Knicks Waive Jordan, Nichols, and Russell

The Jerome James fanclub has rejoiced!

NEW YORK, October 25, 2007 ? New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Isiah Thomas announced today that guards Jared Jordan, Demetris Nichols and Walker Russell, Jr. have been waived.

Jordan 6-2, 190-pounds, averaged 4.5 minutes in six preseason games, Nichols, 6-8, 215-pounds, averaged 7.8 minutes in five preseason games and Russell, 6-0, 170-pounds, averaged 5.0 minutes in three preseason games.

The preseason roster now stands at 15.

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Mike Kurylo

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

68 thoughts to “Knicks Waive Jordan, Nichols, and Russell”

  1. yeah I was just coming here to post the link to the AP story. Of course, the Knickerblogger knew it first.

    I hope we dont regret letting Nichols go. His shooting is going to be very valueable to another team.

    Stuff like this makes the Jerome James signing look really bad. Not only is he an overpaid waste of space, his roster spot forced the Knicks to waive a good prospect.

    Good luck to you Nichols, Jordan, and Russell. I hope you dont end up dropping 30 on us for another team.

  2. The only thing I have keeping me off the proverbial ledge is that you could argue that we already HAVE the surprising upside players on the team, like David Lee, Renaldo Balkman and Wilson Chandler.

    So the Knicks don’t need MORE surprising upside players like Nichols and Jordan.

    That really makes no sense, but dammit, I’m trying to not be depressed over this! :)

  3. Are the Knicks even allowed to waive James since he?s injured?

    I remember that Starks only made the team at first because he was injured trying to dunk over Ewing in camp and the rules were that you could not waive an injured player.

    Do you know if that still is the rule?

  4. Mr. Black, the Jerome James signing looked bad from day one…

    I’m upset that Jerome has a seat at the table, too.
    But the Knicks have too many guards already.
    They have Marbury, Q, Crawford, Robinson, Jones, and Collins now.
    Something had to give.
    Are either of those guys better than what we have?
    After watching Robinson, I see he has the chops to be a one, and he’s got more ability than Jordan.
    And Nichols is a decent shooter, but is he better than the guys we’ve got? I don’t think it’s clear he is.
    In fact, Jones give us defensive presence we lacked, Collins has the size and strength and poise the Knicks need, too.
    At some point, not everyone can stay.

  5. Nichols didn’t play by Knicks rules, ie, wouldn’t go to Europe…so bye bye.

    He wouldn’t have seen alot of PT anyway…hey, he couldn’t even get SU into the NCAA tourney last year! (I know, I know, they were jobbed!!!).

    Knick problem is starting five, not second five, which is pretty good without Nichols in rotation…

  6. I’m glad we cut Nichols. It should have been done as soon as he said he wouldn’t allow us to send him to Europe for a season.

  7. Truth, Nichols entered the NBA draft to sign an NBA contract, not a FIBA contract…. and didnt we send a future 2nd round pick for nichols? isiah just screwed himself in the only area he is good at.

    Although Marbury can be considered the best player on the team, this guy obviously did too much acid/shrooms or some other kind of hallucination to permantantly f-up his head. With our abundance of guards and development of Nate, how much of a difference is having marbury on the team really going to make? a couple of game and an assload of bad PR?(lol, like this team even cares). we should’ve just eaten his contract along with JJ’s and keep jordan and nichols. another bad move by isiah.

  8. Pretty much any player in the NBA/NBDL/Europe would be more worthwhile on the roster than Jerome James, but Nichols getting cut is no tragedy. He’s not a big “upside” guy, he’s already the same age as Robinson and Balkman… he might be carve out an NBA career but never as more than a role player.

    Jordan looks less likely than Nichols to make an NBA roster this year… I wouldn’t be shocked to see him back in Knicks camp next year.

    If James is holding incriminating photos of IT and is really untouchable, I wonder if it wasn’t a mistake to cut Nichols and Jordan over Collins…

  9. Again, it is important to note the following:

    Nichols’ agent said Nichols would agree to go to Europe. THAT is why Isiah picked him up for the second round draft pick (figuring Nichols next year would be better than whoever he would draft in next year’s 2nd round).

    Nichols then FIRED his agent, and said he would NOT go to Europe.

    Can’t really blame Isiah for that.

  10. I love how it’s Nichols fault for not wanting to go to Europe. Nichols knows he’ll almost certainly get picked up by another NBA team that needs a shooting guard. Why would he go to play in Europe when he knows he stands a great chance to make another NBA team? Why did we trade for the guy in the first place?

    This stinks, but we do have a lot of promising players in front of him, including Chandler.

    I guess the Knicks are a “win-now” team again, not a team developing it’s youth. Love how Isiah’s changes the Knicks strategy to suit his needs.

  11. Balkman, Chandler and Robinson are all much better prospects than Nichols, at the same positions, and just as young. We also have vets Crawford, Q and Jones who all are better than DN right now, and deserve minutes ahead of him.

    I don’t hold it against Nichols if he wants to play in the NBA, instead of Europe.

    But either a) he broke a promise to Isiah; or b) Isiah recklessly counted on DN going to Europe when he never promised in the first place.

  12. Why did we trade for the guy in the first place?

    Because he said he would go to Europe.

  13. Jason Kapono, Matt Bullard, Eddie House, Kyle Korver.

    All one dimensional players that have (had) value in this league because they can knock down an open shot. You guys remember how Kapono ripped the Knicks last year? Nichols can be just as effective as Kapono in the right system. Actually he would fit in well in Miami because he could fill the void left by Kapono. He would help create space for Shaq or knock down jumpers off Wade drives.

    Maybe I am overreacting. I was pretty upset when Brian Quinnet was traded to Dallas but he didnt last two more years in the NBA after that.

    I agree with Caleb in that we already have better prospects on the team. But we also have a TOTAL ZERO on the team, a BLACK HOLE from which no fatty snacks can escape, Jerome “Burger King” James. D- Nice dropped ten points in 9 minutes last night. I doubt James will have ten point by Veteran’s day and not this Veteran’s day, I mean in 2008!!

    On the bright side… Fred Jones has looked REALLY good. I didnt think he could do some of the things I have sen him do. I knew he could dunk but he has been all over the place. Plus he has incentive to play well on a contract year. Mardy Collins served a wake up call to the fans. He picked up four steals in a matter of minutes (against Philly’s third unit) reminding us of his great back court defense. I love his defense and ball handling, if only he could shoot.

    Robinson, Jones, Balkman, Lee, and Collins give you a great second unit. It is great mix of speed, rebounding, and defense with just enough offense to spell the starters. This unit could really step up the tempo. Balkman, Robinson, and Lee love to get down court quickly. Throw in Rose or Morris when you need more size.

  14. Maybe i’m right maybe i’m wrong,that’s what i see right now,knicks doesn’t ve player to win the champion,they don’t ve player to bring them to the champion, maybe not even play off,they have so many talent player but that’s not enough,other teams have better player than knicks,for me i know what knicks needed,i know what the knicks don’t need ,one good player can bring you to the champion,one player can bring energy and spirit for the team , IT should keep D Nicholas one of good player ,and i suggest him to get another better pointguard than marbury and better center than curry,they are good but they are not good enough,,i know which are player much better than them , those 2 players potision the most important in the game,and knicks still have couples players need to be out, if knicks want to be champion ,they don’t have to buy expensive players, there is something more important than that, that’s coach job but i don’t see from this coach doing good thing for knicks, maybe a litle better than last season,knicks is gonna win and lost like last season,but maybe a litle better,randolph is very good player ,he can bring knicks to the champion if he play with better players,we need players who really can fight for us,like tonny parker,nate robinson ,i’m not american but i’m bigfan of the knicks, maybe i’m right about this, we will see at the end of the season,i love to help him out of this thing, i want all newyork fan happy again.thank you. please tell coach to send me emai.

  15. I guess I just don’t believe Nichols (or his old agent) said he’d unconditionally go to Europe for a year. I think going to Europe was based on the assumption that he wouldn’t be NBA ready. That’s my own speculation. When Nichols seemed to prove to himself and most people that he was NBA-ready, he probably decided for himself that he didn’t want to go. I could be wrong, though.

    As it is, without Nichols, we still have a ton of 2 guard talent. It’s not a huge loss. I was just rooting for a guy that seemed to play well enough to earn a roster spot, but didn’t get it because of guys who are getting paid to do next to nothing (James, Rose and Jeffries).

    On the plus side, Fred Jones actually looks like he’ll be a valuable addition to the team.

    The real story here is that Walker Russell, Jr. got cut. Didn’t see that one coming!

  16. I think it is clear that Nichols did, in fact, decide he was NBA-ready, which is totally his right.

    Just saying that being told that Nichols would play in Europe for a year is why Thomas made the trade (under the assumption that Nichols would be better than a second round pick next year, in a thinner draft).

  17. But at the very least, couldn’t we have traded Nichols for another 2nd round pick? I know all teams knew he would be available soon, but if anyone wanted him, they could secure him through a trade and not have to compete to sign him.

  18. I have a funny feeling that Curry is going to back-slide this year and will be somewhat of a minor factor.
    I think part of the reason he is getting so ticked during games is that he is not the man anymore.
    Randolph is a far more versatile scorer. And Lee brings a better, more well rounded game.

  19. I loved Nichols and agree he had potential along the lines Mr. Black mentioned above–a 5-10 minutes every 3 or 4 games type of guy. IT sees him every day in practice and given how similar size-wise he is to Chandler and Balk, and how obviously much better his shot from downtown is, his D and grit must have been off the charts low for IT to pass on him. I hate IT as a person, but his eye for talent and potential is pretty good. Maybe he figures he can pick up a no-D gunner if he needs one out of the d-league, waver wire or europe. There was something I liked about his stroke, though…i sensed big cohones come crunch time.
    The other two scrubs are not worthy of comment.

    Hey, what about signing Reggie Miller? Him and Ike have lots of catching up to do!

  20. if you look at every player on your roster as an asset, it makes no sense to keep james (who has as much reason to be on a roster as anyone who comments on this blog) in lieu of either nichols or jordan, who each have a skill. they’re not ready right now for game time, but those skills are rare in today’s NBA and because of that, their rest of their games deserve a chance to blossom. maybe they turn into kapono or steve blake. they’re actually not far from them right now.

    james’ skill is a guaranteed contract. sure, he’s big, but he’s also slow, out of shape, injured and completely incompetent, and he’s not seeing the court any time soon. his roster space is useless.

    in fact, the gameplan (if there is one) is infuriating: i have no idea why we bought out jalen rose and maurice taylor last year, when we could have used their contracts as prime trading pieces, while we keep james, who poses no worth whatsoever.

    isn’t this the right reason to cut him?

    i know isiah got screwed, but isiah put isiah in a position to get screwed by wasting a roster space on james to begin with.

    it’s infuriating. but by now, i’ve gotten used to that.

  21. BQLNS, I couldn’t agree more about Rose & Taylor – that is a total waste. My best guess is that Dolan ordered the move, to save a (very) few million bucks. Pointless, given what they already are spending.

  22. Big Snacks should never have been signed, and he should have been cut. His only value at this point will be in 2 years, when he has an ending contract that can be traded.

    On Nichols, the only reason we know about this alleged promise by his agent to go to Europe is because it was reported as a rumor in the papers. Smells fishy to me – remember when Isiah took Balkman at 21, and floated the idea that Phoenix was going to take him a few spots later, so Isiah had to take him at 21 instead of 30 (the Collins pick)? Isiah plays the press pretty damn well. I don’t believe it. I am more inclined to believe Hollinger, who details how Isiah simply wastes assets left and right. And Curry, and more importantly the trade for Curry, was the biggest waste of all. Wouldn’t you rather have Tyrus Thomas or LaMarcus Aldridge and Noah right now? I would.

    The Knicks won’t get better until Isiah, and more importantly, Dolan, are gone. That reality sucks, but it is the reality.

  23. James did block Dwight Howards shot once. I don’t think many of us bloggers could do that. Still, he hardly ever plays and when he does he mostly just runs into people.

    I would rather have Nichols and Jordan than Jeffries or Rose as well.

    Sometimes I think that they’d be better than Marbury and Crawford. Jordan would make smart passes and Nichols would shoot a good percentage. Could their defense be that much worse?

    Meanwhile, I’ll assume that the kids didn’t have it and look forward to seeing the prospects we kept. Beyond James, I can believe the other vets beat these kids out legitimately.

  24. The problem with saying “trading for Curry cost the Knicks Aldridge and Noah”, as some posters have, is a bit of revisionist history. We dont know for sure that the team would have been in position to get those players. We could just have easily gotten Shelden Williams and Corey Brewer. I’m not sure that is better than Curry. actually, I AM DAMN sure thats not better than Curry.

    There is no certainty that the Knicks would have had the second pick in the 2006 draft.

    Lets say you dont trade for Curry, you play Sweetney and Tim Thomas at the forwards with James in the middle. That front court rebounds better than the Curry/Antonio Davis/insert Larry choice of SF. People forget that Antonio Davis was statistically the worst player in the NBA 2005. Check 82games. Larry brown played the worst player in the NBA at 30 minutes per night. Anyway, the James/Sweets/Thomas front court is probably more productive than the Curry/Davis/??? front court. Maybe the team wins 6-10 more games and gets the 9th pick in 2006. Hello Patrick O’Bryant.

    Sure the Curry trade looks bad from a best case scenario but look at the worst case scenario…Shelden Williams or Patrick O’Bryant people.

    Think about it. We could be looking at Shelden Williams’ marque of a forehead (so big they should call it a fivehead) all season. Is Shelden better than Curry?

  25. actually, now that we have Randolph and assuming he stays healthy, Curry is probably a net negative, so anyone would be better than him, as would no one.

  26. Wow– I turn my back on KB for a day and miss quite a flurry of activity…

    I guess roster speculation is over with now, but I must say, I don’t understand the outcome. Since I don’t think Isiah stayed up at night weighing the costs and benefits of whether to retain or buyout Jerome James (because if he had thought about it for even three seconds he would have bought him out for full price plus a $5 milion severence package to promise never to use a stationary bike at the Purchase facility again) I guess Nichols and Jordan’s departures were written in the cards. (Jordan is easier to stomach– we really don’t need a 3rd J.J. on the roster. Two are more than enough)

    That said…

    “If James is holding incriminating photos of IT and is really untouchable, I wonder if it wasn?t a mistake to cut Nichols and Jordan over Collins?”

    I really don’t understand why both Collins and Fred Jones need to be on the team. I’m fine with either one, but both?

    “I couldn?t agree more about Rose & Taylor – that is a total waste. My best guess is that Dolan ordered the move, to save a (very) few million bucks. Pointless, given what they already are spending.”

    I thought the buyouts last year signified a win now mentality (that chemistry and roster spots were more important to the team than future assets were.) That probably backfired because if we had bought out James last summer and kept Rose and Taylor inactive (sorry Cato– no Knick career in this scenario) until the deadline, we would possibly have a vastly different roster now (and still managed to have come in 4th in the Atlantic last year…)

    Isiah sure runs the team in an odd way. I don’t think history will view him kindly.

  27. KB,

    Noticed my site, easyasACB, up on the hot links. Appreciate it.

    Mr. Black,

    You have to consider that just because Williams went #5 and Brewer #7 doesn’t mean that’s who Isiah would have taken. Given Isiah’s draft history, he’s got zero 1st round busts on this record to date, I don’t think it’s at all revisionist to say that Curry cost the Knicks two good lottery picks, be they Aldridge and Noah, Ty Thomas and Brandan Wright, Roy and Thaddeus Young, Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant, or whoever

  28. Ted Nelson,

    Duly noted and you are absolutely right, we do not know who Thomas would have taken with those lottery picks. Thomas has a great eye for talent so I’m sure he would have steered clear of Williams or Patrick O’bryant.

    My point was that we have no idea what the outcome would have been and most posters only look at the best case scenario of keeping the draft picks. All I am saying is we had just as good a chance of picking two players that dont help very much.

    Also, say we didnt trade for Curry, it isnt set in stone that we could have got Randolph. Randolph ONLY became available because Portland got the top pick. The Knicks were able to get Randolph because we traded for Francis in 2005 in an attempt to fix a sinking ship. Maybe without Curry we dont make the Francis deal. Do you see where this is going? I just want the posters to acknowledge that things could be much worse, though after the 2005 season I dont see how.

    In the end, I am happy with the way things turned out in that I love Balkman, Collins, and Lee. Changing anything in the past means risking the good things you have.

  29. agree with nelson and black, once you change part of history, all of the subsequent history will be different. agree it has great eye for talent, ant that is why he traded for nichols, just that dn acted like a jerk and may have cost himself a potential long term spot with the knicks

    nichols had to show more than jones in current production, not just potential, to make this team. he thought that he was better than he was after his summer league experience. He needed to work on this game and strength, and probably would have had a shot after a year in europe. After he fired his agent, he needed a monster preseason to make this team as I believe he pissed thomas off. This team could use another outside shooter, and nichols could have been that guy, but now he will need to catch on with another team at the last minute, very hard in this league. late release was actually a form of punishment imo.

    BTW the full curry trade is curry, balkman and chandler for ty thomas noah tim thomas and sweetney. tim t was cut,ty Thomas be better than balkman how much better needs to be seen, but similar freaky athletes thomas a bit bigger, potentially better offence., Curry infinitely better than sweets and noah supposedly better than chandler but I actually think that noah may end up being a man without a position, too small to be a center and not enough offence to be a pf in chicago with thomas on roster.

    Chandler has very big upside, reminds me of caron butler preinjury, may or may not get there, but he could very well be better than noah in the long run. even if chandler ends up being just a good seventh or eighth guy in rotation this trade is much in favor of knicks.

  30. Glad to read the debunking of the trade fallacy. It’s another example of the “sports fairy”…most often seen in baseball, when a baserunner is picked off and a subsequent batter hits a home run. “That would have been a 2-run homer if so and so doesn’t make that baserunning blunder,” says the broadcaster.

    Not so, as nothing is preordained…every situation is unique unto itself, the pitcher would have been throwing from the stretch in this case, so a completely different set of circumstances ensues.

  31. ugh, and now jeffries is injured. for all the good IT does in the draft, his other transactions are a complete waste.

  32. spacedocrich-

    Balkman was not part of the Curry trade. The pick came as part of the Antonio Davis-Jalen Rose trade, but that deal could have just as easily been completed with Tim Thomas’ expiring contract as Davis’.

    “this trade is much in favor of knicks.”

    Most of the people on this site who feel the trade favors the Bulls say so in large part because we feel Eddy Curry is an average basketball player. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’d rather have 2 athletic bigs who rebound, defend, pass, and generally play within the team concept than 1 nimble but lumbering big who’s a tremendously efficient scorer, but does so at the expense of anything resembling a team offense and has no other NBA level skill.

    “late release was actually a form of punishment imo.”

    I don’t know the facts, but it doesn’t seem like Nichols ever had any intention of playing in Europe. The chances are pretty good that if he had waited a year all he would have done was delay getting cut and having to find a new home. If he’s any good, he’s going to get another shot to prove whether or not he’s an NBA player before next season, if not sooner.

    Mr. Black-

    I agree that we can’t say what the Knicks’ roster would look like without Curry. However, I am not happy about the way things turned out. The Knicks’ roster is full of guys who create their own shot and can score 1-on-1 with anyone in the league, yet they have consistently failed to play as a team on both sides of the ball for several years. Trying to build an offense around dumping the ball into a guy who can’t pass and a defense around a center who’s been instructed to be passive to avoid foul trouble may have had a lot to do with it last season. Unless their offense comes together, the Knicks are mediocre on both side of the ball and their record will likely reflect that. I think they could be a little teamwork away from the playoffs, but given the history of the players and the coach I’m not betting on it.

    You can’t say what would have happened without the trade, but you can look at the oppotrunity cost of making the trade and conclude that it was a bad trade. You could argue argue that the alternative was Jerome James at center, resigning Tim Thomas for max $, and trading the picks for Ricky Davis and Antoine Walker. So, I’ll agree that the deal wasn’t the worst case.

  33. Is it just me, or is anyone else elated that Jared Jefferies sprained his knee and now we don’t have to watch him standing by himself with no defender within 500 feet at the top of the foul line on offense.

  34. the knicks are a power team supposedly , power teams are usually bigger and stronger than most other teams , with james that still holds true for the knicks …without him they are probably an avg. sized team,

    curry is a big guy and a strong one, but maybe a bit on the weak side when the other team has the ball.

    morris is about avg. sized for a center , if not a little undersized, and he has only 44 nba minutes, after that…

    who plays center ?

    a bunch of undersized 4’s (lee, randolph , rose jeffries?

    also that sight of paul pierce grabbing crawford’s chin is alittle disturbing , power teams are supposed to dole out punishment not take it , james will at least goon up if asked to defend the team’s honor .

    it was a sad thing to watch only wilson chandler come to crawford’s aid.

    i cant say i am upset with this move at all.

  35. Two numbers matter when it comes to Curry, 23 and 33. Now, it wasn’t completely his fault, but he is the focal point. If you knew that you’d have this many wins in the two seasons after a trade would you do it? Isaiah, obviously thought that the trade would pay bigger dividends or he would have lottery protected the picks. By the way, I can’t think of one other trade where a gm gave away one, much less two, unprotected number ones. Trust me, he cursed himself when those turned into a number two and a number nine. Now, we’re cursing him too.

    Still, if they make the playoffs this year, all is forgiven. It’s amazing that Joe Torre doesn’t have a job and Isaiah still does.

  36. Jordan, Nichols and Russell will at best be role players if they even land on NBA teams. While any of them are preferable to James none would have made a difference.

    Besides James is good for a couple of very funny quotes every season and that is worth as much as the fifteenth man playing less than 100 minutes during garbage time.

    When asked if he was happy the NBA was returning to the old ball he said “When I block a shot, it feels the same either way.”

  37. “I can?t speak for everyone else, but I?d rather have 2 athletic bigs who rebound, defend, pass, and generally play within the team concept than 1 nimble but lumbering big who?s a tremendously efficient scorer(albeit one who nearly led the league in turnovers) but does so at the expense of anything resembling a team offense and has no other NBA level skill.”

    You can definitely speak for me anytime you want, that was spot on…

  38. “Is it just me, or is anyone else elated that Jared Jefferies sprained his knee and now we don?t have to watch him standing by himself with no defender within 500 feet at the top of the foul line on offense.”

    no, I was excited too, although I’d feel better if I knew Balkman was healthy.

  39. mel

    balkman’s pick came from the curry trade, curry and a davis were traded for the knicks two picks sweets and a bunch of junk. ad was traded for rose and the pick that became balkman. to look at trade fairly, have to look at overall result.

    if trade not made either balkman or mardy collins would not be on knicks roster. as pick that became balkman came in trade, he should be counted. there is no evidence that trade would have been completed with t thomas in place of ad.. ad even near the end of his nba life was a strong positive force in the locker room, and laid it out there when on the court. tim thomas with the exception of a few games with phoenix was an under achieving softy.

    curry is not “an average player” he is weak in defence and rebounding, and has a lot of turnovers. Defence is very difficult to improve, though he is trying to get better. He could be a better rebounder, but this was a team that rebounded well before randolph and chandler came aboard and should be even better now. Turnovers can be improved a bit. and he could be helped by more efficent and better placement of his inside passing, as bob cousy said the best pass is one that creates scoring. you have to adjust the pass to the quality of the hands of each of your receivers, something our guards don’t do very well.

    But what curry gives the knicks is dominating inside scoring, a skill that is very very rare in the current nba, and is something that you can build an offence around.

    Outside scoring is the least consistant thing in basketball, defence is the most consistant, but on the offensive end, inside power is the thing that is most consistant from game to game. And as Kobe can tell you, it makes the rest of your game easier. It wears out the defence. Its like a power running game in football, its not flashy but it wins ballgames

  40. also t thomas went in the curry trade that got us a davis, you can’t trade him twice, we got ad in the curry trade and then traded him for rose and the pick that became balkman

  41. But the Knicks certainly could have gotten Balkman without trading for Eddy Curry, either at #2, #26, at any other pick that they could have traded for, or after the second round when he went undrafted…

  42. Ted Nelson,

    I agree, the Curry trade is disappointing in that he has not yet shown he is worth the POTENTIAL that we gave up to get him. But he is much better than signing Timmy T to max $$$ then trading for Ricky Davis. Yikes.

    I do think that in 2-3 years the trade will seem like a good thing unless aldridge becomes an all star.

    When are we going to have a post about season predictions. I think the Knicks could start the season with a couple of good wins.

  43. spacedocrich-

    What I’m saying is that the Knicks could have made that trade with or without the Curry trade: either you don’t make that trade and you can send Tim Thomas’ expiring contract to Toronto, or you do make the trade and send Antonio Davis’ contract. Therefore, Balkman is not part of the Curry trade. Plus, as Z points out, Isiah could have picked up a mid-first some other way.

    Mr. Black-

    I think that where we disagree is on Curry’s worth. I don’t think Eddy Curry can be an above average player unless he’s on a strong defensive team that moves the ball well. One that covers up his defensive shortcomings and uses him offensively in a similar way as the Suns use Amare: quick high efficiency looks that don’t require him to hold the ball and ruin any shot at having a fluid offense. He’s a role player with one NBA skill, think of a team trying to build an offense around Jason Kapono rather than getting the most out of his one NBA skill by camping him out on the perimeter for spot-up Js.

    On the other hand, I think Ty Thomas and Joakim Noah are very valuable players on basically any team because they both defend, rebound, and have an offesnive skill: passing for Noah, and atheleticism to take the ball to the rim for Thomas.

    Chandler is kind of an x-factor and looks like he’ll at least be a good NBA player.

  44. “ad even near the end of his nba life was a strong positive force in the locker room, and laid it out there when on the court.”

    Antonio Davis, as far as I remeber, never reported to the Toronto Raptors after the trade. They did not acquire him as a locker room presence: they acquired his contract.

    One argument you could make is that Tim Thomas would have played well for the Knicks, and they would have looked to resign him rather than trading him. But a mid-first could have been obtained some other way.

    “But what curry gives the knicks is dominating inside scoring, a skill that is very very rare in the current nba, and is something that you can build an offence around.”

    You’re said that defense is the most consistent thing in basketball, and I think it’s pretty easy to argue that the 5 is the most important position defensively. With a bottom 5 defense, you’re going to have to have a very efficient offense just to be average.

    As far as building an offense around Eddy Curry: the guy can’t pass. Once he gets the ball the offense is dead. He either shoots, turns it over, or lobs a pass out to somone who’s in no position to score. The Knicks must have been one of the easiest teams to defend last season.
    All last season Curry and Isiah complained that Curry had no perimeter shooter to pass to, yet no shooters were added.

    Anyway, the arguments been beaten to death on this site, but efficient scoring coupled with terrible rebounding, defense, passing, and an abundance of TOs makes you an average center, at best.

  45. “One argument you could make is that Tim Thomas would have played well for the Knicks, and they would have looked to resign him rather than trading him.”

    I think there was zero chance of this, even Chicago sent him home rather than let him warm the bench. he might not have “blossomed” anywhere but in Phoenix, and has gone right back to his lazy ways in LA after getting his new contract.

  46. The point about Curry v. Ty Thomas/Noah is not about revisionist history, and not about 20/20 hindsight. It is about Isiah’s acumen in running the team as a GM. He is horrendous. Every single things he does he overpays, gets taken advantage of, or wastes assets. The most recent and obvious example is the Nichols trade for next year’s 2nd rounder.

    Take any deal he made, and really examine it, and you find things he gave up that he didn’t have to give up. Obviously I am just a guy who reads the papers, but you can go back to the Marbury trade. Ok, you have to take the Penny Hardaway contract, but did Isiah HAVE to give Phoenix the rights to the Euro guard (whose name escapes me right now) AND a first round pick? Phoenix was desparate to unload him and the Hardaway contract.

    Now fast forward to the Curry trade. Chicago was desparate just to get some value for him. He was really, really damaged goods – he was never going to suit up for them ever again. Isiah gave up 2 unprotected number 1’s AND salary cap relief?

    Even the Antonio Davis/Jalen Rose trade – he took on the Rose contract’s extra year for a mid-first round pick. Phoenix routinely sells their picks for 3 million. Isiah paid $30 million (the Rose contract x2 luxury tax). That is just nuts – you could argue “hey, not my money, it is Dolan’s” but it just demonstrates that Isiah is simply a terrible caretaker of team assets.

    And back on Curry – an indifferent defender, horrible rebounder, turnover prone, out of shape and lazy center is just NOT a “franchise” player, which is how Isiah has sold him. It doesn’t matter how good of a post player he is – he just doesn’t have the character to be the rock of the team. Hmmmm – lack of character, promoted way over his head due to someone else’s wishful thinking and pigheaded refusal to recognize a mistake? Sounds like someone else I know.

  47. Yeah, the new look is totally awesome. I was hoping it would show up before opening night!

  48. birchnbrook, you’ve hit the nail on the head. IT is a good talent evaluator, and understands the value of piling up young talent… but he has no sense of “value” for his franchise, or anyone else’s. He overpays at every turn. Long-term, it’s a losing strategy. Like a guy who gets a 10 percent raise every year but charges everything to his credit card and pays 19 percent interest.

    So far, the Knicks are afloat because of an excellent string of draft picks, so it’s conceivable IT can dig his way out of the hole… but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  49. Z,

    I think Thomas picked up Balkman with the pick they got from Toronto (via Denver), which was number 20. You are correct, Thomas could have still picked up Balkman with the 29th pick, Knicks got that from Spurs (Mohammed trade). Or the Knicks could have bought the Suns’ pick it was up for sale.

    Based on the draft night chatter, no team was looking to pick up Balkman with a first rounder. Thomas could have picked him up with the 21st or 29th pick. Or he could have bought the Spurs second rounder, they werent attached to James White.
    Ted Nelson,

    I agree that Curry is much more valuable when playing with a strong rebounding and defensive team. Funny how he would fit right in with the Bulls’ roster. This is why I advocate playing him with Lee and Balkman. Those player will do an excellent job of masking Curry’s glaring weakness on the glass and on defense. It is easier to find defensive minded PF’s and SF’s than it is to find an effective low post scorer.

    I really hope we see Lee as the first forward off the bench. If he can rotate between Curry and Randolph then they can each spend time with a player that COMPLIMENTS their own abilities.



    I disagree, in part. Examples of good Thomas moves:

    1) Thomas moved Narz Mohammed, an under performing center if there every was one, for Rose and two first round draft picks. Those picks turned into Lee, whom we all love, and Collins, a big point that plays great defense, handles the ball well and looks to set up offense. For those assets we took the Malik Rose contract, a contract that will have some value next year. This expiring deal could help us land a player if a team is looking to make room. You cant say that wasnt a good deal, and Thomas didnt over pay because the value of Lee’s and Collins contracts against their production is great.

    2) Kurt Thomas for Q and Nate Robinson. Kurt was a player nearing the end of his productiveness. He already had several knee and ankle issues. We get a good two way player and a great young prospect in Robinson. Robinson could have a “Microwave” Johnson type season. Q does need to stay healthy to make it work.

    3) Randolph for Francis and Frye. 23 and 10 for a forward that doesnt rebound well and a washed up Francise. The compatability with Curry aside, this is still a great pickup.

    4) Every player drafted thus far. Isiah has yet to pick up a bust. I can find you at least 8 players picked ahead of Balkman that did NOTHING last year. David Lee was the steal of the first round. His PER is better than 82% of the players taken ahead of him.

    To your credit, the amount he paid the JJ’s still boggles my mind. I could see getting James, because you had no clue that Curry would be available. But how do you justify giving james 4 years with an option (his option) for five. You offer a player like that 3 years at 3-5 million per.

    I think he over paid Crawford as well. I didnt like bringing in Francis. I did not like getting Rose. But the bright side of those deals is that Francis brough Randolph and Rose brought the Balkman pick. Though Balkman could have been drafted by buying the Suns’ pick and saving NY 30 million dollars.

  50. James is a Knick for 1 reason… Zeke was desperate for size. Who would want to continue with Kurt Thomas as your tallest tree-surrounded by no-D Tim Thomas and an undersized 3. You can’t teach size-thats why Oden was the 1st pick in the draft. What other 7 footer was availible then? What GM would want any of Scott Laydens bums? Getting James was a good stop-gap move for Zeke-remember he didnt know Curry was availible at that point. However there is no question I’d rather have D Nichols than James on my squad since the Morris pickup gives you a good backup 5. Could it be possible that James’ injury will allow the Knicks to release him the same way they released the injured Allan Houston? this would open up a roster spot and cut salary.

  51. Mr. Black – great post. I’ll give you the Zach/Francis deal. I wholeheartedly agree with that one – IT got value for Francis who was on his way to being bought out. Frye will be an average 3rd big at best.

    On the Malik Rose deal – I would say that IT could have easily, easily moved into the late first round in that draft and grabbed Lee. Teams were practically begging to give those picks away. IT didn’t read the market correctly, and while it certainly is not my money – it is Dolan’s – it was a deal he overpaid for. You could say it is just money, because they were over the cap and it doesn’t matter, but that is besides the point – IT could easily have gotten those picks cheaper.

    On the QRich for Kurt Thomas deal, not to get so locked into my position that I convince myself I am right, I’ll give it an even on the plus/minus scale. The problem is this – QRich, as much as I love him (I think things went south last year primarily when QRich went down), the problem is his uninsured back. He is now untradeable – no other GM will touch Q. So I have to believe IT overpaid for him, since Phoenix wanted to get rid of him so bad that they agreed to throw in Nate (actually, the pick that IT turned into Nate).

    So even on the “good” deals, I would view IT as overpaying for them. The proof is this – when was the last time, in all of the many, many deals he has made over the years, that IT clearly got the better end of the deal? Maybe with Zach Randolph, but please – he was just poison to the Blazers, and they were dying to dump him.

    Bottom line – IT blows. Big time. So does Dolan. For us fans – man, does it blow.

  52. birchnbrook,

    You hit the nail on the head. It really doesnt matter if the trades are great or awful over payments, it doesnt matter if the free agents are overpaid. All that matters is the end result. We have zero playoffs wins to show for IT’s tenure. IT and Dolan must be held accountable for that.

    Hell he could trade for Kobe and if all we get are first round exits for the next 5 years, if that, then he failed.

    You are right, each of IT’s silver linings seem to have a cloud. To be fair, I much prefer IT giving up money than Layden giving up draft picks. Money doesnt hurt the knicks all that much.

  53. “Thomas moved Narz Mohammed, an under performing center if there every was one, for Rose and two first round draft picks.”

    Nazr wasn’t really under performing. He was playing the way he always had. He was playing the way he was playing when Isiah traded for him exactly one year earlier and declared him the center of the future.

    “we took the Malik Rose contract, a contract that will have some value next year. This expiring deal could help us land a player if a team is looking to make room.”

    Nazr’s contract has already expired. Plus, Rose’s contract doesn’t expire until ’09, when Marbury’s $20 million contract expires, so his contractual asset is really quite marginal.

    Basically, Nazr is better than Rose straight up and Nazr’s contract was better than Rose’s so the only way this trade looks good is because we drafted Lee with one of the picks. As birchnbrook noted, that pick probably could have come from elsewhere (say the Mo Taylor trade… or at least Moochie, Vin, Nazr, the 2nd rounder that went to Houston, and/or cash could have some other way been turned into the 30th pick in the ’05 draft).

    “On the QRich for Kurt Thomas deal… The problem is this – QRich, as much as I love him (I think things went south last year primarily when QRich went down), the problem is his uninsured back.”

    The problem is definitely his uninsured back. I like Q and the trade made some sense player for player. But in reality, Q’s unisnured contract is way more than Q is really worth, even if it was insurable. He had a strong year in LA and got a long expensive contract for it. Then in Phoenix, where everybody looks like a $45 million player (even Tim Thomas!), he looked like a $45 million player. Even if his back holds up he’s on the books for three more years. Meanwhile Kurt’s contract expires this year. That’s about the time Q retires because he can’t stand up any more, but his $20 million will still be riding on our backs.

    “Every player drafted thus far. Isiah has yet to pick up a bust.”

    No argument there. Isiah is either the luckiest drafter or the best. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s the best. That is why it is so hard for me to accept the Nichols affair. He has yet to pick up a bust. So keep him and buy out James. Duh!

    “I much prefer IT giving up money than Layden giving up draft picks. Money doesnt hurt the knicks all that much.”

    Isiah has given up his share of draff picks…

    Mr. Black– you make a noble attempt at defending Isiah’s moves since becoming GM. But even the good moves you note were often erasing bad moves that he had already made (Francis, Nazr, Tim Thomas…)

    “Who would want to continue with Kurt Thomas as your tallest tree-surrounded by no-D Tim Thomas and an undersized 3.”

    Tim Thomas was actually an oversized 3 and he still couldn’t rebound or play D. But Van Horn could rebound and Isiah chose to go with Tim Thomas instead, then trade his starting center for an undersized 4 (Malik Rose). So having Kurt surrounded by Tim Thomas and undersized players was really Isiah’s fault anyway. If he traded his starting center at the deadline confident that he’d replace him with Jerome James in June, then that makes the Nazr for Rose trade even worse since James sucked then just as he sucks now (if he could play he’d suck at least…)

  54. Did anyone else notice that the Suns sold their draft pick right after the Nix picked up Renaldo balkman with their first 1st round pick ?!?

    Maybe i’m the only one.

  55. Z,

    Very insightful. Just help me out with one thing. It seems that you, and a number of posters, think it is important to have contracts that expire early. For example, you noted that the Kurt Thomas contract and the Narz Mohammed contracts would have epired by now. I dont see why that is so important.

    Money and the salary cap are not huge deals in NY. Furthermore, very few marquee players leave via free agency. So being 10 mill under the cap doesnt do much for a team. Take the Bobcats and the Hawks, they have had cap room and do little with it. The Cavs had tons of room 3 years ago and they wasted it on Hughes, Marshall, and Jones.

    Lets say we were 10 mill under the cap and we signed Jeffries and James. Would things be any better? The free agent crop has not been good. The last 3-4 years. The biggest free agents have been Ben Wallace, Larry Hughes, and Rashard Lewis. I dont really see them a difference makers.

    Rose and Marbury come off the books next year. Kobe can opt out at the end of next year. If the Lakers dont move kobe now, they will have to next year. We could use the Marbury and Rose contracts to bring in Kobe, plus take back a few other unfavorable contracts from the Lakers. The Lakers can get about 30 million under the cap and make at move at Lebron or Dwayne Wade in 2010. They did the same thing to get Shaq back in the 90’s.

    Help me understand why the salary is so important. It seems that Isaih is still able to bring in good players even with the Knicks over the cap.

  56. Mr. Black–

    You have answered your question already:

    “Just help me out with one thing. It seems that you, and a number of posters, think it is important to have contracts that expire early… I don?t see why that is so important.”

    The answer is this:

    “The Lakers can get about 30 million under the cap and make a move at LeBron or Dwayne Wade in 2010. They did the same thing to get Shaq back in the 90?s.”

    It is not the $$ spent that matters. It is the fact that every $ spent on player X is a $ that can’t be spent elsewhere. Cap management is crucial to building a healthy, long lasting franchise. Taking on long term contracts in exchange for shorter ones is a completely acceptable strategy for a legitimate win-now team, but I don’t think it is conducive to rebuilding. Isiah inherited Layden?s contracts, but he also maintained Layden’s philosophy. As it has been posted here before, if Isiah had simply let Layden’s contracts sunset and not turned them into even higher paid, longer tenured deals, the Knicks would be significantly under the cap this year and probably have the same number of wins to show for it.

    It is true Charlotte and Atlanta have not found suitable players to spend their cap space on. This is because nobody wants to play for either city. Charlotte saw its last franchise leave altogether. Atlanta is a passionless pit of apathetic lethargy (sorry Caleb– I love the city, but they have the worst sports fans in the country (no doubt the reason you’re a Knick fan…).

    On the other hand almost every marquee name wants to play in NY or LA. This is not because the Garden is the world?s most famous arena, or because the fans are the most knowledgeable. It’s because they are worth more money playing in NY than in Cleveland.

    The reason Shaq was even a free agent was because his agent knew that the Lakers were $30 million under the cap. If his only choices were to go to Atlanta, Toronto, or Vancouver, he’d probably have won three rings with the Magic. The same goes for LeBron, and the draft class of 2003. They all extended with their original teams because there was more money to be had there (since all the Knicks have been able to offer for years has been the mid-level exception). If there was even a chance the Knicks would be $30 million under the cap this year (which they could be if Isiah had spent every hour in his GM office prepping for the draft), LeBron, Wade, Bosh, et al, probably would have tested the waters, just as Shaq decided to do in 1996.

    You say we can trade Malik and Marbury for Kobe and the Lakers can then sign Wade or LeBron with their cap space. Would you rather have Kobe than LeBron or Wade? Kobe’ll be a 13 year vet. Why not use the cap space Marbury’s contract gives us to sign LeBron instead? Oh yeah– I forgot. It’s because we are too maxed out with other contracts like QRich, Jamal, JJ, and most recently Zach Randolph.

    Francis, for all of his worthlessness, was to expire with Marbury. We could have shed $45 million that summer. But hey, Randolph could get us over the hump this year, so it’s worth it.

    The hump of 8th best team in the east…

  57. “Atlanta is a passionless pit of apathetic lethargy (sorry Caleb? I love the city, but they have the worst sports fans in the country (no doubt the reason you?re a Knick fan?).”

    It’s true, Atlanta is a pro sports graveyard. The passion goes into college football and college in general, and the city is full of transplants like me who love their old teams.

    But the Hawks will be exciting to watch this year, and they’ll make the playoffs. They would have been better than the Knicks last year had injuries not sunk them, and now the PG spot has improved from worst in the league to just bad – plus, they added Al Horford.

    Let’s hope they’re too stupid to sign Josh Smith to an extension and IT finds a way to reel him in, though it won’t be cheap.

  58. Z,

    But if we just let those contracts expire, we could go for lbj or dw ourselves. We should be 12-20 under in 2010, the year those two can opt out. Either way we can get a good player. We just got one in randolph despite all the salary woes.

    i see your reasoning. It does make sense. Whatever we have been doing it has not worked. For the record, i’d like kobe because the knicks can get him two years sooner than lbj or dw.

  59. “We should be 12-20 under in 2010”

    We’re on the hook for about $58 million in 2010, if Curry, Q, Crawford, and James don’t opt out. Considering Lee will have to be re-signed (and Nate), 2010 will not see the Knicks having much to work with on the free agent market, if the current philosophy continues. The reason we are going to be capped out still is Zach Randolph. He’ll make $17 million in 2011…

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