he’s a stop-gap on a one year deal, getting rid of Felton, Shumpert and JR Smith (all huge negatives, IMO–bad players, bad contracts, bad attitudes) is like mana from heaven, Galloway has been a great find…

      The problem is if we’re going to suck anyway, and we suck this season and we’re probably still going to suck next season, why bother using our few assets to get rid of them? Especially when none of thier contracts run past next season. If we really, desperately needed to get JR and Felton off the roster we could have just waived them; it would only have cost an extra $2 or $3 million compared to now. And then we could have traded Tyson and maybe Shumpert for actual assets that could help us in the near future.

    53. In the meantime, Phil traded guys, signed guys, waived guys. Right now the team is starting to gel, which is a good thing. But this happened by chance, not by design.

      The team starting to gel was not by chance. Getting a team atmosphere and play was clearly one of his priorities. Even when the team started and was dismal, there were many more assists per game in his system than there were in Woodson’s. And everyone he’s traded for seems to be a team first player who plays hard and/or defends well, and they all have to buy into the system. It’s not an accident we are seeing more team play.

    54. The idea that Phil talked playoffs and is now failing miserably at that goal is just dumb. I’m sure if you listened to interviews with every GM in the league (yes, even Philly) they all said before the season that their goal was to make the playoffs. What else are they going to say? “We plan on sucking so bad this year that we’re guaranteed a top pick in the 2015 draft”?

      Jackson traded for Calderon and Dalembart, which you would not do if you thought that the team would not be competitive this season. There is no reasonable explanation for him trading for Calderon and Dalembart besides him thinking that the team was going to compete for a playoff spot. That’s all you need, the fact that he traded for Calderon and Dalembart, but just to boot, he specifically said he thought that they were going to compete for a playoff spot and that he was totally wrong. So what more do you need to believe that he thought that the team was going to compete for the playoffs but he was totally wrong?

    55. Jackson traded for Calderon and Dalembart, which you would not do if you thought that the team would not be competitive this season. There is no reasonable explanation for him trading for Calderon and Dalembart besides him thinking that the team was going to compete for a playoff spot. That’s all you need, the fact that he traded for Calderon and Dalembart, but just to boot, he specifically said he thought that they were going to compete for a playoff spot and that he was totally wrong. So what more do you need to believe that he thought that the team was going to compete for the playoffs but he was totally wrong?

      Wait, what?

      Phil traded away two players who were obviously unhappy on the Knicks, and got back salary filler, a young prospect, and a draft pick. Chandler was by far the best player in that deal, far superior to Dalembert (a career journeyman) and Felton/Calderon was a marginal upgrade at best, mostly because Jose isn’t an a-hole. Why would anyone make that trade if the idea was to win now? That trade was all about getting rid of malcontents, getting Felton’s long-term money off the books and restocking with a few young prospects. I hardly think “there is no reasonable explanation” for that trade aside from an attempt for short-term improvement. Of course he paid lip service to making the playoffs… as DMar said upthread, all GMs say that at the beginning of the season.

    56. I’d hope Okafor is able to score at a lot better rate than a 56TS%. For a center that’s slightly above average. It’s not bad, especially considering his usage, but it’s also not that good. Cousins is a good passer, he’s fantastic at generating FTAs (and that’s something the Knicks could really use), but he’s a turnover machine and he’s not good shooting from the floor. (Cole Aldrich has a higher eFG than Cousins, which should tell you something about his shooting ability)

    57. This is only an internet thing, right? People don’t go to places in the real world and say, “Boy, this bar is lame. Let me just keep hanging out here to let you know how much I don’t want to hang out here,” right?

      Brian, I feel compelled to ask if you’ve ever been to a bar. “This bar used to be so much cooler / The atmosphere at this bar used to be so much better” has to be a top-10 bar topic of conversation, right up there with “The Knicks really suck, huh”.

    58. I think that Phil made the Chandler move for the sake of making a splashy move and actually participating in the draft, not because he thought it made us more of a playoff contender than had we kept Chandler. My only gripe is that he could have held out on Cuban, who almost certainly would have upped the ante to get Chandler back. But I seriously doubt that he figured he had a 50-50 shot or better of making the playoffs. But I doubt Jackson cared much about this season, in fact, I believe he said that this is definitely not a contending team. If his goal was to build a contender, and he knew from the start that the roster would be totally different next year except for Melo, what’s the difference whether he said we would compete for a playoff spot in the shittiest conference ever or not?

      I think Brian is right in that Phil thought this team could be more competitive than it is, but that flossy is MORE right in that he really didn’t care all that much about this year and all these piddly moves with 10-day contracts don’t mean shit. The only albatross left on the roster (not named Melo) right now is Calderon, and he’s not impossible to deal.

      As Phil had said early on when it came to signing Melo, “if yes, then man am I fortunate, if not, then man am I fortunate.”

      Bottom line: Man, is Phil fortunate!!!

    59. If Phil had been planning a rebuild from the beginning, he absolutely, positively would not have given MMM a no-trade clause, which is the by far the worst thing he’s done as GM.

    60. To wit: Phil Jackson thought this was going to be a playoff team and he just failed spectacularly. Really? That’s why he traded away our defensive anchor (and got back young players and picks in return!) before the season? That’s why he hired a coach with literally zero experience? Because those are the kind of things you do when gearing up for a playoff run?

      I think you should listen to Phil’s own statements on his errors before you continue to embarrass yourself.

    61. I’d hope Okafor is able to score at a lot better rate than a 56TS%. For a center that’s slightly above average. It’s not bad, especially considering his usage, but it’s also not that good. Cousins is a good passer, he’s fantastic at generating FTAs (and that’s something the Knicks could really use), but he’s a turnover machine and he’s not good shooting from the floor. (Cole Aldrich has a higher eFG than Cousins, which should tell you something about his shooting ability)

      Problem is playing with your back to the basket isn’t particularly efficient. Number of years Al Jefferson has had a TS% north of .560? Zero, ditto Zach Randolph. Duncan’s done it only 5 times in 17 years and his career mark is .550. Lopez (who I’ve said is a good comp for Okafor though hopefully his floor and not his ceiling) has a career mark of .564 and the only time he had better than .580 was in a season where he only played 17 games. This season is the first time Marc Gasol has had a TS% above .560 with a usage of over 17%. The centers who put up high TS% numbers are typically low-usage Chandler types who score on cuts, pnrs, and putbacks- not back to the basket guys. Howard would be the exception but Okafor’s game is nothing like his. Even if he’s as good as advertised Okafor is much more likely to be in the 550-580 range than .600+. Of course, if a guy can draw doubles and effectively pass out of them (as Cousins does though he is way too turnover prone as you mention) he can be a huge boon to an offense without putting up spectacular TS numbers himself. Cousins already does this- whether Okafor will be able to or not, who knows? That’s why I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest trading the first pick for Cousins. As I said, I wouldn’t do it but it has more to do with Melo and his huge salary already being here and not that Cousins wouldn’t be worth it.

    62. Jackson traded for Calderon and Dalembart, which you would not do if you thought that the team would not be competitive this season. There is no reasonable explanation for him trading for Calderon and Dalembart besides him thinking that the team was going to compete for a playoff spot.

      Dalembert contract expires this season. Regarding Calderon, Phil obviously believed at 7m he was a bargain as the starting PG for the next 3 seasons. Yes he believed Calderon would help the team this season but that was not the reason he made the trade. He knew cap would be tight 2015 summer and believed Calderon to be a value as a starter. A stupendously stupid error which along with gimpy max NTC Melo will cripple this franchise for years. He spent about half the cap on two 30+ guys in decline.

    63. Dalembert (a career journeyman) and Felton/Calderon was a marginal upgrade at best, mostly because Jose isn’t an a-hole.

      This is simply revisionist history. They were both coming off very productive seasons, and Calderon especially was thought of by everyone as a huge upgrade over Felton.

    64. If Phil had been planning a rebuild from the beginning, he absolutely, positively would not have given MMM a no-trade clause, which is the by far the worst thing he’s done as GM.

      This is about right.

    65. PLAYER/WS48
      Calderon ……… .039
      Melo…………….. .105
      Dalembert…… .025
      Chandler…….. .228
      Felton………… .160

    66. Wow. I watched at least 50 games last year and I could have sworn that Felton was awful. Just goes to show how unreliable the eye test is since WS48 has just proven conclusively how wrong I was. Learn something new every day I guess…

    67. What’s with the hate with Amudson signing?

      He, galloway are very cheap players that can be part of the team next year. We actually need a lot of not so expensive guys plus our rookie and newly acquired free agent next year.

      That formula will work.

      I havent seen Lance Thomas play. Could he be part of next year team at a bargain?

    68. Feltons played 55 minutes. Who gives a shit what his WS/48 is. Its been above average once in his career. Ray Felton is a great 4th string PG

    69. I understand that Draymon Green is a GREAT ROLE PLAYER.
      But we will be insane to give him the MAX.
      It will be like the OLD KNICKS where we overpaid role players.

      I think its a bad idea. I cant understand why we hate Melo’s contract and someone is willing to pay green and even Matthews for a MAX salary. NBA is a superstar game. It is easier to build around MELO that build with role players. Atlanta might be a an exemption but remember what happened to PHOENIX after Stat left? What about post Melo DENVER? They opt for role players and we all know what happened.

    70. Wow. I watched at least 50 games last year and I could have sworn that Felton was awful. Just goes to show how unreliable the eye test is since WS48 has just proven conclusively how wrong I was.

      People assumed Melo would be as good as he was last season.
      People assumed Chandler would be as bad as he was last season.
      People assumed Felton would be as bad as he was last season.
      People never realized in the first place that Calderon is a net negative player.

    71. As to the no-trade clause, Melo almost certainly would not have signed without it. So it comes down to whether you think signing Melo at all for max money was a good move or a bad move. I’m sort of ambivalent. Rebuilding totally from scratch w/o multiple picks each year is hardly a sure-fire strategy. As flossy pointed out, we have ample cap space, a marquis player, and a likely top 3 pick in a solid draft and potentially 12 open roster spots to fill how he sees fit. You could argue that we’re right back where we were when we signed Amar’e, except Melo is far better to have right now than Amare’ was.

    72. I must admit, i love the Felton signing in 2010 and 2012. He just sucks last year but before that he was ‘ok’ for me.
      How about Jeremy Lin???????? He will be a free agent next year. Can we have him at a bargain? I don’t expect a Linsanity 2.0 but he could be a good maybe a back up pg for 2-3M per year

    73. Feltons played 55 minutes. Who gives a shit what his WS/48 is. Its been above average once in his career. Ray Felton is a great 4th string PG

      Felton’s been plus .8 over his entire career, Calderon minus 1.3. That’s why the Chandler trade was so dumb.

    74. Lin is not coming back here, and I, for one, wouldn’t want him back for anything but the minimum.

    75. Wow, someone is actually defending Felton here? Wow.

      Not defending, but saying how stupid it is to do a trade where the guy you’re trying to unload is arguably better than the player you’re getting back on an onerous contract.

    76. remember what happened to PHOENIX after Stat left? What about post Melo DENVER? They opt for role players and we all know what happened.

      Denver has 14 more wins than NY since the Anthony trade.

      And Phoenix only has 5 wins less than NY since losing Amar’e.

      Is that what “we all know”? Or am I missing something in your narrative?

    77. I think the No Trade Clause was no big deal to Phil because he knew the would never be able to trade the contract anyway.

    78. Zanzibar, did you actually do any research before making that statement? Felton is not better than Calderon, and never was. Calderon has an above-average career WS48 (.129) and PER (16.9). Felton has a below-average career WS48 (.069) and PER (14.3). For the 2013-14 season, the results were even more stark. Calderon has one critical elite skill (3-pt shooting) and Felton has none. Felton is a slightly better defender, but is equal or worse at every other aspect of the game. The problem with Felton is that he actually thinks he has multiple elite skills…he actually described himself as an elite PG last year. Jackson hardly raved about Calderon at the time of the trade–he referred to him as a “thoughtful” PG–clearly a stab at Felton, imo.

      Career comparison: http://bkref.com/tiny/6Se1J

      Last season: http://bkref.com/tiny/skjHV

      I am not happy with taking on Calderon’s salary, but as a backup on a good team, he’s at least servicable and self-aware. Felton is delusional and selfish.

    79. Calderon has been a notoriously slow starter for most of his career. Given that he was injured and way behind coming into the season, I’d say he’s just about ready to start playing his game now. I think he’s going to have a much better second half of the season and we’ll either be satisfied with him at 7m or EASILY be able to move him.

    80. What if the choice Phil was faced with was (i) lose Melo for nothing and he signs outright w Chicago or LA OR (ii) sign him to the current deal w NTC? That means choosing (i) is a total rebuild still having NO pick in the 2016 draft. What would you choose?

    81. As to the no-trade clause, Melo almost certainly would not have signed without it. So it comes down to whether you think signing Melo at all for max money was a good move or a bad move. I’m sort of ambivalent.

      It’s terrible if he keeps playing the way he has historically.

      It’s OK if surrounding him with better players leads to better shot selection and play making.

    82. What if the choice Phil was faced with was (i) lose Melo for nothing and he signs outright w Chicago or LA OR (ii) sign him to the current deal w NTC? That means choosing (i) is a total rebuild still having NO pick in the 2016 draft. What would you choose?

      It’s a no brainer to let him walk for nothing UNLESS you think you can change his game or are positive you can trade that bad contract.

      It never makes sense to overpay on a large contract unless the player is the final piece to the puzzle

    83. Well DW, you are hardly making a good argument for Denver. They got all that shit and cap room back for Melo and have 14 whole wins to show for it? Not that Phoenix is that great either…

    84. Melo’s not worth the max at this stage in his career (or ever, really). I can’t believe we’re rehashing this. Chicago was ready to do a sign and trade if we took on boozers contract, which would’ve been the sensible thing to do. Even letting Melo walk is better despite not having a 2016 pick

    85. Phoenix and Denver only made the playoff once or twice(?) without Melo and Stat. And given all their picks and cap room their future still looks bad compare to the Knicks. They are like the Knicks in 2000s, mediocre. Too bad to make a dent in the playoffs and too good to get a top draft pick.
      The Knicks on the other hand made the playoffs and win a series for the first time in a decade with Melo and Stat. Our situation right now is if we could be a little patient, we could content starting next year and until after the end of Melo’s contract. Next year will be the start.

    86. Melo is not worth the max????
      But Draymond Green is worth the max?

      Even Boozer, Kobe, Hayward, Paxson, D.Rose all got their max in their own cap.

      SO who is worth the max then?

      Lebron? yes. then?

    87. Zanzibar, did you actually do any research before making that statement? Felton is not better than Calderon, and never was. Calderon has an above-average career WS48 (.129)

      I gave you the research. WS/48 basically ties a player’s defense (weighted by minutes played) to the team’s overall defensive efficiency. That artificially inflates Calderon’s WS/48 since he is one of the worst defenders in the league. Here’s some more stats. Last season, Felton when he was injured and facing jail time, ranked 28th among PGs versus 45th for Calderon on real plus/minus. And Felton over his career has a higher net plus/minus than Calderon. I’d say he’s arguably been the more productive player. But let’s say they’re equivalent. Why would you take on a contract for a higher dollar amount over a longer period of time?

    88. Melo’s max is 7 or 8 million more than Draymond’s. Draymond is better than Melo. Draymond is younger and healthier. Draymond + a decent second player? Much better use of money.

    89. Very few people would argue that they are equivalent. Whatever the flaws are with WS48, it’s ludicrous to say that Felton’s defense is so much better than Calderon’s that it accounts for Calderon having nearly double Felton’s WS48. I’ve heard even more criticism about real +/- than even PER. And that doesn’t even get to points I made about possessing an elite skill or mental approach to the game.

    90. If Carmelo was healthy we could talk, but Draymond Green and a lot of other players in the NBA are better than gimpy Melo. (sadly, almost none of those players are on the Knicks)

    91. Very few people would argue that they are equivalent. Whatever the flaws are with WS48, it’s ludicrous to say that Felton’s defense is so much better than Calderon’s that it accounts for Calderon having nearly double Felton’s WS48. I’ve heard even more criticism about real +/- than even PER. And that doesn’t even get to points I made about possessing an elite skill or mental approach to the game.

      Over their almost 10 year careers, Calderon’s teams on balance have been better when he’s been on the bench; Felton’s teams have been better when he’s been on the floor. The last 4 seasons, Calderon’s teams have been worse when he’s been on the floor; Felton’s teams have been better. Felton is not only a better defender, he attacks the rim creating sequences which lead to better shots. Calderon’s a better shooter. The way it all comes out in the wash is that Felton has been more valuable over his career to his teams. Plus/minus has problems but over a long enough period of time it’s an important statistic.

    92. Whiteside went for 16 and 24 in 28 minutes, Dirk was 4-16 from the field, and the Heat still lost by 21? What the shit is that?

    93. I think Brian is right in that Phil thought this team could be more competitive than it is, but that flossy is MORE right in that he really didn’t care all that much about this year and all these piddly moves with 10-day contracts don’t mean shit. The only albatross left on the roster (not named Melo) right now is Calderon, and he’s not impossible to deal.

      So the only other albatross besides the guy Jackson gave a mega max deal with a no trade clause is the guy Jackson traded his second-best (or best, depending on what you felt about Chandler) player for? Doesn’t exactly sound like a rousing endorsement for Jackson.

      I definitely think that Jackson was thinking about the future (adding draft picks while locking in his point guard for the next three seasons) but only in concert with trying to maintain a playoff contender this year, because as he specifically said (and again, when the dude’s words exactly match his actions, how in the world are we still saying it is not the case?) that he felt that it was easier to add free agents to a borderline playoff team than it would be to a terrible team. He luckily was so far off base on his estimation about how good this team would be that the team is right there for the worst record in the league, which, as you correctly note, is a huge boon for the team – a huge boon that Jackson not only did not plan for, but was specifically planning against.

      His plan was for them to compete for the 7th seed and then bring in Marc Gasol next year to take a barely playoff team into the top half of the East and then the following offseason add another free agent to make the team legit title contenders. It wasn’t an insane plan by any means. We all talked about it being a possibility before the season began. I wanted to trade Melo for whatever Chicago would give the Knicks, but I certainly didn’t think going the other way was a ludicrous plan. I didn’t think it was a good plan, because it relied too much on Melo still being a peak player in two years, but it wasn’t crazy.

      I, though, just like Jackson, thought that the Knicks weren’t this godawful. I was wrong and so was Jackson. Luckily for him, he is hopefully going to get a top two pick to help him out of this jam, so with some more extraordinary luck (namely hitting home runs on the draft, home runs on the free agents this offseason and a final home run in the offseason in two years) he will have a chance to get to the same spot he was planning for. He’s already had the luck enough to be one of the worst teams in the league, so maybe he’ll hit all those other home runs, too? (in that regard, yes, he is certainly a fortunate guy, so hopefully it works out for him! ;))

    94. I’m just confused as to how anyone could think trading our lottery pick for Demarcus Cousins would be a good idea.

      I don’t think it’s a good idea or a bad idea. The reason I brought it up is because I think Phil Jackson will use the draft selection to trade for an established player. I just don’t see how he keeps a 19 year old while Melo has a window. It’s the only move that makes sense given Jackson’s moves to this point. I will be shocked if the draft pick is still a Knick on opening day.

    95. Well, that goes to my thinking about why I am so fearful about dropping out of the top two. I don’t think any GM out there deals a top 2 pick in this particular draft, as Okafor and Towns are just too good to trade. #3? Iffy. #4 and below? Yep, I can easily see #4 on down (especially #5 on down) being dealt. Hopefully not (unless, okay, fair enough, if it is Cousins coming back, then cool, but obviously you’re not getting a Cousins-level player with the #4 overall pick).

    96. Well, that goes to my thinking about why I am so fearful about dropping out of the top two.

      Do you think Phil would prefer the #3 pick, so that he can trade it guilt free?

    97. Before everyone starts counting on a top 6 pick (a top 3 worse record only guarantees a top 6 pick) note that the schedule is very soft until the end of the year. Other than a somewhat difficult stretch during the second part of March most games are winnable to a team that has Melo plus a group of hard working players fighting for a contract.

      I can see the Knicks going close to .500 the rest of the way and finishing with around 22-24 wins, and the 8th best chance at Okafor / Towns.

      So shutting down Melo and depressing the newly found energy are essential.

    98. Shutting down Melo after the All-Star Game is the key. It is seemingly an obvious decision, so I am still hoping it happens. But, well, who knows?

    99. Do you think Phil would prefer the #3 pick, so that he can trade it guilt free?

      I think Towns and Okafor are just too tempting, so I think he’d still prefer a top two pick. I’d like to believe he also wouldn’t trade a #3 pick.

    100. Re: Cousins

      This would be the most Knicksy move possible. Trade for an overrated, headcase, volume scoring big in the hopes that he’ll finally put it together because we have to win now since we stupidly gave Melo a ridiculous extension. Have you people not watched the last 15 years of Knicks? This is the same shit we always do, and it’s never, ever worked out. Because it’s a terrible plan.

      ehhhh… I’m not sure anyone on the east coast has noticed but Cousins is absolutely beasting this year. I would trade the pick in a second for Cousins. First, although he costs “a lot” he is cost controlled through 2018 at an average of ~$14.5MM. Second, have you even looked at his stats? Yes he is a volume scorer with a usage of 33 but his TS has improved every year (up to .558 now). he’s the best defensive rebounder in the league, or very close to it. He averages 25.3/13.2/3.4/1.7/1.7 per 36. He’s a plus defender. By player tracking he has a better opponent FG% at the rim than Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond, and Deandre Jordan (among many others). By on/off court he is a +18 on the year, with Sac’s defense worse by 12.2 points/100 poss when he’s off. By ESPN’s (totally opaque) EWA and RPM stats he’s a top 5 player in the league. He’s basically been a good citizen the last 2 seasons. And he’s 24. Did I mention he was 24? What else do you want? And don’t tell me the lazy analysis on boxscoregeeks.com.

      If you’re worried about the TS (which is above average on very high usage), just consider the Tim Duncan has only had a TS>56 4 out of his 19 seasons. And no one argues that he’s a great player playing the center (“PF”) position.

      The only thing he really needs to work at is turning the ball over less, but that feels like something you could improve with coaching perhaps.

      With either Towns or Okafor you hope they turn into a player with Cousins’s impact. With Cousins, you get Cousins with pretty much zero risk other than usual injury risk and that he might de-mature and go nuts again. The only downside would be ~$10MM in cap space, but I think that’s quite reasonable for getting the bird “in hand”.

    101. I like Cousins but would Cousins be Cousins in NY. Could he keep his focus and stay away from the “JR life”? Anyway, it will not happen one way or another. However, if Shaq didn’t have a stake in Sac, I wonder if he would steer him to push his way to Phil?

    102. I don’t think Cousins is “cerebral” enough to be the guy Phil wants to pair with the “cerebrally-challenged” Melo. In the Knicks-Kings game earlier this year, he made a bunch of dumb, selfish plays that gave us a chance to get the game into overtime, then totally beasted us (including some pinpoint but perilous crosscourt passes) for the win.

    103. @104, I know Phil said some optimistic things, but never heard him say anything beyond typical GM-speak cautious optimism re: making the playoffs. He said things like “Bargnani would be a pleasant surprise.” Do you think a guy with his intellect really believed that? His primary goals were to a) change the culture of the team and b) build a future contender. It is clear that he does NOT think of Melo as an albatross. If he turns out to be wrong on that, that will be his GM legacy. But getting rid of Felton and Chandler was a part of changing the culture, even though anyone with half a brain could figure out that it would weaken the team’s playoff chances, not improve them. Same with bringing on a rookie coach.

      No question that he expected more of this team and hoped that the guys would perform better than they did, but I seriously doubt that he linked that performance with their ability to attract FAs. Win or lose, most of the team was going to be gone. The only guys under contract for 2015-16 beyond Melo were JR, TH2, Early and Calderon. What FA is gonna be attracted by those guys, even if we won 40 games? The vast preponderance of prognosticators thought that this team would NOT make the playoffs, even considering that the EC is historically bad from top to bottom. I agree with what d-mar said earlier, that almost every GM says optimistic stuff early on. But I doubt that a guy with his smarts took that talk very seriously.

    104. I know Phil said some optimistic things, but never heard him say anything beyond typical GM-speak cautious optimism.

      He did say this a few weeks ago:

      “In the East, we looked at teams that were under .500 that could compete. It wasn’t a really big challenge, a challenge I thought this team was capable of. They obviously weren’t.”

    105. Exactly. Translation: “The East is so bad that even with this shitty roster, I thought we might just compete for a playoff spot. But we were even shittier than I thought. Whatever”

    106. Any comprehensive stat that shows says Felton has been better than Calderon over his career (or last year) does not make the case that Felton has been better. It makes the case that that stat is extremely flawed. Calderon may not be a good defender, but he’s good at several things and very good at shooting when he’s open. Felton has been a chronically out of shape backup that’s been shooting teams to extra losses his entire career. He’s been masquerading as a good player ever since he had that good run under D’Antoni for awhile (just as all PGs do) and a decent year at CHA.

    107. The smart thing to do is shut down Melo, prepare for next year, and avoid any accidental wins when he goes off. But if they don’t, I don’t think the difference in the number of wins is going to be anything to be very upset about. He’ll be worth an extra few wins over 35+ games.

    108. To sum up, I think that judging Phil so far on the Melo signing and the return on his trades is fair. I think judging him based on how this team has played this year vs. his expectations (stated or perceived) is ludicrous. Had he said something like “this team is definitely a contender, or a 50-win team, or a top 4 seed” then it would be an issue. He said that “if we looked at teams that were under .500 (i.e. sucked) that could compete (for an 8th seed in a horrible EC.) That is essentially saying that we were one or two bad breaks away from the lottery.

      If your point is that even if Melo and Calderon are healthy to start the season, we still wind up 5-36 and are out of the playoff hunt by New Years Day, then I would have to totally disagree. If healthy, the opening day roster was not far from a playoff team (the 8 seed is currently 19-27 and was 12-24 at one point.)

    109. I have looked at his stats. Cousins is a good player, but he has some significant flaws (that are reflected in his stats). His TS% is only slightly above average for a F/C, but he maintains it at a really high usage, and a TS% that is slightly above average for a center is a good TS%. So that’s certainly a positive. But what frustrates me is that cousins has a good TS% because he generates tons of FTA and he’s a terrific FT shooter. Cousins produces more FTA than any bigman in the game and he makes them. So why is his TS% only slightly above average? Because Cousins kinda sucks at scoring from the floor. That’s why his eFG is so pedestrian. He still takes a lot of jump shots, and he makes about 35% of them. Those aren’t the shots he’s getting fouled on, and those aren’t shots that nobody else on the team could make.

      He is one of the very best defensive rebounders in the game. That’s also a very nice thing. But he’s a pretty mediocre offensive rebounder. Going by Seth Partnow’s rim points saved stats, he’s an okay rim protector. That’s not bad. Sacto’s defense sucks when he’s not on the court, but have you seen that roster? They have a solid starting 5 and a god awful trainwreck of a bench. So his defense seems solid, but then you have to consider that he turns the ball over more than any bigman in the league, and he’s still pretty foul prone. Add it all up, and you’ve got a good player, but not (in my opinion) an all-star caliber guy. He is still young enough to improve, but the Knicks need people who are underpaid (b/c Melo), not the other way around. We shouldn’t be adding people who need to improve to earn the money we’re paying them.

    110. To put it another way, you know how Jason Smith takes all those shitty jumpshots? He’s a better shooter than Demarcus.

      (he still sucks though)

    111. how stupid it is to do a trade where the guy you’re trying to unload is arguably better than the player you’re getting back on an onerous contract.

      I can only presume you are saying such things because 1) you have not actually watched the Knicks in the last four years, or 2) Ray Felton threatened you with his unlicensed firearm.

    112. I can only presume you are saying such things because 1) you have not actually watched the Knicks in the last four years,

      Have you watched Calderon play?

      Any comprehensive stat that shows says Felton has been better than Calderon over his career (or last year) does not make the case that Felton has been better. It makes the case that that stat is extremely flawed.

      Well here the stat which is flawed is your Bible, WP48 because of how it treats defense. Bottom line is people underrate the impact of defense and swoon over shooting. Everybody did that with Novak, but guy couldn’t create, couldn’t attack closeouts, and couldn’t play D. Sound familiar? Take a look at where Calderon ranks on FTr and then you will further understand why he’s been a net minus player over his career.

    113. But didn’t net ratings make Novak a + defender on the Knicks?

      Over his career, Novak’s been a minus 3.5. The raw net ratings I’ve given were over Felton and Calderon’s entire career or the past 4 years. The ESPN rating I gave for last season was adjusted plus/minus.

    114. Shutting down Melo after the All-Star Game is the key. It is seemingly an obvious decision, so I am still hoping it happens. But, well, who knows?

      Phil should shut him down right away. Melo’s already been voted onto the all-star team. Why continue to play him? Phil’s supposed to have the clout and profile to be able to make these type of decisions and not have to kowtow to an aging star like Melo. If Melo plays, it demonstrates Phil is a really weak president or that he doesn’t want to tarnish his legacy by finishing with the worst record in the league.

    115. Zanzi, who cares who got to the line more? Points per shot factors in points scored via FT, meaning points scored with no shot attempt would inflate that stat. In spite of the higher FTr, Felton averages 1.10 PPS while Calderon averages 1.24. That’s a HUGE difference! Nothing Felton does on defense could come close to making up for that difference.

    116. Zanzi, who cares who got to the line more? Points per shot factors in points scored via FT, meaning points scored with no shot attempt would inflate that stat. In spite of the higher FTr, Felton averages 1.10 PPS while Calderon averages 1.24. That’s a HUGE difference! Nothing Felton does on defense could come close to making up for that difference.

      It’s not just getting to the line. It’s forcing defenses to react which creates open shots. Calderon is one of the worst defenders in the league and one of the worst at creating for others off the dribble. Those type of dynamics which affect the entire team show up in plus/minus over a long enough period.

    117. DRed – I know that you aren’t really comparing Cousins to J Smith but let’s be accurate — over 2/3 of Cousins’s shots are less than 10 feet from the rim (compared to 25 percent for Smith) and almost half are right at the rim (actually more than half if you include all the shots he gets fouled on ). Also, if by “mediocre” offensive rebounder you mean top 10 in the league, yes I guess he’s mediocre (better than Duncan for his career though). You are underselling Cousins–he’s 24 and has improved every year in the league and has been great the last two. I seriously doubt that either Towns or Okafor will be as good as he is at any time over the next 4 years.

    118. By the way, Cousins also shoots as well as the great Tyson Chandler at the rim (and probably higher than Towns and Okafor do against college guys)

    119. Well here the stat which is flawed is your Bible, WP48 because of how it treats defense.

      1. You are acting like Felton is a good defender. That’s not even close to true. Granted, part of that is because he’s practically always 10-20 pounds overweight, but that’s Felton. Did you actually watch every PG in the league lighting him up game after game last year?

      2. You are acting like Calderon is the worst defender in the NBA, which is not even close to being true. He’s a negative defender, but he’s also been on negative defensive teams (he played with Bargnani for years). So his negative defense gets reflected in his defensive stats at some level even if you use team defense.

      The difference between Calderon and Felton on defense is marginal enough to not even be close to offsetting everything Calderon does well and Felton does badly. There is not one thing in basketball that Felton does well enough to add value.

    120. Among players who have played 500+ minutes this season, cousins in 32nd in ORB% and 38th in ORB per 32 minutes. That’s what I mean by mediocre.

      And yeah, obviously Cousins is a vastly superior player to Jason Smith. My point is that every time he shoots a long jump shot, it’s like replacing one of the best offensive players in basketball with a shittier version of Jah. I’m sure there are some sort of tactical benefits to having a big man who does more than just camp out in the post, but there’s almost no way it makes up for the possessions the Kings waste by having Cousins hoist up another shitty long distance try. It’s what’s so frustrating-the dude is a devastating scorer in the post. He hits 35% of his shots from further than 5 feet from the rim.

    121. You are acting like Calderon is the worst defender in the NBA, which is not even close to being true.

      I said he ‘s one of the worst defenders in the league. Click here and you will find Calderon ranked 421 out of 437 on defensive real plus/minus last season. That qualifies as one of the worst defenders in the league. Use eye test, real plus/minus, raw plus/minus over his career – they all lead to the same inescapable conclusion: this guy’s a really lousy defender.

      Why do you assume Felton’s performance this season will be the same as last? He played injured last year and was looking at playing BBall on cement in a gated yard. He would have been easier to trade than Calderon and worst case waive-and-stretch is 1m cap hit. You’re delusional when you say Calderon will be easy to trade. Who wants to pay 7m for a back-up PG or 7m for a 33yo starter who’s on the decline? Somewhere Cuban’s sitting with his legs on his desk and a big fat Cuban cigar in his mouth and laughing at how he smoked Phil on that trade.

    122. “It’s not just getting to the line. It’s forcing defenses to react which creates open shots. Calderon is one of the worst defenders in the league and one of the worst at creating for others off the dribble. Those type of dynamics which affect the entire team show up in plus/minus over a long enough period.”

      If that were true, Felton would have a higher assist % because of all the open shots he creates (he doesn’t) and a lower usage% because of passing the ball to all those open shooters (he doesn’t.)

    123. Also, players started going under the screen and leaving the big on the roller on the P&R, basically daring Felton to beat them from the perimeter. It was a good defensive strategy.

    124. If that were true, Felton would have a higher assist % because of all the open shots he creates (he doesn’t) and a lower usage% because of passing the ball to all those open shooters (he doesn’t.)

      No because the open shot typically comes on the second pass. Remember 2012 and the Felton/Tyson PnRs?

    125. Every morning I wake up and thank God, and Phil Jackson, that Raymond Felton is no longer a New York Knick.

      I remember the games last year. I remember having to leave the bar and stand outside and take a moment because the Penguin was flapping his little wings at a ref about some imaginary foul on the brick he threw up instead of getting back and playing defense. That it didn’t make a difference whether he was getting back and playing defense or not only made me angrier.

      I remember needing to take a moment because Tyson Chandler wasn’t even pretending to give a shit.

      I remember JR tossing up contested brick after contested brick and thinking to myself, this must be how Melo feels every time he passes the ball.

      I remember Shump looking like he was about to cry because he just got called for a foul and he thought “I’m going to get traded and I’m not getting better I’m getting worse and I’ll never play again.”

      And then I watch the games now, and I don’t get mad. I don’t get happy, but I don’t get mad. I see young guys and vets out there, trying their best to be a professional team. If they don’t have the talent or skill, at least they’ve got the right attitude. And recently I’ve occasionally gotten excited (cause they’re playing well) and filled with dread (that we might actually win). All of which is infinitely preferable to being angry every time I saw a game.

      Not being angry is a pretty low bar, I admit. I want to win. And I understand how people would think Jackson fucked up those trades by not getting back enough, or taking back players who were downgrades in talent. But we were never going to win with those four and the Knicks are much better off with them anywhere else. And I can’t help but think that every GM out there saw the exact same things that I saw and I wonder, how much do you give up in exchange for poison, however talented it might be?

      And so every morning I wake up and thank God, and Phil Jackson.

    126. @137 I can dig that. Even when the Knicks played well with those guys, they were ugly to watch. It’s nice when they have 29 assists on 40 FGs, like we did against the Thunder.

    127. I agree that the aesthetic quality of the losses seems to have improved of late. Some ugly stretches on offense some of the time when Melo’s not in there, but we had those with Shump, JR et al as well.

      If only Bargs and his comedy stylings would get healthy

    128. I said he ‘s one of the worst defenders in the league.

      Why do you assume Felton’s performance this season will be the same as last? He played injured last year and was looking at playing BBall on cement in a gated yard. He would have been easier to trade than Calderon and worst case waive-and-stretch is 1m cap hit. You’re delusional when you say Calderon will be easy to trade.

      1. Plus/Minus, Adjusted Plus Minus, On and Off Court, Real Plus Minus etc… are ALL flawed stats for a variety of reasons. They’ve been shot down due to extreme volatility from year to year, sample size issues, and not being able to adjust properly for everyone on the court. But that’s besides the point. I’m not arguing that Calderon is a good defender. He’s a below average defender. HOWEVER, if your entire team is below average (as Toronto was), then using a team adjustment like WOW captures defensive liabilities quite well, while also fully capturing things like defensive rebounds, blocks, steals etc… as a individual which ARE part of defense.

      2. Granted, Felton was out of shape, hurt, and committing various felonies last year (all great arguments for thinking he’s a better value and easier to trade than Calderon….lmao). So he could play better in the future. That would put right back to being a good backup at best assuming he gets in shape, which I would estimate at 0%.

      Calderon has been a notoriously bad starter throughout his career. What you’ve been seeing this season is a bad starter without the benefit of a real camp. He’s just starting to get in a groove now. He’s going to have a much better second half. Then everyone will be changing their tune about how tradeable he is or of we want to even trade him at all.

    129. I think the Cousins hypothetical debate is a good one to have. Obviously, Knick fans would prefer Anthony Davis or a similarly flawless young talent. But a player like Cousins is the kind of player that has come available in the past for the Knicks– talented but troubled– like a Sprewell or a Curry. And if he was to become available, as in the past, I’m not sure Knick management could turn down the opportunity to acquire him. They are tied into Carmelo Anthony for 4 1/2 more years, and turning a future stud into a developed stud is pretty much what Phil Jackson needs to do if he’s serious about contending during his reign.

      I disagree with the tactic, and it’s a “more of the same” move, but the course was set when Jackson re-signed Anthony. He can’t build around Melo and build around a 19 year old at the same time. They are simply on different time-tables. Phil Jackson must be smart enough to recognize that.

    130. I hate the knock on a guy that he cannot create his own shot especially if he bends the defense just by his moving around the perimeter because of the threat of his 3 pt shot. Someone like Korver who cannot create his own shot is one of the most important parts of the Hawks offensive success.

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