Knicks Morning News (2016.02.19)

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Knicks Daily Links: Friday (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 05:47:58 EST)

    Knicks Daily Links: Friday

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Knicks and Carmelo remain on losing path for now (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 06:04:20 GMT)

    The only guarantees you get when you play for the Knicks are great pay and an extended vacation from mid-April until October.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks fail to upgrade at point guard at NBA trade deadline (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 05:52:18 GMT)

    As the other teams at the bottom of Eastern conference playoff chase agreed to deals, Phil Jackson and the Knicks stood pat.

  • [New York Times] With Cap Set to Soar, NBA Trade Deadline Brought Caution (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 10:30:35 GMT)

    In past years, a team like the Toronto Raptors almost certainly would have been looking to add some help for the stretch run. They’re holding down second place in the Eastern Conference, have been one of the league’s hottest teams for the last month and seem poised to make a significant playoff push.

  • [New York Times] Monty Williams Urges Forgiveness at Wife’s Funeral (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 07:45:37 GMT)

    Monty Williams urged forgiveness in an emotional eulogy at the funeral of his wife Ingrid on Thursday in Oklahoma City, where a contingent of NBA coaches and players attended in support.

  • [New York Times] Clippers Overwhelm Spurs in 4th Quarter for 105-86 Victory (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 07:15:44 GMT)

    Chris Paul poured all his emotion from a long, difficult day into his night job, willing his team to victory while playing a game-high 37 minutes.

  • [New York Times] NBA Capsules (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 06:09:38 GMT)

    LeBron James scored 25 points and barely missed a triple-double, Kevin Love added 15 points and 15 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked refreshed from the All-Star break with a 106-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Cavaliers Handle Bulls (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 05:19:47 GMT)

    The Cleveland Cavaliers looked refreshed from the All-Star break with a 106-95 victory over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

  • [New York Times] LeBron, Love Power Cavs After Trade of Popular Varejao (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 04:52:07 GMT)

    There was no loud music, none of the usual joking around inside Cleveland’s locker room.

  • [New York Times] Gortat, Wall Lead Wizards Past Jazz, 103-89 (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 04:09:52 GMT)

    Washington center Marcin Gortat is excited about the Wizards’ trade for forward Markieff Morris.

  • [New York Times] Ailing Nets Hire San Antonio’s Sean Marks as General Manager (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 02:57:55 GMT)

    Sean Marks is leaving the San Antonio Spurs to undertake the rebuilding of the Brooklyn Nets.

  • [New York Times] Knicks Look Within as the Trade Deadline Comes and Goes (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 01:36:51 GMT)

    If the Knicks had been hoping to upgrade their backcourt for what Kurt Rambis has described as a playoff push, they were unable to find traction in talks with potential trade partners.

  • [New York Times] Cavaliers Acquire Frye From Magic for Varejao (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:15:47 GMT)

    Cavaliers general manager David Griffin dreaded making this phone call.

  • [New York Times] Green, Morris Traded, but No Major Moves on NBA Deadline Day (Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:03:57 GMT)

    Jeff Green could give the Clippers a better shot in the West and Markieff Morris might strengthen a Wizards playoff push in the East.

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    Mike Kurylo

    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).

    28 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2016.02.19)”

    1. Dolan should pay your cruise fees. It would be cheap compared to any other way to improve the team.

    2. Well, count me among those happy to see the Knicks management did not attempt to appeal to the unhinged among us calling for a deal, any deal.
      I forget who, but someone noted they marveled at how intense the board was about trades that involved middling to below average players. I also marveled at how many proposals involved middling to not good Knicks players for genuinely good players in return.
      The future is where all our dreams come true, I guess.

    3. Continuing from the last thread-

      I think Phil has earned a B in terms of GM/President grade. Honestly, it’d be a C- or a D if not for Porzingis, but there was literally no more important decision than that draft pick, so the fact that the nailed that pick basically gives him house money to play with.

      He’s hit on some (getting rid of THJ and getting anything is a home run), definitely missed on others. But he had literally zero room to maneuver and no cushion to fall back on, and he hasn’t traded any of our future. So I think he’s been ok.

      Meanwhile, how sad are those Caribbean quotes from KP? Poor kid.

    4. Well, count me among those happy to see the Knicks management did not attempt to appeal to the unhinged among us calling for a deal, any deal.

      I definitely agree that Porzingis aside, a real sense of patience has been the best thing Phil has brought to the job. He has made some shaky moves, particularly during the offseasons, but in both his full seasons he has realized that the team maybe wasn’t as good as he expected/hoped and rather than double down (as some of our previous front offices surely would have done) he has taken a more prudent course. From the Beverley rumor specifically it sounds like we had the opportunity to foolishly be buyers at the cost of yet more future 1sts and avoided it.

      That said, I do feel like we continue to grade Phil on a curve effectively. Does there come a point at which not doing something stupid isn’t quite enough? We should have been sellers, but we weren’t, either because Phil doesn’t think we are out of it this year, or because Phil really thinks this “core” is some minor free-agent tinkering from being something really good next year. Either way, it seems overwhelmingly likely that he’s wrong.

    5. As I’ve said before, I think it’s overly harsh to state that Phil was trying to build a “win now” team. When he came aboard, he immediately said that it would take several years to get the franchise back to contender status. When he went into the 2014-15 year, he essentially said that due to the weakness of the EC, the team as constructed could possibly compete for an 8th seed. He never gave any impression that the team would have a winning record or would have any chance of advancing beyond the first round. In fact, his statements were only slightly more optimistic than those of most pundits and many here (Jowles predicted something like 36-46, which would have missed the playoffs by 2 games.) When he admitted that his plan failed, he was talking about the plan to rebuild without totally tanking.

      There is a wide chasm between “win now” and “tanking.” Phil may have sold low on FA-to-be Chandler and was wrong in hoping that his team could make the playoffs, but some other things went wrong that greased the skids: JR’s suspension, Shump’s regression, Calderon’s injury, THJ’s suctitude, Dalembert’s utter uselessness (see: Calderon’s and Dalembert’s WS48 the prior season), and most importantly, Melo’s injury in game 2 of the season. Nothing he said was out of line with what most people thought.

    6. I am pretty happy that we chilled out this trade season and did nothing. His best move was to fire Fisher when he did. I’m hoping to see Jimmer but I’m upset to have seen hints of Grant’s minutes being cut because of the learning curve. There’s a catch-22 with players that still need development and that is that they need playing time to improve but their presence on the floor diminishes the chances that the team will win. I guess that’s the benefit of being on a team that’s in rebuilding mode, which the Knicks never are.

    7. @Z-Man

      Jackson can call his process whatever he wants. Other than the accidental tank of last year, Jackson has shown a general disinterest in bringing in investment players. So he’s not rebuilding by my definition of the word. Even the Grant trade… Grant is like 6 months younger than Hardaway. I still liked the trade, but it wasn’t a “let’s get younger and invest in our future” move.

      Here are my two best guesses as far as what Phil’s plan was (and continues to be):

      1) He thought that the reason the Knicks have been bad all these years is solely due to the low character roster, and that if he brought in high character guys and won just enough games, that, combined with the appeal of his own name and the appeal of NY would be enough to lure superstars.

      2) He never put much thought into the big picture of winning a title and mostly just wants to prove the triangle is still viable, so it wasn’t about getting great players or building a great team. It was about building a team that was more than the sum of its part as a result of the triangle.

    8. 2) He never put much thought into the big picture of winning a title and mostly just wants to prove the triangle is still viable, so it wasn’t about getting great players or building a great team. It was about building a team that was more than the sum of its part as a result of the triangle.

      This is entirely speculation. Phil has repeatedly downplayed the importance of the Triangle. It’s the media that never shuts up about it.

    9. Max, the guy won 11 championships as a coach, and is clearly very smart about basketbal. Do you really think he’s inflexible enough to believe in one doctrine?

    10. Jackson can call his process whatever he wants. Other than the accidental tank of last year, Jackson has shown a general disinterest in bringing in investment players. So he’s not rebuilding by my definition of the word. Even the Grant trade… Grant is like 6 months younger than Hardaway. I still liked the trade, but it wasn’t a “let’s get younger and invest in our future” move.

      What exactly constitutes an investment player? The best investments are generally draft picks, which Jackson has had very few of. The one he did have turned into Kristaps Porzingis, a player most people assumed would be a project. He also turned Hardaway into Grant. Grant may not be much younger, but even if he doesn’t pan out he will remain on a rookie contract for longer than Hardaway. Those are also forward looking moves.

      Jackson has also drafted Cleanthony Early, Thanasis, Willy Hernangomez, and one more Euro. With the exception of Early, all those players were looking toward the future.

      In FA, Phil has brought in O’Quinn who’s still young on a good deal and locked in Robin Lopez to a long term deal that should look good in a few years.

    11. Other than the accidental tank of last year, Jackson has shown a general disinterest in bringing in investment players. So he’s not rebuilding by my definition of the word. Even the Grant trade… Grant is like 6 months younger than Hardaway. I still liked the trade, but it wasn’t a “let’s get younger and invest in our future” move.

      Max, I can’t imagine being so pessimistic about everything all the time. For Pete’s sake, he’s plucked a legit rotation guard out of nowhere in Langston Galloway, saw something in Lance Thomas that no one else had in several stops in the league, got Jerian Grant (who IS a young player no matter if he’s younger or older than the crappy player he was traded for). He drafted Porzingis rather than “more established” and lower ceiling players like WCS, Kaminsky, etc.

      Yes, Afflalo was a pretty uninspired signing, but who else was coming?
      Derrick Williams has probably outplayed his $5MM contract – what else would you want?

      I mean – look at this list of free agents. I’m not sure there was so much else out there that is better than what we got AND actually wanted to come here.

      There are some things he hasn’t done well, but it hasn’t been that bad.

    12. In other news, Cleanthony Early may return this season. It’s so good to hear that he’s recovering well.

    13. Jackson drafted BPA according to most experts at #4 and didn’t want to tank. So while he deserves credit for not fucking it up, he didn’t exactly go rogue and come back with the enemy general’s scalp. He did what most GMs would have done.

      Free agents and veteran players = cash players. They buy you wins now.

      Young players and picks = investment players. They buy you MORE wins in the future (on average).

      One can be traded for the other. Phil Jackson wakes up every day and decides not to trade any of his cash players to add investment players. He spent his free agent money on cash players rather than on investment players. These are choices. These indicate Jackson’s views of the Knicks and how to improve them better than any cryptic social media post will.

      This is entirely speculation. Phil has repeatedly downplayed the importance of the Triangle. It’s the media that never shuts up about it.

      Here’s what downplaying the importance the triangle sounds like: “We want to win basketball games, so we’re going to consider most of all two things: a coach who we think knows how to run a basketball team and earn the respect of his players and a coach whose strengths match our players’ strengths.”

      Here’s what Phil Jackson said: “[The triangle] happens to be the system that we’re familiar with so it’s not paramount but it’s important.”

      The way I read this, Phil is saying, “I’m not batshit insane. I consider other factors. But the triangle is an important one.”

      But of course it’s speculation. I don’t have access to Jackson’s private thoughts (yet).

    14. What you consider ‘cash value’ players are almost all on 1 year deals, (ignoring Melo cuz it’s been talked over to death already). The exceptions are Derrick Williams and Arron Afflalo, who are both on 1 year deals with player options. Given that the salary cap is about to give every team space for a max level contract, they’ll almost certainly opt-out. These players may not themselves be investments in the future, but they do provide payroll flexibility that does help us in the long term.

    15. A “move” is good, bad, or neutral. I see a lot of talking about moves. You obviously want to make good moves more than bad moves. But (not necessarily here) people seem to want ‘A’ move, which is silly.

      I don’t think Jackson is tied to the triangle offense. He’s tied to the triangle philosophies and it’s an important distinction. He’s made it pretty clear. The only reason second guessing it has any fuel is because the media consistently second guesses it.

      If there’s anything, I think Jackson has tied his philosophy to that of the Spurs, where aging vets can help you develop and solidify your team and young players can be a future. Encompassing all of this is the proper culture so you have high character teammates.

    16. @EB, the exception is the entire roster other than Grant and Porzingis. Even Galloway is more of a cash/win now player due to his contract.

      As far as the triangle goes, I don’t care all that much unless it’s causing Jackson to turn down good value trades because of triangle fit.

    17. If you’re the GM of this team and you’re not actively trying to convert Carmelo Anthony into assets before he becomes impossible to trade then you’re just doing it wrong. To use the parlance of Mike Ehrmantraut, the whole Phil Jackson era so far is one giant half-measure.

    18. Look at his recent actions then. He’s been prioritizing finding a PG, arguably the least important part of the triangle offense. He’s trying to build a team. I see him turning down trades that ask for ridiculous prices (and glad we finally had someone who told Morey to go to hell) or perhaps bad character players no matter how good they can be.

    19. Looks like Jimmer got the roster spot. Like to see if he can be a better version of Calderon with his improved spot up shooting.

    20. Berman of the Post is going to be SOOOO excited about Jimmer.

      I just fear the guy will somehow be an even worse defender than Calderon. But hopefully, Rambis plays him enough for us to find out one way or the other.

    21. Like to see effort. We know no one on this squad is a stopper, but if Jimmer can show the effort, he’s got better offensive skills to bridge to future PG.

    22. I don’t think Jackson is tied to the triangle offense.

      I think there is ample evidence that says that he is. The coaches he’s hired, the players he’s pursued, the players he shipped away. And, or course, his public statements and tweets.

      Is he going to take it to his grave? That remains to be seen. Clearly he was skeptical of the “New NBA” style as recently as June (remember that “how’s it goink” tweet about high volume 3 pt shooting teams in the playoffs?). Perhaps when he realized that things were actually goink pretty amazingly for them, it served as an eye-opener.

      But I don’t think Phil is going to discard the Triangle, because he came here with the belief that what the team lacked under Woodson was a cohesive system. If he starts tinkering with the Triangle, bringing in players that aren’t natural fits and coaches that aren’t initiated in it, the system no longer is cohesive.

    23. When I read people’s arguments about how well Phil is doing, I see that most or all judge him by whether they agree with the moves he’s made so far and whether they think those moves were the obvious thing to do or not. There is nothing wrong with this method, but I think we could also try and judge him by results rather than our impression of his moves. To wit, it seems to me there are several criteria for results:

      Did the talent level on the team go up or down?

      Is the salary cap and draft pick situation getting better or worse?

      Is the team exceeding expectations for wins or failing them?

      Is the team executing the GMs stated plan and getting the forecasted results?

      If the answer is negative for all the questions, that is an F
      If the answer is negative for the first three questions but positive for the last one that’s an incomplete.
      If nothing about the team is improving, but the team isn’t worse that’s a C or a D, depending on how bad the team was when the GM took over. (It should be easier to improve a very bad team than to improve a reasonable team)
      If the answer to some of the first three questions but not all of them is yes, That’s a B or a C, depending on the magnitude of the improvements.
      If the answer to all the questions is yes, then that’s an A or a B, depending on the magnitude of the changes.

      By this standards, I think many GMs would be C’s or B’s. For the Knicks the talent level is probably somewhat better than the team Phil took over (which was Felton, Chandler, JR etc.). It’s certainly younger. The salary cap situation and draft pick situation is much better. The wins this season are better than almost all public predictions. I’m not sure he’s completely on his stated plan, but he did say the improvement was a process and would take a while, so I think he’s not very far off. So that’s a somewhat positive or clearly positive answer to all the questions. So for Phil, I’d give him a B.

    24. @25,

      3 point shooting vs system offense is different. Clearly, GSWs ball movement and off the ball movement leading to open 3s is different than Houston’s park-it-at-the-3pt-line while Harden finds you system. That was the Mike Woodson system, and a system he quickly replaced. I would bet money he knows the difference, and critics of his tweet often portray a person who simply hates 3 pt shooting.

    25. @KnickfaninNJ

      I’m down with your test with an amendment — that we compare Phil not against where the Knicks were when he took over but rather against where they’d be if they just followed popular pundit opinion in every choice since then.

      Did the talent level on the team go up or down?

      Popular opinion in summer 2014 probably would have gotten the Knicks similar results as it was on board the “cap space + Melo will fix things” train alongside Phil, so the Chandler + Felton for cap space trade still happens but maybe with an expiring contract coming back rather than Calderon, who popular opinion thought was overpaid.

      That means the same catastrophic start to the season, and the same decision to tank. Popular opinion woulda bickered about the Porzingis pick at #4 but probably would have taken him. So that stays the same.

      Summer 2015, Phil went with popular opinion with RoLo. He also traded THJ for a draft pick, which is a deal I’m sure popular opinion would have jumped on. Other signings were pretty bad other than maybe KOQ. Popular opinion would probly have liked Afflalo but not Williams.

      2015/16 season, everyone and their mother knows Melo needs to be moved and the Knicks need to go young. Phil stood pat. Can’t judge results yet tho.

      Conclusion: worse under Phil

      Is the salary cap and draft pick situation getting better or worse?

      Covered above. We would have had more cap space had we not taken on Calderon, which popular opinion wouldn’t have done. Jackson added some marginal picks but I think popular opinion would have blown this team up before hte deadline, improving our pick situation dramatically.

      Conclusion: worse under Phil

      Is the team exceeding expectations for wins?

      Turning a 37 win team into a likely 35 win team in 2 seasons is not much worse than popular opinion would have done.

      Conclusion: slightly worse under Phil

      Is the team executing the GMs stated plan and getting the forecasted results?

      covered above.

      Conclusion: probably worse under Phil

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