Knicks Morning News (2015.05.25)

  • [New York Times] Rockets Respond to McHale’s Old-School Coaching Approach (Mon, 25 May 2015 06:57:45 GMT)

    Kevin McHale’s stride is painful to watch.

  • [New York Times] Cavaliers 114, Hawks 111, Cleveland leads series, 3-0: LeBron James Lifts Cleveland to Win With Triple-Double (Mon, 25 May 2015 06:24:24 GMT)

    James missed his first 10 shots but had 37 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals and the final two baskets.

  • [New York Times] Hawks Cry Foul Over Horford’s Ejection From Game 3 (Mon, 25 May 2015 05:54:49 GMT)

    Atlanta forward Al Horford has been ejected in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals for throwing an elbow at Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova.

  • [New York Times] LeBron Carries Cavs to Overtime Win Over Hawks, 3-0 Series Lead (Mon, 25 May 2015 05:06:45 GMT)

    LeBron James was exhausted and banged-up, but he came through in the clutch as the Cleveland Cavaliers earned a thrilling overtime 114-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks to take a strangle hold of the Eastern Conference finals.

  • [New York Times] LeBron’s Triple-Double Helps Cavs Top Hawks in Thriller (Mon, 25 May 2015 04:01:33 GMT)

    LeBron James shook off an atrocious shooting start and withstood Atlanta’s gritty comeback to record a triple-double, and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of the NBA Finals by beating the Hawks 114-111 in overtime on Sunday night to take a 3-0 series lead.

  • [New York Times] Slow Stephen Curry Down? This Division III College Did (Mon, 25 May 2015 01:26:09 GMT)

    On Nov. 21, 2006, before a modest crowd at Davidson’s John M. Belk Arena, Curry shot 10 of 24 from the field against the Colby Mules, finishing with 29 points.

  • [New York Times] Cavs’ Kyrie Irving Out for Game 3 With Injured Knee (Mon, 25 May 2015 00:09:49 GMT)

    Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving took part in the team’s shootaround and remains questionable for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals with an injured left knee.

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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).

    59 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.05.25)”

    1. Just caught up with yesterday’s thread reading from the bottom up – kept thinking where is the latest literary flatulence from CL? Then saw some busted post number references and thought hmm…some posts must have been deleted. Then I got to the top. All CL posts have been deleted! Alas, I didn’t to read the brilliant rape posts, but it would have probably been too advanced for my feeble mind to appreciate anyways.

      Happy memorial day y’all! CL, if you’ve gone to the great big knicks blog in the sky, may you enjoy your time with dogrufus. You will be fondly remembered :)

    2. I don’t understand why people think it’s impossible the Knicks would trade Melo. Here’s why:

      1) If Melo wanted max guaranteed money, he HAD to stay with the Knicks. Jackson couldn’t even sign and trade him since the new CBA caps sign and trade contracts at 4 years with 4.5% raises (vs. 7.5% raises for staying with your team). The only way Melo could get his money and switch teams was to re-sign with the Knicks and wait. Odds are, when you account for the 5th year, which will be during Melo’s 35 year old year, Melo’s lifetime earnings will be $20m+ more with his Knicks contract.

      This is a new change under the last CBA, so we haven’t seen the repercussions yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the new normal for big stars: sign with your current team to maximize salary on the condition that they trade you later.

      2) It would have been very difficult to move Melo for value before the deadline due to his knee troubles, so whether or not it was the original plan to sign melo and then move him later, it’s no surprise a deal didn’t go down at the deadline.

      3) Keeping Melo last summer surely locked in a great number of sponsorships and season ticket subscriptions. Financially, it was likely beneficial to keep Melo through a dead season as a way of conning extra money out of people.

      4) If Melo and Phil’s compromise was on the terms that Melo wouldn’t leave as an FA on the condition that he would be moved ASAP, it would make sense for him to demand an NTC since it would afford him control over his destiny, just as he had as a free agent. If he convinced Jackson he was willing to forego the money and leave for CHI or Houston, leaving NYK with nothing, then Jackson probably made the right choice. You could read the week of radio silence during the FA period re: Melo’s deal as a game of chicken between the two.

    3. mfc, everything you say is plausible, and the “game of chicken” is likely true. However, I doubt that Phil signed Melo with the thought of trading him soon after, and I doubt that Melo signed with the idea that he’d be traded soon after. I agree that Melo would prefer a trade if the team doesn’t sniff the playoffs next year, but will there be any takers in places he’d be happy playing?

    4. @3 There would be takers. It’s Carmelo Anthony. The problem (depending on your point of view) is not getting anything comparable in return. Goes back to your team building strategy. Most of the posts I’ve read from you seem reasonable, but not sure if you thought THCJ’s strategy of dealing Melo for 2nd rounders was valid.

      @1 I actually read those posts the other day and was kinda taken aback at how unnecessary the references were. Man. People really hated that guy.

    5. So the idea has been floated around of the Knicks trading the #4 pick to CHI for Jimmy Butler. This isn’t something they are rumored to be considering (or at least, I haven’t heard as much), just something I read that might make be something we could do.

    6. Kinda off topic..but Kevin McHale has quietly made himself a really good coach. His team is down..but I like the way he coaches them. I guess it’s a mixture of his personality, presence, accomplishments, and BBall IQ. He was a VERY smart player. Plus u can see it in the way he moves..it ain’t old age makin him move like that. It’s playin physical ball an winnin championships that did it. Back then- big men played like big men..not like guards on the perimeter. It’s a welcome skill to add to your arsenal, but if ur big..u shouldn’t make a living off of it. IMO, that’s just another threat when you do face up. That’s why Lamar Odom has always frustrated me. Half of me doesn’t like Dirk’s success..but u hafta honor and respect it- he makes it work,

    7. @4 If both the Knicks and Melo were amenable to a trade, I’d be OK with any return we got for him. Obviously, the more the better, but we’d have to take back salary in return, so that would be tricky.

      But honestly, I am just as OK with keeping him. Unlike many here, I think he is a very, very good player and a winning player when surrounded with the right players and the right coach. I like that Jax thinks he can build a championship team with Melo as one of the key ingredients. I like that Jax is focused on building a roster of players that play with some chemistry and intelligence. I’m not sold on the triangle, but I liked that in our few wins and even some losses, the assist total seemed higher than we had seen in years.

      Of course I crave a championship team, but after so many years of misery, even a playoff team that’s easy on the eyes in victory or defeat would be a nice change. I think that can happen even with Melo and his superstar salary on the roster. But it will take some master strokes in free agency to make it work out. Butler or Green would be an ideal starting place. Rolling the dice on Matthews is an option. Gasol makes less sense to me, as does Aldrich. Trading down for an asset and a relatively high pick is OK with me, but I’m fine with staying put. I just don’t want to end the summer without something to hang our hat on.

    8. Most of the posts I’ve read from you seem reasonable, but not sure if you thought THCJ’s strategy of dealing Melo for 2nd rounders was valid.

      Do you think it’s invalid? I wasn’t advocating trading him for 2nd rounders as if that were the only possibility. My point was that anything is better than that contract. If no one would offer a 1st rounder, then taking a 2nd rounder would be better than waiting for his knees to explode by year 3, during which he would be virtually useless as trade bait.

      I think Carmelo is a perfectly average player, which is what you might expect from a #16-30 pick. Trading him as soon as he demonstrates his health — that is the most important thing, no matter the yield.

    9. I’ve been thinking long and hard about trading Melo and I haven’t made up my mind about it. But if we were to trade him, it wouldn’t be for 2nd rounders! I don’t care about his bleeding contract because I think he’s a valuable asset.

      Melo today is worth a #1 but that’s only because he’s coming off knee surgery. If he’s playing well in January, he could be worth two #1’s and that’s when I start thinking about trading him. (Hey, if Denver can get two #1’s and a #2 for Mozgov, we better get two #1’s for Anthony!)

    10. I personally don’t have a problem with keeping Melo. He seems pretty locked into staying in NY, so unless things go real pear shaped after year 2, I can only really see him being traded as a ‘favour’ to get him to a championship contender. I mean he’s said he’s buying into the whole rebuild thing, so I guess you really need guys like that around. I know his leadership has been questioned (and probably fair enough), but I think if you’ve got someone of Melo’s skill level buying in, I guess in theory it’s easier for others to get on board. Plus, given the drama that ensured when he left Denver, I think the fact that there is a NTC is a pretty clear indication he’ll be around for a while. Depending on form I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to think you could get a decent package. Not sure why so many people have been low balling him recently. Maybe everyone is just that jaded at the moment ha ha.

      Of course I crave a championship team, but after so many years of misery, even a playoff team that’s easy on the eyes in victory or defeat would be a nice change.

      I don’t think that is too unreasonable, and when you look over the history of the league, that’s really what a lot of great teams amount too. When it’s all said and done there’s a pretty small pool of franchises that have chips in comparison to the size of the league. I guess if you can have a team that is competitive night in and night out, and that is fun to watch, you are probably doing well for yourself. Heck, you get a bit of luck go your way and you might even get your championship!

    11. @8…I would trade him without thinking twice about it. I would trade him and do nutty little cartwheels around my house. I really don’t have a problem with Melo and I’m one of those cats that think that a championship caliber team can be built around him. The problem is that strategy is best used when a player isn’t in their 30’s.

      I never believe in having a team that’s not in competition for a chip be based around a player who’s in/past their prime, particularly when there’s no talent surrounding him. That’s why I’m all for dealing him and even getting (hypothetically) multiple picks back. Even second rounders. Save the money for people who’ll be able to make an immediate impact in fa. Also, second rounders are undervalued. Ideally, you get role players. Cheap role players. Cheap, young, role players. Role players are the backbone of a team. They’re the O-line. Ain’t pretty, but critical.

    12. @9…I only say 2nd rounders due to his ntc. Realistically, you can deal him to a championship caliber team in the west for late 1st rounders. Plus, you get him out the east so you don’t have to watch a guy you deal slaughter you. All i can see is the fact that we ain’t a good team and there’s no quick fix. Free agency? If Greg Monroe is who we’re hoping to sign, that’s a bad sign if only because we’re likely to overpay for him. LaMarcus Aldridge would be wonderful here as another elbow post player opposite Melo. Doubt we get him. I don’t put too much faith in the fa game. That’s what colors my perspective on Melo and prompts me to call for a trade, knowing full well that getting equal value back is almost impossible. But I’ll take my chances building a team from scratch with a long term plan in place.

    13. I’d be all in for a rebuild with a real plan in place. Look what Boston is doing. And my gut feeling is that Philly will be doing just as well this upcoming season. Nothing against Fisher- I think he will be a good coach- but Phil should h hired a bright young coach that has his own system instead of hiring a former player of his and forcing the triangle on the roster. The triangle can still work..but Melo has to be at the 4 to get the spacing and ball movement. And if Phil couldn’t get a bright young coach- then he should have turned over every rock to find a way to make Billy Donovan say yes. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Phil made big rookie mistakes in year 1. You’ve got to be a complete fool to believe that Phil hasn’t or won’t learn from year 1. However, if he goes the big FA route..then his tenure should be labeled a failure. Me personally, like I said in a previous thread, I’d be happy as a clam if Phil reeled in DeAndre Jordan and DeMarre Carroll. Even happier if DeAngelo Russell fell to #4, because we then would need more shooting. But even if we land Jordan and Carroll but get Mudiay instead of Russell, it sets an aggressive tone defensively around Melo. Phil would only then hafta add shooters and a bigger PF to back Melo up. And that’s why I hope Phil can find a way to get back in the mid 1st to draft Bobby Portis as well. That happens, we are lookin at a damn good team built the right way, the end result would come down to the coaching. AI’s Sixers were built correctly..well as close to it as possible..but they also had Larry Brown. Melo is not Jordan, Kobe, AI, Durant, or LeBron. But he can score just as well as those guys. And there are ways that you can build around a pure scorer. We don’t need Melo to facilitate as much as pundits say..we need his buckets because he is undeniably a great scorer. So if we’re gonna keep him, then max out what he can do for the team and build around it.

    14. This offseason it can be done as long as Phil isn’t lured by a mythical big fish

    15. I think I would be indifferent about whether we keep or trade Melo if any of these were true —

      He was 3 years younger.

      We had another good player on a rookie contract who we could use bird rights to extend a year after using our cap money, ie a damian lillard or andre drummond or even two second tier prospects like say Dennis Schroeder and Otto Porter.

      We had some surplus first round picks that we could use to add talent.

      The Knicks might be in the worst position in the league other than maybe the Nets to put a elite talent around Melo while he’s in his prime.

      And since there’s no doubt Melo’s trade value is only going to go down (well, maybe it will go up a little after/if he proves himself healthy), now is the time to move him.

      If you guys are hyped about the Knicks becoming the Washington Wizards with less youth/upside, well, that will certainly be easier to attain if we keep Melo, but I think you’re also overestimating the risk of a full rebuild.

      Players want to play in NYC. They just need an excuse to come here. The Knicks bungled a lot of things over the last 7 years or so from gambling on Stoudemire to amnestying Billups to giving up too much for Melo. But even with all that, say they had really paid off past debt and didn’t owe that pick to Utah from the Marbury trade (Gordon Hayward) and hadn’t wasted a first rounder, a rookie lotto pick and swap rights for another first rounder to get out of Jared Jeffries’ deal. Those assets could have replaced Chandler, Gallinari and Mozgov in the Melo trade. The Knicks never would have had to take back Billups. And even with Stoudemire perpetually hurt, that roster could have been a perennial 50 win team, at least until Gallo got hurt.

      So a poorly executed yet complete rebuild would have put the Knicks in a great position to make numerous deep playoff runs. Imagine where a well-executed rebuild could have taken them.

    16. Imagine where a well-executed rebuild could have taken them.

      I do. Every night. Matter of fact, I’m still imagining said strategy being executed.

    17. Remember when we have ateam without a superstar? where we think Eddy Curry or Stephon Marbury is our savior?
      We didnt make the playoff for I think a decade.
      Us having Melo give us that one guy that may not be as good as lebron or curry but will give us a fighting channce. Weve been in the playoff 3/5 with Melo here.
      The next 5 years we have a chance to be in the playoff. We just need to be smart. Melo plus FA plus the 4th pick it will give us hope and will make us ‘chance’ to win every game.
      That i think is very important. 2017 onwards hopefully we will keep our pick. The future looks bright. Go Knicks!

    18. Melo’s played in 266 games for the Knicks. They’re 135-131 in that timespan (plus 7-15 in the playoffs). He is not to blame for those results, but I’m sure not going to celebrate him for them, either. He’s a fine player, but he is not some huge difference maker.

    19. Excellent points. I’d love to trade Melo for anything from a first rounder to a sack of basketballs. I don’t think its’s likely, sadly, unless we’re awful again this year. We can build a contender with Melo, but we need to absolutely ace the draft, have Galloway or Thanasis or Cle blossom, and be really savvy in free agency. So I wouldn’t bet on it. But there is a chance. And hoping against all evidence to the contrary is kind of the essence of being a Knicks fan these days

    20. Max, agreed on all counts. It’s so obvious we should move Melo once he proves he is healthy (but before we run him back into ground.)

      Which means he is a mortal lock to retire a Knick. Because that’s just the way things go.

      I know prices are going up. But to my mind there is no way you couldn’t easily replace his production if you cleared that cap space off the books. And that’s what Jackson should be trying to do every day.

    21. @19 And hoping against all evidence to the contrary is kind of the essence of being a Knicks fan these days

      I really want to say that’s the past but that would just be me hoping against all evidence to the contrary. Instead, I’m going to hope that Phil gets time. I get the vitriol he’s received with his past trades, I do. But with the exception of Melo, he’s working with a clean slate. Melo’s game has never been above the rim so as he ages and his athleticism declines his game shouldn’t be affected drastically. Free agency, especially next year, can provide additional scoring and defense. This draft can provide a player to transition into the future. Next draft provides opportunity to mine for talent in the second round. I keep saying the same thing, but having patience to develop a system and a culture is critical at this time.

    22. Free agency, especially next year, can provide additional scoring and defense. This draft can provide a player to transition into the future. Next draft provides opportunity to mine for talent in the second round. I keep saying the same thing, but having patience to develop a system and a culture is critical at this time.

      Are you sure this pertains to the Knicks any more than it does to the 29 other teams in the league?

    23. I really want to say that’s the past but that would just be me hoping against all evidence to the contrary. Instead, I’m going to hope that Phil gets time. I get the vitriol he’s received with his past trades, I do. But with the exception of Melo, he’s working with a clean slate. Melo’s game has never been above the rim so as he ages and his athleticism declines his game shouldn’t be affected drastically. Free agency, especially next year, can provide additional scoring and defense. This draft can provide a player to transition into the future. Next draft provides opportunity to mine for talent in the second round. I keep saying the same thing, but having patience to develop a system and a culture is critical at this time.

      Are you sure you’re a Knicks fan? ha ha. I appreciate the whole patience thing you are on though. Some of the moves haven’t been home runs by any stretch, but I really don’t think they have been the kind of crippling decisions previous administrations have made (pending your view on Melo’s contract). It will be interesting to see how the off-season plays out. I think it would be fair to judge Phil’s performance after this off-season, but you are right in the culture change is going to take time.

    24. I’m pretty sure that MMM was part of the plan with any GM/president that Dolan would have considered hiring. We can deride the deal on its merits ad nauseum, but it’s basically just the ante to play in Knickstan.

    25. @24 Patience may not be the best bet for teams on the verge of winning a chip. Aggression on their parts may be for the best especially with closing windows. And damn your critical mind! I’m allowed to spit emotion driven nonsense! This ain’t Narnia! It’s Amurica! F**k yeah!

      @25 Ha! Yeah cousin. For 35+ years. Now i live in Denver and am strangely relaxed all the time. Something in the water. Fresh air. I’m no scientist. And really? Your clock with Phil starts after this off season? Ok. I guess that depends on how long a timetable you’re giving him.

    26. @24 Patience may not be the best bet for teams on the verge of winning a chip. Aggression on their parts may be for the best especially with closing windows. And damn your critical mind! I’m allowed to spit emotion driven nonsense! This ain’t Narnia! It’s Amurica! F**k yeah!

      Interesting how the Spurs never seem to be motivated to mortgage their future on any one player, or especially to trade up for a better draft slot…

    27. Melo’s played in 266 games for the Knicks. They’re 135-131 in that timespan (plus 7-15 in the playoffs). He is not to blame for those results, but I’m sure not going to celebrate him for them, either. He’s a fine player, but he is not some huge difference maker.

      How many games did a guy who made more than him miss or was on a mins restriction for? The Knicks were the only team in the league with two max guys where one hardly played. Anyone remember grant hill in Orlando…

    28. @29 What’s interesting is how few teams emulate this strategy. At least successfully. Teams like the Spurs have what I want for the Knicks. And while at a certain point it becomes banal, that’s why I stress patience. To get what they have. A sense of identity.

      That sense allows them to not overpay for a player. That sense allows them to draft people who fit their system, even if that pick gets stashed overseas for a couple of years. We would benefit greatly by changing our “big city economics” to mirror smaller market strategy, if only because it leaves us with flexibility financially. That’s really why I don’t want Melo. He subtracts from a financial standpoint without offering up a set of skills that enhances his teammates.

    29. Your clock with Phil starts after this off season? Ok. I guess that depends on how long a timetable you’re giving him.

      Not so much the clock starts this off-season as ultimately you look at it as whole at the end of the day, but given they decided to rebuild you probably have to at least give him this off season to have a crack. If’s going to be worth his salt as a GM you think he would be making some strong moves.

    30. the spurs model is not very easy to replicate.. once you have one of the generations best two way centers.. filling in the gaps around them is not too hard… you have a much higher margin for error once you have that piece and it makes your moves look that much better… they’re smart but having duncan for over 15 seasons is a luxury no other team has…

      they have a great front office and coaching staff and they do good work but they’ll be tested once duncan leaves…

    31. How many games did a guy who made more than him miss or was on a mins restriction for? The Knicks were the only team in the league with two max guys where one hardly played. Anyone remember grant hill in Orlando…

      Again, he doesn’t deserve the blame for the results, but the results are the results – trying to sell some sort of “Having Melo gives you a fighting chance” thing when the Knicks have had two mediocre seasons, one great season, one bad season and one goddawful season in Melo’s five seasons as a Knick doesn’t fly.

      Melo’s a fine player, but he’s not some hugh difference maker.

    32. Not so much the clock starts this off-season as ultimately you look at it as whole at the end of the day, but given they decided to rebuild you probably have to at least give him this off season to have a crack. If’s going to be worth his salt as a GM you think he would be making some strong moves.

      I’m all about giving him through this offseason before we really start judging the guy, especially when perhaps the sketchiest trade (Shump/JR) was done precisely under the idea of “I am going to do some wonderful things with the cap room this season, so I need the extra $2 million that this deal opens up for me.” Maybe he’s right. Maybe he is going to nail this offseason.

      With the amount of options out there shrinking, it doesn’t look likely, but it is definitely possible.

    33. Phil Jackson has to figure out a way to make Melo the 3rd best player in New York. It’s possible but hard to do this off season. He’d have to do something like give Kanter $13 million a season to get him out of OKC and hope that 26 game sample is really who Kanter is, draft Mudiay, and sign a good wing. I think my dream scenario is to trade #4 and Calderon to Denver for #7 and Lawson, draft Winslow or Stanley Johnson at #7, then sign Love to the max and steal Enes Kanter. We roll into 2016 with Lawson, Winslow, Melo, Love, and Kanter. Love and Lawson are already better than Melo when healthy. If Kanter is legit, then Melo is the 4th best player on the roster. If Winslow is legit, then Melo could be the 5th best player in New York by 2017, and we’d have a team that could compete with anyone in the NBA.

      Of course we’ll probably just draft Mudiay (which is cool) and end up with Greg Monroe. Not as exciting, but I think Mudiay will be a great player in the NBA anyway. Monroe won’t suck too much, but I’d love to avoid him at all costs because he’s not worth the max contract we’re gonna pay him.

    34. With the amount of options out there shrinking, it doesn’t look likely, but it is definitely possible.

      The lottery was a disappointment for sure, and I would tend to agree about the shrinking options. Pass mark for me is if he can at least build a solid and competitive team for next year, given there is no real incentive be crap next year.

    35. Phil Jackson has to figure out a way to make Melo the 3rd best player in New York. It’s possible but hard to do this off season. He’d have to do something like give Kanter $13 million a season to get him out of OKC and hope that 26 game sample is really who Kanter is, draft Mudiay, and sign a good wing. I think my dream scenario is to trade #4 and Calderon to Denver for #7 and Lawson, draft Winslow or Stanley Johnson at #7, then sign Love to the max and steal Enes Kanter. We roll into 2016 with Lawson, Winslow, Melo, Love, and Kanter. Love and Lawson are already better than Melo when healthy. If Kanter is legit, then Melo is the 4th best player on the roster. If Winslow is legit, then Melo could be the 5th best player in New York by 2017, and we’d have a team that could compete with anyone in the NBA.

      Interesting scenario, but I am not all in on Kanter. He looked good for OKC for sure, but $13 on essentially a flash in 26 games isn’t massively tempting. Maybe I am being a tight arse though. I can see OKC throwing some cash at him, so we would be having to steal him so to speak; meaning decent cash on a long(ish) deal.

    36. Monroe won’t suck too much, but I’d love to avoid him at all costs because he’s not worth the max contract we’re gonna pay him.

      Monroe is a fascinating guy. I like him, but I like him more for a team that already has pieces and just wants to add to their already good team. I don’t know how far you’re going building around Greg Monroe.

      Another point regarding Monroe is that signing him locks Melo in at the three, as no one is going to play Melo and Monroe as the 4 and 5 on defense (Monroe is a decent 4 on defense but not at the 5 and Melo is mediocre to bad on defense at the 4) and since I don’t want Melo at the 3, that’s another knock on it. That said, I think Melo pretty much is already locked in at the 3 for some reason which I can’t quite figure out (I really, really disagree with putting your aging star who is coming off of a major knee injury at the position where he has to run around more and guard much faster guys. Just not a good idea), so I guess that doesn’t really matter.

    37. Starting to get intrigued by Herzonja. Think he’s a much better fit at the 2 than Winslow.
      Still just not sold on Mudiay, and I can’t imagine Phil is either.

    38. Yeah, Hezonja is a definite dark horse at #4. The real question is about his maturity, and if there is anything I trust Phil in doing is to correctly evalue a guy’s character and motivation. If Hezonja passes Phil’s chat, I’d be ok with drafting him. He has the potential to be the third best 2-guard in the league in three years.

    39. Starting to get intrigued by Herzonja. Think he’s a much better fit at the 2 than Winslow.
      Still just not sold on Mudiay, and I can’t imagine Phil is either.

      I agree that I find it hard to see Winslow making it in the NBA as a 2. I think he’ll have to be an undersized 3. So with that in mind, Herzonja might actually be the better prospect. I’m not thrilled with his upside, though. He does look to be a solid player, though, to be sure. I think the best bet is sadly still Mudiay. Sadly should be in quotes, because Mudiay will be a good player and perhaps even a great one, but boy, the top three are just so good…it is pretty rough being just outside looking in.

    40. Brian, is the development of Euro 2-guards that makes you say Hezonja has little upside? I mean, the track record of european imports at the 2 spot is quite solid but nothing to write home about, especially in terms of development… It’s true that Sasha Danilovic, Rudy Fernandez, Josè Navarro, even my home boy Marco Belinelli came to the NBA and didn’t improve an inch from their Year 1 performances (Belinelli just learned how to play with Pop), but at the same time Hezonja is so young, how can we say he has little upside?

    41. So..no one here can envision a starting 5 of DeAndere Jordan/Melo/DeMarre Carroll/Mudiay/Calderon? No one thinks that’s NICE balance and maxes out what Melo CAN do? All these dreams of adding a single difference maker through FA or making Melo the 2nd or 3rd best player on the squad are just that…dreams. He makes way too much money. So he IS gonna be our best player for the foreseeable future. So at this point u either trade him or build the right type of team around him. That’s all you can do. Phil has a much better shot at building around him this year than landing Durant or LeBron orwho ever may make Melo the 2nd option. And no..for the last time LOVE IS NOT BETTER THAN MELO WHEN HEALTHY. A damn good player, sure. But in Minny he had Rubio and Martin and all the space he needed to make his team better. Even when he had a roster on par with any team Melo’s had in NY, all Love has done is put up fantastic numbers. No playoffs. But I do think there’s not much drop off from Melo to Love- if any. I just don’t see Love being any more fit to carry a team than Melo.

    42. I just don’t see Love being any more fit to carry a team than Melo.

      I agree with this, but Love is a much better second violin than Melo.

    43. I don’t think it’s fair to say that the JR trade opened up $2 million. The stretch provision isn’t risk-free. that $2 mill in 2016 and 2017 could mean the difference between having a max slot and not having one. $6 million is $6 million, no matter how you slice it.

    44. Another point regarding Monroe is that signing him locks Melo in at the three, as no one is going to play Melo and Monroe as the 4 and 5 on defense

      disagree, I think Melo is fine at the 4 offensively n defensively. Having n undersized front court matters far less in today s nba

    45. I really, really disagree with putting your aging star who is coming off of a major knee injury at the position where he has to run around more and guard much faster guys. Just not a good idea

      Bryan Gibberman tweeted your sentiment also. However, the real wear-and-tear in guarding a 4 is the need to box out on every shot taken. That places repeated stress on the knee which is probably greater than that of following 3s all over the place.

    46. One dimension overlooked in the whole Mudiay discussion is the likelihood we could sign Corey Joseph at about 8m/year. He’s only 23yo and has improved every season in the NBA, just posting a .149 WS/48. Also, and this is important, he wants to start. There’s a chance Spurs re-sign him but I think the odds are against it at this stage. I’d rather have Joseph than Mudiay and then use pick on another player.

      Phil’s gonna sign Monroe at 16m. So signing Joseph at 8m would leave us about 3m in cap plus the room exception. If Phil’s able to ditch Calderon/Timmy, we’d have about 11m. Maybe Danny Green? Regarding the draft pick, I’m partial to Porzingis, Winslow or Hezonja. If we sign Porzingis, I really like our offense if Monroe plays the 5. We could have a 4-out situation using Monroe in the post and Melo/Porzingis could play the Pnr and PnPop. But a lineup of Joseph/Melo/Monroe/R. Lopez/Hezonja or Winslow also has a lot of appeal.

    47. “If we sign Porzingis, I really like our offense if Monroe plays the 5. We could have a 4-out situation using Monroe in the post and Melo/Porzingis could play the Pnr and PnPop.”
      I agree. I’m really intrigued by Porzingas. He played major minutes (so we’re not trying to prorate 7 minutes of playing time out to 36 minutes) as a 7’1″ scrawny 19 year old in the second best (and very physical) league in the world and put up really good numbers — 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes with a TS% of close to .600 (well over .600 in 16 Eurocup games). I think that he and Melo can both be hybrid 3-4 type of guys. I know that he needs to gain weight and strength but, even at his current weight, he’s been very productive.

    48. im changing my opinions every day on who we should draft but if we do sign Joseph, which I think we should, couldn’t we still draft Mudiay and have Joseph at the 2? I think that was his primary position last year and he did pretty well but that may be a waste of his talents.

      If we signed Joseph but he isn’t suitable for the 2 I guess i’d be partial to drafting Hezonja (if he does well in an interview/doesnt appear to be the head case that he was at barcelona), WCS, or Winslow if Melo is at the 4.

      Problem is free agency starts after the draft which is really annoying so unless there were some back channel dealings going on we don’t know what kind of FA position we’re going to be in before draft night.

    49. also the problem with joseph/[shved or galloway or free agent sg]/melo/porzingis/monroe is that it’s a defensive disaster especially if it’s not galloway at the 2. Joseph is the only plus defender out of all of them

    50. we still draft Mudiay and have Joseph at the 2? I think that was his primary position last year and he did pretty well but that may be a waste of his talents.

      Joseph is a natural 1, Patty Mills is more of a hybrid.

      also the problem with joseph/[shved or galloway or free agent sg]/melo/porzingis/monroe is that it’s a defensive disaster especially if it’s not galloway at the 2. Joseph is the only plus defender out of all of them

      Yes that is the negative but I don’t think it would be as bad as people think. Porzingis will struggle against post-up 4s but how many of them are there in the league (West, Pau, Randolph)? And Melo could potentially guard the 4 in those instances IF Porzingis is able to guard the 3. His rebounding is a real worry but isn’t that one of Monroe’s chief strengths? Plus Melo and Joseph are above average rebounders at the 3 and 1 respectively. If somehow we could sign Danny Green, that would help the D even more. That Calderon trade could hurt, maybe preventing us from signing Green or R. Lopez.

    51. One thing Mudiay brings is size in the backcourt, versatility, and defense. I wouldn’t mind Cory Joseph, but I think his price tag is a bit steep. However, the cool thing about the triangle is, you don’t need a lead guard to be a distributor. Joseph’s game is 20 feet and in, which causes a problem for Melo. And I’m not sure he plays well enough on D to justify the price. Then again, neither does Calderon. But Calderon is lights out from the field- especially when the floor is spread correctly. I don’t think a 2 deep depth chart of Jordan/Cole, Melo/hopefully Portis(if not then bring Amundson or trade TH2 for a PF), Carroll/Lance Thomas or Early, Mudiay/Shved, Calderon/Galloway is a bad thing. Especially if Fish sticks with the triangle. On top of that, Phil would still have presumably 6 mil cap space to play with and trade exceptions. That’s if Phil chooses to rebuild on the fly through free agency. Melo still is a commodity that teams want, so the best move is obviously to trade him at this point- before his trade value dips even further. The market is about to go crazy, we need that deal off the books ASAP if we’re gonna get younger. I mean, they’re talkin max dollars for guys like Monroe, Tristan Thompson and Jimmy Butler. Those guys are not scrubs, but max dollars belong to stars. And no one can name a star out of that bunch. DeAndre Jordan is most likely gonna get max dollars, and I wouldn’t mind paying a younger, stronger, and more mobile version of Tyson Chandler that kinda loot in today’s NBA. Hell..i’d even go after Chandler if he’d take a pay cut and Phil is successful in landing DeMarre Carroll and a guard with star potential.

    52. What position does the Zinger play in Europe? 8 rebounds as a PF is not quite Bargnani bad, but it’s also pretty fucking bad. Can he move in space well enough to be a passable 3 in the NBA?

    53. “8 rebounds as a PF is not quite Bargnani bad, but it’s also pretty fucking bad.”
      This year, 9 PFs in the entire league averaged 8 or more rebounds per game. Blake Griffin averaged 7.6. For his career, Dirk has averaged 8.1 rebounds per 36 minutes. I’m not saying that 8 is a good number, but it is not horrendous.

    54. Brian, is the development of Euro 2-guards that makes you say Hezonja has little upside? I mean, the track record of european imports at the 2 spot is quite solid but nothing to write home about, especially in terms of development… It’s true that Sasha Danilovic, Rudy Fernandez, Josè Navarro, even my home boy Marco Belinelli came to the NBA and didn’t improve an inch from their Year 1 performances (Belinelli just learned how to play with Pop), but at the same time Hezonja is so young, how can we say he has little upside?

      Sorry, I mean more that he doesn’t have the upside of these other guys. Clearly, he could beat his current projections (as you note, he is young). I just don’t think he has the upside of a Mudiay or even a Porzingis (and definitely not the upside of Towns/Okafor/Russell). He is just a lot more likely to be a decent player than, say, Porzingis and his body type fits the NBA better than Winslow.

    55. I don’t think it’s fair to say that the JR trade opened up $2 million. The stretch provision isn’t risk-free. that $2 mill in 2016 and 2017 could mean the difference between having a max slot and not having one. $6 million is $6 million, no matter how you slice it.

      The trade was all about this year’s cap room. Jackson clearly was not taking future cap room into question (and with the cap skyrocketing, why should he?).

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