My Offer For KG

Coming home from work yesterday, I thought I had my night planned. I had some painting I needed to do, which I would finish by 7:30. At that point I would kick back a few beers, order some dinner, and give my full attention to the Knicks-Mavericks game. Of course my best laid plans were thwarted by two foes. The first being my wife who had the “we need to get out of the house look on her face.” Her request was understandable. The weekend storm had brought a handful of weary traveling friends and family to our house. For a few days we were the keepers of an impromptu hostel.

The second interruption to my planned evening was an email from Henry Abbott. The email said that there was a group of bloggers representing their teams in a post-season online bid for Kevin Garnett. My job, should I accept it, was to come up with a deal that would get the Big Ticket in blue & orange. However the trade would be compared to the other offers by different bloggers, and the best one accepted. With an opportunity to play the Knicks GM, I felt as if I couldn’t refuse.

The first question I asked myself is would the Knicks want Garnett? On the negative side of the ledger, Garnett is going to be 31 by next year. Certainly his best years are behind him. Currently his PER is at 25.5, which is lower than last year’s PER. In fact should that number stay, it would be his fourth straight year in decline. Garnett has been in the league since he was 19, so his body has seen its fair share of wear and tear.

On the other hand Kevin Garnett is still a fantastic talent. He is a perennial All Star, earning a berth every possible year since he was 20 years old. Additionally Garnett has been named to 7 All NBA Teams, 7 All NBA Defense Teams, and won an MVP award in 2004. Even with his dwindling PER, Garnett is 6th overall in the league, still among the league’s best. And although he has played over 30,000 minutes Garnett should age well. He has been extremely durable, and hasn’t missed more than 6 games in any season. The 6’13” forward has another advantage: taller players age better than ones that are dependent on their speed & quickness.

It seems quite obvious that Garnett is the type of player that the Knicks could use at this stage. Since arriving in New York, Isiah has been looking for a star to mold this team around. Originally it was Stephon Marbury, and now it seems to be Eddy Curry. However neither player seems to be talented enough to be the core of a winning team. Currently the Knicks have a host of talented players, but lack the superstar that will take them to the next level. No Knick on the roster has a ceiling as high as Garnett’s over the next 2-3 years. New York seems to have made baby steps, but they’ve failed to show any major improvements over that span. While Thomas has escaped the guillotine this year, another 30-something win season won’t cut it next year. The pressure will be on to win in 2008.

So with my sights set on Garnett, I have to wonder how he would fit in on this team. His shooting touch doesn’t extend to the three point line, but he can score from inside or outside. But Garnett isn’t just a scorer, he is a consummate player that can rebound, handle the ball, and most importantly defend. None of the current trio of front court players (Curry, Frye, and Lee) are particularly good defenders. Garnett would mask Curry’s weaknesses on defense and under the glass, and the duo would create defensive nightmares for opponents. Meanwhile a Frye and Garnett duo would present the Knicks with a quick a versatile front court that can score from anywhere inside the arc. Both of these Knicks can play center, which would allow Garnett to stay at his preferred position at power forward.

Unfortunately for Knick fans, that means David Lee would be my odd man out. While Lee is the most productive Knick, he doesn’t mesh well with Garnett. Both are strong rebounders, so the team would see diminishing returns, much like adding Ben Wallace to an already strong defensive Bulls team. Additionally Lee’s ability makes him the most coveted Knick, which would increase the chances the Knicks would receive Garnett. While Lee has the most potential of any Knick, at this point it’s still just that. He’s a wonderful rebounder, finishes well around the hoop, and has a nack for passing. But he’s still a bit off from being an All Star caliber player, nevertheless a franchise player like Garnett.

If Minnesota were to trade their franchise player, it would mean that they have finally comitted to rebuilding. Looking at their salary cap situation, it seems that taking Marko Jaric off their hands would be most helpful. Jaric’s contract runs until 2011, and is 5th highest on the team. Unfortunately the Knicks won’t have any expiring contracts this summer, so they can’t offer any instant relief. Malik Rose is the closest the Knicks can offer in cap relief. His contract expires in 2009, a year before Blount, Hudson, James or Hassell. To make contracts match I would have to add either Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury. Considering that trading for Marbury would be a huge public relations hit in Minnesota, I chose Francis. And to sweeten the pot I’ve thrown in Nate Robinson.

So my offer would be Lee, Francis, Robinson, and Malik Rose to the Timberwolves for Garnett and Jaric.

When I first got Henry’s email, I did a little brainstorming and Brian Cronin wrote back “The SLIGHTEST chance the Knicks have would be a package of Frye, Balkman, Crawford, Richardson, Robinson and the next draft pick they are allowed to trade (maybe some second rounders, too). It works cap-wise, but would the Wolves even slightly consider it?” However this would leave the Knicks with a lineup of:

C: Curry/James
PF: Garnett/Lee/Rose
SF: Jeffries/Lee?
SG: Francis/Collins
PG: Marbury/Collins

This would give the Knicks a front court duo of Curry & Garnett, with the option of using Lee off the bench or at the 3. But we would have no depth at any of the other positions. An injury at any the guard or swingman spots would doom the team. And who knows if Francis’ “tendonitis” will flair up again, which would leave us without a shooting guard. By trading only Lee & Robinson the lineup is a more palatable:

C: Curry/Frye/James
PF: Garnett/Frye
SF: Richardson/Balkman/Jeffries
SG: Crawford/Richardson/Jaric
PG: Marbury/Collins/Jaric

In this version, the Knicks are solid at the center & both forward spots, with quality and depth at all spots. Both guard spots could use some more depth, but I left the Knicks with their first round pick and the MLE to get a pair of guards here. More importantly a Garnett led Knicks, with this supporting cast would be among the top teams in the weak East. For the first time in years, Knick fans would have their sights set a bit higher than jockeying for that last playoff spot and a first round kick in the ass.

I could live with this trade, but the question is would the Timberwolves accept? I’ve given Minnesota a bit of cap space (Rose), a possible future All Star (Lee) that the fans will love (much like they do here), a former All Star (Francis) and an exciting young player (Robinson). Check out TrueHoop (now at ESPN) to see.

Other team’s offers:
Lakers offer.
Celtics offer.
Bulls offer?
Warriors offer.

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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).

36 thoughts to “My Offer For KG”

  1. they say they’re cool, but I question somewhat the wisdom of attempting to reunite Garnett and Marbury, they didn’t leave on the best terms the first time.

    I get that you didn’t have a choice about the player in this exercise, but I think the next move or two will be huge for the Knicks, and I’m not sure if Garnett is the guy for us. he belongs on Chicago, honestly.

  2. There’s not even the slightest chance the Wolves would accept your offer.

    Curry, Frye and Crawford maybe?

    When you are proposing a trade for a team you’re a fan of, if what you’re giving up doesn’t feel painful, 95% of the time your fandom is eclipsing your judgement and you’re proposing a ridiculous trade.

  3. I see Lee as our most valuable asset and our best player as well.

    Garnett makes so much that we won’t be able to construct a workable trade that include large amounts of high-salaried deadwood, unless we’re willing to package 4 or 5 valuable low-salary players together. That rules out Mr. Francis.

    If you gave every team the choice of Lee or Curry, how many would choose each one? I don’t know, but I suspect that some/many would choose Curry, especially if salary isn’t a factor (which is sort of isn’t, since Lee instead of Curry in a trade would probably mean the addition of some salary deadwood).

  4. Not bad, KB. But I think to sweeten the offer for Minnesota (outside of giving them a first rounder, which I’d think they’d want) the Knicks could take out Robinson and put in Frye. As well as maybe taking someone instead of Jaric, like Hudson or James.

  5. Mike, it’s hard to make an offer in a vacuum. If it were a real trade negotiation, I would expect a little more input on the deal.

    So let’s say you’re Minnesota, who would you rather have, Curry or Lee?

    If Lee, what would make the pot more palatable? Frye or Crawford? If Crawford were included I might want Hassell back.

  6. Matt,

    Jaric’s contract is so long, I’d expect them to want to move him ASAP. James actually plays more minutes. In all honesty I would take back any of the three if it meant getting KG.

  7. “…and has a nack for passing…”

    Ironic that someone so into the KNicks writes ‘knack’ without the k… :-)

  8. Here’s my offer:

    Curry, Frye, give ’em a choice of Rose or Crawford. (salary dump or usable player)

    If you need to add Robinson or a pick… ok.

    If we want to push our luck, insist that they take Q.

    David Lee is so far superior to Curry or Frye that it makes no sense to offer him on the first go-round. McHale is stupid enough not to ask.

  9. KG is a fantastic talent. So is Marbury, Francis, etc. But, given the fact that this is the 3rd year in a row the wolves don’t make the playoffs, is he really a superstar, a franchise player who can dominate the game, who can make the players around him better, who can take the knicks to the next level. Also, given the Frye / Curry experience this year can we have two top scorers at the 4 / 5. Probably doesn’t work. Given our strength in rebounding, if we try to do something big, I would much prefer to try for Ray Allen to improve the perimeter.

    I may be naive but I believe we will be better next year due to having the same coaching scheme which should cut down on turnovers at offensive end as players are not learning yet another new system. Also, Isaiah has full training camp to work on defense, 3 point defense needs to be a real focus.

    On the plus side, Curry managed to get 12 rebounds last night which shows he is capable of boarding. He made huge strides on offensive end this season and needs to focus on learning defense over the summer.

  10. You know, we haven’t really tried it this year, but I liked the idea of alternating between Curry and Frye in the post which they did a little against Dallas…might make it harder to focus on either of them?

  11. Waiting for KG to magically arrive on our shores seems somwhat akin to the way the entire Democratic Party was pining for Mario Cuomo to enter the race circa 1986-88. Just to plow through with this analogy, Mario “Godot” Cuomo never saved the party from the dregs of Dukakis et al. nor do I think KG will ever be a Knick. For one thing, if McHale does decide to move him, there are too many other teams that can offer more young talent (and better/more draft picks to sweeten the deal) than NY. Just off the top of my head…

    Golden State (Richardson, Ellis, Biedrins, Pietrus)
    Chicago (Deng, Nocioni, Gordon, Thomas)
    Boston (Jefferson, Green, Rondo)
    Atlanta (Williams, Childress, Smith)
    Portand (Aldrige, Randolph, Rodriguez, Roy)

    I’d offer Minny Curry, Rose, Robinson and the next tradeable first we have (which I think is in 2012…yep can’t trade the ’08 or ’09 [’10 goes to Utah — no consecutive firsts traded]). if you have to, throw in Channing Frye. If McHale goes for it, you use this lineup:

    C Lee (yeah, he’s undersized, but so is the rest of the league save Shaq, Yao, and Howard — watch Lee turn into Dave Cowens Lite. And he was a Center at Florida so nyahh nyahh nyahh)
    PF Garnett
    SF Balkman
    SG Crawford
    PG Marbury

    G/F Richardson
    F Jeffries
    G Francis

    There’s an eight-man rotation you can contend with. Draft a shotblocker/rebounder like Sean Williams or a young point like Lawson, Law, Conley or a shooter like Byars/Rush/Trey Johnson.

    But like Cuomo, even if McHale does put Garnett up for sale (and Forbes ranking notwithstanding, I don’t think McHale wants his defining moment as GM to be getting pennies on the dollar for KG. The deal will have to wai another year (or more) till Kevin is canned and then you’ll really have wated the prime years of one of the great players of the last 10 years.

    Seriously, what player woud you rate over Garnett? Possibly Duncan, but put KG in San Antonio w/Popovich as his coach and next to David Robinson (and with Parker, Ginobili, Elliot, etc.) for the first 7 years of his career and you can easily see Garnett having a few more MVP’s and a few titles under his belt by now.

    Hell, if Marbury had stayed in Minny, I think they could have been at least a contender in the Stockton/Malone tradition (losing in the finals, 50-60 wins a year)

  12. “Curry managed to get 12 rebounds last night which shows he is capable of boarding”

    Please, it doesn’t show anything except that 12 balls bounced into his hands one night.

    I think the past 6 seasons show exactly how capable he is of boarding.

  13. I dunno… I just don’t see the Wolves parting with Garnett. When you have talent like KG, you don’t just trade it to rebuild. The only trade i can think of that would be similar would be the Shaq trade to Miami, but even that was spurred by severe team chemistry problems. Until I hear something more substantial, any trade mentioning KG is going to be treated with the respect deserving of a poorly formed rumor.

  14. Remember, Ken, this isn’t KB thinking the Knicks could get this done – he was specifically ASKED to put an offer together, as part of a inter-blog game.

    Also, regarding my offer, like I told KB, I would offer Lee, too, I just don’t think the Knicks would, so that was the best offer I could come up with without using Lee, which was to basically throw as many useful players as possible at the Wolves, and hope everyone else lowballs them. :)

  15. The chances of the Wolves trading KG is very small. The chances of him opting our next year are better. If we made any progress, though, he’d probably stay because that’s what he wants.

    I’m a Wolves fan and I’m not sure about that trade. I’m not sure a trade with the Knicks is possible. For one, the lack of any draft picks makes Lee the best player that will ever come out of the deal. Although I like Lee, that’s not good enough. He’s the only player among that deal who would be a long-term starter on the team. I don’t see Robinson ever becoming more than a solid backup; a Speedy Claxton with a bad attitude. Francis would steal minutes from Foye and McCants, and his attitude in rebuilding projects in the past hasn’t been that good. Rose’s expiring is nice, but since it’s not enough to put us under the cap, there’s really no benefit to being almost under the cap.

    All the trade would seem to do is guarantee that we’d be one of the worst teams for the next 3 – 4 years (at minimum). But any team in the league can offer us players which would make us the worst team. If Iverson landed 2 first round picks, O’Neal landed 2 first round picks (plus Odom and Butler), I don’t understand why Garnett is only good for Lee and a few bad attitudes that would have to be immediately traded or waived.

    You have to remember that the Wolves have no first round draft pick for the rest of the decade, except for this year’s and that’s only if we land in the top 10. So anything that we trade for Garnett pretty much has to be our future. And a future of Foye/McCants/Davis/Lee/Blount really doesn’t sound that promising.

  16. Brian,

    I hear you regarding the speculative/inter-blogging nature of KB’s/your proposal. It’s just that if you check out any of the other Knick forums on the interwebs, there are myriad “Trade to Get Garnett!” threads going back for over a year.

    I guess that’s why whenever Garnett’s name comes up, I start sounding like Andy Rooning, rambling grouchily and making obscure/ill-thought out references to days gone by.

    That being said, I agree that to even possibly get KG, any package is going to have to include Lee, which would be a huge mistake in my opinion. Considerng Lee’s PER this season has been hovering steadily at 20.5 or so, it’s not hard to see Lee being a superior player (at 1/10th the salary) in 2-3 years.

  17. Just for the record I had a short amount of time to scrounge together a deal. I’m sure things like this happen all the time in the NBA, so I took it as pretending I was a GM with only a small window to negotiate.

    Given more time to think about it I would probably send Frye in the deal instead of Robinson. However even then I don’t think that they would do it. I mean if I were Minnesota, I might jump at the Celtics offer. 2 unprotected first round picks?? Geez that’s a lot & throw in with Gerald Green? (offer:

    And to be fair to Brian Cronin, the first words in his email were “Man, looking it over, the Knicks just really do not have a chance at getting KG.”

  18. It depends on whether the Wolves are high on Curry. If they are, my offer of:

    – Curry
    – Frye
    – Crawford/Q/Rose/anyone else except Lee
    – Robinson or this year’s #1

    …would give the Wolves the equivalent of 2 top-ten picks (young, talented,

  19. somehow my last post got cut off…

    …would give the Wolves the equivalent of 2 top-ten picks (young, talented, under-25), plus another #1 (or Robinson) and either a useful player or $8m cash relief.

    If McHale and the Wolf-lovers pull the wool hats off their eyes, they’ll see they’re not going to get Kobe or Wade or Greg Oden in return. The few teams that could probably put together the best offers* don’t seem interested.

    From the Knicks perspective, my deal would leave us center-less, but the upgrade from Curry to Garnett is more, more, more than worth it. Given the rest of our roster, Frye, Crawford and Q are expendable, and Garnett is much more likely to put us over the top than praying that every #15 or 20 pick turns into an all-star.

    If Wolves DON’T like Curry, I’d consider offering Lee, but my first instinct is no – we wouldn’t have enough to put us over the top (yes, Lee is much better than Fast Eddie).

    *Bulls: 3 among Deng/Gordon/Tyrus Thomas/Knicks #1

    *Suns: Marion or Diaw/Hawks #1/cruddy contracts

    *No bottom-feeder will trade rights to Oden or Durant, bc then they’d be the T-Wolves.

    *Boston with Pierce and Garnett would actually be pretty good, so those “unprotected” picks aren’t so valuable. (except this year – and there’s no way they give up Oden/Durant rights). What does Bill Simmons say?

  20. Depending on the two draft picks from Boston, I’d jump at that offer in an instant.

    Heck, the first team that ponies up two 2007 firsy rounders and a decent prospect (In the realm of Frye, Ty Thomas, Gerald Green) would get KG from me.

    The Knicks just don’t have the draft picks to trade (and, as we all know, the Knicks trading draft picks is especially dumb because Isiah is a genius with them).

  21. I certainly don’t expect Kobe or Wade, but that doesn’t mean I’ll settle for any old deal. I’d only be in favor if it gave us a light at the end of the tunnel. I just don’t think the Knicks have the pieces to make that happen. I’d rather keep Garnett and pray the lottery gods grant us a miracle.

  22. Indiana and Orlando both lose again:

    7. NJ 31-37
    8. Orlando 31-38

    9T. Indiana 30-37
    9T. NY 30-37

    does it still count as a race if everyone is going backwards?

  23. I don’t think there is any chance the Knicks can put together an offer for Garnett that Minnesota would accept, but I have to say this was an interesting excercise. I tried to top your proposal but I couldn’t come up with anything better for the Wolves that would still leave the Knicks with a roster that I felt could contend for a title.

  24. Matthew – what do you think of Curry?

    Brian – I agree with you – but I think my offer of Curry, Frye & more meets your criteria.

    Although… on second thought, a Boston offer of Jefferson, this year’s pick (say, #3-6) and contracts would be a serious rival.

  25. I love KG but they should even make an offer. If they make a few smaller trades for more role guys and git ride of Curry some how, that would be great.

  26. p.s. It’s interesting to read the other offers that KB has linked to.

    Lakers ? Salary dump (Odom, 2008 1st, Kwame)

    Celts ? Best they’re willing to give is Gerald green and 2 future 1sts. Why not more?

    Bulls ? No one on blog is making offers ? they?re paralyzed. Here’s the best I saw: Hinrich, Tyrus, Noc, and a protected future 1st. No Deng? hmmm.

    Warriors ? Hilarious artwork on this site, seriously, but not a serious offer: Adonal Foyle, Patrick O’Bryant and Al Harrington.

  27. KG with the Knicks is an awesome idea. The Knicks would totally take over the Atlantic division if that happened. If I’m Isiah Thomas, I would have two different offers on the table. The first one is Steve Francis, Channing Frye, David Lee, and a first round pick. The second offer would be Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye, David Lee, and a first round pick.

  28. I think that if KG was to come into town, then Curry would have to pack his bags.
    His value will dip considerably UNLESS you let Kevin Garnett stay outside the paint and shoot jumpshots.
    I guess we can do that, but Curry is a lot better player when the ball is force fed to him and Kevin Garnett would just get in his way.
    If we are trading for KG, Curry should be in the package too.

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