Knicks Notes: Thoughts from the Outside of the Playoffs

A lot of energy converged around the Knicks coaching situation after the season mercifully came to a close. Phil Jackson set up the news cycle with a typically cryptic style of communication, when he was communicating at all. It strikes me that a generation ago, there would have been little controversy about the way Jackson conducted his early offseason, between his travels and his choices in interviewing (or not interviewing) various coaches. The fact is, we wouldn’t have known a tenth of what we know today and the intensity of the deliberation would have been muted by virtue of local conversation versus the global conversation made possible online. We “know” a great deal more about the backstage of team dealings, including player, coach, and administrators’ day-to-day business. The truth of the matter is, most of it is speculation and conjecture, but to fans it’s all visceral and real. The joke is often on us.

The intensity of the post-season culture mainly revolved around the speculation that Phil Jackson wanted Kurt Rambis to remain as the head coach for the duration of his tenure. The press peppered everyday’s news with the statement, “Kurt Rambis remains the front runner for the job,” turning that phrase into the punchline for a variety of gallows humor anecdotes. Nothing loomed larger for the future of the franchise than the hiring of the next coach, so it was a pleasant surprise to many that Jeff Hornacek dropped into the picture against all odds. Now that the tension of the coaching bubble has burst, there are a host of smaller storylines that occupy our Knicksy thoughts.

Recently, there’s been a great deal of attention paid to Hornacek’s tweaking of the Triangle and the shift that it represents from Phil’s early time as president. The key angle to that story has become the focus on the point guard position, where most speculation had been centered on Phil’s comments about point guards as a secondary concern. Hornacek has reinforced the speculation among fans and media that the Knicks would reassert their interest in point guards by mentioning the position frequently in early interviews. Part of that assertion has come from his being asked frequently about it, but his responses haven’t shied away from the belief that the Knicks desperately need a really good lead guard to make things work. There’s been a renewed interest in Mike Conley as a potential target throughout the Knicks-o-sphere. Conley had become an afterthought as Phil Jackson “meh-ed” the pursuit of a point, and news out of Memphis had him set as a lock to return. I would imagine he’s still a lock to stay in Memphis, but the storyline has found a crack in the door to peak through as the narrative has changed.

Evan Turner is the name most strongly connected to the Knicks so far. His name came up a month ago as a reasonably priced replacement for Arron Afflalo, and the story has grown some legs as Turner and his agent have drummed up the PR campaign to get paid by some desperate club. If you look at Turner’s metric profile, he compares favorably in most areas to the more expensive Rajon Rondo, who Melo surely would like on the club. When I use the word “favorably,” I mean to say that he does a couple of things well and a lot of other things very poorly. Rondo has some eye-popping counting stats in the assists and steals categories, but lower efficiency overall. Their games aren’t particularly similar except that they lack the three pointer and rebound well for guards. I would be disappointed to see Evan Turner as one of our key additions in the offseason, but the speculation is out there. I’ll believe it when I see it.

There aren’t many great free agent options for the Knicks this offseason. The big names are unlikely to show up in New York, and most are likely to stay with their current clubs. It seems that my dream addition, Nicolas Batum, is destined to stay in Charlotte. The primary and secondary free agent market looks pretty slim for the Knicks, so we’ve started to see a less sexy set of names popping up. Turner, Bazemore, Fournier, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings have all been recently mentioned in the dreary gap in the news cycle. There’s also been talk of acquiring a pick, and/or trading for a player. At this point there’s no real news, and no prospect of real news until the draft gets closer. Some speculation about Willy Hernangomez has bubbled up as his Real Madrid contract expires on June 30th.

The salary cap is jumping so much this offseason that the talk has been about how many clubs will have to splurge and overspend in order to make the cap floor. Things are about to get stupid, and it remains to be seen whether the Knicks are going to participate in the insanity or whether Phil Jackson is intent on standing back and waiting for the right players to become available, even as the press is calling for his execution with every passing “Phailure.” Do you max Mike Conley in order to play the market by its new rules? Do you max guys like Bazemore or Fournier, knowing you may regret it in short order? Do you overpay Jennings on a short term flier to see if he can push the Knicks pace and get the team on the path to a playoff berth? None of those options seem palatable, but the feeling around the club is that Phil and Hornacek are intent on becoming competitive as quickly as possible. Can you do any of the aforementioned things and still make a max player splash in the 2017 market when the cap is set to explode yet again? Given the number of restricted free agents on the target list, and the guys more likely to stay put, can the Knicks reasonably expect to improve the club significantly and preserve flexibility for All-Star caliber free agent pursuits in 2017? So many questions.

In the meantime, the news is certain to be occupied with the minutiae of Hornacek’s choices for his coaching staff. Kurt Rambis is back, which is probably a non-story and a meaningless item that will be packed with symbolic landmines nonetheless. Sean Rooks interviewed for a position on the staff, which was a great sign that Hornacek has his eyes on talented people, but sadly Rooks passed away at the young age of 46 a day after the meeting – a tragedy for the NBA family. Will he keep the guys Fisher brought in from OKC? Will Jim Cleamons be back? I could pass out from boredom at the thought of this conversation over the coming weeks, but it’s all we’ve got. Maybe a couple of interesting hires will give hope that Hornacek is dramatically improving the coaching profile for the franchise after some years of uninspired management.

The most dramatic thing that’s likely to happen to the franchise has already happened with our new coach. Unless Kevin Durant losing his mind and signs up in New York, we’re looking at 3-4 months of overblown speculation and analysis. We’ll have existential fights about Courtney Lee’s 2-year, 20 million dollar contract and Tony Wroten’s flashy, but inefficient showing at the Orlando Summer League. We’ll argue about some random thing Phil Jackson tweets about how the Finals are #goink and his sweat lodge visit during the NBA Draft. We’ll acquire a pick and Clarence Gaines will eventually emerge as the mastermind of the Knicks selection of 6′ 6″ point guard Dragjab Strangevanovic, who will finish 5th in Rookie of the Year voting. Just remember that the long months ahead aren’t half as good or bad as they seem during any given news cycle. It’s all going to be fine….not great or awful, but fine. Be kind to each other.

 

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112 thoughts to “Knicks Notes: Thoughts from the Outside of the Playoffs”

  1. I’m mainly watching the playoffs to see KP and Spike in the ghostbusters commercial

  2. this is the best “state of the knicks” type post i’ve seen in some time. Well written, funny, completely on the money re: the questions fans will be asking in terms of how we would armchair-GM the knicks going forward / the questions the knicks FO is asking, right now, surely.

    I’d love to see a knickerblogger roundtable on some of the questions you asked:

    1. Is Turner ok, at all, in any context? On what kind of deal? For how much $/how many years? Would he be, presumably, a point guard for us? or a passing 2/3?

    2. All of these questions:

    Do you max Mike Conley in order to play the market by its new rules? Do you max guys like Bazemore or Fournier, knowing you may regret it in short order? Do you overpay Jennings on a short term flier to see if he can push the Knicks pace and get the team on the path to a playoff berth? None of those options seem palatable, but the feeling around the club is that Phil and Hornacek are intent on becoming competitive as quickly as possible. Can you do any of the aforementioned things and still make a max player splash in the 2017 market when the cap is set to explode yet again? Given the number of restricted free agents on the target list, and the guys more likely to stay put, can the Knicks reasonably expect to improve the club significantly and preserve flexibility for All-Star caliber free agent pursuits in 2017?

  3. to clarify — that paragraph of questions quoted contains all of my favorite topics of discussion (non-coach related non melo-related) in these here comments, so to get an organized compilation of responses via a roundtable post would be cool.

  4. Good stuff Mike. I think Turner is a good player. I wouldn’t break the bank for him, but his playmaking, post scoring talent and really solid defense are good for a 6th man type to lead bench units. The problem is I think that the market will overpay everybody more than they’re worth and I’m not sold that Turner is the right guy to overpay for given his glaring weakness as a 3 point shooter.

    Should be an interesting summer.

  5. Mike,
    when you said:

    I could pass out from boredom at the thought of this conversation over the coming weeks, but it’s all we’ve got.

    It sums up my feelings 100%.

    I’ll add that the guard situation is abysmal, in particular at the lead guard position. We must do somethings but I cannot see a way that we end up with a top-30 guard. We are going to have to settle unless we can pull off a trade.

  6. the only reason that i like evan turner is because he can create…. a/to >2.0 … and one of the hallmarks of good teams and good offenses aside from having great players is having guys who can handle the ball at multiple positions…. it’s one way to get to the ‘sum is greater than the parts’…

    he can’t shoot but for a team running the triangle and dependent on making the right pass.. we are bereft of not only point guards but guys who can actually make correct decisions with the ball… melo has made great strides in this area but we need more of that at more positions…. and anyone we are targeting with less than max money is going to have a deep flaw and i’d rather turner over someone like rondo any day…

  7. I don’t have a problem with Turner as long as you have a PG that can shoot and score. The problem is finding one that actually deserves to a starting PG and avoiding overpaying for some backup and making him the starter. It also probably won’t work with Grant or Wroten unless they magically improve their shots.

  8. I’d be happy to max Mike Conley if he’d come. I think you could get away with that and still max a really legit star next year. Aside from that, I’m tempted to do what Phil did last year and go short term on a guy like Brandon Jennings. I don’t want to lock anyone up beyond next year if I don’t have to, but assuming I have to, I’d rather drop a DWill/Afflalo style one year with an opt out on some lest costly guys.

  9. I’d give Conley the max, as well. He wouldn’t take it, but I’d give it to him!

  10. The Knicks path is simple. They aren’t in a situation where they are “one player away” where it might make sense ‘overpaying’ for a guy that might put them over the proverbial top. It makes zero sense to over pay an Evan Turner even if he makes them marginally better. He’d just be taking too much of a percentage of the cap per his production and will hurt things moving forward.

    The Knicks are in the asset acquisition business, period. They are like the Mets were 5-6 years ago…. they were devoid of talent and had to rebuild through asset acquisition which Alderson did a masterful job (on the cheap) and has built a team that should contend for the next half dozen years.

    Phil was around when Willis, Clyde, Bradley, Cazzie and Stallworth were drafted over 4 years and then Dave D was traded for.

    If he can acquire another value piece like Lopez and move into the draft by parking a bad contract, god bless him. Somebody who needs space to sign whom they want is going to pay for that privilege.

  11. @4 Maybe I can get the group together to work on some roundtable action.

    it’s what the streets need

  12. Poppycock! This team is very close to competing and I want Phil to go for it now!

  13. The Knicks path is simple. They aren’t in a situation where they are “one player away” where it might make sense ‘overpaying’ for a guy that might put them over the proverbial top.

    Agreed, but since they’re going to spend money this year, I would at least like them to sign legitmately very good players like Conley. It won’t happen, but I’d like it!

  14. Honestly – Conley matches exactly what hornacek was describing. 28, can handle the load, decent shooter, tough defensively,smart player. Kind of a small guard for Phil though.

    I would feel good about maxing him out– if he wasn’t always injured and if he didn’t play the same position as two of the top 2017 targets- CP3 and Westbrook.

  15. Conley doesn’t really push the tempo offensively either. I don’t get the logic in giving him a max. He’s a good player that is the best PG in a threadbare PG market at a time when every team has money. I’d avoid him and bolster the roster elsewhere.

  16. Poppycock! This team is very close to competing and I want Phil to go for it now!

    Competing for the 8th seed…. maybe

  17. what separates Conley from Teague? Also, would Philly agree to a trade if Teague says there is no chance he will resign with Philly?

  18. The Knicks path is simple. They aren’t in a situation where they are “one player away” where it might make sense ‘overpaying’ for a guy that might put them over the proverbial top.

    @13 – I think this is the central point that needs to be debated. Phil would disagree with you and I’m leaning on their side. It’s not like the Mets 5 years ago because in baseball you need to have 14-15 starters (all starting fielders, 5 starters and a closer) and if you want to be picky, add in your setup guys. In basketball you need only 5 and you can extend that to 9 for all rotation players.

    I think that we all will agree that we need 2 starting guards and that the front court is solid.

    How many players do you think we need to make the playoffs? I think we are just one good player away from the playoffs. Add a second great player and we could contend.

  19. The best strategy the Knicks could follow is to focus on rebuilding until summer 2018 when the cap drops. Plan to have a ton of cap space that summer. You will have lots of teams getting real anxious about the luxury tax and few teams with money to spend on FAs.

    NBA teams are largely run by desperate men. Some are rightfully desperate — they are within reach of relevance and just need some breaks. Most are just acting, though, to preserve their job security. let these losers do what they want to do and lose by buying in the worst buyer’s market there may ever be, then come back and rip them off in summer 2018.

    Not only does this strategy give the Knicks a chance to make a killing in summer 2018, but it fits perfectly with KP’s timeline.

  20. We’re a very good player and a fairly good player away from really competing. It can happen. Think positively!

  21. I think that we all will agree that we need 2 starting guards and that the front court is solid.

    The starting front court is a positive but it has zero depth. Who is the backup 3,4 or 5?

    And the Knicks don’t have an average starting NBA quality guard on the entire roster…. and that’s factorial! I liked Grant’s progress when he finally has a chance to play, but after Unicorn, Lopez and Melo…. where are the NBA players on this roster?

    They need to acquire BB players at reasonable prices and a bunch of them.

  22. The best strategy the Knicks could follow is to focus on rebuilding until summer 2018 when the cap drops. Plan to have a ton of cap space that summer. You will have lots of teams getting real anxious about the luxury tax and few teams with money to spend on FAs.

    You’re not wrong, but I’m trying to think of strategies that will match the approach/plan that they will take (“Compete as soon as possible”). Because they’re not going to intentionally rebuild.

    So since they’re GOING to spend a bunch of money, I’d like it to at least go to somrone like Conley vs. Turner.

    In a vacuum, of course I wouldn’t max any of the non-Durant/Whiteside guys.

  23. Option #1: Durant — see Post article

    http://nypost.com/2016/06/09/kevin-durant-interested-in-knicks-per-skip-bayless-sources/

    Option #2: Batum

    Option #3: Conley

    Phil would have to use his best Jeddi mind tricks to get Durant to sign here. Let’s see if I’m KD…. I can go to GS and play with Klay and Curry in one of the most beautiful places in the world, or I can sign with Phil and get set up by “the king is gone , but he’s not forgotten!”

    Neither Batum nor Conley are worth 30% of the cap…. they just aren’t max players.

  24. Who is the backup 3,4 or 5?

    Obviously, with only 7 players signed today, it’s tough to answer. But O’Quinn is the backup 4 and I anticipate that Willy H. will be the backup 5. Truth is that those backup 3, 4 and 5’s will likely be lower level free agents we sign. What’s key is having a solid starting 5.

  25. What Max said.

    We shouldn’t do anything in the summer of 2016 that could hurt us in the summer of 2018. This ship is in dry dock for another two years.

  26. Obviously, with only 7 players signed today, it’s tough to answer. But O’Quinn is the backup 4 and I anticipate that Willy H. will be the backup 5. Truth is that those backup 3, 4 and 5’s will likely be lower level free agents we sign. What’s key is having a solid starting 5.

    And what do you use for money for your bench after you overpay Conley or Batum and you still need another starting backcourt player? Vet minimums?

    Now after you sign a max backcourt player, you now have 60% of the cap occupied by 2 (Melo) players who aren’t worthy of their contracts production-wise

    You have Zinger and Rolo occupying 20,000,000 in cap space and you need at least 4 viable rotation bench players plus a starting back court player.

    Remember, Rolo never plays > 32 min/game, Melo has a million miles on his knees, Conley has logged >20,000 minutes and is coming off a “calf” strain that cost him the end of the season and Zinger played 28 min/game last year. Your underfunded bench is going to have to log an awful lot of minutes.

    And you already concede your back up center is a guy we’ve never seen and have no idea if he can play.

  27. the nba has always been top heavy… your best players are going to be doing the heavy lifting and with the way the salary cap is you’re going to have holes you can’t really do much about… okc giving heavy minutes to waiters and cleveland dellavedova as prime examples….

    we’re not really in a position with as many holes as we have to try and plug everything and our bench is something that’s going to be a casualty of this…. that’s not to say we shouldn’t try to fill out every part of our roster with nba level players.. but you’re going to have unknowns and you just have to hope they pan out….

    right now we need nba caliber guards desperately…..

  28. We need guards desperately if we want to be a serious team next year. But we shouldn’t care about that.*

    *Unless KD

  29. right now we need nba caliber guards desperately…..

    No sensible person disagrees with this. The only question is are you willing to give 30% of your total cap to a middle aged player who isn’t by production worth near 30% of the cap? Are you prepared to give the guy who is 79th in the league in winshares a superstars salary with the implications that brings to stymieing your maneuverability going forward for a good but not terrific guard?

  30. Last year Jackson signed a bunch of guys, one to a long term contract who turned out to be a good player on a reasonable deal (Lopez), and the rest to contracts that have now expired or have player options that are reasonable (Williams) or are unlikely to be picked up (Afflalo). If he does something like that again, I’d be happy with that.

  31. @33 – it really all depends… being stuck with melo kind of torpedoes any tanking ideas and now with zinger our floor is somewhere in the 30 win range…. it’s really all a question on how much you value getting to 40-48 wins is and how likely those big FAs will come here….

    to me… those two questions go hand in hand…. i don’t think cp3 will come unless we’re in the mix of competing but we’re not getting there unless we get good players…. everything is all relative and while we’re going to see eye-popping numbers this offseason… even if we give turner 10mm a year for 3years that still leaves us with enough room for a run at a top FA the following year…

  32. Melo plus KD = McAdoo plus Haywood. That is not how to build a roster. Too much duplication. As good as he is, he just doesn’t fit with us. We need solid guards on short deals if that’s possible.

  33. Lol at passing up one of the top 3 players in the league bc he has a similar skill set to Melo and need guards. We can find guards later and easier if we have Durant!

  34. Melo plus KD = McAdoo plus Haywood. That is not how to build a roster. Too much duplication. As good as he is, he just doesn’t fit with us. We need solid guards on short deals if that’s possible.

    You could put Durant at any position on the floor and it would improve the Knicks by 15 wins, minimum. The idea of passing on a volume shooter because the Knicks already have a volume shooter is downright absurd.

    Make Durant play point guard. Who cares? He’s better than any player the Knicks have had since the 3-point line was introduced. By a lot.

  35. @38 – completely agree. When you’re talking a top nba player like Durant, all talk of “fit” does not factor into the decision making in this case. Also, if a miracle did happen and he decided to come to NY, then the likelihood is that you have great odds to land Westbrook next year. I think a guy like Hornacek could somehow make those pieces work. Unfortunately this is all just fantasy talk, because Durant is not coming here.

  36. Melo plus KD = McAdoo plus Haywood. That is not how to build a roster. Too much duplication. As good as he is, he just doesn’t fit with us. We need solid guards on short deals if that’s possible.

    It’s taken quite a while, but finally everything that can be said, has been said. Time to move on to soccer.

  37. My gut tells me we will have a starting back court of Galloway and Wroten. They’re perfect for each other; both play good defense, one can handle the ball and break a defense down while the other guy can shoot and attack unbalanced defenses.

    The only thing is that we need a way better version of Tony Wroten in order to be successful as a ball club. If Tony Wroten could just stop turning the ball over (and he can’t; his style of play is just so reckless) and get his TS to around .525 we’d have a shot. But the Knicks make me feel like Wroten will be playing a bare minimum of 1500 minutes which to me is a win win situation. If he sucks, we suck and Melo demands a trade/we get a lottery pick after a 25 win season. If he doesn’t suck, he and Galloway could be a match made in heaven and we’ll ride them to 45 wins. But prepare yourself for a lot of Tony Wroten fellas. He’s coming.

  38. Melo plus KD = McAdoo plus Haywood. That is not how to build a roster. Too much duplication. As good as he is, he just doesn’t fit with us. We need solid guards on short deals if that’s possible.

    What? Maybe we can convince gs that they don’t need thompson since they already have curry, because a kb poster says they’re too similar and can’t help them win a championship.

  39. Crazy idea…
    Sign Durant, trade Melo for Wall. (No need to tell me. I know it ain’t ever happening, but it makes tons of sense and Melo would agree to the trade).

    @31 – My point precisely. A rotation of KP, Rolo, O’Quinn and WillyH is enough of a rotation at the 4-5. We do need someone to back up Anthony but I can see 3-guard sets and KP playing the 3. If we sign two starting guards, we have enough back-court fill.

    Give me 2 legit back court starters and we can go to war.

    And I agree about 2018 but that’s a long time from now.

  40. Ok, ok… I knew I’d take heat for that one. My point is that I’d rather have a big $ superstar who fits better with Melo than a better version of Melo himself. If we have to wait for that, fine. I’d rather have Durant than no Durant, but I’d rather have Westbrook, Lebron, Leonard, Towns… Since none of this matters anyway…at least the Mets drafted Justin Dunn.

  41. Perhaps the game has changed, but before everyone gets all dismissive about the McAdoo-Haywood post, you may want to revisit the respective players status back in the mid-late 70s. McAdoo was a rookie of the year, three time scoring champion and league MVP. Haywood caused college eligibility rules to be changed at the start of the decade and had been an All-NBA performer once he came over from the ABA. Just because they may be vaguely familiar names, if that, doesn’t mean the point should be pooh pooed. But yeah, not going for Durant because we have Melo is silly. But is it any sillier than saying play him at guard, unless you are sure he can actually do that when he could not as a younger player. (the counterpoint would be they said Frazier and Monroe together, so …..)

  42. I realize that now that Hornacek is here, that we are no longer going to implement the triangle, but maybe still something trianglish. Therefore it would be a system that does not assign narrow definitions to each position and thus slotting Durant as a two and Melo as the three or vice versa, should not be a big issue. Maybe that creates matchup issues on the defensive side, but should not be an issue on offense.

  43. @42, Curry and Thompson actually pass the ball and play defense. Same with Frazier and Monroe. If Melo would defer to Durant – score 20-22 and be the elder statesman, create for others more, etc…and let Durant have his 28-30, then it would be awesome. Not sure if he can do that. Rolo would fit great with them. I LOVE KP, but is he ready to be the 5? What do we do with Rolo/KP? All 4 of these guys are starters. Rolo is on a great contract. Best case for me would be Rolo, Durant and KP up front, trade Melo. Since that’s not gonna happen, get good guards instead of Durant. Wait if we have to. How ’bout a team of Melo, Durant, Alex English, Dantley, and Dominique, with McAdoo, Haywood and Gervin off the bench? Phil is trying to build a team, not a collection of individual talent.

  44. Melo would never agree to a trade that landed him in DC. Especially when John Wall is the only reason anybody would agree to go to DC.

    I fully believe the only guards worth signing this summer are Seth Curry, Jordan Clarkson and Evan Fournier (mostly Fournier because he’s proven he can have a high TS% over a full season). We should pass on pretty much every point guard on the FA market because they’re all either old, overrated, or injured. Don’t be surprised when the Knicks are starting one of Grant or Wroten at point guard. If it were up to me, we would be adding Evan Turner, Willy Hernangomez, and Evan Fournier while re signing Galloway, Thomas, and Derrick Williams. I’d only look to add a point guard via trade since Bledsoe, Teague, George Hill, and Ricky Rubio on their current contracts are better than whatever we’ll get in free agency. The Knicks line up should look like this in the fall:

    PG: Wroten, Grant, Calderon
    SG: Fournier, Turner, Galloway
    SF: Melo, LT, D Will
    PF: Porzingis, Hernangomez
    C: Lopez, O’Quinn

    That team has a lot of ball handling, a lot of youth, and the contracts should all be worth their value. You don’t wanna sign both Turner and Fournier? Then forget about Turner and trade Calderon to Atlanta for Korver and Sefalosha. Don’t re sign D Will, and maybe add Rondo on an Afflalo type deal with a higher AAV. But don’t pay for Mike Conley or Batum considering the state of the Knicks and that we can’t have both. If we could get both, you take it and shut up because you’ve built a 50 win team and Porzingis could theoretically develop into a superstar that turns it into a 60 win title contender.

  45. The best strategy the Knicks could follow is to focus on rebuilding until summer 2018 when the cap drops. Plan to have a ton of cap space that summer. You will have lots of teams getting real anxious about the luxury tax and few teams with money to spend on FAs.

    NBA teams are largely run by desperate men. Some are rightfully desperate — they are within reach of relevance and just need some breaks. Most are just acting, though, to preserve their job security. let these losers do what they want to do and lose by buying in the worst buyer’s market there may ever be, then come back and rip them off in summer 2018.

    Not only does this strategy give the Knicks a chance to make a killing in summer 2018, but it fits perfectly with KP’s timeline.

    Music to my ears.

    The question is: Is Phil one of the desperate men? 2018 would be (I think) the last year of his contract. Did we hire someone who has internally given himself a mandate to make a run with Carmelo Anthony during his first 5 years? Or is he confident enough to know that if we had KP, young assets, draft picks, and cap space in 2018, that would make his 5 years as Knicks president the best 5 years of the 21st century?

  46. Therefore it would be a system that does not assign narrow definitions to each position

    A lot of things can be said about the Triangle, but this isn’t one. It’s entire basis is that any of the 5 players on the floor can occupy any of the spots on the floor at a given time. There’s a reason Phil was able to use it successfully without any great offensive bigs in Chicago and then build around low post bigs like Shaq, Pau and Bynum in LA. There’s a reason “modern” systems like GSW and SAS use a lot of Triangle.

    Then forget about Turner and trade Calderon to Atlanta for Korver and Sefalosha.

    Why in the hell is ATL trading Korver AND Sefolosha for Jose Calderon? I know trading a first round pick for THJ is pretty stupid, but this would be on another level of dumb.

  47. The summer of 2018? Really? We might all be dead by then.

    I would never root for a team that plays to lose for a future that might never come.

  48. I love the debate on whether Durant is a good “fit.” I think that it would be pretty hysterical if, a month from now, there is a headline on Knickerblogger saying, “Durant shocker! Signs with Knicks!” and ANYONE comes on here lamenting that it was a dumb move to sign him.

  49. It’s looking more and more likely to me that Phil will go for Evan Turner. Tall and versatile. Cerebral. Passing skills. Tough defense. The “lead guard” that Mills is talking about. Kind of like a Rolo for the backcourt. He makes sense. Hopefully we can also add a 3 pt shooter like Seth Curry too.

  50. @52

    If for some reason Durant decided to sign with the Knicks, I’m more excited to see how Isola would spin that as a negative and a sign Phil Jackson is a moron.

  51. The summer of 2018? Really? We might all be dead by then.

    I would never root for a team that plays to lose for a future that might never come.

    I’d rather eat well, exercise, cut down on extreme sports, and take my chances that I’ll still be here in 2018 than go all in this summer.

  52. The Knicks won’t land Durant, but if we did you would have to think RoLo is the odd man out and we’d be trading him for a guard. I think we played our best defense with Porzingis on the court and Lopez off of it anyway.

  53. I love the debate on whether Durant is a good “fit.” I think that it would be pretty hysterical if, a month from now, there is a headline on Knickerblogger saying, “Durant shocker! Signs with Knicks!” and ANYONE comes on here lamenting that it was a dumb move to sign him.

    I don’t know if I’d call it a “debate” versus one person saying something off the wall and everyone shouting at him. ;)

  54. Did we hire someone who has internally given himself a mandate to make a run with Carmelo Anthony during his first 5 years?

    The No-Trade Clause made that pretty clear, so yes.

    That doesn’t mean that he isn’t willing to change his initial plans, though. He hired Hornacek, after all, instead of Rambis!

  55. The thing about 2018-2019 is that LeBron will be 35 that season which means the East will be wide open. Setting yourself up to take advantage in the summer of James Harden is not a bad idea despite all of the bad press he is going to receive for going rouge on D’Antoni and not playing defense.

  56. Yep. The future already is pretty bright because the Knicks have Porzingis, but the future could be so bright if they just, you know, planned for that future instead of slightly improving the team in the present (now if Kevin Durant wants to come play here for some reason, then fair enough).

  57. I think Durant would fit well, and it would be very exciting if he came to the Knicks. Melo showed a willingness to defer some last year, and I think that would be increased since Durant is the second “superstar” that he desires to play with.

    Part of a Durant ripple effect would be a more efficient Melo, probably. I think the Knicks could definitely just roll with Grant as the PG starter, too.

    If Durant could play a lot and defend well at the 2, that’d be incredible. Since he’d use up nearly all the Knicks cap space, it would mean that Hernangomez is coming over, and Galloway and LT would need to be retained for depth. If he can’t play the 2, then, yeah, the Knicks might then try to trade Lopez. But, I still think the Knicks should beware moving KP to the 5 too much, too soon, so add a cheap vet big.

    The Knicks would still need one bench wing who can shoot, too, but that could be lessened by rotating Durant and Melo in and out wisely.

  58. If Durant shows up in New York you have to trade RoLo. There is no getting around it.

  59. But, I still think the Knicks should beware moving KP to the 5 too much

    Seriously. I also have zero idea why we want a guy as versatile as KP only to play the 5. The value of a player with his skills is you can play big with him at the 4 and still have a 4 out offense if you want without conceding anything on the glass and having great rim protection, while also being able to move him tot he 5 at times and hopefully in time maintain defensive and rebounding integrity while running a 5 out offense. Moving him to the 5 full time also adds a lot more of a physical burden at only 21 years old next season when he barely made it through his first season when most his minutes came at the less physically demanding 4 spot.

  60. So you move KP to the bench? You move RoLo to the bench? You can’t trade Melo so that’s out of the question. Do you start KD at the 2? Does he even go for that?

    RoLo gotta go bro.

  61. @65. Yeah, keep Lopez and have always one of KP/Lopez on the court at any given time. When both sat at the same time last year, the Knicks interior D was non-existent.

    Why can’t Durant play the 2? He’s got long arms and seems to move fairly well. He’d take less banging at the 2. The Knicks could start Grant at the 1 and bring Calderon off the bench as mostly just a shooter. Pair him with Galloway for his quickness and D off the bench.

  62. RoLo doesn’t need to go anywhere. If you have Durant you can start a pumpkin at the guard spots for next season and still make the conference finals. Unless you’re getting some really good guard for RoLo then you keep him and let him get 25MPG off the bench. There will be enough minutes to go around.

    And again this is all contingent on Durant signing in New York, which he won’t.

  63. “So you move KP to the bench?”
    Yes. There 144 minutes of playing time at the 3,4 and 5. If Durant and Melo each play 34, KP and Lopez each play 30, there are still 16 minutes of front court time to fill. There is plenty of room on the court for all four. Plus, Lopez was fourth in the league in FG% defense at the rim (ahead of Whiteside) and the Knicks as a team led the league. Why trade away a real strength?

  64. Sign KD and let everyone fit with KD.
    KD in NewYork is the dream in my dreams.
    I hope we have a chance, KD in the east will be awesome and in NY he will be immortal.

  65. If Durant comes does the Lopez for Teague trade makes more sense? Would Teague be more attractive than Lopez? I could see him valuing someone who can get him the ball over Lopez especially if he coming means Lopez will be move to the bench. Assuming, DW & AA opt out it would leave the knicks with $35.5m+ in cap space. If they traded O’Quinn for a pick that opens up $4m. Do you keep Jose or cut/stretch him to gain another $5m? That would give the knicks around $44.5m cap space.

    $27m to Durant leaves $17.5m to play with. After this point, do you go after two role players or go big and try to land Fournier or Crabbe to play the 2 guard?

    Teague/Grant/Wroten
    Crabbe/Gallo/Wroten
    Durant/Draft pick
    Melo/ Lance Thomas
    KP/Willy

    or

    Teague/Grant/Wroten
    courtney Lee($10m)/Gallo
    Durant/Lance
    Melo/Trevor Booker($7.5m)/pick
    KP/Willy

    Exception/ $5m TPE
    Exception money/ $5.5m TPE

  66. If Durant shows up in New York you have to trade RoLo. There is no getting around it.

    Absolutely not. Either Durant or Batum for that matter could play the two and be just fine. With Durant we would be a contender with Batum we would be a mid level playoff team…

  67. You guys, we are not getting Kevin Durant.

    If we could sign Evans Turner and Fournier while also retaining Williams, Thomas and Galloway that would be a pretty excellent offseason. Not really sure that’s possible if D-Will opts out. I figure it will take a contract starting at $18 mil/year to get Orlando not to match on Fournier. Probably another $10 mil/year for Turner.

    I do kind of like the idea of Turner as the de facto PG… He is a capable ball handler and distributor and with him and Fournier we could run out a lineup with incredible size (6’7″, 6’7″, 6’8″, 7’3″, 7’0″) that still has shooting and defense.

  68. So your plan is to give a guy a max contract to play a position he has never played in his life? I mean, Kanter comes off the bench in OKC after he got $70 million, but that’s cool because they already have Russell Westbrook. They are a balanced team. If you have an embarrassment of front court riches and the worst back court in basketball, you have to move a front court player. A lot of Kevin Durant’s offense comes from isolation basketball, but a lot of it also comes in transition. You need a guard that can get him the ball in transition. Tony Wroten sounds good until he’s averaging 6 TOs/36. Jerry Grant would have to be 2008 Rondo if you plan on keeping all of your front court pieces. Remember when the 2012 Knicks had no real point guards to lead Melo, Stoudemire, and Chandler? It was a problem. A real problem.

    I’m not saying that Durant, Melo, Porzingis, and Lopez wouldn’t be an awesome team. I’m saying they will eventually disappoint without a lead guard in the golden era of point guards. You’d have to believe in Grant’s ability to take the next step in order to justify keeping those four together otherwise it makes no sense.

  69. What we need to do is trade Lopez anyway and give max money to Hassan Whiteside. That would be awesome.

  70. C’mon you guys!*Eric Cartman voice*
    Say Durant does decide to sign with our beloved Knicks. There is absolutely NO REASON Hornacek won’t be able to play Lopez/KP/Durant/Melo all in the starting 5. Melo is a passable ballhandler, and he’s gotten down to 225 before to ease the pressure on his knees- so he can be a big SG for the team. I wouldn’t play Durant at the 2, he’s too long and compared to Melo- his post up game is kinda weak. Melo at the 2 puts him in a spot offensively where he can post up and happens to be really good at, plus his “newfound” passing ability would be an incredible weapons if he’s posting up guards. That would make Phil happy as well because it should theoretically lead to more useful triple post sets. At that point, as Lavor so eloquently said, you can start a pumpkin at guard and make the ECF. A lineup of Lopez/KP/Durant/Melo/Grant would create crazy PnR nightmares for defenses for Grant to take advantage of and put guys in spots to be really effective. Plus defensively, that would be a loooong starting 5. That doesn’t mean Phil shouldn’t look to move Melo for assets should he land Durant though. Any legitimate chance to improve the roster is a great day in Knickland given the run of failed high-risk attempts we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

  71. I’ll take my chances that Lopez, Melo, KP, and Durant figure out how to play together if it means I get Durant.

  72. I’d say there’s a <1% chance of the Knicks targeting Whiteside, and an even lesser chance that Melo agrees to a trade in the unlikely event of a KD signing.

  73. IF the Knicks did get Durant I think the likely hood of them trading one or more of their upcoming picks goes up to 85% to round out the roster.

  74. Fellas, no way we keep Rolo if we can get KD
    Jus like #73 was saying, which is what I been telling my friends, Trade RoLo and Grant for Teague!!
    Then I wouldn’t mind signing either Turner or Bazemore for our 2 spot..
    Trade Calderon to Philly for a pick or jus use the stretch provision
    We should draft that kid Whitehead outta Seton Hall.. Gives us size and shooting ability..
    Then sign Noah for a decent contract
    Teague..Wroten
    Bazemore..Gallo
    KD..Thomas
    Melo..Hernangomez
    KP..Noah…O’Quinn

  75. I love how we could be talking about actual NBA Finals basketball but instead we’re talking about roster masturbation fantasies because we like the jersey a lot

  76. Melo at the 2 is interesting, but I think Melo should play the 4. There honestly isn’t that big a difference between the two and the three in basketball, but I don’t think either Melo or KD have the lateral quickness necessary to guard 2s on a regular basis. Playing shooting guard requires you run a lot on defense because of all the screens and such. Neither guy is going to want to do that and our defensive eFG% will be sky high. That’s important.

  77. What we need to do is trade Lopez anyway and give max money to Hassan Whiteside. That would be awesome.

    Maxing Whiteside would not be awesome. He’s a very good player that gets talked about like some all-time legend.

  78. “I love how we could be talking about actual NBA Finals basketball but instead we’re talking about roster masturbation fantasies because we like the jersey a lot”
    That’s because, even though we are pretending that we know that it will never happen and are all saying things like, “If a miracle happens,” or “I realize it’s a fantasy, but…”, we have all secretly convinced ourselves that Durant absolutely IS going to sign with the Knicks. We just don’t want to admit it for fear of being laughed off this site.

  79. If Durant comes does the Lopez for Teague trade makes more sense? Would Teague be more attractive than Lopez? I could see him valuing someone who can get him the ball over Lopez especially if he coming means Lopez will be move to the bench

    In the perverse world where Durant is actually considering the Knicks, it dawned on me that Durant would likely prefer playing with a pass first /shoot only open 3’s at high efficiency player like Calderon or a penetrator like Grant who prefers to dish rather than fire up a contested shot.

    More shots for Kevin…..

  80. Durant seems really pretty okay with Westbrook jacking up shots whether he’s 2012-13 Overrated Volume Scorer Westbrook or 2015-16 Superhuman Triple-Double Machine Westbrook.

    I don’t think he cares what happens as long as he’s winning.

    (Oh, and did you see the part of the WCF where Roberson passed out of an open 3-point attempt and Durant yelled, “Shoot the fuckin’ ball,” at him when they walked to the bench?)

  81. Perversion, roster masturbation and dreams of KD all in one thread! Ain’t Knickerblogger.net grand?

  82. Saw this on a Lowe piece, “But for all the attention on the Warriors’ pick-and-roll ballet, they aren’t really a pick-and-roll team at heart; only the antiquated New York Knicks set fewer ball screens this season, per NBA tracking data provided to ESPN.com. ”

    Obviously with all time great shooting you can do a lot of things, but i think this proves what a lot of people have been saying. It doesn’t matter about the system as much as long as you have great players. Anyway thought it was interesting.

  83. I did see that (KD yelling at Roberson), and it’s one reason why I think it isn’t impossible KD is going to change teams this offseason. I think the Knicks have a 0.3% chance at him, but hey – so you’re saying there’s a chance?

    He should stay with OKC for at least one more year. They had a legitimate shot at winning it all this year, and are one decent 2-guard away from greatness. The weird thing is that they still don’t seem to have great chemistry…lots of moments like the Roberson thing that make you feel they just don’t like each other that much.

  84. Melo at the 2 is interesting, but I think Melo should play the 4. There honestly isn’t that big a difference between the two and the three in basketball, but I don’t think either Melo or KD have the lateral quickness necessary to guard 2s on a regular basis. Playing shooting guard requires you run a lot on defense because of all the screens and such. Neither guy is going to want to do that and our defensive eFG% will be sky high. That’s important.

    Alas..tis true..all of it. I’d just rather see Melo closer to the end run more than an ill-equipped (strength-wise) KP banging at the 5. If Grant Hill can pull it off, why not Melo(even though Grant Hill had more lateral quickness)?

  85. We finally have a season where we look around and say ok we have these pieces what can we add and will it work. I like Evan Turner, he possesses good defensive skills, and he is a point forward that plays the 2. I think that will fit well with a scoring/attacking point guard. I really like the Jordan Clarkson idea or even making a trade for Eric Bledsoe (they are going to have to give up a lot), or even Brandon Jennings. Shiii I think were sleeping heavily on Tony Wroten, but I guess we are going to have to wait to see. I like the bench so far especially keeping Galloway, Williams, and Thomas, from a consistency standpoint Kyle O’Quinn could stay but he would have to get more minutes (I think that’s what killed him!) . Calderon and Affalo bye bye, I used to like Affalo but he is definitely not the same. Our bigs are fine, they are right about making guards an must issue.

    My hopeful Line-Up

    PG Jennings, Clarkson, Bledsoe or Wroten (B: Grant/or some type veteran player)
    SG Turner (B: Wroten, Galloway)
    SF: Melooooooooooooooooo (Thomas/Williams)
    PF: KP (Williams/Seraphin/Hermagomez)
    C;Rolo(O’Quinn or *Noah*/Hermagomez)

    Side Note: Noah really might come here!!!!

  86. @reub, brian (who I think already agrees) and Hubert

    Planning for summer 2018 doesn’t mean trying to lose. Most likely what happens this summer bumps the Knicks 5-10 wins, and that’s assuming Melo comes back healthy. Even 10 wins didn’t get you to the playoffs in the east this year, and Washington is the only team that finished in the 7th-10th in the East range this season that may decline. Milwaukee and Detroit both have more reason to hope for improvement than NY.

    So the difference between the “future? What’s that?” plan and the “a real plan” plan is some extra reg season wins at the expense of any sense of hope for the future. Although I guess a lot of fans have some secret repository of hope that they use when all reason says there is none. I wish I had one of those.

  87. (Oh, and did you see the part of the WCF where Roberson passed out of an open 3-point attempt and Durant yelled, “Shoot the fuckin’ ball,” at him when they walked to the bench?)

    Yes…. but Robertson shoots sparingly 6.4/36 minutes while Westbrook puts up 18.9/ 36 minutes. Durant knows if his 2 guard passes up on open shots the offense will bog down. He doesn’t have to worry about Westbrook passing up on open looks :-) Precisely the opposite….

  88. Let me be the first to throw this out there- The Knicks are not getting Durant – move on

  89. If we do indeed max Mr. Conley as some are predicting, who would you want as our SG from the list of free agents? How much money would we have left to spend if AA leaves and DWill stays?

  90. According to Vincent Ellis (whoever he is) the Knicks worked out Kay Felder. At least they are taking a look at him.

  91. If the Knicks get Conley it would make sense to trade Calderon if they can. Draft pick? Philly?

  92. I still cannot believe a KB commenter said Kyrie Irving is not good at basketball. He’s been the best player on court these past two games and he’s been Cleveland’s best player for most of the post season.

  93. Is Thomas Robinson worth a look and at what price? He just opted out of his $1m+ contract so how much does he expect to get. He has been a busy but his offensive rebound numbers look pretty good.

  94. I cannot believe that Richard Jefferson and Kevin Love have similar minutes numbers and RJ is closing out the game

    The collective coaching acumen in the Cleveland staff must’ve departed with Blatt, huh

  95. @100 – depends on if we renounce gallo and thomas which i don’t think will happen but if we’re going after conley we probably will…. if afflalo opts out but dwill opts in and we don’t renounce we would have about 25mm which is basically conley’s max….

  96. @100 – depends on if we renounce gallo and thomas which i don’t think will happen but if we’re going after conley we probably will…. if afflalo opts out but dwill opts in and we don’t renounce we would have about 25mm which is basically conley’s max….

    When we get closer to free agency, I’ll do the annual “How much cap room do the Knicks have?” post. This shit’s always confusing. The thing that worries me with Gallo and Thomas is if they bring them back by going over the cap, that cuts into next year’s cap space.

  97. $25M AAV for Mike Conley will ruin this franchise yet again. Oh boy, I cannot wait.

  98. $25 mil out of $107 mil (which is where the cap is supposed to end up next summer, correct?) is the equivalent of $15 mil/year under last year’s cap. Not a steal by any means but hardly franchise-ruining. Conley is a good player on both sides of the ball and the kind of steady, veteran presence and leader this team badly needs* in the backcourt. We’d be lucky to get him, honestly.

    *if we’re trying to actually improve and not indulge the “torture Carmelo into requesting a trade so we can tank to our heart’s content” fantasy contingent

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