Lee Resigned Officially, Nate Resigned Unoffically

The Knicks have resigned David Lee to a one year $7M deal and have unofficially given Nate Robinson $2.9M with possible bonuses to increase the amount. Given how late in the off season this news comes and how neither player had any other options, the news is anti-climactic. With 9 days until the first preseason game, this means that last year’s rotation will return in full except for Quentin Richardson.

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Mike Kurylo

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

50 thoughts to “Lee Resigned Officially, Nate Resigned Unoffically”

  1. Wow. Hats of to Donnie. $7M? What happened to between $10 and $12M? Donnie said he valued Lee at $7-8M, and ends up signing him to the low end of that range. Now that’s how to negotiate.

    And Nate @ $2.9M? I bet you his kicking himself for not signing with that greek club that offered him $5M/year for 2 years.

    Why do I like this? These are cheap one year deals that can be packaged with expensive long term deals we don’t want (you all know who these are) in trade negotiations. Can’t wait for 2010.

  2. This makes Lee’s cap hold $10.5 million next summer – a little high, but not so high they absolutely have to cut him loose July 1. Can wait and see what the market looks like.

    Reading between the lines, $6 million was the number floated for a one-year deal so on the surface this looks like it won’t cause any hard feelings.

    I’d rather see Lee in the fold long-term, but this isn’t a terrible outcome.

    It’s fine for Lee and Nate – they will both make plenty of money next summer when they’re unrestricted and lots of teams have cap room.

  3. The cap hold situation is a little scary. Nate at $2.9M actually makes me a little sympathetic toward him. Statistically, I’d argue he’s worth the full MLE.

    I would tip my hat to Donnie if he managed to lock in Lee for $7M + growth per year for the next 5.

  4. Not to be a ****, but you should have put a hyphen in re-sign! I was temporarily confused. Also… I’m still excited about basketball season. Because of Darko.

    On the current news, way to not give either of these guys too much money, Mr. Walsh.

  5. There are times when confusion can happen with re-signing vs resigning news. I don’t think this is one of those times.

    Finally our roster is basically rounded out. Good to see we’ve got this final business taken care of and now we can look forward to training camp. I think this summer humbled our two young bucks who aren’t so young anymore, and they definitely have plenty of motivation going into this season. I’d be surprised if we don’t have at least 5 more wins than last year come playoff time.

  6. wow- nate got totally screwed… can someone explain the ‘cap hold’ situation… what is that referring too?

  7. “can someone explain the ‘cap hold’ situation… what is that referring to?”

    When lee’s contract plays out, he still takes up part of the Knicks cap space, until they either re-sign him or renounce him. How much space? That’s the cap hold. How much? It’s complicated, but for players who just got big raises (like Lee), the cap hold is 150 percent of their previous season’s salary.

    If there was no cap hold, a team could let all its players contracts’ expire at the same time, sign 3 or max free agents and then re-sign their own players using their Bird rights… going above the cap in dramatic fashion.

    In practice, the Knicks will have a pretty good idea by June of whether they need that $10.5 million. If LeBron is in play, they’ll probably want to clear the space. Otherwise, maybe not. Of course, they could re-sign Lee any time after July 1, for anything they agree to — like, $8 million. The fear is while they’re working out a deal, LeBron signs somewhere else.

    Renouncing Lee would clear the cap space immediately. THe downside is that the Knicks would not be allowed to re-sign him for an extended period of time. I think 6 months, maybe it’s a year, maybe 90 days… in any case, longer than he’s likely to wait around.

  8. And Nate did get screwed, but no more than any other player dealing with the very restrictive NBA rookie salary rules. We’ve sort of known for a while that he would be forced to take the qualifying offer. Everyone knew that the Knicks would match offers up to (or close to) the mid-level, so no one wanted to tie up their money like that.

    By accepting the qualifying offer, Nate is line to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, meaning the Knicks won’t have the right to keep him by matching any offer. (And, when a lot more teams will have money to spend). His payday got delayed a year, but I think he’ll get a multi-year deal next summer for $5 million or so, annually.

  9. Thanks for the link TDM. Would be great to get Rafer – he looked good with Orlando in the playoffs until they brought back an injured Jameer Nelson.

    If we got him, would he start or come off the bench backing up Duhon?

  10. Jafa – personally, I’d like to see Duhon start with Alston coming off the bench to change tempo. Duhon is the more efficient player, and in my opinion, looks to pass first.

  11. Hahn was trumpeting an incentive clause yesterday that will pay each of them $1MM bonus money if the Knicks make the playoffs (vaguely referenced in the Lee article). Any idea if that was actually in the deals? In reading today’s news it seems like there’s more to it than that.

    I kind of like the playoff incentive — it’s a good “team-based” incentive for two guys who are no longer the new kids on the block.

  12. think you guys got the nate deal wrong. everything that i read said he got over $4M guaranteed and close to $5M w incentives. not screwed at all.

  13. Unlike Berri, I don’t see this as a lost season at all. The Knicks have 4 big men they didn’t have for most or all of last year: Curry (at 317 lbs, whatever that means,) Darko, Hill and Gallinari (he is 6’10” after all, and reports are that he bulked up some over the summer.) They have a back-up point guard in Douglas (can’t be worse than Roberson.) They took out some trash (Q, Jerome, Steph [hated it at the time, but this summer’s antics convinced me that D’Antony was right on this one as well]). And their other 3 young core players are a year older and playing for contracts and/or their NY life. Hahn reports that Harrington, a malcontent in GS last year, has reported to camp in awesome shape. Hughes was pretty good at one time, and not horrible last year. Jeffries was, well……

    Which bring us to the most important factor of all in rebutting Berri: the coach. D’Antoni was brought in because of the quick turnaround he led in Phoenix and the sustained success he had there. He had a so-so first year and then the team took off. Players seemed to play at their best in his system. Sure, they had excellent players, but I strongly believe that D’Antoni was responsible for 8-10 wins beyond what an average or below average coach would have led those teams to. His leadership skills are praised by all who play for him, including the big names who know him via olympic teams, etc. Even if one is skeptical of his offense-oriented system in therm of success in the playoffs, it does generate wins.

    So, despite the gloom from Berri and some here, I think the D’Antoni factor will result in players having stronger seasons than their stats would predict. With this in mind, I predict that the Knicks will play .500 ball this season. There, I said it.

    (Before you hurt yourself laughing, I did hit the nail on the head with my prediction on this site last year!)

  14. I agree with Z-man to some extent that the forecasts for 2009-2010 are too gloomy and that we can improve our win total. The problem is there are teams like the Wizards, Bucks and Bobcats who will probably improve this year also and make their own run for the playoffs. The Knicks would have to win all of their “gimme” games (if there are any) and avoid bad losses at home, and I’m not sure if this team is capable of that. All that being said, if there ever was one season where squeaking in as the 8 seed would be just fine, this would be it. None of us want to hear “and with the 5th pick in the NBA draft, the Utah Jazz select…”

  15. I’m with Z-Man. I’m expecting this to be an entertaining season. I have no illusions about winning it all (or even winning half of it), but I think this team can be competitive most nights and, besides the playoffs, isn’t this what you want when you watch basketball games?

    See, I’m a little bit old, and I remember when teams in all sports used to carry forward each year with the same roster. A few rookies, maybe one trade, but a lot of the very same guys each year. I’m nostalgic for that, a bit, but I also think there can be great benefits to familiarity, especially in a system like D’Antoni’s. Nate and D-Lee will be in contract years, and guys like Duhon, Harrington, Gallo–who had no idea what it would be like to be a Knick last year–know what to expect now.

    Please, Darko, give us a couple of blocks or stops each night. And, please, Douglas, give Duhon ten minutes to rest. And I’m sure Eddy will be a massive bench presence, one way or another.

    Let’s have some fun while we wait to see what happens in 2010.

    (BTW, WoW has already decided that neither Gallo nor Hill will achieve the level of Lee: what’s THAT about?!?)

  16. Like everyone else who bitches about the Knicks’ offseason, I would pose the same question to Dave Berri: what did you expect??? What magical free agent were the Knicks going to sign for the MLE or lower for one season that would make them a playoff team? What imaginary team was going to trade the Knicks something to make them a playoff team in return for the junk the Knicks have to offer?

    Berri makes it seem like the Knicks are purposefully wasting a season for 2010 free agency… the mainstream logic regurgitated by someone who claims to think outside the box. Every lottery team is “wasting a season” by his standards (Walsh has no control over the 2010 1st being gone). I agree with Z-Man that getting more roster balance, having everyone on the roster ready to play, and having some young talent are all steps in the right direction. I am not optimistic that the Knicks will make the playoffs this season, but moving in the right direction is great for me.

  17. I would be interested to know how much Robinson is making… It’s interesting that the Knicks were willing to go so high over Lee’s qualifying offer but not Robinson’s…

  18. I think what was interesting to me was how bad our players rated in WIN score… even ‘core’ players. Chandler’s score was atrocious, and Hill and Douglas come in below average. And Harrington gets a 0.00??? Brutal.

    It also is sounding like we’ll probably have Lee back at center with a slimmed down Harrington back starting at pf. Duhon, Hughes, Chandler, Harrington, Lee is my bet for the opening day starters. Of course we’d all prefer Gallo in there, but I can’t see him starting right off the bat. Hopefully the starters will eventually be Duhon, Chandler, Gallo, Lee, Curry (to showcase him).

    Of course, I don’t think starters matter that much. D’Antoni is going to play matchups with this motley crew. So the starters could change depending on the team we play…. it will be interesting to see who doesn’t make the rotation or rather, will D’Antoni expand the rotation to 10 players? I think if Hughes and Jeffries get off slowly, they could be out, and Hill will see very little time… Douglas will get the Roberson time plus a few minutes.

    So yeah, basically the same team except more minutes for Gallo, less minutes for Hughes, 10+ minutes for Darko, a sprinkle of Curry, and maybe 10 min between the 2 rookies.

  19. “Actually I think we’re not allowed to trade them without their permission.” -Dan Panorama

    Dan is right. Lee will not be tradeable until Christmas day, and even then he’ll need to consent to the trade. I wonder if part of the deal is a handshake agreement that he’d approve any trade (which he probably would do anyway, considering his agent probably contacted every team in the NBA this summer to work out a sign-and-trade).

  20. Mike D in the newsday article today made a good point. The knicks lost 18 game by 5 points or less. They also were banged up toward the end of the year when they fell out of playoff contention. Duhon Broke down. Nate was injured a bunch of games. We were short players after the trade. Plus I think alot of our players are going to be motivated this year for various reasons. Harrington, Duhon, Nate and Lee are all in contract years and should do go. We got Darko in his contract year, a slimmed down curry which should give us something and a healthy Gallo. We should win 8 more games then we did last year even if other teams are improved. I think they will get about 40 wins.

  21. Another reason to read KB rather than the mainstream press:

    Berman in today’s Post writes that Eddy Curry is down to 217 lbs.

    And Chris Duhon is 6’8″.


    Donnie, now that you’ve righted most of the wrongs of the Isiah era, can you please go about finishing the job of returning the Knicks franchise to the “most knowledgeable fans in the world”: Give Mike K. and the Knickerblogger staff press access to the Knicks so that we can get our information first hand from people who aren’t complete morons!

    (He owes it to the blogs for trying to single-handedly kill them with a newsless summer! :)

  22. “The problem is there are teams like the Wizards, Bucks and Bobcats who will probably improve this year also and make their own run for the playoffs.”

    True, but they are at least as iffy as us and there are some teams that might take a step back. For example, I see the Celts as a team that might have a hard time recapturing the dominance they had 2 years ago. Garnett is a year older and coming off a serious injury, and now has a ring. Allen and Wallace aren’t spring chickens. Posey’s role off the bench hasn’t really been replaced. They’re almost certainly a playoff team but I don’t see them winning much more than 50 games. The Nets,, Pistons, Bucks, Raptors, Pacers, and Bobcats all have question marks. The Bulls have a different chemistry without Gordon as their go-to guy and might miss him in crunch time. The Heat and Hawks don’t seem like locks to make the playoffs either.

    The Cavs (by far,) Magic, and Celts (if healthy) are obviously the class of the conference, and I really like the 76ers and Wizards as well. Beyond that, I see the last 3 playoff spots as wide open. The stars seem aligned for the Knicks to seriously compete for one of these spots. Again, this optimism is based on D’Antoni more than anything else. I also think that at some point, Walsh is going to pick up a decent guard for a package of either Curry or Jeffries. There are several teams that have more guards than they need, starting with Minnesota, of course. We have more forward/centers than we need and when some big men around the league eventually start going down with injuries, Walsh is going to stick it to somebody.

  23. “The Nets,, Pistons, Bucks, Raptors, Pacers, and Bobcats all have question marks. The Bulls have a different chemistry without Gordon as their go-to guy and might miss him in crunch time. The Heat and Hawks don’t seem like locks to make the playoffs either. ”

    I think you can pencil in the Hawks, Pistons and Bulls as playoff locks, even if they don’t improve over last year, so that would take care of the last 3 spots based on the Magic, Celts, Sixers, Cavs and Wizards grabbing the first 5 per your analysis. Really hard to say we’re better than any of these teams, I hope you’re right and I’m pleasantly surprised.

  24. Z-man….your comment nr. 16 is such a sweet 16…i love it. The knicks are balanced, many contract year players, have a core that’s together for some time now…only question mark for me is when the time comes for an individual to lift the team back on track(when a game goes right or wrong), who will it be(Harrington, Robinson, Gallinari or ???)?

    Watching the Euro I noticed two things were essential for winning 1. a player(or two) who can score above average in now it really matters time
    2. a significant defensive presence witch enables much needed self confidence and state of mind: even if I miss five straight in offense, I’ll make it up in on the other end and still have a chance(it sounds so easy).
    My Slovene team made it in to semifinal because of those two things: go to player(Erazem Lorbek) and lock down defense…lost in semis(OT) only due to Lorbek being fouled out in forth.

    If the Knicks are above .500 in May I will be more than glad to send You(Z – Man) a casing off best Slovene Wine. Hopefully it will be necessary form me in May to get your address through KB:)

  25. Good deal, SK, although I might need the wine more if I’m wrong!

    D-mar, I’m not high high on the Pistons. They have a weird team and a new coach. Chris Wilcox is their starting center, backed up by Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace. I agree that on paper they have the talent to make the playoffs (especially on the perimeter), but chemistry, coaching, depth and interior presence are all question marks. The Hawks have depth issues as well, but are less of a team in transition than the Pistons. The Bulls are a lot like the Knicks, and when I took a good look at their roster, I just wasn’t that impressed.

    Even if I concede that these teams have more talent than us, I think the D’Antoni factor balances things.

  26. “D-mar, I’m not high high on the Pistons. They have a weird team and a new coach.”
    I agree compleatly. The Knicks have a good chance of making the playoffs this year, and for good reason too.

    We do not have nearly the same roster as we did last year. WE got a big man In Darko in exchange for a guy that was hoggin up minutes, was unathletic, and 3point shooting had declined over the years (Q Rich). We got good developing big man in Jordan Hill, and an excellent prospect in Douglas. Our 6th pick of 2008 won’t be playing 50% like he did all of last year, and, hopefully, we will have the guy that missed the 2006 all star team by a hair back, Eddy Curry.

    Anyway, I’ve created a fantasy league on espn, and I think it would be great if you guys joined. It’s the N.B.A.F.L, and it’s draft will be october 9th, at 8 p.m. Thanks

    GO KNICKS!!!!

  27. I wish I could be as optimistic about the Knicks’ playoff chances… Certainly I think they have a chance, but not a very good one.

    Every study I’ve seen says contract years do not increase production as a rule. For someone who doesn’t play well due to lack of effort then maybe a contract year is a motivator. Having a bunch of players in contract years may actually create a disincentive for playing as a team, and motivate a team with guys who were already slow to share the ball to look out for themselves even more. I just don’t think you can use contract years or good coaching as a reason the Knicks will be better than several more talented teams.

    So it seems like we’re starting out with the assumption that the Cavs, Magic, and Celtics stay healthy and functional enough to be playoff teams, and are probably the top 3 seeds. From there I agree that there are no locks, but there are several teams with more talent than the Knicks.

    The Hawks were the 4 seed last season, have a young team that may still improve, and added depth by replacing Flip Murray with Jamal and Jeff Teague. If they don’t make the playoffs something will have gone seriously wrong.

    If Wade is healthy the Heat should be in the playoffs. That’s not a sure thing, of course. A full season of Jermaine O’Neal plus Chalmers and Beasley in their second seasons… This team should be better than last season.

    Philadelphia I’m sort of up in the air about: lost Andre Miller but added Jason Kapono and essentially added Elton Brand. If Brand is healthy and meshes with the team they have no excuse not to make the playoffs. They’ve got a lot of young talent that might improve (Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Marreese Speights). Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday might struggle running the team, but I guess Igoudala can help out.

    Bulls are definitely a question mark. Ben Gordon has not been replaced. With Rose entering his second season and Deng back they’ve got a lot more talent than the Knicks though.

    The Pistons got a lot better offensively by adding Gordon and Villanueva. Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown are not ideal centers at this point, but defensively they are better than anyone the Knicks have. They can go small with Maxiell and Villanueva (or one with Austin Daye if he impresses) in the frontcourt. I feel like Gordon and Hamilton are redundant, but I suppose trading Hamilton is easier said than done given his age and contract.

    Toronto got a lot better over the offseason with the addition of Hedo Turkoglu. I don’t think they got as good as they think they did, but Calderon, Bosh, Hedo is a good strong playoff core. Bargnani is overrated and will soon be very overpaid, but he’s a dangerous 4th option. Jarret Jack is a big upgrade at back-up point over Ukic and Banks. SG is a weakness. Belinelli can at least replace most of Kapono’s sharp shooting and probably defend SGs better. Who knows what they’ll get this season from DeRozan.

    Indiana didn’t get any worse.

    Bobs and Nets are huge question marks. Bobs should be a good defensive team this season (7th in 08-09), but have to improve their O somehow (27th in 08-09). Given Larry Brown’s affection for mid-to-late-90s offensive sets it’s unlikely. I know Okafor was their “go to scorer” but Chandler can be very efficient and you have to hope Augustin steps it up. They should come close to the playoffs.
    Nets… who knows. Harris and Lopez is a decent start, at least as good as Lee and Nate. I like Courtney Lee, but couldn’t believe they gave up Ryan Anderson in the VC deal. I like CDR as a break out candidate. So, they’re in a similar situation to the Knicks where if everything breaks their way they’re in the playoffs… but it’s doubtful.

    The Bucks lost one of their best players in Sessions. They made a bunch of acquisitions that may or may not make up for that loss. Mostly solid guys who add depth and just might be the perfect fit… or might not be: Warrick, Delfino, and Kurt Thomas. Even with a strong rookie season I don’t see Jennings being any better next season than Sessions last season. Ersan Ilyasova is someone to keep an eye on. After a mediocre two seasons with the Bucks/Tulsa D-League at 18 and 19 he played two seasons for Barcelona, one of Europe’s best clubs. He was a solid rotation guy in year 1 and then had a break out type year last season. He’s a 6-10 SF and only 22 years old. Strong outside shot.

    Talent wise, how many of those teams do the Knicks stack up with???
    Roughly you’re looking at:
    -Strong-solid rotation players
    1. Lee
    2. Robinson
    3. Duhon
    -Borderline rotation players
    Harrington, Darko, Hughes, Jeffries…
    Danilo, Hill, Douglas, Chandler, and Curry…

    The one thing I will say for the Knicks is that there’s a lot of variability in how good they might be. If you get a few strong seasons out of the Harrington through Jeffries group and a couple break-out (come-back/break-out in Curry’s case… sort of late for a break-out season in which he’s actually a good NBA player, unfortunately) seasons from the last group… the playoffs are possible.

  28. “Berman in today’s Post writes that Eddy Curry is down to 217 lbs.”

    Obviously a typo for 317. Who even reads the post anyway?

  29. Ted, I agree with a lot of what you said, but there are some points of divergence.
    Pistons and Sixers: Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace (at this point) are not very good players. That Wilcox is projected to be a starter is pretty telling. I think the Sixers are far less dependent on Miller than the Pistons were on Billups. They have a very talented and athletic team and might actually run more without Miller, who is more of a halfcourt guy. I really like Lou Williams for that team.

    Heat: I think the Heat stayed the same and everyone else got better. I don’t like O’Neal as a complement to Wade and think he is not going to last the season. If Wade has to carry them on his back, he might not last the season either. Even with Wade and O’Neal, they just don’t seem very deep, or very good defensively.

    Toronto: I think they will wind up being a very disappointing team. They will score loads of points but are also unimpressive defensively.

    Knicks: Harrington is at least as good as Duhon. He should be counted as a strong rotation player. Chandler is not an unknown, he is certainly going to be in the rotation and at worst will give us what he did last season. The other 4 guys have nothing on which to base a firm opinion, so to lump Chandler in with them is unfair. If anything, Darko is more of an unknown.

  30. I would take Wallace and Brown over Darko and Curry defensively any day. Wilcox is a decent offensive player. It’s not good, but between the three of them I think they’ll get by at C. In a vacuum I really don’t know if I’d take the Knicks’ Cs or the Pistons (Hill is a big x-factor), which is a bad thing for the Knicks since Detroit has a lot more talent/depth at other spots. Plenty of teams get by these days without true Cs, anyway…

    The thing is that Miller was one of their best players and they did almost nothing to replace that talent. I guess Brand should make up for it. Is Jrue Holiday ready for significant minutes? I don’t know. Lou Williams is a good 3rd guard, but as an inefficient scorer and weak playmaker I don’t know if you want him as your primary (only?) PG. The fact that Willie Green is still a rotation player (hopefully Kapono eats his minutes) is a major concern.
    Anyway, I like the Sixers and think they are significantly better than the Knicks.

    I don’t love the Heat, but (if healthy) Wade is going to carry that team on his back no matter who else is on the roster or how they play. He’s one of the best 2, 3, certainly 5 players in the world.
    The team is all about defense (11th) and Wade (20th offense). I would rather not have JO on my team, but if healthy he’s a solid to strong defender depending on how much he actually has left. While he wasn’t overly impressive, Beasley had a good rookie year. If his head’s on straight (at least straight enough to stay on the court) he should naturally get better this season after already being on the better Heat last season. Haslem and Chalmers are solid rotation players: good defenders, passable contributors offensively. They’ve got a few passable guys at the 3, and at least one might step up (Beasley maybe, Dorrell Wright, James Jones, Diawara, Q).
    Chalmers, Wade, SF X, Haslem, O’Neal with Beasley off the bench… the depth isn’t there but all they need is two more passable guys or more likely 4 halfway passable guys to complete their rotation.

    I agree that Toronto will disappoint, but I still think they SHOULD make the playoffs in the East (which meant 39 wins last season). Calderon, Bosh, and Hedo is just a strong top 3. They’ve got some rotation candidates that might help their D: Reggie Evans, Rasho, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan…

  31. “Knicks: Harrington is at least as good as Duhon. He should be counted as a strong rotation player. Chandler is not an unknown, he is certainly going to be in the rotation and at worst will give us what he did last season. The other 4 guys have nothing on which to base a firm opinion, so to lump Chandler in with them is unfair. If anything, Darko is more of an unknown.”

    Depends on what metric you use. By Roland Rating and PER Harrington is significantly better than Duhon. By WoW Duhon is better. I tend to think Harrington is better, but Duhon is a lock for heavy minutes. I took a conservative view on Harrington since the other day I was told he will not make the rotation… in retrospect I should have just done it more objectively.

    I would revise it to:
    1. Lee, 2. Robinson, 3. Harrington, 4. Duhon
    That’s not a very good top end of the rotation… You put an All-NBA guy #1 and bump down and it looks pretty good. A couple more guys on the Lee/Robinson level ahead of Harrington/Duhon would also make it look pretty good. That’s why Danilo and Hill and Douglas are huge keys to me.

    I was being kind by putting Chandler in the “unknown” category. As it stands he is a weak-to-very weak rotation player, and I originally put him in “borderline rotation players,” but didn’t want to start controversy. By unknown I meant that significant improvement from last season was needed and possible. For Chandler to be an NBA rotation player he has to improve as much between year 2 and 3 and he did between 1 and 2. The “firm opinion” I have of Chandler is that he isn’t very good, but I acknowledge that he’s still developing and might/should improve. Personally I still feel like Chandler will be in Europe or fighting for a non-guaranteed contract in a few years.

    Darko has 6 NBA seasons under his belt: there’s got to be a 90%+ chance that what you see is basically what you get. Maybe he and D’Antoni hit it off (as seems to be conventional wisdom), and he’s a solid rotation guy… it’s certainly the kind of luck/shrewd move the Knicks need. If nothing else it was low risk and they balanced the rotation. My personal opinion is that Darko will not even stick in the rotation. The Knicks have too much depth at F for Darko to make the rotation… Lee and or Hill will eat his minutes at the 5. But what do I know.

  32. Re: Chandler, I think too much was asked of him last year. He needs to get better, yes, but I think he is pretty good as is if his role is not a primary one as it was last year. But, we shall see…

  33. What would his role be, though? When I think of valuable role players I think of guys who excel in (at least) one area, while I see Chandler as solid but unspectacular pretty much across the board.

    His big strengths are that he doesn’t turn it over and he blocks shots well for a SF… Maybe on the Knicks he could be (or is) a perimeter defensive specialist, but I don’t think that would be true on any good defensive teams. I suppose he just needs the attitude to go along with the athleticism, but there are so many athletic wing players out there that I don’t think it’s worth much (in terms of a second contract) to wait to see if that happens.

  34. Chandler also rebounds well for a sf. And he’s still young enough where he could make a fair jump up to a useful starter. But the move to sg could be bad for him. It will be harder for him to defend quicker guards, and I just don’t think he has the ballhandling skills for the position, but we’ll see. Of course, Gallo’s in front of him at small forward. He should try to become a Raja Bell type- able to knock down the corner 3 and lock down defend. Bell is a smart player though, and Chandler has a ways to go in that department.

    Teams clearly ahead of us: Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto.
    Teams we could leapfrog: Philly, Washington, Charlotte, Detroit, Heat.
    Teams we are better than: Indy, NJ, Bucks,
    We finish anywhere btwn 7th-12th… split the difference, I say we finish 9th or 10th, no playoffs, more or less the same record plus 2-4 wins.

  35. Chandler was asked to be a go-to scorer and had a green light to put it up anytime from anywhere. I think this kept him from being better in other areas, especially since he was prone to pulling up rather than taking it to the rim.

    One guy that Chandler reminds me of is Robert Horry. He also wasn’t outstanding at any one thing, but I would argue that he was an immensely valuable role player. It certainly helped that he broke in with a strong Rocket team and could just be himself rather than being asked to do too much as Chandler was. They are similar in size, athleticism, temperment, and skillset, IMO.

    Here is a comparison of their stats for their first 2 years; keep in mind that Chandler is only now as old as Horry was as a rookie, and that Chandler certainly improved over his rookie year.


    Anyway, I would be shocked if Chandler doesn’t have a long career in the NBA, in no small part because he is a humble guy who doesn’t need to pound his chest or toot his own horn or inflate his perception of his abilities. He may not develop into a front-line player, but he’s earned every chance to succeed.

  36. Ess-Dog,

    He’s not a bad rebounder, but certainly doesn’t stand out even for a SF: rebound rate of 8.9 last season…

    “he’s still young enough where he could make a fair jump up to a useful starter.”
    I absolutely agree. I’m just more skeptical than some others about how good we can reasonably expect him to be… I’m hoping like everyone else that Chandler is an exceptional case and reaches his potential. He seems to have the physical tools but not the attitude, no idea how easy that is to fix compared to other problems.

    If Chandler can shoot 40% on 3s and play lock down defense that would be great…

    10th seems like a reasonable optimistic prediction.

  37. Wow, Golden State is like a soap opera. On media day, Cap’n Jack restates that he wants to be traded and criticizes the org. Monta Ellis says there’s “no way” he can play in the same backcourt as Stephen Curry… on media day! Great stuff.

  38. Z-Man,

    Horry was an outstanding defender. Very smart player, also. Literally shot the ball better in the playoffs than the regular season. He was a product of his circumstances, but at the same time went out of his way to put and keep himself in those circumstances.

    I think Chandler certainly can be as good, I just don’t know how apt that comparison is. Horry could guard bigs and create space offensively with his range. Over his career he played with 3 HOF bigmen (Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan) and was a great complement to them with his defense, ok outside shot, and selflessness. Had Horry not played with those quality big guys who knows how his career would have gone (long career still, but doubt we’d call him Big Shot Bob). He was certainly smart enough to recognize his strengths and took less money at some points to stay in/go to the right situation. Would not be too surprised to see him turn up in a front office.

    Chandler is more of a traditional wing than Horry. We’re talking about him maybe guarding 2s next season, not 4s. Whether Chandler can hold his own against bigmen defensively has yet to be seen, certainly there is no evidence that he can be outstanding at guarding them.
    I do think Chandler’s 3 point shot can develop as well or better than Horry’s, but there’s no guarantees.
    So, maybe Chandler is the next Horry and needs to find himself a HOF bigman to caddy for. I just don’t know what the probability of it is.


    You can call Chandler humble, I’ll call him soft. The fact that, given his body and athleticism, he can’t finish around the basket nearly as well as Nate Robinson and isn’t a lock down defender… That, along with his overall inefficient scoring, is why I don’t know if he’ll be in the league. Living in Spain I saw a lot of very talented American basketball players who just barely didn’t have enough for the NBA. Maybe they showed some promise on lottery teams for a few years, but never got it. At this point Chandler needs to improve if he’s not going to be one of them. I fully expect him to improve, I just wonder how much. Even in a weak draft athletic wings with similar bodies to Chandler’s like DeJuan Summers, Chase Budinger, Dante Cunningham, Sam Young, and Jonas Jerebko fall into the 2nd round… There’s a lot of comp out there.

    I would not say that Chandler was the Knicks go-to scorer. I think you have a point that the green light hurt him. He took bad shots and looked lost 1/2 the time. Most NBA players–especially athletic wing scorers–would salivate for the opportunity to play for a coach like D’Antoni and have a green light. I certainly hope it was just inexperience, but I am also open to the possibility that it wasn’t.

    You can’t camp him in the corner for spot up jumpers because he’s not a good shooter (and isn’t a good enough defender to warrant it anyway), you can’t get him to cut to the basket because he won’t and possibly can’t, you can’t post him up… so, this is why I ask what do you do with him? What is his role? He had the opportunity to create a role for himself last season and made himself a medium-volume/ low-efficiency scorer. The few minutes he played his rookie season he was a very low efficiency scorer… impossible to say where the trend is going, but so far it’s not good.

  39. “I would call 10th reasonable, but hardly optimistic.”

    For a team that finished 14th last season, I would call 10th optimistic.


    On paper the Knicks are clearly worse than all of those squads, which is why I say 10th is optimistic… that group puts them 11th already but at least one of those squads will probably have major injuries or a breakdown. There’s another group of teams that the Knicks are not clearly any better than:

    New Jersey

    If everything goes right for the Knicks they can make the playoffs. Only 4 things are good bets to go right, though: Lee, Robinson, Harrington, and Duhon. (And right for Duhon is mediocre.) Everything else is either a wildcard (Danilo, Curry, Hill, Douglas, maybe Chandler and Darko) or likely to go wrong (Jeffries, Hughes… arguably Darko and Curry).

    As a fan I am holding out hope that guys will step up and everything will gel… but I also except that in doing so I am being optimistic.

  40. I guess there are degrees of optimism. I, for one, would not agree that finishing 10th is very much better than finishing 14th and have a hard time considering that an optimistic projection. If you assume that the unknowns will be split between better and worse scenarios, this is still an improved team from last year, if only due to having more parts, less controversy sans Steph, and a second year under a much improved regime.

    I would also not concede that the Knicks are clearly worse than the Heat, Bulls and Pistons. They have lots of unanswered questions as well. None of their coaches impress me very much. How much is D’Antoni worth in terms of wins vs. the other 3? If the answer is zero, I would agree with you. That may be where we probably part ways, since I believe he is worth 5+ wins over any of those guys.

    Anyway, we shall see soon enough, I think preseason will be telling.

  41. “I, for one, would not agree that finishing 10th is very much better than finishing 14th…”

    I should have qualified this with “… when you have already pissed away your 1st round pick.”

  42. For a team without its 1st rounder I suppose there isn’t much consequence to 10th or 14th and only 3 games separated the 14th Knicks and 10th Bobcats last season. In the West, on the other hand, 10 games separated 10th and 14th. The big difference may be for us fans in terms of a late season playoff race vs. cursing Utah and the Marbury trade.

    We’ll have to see if this is an improved team, and I don’t think we’ll know in preseason. I certainly hope it is, but the level of proven talent they injected this offseason is next to zero. The factors you mention definitely may make the Knicks an improved team, but are hardly automatic. My guess is that the key to the season is largely youth: Danilo, Chandler, and Douglas. That’s where a possible talent injection may occur. I would include Hill, but my suspicion is that Curry and Jeffries will be showcased to some extent or another and crowd the frontcourt, and they might never actually get traded… but hopefully Hill is just too good not to play.

    I would call Toronto and Washington as questionable as the Heat, Bulls, and Pistons based on last season. On paper I don’t see any way the Knicks are better than those three… maybe the Bulls. The Heat have one of the top 5 players on the planet (maybe top 2)… They have a solid defense around him and an x-factor in Beasley who may either improve in year 2 or implode. They bring back most of a team that won 43 games last season…
    We’ll have to see how the Bulls react to losing Gordon. He was their best scorer and a decent playmaker for an off-guard. I don’t think Salmons can continue shooting the way he did for them last season. Luol Deng has to have a big comeback year and get his career back on track. Rose should get better in year 2. Pargo isn’t very good, they should have done something else to replace Gordon… but Rose, Hinrich, Salmons is a significantly stronger backcourt than the Knicks’ anyway (our starting guards may be the guys who backed those guys up). I still think they’re better on paper than the Knicks.
    My big question with the Pistons is how the loss of Sheed impacts their defense, which was only 16th last season with him. Iverson was pretty miserable last season, so I think Gordon is a big upgrade. Villanueva is a better scorer than Sheed. If their D gets worse it may be offset by an improved offense.

    The Knicks played for D’Antoni last season, so the amount of wins that playing for D’Antoni this season should add is indeed zero. Don’t understand your logic there. If somehow D’Antoni adds 5 wins to a team (which would mean his Denver teams were even worse than they were…) then this is a 27 win team.
    Anyway, Del Negro got the Bulls to the playoffs last season. Spoelstra grew up around NBA basketball, is regarded as somewhat of a wunderkind, and led the 5 seed last season. John Kuester… who knows. Dumars’ coach picking record was very good until last season, and he was previously a Pistons’ assistant so Dumars has some familiarity with him.

  43. Again, I agree with most of your points. I think the coaching factor is bigger than you do. D’Antoni couldn’t possibly have the impact he wanted to last year with all the upheaval and roster shuffling; 32 wins was probably a max number, considering. With another coach, I would put the max number for this team at 36; D’Antoni boosts them another 5 to 41. I don’t think the other guys get this roster to that mark, but that is only based on his track record in Phoenix. If the roster stays the same, and relatively healthy, I expect them to play better and more like a D’Antoni team. More likely (hopefully?!) there will be roster moves in midyear that improve the team in the long run without derailing any momentum they might build during this season.

    Re: Pistons…Sheed, for all of his antics, is a very smart and talented–albeit aging–player. Pistons are better in the long term w/o him, but this has all the hallmarks of a transition year for them. They certainly have talent, but may take a while to gel, especially for a new coach.

    Re: Bulls…Is Nate better than Rose right now? That is the critical part of the guard comparison btwn NY and CHI, and I think the statistical answer is yes, unless Rose makes a quantum leap this year and Nate stays the same. Dumars is at least comparable to Hinrich when he plays like he did 1st half of last season. Did the leag adjust to him, or did he decline solely due to overuse? We’ll see. Salmons of 2008-09 is clearly better than Hughes or Chandler of 2008-09, but not so much that Chandler can’t narrow the gap by improving somewhat.

    The Heat? Wade is probably closer to #2 than #5 best player in the league, and I think comparable to LeBron right now when healthy. Is Beasley their 2nd best player? If so, that’s pretty telling. I think 43 wins is a high water mark for them, but obviously any team with a monster like Wade can dominate 4th quarters and win close games almost single-handedly (like last year vs. Knicks!) so maybe they can go as high as 50. However, if Wade misses any significant time due to injury (as he has in the past) they could easily drop down to 40 or less wins. So, I’ll concede that with him they’re better, but they are more fragile than any of the other top 8 teams.

  44. I just don’t know what D’Antoni has done to earn this status as a magical coach. I think he’s definitely a good coach, but I don’t know that he’s great. His teams were terrible in Denver. In Phoenix they were very good, but he also had 3 All-NBA players and a lot of talent around them… the personnel fit beautifully into his system, a match for which Bryan Colangelo deserves credit. In NY his team wasn’t very good. The swing between D’Antoni and the circus that Isiah Thomas was running may be 5 games… but vs. an average NBA head coach I don’t know that there’s much of a swing. I could even argue that forcing D’Antoni’s system down the throat of a roster not overly suited for running may hurt them vs. another good NBA coach. I certainly hope the roster proves to be suited for running, though.

    “I expect them to play better and more like a D’Antoni team.”

    What is a D’Antoni team? The Nuggets were a really bad D’Antoni team. His system doesn’t magically make players better. The Suns had a TON of talent.

    I don’t really buy roster flux as a reason for under performance. Plenty of teams make midseason deals. The Bulls last season turned over a good portion of their roster and made a late run for the playoffs.


    As I said, I think Sheed is a heck of a defender whose presence will be missed. He’s not a very good scorer though, Villanueva is better. Gordon is a far better scorer than Iverson. So, I think it’s reasonable to expect their offense to improve. Their D was average last season. It’s definitely a transition year, but they added two talented players in the offseason and lost two aging malcontents.
    On paper Stuckey, Hamilton, Gordon, Prince, Villanueva, Maxiell, Wallace/Wilcox/Brown is better than the Knicks’ rotation. And they’ve also got 3 rookies, one of whom might step up given Dumar’s hit-or-miss track record in the draft.

    Who cares if Nate or Rose is better? They don’t even play the same position. (For all your reteric about how WC is young and will improve, how about giving the benefit of the doubt to the guy who won ROY as a 19 year old rookie…) Is Rose, Salmons, Hinrich better than Duhon, Hughes/Chandler, Nate??? Yes! Easily. Duhon played behind Hinrich and was worse. It’s not LeBron vs. Wilson Chandler, but they are not comparable. The Bulls also have a better (or at least more proven) SF, at least as good a frontcourt, and a better defense than the Knicks.

    It’s true that the Heat are very dependent on Wade. Beasley is their #2 scoring option, but probably wasn’t their #2 player last season (definitely not my much if he was). With the rookie season he put up you would expect him to be very good, but there are some other issues to consider in his case of course.
    Without Wade the Heat are still a better defensive team than the Knicks. They’re already a worse offensive team than the Knicks and would get worse… Without Wade there’s no guarantee the Heat are worse than the Knicks (sad).

  45. I’ll back off the pessimism a little bit after reading the Howard Beck NYT piece on Gallinari… Didn’t want to get my hopes up about his health, but that’s really great news. A healthy Gallinari gives the Knicks a piece they really need.

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